Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Reform Predictions

I've been watching live coverage on the Health Care Reform debate in Congress all day today, and I just now went to CNN to read what was being said. What caught me (again) were the comments. I'm continually amazed at the way we disagree with one another online, but I've talked about that before, so I won't do it again.

Right now, I want to take a minute to put into writing some of the predictions that you can find online. I'll check back on these in a while to see if any of these came true. I'm just going to read through the comments on CNN's page, and write down the predictions as I find them (I had to reword some of them for the sake of space and/or coherence) I'll put them down in the order I find them, though they're separated into two categories:

Predictions Favorable to Health Care Reform:
  • allamer: Lives will be saved.
  • quaidbrown: Fewer people will die.
  • Angeles53: Americans who do not have health insurance will be able to get it.
  • sbath: Never again will a single parent have to let their child go without health care because they can't afford it.
  • irukandji: Republicans will be voted out next year.

Predictions Unfavorable to Health Care Reform:
  • mugabekills: Democracy will end. / We will all eat cat food.
  • rileyroad: Physicians will retire and/or close their doors/Pharmacies will no loner accept insurance.
  • Anothermuse: CFO's will meet across the US tomorrow and decide that it is cheaper to pay the fine per employee than it is to simply pay for Health Care, resulting in dropping health care coverage across the board.
  • samikep: President Obama will try to abolish Freedom of Speech.
  • sbath: Millions of people will waste tax-payer money.
  • Observer1234: Many states will block the bill because it is non-sense.
  • JimmyOlson: Thousands who cannot afford healthcare today will be fined tomorrow for not being able to afford healthcare.
  • Abloynes: The Democrats will rule us in the future "socialist" redistributive America. / Insurance industries will all fold and the US government will be the only Insurance company in America.
  • FKNA: The US will become a socialist nation.
  • eclemo42: You will have to pay a lot of money for a terrible plan, and be penalized on top of that.
  • df444: Democrats will be voted out next year.
  • Manc6267: The Federal Government will pay a lot of money for abortions.
  • STORYBURN: The top 2% of wealth will be dragged back into pre-Regan tax structures.
  • Ringostar123: We will have to pay all of the money we don't have.
  • globaldecay: We will become a fascist government.
I just realized I've only read through posts from the last 9 minutes. So, this isn't a picture of what everyone has to say, but I am really surprised by how sharply divided the nature of those predictions really are.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Epistolary Structure of Disagreeing with someone on the Internet

I was reading CNN today--like I do almost every day--and I accidentally started reading the comments again. I always do this. I get to the end of the article, and see that someone commented on it, and I'm curious about what they think. I think I might even half-way expect an informed response.

Inevitably, some guy named something like Starwhizard342 wrote something along the lines of: "I'm sorry, but everyone out there is a toolbucket. We should build robot-dogs and make them govern Somolia. If you disagree, you're a terrorist." I roll my eyes and move on to the next comment which is equally brilliant. Every now and then, I get so perturbed by Starwhizard342's complete disregard for logic that my brain falls out of my head and I start drafting a response. I pound the keys one finger at a time muttering to myself while I write out: "Dear Starwhizard342. I think you're wrong. And stupid." I then erase that and try to be cordial. So, I draft a forty line dissertation about the nuances of the socio-religious struggle in modern-day Somolia and why that means we shouldn't go in there and set up robot-dog police like Starwhizard recommended. Eventually, I realize that the only person who will actually read my comment is a person who actually knows something about the socio-religious struggle in modern-day Somolia. I admit to myself that I don't know what I'm talking about, and then I delete it.

Occasionally, I realize that I do, in fact, know what I'm talking about. We really shouldn't send robot dog police to Somolia. So, I reread and edit my response and hit "send" or whatever the button says, and sit back and wait for the comments to roll in. Usually, I'm fairly certain that what I've written down should fix every misconception held by each and every reader. So I'm always a little surprised when no one responds at all. Occasionally I'll get a "1 person likes this" which is almost more annoying than no response at all. And on the best of days, Starwhizard342 will respond by saying: "douche"

That's why I tend not to comment anymore. But today, I was so worked up that I really, really, really wanted to comment. But, because I knew that my comment was going to embody the very essence of futility, I managed to hold my tongue. Er, fingers...

After thinking about it (yes I thought about it... I know, there's something wrong.) I realized that I wasn't frustrated with the person's opinion, I was frustrated with the way the person argued. And I realized, there is a typical way of voicing disagreement on the Internet. It's almost an epistolary structure:

1 - Say that you're right.
1' - Claim that you are an expert in X.
2 - Say that everyone else is wrong.
2' - (Optional) Say that you love/hate America.
3 - Say that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot.
4 - Remind everyone who disagrees with you that they are also the kind of person who rips puppies in half and drowns poor people. (Must type YOU in caps a lot.)
5 - Say how right you are again.

As I think about it, I'm not bothered by 1-3. It's really step 4 that gets to me for some reason. Why does everyone think that just because I disagree with you, it's because I'm the type of person who knocks over old people and pisses in their shoes? It's almost inevitable that when people disagree on the Internet, it's not enough to simply disagree, it's necessary to stifle the voice of all disagreement by saying that anyone who responds in disagreement is also a goat-headed-she-devil.

I know there's no fix to it. And I'm guessing that the social environment of the Internet will always be that way. Maybe it's some kind of commenter's road-rage. And even though I know it's impossible to fix it, I still find myself perturbed enough to respond from time to time. But, I think I've finally made up my mind. I will never again respond to a comment on CNN. Eventually, maybe I'll learn my lesson and ignore the comments section altogether.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese Experiment

I've looked online for some good macaroni and cheese recipes, and just can't seem to find anything that I think will taste like I want it. I'm looking for a really creamy, cheesy sauce that isn't oily and stringy. I'm also looking to get away from baking it, as I think that will reduce the creamy factor.

Seeing as I couldn't find anything online that I was enthused about, I figured I would try to make up a recipe. So, I'm going to document tonight's dinner experience and post about it later. (Probably tonight, but I do have work to do you know.)

Anyway, I also have an apple pie on the brain, so I have to get started. More to come...

Ok, so I did it. When I got started I realized that we had talked about trying to work more veggies into Norah's diet, so I started off by blending up a huge carrot and a zucchini. Toss that on to boil, and shredded some Cheddar, Gouda, and Fontinella cheese. Added that to the carrot/zucchini sauce and stir until melted. Then, I added some skim milk, and salt and pepper. Then, toss in a slurry (mix flour and water in a glass, then add it to the sauce.) Let the mixture simmer for a while. I then boiled up some shells and tossed them into the cheese sauce, and Norah ate it! WOW!!!!

I have pictures from the whole thing, but I have to do some homework so this will be a three-part post.

Oh, and I accidentally bought waaaaay too many apples, so I had to make two apple pies. Darn. ;)