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This certainly makes a certain Christmas carol even better!

Our new look

Our new site design will go live overnight, so please be patient as we work out any glitches. I hope you like it! Remember, if you want to keep a copy of the girls with guns header, save it now.

Also, please bookmark any of the blogs you follow from the Banter Media blogroll. They won’t be here anymore.

It’s Christmas so everything’s OK

AP Ticker and our own Brendan:

Sky changes

Uranus went direct in Pisces this morning and we have a lunar eclipse tomorrow. Oy. Expect endings, some explosive.

When one person hurts, we all hurt

Maybe I’m not as nice as I used to be. Because when I read this, I’m not so happy:

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.”

As you already know, I frequently criticize President Obama’s policies. And the mere fact that I will get to make use of the Affordable Health Care Act’s preexisting condition plan to get the surgery I desperately need doesn’t do a damned thing to help all the other people who aren’t eligible, or who can’t afford it. (I couldn’t afford it if not for a tiny nest egg left to me by my mother – one I was counting on for car repairs.)

Spike Dolomite Ward sounds like a nice middle-class lady — one who can afford to make a small monthly payment, even if it’s a stretch. I, on the other hand, know far too many people my age who are now members of the long-term unemployed, people hanging by a thread. For various reasons, they’re not eligible for programs like Medicaid – but there’s no way in hell they can afford a monthly premium.

Good for Ms. Ward that she can afford it. But her story annoyed me because it sounds like her disillusion with Obama’s policies (and her subsequent reconversion experience after she got finally the help she needed) was rooted only in her own middle class experience. That bugs me.

Don’t get me wrong: The preexisting condition option is an absolute lifesaver for those who can afford it. It’s subsidized by the federal government to keep premiums low (mine will run slightly under $300 a month, as opposed to the $600+ a month I paid into COBRA while I was still on unemployment). The original version required you to prove you’d been turned down by an insurer, or to show documentation that the premium was so high, you couldn’t afford it. When the enrollment numbers turned out to be rather low, they loosened those strict requirements. (In Pennsylvania, I only had to list which pre-existing conditions I had.)

The numbers are still low, and the original reason I wanted to write about this was to urge readers to look into their own state’s program. (Some are run by the state, others by the feds. Ask Mr. Google how to apply where you live.)

As some of you know, I’ve been suffering with gall bladder disease since July, and last month was also diagnosed with a nasty case of diverticulitis. The latter was treated with major-league antibiotics and a liquid diet; the former hasn’t been treated because, well, I don’t have insurance.

It hasn’t been fun, these late-night cab rides to the ER. (911 takes me to the local Medicaid mill, which misdiagnosed me the first time around. I’m not going back for more.) Rolling around on the floor for hours because you’re in excruciating pain is never fun; knowing a simple outpatient surgery could fix the whole thing is just plain infuriating.
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My new hero

Of course, she was escorted from the hall and her credentials were revoked. Thank you, Abigail, for speaking out for the rest of us. From Think Progress:

The delegates assembled in Durban, South Africa to tackle the civilizational challenge of manmade climate destruction burst into sustained applause on Thursday when a young American interrupted the proceedings to speak on behalf of the United States people. Abigail Borah, a 21-year-old student from Middlebury College and member of the youth climate delegation, spoke out in the plenary hall as US climate envoy Todd Stern prepared to address the assembled environmental ministers.

I am scared for my future,” she said, because of the “obstructionist Congress” and the “empty rhetoric” of President Obama:

I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot. The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for far too long. I am scared for my future. 2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty. We need leaders who will commit to real change, not empty rhetoric. Keep your promises. Keep our hope alive.

The entire U.S. youth delegation agreed with her.

New rules

Don’t castrate lambs with your teeth!

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

They’re just that predictable — and evil:

GOP leaders hope to build momentum for an end-of-year tax package with sweeping reforms to federal unemployment benefits.

The Republican proposal is expected to reduce the total number of weeks unemployed workers are eligible for aid by as much as 40 weeks and tighten rules for eligibility.

Such a reduction would significantly reduce the cost of extending federal unemployment benefits, making it easier to secure GOP support for a measure that will also include an extension of a payroll tax cut many conservative Republicans dislike.

Christmastime is here again

The boys:

Everywhere is Christmas

The Beatles:

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