Happy Passover and Open Thread

It's just about sundown here, which marks the beginning of Passover. Best wishes to all observing.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Good news on finance reform (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:53:56 PM EST
    The WH is signaling it's going to get tough on finance reform and several other pending legislative battles.

    No, .... no, ......

    ... seriously.

    Probably Treasury (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:55:03 PM EST
    has some unused quivers in its armor.

    That's what I call a mixed metaphor. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:56:37 PM EST
    Arrows in its quiver? (none / 0) (#56)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:23:45 AM EST
    Or are they quivering in their armor?

    oops! (none / 0) (#58)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:57:47 AM EST
    Yes, But (none / 0) (#61)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 01:57:43 PM EST
    A quiver can be considered part of ones armor.

    †3.3 a.3.a collect. sing. with pl. Military equipment or accoutrement, both offensive and defensive, in the widest sense; the whole apparatus of war. Obs. exc. in Law.


    Or it used to be...


    That's rich... (none / 0) (#47)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 04:40:20 AM EST
    Bowers is a sap (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:43:58 PM EST
    I can't find a blogger that writes in a more 'whingy' 'sappy' manner.  I just cringe when I read him.  It's a 'tone' thing.

    I clicked on the [the-progressive-internet-space-changed-because-obama-convinced-it-to-change] item because I guessed it was going to be a continuation BTDs post.  Imagine my disappointment when I ended at Openleft which I actively avoid and get punished by drivel.

    Hey BTD.... Bowers thinks you're an old fart. ha.

    I was NOT impressed by Bowers's post (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:50:17 PM EST
    And I didn't ever quite buy BTD's premise.

    Huh? I seem to be missing (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:02:49 PM EST
    the inside joke here....

    What's the scoop on Bowers?  What post?


    I think people are talking about the post today (none / 0) (#48)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 05:50:06 AM EST
    by Bowers, The progressive Internet space changed because Obama convinced it to change. Here's a sample:
    The progressive Internet space changed because President Obama was more persuasive to the audience of the progressive blogosphere than even the most prominent progressive bloggers. [snip]

    Now, just because President Obama persuaded more people so far does not necessarily mean he is right in every case, that he will win in every case, or that his persuasive power is total. [snip] He convinced 13 million people to voluntarily join his online operation. In order for a more left-wing force to displace, or at least shift, Obama, they have to do something comparable.

    Something will displace President Obama's power among the progressive base eventually, as the ground is always shifting online, and always shifting in politics.

    Imo, Bowers sounds like he's writing two years ago under the influence of ludes and Jägermeister. For starters, it's totally peculiar how he seems to believe Obama still has the 13 million member online operation he had during the GE and the same level of support among the "base" as a whole.

    Does he not know that the 13 million fan base was always vastly outnumbered by other Democrats who never bought into the Obamamania. Does he not see how far from grace Obama has fallen, especially among Liberal Democrats - even those who once supported him. Earth to Bowers.


    Bowers is not only a sap (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Coldblue on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:52:11 PM EST
    but he is revising history in that post. Open Left was a pro-Obama site before the primaries ended. I know: I was banned for making a pro-Hillary comment.

    OpenLeft bans with regularity (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by NealB on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:34:22 PM EST
    You can sign up for a petition one day; make a contribution to one of their candidates the next day; or participate in a calling campaign. Doesn't matter. He bans folks when they make more sense than he does. Child.

    I didn't get banned, but that's (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:05:29 PM EST
    only because I fled the place permanently after-- well, OK, after screeching at them pretty, um, disparagingly.  "Creative class" my left XXXX.

    Chris Bowers (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Spamlet on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:53:56 PM EST
    The guy who wrote this post, wherein he says this:

    I have little doubt that I will continue to be something of a party gadfly, and that I will continue to hold an oppositional, progressive stance toward the leadership on fairly regular occasions. . . .

    I wonder how he defines "oppositional," "progressive," and "fairly regular."

    Most of all, though, I wonder if he's still so sad.


    That doesn't look like Manishevitz, (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:11:36 PM EST
    my non-alchohol-drinking Protestant father's favorite wine!

    This bad Jew (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:52:00 PM EST
    had a turkey sandwich for dinner. He's not feeling guilty. Relevant family members went to Florida this year, so no seder, and no charoset.

    On TV, No Reservations. The Prague episode, which I missed, and the Vietnamese highlands.

    Do you think it is a "tasty concoction"? (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:56:02 PM EST
    Very (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 07:57:57 PM EST
    Especially when made by my late aunt, who applied liberal amounts of Manischewitz (which cannot be used for anything else).

    I'm making charoset on Tuesday. (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by shoephone on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 02:02:32 AM EST
    Wish I could FedEx you some. It's gonna be goooood. And yeah, only with Manishewitz.

    When I was six years old, I had to go into the hospital for a few days. That's when we found out that I am super low-tolerance to any kind of anasthetic. Family lore has it that when I finally awoke after surgery, the first thing I asked for was "A bottle of Manishewitz, okay Dad?"


    ONe more question. Is it possible (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:26:57 AM EST
    for a family group to have a Seder dinner in a restaurant?  

    I've never heard of it (none / 0) (#41)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:45:33 AM EST
    but I don't know of any reason why not. I'm not remotely an expert on Jewish law, though.

    Yes (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:54:25 AM EST
    Several restaurants have seders.

    The Mission Beach Cafe (San Diego) (none / 0) (#46)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 04:37:39 AM EST
    is hosting an 'unorthodox' slow food Seder on April 5th. LINK.

    I'm here in town for a couple of months and may check it out.


    Interesting. (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:35:59 AM EST
    I'm not a (none / 0) (#16)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:18:05 PM EST
    Tibetan Buddhist, but I took my, then, pre-teen daughter to a Sakya Buddhist wake. As we first came in the brightly adorned room we were handed a little piece of hot dog and told to cup a hand and about a tablespoon of brandy was poured into the cupped hand. We were then told to drink it out of our hand and then rub the remains onto our hair, or somewhere. I guess it is a tradition which breaks all the usual religious rules. Oddly, the ritual made me feel reverence for the passing life we were honoring. It made a real impression on my daughter too! I think that was the first alcohol she tasted.

    I'm sheepish to say but (none / 0) (#21)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:46:26 PM EST
    I've never actually tasted Manishevitz. Is it some sort of Boons Farm for Sunday morning? ......oh....maybe I did have it once as a child when I insisted on going to a Catholic service (my parents were not catholic) and also insisted on taking communion. I loved it. My parents were not as pleased. Religion and alcohol --maybe a family tradition.

    Digby has a good, detailed post (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:13:03 PM EST
    about the new health care bill.

    Positive Step Forward (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:12:49 PM EST
    Although still a backward approach.



    Unfortunate event (none / 0) (#11)
    by Coldblue on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 08:43:21 PM EST
    in southern Arizona;
    A prominent southeast Arizona rancher likely was killed by an illegal immigrant, but there's no evidence to suggest there was any confrontation that led to the shooting, authorities said Monday.

    The right-wing crazies are going to jump on this. I feel frightened for any Hispanic living in Arizona right now.

    Different circumstances (none / 0) (#22)
    by Coldblue on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:49:00 PM EST
    Illegal immigration is a hot issue here in Arizona; has been for years before Democrats took the majority in D.C.

    As for Joe Arpaio, he just concluded another sweep where he detained Hispanic individuals for "probable cause" of illegally trespassing in the state. Of course, not all were undocumented and some were natural born citizens.

    I had a rude awakening last year here in Mesa while standing in line for six hours to get a ticket to see President Obama. At one point, there were young people canvassing the line to get signatures on a petition against Joe Arpaio. I was shocked when those around me declined to sign, saying that we "need" Joe Arpaio to enforce the immigration laws, even while admitting that there might be abuse in his tactics. One person that was most vocal in support of rounding up Hispanics happened to be an African-American. Needless to say, I was floored.


    And they had about 10,000 plus (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:40:29 AM EST
    near Searhlight, NV... home of you know who....

    And who are these people whose very comments will destroy the Tea Party movement?? Names please.

    The Demos are whistling past the graveyard and trying to create distractions.

    It isn't going to work.

    And the one chance we had to create a viable single payer health insurance system has been lost to give Obama a "legacy."



    I spent (none / 0) (#19)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 09:32:36 PM EST
    way too much time today on the phone with my local doctor group and United Health Care trying to clear up a charge for my daughter. She is a senior in college and visited the doctor here over winter break. The charge in question was for a doctor's visit where the doctor went over lab results and confirmed she had mono. Her insurance will not pay since they pay for treatable illness, and mono has no treatment.

    Oh. My. God. (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:09:46 PM EST
    Please do complain loudly to your state's insurance commissioner, attorney general's office and anybody else you can think of, including the local TV stations.

    That's simply outrageous.

    I wonder what else they consider to be "untreatable"  and refuse to pay for.  End-stage cancer maybe?  How about, say, Lou Gehrig's disease?  Maybe rabies?

    There are lots of "untreatable" illnesses for which management is important.


    good luck (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by CST on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:10:01 AM EST
    I agree with those who say it's important to put up a fight.  Your daughter is gonna have to learn how to deal with these people because in all likelihood this in not the last time something like this might happen, unfortunately.  And it's probably best to learn on something like this, so that in the event something really serious happens, you have that experience.

    I went through something similar myself with insurance refusing to cover my antibiotics since they weren't the common (cheap) ones used for my diagnosis - which I can't take because I am highly allergic to most antibiotics.  My mom found out and got so mad - and she was the one who taught me that this is stuff you can fight, since at the time I had no idea I had any rights what-so-ever.

    Dealing with collection agencies is another thing she may have to learn.  There are all sorts of rules they have to follow - and they almost always break those rules.  But they will always try to intimidate you into paying them, so you gotta be able to stick to your guns.  But this is stuff most younger people really don't know, and my experiences dealing with this stuff, and my mom helping me has also been beneficial down the line now for my sisters as well.

    It's just the way the system works now, you always have to fight it, and the sooner she learns how, the better.  It $ucks.


    Bravo to your mom!! (none / 0) (#59)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:30:17 AM EST
    She gave you a very important gift.

    I taught my kids how to fight for fairness, their rights, and principles early in life. They were pretty good at it by the time they left high school. Public school is full of opportunities to teach kids about real life :)

    They couldn't wait to take over for themselves. It doesn't make them nervous at all to face down a company...they do it calmly, logically, and with the confidence that tells the offender they aren't going to go away until it is settled properly.

    We often have the other side thank us for being so reasonable and patient with them as they happily make it right. Many of these calls get recorded, so be sure that if it goes far enough to have to pull those calls, that you are the one stating a concise argument for yourself.


    Yes, there is a treatment for mono (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:10:43 PM EST
    Rest, good food, antibiotics to combat expected bacterial infections, and so forth.

    Don't let'em grind you down. Tell the insurance folks they must pay and the Doc you won't pay.

    You may be amazed how much better they communicate with each other when faced with flat out "I won't!"


    Well its complicated by (none / 0) (#25)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:49:23 PM EST
    the fact that she is now just 22 and I can't get the insurance or docs to actually talk to me. All they will do is hint. Seriously. One said "You might be going down the wrong path and that is all I can say" to me today. So, I pay for the insurance and she is the one they talk to. So, she was great and called them and they gave her the run around and she was confused. Later that very same doctor group representative said "yes, a lot of what insurance does is unfair, I hear it all the time".

    And I am intimidated by the letters. The threats to send unpaid bills to collection. This is her credit record and she is just getting started, and doing a great job so far.

    Also, telling a 21 year old that "rest" is the treatment is not billable. Or so they say.

    Sorry to vent about this.


    Don't apologize (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:16:27 PM EST
    You're getting screwed.  Not for a lot of money, and maybe you can easily afford it, but the principle is also important.  And that implicit threat about the credit record is their ultimate weapon to get you to shut up and take it.

    It's also, btw, teaching your daughter that she can't trust anybody, which may be a good thing or maybe not so good.

    Arrrghhh!  This just makes me furious.

    And if it were me, I would certainly demand the insurance company provide me with a list of illnesses and conditions they consider "untreatable" so your daughter can take that into consideration before she goes to the doctor.

    Then forward the list to the people above-- state insurance commissioner, attorney general and absolutely to the TV stations and newspapers.  They would find it very interesting.  And if they won't give you their list, even moreso.


    I had to spend 15 minutes on the phone today (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:13:52 AM EST
    to get out of a bogus "late fee" (plus an additional late fee for being late on the original late fee, even though there was never any notice until now).

    I really hate it when institutions attempt to charge you for their own incompetence.


    It's a way of life now, isn't it? (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 07:59:57 AM EST
    So infuriating - the time we are forced to waste combatting corporate ripoff behavior. The bogus small fees that they hope people won't bother to complain about, the sending the bills late in hopes of collecting massive late fees, etc.

    My point was that you need (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:59:27 PM EST
    to get the doctors and the insurance people to speak with each other. Don't let them turn you into a postman.

    And tell the doctor folks that if they don't work it out and if they do the credit trick you will go to the BBB and all the other agencies nailing them for their actions.

    Most of these things come from a lazy person on both ends who want to take the easy way out, and that is you paying.

    And speak only to managers and directors. No clerks and no supervisors.


    They are required under HIPA to speak (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:14:45 PM EST
    only to the patient.  But, she can include you on a conference call.

    There is a waiver she can sign (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:17:54 PM EST
    though.  My mother signed them in the last years of her life when I was managing her medical care, prescriptions, etc.

    HIPAA: (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:16:10 PM EST
    The doctors talk freely (none / 0) (#34)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:33:34 PM EST
    with the children of elderly patients whether they are POA for Healthcare, or not. Surprises me.

    Yep, it surprises me, too -- (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:02:27 AM EST
    and so do many other health care workers.  On the other hand, they seem to know when they are dealing with someone "safe."  I talked some months ago with a health care worker for an elderly relative who also cared for a neighbor of mine -- a connection 20 miles apart -- and I noted concerns about signs that suggested to me that the elderly neighbor was being abused by a young relative living there for free to provide care, too.  The worker figured out a way to convey some info to me, too -- and listened carefully, as it turned out, to what I had witnessed but could not verify, not being on the inside.

    Things changed for the neighbor, fast.  Social services somehow got a call, and I suspect that I know the source -- but I'll never say.  At least my neighbor's last months were comfortable.  

    I appreciate HIPAA, and I am amazed at how often it is not employed when it ought to be -- but also at how often it seems to be used as a defensive mechanism or for work avoidance by those who ought to be helping people get waivers or other ways to accomplish the goal of getting help to those in need of health care. What a concept.


    Really? (none / 0) (#35)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:43:13 PM EST
    excellent info.

    Everyone. Thank you all.


    Make sure you document every thing (none / 0) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 07:55:01 AM EST
    Times, dates and the person you talked to. Then go to the insurance commissioner.

    Both daughters had mono in college (none / 0) (#52)
    by marcnj on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 08:29:11 AM EST
    and we never had an issue with ins. coverage. Daughter #1's case presented in a very unusual manner and she ended up having a spinal tap before they actually got a positive mono test.  She was prescribed oral steroids as treatment.  Learned then that OTC painkillers should not be given to mono patients due to potential liver damage (not the easiest thing to do when they are so miserable). She gave the Dr written permission to discuss her case with me (I was 1700 miles away). Daughter #2 had a more classic case over summer break last year.  We had just moved cross country and had to go to a walk in clinic since we did not know anyone.  Dr. did not offer the steroid treatment, so I asked for it. Our 2 cases were covered by 2 different insurers due to a job change--you really need to fight this.

    What a year (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 08:54:01 AM EST
    you and yours have had.  But what helpful information for another parent: Above all, that there are treatments, but also to be able to tell the insurer -- and the physician.

    Sympathies. We have been (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 11:48:11 PM EST
    through this sort of runaround for years, decades now, with my daughter owing to a health condition that required meds that messed up a lot.  So we are going through it again with the latest insults -- from insurance companies, from collection agencies, etc. -- added to her injuries.  

    They all really push around the young innocents, only making them more cynical like the rest of us.  I have done the conference call setup noted below, and my daughter gets even angrier when the tone changes because they deal with older, take-no-nonsense types.

    The collection agency calls on Sunday mornings! really are awful.  Of course, they usually accomplished the aim of getting paid, because I would haul out the checkbook to make them leave her alone in hope that she could work on physical recovery rather than get worse from emotional toll.

    But she has learned a lot, as your daughter will.  Mine now knows to take every name, write down everything, keep a dated and signed record, etc.  And we just spent time on the phone again tonight, going over the latest letter that she drafted in reply -- and she is getting good at pushing back.  It may not cut the costs, but it cuts down on the frustrations.  And, again, that helps her emotional health, fighting back at all.

    Keep fighting the good fights, as we will, too.  And above all, keep focusing your girl on getting healthy and not letting the so-called health insurance industry make her worse with all this!


    CC, I ALWAYS love reading your comments (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by ZtoA on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:06:14 AM EST
    My daughter said to me today that "they really know how to nickle and dime people". HA!!! Over $200-- nickle and dime? Well for some, but not for me and not at the end of paying for an expensive private college education (which she has not squandered and values). But actually $2-900 is about the amount that is not really worth a fight. And in that sense she was right. It IS nickles and dimes to insurance. Loopholes etc. And it is very confusing to most of us.

    I wish there was some fight to fight, but it all seems like dead ends and the people on the other ends of the phone are either disinterested or disinterested and nice. I am personally lucky, but there are many who have really dire situations and administrative roadblocks are just the first. I paid the money today and was satisfied with not having to deal with it anymore or having her credit damaged. It felt like blood money being paid. But I paid it. Not feeling good about it.


    Awww, thanks. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:52:39 AM EST
    My daughter is trying to handle all these bills and frustrations while still in college -- returning student, laid off, coping with COBRA, too, etc.

    It's not nickels and dimes to them or to us, but I'm with you on just paying the extortionists, sometimes!  But the latest batch of bills for the latest surgery just adds up to too much on top of the bills still being paid down for the previous surgery, and the previous surgery -- all within little more than a year, poor kid.  How many times she has called after getting scary letters or calls that are unnecessarily terrifying, too.  She's usually too far along in tears to make sense of it all by the time the letter gets to the end and turns out to be not as bad as it began.

    My first step in reforming health insurance companies would be fixing those form letters, and then a course in courtesy, clear communication, and knowledge of their own products by those "customer service" reps.  Really, they can be awful -- yes, the nice ones are a relief, but they still can't seem to fix a thing, can they?


    As a DMV person sd. to me yrs. ago, (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 12:58:37 AM EST
    I don't know why we do it but we do.  Blessings on you, mom.

    Finally (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 08:06:26 AM EST
    It still makes my ovaries cry though :)

    New York (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:42:50 AM EST
    taking on saggy pants.

    "State Sen. Eric Adams announced plans to post six billboards around Brooklyn targeting the pants-sagging trend popular with many young men. The billboards, which will hang on busy streets, feature two young men wearing low-hanging pants above the phrase, "Raise your pants, raise your image.""

    This makes me laugh.  At least they aren't trying to pass any laws.  Although I have to wonder about the effectiveness of the billboards.  Seems to me like those who wear saggy pants do so in order to not look like a conformist.