Category Archives: coffee muses

Come and lie prostrate before the alter of the Atomic Fire…Chapter 14

I rolled out of bed this morning to the sound of thunder and pouring rain. That seems to be the pattern around here the past week or so. What is unusual about that is thunderstorms, unassociated with a weather front usually don’t happen before the sun has had a chance to warm the atmosphere. Afternoon showers we are used to. They happen pretty randomly all summer long this close to the coast. Nighttime lightning shows are common out over the water. But, these fast moving, loud and wet predawn thunderstorms aren’t what I am used to waking up to…Looking at my forecast email, I see am temps along the Blue Ridge are in the upper 50’s, that means the temp up on Nettles Knob should be even cooler. Damn, I am going to miss coffee muses on the porch watching the fog rise from the valleys along the Watuga River as the sun comes up over the mountain behind me.

The Chronicle has an AP wire story out about the rise in the uninsured last year.

Uninsured Americans numbered 43.6 million last year, a 6 percent increase from 2005, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Almost all the increase was in the nonelderly adult population — a trend attributed to diminishing employer coverage and pricier private insurance.

The change in nonelderly adults was significant, but the overall increase was not, CDC officials said.

The significant fact in the story is that it is the nonelderly who are showing the rise. I don’t know about you, but I find myself worrying more about medical insurance coverage than anything else in my working life.

A big part of my worry comes about because of the way the medical community and the insurance company’s have cooked the books. When a doctor or a hospital bills from 5 to 10 times what they know they will be payed by an insurer for a procedure, who do they think they are kidding? The going rate for that procedure is not what they are billing but what they are accepting as payment. Just because some poor sap doesn’t have insurance doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make the price go up to the billing amount. And just because you are going to write the uncollectable bill off, doesn’t mean you should be able to write off the wholly fictional amount. Why screw up somebodies credit that way when if you were billing the real going amount, they might even try to work out a payment plan.

Do we in this country like having a permanent underclass, always in debt, never able to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Why is it that universal healthcare is only now beginning to look doable after American corporations are discovering their inherent advantages are being swamped by the cost of American health insurance?

Source:Ranks of nonelderly uninsured adults up significantly | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Well the emails are all read, the coffee cup is empty, and the clock has rolled around past the point I should be on the road, so…catch ya on the other side of the morning..

Sunday Headlines?


This caught my eye this morning in the Houston Chronicle…

They’re scattered across Houston’s neighborhoods like pebbles flung from someone’s hand. Now, almost two years into their Houston experience, this displaced population roughly the size of Beaumont longs for an identity free of Hurricane Katrina.

Two years later…This is how the most powerful nation on Earth takes care of it’s own in this day of “compassionate” conservatism? Who would have thought having, listened to the rhetoric coming from George Bush in the run up to the 2000 election, that after two years almost a quarter of New Orleans would still be living in exile in Texas?

As the second anniversary of Katrina approaches, leaders of agencies helping evacuees expect most of the estimated 100,000 living in Houston to remain here for the foreseeable future, if not permanently.

We should all be aware of the way this country protects it’s own in crisis. It could be you or me who is hit by the next disaster…Do you feel safe? We have 100,000 citizens from New Orleans, most of whom would like to go home, stuck in limbo in Houston. Mostly they are trying to make a liveing and carry on with life. Many of these will never go home simply because they will be settled here before home is ready to receive them…If it ever will.
Take a few minutes and go read the whole article…It’ll remind you, the Katrina victims are still victims.
Source:Two years later, ‘Houstorleanians’ still in transition | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

On another note:

I keep seeing a really scary image showing up at the top of this page…It’s a Google add for Ann Coulter. I apologize to any and all who find that as offensive as I do…

Saturday – The end of June, Twenty O’Seven

As I was reading my email and feeds I hit a link from Earth & Sky Blogs that led to the following video.

“See” how the world is changing.

Visual imagery can tell stories and truths which would be very hard to capture and communicate otherwise.

Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden since 1998, uses beautiful animated charts and minimalistic diagrams to explain the world we live in. Poverty, money and health can be seen at once shaping or being shaped by world events, technology and the passing of time.

This is a beautiful lesson in visual communication. A must view for any serious presenter.

Take 20 minutes and watch the presentation. I think it will open your eyes, I know it opened mine. If it doesn’t leave you asking hard questions afterwards, I’ll be surprised…