"...The hospitals I visited all told me they devoted enormous resources – as much as half of all administrative staff, in one case – to chasing claims. Patient care in American is in this way consistently reduced to a ludicrous and irrational negotiation of two competing professional disciplines: medicine, and extracting money from insurance companies.
Patients get trapped between hospitals that overcharge for simple procedures and insurers who deny coverage for serious ones. Administrative costs and profit are two of the bigger factors explaining why Americans spend about twice as much per person or more on health care compared with other industrialized countries, but get consistently worse results.
Ideas like a single-payer system, or ending the antitrust exemption for insurance companies, would be obvious fixes. But when they came up during the Obamacare debate, they were dismissed as politically unfeasible and/or too costly. Because the United States will not do what other countries do as a matter of course – declare health care to be a universal human right and work backward from that premise – we are continually stuck with patchwork political solutions that protect insurance and pharmaceutical company profits while leaving masses of people uninsured.
...Health care is absolute human right. On a policy level we already recognized this decades ago, during the height of the Reagan era, when the Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act made it illegal for public and private hospitals alike to turn patients away in an emergency. There is simply no moral justification for denying aid to a sick or dying person. Any country that does so systematically is not a country at all.
Let's hope the awful Trump era awakens us to the broader issue. The sad thing is that doing the right thing is also the smart thing. As other countries have already discovered, universal coverage systems that put the right incentives back into health care greatly reduce costs and waste. Getting there isn't "unrealistic." It's necessary, morally and otherwise."
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live, as Joan Didion said. We do this as a nation, as individuals, as families — even when that construct is demonstrably false. For the United States, the biggest institutional lie of the moment is that we have a government of the people, responding to majority will.
On almost every single concern, Congress — whether it’s the misnamed People’s House, or the Senate, laughably mischaracterized as the world’s greatest deliberative body — is going against what most of the country wants. And Congress is doing this because there will be no consequences.
We have a fake democracy, growing less responsive and less representative by the day.
The biggest example of this is the monstrosity of a health care bill, which a cartel of Republicans finally allowed us to peek at on Thursday. The lobbyists have seen it; of course. But for the rest us, our first look at a radical overhaul of one-sixth of the economy, something that touches every American, comes too late to make our voices heard.
...The symptoms of democratic collapse — from the opioid crises of people who long ago checked out of active citizenship to the stagnation of class mobility — cry for immediate action.
It takes the median worker twice as many hours a month to pay rent in a big city today than it did in the early years of the baby boomer era, as Edward Luce notes in his new book, “The Retreat of Western Liberalism.” Add towering increases in health care and college costs to that and you’ve got an unclimbable wall between low-income limbo and a chance at the middle class. The United States, once known for our American Dream, now has the lowest class mobility of any Western democracy, according to Luce.
What is Congress doing? Nothing on wages. Nothing on college tuition. And the health care bill will most surely force many people to choose between buying groceries and being able to visit a doctor.
...Trump is president, of course, despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million people. Almost 60 percent of the public is against him now. In a parliamentary system, he’d be thrown out in a no-confidence vote. In our system, he’s primed to change life for every citizen, against the wishes of a majority of Americans. Try calling that a democracy while keeping a straight face."
1/we belong/pat benatar
3/sweet dreams (are made of this)/eurythmics
4/i can only stare/sleigh bells
5/heavy metal lover/lady gaga
6/cockiness (i love it)/rihanna
7/haven't you heard/patrice rushen
8/i feel love/donna summer
9/d2b (dick 2 bomb)/problem, bad lucc, & the homegirl
10/quit/cashmere cat & ariana grande
11/you're the one (pts. 1 & 2)/little sister
12/lose your love/joe goddard
NOISEY: In the “From Dog to God” video, you’re putting on lipstick. That seems like a pretty ballsy move for a known gang member. Has there been any backlash?
SEYER: Many gang members have accepted me, and they fight for me because they know a lot of people talk shit about me, calling me this and that. These hardcore machismo dudes see me put my finger in my mouth, and they think I’m gay, but listen: I’ve dated a lot of makeup artists. You put your finger in your mouth so you don’t get lipstick on your teeth. What these dudes don’t understand is that I’ve been with some of the hottest women in San Diego—I’ve been with supermodels. These guys who are calling me names have never even been with the type of women I’ve been with. But that’s just my ego and my pride talking. Let’s get down to business: The reality is that I don’t give a fuck.
NOISEY: Why not?
SEYER: I do what I want. That’s my power and my strength. If people think I’m gay because I wear makeup, they don’t understand me. I’m the one who wanted to be filmed putting on makeup, because that’s me putting on my war paint. It’s a ritual—it’s me invoking [Christian Death vocalist] Rozz Williams and that kind of energy. That’s me getting ready go do business and fuck shit up onstage. But I also want to fuck with people, too. I want people to question their own machismo, their own sexuality. I don’t have no problem with people who are gay. People inspire me. And I want to inspire others to be who the fuck they wanna be. Don’t let people saying you’re this or that keep you from doing what you wanna do with yourself. And sometimes the only way to do that is by doing things that others fear.
I’m a cholo goth—I’m the first of my kind, so I gotta represent hella hard for those who are coming up and wanna be part of this new culture. We live in different times now. Everything’s a hybrid. I’m a fuckin’ hybrid. Mexicans are hybrids—we’re crossed with indigenous blood and Spanish blood. It’s the same thing with the music I’m creating. So for me, I gotta go hard. When I put on makeup, it’s my badge of honor. Because other people can’t do it.
RS: Hypothetically, if it were you, who would be your ideal customer and how would you try to sell to them?
HR: Someone like my dad. I'm sure he thinks if you inhaled cannabis you would turn gay and the empire would crumble. I have no idea where he lives or how he's living, but what if he had arthritis? And cannabis could help reduce swelling and pain. Maybe it helps it helps him sleep, maybe it helps him with his appetite. What I'm basically detailing is many of the upsides of the medical application of cannabis. What if the outreach was so science-y and so positive and so informational, breaking away from the stereotypes of Cheech and Chong and a couch potato ordering pizza? What if you reached out to your community in such a way that even my dad, who wouldn't be caught dead using cannabis, would think, "You know what, they roll it out so sensible. Damn it, man, my hands hurt on cold days. Maybe I should give it a shot." So my outreach would be demystifying it, on the de-stigmatizing of it. I see that as the future. PTSD, all kinds of aches and pains people go through as they get older. I'm only 56 and, man, I snap, crackle and pop. I threw my body around a lot. And I'm in pain all the time. Something's always hurting.
RS: What about other kinds of drugs, like alcohol? You've called out people who drink but don't support cannabis legalization.
HR: I can't stand alcohol and I can't stand drugs. I just run away. In my line of work I meet a lot of drunks and they're so unpleasant, more often than not. They're just ugh, they're drunk. "You wanna be a man? Get a drink!" Okay. What? And there's something wrong with marijuana? "It's a gateway drug." To what? [Laughs] To alcohol? I mean, everything in this country's a gateway drug, so don't tell me that marijuana's bad when you're throwing alcohol at my head in every ad everywhere. You look at the ads: as soon as the rum bottle opens, it's women in bikinis and good times? It's a depressant, so don't tell me it's good times. Everyone's fighting and vomiting. And they need Uber to take them home 'cause they can't drive a car. I don't want to outlaw it, I just want no part in it. And to people who say, "Why don't you get your stimulation like a real American, with alcohol?" And marijuana's bad? Do you see any inconsistency or hypocrisy there? I sure do. Stop being such a hypocrite and overcome your bigotry.
"Fans of old TV series may remember a classic “Twilight Zone” episode titled “It’s a Good Life.” It featured a small town terrorized by a 6-year-old who for some reason had monstrous superpowers, coupled with complete emotional immaturity. Everyone lived in constant fear, made worse by the need to pretend that everything was fine. After all, any hint of discontent could bring terrible retribution.
And now you know what it must be like working in the Trump administration. Actually, it feels a bit like that just living in Trump’s America.
...Unfortunately, we know the answer. Every report from inside the White House conveys the impression that Trump is like a temperamental child, bored by details and easily frustrated when things don’t go his way; being an effective staffer seems to involve finding ways to make him feel good and take his mind off news that he feels makes him look bad.
...Right now, by all accounts, the child-man in chief is in a snit over the prospect of news stories that review his first 100 days and conclude that he hasn’t achieved much if anything (because he hasn’t). So last week he announced the imminent release of something he could call a tax plan.
According to The Times, this left Treasury staff — who were nowhere near having a plan ready to go — “speechless.” But nobody dared tell him it couldn’t be done. Instead, they released … something, with nobody sure what it means.
...I’d like to make a plea to my colleagues in the news media: Don’t pretend that this is normal. Let’s not act as if that thing released on Wednesday, whatever it was, was something like, say, the 2001 Bush tax cut; I strongly disapproved of that cut, but at least it was comprehensible. Let’s not pretend that we’re having a real discussion of, say, the growth effects of changes in business tax rates.
No, what we’re looking at here isn’t policy; it’s pieces of paper whose goal is to soothe the big man’s temper tantrums. Unfortunately, we may all pay the price of his therapy."
"...But when they continue to question her gender identity — and are skeptical of her response — the message they send is that a girl cannot look and act like her and still be a girl.
She is not gender nonconforming. She is gender role nonconforming. She does not fit into the mold that we adults — who have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles ourselves, as women work outside the home and men participate in the domestic sphere — still impose upon our children.
Left alone, would boys really never wear pink? (That’s rhetorical — pink was for decades considered a masculine color.) Would girls naturally reject Matchbox cars? Of course not, but if they show preferences for these things, we label them. Somehow, as we have broadened our awareness of and support for gender nonconformity, we’ve narrowed what we think a boy or a girl can look like and do.
Let’s be clear: If my daughter does begin to feel that the gender in her mind and the sex of her body don’t match, I will be supportive. I will research puberty blockers and hormones (more than I already have). I will listen to her and make decisions accordingly, just as I did when she turned 3 and asked for a tie and a button-down shirt. Then she saw her father wear a blazer (for once). Her eyes rounded and she said, “What is that?” as if she were seeing a double rainbow spread across the sky.
I want trans kids to feel free and safe enough to be who they are. I also want adults to have a fluid enough idea of gender roles that a 7-year-old girl can dress like “a boy” and not be asked — by people who know her, not strangers — whether she is one.
...The kids get it. But the grown-ups do not. While celebrating the diversity of sexual and gender identities, we also need to celebrate tomboys and other girls who fall outside the narrow confines of gender roles. Don’t tell them that they’re not girls.
My daughter is happy with her body and comfortable with the way she looks, thousands of times happier and more comfortable than I am or ever have been. She is my hero. Or rather, my heroine."