Daily Archives: December 6, 2011

ObamaCare or Obama Cares…

Maybe it is time to look at what President Obama has really done, rather than listen to Republicans funded by the pharmaceutical and major medical industries as they campaign to get rid of his health care plan.

I read this in the afternoon while watching Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, KS:

Spike Dolomite Ward

Spike Dolomite Ward tells her story in an LA Times op-ed.

I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.

I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. We’re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids’ schools and church.

We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.

To understand how such a thing could happen to a family like ours, I need to take you back nine years to when my husband got laid off from the entertainment company where he’d worked for 10 years. Until then, we had been insured through his work, with a first-rate plan. After he got laid off, we got to keep that health insurance for 18 months through COBRA, by paying $1,300 a month, which was a huge burden on an unemployed father and his family.

By the time the COBRA ran out, my husband had decided to go into business for himself, so we had to purchase our own insurance. That was fine for a while. Every year his business grew. But insurance premiums were steadily rising too. More than once, we switched carriers for a lower rate, only to have them raise rates significantly after a few months.

With the recession, both of our businesses took a huge hit — my husband’s income was cut in half, and the foundations that had supported my small nonprofit were going through their own tough times. We had to start using a home equity line of credit to pay for our health insurance premiums (which by that point cost as much as our monthly mortgage). When the bank capped our home equity line, we were forced to cash in my husband’s IRA. The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost.

Not having insurance amplifies cancer stress. After the diagnosis, instead of focusing all of my energy on getting well, I was panicked about how we were going to pay for everything. I felt guilty and embarrassed about not being insured. When I went to the diagnostic center to pick up my first reports, I was sent to the financial department, where a woman sat me down to talk about resources for “cash patients” (a polite way of saying “uninsured”).

“I’m not a deadbeat,” I blurted out. “I’m a good person. I have two kids and a house!” The clerk was sympathetic, telling me how even though she worked in the healthcare field, she could barely afford insurance herself.

Although there have been a few people who judged us harshly, most people have been understanding about how this could happen to us. That’s given me the courage to “out” myself and my family in hopes that it will educate people who are still lucky enough to have health insurance and view people like my family as irresponsible. We’re not. What I want people to understand is that, if this could happen to us, it could happen to anybody.

If you are fortunate enough to still be employed and have insurance through your employers, you may feel insulated from the sufferings of people like me right now. But things can change abruptly. If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”

(thanks to http://mariopiperni.com for printing this.)

So what do you think… are you buying the Republican
rhetoric or do you agree with Spike Ward. Your call.

Why I love Zappadan this year…

1. It keeps me from focusing entirely on the worst political situation this country has EVER been in, with parties that are concerned with themselves and ultimate power (and the acquisition of MONEY from the poor and middle class.)

2. I can spend a couple of weeks not expressing my fear of Monsanto’s RoundUp destroying our agricultural output with no counter measures by the Feds that we support and who are supposed to protect us.

3. I can reconnect with friends, associates and bloggers (and lots of new visitors) out there who felt the same about Zappa and add their comments (a big thanks to Dave Turecamo whose comment on one of the last posts gave us a new Zappa remembrance.) Thanks, friends… keep participating!

4. The music is great to listen to. Somehow the current run of popular, jazz, and classical music can’t hold a candle to it (except maybe for Dweezil)… and the great recordings of the Master’s incredible guitar playing has no current equivalent (which I’ll present at the end of this note.)

I hope you’re all having a great Zappadan, too.

Here’s Frank and orchestra doing The Black Page in Barcelona in 1988:

A Zappa Discography

I ran this last year during Zappadan and thought folks who didn’t get a copy of it then might want it now. – Bill


Freak Out! (July 1966)
Absolutely Free (April 1967)
Lumpy Gravy (December 1967)
We’re Only In It For The Money (February 1968)

Zappa by Jeff Wong

Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (November 1968)
Uncle Meat (March 1969)
Mothermania (April 1969)
Hot Rats (15 October 1969)
Burnt Weeny Sandwich (December 1969)
Weasels Ripped My Flesh (August 1970)
Chunga’s Revenge (23 October 1970)
Fillmore East – June 1971 (August 1971)
200 Motels (October 1971)
Just Another Band From L.A. (March 1972)
Waka/Jawaka (5 July 1972)
The Grand Wazoo (November 1972)
Over-Nite Sensation (7 September 1973)
Apostrophe(‘) (22 March 1974)
Roxy & Elsewhere (10 September 1974)
One Size Fits All (25 June 1975)
Bongo Fury (2 October 1975)
Zoot Allures (29 October 1976)
Zappa In New York (13 March 1978)
Studio Tan (15 September 1978)
Sleep Dirt (12 January 1979)
Sheik Yerbouti (March 3, 1979)
Orchestral Favorites (4 May 1979)
Joe’s Garage (19 November 1979)
Tinseltown Rebellion (11 May 1981)
Shut Up ‘N’ Play Yer Guitar (11 May 1981)
You Are What You Is (September 1981)
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (May 1982)
The Man From Utopia (March 1983)
Baby Snakes (March 1983)
London Symphony Orchestra vol 1 (9 June 1983)
The Perfect Stranger (23 August 1984)
Them Or Us (18 October 1984)
Thing-Fish (21 November 1984)
Francesco Zappa (21 November 1984)
FZ Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (21 November 1985)
Does Humor Belong In Music? (27 January 1986)
Jazz From Hell (15 November 1986)
London Symphony Orchestra vol 2 (17 September 1987)
Guitar (April 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 1 (May 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 2 (September 1988)
Broadway The Hard Way (November 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 3 (October 1989)
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life (April 1991)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 4 (June 1991)
Make A Jazz Noise Here (June 1991)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 5 (July 1992)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 6 (July 1992)
Playground Psychotics (27 October 1992)
Ahead Of Their Time (April 1993)
The Yellow Shark (December 1993)
Civilization, Phaze III (December 1994)
Strictly Commercial (August 1995)
The Lost Episodes (February 1996)
Läther (September 1996)

7 bootleg albums rereleased officially with Zappa’s permission.
•    Electric Aunt Jemima (live ??/??/68)
•    Our Man In Nirvana (live 8/11/68)
•    Tengo Na Minchia Tanta (live ??/??/70)
•    Disconnected Synapses (live ??/??/70)
•    Swiss Cheese/Fire (2 LP; 2 CD) (live 4/12/71)
•    Conceptual Continuity (live 19/11/76)
•    At The Circus (live 9/78)

•    Announcing To All Disc Jockeys The All New Dynamic Duo (1 disc)
•    Frankie Boy (1)
•    Frank In Frankfurt (1)
•    Frank Zappa (1)
•    The History and Collected Improvisations of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
•    – 10 record set plus 30 page booklet featuring the records: Ultra Modern Stringbean,
•    Nifty, Ein Monster In Der Musikhalle, If You Get A Headache, Frank Zappa Vs. The
•    Tooth Fairy, A Token Of My Extreme, I Was A Teenage Maltshop, Petrouska, Zurkon
•    Music, Back On The Straight And Narrow
•    Indiscreet Picture Show (1)
•    Lectures (1) – soundchecks and alternate studio takes from 1979-1981 (?)
•    The Lone Ranger (2) – from the Lather set
•    Nice Concert Nice People
•    Pa’s Nose Fell Off at Breakfast. It Fell Right Into Ma’s Coffee and Displaced It (1) –
•    studio outtakes
•    Previously Unreleased (3)
•    Please Give Me A Home (1)
•    Realistic Dream (2)
•    Remington Electric Razor (1)
•    The Teenage Rockin’ Combo Concert (1) – Paris
•    The Teenage Rockin’ Combo Concert Vol. 2 (1) – Paris
•    Trick Or Treat
•    Twenty Years of Frank Zappa – 12 records + 16 page booklet: various from entire career
•    We Are The Mothers and This Is What We Sound Like (1)

And today’s selection:

I’m the Slime“… performed on Saturday Night Live with a guest vocal by Don Pardo.