Obamacare stories AND stuffed lamb meatballs? Thanks, friends at Penzeys!
Cooking is where we learn the goodness caring for others brings to life—Cooking is where we find our humanity. Cook.
We've been working on a series of ACA stories that we have been saving for the opening of our Janesville, Wisconsin store May 19. With Thursday's vote in the House of Representatives, it seems waiting to share these stories no longer makes sense. Janesville is the seat of the first congressional district here in our home state of Wisconsin that is responsible for electing the current Speaker of the House of the US House of Representatives. Our fellow Wisconsinites have elected him because they believe him to be a good and decent man. As part of our continuing Cooks Vote Project, we are opening our Janesville store as America's store, our prototype Penzeys of the future.
A big part of why we are opening in Janesville is working to help the Speaker be the good and decent man the voters of Janesville elected him to be. And to be a daily reminder to the voters there that good and decent people are people like themselves, people who share the gifts life has given them to help not hurt those in need. We think our ongoing ACA stories and recipes are the right place to start.
Their love affair began over 30 years ago with an afternoon of cookie baking. “We were both living in Boston. It was our first ‘unofficial’ date,” says Doug Shelton, as he recalls so many happy memories. Now Doug and his wife, Kristen Moore, call the small, friendly town of Silver City, New Mexico, home.
Since 1981, when Kristen was awarded the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, she has devoted herself to the care of young children. Kristen had wanted to study law since she was a little girl, but after working as a nursing assistant during college, she switched schools and went into nursing. “As usual, she chose kindness,” says husband, Doug.
Kristen started her career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul Children’s Hospital in Minnesota. Always wanting to make the world a better place by doing all she could to help others, a new challenge presented itself to Kristen when she became the charge nurse in a newly created Mobile Medical Unit which provided services throughout the hospital.
Kristen’s experiences, along with her deep-seeded need to always provide her patients with the best of care, soon presented her with the option to work with the emergency room team at St. Paul.
In 1994, after earning her Master’s Degree, she took on the challenge of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner where she would work with her favorite patients, the children.
During this time the Midwest Children’s Resource Center was established. MCRC set the standard for child abuse investigation within the entire region. Kristen was instrumental in expanding their mission, forming a 24/7 response to child abuse crises in the hospital.
Doug tells us, “Kristen later joined MCRC and spent several years conducting over 700 forensic child abuse investigations, saving helpless children from their worst nightmares. When this horror became too much to bear, she returned to work in primary care, as a Nurse Practitioner.
“Several years later we moved to Arizona where Kristen joined the Children’s Medical Center of Tucson, a clinic dedicated to helping pediatric patients, many on assistance. For a few of these 14 years, she returned to the Pediatric Emergency Room of Tucson.
“Throughout her career, Kristen has been considered to be the very best by her colleagues, her patients and their parents,” says Doug.
As important and rewarding as Kristen’s career was to her, so was cooking. Both Kristen and Doug loved to cook. Really cook. “We both grew up helping in our kitchens as children. We’ve traveled around the country and the world, eating our way through the places we’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Then we’d go home and figure out how to cook it in our own kitchen.
“We’ve always liked to cook together. We’ve hosted innumerable dinner parties and considered those times to be among the most enjoyable of our lives,” Doug smiles.
It was 2011 when Kristen began to notice she was having trouble functioning at her job. Kristen, always trying to be super-competent, tended to conceal and compensate for her difficulties, making it hard to see there was a problem.
Eventually her memory loss progressed to a point where it became obvious something was seriously wrong and by the middle of the following year, Kristen was unable to keep working. She was 54 years old.
It wasn’t until years later that her illness was diagnosed as unspecified, early-onset dementia with cerebellar ataxia, which gives her the balance problems. Nobody really knows what causes the cognitive problems or what to do about it. At this point, her treatment is pretty much trial and error.
Doug says, “Kristen has devoted her entire life to helping others and now, because of her illness, she lost her career, her income, and her health insurance.”
Together Doug and Kristen tried to obtain Medicaid coverage while living in Arizona. He says, “Although we undoubtedly qualified, Arizona stretched out the application process for nearly a year and made us go to two arbitration hearings only to find that this coverage really didn’t do much for us.
“It seemed every step was deliberately designed to be maximally inconvenient, demeaning and punitive. Our savings were gone. We lost our home. It was this attitude that contributed to us leaving the state of Arizona.”
In New Mexico, where Doug feels the state takes these services more serious, Kristen found the care she needed. With the enactment of the ACA, Medicaid had been expanded to cover funding to millions and it was finally available to Kristen. At last, she met with a neurologist and received her diagnosis.
But now, with the repeal of the ACA, Doug wonders if Medicaid will continue to be available to them.
“Things have taken a downturn for her in the last nine months,” Doug says. “I am pretty much responsible for her and for keeping our lives running.
“To say it has been difficult is an understatement. Kristen used to be the smartest and most competent person I’ve ever known and now she can’t go grocery shopping or remember how to answer her phone.
“She can remember just about everything from the past, but her brain has problems forming new memories. She used to love books and movies, but now 30 minutes or 30 pages into something, she forgets, becomes lost and then frustrated.
“Kristen enjoys emailing and talking to old friends. It’s unfortunate that none of them live here. We’re making friends, but we are still the new kids on the block,” says Doug.
“One good thing, Kristen still loves to eat. And she still loves being in the kitchen helping with simple prep work. She can make basics like a sandwich or a smoothie, but can no longer do things that have multiple steps, like her favorite Indian food. She can’t plan the steps in her head.
“We used to be avid hikers, but her balance issues have more or less restricted us to walking on flat ground. 25 years ago, we traversed the saddle of the Tongariro Volcano in New Zealand in violent winds and today we walk downtown to the co-op or our favorite Mexican diner.
“Kristen’s favorite activity is gardening. She’ll spend hours out there every day. It’s satisfying work and doesn’t require much memory.”
Many of Kristen’s patients and their parents were truly devoted to her. One patient stands out in Kristen’s mind. She remembers Kameah, a 4-year-old who suffered with recurrent fevers. Kristen was the one who saw something was amiss and referred her to the specialist who found a cancer, which thankfully was caught early enough that she survived.
As a thank-you gift, Kameah gave Kristen a rock, saying to her, “I picked out the best one for you, Kristen.” With the arrival of a family Christmas card every year, Kristen watched Kameah grow into a healthy, athletic, young woman. Kristen was invited to her high school graduation and to this day, still has the rock!
“To a great extent, Kristen has had a wonderful life,” Doug says. “She has helped thousands of people, not for the big bucks, but because it gave her life meaning; to make the world a better place, as she would say.
“I believe that these people would want to help her, just as she helped them, but it seems their government does not. It seems the government wants to punish her for being so stupid to have spent her life pursuing something other than wealth.
“Yes, a bright spot in our journey has been the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. It has been the only way we have been able to obtain healthcare. But if we lose Medicaid, there will be no treatment options for Kristen. She will be directly harmed, and this person, who gave so much of herself to others, will end her life forgotten and discarded from the world she spent her life trying to help, for want of a little help in return, in her time of need.”
Is this the best way we can make our country great? Should all Americans without wealth simply be disposable? We are better than the act the Republican Congress just committed. We really are.
Wonkette thanks our friends at Penzeys for sharing this story. We hope you dig them as much as we do.
Here comes the sun -- and you can harness its mighty power!
You'll be getting real solar power, not just a stock photo!
If you're like a lot of Wonkers, you may say to yourself, "I would truly like to do something this Holiday Season about all this global warming, but darn it, my residence is A) rented, not owned; B) in a lousy location for solar panels; C) at the North Pole with all these toy-making elves, not to mention a really strict HOA." We don't know how you insert those lists into your thoughts, but we can at least help you go Solar without having to install a single solar panel on your abode at all. It's a FESTIVUS MIRACLE!
Here's a company that's using the good ol' free market to expand the reach of clean wind power. You want to save the planet, don't you?
Well! Arcadia is now expanding into a new clean-energy market that lets people buy solar power without actually having to install solar panels on their own personal roof: You subscribe to get your very own solar panel in one of Arcadia's growing network of solar farms, and Arcadia takes care of making sure your utility bill reflects the savings from your own little patch of sun. Sound confusing? It is, because we are oversimplifying! Now shut up and watch this video from Arcadia, which explains it much more clearlike:
It's really pretty simple: You pay for the solar panel and send Arcadia your utility account information, then Arcadia uses the software it developed for its wind-power program to direct the savings from your personal solar panel(s) to your utility bill. You'll still be getting power from your local utility's generation plants, whatever source they use, but you're also getting a discount from your personal solar panel, wherever it is, because it's putting electrons into the grid that you personally made, with some help from the Sun and its nuclear fusion. Look, a visual aid!
How it Works
When you subscribe to a Portable Panel with Arcadia Power, you will see savings directly on your utility bill without having to put anything on your roof. No matter if you own your own home, rent, or live in the shade, you can choose the number of panels that’s right for you and your budget, saving you money on your power bill. And if you move, your savings move right along with you!
Still have questions about how all this works? Go read up on the program here, where you can find out if Arcadia Solar is available through your utility at this time (and if it's not, they'll let you know when it is). Arcadia's distributed community solar project has also been written up at TechCrunch and GreenTech Media, if you're looking for more information.
What’s In It For Wonkette?
Ever the savvy news consumer, you have already noticed that this here is a sponsored post, haven't you? That's because Wonkette has the kindest, smartest, bravest, most wonderful readers on the internet, duh. Also, you're much more attractive than the average blog reader. So yes, we do get a one-time bounty for each solar panel you buy if you decide to go solar and make Donald Trump cry, so you'll be doing good for the planet and helping your favorite mommyblog, recipe hub, and green energy pusher. Once you've signed up, you're not paying anything extra to us; your utility bill will go through Arcadia and they'll take care of all the tech stuff, while you save money on your electric bill with solar power and can feel superior to your neighbors about it.
Go check out whether Arcadia Solar is available in your area yet, and when you're ready to take the Solar plunge (metaphorically only!) sign up using this here linky so Yr Wonkette gets a cut, and you can brag about how you are helping to raise a solar-powered babby! Can you buy someone a solar panel subscription as a Christmas gift? We haven't the slightest idea, but Rebecca told us to make this post Christmas-themed at the last minute! Get your loved one a book, and yourself a solar panel.
Where do the media elites go for the 'inside scoop' on political intrigue? Wouldn't YOU like to know!
People sometimes wonder how Yr Wonkette stays on top of the news so good. They ask us all the time, "Hey! Wonkette! How do you stay on top of the news so good?" There's no real secret to it: Yr Wonkette reads Political Wire to keep track of all the latest lies and corruption from the new Trump administration. It’s like Wonkette, but with fewer dick jokes.
Well, there actually aren’t any dick jokes. Those are pretty much our thing. But Political Wire really does know politics, and it comes in an easy-to access package, just waiting for all the dick jokes you might want to add. Plus, it is real news, not the fake kind that so many news consumers are disappointed by these days. It is run by Taegan Goddard, a friend of Wonkette from way back and a stand-up guy, although he does not do standup.
If you join as a member, you’ll also get exclusive analysis of the latest lies and corruption plus bonus eBooks and no advertising. They even have a trending news page for members, updated every 15 minutes with the very latest lies and corruption. You might even beat Wonkette to the dick jokes with a tool this powerful. Or at least get a head start on your day drinking.
Right now, Political Wire is even running a special offer just for Wonkette readers: Join Political Wire as an annual member and get $5 off your subscription. Just use coupon code “Wonkette” when signing up!
Or you could wait until the lamestream media gets to the story, by which time all the dick jokes will be stale. You don't want stale dick jokes, do you? Of course you do not.
Hello there, beautiful wonderful Wonkers we love! You are looking very intelligent today! Is that a new sweater? We need money.
Hello there, beautiful wonderful Wonkers we love! You are looking very intelligent today! Is that a new sweater? We need money.
We know, we always need money. But usually we need money for, like, nice wine and fancy trips to garage sales. Today, we need money for payroll.
Here, let me ask me some questions for you.
What the fuck and how did this happen, we thought you were such a good businessman?
ME TOO! I was all, oooh, look at all this piles of money I am making, I will hire more people, at a living wage, look at me being pretty and rad! Then, April hit, and May, and June. The first few months of the year were so awesome, we could ride out losing about $10,000 a month. Then July came, and August. And September's worse. Shy and I last took a salary in March, and we are plumb out of money.
Do you have even worse news, for which we should be ready?
I DO. We've had to let Robyn go because "last hired first fired," which fucking sucks, and this is her last month with us. If you have a job for her, she might take it! She is sad, and we are sad, and she'll stick around for some freelance probably, but as a grown up woman professional writer, she usually commands a lot more than we offer.
And you STILL can't make the rest of your payroll?
Gah. Yes. We're thousands short for Dok and Evan this month. And next month. And God only knows after that. Dok, being a sweetling, keeps offering to take a paycut. We would rather not let him! But honestly, at our current burn, not only are paycuts in the offing, more layoffs are too.
Whoa, this is serious?
Yes. This is serious. We've asked you for money before for emergencies here and there -- and you've always come through! -- but we've never not been able to make payroll. We're seven thousand dollars short for our payroll this week, and next month's not going to be any better.
Why don't you tell us some real money numbers?
We usually make between $15,000 and $25,000 a month from our stupid ads that you and we hate. $25k is a WHOO-BOY month! $15k is a crap one! Since April, we've made less than $15,000 each month, and even with the new ads, we've been hitting less than $12,000. In the meantime, our Wonkers average about $8,000 a month in donations, ad-fewer subscriptions, and Truck Fump t-shirts. We don't know of anyone who's as reader-supported as we are, but that amount has to at least double -- and we're not against it quadrupling -- in order to keep paying our writers (and start paying us).
When I say we're in trouble, I'm not just spouting shit like I'm Oral Roberts. Which reminds me, in 7th grade speech club I did a fake newscast about Oral Roberts being called home to God. THAT IS WHAT GOOD HANDS WONKETTE IS IN. Seventh grade! My god! I'm amazing! (Also, I won.)
That sounds embarrassing. Are you embarrassed?
Well, not about the Oral Roberts part! As to the rest of it, fuck yeah I am! Money-begs are supposed to be for expanding, and new hires, and fun things we made you because we are bitchen, not for sadness and shame!
But you know what, though? We just went to Portland, on the way to Shy's dad's memorial service, and Wonkers there threw a party. Not because we were coming -- we crashed it! They threw a party because this is a for real good community, full of smart, fun, interesting people who dig our brand of our news-based humor and humor-based news, and who've found a place of generous, warm, a-little-bit-evil-but-not-that-much weirdos with whom to hang out and go (a little bit) less crazy. The Portlanders brought the most beautiful things from their gardens you ever have seen. They were beautiful people inside and out -- and their tomatoes were better.
We know the few hundred of you who regularly comment, and the 2000 of you who give us money every month. (We see you in our Paypal; hell, if you've been at it long enough, I could probably tell you what town you live in when I see you at our party and kiss you on your face.)
But there's another 900,000 of you though who dip in a few times a month for a taste. And we know what we do matters to you too, and we trust you will be here for us.
Well, at least you're not Donald Trump. That guy just never pays anyone.
I know, fuck him, right? He gets em both ways: borrowing money he never pays back, and hiring workers he never pays at all. What a fucking dick he is. Probably sleeps like a baby with very small hands.
Yes, now we remember our common enemy, who is not you. Now how can we help?
Okay! There are things you can do! You can sign up for your ad-fewer wonkette right here, and then we won't feel guilty about all our bad ads! (First, sign up there. Then, it'll take you to Paypal where you'll click one of the amounts ending in .99, like $4.99 or $9.99, etc. If you're already contributing a monthly donation, and you want to take advantage of ad-fewer, that's great! Now I won't feel terrible! You just have to register above and then change your monthly amount from, say, $5 to, say, $4.99, because we set it up dumb and they're tracked differently. When you've done all that, don't forget to log in where it says members, and log in again when your cookies expire which will be every month or so.
Don't like Paypal? Send us a check for at least several months' worth of ad-fewer at
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Include the username you're registering and your email so we can shoot you a note when you're all switched on!
I already have ad-block. I like to go into the comments and suggest everyone else get it too.
If you're an ad-block person, we get it. Please consider making a recurring donation of a buck or two or ten a month, and we'll call that even. Telling everyone else to get ad-block is a dick move though, bro. You should try to cut that out!
Is it me? Is there something wrong with me? I can't log in to ad-fewer!
Not just you! Fucking plugin did a stealth update without telling us, and people who joined at silver or higher were all having them a little clusterfuck trying to log in. THEY'RE ALL FIXED NOW, but if you made a bunch of accounts in the meantime, and need me to refund a few of them, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We can still just send you money?
Yes, you can just send us money.
What about those games you made, Election Game of US America Elections: The Wonkette US Election Game? Should we buy those?
Oh god yes. We'll get our shipment by the end of September, and we'll be sending them out to all of you who preordered. But we also have about a thousand left, and honestly we didn't make dick on the whole thing despite all your lovely kickstarter donations. Selling those extra ones would help us a lot! They're $29.99 and they include free shipping if you're in the US. Dirty foreigner? Email me at email@example.com and I'll look up your dirty foreign shipping for you.
Are you tired of telling us all the ways we can buy things?
Yes, but still, go to the Bazaar if you want to, and our Redbubble store if you want to, and maybe buy things through the Amazon link in the siderail if you're going to be buying things on Amazon anyway, and DEFINITELY sign up for solar and or wind power from our friends at Arcadia; dude, they have a version that's FREE.
We are a really rich person with money to burn. Not so much a question, we just like mentioning it.
I am dead serious, give us a whole fuckload of money, and we will paint your name on the back of the Wonkebago. Give us more, and we'll put your name above our logo on the site. "Wonkette brought to you by George Soros" has a sweet fucking ring to it. Man, your name looks FANTASTIC.
We are really poor for real, you don't want our widow's mite, do you?
NO! Do not send us money if you are a poor! We are young and strong and will figure it out! But what you can do is share all the wonkette stories from your Twitface. (On Facebook, it's even more helpful if you share it directly from our Facebook page.)
Because you know what? Fuck USUncut and all those other bullshit-lie websites with their millions of fucking readers sucking down their bullshit-lie headlines. WONKETTE NEVER LIES (and when we do get shit wrong, we fess up immediately), and WE SHOULD BE WAY MORE HUGER. So, help us do that please. Strike a blow for dick joke integrity! Share share share! There, now you have given!
This post was depressing, be moar funnier
Baby, we'll do anything for you.
Fuck you, we hated that even worse. Give us baby pix instead.
Now dance, veal, dance!
Had about enough out of you, pally. But okay!
Okay we were just kidding. We CAN'T HELP BEING TERRIBLE.
I know, honey. Me too.