A Date To Remember

By Jamie, Trail Mix Contributor

Challenger Disaster

30 years ago today I was standing in the media room at the US Chamber of Commerce.  We were there to watch the Challenger blast off as Christa McCauliffe had been booked to speak as one of her first engagements following her “Teacher In Space” flight.  We all gasped horrified and silent, some crying through the constant replays of the explosion

Within just a few minutes I heard the way that Americans tend to handle such tragedies as the man who had booked her appearance uttered, “She could have just said no.”  From that point on the jokes descended into the black humor hole that seems to result following such events.  For some reason, as a culture we do this following a major blow just to get to “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over Again.”  It doesn’t mean we care less; only that we won’t be stopped by the dangers that exist in all human activities.  Unfortunately, it also seems to be a quality we are losing.

Modern media for the sake of ratings and politicians for the sake of votes have climbed on the “be afraid, be very afraid” bandwagon.  Whether it is Ebola, Illegal aliens or marauding Muslims they seem to bounce from scare to scare in a permanent state of hysteria that then gets echoed all over every communication platform. Constant fear has the capacity to destroy freedom and when faith in freedom of action disappears, so does democracy.

When it comes to the ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, I for one plan to whistle in the dark, tell another really bad joke, and just say no.

A Lot of People Like Snow

By Blue Bronc, Trail Mix Contributor

“I Find It To Be An Unnecessary Freezing of Water.” — Carl Reiner

As one who is sitting in the dead center of the bulls eye of the Jonas Blizzard, I do agree with Carl Reiner. I have lived through many of the things in Colorado which gave me many important lessons. I learned early to not waste time with bread or yams, go to the liquor store and buy good stuff, for you will enjoy being a little off for thirty-six hours. You may not have electric power to even see the bread or cook the yams.

You cannot use ice or snow in a sandwich, but you can use it to cool beer or add to a touch of distilled grain. Wine. No need for a cellar, hang a bottle out the window for a few minutes. Tired of your neighbors raiding your best booze? Tell them you need them to go to the store for a bottle of orange bitters (Obviously something they would not have in their crappy little bar).

All blizzard, all day and all night. The weather prognosticators are really giddy. Many are not sleeping, for once in their lives, all the forecasts were correct. No “sort of right”. No “ the timing was wrong”. Hurricanes are notorious for being fickle on hitting anything. Northeaster’s are just as bad as their cousins the hurricanes. Daily weather? Ha. The reason weather personalities are so nice is they are the only group who have to be on air with a miserable accuracy of forecasts. You do not want to dislike them because they are so nice.

What I am enjoying more than anything. Really more than anything, including a good Manhattan. No all Trump, all the time, promotions by the talking heads. And, now no G%#^mned Palin (use your imagination about what the Palin mouth churns out) Trump every five minutes. The monotonous display of snow and reporters in snow is a pleasure compared to the insult of the media and Trump-Palin. I am waiting for the blowhard to announce the brainless wonder of Alaska is his choice of VP.

Snow. As much as I do not like it anymore. It is giving me a rare pleasure and peace which will be rare until November.

Distancing Rural Health Care

A growing problem in rural America is the growing distances its citizens must travel for health care, thanks to years of hospital and clinic closures as large companies buy and consolidate facilities in rural areas. But also because insurance companies don’t include nearby facilities in their networks. And federal regulators are institutionalizing this trend.

Carol Miller, a community organizer in New Mexico, comprehensively writes about this issue in The Daily Yonder, focusing on the chart below showing how federal regulators propose to allow insurers to discriminate against rural populations and still participate in the markets set up by the Affordable Care Act.

One of the worst things about this table is that it exists and is in the public realm. I am extremely concerned that it might dangerously take on a life of its own. Remember, that just as the Health Professions Shortage Area designation was originally created for use by a single program, there are now are more than 20 programs using it. The standards proposed in this table need to go away and never be used by any program. The goal needs to be access to care for people living in rural and CEAC communities [counties with a population density of less than 10 per square mile], not distances and travel times that will guarantee not only worse access, but also worse health.

ruralInsurance
source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dept. of Health and Human Services

Electability

Who beats Trump? A practiced politician who has never shied away from Wall Street money, who entertains every whim of defense contractors — or a truthteller who will take a wire brush to the moneyed interests who care nothing about working people? Just like Bill destroying lives by reapeling Glass-Steagal. Talk left to your droolers, walk right to your donors.