you can’t win w/ health insurance

You just can’t get your own health insurance. You can’t. It’ll suck.

Though, my new company health insurance plan sucks too. So, which to pick?

Our company used to have our health plan through Kaiser Permanente. A handful of us were the only ones who liked it. Everyone else didn’t. So, we switched to Anthem, which everyone else loves, but I hate.

They love it b/c they use their own docs. Even w/ Kaiser, which didn’t really allow for that, they did, & just paid the extra surcharge.

Well, I don’t have a doc. So, when I had to make an appt just to get a refill on my old prescription, I picked a doc & called to make an appt. Was told there wasn’t an opening for 2 months. I told them I didn’t care who I saw, anyone was fine, I just needed a new script. 1 month wait for that.

What if I was seriously sick? It’d be 2 months? I’d be dead by then.

W/ Kaiser, I’d call in the morn & would get to see a doc that afternoon. It might not be *my* doc, but since everything was on the internal computer system, they had my complete health history right in front of them. If I needed an x-ray or blood taken, I’d simply go downstairs to either lab.

W/ the new Anthem, if I need blood work, I need to go to a special Quest lab. I don’t even know where those are. I’m not sure that x-rays are covered.

photo from flickr user Steve Rhodes - click to go to his photos

A co-worker thought she’d stepped on a nail, so called to get a tetanus shot. She was told she’d have to pay the co-pay for the appt, plus whatever the shot cost (this can be $85 or more, depending). She also found out that if she’d asked for the same shot the day before, it’d be just the $15 co-pay b/c it woulda been a “preventative procedure”. Now that she’d stepped on a nail (she thinks), it’s a “diagnostic procedure”. Um…. sounds like pre-existing condition to me.

But isn’t that the whole point of insurance. Doesn’t the word itself mean that you’re investing your money in the case that something does happen?!?! They’re the ones that are supposed to be there to FIX whatever happens. I know that’s how my car insurance works. I don’t get a new bumper before I’m in an accident.

You can’t give Texans power

What happens when you allow Texans to decide on what’s best for the children of tomorrow? They decide to re-write the history books. They will take out some of the Hispanic heritage information, & to put in more stuff about Country music instead. Here’s the article I read on Yahoo News. I’ve copied it below since Yahoo links don’t work after a certain period of time.

***********************

U.S. history textbooks could soon be flavored heavily with Texas conservatism
—Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News

The nation’s public school curriculum may be in for a Texas-sized overhaul, if the Lone Star state’s influential recommendations for changes to social studies, economics and history textbooks are fully ratified later this spring. Last Friday, in a 10-to-5 vote split right down party lines, the Texas State Board of Education approved some controversial right-leaning alterations to what most students in the state—and by extension, in much of the rest of the country—will be studying as received historical and social-scientific wisdom. After a public comment period, the board will vote on final recommendations in May.

Don McElroy, who leads the board’s powerful seven-member social conservative bloc, explained that the measure is a way of “adding balance” in the classroom, since “academia is skewed too far to the left.” And the board’s critics have labeled the move an attempt by political “extremists” to “promote their ideology.”

The revised standards have far-reaching implications because Texas is a huge market leader in the school-textbook industry. The enormous print run for Texas textbooks leaves most districts in other states adopting the same course materials, so that the Texas School Board effectively spells out requirements for 80 percent of the nation’s textbook market. That means, for instance, that schools in left-leaning states like Oregon and Vermont could soon be teaching from textbooks that are short on references to Ted Kennedy but long on references to conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

Here are some of the other signal shifts that the Texas Board endorsed last Friday:

– A greater emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.” This means not only increased favorable mentions of Schlafly, the founder of the antifeminist Eagle Forum, but also more discussion of the Moral Majority, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association and Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America.

– A reduced scope for Latino history and culture. A proposal to expand such material in recognition of Texas’ rapidly growing Hispanic population was defeated in last week’s meetings—provoking one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out in protest. “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist,” she said of her conservative colleagues on the board. “They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

– Changes in specific terminology. Terms that the board’s conservative majority felt were ideologically loaded are being retired. Hence, “imperialism” as a characterization of America’s modern rise to world power is giving way to “expansionism,” and “capitalism” is being dropped in economic material, in favor of the more positive expression “free market.” (The new recommendations stress the need for favorable depictions of America’s economic superiority across the board.)

– A more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism. Disgraced anticommunist crusader Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator censured by the Senate for his aggressive targeting of individual citizens and their civil liberties on the basis of their purported ties to the Communist Party, comes in for partial rehabilitation. The board recommends that textbooks refer to documents published since McCarthy’s death and the fall of the Soviet bloc that appear to show expansive Soviet designs to undermine the U.S. government.

– Language that qualifies the legacy of 1960s liberalism. Great Society programs such as Title IX—which provides for equal gender access to educational resources—and affirmative action, intended to remedy historic workplace discrimination against African-Americans, are said to have created adverse “unintended consequences” in the curriculum’s preferred language.

– Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs.

– Excision of recent third-party presidential candidates Ralph Nader (from the left) and Ross Perot (from the centrist Reform Party). Meanwhile, the recommendations include an entry listing Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership, and a statement from Confederate President Jefferson Davis accompanying a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

– A recommendation to include country and western music among the nation’s important cultural movements. The popular black genre of hip-hop is being dropped from the same list.

None of these proposals has met with final ratification from the board—that vote will come in May, after a prolonged period of public comment on the recommendations. Still, the conservatives clearly feel like the bulk of their work is done; after the 120-page draft was finalized last Friday, Republican board member Terri Leo declared that it was “world class” and “exceptional.”

Obama’s Cairo speech

Text of President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University, as provided by CQ Transcriptions.

obama cairo1 crdtGood afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has had stood as a beacon of Islamic learning. And for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.

I’m grateful for your hospitality and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the good will of the American people and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalamu-alaikum.

(APPLAUSE) Continue reading

my old age

I’m getting old. I’m totally losing my memory all over the place. I used to have a memory like a steel trap.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts that I wanted to post about, but then when I’m in front of this page, I just forget what it was that I totally wanted to put down on here! This is frustrating for me, b/c this spot is 1st my place to keep track of my own thoughts & a place to put up things I thought were interesting.

I do have a voice recorder on my phone & a notepad on it. Somehow, I deleted all my notes. But I’m gonna visit this site more too, which I think will help. I have a lot of catching up to do on everyone else’s blogs!moonstruck

But you know how in Moonstruck, Cher’s getting all gray around her face, & she gets that transformation before the opera? Well, I kinda feel like I’m going through what she did. I’ve been getting these grays around my face that I’ve been plucking out. I think it’s getting to the time for me to stop plucking, & just dive in & color it.

I’m going to research hair color before I do it, though. Cause my hair’s pretty long, & I like to keep it as healthy as possible so that I don’t have to cut it as often.

Inauguration speeches

President Barack Obama Delivers Inaugural Address
at US Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Jan. 20, 2009

Full transcript as prepared for delivery of President Barack Obama’s inaugural remarks on Jan. 20, 2009, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading

3 guys from the Auto Industry

Yeah, I’m not gonna call them “the big 3”. To me, that seems like a self-appointed title, like Michael Jackson’s “King of Pop”. Only Michael worked tirelessly in the 80’s to build that up.

For the last 10 years, the 3 automakers in Detroit have been told to try to make more fuel-efficient cars, & they just flat out refused to.

Instead, they came out w/ the Durango, & the Durango XXL, which is actually larger than my kitchen! Yes, I know that some ppl need big trucks. You know, the construction workers, contractors, ppl who flip houses, Mormons w/ 76 kids. But not the mass public.

I have a friend who’s 5’3″. She wanted a Hummer for the longest time. Then, the Avalanche came out, & she wanted that. Not b/c she needs a big truck for any reason. She just wanted “to be wrapped in something big”, to feel the power of that. This was 5 years ago that she made that statement, & she still feels the same today!

I think it’s insane. The 3 CEOs of GM, Ford, & Daimler-Chrysler want $ from the bailout. But you know what? Why have you never even tried to be more creative about your cars & their fuel consumption?

I know Chevrolet tried, w/ the Flex-Fuel. But dude, my car gets 41 miles to the gallon. You won’t convince me to get a car that only gets 26, esp if I don’t even like the look of it.

Why this tirade? B/c here in Cleveland, one of the local dealerships has been airing commercials that tell me that if I’m pro-American, I’m gonna spend over $20,000 on an inferior product, when I can get a better one for thousands less:

Ok, so my Corolla was made in Tennessee. That’s beside the point. I don’t care if it was made in the Honduras.

The point is that I do believe in Capitalism. Say it w/ me, folks…. CAP – I – TA – LISM. If I remember right, capitalism is driven by competition. Karl Marx was my dude when I was in college, so I know he would NOT be likin the commercials these ppl are airing.

I don’t want the American Automakers to crumble. But 10 years ago, when fuel efficiency or alternative fuel was brought up to them, they had no interest in developing any “hippie cars”.

Here’s the other thing about Hummers that pisses me off. Our troops overseas don’t get the adequate protection or equipment or technology that they need, yet we’re over here buying a vehicle that was made for military duty? What?!?!

I think that if someone wants to buy a vehicle that uses up an extraordinary amount of our energy resources, they should be required to pay an energy tax. Now, if you buy such a vehicle, but have a very good reason, there would be an exemption for you. You would just claim why you need the exemption (your occupation, or that you’re a Mormon w/ dozens of children), or maybe that you use it sparingly (submit your yearly mileage).

Ok, seriously gonna stop now, cause I can feel the crow’s feet & frown lines setting in.

hummer-military
– 12/2004 cartoon by Dwane Powell

I didn’t realize it was still 1960

So, I already mentioned I’m pretty upset about stupid Prop 8 in Cali going through. I’d love to see someone put up a proposition to ban hetero marriage. No… that’d be preposterous, right?

Seriously, who’s to say that one union is legit simply b/c of the party’s pieces/parts?

“But what about the children?”

Really? So, it’s totally cool if Alex gets a sex change oppo, becomes Alexis, & marries a dude? Trust ppl, you’ll have a much harder time explaining that to your 5-yr old. & the kids don’t care. Every kid I’ve ever met totally understands, if 2 ppl love each other, they get married. They’re so idealistic, they don’t even know about the probs/conflicts a couple face.

It more acceptable to marry you cousin than for a same-sex marriage to take place. Uh…. that’s right ppl, I said marry your cousin. Seriously, though, it’s legal to marry your cousin in 26 states. There’s even a loophole in Vermont’s state government that allows DOGS to marry!

You know how we look back 100 or 200 years & say that it seems unreal that certain civil liberties didn’t exist then (like voting for some ppl)? I can’t help but be embarrassed for what our descendants are going to think of us deny civil liberties in 2008!

On June 2nd, 1958, Richard Loving & Mildred Jeter were married. 5 weeks later, they were arrested & then sentenced to a year in jail. Wanna know why? B/c interracial marriages were prohibited. Of course they appealed it. This idocity went on for 9 years before the US Supreme Court unanimously overturned it.

“… The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival … Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

– Chief Justice Earl Warren, June 12, 1967

gay-interrcl-marriage

How is Prop 8 in Cali (or 102 in Arizona, or 2 in Florida) even really an issue that we are debating today? Hello, 2008, it’s 1960 on the phone for you.

In Arkansas, an LGBT person can’t even adopt a child. I’ve counted 17 states (you can double-check it, I got a headache counting) that don’t even recognize same-sex civil unions!!!

I’m not going to go on any further. B/c I’ll just blow a gasket. (Does anyone say that anymore? No? Just me? Whatev.)

So, I’ll leave y’all w/ a comment I once left to someone else’s comment saying that why can’t “they” just be happy w/ “civil unions”. You know why?

Cause there was never a top-ten hit that went,

♪♫♪♪ Goin to the Chapel, & we’re gonna get Civil-Unioned ♫♪♪”….

It’s still not the same thing. It would be the equivalent of telling “certain ppl” that they can ride on the same bus to the same destination, but they have to sit at the back of the bus.

You might argue: Why would they care? They still get to the same place.

B/c it’s saying that they’re different/lesser, & don’t deserve the idealism that “regular ppl” do.

The reason “regular” is in quotes is b/c I don’t believe that being straight is a “regular” trait. Maybe it’s a dominant trait (like having brown eyes, versus the recessive having blue eyes.). But that 2nd link shows that homosexuality has been around for eons, & they’ve even proven it exists naturally in animals.

Want to do something about it? Try:

Photo Friday: Garden

Yes, I know it’s Thurs. I’m trying the best I can, ppl. I still (just barely) made it though, eh?

So, you know how much I love Cleve. I almost posted a Photo Friday post last weekend of an NYC pic. It was pretty cool. I’m a big fan of architecture, asymmetry, urban planning, & such. Well, there’s a spot in the NYC that you’ll be walking down a street, skyscrapers on either side, cars (read: taxis) rushing down the roads. Then, BAM!, you’re in a tranquil garden area. I love the dichotomy. It’s form & function all together. There’s actually quite a few spots like this.

Anyway, I decided not to cause I had to post my beautiful city. You know how they say that if you wanna find the bad neighborhood in any city, find their MLK Jr. Dr. on the map? (Well, they do).

Our MLK Jr. Drive is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s lined w/ the Cultural Gardens, there’s 51 countries (I think). I saw them doing 2 new ones (Azerbaijan & something else), but I didn’t really “get” them.

Anyway, so here’s India’s:

autumn-020

As always, you can go to the Photo Friday link viewer to see other submissions. Of course, by the time you read this, it’ll be Friday, & you’ll have to check the Garden archives. Whatev.

sigh

Just a relief. I feel relieved. Today is a beautifully, gorgeous, amazing day. It’s 72 & sunny here in gorgeous Cleveland, Ohio. The leaves are amazing shades of oranges, reds, browns, yellows. The sun’s hittin ’em just right. In my head, it’s like this all over the US of A today. And all over the world!

Also, from Idle, I’ve discovered this, by Mr. Patrick Moberg, a new bookmark of mine:
november-4-2008

I really couldn’t care less what color he or anyone is. But that illustration above did look like it could use a lil color, didn’t it? I hope in the next hundred years, it has all types of different color & sexes & orientations.

But that’s really just secondary. I can just feel that we have now a leader that will steer us forward. I haven’t felt this good about a prezzy since (or before) Bill. I know we are in for great changes.

And wasn’t it Dave Thomas that said “Change is Good”?

I have to admit, I’m kinda excited to see these gals grow up with their puppy in the White House. This is a photo-journalist’s dream. And I know those 2 girls are going to grow up to do something amazing with their lives & for our lives!

wazzup vs. wassup

You know I wasn’t born in this country.  I was born in Gujarat, India.  We moved here when I was 4 years old, so Cleveland’s really where I grew up & learned everything (school & street).

My b-day’s in May, & 1 month after my 18th birthday, my sister & I got naturalized. The only reason we got naturalized was so that we could vote. Seriously, we had no other benefit from it at the time. We just thought that we should have a say in the country that had become our home. And I’ve voted in every election since then & every primary except for one. The very 1st time I voted, I took my (then) 5 yr old brother in w/ me so he could see what the excitement was all about. And I was full of excitement that very 1st time.

I guess this year, I’ve just been so shocked/surprised by how many ppl over 30 have never registered or voted. I’ve heard ppl say that this is the 1st election they will vote in, & they are 40 years old. I was just appalled the 1st few times I heard that.

I really don’t care* who you or anybody votes for, I just think everybody should cast a ballot.

Anyway, enough of my self-righteousness…..

You remember those wazzzzzup commercials? Well, this is for you, then.

*That’s not really true, I do care. I’m not that open-minded. I believe what I believe & would love to make ppl vote the same way I do. But that’s not kosher, & you’re not really supposed to say that outside of your own head.