Thursday, September 10, 2009

Health Care and Other Stuff

Health Care and Other Stuff
I actually listened to Obama’s speech last night. I will give the man good grades for being an orator but long on rhetoric lacking in specifics. However, here is MY opinion on several things:
Health care reform is needed. I haven’t run into anyone, no matter the political persuasion that doesn’t agree. The debate is how to achieve reform and who is to administer it is the bigger issue. I have some of my own ideas to add. This is by no means comprehensive, just talking points--
Tort Reform- This is a tricky area. We all know of doctors and hospitals that quite frankly are incompetent and those need to be held accountable for negligent acts that results in death or permanent injury. How much to hold those accountable are the questions. Allowing liability attorneys to run amuck is not the answer. I believe Texas where I live have tort reform which limits the amount of damages. Some tort reform also cuts down on frivolous actions brought on by unsavory attorney’s trying to make a buck by making the plaintiff pay the defendant damages if they lose. Obviously someone bringing this type of action stands to lose big. The downside of this is those that should bring actions don’t in fear that their attorney will lose the case. Tort reform is a two-edged sword. You can bet lawyers lobbyists are greasing major palms in DC and never want this to see the light of day, democrats, and republicans or otherwise.
Pre-Existing Conditions- This has always been an out for insurance companies. This needs to be banished no matter what reform happens, everyone I know agrees. Why should anyone be negated for 6 months or more due to a job change especially if that job change was involuntary? It’s time insurance companies come clean and by the way, the reason that government gets involved in our lives outside of idealism is that free enterprise( oxymoron) involves a great deal of unbridled GREED by huge corporate interests among others and public outcry for THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SOMETHING. Don’t you know politicians love it? How about free enterprise, become more enterprising and come up with marketplace ideas that will work and how about the government not trying to figure six ways to Sunday of how to tax it to death? Is it possible that CEO’s can live on less than a few million dollars a year and not have homes spread out across the globe? Take a Disney cruise every now and then and get down with the ‘little” people.
Illegal Immigration – Get to the back of the line please. I’m not against anyone no matter who, what and where they are from trying to do better. That does not mean doing better is freewheeling in the US as a means to an end. Go back to your country of origin and if things aren’t quite working out the way you like it there, then start a revolution and correct it. I’m tired as a natural born citizen who happens to be white, 58 and male being put to the back of the line. It’s not your turn because you have suffered more than I and it’s only fair that I spend time on the bench so you can rifle our social services. I have forefathers who built this country ground up and they all suffered, so take your suffrage act to another stage with you on the way out of the door. Starting now, if an illegal immigrant is treated in the US, the full amount of that treatment should be billed back to the country of origin for payment if the illegal immigrant can’t pay which usually is the case. If the country of origin refuses to pay for that treatment, then whatever aid we are doling out to that country gets offset by the amount of billings. Let’s not make this a government issue but a private issue. Private enterprise could do the billings and collections and not create another government run bureaucracy and we could send Dog the Bounty Hunter to enforce collections if necessary!
Taxing small business 8% of payroll to offset non-participation- Okay Obama, when did you own a business? This is absurd to say out of one side of your mouth that small business is the backbone of the American economy and then tax it for not participating. It’s not a tax but a penalty for not going along with the game plan. It’s a fact that 90% of small business fail in the first 5 years. Are we shooting for 100%, and then penalizing it for non-participation will insure that. I have started several small businesses (let’s call them micro business) and I can tell you it’s not a picnic. It is a lot of work and most are done on shoestrings, I know. Banks are not business friendly, and will not loan you a dime but they want your checking, savings and any other investment vehicles deposited into their institution. Unless you can collaterize you have nothing. I was fortunate enough at one time to actually grow a business to a point where I could offer health insurance to my employees. It gave me great pleasure to know that I could do that by being an enterprising and growing business, not because I was being forced into voluntary compliance (another oxymoron)- Give up on this idea
Indigent Care – I’m sure hospital emergency rooms are fed up with seeing the same people show up for emergency care due to gunshot, stab wounds, drugs, alcohol and such. You know the ones. These are the ones who are trying to do themselves in by their actions and they just keep doing it and keep showing up. I’m not advocating non- compassion,, God knows we need more, but there has to be a limit. I realize that a lot of them have mental issues, but maybe if they didn’t involve themselves in the ways they are going, they wouldn’t have mental issues. Not all, but some. I’m sure the think tank philosophy on this is they are collateral damage and it comes with the territory so why try to think of anything else. Where are the mega churches? Instead of begging for money endlessly and selling your books under the guise of evangelism why don’t you hit the streets with your “partners” and make a real difference. Those of you who “claim” you have the power to “heal” why aren’t you doing it? If I believed that I had the power to heal people by touching them, I would be in every hospital non-stop and then we wouldn’t have any need for health care! Get off the TV and get out on the streets and not just around the Holidays as to make a show. I’m sickened by your unfettered and unscriptural fleecing of others for personal gain. Praying over letters, handkerchiefs, trinkets as “healing’ methods is a joke. Wake up America and THINK for yourself.
Funding Health Care by eliminating waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid- Surely you jest. If you know that there is $500 billion of waste and fraud in these services, then studies have been done to discover this. If so then you know the source of the problems. What is being done NOW about that, and WHY hasn’t anything been done about it before? Why haven’t Republicans or Democrats done anything about it in the past? Political football maybe? No one gets any points here, if you know it then do something about it w/o creating more waste. Seems to me these oversight committees have poor vision. Let’s get real about how to pay for things. Yes, eliminating waste and fraud is a good step, but the likelihood of any significant gains there is unrealistic. It takes money so can anyone say TAXPAYER?
Funding Abortions- Nope, all that does is encourage bad behavior. Please don’t give me this women’s right argument. That’s intellectualism and has nothing to do with rights. Unwanted pregnancies? Then quit having sex or UNPROTECTED sex. I know I am stepping on toes but I don’t care. Your unwanted baby could make another couple happy that can’t have children for one reason or another. That baby could become somebody some day, like PRESIDENT, and do some real good. My paternal grandmother died at the age of 26 in 1929 from a botched abortion and subsequently bled to death. I’m not banging drums for “safe” abortions. In my book abortion is legalized murder. Hope your toes didn’t get too bruised. You men that get women pregnant and then desert them, step up to the plate. If you don’t then you are not men just nanny’s and all the tattooing in the world doesn’t make you anything other than trash.. 70% of black babies born today are born out of wedlock, and 15% of the remaining 30% desert, leaving 15% of blacks with a family. Can you say crime? Black people do your race some good and someone please step forward and say it. Are you listening REVERENDS?
Enough already—

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Walking Memory Lane- A Time of Reunion

Walking Memory Lane, Time of Reunion
The moment the last bell rung on May 29th, 1969 to now 40 years later seems all at once yesterday and vivid, yet distant and unattached like cells in my brain. August 29th, 2009 reunited classmates, who came from as far away as Japan to reminisce about old times, fun times, and the carefree days of our youth.
The reunion started with the meet and greet. The room was buzzing with smiles, hugs and old people. For a moment I thought I had stumbled upon Happy Trails To You Nursing Home. There was a table where we cashed in our tickets for wine, beer or other spirits but we had options on Geritol, Ex-Lax, Viagra with 4 hour warning label, or Grecian Formula at another table. Realizing I had entered into a production for a new reality show” Born to be Wild Baby Boomers Tire Easily” I quickly got past the denial stage of age and onto acceptance. Why waste time I grew old just standing there.
Reunions at this point in our lives spark fear and trepidation in some. Questions come to mind like, what if I don’t remember names, faces and do I measure up and most importantly can anyone see my Depends through my pants. None of us can see or hear at this age so recognition is quickly remedied by taking a quick peek at the name tag. Yes, I peeked while maintaining eye contact, while the other eye darted, scanned and uploaded the photo and name tag firmly attached to everyone’s chest into what’s left of my processing unit and matched it against the FBI’s most wanted list. This way, I appeared to be mentally intact with a brilliant memory and I think I fooled no one.
It’s easy to mis-associate at this level, like placing names with occupation or how you remember others. While shaking hands and speaking to a couple of classmates, Paula came up and made a gesture like she was playing an air guitar and said” Jeff, are you still playing music and do you still have a band?” “ I play some guitar but only to myself behind closed doors in a padded cell” I replied. She told everyone standing there, “I use to love to go and watch Jeff and his band play.” “It was so much fun” she continued. I thanked her for the kind comments about my music and band that I never had. It’s okay Paula, we will get you some help soon and thanks for the fantasy.
On the way to the rest room, I heard my name being called out behind me. Hearing voices at this age is a bad connotation. Most mass murderers claim they heard voices. I continued on but the voice wouldn’t leave me. Slowly I turned to look and I saw Richard waving at me to come over to his table. I first I thought he was swatting flies, but I ambled over to be safe. “Jeff, do you think Cabo is a good place to retire to?” he asked. “I’m trying to convince my new wife that it is” he continued. I’m nodding my head and pursing my lips and said “I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s great” I replied. “You are still in the travel business-- aren’t you?” he queried. “I was in the freight business for many years and long ago, but not the travel business” I replied. Sorry Richard, you’ve lost your first argument with your new wife but I think I can get you and Paula a group discount at The ‘Home.”
Men are lucky to live this long and never have to make a name change unless we convert to an Islamic Terrorist Organization and become jihadists. Being able to still pronounce names, most no more than 2 syllables like Bob, Jack, Ed, Sue, Gayle, Jim, Pat and Leslie is refreshing. Imagine that I changed my name to Akbar Said Mohammed Ephat- Try putting that on a name tag in small letters. Now along comes Paula imitating an explosive device saying, “Akbar- do you still blow things up?”
Women through divorce or death of a spouse may have 4-5 last names now. I think I saw this on a name tag. Linda (Jones, Smith, Woods, Brady, Martin____________) McNeil. I asked her what the blank was for after Martin and she said no sense in stopping now. I thought it was a brilliant retirement plan.
The DJ’s spun music of our time which I personally thought and still do was and is the best. White boys still can’t dance! When we were young we would get a bit intoxicated and relaxed and our brains would trick us into thinking we had soul. This would translate into our bodies through some metamorphic chemical mutation and make us bust out into” I feel good, like I knew I would” with all manner of jerking motions. Now, we don’t need intoxicants to convince us of this. We have less brain cells now competing for our bodies so while we still think we can bust out the moves; we can’t remember why we still can’t dance. It’s all good.
The time, as expected, passed quickly. In our younger years we would shut everything down and ask why everyone was leaving at 2:00 a.m. By 9:00 P.M. our spouses were in a complete coma of boredom, looking at their watches wondering when it was all going to end. By 10:00 P.M. we all had missed our bedtimes- As we departed there was still some Geritol, Ex- Lax, and Grecians Formula on the table, but there was a run on Viagra!
The world is much different now than as we knew it but maybe it’s a matter of perspective. When we were young we saw the possibilities before us not the dangers, nor the disappointments life dole’s out. We only saw the positive and us in it and how we would change things for the better. Have we succeeded? What has changed as a result of us being out there and does it matter? I submit that things have changed and it does matter in the sense we took our places, made our moves, immersed ourselves in whatever it was that drove us. In that effort we all made contributions to those around us regardless of how large or small we have made a difference. Hail to thee AHS class of 69.