Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


Thank you, Obamacare.

We have, generally speaking, avoided using our health insurance if at all possible because it either didn’t cover things or had bizarre cost sharing arrangements.  Did I mention that for the last few years it’s been one of those supposed “Cadillac” government employee plans?  It’s probably been to our detriment because we could have had that earache checked out before it became a raging ear infection and maybe avoided a visit to Urgent Care (or the ER).

I was looking over our plan documents tonight while I tracked down EOBs for Boo’s UTI and discovered that things are quite a bit different.  Thanks to the PPACA (aka  Obamacare):

  • My health insurance covers a yearly physical for all members of the family and not just children under the age of 4.
  • My health insurance covers routine immunizations for all members of the family (including the necessary boosters) and not just children under the age of 6.
  • My health insurance covers contraception.  Period.
  • My plan documents easier to read.  Instead of digging through 90 pages in order to find the fine print on why something won’t be covered, I can find most everything I need to know in a short little four page handout.

It’s a nice surprise!

Good Question

A follow-up question to certain members of the Virginia GOP who believe that the solution to school shootings is to not only allow concealed carry on school grounds, but also to require school districts to designate certain employees to do so:

[S]chool teachers shouldn’t be required to join unions, but they should be forced to carry loaded firearms around children? Does that not seem odd to you?

A secondary question might be something along the lines of, “Are you fucking crazy?” Or something like that. Feel free to reword it as necessary.

Hint to the Wisconsin GOP – Don’t even think about it. Even you lot can’t be that crazy, right?

Tuesday Links

The biggest thing that changed my mind regarding Christianity was more knowledge.  The exclusivist claims of Christianity just didn’t stand up to the light of comparative religion. Aron-Ra has posted a fantastic piece today about the origin of his name while also dipping into the religious beliefs of Ancient Egyptians and parallels between older polytheistic religions and that of the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths.  Which, by the way, totally brought back memories of ancient history with Groceries.  Good times.  :0)

Pharyngula had a rather disturbing post about the many conservative responses after Newton, Connecticut last week which in turn linked to a post on Right Wing Watch about James Dobson’s statements on his radio broadcast (complete with audio clip) where Dobson said:

Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.

I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.

Firstly, I don’t think I’m the only one who reads that (or any of the others who said something similar) and thinks “Ye gods what a tyrant!”  But mostly?  Fuck you, James Dobson.  Yeah, that about covers it.

First Draft had a good post a couple of days ago about our national discourse and how “It’s Always Time to Talk About Shit that Doesn’t Matter.”  From the end of the post:

It’s like there’s a list somewhere, of Things We Can Address, and it’s all stuff like why so many kids have ADHD, and how parents aren’t hugging their children enough, and where precisely in the schoolyard we should stick the plaque proclaiming GOD IS LOVE because that’ll fix everything. It’s how many teachers need to be armed, and how many cops need to be at every entrance, and the opinion that perhaps we need fewer cops in schools and OH SHIT RIGHT FEWER HOLES IN THE SCHOOLS’ ROOFS WHILE WE’RE AT IT never quite makes it through the World of Warcraft soundtrack blaring on every goddamned Sunday show.

(See, already there you go, asking why I have to put it just that way. Can’t I use nicer language?)

We have limited ourselves to addressing matters that don’t need addressing, so as to drown out the screaming of the things that do.

Eric Scott over at The Wild Hunt wrote about Christian privilege which seems particularly apt with the faux war on Christmas going on these days.

Lest all of the rest of that send you back to deep breathing (with or without any esoteric connotations), I’ll end on a positive note – things like this are happening in this country.  Maybe one day saner minds will prevail and what we’re experiencing is the last terrible gasps of things that should be no longer.  At least, that’s what I hope today.

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Help out striking Palermo’s workers – Fundraiser TODAY!


Palermo workers have been on strike since this June.  There was some positive news with the NLRB ruling, but the vast majority of the striking workers’ jobs have not been restored.  It’s winter in Wisconsin, many of them have kids, and it’s the holiday season.  Would you consider helping them out?

Locally, there’s going to be a fundraiser at the Madison Labor Temple Lounge TONIGHT from 7-9pm with live music by Allie and the Jeffs. The Madison Labor Temple Lounge is located at 1602 S. Park Street in Madison.

Can’t attend?  Please consider donating online through WePay.

Tuesday Quick Hits – They’re Still Not Listening

Periodically I share some of the interesting posts that come across my Google Reader account.  I do it because I want to share the things that I’ve found interesting, but it’s also a great way of bookmarking them in a way for the future.  Today I also happen to be doing so from my brand new carpeted office which means my toes aren’t freezing into little toe-cicles as I type.  Did I mention this as a win-win?

Today’s theme?  US Republicans (both national elected officials and state elected officials) and why we may want to consider scheduling them appointments to be fitted with a brand spanking new Beltone.

From First Draft, my new found love:

  • On why it’s never time to fight back and remind us again…when will it be the right time?
  • What’s wrong with Republicans when Bob Dole is suddenly too liberal to rouse his own party to ratify a treaty that should have been a no-brainer?  No really, Republicans, why is it that your base has now become the tin-foil hat brigade?  Why?
  • About that Austerity thing?  When did we become a nation of the heartless?  What about those small businesses that Republicans love to fawn all over?  I thought you were the party of the deeply religious and thereby supposedly charitable?  No?
  • I’ve heard of the “right to work for less” slogan when it comes to supposed freedoms and “Right to Work.”  In fact, I daresay I’ve heard this refrain in Wisconsin a time or two before, but I had never heard it referred to as the “Right to be Shitcanned” and I’m totally stealing that from now on.  For the record?  This union thing crosses party lines, y’all realize, yes?  How many elections do you want to lose in the future?  And, seriously?  This should be a wake-up call to Democrats.  Speak up because clearly the Republicans aren’t listening!

This happened too

Still on the subject of unions, Laura Conaway writes about why what’s happening in Michigan is particularly sad.  If I had unlimited funds, I think I’d buy a copy of Philip Dray’s “There is Power in a Union:  The Epic Story of Labor in America” for everyone.  Oh, or maybe “From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend” by Priscilla Murolo because a picture can be a powerful thing.

About that tax cuts and austerity thing:

And, lastly, y’all realize that you lost the election, yes?  Don’t you think you might want to start listening to voters?  We weren’t really thrilled with you the first time around, what makes you think a second spin through is going to make us like you any better.

Oh, and could we please take redistricting out of partisan hands and into a non-partisan direction?  This is actually my life we’re talking about here.  When will the lives of voters matter more than the power games of parties and the careers of people like Paul Ryan?

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Dear Papa John’s Pizza:

I received your email about the free pizza today and for a brief second I considered ordering a pizza tonight.  After all, I promised my son we could have pizza for dinner.  My good mood lasted for all of thirty seconds when I remembered what your CEO, John Schnatter had to say about the PPACA.  So, how about this, you keep the free pizza and maybe then you can choose not to cut employee hours?  Who knows, maybe then your employees will be able to get health care when they’re sick?  This is what I call a win-win since the idea of someone making pizza with an undiagnosed illness doesn’t exactly say “buy one tonight!”

For the record, we bought our last Papa John’s Pizza last month.  We’ll drive to Ian’s in Madison instead.  It’s about time we leveled the playing field so that corporations such as yours can stop externalizing costs you should have been covering all along.  That way you might actually have to pay the true costs of doing business and a small business owner gets my money.  Hey!  That’s another win-win!


This is what happens when you play politics, own a business, and are on the wrong side of history.  Better luck next time?


This the actual text of an email I just sent to Papa John’s after I got their “Congratulations!  You are a winner in Papa John’s Two Million Pizza Giveaway” email.  I suspect it’s an attempt on their part to repair the damage done to their brand.  Schnatter’s claiming that he was sorely misunderstood.  I read about Schnatter’s statement on Fox News (that’s a rarity!) and it seemed pretty clear to me.

Schnatter’s had said that it’s going to cost them $0.14 a pizza to comply with the law.  I think the last time we ordered a pizza from them it was something like $11 so that should take care of the $0.14 for 78 pizzas.  Win-wins all around!

Edited to add:  Ian’s is actually a really cheap way to find the family because, let’s face it, it’s never just a large pizza at Papa Johns and the total is usually north of $20.  Guess what?  With my punch card, I can still fill up Groceries (the 7yo), the girls, the husband, and spend about the same.  Plus, you can’t get Mac and Cheese Pizza at Papa Johns.  The “I heart Ian’s” sticker on Groceries’ bedroom door is no joke.

Tuesday’s Quick Hits – Choices

From First Draft

Time and treasure are always available. US resources — public and private — are always available. The “no we can’t” spirit so prevalent in government and private industry these days only seems to apply when we feel like it. (emphasis mine)

From The Yoga of Parenting

The question I get asked most often is “how can I find the time to practice pausing so that I can do it in stressful times?” There are as many ways to practice as there are personalities and situations. The key is to find the practice that suits you in your life right now.

Why practice?  It will help

…create the pause necessary for the mind to rewire in the direction of  greater equanimity so that when we encounter stress, and we will, we can remind ourselves of this possible pause and we become stronger in our ability to move from a fight or flight response to greater ease.

Help Out Striking Workers This Holiday Season


Palermo workers have been on strike since this June.  There was some positive news with the NLRB ruling, but the vast majority of the striking workers’ jobs have not been restored.  It’s winter in Wisconsin, many of them have kids, and it’s the holiday season.  Would you consider helping them out?

Locally, there’s going to be a fundraiser at the Madison Labor Temple Lounge on Friday, December 14th from 7-9pm with live music by Allie and the Jeffs. The Madison Labor Temple Lounge is located at 1602 S. Park Street in Madison.

Can’t attend?  Please consider donating online through WePay.