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I Hate Linux

Monday, August 31, 2009

Jay Inslee Town Halls

As mentioned yesterday, I had the 'pleasure' of attending both of Jay Inslee's town halls this weekend, the first in Poulsbo and the second in Edmonds.

While the first I was surrounded entirely by supporters of the bill (a couple of whom refused to listen to anyone who had anything unkind to say about such a program, despite they being the ones who engaged me), I did find a couple of others who were willing to talk and listen... even one gentlemen who commented:

It's a shame that those who are so against the bill don't say anything about an alternative

I agreed, but added:

I can tell you how to fix the bulk of the problem in 5 minutes, problem is most of the slogans based on it don't generally fit well on a sign. If I hold a sign that says "Support inter-state commerce" or "make all healthcare tax free"... it's neither catchy nor understandable without a minute or two of explanation.

He was intrigued and asked me to explain... so I did. I talked to him about the need to make all health care (both insurance and out of pocket expenses) tax deductable or none at all and how that gives employers and Flex spending accounts an unfair advantage... as well as the competitive advantages of opening up the health insurance market to allow plans to be purchased from out of state.

#2 though was a far better experience (despite getting through fewer questions and seeming to have a more hostile crowed towards liberty) where not moments after finding my seat in the bleachers of the gym and getting off the phone with tdaxp after describing some of the interesting attempts at 'grass-rooting' from the other side that I saw walking in to the town hall I had a woman a few rows below me turn and ask:

"Who are you with?"
"No one, it's just me" I responded.
"I mean, you've got a lot of equipment there, are you a reporter? Or blogger?" noting my netbook, digital camera and itty bitty flash camcorder.
I laughed and said "While I do blog from time to time, occasionally politically... I'm just here as another angry constituent."

Since moving out here probably the most important thing I've learned... is it's best to be reserved with regards to ones political views until you know how the other side stands... because if you aren't careful you may just find yourself talking to a rabid communist, socialist or statist... of which the Seattle area has many.

We started chatting from afar... and I ended up moving down to chat more face to face, eventually I learned that she was a recently laid of nurse who was a conservative and opposed the current bill... so 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

A short time later later a couple of elderly people who turned out to be conservative came and sat down next to her, of course we didn't know it at first and expressed curiosity in their sign... and approved.

As the gym continued to fill another elderly couple came and sat down next to me to the left, we briefly got a chatting about the weather and other such trivialities when they looked closer at the signs in front of us (anti-bill) and didn't feel comfortable remaining... so moved elsewhere.

Shortly later another elderly couple sat in the same place and those in front of me and I laughed and said "you know, the people who sat there last weren't too happy with some of these signs... you may want to take a quick look to see if you want to sit near us."

They looked, they laughed, agreed with them and stayed.

To the right of me eventually found another semi-elderly couple, a woman and her husband who turned out to be a mixed marriage, she a democrat (of the Regan sort), and he a staunch conservative... though both were against the bill... and she even mentioned that she voted for McCain back in November.

Eventually three more anti-bill people found their way to the row behind me, a mother and her adult son (~20) and another man.

It was strange... while a few were well dressed and my looking like a crazy hippy who would be expected to support the bill(something mentioned to me several times over the weekend)... no one had any swastikas, assault rifles, Astroturph or pay stubs from the lobbyists funding us to be there... and yet we all managed to find each other (thankfully).

Because of that... the strength in numbers and reminder that we are not alone in this fight (even if just a sub section) gave us a better voice when the congressmen would pat himself on the back while delaying his answer to a question... or worse filibuster for 5 minutes to a simple question that was limited to 60 seconds.

Another neat thing about finding some like minded people, was that it gave me the opportunity to get up and run around the gym for a few minutes taking some additional pictures while having them momentarily watch my stuff.

Why couldn't I trust some bill supporters to do the same? Call me crazy, but if you are so hell bent on raising my taxes to pay for things like universal healthcare, cash for clunkers, the stimulus bill (and all of it's pork), nationalizing banks and auto companies or other complete wastes of money... I just can't trust you with my physical property either unless I'm fairly sure that you aren't going to try to redistribute it.

A number of photos I took from Sunday's event can be seen here.



  • Brendan,

    Here’s some constructive criticism for you. First, know that I think you are doing a great job with these posts and fully support you. This comment is intended to encourage you.

    The criticisms:

    1) Your grammar and prose are terrible.
    2) You do not “know” your readers and assume they have the same perspective and knowledge as you do.
    3) Your passion sometimes makes you seem ultra-extreme; but I believe you are actually more rational and intelligent.

    An example from this post:

    “While the first I was surrounded entirely by supporters of the bill (a couple of whom refused to listen to anyone who had anything unkind to say about such a program, despite they being the ones who engaged me), I did find a couple of others who were willing to talk and listen... even one gentlemen who commented:”

    This would be far more effective if written as follows:

    “While AT the first I was surrounded entirely by supporters of the bill (a couple of whom refused to listen to anyone who had anything unkind to say about such a program, despite they being the ones who engaged me). (PERIOD) I did find a couple of others who were willing to talk and listen... even one gentlemen who commented:”

    Some simple adjustments that would get your points across more clearly and make your posts easier to read.

    My second piece of feedback is about context: You assume your readers have WAY more context than I think they do. Using the this post as an example: I had to wade through the entire post to understand what Jay Inslee’s intended goal was. If you had just stated that up front it would have guided me better.

    Lastly, you are clearly passionate about this. But be careful not to let that passion translate into overly extreme pontifications. Else you will simply be labeled as an ultra-conservative-extreme-whacko versus a highly intelligent, well read, considerate professional that you are.

    I suggest you do a combination of things to make your messages be “heard” by a broader audience:

    1) Find someone to proof read your posts. Preferably someone who can focus on both your grammar and articulation.

    2) Consider that many of your (intended) readers are NOT as well versed or though-out as you are in the material you are writing about. They are reading you to LEARN, not to be swayed. To meet the needs of this audience put yourself in THEIR shoes and consider, as you write, that they may not remember

    3) Tone down your own rhetoric and focus on the data and facts as much as possible. Be clear when you are being sarcastic, pejorative, and using hyperbole and when you are not.

    Lastly, remember that “Brevity is the soul of wit”.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 PM  

  • Neither inter-state commerce or making health care tax-free will make a lick of difference to a huge population (including myself) who have actual medical conditions that need treatment and are inconsistent as to whether it will be a good year or a bad year for health.

    Example, as a household we make roughly 40k a year working for an employer who does not provide health care. My health care has gone up 20% per year for the last 3 years, to the point where covering my family costs me about 1/4 of our household income.

    In case you aren't aware of how much private plans cost, the plan for myself, my wife, and my 3 year old son runs around 10k per year (a fairly standard plan that you would normally pay maybe $100/month through your employer for at a decent sized company). And on top of that 10k per year, there is generally another $2,500 or so from deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

    To address your point, I am failing to understand how inter-state commerce will make a difference, when the insurance company's stated reason for raising premiums 20% per year is due to "rising cost of health care". This is something that's being done across the board by EVERY insurance company in every state. All inter-state commerce would accomplish would be more mergers, fewer total companies, less competition... not that there is really any competition as it is currently. There is currently as much competition in health care as there is in gas stations. Some will be slightly lower or higher than others, but generally they all run you the same price.

    As for making all health care tax-free, I'm not 100% clear on which taxes you are talking about, so I can't really address it. I would suggest that if you're going to put forth your one-liners, at least include a link to what you're talking about if you're not going to explain it.

    I'd like to see a valid plan from conservatives put forth that would do better than offering medicare (paid for by the individual) to those who do not receive employer provided healthcare. It's something that wouldn't force anyone to pay their tax dollars into it if they don't want to, and would solve the problem for a huge number of people who fit in the hole between the poverty line (covered by state/federal) and making enough to cover basic needs (rent, vehicle, fuel, electricity, misc utilities, phone, etc).

    Think about this... If I were to factor my current health insurance premium into what I pay in federal taxes, it ends up being between 40 and 50 percent of our household income.

    It's already proven by the numbers that medicare has massively lower administrative overhead costs than private insurance companies (~5% compared with 25% to 40%).

    Insurance companies don't dispute these numbers, instead they say a public option will create unfair competition, which is code for "we don't want our CEO's to take a pay cut". Fact is, the USA pays around 25% more in administrative costs than other industrialized nations.

    So why not give the option of medicare (paid by the individual) to those who literally cannot live with a quarter of their income going to health care premiums?

    BTW, keep going with that DHCP server. Looking good. I'm in the process of adapting the ISC DHCP (standard linux dhcp) for use in WHS due to the level of flexibility it provides. I'm at the point where it just needs an automated installer and a GUI. But from what I've read, the SDK is good enough that it'll be a relatively simple task in C# (my language of preference).

    By Anonymous Justin, at 2:46 AM  

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