NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Bordering on the Absurd”

‘Tweaking’ our Healthcare System

 

I don’t know anything about cars, just like I am not well-versed in the intricacies of healthcare.  But… you drive, you learn.  You get sick, you learn.  You live, you learn.  You pick up little ideas here and there to save money while also keeping your engine, or your body, running optimally. 
 
It certainly wouldn’t make sense to replace my entire car if I just needed new spark plugs and an oil change, so why is the current administration proposing we start from scratch with our healthcare system?  Really, that’s more of a rhetorical question, since I think we got exactly what all the liberals, democrats and Hollywood air-heads voted for: incompetence.  But hey… what about the people who knew all along that this guy was in way over his head?  How about we only force Congress, Mr. Obama and everyone who voted for him to participate in government-run healthcare?

Those would be in my ‘Fantasy Tweaks’ category, but I can think of two realistic changes right off the top of my head.

 
What about this…
– Prohibit pharmaceutical companies from advertising to the general public. 
Think about it: how much sense does it make to advertise something that cannot be purchased without a doctor’s prescription?  Aside from raking in big profits (which are incorporated into the high prices we pay for medication), what are these companies really doing?  Are they suggesting that our doctors are too stupid to recommend the appropriate medication for us without us first approaching them with a tale of some commercial we saw that convinced us that we need it?  So, in effect, we have prescribed it for ourselves and the doctor is now an afterthought… a mere signature provider.  I’m glad I didn’t go to school for 8-10-12 years so my patients can just tell me what they need (after being educated by a 60-second television commercial).
 
And who pays all those nicely dressed sales reps I’m always seeing in my doctor’s office?  You know the ones: they leave all those samples and post-it pads, pens and stuffed toys with their logos smartly displayed?  Perhaps the same people who pay for those pharmaceutical company-sponsored, all-expenses-paid trips to luxury resorts for doctors.  That would be YOU.  And ME.  We all pay for it with every inflated price of every single pill we swallow… or medication we can’t afford.
 
Here’s my next idea:
Stop using the “Price Squared” system for medical equipment and supplies.  People who don’t need these items usually have no idea how much putting the word “medical” in front of a product raises its price.  When I cared for my mother-in-law after her stroke, I was introduced to a world I never knew existed: the world of over-charging for medical equipment and supplies – or in the patient’s case, over-PAYING. 
 
I remember when I wanted to purchase a cushion for my mother-in-law’s wheelchair.  I went to the Medical Supply Store and was charged more than $50.00 for a square piece of foam rubber covered with a cheap, thin cotton pillowcase.  If I could sew, I could have made one of these for about $7.00, but since this was a special cushion, made specifically for a wheelchair and had to be bought at a special store, it cost WAY too much.
 
Why are medications and necessary supplies more costly in the hospital?  Different people have different theories about this, but I think we can all agree that it’s out of control.  And why can’t I just take my own medication when I’m in the hospital?  You know, the stuff that’s already paid for at a rate I can afford AND understand.  I take my meds properly at home, but the hospital doesn’t “trust me” to do it correctly while there, so that charge gets added to my bill in some indecipherable terminology. 
 
See?  “Tweaks”.  I’m sure there are more, but these two could probably keep people busy for a while.  Imagine the savings!  Appreciate the logic!  Or overhaul the entire system, continue to ignore common sense and let our older, disabled and chronically ill citizens die while they wait for adequate care they may never receive in a new, government-run program. 
 
In a nutshell, have you noticed how well the out-of-touch, self-important politicians handle everything else they get their greedy hands on?
Exactly. 

Naked Gnomes?

 

One of the things I like about being married to a “European” is how he not only stays on top of the news here in the U.S., but keeps himself abreast of newsworthy stories in Europe, as well:

 Where does one even go to purchase a “naked gnome”? 

In the story, naked gnome collector, Sandra Smith, said she was told to put clothes on three of her favorite ornaments because they were deemed offensive.  Personally, I find the entire display offensive because it’s so kitschy and overdone.

I mean, really, Sandy… the wet t-shirt gnome is over the top! J

An Open Letter to Senator Specter

 

money-down-toilet

 

Senator Specter,

I am writing again to ask you to PLEASE not put your name on this insulting “stimulus” bill until we can say that all the items contained within it will actually stimulate our economy and not just put us deeper in debt while we fulfill the numerous spending projects that are now also filling its pages.

I have four children, one of whom is 16-years-old and [seriously] wants to know if he should start buying gold NOW because the new President and Congress are in the process of ruining his future with this bill. I can’t make him feel any better, because he’s right – that’s what you’re doing. I can’t offer him any “hope”.

Please don’t be one of the people responsible for destroying the futures of so many young people. Yes, we need to do something and we need to do something [relatively] soon, but we DON’T need to meet Mr. Obama’s ‘deadline’ of 2/16.  “Haste makes waste”!!   We don’t want to screw this up. Like Mr. Obama, you are supposed to represent US… we are not a group of idiots, we are registered voters, and we don’t want our money spent like this:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)

• $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

• $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s

• $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion

• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings

• $500 million for state and local fire stations

• $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property

• $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD

• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service

• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”

• $850 million for Amtrak

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint

• $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

• State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years. This is nearly $70 billion more than the governors asked President Obama for in December, and should be a loan to be repaid by the states.

Source: Website of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn 
Respectfully,
Someone who votes for you only because the alternative is voting for a liberal Democrat

Home, Hospitals, Holidays and HIPAA

 

 

smurf-doctor

 

To write that being in the hospital is anything but unpleasant and something we all wish to avoid would be obvious and unnecessary. Yet sometimes, it is the only way to enable someone to return to good health, or at least better health. And during a stay at the hospital, there are things we can learn – other than exactly what diagnosis put us there in the first place.

Beginning with how grateful I am for my own bed and pillow, I personally learned how much I really do appreciate the mundane, annoying chores I do on a daily basis that normally give me only the slightest gratification. I missed getting my children ready for school and making my 7-year-old’s school lunch at 6:30 each morning. I missed doing laundry, cooking dinner, paying bills and loading/unloading the dishwasher. After 6 days away, I missed seeing my family every day – even when they were in my face making too much noise when I wanted to be ‘alone’. For the most part, I was alone each one of those days, all day… all night.

It is a conundrum of human nature, I think, to initially be content with what we have… then dissatisfied once we have it for a while… then miss it and want it back once it is taken from us. Or maybe I am the only one who is guilty of this unappreciative tendency, along with the lack of appreciation of the phrase “at least you have your health”.  Spend some time as an anxious patient in the hospital and you, too, may eliminate the words “at least” from that sentence… at least for a while.

Because my stay in the hospital was a bit longer than average, I enjoyed the company of 4 different roommates, 2 of whom were sicker than I was. If not ignored, this benefits one’s perspective; focusing on the pain and anxiety of my roommates was definitely helpful in temporarily diverting attention away from my own problems. While I felt bad for what these two women were enduring, I admit I felt grateful that it wasn’t me. And when I pray for my own health and future, I remember them, too.


Now, since I am never one to overlook the political aspects of an experience… :-/… I was surprised, perhaps even shocked, to learn that our HIPAA Privacy Laws that we are told are so vitally important (and the related paperwork that stuffs landfills everywhere) were broken on a regular basis. If you’ve ever visited a doctor’s office, you’ve signed a HIPAA form that prevents the sharing of your personal medical information without your expressed consent. If you’ve ever watched a television police drama where they need medical records, you’ve probably noticed they need a subpoena to get/view medical records, even if the person is DEAD.

Well, I was privy to dozens of people’s medical records while in the hospital every day, without a subpoena or anything… using just my ears. My hospital room was close to the nurses’ station and every time the shift changed, the nurse on duty would relate each chart’s information to the nurse coming on duty. She would go over each chart, starting with the FULL NAME, diagnosis, doctor’s orders/medications, details of what transpired during her shift, and for some patients, some added anecdotal information, such as “what a nice woman she is,” or “he’s a real nasty one”. I wasn’t trying to hear what they were saying, their voices echoed into my room and to my bed, which was the furthest from the door.

Thankfully, I didn’t recognize any of the names I heard, so all of this information means absolutely nothing to me, but what if I DID know one or more of these patients? I would now know their private, medical history (unless I stuck my fingers in my ears and did that la-la-la-la-la thing). And who might have heard MY medical information? There could have been someone there who recognized my name from seeing it on my check at the grocery store, or the pharmacy, etc. Now they know exactly what is ‘wrong’ with me. I’m not liking this. Why don’t the nurses have a room with a closed door where they can do this confidential job? Why do any of us sign those HIPAA forms in the first place – are they just to make us THINK our privacy is being protected? Hmm…

hear-see-speak-no-evil

 Whatever the case, I was released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a toned-down eating experience, but a day full of more gratitude than usual. I valued this more than the usual type of celebration, and hope I can remember this important lesson for future years without preceeding the holiday with an unpleasant trip to the hospital.

 

While all of this is so fresh in my mind, allow me to wish each of you a Holiday Season full of gratitude and good health…
:-)
 

Does One Person’s Free Speech Trump Another’s?

 

Imus and Rosie      

It goes without saying that Don Imus’ comments about the Rutgers University Women’s basketball team were deplorable, unacceptable, and never should have been uttered.  My goal is not to excuse his behavior in any way, but to attempt to draw attention to the hypocrisy that is so thick in the media, and society as a whole, that publicly punishing him when others go unmentioned, tends to minimize the impact of those doing the punishing… and the offense itself.

While Imus stole a golden moment from this hard-working team of young women, insulting them, and frustrating their lives by the unwanted attention this situation has thrust upon their lives, he has also inadvertently given them more than their 15 minutes of fame.  After their press conference, we all now know they are much more than fine athletes, they are women of substance, worthy of our respect, who could never be defined by one man’s thoughtless comments.

But someone please explain the premise of ‘free speech’ to me again – it has gotten so muddled in the mire of this latest controversy.  With the usual players coming out of the woodwork for their airtime, taking up the cause du jour, how are any of us supposed to give the issue the consideration it deserves?  It has always been my understanding that free speech extends to everyone, not just those we agree with.  It’s easy to allow the airwaves to be filled with opinions and comments that don’t offend us, but why is it that only when certain subjects of offense arise, there are those who wish to draw a line?  And who says THEY get to decide where they line is drawn, anyway?

Why does Rosie O’Donnell get to spew her “view” every day, influencing the ignorant with her propaganda that ranges from irate rhetoric to something that can only be labeled “absurd”, but no one wants to take up that cause?  Why do we hear no one calling for her to be fired or fined or suspended?  And why no call for boycotts?  This woman badmouths the President of the United States on a regular basis, which apparently is “chic”, and therefore… “acceptable?  More acceptable than a racist remark, I guess.  And Rosie’s radical personal opinions about our country only serve to fuel the terrorists’ resolve and hatred toward us. Why is that an acceptable form of free speech? 

Why are Al and Jesse and the media ok with THAT?

Chicago – Not MY Kind of Town

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events Nixes “The Nativity Story” Movie Display at Chicago’s Annual Christmas Celebration for Fear of offending non-Christians.

Yes, read it again… that’s what it says.  It brings absurdity to an entirely new level and provides an even more ridiculous category for political correctness. And the name of this annual Christmas celebration?  It’s the German Christkindlmarket – yet the movie chronicling the birth of Christ is not welcome. 

Somehow, though, the grand Nativity display that has been a part of the Celebration since its inception is perfectly o.k. and not considered “insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts,” in the words of Jim Law of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.  By the way, among the “unique gifts” is a vendor advertised as follows on the official Christkindlmarket website:

Bethlehem Nativity Products – From the Holy Land –
Nativity scenes, praying hands & religious symbols

Christkindlmarket Nativity

According to Natalie Martinez of NBC5 in Chicago, the movie was listed on the city Web site as a sponsor of the city’s largest Christmas celebration at Daley Plaza until recently.  Even though the city claims they “never threatened to withdraw their support” of New Line Cinema’s movie, a statement by New Line expresses their frustration: “We don’t understand why our sponsorship would be rejected for religious reasons, particularly considering the fact that our film details the story that inspired the holiday season that Christkindlmarket was created to celebrate.”

Only after this story drew national attention did the City of Chicago amend their stance to include any mention of advertising standards.  Apparently, the City’s problem with New Line Cinema is now under the heading of “aggressive marketing tactics”.  Interesting.  What heading, pray tell, would this fall under:

2Travel Show

*I* found it advertised on the official Christkindlmarket website under 2006 Program Highlights… right after “Grand Opening”. 

I’m sorry, but I’m getting mixed messages here, people.  If the underwriters of the Christmas festival participate in blatant commercialism, it’s o.k., but if a company produces a movie about the birth of Christ, they can’t pay to display the trailer for that movie?

As long as I understand… :-/

How about everyone just gets used to the idea that Christmas actually IS Christ’s birthday?  It IS a Federal Holiday… we all have a day off to honor Christ’s birth and for no other reason. Why not stop the bickering, political hair-splitting, ACLU-ing and try to find out what the day actually means?

“Mideast Terror Leaders Want U.S. to Vote Democrat”

 “Withdrawal from Iraq would embolden jihadists”  – WorldNetDaily

VoteForTerror

Senior terrorist leaders were interviewed by WorldNetDaily for an article posted on November 2nd, which stated their hope for a Democratic win in Tuesday’s election.  They see this shift in power as beneficial to their objectives because it will ensure victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance.   Not only would a Democratic win prove to the terrorists that Americans are tired, but Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal “proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation.” 

Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, was quoted as saying the Democrats’ talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel proud: “As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk, very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance.  This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal.”   And then there’s Abu Ayman, another Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, who said he is “emboldened” by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

Responding to the claim that the insurgents will stay in Iraq for as long as the U.S. is in Iraq, when terrorists became aware of Nancy Pelosi’s recent remarks on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” they dismissed her assertion completely:

Nancy Pelosi’s remarks: “The jihadists are in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.”
Muhammad Saadi, addressing those remarks in the WND interview: “Islamic Jihad’s Saadi, laughing, stated, ‘There is no chance that the resistance will stop’.”

And Jihad Jaara agrees.  A senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, he told WND: an American withdrawal from Iraq would “prove the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works. The victory of the Iraqi revolution will mark an important step in the history of the region and in the attitude regarding the United States.” Jaara said an American withdrawal would “mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire (America).”

The far-reaching implications of a withdrawal are expressed this way by Jaara: Vacating Iraq would also “reinforce Palestinian resistance organizations, especially from the moral point of view.  But we also learn from these (insurgency) movements militarily. We look and learn from them.”  This viewpoint is shared by Hamas’ Abu Abdullah, who believes leaving Iraq would “convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance.”   “The victory of the resistance in Iraq would prove once more that when the will and the faith are applied victory is not only a slogan.”

The terrorists have given us much to think about in this article posted by Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily. Woven between all the quotes and all the malice are claims that they’ve found “the right strategy”, that they feel “proud” and “emboldened”, that they are “laughing” at us and our “tyrant empire”.  They are learning “what works” and what is “efficient”, but perhaps the best advice from the terrorist’s for this Election Day can be summed up by a quote from Jihad Jaara.  Although he is currently in exile in Ireland as part of an internationally brokered deal that ended the previously mentioned church siege, he gave the following quote to WorldNetDaily:

Of course Americans should vote Democrat“.

 

Read the WorldNetDaily Post

*Some of this post taken verbatim from WND article due to the amount of quotes.

Hang Out The Flag! We’ve Hit 300,000,000 Today… Or was it 5 years ago?

PopClock1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, our nation’s population reached the historic milestone of 300 million today at about 7:46 a.m. (EDT).  They arrived at this calculation by estimating that the U.S. registers one birth every 7 seconds and one death every 13 seconds, while net international migration adds one person every 31 seconds.  At that rate, the total population is increased by one person every 11 seconds.  Interesting.

It was that nebulous mention of “net international migration” that I felt needed further exploration.  How exactly did they reach this number of 300 million?  Are they tallying illegal immigrants, I wondered.  So I did a little digging. 

As with all government research, they speak a language all their own – I believe, in an endeavor to confuse the average citizen, or perhaps to convince themselves they are smarter than everyone else – but vigorous re-reading netted the following: 

Beginning with a base figure of 3.3 million in 1990, they added 225,000 net annual for each year thereafter until present.  If my math is correct, that’s a total of 6.9 million.

Is that not a low estimate by most standards?  Further exploration also brought me to other websites, one of which is called: “immigrationcounters.com”.  Apprehensive at first, and expecting to find an agenda ready to slap me in the face, instead, I was surprised to find their data well supported.   More surprising, was the 16.9 million people discrepancy between immigrationcounters calculations and that of the census bureau, whose data was not supported nearly as convincingly (to me, anyway).

What this all means, in light of our grand celebration of the 300 millionth “person” (note, I can’t say “citizen”) in our country today is that the whole thing is a farce.  First of all, if anyone is actually interested in celebrating such a milestone, they should have marked their calendars somewhere around January 2002, or thereabouts.  THAT would be closer to the time illegal immigrants helped to bring us to this imposing number. 

But, since we’re all decked out already, dressed for all the parties that will no doubt be taking place all around the country today, I’d like to offer an alternative way of celebrating:

  1. Beef up border security (e.g., a fence, more border patrol, etc.).
  2. Initiate a system where employers can identify prospective employees as citizens.
  3. Institute stiff penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants and actually follow through with consequences.
  4. Consider border patrol the serious Homeland Security issue it is.
  5. Just a thought: take a page from Mexico’s immigration policy handbook.  When it comes to illegals, let’s make it as difficult for people to immigrate to the U.S. as it is to immigrate to Mexico.

400,000,000 is looming on the horizon and will be blindsiding us before you know it, I think we should stop trying to be so politically correct and deal with this as the problem it is, or when 400 million gets here, who knows what flag we’ll be hanging?

Post Navigation