A Couple of things that Irritate a Blogging Dinosaur

Issue #1: Giving Credit

Yesterday I followed a link on Twitter to an article that highlighted something I’d already read on another site. So, I looked for attribution, a hat tip or something that showed the author of the entry acknowledged the original article. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Considering the link I followed was from a well-known news personality, it was obvious that this person was gaining popularity by aggregating someone else’s work (or a bunch of someone elses1) without acknowledging them.

I’m a blogging dinosaur pretty much2 and remember the good old days when bloggers linked out to each other and gave credit where credit was due. I remember reading the now big political sites before they were big or even taken seriously by the big, bad mainstream media (in all forms including, but not limited to, newspapers, magazines and television) and they would see a story on another blog and link back to that blog thusly:

Today I was blog surfing3 and learned that as a 36 year-old woman I am a Cougar as my husband is younger than me AND that I am an “older” woman. (h/t The Redhead)

See what I did there? I read an article in the newspaper but linked back to the site where I originally found the article. Why would I do that? I could have framed it without the “h/t” (Hat tip) and you would never know that I followed a link from someone else’s blog thereby failing to admit I read other people’s blogs and making you think I scour the intertoobs looking for older-than-dirt news on which to comment. There’s no need to send a you somewhere else, where you might find content more interesting than mine and potentially causing you to abandon me. By linking to the site that lead me to the content on which I commented I could potentially lose my credibility as a newshound or something. Who would source me when they could source her? I should be working to make everyone think that I find this stuff myself and that others are aping me. I should be working to make people think that I’m the authority on this shit. I want people that don’t better to think these other people are stealing from me.

Now, back in the day people weren’t so selfish with their linkage. They promoted other bloggers along with themselves and happily admitted that they didn’t stumble upon interesting news/stories all by themselves. They believed wholeheartedly in giving credit whether the credit went to some obscure person no one had ever read before or a major blog such as Crooks & Liars. We happily admitted that we weren’t always original and laughed at those blog whores4 who expected linkbacks, but refused to give proper credit and acknowledge that they’re not that original.

Those people aren’t called blog whores anymore, which is sad because they really are exactly that. They find a good piece of news/blog post/whatthefuckever and rush to put it on their own blog. Then they Stumble themselves, send a tweet (and gag beg for retweets), Digg themselves and basically whore the shit they didn’t think of themselves. And they don’t see any reason to send a link to the person who gave them the seed for the fucking post to begin with. The particular blog that sent me over the edge yesterday was top-to-bottom filled with stories the author(s) found somewhere else, but which didn’t offer any kind of credit.

Oooh, you’re so original! Look at you, offering a one line commentary on something you saw on another site and assuming that no one reads those other sites so doesn’t know that you spend your days whoring your stolen shit5. Woo-hoo! Aren’t you spayshul?

Of course, I’m completely in denial about the fact that all the blogging and SEO “experts” advise against linking out because teh Google won’t look favorably upon your blogging endeavors and, apparently, it’s all about getting to the top of teh Google and making the money. Unless it’s all about trying to get popular like the big guys6 so that the MEDIA will notice you and, ohmygod!, ask you to sit on a panel during David Schuster’s show which will cause your followers to fawn on you and declare you the GOD OF THE INTERNETS. With this particular case, I’m going with the desperate need to be popular and getting a talking-head gig.

Hey, maybe if I quit with the foul language and original thinking (ha!) I can manage to whore scratch my way to the top of the heap of Ye Ole Blogosphere and get myself some money and/or interviews? Just copy and past some shit, throw in a comment and voila! What do you think about that idea? I mean, it’s all the rage right now and I am a follower.

Issue #2: Link Shorteners

Another thing that has become popular lately, and which completely irritate me, is the use of URL shorteners in blog posts. Instead of something like “Fab Jinxed” (hover over the link and see the URL) we get “Fab Jinxed“.

What the fuck is the point? Really? You want to see the stats to who clicking your links in your fucking blog posts? Here’s a thought: Use one of those 35 stats programs you’ve got your blog connected to and look at who’s clicking out. Unless, of course, you’re trying to hide something, in which case you’re an ass and I hope you get burning gonorrhea7. But there is no valid reason you’re using a link shortener in your own blog post. It’s annoying. I want to be able to hover over a link to see where it goes before I decide to click it. For instance, if you’re linking to World Net Daily as a source for some “facts” I won’t bother checking because I know WND sucks monkey turds and I’ve also discerned that you’re a cretin.

URL shorteners are for Twitter or Twitter-like services, where the number of characters is, ahem, rationed. That’s it. On a blog post there is absolutely no need for them. I don’t care what your reasoning is, if you can’t figure out how to set up a stats program to check outgoing click then you need teh Google or some other kind of help. If you don’t know how to shorten a link via HTML and use the URL shorteners to do that for you (though you know how to code the link so it’s clickable which is unbelievably strange), I’ll give you a lesson8:

Step 1: Add your tags and opening code

EX:   <a href=”

Step 2: Add your URL after the opening quote. Just copy and then paste:

EX: <a href=”http://www.fabulouslyjinxed.com

Step 3: Add the closing quote and then use the closing bracket

EX: <a href=”http://www.fabulouslyjinxed.com”>

Step 4: Add a short phrase or some other character to SHORTEN THE LINK

EX: <a href=”http://www.fabulouslyjinxed.com”>???

Step 5: Close the tag

EX: <a href=”http://www.fabulouslyjinxed.com”>???</a> (The forward slash closes your link…dur)

Then you have this: ???

See? Hover over the three question marks, look in the bottom left hand corner of your browser and you’ll see where the link goes. Stop abusing the URL shorteners.

And so ends my rant against blogging abuses for today. And, no, I won’t join my comrades who have given up their blogs for the greener pastures of Facebook. The blogosphere is still stuck with me and my appreciation of the days of yore even as I consider whoring myself out for a talking head gig. And if I start stealing your stuff and not crediting you, don’t worry as I’m just following the advice of the “gurus”. Just sayin’.

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  1. Misspelled because usually “someone else” isn’t plural, but since when did I care about that shit? []
  2. I’ve recently discovered that because I’ve been blogging since before 2008 I am a blogging Maven. Can you believe that shit? Heh. []
  3. We did that back in the day, dontcha know. []
  4. Bloggers who shameless promoted their own shit, didn’t promote anyone else’s shit, refused to participate in the discussion and BEGGED for page views and/or comments on their own shit. []
  5. Ok, maybe not stolen. But lazily obtained without acknowledgement, which irritates the shit out of me []
  6. Too late in the political blogosphere, by the way. They win and you lose. []
  7. Long-standing, inside joke. If you don’t get it I don’t care. []
  8. This also works if you use software that allows you insert the link, also known as a Hyperlink, such as rich text editing or visual editing stuff and/or MOST BLOGGING PLATFORMS. []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

Yes, I am Selfish

I have a health insurance story too. Don’t we all? Mine isn’t as dramatic as some who have been denied needed supplies, such as testing strips for diabetes, or important tests, such as those for a suspected heart problem, but it’s my story and that makes it important—at least to me.

My regular readers know that I suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome and they also know that TheMan was recently laid off from his job. My condition is chronic and regardless of what some people have said, it has been progressing (though not necessarily causing permanent harm) and I need to be able to access my doctor. When TheMan got laid off we lost his insurance and my access to my doctor. People will say “What about COBRA?”1, which we were offered. However, COBRA coverage would have cost us $900 a month. For the people who are screaming that we don’t need anymore government mandates or that we don’t need government involved in medical care, this probably doesn’t seem like a lot of money. But when one person in your household is on unemployment2 and the other is working two part-time jobs that don’t pay a lot or offer employer-provided health insurance, there isn’t $900 lying around to pay for the COBRA. We have to pay a mortgage3 and the electricity and the other bills—including, but not limited to food and household supplies. I wanted COBRA, of course, but it really wasn’t a realistic option.

Of course, the first thing I worried about was my “pre-existing condition”. Not how am I going to continue care or let me find a cheap doctor, but how I would manage to get insurance to cover my chronic condition were TheMan able to get back to work. Once you’ve lost the insurance and it’s been lapsed for so long, well, the new insurance won’t pay for what the old insurance paid for. The Certificate of Coverage would mean squat after about 60 days from the point the insurance lapsed. Luckily for me I was eligible for a personal “gap coverage” type of insurance that will, I hope, allow me to get treatment when we’re able to get our insurance back. The premium is only $120 a month. I can’t actually seek treatment for my condition(s) though, because my insurance specifically states that “This policy will not cover treatment for chronic conditions. We recommend another policy for those needs.”4 This gap insurance only pays $1500 a year, 2 days in the hospital and no more than $50 a month for prescriptions—after the $700 deductible for medical treatment and $20 copay for all prescription whether they be generic or not. I can find a new doctor to treat my symptoms, though, but only the ones on their list and only if they’re taking new patients. On this type of policy, there really aren’t that many doctors. I’d like to find one where the office visits cost less than $100, but that’s not likely to happen so I’ve got to figure out a way to get the money for my initial visit (remember the deductible?).

I’m scared, though, because I’ve developed two new symptoms, which actually might not be directly related to my FMS, but which scare the fuck out of me. I mean, sent me into a panic attack and nearly had me to the emergency room. The issue of money has prevented me from going to the doctor for any reason but I especially fear the cost of tests. Did you know that a lot of doctor’s will refuse to see you for a second time if you refuse to follow their treatment guidelines5? Interesting, huh? “Sorry, Doc, I can’t afford that procedure. Can we do something else?” leads to “You obviously don’t want to follow my advice, so you’ll have to find a new doctor. Thanks for coming.” This almost happened to me when I had insurance, actually. I had more confidence to tell my doctor where to stick it at that time—but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, I digress. My symptoms are pretty damned scary and are a big reason I stayed mostly offline for two months. Who needs the stress of seeing other people’s problems when yours are taking over your life? Not me. I didn’t care about what other people were going through because I was so goddamned scared.

I’m going to have to bite the bullet and go see someone and to hell with the costs. Really I am. I know that. I’m a mother and have a responsibility to my children to be alive when they need me. I also know that finding out what’s wrong with me and then getting treatment will send us over the edge. I will have to have an MRI and blood work up. There is no doubt about that. Do you know how much that costs? I know what it costs with insurance and they paid 80% of my last one. This one will be out-of-pocket. And doctors tend to charge more when there is no insurance contract to hold them back. That’s not fair, but it’s a fact. Another fact is that I will no doubt be denied some kind of test or treatment based on my ability to pay. If I was a rich woman I would get gold standard treatment, as it is they will do only what is necessary to cover their own asses.

I keep reading about the UK and Canadian health care systems and how they get pissed at them, but they don’t have to worry about the cost. They don’t have to worry about losing their homes and possibly their lives because of the cost of health care. I see these fucking nutters screaming “we don’t need government health care! Buy your own!” and blah blah blah. They’ve got it, no doubt, and many of them are on government programs. They say we don’t need anything like what the British, Canadians and French enjoy, but we do. When people work their asses off and still can’t afford to go the fucking doctor, something is fucking wrong. I don’t give a damned if someone thinks government is too big—and then enjoys such things as driving on safe roads, knowing 9-1-1 will bring the firemen when the house is burning and knowing they can go to the store and someone has made sure the food there is safe (relatively speaking). I don’t care about the hypocrites. I have no use for them with their spouting off about the evils of government coming between them and their doctor and rations and other such bullshit.

Have you tried to get “experimental treatment” for a condition through your insurance? Have you read the exclusions of your medical insurance? Have you read how much they’ll pay during your lifetime? THE LIMITS OF PAYMENT? Did you know that some schmuck who’s never even met you looks over your files and then determines what treatment they will pay for based on the file? Unlike the “death panels” bullshit or the “government intrusion” bullshit, these are not talking points. These are truths. When you have insurance, there is ALREADY someone coming between you and your doctor. There is already someone looking at the numbers and deciding whether a certain treatment is beneficial to their bottom line. This is how things are now. Except millions of people can’t even get those few benefits offered by the insurance companies because they can’t afford them. Insurance companies run this fucking country and it needs to stop. There should be no reason why someone has to go to the emergency room for basic treatment—except that’s the only doctor they have because no one else will see them without medical insurance. Why cut off health care for millions of people instead of getting these damned companies in line? You know, it was nice being able to go to my doctor and get those tests run and find stuff out—though it took 2 goddamned years. Through no fault of our own, though, that was taken away from us and our health care is rationed.

Gods, but I’ve pissed myself off now. I feel so helpless because of this fucked up condition I have and the fact that these motherfuckers are going to torpedo health care reform so that the insurance companies can continue to suck the life out of Americans. And I don’t really expect anyone to give a rat’s ass about what’s happening to other people. My situation doesn’t hurt anyone but my family and me. The situation of millions of other people doesn’t hurt anyone but their families and them. People with insurance and good jobs and pseudo-options6 can easily look the other way while other people suffer. They don’t realize that they’re one layoff or job loss or heart attack away from losing that security and that ability to say “FUCK YOU, people with no insurance”. And in my evil mind, with the way I feel right now, I wish that the loudest motherfuckers telling me to suck it up would fall flat on their faces. I wish this suffering on Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and those spineless motherfucking Blue Dogs (I’m looking at you, Zack Space)— on every single person that works so hard to deny me the security of affordable health care. I wish they’d lose their insurance and then come down with a chronic, life-threatening condition. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. I’m sure that whenever someone in their community has a fundraiser to pay for an organ transplant or cancer treatment they are right there offering up their hard earned dollars. Right? Don’t hold your breath. Why should any American have to hold a fundraiser for a fucking organ transplant?

By the way, Medicaid pays for those. Did you know that? So, there ya go. As long as you qualify for Medicaid you don’t have to worry about actually paying for that liver or having your insurance company deny payment for it (please take a moment to look at your insurance’s policy on organ transplants).

The rest of the family, though, is covered. Lil’lady is getting Healthy Start, which offers the Medicaid card, and TheMan is covered through the Veteran’s Administration—both government programs. Lil’lady’s regular pediatrician agreed to take the Medicaid for her7 and TheMan has no problem getting an appointment at the VA clinic. At least those two are well cared for (except for Lil’lady’s dentist, but that’s a whole other story). TheMan went back to work, but because he was laid off for so long he’s not eligible for the insurance until November’s open enrollment. Who knows if it’ll still be available to him then?

The fact is there is no reason something can’t be done about this right now. There is no reason our country can’t take care of our people—just like France, Britain, Canada, Germany, et al. These countries aren’t flushing themselves down the toilet of despair by taking the burden of health care off the shoulders of their citizens. These countries aren’t stifling new business/ small business by offering health care to their citizens. These countries aren’t falling back into the dark ages because government pays for the health care of their citizens. I don’t give two fucks what some rightwing noise machine claims. Look for yourself, talk to the people living with real options. Then talk to people here who don’t have the same sort of options—or even any options. Compare notes. You know, one guy might have to wait 2 weeks to get that corn removed from his foot, but he doesn’t have to pay for it. Yes, there are wait times in those countries. Guess what? There are those here too. Sometimes longer. But we have to pay a hefty price for it. They spend less on their health care—even through taxes– than we do on ours. Make sense? Not to me. Not to this person who is dreading getting treatment because she doesn’t want to lose her house. To the townhall mobs and Glenn Beck wannabes, I give a not-so-healthy fuck off. I want what those other countries have and I too am willing to fight for it. I’ve got a better reason to fight against the anti-reformers than they have to fight the reform, though. My life may depend on it.

P.S.

I’m looking for neither sympathy nor money and that’s why I haven’t included in this particular diatribe my new symptoms. I’m fully aware that other people have bigger problems than mine and I’m fully aware that some fuckhead will think I’m trying to get money. I’m not. The point of this post is to point out that I do, in fact, have an excellent reason to support healthcare reform and that there is a good reason why I can’t even engage in a “civilized” debate with the other side.  

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  1. Which, by the way, was mandated by the government. []
  2. Another government program, by the way. []
  3. On a house we bought with A-1 credit and a $10K down payment, I might add. No foreclosure for us. []
  4. At an outrageous cost, of course. No way could I afford that. []
  5. Things they “suggest” you do for your particular visit. []
  6. You’re really not in charge of your health care, but you’re allowed to think that while you’re paying the premiums and deductibles. []
  7. Contrary to popular belief, doctors in Ohio aren’t required to accept it and, in fact, most don’t. []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.