Tom Waits: American Genius on Austin City Limits 1978

I hope you were lucky enough to catch at least one of the numerous reruns on PBS of Tom Waits live on Austin City Limits in 1978 over the holidays. If not you can watch it on their site. The video is very small and very dark but even so it makes for some amazing listening.

And if you’re using Firefox v9-9.01 and the page freezes… well, read my previous blog on Firefox to get the fix.

This concert was the first time ‘On The Nickle’ was heard. Which brings me back back back in time to when I lived on The Nickle… “My Blue Period” I call it… laughing at myself and still carrying that romanticized version of being down and out in Los Angeles over one long, hot summer. That story is to come…

To be followed by a rant on the butchering of the film “Romeo Is Bleeding,” titled after the song heard in this concert.

If anyone knows where to find a copy of Tom Wait’s “Big Time” video, please do tell!


Recorded December 5, 1978
  • Summertime/Burma Shave
  • Annie’s Back in Town/I Wish I Was in New Orleans
  • A Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun
  • On the Nickel
  • Romeo is Bleeding
  • Silent Night/Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis
  • Small Change

Firefox 9.01 Crashes Fix (or How I Spent My New Year’s Eve Day)

After days of misery following my update to FF v9 and then v9.01 I decided it was either going to be fixed or I was returning to v8.

The constant freezes (that also froze my computer), the slow page loads, the crashes, the start up error messages (“severe error”!!!) had worn me down.

I did the usual stuff: Safe Mode, checked all my add-ons one by one, checked my plug-ins, etc but nothing helped. Until I found this post on the Firefox Help Forum early this evening:

Firefox crashes: Please fix this bug below. Firefox 9.01 crashing every 15-30 minutes.

And it worked for me the way it worked for them. No more freezes, crashes, start up error messages so apparently there is still some bug in v9 that was not fixed by v9.01.

Don’t know how to do what they say to do? Here’s how:

1. Instead of a link, type in the box: about:config (with no spaces). You’ll get a warning but just click the button:

2: Search for “javascript” and look for the two entries noted in the link and shown highlighted in the cap below:

3. The ‘Value’ Column shows ‘true’ for both which means they are enabled. To disable them, double-click on each line and the “Value” will change to ‘false.’:

Close the about:config tab because you’re all done. That’s it. Simple.

Close and reopen Firefox.

Hope this works for someone else having these frustrating problems.

A Good Eye: Some Vintage Amateur Snapshot Negatives

From snapshots taken of a family living in Phoenix in (I’m guessing) the early 1960s. Unknown photographer.

I love these! So Arbus-esque!

Corporations are not People too: HMO’s

Why the hell do I use an HMO anyway?

It was a very difficult decision for me to switch from Medicare to a Medicare HMO. I’ve known for a very long time how evil HMO’s are. I felt guilty subscribing to something I was so politically opposed to and I’ve felt guilty about it every day since. HMO’s profit from denying people health services. HMO’s kill people.

The reason I finally switched is typical: I was trapped between a rock and a hard place. I could no longer afford the huge Medicare co-pays. It took me a year to compare all of the available HMO plans. I knew how each one was screwing people in detail. I wrote a detailed comparison of each plan’s costs and posted the results on the only relevant site I could think of at the time: the AARP site. Where no-one paid any attention to anything I said about plan costs and consequences.

Sure, Health Net saves me money. For now. But in the long run, when everyone is enrolled in some sort of HMO plan, you can be sure no-one will be saving any money. Except for those denied treatment for some life threatening medical condition because, of course, they’ll be dead.

The state of health care in the USA is outrageous and that people fight against establishing some sort of national health care system is just so… selfish. So short-sighted. So out of touch with reality.

Balancing the budget, particularly here in Arizona, is being accomplished by population cleansing: Cut as many services as possible for the mentally ill (and then act shocked when someone is shot in the head), the elderly, the disabled, the poor and hope they either die or go away. Far far away.

For those who feel that way, here is a visit from The Ghost of Your Life (Future). Who also happens to be The Ghost of My Life (Past):

You keel over from massive heart failure in your 40s and are barely able to dress yourself for a year.

You lose your job because you were sick and can’t get another because you’re ‘too old’ or ‘wouldn’t be satisfied with the salary we could pay you’ or ‘you don’t have typical office skills.’

Your health insurance runs out, your savings run out, you lose your car and then your home.

Your life changes completely in a second and that you become one of ‘those people’ who are ‘living off the government.’

You find yourself, after working for 35 years paying taxes high enough to support a family of 10 you’d never met, shit out of luck when it comes to getting any help yourself because your taxes went into the pockets of crooked politicians.

So many don’t really grasp the fact that their lives turn on a penny (yes, it used to be a dime but in this economy…). You are not irreplaceable. You could be the next person losing your job, your health, your home.

You can change your future starting now.

Wise up. Rise up.

Update on Arizona Health Net / United Health Care Fraudulent Transfer Applications

Although all fraudulent applications were dated Dec 21, I just received a letter from United Health Care yesterday stating they’d received my application for enrollment in their AARP Medicare Advantage Plan. If I did not want to be enrolled in AARP I should call immediately. Which I did.

I told the person at UHC that I thought I’d had this problem settled but perhaps not. When I asked to check that I had been disenrolled because I’d never applied she said ‘Oh, it’s one of those applications.’ I said ‘This seems to be happening to everyone in Arizona enrolled in a Health Net Medicare plan.’ She replied ‘Apparently so. There are at least 900 applications so far.’

On Dec 21, a Heath Net Supervisor told me 200-300. Now someone on the switchboard at UHC says it’s at least 900. Still no official public statement about this situation and the numbers involved from either United Health Care of Health Net.

I have filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Insurance and encourage others affected to do the same.

I also encourage everyone to request an extension of the Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring that was given by HealthNet to customers following the ‘lost disk’ incident in 2009.

Connecticut filed a class action lawsuit against Health Net and United Health Care following that incident yet Arizona never filed against them.

Perhaps it’s time for a class action suit.

Arizona Health Net Medicare HMO Customers Fraudulently Transferred to United Health’s AARP Medicare HMO as of 12.07.2011

If you live in Arizona and are enrolled in one of the Health Net HMO plans, keep a close eye on your mail! I received a letter from Health Net 3 days ago stating that I’d been disenrolled and that as of Jan 1, 2012 my medical services would no longer be covered by Health Net. Further down it said that if I thought I had not dis-enrolled that I should call them immediately.

Which I did since I had NEVER disenrolled. They’d received notice that I’d enrolled in United Health’s AARP Medicare Advantage plan so had canceled me. I insisted I’d never enrolled with AARP and spent the next 2 days on the phone. Is it just me? Oh no…… who knows how many in Arizona? Neither Health Net nor United Health will say and representatives from both companies told me they don’t plan on making this information public.

Have you received one of these letters from Health Net?

Health Net Letter 12-2011

Do you not bother to open your mail for weeks? Are you too busy at Christmas to look through your junk mail? Got the letter but have no idea what it all means? If any of the last three then you know why this is happening right at this time of year.

Don’t get caught unaware. For background information please follow the convoluted trail I’ve trudged since Dec 21, 2011:

In July 2009, United Health Care purchased Health Net of the Northeast.

Sometime in 2009 (March, May and November have all been stated by different agencies) a Health Net disk of unencrypted customer information was stolen while en route from California to Connecticut. Health Net didn’t report the missing disk until November 2009. I have not yet determined who that disk was going to: Health Net Northeast or United Health.

In January of 2010, the Connecticut State Attorney General filed against Health Net of the Northeast, Health Net of Connecticut, United Health Group and Oxford Health Plans for failure to report the lost disk.

In July of 2010 a settlement was reached and Connecticut collected damages. Additionally Health Net agreed to provide affected customers with 2 years of credit monitoring, $1 million of identity theft insurance and reimbursement for cost of security freezes. Health Net also agreed to a ‘corrective action plan’ to comply with HIPAA including among other provisions: Improved identity theft protection; system controls; management and oversight structures.

In 2011, nine Health Net servers of unencrypted information went missing from an IBM facility. Again Health Net did not notify anyone until at least 3 months later. Apparently HIPAA is not working or the puny fines companies are getting are worth whatever benefits they are reaping from unlawful practices.

Now in December 2011, Health Net customers in Arizona are being transferred fraudulently from Health Net to AARP Medicare Advantage without their knowledge or permission. It happened to me and Health Net would not give me any information on how many others were affected. I was told the problem will not be made public and investigation is still ongoing. A supervisor at Heath Net told me that it appears to be happening only in Arizona to those who had any sort of contact for any reason with Secure Horizons in the past 3 years. How the applications were filed depended on who I spoke with: Either by phone, by mail, or online. All are dated Decr 7, 2011 which was the last day of open enrollment.

How could contacting Secure Horizons in the past 3 years have anything to do with fraudulent transfers of Health Net customers to United Health Care’s AARP Medicare Advantage Program? Because Secure Horizons is also owned by… United Health Care. Would United Health really do such a thing? Since they’ve done it before, probably. They were dragged into court in 2007 for doing the same thing in Florida, another state with a large elderly population.

It seems clear to me that either:

1. The missing disk from 2009 is involved since the agreement of the sale of Health Net of the NorthEast to United Health that year allowed United Health, starting in 2012, to offer its Medicare HMO plans (which include AARP Medicare Advantage in Connecticut) to what were Health Net Northwest customers. And here we are in Arizona being switched from Health Net to United Health Care’s AARP Medicare Advantage plan without our knowledge or consent as of January 1, 2012.

2. The recently missing Health Net servers from the IBM facility do affect Arizona though Health Net says they don’t. In 2009 Health Net first said the lost disk would only affect certain customers and then 3-6 months later said it include more customers than first thought.

In any case Arizona customers have gotten the short end of the protection stick. At the very least, Health Net should extend the credit and identity theft protection for Arizona as well. The 2 years free credit monitoring and ID Theft Protection from the 2009 breach ended for me on December 21, 2011. Obviously, 2 years was inadequate. Are we now to pay for it ourselves?

Since Health Net would be liable to pay an additional $1/2 million in fines according to the settlement agreement reached in 2010 if the information on that lost disk was ever used for illegal purposes (eg: the misuse of personal information to file fraudulent application health care applications), I expect to see someone scapegoated for this.

I was told by another person from Health Net that this appears to have been the work of one sales person. I said I wanted the person’s name and other information because I plan on suing them. He said that he would give me that information after the investigation was over. I’m not going to hold my breath. In reality I doubt they can point to one person as the supervisor I last talked with told me the applications were filed online. A sales person would only be responsible if they’d personally signed people up for AARP. Did one salesperson submit hundreds (or more) fraudulent applications online? Did one salesperson process all of the fraudulent online applications? Neither scenario seems likely. Or were they submitted by phone or mail as others first told me?

Where did they get information including my Medicare coverage start date? I don’t even know that without looking at my Medicare card.

Those in Arizona who are too busy to look through their usual mail from Health Net, or who have no idea what the letter means, or can’t spend 12 hours on the phone trying to get it settled will be without medical coverage as of January 1, 2012.

Why are Health Net and United Health refusing to make this public? From past cases, this appears to be ‘business as usual.’


2007, Jul 25: Suit accuses United Healthcare of fraud, says the company enrolled a woman in a Medicare alternative she didn’t want

2009, Jul 20: UnitedHealthcare to Acquire Health Net’s Northeast Licenses and Rights to Renew Membership

2009, Jul 21: United To Acquire Northeast Health Net Assets

2009, Nov 19: 1.5 Million Medical Files At Risk In Health Net Data Breach

2010, Jan 21: Doctors fear privacy sold in HealthNet sale

2010, Feb 1: Conn. medical society sues to block United-Health Net deal

2010, Aug 16: United-Health Net deal survives legal challenge

2010, Jan 13: Health Net, Inc. Connecticut Security Breach Lawsuit Plaintiffs [Health Net and affiliates: Health Net Of The Northeast, Inc., Health Net Of Connecticut, Inc., United Health Group Inc., and Oxford Health Plans, LLC. See ‘Documents’ links at bottom for PDFs of court documents.]

2010, Jul 7: Health Net Settles Breach Suit, Pays $250,000 in Connecticut Case

2011, Mar 14: Health Net Questioned About Second Security Breach In Two Years

2011, Mar 14: Health Net Press Release: Health Net, Inc. Investigating Unaccounted-for Server Drives

2011, Mar 14: Missing Health Net drives contained members, employees, and provider information

2011, Mar 14: CT AG wants Health Net to do more for consumers affected by breach

2011, Mar 14: Yet another Health Net breach raises disturbing questions

2011, Mar 14: HealthNet and HIPAA Again… So, Does HIPAA Work?