WENDY VICTORA: Stop hiding behind safety of our screens

I realize it would be a lot of work to remove anonymity from social media, but it sure would be nice for people to have to take responsibility for their words. Of course, there are those who don’t care even though their identities are well known. Still, this would be a good start.

Accountability — being held responsible for our actions and our words — keeps us kinder. As a longtime columnist for the Daily News, I enjoy the smallest level of celebrity status. Occasionally people recognize me as being the face that’s looked back at them on Sunday mornings for more than a decade.

Read the full article at www.nwfdailynews.com.

Cinco de Mayo, explained: how a Mexican battle cry became an American holiday

It’s certainly worth celebrating how Cinco de Mayo relates to the defeat the Confederacy in the Civil War.

On Saturday, many Americans are celebrating a holiday they likely know almost nothing about. I’m speaking, of course, of Cinco de Mayo, which is Spanish for May 5.

Read the full article at www.vox.com.

This is why Pence’s sickening embrace of Arpaio is so important

An opinion from Jennifer Rubin. Look her up.

Vice President Pence’s recent welcome for the convicted and pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, now a Senate candidate, was a new low in the sorry tale of Pence’s self-debasement. He declared at an event for America First Policies (more about that outfit in a moment): “A great friend of this president.

Read the full article at www.washingtonpost.com.

How Russian Facebook Ads Divided and Targeted US Voters Before the 2016 Election

While this is truly depressing, it’s even worse knowing that so many people believe things based on unsubstantiated claims in an ad or an article headline. (Note: this behavior is not unique to either the right or the left – or the center, for that matter.)

When Young Mie Kim began studying political ads on Facebook in August of 2016—while Hillary Clinton was still leading the polls— few people had ever heard of the Russian propaganda group, Internet Research Agency.

Read the full article at www.wired.com.

Heaven and Hell

While walking down the street one day a corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven…???

So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell…

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil smiles at him and says,

“Yesterday we were campaigning, Today, you voted.”

Another Side of the Healthcare Issue

It seems to me that when it comes to healthcare issues, many people are focused on the quality of care, cost of care and prescription drugs, and access to healthcare for everyone. Sure these are critical issues, but I think there is another big area that is being ignored even though it should be one of the easier problems to fix. It could also save money and a lot of stress – especially for the elderly.

The issue I’m referring to is the whole coordination of benefits and payment process. For the last few years, I’ve been helping my parents deal with Medicare, Medicaid, HMOs and healthcare providers. While they have been able to get the care they need, virtually every time they see a provider, the billing gets screwed up. Despite filling out long, detailed forms with all of the required insurance information, the healthcare providers always seem to bill incorrectly. We’ve seen bills submitted to the wrong insurance company, submitted to Medicare when they should have gone to the HMO, sent to the wrong address, and sent to collections before a bill was ever sent.

This could be fixed without political turmoil, more taxes, healthcare industry whining lobbying, etc. All it needs is for people to complain loud and long. Plus a few smart tech companies to straighten out the cockeyed billing systems. Imagine if it were easy to record and transmit health insurance information. I’m not talking about personal medical records, just information about who your insurance company is, what type of coverage you have, deductibles, etc. So, when you go to the hospital, they can look up the appropriate information and make sure bills get directed properly.

I can only  imagine how much money is wasted on the problems with healthcare billing – not to mention the unending hassle and confusion for consumers. Could you imagine your 80-year-old grandmother trying to sort out a billing mess like this?

What can you do? Write to congress, write a letter to the editor, complain loudly to your healthcare providers, blog – whatever you can do to get people to notice.

A few things to keep in mind on Election Day

Iraq
Iraq
Iraq
Abu Ghraib
Guantanamo
Unwarranted Phone Taps
Unprecedented Powers
Unmatched Incompetence
Unparalleled Corruption
Governor Bob Taft
Representative Tom Delay
Representative Roy Blunt
Representative Ken Calvert
Representative John Dolittle
Representative Tom Feeney
Representative Katherine Harris
Representative Jerry Lewis
Representative Gary Miller
Representative Marilyn Musgrave
Representative Richard Pombo
Representative Rick Renzi
Representative John Sweeney
Representative Charles Taylor
Representative Curt Weldon
Representative J.D. Hayworth
Representative Don Sherwood
Representative Bob Ney
Representative Duke Cunningham
Representative Tom Reynolds
Representative Chris Cannon
Jeff Gannon
Representative Mark Foley
Representative Dennis Hastert
Senator George Allen
Senator Bill Frist
Senator Conrad Burns
Senator Rick Santorum
David Safavian
The Vice Presidential Energy Task Force
Three bucks a gallon
Record oil company profits
Anwar Pipeline
Anbar Province
Adelphia
Merck
Halliburton
Arthur Anderson
Qwest
Tyco
WorldCom
Global Crossing
Global Warming
Global Boiling
Exxon
Enron
Abramoff
Adam Kidan
Timothy Flanigan
Ralph Reed
Rita
Katrina
Fema
Terri
Condi
Harriet Miers
The Supreme Court
Diebold
John Bolton
Florida, 2000
Ohio, 2004
North Korea
Iran
Darfur
Stem Cell Research
Scooter Libby
Valerie Plame
Golden Parachutes
Shrunken Pensions
Bernie Kerik
Eminent Domain
Social Security
Habeas Corpus
Ahmad Chalabi
The Baghdad Museum
Tora Bora
Taliban Resurgence
Iraqi Insurgents
General Eric Shinsecki
General Anthony Zinni
Mission Accomplished
Illegal Immigration
Intelligent Design
Kenneth Tomlinson
Claude Allen
Swift Boat Hit Squads
Ari Fleischer
Scott McClellan
Tony Snow
Ann Coulter
Expiration of Assault Weapons Ban
John Ashcroft
Alberto Gonzales
George Tenet
Paul Bremer
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Kissinger Redux
Duck Cheney
Donald Henry Rumsfeld
Turd Blossom
And finally, the Uniter-Decider-Reader of Camus, Shakespeare and “My Pet Goat,” who describes the party that successfully prosecuted two world wars as people who cut and run.