Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jack Layton, 1950 - 2011

Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. b: July 18, 1950, d: August 20, 2011.
For my American friends, Jack was the leader of the Official Opposition and the New Democratic Party of Canada. He brought the NDP to the position of Official Opposition in the last federal election in Canada (2011). I believe he would have been the next Prime Minister of Canada but for his untimely death one year ago.
Jack Layton had a message to Canadians. His untimely death in August 2011, gives us all pause to review what is important to each and every one of us... He showed us how to question, to ask how do we define who we are? As humans and Canadians.
He wrote a letter to Canadians on August 20, 2011, knowing that his end was near, he wished us to continue. He wanted to encourage and inspire us. To keep up with the “good fight”. He said:
to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world....My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.All my very best,Jack Layton

Environmental concerns were at the forefront of Jack’s agenda. He was horrified by the environmental devastation created by the tar sands in Northern Canada. He knew that climate change was the result of human’s “industrialization”.
Jack was a leader that spearheaded challenges to the corporate world. Jack was all about bringing Canadians information about the environmental impact of industrialization. He wanted all Canadians to know that Climate Change has an economic impact, as well as a social one.
We are not the only species on the planet. We have a responsibility to be good stewards. These were Jack’s messages on the environment.
RIP Jack. Miss you.
photo courtesy of

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The real truth about universal healthcare

Universal Health Care. In the United States of America, there is a (faulty) assumption that Universal Health Care does not exist here. It does. Anyone can go to a County medical facility and receive urgent and immediate care.

Why? Because as has been said over and over in developed countries: health care is a public good. Like roads, schools, parks, and government infrastructure, health care is necessary.

So the question is not “should we have health care”, but “how will health care be accessible and affordable”.

Yes, at the end of the day, you will have to pay for it. What the people of the United States do not seem to comprehend is that you are already paying for it right now.

That’s right. You are paying for health care whether you want to or not. So why not pay to have the best care at the best prices? Its a tall order to think through, but what the insurance companies want you to think about is that buying their premiums is better than paying the government. By the way, you already pay the government in taxes and are overcharged by hospitals (I’ll tell you more about this later). So you already pay. What is to be decided is what kind of control will you have about what you spend and what you get.

The costs you pay for insurance MUST now go towards health care costs you as a prescriber receive. If not, those premiums MUST be returned to you. People are now starting to receive those cheques. This is starting to give Americans the confirmation that they need: health insurance companies are not their “personal friend”. These insurance companies have been using their premiums for other purposes: investing in the stock market, paying bonuses to upper echelon CEO’s and directors.

Now insurance companies cannot deny coverage for children based on a pre-existing condition. How cool is that? Soon, they will not able to deny adults that same privilege. They cannot deny you continued coverage based on a health condition. This is not a flight of fancy. This is a fundamental right of access to health care that should be enjoyed by ALL who live in a developed country.

To do otherwise, to deny health care to someone who is already ill, is unconscionable. It is analogous to throwing someone under the bus because they are no longer useful. These are visions we have of third world countries, where the value of life is precarious at best. Is this is the vision you have of the United States of America? Is this a place where the wealth and prosperity of the country is claimed off of the backs of the sick and indigent? Where is the vision of the strongest democratic country on the planet?

Let me explain a few little known facts about the cost of universal health care. For instance: the increased cost of premiums suggested by some politicians and the media? It has NOT materialized in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Germany, or other developed nations that acknowledge universal health care as a right of their citizens.

If you are already paying the highest cost for health care, why not get the best all-round health care instead of only the best health care for a few.

The insurance companies dictate what health care will be covered. The few safe-guards currently in place (vis-a-vis not being allowed to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition), are simply not enough. We need to be the ones who decide our own health care, not the insurance companies. Our agendas are not compatible with insurance companies.

Hospital over-billing is allowed because they feel that hospitals should recover their bad debts from the payers. The hospitals are treating their non-paying recipients as if they are shoplifters. No one dares challenge this! Even the insurance companies do not challenge it. Why not? The cost of a needle in a hospital is exorbitant! Who controls what the hospitals charge for services? Not you or I. We cannot bringing our own needles for our own use. Too simple a solution? No, its because the hospital is making you pay for every patient that does not pay their bill. Do you have a choice in this? Is there a way to challenge this hospital’s decision to over-bill you? They are acting like a “for-profit” corporation. Why are they both getting the benefits of a non-profit, and acting like profit is their motivation? The answer is simple: THEY ARE ALL ABOUT PROFIT, and they are taking that profit at the expense of your pocketbook AND your health!

The conservatives of the USA need to wake up. Its not “Obamacare” versus Health insurance companies. This is NOT an “us versus them” issue. We ALL want health care. Affordable health care. The ONLY way to get that to happen is to have the government involved in providing it. Period.

You already have universal healthcare. What you do not have is control over its spending. What you do not have is control over what you get for your money.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Games 2012 & Social Media

I am an Olympic watching junkie. Once every two years (with the exception of the 2012 Winter games of course), I have watched the Olympic athletes do their stuff. I sometimes grumble about the coverage by the various networks and their announcers. However, this year has really reached a new low.

NBC's coverage really sucks. I know that they are broadcasting for the United States, but they are blocking my accessing live coverage from other networks, not just the ones in the US, but from Canada and Britain as well. They are even influencing the Mexican coverage this year.

Social media during these 2012 Summer games is at an all time high. I get tweets from friends, family, the athletes, the Olympics, faster and with more accuracy than from NBC. I google the event, and am blocked from watching the event until (and sometimes even after) NBC has broadcast it, usually 6 to 8 hours later. So that NBC can control when I watch their broadcast... during prime time... shhheeessshhH!!

I know that for a few years now that it has not been ALL about the athletes. I know that the corporate world pulls the strings at the Olympics in more ways than one... but hey... lets show NBC that we can get our Olympic "fix" without them ... use social media: twitter, Facebook, eblogger, myspace, and yes, even email to get the story out. We don't use IRC any more, but that doesn't mean we have to give up on getting the raw data. Tweet it, FB it, Myspace it up, and tell the world you love the Olympics, the events, the athletes, the wonder of the competition! YEAAAAA!

facebook social ambassadors
London Olympics

Chick Fil A & the Boycott

Wayne's Self wrote a really good blog about the whole Chick Fil A controversy. Like Wayne says... if it was just about a point of view, or someone who has a different point of view, that would be one thing, but its not. Its far broader than that. Its not "just" about a little boy with two daddies. Its about a civil right, and a right to exist. A right not to be bullied, intimidated, or vilified because of who you are.

Its worth the time to read...
Wayne Self

FYI: I won't be going to any Chick Fil A any time and yup, I'm in Albuquerque as I write this blog.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yup, its been a while. And here we are, visiting Albuquerque (New Mexico), watching the London 2012 Summer Olympics! (Thanks Glover!) I thought I would try and repost some videos. These are of Slab City and the London Olympics. I don't approve of the videos, I'm just posting them for you to see.

And by the way, I think that London is a great place for the Olympics. Much better than Vancouver (that's all I'm going to say about that subject).

Ok, this first one I'm going to try and post is mostly about Cuervo at Slab City. He's a riot!

Slab City & Cuervo