Monday, August 31, 2009

Rebuttal- Health Care

Ok, in response to the comment on my healthcare post - (Can you tell it's been awhile since I've had a good debate? K, "serious, bossy know-it-all face" is on... hehehe...)

Also, may I stress that I'm not talking specifically about Obama's plan (which I still need to reread a few times, since it's written in governmentese), but the general idea of a UHC system (which, yes, is likely to suck under American government control, because our government fucks up everything it touches; However, it's better to at least attempt change for the better than to leave things as they are.)

This is meant to be reform, not replacement. My little plan in particular does not replace current private insurance companies/policies but expands the national ones. Obama's proposed plan (what I've read and understood so far) was pretty much the same. It was also (as far as I recall) completely optional- you can choose the new plan or stick with your own private (or supplemental) insurance company. The point is to expand services to citizens who can not afford them on their own. (Besides, my dad works for a healthcare company... They're reducing their corruption, but that doesn't mean they're still not overcharging and bribing their way around the world. I've said it before - whether or not we get a UHC system in this country, something has to change... What this type plan means exactly for the workers, I'm honestly not all that sure, but then again, this is all still a work-in-progress and it's a team effort.)

Everything anyone has ever heard about only being limited to certain doctors and no options - of course possible, but not necessarily true. In Canada, they do often have problems with this, but you also have to consider other factors- shortage of practitioners and equipment, and reluctance of practitioners to accept the insurance program, for example. These are other issues that must be addressed, especially regarding malpractice insurance and salaries. In the majority of countries with UHC (see Europe), citizens can see any doctor they want to (also shown in Sicko). Unless the plan is mandatory (and the odds of that passing are probably close to zip), there will always be options. *Also, in Australia, we discussed this in a few of my classes. Not one single person said they were (or knew anyone who was) limited to certain doctors because of UHC.)

I did some research regarding Hawaii. Hawaii is just one state, and it certainly does not have the same level of funding or resources as an entire country. This kind of plan requires time, a much larger budget, and more equipment than what one state can provide. This has to be a gradual process - it's not something that we can set up overnight and expect to be perfect in the morning. Instant is bad. Also, it isn't meant to be a complete charity, either. We're still putting something in. Fundamentally, UHC is reform, not replacement, that should be prepared to cover basic care for the majority (whether or not it needs to). Medicaid & Medicare programs leave too many stuck in the middle - those who earn too much for the government programs but too little for private insurance- primarily the lower middle class and lower classes who are still living above the poverty line.

How do those countries suck? (What news were you watching, too?) The media is always biased. This blog is obviously biased against the biased media. [See side panel]. Fox new is biased [EXTREMELY conservative], MSNBC & ABC are biased [EXTREMELY liberal]. If I watch the news, it's CNN or CSPAN. Sometimes leans, but is generally bland as hell, which is how news should be. Regardless of source, it's still a good idea to be a skeptical about what one hears without doing research...)

I'm sorry, but I really must quote Karl Rove (I know, I know, hold your nausea) on this one "If Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state." Ok, what the fuck is everyone's problem with Europe? Statistically speaking, the standard of life is significantly better there than here (I have WHO stats in front of me, as well as world rankings for quality of life.) Our overall health is lower, our literacy is lower, we have more waste and pollution than most industrialized countries (and we're not doing all that much about it either, compared to them). The Scandinavian countries are well known for their quality of life - they are supposed to be the best in terms of equality, health, and politics, especially for women. And the UN rated Iceland, Norway, and Australia to be the top 3 countries in the world (2005)- ALL have UHC systems that work. The idea of UHC is absolutely viable and has been proven to work. The American plan of course will need tweaking to fit our economy and society-- but it can work.

(& birth control really isn't that bad... everyone I know who is on it, who had similar symptoms to you- they love it... some companies even make special pills just for really bad symptoms... hell, you could probably have a special combo created just for you... the only other treatments shown to be relatively effective are acupuncture; TENS - which I personally think is a horrific idea - and [the collective] all of the things you already do... a hysterectomy might not actually fix everything, as technically the hormones/whatever else may still be around to do who knows what, plus the regular surgery does not generally include the ovaries, so... again, without knowing exactly where the issue lies, it's possible that wouldn't completely fix the problem... plus a whole bunch of other things I know you wouldn't want to experience... you'd get to deal with the joys of menopause... that can't be fun...)

IQ and Standardized Testing - GREs...

So I totally feel like an idiot right now - I just took an IQ test (after spending I don't even know how many hours randomly browsing Wikipedia for the hell of it... I don't know why I'm still awake. My mind just jumps from one topic to another, & the site really just... Well, it doesn't help!) and somehow I got a score of 156. While previous tests ("legit," as in "official"...) confirm the same thing (well, a few points higher... solid 160 at one point...), I do not for a second believe this to be my true intelligence. 130 is the minimum cutoff for "superior intelligence" or the "genius" level as we used to call it. I am not a genius - I won't pretend to be one for a second. I've always been in the "well above average" range, in the honors programs, and I can't deny that-- but genius? Absolutely not. No fucking way. It's simply not possible. (-_-" Though an Occupational IQ Scale says that I fall into the range of Research Scientist... That is what I've been trained to be, and where I'm "supposed" to go, so I guess it's not that far off... ugh...) My PSAT and SAT scores were high, but not that high. I completely bombed the first (and only) GRE practice test I ever took. I am a disaster when it comes to standardized testing - I don't fit into their little box, and I never have.

As hard as they've tried, standardized tests will ALWAYS be biased. Take the GRE verbal section for example. Truck is to tunnel as boat is to:
a) river
b) bridge
c) bathtub
d) ocean

Now is it just me, or does that not make any damn sense whatsoever? The "trick" to analogies is making a sentence for them - "A truck travels through the tunnel... So a boat travels through..." Technically speaking, you can make up a fucking relationship between boat and any of those words... It's completely relative! Of course, there's supposed to be a right answer there (& since I don't remember what 4 options there really were to begin with... I think maybe canal was there instead of bridge, & I think boat may have actually been apple, but I'm probably making that up just so it all makes sense... Either way, it's beside the point...) but the only people who are aware of that "right answer" are the people who made up the stupid question in the first place. And if you don't know what any of those words mean - you're royally screwed- and believe me, those words are impossible-- even for me, the self-proclaimed Linguist and Grammar Fanatic who spent a lot of her childhood memorizing the dictionary because she ran out of books to read (yes, seriously... I'm a speed reader, & I literally couldn't sleep unless I read something, and Merriam Webster was the only thing I hadn't finished...)

I took one look at the practice book & started bawling. Yes, it's that scary. And for what? A number that determines how the rest of my life will go. A number that either says I'm not smart enough for a better life - that I'm only allowed my little bachelor's degree and a lower salary than someone who could afford a private tutor; Or that says I am smart enough to go to graduate school - that I know enough million-dollar words that I will NEVER use, that I remember math formulas I learned in 7th grade and never used again, that I am knowledgeable about the 2 month existence of the South Venezuelan 4th Parliamentary Hiatus (I'm making this up, but the essay question was really somewhere along these lines...)--!! It's simply ridiculous to expect everyone to be the same. We're not all the same, and we shouldn't have to be! We go to different colleges for a reason - generally they play to our strengths. We choose different programs for a reason. I'm a psych major. I have to be good with statistics, sociology, and basic bio & chem, but I don't have to know much of calculus anymore. So why is it on the GRE (& no calculator!!!)??? Even your personal statement, the 1 item that is supposed to tell grad schools who you are and explain your life's purpose (well ok, in the form of your career goals...), is basically scripted.

Your entire life, from birth til death, must follow a basic pattern. Your intelligence, or at least the "basic," useless knowledge you attain, must follow a pattern. You are expected to be just as efficient, exactly the same, as everyone else your age - even though you are different, your experiences are different, your life is different.

"Is this the life that you lead?
Or the life that's led for you?
Will you take the road that's been laid out before you?" ("Paper Wings," Rise Against)

Or will you make your own? Go read some Robert Frost... Be different, and love it. You only have 1 chance at this life, so make it count.

(I'll get around to replies to HC post later this week- there's an article I want to find.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Privacy Please...

It's scary how easily that which empowers us imprisons us as well... What a scary world indeed... What Google Knows About You.

I think we all have good reason to be afraid of Big Brother... well, ok, maybe not quite afraid, but seriously pissed off. My private life has never been private, OL & IRL. From the moment someone finds out you exist, someone is studying you and keeping records. The day you join the rest of the world, the first time you walk, your first words, your first day at school, your first kiss... Somebody knows where you've been, what you've done. And you can never escape that. You think you're alone, but they're just watching over your shoulder... It's no wonder everyone I know has become more paranoid... We joke about the FBI reading our IMs - we throw in random words, to "attract their attention" & then start rambling about random things, just to confuse them... We joke, but we know that it's a real possibility.

Might I recommend to you an incredible story that has inspired me to buy an XBox just for the sake of hacking it? (Well, ok, it's inspired me to do other things as well... but I plan to do that soon too...) Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. (It's like a modern version of 1984, a book that you MUST read at some point in your life - it's that good.) I got the free e-book (which comes in like 500 different formats, & you can upload your own version), but you can also buy a hard copy on Amazon or ebay, & the audiobook on the "official" site. Share it with the world (wooo DRM-free! Creative Commons License!!!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"If you can't say something nice..." --Say Whatever the Fuck You Want To.

Just Don't trust ____ to Protect Your Ass.

Again!! On this very site! (sorry this is a little old, I saved but didn't post...)

"Outed Blogger Who Trashed Model is Angry at Google"

Seriously, is there anyone who believes in freedom of speech anymore? Come on, really... Court order or not, bad move, Google. In another article: "Model Liskula Cohen's lawyer says she does not deserve to be called a 'skank' or a 'ho' in anyone's anonymous blog." Ok, here's what's wrong with that statement: true, it sucks to be called names like that in public, regardless of how true it may be; it's possible that it is true and therefore does not constitute defamation/libel; and 3, does that mean if the blog wasn't anonymous it would be ok?

Update - they used to be friends!

"Defamatory" = "I was offended. My ex-friend talked about me behind my back." Sorry, but get over it. No need to be a bitch over something so lame. So a sincere thanks, from all bloggers, Face/Spacers, & anyone else who's ever said anything about anybody, for dropping the lawsuit-- that never should have existed.

Rosemary - damn... As I said in a previous post, while I may not agree with what you said (nor care, honestly) I will defend your right to say it - and Google should have, too! For new bloggers, here are links to this website's relevant privacy and defamation policies. Google, come on. We don't share your names and addresses with the world. This site is as personal as WE make it - if we want our real names out there, we'll put them there ourselves, thank you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Healthcare - Part 2

So what's my point? Why should we too have a socialized health care system? Because the proposed plan will help us in the following ways:
- An electronic database will allow all practitioners to maintain more accurate files - which ensures better safety for you! Doctors will be less likely to miss important information, and can update your medical records instantly- allowing for better communication between practitioners as well insurance companies (which may or may not be eliminated all-together.)
- A wider range of coverage.
- More affordable prescriptions.
- Prevention programs so we can AVOID problems before they start!
- Lower patient costs
- More research, less waste.

Opposition to this plan seems rather weak to me. For example, some worry that electronic records mean the government will be spying on our every move, that it means less privacy and less security (black hat--"bad" hackers - but really - "Oh no! Now he knows I liked about my broken leg!" Hi, my name is Encryption. Use me. Have a nice day.). Believe me, I hate the idea of Big Brother as much as the next person. That Patriot Act bullshit was the worst thing I've ever heard. But electronic records are a considerably better option, especially considering that the alternative (that was and I believe still is being discussed) could be implanted microchips - you know, the same ones people have been putting in their dogs to track them? There are some seriously considering putting the RFIDS in children! Your credit cards and passports already have RFIDS, so why not your children too? Imagine, every fucking aspect of your life tracked by government satellites! Now doesn't that database sound just a little bit better? Just think of it as an online bank account. No matter where you go, all of your information is a few clicks and a password away. Switching doctors? No problem at all. The only real concern I have with this system is the supermarket card- if they should connect the systems. Over the past few years there has also been talk of insurance companies monitoring the food we buy in order to decide who to insure. As if there weren't enough reasons to be paranoid in this country, now even buying a box of Cap'n Crunch every once in a while can have disastrous effects on our life. Yay. Go America. It's not the fault of the poor that all of the food they can afford is full of sugar and fat and preservatives - we all do the best we can with what we can. I shop at Whole Foods (although they're really no better than Pathmark or Acme... they just have a wider variety of "natural" foods than most stores) when I can afford to, buy organic when I can. But yes, on a Friday night, don't be surprised if I'm sitting at home in front of the TV with a 99 cent bag of potato chips and a $3 frozen pizza. But really, I digress.

For more information, do some research, or leave a comment requesting my sources. I did an extensive (read "graduate level") research project on this, so I have plenty of data, including a comprehensive Powerpoint overview. My project presents a reformed healthcare system, based on the Obama health-care plan and the systems of 5-10 other countries (I don't remember how many actually made it into the Powerpoint itself...), and also includes various aspects not addressed by Obama or other American socialist groups, as well as amendments and areas for improvement. I also outline a full budget for the plan that takes into consideration current spending and taxation - and guess what else? My plan requires NO TAX HIKE. IT CAN BE DONE!!! (I'm not an expert, apparently just an overly pretentious college student, but once you see my plan and my sources, you'll understand that it really is a plausible and feasible plan.) Also, Michael Moore's fim Sicko (while all too clearly biased) is a good starting point for anyone completely unfamiliar with the issues presented here.

A personal note: My mother was uninsured for quite some time over the last few years. She finally found a plan (with a VERY well known company) that she could afford. Last summer, my mother had to have surgery to fix torn cartilage in her knee. She had only had her new insurance plan for a few weeks, but the company assured her that the surgery was completely covered and that everything, including post-surgical rehab would be taken care of - so she went through with it. A few weeks later, a bill arrived for over $20,000 - the insurance company had decided AFTER the surgery that it was a pre-existing condition and would not be covered. Now my mother is again without insurance and owes $20,000 for a minor surgery. What a wonderful world we live in. A reminder - this affects us ALL.

And really, wouldn't you want your tax dollars spent on something useful for a change???

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"But Mom, All the Cool Countries Are Doing It.!!!" Part 1

Ok, so with all the hubbub over Obama's healthcare plan, I figured now is as good a time as any to discuss it. Regardless of how you feel about a universal health care system, you cannot deny that our system needs reform. Yes, I am a socialist through and through. I fully support a universal health care (See Wikipedia for basics) system. However, I still don't think the U.S. is ready for one yet. (This government is far too incompetent, as we saw with our last [cough] leader. He tried. Failed horribly-- but that's what we get for putting a frat boy on top and giving him the most idiotic groupies we could find to decide what he should do.)

Everyone is entitled to the same healthcare. Should a rich frat boy who partied his liver into hell be more entitled to a liver transplant than a poor little girl born with a genetic disorder, simply because he can pay for it? It is not her fault she was born into poverty, nor his that he was born into wealth. However, there is all too obviously an unequal distribution of wealth - so why shouldn't our government be responsible? You know that little word in the Constitution? The one that comes after "promote the general"? You know - "welfare"? The one that refers to the general well-being of all Americans-- regardless of creed, status, "race,", etc-- and is part of the basis of our entire government system? Yea, that one. Guess what? Being healthy is a welfare concern!I am not denying that there are problems with such a system - especially in a capitalist nation. However, it has been done, it can be done, and it can work.

Let's take a look at the facts, shall we?
- In ALL industrialized countries except for the US-- ALL of the best healthcare systems in the world (see Denmark, Sweden, hell even China.) are universal systems. And guess what? THEY WORK! [gasp!] China has the largest population in the world, yet they strive to provide health care to every single citizen and make the best use out of what they have. Why don't we?
- Medicare & Medicaid suck. (This includes the CHIP program, They cover a small percentage from a large population, and barely cover any procedures or medications (The prescription plan is VERY limited.)
- Insurance companies really only want healthy people - it's how they make their money! (Just like how banks want us in debt, these companies feed off of the money we put in, while minimizing the money they put out.) The same goes for hospitals - sick and dying people are a liability.
- Over 3 million Americans are currently without health insurance (and I will soon be among those numbers.) A vast majority of college graduates are without insurance.
- Many health issues Americans face (including obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers) can be avoided or at least reduced through prevention programs.
- Most insurance companies do not cover mental illness - which can be just as serious as physical illness, and can sometimes be treated with medical procedures.
- Lack of insurance costs the American people and the healthcare system much more than if those people were insured.

I truly believe that the system has lost sight of its priorities. Since when has healthcare been about the money? I really was under the impression that it was about caring for and treating those with physical and mental ailments, not about making $4 million a year so you can afford your 4th summer home in Greece. When the sick and dying are left in the middle of nowhere because hospitals decided a taxi to hell was cheaper than treating an uninsured person-- we have a problem. When the poor die from simple infections because they can't even afford to buy a few doses of penicillin - we have a problem. We as a people have a problem. This (for once) is not about "survival of the fittest" (being poor doesn't have a damn thing to do with genes, and even evolution can't save us from all sickness. In fact, it's what keeps us sick - mutation of bacteria into resistant super-bugs.) or charity work - it's about taking care of our own!

(Stay tuned for a continuation in Part 2.)

Monday, August 10, 2009


I can't get over my new laptop ^^"... I seriously love (most of) it. It's an HP G60-441... 16 inches is a little bigger than I initially wanted, with a little less RAM, but it's widescreen, which really helps when editing videos. Plus it has a built-in webcam with pretty cool software. I'm even kind of liking Vista, now that I've gotten a chance to really get into it. (I've had this laptop for less than 4 hours, mind you.) Without those irritating popups, it's actually fairly decent... I'm kind of shocked. I've only had 1 software error, and it's pretty stable so I can tell where the problem is occurring... So at the moment, I'm blogging on one laptop, downloading on the other, & surfing on both (trying to update the new with my fave add-ons from the old.)

I have a few posts ready to go, so expect updates all week! (Haha, I think I'm talking to myself at this point... Oh well [shrugs])

I'm (almost) 21, I'm a modern liberal hippie, & I'm STILL a PC (and no one even paid me to say it!!!) LOL, ja mata ne!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!"

Ok, so for a million and one reasons I hate Twitter (a site dedicated to the status update? Seriously??? How lame can you get?), but I'm becoming very concerned about all of these lawsuits. Who do these people think they are??? Apparently the other day some NFL player was sued for complaining about bad food. ?! If he wants to complain about something, let him. He's allowed to say whatever he wants - or does that whole "freedom of speech" thing not apply anymore?

Can it really be legal for a company to control employees' expressions of opinion when that control directly infringes upon constitutional rights? Yes, that employee is a also representative of that company, however above that, they are an American citizen. Last I checked, in this country, constitutional rights endorsed by the federal government kind of take precedence over your boss's hatred of Face/Space (old slang for Facebook and Myspace, for those of you over 30). And what about privacy??? Since when is it anyone else's fucking business???

Regardless of who it offends, I will say what I want, when I want to. Being "polite" and civil is MY choice, no one else's. So don't you ever forget that. Language is, at it's core, merely sounds and symbols we use to communicate. Sounds are simply the results of moving air. And really - how can you command the wind?

(Quote - Voltaire.)