NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Politics”

‘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. 

I’ve seen the future…

 

And it’s some freaky combination of Obama-mania mixed with the worst of the 70’s.  

If it wasn’t so scary, it would be hysterical :-/

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

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal:

 

…it is the courage to continue that counts.”  

– Sir Winston Churchill

  

There is little that is final about Mr. Obama’s success, since he now needs to live up to all the promises he made, but will be nearly impossible to keep.  The watch begins…

 

I thought these other Churchill quotes were also quite notable:

 

“If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

(Well, doesn’t THIS explain a lot? :-)

 

 

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

 

…Or, in this case, a 2½ minute conversation:

 

 

 

“Tell me who you stay with…

 

Wright:

Newsweek.com

Courtesy: Newsweek.com

 

Khalidi:

Courtesy: liberalvaluesblog.com/ibloga.blogspot.com

 

Pfleger:

cbsnews.com

Courtesy: cbsnews.com

 

Rezko:

http://www.achicagoblog.com

Courtesy: achicagoblog.com

 

Ayers-Dohrn:

 

…and I’ll tell you who you are.”

I Married a Democrat

Love Conquers All

Love Conquers All

 

No, I did not just realize he was a democrat after four months of marriage. This is not something that has reared its ugly head during the last few weeks of a heated and critically important presidential election. It is something that other people find interesting about us and our long relationship, wondering how we are able to ‘get along’ so well. We met in a republican chat room during a previous presidential election when he came in to instigate arguments, but he didn’t know *I* would be there to argue back :-) And neither of us could have guessed that heated political dialogue would someday lead to marriage.

So here I am many years later with my liberal honey, whom I love dearly and whose opinions have helped shape some of mine over the years. And after the Clinton and Bush years, amazingly, we find ourselves on the same political page – and somewhat disoriented! While he is still a liberal, he is not, nor has he ever been, stupid, so it is as obvious to him as it is to me that Barack Obama is miserably and frighteningly inexperienced for the job of Postmaster General. Oops… I mean, President of the United States. (Personally, I would not want him for either job, but that’s another story).

It concerns me that he is the least experienced candidate in history, how he also has less experience than Sarah Palin (who is number two on the republican ticket, despite how the democrats vilify and dismiss her), how he is a blatant opportunist, how his social/political associations speak to the matter of his character – as does his behavior, causes, and what he has allowed his children to listen to in church every Sunday. I find the prospect of an Obama presidency off-putting, to say the least. Lying is nothing new in Washington, but media substantiated lying and having one’s own party cleaning up behind a candidate like the sweeper behind an elephant in the circus, is something I don’t remember witnessing before, or certainly, not to this degree.

Personally, the best thing about this election cycle is that my husband has finally seen for himself what I have been trying to get him to see for years: that media bias DOES exist. It’s really something when someone has a ‘light bulb moment’, when they see what you were never able to explain. Of course, with the majority of the media in the tank for Obama, one would have to be Helen Keller to miss it, but still…

It would be difficult to narrow down the worst thing about this election cycle to just one. On the personal side, though, it may just be the very thing that has always been so good (and entertaining) about previous elections: the fact that my husband can’t vote because he is a citizen of The Netherlands. It was always nice that he could not “cancel my vote”, but this year he would actually have voted for John McCain.

It’s just part of that irony I’ve experienced with this election – like when I found myself supporting a Clinton during the primary.

September 11th… 6 years later

 

World Trade Center 

Today I think of how quickly everyone forgets the unity and singularity of purpose once known as the years increase between September 11th 2001 and the present.  My sense is that we could not be more divided than we are right now and our enemies probably enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have not only hurt us physically, but emotionally and politically as well.  I wonder if they knew how quickly we would all turn on one another; I, for one, am appalled at such a realization.

But life goes on for all of us in all our cocoons.  I am keenly aware that Americans are an impatient sort.  Not entirely our fault, I’ll concede, but not always a beneficial quality to possess.  While our desire to see things accomplished “yesterday” has contributed to our success as a Superpower, individually, we want what we want NOW… or sooner.  And when it comes to war, we Americans have precious little tolerance for the unavoidable accompanying discomfort.  Of course, as Americans, we also want THE best, 100% infallible plan that can be carried out neatly and quickly with little to no casualties. 

Sadly, this is not a reality we can know and we all scurry for someone to blame.  Blame makes us feel a little better and gives us a focus so moving forward is bearable.  But what we all really want is for none of this dreaded ugliness to ever have touched our lives in the first place, for our fragile version of innocence to have been left in tact, for those terrorists to have been stopped before they boarded the planes on that fateful day six years ago.  We want what we can’t have, and, heck, we’re Americans… we usually figure out a way to get it!  So instead of acknowledging a pain that cannot be quelled, we collectively grumble, complain, name-call, and viscously blame easy targets.

And today I think: How many years before we figure out that our country’s dissension feeds our enemy while starving our ability to heal and triumph?

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?

“I Love It When a Plan Comes Together”

 

You may remember a TV show from the 80’s called The A-Team – the show that pretty much made “Mr.T” a household name.  At some point during the show, when the team was in the process of successfully completing their dangerous mission, many times the Hannibal character (played by George Peppard) would say, “I love it when a plan comes together,” with a cigar hanging out of his mouth and a wry grin.

Somehow, those words… that voice… and that grin are exactly what played in my head this morning after learning the results of yesterday’s election – sans the cigar, of course, since it’s 2006 and we’re talking about Democrats with their worship of all things politically correct.  But kudos to Rahm Emanuel for a well-planned strategy to deliver Congress to the Dems, and to his pal, Chuck Schumer, who worked to deliver the Senate.  They both knew their only chance at victory would be to choose candidates who resembled Republicans, the so-called “Blue-dog Democrats”.  In so doing, the “choice for change” was that much easier for disgruntled Americans impatient with the war. 

The choice was basically: “same” or “different” and, at least in my opinion, many people just want something – anything – different than war.  It matters not that the Democrats have yet to articulate a plan for Iraq, we have been promised that it will be different… and, apparently, for the slimmest of majorities, that was enough.  Hardly a mandate, by anyone’s standards. 

For me, I look forward to watching the Democrats try to accomplish all they have promised, AND within the timeframe they have promised to do it.  The onus of performance is on them from now on and they will be under a microscope.  No longer do they have the luxury of whining, complaining, pointing fingers, calling names and claiming they can do things better… it’s game time, boys and girls.

Nancy Pelosi has been quoted as expressing her desire to “drain the swamp” once she becomes Speaker after more than a decade of a Republican controlled Congress, with a hefty list of goals for her party to accomplish in their first hundred hours. According to an AP interview published in WashingtonPost.com, this is how she has broken it down:

  • Day One: Put new rules in place to “break the link between lobbyists and legislation.”
  • Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Time remaining until 100 hours:
    – Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step.
    – Cut the interest rate on student loans in half.
    – Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
    – Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds, “I hope with a veto-proof majority.”

I will wait with bated breath. 

In the meantime, chances are, “Ms. P” may become as much of a household name as Mr. T.  My guess is that the many people who did not really know who Nancy Pelosi was prior to voting, who allowed their emotions to dictate their decision, those who “voted for change” will be quite surprised at just what type of change they ended up getting.

It’s Only Funny Until We Vote

3Dems

Why do so many people think they’ve got this election figured out?  I’m so tired of hearing pollsters quote their findings: “29% of people say this,” “58% of people say that,” “it doesn’t look good for Republicans.”  (What people?)  To listen to the bevy of clairvoyant pundits who shoot their mouths off every opportunity they are graciously given by our ever-accommodating media, one would think they are reading from their own “wish books”, not offering impartial analyses as the professionals they claim to be. 

They call it “news”, and it certainly is news to me.  As someone who falls into the category of “Values Voter” and is a Christian Conservative, I have learned that “I am so turned off by the Foley – and other – scandals that I will probably just stay home and not vote in November”.  Reeeeally?  Well, have I got news for them: The terms “Values Voter” (or whatever else you want to call it) and Conservative Christian does not mean that I am STUPID. 

I cannot speak for all Conservative Christians, for Evangelicals, or for the “Far Right”, but I can tell you what the people I know think and what makes sense to us.  Mark Foley obviously did something wrong and is now in the process of paying the consequences.   He is not being punished for being gay, nor should he be.  He is NOT the entire Republican Party, or a symbol of it.  We have local elections all around the country of major importance where Mark Foley is not running (Duh :-/ ). 

The division of Congress hangs in the balance and this cannot be taken lightly. Not voting would be the same as a voting for a Democrat, and while the media may look down upon us as a group, I guess we only look stupid.  We realize that allowing the Democrats to win would be putting Nancy Pelosi in the #3 seat for the Presidency.  This, of course, is unacceptable.

It’s not like Conservative Christians think they’re perfect, we just “vote our values” when others may vote based on taxes or social issues, for example.  We also realize there is a certain amount of pragmatism involved in the election process.  It’s a give and take kind of thing, an imperfect system.  After all, Jesus isn’t on the ballot… :-/

Bottom line?  To preserve the values and the standard of morality that is important to us, we must prevent liberals from taking office, taking over Congress or taking the third chair.  So, no… we won’t be staying home.

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