11 August, 2009

Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform: OBAMACARE!

So last night there was a town hall meeting on health care reform with Sen. Ben Cardin. The meeting was at 7pm at the Towson University Center for the Arts Kaplin Concert Hall but the circus began around 5pm outside the hall on Osler drive as the street (and the world!!) was divided with Pro-Obamacare freaks on the west side of the street and Anti- Obamacare nut jobs on the east.

I parked my car a few blocks away from the hall and walked down the hill to Osler Dr. As I came to the corner another man was crossing the street and we came together as I turned the corner. I didn’t know who this person was but he looked like he could be my father or anyone’s father. Since we were side by side and heading in the same direction I figured it would be rude (yet totally typical) to ignore his presence since we were walking in tandem up the sidewalk. I greeted him and made a comment on the hot day and other social banter. As we came up over the hill we were met with throngs of people on either side of Osler St. in what looked like a pitched battle waiting to break out. Signs waving, megaphones chanting, car horns honking and 2 opposing crowds a good 15 feet from tearing each others throats out.
Now I just love playing the rube and this gave me a chance to find out more about my new travel companion. So I asked, surprisingly, “Wow, what’s going on here?” The man answered in a bitterly resigned voice: “The end of the world”
“The end of the world? Really? And it’s happening right here?”
“It’s happening all over this country”
“What is?”
And that’s when I heard the term that would be the buzz word for the rest of the evening:
“Obamacare?” I asked.
“Yea, Obama wants to take our health care away, give it to everyone and water it down for everyone. Ya see, we’re gonna lose what we have now because there’s not enough to go around, and you know who’s gonna pay for it don’t ya?”.

This would be the first of an endless stream of rapid fire opinions and rants that I would encounter the rest of the evening.

At this point we had reached the beginning of the sign-holding, flag-waving crazies on the street. The first sign I came to said “No Gov. Run Health Care!”
I looked at it with my head cocked and said, “My dad has gov. health care. But he’s 65 too. I guess you get a free ride if you can make it in this country and survive to be 65. But he’s a veteran too so he’s always been covered….So is that wrong now?”

My new companero had nothing to say in response but that’s OK, I was entering the jungle and could find blasting conversation anywhere I looked. All I had to do was walk up to someone and they would desperately throw their beliefs of health care on me as if their voice alone was the one that would change the course of the entire debate. It was such a blast.

Now, let me come out and say that I was informed about this event by an email I got from a local MoveOn.org member and, coming up the hill, my support was on the side of change. But after I found myself in the thick of the event I knew that change was the farthest thing from anyone in this maelstrom of media hype.

I became a neutral figure in the debate and chose the role of the observer over that of the warrior.
At one point I got out on the median of the street and took a short video that panned back and forth at both sides of the crowd. You really couldn’t tell who was who if you couldn’t read the signs. Everyone was ugly and intolerant. But some ugly in the name of smaller government and saving their broken health care system while others were ugly in the name of health care reform and president Obama. It really was a great time to be a neutral observer. Sure I side with health care reform but voicing any opinion on this day was only going to raise my stress level and make me lose my voice. I’d still be going home none the wiser in the end. So I let everyone else guckin fonuts.

Unfortunately though, I got tied up in the shit storm for longer than I should have and by the time I got in line for the actual town hall event at 6:10. The line was too long to get in and we were shut out. But I think I would not have gotten in anyway. When I got there at 5:15 the line was half the size it was when I got in it but it wasn’t going anywhere.
Emails and press notes said that the event starts at 7 but never said when the doors opened. By 6pm no one was moving in line.
Oh but the line provided for just as much jack assery. I was standing behind a older lady with a big sign that cited a few lines from Obama’s health reform. It stated that “The gov. will require access to your personal banking information for electronic funds transfer”. NO!! This is the largest breach in private security that I have ever….Wait a minute. Don’t I voluntarily give the gov my bank routing info every year for electronic funds transfer so that they can directly deposit my income tax return into my bank account? Uh, yea. And if big brother were half as menacing as we’d like to believe they would keep my bank info so I wouldn’t have to provide it every year. But are they really that competent? Not hardly. Trust me, I work for the gov. We could care less about you and your personal information. Now Choicepoint, on the other hand. They are the folks who have hundreds of pages on my daily activities and every bank account I ever had. They are the ones who are stockpiling my data for the corporate big brother. That’s the real threat (and also the main funder of the Anti-Obamacare scare and bully tactics…but this is no time to get into actual factual details. Truth has no place in a protest).

And not 30 seconds after reading this sign and chuckling to myself a casual conversation between a solo 19 yr old Towson student and a group of 4 middle age people took some turn for the worse when the young guy, knowing the ways of the world, told a lady “you don’t know what you’re talking about!” and her husband got into the argument and oratorically tore the kid a new one. Without stating his position or any identifiable information about himself the middle age man reversed every argument the kid had and exposed it as rookie assumptions. The kid just got more furious because he was seeing that he was not right. But to his credit he was seeing just that.
I thought the kid was brave. Better to put yourself out there and make your mistakes when you are still young and learn a thing or two from them. And nobody went away in anger. The kid was frustrated and rightly so. Nobody likes to be wrong but it’s a big man to admit when he is. He’ll do just fine. But not today.

Now here’s something interesting. There were 2 police men guarding the line to prevent protesters from aggravating those waiting in line. At 6:40 I saw these police leaving the scene. I assume that they were told that no one else is getting in the building and they assumed their job was over. Not 5 minutes later a wave of people from the Anti-Obamacare mob swarmed up the hill and encircled the line creating a big battle arena. Imagine an after school fight where hundreds of kids gathering around to see a bunch of other kids duke it out. But you never see more then some finger pointing and name calling.
I, however, used this opportunity to walk up past all the swarm and get right to the front of the line only to find out that no one was getting in.
Oh well. I had seen enough already.

Now here's a sight. Ebony and Ivory coming together to disagree and cause a clusterfuck of our democratic system in perfect harmony

This was priceless. Uncle Jesse had real dedication. Sentence structure is not the best but it's not like he sacrificed his pick 'em up truck to make the statement...Oh wait.

Of course FAUX News was there to cover it all and spin it the way you would expect. They didn't need to go far though. This was a FAUX report from heaven. This evening was perfect for a crazy news report.

But after all of this protest I sat there on the hill and shook my head and thought, "I can't believe I'm supporting the government in a public protest! What the hell is happening here!"
That's when I knew that this health care reform was only a dream.

10 August, 2009

The Freaks Come Out At (the) Right

Sen. Cardin - Town Hall meeting / Rally
Towson University Center for the Arts
Cross Campus Drive and Osler Drive
Towson, MD 21204
Monday, 10 Aug 2009, 5:30 PM

The Freaks Come Out at (the) Right.

Tonight I’m going to a Town Hall meeting that Senator Ben Cardin is hosting at Towson University.
This will be one of those Town hall meetings that you have been seeing on the news and hearing about on NPR. You know the ones. Those health care reform meetings where Right wing nut sacks have been flooding the hall and disrupting the meeting so that nothing can be accomplished.
In the news we see articles like: Huffington Post:
Right Wing S**T Storm Tries to Stop Health Care Reform

Salon.com: Obama wants to kill your grandma

The list goes on and on.
So I am going tonight to see the circus that is the Amerikan political system in action. I hope to see just how crazy it can get. Because there’s a lot at stake here. If we’re not careful we could all lose our health care (that we only have if our employer chooses to help us pay for it) and it could all be given to illegal aliens, our loved ones could be forced on the next midnight train to Middle America where they will be euthanized with cattle prods and the Medicare budget will be diverted into mandatory abortions for all single women without a parent’s or the Pope’s consent. What the hell is going on here? All of this is true! Haven’t you been paying attention?
Nah, me neither.
Only in Amerika are we afraid of health care for all. Even the thought of giving everyone access to health care scares the bejezus out of me. I mean, really. What will come of this nation if everyone had access to the fundamental human right that is quality medical attention?
What next?
Giving citizens a license to drive a car on our streets?
Giving citizens the ability to go into business for themselves?
Allowing citizens to represent themselves in court?

If health care is granted to every citizen in this great nation then the rest of the world may look at this as a sign of weakness. The United States is a mighty and fearless enemy to anyone who may disagree with it. After all, if this country won’t even offer medical attention to its own citizens just imagine how easily it would be for it to bomb the hell out of you! Watch out, world.

04 August, 2009

Wanted: Good Auto Mechanic

Wanted: Good Auto Mechanic.

I hate auto repairs. That’s why I leave all of them till the last minute. Well, the last minute is nigh and I need some brake work done.
I’ve gotten two estimates; one from my Saturn dealership and another from Precision tune. I don’t want to go with either one.

First off, a dealership is usually the most expensive place to get auto work done. They were thorough in finding many things wrong with my car but only went halfway in fixing the problem that brought me to them in the first place.

Second, I went to Precision Tune for a “free brake check” and “$14.99 oil change” that they had on their road sign. Well, they checked my brakes and found half of what Saturn did and when they charged me $26 for the $14.99 oil change they stated on the itemized inspection sheet that they checked the gaskets. They dais they were fine. Apparently the pool of oil coming out of one of the spark plug covers does not tip them to the fact that I have a bad gasket. And for the half-ass brake check they did they still quoted me more then the dealership to fix half of the problem.

Argh! So now I’m on my third search for a decent brake job from someone who’s not going to jack me. I’m on my last leg as far as brakes go (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?). But I don’t want to pay more for maintenance than I did for the whole damn car.

Sure, I got a ’98 Saturn and it only cost me $2K but it’s the best money spent for a car. It’s usually trouble free and dependable as all get out. It’s not like I got a lemon, it’s brake work and that is always needed no matter what you drive.

So if anyone can recommend me a decent auto mechanic in the Baltimore area I’d go and check them out. Even better, if you have a brother-in-law who’s a mechanic and does bonus “family” work on the side I’d slide him some cash for some decent side work.

My Saturn that was totalled Jan. 03 Pictures, Images and Photos