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|Wednesday, November 26th, 2008|
|Letter to the editor?
As a software engineer with two children in the public school system in Texas, I'm naturally concerned by the obvious Creationist leanings of many of the members of our State Board of Education. As our elected board members begin the process of redesigning the science curriculum for our children, we as citizens and voters have a responsibility to make sure they are providing a curriculum that will adequately prepare our children to take part in the world of the future.
That world of the future has grown even more scientific as I'm writing this, and will continue to do so even as our children lag farther and farther behind. Part of the reason our science education has slipped so far so fast is the constant rehashing of the "Evolution vs. Creationism" debate.
Despite the colossal amounts of time and money that those who would have you believe otherwise have devoted to the issue, these ideas are not mutually exclusive. It's perfectly reasonable for a scientist (or a student of science) to believe that the Christian God established the rules that govern the universe. One of these rules is what we call evolution.
Getting humanity and all the other species on earth to appear from nothing would be no big trick for the omnipotent God of the Bible. And what measure of time would such a being call a 'day'? Perhaps, in God's eyes, we as a race are just a few days old. There is no way for man to know the mind of God. Our tiny little brains couldn't handle all that information.
So we do what we can. We try to understand the universe that God has laid out before us, and in that understanding we must forgo matters of faith and rely upon only what can clearly be established as fact. Let's be sure that our State Board of Education sticks to the facts when they decide how to educate our children about science.
"Intelligent Design" and "Creationism" have no place in the Biology classroom alongside the scientific fact of evolution. Those who support such notions would have you believe that there is a great debate among scientists about whether or not evolution even occurs, but there is not. Even the humblest of farmers knows enough about genetics to watch evolution as it happens.
Let's keep the theories about the origins of the universe in the classrooms they belong in -- Comparative Religion and other classes that deal with Cosmology (as theories of how the universe came to be) -- and keep them out of the Biology classroom where they just confuse matters and give us students who are unprepared to live and work in the world they are going to inherit from us.
It's our responsibility as parents and voters to make sure that our children are getting the education they need to succeed in the world of tomorrow. If the current State Board of Education can not be convinced to provide that, then it will be up to us to replace them and form a new one that will. Please take the time to make this perfectly clear to your representative on the board before our children fall even farther behind.
|Wednesday, November 12th, 2008|
|Open Letter to the Texas Board of Education
When board member Cynthia Dunbar made her opinion (as stated here
) about our President-elect well-known, I decided to do a little research. Within five minutes of Internet searching, I found many sites that attempted to debunk what our fine Republican board member is trying to warn us about. Unfortunately, they are all sites (like snopes.com and factcheck.org) that are well-known leftist fronts.
Yes, dear board members, I agree with Ms. Dunbar -- the Commies and the Terrorists are in league and they are a real and credible threat to Democracy all over the world, including the United States. Never mind that their ideologies are diametrically opposed. The enemy of my enemy and all that... All I can say is bravo, Ms. Dunbar. You're exactly the type of person I want re-writing the curriculum that my kids will be spending the next 6 and 8 years respectively being indoctrinated in.
In fact, I will gladly trade in my own freedom of religion for Ms. Dunbar's freedom of speech. I don't need to be free to decide on my own and for myself what to believe, and neither do my children. It's high time I left this areligioius life behind and toed the line like the good Christian boy I was raised to be, so I will gladly trade my right to worship or not worship as I see fit for Ms. Dunbar's freedom of speech and the safer world it promises. Heaven forbid we actually elect a dreaded Muslim, Pagan, or Jew to high office in this country, let alone someone who doesn't look like a good and respectable Christian Caucasian.
Let's start simple with the curriculum re-write, though. Let's make The Holy Bible the only mandatory scientific, historical, and literary education. Then we can eliminate computers from every school building (after all, computers are the gateway to the Evil Internet that is home to the blatantly leftist sites mentioned above). Finally, we'll need to make sure that every teacher in every school in the great state of Texas is a good and proper Christian, as they should be. We will start a new renaissance of thought and morality right here in Texas by teaching our children new vocations, as well.
Once we've taught enough of our children the proper ways of doing things, we can ban abortion and birth control and make homosexuality illegal. I'd gladly give up my right to peaceably assemble if it would free us from the scourge of un-Christian behavior that's running rampant in this country. Putting things back in their natural order should have the added benefit of opening up further avenues of employment for our children, as well.
And once they've wiped all the freaks out, there's always the Catholics and the Mormons and many other sloppier sects of Christianity that we just can't possibly agree with, so our vast corps of inquisitors will certainly have their work cut out for them. At least we'll have the comfort of knowing that our descendants will be secure from the terrorist and communist threats and well provided for in the coming generations. We can even hold the trials in secret, never let them face their accuser, and by no means will we ever have to allow them to refute the evidence gathered against them. After all, if they don't believe what we do, they don't deserve the same rights we enjoy.
Now I know no real
Texan would willingly give up their right to bear arms, so let's make sure that every good Christian citizen is armed with the latest in firearms technology. Might I humbly suggest the Steyr AUG or the G-36 (yes, I know they're not made in America... yet). After all, we do need a physical education requirement for our new school curriculum, and what better way to get exercise than running obstacle courses promptly followed by using expanding gasses created by flammable materials as they explode to hurl smallish lead projectiles down a twisted barrel in order to put a proper spin on the bullet so that it remains accurate at long ranges...
And to follow that up, we'll add a whole new health curriculum, as well. We won't need doctors and nurses anymore, because our faith will heal us and it only stands to reason that only the immoral and impure will get sick in the first place. So there's no real need for any talk about hygene or any other facet of our anatomy that might actually indicate that we are anything other than God's creatures. No one really needs the benefits of scientific research unless it supports and enhances our belief in God.
With all the teachers and scientists in line, our good and proper Christian citizens will start to feel that most of the work has been done. Far from it. The threats will only be hiding deeper to avoid our latest crop of new inquisitors and we will have to strip away everyone's protection from unreasonable searches and seizures in order to root them out. Of course, this will be perfectly okay, because we are doing God's work, after all.
It's a really simple plan. All we need is for someone like Ms. Dunbar to step up and take a leadership role in the creation of the new curriculum for our school children here in Texas.
John C. Leonard
Future Citizen of the Fundamentalist Union of Christian Klan and Evangelical Dictators
P.S.: Since no one higher up in the Republican Party here in Texas (or anywhere else, for that matter) has condemned and/or contradicted Ms. Dunbar's opinion, one can assume Ms. Dunbar has the whole-hearted support of the rest of the elected members of the Republican party here in Texas, and it would be positively un-American of me to possibly disagree with the opinions of so many of the world's most savvy politicians (because, you know, this is Texas, and the rest of the world, well, it's just waiting to be annexed into our fine nation... er, I mean our fine state).
P.P.S.: The Constitution of the United States does guarantee Ms. Dunbar her freedom of speech, after all, and it doesn't say one word about using it responsibly. Then again, maybe the Founding Fathers thought that would be self-evident. Let's just hope Ms. Dunbar forgets to stand away from the door the next time she runs into a crowded theater and yells "Fire!". Current Mood: cynical
|Thursday, February 28th, 2008|
|Every gorram day...
I already knew this, but here's
an article that gives the actual statistics.
(alternate titles I considered for this entry)
And people wonder why I'm such a pessimist about our government...
Yes! We have more people in prison than China does! We win!
The United States is still
showing the Soviet Union how it's done!
Hey, Martha, you're not alone!
I haven't been yet, but I hear it's a nice place to do some time...
|Tuesday, February 26th, 2008|
I don't mean to infect anyone else with my boundless well of pessimism about politics in the US, but the way I look at it, "the system" is broken and in need of major fixing. I don't just bitch and moan about it -- I actually have suggestions. Unfortunately, I know I don't always stop with the 'broken' where someone might see what I see and keep their enthusiasm intact.
Or maybe that's just it: when you see things from my perspective, the political landscape in this country really is depressing.
It's gotten far worse in the last eight years. Civil liberties are being dismantled, we're fighting a war that will probably never have a clearly-defined winner or loser, and the economy is about to fall into the toilet. Even before that, though, we had been waging a horrendously ineffective and wasteful "War on Drugs" that drained the economy and eroded civil rights. We keep arguing over and over about things like abortion and health care and what the definition of 'is' is. All of these are colossal wastes of time and money that would be better applied to the problems that are plaguing our government.
It's been going on a long time. Long enough, most folks are content to just go with the flow and say "That's how it's always been."
Well, I'm here to tell you that that's not how it's always been. There were times when even I would have been on-board with boundless enthusiasm. Times before political parties had managed to grab power for themselves. Times before the God-centric language was added to our national motto, currency, and Pledge of Allegiance. Somewhere along the lines, though, we started changing the definitions of words like "freedom" and "democracy" and "education" and a whole slew of others that actually used to mean something in this country.
That's why I'm pessimistic about politicians in this country -- we're producing people that are the antithesis of the people that Jefferson and Adams and Franklin envisioned as this country's leaders and we're practically handing them office. The Founding Fathers fought and won a war against tremendous odds so that we could put an end to things like "taxation without representation", "debtors prison", "religious persecution", "secret trials and tribunals", "obfuscation of the justice system", "inequity of justice (by class)", and the list goes on and on. It was a war against inequality and the policies that made the rich richer and the poor poorer.
So what do we do? We go on pretty-well for about a hundred years and then all of a sudden the railroad industry starts taking over the government. Then the oil industry. Then the tobacco industry. All the big boys want their share. The insurance industry. The financial industry. The auto industry. The firearms industry. Each one figures out that there are votes aplenty to be bought with a little campaign contribution here and another one there -- maybe it's not even outright purchase, because they're also funding the candidates that already supported their industries for whatever reasons.
What was the result? Laws that help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Laws that cloud the justice system and ultimately cause what has clearly become an inequity of justice based on class.
How can we fix it? Well, actually, there are a lot of things that need to be changed in order to bring things back to a more "Constitutional" mode of operation. Here's a starting list:
|Wednesday, February 20th, 2008|
Okay. I know I've touched on this in conversations, but I've never really sat down to write about it. Or if I have, they've ended up as forgotten notes off in the corner someplace that I'm not remembering right now. Well, good ole Governor Rick Perry has reminded me of the issue this morning by writing a book that supports something I'm dead-set against (surprise surprise an evangelical republican supporting something I'm dead-set against).
For the curious, here's
a story about the release of his book (not that it's really important, it's just the article that reminded me of this).
Basically, going back a number of years now, the Boy Scouts of America has refused to allow gay men to be scout leaders. While this is perfectly within their rights as a private organization to do, I disagree with this position on so many levels...
First of all, the BSA, while recognizing God, is not a denominational Christian organization. The organization, which I was heavily involved with as a kid, teaches values
to the kids that are involved in scouting. Yes, many of the values that are taught are reflected in Christianity. Some are taken from it wholesale. However, these same values are things that are upheld by people of many faiths and the BSA does not discriminate against people on the basis of their religion (or at least they didn't when I was a kid). The notion that they reject the open homosexuality of scout leaders on Biblical grounds is preposterous, yet these are the arguments that have been used to justify the exclusion.
Secondly (and I don't normally get all theological here, but truth be told, I've read the Bible a few times and I've studied it and I made a concentrated effort to figure out a way not to abandon my faith long before I moved out of The Holy Father's house and on to my own), there are a very large number of Biblical citations that leave those who quote the "abomination" lines in Leviticus looking rather foolish. They did a great little segment on this on The West Wing
at one point, so I'm going to leave those alone.
What is of use in looking at issues where "I think someone is sinning" is reminding yourself that, according to the Bible, it is God's right alone to judge. You can preach and believe in all the fire and brimstone you want, but ultimately it's God's decision whether or not someone's actions on earth constitute sin or not. "Judge not, lest ye be judged
Further, the New Testament guarantees forgiveness for those who believe in Christ and ask God for forgiveness. That was the whole point of sending him down here in the first place -- to save our sorry asses from ourselves. Does that mean that you can run around murdering for fun and games and you'll get away with it? No. It means that if you truly try to live your life well, and have faith in Christ and God, you will be forgiven your sins. After all, God created us and no one else is going to understand just how imperfect us Humans are. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
God may truly see homosexuality as an abomination, but he will forgive it in the faithful and He for damn sure doesn't give a shit what you think about that. In fact, it seems to me that a failure to accept homosexuals as children of God in need of His care and comfort (of at least an equal need to all the rest of you sinners) is a sin a whole bunch of today's Christians are going to have to ask forgiveness for when they meet their Dear and Fluffy Lord. Read your Apostles. God wants to save ALL sinners, not just the ones who believe a certain way.
So I think that covers it for how I think Christians should view homosexuality. No, I don't make direct Bible references. I'm not a book and number preacher. I'm not even qualified to be much of a preacher at all. After all, I don't believe in the God that's in the Bible. I don't go to church, I don't pray (not in the way a Christian thinks of prayer, anyway), and I sure don't believe that any religious text is meant to be taken literally.
In all religions there are kernels of hope and truth. Things you can hold onto and apply to your own life. I found them by looking within many religions and holy books and the works of those who have been inspired by their own faith. Being raised Lutheran and Methodist, I am most familiar with the Bible, but if you look under the covers in all religions, the faith is still there. The hope is still at large. The "organization" probably doesn't want you to find it, though, so you'll have to make a leap and go out on your own to find it.
Now, my third point about the BSA is simply that these values and standards that they are teaching kids include "honesty". In my opinion, that includes being able to have a frank and honest age-appropriate discussion about sexuality. An eight-year-old will know that most people are attracted to the opposite sex, some to both, and some to the same sex. An eleven-year-old will probably know that it takes opposite sexes to procreate and that when there's attraction between humans a lot of icky making out occurs. A fourteen-year-old will probably know the basics of sex (whether they've been instructed formally or found out from more experimental peers or happened to find porn somehow) and even how people of the same sex manage the logistics. And a seventeen-year-old will, more likely than not, already be having sex with the sex of his choice and possibly be experimenting with others.
Where exactly in that time line (the ages and stages that kids go through while in BSA programs) is a frank discussion of homosexuality (like liking like) inappropriate? Yes, you're not going to want someone talking about buttsex with your eight-year-old. A scout master is NOT going to do that. He is going to be able to teach the kids that there are consequences for not being tolerant of others (regardless of their differences) right along with all those other values and standards that the BSA would like to instill in children. I do not see how this is a bad thing.
Finally, the BSA is about doing good with the money it gets. It's about learning about things like the intrinsic rewards of community service. It's about learning teamwork and cooperation and bonding with your peers. It's about learning to have integrity and how to stick to your morals and its taught through the window of going out and appreciating Creation in all its aspects.
As long as the BSA continues to obscure part of that window, my children will not be allowed to participate in their programs. I want them to grow up to be even more accepting of their fellow human beings than even I am. I want them to realize that they are citizens of the world first, then citizens of a nation. I want them to know that despite the fact that blind faith can create divisions between people where there should be none that it is indeed good and right to stand up for what you truly believe.
|Tuesday, February 12th, 2008|
|This is what happens when my meeting gets rescheduled...
Well, we were supposed to have a big meeting at 3 today and we're not. Good. Now I can do the post I've been thinking about all day.
See, this morning I got side-tracked by that Scientology protest from over the weekend, and started reading up on the "why". That poster in the pic that almost everyone is posting that says, "Why are they dead?" caught my interest, and I wanted to find out what it said. Turns out that there are a number of things I ran across... some more disturbing than others, some more likely true than others.
Some of the more disturbing stuff:
* people taken into the care of Scientologists and off of anti-seizure medication have died, apparently from seizure complications.
* people having "accidents" as soon as the money runs out (there were a LOT of these, again some more believable than others) including a man who jumped from a 4th story window in a building owned by the CoS clutching what were essentially his last few dollars to his chest.
* people dying in suspicious circumstances at Scientology "compounds" -- from the man who supposedly drowned but was found with his head above water in a tub full of water that was so hot it had burned off the vast majority of his skin to someone who was not a trained electrician doing maintenance in a high-voltage area and getting electrocuted.
* a child of a Scientologist couple was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was "released" from Scientology treatment, but because of the parents' beliefs, the kid was never sent to a psychologist or psychiatrist and he ended up stabbing his mother something like 77 times (okay, this one is more poetic justice than disturbing).
Of course everyone knows by now that CoS founder L. Ron Hubbard said (long before the CoS came into being) that the best way to get rich would be to invent a religion. Fewer may realize that he died hiding after looting the CoS for $200,000,000. Did you know that it's a church tenet that enemies of the church are fair game? They may be slandered, bamboozled, injured, or even killed without fear of discipline from the church.
Wait a minute. Let it sink in. Anyone who's not a member of the CoS is "fair game". This sounds familiar. In fact, I'm starting to recognize a pattern here. Where have I seen this before? Oh, yes... Catholic doctrine in the Dark Ages. Muslim doctrine. Other varieties of "reformed" Christian faiths. It's been a staple of death-cults in movies for generations. This, my friends, is the Dark Side of religion.
This is what makes the Salem Witch trials possible. This is what makes African Slavery possible. This is what makes the Crusades possible (on both sides -- no wonder it was so vehement and is still a bone of contention to this day). This is what makes Osama Bin Laden possible. This is what makes Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima possible. This is what makes the sack of Nanjing possible. This is what makes Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee possible. This is what makes Jonestown possible.
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mas
sacres and see just how many of those could be construed to be religiously motivated (as in religious differences could have been at least part of what was used to dehumanize the victims) -- to me it reads like a who's who of holy wars throughout history.
In my book, religion has a lot of blood to atone for. Surely some of it is mine. Some of it is yours. It's a big reason I won't have anything to do with something that smells of organized religion. Its an even bigger reason that I view the separation of church and state as one of the cornerstones of the Constitution.
It's a cornerstone that's been worn down over the course of the last century. It came into full-swing with the Communist scare in the 50's with wonderful logic like "No Pinko would be Christian, so if we make the place more Christian, no Pinkos will willingly come here." That's when we got things like the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God we Trust" on our money (as well as for our National Motto -- that's how they got it on the money).
Getting back to the original subject, it seems to me that the CoS is following a known pattern among religions. It's a logical course -- absolute belief begets absolute violence. It's a pattern that was as easily recognized 250 years ago as it is today.
But if that's the case, why isn't there a much larger outcry about these suspicious deaths? Well, because the religious whackjobs are in charge. If they were to start going after the CoS, who's to say that people wouldn't realize all the other "bad things" that are being carried out in the name of religion even today?
What sorts of evil would we uncover if we went looking for it from a non-religious angle? How many religious leaders would be imprisoned simply by the existing laws, if people would but remember that in this country your religion isn't supposed to matter?
Fuck Scientology, let's take all the bastards down.
|Monday, September 24th, 2007|
|Tuesday, September 18th, 2007|
|Schadenfreude - let's invest in insurance!
First of all, let me preface this by saying insurance is generally a good thing. Especially health insurance. I don't know what I would have done without having adequate health insurance when my youngest son was sick or when I was diagnosed with RA. However, there are some obvious problems with the status quo. Many Americans can not afford adequate health insurance. Many more are on the verge due to skyrocketing costs. I fall into this second group.
Secondly, in the interest of fair disclosure, let me add that I am beyond
fed up with a particular insurance company today. My employer offers its employees the opportunity to set back pretax dollars in a flexible spending account. According to the tax code of the United States, money can be set back this way and disbursed on non-reimbursed medical expenses. Yes, it knocks your medical expenses deductions down, but I'm usually too lazy to fill those out, so using the money pretax makes a lot of sense to me. One less thing to worry about at tax time. So at the end of last year when we were offered the opportunity to enroll in our FSA, I took the option.
I put just enough in that I really wouldn't miss it off my checks, but enough so that when our prescription deductable came due in July that I'd already have most of it set aside by getting reimbursed for the prescription co-pays we paid in the first half of the year. A brilliant plan, if I do say so myself.
Unfortunately, the insurance company that administers our FSA doesn't show me as an enrolled member of our FSA. Nevermind that they've been taking money out of my paychecks all year. Nevermind that the first time they denied my FSA reimbursement request, I had our personell manager contact our agent and work everything out and didn't resubmit my claim until two months later when I was assured that I was now in their system and would promptly receive my reimbursement. I got another letter from them yesterday stating that I was not enrolled in my company's FSA. I called them this morning and they confirmed that, according to their records, I am not enrolled in my company's FSA.
It's almost August. I submitted the original reimbursement request in June. All I can think today is that someone owes me some fucking money. With interest -- that money should have been in my hands no later than the first of July. If it's not in my hands before the beginning of October, that's three months of interest someone has collected on my money because they didn't give it to me when I asked for it. As far as I'm concerned, that's theft. Plain and simple.
Why do people put up with shenanigans like this from insurance companies? The first time I heard about "the float" was in association with an insurance company. That's right. They intentionally drag their feet paying legitimate claims in order to collect an extra day or two in interest (the float) off the money that should be in your doctor's hands. Actually, some companies will push things past the 90 days that most people think is reasonable for paying such bills. In fact, one of my previous physicians refused to accept insurance from a particular company because even though they did pay, they never paid within the first 120 days. That's six months! Six months they're collecting interest of your
money (premiums) that should have already gone to your doctor
so s/he could pay the bills and stay in business. As far as I'm concerned, that's theft on a grand scale.
Now, all of these things really complicate matters when we want to talk about affordable health insurance. It gets even more complicated when you start talking about how insurance companies make their legitimate money (when they aren't stealing interest money from you or your creditors). In the simplest terms, insurance companies make their legitimate money by taking in more in premiums than they pay in claims. So when it comes to something like health insurance, it's in the insurance company's best interest to not pay your claim at all. Anything their managers think they can get away with denying is denied.
Now you see where the title comes in: an insurance company profits from the misfortune of others. Well, I didn't say it was a literal translation.
Yes, I know there are many people who work in the insurance industry, particular in the health care insurance industry, that work hard and try and make a positive difference in people's lives. A few of them actually succeed at that, but far more fail. They fail because of human greed.
Bear with me... we're still talking about affordable health insurance. Understanding how insurance companies make money is a very important part of understanding the problem at hand. Now, if you're an insurance company, and you want to make money, and you know that in order to make money you have to bring in more in premiums than you pay out in claims, what else can you do to make money besides make it hard(er) to collect on a claim? You can raise the premiums.
One way to raise premiums is to divide and conquer. The smaller your group, the bigger the increase in premium in relationship to the risk factors of each individual. So if you have ten perfectly healthy computer engineers at one company and one of them smokes, the insurance company raises all their premiums in response to the potential ill effects the cigarette smoke would have on that one individual.
No. That's not exactly fair. The libertarians among my friends would even say that that is a kind of theft, as well. Would insurance premiums based on each individual's risk factors be fair? Not really. It would be the best-case scenario for the insurance companies. They would have to make enough money off you so that if anything happened to you, they wouldn't lose any money.
As in the case with many things, smaller is more expensive. In the case of health care insurance, smaller means there are fewer people sharing the risks, and this translates into bigger profits for the insurance companies. The reverse is also true. If you look at the costs of health insurance for employees of larger companies, of companies that participate in larger groups, of any way that people have come up with to increase the number of people that they share risk with, the cost of health care insurance premiums go down.
So what do you think the secret to affordable health care is? Getting everyone into the same pool. It's that simple. If we shared the risk across the entire population, the costs of health care insurance would go down. This also holds true for any other kind of insurance imaginable.
So how do we get everyone into the same pool?
There could be a regulatory change. Insurance companies would have to set their premiums based on the amortization of risk across the entire population rather than the small groups and clusters that they do now. Unfortunately this would drive some insurance companies out of business, leaving many more people without health insurance.
In fact, a regulatory change like this would ultimately lend itself toward the establishment of a health insurance monopoly. Why? Because if you have to spread the risk out across the entire population you have to collect premiums from the entire population in order to be able to turn a profit.
So how about we take an even bolder step and further regulate health insurance companies to be non-profit businesses? It makes some sense. If there was no incentive to turn a profit, though, many companies would no longer be interested in providing health care insurance and many more people would be left without adequate health insurance.
Direct regulatory changes aren't going to solve the problems with health care insurance. Neither are government band-aids designed as hand-outs to people who can't afford insurance. That's only going to exacerbate the problem by raising the taxes of the people who can barely afford insurance as it is. People like me.
But we can look outside the box for a solution to the problem of affordable health care in the United States. A single National Health Care Insurance Company would be able to employ many of the people who will lose their jobs when the insurance industry loses its privilege of providing health care insurance due to the way the privilege has been abused in recent years.
In addition to providing the benefit of the largest possible risk-sharing pool with the lowest possible health care insurance premiums, a NHCIC could also be used to phase out government-run programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and WIC though the use of need-based premium discounts, planned overpayment (like a retirement fund for your health insurance), and a holistic approach to health care that includes education and incentives for maintaining a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. This would, in turn, eventually lower taxes as these massively-funded programs are phased out.
The costs of this solution lie elsewhere. The price of the efficiency of a single-point provider for health care insurance would be in lost jobs. Many employed in the health care insurance industry would have to find other employment. Eventually, a fair number of government bureaucrats would also enter the ranks of the unemployed. If the people in our government wanted to be serious about reducing the cost of health care insurance, they could funnel the band-aid money into retraining programs for these people so that they can find jobs in other sectors of the economy, lessening any potential negative impact such a sweeping change would be bound to have.
Many of my capitalist friends will bemoan the lack of choice; the lack of competition. Unfortunately, the way insurance works, competition only serves to increase the price paid by the consumer, and what kind of choice is choosing who is going to steal your money anyway? It is but the illusion of choice. A single-point provider can actually offer the individual far more choice in tailoring their coverage to their needs than is typically available to participants in any current insurance plan.
Politicians will shy away from such a bold plan because the insurance industry is a powerful lobby that contributes vast gobs of cash (yes, that is a technical term) to their election campaigns. They run the risk of the opposition getting the money that would have otherwise been intended for them, which in their world amounts to a double-whammy (yes, another technical term).
Ultimately, that means that I've just wasted my time in writing all this, and now I've wasted your time in reading it. Unless this idea or something similar actually catches on. Then we've paid but the smallest price for the biggest reward, haven't we?
(edited to correct mild grammar issues and remove LJ-Cut) Current Mood: Quixotic
|Monday, September 10th, 2007|
|What Do You Have To Say? - Writing: Makes Me A Better Writer
What's been your biggest influence in making you a better writer?
I'd have to say it's all those years I spent in the on-line text-based RPG community. Not only did it sharpen my typing ability, it gave me my first experience with writing directly for an audience. Sure, it was an audience of participants, but to eventually improve my writing to the point that it received recognition from the community I participated in was a great experience. And I had fun doing it.
Finding a good honest critique can be difficult at best, but participating in that community gave me valuable feedback. Current Mood: blah
|Monday, August 20th, 2007|
The other one was big and buried. Current Mood: contemplative
|Saturday, August 18th, 2007|
|The answer post
I'll be putting the answers from the meme questions here, along with who asked them (I'll edit to add yours as soon as I see them). If the questions get gory enough, I'll friends-lock the post.
And now for mostuff
And on to nancynewt
|Friday, August 17th, 2007|
|What sound does a lemming make as it jumps off a cliff?
1. Leave me a casual comment of no particular significance, like a lyric to your current favorite song, your favorite kind of sandwich, or maybe your favorite
game. Any remark, meaningless or not.
2. I will respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in your own post.
5. When others respond with a desultory comment, you will ask them five questions.
|Thursday, July 5th, 2007|
|Dog bark 3am fog
(it's a line from a poem, but it fits here)
So, K has to go to work early on the 4th (yesterday) because they're closing early and it's usually a fairly busy day at the Cafe. No big deal. It's only 9am. I still get to sleep in (for me), so I stay up 'till 1 or 2 thinking if I'm tired after I take her down there and eat breakfast, it's the perfect time for a July 4th nap.
Next thing I know the dogs are barking and making all kinds of noise. I roll over, put my head under the pillow, and try and pretend I'm not hearing anything. It's not working. And worse, K's starting to actually make sense with her sleep mumblings. It's painfully obvious that there's actually something or someone out there. So I stagger out of bed, pull on some pants, grab the CO2 bb pistol I use for running off vermin and varmits, and head out the front door.
I have no earthly idea what I expected to see when I got outside. Maybe a stray cat or a possum or even an armadillo (this is TX after all). Really, I think I was expecting the neighbor's black lab -- he's received the vast majority of the pains in the ass I'm capable of giving with previouisly mentioned Daisy.
What the fuck is that?! I think to myself. The dogs are playing with this black hairy animal that's about the same height as Casey (half yellow lab and half chow) and looks like it weighs a bit more. And, yes, the dogs are playing
with it. Like they're long lost buds or something. Holy shit it's a wild boar!
Well, I'm not too sure how safe it is for them, so I go to unload on the boar (hoping that the noise will do as much to scare it off as anything), and nothing freaking happens. I hadn't shot in a while and the CO2 cyllendar was completely empty. So I went back in and changed it.
Walked back out and unloaded all six zinc bb's in the boar's face. The damn thing just looked at me like I was retarded.
I think that's the first time I've wanted an actual firearm at the house.
(Casey eventually broke off his lead and chased it away, had to get him a new collar yesterday morning).
|Thursday, June 28th, 2007|
|Wednesday, March 28th, 2007|
|These days it's a chore just to get me to do a meme...
So yeah. USPS screwed us. Then I screwed us. I'm a week behind and bound and determined not to put in any over time, because it doesn't make any difference come raise time. Got some excellent stress relief last night, but it's back to the grind for now.
Have been doing more photography than writing lately. Have yet another something new in mind writing-wise. Started it a couple weeks ago when I was working at home all week. Unfortunately, I so suck at coming up with names for alien species/made up races/made up places/etc... so I've got a whole document of (insert race1 here). At least that way, I can keep on keeping on until I come up with something I like.
It's worse than trying to name a website.
Current Mood: Work is a four-letter word...
|What Be Your Nerd Type? |
Your Result: Literature Nerd
Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.
It's okay. I understand.
|What Be Your Nerd Type?|
Quizzes for MySpace
|Wednesday, January 24th, 2007|
|Tuesday, January 16th, 2007|
|Deep in the Salt Mine
Something that a lot of people don't know about Kansas is that a shit-ton of salt is mined there annually. So much, in fact, that many salt mines have 'tapped out' and have gone on to find other uses. They are ideal for a number of secondary uses, one of which is long-term storage. I seem to remember that the government purchased one of the largest ones for just such a purpose. I remember hearing that another one went on to become a mushroom farm. There's been talk about storing other things there, too, like nuclear waste.
Why do I bring this up? No reason, really. It's just what happened to hop into my drug-addled brain today. Maybe it's my own way of telling me it's time to find another use for my own salt mine. Fucked if I know. I'm sitting here at work in an unreasonable funk considering the quality and quantity of drugs I'm on (and by prescription this time) today. There's something tickling at the edge of my consciousness and I want to know what it is... but every time I try to focus on it and drag it out of the depths, it retreats. Then if I think of something else, there it is niggling at me again.
It already seems like it was longer ago than Friday that I saw the Asylum Street Spankers for the first time, sans Christina Marrs and with two of the guys from Brave Combo. It was a pretty good show. I found myself humming or singing along to quite a few of the tunes, and I was mightily impressed with the musical talents assembled on stage. They were a lot of fun to watch, and the venue was very intimate. I think they even managed to play all of their songs that I really like. So it was a very interesting evening. I think I finally hit the sack at around 4am Saturday morning.
I pretty-much spent the rest of the weekend drugged and resting, trying to get my back to feel better. In some ways it's a lot better than it was, but not as good as it should be. I'm still drifting about, though, pretending to keep to my routine as best as I can...hoping no one asks me any important questions right now. Current Mood: discontent
|Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007|
I'm still recovering not from the party (glad to hear so many had a great time) but from the drive yesterday to get the boys... I dearly missed them and they're definitely being themselves today... So exhausting...
So in the absence of coherent thought, here's the latest meme:
Your results:You are Apocalypse
||You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.
Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz
|Monday, December 18th, 2006|
VERY long Saturday. Started at about 6 in the morning, didn't end until close to 6 am Sunday.
Was so beat by it, couldn't even motivate to make a simple phone call on Sunday. Took K to and from work and pretty much sat around like a vegetable the rest of the day.
The trip to drop off the boys went well. Mom was inside her shell, I hope. Much too quiet to guage whether or not she really liked K or not (not that I care, but it would make things so much easier if she did). Then again, if she didn't, I have no doubts that K will eventually win her over. All it's going to do is take one good sewing conversation or something along those lines.
After we got back, it was time to get ready for the party, and of course (due to Yahoo being retarded and thinking that one street was another, and not realizing that) we got lost on the way. But not for long. :) I really will miss the host and hostess -- they go all out on this sort of thing, and had us straightened out and pointed the right way in a jiff.
Party was a party full of interesting people, new tastes, great conversations, an unimaginable quantity of alcohol, and quite a few of my other favorite things, as well... The only thing that was missing was a really hot encounter of some kind, but the sparks just weren't there for me (the voyeur in my was very happy, though, as there were many of those types of things happening for others, and even though if there was
sex or nudity, I missed it.).
Anyhow, the remains of the hangover are still swirling around in the bottom of my belly, I'm getting really nervous about whether or not there's going to be an xmess bonus at work this year, and K is spending the afternoon with a friend of hers I don't know well enough to know whether or not I can trust... I'm uneasy about that, but willing to take a bit of that to ensure that she has fun.
Oh, and for those of you who don't know, the brief visit with my folks on Sat and a similar one on New Years Day will be the only time I get to see them over the holidays, so I'll be around, and not working next week, if anyone wants to go do anything around the metroplex. While it'd be nice to just hang out and rest, getting out and doing something has its benefits, as well (and so does having visitors out in the boonies). Then again, if the bonus doesn't come through this year, it'll have to be something free... Current Mood: twitchy
|Friday, December 15th, 2006|
|I guess I now join the ranks of the infected...
That's all you get.
You get to ask me 1 question.
(Comments screened of course)
ANY 1 question
It has to be about me, you can't ask me for secondhand information.
I'll answer it honestly.
Unless I get your permission I won't tell ANYONE what you asked me.
You have to get my permission to discuss my answer with anyone.
The catch is,
you have to repost this
and see what people ask.