Call your senators: might be a vote on health care this week!

If you want to read up on the Senate bill a bit more, here are some good stories about how it slashes Medicaid and will cause premiums to rise for many people to give a tax cut to the wealthy.

Please call today. You don’t have to get in to policy much, just say something like

Hi, my name is <your name>, and I’m a constituent of Senator <senator’s name>. I’m urging <him/her> to vote against any health care bill that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their insurance, like the one proposed in the Senate.

If your senator opposed the bill (here’s a handy whip count – note that Senator Cruz is currently opposed!), be sure to say something like “I urge the Senator to stand against the bill even if minor changes are made”, because this is exactly what happened with the House bill – they made some small changes and that gave cover for representatives to vote for it.

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)

Texans: call Senators Cornyn and Cruz to save healthcare!

A few weeks ago, the House passed the AHCA (aka TrumpCare, aka the American Health Care Act), which is terrible for reasons I’ve gone into before. (why it’s bad, why essential health benefits are good) The CBO scored the bill and estimated that 23 million people will lose their health care if the bill passes, and people with preexisting conditions may have to pay higher premiums (like, way higher). It is bad!

The Senate is now working on a health care bill – they say they’re going to “start from scratch”, so who knows what they’ll come up with. Also:

Senators Cornyn and Cruz are both involved in this effort (per item 2 here) – let them know what you think!

I had a hard time thinking about what to say since it’s not as straightforward as “vote/don’t vote for this bill”, but the suggested text from that item is good:

“Hello, my name is [NAME] from [TOWN]. I know the Senator is on the working group of the new healthcare bill. The House’s plan is a disaster. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it has expanded access to coverage to millions of Americans. Does the Senator pledge that the new bill will allow those millions to keep their insurance, and will contain no loopholes for insurers to charge more for pre-existing conditions?”

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)

The Senate is in recess this week so call today!

We’re building a house in Pflugerville!

So…yeah! It was a surprisingly long process (we started in early March and just signed a week and a half ago), and we got pretty far through three different floor plans for reasons that weren’t really our fault.

We’re going through the options process, aka “pick out everything about the interior of your house even the stuff you don’t care about!” which is half fun and half overwhelming.

Our main impetus to move was having more space for Vanessa and a park/pool in walking distance of the house. I think I’m going to be pretty happy with what we end up with.

One of my big obstacles for moving was being farther away from work/moving out of Austin proper. And…well, I’m still coming to terms with that. But it’s really not that far away from work, I’ve just gotten a bit spoiled from being so close. (~10 minute drive most days)

Anyway, hopefully before the end of the year we’ll have a new house! And then get to move! And fix up and sell our current house! Wait that all sounds like a lot of work!

Floating Point to Hex update, and writing tests as a sign of maturity

Over the weekend I published an update to my Floating Point to Hex calculator that allows you to swap the endianness of the hex bytes! Pretty exciting, no? (the answer is: meh)

It was actually more work than it looks like, because I decided to go ahead and update the backing script to Python 3, which meant I had to recompile the C module it uses. When I was about to start doing this I was disappointed to see that I didn’t have any tests in the project, so I went ahead and wrote those before changing everything. And even before I started changing things I found a few bugs (oh negative zero, you are tricky), so it was time well-spent!

I did have to refactor a few things to make the script testable, but I can’t imagine doing a refactor with only the help of spot-checking things, which is what I used to do. Just like writing clean code, writing tests is useful for future you as well as others!