Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In the past we celebrated the day and or weekend by having a Thursday dinner with friends and family and then getting to sleep early so we can get up and bust some doors at a local retailer. Those who eschewed the "Black Friday" crowds in favor of a more restful day off might play with their kids or sit around a fire and talk. (You do remember sitting and talking, right? NO, NOT TEXTING - TALKING!)
The stores start putting out their 'countdown' calendars letting us know in no uncertain terms how many shopping days we have left until Christmas. The pressure builds. I think they chose Christmas because it was always easy to subtract from December 25th instead of having to figure out when Hanukkah was. (I think it's early this year!)
Every year this is a particularly bad time for those among us who are suffering from depression. The sight of others being happy tends to exacerbate their anxiety and the bad thoughts occasionally culminate in tragedy around the end of December.
We should all be on the lookout for anyone we feel might fall prey to feelings such as those because with the economy in the dumps there may be many more than in previous years.
I have suffered through my own year of living dangerously as I was a victim to economic pressures at my old job. Luckily I am not smart enough to get too depressed. But seriously, it is not good and it is important to lend a hand where possible.
Personally I could never consider doing myself harm. As my mother used to say, "I could never commit suicide, I'm way too much of a coward!"
So in the spirit of this post and going against my Eclectic Curmudgeon title allow me to list a few things of which I am thankful for. I hope you will add your own to the list.
I am thankful that:
... I still have my father around as he nears the 92nd anniversary of his birth.
He will be joining my family for Thanksgiving dinner. (I'm driving.)
... I am also picking up my (few years younger) mother-in-law (That's right, I said mother-in-law! Get over it.)
... My wife is a good intelligent woman and she still has her job.
... My two children are healthy and beautiful. (I dream of their bright futures regularly.)
AND they are both finished with the money pit of college - Whew.
... I still have much of my hair although more and more of it finds its way onto the brush every day.
... I have most of my health, 'nuff said.
... I can still see very well. (And it only cost $700 for the glasses!)
... I have some good friends. (Are there truly any other kind?)
... I can still finish the Sunday Times crossword puzzle - usually without too much help.
... I am able to find humor in the strangest of places which is good since more places are strange these days than ever before.
And most of all I am thankful that I can put all these things down on this blog, because maybe, just maybe someone who doesn't think they have anything to be thankful for will find something here that they missed. And if I can save someone from being miserable then I will be even more thankful.
Think of that and these two phrases during this holiday season - 'Save a life; save the world' & 'It is better to give than receive.' You may then have the best of all worlds.
Have a Happy Bird Day! (And a Happy Holiday Season)
Monday, November 23, 2009
1. The Lighthouse Project is still on hold with no credible reason from the greedy group of Hempstead leaders. Now other groups are offering to develop the deteriorating site and some do not include the Islanders as tenants.
Solution - Wang should quietly offer Kate Murray's father a lifetime job and get this project moving.
2. The 911 trials will be taking place in NY. The 5 disgusting pieces of shit on trial will be pleading not guilty. Whether or not this should be the venue for the trial is now moot. But critics complain that it will merely be a platform for hateful rhetoric!
Translation - The trial will sound eerily like a session in Congress! (or on Fox so-called News.)
3. Catholic Bishop doesn't want Rep. Patrick Kennedy to receive communion due to his support of the current law of the land, namely abortion rights. We always knew the Catholic church, like many other religious groups didn't treat women with the equal dignity they deserve as human beings however -
Opinion - WHO GIVES A DAMN? Hey guys, ever hear of separation of church and state? This should not be news outside of the church journal. (Mr. Kennedy will make a donation and receive communion with honors.)
4. Former Hempstead Village Community Development Agency head Glen Spiritis has sued and according to the lower court is due to receive almost ONE MILLION dollars in payment for: 500 sick, personal and vacation days accrued as well as other smaller items. THIS MAN SHOULD BE PAID FOR 500 SICK DAYS??? Who paid for his health care? If this man was really sick that often how did he keep his job and how could he have done his job?
Opinion - He wasn't as sick as the system appears to be! I was laid off because of financial games played by scum like him and received ZERO DOLLARS for my accumulated sick and vacation days. Hey Newsday - Call me and we'll talk.
5. In the midst of a phony debate over health care reform that is meant to deflect Americans from the facts that Congress cannot and will not do anything new guidelines emerged from the medical community. Women should not get screened as often as they do for such non male life threatening diseases as Breast or Cervical cancer.
Opinion - This is the best our leaders can do - their solution to lowering health care costs is to stop giving health care?!? Brilliant!
6. Finally, late last week a computer glitch caused severe airline delays across the country. Officials were quick to point out that airborne flights were not in danger but take-offs and landings would have to be carefully monitored and delayed as the problem was on the ground. First of all airborne flights do generally have to land, right? And when they land they are hopefully landing ON LAND, right? I guess the implications of these facts were ignored. Could terrorists have caused this as a prelude to shutting down our entire system. Hopefully and probably not but -
Newsday's headline and entire front page on that day was devoted to OPRAH who announced a much more pressing issue - she was going to end her TV program IN 2 YEARS!!! Oh, by the way, Newsday covered the computer glitch on page 26!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I mean when you see an advertisement on television it doesn't say, "Old and unimproved" does it?
So why should we not be embracing the new medical guidelines coming down from high concerning mammograms or cervical cancer screening? These edicts say that women don't need to be screened for possible life threatening diseases as often as they have in the past.
Going to a doctor is an inconvenience, right?
So women should be happy to skip their yearly trek to have their breasts uncomfortably squashed and examined or push back that embarrassing position in the stirrups for the pap smear.
This is a good thing, right?
NO, it's not.
Because we should not be naive anymore!
In this day and age and certainly in this country big business controls our lives. Insurance companies already tell us what doctor to see when we are sick and limit our intake of necessary drugs to those they get kickbacks on.
The ulterior motive here is not so ulterior! The fewer times women go to the doctor the fewer bills the insurance companies have to reject! Rejection takes time and clerks!
If the number of claims submitted to the scum of the Earth, I'm sorry I mean insurance companies were reduced to a bare few they could lay off thousands and just have a stay at home house wife in India rubber stamp every claim, "Rejected."
And what better way to reduce the number of claims than to push off the expense on the coroners?
The time has come for women to rise up and join the fight against the scourge of life known as big insurance. It is clear that Congress does not have the balls to do so.
But luckily it does not take balls to put these inhuman bastards in their place, only common sense and solidarity. Lech licked the odds in Poland and women should be able to do so in America.
If all the women were to get together and JUST SAY NO to the health insurance companies and their puppets in congress maybe we could get true reform. Even Nancy Reagan would like that slogan!
America was once the greatest nation in the world. Don't allow greedy corporations and special interest groups to continue our current path into third world status.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Help yourself has always been a prevalent phrase in our lives whether it was at the dinner table or as part of a motivational speech. You could even hear it in sermons as in, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Unfortunately over the years many of us have taken those words and turned them into a license for greed.
While the economy was flying high and money was flowing into our pockets by way of our jobs or our stock market portfolio the greed largely went unnoticed. But greed is addictive and something happened on our way to that cushy retirement we felt entitled to, the economy crashed.
The phrase ‘Help yourself’ suddenly became synonymous with ‘Learn another skill’ and survival meant taking or competing for a lower paying job. Unfortunately for many the route back to school is filled with potholes and not one we will be taking anytime soon. The skills we learned and honed so many years ago are now viewed under the microscope and compared with those of six billion others.
The fact that the World is now considered flat when it comes to business and information does not bode well for those of us in our so-called Golden years. In fact it isn’t that great for those not yet sporting the Golden adjective.
So what happens when, due to no fault of our own we are in danger of losing the home that we worked so hard to gain? How do we cope with the fear of losing our job or livelihood? Naturally each of us must decide for ourselves how long we can exist on our savings and how soon we must chart a new course for our future. The time is as always, now.
I have confidence that our country will eventually stem the tide of bad economic news and we will figure out a way to get back on our feet. After all, haven’t we done it before?
But as we struggle to find new ways to support ourselves and gain back our lost security we are losing sight of an entire community of people who struggle merely for existence.
When I was young we watched public service announcements about children starving in other countries. Perhaps we even made jokes when Sally Struthers told us about Kim Yuk needing one dollar on which to live for a month but it wasn’t funny then and it certainly isn’t now.
While I personally attempt to rejoin my old industry I have also become involved with a charitable organization whose goal is to help those most vulnerable, children with disabilities. Children are our future and while our present is in need of being fixed we cannot lose sight of that. I chose the Bright Steps Forward organization but there are many others that would welcome volunteers.
Why is this so important? Because while another phrase we grew up with was, "Charity begins at home" we must make sure it does not also end there!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
While discussing the upcoming Universal Health Care Program with my sister-in-law the other day, I think we have found the solution.
I am sure you have heard the ideas that if you're a senior you need to suck it up and give up the idea that you need any health care.
A new hip?
We simply can't afford to take care of you anymore.
You don't need any medications for your high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc. Let's take care of the young people. After all, they will be ruling the world very soon.
So here is the solution:
When you turn 70, you get a gun and 3 bullets. You are allowed to shoot one senator and 2 representatives.
Of course, you will be sent to prison where you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head and all the health care you need!
New teeth, great!
Need glasses, no problem!
New hip, knee, kidney, lung, heart? Well bring it on.
And who will be paying for all of this?
The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care. And, since you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income tax.
But health care has me pissed
At the high - high cost
I can't afford more
Than what I paid be-fore
My saving's lost
When will our Congress a so-lution find?
Or give us what you have please make up your mind
Don't let insurance take over the world and become so strong
Or we won't live long
Back in the old day
I think that we could say
The system's fine
The thing about health care
Was it was al-ways there
My doctor's mine
Now I must visit some stranger; some man
I do not know him but he's in your plan
I want the freedom of seeing the guy that I know - and knows me
Oh dear Congress hear my plea.
My teeth and body will both surely rot
The health care I need is available - NOT
It costs so much for my family and me
When it all - Should be free!
Oh dear Congress hear my plea!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Ever since President Obama and the Democrats have started the ball rolling on reform the Republicans; Conservatives and the so-called 'Blue Dog' conservatives of the Democratic Party have been going nuts trying to derail the thing. They have gone off the deep end with nonsensical "Tea Party" rallies with paid participants carrying offensive posters and photos.
These pro insurance groups have spouted lies such as, "Reform is going to kill Grandma" and "Reform will exclude Republicans." But every time they come up with another stupid slogan or ridiculous reason as to why we should continue shoveling money into the pockets of Big Insurance they fail to prove their point and the argument disappears in the light of truth.
So now they are changing their tactics by saying that they cannot vote or support any of the reform measures because they don't go far enough!!! In other words if you are going to institute real health care reform you must get it right immediately or go back to the drawing board.
Not surprisingly this all or nothing tactic has been picked up and run with like a loose ball on the three yard line. It is the same type of hard to refute argument as the age old question, "When did you stop beating your wife?"
Please sing to yourself the following refrain from Oklahoma but change the word Romance to Reform:
(With me it's all er nuthin'.
Is it all er nuthin' with you?
It cain't be "in between"
It cain't be "now and then"
No half and half romance will do!)
If we were to use this same logic with every law that came up for discussion in front of our dysfunctional Congress we might never get anything done.
Oh wait, Um, right! WE DON'T!
Since the Party of NO believes that the 'farmer and the cowman' can not be friends then I say they've 'got to be taught.' The way they have treated the citizens of America, well 'it's a scandal, it's an outrage.'
And like Jud before 'poor health reform is dead' we must act now. If we are ever to get true affordable universal health care to come 'out of my dreams' and into the arms of all Americans then we need 'many a new day' where the opposition will finally change their tune to, 'I can't say no!'
And when and if that ever happens - 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning' that will truly be!!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I felt it necessary to say that right off the bat since many of the people in power like to say that they have our best interest in mind when they decide what laws should be written and which should then be defended. But the facts are that too many of the laws are being decided by and for men.
I am a man but I am also a human being. And what I see coming out of the mouths of some of our lawmakers leads me to believe I may in the minority in BOTH counts.
How can these leaders say that they want to allow citizens of this country to have control over their bodies and then legislate against personal control?
Unless I went to sleep and woke up in the middle or dark ages America still has the verdict re Roe v. Wade on the books. Abortion may be anathema to some but it is allowable under the law with certain restrictions. If so called wing nuts wish to assault that law then they have a right to do so. But that right is also controlled by our legal system. They cannot and should not do an end run around the law.
Bishops and other religious leaders this week reiterated their stance that no government tax dollar should go toward funding abortions.
BUT THEY DON'T PAY TAXES!!!
PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!
IF YOU DON'T PAY - YOU DON'T PLAY!!!
Or to put it succinctly - SHUT YOUR FACE!!!!!
The phony separation of church and state cannot stand the light of day. In fact many people continue to call America a Christian society. But they continue to use only the parts of their religion that helps their cause.
Okay then a question for these hypocrites - When it comes to universal health care WWJD?
Another wonderful disconnect with the thinking of the 'wing nut' group is "Keep government out of my life."
So you don't want police to assist you in time of need?
Sign here and we'll exclude you from all the services the rest of us rely on.
A short list of those services:
Medicare (IT'S GOVERNMENT RUN GUYS!!!)
Women and men should be incensed by the addition to the latest non health care insurance reform bill that the House passed. Not just because it lacks real choice and affordability but because it blatantly attempts to overturn the Supreme Court's decision on abortion.
If this is allowed to pass then the slippery slope starts and individual rights will disappear. These same idiots will soon say, 'there are more straight people than gays so let's outlaw homosexuality.'
Well remember the first line of this post and think about it.
How long before women outlaw men? I'm just sayin...
Monday, November 9, 2009
We have an incredible disconnect in this country when it comes to so-called experts. We want to believe that someone smarter than us knows what's best for us. This 'Father Knows Best' syndrome makes for great television (well it was a great show back in the day) but should be viewed skeptically in the real world. And in fact that old TV show had mom as the smarter parent but that's another story.
Yes there are always going to be smarter folk somewhere but why do we believe they have our best interest in mind? Simple logic would say that those in power want to stay there and they do it by pleasing the electorate that elected them. But you need only delve a tiny bit below the surface to find the truth.
Just as beauty is only skin deep so too is loyalty. Our Congressman, and nearly any elected official down to state and city office must play the game of politics in order to stay in office. That means they must trade or give in on many issues lest they be doomed to sitting on the bench for the duration of their time in office.
We just saw that happen in the latest watered down version of a health care reform bill that is slowly but surely becoming an instrument to help only big insurance companies make more money.
Compromise is always a good idea when it is needed for the greater good but when it is used for self-serving means by a small number of people in power it is awful.
We trust our officials to take care of us. Trust is good. So what is anti-trust? It sounds bad but wait, not so fast.
A law that has it's birth dated back to the 1890s (see the Sherman anti-trust act) but its spirit even older is aimed at stopping monopolies from performing acts and practices that are harmful to the consumer. The theme was enhanced years later with the Clayton act.
In other words if you felt that the price of bread was too high at $20 a loaf but found that every market was selling it at that price you would be stuck. The fact that the cost to the manufacturer might be 10¢ would not help you. Well the law states that the producers of bread (to keep the analogy going) would be guilty of price fixing and consumer gouging and would be subject to fines. The Anti-Trust laws keep the fair practice of open competition alive and at least the possibility that items will be priced fairly.
And the law works well, at least in some cases. The funny thing is if you were to open a store in your hometown and have two competitors in that town selling the same items AND then you got together with the two other owners to raise all the prices in tandem the law would be all over you.
BUT one industry has been exempted from this law. Irrational as it may be that industry is the Health Care Insurance Industry. The wall that has been placed around these controllers of life and death harbors the true heads of the infamous death panels. They decide whether or not you shall live and if so how much money it will cost you to do so.
And to paraphrase some words famously uttered by the Republican God Ronald Reagan (I'll pause here so the 'Right' has time to genuflect) CONGRESS TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
Every argument that is used to show the insurance companies are acting in harmony with each other and practicing unfair anti-competitive policies is met with lies. These lies are at times eloquently delivered by insurance lobby puppets such as the traitor to the people Joe Lieberman or not so eloquently mouthed when it comes to the embarrassingly ignorant Michele Bachmann or other "Rogue" morons. These people have their own agenda and crave the attention they otherwise would never get. And they care not who dies as a result.
And yet the less informed among us continue to rely on their opinions without question. The country has prospered on the tenets of free enterprise so why not have our illustrious insurance companies join that arena?
Since our Government does not seem to have the cojones to make that industry comply with the Anti-Trust LAW a public insurance option would be a great first step.
So why is it not happening?
Big insurance has made so much money from their unfair practices that they are able to throw around millions upon millions of dollars to keep the status quo. And when millions of those ILL-gotten dollars find their way into the pockets of our congressmen it is easy to see why the fight rages on against reform.
And the most annoying part of the entire ballet between battling talking heads in DC is the fact that the ones who are deciding whether or not you and I will be allowed to have true affordable universal health care ALREADY HAVE IT!
Just like father deciding if we can have another candy or stay up to watch just one more TV show Congress holds our lives and future in its hands. Please daddy? Can I please have affordable health care insurance.
No! Now run along. And don't forget to floss.
Oh well, you know best.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Unfortunately the only ones to have learned a lesson from those shows seem to be the insurance companies. And they are playing the game to perfection.
Many years ago my home owners insurance cost under $300 per year and I was covered for nearly everything one could think of with the possible exception of elephant stampedes. But in the 20 years that I was complacent about shopping around my insurance company slowly but surely increased their coffers at my expense.
The policy continued to look the same and the wording was just as hard to read or follow without a PhD in obfuscation but tiny additions or riders kept cropping up. For example my home was always covered for damage caused by events other than my negligence. But a few years ago I received a note about flood damage. Suddenly there was a new worry and a new rider I had to purchase if I wanted to cover that possibility.
Other such riders include Hurricane damage and were quantified by category of storm. In other words if a storm was too weak to be worried about I was covered but if it was a 'cat 3' or higher I had to purchase another rider for coverage. Simply put I was now only covered in the event of a fart damaging my home. Anythiong stronger than a fart would be at my expense.
Without checks and balances I believe that in another 10 years my home will only be covered for those elephant stampedes of which I spoke earlier. And then only if they happen during a solar eclipse.
Insurance companies are not the only once complicit in the scheme to defraud their customers. Think back to that ground coffee you used to get at a supermarket. There was 16 ounces in a can of a certain size. The can stayed the same size but only those few observant consumers may have noticed that the contents of the can was getting lower. In fact the last time I bought a can of coffee at a supermarket the normal can I had grown up seeing on the shelf held only 10 ounces. But the price never dropped.
Guardian Health, one of the 'who gives a shit' insurance companies out there (and my current one unfortunately) was caught dropping an entire group of disabled individuals because as one of their soon to be fired employees wrote in a company email, "...These dogs are costing us too much to cover..." (sic)
So Guardian realized that dropping 1 person who cost them too much was illegal but dropping everyone like him could give them safety in numbers. Naturally they reversed their stance WHEN CAUGHT!
My auto insurance costs just went up. No I did not place a claim. And actually according to the guy who took my complaint call I was wrong - My rates did not go up. What happened was they discontinued a discount I was receiving. My reply was simply, "But yesterday I was paying $X and today I am paying $X plus X. On what planet do you not see my out of pocket expense being more now than before?" I don't care if there is less coffee in the can as long as you charge me less for the product NOT MORE!
There is a major disconnect in this country. Too many people say they want Government out of their lives. But they also want less expensive health care and affordable insurance.
But Government is currently out of the lives of the big insurance companies and do not regulate them. The industry has no restrictions and can gouge us until the cows come home - and then leave and come back and on and on.
If we are to survive and thrive with a little spending money left when we retire we then the PASSWORD is listen! Listen to what's being said AND what is not. Don't forget other TV shows such as "You Bet Your Life" and "You Asked For It." And remember, the $25,000 PYRAMID was JUST a game but this is real life!
Monday, November 2, 2009
If this were not an important election then why are such self important people like Rogue Palin and Dick 'Dawn of the Dead' Cheney campaigning so hard for their respective non-important candidates?
Because every election is important - You betcha!
The reason for all the hype about the Governor's elections in New Jersey and Virginia and the upstate New York election for a representative in what has been a Republican stronghold forever is that it is no longer about the public. It's only about winning. The citizens of this country do not matter except in the way they can be manipulated.
And once a party is in power they immediately putout polls showing they deserve to be there and start new polls to see how they can increase their numbers and secure power for a longer period of time. But nothing that matters to us humans gets done!
I despise polls and what they have done to our country but they must have escaped from a box once owned by a lady named Pandora because there is no way we are stopping them anymore. T he majority of people in this country have no idea what is going on in their local or state government let alone Washington DC. And since they have no idea and, it seems no opinion of their own they rely on polls to tell them what to do.
There is safety in numbers and if the numbers show that most people are doing a certain thing well then that must be the way for me to go, right? It is safer to be in the mob than the object of that mob. This is true even when the mob is out to get you as was so brilliantly shown in Thomas Frank's book, "What's the Matter with Kansas." The polls turned around the electorate so much that they voted against everything they needed and effectively kept themselves in the dark ages while giving Conservatives control of their lives.
Most Americans have been trained to be insecure about their knowledge and are ashamed to admit that they haven't a clue about many important issues. Lance Armstrong did an interview during which he said that Health Care Reform was important and that the poorest man in a state should get the same health care as the richest man but he then said he was against a public option. But then went on to again say that something must be done! LIKE WHAT? Without options that rich man will get all the health care he needs and read about the death of that poor man while he has his morning coffee served by his maid.
It's clear that Mr. Armstrong got off his bike in time to catch a Fox News poll telling him what to think.
And that brings us to one more important point, POLLS CAN LIE!
Four out of five doctors recommend - SO? Suppose the first four were on drugs and the fifth was THE authority on the subject?
Fox News and their puppets on the Right are always throwing out polls to prove their point or further their agenda. Check and see how many polls have been published by the famous Lewin Group. These polls show how health insurance reform is bad for America. Then read and find out that the Lewin Group is totally owned by the Insurance Lobby.
Bad for America? Yup, the Lewin Group sure is bad for America!!!
My opinion is mine.
I am certain I know what I would like to happen when it comes to many of today's issues.
I do not need a poll to tell me what I need.
And I am also confident that if everything I would like to happen did happen most of the people in this country would be better off. Let me repeat that, MOST of the people.
Many of the wealthiest Americans might not be able to continue raping, I mean raking in the tremendously obscene amounts they do without consequence or at least without a fair tax.
And by fair I mean it in the same way Warren Buffet did when he said his secretary pays more in taxes then he does!
Is that fair?
Why not take a poll?