Obamacare Part 2: Divination and Oracles

Obamacare was announced today (June 28th, 2012) at about 9:15am.

Incidentally those guys let you chart for free, which makes this really fun to play with. I linked to the chart, which includes basic interpretation of the chart. I don’t pretend to know anything about this topic, so I just read the chart and pretended the announcement was the “birthday” of the bill. It doesn’t always make sense but I’m sure other people on the blogroll will figure it out.

Single Rune Draw: Laguz

Talk about meaning, I normally hate the single rune draw but this time was neat. Laguz is two things: Water and leeks. Water of course represents life energy (healthcare) and the leek is medicinal. In typical runic fashion the first throw is typically the topic.

Single Cart Draw (WR Deck): Seven of Cups

“Wishful thinking, inability to make up ones mind, illusions, deception, cloudy thinking. May signify the danger of making a rash decision without thinking things through”. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Element: Water

Planet: Venus

Chakras: Second, Third

Color: Blue

Hexagram: 29

I think it’s particularly important to pay attention to the things which are obvious or overlap. Blue is also the color of Jupiter, certainly this is a literal goldmine for health insurance companies. Venus represents women (dur) and the water jives with the rune draw above. The hexagram would indicate a negative influence, so I am inclined to believe everyone’s health is going to suffer here.

Single Card Draw (Thoth Deck): Death (You’re doing it right when you say “I can’t make this stuff up”).

Sign: Scorpio

Planet: Mars (Pluto exalted)

Hebrew Letter: Nun (fish)

Tree of Life Path: 24 = 6, beauty to victory

Color: Green

Hexagram: 59 (I had to look this up)

I used the LMD book on the Thoth deck for the attributions. In typical “look for signposts” fashion that I like, I want some transition between the elements. The rune is water, the first card is Water, the next card is Fish. This typically seems to me like we’re on the right track for Making of the Key sort of work.

The scorpion typically represents suicide and putrefaction, while the eagle represents the sublime element and the potential for rebirth.

The quick reference says: “transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary. In either case the logical development of existing conditions, perhaps sudden or unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but this is an illusion”.

Celtic Cross (WR Deck):

I know this isn’t the traditional use of this spread. Therefor I’m eschewing traditional interpretation and just looking at what’s present.

Stupid amounts of cups is present, which means emotions run high.

Pantacles are present next, which means security and resources are important.

Threes and Tens are present which means this is something new, this also means this is in it’s concluding stages.

Two kings, which means leadership. The two kings are upright, which would indicate standing together. This probably indicates the Government and the Court.

Finally the two elements split almost evenly in these cards are earth and water. (Green and Blue).

I Screw With Tarot Spread (Thoth Deck):

A spread I made up. Its decently good at describing the heart of the matter similar to the celtic cross.

The heart of the matter: The defeat of the emperor.

The unprepared emperor charged into the matter motivated by secret design. He becomes the empress and has a change of heart to be governed by love and unification. The existing government is destroyed, success is lost because the emperor is far too concerned with luxury than love.

My interpretation is this is going to be the end of the incumbent. He thinks he’s motivated by love, he thinks he has success, but what he’s done is traded comfort for his own future due to his own rash action. The signs are completely screwed up in this one but it tends to be dominated slightly more by fire than water and earth. The people are going to feel loved but if we look at how he enjoys his life and victory they will realize they are less equal and loved than they want. This brings destruction.

If he does somehow win the election, he’s going to be totally different.

Note that I’m kicking myself here for not taking at least a picture of the spreads. Also I favor the thoth deck.

Rune Spread:

I used my standard method. It’s worth noting that mannaz and ehwaz were off the cloth, but together, overlapping and upright. This generally means womens advancement isn’t going to be stellar under this program.

The spread came out with the typical clumps it usually does to indicate a topic and outliers. The rune closest to me (the individual) was Laguz again. This means for the individual things are uncertain about health and such.

Soliow is off to the left, it indicates a past, waning success in this issue. The bill passed.

I have three groups which make up the heart of the issue:

Group 1: Kenaz, Jeru, Berkano – If you’re a pregnant woman, great! This bill is for you! While women in general won’t get much advancement, women who are pregnant are going to do better here and play a key role in this legislation.

Group 2: Eihwaz (not ehwaz), wunjo, thurisaz – This is the “dude rune”. If you’re a guy and you’re providing support for your family, this rune set is for you. The other half of the foundation here is the burden of your insurance obligation is lifted.

Group 3: Isa, Urez, Ansuz – This is the top of the triangle, or what this all comes out to be. Isa in a group is about the only time I read a group negatively. Of course, it’s present in group 3. In fact if I didn’t think I had three groups with two outlying factors I would put isa at the heart of the matter but I don’t think it’s the overarching theme here from experience. Basically all insight, communication, learning and love go out the window here. Labor is lost, endless work is lost. While it’s a victory for the individuals, overall progress is damaged, frozen or reversed.

Conclusion: There’s a theme here. One of the things I look for in divination is a theme to link the last phase to the current one. The idea is that if we’re doing it right, it paints an interconnected picture. I get suspect when I can’t link things together. I think this particular question had a strong theme.

Obamacare is either the death of Obama’s political career or it’s the end of Obama as we know it. I definitely see it working well for individuals and families but being terrible for the current political establishment. If Obama does seek re-election and he is re-elected, he’s going to be completely different. If Romney is elected (I personally think he will) I think he will make it a point to be completely different. I feel individuals will actually do well under it – something I actually argued against on my mundane blog post. That’s the other reason why divination is interesting: you might not always be right. Finally I think the benefits extend to families too both literally and figuratively. As for the nation, the top card in my spread was The Tower. Specifically it’s ending success and luxury.

Post your own interpretation or better yet get those stones and get crackin!

Obamacare

Pay attention to the time this was written. If you wander in here next month and want to debate me with yesterdays news, you will be mocked mercilessly.

I’d like to start by pointing out that most people’s argument that “kids with cancer” are going to get healthcare is simply wrong. Kids with cancer collect social security from a system they never paid into and are covered under Medicare/Medicade. Really the decision doesn’t affect the poor nor the elderly. If you happen to have a condition and you’ve been denied insurance for whatever reason you’re covered under the old system.

That being said this is a total loss for both parties – the bill that passed simply doesn’t look like the original one that was submitted, then it was never intended to be funded by taxes. The argument against socialism was always that the government isn’t funded it. Well, now they are. Not only are you required to buy insurance (something I avoided doing in college and saved quite a bit by doing so) but now insurance companies have carte blanche to charge you (via the government) whatever they want. They don’t even have to put effort into it because before, if you reneged on your copayment, you went to court with the insurance company. Now, if you renege on your healthcare tax you get to deal with the IRS.

I’m going to guess the CEOs are toasting themselves right now. Just think about that last sentence there for a minute – you used to be able to negotiate because they could put a lien on your property, but chances are you weren’t going to sell anyway because of the housing crunch. They would threaten to take your house or car, but those things don’t have value in this economy. What our stupid activist judges managed to pull off was a major coup for the health insurance industry – it’s effectively their bailout. They don’t have to chase down deadbeats now – the IRS does it for them.

Other misc arguments I’ve seen (thank you daily kos, but I won’t link to your blog):

“Insurance companies could deny you for anything!” – This is false. Obamacare in 2010 (about the only part of the bill I agree with) made rescission illegal (even after the 1997 act), but this effectively only prevented women with breast cancer from being subject to a drop in their health insurance, and only really changed the two year period mandated. The other group of individuals who claimed to be “victims” were people who became HIV positive in the same two year period. Out of the groups likely to contract HIV, the overwhelming majority are gay black males, followed by drug users. While being black or being gay might not prevent you from getting insurance, substance abuse will. Now, while medicare and medicade (which also pays for medical visits for the people on welfare) didn’t test for drugs, with healthcare an individual mandate, insurance companies can, and will. For some people that means they can’t enjoy their substances responsibly without Uncle Sam knowing and for some people that means they won’t be getting insurance anyway – but they’ll still pay for it.

“Make wall street pay for it!” – This one is grossly ignorant and really makes me want to stab people. The idea goes something like “If we put X tax on stock trade, it would make Y billion dollars”. These people don’t understand how the stock market works. What actually happens when we’re talking about the SIG Trading Platform is High Frequency Low Latency trading. The system sees a stock drop $1, it buys 1000 shares and when the stock blips back up $1 because everyone else sees it, it immediately sells the stock. It does this about 100 times a second. Any tax like this would destroy the stock market overnight.

“Small businesses get tax credits!” – All businesses already received tax credits. Businesses with less than 25 full time employees get the small business tax credit (50% reimbursement). Since this now comes out of your tax dollars, and everyone pays taxes, not only is there incentive to hire twice as many people for half the time but this also means people who do take a full time job will still have to pay 100% of the tax liability. People who only work 20 hours still pay 100% of the tax liability. Businesses who skip on your hours now to ruin your weekend now have that much more incentive to hire seasonal workers and rotate the workforce. Remember – business don’t pay taxes like people. They don’t get married, they don’t get child credits, they don’t need healthcare.

“This is a tax hike on the middle class!” – No it’s a tax hike across the middle and upper class. Because the original law was not tax funded, there’s no way to implement this as anything but a tax. Sorry folks, if they follow through with it, it comes out of your pocket. I know debt != taxes in America which is why people take us less and less seriously nowadays but the only possible way to have this be constitutional per the ruling is to impose it as a tax. The lowest income bracket – the people already on medicare and medicade and social security – still aren’t going to pay it. Now, interestingly enough, the supreme court ruling does actually pave the way for a really interesting legal maneuver: If the health insurance is paid for through the taxes, then the health insurance may actually end up under social security, which is where it should have been in the first place.

Google Voice

Suburban Station used to be a bomb shelter, back when people actually cared about bombs versus simple vaporization at the hands of nuclear weapons. We sort of brushed that fact under the carpet by taking away the signs on the walls but if you’re looking in center city you can find the signs. Mostly they’re on the forgotten byways but the really brutal part is that fallout shelters are typically lined with lead. Trying to get a piece of sky from the station is impossible. To add insult to injury, the stations are underground. Lead or no lead you simply won’t be getting signal in that much earth shadow.

Note to TMobile – want to be really popular in the city real quick? Put a low power cell antenna in the station.

That being said, I am a huge fan of google voice. If you have an android anything with as much as a speaker and a microphone, you want this. I use it for just about all my calls now when at home, since there’s no sense in using my minutes and I know my wifi isn’t going anywhere. Even if you want a “burner number” so you can finally call Taco Bell and order a Border Jumper, make a fake google account, grab a number and go nuts. The one big problem is that it doesn’t work unless it has cellphone signal. This is particularly hilarious when you realize that a lot of “tablets” (android devices which aren’t phones) can’t ever get cellphone signal by virtue of the fact that they’re not phones. No antenna, no SIM card, no NAM number.

The simple reason is because Google Voice integrates tightly with the cellular state machine. XDA has a whole thread on it. The amount of work that has to go into hacking Google Voice to not do a cellular state check is frankly over the top and manufacturers have gone out of their way to customize the OS and framework to prohibit you from taking a “tablet” device and using it as a cellphone (samsung, I am looking at you). AOSP ROMs get a bit of a pass since they have a more vanilla framework but the whole binary module loader thing that ATI and nVidia blazed a trail for means that the state machine sometimes ends up in one state and the API reports another because no-one has really dumped a working version of the modem firmware yet for samsung devices. Frankly Google I’m sort of happy this is biting you in the ass for having to support older phones.

Anyway, the good news is the same XDA thread above also mentions someone who solved the problem. If you have a 2.1 or better device (read: all samsung phones), you can download GrooVe IP which makes the calls for you. I have a bit of a problem paying him $5 for the registered version because literally all the developer did was enter the google voice API (voice is required to be installed) after the state machine check and just piggyback from there. The 1MB file size is UI cruft, the actual application is only a few KB. Now I can make calls over the comcast xfinity access points without burning up minutes and more importantly without any cellular connectivity at all.

RSS and Facebook

One of the more bizarre things I’ve found recently now that I consume content on the go is that people don’t publish full articles to RSS. A good example of that is The American Thinker. While it started out as a blog, it’s sort of grown into a columnist site. The problem is their RSS Feed just doesn’t have the content. This means that to actually read their site, I have to visit the site. My workflow at the moment is “Wake up, sync my nook simple touch to the RSS via Opera, drive to the train, read”. It works really well. The problem is that it only works via Opera, and it’s low bandwidth. When I say low bandwidth I mean that it has the same speed a typical tablet or cellphone does – if wifi is there, great. If I’m lucky, I can tether 4G. If I’m less lucky, it’s 3G. The final word in all this is that the train spends a good portion of it’s time below ground or in a trench, and the cellphone and wifi doesn’t work at all. My content is either all stored locally, or I don’t see it.

For something like a blog, this is killer. People don’t really want to see the pictures, and for something like a nook people can’t see them well anyway on the 16 color greyscale screen even if they want to wait to see them download. The mobile market is particularly vexing with this since the browsers tend not to load content in a threaded fashion, and to add insult to injury there’s still a lot of web servers (looking at you, microsoft) which can’t use HTTP stream. If theres’s a picture at the top of the page, you don’t see the article until it loads. Sometimes this is simple esthetics, sometimes it’s intentional branding. I tend to think the IT staff doesn’t give a shit either way.

Facebook is particularly hilarious. I had the ah-ha moment when I realized I still didn’t like google+ enough to make the jump but every time Facebook rolled out a “feature” I liked it less and less. The mobile app is a mess, it still doesn’t cache content, text is (bizarrely enough) rendered as images in android land until you go to select it and it changes the font, and now I don’t get a link preview in an email. Instead I have to click on a link to go to Facebook to visit a link I may or may not be interested in. Got help me if I’m at a library or something which blocks Facebook. I used to be able to copy and paste the link text (the link itself always visited Facebook first) but now that’s gone. I find myself reading Facebook less and less except for groups, which is the only leg up it has to google plus, and publishing to my blog more and more.

Yes dear reader this means more content is coming.

Possibly the worst offense is that google plus works with the nook, wordpress works with the nook, but Facebook says it works with the nook and then refuses to install. Now, not only do they make it a pain to read anything, but they make it a pain to update the device which has my eyes most of the downtime in the day from the device itself. Frankly, what’s the point of Facebook? I can’t help but feel like they wanted to get their hands so deep in the phone that they’ve neglected everything else.

I have a weird feeling they’re going to finally produce a mac/windows app which lives on your computer as a service.

All this speculation and ranting aside, if you have a blog, enable content in RSS. While you might not count every single person visiting the blog, your mobile readers will appreciate it.

Living in the Tunnels: Philadelphia

It’s not hard to imagine I work in space, or on the moon.

I get on the train at Norristown Transportation Center. In typical colonial town fashion, it’s several buildings someone built a parking garage next to. Portions of the station are as old as the battle of valley forge – the rail line it runs on goes straight into philly and used to go through Valley Forge Park itself. The train itself is insulated, not quite sound proof but they go out of their way to keep the outside noise out. The constant electrical hum of the engines and the ionized air ensures no sound nor smell gets in or out.

This is bad when the strange homeless guy in the corner keeps talking to himself.

From there it’s a ride through the best and worst parts of the city, including Miquon. River Road is one of the places I think it would be neat to live. Again, older than most of America – the properties range from mobile homes long since given up their mobility, haphazardly strung between stone houses which had thatched rooves. It’s not hard to imagine the stray cannonball across the water as the train meanders by. Boats are more common in their yards than cars. I get the impression many people here are actually professionals and young people – for all the boats, none of them fish.

Ivy Ridge comes next, it has an industrial complex built on an island. At some point to get here we pass the superfund site. It’s not clear to me what value they expect to get out of it. The trees come from home depot, it doesn’t give the impression of a professional operation. Someone is always out there feeding the geese. She wears a yellow slicker, even when it’s not raining. Ivy Ridge itself starts to feel lonesome, just a hint of inner city neglect. The people here are all college students smart enough to live off campus, just not sure where that should have been. The buildings tend to run on, all connected, even at strange angles thrown up around wagon paths paved over.

We pass through the northern part of the city. The express doesn’t stop at North Broad. It’s not a loss. It turns south, to Temple University. Temple was always known as a great place to get shot. I find it depressing the way Atlantic City is depressing, or what I would imagine Vegas is like. The Center City location would want to give it an air of importance, and to the people who go there to better the world, it is important to them. They go through class, they enjoy the splendor of the urban banality, they graduate, they move out. I can see a kids playground covered in graffiti and gangsign from the elevated tracks. No kids play there. The gang members can’t be bothered to actually paint over each others signs to renew the canvas – they simply cross out the sigils and write their own next to it. This goes on for miles of color, over every surface, over everything. The lonely horses ride their springs in the wind, their wooden mouths curse the paint they used to bless for making them so pretty.

The train arrives in the station. My tour has taken me 40 minutes and there’s barely any time left. Market East and the convention center come first. Reading Terminal Market sits in this sprawling complex. The walls of the station look a bit dated with the tile work but at the same time you can tell someone takes pride in their work. The tiles are meticulously clean. Anything which is sort of clean in the city is very clean, anything which actually looks bright and clean may we well be a surgical suite. I haven’t been here except to the mall. The mall is a great use of space – the middle is open and vaulted, which gives the impression it’s much larger than it is. The mall itself is another story, but it’s a neat mix of Gamestops and TMobile stores and street vendors who would look more comfortable selling you a leather jacket off their cart than operating in a retail space. It’s every mall in America, it’s every street cart in the Middle East. They share an easy companionship in their common chase of the almighty dollar. All that’s missing is the food, but food itself in Philly has been unsuccessfully domesticated. The Anthony Bourdains of Philly have given the food trucks more merit than the establishments. In a lot of ways, this is good. It keeps the thorny growth of the McDonalds and the fascism of the Burger King relegated to the suburbs.

I still eat there on weekends.

Suburban Station is next. True to it’s name, it’s spacious, open. It was built on the ashes (literally) of the Broad Street Station. The train area keeps it’s 1930s feel, but the art was lost at some point. You can still see fallout shelter signs in the tunnels sometimes when the train pauses for the switching and the lights hit the walls just right. Above that is the concourse, which ironically hosts Philly Pretzel factory and a Yoshi. There’s a tailor, he sells $1000 suits. Usually there’s buskers and flower stands down here. Getting out of the nucleus of the concourse leads to some well lit but barren tunnels. At some point I suppose it might be a mall, but the walls are covered over with bizarre, subterranean billboards. The only reason to walk through here is to avoid the surface. Everyone moves quickly. It’s nice when the weather is bad.

Above this lies Umbrella Corporation my job. You’ve seen the building in the tedious M. Night Shyamalan film Devil. It’s a bit bizarre to think about, but with a population of 10,000, it’s larger than most small towns. The concourse level has things people never could buy. Not because they don’t have enough money, but simply because fitting a 60″ plasma TV on a septa train simply isn’t feasible. However, it’s there. It’s for sale. You can buy it. It makes us look great. I have personally played enough playstation 3 on it to get bored looking at it. I go home and my 48″ TV pales in comparison, despite costing 20% of what the plasma did. The shops aren’t there to buy things, they’re there to show what you could buy. I imagine the cashiers are bored. The lobby itself puts on a killer show, it’s one of the things you can watch, but you never truly see until you’ve been there. Six floors above this is the first cafe, which looks down onto the lobby, through the art. The 15th floor has a sky lounge, three stories tall. The 43rd floor (almost 1000ft in the air) hosts Ralphs Cafe which is by itself two stories tall. Above that are the training and conference rooms. It’s almost better they’re up there to keep the distractions at bay, once you get over looking down at aircraft on approach to Philadelphia International Airport.

Of course, this is the rub – I am indoors the entire time. I’m never actually in Philly the same way astronauts were never on the moon. They can be there, but it’s always on the other side of the bubble. The train dumps us out indoors to the platform, the platform goes to the concourse, the concourse to the shops, the shops to the lobby and the lobby to my desk. The windows are thick enough they keep us from sound and weather. The lobby is loud enough we can’t hear the street.

I make it a point to go outside.