Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Healthcare

Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Healthcare

Congratulations!  The GOP imploded and didn’t even vote on a crappy healthcare bill!  You should be so proud.  You stood your ground against something that never had a chance of passing.  I’m not sure what version of a slow clap is appropriate…. I think I’ll go with the Joker.

After you take your lap this weekend and claim a victory.  What are you going to do now?  Are you just going to line up an await the crappy tax reform bill that’s coming and watch that implode too?  Why not take this opportunity to do the unthinkable, propose legislation?

We have a president who is, yes, mad at you.  But I think he is also mad at the Republicans for failing him.  You know he wanted Paul Ryan to hold a vote so he could call out the spineless GOP members who voted against it.  He is ripe to at least listen to a healthcare alternative.  He has said that he wants affordable healthcare for every American, give him what he wants.

TrumpCare 2.0

We all know that the Democrats had a healthcare plan that you were working on for when Hillary took office. (Too soon?) I’m sure you can scrounge up a proposal and then a bill that fixes some things in Obamacare. The most important part would be the public option.  Call it a Medicare buy-in.  Everyone loves Medicare.  Heck, most of the leadership qualifies for it.

So you have a not so crazy healthcare plan with a Medicare buy-in that would be an option for rural areas with no competition.  Get the whole Democratic caucus to sponsor it.  And present it to President Trump.  If he says no the Dems have something on paper to fight the GOP with for the next 4 years.  A much better scenario than the Republicans, “Oh crap! We won and now we have to actually do the thing we said we would!”  You would have a proposal/Bill that you can run on and not just a vague thing to run against.

But then there is the possibility that Trump will support it.  Think of the overturn in power. A united Democratic front with the president to pass something good and the President’s party is the opposition to it.  Who’s the party against the American people then? You want to win back rural and blue collar voters?  Who must argue against Medicare?  What party is the party of obstruction?

There is little downside.  Worst case scenario you win a couple of news cycles before we get bogged down it tax reform.  Best case we get the public option that should have been in Obama care from the start.

I wish I had faith in the Democratic party to be bold and fight for something instead of just against the other side.  If you truly believe that everyone should have healthcare, then take actions toward it.  Please restore my faith in the Democratic party.

Thank you,

Toby Sterling

How I handle Trump’s Election

Donald Trump

Trump in Iowa on Dec. 5, 2015 (Source: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

All right here it goes.  I have been waiting until now to really get into the election here.  I do have a lot to say but I am going to start here.

I was wrong

I thought Trump had no chance. I had calmed friends and even wrote a lighthearted piece after Trump won the Republican Nomination on why we should embrace him as a candidate.  I concluded with he can’t win.  Many people were wrong on this but we should all take a moment and admit it.  That brings me to my next point.

Trump will be our next President

There are those who say he didn’t win because electoral college.  It’s the system we got and it was put there for very good reasons.  Also if you are one of the people saying “He’s not MY President.”  He is.  If you live in the USA he is the President of it.  I remember people saying that after Obama won (Some are still saying it.) and when Bush won.

It does nobody any good to delegitimize the person in a position you want someone with your beliefs to hold.  Unless you want there to be no President don’t taint the position.

No voter supports or even knows every position of a candidate they voted for

Did you know that Hillary wanted animal breeders and zoos to be required to have disaster plans for the protection of animals in their care?  I didn’t until a minute ago and look for an obscure position to write here.  If you know me you know I am not a fan of Hillary or Trump.  I was hoping Hillary one between the two.

Labeling all supports of X as Y is wrong, bigoted, hateful, and dangerous.  Let me just list a few and I’m sure one of them will be hurtful to you while another will be something that you had thought.  I am doing this as an example because it is so important to understand this.

All supporters of Gay marriage are gay
All supporters of creationism are idiots
All supporters of Black Lives Matter are criminals
All supporters of legalizing weed are drug addicts
All supporters of abortion rights are going to hell
All followers of Christianity are hypocrites
All followers of Judaism  are rich
All followers of Mohamed are terrorists
All followers of Atheism have no morals
All supporters of Trump are Racists
All supporters of Hillary hate America
All supporters of Nickelback are tone-def

You do not fit into those boxes and they do not define who you are.  You are complex and have tremendous life experiences that make you who you are…  and so does everyone else.  Please do not box others.  It just allows others to put you in a box.  We must accept that there are those out there who are not tone-def and still like Nickelback.

We must still call out stupid, hateful, untrue, bigoted, and hurtful statements and actions.  I still will. But one thing I have learned over the years is this.

Calling someone a racists does nothing to change the fact that they are racists

Calling someone tone-def because they like Nickelback will not stop them from liking it.  This is true for anything.  Calling someone an idiot has made no one smarter.  In fact it can make people dumber or to play more Nickelback.  Telling a girl that girls are bad at math may influence them not to study or like math because they were told they would be bad at it.

So what do we do?  For me the answer is simple one but very hard to do.

Do not call them a racists, tell them that action is racists.

A couple of male friends I was with were a bit inebriated.  One called to order food and after handing the phone off to the other said louder than he new “Hey, she sounds hot.” and the repeated “Ask her if she’s on Tinder!” over and over again.

After the phone call I confronted my friend telling him that was harassment.  He argued that it wasn’t and I tried to explain that she was just doing her job and doesn’t deserve to have to fend off unwanted advances to earn a living.  We didn’t convince each other and eventually moved on.

You may not agree with me that it was harassment and that a bit of the point.  How does a harasser know that they are harassing unless you attempt to explain what action that they themselves took was harassment.  I’m saddened to say that racism will not just die out.  at some point, if the goal is to end racism we will have to convince some racist that racism is wrong.

I am afraid that this may get the biggest reaction in this whole article but to cure a Nickelbacker you are going to have to make them listen to Metallica.

My Election Prediction(s)

I was one state off in my last two election predictions.  This time I’m going to give you three maps to ponder. First is my prediction of what will happen  This is my what I feel will happen but it is not what my gut says.


The one state that is the hardest for me to predict is Ohio.  It is the state that will be the last to be called.  But the race will be over much before then.  Early voting and the way the electoral map works is just to much to overcome.

I am not as firm in my convictions as I was last time so here is my Clinton landslide map.


This I call the conscious/young vote.  It is hard to poll young people and they just won’t break for Trump.  Then you have the people in the voting booth thinking the just can’t vote for the Donald.  Texas I think is closer to turning blue sooner than people think.

Now for the Trump best case scenario.


This is the best I think Trump can do. All I really need to say is that Trump still loses in this scenario.  Trump does 68 electoral votes better that the modest prediction and still loses.  there is no way for Trump to win at this point.

The state to watch for me is Georgia.  The sooner it is called the better for Trump.  If it called when the polls close we are in for a long night.


Avast Anti-Customer?


Quick graphic job. Unlike Avast’s customer service

[Update:  I have heard back from Avast after this post went up.  They have attempted to make this right.  Will do full update after fully resolved]

I went on a twitter rant last night. The target was Avast, an antivirus company.  This is not against their products that I find work if somewhat annoying.

I am coming at this with over 20 years of customer service from driving cab to retail management, to tech support.  I also know that customer service is not easy but it is also vital, especially today, to attempt to do it right.

*Deep sigh* Before I start ripping into you I want to lay out the situation.  We had a little hacking scare.  So I decided to up my protection from Avast from the free to the lower tear paid service.  You charge $49.99/year but always have sales, this one was $19.99/year.  I got charged the $50 plus tax and because a browser issue, probably on my end, I got charged twice.  Two mistakes easily corrected. The double charge is obvious but the deal I expect some push back on but was ready to fight for.

So I call on a Sunday evening and find out that ALL billing questions you must put in a ticket on their website.  Fine… Let me find that on your website… 30 minutes later I am able to find the place to put in a ticket.  I mentioned nicely both problems and waited.

Five days later.  Five business days later…

captureLet me just pause here.  How the hell does it take you more than one business day to respond to somebody’s complaint?!  It’s 2016 not the 1950’s.

And this problem isn’t tricky or nuanced.  Even if it was tricky you send a reply that day saying so and that you are working on it.  I’ve got over $100 tied up for a week waiting for you to correct this crap.  It had actually left my mind during a busy week that you overcharged me and I was waiting for a reply.

Generations of fruit flies lived and died, 1.5 million people have been born in that time. And you can’t get someone read a ticket and say, “Yep he’s right” and respond?

After five days you had better get it right so both of us can move on…

This is the email I got five days after I put in a ticket.

Hello Toby,

Thank you for contacting Avast. May I offer you to combine your licenses together and thus create an extended coverage (merged and combined with the remainder of your old one – therefore ensuring you don’t miss any of the time you have paid for) instead of refund to be initiated, please?
Just let me know.

Best regards,


*Deep Breath* NO!  Did you not read both parts of the complaint?  You double charged AND over charged! At the deal value that is still less than one of the payments I made!  You want me to pay $100 for 2 years when I was trying to pay $20 for 1 year?!?!?

On what planet do you think I am from?  This isn’t some new math mistake.  This is complete ignorance of issues that you are responding too.

Also the end of the question in the response  “…instead of refund to be initiated, please?”  Poor grammar and I can tell just by these seven words that Andrew is not at fault.  I’m fairly certain the billing customer service people are judge on money not customer satisfaction.  Andrew probably saw that  he would have to give me more than he is allowed without permission and brought it to his boss who said no refunds or it’s your job.

Avast doesn’t know what they have done.  They better make this right and soon.  I am not going away.  I hope that you don’t take another 5 days to respond to my nice response to your customer “service” response.

You will regret it.


Stress, I disbelieve!

I used to say I don’t believe in stress.  It seemed to be an invention of modern society that served no purpose other than giving ulcers to people.  Now that I’m older I understand more of what stress is supposed to be.  It’s a combination of different feelings that can be brought on by situations one is uncomfortable in.

What I find to have more truth about what causes stress is not the situations itself but the anticipation of situations. As an introvert I find myself getting anxious leading up to parties or unknown social situations.  I can show up to work and have a crazy day where I work my butt off.  If I don’t know about it ahead of time I’m not worried about it and can just dive in and get though it.  If I knew it was going to be that crazy I may start to obsess about it.  My performance may even be effected by that obsessive behavior.

On the other end I can take crazy day at work or and continue to think about it.  Did I do well enough? Am I going to get fired when I get in the next morning?  It all adds to bad feelings and an unclear mind.

The last few days at work have been hard.  Emergency rush jobs have pushed off the normal work and a special project.  I have also been covering for someone who has been sick.  It’s all there I can anticipate all the things that will be coming tomorrow and the stuff I didn’t get to today.  Then I come home and remember that I have to write a blog.  look at all that stress causing things!

Then sitting on the couch watching some mindless TV to calm my head I realize that I am stressed and can use it for my blog!  I can complain about my day and teach people a thing I do to fight stress. Are you ready?

Just don’t believe in it.

I know it is not that simple.  And it is more challenging for some people than others.  But think about it.  You are off work.  There is nothing you can do about it right now.  So enjoy that time.  Shake it off and do something you like.  Change your environment.  When those thoughts enter your head say “Nope” and sing a song from Monty Python or Weird Al.

One of the reasons I took on the challenge of 40 blogs in 30 days (this is day 3) instead of NaNoWriMo is that, unlike a novel, I can forget about what I wrote  in the blog yesterday and start fresh every day.

Just remember, obsessing about work while not working will hurt your work performance.  It’s not worth it.  Let it go.

Media Is Not Ignoring Media Coverage! 3 Simple Reasons You Are Wrong

MediaWe see it all the time. Some article about a story and how it is not getting coverage.  The media always ignores the stories that really matter.  How can we live in a world where this happens!

Not only are these posts wrong, they cause the story to be ignored.

You heard me right. When someone writes one of these articles they are actually reducing the attention to the thing they are pushing. There are three straight forward and simple reasons for this.

1. It is a false narrative.

Most of these type of articles saying this thing is happening and media isn’t covering it and then refer to a news article.  My recent “favorite” of these lately was referring to the Louisiana floods and it not being covered… While linking a USA Today article!  I had just seen that story lead the national TV news an hour earlier.

While that is an extreme example it holds true for nearly all of these articles. They will link to a story produced by someone working in media.  It is also the fact that the very thing you create to complain about media coverage is itself… wait for it… media coverage! Which leads into the second reason.

2. The article is now about the media, not the story.

Whatever the story that is not being covered by the media is now second fiddle to the media not covering of the story.

Have you ever started a conversation complaining about the media coverage that you didn’t end up talking about the media?  You waste valuable eyes and brain time on something that has nothing to with what you want people to actually know.

Media, especially now, needs to be on point all the time.  Unless your greater point is about media coverage, don’t open with it.

3. People see the hypocrisy and don’t click.

Perhaps early on when this idea started it helped clicks.  But the media has been blamed for not covering a certain story since the 80’s. (the 1680’s) Most of the  people I talk to avoid clicking on these stories.

As the Gawker headline tropes become recognized, their effectiveness declines. We are over saturated with media people saying media coverage of the thing I am in the process of covering is horrible. It is hypocrisy and I won’t participate.

The thing is we now have greater influence over the media than ever before. Every time we click and share a story, that story moves up on the recommendation algorithms that rule content from that media source. We literally have the power to control what gets big media coverage.

Yes we should keep pointing out big media’s shortcomings, but doing it while promoting a story that you want to be big undermines its influence. Let’s not waste good efforts on blaming media that undermines good stories that need to be told.

Thoughts on Stuff

Every time I have tried to explain how I see things and how I derived my theories on life, the universe, and everything it fails.  I may be able to cover one theory and how it effects my thinking but it never covers everything.  It is a worthy endeavor but cannot truly be done.

So instead here is a list of beliefs, rules I try to live by, and answers to many questions I have had over my life.  By doing this I hope to get past the need to explain how I get to a point I am trying to make in my writing and just get to the point.  You may find some wisdom here but manly this is for me.  I do not succeed at all of these at all times not do I expect others too. I hope you enjoy and get something out of this.

No one sees themselves as the villain in their own story

As a realist I can only be an optimist

3 Rules I live by:
1. Make yourself happy
2. Make other people happy
3. Be remembered

I do not have all the answers.

Live life with honor and without regret.

I will be wrong and that is wonderful

If I get it right on the first try I am not pushing myself hard enough

“You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.” ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

“Be excellent to everybody” – Bill S. Preston

Leave everything better than when you came

Don’t just fight the battles you can win, fight the battles worth fighting for.

No person can know what’s in another’s heart.

It matters more what you do than what you believe.

Never blame your failures on others but always thank them for your success.

The future will be unimaginably amazing.

You can’t change things without understanding why things are the way the are

Reality changes when the perception of that reality changes.

All opinions and non-violent expressions of those opinions are valid.

Respect the person who fights for their beliefs as you’d wish to be respected for yours, even when they are wrong.

Ideas and beliefs can be evil, people are just people

Everyone knows something I can learn from.

Don’t give up, move on.

The worth of a person is not related to one’s wealth or standing or name.

Hate is not for directing at people, it’s for foods and music genres.

When you think your people are chosen or saved you will naturally act like people who aren’t chosen or saved are lesser people, lesser humans.

There are no “Other” people we are all people.

Everyone should work customer service for at least six months, people would learn how much being a jerk effects other people.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Hurting others is always wrong.

No one deserves to die

“Don’t dream it, be it” – RHPS

Doing wrong for the right reasons is still wrong

There is always another perspective

If you look for something you will find it.  Especially when its looking for a reason that validates your actions.

Labeling others as an argument against their opinions is lazy and ineffective

If you only listen to those who agree with you, you will stay ignorant of ways to further your ideals.

Slippery slope is not an argument. “You’d die if you ate only ice cream” is not an argument for never having ice cream.

When you don’t know how to end something just say “Thank You.”