A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Snort Bites – April 2014


Prior to Bundy airing his thoughts on the state of the African American community - and being an old white guy he’s clearly an expert on the subject - the rancher drew hundreds of supporters from the Patriot movement and the media. Many of the Patriots/Survivalists/conservative right-wing lunatics came to his ranch armed to the teeth and itching to have a good old-fashioned shoot out with the guvmint!

Brave men going up against the big, bad federal government. Yeah, so brave that they vowed to put a line of women in between themselves and armed federal authorities. Of course, this would have been an international embarrassment for the country with images of the government shooting on unarmed women, not to mention what their women folk must think to be used as human shields!

Anyway, Bundy made his thoughts known, and ever since his most passionate supporters have been running away from him. They should never have given this law breaker any support ever! Pay your grazing fees, moocher! I realize that I will be another old white guy in a few years, but let me say this now. Are you, old white guy Bundy, better off breaking federal law by not paying your fees? Don’t you think other people are tired of seeing people like you who have their hands out every month for their Social Security checks? And you expect to have Medicare pick up 80% of their allowed amount for your medical needs, while you deny expanding the same benefits to younger Americans? And then you go whining to Faux News, “Waaaa!!! They’re persecuting me!”

Again I say, “PAY UP, MOOCHER!”


Oh, wow! It’s Old White Guys Saying Stupid Things Week on Arteejee!

Okay, let me get this straight. This guy owns a team in a sport that is dominated by African Americans, is massively supported by the African American community through their ticket and sponsorship dollars, and has given the same community numerous role models for their young people…and he doesn’t want them coming to his games?!!! WTF!

The NBA is scheduled to address the controversy today, but the economic fallout has already started. Numerous sponsors have severed their ties with the Clippers organization. Unfortunately, there is no law against him spouting stupidity; there may not be any civil rights sanctions to level against him. However he will suffer the revenge of free market capitalism. Let the boycotts begin!


Finally…an old white guy doing something that doesn’t embarrass his gender or age group!

This canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II was unprecedented in the church’s history. This was their first ever double-header. (Yeah, I know! God will get me for that sports analogy!)

This event clearly demonstrates that the senior clergy are not unionized. Can you imagine the Church having to pay triple time and a half for working overtime on Sunday? (Yeah, I know. That’s strike two!)

Pope Francis had a very busy Sunday. I hope he gets to take the rest of the week off, or at least was allowed to take a long nap Sunday afternoon! So what does he do with the rest of his work week to top Sunday? Hey, here’s a suggestion, perform a miracle on Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, so that their mouths are hermetically sealed for the rest of their natural lives.

We can only pray that something like this could happen…

(Thank you for reading! Happy birthday to my “little” brother Don!)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Kinder Klan

A chapter of the Klu Klux Klan here in Pennsylvania has gotten approval from their home office in Park Hills, MO to form a neighborhood watch in response to a wave of burglaries. Leaflets were distributed showing a Klansman, in full bed sheet regalia, pointing a finger at the reader (a la the Uncle Sam “I want you" poster) with the message printed underneath, “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake.”

I have serious objections about this message. You could sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake, but that all depends on what in which neighborhood you sleep. Rural Pennsylvania, yes you can sleep. Bedford-Stuyvesant? Yeah, right! Good luck getting a good night’s rest there!

Keep in mind that there is more than just one hate group claiming the Ku Klux Klan as their label. Pennsylvania has six chapters, according to the latest intelligence report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, each one competing for people who believe in their cause. This particular chapter calls itself The Traditionalist Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, claiming to be a non-violent White Patriot Christian group. 
Christian? Maybe. Non-violent? Don’t make me vomit!

Granted, we may not be able to accurately trace all acts of violence in Klan history - the thousands of lynchings, the bombing of black churches, and innumerable acts of terrorism against America’s minorities for the last 149 years - but people will do this anyway. After all, if you’ve seen one Klan Klaven, then you’ve seen them all.

So okay, let’s just pretend for the moment that the Klan is serious about changing their image. Let’s offer a few suggestions on what they could do to make up for their history of hatred and to demonstrate that they are sincere about their change of heart.

***Volunteer at a phone bank for the next fund raiser by the local Jewish Federation.

***Take a Nation of Islam member to lunch.  (Remember, avoid the pulled pork sandwiches.)

***Every member should write Barack Obama is a great president one thousand times.

***While we’re at it, each member should be ordered to write Crosses are for praying, not for burning a thousand times.

***Cancel their season tickets to Los Angeles Clippers games.

***Roll up a newspaper and smack Nevada rancher and conservative hero Cliven Bundy on the nose, yelling, “No, bad! Bad rancher!”

***While we’re at it, they should roll up a newspaper and smack Sean Hannity on the nose just for being Sean Hannity!

***Eat watermelon and fried chicken until they puke!

And finally…

***For God’s sake, ditch the bed sheets already!

No, I don’t think they’ll do any of these things, but it was worth a shot.

(Thank you for reading. So, did you hear the one about the Klansman and Nation of Islam member who walk into a pig roast…?)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gold in Them Thar Envelopes!

Last weekend, we spent time with my mom and brother upstate, and a few minutes were spent writing checks for my mother. Her arthritis is so severe that she can barely sign her name, so she must depend on the kindness of others to fill in the amounts and to whom they go. There were a few bills, but most were for non-profits that Anne Marie and I did not know.
Some were legitimate: VFW, St. Jude’s Hospital, but…help the Guide Dogs? Feed Hungry Bears?
Anyway, we became convinced that more than a few of these may not be non-profits, but just plots to separate fools from their money.

And just like that (snaps fingers), a scheme was born! We got the idea to start our own non-profit. Oh, we haven’t decided on a cause…who’s got time for those nit-picky decisions when there’s money to be made!

We have narrowed the name of our non-profit venture to those below, but we can’t decide on a suitable one that factually describes our goal. Please let us know which of these you like or, if you’re real adventurous, suggest one of your own.

The nominees are:

Rip Off The Elderly Society

Too blatant?   Well, how about…

Line Our Pockets With Cash

The Gunthers Early Retirement Fund

Help Blog Muses

Send Us All Your Money, Fool!

Paypal Pals

Retired Marilyn Monroe Impersonators Relief Treasury

Middle-Aged Workers Who Are Too Tired to Work Anymore Ponzi Scheme

Living Off All The Money You Send Us And Labeling It Administrative Costs Organization

And, of course, the inevitable

The Gunthers Legal Defense Fund

(Thank you for reading. Warrior Queen will now take up the collection).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Health Insurance? What Health Insurance?

The news has been very good lately for President Obama’s signature health care reform law. The administration has met its target of 7 million people signed up on the website. Now the Congressional Budget Office projects that 12 million previously uninsured people will gain healthcare coverage this year. The CBO report also states that the law will cost the government $5 billion less than previously projected.

This is all wonderful news, if only the health insurance industry actually offered a product that is worth the paper on which it’s printed.

Before the Affordable Care Act became law, most policies offered a relatively low deductible. There would be co-payments for in-network providers and higher coinsurance rates if patients went to providers outside of their network. Also, most policies carried a lifetime maximum of $1 million.
Most important of all, these plans would actually pay out benefits to help offset the cost of healthcare before the benefit period (usually calendar year) ended. Offsetting costs was the main reason why people paid premiums for healthcare coverage. Payments validated the concept of health insurance. Those policies - unless you happen to be lucky enough to have a health plan through a union - are disappearing fast.

In recent years, the health insurance industry started offering so-called consumer driven high deductible health plans. These plans predate the ACA by several years, so it is not fair to blame the proliferation of these policies on the law. These plans are popular with consumers, so say the insurance industry. The main attraction is the low premiums.

Businesses and individuals are paying next to nothing in premiums for these plans because it is all that most people can afford. For these low premiums, the consumer gets no benefits until the catastrophic level deductible - ranging from $2,000 to $6,000/year and higher - is satisfied. In other words, if you pay next to nothing in premiums, you should expect to get (all together now) next to nothing in benefits. Many people expect better than this, and are absolutely stunned when they learn that they are responsible for the first two or three thousands of dollars of medical costs.

I know this is true: I’ve worked in customer service in various capacities within the health insurance industry for over 25 years. The complaining, whining, moaning, groaning, and screaming never stops. The hapless customer service rep can only confirm that the policy paid their claim correctly, sympathize with the caller, and advise them of their appeal rights. The only problem is that the customers themselves get little more than the rep's sympathy when all is said and done.

The consumer driven part is also a joke. The theory goes that if consumers shop around for prices on their healthcare costs, then the costs will be driven down all around. One small problem: providers are loath to release this sort of information ahead of time. I found this out when I tried to get a price for a CPAP mask through a local supplier. I wanted to compare it to prices I found on the Internet. When I asked for the price from my brick and mortar supplier, I was told that they did not have access to that information!

Really? The vendor who will sell me the item does not know how much it costs? Really?

I would not have cared about the price if I had a policy that would help cover it, but since the entire charge was applied to my deductible, I cared. Naturally, that’s the whole point of the high deductible health plans from the insurance carrier’s point of view. Or, as they are wont to say, it lets everyone “get a little more skin in the game.”  

Godfrey Daniels! I don’t mind paying my fair share, but I do want some skin left on my body at the end of the day! Is that so wrong?

It is also difficult to pin down the price of a procedure to an exact dollar amount owing for unforeseen circumstances. Sure, we could get a price of $2,000 for a surgery, but what if the patient suffers complications? How do you work that scenario into the equation?

The health insurance industry can hide behind the “consumers want this product argument all they want”, but it does not bode well for the concept of health insurance. It only perpetuates the widely held viewed (widely held by the consumers purchasing the policies at next to nothing prices) that insurance companies will do anything to keep from paying out claims. It is as if the health insurance industry is throwing its hands in the air, and admitting that health care costs are even too high for them to pay, even with negotiated fees. In this scenario, they can no longer validate their concept.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not have health insurance. I have Independence Blue Cross. These two lines are not a contradiction.

(Thank you for reading! Health insurance? I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ health insurance! HA!)