Archive for August, 2009

How to put Barack back in the black

August 29, 2009


US.Health.Overhaul.Republicans –  SB124890178435291341.htmlUS.Obama.Health.Care –214254?GT1=43002 – ?GT1=43001

Uh-oh, have you heard?  The Prez is slipping in the polls.  I guess this health care thing has got Americans up in arms about the cost and ramifications of government control in the insurance business, even amongst Democrats! Whoa.  And rightfully so, when has the government ever been able to take anything away from private enterprise and make it better?  But I agree something has to be done.  Maybe if MY plan is put into practice, instead of the public predicting a run on red ink and producing a chasm in the polls, Obama can regain the approval rating he had from the beginning of his term, perhaps even soar to new heights!

Since I have moved to Canada I have been able to observe first hand how their system works.  We all pay for the health care service.  And while it does not cover things like liposuction or cosmetic surgery, it is an arrangement that has positive results.  Canadians are healthier and more robust, averaging higher than Americans though WE spend more on health products and care than anyone else on the planet.

I know you’ve heard the rumors, a shortage of health care professionals and inferior service, but where I live I have not found this to be so.  Maybe this is true of larger cities, but that would make sense because the per capita would be less as the populace grows.  The fact is that emergency rooms in the States have long waits so what you might have here is not so abnormal.  And while Canada may not have the latest innovations, it only makes sense that the U.S. would because it has the resources and the money to develop them.  Remember, though Canada is a very large country, it has only 1/10 the population of our neighbors to the south.

I long for the days when doctors were people who cared for humanity and while taking that Hippocratic oath felt it their duty and privilege to serve.  It wasn’t about making money but helping people.  Somehow I think we lost that.  In choosing careers nowadays the emphasis  is on how wealthy a person can become.  Imagine that kind of bedside manner; a doctor who has the meter running and dollar signs in his eyes…  I wonder if a brazen, methodical, Gucci-wearing, diamond- studded, Tesla- driving, gated-community-living, high-society-seeking surgeon is really better than one who lives by modest means, motivated to heal the sick rather than skin them?  We need to put noble back into the medical profession.

I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush and imply that all health care professionals are only in it for the money because this would not be accurate.  I know several people who render certain medical expertise and are very good at it, make good money and find great satisfaction in knowing they are providing the best possible care in their field and love the fact that they can be of service to their fellow man.  Shucks, there are wealthy plumbers and used-car salesmen who are the same way.  There is nothing wrong with making money!  But I do feel the motivation of health care should be a higher calling, not merely a higher tax bracket.

So here goes, how to put Barack Obama “back in the black” with American public opinion.

1)  Students that receive government loans ( zero interest loans, perhaps?) to put themselves through any medical training should be required, (upon graduation) to work in a government run facility (like a free clinic) for a minimum of 5 years with a base salary while their loan payments are deferred.

2)  Career medical staff working at government run institutions with a fixed pay scale would receive their salaries tax free.

3)  Insurance cards would be available only to those who are employed with the exception of the elderly, handicapped or infirm.  Supplemental insurance would be encouraged to cover lost wages,  living expenses, and intensive or convalescing care.

4)  Welfare recipients, illegal aliens, career criminals and the habitually unemployed would not qualify for this program.

5)  Any government initiative would gradually be introduced and progressively adhered to over the course of the next ten years, making those who qualify covered by government insurance by 2020 while  workers are required immediately to begin funding in order to have substantial capital by that date.

As President, I would discourage the enormous profits of the current health care and pharmaceutical industry.  Barack Obama could regain the confidence of the American public if he championed this.  They put pictures of diseased lungs and decaying teeth to discourage the public from cigarette smoking, why not show pictures of people having to give up their homes or work three jobs in order to afford surgery?  There are some things that to receive a profit on is just morally wrong in my opinion.  I mean really, folks… how much do we need to be adequately fed, clothed and sheltered?  This is not a promotion towards communism, but a plea towards humanitarianism.

Imagine the Good Samaritan of the Bible being motivated by profit…


it kinda takes the compassion out of the parable, doesn’t it?

Of course, this is a work in progress and may raise a few eyebrows but the point is… good health care should not be equated to social status.  There will always be specialists who will no doubt carve their niche with a certain clientele, but this is a call to all those others who feel that pain and suffering should be relieved… at a minimal cost.


Overpriced things we hate paying for… and then some

August 23, 2009

Oh, I love these little posts where we read about the “average” American and what upsets us.  I find I cannot relate to $6.00 cups of coffee, 401K’s, or paying too much for beer at the ballpark, but I do believe there are some things that all Americans feel they are getting ripped off on. 


I noticed the author did not mention the high cost of prescription medication.  Aren’t most Americans convinced we are paying way too much, especially when Canadians can get the same stuff cheaper and still be able to sell it back to us at a lesser price?

Also, high gas prices still have me pissed, and that is after they have come down.  Even at an average of $2.80 a gallon, the cost of fuel jumped 40% of what it was prior to the gouge we endured 18 months ago.

Food prices have my shorts in a twist as well.  When you live in the most crop productive nation in the world, how is it that food costs have soared better than 10 times what they were a generation ago?  It used to be that chicken was a bargain but lately it has become a gourmet entre’ at my house.

Though I can live without going to the movies, buying expensive drinks at restaurants, bottled water and ATM charges, I cannot live without fuel to get me back and forth to work, nor can I exist without food.  Fortunately I do not require any prescription drugs, but there are some people who have to choose between medication and eating.  This is a terrible crime and a sham. 

There should be a law against making money off of other peoples ailments, whether you be a doctor, lawyer, merchant or chief.  It’s bad enough being sick, worse still being kicked when you are down.


Charlie bit me – again

August 14, 2009

this has to be the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.


It Was 40 Years Ago Today

August 8, 2009



Abbey Road.  The Beatles last album together after Let It Be.

Paul is dead, remember?  The Fab Four representing a priest, (John dressed in white)  a pallbearer, (Ringo in a suit) the deceased, (Paul, out of step and barefooted) and the grave digger (George in work clothes) walking across the street with a volkswagon in the background bearing the license plate: 28IF?

Today is the 40th anniversary of that famous album cover.  I guess we can only guess at what might have been had the Beatles survived being themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire them collectively as well as having gone on solo, but I think that they still had some oompf! left in them and might have made some great contributions to the world if they would have continued as a  band.

Remember, the war in Vietnam was still going strong.  We had just landed a man on the moon.  Disco hadn’t been invented yet, nor had rap.  There was no Internet or cell phones, no text messages.  No satellite imagery or GPS. People still thought that Love was the answer. 

Maybe we were too naive back in them days, you know… looking to our rock stars for the answers with lines like, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

But that walk across the street on a hot August afternoon in England signalled an end to an era.  Up until then, we really thought that change was within our grasp because the lads from Liverpool said it could be so.  As they walked away, so did our hopes.


Make Wiser Brewery Presents: A Beer With Obama

August 2, 2009

A funny thing happened on a pit stop at the White House, our president had a kegger and invited some average Americans to be his guests.  Ofcourse I am referring to the group session “beer summit” between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and police Sgt. James Crowley.  We can only imagine what transpired… 

“We drank a toast to innocence, we drank a toast to now.  We tried to reach beyond the emptiness, but neither one knew how.” 

What a unique idea!  I think the next meeting of Congress should be held at a tailgater’s party.  Think of all the fun that could be had!

“Friday night I crashed your (Democratic) party. Saturday I said, ‘I’m sorry’.  Sunday came and trashed me out again.”

Oh, I know it was just an informal gathering of our two chiefs of state with two ordinary citizens  to discuss better racial relations, but why did it have to escalate to a national setting in the first place?  Somebody should have been smarter than this.  Why can’t we all just get along? 

“They don’t serve beer in Heaven, that’s why we’re drinkin’ it here.”

But all that aside, maybe Make Wiser Brewery should come out with a new brew, call it “Obama’s Blue Ribbon” or “The Average Joe Biden’s Choice.”  It might just bring the country closer together. 

“Oh, I get drunk most every night, seems like all we do is fight.  The more I drink the less I feel blue.  Sometimes I feel like an awful fool, spendin’ my life on an ol’ barstool and yes, I guess, they oughta name a drink after you.”

Something that ALL Americans can partake of and feel equal in!  The only question being, should it be a dark or light?  Imagine all the bickering that could be avoided if we all just took a time out and had a unifying beer…

“Well, I gotta get drunk and I sure do dread it ’cause I know just what I’m gonna do.  Start to spend my money, callin’ everybody honey and I’ll wind up singin’ the blues.”

Better race relations start at being mutually respectful.  An officer of the law represents the margin between civility and chaos, no matter your stature in life or how much “higher” education you have.   A citizen is obligated to recognize that authority and conduct himself accordingly.  Said officer is also duty bound and has sworn to protect and serve that citizen whether they be black or white, remembering that they are also his employer.

“Just sittin’ round drinkin’ with the rest of the guys, six rounds bought and I bought five.”

There are good cops and bad, just as there are good citizens and bad.  If each would give the measure of respect that they feel they themselves are entitled to, any meeting between them would be harmonious and productive.

“Give me some beer drinkin’ music, good country music.”

The morning after would be business as usual…

“Well, I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.  And the beer I had for breakfast, wasn’t bad so I had one more for desert.”

The Gates claim, “It’s because I am black, isn’t it?”  should not have even entered into the picture.  Why do we make excuses for it?  Remember,  it was his neighbors who called the police in the first place.  Were they prejudiced?  The tape recording of the conversation doesn’t bear this out. 

“You were cryin’ in your pretzels, cryin’ in your beer.”

Why did Gates have to bring up his race?  As a highly honored and educated man, he should have known better.  Righteous indignation?  Hmmpf!  More like SELF-righteous!

“Make it one for my baby and one more for the road.”

Truth is, race relations will not improve until people quit using race as an issue, pure and simple.  Our president is not a “black” man, but a supposed  “everyman”.  He represents us all.  When HE makes race an issue, the country is divided.  Obama should have known better, but it was a friend of his so emotion got the better of him.

“Show me the way to go home.  I’m tired and I wanna go to bed.  I had a little drink about an hour ago and it’s gone right to my head.” 

How much better it would be if we viewed each other as the superior person instead of trying to elevate ourselves.  As the one who turned the water into wine, Jesus once said, “The least amongst you shall become the greatest.”

No amount of beer drinking will change that.