Posts Tagged ‘politics’

    Analyze this

    Friday, November 13th, 2009

    I have seven more days to sign up for 2010 health benefits at work. I’ve been putting off this very big responsibility because I’m not in the mood to decode legalese.

    While poring over 50-page Summary Plan Descriptions for each option, comparing the costs versus benefits, I stopped to surmise, “This is outrageous.”

    Then one of my coworkers came to my aid. She told me that once upon a time, before our company lost its identity due to mergers and acquisitions, she was charged with taking the HR benefits documents and simplifying them with the use of plain English for the masses to understand. What a concept!

    Toward the end of our session, my coworker had summarized scores of pages in less than 10 bullet points. She is a god.

    So it got me thinking: Why must our corporations, our courts and our congress — entities that essentially serve the people — communicate to us in Pig Latin? Pages and pages of Pig Latin! Case in point: the House of Representatives’ version of the health care reform bill, which comes in at 1,990 pages and includes paragraphs like this one, according to Poltico.com:

    “(a) Outpatient Hospitals – (1) In General – Section 1833(t)(3)(C)(iv) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(t)(3)(C)(iv)) is amended – (A) in the first sentence – (i) by inserting “(which is subject to the productivity adjustment described in subclause (II) of such section)” after “1886(b)(3)(B)(iii); and (ii) by inserting “(but not below 0)” after “reduced”; and (B) in the second sentence, by inserting “and which is subject, beginning with 2010 to the productivity adjustment described in section 1886(b)(3)(B)(iii)(II)”.

    What. The. Fuck. This kind of shit infuriates me. It’s inexplicable and oppressive. It makes me almost thankful that my benefits materials are as coherent as they are.

    But the fact still remains that policies and laws that affect laymen are rarely communicated in laymen’s terms. Which makes for more blind, deaf and dumb Americans than we’d ever imagine.

    Dumb ideas from smart people

    Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

    Let me start by saying this: I loathe FOX News. My reaction to an episode of Glenn Beck is probably like what Rush Limbaugh’s reaction would be to an episode of the Rachel Maddow Show — I usually regard the coverage as a bunch of malarky.  I think, however, that President Obama has made a horrible decision to freeze out FOX from the White House press pool.

    I understand the aggravation Obama must feel when the cable news network warps coverage to perpetuate rumors that he is the devil, but come on, Mr. President, aren’t you the uniter and not the divider? In this case, Obama looks like the bully.

    This latest attack on FOX will do the president more harm than good; it’s already fodder for right-wingers used to calling him a commie. Such ongoing efforts to marginalize FOX will give die-hard critics and VOTERS good reason to judge him as an unreceptive leader, catering only to those who cater to him.

    Prove that you’re better than that, Mr. President.

    Media outlets, regardless of slant, deserve access to Obama. All it takes is him truthfully answering questions and letting media deliver as it may.

    It’s not any president’s job to determine the validity of a news organization and its people because — like religion and politics — one person’s falsehoods are another person’s truths.

    Action. Reaction.

    Thursday, October 15th, 2009

    It turns out yesterday’s rant didn’t go unnoticed in Pepsi Co.’s inbox. I received the following e-mail this morning:

    Dear Minal,

    Thank you for contacting us regarding the AMP iPhone application.

    After reading your comments, it’s apparent that you were upset by this promotion, and we appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

    The AMP application is only available to iPhone users 17 yeras and older who choose to opt in to the experience. It was designed to be entertaining and appeal to a select audience of AMP energy drink consumers.

    Again, thank you for writing. Please know that I promise to share your feedback with the brand team and that we do appreciate hearing your candid and sincere thoughts.


    Gail Ahearn
    Consumer Relations Representative


    Once I overcame the surprise of being contacted, I smiled at my display of activism; that despite assumptions to the contrary, somebody was around to hear me out. Perhaps I can propel positive change.

    So use your voice — often — instead of giving someone else — someone dumb — room to speak for you. Because sometimes it’s not the cause that matters (be it sexist software, healthcare reform, anti-war), it’s the encouraging realization that your voice carries volume.

    Give it time

    Sunday, February 15th, 2009

    OK, this needs to be said:

    Everybody, I know that President Obama made some lofty promises during his campaign — more jobs, troops leaving Iraq, improved infrastructure, energy independence, focus on education, etc. — but are some of us really griping about his ineffectiveness just 29 days into his presidency?

    Get a grip, America. If you want change, then change your own unreasonable expectations.

    Letter to the president II

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

    Dear President Bush,

    St. Louisans are sad today. Even I, an opportunistic West Coast transplant, feel stung by the news that Belgian brewer InBev will buy St. Louis’ 130-year-old golden child, Anheuser-Busch.

    It’s business, not personal.”

    Isn’t that how the slogan goes? But guess what, Mr. President? It’s personal for all Americans, not just us here in St. Louis, when hallmarks of this country — your country, “the land of opportunity” — are sold to foreign businesses and investors for cheap.

    And because you will fail to see your connection to this, let me reveal it for you: Your war claims lives overseas and lifestyles at home.

    You and your cronies, self-proclaimed pro-lifers, started a mission to kill people — Iraqis, Americans, Britons, Italians, Ukranians, Poles, Spaniards, Australians, Danes and more. Your funneling of absurd amounts of money into this five-year debacle has also put a high onus on Americans away from the battlefield: We can’t afford to drive our cars; we can’t afford keep our homes; we can’t even hold on to our jobs. And U.S. debt — a result of your war — has reached an astronomical level. Is that safe for our national security?

    Now the world is laughing at us, Mr. President, laughing and taking much like Carlos Brito, InBev’s CEO, just did. And I don’t blame the guy; it’s hard to pass up a bargain. If the U.S. dollar wasn’t so weak — again because of your war — then maybe Anheuser-Busch could’ve remained American.

    So much for defending  your country.


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