Category Archives: Uncategorized

Addressing 2013’s Greatest Unanswered Question

Robin Thicke asked a very important — and yet-unanswered — question in his 2013 hit single, Blurred Lines: What rhymes with hug me? (Sandwiched by six ‘heys’.)

As I have been going through my mental review of 2013, I realized no one has satisfactorily answered that question. In an attempt to get the brain juices flowing, below I’ve listed several things that one could argue rhyme with “hug me,” paired with visual cues:

Bug me:


Lug me:


Chug me:


Jug me:


Mug me:


Pug me:


Tug me:


Cast your vote to help solve Robin’s unfortunate uncertainty. Err’body get up!


Affordable Care Act or A Clockwork Orange?

So, it’s been quite a few days since the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama’s PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to writing it.

Of course, I feel strongly about this whole healthcare reform movement, but that doesn’t mean that I actually have a clear (or even well-informed) opinion on it. Howeverrrr, that’s not going to stop me from weighing in.

Basically, I have very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I completely agree that our healthcare system desperately needs to be reformed. In many ways, though, I do not agree with how the Obama administration wants to do so.

Here’s my dilemma. The individual mandate portion of the ACA–probably the part that sticks most in people’s throats–make sense to me. It’s a very conservative value to believe in personal responsibility (which I STRONGLY advocate for). The concept of insurance — paying for coverage in case you get sick, BEFORE you get sick — is OK by me (sidenote: I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by the doctors/health systems that cater to people who purposely don’t have insurance and pay out of pocket, and adjust their pricing accordingly.. sometimes I think it’d be better to just go back to that. Have savings for “just in case” situations with the ability to pay out of pocket WITHOUT being exorbitantly overcharged for services.).

What I’m absolutely not OK with, however, is being FORCED, by the government, to purchase this insurance.

I’m gonna be all English-majory here (pardon the bad grammar and colloquial language — oops): this whole thing reminds me a lot of A Clockwork Orange.

For anyone who hasn’t read this book yet, go read it. It’s not super long, and although it can be pretty graphically violent (well, the movie especially), it’s thought-provoking and worth it.

For people who have read it, hopefully you can follow along. In ACO, the main character, Alex, ends up being “rehabilitated” (by the government) for his vicious criminal behavior. Without getting into details, that rehabilitation essentially conditions him to have intense physical reactions against any sort of violence or crime. However, it’s not him making a choice to not be violent — it’s more along the lines of inability to make or tolerate violent behavior because of the conditioning he’s endured.

Here’s the issue: even though Alex is no longer technically acting/being “bad,” it’s not his choice. The government-sanctioned conditioning stripped him of his free will to either be violent or not; he simply cannot be bad.

In theory, making sure criminals no longer carry out their criminal activities is a great idea. But that’s not free will–and that’s not human.

In theory, everyone having insurance which protects them against a future need for coverage is a great idea. It’s something people SHOULD do, just as people SHOULD be good/not participate in criminal activities.

But as humans, we should be allowed to make our own decisions. They may not be the best, or the brightest, but they’re our own.

So although I personally have insurance (and had it before the SCOTUS ruling), I support people’s rights to not buy insurance. It’s not the government’s place to make people make good decisions.

(Sidenote:) To preemptively answer what everyone brings up regarding car insurance: you CHOOSE to buy a car. You don’t choose to be born.

Anyway, there’s lots more contained in the ACA and lots more to be said.. but that’s all for now, folks.

Governor Walker’s Victory Delivers a Swift Kick in the Butt to Public Sector Unions

I’ve been following the Wisconsin Situation ever since I went to Madison early last year for a job interview and, from my hotel window, could see hordes of people thronging around the state capitol loudly protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s Senate Bill 11.

People were upset, that’s for sure, and I started looking into the situation to see what horrible things Walker must have decreed upon his state’s public sector workers in order for them to get so riled up.

“Why Walker Hates the Working Class.” “Why Does Scott Walker Hate Teachers?” “Walker is Declaring War on the Middle Class” — these are all headlines and questions that popped up in the aftermath of SB11.

I ended up reading through the bill (and by “reading through the bill” I mean reading the first few pages of a 144 page document and then reading other sources explaining what exactly it meant) and what I eventually learned is that Gov. Walker very simply asked those in the public sector to, gasp, contribute to their own pension funds and health care insurance. Quelle horreur!

I’m not gonna lie. It literally outraged me that so many people were so outraged over this proposition.

I don’t work in the public sector, and I can’t say that I hold some community-enriching job where I’m protecting people (police officer), saving people (firefighter) or educating someone (teacher). But I think that’s besides the point. As a non-unionized, private-sector worker, a significant chunk of my salary goes toward my healthcare insurance, and I’m investing and saving money on my own for retirement.

I’m not bitter about it, either. It’s called being responsible. It’s called putting away my money for my future care. What I don’t get is why public sector workers (and keep in mind that Wisconsin’s public safety workers, like firefighters and police officers, are exempt from SB11) feel that they’re above paying for their own retirement and healthcare. And not even fully — they’re just asked to CONTRIBUTE.

Let’s be real. You SHOULD be doing that.

I’ve been paying federal income tax since literally 5 days after my 15th birthday, and I believe I’ll be able to work in my field (writing) in some capacity until I die. That means that I am (and will continue) paying into Medicare and Social Security — two government programs that I know, with near 100% certainty, I will never benefit from. I am paying for other people’s care, as well as my own. Why can’t unionized public sector workers contribute to their own funds, instead of expecting the rest of the state to pay for everything?

The “system” is broken, on so many levels. But in Wisconsin, a man with a plan—a fiscally conservative plan—set out to fix his state’s problems.

As Democrats and public sector unions moaned, groaned, screamed, protested, and picketed, Walker eliminated Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion deficit and brought the state to a $150 million surplus, without even having to raise taxes. In fact, property taxes went DOWN. Employees are no longer required to pay union dues, but maintain the ability to collectively bargain, and union dues are no longer automatically (aka forcibly) deducted from paychecks.

Once union dues became voluntary, union membership dropped by thousands. As a Forbes writer puts it:

“Best of all, the myth that union bosses represent their members’ interests has been exposed as a lie. Now that union dues are voluntary, tens of thousands of union members have stopped paying them.  Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has dropped by half. Membership in the state’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is down by over a third. Given unions’ influential role in most elections, the national implications of this trend are staggering.”

Meanwhile, across the country, Democrats are calling for raised taxes, especially on the rich. While it may be necessary to raise taxes at some point, because let’s face it, our nation is in serious trouble, more states need to follow Wisconsin’s lead and eliminate government excess and poor policies. Multiple states are facing staggering pension problems, and they’ll keep getting worse unless more laws are passed requiring employees to contribute to their own damn pension.

Bottom line: Despite recall efforts reaching frenzied heights after collecting nearly 1 million signatures to trigger the election, Governor Walker is still standing. The people of [the traditionally blue state of] Wisconsin have spoken: Walker’s fiscally conservative policies are working, and the state (and its citizens) are better for it.

Walker, 1. Public Labor Unions, 0. Chalk that one up to common sense.

“C” is Also for: County, Lancaster

Back in good ol’ Lancaster County for an extended weekend and, since landing this afternoon, I’ve already:

  • Run around barefoot outside playing catch with my next-to-youngest brother
  • Eaten delicious home-cooked food
  • Gone shopping at the mall to treat myself to some tax-free clothing (I’ve been waiting to go shopping for sooo long! … or one month, depending on perspective)
  • Spotted an Amish man at said mall (and two Mennonites at O’Hare! gasp!)
  • Taken my little brothers to Rita’s Italian Ice (my favorite!!!)
  • Gone swimming

All in all, so far, so good!

To do:

  • Lay out
  • Swim
  • Lay out
  • Swim
  • Attend A&K’s wedding; celebrate; reunite with high school friends
  • Catch up with all my PA friends
  • Find/eat a whoopie pie
  • BAKE!
  • Swim
  • And, of course, spend as much time as possible with the fam!