Christmas 2007

 Culture, Family, Holidays, Kings Mountain, Places, Tampa, Travel  Comments Off on Christmas 2007
Jan 062008

We’re well into the new year already, and I’m just now getting around to writing about the holidays. I suppose that is because it wasn’t one of the better holidays.

I did travel home for the usual visit, but it was very short. Lay took ill the week before Christmas week, and remains sick with the doctor still testing to try and find out what is wrong, but it got fairly serious there right after Christmas.

I waited until Christmas Eve to drive home. I got there just in time to go with Mom to the Christmas Eve service at church. I guess about the only good thing with leaving really early and driving on Christmas Eve was the complete lack of traffic. I drove back home the day after Christmas.

I had attempted to get the shopping done early, but was still working on a few items right through the weekend before. I’d purchased Christmas Cards last year after the holidays, but didn’t get time to get them out until right before Christmas. I’d hoped for a  quiet work week the week prior, but that certainly didn’t happen.

We stayed in Christmas Eve because of how bad Lay felt, so there was just not much celebrating despite me having a couple of weeks off. I got the outside Christmas lights up, but never even got the tree put up inside. We went to one party, but couldn’t stay very long there.

I don’t want this to appear to be a downer. It was great seeing everyone at home, and the service at Mom’s church is always a warm experience, and I get to see a lot of people I see only once a year. That’s worth it. The big family dinner and open presents is always fun. You can check out the pictures here>>

Here’s hoping that 2008 will be better, and that the holidays in 2008 will be more calm.

Sick But True-Healthcare in America

 Congress, General, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Sick But True-Healthcare in America
Nov 102005

For some time, the conservative "position" on health care has been a stalwart commitment to the status quo, resisting any proposals for sweeping reform. Two new studies comparing global health data — one by American Progress distinguished senior fellow Tom Daschle, another by the Commonwealth Fund — spell out what this position entails: conservatives apparently are content with a health care system that ranks #37 in the world (behind both developed and developing countries); a system that has the highest rate of medical mistakes, medication errors, and inaccurate or delayed lab results of any of the six nations surveyed by Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, German, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom); and a system that forces fully half of sick adults to report cost-related barriers to needed care. This disparity is not simply about health practices or economics; it is about our most basic values as Americans: our current health care system violates our core commitment to the common good, and betrays the simple notion (articulated by Sen. Daschle) that the "world’s wealthiest country should be its healthiest." (The Center for American Progress, unlike the Bush administration, has developed a real plan for making America healthier. Read all about it, or watch the flash video.)

THE MORAL COST OF THE STATUS QUO: The most substandard element of our health care system is arguably also the most morally troubling. As Paul Krugman explains, "Americans are far more likely than others to forgo treatment because they can’t afford it. Forty percent of the Americans surveyed failed to fill a prescription because of cost. A third were deterred by cost from seeing a doctor when sick or from getting recommended tests or follow-up." That citizens must regularly deny themselves and their families medical care is bad enough; that it happens in the wealthiest country in human history is almost unbelievable.

THE ECONOMIC COST OF THE STATUS QUO: Employment-based health insurance "is the only serious source of coverage for Americans too young to receive Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid," yet it’s becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. The reason? The strain of health care costs for employers is growing, "possibly to a breaking point." The average total premium for an employer-based family plan was $9,979 in 2005, representing nearly the entire annual income of a full-time, minimum-wage worker. The cost of premiums for employer-based plans has outpaced wage growth by nearly fivefold since 2000. According to one report, by 2008, health costs will exceed profits at Fortune 500 companies. Comparing the U.S. system to countries with universal coverage, Sen. Daschle found that "in general, their predictable and broadly-financed costs along with their outcomes — improved health and productivity of workers — tend to benefit their businesses, and give them a competitive advantage over ours."

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Haliburton Taking Good Care of Our Troops

 Corruption, Politics, War  Comments Off on Haliburton Taking Good Care of Our Troops
Sep 212005

Not only did Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary serve U.S. troops in Iraq spoiled food (sometimes a year past the expiration date), but also contaminated water from Iraq’s Euphrates River, containing "numerous pathogenic organisms" at nearly two times the normal contamination levels of untreated water. "[R]aw sewage is routinely dumped less than two miles from the water intake location." KBR water quality specialists reported their concerns, but were told by their superiors that their claims were "erroneous" and "corrective measures" had been taken, with no evidence anything had been done. Two whistleblowers resigned because of "unsafe water and pressure to cover it up" (one became sick from the drinking water) and another expects to  be terminated soon.

So now they’re being unleashed on the citizens of the Gulf Coast as well. Ya know, quite frankly, in words of our Vice President, to all of you that voted President Cheney and W into office, "Go fuck yourselves."