H.R.2 – Repeal Healthcare Act?

Some few months ago, I started receiving emails I don’t remember signing up for. I haven’t griped about it too much, for the emails are from organizations that keep folks alerted to political issues, which means I get a steady diet of things to research and then write about – – I suspect my recent foray into signing petitions may be at the root of it all…

Today, I received an email from the John Birch Society.

( I’m now sure I failed to un-check a “Contact Me” box when signing some petition. Yet another example of “Auto-Opt-In” marketing…On the bright side – their “Unsubscribe” process is easy and painless – hence, I’m not raking them over the coals…)

**********

Today’s missive informed me of H.R.2, the bill proposed to repeal all or parts of Public Law 111–148 and Public Law 111–152 (906 and 55 pages, respectively).

It also provided the following Organizational Chart which is touted as showing the regulatory monstrosity ObamaCare would be:

My first thoughts were, who would take time to research this mess to find out if:

A. It truly reflects Reality

and

B. how many graphic artists died of stress related disease while compiling this?

**********

I next pondered if this is how most government organizational charts look.  If so, it’s amazing anyone ever gets anything accomplished and I have been way too harsh on my elected officials.

Faced with a stack of these charts my first day on the job, followed by the directive:

“This is how the company works.  Get familiar with the processes – we have a meeting tomorrow morning for you to propose your plans for overhauling this system”,

I would grab my purse, lunch and coat and flee through the nearest exit….

Without giving notice….

**********

I recently finished the 26 lecture series by Professor Teofilo Ruiz, titled “The Terror of History – Mystics, Heretics and Witches”.

He states we create laws, organizations, etc.,  to bring order to chaos and hence, quiet the internal terror created by our awareness of living in a world we don’t fully understand and often have no control over.

This chart, whether true or not, reflects our terror-soothing tendencies run amok.

If the time and money taken to draw this chart had been spent on designing affordable solar homes, I suspect we’d all live in one by now.

**********

For myself, I must spend time researching the Public Laws that are listed for repeal in H.R.2 – because the John Birch Society also informed me a poll in December showed 60% of likely voters favor repeal, the Senate and House favor Repeal  – if so many favor repeal, I want to know:

How in the Hell did these Laws come about in the first place?!?

**********

For your viewing pleasure, here’s my HealthCare Chart:

 

Deactivating Facebook

Pre-bed routine for me is logging onto Facebook, checking to see how the world treated my circle of friends today – the joys, the heartaches, etc.   Even had a heart-warming quote to post….

But after I read through today’s posts (which is easy, because I don’t have many friends….) I ended up deactivating my account.   And after sleeping on the decision, will most likely delete my account tomorrow.

For the past few months, I’ve been alerted by my savvy Facebook friends, about new information sharing upgrades that automatically “Opt-You-In” rather than letting you choose to Opt-In.

Yes, Yes, Facebook developers…I know….I can go to Account Settings>Subcategory>drift through 3 or 4 pages>find what I don’t want>choose “Opt-Out”>watch your little video or read your text file explaining why I’m really being an idiot because I don’t want you sharing everything I’m fine with my friends seeing, but don’t really want pedophiles and robber barons (or any elected politician)  viewing>Click Continue to pass up another opportunity for you to explain to me why I’m paranoid, don’t understand the software or just to old of a geezer, and really, I should just trust that you have my best interests at heart>enter my password>enter the fuzzy, graphically skewed anti-fraud words>click Yes, I’m sure>Click Yes, I really am Damn Sure>

And after all that – my account is deactivated.  If I want to delete it, I have to ‘submit a request’ – which has even fuzzier, graphically skewed words and I’m sure NASA pilots with 100/100 vision  couldn’t make out the words…..

What a joke.

**********

I’ve teased about ‘being under the radar” for a long time- as someone who struggled to become debt free after being unemployed in 2002, I don’t have credit cards and no one with a brain would want my identity.   I would have been better off filing for bankruptcy, but que sera, sera, I’m within 6 months of getting the last one of 6 paid off and I wouldn’t get another credit card to save my soul – –

I am unemployed, so no one is interested in my bank account.

My hubby would say “You can keep her” when the ransom call came, so kidnapping me is a waste of time for the easy money crowd.

I’ve systematically sold everything that has no use for me, but others value, so unless you’re desperately seeking sprouted wheat, peat moss or a garage full of seedling containers then I’m pretty safe from robbery.  (Hey!  I see your greedy eyes perusing my grain grinder…..)

My son knows self-defense and I taught him to scream bloody murder or fight you to the death in front of witnesses, rather than out somewhere quiet, so he’s pretty safe, too.

Hubby is a cop and has a gun…he’ll just shoot your happy ass.  (And I’d really have to think hard about whether I’d pay ransom for him either….)

Given all this, why should I care if my info is spread around?

Surprise…I really don’t.

It’s the Principal of the Thing.

**********

A couple of years ago, I visited with a web-hoster/developer/designer personage.   He told me a customer once asked him to put up a page for folks to “opt-in” to his mailing list – then customer decided, no wait, automatically opt them in, put “opt-out” link in real small print at the bottom of the page.   THEN customer decided, hey, why make it easy for them to opt out?  Don’t give ’em a choice at all.

Needless to say, that customer had to find another web guru – -Yes, I know, I hang around with great people….

**********

I’m always talking about the power of boycotting.  I also frequently spout about making governments and businesses sit up and take notice – they only exist and have a paycheck because WE choose to support them.

So far, they aren’t really listening…..

Or maybe, the cry isn’t loud enough yet.

**********

So, I ask you to join me in the boycott of Facebook, until they agree to make all new Upgrades for sharing your shit all over cyber-space “Opt-In” not “Opt-Out” designed.

Not that I really hold out much hope….

Someday I’ll tell you about my boycott of Dodge – still don’t own one and never will…but, sigh…they are still in business….

**********

It just occurred to me that since I don’t follow the mainstream news much, I’m probably unaware that WordPress was bought out by Facebook and you’ll never even see this article…..

Fine Print Disclaimer: The Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and the majority of other Social Media users, but do not represent facts as determined by the online corporations mentioned.
As for Dodge: mechanic Terry, Service Manager Dave and Customer Service Rep Ralph all agreed with me that your 1995 Neon’s Throttle body was made out of shitty parts. You knew they were because you had issued a technical bulletin on them.  They also sadly informed me your Diamond Customer Service wouldn’t do crap even though the entire car EXCEPT for the throttle body was only 6 months into it’s 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, because the problem wasn’t so bad someone had died from it and therefore, no one could force you to order a recall (to save your cheap company from bad press and total ruination)….Your customer service consisted of, “Send in a letter, but it won’t do you any good”
Did you really think I’d forget all this in a mere 15 years?
Remember the marketing rep that told you a dissatisfied customer will tell 10 people?   I promised you I would tell at least 10 people a year and I’ve way surpassed my meager promise….
Facebook …you’re next…..

To Excel (or not….)

I signed up with Guru Freelancing site, filled out my profile and walla – started getting project notifications…..Many went like this:

“Have a gazillion hand written pages with data that needs put into an Excel spreadsheet, then we need the data sorted and the following 14 different reports compiled in Word or Excel.”

Or..

“Have data in Quickbooks, output to Excel.   Need you to sort, create different workbooks to reflect different reports, then update each of the workbooks and compile reports each week”

Therefore, my loyal readers get to hear my favorite rant….

“Quit Using Excel as a Database!”

**********

Granted – I’m well aware of the allure of using Excel to perform tasks that ultimately, would be more efficiently handled by Access.   One, it’s quicker and easier to open and start typing stuff in.   Access has a steeper learning curve than Excel and if you do not understand the basics of relational databases, then even if you do use Access, you most like will end up with a data file that is really an Excel spreadsheet (flatfile database) disguised as an Access database….

And yes, yes, I know, you are working for your living.   You don’t have time to mess around with learning and then setting up a database.  And the thought of paying me $300 to set one up for you seems ridiculous.

But I tell you, if you’re spending more than 30 minutes a day collecting data and more than 2 hours a month on recurring reports, utilizing a myriad of Excel spreadsheets, than most likely, you will save time and money by putting it all in an Access database or having someone do it for you.  I once spent 6 hours moving data from an Excel format into Access and customizing some forms to automate redundant tasks.   I was required to keep track of my hours, the man hours the improvements saved and then report on the ROI (Return on Investment) – the above database paid for itself 7 seconds after it was launched – as one entire batch  of work orders was received and routed out with simple click of a button by the end user who normally would have spent 8-10 hours getting each one viewed, placed in an email and sent.

I will also tell you I once worked as a temp for 5 months, at $12 an hour, streamlining data operations.   The ROI figure for the first year was calculated out at $238,000 saved in labor costs.

Not too shabby, eh?

The trouble is, most folks who so desperately need streamlined tools are self-employed or own small companies and don’t really pay attention to how much time they spend on data collection.   “I’m the owner – I expected to work 16 hour days”

Because they don’t really keep track of how much time they spend on redundant data collection tasks, when faced with a $300 – $1000 quote they don’t even know how to figure out when the tool will pay for itself, based on the hours they saved that can be invested in money-making activities.

**********

Over the years, I’ve been asked to help people with streamlining an Excel based data collection/reporting tool.   I can only think of one that truly needed to be in Excel.  The rest of them really needed to be in database software – since most folks who have Excel also have Access, not too hard of a sell, as they don’t have to invest in new software.

The moment they say, “Can’t you program it to give me a drop-down box of choices and write a macro to auto-sort based on the column I choose?” I reply,

“Yes, I can, but I won’t.    Quit making your virtual account ledger perform File Cabinet duties.”

I know, I know….sometimes I can be hard-nosed about things….

**********

Very few of the databases I’ve built over the past 19 years were for folks whose primary job was to collect and report data.   In fact, I can say only one out of the 37 I’ve built was solely for those purposes.

All the rest were for people/companies whose Primary purpose was products and/or services, but who necessarily needed to collect/report information in order to efficiently run their business, comply with regulations or laws, or make business changes based on historical data, not WAGs (Wild Arse Guesses, for those who are not familiar with potty-mouth acronyms.)

Many were spending more hours per week performing duties to Track their business, than they were actually spending On Their Business – and that, to my way of thinking, is just wrong.

***********

At one company,  my nickname, “Ms.-that-needs-to-be-in-a-database” was bestowed about 2 months after I started.    Rampant fears that my bossy and streamlining ways would result in massive layoffs proved to be unfounded.  Yes, bit by bit, the number of temp workers hired to assist with data entry lowered, but job satisfaction rose for the full-time employees, as well as a slew of creative new ideas/projects being implemented, since folks now had extra time to come up with Useful and Productive to bottom line activities, instead of wearily slipping a little more behind each day in the task of tracking what they were doing.

In our Information Age, we can easily get lured into thinking we need to track everything as well as being unaware of how much time we waste using inefficient tools.

So, let me leave you with this thought:

“Just because you can track everything doesn’t mean you should – If you are going to track it, do so efficiently – And for gawd sakes, if it’s anything more than a list of your DVD collection, please, please, put it in a database….”

Superfoods and their Staying Power

Vacation is over – my family is back to their normal school and work routines and I once more have the house to myself.  Which means I now have huge blocks of  uninterrupted time in which to…..

Read and Write.

(Did you really think I was going to say clean house or cook?!?)

**********

So this morning, coffee in hand, butt in computer chair, I read about the growing popularity of quinoa as a superfood and all the various agricultural, governmental and industrial machinations going on in order to increase production and bring a higher standard of living to the poor Bolivian peasants who have grown it for generations.

Interesting… there are reports of higher levels of malnutrition among children in some of the Quinoa growing communities – now that it’s quadrupled in price (due to demand) some folks are selling what they used to keep, substituting rice or noodles in their own meals so some health conscious nut in the US can have their share, at a good price  – – yup, sounds like their standard of living is really increasing…

And while a boom in sales of quinoa have helped some farmers, others are concerned:

“The soils are tired and need nutrition. Production is dropping”

**********

The term “superfood” is of marketing origins.   Any food that gives you more calories and nutrition than you expended in getting it into your mouth and digested, is, technically, good for you.  Those that give you Waaayyyy more nutrition than standard fare are now labeled Superfoods.

Okay.

But consider this – Think back to all the new “Superfoods” that have come out in the past few years.   Gogi berry, Acai, Quinoa are a few that come to my mind.   Many of the top “Superfoods” are foods consumed by the healthy local natives, who grow and/or harvest the food without the aide of chemical fertilizers, modern technology, etc.   Often,  either the food is harvested in the wild, or grown as part of an interwoven garden, by folks who have to take good care of their soil because A. they don’t have much of it and B. They can’t afford to move anywhere else.

Once the Superfood is discovered – the Hawkfest begins.   The National economy, especially if the country is one of the debt-stricken southern ones, will greatly benefit from the demand of Northern countries for this new miracle food.

Corporate Interests are piqued – how can they make the most money of this new food?   What’s needed to increase production, transport/store/package and re-sell the new bounty?

And before long, the latest-greatest is now converted to a mono-cultural, industrial crop and it’s days of being a Superfood are now numbered.

In our quest to provide the world (or at least the world’s elite) with this new Nature’s Miracle and maximizing the financial rewards, we will set to work making it grow faster and provide higher yields – all in soil that never rests and which receives supplements containing the long-term benefits equivalent to me ingesting a steady diet of  Twinkies  .

***********

Ask any representative of DuPont, Monsanto or any others of their industry and they will tell you 1 farmer fed about 60 people in the 1940’s – 1950’s, but today’s farmer feeds over 200.  All thanks to their products, techniques and machinery.  They are solving world – hunger!

Read any research done comparing the nutritional value of  a industrially grown carrot to an organically grown, heirloom variety carrot from you or your neighbor’s garden and you will see that carrots, too, used to be a Superfood – but not so much now.  The garden carrot may not look as pretty, be uniform enough to package neatly and may not survive a 3,000 mile journey, 2 weeks of storage and still look like something you want to eat…BUT it’s nutritional analysis will outweigh it’s pretty, transported cousin.

**********

I once worked with a gal who had 5 children in 4 years.   She was pregnant with twins when we first started working together.   Her hair was falling out, she wore bandaids on her fingers, covered by plastic gloves, because her nails were so thin, they simply peeled off; concentration problems and numerous ‘sick days’ were the norm.   Although the first child seemed fairly healthy, the following four were wracked with numerous ailments –

I don’t think she planned on producing her own Super Army of offspring.   But the consequences of asking her body to perform, year after year, greater yields than it was programmed to, took a heavy toll.

When we demand the same kind of production from plants and soil, without regard to their care – sooner or later, we get the same end results.

And on we move, to discover (and then destroy) the next SuperFood.