5 Things the First Day of February 2014

1. We are leaving for Vermont in just a couple of days. My Weather.com app says that the high temperature will not rise above 30 while we are there. There is no prediction of snow at this time, though it is supposed to snow the day before we get there. So yesterday Julie and I went to look for some warm clothes on sale. Our biggest problem, we live in Spring, TX. Even if the clothes are warm for south Texas, I’m not sure how much good they will do us in Vermont. Thankfully I’m pretty warm blooded anyway, I don’t mind the cold, but my poor wife may freeze to death :)_

2. I read an article this week that said that we should never put two spaces after a period when we are typing.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html
This may be the hardest thing I have ever done. I learned to type on a manual typewriter when I was in ninth grade and we were taught to put two spaces after the period. Now I have learned that that is no longer correct, and probably wasn’t when I was taught. (My teacher probably just taught how she learned it and didn’t google the rule to find that it had evolved) So what do you do? I’m trying to change but this is hard. It is a natural, unthought move for me to hit the space bar twice at the end of a sentence.

3. I just finished reading Charles Krauthammer’s best seller, “Things that Matter,” and it was great. He is a terrific writer who uses language in a wonderful way to communicate. The book is a collection of his essays over the past 30 years not all of which are political. I think I enjoyed the ones about his brother or his family the most, though his political thoughts are challenging in their depth.  He closes the book with three essays on American power after the Cold War.  Each is written in a different time frame, the nineties, early 2000’s and 2009 and he gives a sound synopsis of the challenges facing us and the divergent philosophies that are put forth and implemented. If you are a political junkie you will love this book.  If you hate politics but like to read good essays, borrow the book and pick and choose some sections to read.  You will enjoy it. One more thing: as Krauthammer says early on, politics are necessary to allow us the freedom and space to pursue non-political ends.

4. Our oldest turned 22 this week. Wow! She graduates from UNT in a few months and then the next phase of life begins. I am in awe of the beautiful young woman she has become. College is often, as is true in her case, a time of great growth intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Holley has matured in multiple areas of life and it has been a joy to watch as a parent. It is often difficult to see how your child will become what you have wanted and worked for during the first 18 years of life. There are glimpses early on and you hope that those those moments become patterns.  We have seen those things in Holley. As hard as that has been at times and as radical as some of those changes have become, I also know that the next four to five years hold more growth, maturing and stretching. I look forward to all that God has in store for her as she continues to amaze us by the beauty of her life.

5. I’m picking the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Not because of intense scrutiny of the teams and a belief in the better systems and strategies of guys from Denver, but for two specific reasons. 1) Peyton Manning was my fantasy league quarterback who led my team to my third straight league championship (see how  worked that in there).  I owe him my support. 2) While Earl Thomas, a Longhorn, has become a perennial Pro Bowler playing for Seattle, there are two Longhorns playing for Denver, Quentin Jammer and Michael Huff.  It is worth noting that all of these are DB’s who played for Duane Akina.  I hope Charlie Strong didn’t mess up when he decided not to retain Akina as a coach.

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The Unaffordable Care Act

So last week I decided to go the healthcare.gov to see what it’s all about. On my first several attempts I was unable to get past the first screen because the site was overwhelmed, or under prepared. It was humorous to hear that the unavailability of the website shows how popular Obamacare is. It’s popular because everyone HAS to have it, not because everyone is choosing to have it.

After another week, I tried again and this time I was able to go through the steps to create my own account, which would then allow me to see what options I might have for coverage and what the costs would be. There are four to five screens of information required including three security questions I had to provide answers to in case I lose my password. I clicked on the button to create the account and watched the spinning circle for a few minutes before I was greeted with a “sorry, try again” message. So I clicked on try again and I was immediately taken back to the first screen to create my account. But now all the info I had just painstakingly provided was missing. I was supposed to do it all again with not assurance that I would get to where I wanted to be.

So today I tried it again, when through all the pages, answered all the questions and then I was greeted by this:
Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 2.47.49 PM

Apparently my desired username is taken, but they couldn’t tell me that when I created it and now I’m supposed to enter all the info AGAIN. There is no way a sane person would do business with this online entity unless they were being FORCED to do so.

This is a website that was supposed to cost $93 million and was reported to have cost as much as $634 million. Though now they have lowered that estimate to $500 million.

Forbes magazine gets it right when they say that the reason the site is so bad is because of politics.  That is, you cannot find out what your insurance rates are until you go through the account set up procedure.  Instead of being able to browse rates, like you can on einsurance.com, you have to set up your account first.  Then the government will be able to assess your qualification for a subsidy, thereby lowering the out of your pocket cost for insurance.  That makes it look like the insurance is less than it actually is as your neighbor helps pay for your insurance.  Of course, they can’t give you a good estimate of your eligibility because the president suspended the requirement for income verification, which was one of the reasons to use the IRS to vett insurance payments.

And then I thought about this as I was reading in the Houston Chronicle about new voter id laws going into effect here in Texas.  How can there be wails and moans about how the poor are being disenfranchised by the requirement to visit a DPS office to get a government id to be able to vote, and yet these same poor are required to have insurance through Obamacare that is only accessible through the internet?  Isn’t this more of a burden on them to have to go through the travails of accessing a site over and over and over again so that they can avoid paying a fine if they don’t have insurance.  I believe the poor and elderly are being disenfranchised by the Administration that wants to force them to purchase something through a means they should not be expected to have.  We may have to provide them all with smartphones and internet connections.  Oh wait, I forgot, Obama has already given them smartphones.

So I’m with Ted Cruz.  This is a disaster and it will only get worse.  We need to repeal Obamacare.  It is a weed in our nation that will continue to grow and take over the yard if we allow it to gain any ground.  Obamacare needs a good treatment of Round Up.