Friday, May 12, 2006

universal healthcare

Oxford Health Plans just notified us that our health insurance premium is skyrocketing: from $7,900 per year (for two people) to $11,500 per year. That’s 46%. That’s basic, cover-our-butts coverage. A $5,000 deductible. No prescription plan. No vision. Dental? Hah.

Now, I know we eached bumped up one tier in the geezer chain (the five-year blocks). But 46%? I thought Oxford was now part of United Healthcare, giving it an even bigger pool. Doesn’t seem to matter. And I know about $100,000 was spent on Stanley last year for his heart surgery, but in Connecticut, utilization is not supposed to matter (and I just got the stuff Oxford says to get, like a physical and a mammagram—I sure didn’t cost Oxford anywhere near the premiums I paid!)

Which is why, after being inundated with commercials for it during Nightline, I finally went to and signed up.

When I think about how handy the extra $3,900 would have come in for expanding our business ... no, never mind, that’s too depressing. Maybe we should move to Massachusetts ...

posted by lee on 05/12/06 at 05:59 PM
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Monday, May 15, 2006

ned lamont - the video

Ned Lamont’s campaign just released a video, produced and directed by Robert Greenwald, the guy who made Outfoxed and other documentaries about Wal-Mart and the lies that led up to the Iraq invasion. You can watch the video here—it’s available in three different formats, so one of them at least should work on your system.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Ned Lamont and what he stands for, be patient—he finally shows up a little more than halfway through the video. And be sure to view it on a system where you can crank up your speakers as the volume is way too low for comfort on the web (in each of the formats). I had to listen to it on Stanley’s computer because he’s got a good sound system set up on his, where the harmon kardon speakers on my Toshiba laptop suck—and even on Stanley’s system, I had trouble hearing it (note to the Lamont media folks: some of us are hard of hearing. And we vote.)

I am a solid, active, supporter of Ned Lamont. I even changed my voter registration from unaffiliated to Democrat so I can vote for him in August (yes, I actually remembered to do this!) I’ve done some volunteer work for his campaign (such as putting together and hosting Connecticut Choice Voice), and with Stanley, getting the voter history records from Westport, and we will probably do even more as the need arises. His bumper sticker is on our car. So my “review” of the video is meant to be constructive.

My comments: The video takes way, way too long to introduce Ned. It’s way, way too negative. (As is most of the Lamont campaign literature I’ve seen.) Ned’s website is so much better as presenting him and his positions on the issues that the campaign would be better off just sending people to the home page than spending the money on slick mailings and videos that waste too much space Joe-bashing. What’s the closing shot on the video? A picture of Joe and Bushie. It’s clever and funny, but only to those already in the say-no-to-Joe camp. What it does is evoke sympathy for Liebermouth. Bash, bash, bash, and not nearly enough about Ned.

The montages are so choppy that I was never sure what issue was being discussed—why not a straightforward sequence of Issue, Liebermouth’s stand (non-solution), Ned’s solution. You know, problem-status quo-solution. Make it crystal clear why Ned is the better choice. Ned is charismatic, articulate, and easy on the ears (vs. Joe’s whine)—the video should start with Ned and end with Ned. The campaign literature should follow the same format: Ned has a better way. It’s all too much about Joe sucks and that gets old really fast (no matter how much Joe sucks)—I want to support a candidate, not vote against an incumbent. And I want the candidate I’m supporting to be better than the incumbent, not buried by the mud. A little Joe-bashing is fine, but not something to base an entire campaign on.

When watching the video, I wanted to know more about what Ned’s program is in the Bridgeport high school, and more about his views on paying for healthcare, and to know more about how he thinks we should get ourselves out of Iraq and what he thinks shoud be done about enery—I already know what Joe’s positions are. I’m just worried that the over-focus on Bad Joe will evoke more more people to vote for him out of sympathy than belief in him. I think Greenwald’s video should be remade into a video about Ned and the issues and presented without the cute intercutting that makes it confusing—the issues are certainly compelling enough. The campaign literature should be focused on Ned and his proposed solutions more than DINO Joe.

And that’s my two-cent’s worth. Stop feeding my depression about the way things are now—give me some hope.

posted by lee on 05/15/06 at 02:47 PM
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ned lamont - the commercials

Love these commercials—particularly “The Underdog.” Take a look:

A guy named Tim Tagaris is the ‘fficial Lamont for Senate blogger:
Note to Tim: if you’re going to link Flickr photos, don’t make the Flickr page private. Update: he fixed it!

And CT National Organization for Women is backing Lamont—wise choice!

Clinton announced she is endorsing Liebermouth. Of course she is: she’s another hawk. I think Stanley is beginning to see why I dislike her—she’s well on her way to becoming a full-fledged DINO herself. And here’s a puzzler: the Human Rights Campaign supports Joe—which is kind of stupid since Joe opposes marriage for same-sex couples. But maybe the HRC does too ... hmm, nope, they don’t. So why are they supporting Joe? Why are they taking sides at all in our Democratic primary? Must be a money thing.

I’ve got to stop getting so mad when is see stupid things like the two stupid things mentioned in the paragraph above. Makes my psoriasis flare.

So I’ll go watch the commercials again instead. Go Ned!

posted by lee on 05/17/06 at 05:40 PM
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holga shots

Twitch the cat lolling in the window, taken with the holga cheapola cameraI wanted a Holga camera—one of those cheapie, throwaway cameras from the USSR (ohmygod it’s ancient ... ), so I got one on eBay. My model is a Holga 120S. Sounds pretty fancy, but it’s not. Takes 120 film, which is not that hard to buy but is really hard to get developed, at least via mail order.

Anyway, I finally got two rolls developed. It takes great portraits, and interesting outside shots. I scanned some of the portrait shots: here is one of them; the others I scanned can be found in the gallery (click on the holga 120s category). I’ll scan the shots at the beach when the cat gets off the scanner.

The photo here is Twitch in his “Favorite Place #112” (click image to enlarge).

I have other rolls I still need to get developed (some from the Holga and some from a very old AGFA box camera. I just wish I could find a place to develop them where I didn’t have to buy the mailers at one place to send them off to another (A&I, which is in Hollywood). I should just call our local photo place and see if they do it—don’t know why I haven’t yet since I like other work they’ve done for me. It’s just so much easier leaving stuff for the mailperson to take.

posted by lee on 05/17/06 at 08:52 PM
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

ned lamont - a third commercial

Check out Tim’s post on the Lamont Campaign Blog for a third commercial:

I like this one too.

Maybe Bill Hillsman should do a campaign video to replace, or supplement, the Greenwald video.

posted by lee on 05/18/06 at 06:02 PM
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Friday, May 26, 2006

x-men 3 disappoints; da vinci code is fun

Stanley pretty much insists we go see every comic book movie made. Not all of them, but most of them. Usually, they bore me. But X-Men1 and X-Men 2 were movies that I liked a lot. There was a story, they were elegant, intelligent, and had quite a bit of humor in them, and were exciting.

This latest, X-Men 3, well, it was crass, stupid, humorless, and, well, boring. I was so disappointed. When some key characters died, I just didn’t care. There is no real storyline, just excuses for special effects. Enough loose ends left to make one suspect there will be another sequel, but I gotta tell you, if Brett Ratner directs again, I don’t give a damn. What a stupid mess he made. Don’t waste your money.

DA VINCI CODE, on the other hand ...
Which we saw last week, was a lot of fun. Preachy in parts, not perfect by any means, but fun and at times exciting even though I knew what was going to happen next. It was easy to suspend disbelief for 2.5 hours—would’ve liked to have seen even more. It was beautifully filmed. Now this movie was worth a Friday afternoon—I wouldn’t have minded paying evening prices for it.

posted by lee on 05/26/06 at 09:36 PM
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