health care

Peter Poster Picked a POPper: Hobbit, Arrested Development, Portlandia + More

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* New Hobbit still to start your Tuesday morning right. Chip the glasses and crack the plates – that’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!

Photo credit to Blastr

* Fox News accused the Muppets of being Communists. Naturally, Kermit and Ms. Piggy staged a press conference to respond to such nonsensical allegations. It goes without saying that they get the last laugh. [MSNBC]

* Moving into our Star Wars segment of the morning, Chris Pratt of Parks and Rec has a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader in a new ad for Kinect. It’s okay. He wasn’t ever my favorite on P&R, but he has grown on me. [AdWeek]

* And a grown ass man decided to attack people in a Toys R Us with lightsabers in Portland, Oregon yesterday. He was practicing to be a Jedi. Because all Jedi’s train in children’s toy stores. It’s where real evil lurks. [MSNBC]

* Moleskine journals were never used by Hemingway. They were created as we know them in the very recent year of 1997, for crap’s sake. And they’re only “legendary” because that’s the advertising word they chose to go with. As opposed to “blank”. That being said, I need to start keeping a journal so I can get my hands on one of these sweeeet Moleskin Lego books. [Wired]

Photo credit Moleskine.com

* Just so that everyone understands, the entire cast of Arrested Development is TOTALLY in for the new season. I feel like this is kind of a moot point. We know they’re all in, we can’t freakin’ wait. Get on with it. [HuffingtonPost]

* A letter from J.R.R.Tolkien recently sold at auction for almost $2700. The letter was to a couple he met while Tolkien was on vacation with his wife. There was a time when people were polite and genuine. You didn’t have to deal with others, you simply got to spend time with them. My how times have changed. Grumble. Grumble. [Blastr]

* Bubbler crabs in Malaysia have been filmed creating little galaxies of sand-and-spit bubbles. It’s all so freakin’ adorable. [Buzzfeed]

* Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein can’t get enough of Rock n’ Roll. The Portlandia duo’s newest music spot: covering DEVO. And it’s awesome, of course. [CoverMeSongs]

* Canadian Skier and X-Games pioneer Sarah Burke passed away recently due to injuries suffered while training on a half-pipe. He untimely death has caused even further scrutiny of the American health care system – or lack thereof. The medical bills incurred due to trying to save her life in an American hospital are expected to reach over $200,000. As so often seen in this corrupt nation, the emotionally debilitating stress of having a sick or dying loved one is compounded by the rest of the family having to lose their home or go into bankruptcy to simply pay medical expenses, even though that individual might be a tax payer or contributing member of society. Had Burke fallen in Canada, her expenses would have been paid. In fact, had she been hurt in almost any other nation with an economy similar to that of the United States’, her medical expenses would have been paid. So, what are we doing here? I for one don’t make much money at all, but I would be happy for my taxes to increase 3+ percent so that I would not have to worry about health care costs or my loved ones needing medical care or my father’s cancer treatment. A charity fund has been set up in Sarah’s name; donations have exceded the expected costs of hospital bills and the remainder will be given to other charities. [MSNBC]

* And, finally, speaking of money, what do the wealthiest of Hollywood Stars do with all of their millions? New York Magazinerecently spoke with “…a high-level Hollywood money manager…” in an attempt to gain perspective on exactly where millions can possibly be spent by one person in a single year. Check out the break down below. It’s just a little infuriating. [NYMag]

Unemployment went down. So what?

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It was announced yesterday that unemployment dropped to 8.5% with 200,000 jobs added to the workforce.

At first seemingly positive, that 8.5% still doesn’t account the hundreds of thousands of American’s who have long since stopped looking for work. And we’re still millions of jobs behind where we need to be for a healthy economy. Growing health care costs and having an entire generation or so of people who are simply unable to retire isn’t helping our economy either.

The American Dream is becoming the American Joke. We’re grasping to an idea that we are simply awesome when the facts remain:

Our kids are obese.

Our jobs are non-existant.

The government as a whole does not care about the well being of the taxpayers. It has not occurred to them that keeping workers healthy means that taxes roll in on high.

Our Rich are richer than ever and the middle class is falling away to disappear all together.

Those that think they can lead the country are the worst human beings, ignorant and racist.

In the fall of 2010 Academy Award nominated graffiti artist named Banksy created a new introduction sequence for the Simpsons. He sums up American Life unapologetically and it’s amazing to look at it now.

When Banksy’s intro first came out it seemed exaggerated to an extent (we all know that unicorn hooves are glittered, not plain gray). We live a privileged life style, even those of us in rougher spots. Few of us are the individuals lucky enough to be given one of those record Wall Street bonuses being handed out this past quarter, but if you’re lucky enough to be in front of a computer someplace reading this – or, better yet, accessing this from your phone – then you probably have something in your life to be thankful for, even if it’s just your own work ethic.

But it has changed. We are unapologetic consumers still, but the life the Simpsons have is what many now aspire to. They live an above average middle class lifestyle, with a four bedroom home, and a household in which only one parent needs to work. Many of us currently have  to buy goods from other countries because we are unable to afford the same items manufactured here.

Not enough people have jobs and those who do are often not making enough money. Even Tom Brokaw is so shocked by our outsourcing and American lifestyle that his advice to new grads is to search elsewhere for work: “elsewhere” as in other countries.

What is “enough”, though? I want to have a child. I know I do not make enough for that. I want to pay off my school loans and to have enough in savings that if faced with an emergency or a lost job, I could survive for a couple months, but I don’t make enough for that either. I do have plenty of stuff, though, and while it’s less than many others, it’s still more than I need. I have a game system, but it’s a five year od We have had to pay a price as American’s to have the things we have. The price is guilt and gluttonism. We have swelled, fat CEO’s lording over corporations that now have more rights as humans that homosexuals that want us to spend more, but won’t pay us enough to go to the doctor if we’re sick; ironic considering that if we are to spend money, we have to be well enough to earn a paycheck.

I don’t mean to confuse issues. We’re down and out, but still above many. We’re clinging to ideals that have to change in order to move forward. But we do have to move forward, so wasting political time trying to inhibit civil liberties, bringing race into issues in which it has no place are really far from what we need as a nation to better ourselves. There are two issues that keep coming up in debates that I just don’t want to see any more time wasted on. Neither are helping the present situation.

Let all have equal rights. You’re human, you’re entitled to certain rights, and we’re all equal. Period. Granting a contributing, intelligent, good person the to marry the individuals they love (who merely happen to be the same sex as them) will not cause other people to demand the right to marry ducks. Get over your bullshit causes, your own personal lack of self-esteem, and your want to keep others beneath you. Basic human rights. Don’t waste my time insinuating that keeping these people as lesser citizens is actually good for our nation as a whole.

Yes, the welfare program in this nation needs to be seriously revamped, but it is not a race-based system. Black people are not the only people on welfare, so it would make a great example and really to a nation good if you stopped insinuating that fact. And it does a shit ton of good for American’s of all races. Move along.

What is really important is lessening the gap between the classes, creating jobs, making healthcare accessible, and funding schools. Better lives for all, a booming economy dripping with profits, healthy people working hard for the decent lives they’re thankful to have, and future generations who might actually be useful and competitive to other nations.

The gap between the classes is ever widening. We were angered and nauseated by the working conditions in this nation during and immediately after the American Industrial Revolution, but now we’re hard pressed to acknowledge that worse conditions persevere in countries all over the world in factories owned and operated by American companies. Unfortunately, we’ve come to a point where we have to have cheaper clothing and home goods because it’s all we can afford. We’re dependent on those conditions due to this huge gap.

Food costs have grown since Banksy’s film, but my salary has not. I can’t contribute to purchasing American made items in American factories because I can’t afford it, which makes me a huge part of the problem. I want to help, but I don’t know how. And the politicians I see are not concerned about this. They throw around the term “job creation” placing huge exclamation points at the end of it, but they’re not actually ever saying anything. They never actually express a real solution to this issue because doing so would been admitting that the politicians and the corporations that fund them would have to sacrifice a small portion of their already bloated salaries themselves. Oh, the horror. And we don’t need just simply “job creation”. It’s more than that.

Other than that, politicians seem to spend the rest of their time concerned with making a religious group happy that I personally do not subscribe to. Worse yet is that what apparently are the primary concerns of that group is inconsequential to what it really takes to live a good life in the United States. I am a good person. I’m honest, I work hard, I treat my fellow man well, I don’t steal. I understand that an allegiance to a specific sect is not what makes a person good. That has nothing to do with it. And I’m tired of hearing people say they’re going to vote for SoAndSo because he’s Christian. There are many politicians that claim to be “good” Christian Republicans, and they’re banking on the ignorant vote.

So, as far as the economy goes, as far as achieving a decent life for Americans, I don’t know what to do.

I know it’s best to stay away from non-American made goods, but I don’t even make enough money to dress as professionally as I should. It’s the same reason I don’t eat exclusively all organic or local foods. It’s a frustrating cycle and one I’m sure will eventually destroy us as a people. I am not shocked or surprised by how Banksy or other people in other nations very us. I’m just shamed.

I am thankful for the life I lead, after all I have a job. It is an employers world, however, and I am constantly reminded that I am a dime a dozen. It does nothing for morale, but I am thankful I have work. I like working hard so that my boyfriend, who also works hard, and I can have a life together. I’m not sure I would have children while living in the United States, because I hate the idea of them having no or very little health care. I also have very real feelings about a nation that puts the occupation of other nations above education, and as someone who has worked in the public school system and has a Masters degree in education, I can’t stand for compromised education for my kids.

I love this country. I lived in four states, driven back and forth across country four times. And I really want to support it. But I just don’t think it, or at least the people who run the US, care about me, or anyone else within its borders, any more.

So the unemployment rate has gone down. So what?