11/22/13 Writing Binge

     Thank goodness for cold, dreary, rainy days. I have been awake since midnight last night, and a rather bellicose case of Restless Legs Syndrome make it likely that I will not sleep again tonight. Someone recently said that if I had a clear conscience I would sleep better. I laughed out loud at that suggestion. If there is anything I have, it is a clear conscience because anytime my conscience is bothering me, that is what repentance is for, and I am a quick repenter just as soon as my conscience makes itself manifest.

     No….I have electro-mechanical problems that interfere with my sleep, along with some physiological ones, too. A bonafide severe case of obstructive sleep apnea has been tamed by my 15 year use of a CPAP machine. I have CPAPS stored all over the place. One in my bedroom, of course, one that stays in my travel bag, another behind the seat of my pickup truck, another down in my studio, and yet another one held in reserve. Tow of thee were purchased by my insurer, two were inherited from my father, and one I bought at a yard sale. All of them are set at about 14Cm of pressure. If I lay down to take a nap, it must be on a CPAP machine. I can sleep sitting upright in a chair for about 20 minutes which is very refreshing, but laying down without a CPAP produces no rest, and for me, is extremely dangerous since I will stop breathing. This, however bad it is, is under control.

     Restless legs, though, have a mind and will all of their own. Those pesky neurons in my brain just insist on firing the minute I get sleepy and still. I take medication for that which mostly works. On the other-than-mostly days, I just have to suffer with it. I have learned to sleep when I can, and just to be awake when I am. Lately, the wakefulness has given rise to writing more blog posts. The minute I start typing at a keyboard, or playing a musical instrument, all symptoms of the restless legs stop. The minute I stop, they start…so I’ll just keep on typing, or playing that guitar, or banjo, or mandolin, or fiddle. Right now, the RLS is pretty bad and I am pretty tired, but if I stop, it will get exponentially worse, causing me to become clinically awake about once every minute. This does not provide for very recuperative sleep.

     Would that it were merely my conscience. Whiskey could cure that. In fact, whiskey has helped me in spite of my conscience, but there is not so much as a swallow of whiskey for me while I am taking the methotrexate since both methotrexate and whiskey are metabolized by the liver, and it seems reluctant to have the insult of both of them being metabolized at once, possibly causing a general liver rebellion. We’d like to avoid that if we could, and the best way to to take the Methotrexate unimpeded b the whiskey. I am fond of whiskey, though…not to excess, but a good snort form time to time.

     The methotrexate makes me feel awful. On top of that, it seems to be less effective against the auto-immune disorder I am taking it for, and increasing in undesirable side effects. Just 10mg as contained in four tiny pills feels just like I have swallowed a concrete block, which just sits there, immoveable like it was covered with mortar and then set up, which occurs right up and until the nausea sets in. If I eat, my stomach hurts. If my stomach gets empty, it hurts worse. I am thinking of stopping referring to it as methotrexate. The words I am thinking of using I would not print here. Use your imagination and you’ll likely come up with a few I would find acceptable. Add to that swollen and painful lymph nodes which bear watching, since the *&%#oTrex#$% can cause a type of lymphoma and I already have enough blood cancers on my plate.

     It could be worse. I do not have a worse cancer. I am not diabetic. I don’t have high blood pressure. I do not have heart disease. The auto-immune disease that has recently manifested itself could be a lot worse than it is, because there are some terrible auto-immune diseases. I have lots of HDL cholesterol and hardly any of the LDL kind. Last time I was checked, my overall cholesterol lever was about 180 without me having done a thing to get it that way. I have no mental issues other than an overall weariness and lack of focus ability because of it, but my diminished focal ability still leaves me better able to focus than about 90 percent of the rest of the folks, which I have determined by my own observations. Some of the non-focusers work for me. They are very talented people, but are easily distracted. I am not easily distracted, but more so than I used to be.

     I am indistractable enough that I am not falling for the diversion of the nu-kya-ler option thrown out by Harry Reid, which by design is a diversion to get people focused on that instead of the continuing failures of Obamacare. I am also not distracted enough that I have failed to notice that the administration has reverted to calling it the ACA, dropping the Obamacare moniker it formerly embraced. Nor was I distracted enough to fail to notice that the deadline for next year’s open enrollment was put off until after the 2014 election. I wonder if anyone else was. In fact, every piece of Obamacare was designed to be implemented in an off year, not an election year, except for those things that everyone likes, such as allowing your children to stay on your policy until they reach 26, the elimination of lifetime limits, and raising annual limits until there was no such thing, well all except those union and other groups who got waivers. This is nothing to be alarmed about, since it is politics as usual, but folks need to keep their diversion meters nearby and properly calibrated so they will not fall victim to the distraction. I am not angry about it, but I do have a memory which I plan to keep using. I would likely have done the same thing, except for the redefinition of words, which I consider extremely bad form.

     It is being spoken of that Mississippi’s senior Senator, Thad Cochran, is probably going to retire. He has served Mississippi in the Senate since 1977. I think that is about long enough. He needs to retire. I wasn’t going to vote for Thad since I am in the most delirious anti-incumbent mood. I will likely vote for Greg Harper, because he has not yet reached what I think is the gracious plenty of twelve years of service (six terms for a congressman, two for a Senator). Maybe the field of conservative candidates will allow us a suitable replacement for Thad. Best wishes to him on his retirement, which I hope is a real retirement and not a move into lobbying, like that of the former Democrat Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, one of two Senators who held out for a bribe for his Obamacare vote and is now the President of a Health Insurance Trade Group which lobbies the executive branch since the former Senator is prohibited by law from lobbing members of congress until he has been gone for two years. Ben Nelson was one of the insurance executives who met with the president the other day as the President was trying to explain to them why it was good for them to be thrown under the bus. I wonder what they were promised by the administration to keep a lid on their dissatisfaction with the President’s Go-on-and-keep-your-plan-if-the-insurers-will-do-it-and-the-state-insurance-commissioners-buy-in fix-it plan. I’m sure they aren’t planning on eating any non-performing policies for lunch instead of pu-pu platters from Beni-Hana’s. You can decide for yourself whatever you’d like until the truth of it becomes apparent to us all.

     Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is the other bribee Senator. She is scrambling for cover, trying to salvage her sinking re-election bid. She is distancing herself so far from the President that though she greeted him at the airport on his arrival in New Orleans to preside over a campaign fund-raising dinner for her, she would not appear with him at any of the various functions he was scheduled to attend. Good luck Mary. I always liked you, and Mitch, and daddy Moon, but this election cycle you’ve got a full plate. How you’ll spin your deciding vote for Obanacare will be a marvel of word torture.

     Speaking of spnning…the redefinition of words underway is more than remarkable. It is a tortuous exercise. Particularly tortuous is the word “Obamacare” which started out as a pejorative used by the Republicans. It was adopted by the President, himself, and by Valerie Jarrett, but they have quickly started insisting that the law be referred to as the ACA. The president himself first used “Obamacare” in public on August 8 in two separate speeches in Colorado, as reported by USA TODAY, saying at The Univfersity of Denver, “The Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare [applause]…I actually like the name, because I do care — that’s why we fought so hard to make it happen.” and later in Colorado Springs, referring to Mitt Romney, “When it comes to health care, he wants to kill Obamacare — I’m implementing Obamacare because it was the right thing to do.” Now, I expect White House staffers would get their walking papers handed to them by an angry Ms. Jarrett were they to use the once again pejorative term.

       I am so sleepy as to be punch drunk, but I am not stopping now.

     Earlier, I quoted the Roman Senator and historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus, simply know to us as Tacitus, who said, “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.” Apparently I am not through with that.

     A report issued in The Journal of Economic Growth cites a correlation with the growth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with an annual decline in real GDP of about 2%. While every report from every think tank and most academic enclaves has its own particular spin on their reports, and academia is a guilty of this as everyone else, so I am not touting the veracity of their conclusions, I will note one interesting thing from the report which is reliable.

     The number of pages bound in books of the entire CFR in 1949 was 19,335. This seems an arduous enough task to keep track of in that no one can really know what is contained in 19,335 pages, but rest assured, according to the report, compliance with these regulations costs someone something, and typically, it is the consumer who pays for everything, since costs of products and services are included on the sales price and passed on to the consumer. By 2011, the CFR had grown to 169,301 pages, a Herculean task just to tote all the books, and an impossible one to comprehend what’s in them. Who is capable of doing it? Certainly no one, no one group, or no one agency, all of whom jostle to apply the laws and regulations as they see fit. It costs much money to make all these laws and regulations, more money to administer and enforce them, and even more money to comply with them. This does not include the 848 pages of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection act, or the addition of all the regulations promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau it created, or the 9,000+ pages of the full Obamacare laws and regulations, and the even more regulations that will be issued by the IPAB when it finally raises its head.

     The net cost to the GDP to administer and comply with all these laws and regulations takes between 2% and 3% away from our GDP every year, and this share of GDP is growing. If Tacitus could see this, he would surely determine that our government is corrupt, simply by looking at the bound books that make up the CFR. Eventually, you trade corrupt government of millions of laws and regulations for government of an emperor who governs by decree based on the whim of the day. Already we have government that chooses which laws it will and will not enforce based on its political whims, and government that sets aside laws that it finds inconvenient or not favorable to its political allies. This is where the corruption comes in, because every man is no longer equal before the law since the law is in place for those who have the connections and access to have the law manipulated, even waived, for their own benefit at the expense of others. Think about this the next time you hear of $60,000 a plate fund-raising dinners and ask yourself how the common man might benefit from this.

     “You should get you a fishing pole and simply go fishing,” Tacitus said to me. “You’ve worked yourself into such a state that a little angling might just relieve you of some of the stress.”

     “I will have to go and get me a fishing license,” I said.

     “They regulate fishing, too?” Tacitus asked as if he could not believe what he was hearing.

     “Yes. And they regulate the size of the fish you can keep, the ones you have to throw back, the types of fish that are off limits, and how many of each kind you can keep, if you can keep any. They even regulate the kind of bait you can use,” I said.

     “Sounds like they took all the fun out of fishing,” he said.

     “Yeah, it’s not like it used to be,” I sighed.

     “Well, maybe just a boat ride, then,” he said.

     “I don’t have a boat any more. The tax and regulations on a john boat got ridiculous. I ran afoul of the Coast Guard once in an inflatable raft. It cost me $1,500 to pay the fines because I did not have a fire extinguisher, a foghorn, proper running lights, the proper personal flotation devices, and an expired registration, not to mention the fine and jail time I faced for shooing away a couple of ducks that kept disturbing my fishing. Harassment of migratory waterfowl is a felony. I was lucky they let me plead guilty to a mere misdemeanor trifling with the migratory birds.”

     “Maybe you should just buy you some fish sticks,” Tacitus said.

     “They took those off the market. Trans-fats and mercury contamination, they said.”

     Tacitus just shook his head. “Is there anything that is not regulated?” He asked.

     “Sure,” I replied. “It is impossible to regulate the regulators. They are a lawless, reckless bunch.”

     “In the corrupt days of Rome they just executed you when you did something they didn’t like,” Tacitus offered.

     “Seems a bit overly dramatic, but it’d really be a whole lot less trouble,” I mused as I put my fishing tackle back in the closet, remembering to hide the now contraband boron fly rod so that it would not likely be found by the Boron Commission should they happen to visit my house if someone knew I still had it were to complain.

     “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state,” he said, wagging his finger.

     “Tell me about it.”

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