Does wanting affordable health care make me a Democrat?

No, and yes.  Wanting a national healthcare policy stems from my paying attention to rising costs and exclusionary techniques used by the health insurance industry.  I have a better than average health care plan that will last as long as I live, if I can make the payments.  If I fail to make those very reasonable payments, of course, I’ll lose my health care plan and be forced to find a new provider. Both my wife and I have pre-existing conditions (because we’re in our fifties, because I broke my back while ditching my plane). Several pre-existing conditions.

So, I’m currently without a paycheck because I’m a public servant, and the Republican Party is out to make sure I pay for my pre-existing condition, no matter how much my provider wants to charge, and because barring that, they want to pretend that downsizing me out of a job will make enough difference to the national debt that the can re-balance the budget.  Forget or ignore the fact that only a Democrat has managed to balance the budget in my lifetime. Remember that the Republican party has never allowed any national health care plan to reach a floor vote, even though some of them have proposed or cosponsored national health care plans.

AARP has endorsed Obamacare, and I’m assured that this makes them an arm of the Democratic party.  I’m not so sure.  I think they’ve recognized that A Plan is better than No Plan.

WebMD has also answered some questions about Obamacare in a positive light.  Does this mean they’re also a bunch of commie Democrat sympathizers?  Probably only on the issue of health care.

I’m registered as a Dem, even though I have unregistered guns in my house and don’t intend to stop.  Perfectly legal in my red state.  If the Republican party ever came up with a comprehensive health care plan more inclusive than “Nooooo……” then I might register with them to support a specific candidate.

But for now, I’ve had my life saved by my health care program.  I want everybody in the nation to have that buffer against disaster, and I’m willing to call availability of health care a right, and not a privilege of wealth.  I guess that wanting everybody to have affordable health care has made me a Democrat.

I’ll probably be jumping parties when the issue at the top of my agenda becomes gun ownership.  But until everybody has health care, and can afford it, I won’t know, because that will the top, middle, and bottom of my political agenda.

Affordable Health Care is possible, and can be done by this generation.

Certain people are paying large sums of money to front the bald-faced lie that health care should not be available to every person in the U.S.

Time to remember why we are fighting for Affordable Health Care.

Here’s one reason: Prescription Medicine. http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/harvard-medical-study-links-lack-of-insurance-to-45000-us-deaths-a-year/?_r=0

Here’s another, more personal story.

Medical indigence.  Interesting term.  It applies to millions of people who work more than one job.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495228/

Here’s a look at several more issues.v http://www.healthpaconline.net/health-care-issues.htm

It isn’t a question of whether the Democrats or Republicans have the moral high ground. It’s a matter of making sure that my children can have a health care plan even when they don’t turn out to be millionaires.  About 15% of Americans have no comprehensive health care, and the percentage climes each year.  We start fixing it with this generation, or it will be 30% of us without a plan in the next generation.

And the politicians who tell me that it can’t be done, or that it will bankrupt the country, or that the time isn’t right, are either lying or just plain wrong. I’m voting for lying, because they are politicians, and they are moving their lips. It can be done, and it can be done by this generation.

Adventures in The World of Writing Vacations.

Okay. You may know that I’ve taken a month-long leave of absence from work to work on a sequel to Zook Country.  God, or somebody with that sort of extra-natural suasion, has decided to inject some levity into my life.  I don’t think it’s funny, but apparently my supervising deity finds hurricane strength storms and late summer monsoons just really hilarious.

The south wall of my house took two seasons for me to seal up to the point where water didn’t come through it when we had heavy rains during a serious blow.  But for the last five years, I’ve not had leaks during storms.  Until last week.  We’ve had water coming through the walls twice in just over a week, and Thursday night it rained inside our daylight basement.

And I wasn’t there.  I had decided, with permission of the management, to watch Resident Evil Retribution.  I went into the theater on the way home from an appointment I had made before the whole leave without pay thing had kicked up, but which had already stolen three hours from my writing day.  I walked into the theater at 4:40 pm, and the movie was just in time to be seated.  I missed a trailer or two, but caught the flick.  What can I say about the film?  It has exactly the same story content as the average single person shooter RPG from the 1990s.  I’ll probably watch the next one when it hits theaters, and be just as mystified as to why as I was on Thursday.

But then I got out of the theater, and my phone alarm went off to remind me that I had to be in choir practice. I called the manager, and my permission slip read “fine.”

Fine is a bad word in my house, just as it probably is in yours.  I asked, and found out that right after I got permission for the movie, the winds kicked up on the ongoing rainstorm and she’d had to buy and place about ten large Tupperware containers on the downstairs bookshelves and below the points of lowest leakage in the kitchen.  She caught gallons of water in the various containers, and soaked up an unknown amount more with most of our household bath-towels, and she was fairly out of sorts.  Nonetheless, when I said I’d skip choir and come home, she told me that she’d already done about all that could be done under the circumstances.

From almost every perspective, the Thursday episode was her story of abandonment and triumph over extreme weather.  Rain really has to be going sideways to get under the gable and drive through the logs.  I went to choir practice because I’m a coward, and because I really needed to give her a few more hours to let her irritation develop a head of steam. I’ve spent the last few days trying to find somebody who can patch up the leaks in the log wall, because this summer looks to work its way into a stormy fall.

So, that’s the most event filled part of my LWOP.  But I went on leave on the 12th, and had to work almost that entire  day.  I’ve had one friend whom I haven’t seen in thirty years decide to come visit (we went to the dump together, oh my), and I think I’m going to have another visit tomorrow.  The other I saw a mere ten years ago, but still…

In the last two weeks, we’ve had hurricane force winds, lost electricity for a day and a half, and had rain-water come through our back wall, twice.  Since I went on leave, I’ve been to the landfill with friends, and family, in a steady downpour and high wind to drop off a half a ton of collected junk. In the last week, I’ve heard from two friends I hadn’t seen in a decade or more, I’ve had two contractors come out to my house, see the flooding, and feel the soaked floor, then either pass on the job as beyond their abilities, or tell me that I’ll have to try to stay ahead of it myself until the freeze, and had one contractor return my call to apologize and say he was leaving state for a family emergency, but that if I’d line my back wall with plastic he’d take a look at when he got back to Alaska.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff to plug checks (cracks) in logs, but they’re so spongy from absorbed water that I can’t do anything myself until the walls dry naturally.

I’ve written maybe 3,000 words in nine days.  When I’m on-step, I can do that in a day, and still have time for chores.  Now I’m afraid to start writing, since it might be challenging the gods of chance, and cause a tree to fall on my house.

Finally, I got another proof copy of Zook Country today.  I was expecting ARCs this month, but I guess that is not to be.  Should I read the new proof copy, or just okay it?  Inquiring minds want to know

The Secrets of Jin-shei

The Secrets of Jin-shei: A NovelThe Secrets of Jin-shei: A Novel by Alma Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sisters of the Soul: The Secrets of Jin-shei

Alma Hromick-Deckert has written at least fifteen books, substantial short fiction, lived and worked on four continents, and been a witness to worldwide change along the way. According to one of her web-sites, she was born in 1963 on the shores of the Danube in a country that no longer exists, received several degrees in South Africa, but then found it prudent to leave that land rather than be swept aside by militant forces for cultural change, and eventually settled in Bellingham, Washington. The Secrets of Jin-shei, published in 2004 under the name Alma Alexander, is her first American novel, published by Harper Collins as mainstream fiction. Unsurprisingly, considering her own history, Jin-shei examines the lives of a group of nine women who never quite feel as though they belong, and who share, unevenly, a vow that will shape their entire lives.

Jin-shei is interesting and beautiful from several perspectives. Although it has a focus character, Tai, it is truly an ensemble cast. Tai’s most critical actions occur at the beginning and end of the tale, while the body is given more to the activities of each of her Jin-shei sisters. The novel is presented largely in a multiple third person point of view. The writing style trends toward the American speculative fiction standard of “transparent” prose, yet has moments of truly beautiful language, and other moments of truly breathtaking beauty. It has a large cast of major characters, is set in Syai, an ancient Chinese kingdom that never existed and in which magic is real. Alexander begins Jin-shei with an epigraph – prefacing material from the Imperial poet Kato-Tai, in the year 28 of the Star Emperor. The selection frames the entire narrative and reveals that Tai outlived or lost all of her eight sisters of Jin-shei:

All women in Syai are given the gift of the secret vow, the promise that is everlasting, the bond that does not break. I shared my own life with a healer, an alchemist, a sage, a soldier, a gypsy, a rebel leader, a loving ghost, and an Empress who dreamed of immortality and nearly destroyed us all.

Each of the seven major parts of the book begins with a small epigraph quoting a fictional court poet from various Imperial reigns. The epigraphs, if put together, form one poem, which illustrates the ages of a woman, and become the framing notion for each part. The parts are named after notional stages of life within The Way. According to the text, the stages of life are: Liu, Lan, Xat, Qai, Ryu, Pau and Atu, which correspond poetically to the ages of a woman.

An amazing amount of thought and heart went into creating this book, and I loved it. I’ve read it several times, and even wrote a paper about it in graduate school. Now that I’m writing this shore review, I’ll probably have to go back and reread it again. I’ll laugh again, and almost certainly cry again. Some book just hit you that way.

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Awards

It snowed on my house all Friday night, and continued snowing in Anchorage until sometime after 7:00 pm last evening.  With 134.5″ as of yesterday evening, we’re now about two inches over the highest recorded snowfall for a single winter (1954-55, with 132.6″), although it only snowed as much as 7 inches twice all winter (we did have something like 32 days in a row with an inch or two every day).  It froze pretty solidly last night (Saturday, April 7th) and somebody left my son’s window open all night, so I just woke up to a very chili upstairs floor a few minutes ago.  The snow may not last long as temps should reach into the 40s today.  My son didn’t build a snowman yesterday, because the two of us lit out and visited Anchorage.

Zook Country has generated some outstanding reader reviews, and I hope that there are many more to come!  I’ve posted snippets of a couple on the Zook Country page at http://www.billswears.com/storytelling/, and Lida Quillen has posted a few reviews at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ZookCountry_ch1.html#ZookCountry_rev.

The nature of the industry is that “literary reviewers” aren’t likely to review Zook Country spontaneously.  Jake’s voice is very much appropriate for the story told, and literary types discuss authorial and narrative voice all the time, but many of them just can’t see a uniquely voiced book as worthy of review until the author is dead or somehow pulls the J.K. Rowling trick.  It’s up to fans and reader reviews to get the book enough attention to merit attention on high visibility web-sites.

Jess Mannion at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/303981335 gets the “I’m a fan of this reviewer” award for March.  She’s a displaced Alaskan who seems to be thriving in NYC, and I very much miss her and Uncle Sean.

“interesting Juxtaposting” award for March (not juxtaposition, I’m making up a word here).  I received an e-mail from a reviewer who refused to review the book because, among other comments “if someone shot another person they would not get up and be able to drive a car. Now if they were wearing a vest or something else the bullet would not kill them but still leave its mark. My husband and youngest son are in law enforcement. My husband is a deputy and son is a cop. I asked them about it.”  She sent me this on March 12th.  On March 16th, just as I was sinking into despair from that rejection, but otherwise unrelated, a recently retired long term Law Enforcement professional (with a son still in the police department) posted:  “I don’t usually read science fiction, but I really enjoyed Zook Country. It is fast paced, action packed and easy to read. Zook Country would make a great action movie. I am looking forward to a sequel.” Pat L.  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Zook-Country%2FBill-Swears/1108892461.

Okay, I know the retired cop who posted the Barnes and Noble Review, but it’s a really interesting coincidence (well, we knew each other in prehistory, before common folk had the interwebs). Pat L may not know it, but he’s the person who recommended that I buy the CZ-75 that made it into the book.

If you’re looking for something to do for a few minutes, please visit the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites, “like” the book, “like” any reviews that seem particularly useful.  For that matter, tell your friends, and their friends, to buy the book! 

I’m not desperate, I just read that way…