[personal] Miscellany, writing and politics

Walked this morning here in Omaha. The fireflies are gone, and I never heard the distinctive, echoing peep of the nighthawks, but I did see the usual rabbits, along with an amiable skunk, as well as finally spotting the owl that patrols the stretch of Papillion Creek where I walk. She was sitting atop a power pole, visible only as a shape in the glow from some distant street lights. Still, I’ve been hearing her for months — sometimes I think she paces me — and it was nice to say hello.

Brad R. Torgersen rightly points out that I’ve been getting positively ranty about politics lately. I’ve still got a lot to say, this healthcare reform debate has really touched some nerves for me — both personally as a cancer survivor who has to cope with pre-existing condition limitations and the likely financial ruin when I reach my lifetime maximum coverage limits; and as a liberal-progressive with strong convictions about the obligations of a wealthy society such as ours to its members regardless of their financial or social status. To say the least, I find currently articulated conservative viewpoints on these issues notably lacking in facts, common sense or compassion. But I think I’ll lay off it for a while. At least a few days. I’m a writer who blogs about politics, not a political blogger. Thanks for the reminder, Brad.

On the writing front, I continue to bang out stories, but I’m about to shift gears to a book-length Sekrit Projekt in collaboration with a Sekrit Collaborator. It’s cool, I don’t know yet if it will pay off as this is a new direction for me, but we’ll see. Thinking about that led me to think about my writing plans over the next few years. Spent some time last night discussing this with and , to the point where they were laughing at me about the degree to which I was looking into the future. For example, the Tor contract I just signed has deliverables due in the spring of 2011, and the final edition in the contract won’t be out til the spring of 2013. That’s a four year cycle.

Roughly speaking, here’s what I think is going to happen:

August-October, 2009 Sekrit Projekt
October-December, 2009 Revise Our Lady of the Islands with
January-February, 2010 Revise Endurance
March-April, 2010 Draft Kalimpura (Green book 3)
May-June, 2010 Do something else (possibly revive dormant YA novel project)
July-December, 2010 Draft Sunspin (high concept space opera trilogy)
January-February, 2011 Revise Kalimpura
March-May, 2011 Revise Sunspin
June-December, 2011 Draft Original Destiny, Manifest Sin

All of that, of course, interspersed with copy edits, galleys, short fiction, commissioned work, possible novel projects that someone might throw money at me to do quickly, etc. In other words, very much subject to change without notice, most likely through date slippage. Of the above, only Endurance and Kalimpura are contracted, so everything else can flex as opportunity and inspiration permit.

Watch this space for more details.

3 thoughts on “[personal] Miscellany, writing and politics

  1. Sorry, Jay. I didn’t mean to drive you off the topic. I was just picking on the fact that you were — often — picking on conservatives and Republicans, for being genetic muffinheads. Not everyone who passes for conservative — or even Republican — is a chowderbrain.

    My wife has struggled with severe chronic asthma her whole adult life, to the point it’s almost killed her. So I’m sensitive to the healthcare debate too.

    When the shouting and name-calling between the factions is swept away, I think Healthcare Reform — real, truly comprehensive Healthcare Reform — must look at several issues simultaneously:

    1) Who sets pricing for medical services?
    2) Who sets pricing for medical supplies?
    3) Who sets pricing for pharmaceuticals and drugs?
    4) Should we make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage, based on pre-existing illness or condition?
    5) Should we make it illegal for insurance companies to jack up premiums in the extreme, based on pre-existing illness or condition?
    6) How much of the nation’s total healthcare expenses should be paid through taxes?
    7) How will any tax money dedicated to healthcare be administered?

    I am sure there is more that I am missing, but to me these are the main points. All of them involve money. because the single biggest problem with U.S. healthcare is how flat-out expensive it is.

    Free market wonks will obviously advocate for as little government interference as possible. But it often seems like providers, organizations, and drug companies especially, operate in a monopolistic fashion such that anyone who requires regular services and meds — just to live — is looking at huge out-of-pocket expense.

    Also, docs aren’t necessarily going to be thrilled if the feds begin putting caps on how much docs can charge and/or make for their services. Especially surgeons and other six-figure specialists who rake in the big bux. I don’t see them being willing to lose any money, even if they are, in the majority, in favor of Healthcare Reform.

    You’re 100% correct in that much of this comes down to societal ethic. Are we, as U.S. citizens, ready to have a total referendum on this issue? Without turning it into an ideological blood bath?

    The answer seems to be: no.

    This might sound too pat, but I blame the feds. If they had a better track record, I don’t think so many Americans would be so put off by the idea of single-payer or subsidized-payer coverage. But with how the feds have spectacularly proven their financial incompetence, trusting them with the money aspect of healthcare just frightens the hell out of many, many Americans. Even people ordinarily sympathetic to — or even experiencing — financial hardship as a result of illness or healthcare complications.

    I think it goes without saying that very few Americans are truly heartless. I don’t think very many people want to see cancer patients dying in gutters or poor kids going without amoxicilin for strep. When the healthcare debate is framed in simple terms — humanistic terms — most Americans usually come out in favor of it.

    It’s when we begin discussing the feds — and tax dollars — that people get so effing pissed off. And rightly so. The feds are awful with our money. Just awful. And they don’t seem to know it, or care. We as voters need to hold their damned feet to the fire.

    OK, now I’m ranting. Sorry. Here is your blog back. (sheepish grin)

    1. Jay says:

      Is all good. And you didn’t drive me off topic, just made me consider my own sense of my shrillness.

      One irony to me of conservatives angry at the Federal government for spending and management practices is that from 1980 until 2008, the Federal government was Republican led for 20 of 28 years. The current deep hole was almost entirely created by a Republican administration and a Republican congress (contrast with the budget surplus at the end of the Clinton years). While it’s very serious, I don’t view conservative anger at Federal misspending as particularly credible, given the starring role of conservative voters and political leaders in creating the current situation.

      In other words, let people who think government is a solution instead of a problem make financial and administrative decisions for a while. The structural motive for self-sabotage is absent, which may produce very different results.

  2. No argument from me, regarding the hypocrisy of Republican politicians saying they’re “fiscal conservatives,” then behaving as anything but.

    Honestly, I think this is why the Republicans have lost their mojo and aren’t in the driver’s seat anymore. Yes, there are plenty of Team Republicans who will vote and support no matter what happens or what goes wrong. But I think there are millions of nominally republican (small r) people who are fed up seeing Republicans use their own rhetoric as toilet paper, when it comes to true fiscal and financial responsibility.

    Lord knows this was one of my huge beefs over the last 8 years, and it’s a big reason why I was apathetic during the last election. I didn’t think the Republicans gave a damn about the financial crisis, and I still don’t. Lots of people want to blame it on Obama, which is fucking stupid as hell. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of the previous administrations for being dumbassed when it comes to running the government deep into the red.

    Now, to be fair, the only reason we had a surplus at the end of the Clinton years, is because the Clinton years saw a huge draw-down in military expenses. The Army especially got slashed, such that when 9/11 hit us the Army was in a pretty bad position, compared to its Cold War self that went into Kuwait in 1991.

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