Well, I’m back to the 21st Century. Yay…. (More)

If you squint really hard at that photo, you can see me in a tree in the background. Or not. Anyway, I spent the last three days in the early 20th Century. Everything really was black-and-white back then. Okay, not really.

There was color back then. And I wasn’t really there. It just kinda felt like it, when the BPI Main Campus’ state-of-the-art (if the art is stick figures) telecommunications system went down. I couldn’t get to the Official BPI Googlizationalizator to look up cool stuff. I missed the start of the ICC Champion’s Cup cricket tournament. No Netflix.

I couldn’t even exchange texts with the rest of the staff unless I went outside and climbed up into Árbol Squirrel. That was fine for me, but Chef and the Professor of Astrology Janitor and the mail room clerk aren’t as good at tree-climbing. So I had to go back to Ye Olden Dayes, chittering and flicking my tail and such. Pootie the Precious understood, but the rest of the staff were pretty much clueless.

On the plus side, I couldn’t climb into the News Dumpster. That was mostly a nice break, but I missed nuggets like these:

“I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year”

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that screwing the poor isn’t as popular as House Republicans hoped:

As Congress weighs major budget cuts and structural changes to Medicaid as part of its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), majorities of the public are wary of those changes to the program that covers medical and long-term care for millions of low-income Americans, the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds.

The poll gauges the public’s views on major Medicaid changes in the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House May 4 but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

The House bill would significantly reduce federal funding to states that expanded their Medicaid programs to low-income adults under the ACA. A vast majority (84%) of the public say it is important that states that received federal funds to expand Medicaid continue to receive those funds under any replacement plan.

This includes large majorities of Democrats (93%), independents (83%) and Republicans (71%). Support for continued funding for the Medicaid expansion is also popular among people living in states that have not expanded their Medicaid program.

And that’s probably why Senate Republicans are in no hurry to impale themselves on the Wealthcare Act:

Senate Republicans remain publicly pessimistic about their prospects of repealing and replacing Obamacare this year with several raising concerns this week about the party’s central campaign promise even as one of their leaders vowed to pass such a bill this summer.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) made the most direct prediction on Thursday, telling a news station in his home state that “I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year.” Earlier in the week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggested to home-state reporters that lawmakers might shift to a shorter-term plan that would keep insurance markets working, on the heels of negative comments from Iowa GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
“It’s unlikely that we will get a health care deal, which means that most of my time has been spent trying to figure out solutions to Iowa losing all of its insurers,” Burr told North Carolina’s WXII 12 News, describing the House-passed American Health Care Act as “not a good plan” and “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Of course House Republicans are peeved, but they kinda should’ve expected that.

“California is once again tasked to lead”

Speaking of health care, the California state senate passed a single-payer bill:

The California Senate voted Thursday to advance a longshot single-payer health care plan that would replace insurance companies with government-funded health care for everyone in the state.

The move came even as proponents acknowledged they don’t know how to pay its huge $400 billion price tag. But supporters say the measure means big savings for families.

In a study commissioned by the California Nurses Association, which is the lead sponsor for the bill, researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst said Californians could save billions of dollars under the system, in part, because of lower drug prices and because families would no longer have to pay copays, deductibles or premiums, CBS San Francisco reports.

The measure would have died if it failed to clear the Senate this week. Democrats said they wanted to keep it alive as the Assembly tries to work out a massive overhaul of the state health care system.

“With President Trump’s promise to abandon the Affordable Care Act as we know it, it leaves millions without access to care and California is once again tasked to lead,” said Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens who wrote the single-payer bill with Sen. Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat.

Universal government-funded health care could give the state extraordinary bargaining power to negotiate favorable rates with drug makers, hospitals, doctors and other health care providers while eliminating costs associated with billing insurance companies, Lara said.

As for that $400 billion price tag, here’s a thought. If the single-payer economies of scale will be as efficient as expected, then a well-designed health care tax plan should cost the average family less than what they now spend on health insurance premiums, copays, and deductibles.

“Our message is clear to the world: Americans are with you, even if the White House isn’t”

Speaking of California, they’re leading a coalition of states and cities to implement the Paris Climate Accords despite the God-King’s petty shortsightedness:

President Trump may be quitting the Paris accord on climate change – but forcing the rest of the nation to go along with him is proving more of a challenge.

Led by California, dozens of states and cities across the country responded Friday to Trump’s attack on the worldwide agreement by vowing to fulfill the U.S. commitment without Washington – a goal that is not out of reach.

The defiance is a signal to the world that the political forces behind America’s climate fight aim to outmaneuver this White House and to resume the nation’s leadership role when Trump changes jobs or changes his mind.

The pushback also reflects how far most of the country – including many Republican parts – already have moved in transitioning to cleaner energy, even as Trump works to slow that momentum.

“The American government may have pulled out of the agreement, but the American people remain committed to it – and we will meet our targets,” former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a special envoy for cities and climate change to the United Nations, said Friday after meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
California, the nation’s leader in emissions reduction, has already joined with New York and Washington state to build an alliance of states that will guide the nation to Paris compliance in the absence of leadership from the federal government.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is leading cities in a parallel effort that already has enlisted 150 members.

“Cities and states are already where most of the action on climate is,” Garcetti said Friday. “Our message is clear to the world: Americans are with you, even if the White House isn’t.… Trump’s move is going to have unintended consequences of us all doing the opposite of what the president wants. It will in many ways greatly backfire.”

I expect the God-King’s administration will start scrambling for ways to punish those states and cities, like they’re trying to do with “sanctuary cities.”

“A secondary benefit”

Because he really is that petty:

Pressure from leaders abroad also backfired. One senior White House official characterized disappointing European allies as “a secondary benefit” of Trump’s decision to withdraw.
If he needed a nudge, though, one came from France over the weekend. Macron was quoted in a French journal talking about his white-knuckled handshake with Trump at their first meeting in Brussels, where the newly elected French president gripped Trump’s hand tightly and would not let go for six long seconds in a show of alpha-male fortitude.

“My handshake was not innocent,” Macron said. He likened Trump to a pair of authoritarian strongmen – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and said that he was purposefully forceful because he believed his encounter with Trump was “a moment of truth.”

Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump, aides said.

A few days later, Trump got his revenge. He proclaimed from the Rose Garden, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Yes, the God-King sees pissing off our allies as a “benefit.” Ahem.

As for his “Pittsburgh, not Paris” bullshit, well, let’s hear from Pittsburgh’s mayor on that:

Mayor Bill Peduto has issued an executive order a day after pledging Pittsburgh would continue to follow the guidelines of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The move comes after President Donald Trump announced the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords of 2015.

“For decades Pittsburgh has been rebuilding its economy based on hopes for our people and our future, not on outdated fantasies about our past. The City and its many partners will continue to do the same, despite the President’s imprudent announcements yesterday,” Mayor Peduto said in a statement.

Turns out the God-King doesn’t represent the citizens of Pittsburgh either. I’m stunned. Not.

Anyway, I’m back to the 21st Century and at least parts of it look pretty hopeful. Plus there’s Netflix, and cricket. Oh, and I can text the staff again. Maybe I’ll ask Chef for more macadamias….


Photo Credit: Greater Manchester Police


Good day and good nuts