Money’s too tight to mention

2 07 2015

So, the second summer session course was cancelled, and work at the second job seems to have dried up.

Which means that, for the first time in my life, I’ve applied for unemployment.

Actually, when I went to the unemployment claims page, I discovered I could have applied for unemployment when the first summer session was cancelled: that I had part-time work in addition would not necessarily have torpedoed the claim. (There’s process for applying for retroactive UI, which I may try.)

I had never thought to apply for unemployment insurance in previous summers (or during the hell year of 2011) until a colleague (also an adjunct) mentioned that she was on UI: I had thought that, as an adjunct, I wasn’t eligible. I almost certainly left some money on the table as a result.

That’s fine, though. Yes, I could have used the money back then, but I somehow figured it out. I’m pretty clearly motivated less by maximizing my gains than minimizing my losses.

(That lack of motivation is an issue, actually, in terms of career advancement, and is something on which I need to do some serious thinking. But. . . , well, yeah, I might need an motivation adjustment.)

I don’t know how long this process takes, or what, exactly is involved in terms of my obligations. If my claim is accepted, I’ll have to do 3 job-related tasks on 3 different days each week, which seems reasonable. I’ve been meaning to update my c.v. and send it to a coupla’ other colleges, so this would be a good time to do it. And I think there are opportunities for some training courses; if there are computer/software courses, yeah, I’d sign up for those. Never know when those skills could come in handy.

I’ll be grateful is this does come through. I’ve put up a freelance ad on Craigslist (where I’ve had decent luck in the past) and there may be more work at the second job eventually, but it’d certainly relieve some anxiety to know I’d have at least some money coming in.

Which I guess is one of the virtues of insurance.

Smile, everthing is all right

1 07 2014

Yay, broken tooth!

Yes, it is silly to cheer on the demise of one’s denture, but this particular molar had been thrice fractured, the last of which did not result in a clean shearing: the tooth was broken and down, but not out.

Last night, after days of worrying with my tongue, upper molars, and, finally, fingers, I managed to root out that miscreant fragment.

Of course, now there’s a space where the tooth had been, but since “dental health” is apparently not sufficiently healthish, any fixes are not covered by my insurance.

I will thus remain unfixed.

Doctor, doctor

1 09 2013

Two things.

One, migraines suck. I know, not news, but I feel it’s important to mention.

Two, I wish my medical coverage (which is on the whole not-too-bad) included dental.

I have three unrepaired broken teeth, and while two of the three are molars and the problem with the front tooth isn’t too evident, I’d really like to get at least the front tooth and one of the molars (which, unlike its opposite on the other side of my mouth, keeps losing bits) fixed.

I also need eye surgery (which is a third thing, I guess), but I’ve been too lazy to deal with my insurer to find out what I need to git ‘er done-and-covered.

My last eye surgery, over a decade ago, was a relatively minor procedure, involving a short outpatient surgery under conscious sedation and a scrip for Vicodan. This one will necessarily be more complicated, tho’ not so much that I think it will require a hospital stay.

Still, I’m going to look—and feel—like I lost a bar fight, so I need to time it to my breaks in teaching. That shouldn’t be too difficult to do, but, y’know, I’d need actually to plan this all out and. . . blegh.

On the other hand, the problems with my peepers are getting progressively worse, so perhaps that will propel me finally to push past my procrastination.

The secret to my [lack of] success: wait for things to get sufficiently terrible to do something about them!

And then this shit: Does it really need to be said that female people are people?

14 03 2012

Unfuckingbelievable. Because: all-too-believable:

Arizona  House Bill 2625

. . .

Y.  Any contract between a corporation and its subscribers is subject to the following:

1.  If the contract provides coverage for prescription drugs, the contract shall provide coverage for any prescribed drug or device that is approved by the United States food and drug administration for use as a contraceptive.  A corporation may use a drug formulary, multitiered drug formulary or list but that formulary or list shall include oral, implant and injectable contraceptive drugs, intrauterine devices and prescription barrier methods if the corporation does not impose deductibles, coinsurance, copayments or other cost containment measures for contraceptive drugs that are greater than the deductibles, coinsurance, copayments or other cost containment measures for other drugs on the same level of the formulary or list.

2.  If the contract provides coverage for outpatient health care services, the contract shall provide coverage for outpatient contraceptive services.  For the purposes of this paragraph, “outpatient contraceptive services” means consultations, examinations, procedures and medical services provided on an outpatient basis and related to the use of approved United States food and drug administration prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies.

3.  This subsection does not apply to contracts issued to individuals on a nongroup basis.

Z.  Notwithstanding subsection Y of this section, a religious employer whose religious tenets prohibit the use of prescribed contraceptive methods may require that the corporation provide a contract without coverage for all United States food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods.� A religious employer shall submit a written affidavit to the corporation stating that it is a religious employer.� On receipt of the affidavit, the corporation shall issue to the religious employer a contract that excludes coverage of prescription contraceptive methods.� The corporation shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the contract and any renewals of the contract.  Before enrollment in the plan, every religious employer that invokes this exemption shall provide prospective subscribers written notice that the religious employer refuses to cover all United States food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods for religious reasons.� This subsection shall not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than to prevent an unintended pregnancy.� A corporation may require the subscriber to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the corporation along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose.� A corporation may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims.� A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source. [strikeout in the original]

Z.  Notwithstanding subsection y of this section, a contract does not fail to meet the requirements of subsection Y of this section if the contract’s failure to provide coverage of specific items or services required under subsection Y of this section is because providing or paying for coverage of the specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs of the employer, sponsor, issuer, corporation or other entity offering the plan or is because the coverage is contrary to the religious beliefs of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.� If an objection triggers this subsection, a written affidavit shall be filed with the corporation stating the objection.� The corporation shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the contract and any renewals of the contract.  This subsection shall not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider WITH prescriptive authority for medical indications other than for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.� A corporation, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan may state religious beliefs or moral convictions in its affidavit that require the subscriber to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the corporation along with evidence that the prescription is not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection.� A corporation may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims. [Italics indicate added language; emp added]

There are more strikeouts and additions along these same lines (which can be viewed at the link, above), including:

C.  Before enrollment in the health care plan, every religious employer that invokes this exemption shall provide prospective enrollees written notice that the religious employer refuses to cover all federal food and drug administration approved contraceptive methods for religious reasons.


D.  C.  Subsection B of this section does not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than to prevent an unintended pregnancy.� A health care services organization may require for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.A health care services organization, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan may state religious beliefs in its affidavit that require the enrollee to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the health care services organization along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection.� A health care services organization may charge an administrative fee for handling claims under this subsection.


E.  A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.

That’s right: Not only does the worker not have the right to be informed of any restrictions on coverage prior to enrollment, and not only would she have to submit an affidavit stating that a scrip for birth control is for “medical” non-birth-control reasons, but SHE CAN BE FIRED FOR USING CONTRACEPTION!

Did you get that? Was I loud enough? !!!!!!!SHE CAN BE FIRED FOR USING CONTRACEPTION!!!!

This bill, by the way, passed the Arizona House and is now headed to the Senate.

And now a word from our sponsor:

“I believe we live in America,” said Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), who sponsored the bill. “We don’t live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Hey Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, I gotta message for you: Go fuck yourself.

Good thing that won’t require contraception.

h/t Laura Bassett, Huffington Post

*Update: And oh yeah, this too.

One day it’s fine, the next it’s black

5 03 2012

Buncha thoughts, none of which currently coheres into an argument or essay:

Why should I have to pay for a woman to fuck without consequences?

An attack on women’s sexuality—yeah, yeah, nothing new—but the logic behind this bares not just hostility to women claiming their full humanity, but to insurance itself.

Why pay for contraception is a question that could be asked of any medical intervention. Why pay for Viagra is the obvious follow-up, but the underlying sentiment is why should I pay anything else for anyone for any reason?

Actually, that’s not just an attack on insurance, but on politics itself.


When to stay and when to go?

This is an ongoing conflict between my civic republican and anarchist sides: When should one fight to stay within any particular system, and when should one say I’m out?

One part of me wants the full range of women’s health services wholly ensconced in medical education and practice, an integral part of the medical establishment, and another part of me says Enough! We’ll do it ourselves!

I’ve mentioned that when I was in high school I helped to start an independent newspaper. We wanted to be in charge of what was covered and what was said, and decided that the only way to assert that control was to strike out on our own.

Given our options, given our willingness and our ability to do the work, and given what we wanted to accomplish, it was the right choice.

I’m not so sure that peeling ourselves off of the medical establishment would be anywhere near as good an idea, not least because the conditions are, shall we say, rather different from starting a newspaper; more to the point, what would be the point of such disestablishment?

In other words, what’s the best way for us to take care of ourselves?


For all my anarchist sympathies, I am not an anarchist, and my sympathies do not run in all directions.

I am not a fan of homeschooling, for example, and have at times argued that, in principle, it should not be allowed. I have at times argued that, in principle, no private K-12 education should be allowed.

I have principled reasons for these arguments, but, honestly, there is a fair amount of unreasoned hostility to such endeavors.

This is a problem.

No, not the contradiction, but the lack of reflection. If I’m going to go against myself, I ought at least know why.


I might be done with Rod Dreher.

I’ve followed Dreher on and off for years, first at BeliefNet, then at RealClearReligion, and now at American Conservative. He’s a self-declared “crunchy conservative”, writing about a kind of conservation care, community, and his own understandings of Orthodox Christianity. He also wrote quite movingly of his beloved sister Ruthie’s ultimately fatal struggle with lung cancer.

As an unrepentant leftist I think it’s important for me to read unrepentant rightists: not to get riled, but to try to understand. And Dreher, because he has so often been thoughtful about so many aspects of his own conservatism, has been a mostly welcoming guide to a worldview not my own.

More and more often, however, that thoughtfulness about his own side is being drowned by a contempt for the other side. This is not unexpected—one remains on a side because one thinks that side is better—but Dreher has turned into just another predictable culture warrior, launching full-scale attacks on the motives of the other side while huffily turning aside any questions regarding his own motives.

Perhaps he thinks the best way to deal with the alleged loss of standards is to double them.

And that, more than any political difference, is what is driving me away: he no longer writes in good faith.

Testing, one, two

20 02 2012

Rick Santorum got one (kinda) right.

The bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions.

That is exactly why a lot of prenatal tests are done—to identify any possible problems—and, yes, if the problems are sufficiently grave, an abortion may follow.

I’d argue about the word “encourage”—doctors are unlikely to be so explicitly directive in their discussion of test results—but I wouldn’t doubt that a fair amount of pressure is brought to bear on the woman (and her partner) to decide quickly, not least because abortions become more complicated the later in the pregnancy they’re performed.

And in fact, prenatal testing, particularly amniocentesis — I’m not talking about general prenatal care—we’re talking about specifically prenatal testing, and specifically amniocentesis, which is a procedure that actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it, and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies in the womb. And which in many cases — in fact, most cases physicians recommend — particularly if there’s a problem — recommend abortion.

Again, this is less clear. “Non-directive counseling” is the watchword in genetics counseling, and while OB/GYN’s have not necessarily undergone such training, the mantra of let-the-patient-decide has pretty well seeped into the ethos of American medicine.

“Doctor’s orders” ain’t what they used to be: since the 1970s, patient autonomy has been elevated to one of the main principles of biomedical ethics, a principle reinforced by the legal system. Doctors may and do recommend a particular course of action, but having been imbued with the notion of respecting the ability of the patient to make her own decisions and mindful of the possibility of tort action if their recommended solution goes south, they are far more likely to dump information into the patient’s lap and say “your decision”.

Okay, that’s a bit severe, but it is the case that patients expect more information and that courts will hold a doctor liable if she withholds such information from them; failure to perform standard medical tests and inform the patient of the results can itself result in lawsuits.

This is the real dynamic behind the pressure—and oh, yes, there is pressure*—for pregnant women to undergo prenatal testing.  Blood tests and ultrasounds are routine in all pregnancies in the US, and amniocentesis is strongly recommended for high-risk pregnancies, a procedure which Santorum, correctly, notes puts the fetus at risk for miscarriage. To decline such tests is to open oneself to repeated (incredulous and/or hostile) questioning of that decision.

But here is where Santorum begins to go off track:

One of the things that you don’t know about ObamaCare in one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. That too is part of ObamaCare — another hidden message as to what president Obama thinks of those who are less able than the elites who want to govern our country.

Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, those who perform the test, those on whom the tests are performed, those who pay for the test,  and those who regulate insurance are not all the same person. The doctor orders the test because it is standard medical practice and because she agrees that this standard medical practice is, in fact good, insofar as it gives both her and her patient more information. The patient generally (although not always) wants this information, so she, too assents to the screenings.

Those who pay for the test do so as a result of pressure from doctors to pay for good medical care and because, yes, testing can lead to lower costs to the insurer down the road. These lower costs may result from treatments prior to birth to forestall greater problems after birth and, yes, from women deciding to terminate pregnancies which are at high risk of resulting in the birth of a child with a disability. Over 90 percent of fetuses which test positive for Trisomy 21, the chromosomal abnormality responsible for Down Syndrome, are terminated.

There was, in fact, a case in which an insurer told a couple that if they did not terminate an affected pregnancy, any medical expenses associated with the birth and the child would not be covered. The couple sued, and won. Given that many couples will chose voluntarily to end such pregnancies, however, such coercion is generally unnecessary.

Finally, there are the insurance regulators, who have to balance concerns of patients, doctors,  and insurance companies; given that there is little conflict between these different groups (although there may be with some individual patients and doctors) about the desirability of the tests themselves, encouraging or even mandating partial or full coverage of such tests is non-controversial.

This basic dynamic was set into play long before Barack Obama became president, and it is highly unlikely that the (equally highly unlikely) presidency of Rick Santorum would alter this in any way.

Oh, he might try to force insurers to drop coverage of prenatal care, but both Congress and the courts would be hostile (for a variety of reasons) to any such executive orders. The testing regime, for better and for worse, has become entrenched in American medicine.

Let us now consider the most offensive aspect of Santorum’s screed against screening: he doesn’t consider the role of the women (or couples) themselves. Once again, they are pure victims of a dark techno-liberal conspiracy, unable to make any decisions for themselves and unworthy of consideration as actors in their own lives. They must be protected from Obama, liberals, doctors, and, of course, themselves.

That is Santorum’s own not-so-hidden message to the rest of us: he doesn’t consider us able to make the most basic decisions about our own lives.

I hate the term “sheeple”, but it certainly seems as if that’s how Santorum, the would-be shepherd, views the American people.


*Questions regarding prenatal screening have long preoccupied those who work in bioethics; a good introduction to some of this work is Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights by Erik Parens and Adrienne Asch.

My brain scatters

15 03 2011

Look at this man:


Do you not think: Midwestern Mitt Romney?

Same high forehead, slightly shorter hair, similarly fairly-successful governor of an M-state, same general corporate sensibility with the occasional plaid-and-guns image thrown in, more tolerant of creationism, less Mormon, also not-yet-officially-running to be the GOP nominee for president.

Oh, and similarly empty empty empty.


I have been getting a large amount of truly boring spam, almost all of which was directed to my “Music Thief” page.

“Interesting approach to this issue. I learned alot [sic]. Thank you much for this!”

For a list. Uh-huh.

Anyway, I stopped updating it awhile ago, so I had no reservations in deleting it.

Let’s see if the spamsters latch on to another page.


Why oh why do I need a prescription for levothyroxin?

I’ve been on the exact same does for 10 years, and in the years before that, the dose moved only slightly upward or downward.

Sure, yearly checks of thyroid levels makes sense, but absent any changes, why can’t I simply get this from the pharmacist?

That seems to me a decent alternative for all kinds of drugs (not least of which are many birth control pills): an initial scrip needed, and, if no problems, a conversation with a pharmacist for ongoing renewals.

Yes, there’s a background to this: I’ve been trying to get my scrip renewed but the doc hasn’t called it in the pharmacist, nor has she contacted me to let me know if there’s a problem. And I’m out of pills.

(Yes, I called before they ran out. I figured the prescription would be called in before I ran out. Silly me.)

This is more annoying than anything: I’ll hit up a local urgent care clinic if I don’t hear from someone at the clinic—generic synthroid isn’t hard to score, as it’s neither a narcotic nor does it have any street value—but I’d rather avoid the expense and time-suck.



I woke up wondering What was the name of that guy from Jurassic Park? And that movie with Nicole Kidman? And that weird movie I watched in French (and didn’t understand) with I think Isabel Adjani? And (brrr) Event Horizon?

Neil. Neal. Something Neil. O’Neill. Ed? Ed O’Neill? No, that’s the  Married With Family-guy. Ed Harris. No. Dammit. Maybe not Neal at all. Maybe Harry. Or George. Or Lincoln.

What the hell? Why can’t I remember?

And why am I thinking of this? He’s not all that interesting an actor; I’ve got nothing for or against him. What the hell?

Sam Neill.

Criminy. I am losing my mind.

OK computer

8 03 2011

This is what I get for not being paranoid.

Okay, so “paranoid” is a strong word; sufficiently cautious, perhaps.

One of my e-mail servers went down and I’ve been unable to access that account. That’s a bummer, one which has been magnified since I didn’t import every last address into my alternate account.

Laziness, blah blah. Yeah, I know.

See, I was smart enough to set up an alternate account, but not smart enough to duplicate the information across the two services. Until the problem (whatever it is) gets fixed, a whole lotta addresses are out of reach.

I could have set up the second account so that mail from the first is automatically forwarded to it, but I prefer keeping the two sets of mails separate. No, there’s no clear dividing line between the types of mail get shunted into each account, but, still, I like them separate.

So I’m not kicking myself for that—I made a decision, after all, one which makes sense to me even amidst this mini-blackout. (Although I may end up creating yet another account and using that as a drop-box. Christ.)

When I was working on my dissertation I was freaked out at the thought of losing chapters. (I mean, I wrote a lot of nonsense, especially at the start, but I wanted to be the one who got rid of something, not my computer.) I made copies of copies on goddess knows how many computer disks (remember those, anyone?) and kept some of these in my office—in case, you know, my apartment burned down or something.

Given the importance of the dissertation, how much work I put into the various chapters, and the circulating story of someone who lost half of her dissertation, well, I considered the investment in 3.5″ diskettes and the time it took to copy that work on to those disks to have been well worth it.

Nothing happened, happily, but the insurance of those back-ups did assure me. I had precious little peace of mind in those days, so one less thing to worry about did matter to me.

Which reminds me: I’m overdue for a copy of my documents on to my external hard drive.

♪ Better safe than sooorrry. . . .♫