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Health Care 101

[Update: Your blogger on "Marketplace" this evening.]

[My Web story posted this morning.]

They held the tutorial in the Capitol basement starting at 4 in the afternoon Monday. For the first two and a half hours, about 180 members of Congress had to do something for which they typically have limited affinity: Remain speechless. Sit still in a little folding chair. Listen to staffers.

They couldn't even ask questions, but they could jot them down, for discussion later in the evening.

They were all House Democrats, boning up on the historic and controversial health-care reform legislation that's gradually emerging from their chamber. The rough draft of the bill ("America's Health Choices Act") runs more than 1,000 pages, with amendments yet to come. Last week the Democrats decided that they needed to know more about the legislation before they go back to their constituents for the August recess. Hence the teach-in, an unusual basement seminar that lasted five hours with one break for procedural votes on the House floor.

Staffers led the members through the bill section by section -- from Division A, Title I, Subtitle A, Section 101 all the way through Division C, Title V, Subtitle D, Section 2531.

"No one's going to say we haven't read the bill," said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat, as he took a break from the closed-door gathering.

Click here to keep reading.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 28, 2009; 10:44 AM ET
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It was good of so many Members to sit and listen for so long. Unfortunately, I'm getting a feeling that the final bill will be twice as long, and accomplish nearly nothing.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I have to say I am skeptical that the current sturm und drang will amount to much. I hope I'm wrong, though.

Also, I'd have loved to have seen the definition in the Glossary for "Duel Eligibles." Other than Hamilton & Burr, who's on the list?

Posted by: byoolin1 | July 28, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I can't read HIPAA without picturing the dancing hippos from Fantasia. Hopefully you can't either now.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Andrew Jackson was definitely not duel eligible. I don't think anyone messed with him, not even South Carolina secessionists.

The NY Times today lays out the notion that Max Baucus and a few other senators are writing the health legislation, so the House is irrelevant. The Senate group's small-state senators remind me of the time when Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, who lived down the street from me, sort of single-handedly pushed immigration legislation.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 28, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

This is a critical moment, and not just because of health care. The whole concept of government as a positive agent is at risk. If Congress mucks this up they will help prove that those who smugly declare that "Government is the problem" might just have a point. This, to my mind, would be bad.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 28, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

It is strange to me that Congress seems to be looking for kudos for just doing their jobs--John Conyers apparently excluded. Call me crazy, but I had hoped that they would make sure to understand bill they voted on--rather than have Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner tell them how to vote.

Especially in this instance where we are contemplating a trillion dollar expenditure that will change health care delivery as we know it, I'm amazed by all the effort to pat themselves on the back.

This effort should apply not only Congress but to educate every American on the content of the bill. It's going to affect every single person, but with the proposed "millionaires' tax" very few people actually have any "skin in the game" here. In my mind, the thing to do with health care is take a longer, more measured approach to crafting the legislation (you know that the unintended consequences from rushing this bill through are going to be monumental) and then to have everyone on the hook to pay for it--even if it's just a nominal amount by the lower tax brackets.

Posted by: Awal | July 28, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If T. Roosevelt's brother-in-law was duel-eligible more than once, could he have passed one along to someone else? Sort of like giving unused sick leave to a friend in need? Think they cover these situations in the fine print?

Posted by: LostInThought | July 28, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I thought you had to drive one of those pickups with the double-wide rear axle to be eligible...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Even if this winds up being a half-decent bill, 95% of the Repubs won't vote for it on orders from the leadership, who want this, and the President, to fail. They really have no interest in changing the status quo, probably figuring that those 45 million or so folks who don't or can't get health insurance won't make much difference in the voting polls anyhow. If you listened to any of the conservatives on the Sunday blab fests, none of them that I heard had any suggeted alternatives; they just bad-mouthed the administration and the Dems for trying to do something. I'm not yet encouraged that this will really amount to a whole lot at this point, but we can hope.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 28, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, health care reform. As I've posted before, I can hardly wait to become Medicare-eligible (2 years, one month and one day ... and counting). Tomorrow I get to have "the girls" crushed by a mammogram, which at least is covered by law, although I may have to pay $25 for the extra-special reading. But before that, I'm getting a bone scan, which will likely tell me that I either still have osteopenia or I have full fledge osteoporosis. But that will cost me a few hundred dollars -- all participating towards my $2500 deductible, along with an incipient MRI before my back surgery.

I am so fed up with the economics of the so-called "health care" in this country. All of us have paid the premiums to our respective health insurance companies, and what have we gotten in return for it? The pleasure of knowing that the CEOs and the shareholders of said companies are thrilled with their Porches and McMansions?

Enuf! I say -- yes, ENUF!!! To the streets!!!

Well, I would do that if my decrepit knees and back would let me.


Posted by: -ftb- | July 28, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The only problem with the 'millionaire's tax' is that I fully expect the definition of millionaire to slip at least one decimal place to the left before all is said and done. Recall that the original income tax was meant to only tax the extremely wealthy and eventually nabbed nearly everybody through bracket creep.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Insurance providers as non-profit entities, ftb? That leads to medical providers being non-profit too, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

According the Weingarten chat going on right now, that is a Lexus, not a Porch, that the blonde painted.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I am sooo for medical providers being non-profit, Scotty. No problem with doctors making a good living, but the profit numbers are crazy. And it looks to me like chasing profits leads to bad medicine. At least it has in my case.

Posted by: slyness | July 28, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that malpractice insurance requires doctors to make more just to afford to practice.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 28, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse


So once doctors pay off med school bills, they must drop their charges to the level where they're only covering expenses?

See where this slope leads?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Judiciary sent Sotomayor on to the full Senate:

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I thought we were talking about the insurers being non-profit, not the doctors? Non-profits can be fabulously wealthy, they just use the revenues for the business-at-hand, not for distribution.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

So a CEO for a non-profit insurance firm (which would very likely still produce cases equated with "chasing profits") could still have a fabulous car and house without fear of a street mob, Yoki?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Sure, if his employment contract included a fabulous salary.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

A lot of bad publicity comes about when the lifestyles of the top executives at non-profits are disclosed. Being the CEO of a non-profit is not a vow of poverty by any means. They can be as personally greedy as any white shoe bond trader.

Most Blue-Cross type companies were once non-profit but taken private by insiders. I prefer the mutual insurance model where excess premiums are distributed back to the policy holders.

I still think the Obama plan is another half-step deck chair rearranging. If we are not going single payer, we must have complete and total portability including unemployment coverage. COBRA is a complete joke designed to make people drop coverage.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, and I made the Weingarten chat, too! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Scotty. Which comment?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

I, for one, am a little weary of the various scare tactics used by those that do not want a Health Care bill to pass.

As some may be insinuating here, it seems to me that many of the people succombing to those tactics and perpetuating theories and myths as to what would happen in a Brave New World of the American Health Care Choices Act are the same ones who suggested that there would be rampant acts of terrorism on American soil and unquenchable civil unrest should Barrack Obama be elected President of the United States (so far, not so much).

RD, I do love you man, but I had to chuckle at your suggestion that "This is a critical moment, and not just because of health care. The whole concept of government as a positive agent is at risk. If Congress mucks this up they will help prove that those who smugly declare that 'Government is the problem' might just have a point. This, to my mind, would be bad."

Far too many people across this country's political spectrum believe this to be true already.

If one were to pick a basket to put all the Eggs of Hope for American Government into, this wouldn't be the one *I'd* pick, my friend.

This topic and bill are very divisive, and whatever happens, there will be partisan anger towards the side that does not prevail.

Personally, I'm throwing my Governmental Huevos of Hope at Congress acting on a BCS/College Football playoff system.

That might throw the anti-Health Care Choices folks a McMcuffin to deal with.


Posted by: -bc- | July 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "McMuffin"

Sheesh, I'm all scrambled today.


Posted by: -bc- | July 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The "Yagottabekiddin, ME" comment about Dobbs, yello.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Adn FWIW, I'm making my comments about insurance and doctors despite having out-of-pocket costs for services meant to ensure I'm OK, which my current policy doesn't cover. I'm sure my carrier would have preferred to cover huge treatment bills instead. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I am not surprised to find the word "capitation" as a health care term.

I've been accused of running my life as a chicken that's not.


Posted by: -bc- | July 28, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, as soon as you said you had a comment go through, I knew *exactly* which one. It sounds so like you.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

All good writers have a distinctive voice, Yoki.

So I'm surprised you recognized me. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 28, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Town Hall on health care now:
Obama answers questions so reasonably, in such detail. I don't get all the fear.

Jon Stewart did a good job with William Kristol last night. I haven't watched the whole interview yet.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 28, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Recapitation has to be a very expensive procedure.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 28, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, style... sort of like Dick Young? Scotty? ...

Posted by: russianthistle | July 28, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It's so busy here. I thought I would Post a Post Theatre piece from the two bad boys ...

WARNING, this is not office safe. Carpenters playing "The Way We Were."

Posted by: russianthistle | July 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

To be more accurate... it isn't even a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee safe video. Play the audio and WHO KNOWS who will try to talk to you.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 28, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Is recapitation sort of the opposite of defenestration?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I do know that to be involved in fenestration, you pretty much have to be a member of Phi Beta Kapitation.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Very busy. Feel strongly about this. Capsule format:

Health care reform good.
Congresspeople studying a bill good, alas it is worth comment.
Persons obstructing health care reform not good.
Blue Dogs on health care reform make me so mad I could spit.
Seen from gym, number of CNN commercials for health care reform about equal to number against, but took a week to catch up.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Also, capitation interesting. Recapitation alarming.
Decapitation bad.
Defenestration good or bad, depending on who and by whom. Blue Dogs?? Hmmmm.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Got home in time to fire off some mojo to dbG - Good luck and remember - wonderful!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 28, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I was sufficiently amused by the "cannon fodder" quote that I wrote a note to Professor Harrison. Her reply was charming:
- - -
Can I just say that though I am often articulate, the metaphor is just something that I really have difficultly with. My friends' favorite is when when I compared someone to "an ox in a crystal store" (which in my mind is so much more graphic that the ubiquitous bull in a china shop).

Perhaps I was thinking of paintball? (nah, I just botched this one).

Posted by: bobsewell | July 28, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't expect the Congress to pass a reform bill that will be met with nothing but bilateral praise. Nor do I expect Congress to pass a reform bill that will completely solve the problems of coverage and cost.

What I do expect is that Congress pass a reform bill that is at least coherent and logically consistent. Something that moves towards a rational, although certainly not universally accepted, solution.

We have a popular. highly-intelligent President and a Congress dominated by members of his party. If, under this scenario, meaningful health reform of some kind cannot be achieved, then I am profoundly skeptical that it will ever be achieved.

And, more fundamentally, I will become increasingly skeptical that our political system has the capability to tackle any complex and divisive problem before it becomes cataclysmic.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 28, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I used to work for a not-for-profit and can assure you that they do indeed generate a positive revenue. The key difference, outside of certain tax advantages, is that all revenue gets plowed back into the organization.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm very much in favor of not-for-profit private insurance. I'm so tired of subsidizing shareholders at my huge expense, there is nothing more to say about it (although, yes indeedy, ALTHOUGH, I will try).

Spoke today with a friend (and lawyer) in Michigan this afternoon. He's in a Detroit suburb, and he said that it is worse than terrible in that state. It's like people are behaving like walking zombies -- no money, no work, a development which was started maybe one year ago is half done and abandoned. . . . I told him that I'm glad my parents (who lived through the Depression) are gone now (well, for any number of reasons, but this one works, too). It would be very difficult for them.

As I try to continue to keep my own head above water and try to "make deals" for my health care because of my high deductible, it's difficult *not* to be outraged. Any kind of "gummint" inefficiencies are nothing compared to the for-profit greediness kind of enforced inefficiencies -- to get more money for those who have enough to pave the way to the moon and back.

Ah, well. Just makes me think of a whole lot of CEOs I'd like to decapitate, or defenestrate on their lower "floors". You all know what I mean.

Posted by: -ftb- | July 28, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh Glenn Beck, how far you have fallen.

Posted by: engelmann | July 28, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

There's somebody who should be made to write the definition of "racist" 1000 times, and write an essay on institutionalized racism.

I didn't know he was that high above the mud in the first place, Engelmann.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 28, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

One Betsy McCaughly claims to have read the entire bill, and found vicious attacks on the elderly, including mandatory training for Medicare recipients in how to kill themselves. And Comparative Effectiveness, meaning British-style rationing of care!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 28, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm already missing the days when kits were Fun 101.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 28, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Al, for the mojo. I think it worked, 2moro iz another day. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | July 28, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

ftb waiting for medicare, note it comes with a $65 a month deduction from your social security.

As our only meaningful income is from my social security,
my wife, who is younger, receives almost free medical care, including free mammograms from a local clinic that is funded by charitable donations from some large foundations. They also arrange to get most of her meds free from the pharmaceuticals.

The clinic was originally founded here to serve the migrant Hispanic population but has expanded to three large facilities that serve a clientele that is 40% non-hispanic.

Posted by: bh72 | July 28, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Warm enough for you mostly?
108 here and 105 officially in Medford. Heat index is 110.
Local news is that you and Portland are or will be getting the same.

A hot wind is also blowing here so the forest fire situation is critical with dry thunder storms possible the this afternoon and the following three nights and days.

Posted by: bh72 | July 28, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, to ftb and others, The first price quoted by a hospital is not the final bottom line. When my wife required some foot surgery a few years ago even before we found the clinic, a few calls around to the various hospitals where the doctor did surgery got the price lowered by 50%. Even after the surgery, some hospitals called back with lower quotes.

Posted by: bh72 | July 28, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Church league championship softball game was delayed by rain in the 6th inning. We waited a while, but there is still lightning in the area after 45 minutes so we came home. No complaints about the rain, we need it.

dbG, thoughts, prayers, and mojo in your corner.

Posted by: slyness | July 28, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Betsy McCaughly must have confused the Health Care Bill with Welcome To The Monkey House. I'm sure Obama has made no proposal for purple-roofed Ethical Suicide Parlors. Yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, bh, it's too hot to Boodle again today. Our weather station says it's 100 degrees, not sure what the official temperature is. The humidity is only 30%, though. I feel a yellojkt rant coming...

Yay, dbG! Good thoughts continuing.

The Blue Angels flew over my house a few minutes ago. They're here for Seafair, so will be zipping around, loudly, for the next few days. Should try to get some pics.

Pres Obama got a question in the town hall about the mandatory requirement for everyone on Medicare to say how they wanted to die. He explained what the provision really was - to have Medicare cover the cost of consultations for living wills for those that want to set one up. It's amazing how these things get twisted. He did note that the Fed govt didn't have enough workers to track down every Medicare recipient to get this info, anyway.

(the Boodler formerly known as mostlylurking)

Posted by: seasea1 | July 28, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link to weather geek Cliff Mass's blog - he says the dewpoint is high for around Seattle, and thinks it's making the heat feel like east coast heat. I don't think it's that bad, but I haven't been out since this morning. I'm sitting in front of a fan, in a dark room, when I'm not Boodling. The room the computer is in has a western exposure, and is pretty hot now.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 28, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you guys out west are getting some incredibly hot weather. I assume the heat is unusual for you? We are now in real summer heat and humidity, altho’ the temps are only in the 80’s, not the 90’s we would be getting most years.

I have not been paying strict attention to the healthcare debate news. This has been on purpose as I just don’t feel like getting worked up over anything right now. I do feel fortunate that if/when my COBRA runs out, MA has healthcare. I’m sure it won’t be great, but it should be better than nothing!

Posted by: badsneakers | July 28, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

rt-that was Streisand not The Carpenters, but NSFW nonetheless.

Temp topped out at 70 here today, looking at a low in the 40s tonight. I guess that means the average US temp is just about right for this time of year.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 28, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

We are surrounded by hospitals that were nonprofits just a few years ago but have somehow transformed into businesses. I understand it may not have much to do with outcomes but blind faith in the invisible Dr. Hand may be misplaced at the least.

My wish list includes cutting ties with insurance corporations if the government takes over, so as to simply not pay the piper twice instead of once, because I don't want the government to simply hand over cash to insurance companies for the uninsured, and let them deal with it all. Which I have a feeling is exactly what the insurance companies are gearing up to fight for.

And also rational rationing: if the insurance companies recede, stopping a gimme system where every sprained ankle demands a paid-for pair of $100 shoes to help the injury get better. Which I have personally seen happen in a corporate health plan. And what do healthy people in their twenties with no complaints need to be tested for? (That's not rhetorical, I meant some rationality needs to be applied here, and I hope experts can apply it. Nowadays, the uninsured healthy twenty-somethings either have insurance and checkups or they don't, and don't.) That's my conservative side.

Other than that, I'm all for socialized medicine. Some doctors work for the gvmt. already, such as at the VA, and some prefer private practice; no problem. I also have watched what repaying student loans do to typical practitioners; they are significant. I'd like to see some medical educational grants increased along with other solutions.

One more wish is that doctors would stop bowing to patient pressure on prescribing TV advertised drugs, and useless antibiotics for colds in particular.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 28, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Apparently all this is legal. (ruining your credit by buying alcohol - and shopping at walmart)

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 28, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 28, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi all (and Al, too)... Dr G and I have returned from our fabulous road trip. We had a wonderful time with dmd and dmdspouse (and kids). In fact, dinner was so much fun, we met for breakfast the next morning!

Imaginary friends can be real fun!

Haven't had time to backboodle; dmd told me about your job, badsneaks... so sorry to hear it.

I send my best wishes, congratulations and sympathies to all here who require such... after tomorrow I'll be able to properly address all the issues.

I missed you!!!

Posted by: -TBG- | July 28, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home, TBG! We missed you too (at least, EYE did).

Jumper, that is really despicable.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

TBG, welcome home! WE missed you!
(Oh for italics....)

Posted by: rickoshea0 | July 28, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey TBG! Welcome back, glad to hear you enjoyed your vacation! Yes, we missed you and are glad you've returned.

Posted by: slyness | July 28, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

All the credit card reforms were given one year before they become effective so expect a lot more shenanigans from these places before they have to start behaving themselves and thinking up new ways to rip off their customers.

Welcome back, TBG!

Posted by: yellojkt | July 28, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It is my ardent belief that I must bring the following linked product to the attention of the Boodle, especially those of you of a severe chocoholic persuasion. I personally helped field-test a bottle of said product at dinner tonight and can attest to its supernatural qualities.

Is it, in fact, truly a "wine"? Hell, no. Do I remotely care? Hell, no.

You may return to your previous activities now.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 28, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks and welcome back TBG. I must have been away and so missed the news that you would be visiting dmd. How great!

Posted by: badsneakers | July 28, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I have a particular taste for dark (preferably Trader Joe's Swiss 72% cacao) chocolate paired with a nice Shiraz.

That some evil mind has combined chocolate and wine in an accessible tipple is evil. Thankfully, it appears not to be available in Calgary.

Thus I am saved from myself.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

The Dutch are truly an evilly inventive people, Yoki.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 28, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Health care. Chocolate and wine, all-in-one. Yet another interesting day in the boodle. Finished wiring the office today, and installed the wiring devices. Light fixture installation and completing the work at the panel are on tap tomorrow. We might even be in a spot to have final inspection a week from now.

...pass that bottle to me...

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Thumb still attached to wrist and mobile? Good.

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Chocolate news is always wonderful.

BH, sorry about the health woes. I love the Rogue River Valley and also, think that the Oregon Coast is wild and rugged. We visted Yachets several summers, between Tillamock and Coos Bay. Are you in OR or Northern CA?

Welcome back TBG.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 28, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

CqP! *Scotty-type-Grover-waves!*

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi RickOshea. I like italics, too. What about font choice too?
Here is Coca Cola


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 28, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

All digits are functioning, and no cuts to speak of since the utility knife debacle. A stationary front has thunder and gully washers throughout the area. One just dropped about 3 cm., and it's starting again. At least Mother Nature has taken plant watering off the list of nightly chores. For now...

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, be careful and avoid any restaurants that serve chocolate martinis, and do not even consider Irish creme chocolate mousses.

I agree with you on the dark chocolate, though. The more cacao, the better.

Alas, alcohol and I do not agree, even with chocolate in the mix.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 28, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Grover waves are welcome and funny. Jack,when you are done, I need an outside electrical outlet outside so I can use my new drill. I did have a boodle moment when looking at them, as in what would Jack by, or Mudge, or Frosti, or BC.....the tooldlers.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 28, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't do martinis of any kind. I had one once, and turned a sort of horrid purple (particularly about the ears). The flush was brutal. Never again. I'm a no Gin zone.

Gully washers! May I steal (plagiarize, fairly use, quote) that, one day? When the opportunity presents itself?

Posted by: Yoki | July 28, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Gladly, CqP. Neil Young covered this song. It's sounds a lot like this one:

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Go nuts, Yoki. Use it anytime.

Cqp, be sure of the following when that outdoor outlet is installed: a) You invest in a good metal waterproof receptacle box; b) a ground fault circuit interrupting (GFCI) outlet is used; and, c) It's on its own circuit, assuming you have room to add a circuit in your breaker panel. To err on the side of caution, I use 12/2 romex, with a ground (the vernacular is 12/2, w/G) and wire a ground fault circuit breaker in the panel as a redundant means of protection. The box and cover should run 25-30 clams, the GFCI about 15, the GFCI circuit breaker about 45 and about 10 more clams for the wire. A licensed electrician charges about 35-60 more clams to install the receptacle, plus the service call. 'Round here, that'll run at least 60. So, 175-220 if a pro does it. I recommend finding a diy book and having a go at it yourself, with the help of someone that has done such a job before. If you mount the box in the wall, you can count on spending up to 3 hours , soup to nuts. If you surface mount the box it's about the same, and you may have to run the wire through Sch 40 PVC pipe in order to keep things water tight. If you need any further assistance, just holler.

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead, Yoki, Jack didn't coin it himself; it's a common expression in the south (southwest, I think).

Hot air holds a lot of moisture, but when it lets go, WHOOSH.

In fact, there's a racehorse named Gully Washer.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 28, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

This guy is just cool. When I get big, I'll be able to play licks like this. On a gitbox.

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

bingo, Wilbrod. I think I first heard it when I lived in LA. The phenomenon is scary in that part of the country.

Posted by: -jack- | July 28, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe I missed the boss on Marketplace. I never miss that show! almost never. Rats.

Colbert is skewering the birthers.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 28, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse


Looks like the President's commission on human space flight is recommending extending the Shuttle and International Space Station's service lives.

A mixed blessing, IMO. Always good to stick with systems that work, but also allows for more procrastination for answering the questions about Where Do We Go From Here and What Comes Next.


Posted by: -bc- | July 28, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Well College QP, we are almost both, just 25 miles north of the CA border in Oregon. And not Ashland. Other side of the range.

It's official, 107 at 3:15 PM at the Medford airport breaking the 7/28/03 record of 105.

Here according to the closest weather station, it's 97.9 with an RH (yellojkt) of 8%. We are about 500 feet higher and our outdoor thermometer says 89. Just opened the windows and turned off the AC. Over in Brookings 80 miles away it's 60.

Just got back in from nourishing three walnut tree sprouts with a couple of coffee cans of water that the grey squirrels planted last fall. They will enhance the drive up the hill if they make it. Tried to do this a couple of years ago when we had a lot of walnuts, but the deer ate the sprouts when they got succulent. Put wire gages around them this year.

Mudge, did you put that almost wine on your credit card? Lots of google & catalogs coming your way.

Yes, my rescue big boy tomato is turning red. Two more days he is sided with bacon and mayo on toasted health nut bread.

Posted by: bh72 | July 28, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, yellojkt, went back and looked it up. The dew point is 36F. Is that better that a RH of 8%?

Posted by: bh72 | July 29, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Easy, yello. Pulling the hair out does no good.

I had to go back to see who first said "gully washer" but I had figured it was Slyness or Jack. It's a common Southernism, Yoki. I heard it all my life. We had a couple of them here also tonight so I was able to turn off the attic fan early, and it cooled off tolerably soon with the rain. My tomatoes are going to overwhelm me within days; I have the right amount now but soon the surplus will be ridiculous. As for the poblanos, Yoki, I think I will stuff them while they are still green and have chiles relleños when they are ready. As late as I planted them that will be a while. The baby peppers are twice as big as my thumb and about as long now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 29, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

chiles relleños! Fiiiinne!

How I wish (!!) I could grow chiles relleños.

Posted by: Yoki | July 29, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

We hit a gully washer in Wyoming between Devil's Mountain and Sheridan. 20 minutes of brutal near monsoon level rain and then nothing.

Most froofy martinis (I hate to call them girlie drinks since I love them so much) use vodka as a base in lieu of gin. I'm a little partial to appletinis like my hero J.D. from Scrubs.

That's known as a dry heat. Like in Death Valley.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 29, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Yes, we had gullywashers last night: three full inches of water in the rain gauge this morning. Not that I'm complaining! Mr. T's work to keep the neighbors' runoff from from washing away our front yard appears to have been successful. The french drains appear to be doing their job as well, but since they are underground it's hard to tell.

Finished writing my chapter yesterday, yay! Now to do the sidebars and be done...

Bible study is this morning; we're finishing up I Kings. Jeez, what a violent book. There are some terrible stories.

Oh, and there's an 80 percent chance of rain today. Oh boy.

Posted by: slyness | July 29, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

TBG glad you are back home and on the boodle but now I miss you.

We have a lot of gully washers in recent days with some forecast for today - it has actually been quite warm the last two days with the heat index in the low 90's.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 29, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home, TBG!

I knew dmd & family would be wonderful hosts. Sigh. Were it not for the lack of chocolate wine, I'm sure Yoki would be too! :-)

I'm looking for the Exam Cram for America's Health Choices Act in later today. That's what we need--expanded Cliff Notes for busy readers.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 29, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Looks like we'll be saved from the risk of melanoma for another day.

French for gully washers:
It's falling nails.
It's raining halberds.
It's raining like a cow pisses.

I thought it was inmpossible but Glenn Beck is turning into a bigger tool than Loo Dobbs. And a dangerous tool at that with all this innuendo about armed insurgency.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 29, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

TBG!!!! *Yoki-style-Grover waves (the kind that involve a curling broom)* :-)

WaPo has a new mobile device interface, which I find to be a great improvement. Looks a lot like the NYT, but there aren't a lot of choices to deal with tiny mobile device screens, now are there?

It's still a little early to call the Nats "reborn" or anything, but I can't complain about four wins in a row, now can I?

And I think 'Mudge has experienced that choco-wine before -- had to pull the bunker's fridge away from the wall and fend off the denizens therein to find and save today's...

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

July 29, 1775: Capt. James Cook (HMS Resolution) arrives at Portsmouth, England, after his second great voyage to the Pacific, during which he disproved the myth of the existence of a great southern continent; Resolution became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle.
1956: Explorer/documentarian Capt. Jacques Cousteau drops the hook of Calypso in the mid-Atlantic Romanche Trench and lets out 5.5 miles of nylon anchor rode in 24,600 feet of water, setting a record for the world’s deepest anchorage.
1967: Fire caused by a leaking aircraft fuel tank aboard the carrier USS Forrestal (CVA 59) kills 134 crew off the coast of Vietnam.

*not-wanting-to-jinx-anything-so-no-comments-on-various-ailments Grover motions* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 29, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Remember dbG, we our door is always open for visits (this applies to other boodlers as well).

We entertained three times on the weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - even for us a little over the top but we had a great time and many, many laughs.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, yanno something? Upon further reflection I note a distinct resemblance between Tool Beck and Tool Dobbs... Has anyone seen them in the same place at the same time?

Oh, and here's an interesting discussion:

What do you see? *heeheehee*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

This may be one of the best examples of when you have lemons make lemonade I have heard about.

If you live in iceberg alley in Newfoundland, what do you do - make iceberg beer.

Love the name of the pub.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 29, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

And not wanting to Boodlehog, but here's a stupid column headline from the Boston Globe:

"Jeff Jacoby: Do we need the Lexus of healthcare?"

Considering we're paying Cadillac prices for Ford Escort care, I'd settle for BMW 3-series kinda healthcare at this point.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 29, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Here is today's travesty:

The WaPo rates 12 area crabcakes and only included one Bawlmer area choice. Admittedly, they picked the right one. G&M is the consensus second best crabcake in B-more (and hence the country), but if they had included Faidley's in the Lexington Market, it would have put all the other poseur crabcakes to shame.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 29, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"Morning Boodle. 67 here this morning with a dew point of 18. Forecast is hot again. 104 - 110. Need to get some coffee down and get out there shoveling before the sun comes over the mountain. Or the mountain rotates eastward.

Posted by: bh72 | July 29, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Please ship all gully washers north and west(IIRC). Its so dry that I don't think anybody cares how much comes at once.

The one thing that quite simply appals me about the for profit style of healthcare is the idea that you have to consider money first, particularly if you are poor. Money ought to not be a player.

Yes we have all sorts of problems, fuelled by lack of good doctors. We lose out to the profit monster that is your current healthcare system.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 29, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Indulge a morning rant please (one does hate to drop in then pi$$ and moan).

Heard an NPR story this morning wherein a woman identified as in her 60s with a husband retired from the military said she didn't want government run health car because she'd had to live with Army care and that wasn't good.

Stop! For all but 2 years of my life when I was covered by student health at university and the fine people of the State of North Dakota, I've had access to the Army health care system. Never paid for a prescription, not even a co-pay. Never paid a co-pay or deductible of any kind for medical care. I have had half a dozen jobs as an adult and never had to choose one over another because of the health plan offered, nor have I had to pay a dime to keep my coverage between jobs (just had to stay married to Mr. F, but that's no hardship.) As for the quality of the care, and ease of access, except for the hassle of getting an appointment for a sports/school physical for the progeny (capacity issue) it has been a completely positive experience in the last 15 years or so. Before that the care was great, but getting an appointment was a bltch (I'll save my praise of Tricare for another time).

So, if anyone tells you they hated Army care based on experiences "back in the day" 1. it's changed, and 2. even back in the day it wasn't really bad. I have noted a sea change among military spouses-20 years ago many would complain that they coverage they enjoyed before their SO joined the Army was soooo much better. Now I hear that health care was one of the top 2 reasons their SO joined in the first place.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 29, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Well dagnabit... 'Mudge will be inconsolable for awhile, I'm sure...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 29, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Some of us Marylanders use the term "gully washer" too - especially out in the hills of the NW parts of the state, where there are in fact, gullies.

Can't argue with you on the crabcake question, yello. Been eating 'em all my life, and defnintely subscribe to the "less is more" model where they're concerned. Was talking about this with a friend the other day, and we were agreed that as MD people, we prefer our 'cakes with blue crab and Old Bay.

As far as my health care goes, I'd be very happy with a BMW 3-series, though I'll take a good, solid Honda.

As far a Glenn Beck goes, I believe he's reshaping his career into the the Jon Stewart 'comedic news-and-comment' mold, a-la Keith Olbermann.

On a related note, I wonder what Craig Kilborn's doing these days?


Posted by: -bc- | July 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Not having been in the military medical system for 25 years, I have no recent experience, but I can think of a lot worse models to use for a Universal Health Care system. Maybe we just enroll the entire country in the military and go from there.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 29, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

dr, I know where your water is gone: here.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 29, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Ooooh, byoolin made the Weingarten update, well done! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 29, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

SCC has gone
Ooooh, and it is raining now. Goody.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 29, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 29, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Sheridan's a neat old town. They kept boardwalks on one side of the street for the longest time.

Oregon does get some summer heat. One hot afternoon in Portland, the driver of the un-air conditioned express bus brought along a big cooler of canned soda pop. A while later, the guy got a promotion, doing a route in the trendy Northwest.

Here' it's high summer. Don't really want to do nonessential yard work. The palms are mostly looking happy and growing rapidly; a feather-leaved bangalow from Queensland, a baby when planted in 2004, unfurled a new leaf last night. It's already at least 15 feet tall.

The coonties and other cycads in the genus Zamia are putting out mini-flushes of new leaves. The coonties with their dense, erect feather leaves make effective knee-high shrubs, not needing pruning to keep in shape. They've done wonders for the hot west side of the house where grass never grew well.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 29, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

new kit.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 29, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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