Y is for not so young: Medicare

I’ve been wearing long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer, for the past 15 years.

In the year before I turned 65, I realized that I had to apply for Medicare. If I had not known this, the wealth of solicitations, including multiples from the same few companies, that I received made it abundantly clear.

Technically, I had to apply within the 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, which:
Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
Includes the month you turn 65
Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

I waited until May and applied online. In short order, I received my Medicare card dated March 1. “Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, even if they have health insurance from an employer. This is because most people paid Medicare taxes while they worked so they don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A.” Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.

“Certain people may choose to delay Part B. In most cases, it depends on the type of health coverage you may have.” Some coverage might cover for Pulse Vascular (for vascular specialist in New Jersey). Since I’m still working at a job with decent health benefits, I am presuming I can postpone signing on to that section, which covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

I HOPE that’s correct because “you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later.” And the penalty is 10% per year.

I know a friend of mine who signed to Part B when she did not have to. And once you’ve signed on, you can’t UNsign.

In anticipation of this, I’ve been going to every doctor I’ve thought I should have seen years ago. My podiatrist has provided me with a pair of shoe inserts that compensate for my pigeon-toedness that I’ve experienced at least since I was in 7th grade.

My dermatologist checked my skin for irregularities and discovered actinic keratosis, a pre-cancerous condition, on the tip of my ear, which she sprayed with liquid nitrogen. So I’m redoubling my effort to use sunscreen ALL of the time, SPF 70 or better; and wearing a floppy hat, not just a cap that covers my pate. This is why I’ve been wearing long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer, for the past 15 years.

For ABC Wednesday

Cruelty in the name of God

“Anything less is cruelty in its purest form.”

One of the Rob Rogers cartoons that got him fired

On my way to a friend’s retirement party this past Flag Day, I came across a sizable demonstration of folks protesting the cruel and barbaric policies of the current regime, separating children from their parents at the border, including those coming to the border for sanctuary. If I wasn’t already engaged, I might have joined them.

The regime has cited the policy as a negotiating tool in congressional negotiations. It also has worked to block victims of gang violence and domestic abuse from claiming asylum.

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

The Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible in defense of breaking up families. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The beginning of Romans 13 is fairly infamous, one of the passages used to defend slavery in the 1840s. The use of St. Paul to justify acts of cruelty is reprehensible, as he was an apostle not of laws, but of Christ.

Still, late night talk show host, and devout Catholic, Stephen Colbert noted: “If he just read a little bit further into Romans 13:10, it says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.'”

Members of Congress protested the separation of families at the border. Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA 4) recently said, “I don’t care what you believe, who you vote for or what you think about the nuances of immigration reform. These kids need to be with their parents, just like every child. That’s it. That’s all there is. Anything less is cruelty in its purest form.”

Ezekiel 47:22 “You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”

SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas turns 70

Among the many dreadful aspects of Clarence Thomas becoming a member of the US Supreme Court is that he succeeded Thurgood Marshall. Marshall founded and served as executive director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, arguing several cases before SCOTUS, including the landmark “Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation in public education is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”

Thomas, on the other hand, served as chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and “halted the usual EEOC approach of filing class-action discrimination lawsuits, instead pursuing acts of individual discrimination,” which are much more difficult to prove. He had little judicial background when George H. W. Bush nominated him to the high court.

The confirmation hearings were reopened after “an FBI interview with lawyer Anita Hill was leaked… Hill, a black attorney, had worked for Thomas… She testified that Thomas had subjected her to comments of a sexual nature, which she felt constituted sexual harassment or at least ‘behavior that is unbefitting an individual who will be a member of the Court.'”

Thomas denied Hill’s allegations, and famously said: “From my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves… and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”

In the #MeToo era, The Boston Globe asked in 2018, Why is Clarence Thomas still on the Supreme Court? New York magazine suggests impeachment.

And the grounds wouldn’t just be over sexual harassment. Back in 2011, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him. Both he and his late colleague Antonin Scalia probably should have recused themselves in the toxic Citizens United case.

And this from 2013: “Common Cause uncovered that Virginia Thomas earned over $680,000 from the conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, from 2003 to 2007. Justice Thomas failed to include it on his financial disclosure forms… Once he was caught, Thomas amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of his wife’s income.”

A couple yeas ago, an article from Oyez painted a picture of the justice: “Clarence Thomas is known for his quiet, stoic demeanor during oral arguments and his conservative viewpoint that challenges, if not surpasses, even Scalia’s originalism.

“While many justices use questions to show their opinion on an issue or communicate with the other justices as to their feelings on a case, Thomas remains silent… He has shown his opinions to lean farther right than any other justice on the bench today.”

Birthday is June 23

Musician Todd Rundgren turns 70

The concept of Deface the Music by Utopia was to pay homage to The Beatles.

Guitar Player, 1977
As I am a big fan of the eclectic, I love the music of Todd Rundgren.

I discovered Nazz, or the Nazz, his first, Philadelphia-based band after the group had already broken up. “‘Open My Eyes’ gained belated recognition thanks to its inclusion in Nuggets (1972), the genre-defining anthology of American 1960s garage punk and psychedelia.” He put out many albums, under various band monikers, reportage of which is a task too convoluted to note here. Check the Wikipedia.

Nor am I going to get into all the albums he produced for other people, including for Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Meatloaf, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and XTC – look here.

Here’s somebody’s list of The 10 Best Todd Rundgren Albums To Own On Vinyl, FWIW.

Listen! All by Todd Rundgren, unless otherwise indicated; chart action is from Billboard Top 100:

Open My Eyes – Nazz, #112 in 1968
Hello It’s Me – Nazz, #71 in 1969, #66 in 1970 – these songs were the flip sides of each other
Loosen Up – Nazz, parody of Archie Bell and the Drell’s Tighten Up

We Gotta Get You a Woman – Runt, #20 in 1971; it’s unclear if this was a real band or just Todd

I Saw the Light, #16 in 1972
Hello It’s Me, #5 in 1973

Love in Action – Utopia, 1977
Can We Still Be Friends #29 in 1978 – I always find this song extraordinarily sad

Bang The Drum All Day, #63 in 1983; based on his comments playing this with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, Todd thinks this is a really dopey song

Coverville 1222: The Todd Rundgren Cover Story II

Now we get to “the albums that Roger owns on vinyl” section of this post:

Deface the Music – Utopia (1980) – “The concept of the album was to pay homage to The Beatles and create songs which sounded very similar to the Fab Four’s tunes throughout the various stages of their career.” If you appreciate the Rutles, you should get this album.
I Just Want To Touch You
Life Goes On
Everybody Else Is Wrong

Swing to the Right – Utopia (1982)
Swing to the Right
One World

A Cappella (1985)
Something To Fall Back On
Pretending To Care
also
Real Man, from the “A Capella” tour

Ask Roger Anything – well, not THAT

I SUPPOSE I don’t mean ANYTHING anything.

The limitations to what I shall, or shan’t, write in this blog is determined by some inner gauge. What I will write about myself has been increasingly not an issue, although I generally don’t indicate, “Hey, here I am in Times Square,” more as a matter of privacy and security than anything. This restriction insures that I will never be one with the zeitgeist, and I’m actually quite good with that.

But I seem not to be particularly concerned about paring my topics. My politics are what they are, and I don’t see them changing anytime soon. Indeed, writing about them helps define my feelings. It’s quite liberating.

Writing about others is trickier. The Daughter, I decided, I would tell her what I was going to write about her. Some stuff she actually WANTS me to post, such as the letter she wrote to the building contractor that our next-door neighbor used. If I mention I want to acknowledge how well she did in school, she rolls her eyes and sighs. But if she were to truly object, I wouldn’t let it see the light of day.

Every three months or so, I ask you all to Ask Roger Anything. I SUPPOSE I don’t mean ANYTHING anything, but, to date, you haven’t made that an issue. I AM curious what you have in mind. In fact, I’ve already received a couple questions.

When you ask anything of me, I am required by my internal code to respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability. I have not had to use obfuscation very often, though it is allowed – my blog, my rules. You are indeed a polite people.

Per usual, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.