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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Need health insurance? Go to HealthCare.gov.

A few months I ago I promised to blog about my experience signing up for health insurance through the national exchange. My tea party Governor is a progress hater and he refuses to build a Maine state exchange, so I gotta go to the cigar-chompin' feds with their tweed suits and green eyeshades to get my coverage. Having procrastinated long enough, here we go!

Revamped ACA web site home page. 12/3/13
I clicked on orange. Easy peasy!!!!
All I'm doing today is creating an account, so let's see how that goes. (Note: I tried this when the exchange first opened and a giant hand reached out of my monitor and grabbed my throat. I had to beat it back with a cast-iron skillet. So my first hope is that there's a little less attempted strangulation involved.)

There's a button on the HealthCare.gov home page marked "Apply Now For Health Coverage." I'm nervous, but I click with my right hand and firm up my grip on the skillet with my left…

Welcome to the Marketplace.  Enroll now in a plan that covers essential benefits, pre-existing conditions, and more. Open enrollment continues until March 31, 2014. Choose your state and we'll tell you your next steps.
After a welcome like that, I'd be rude if I didn’t brew some tea and bake some fresh cookies.  So I did that and proceeded to click on my state: "Guam." Oops. Butterfingers! "Maine." Then I click "Apply Online."
Create a Marketplace account
All fields are required unless they're marked optional. Don't enter any letters with special characters, like accents, tildes, etc.
Tilde squiggly
I hear the tilde was named after an
Australian woman. They affectionately
called her "Ma," and she won
several waltz contests.
"Marketplace account" sounds a little stuffy, but whatever. And what's a tilde? Answer: it's a squiggly. I didn’t know that. They coulda just said "No Fucking Squigglies" instead of going all schoolmarm on us.

Name…state…email address…[Click Next]…Create a username ("LouieGohmertBlows123")…Create a password ("Password")…[Click Next]… Create Security Questions (Grandmother's nickname: "Lizardface." Supervisor name from first job: "Micromanager Alan Dweeb." Favorite Cuisine: "Human flesh.")…[Click Next]…

[Circle spins]…Please wait while we create your account…[The wait is no more than 20 seconds]…Go check your email, LouieGohmertBlows123, for your activation link…[I check my email]… "Your Marketplace account has been created. There is one more step left before you can use your account. Click on this link to verify your email address."…[Click]…

Success! Your account has been created.

With this account, you can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs.

[Click Next]
LouieGohmertBlows123, what would you like to do?
I think I'd like to stop a moment to catch my breath. And now that I've created my new healthcare.gov account (in under 5 minutes---hooray, success), maybe tomorrow I'll try to buy some cockadoody health insurance after going six years without it. To be continued (but not with squigglies, that's for damn sure)……

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Note:  A Picasso is not a drink coaster.  I understand that now.
-

 Firehouse Art Center Chocolate Festival logo
11 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Mississippi stop its century-old practice of allowing well-behaved inmates to have conjugal visits: 11
Days 'til the 32nd annual Firehouse Art Center Chocolate Festival in Normal, Oklahoma: 11
Number of new homes and apartments started in 2013, up 18.3 percent from 2012: 923,000
The last year new home starts were that high: 2007
(Source: The Commerce Dept.)
Estimated percent of American adults who have a cell phone: 90%
Verizon's early-termination fee if you buy a new iPhone through them: $350
(Source: Time)
Cost of a ticket in Maine if you don’t give parked emergency vehicles a wide berth: $311
(Source: Maine State Police)

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Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

FACT - the man is a FRAUD! He is 50% White, 43.25% Arab (he even has an Arab name for crying out loud), 6.75% slave owning African/Negro. Only sheeple believe this man is our "first black President." So knowing this FACT one can honestly dislike this man because he is Muslim Brotherhood loving Communist with a forged birth certificate, a fraudulent SS# and a fraudulent Selective Service registration which leads me to believe he is Fraud in Chief.
---Commenter Back to Chicago at Breitbart.com
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  In Maryland, sharp-eyed driver rescues dog from highway overpass ledge...

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CHEERS to Carl the Weedkeeper.  Gotta hand it to Bill Murray---he ain't just a pretty face.  His argument at a recent Reddit chat for legalizing pot is pretty astute (this is edited down a bit for space):

Reefer madness movie poster
Just a teeny bit exaggerated.
[M]arijuana is responsible for such a large part of the prison population, for the crime of self-medication.  And it takes millions and billions of dollars by incarcerating people for this crime against oneself as best can be determined.  People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people.  I think the terror of marijuana was probably overstated. … The fact that states are passing laws allowing it means that its threat has been over-exaggerated.  Psychologists recommend smoking marijuana rather than drinking if you are in a stressful situation.  These are ancient remedies, alcohol and smoking, and they only started passing laws against them 100 years ago.
Meanwhile, President Obama has softened his stance on marijuana policy, too, saying he wants to see how things play out in states that have legalized its use.  My guess: to a reggae beat.

Corporations are people graphic
JEERS to John Q. Corporation: Super Citizen!!!  Four years ago today, five conservative activist judges on the Supreme Court delivered their verdict on our system of government: it's for sale to the highest bidder.  Citizens United is now a four-letter two-words to anyone who values clean and fair campaign financing.  But we now know that there's a rather sizable silver lining in the wake of that decision.  Those idiot Justices, who agreed that "corporations are people," pissed off so many people that the billionaires and their Super PAC lapdogs got run over by a grassroots stampede in 2012.  Money is still huge and often decisive, hence the need to do something to curb the tidal wave of cash.  But it's not a bell that automatically makes us drool over a candidate when Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers ring it.  Unless, I admit, the candidate's name is Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard.

CHEERS to making the world a better place.  The United Nations says we must act right now on climate change or else future generations of children won’t be able to walk to school without fire-proof clothing and frozen potatoes in their pockets for coolth.  Meanwhile, Canada's conservative leadership says we must decide right now whether or not to approve the climate-change-worsening Keystone XL pipeline.  I'm so smart and talented that I know how to accomplish both goals in one fell swoop: nix the pipeline right now.  That wasn't so hard, was it?  By the way, I can also bend spoons with my mind and herd cats.  Book me for your next wedding or Bar Mitzvah.

JEERS to the Deep Thinkers of America gathering to think deeply.  Here's one of my all-time favorite facepalm-worthy moments from the beltway, via the January 21, 2007 edition of The Chris Matthews Show.  Ask yourself if you think they'll treat Chris Christie the same way as they contemplate his presidential aspirations, should he survive hand-to-hand combat with his multi-headed scandal hydra:

Slim-Fast carton
Ha Ha! Fat jokes about
fat people are ha ha funny!
David Brooks: I've heard no evidence that Al Gore wants to run for office, and unless there's a sharp increase in sales of Slim-Fast...
Chris Matthews: HA!!! Ha Haaaaa!!! That's what I say!! That's what I say!! Can a black man win the presidency? Can a woman win the presidency? Can a fat white man win the presidency is the other question!
Brooks: I'm not one to talk, of course...
Matthews: You're not overweight, not compared to him!
Brooks: And finally, you know, [Democrats have] stars running for office. They've got three real stars.
Matthews: OK---if we see a plummeting in the scales of Al Gore this summer, a super Slim-Fast diet, does that say this guy's getting back in there?
Howard Fineman: It will be front-page news. Al Gore buys a package of Slim-Fast. But, y'know, I don't know...
Matthews: Norah, what do you think? Are we going to watch the scales here to see how it's going?
Norah O'Donnell: I think that's unfair. But I think...
Matthews: There's always somebody to put me in the position of bad guy!!! I'm going for the white guy! You're talking about the black guy!
The obvious conclusion: liberal bloggers are poisoning our civil discourse.

JEERS to H2Omygod.  Meanwhile, around Charleston, West Virginia, signposts at the city limits now read "Now entering the Twilight Zone"

Kelly Rutherford, David Koch - March 14, 2011 - THE SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET Winter Ball 2011 Sponsored by Van Cleef and Arpels held at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC. Photo Credit: Patrick Mcmullan/PatrickMcMullan.com/Sipa Press/balletsipapm
Reminder: the spilled chemicals
are made by the Koch empire.
[A]ccording to statistics released by the state health department on Saturday, it turns out that since the bans on water began being lifted, hospital admissions and calls to the poison control center have doubled.  Emergency room visits have nearly tripled. […] Part of the increased hospitalizations and calls may be due to confusion on the part of West Virginia residents, who in the last week have been repeatedly given conflicting information about the spill and whether they should use the water.

You know it's bad when Mexico starts telling its travelers not to drink our water.

JEERS to moments we wish we could take back.  Sixteen years ago today, on January 21, 1998, allegations of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky first became public via The Washington Post.  The president was later impeached by the House (but not convicted by the Senate) when it was discovered that his lying about Oval Office blow jobs resulted in the deaths of nearly 4,000 American soldiers overseas at a cost of over two trillion dollars.  Thank goodness his successor restored integrity to the White House, huh.

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And Just One More/Five years ago in C&J: January 21, 2009

An Oath for our Chief Justice

I, Chief Justice John Roberts do solemnly swear,

That I royally fracked up trying to administer the presidential Oath of Office from memory.

President Obama is given the oath of office a second time by Chief JJustice John Roberts, january 21, 2009.
The "second oath" on Jan. 21, 2009
fixed Roberts' mistake and Launched
a thousand Orly Taitzes.
That I embarrassed myself and the nation by getting something so simple---something memorized by every boy and girl in, like, second grade---so excruciatingly wrong.

And, in so doing, came within a butt hair of accidentally making Sasha Obama President of the United States.  Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing,

But you have to admit juggling first grade and the presidency might be a bit much for a seven year old.

But I digress.

Most important, I do solemnly swear that four years from now,

When I'm swearing in Barack Obama for a second term,

In fact, any time I'm swearing anybody in for anything, whether it's President of the United States or notary public,

I will execute the...no, wait!...I will faithfully execute the Herculean task of doing what Justice John Paul Stevens had the good sense to do ahead of swearing in Biden, given the gravity of the moment, by bringing an index card---which I can get a whole pack of for a buck over at The Dollar Store---on which I will have scribbled, legibly, the words to the Oath of Office, so that I don't frack up again, unnecessarily reminding the world once more that I am an appointee of former President George W. Bush

So help me God.

Faithfully.

Swear to me that you'll have a nice Tuesday.  So help you Flying Spaghetti Monster!  Amen.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

One thing is clear: Bill in Portland Maine didn’t get where he is simply by being prudent, clean and sober.
---Paul Krugman

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Poll

Do you think there will be significant regulatory reforms in response to the chemical spill in West Virginia?

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