Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

WHERE IS THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM?

May 26, 2014

Today, there is a lot of talk about the wonders of science and technology, with little mention of any downside. The same science used to create medicine and jumbo jets has also resulted in nuclear and bio weapons and, has left our planet polluted possibly beyond repair. A science that produced the world wide web and remote controlled devices, has created an alternate reality where people interact face-to-face, less and less.

Modern technology is making us more introverted, self-engaged and lost within our own “virtual” existence. This can be dangerous on many levels, creating a social environment with less and less love and feeling for each other. It seems like American society is becoming less and less friendly; a society where everybody talks and nobody listens.

I was raised in working-class neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, where the majority of families were supported by a single wage-earner’s income. Yet I never once heard of a child without access to health, dental and optical care. Out of 3800 mostly working class students in my high school, I never heard of a single one who was either hungry or homeless.

The term “homeless” was essentially off the public radar in Southern California until after I graduated from high school in 1968. I don’t recall this word being mentioned in any media or in any conversation during my entire childhood. “Poverty” referred to people living on Indian reservations, in Appalachia, Central and South America and especially Africa. There was virtually no conception of poverty within our own blue-collar environment.

As children, we interacted with a large group of other kids outside for hours nearly every day. We often played after dark and in local parks without parental supervision or fear of abduction. We learned to interact with each other on a face-to-face peer basis and experienced a healthy childhood reality.

Kids today often spend a lot of time alone or with one or two close friends, interacting with computers, movies, television, computer games, texting and talking on cellphones. Rather than interacting in real life situations, our children are growing up in a virtual world of digital unreality.

Many studies indicate obesity, suicide, attention deficit disorder and other serious problems are on the rise. Every year brings more media reports of growing school and public space violence. Our nation is artificially divided by a profit-driven media into “red” and “blue” sides, even though the vast majority of us share common complaints about corrupt leaders and concerns of our children’s future.

Today, many Americans working two or more jobs don’t earn nearly enough to provide what working-class citizens once took for granted. Meanwhile, American cities are “dealing” with growing poverty by arresting and criminalizing the poor. Apparently, we incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other nation on earth.

Albert Einstein reportedly said: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” Where is the great American dream?

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HOW APPALLING CAN AMERICAN CITY LEADERS BE?

May 7, 2014

Studies conducted by Philip Mangano, former National Homeless Policy Czar under both presidents Bush and Obama, reveal that it costs taxpayers far more to not house a homeless person than to house the same homeless person.

Recent studies conducted by Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City arrive at the same conclusion. Salt Lake City, Phoenix and other cities have significantly reduced homelessness by providing affordable housing, rather than arresting, jailing and re-arresting homeless American citizens.

Costs for arresting and jailing America’s poor, as well as costs for hospitalization, medical expenses, shelters, social workers and other taxpayer supported services, can range from $35,000 to well over $150,000 annually per homeless individual, while costs to house the same individual range from $13,000 to $25,000 annually.  Many homeless people are employed, receive social security or some other income and, when cities charge them 30 percent of their income for housing, annual savings can be considerably more.

According to The Contributor newspaper, Metro Nashville made 4,175 homeless related arrests in 2012, mostly for trespassing and obstructing a passageway.  It makes no legitimate or rational sense at all for any city to be engaging in such cruel and immoral practices, as arresting American citizens for the ‘crime’ of being poor solves absolutely nothing.

The same individuals are soon back on the street and re-arrested again, often a great many times, all at taxpayer expense. Nashville’s homeless citizens are frequently fined considerable amounts they can’t afford to pay and, failure to appear or resolve such charges on their records, makes it even harder for them to find permanent employment and housing.

We as long-suffering taxpayers need to inform our district attorney, mayor, city council members, chief of police and other city leaders, that we are appalled when our cities arrest American citizens for the ‘crime’ of being poor, rather than constructing affordable housing. which would cost us taxpayers far less, as well as be greatly beneficial to the homeless.  Nashville’s current city leadership even refuses to provide public restrooms downtown, a clear and present public health danger for tourists and every local resident.

Providing affordable housing in the larger picture, besides being a great blessing for the homeless, would also be a significant benefit for public health, tourism and other business interests and every non-homeless citizen.  And doing so would quite literally save many millions of taxpayer dollars; tax dollars that are currently being carelessly and callously utterly wasted for no good reason at all.

Rather than invading and bulldozing tent encampments of the poor, American cities should be using bulldozers to clear the way for construction of affordable housing.  Otherwise, we the voting taxpayers should be using our vote to bulldoze them out of office.

Every conservative, moderate and liberal taxpayer should be very upset and utterly appalled at the cruel, indifferent, grossly immoral and economically nonsensical current approach of many American city leaders and other public officials towards the homeless and poor of our nation.

How appalling can American city leaders be? You decide.

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CAN WE AFFORD TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS?

January 11, 2014

It may sound callous and indifferent to say it would save taxpayers significantly to house the homeless. But we apparently live in a nation of many callous and indifferent people, who seem to think it’s in their own best interest to simply ignore the homeless.

Based on actual calculations by the state of Utah of how much it costs to arrest and jail the homeless and provide emergency room services, the average cost per homeless person to the taxpayers of Utah is over $16,500 per year. Utah has discovered housing the homeless instead, including the cost of providing a social worker, costs the taxpayers about $11,000 annually, a savings to the taxpayer of over $5500 per homeless individual.

Unlike many cities continuing to pour taxpayer dollars down the drain arresting, jailing and re-arresting the homeless, Utah has since 2005 began offering those without shelter an apartment and, the entire state is on pace to eliminate homelessness by 2015. While housing the homeless for no cost might not be the best idea, most certainly housing them for one-third of their income, regardless of what it is, would save taxpaying citizens significantly.

Not included in the above calculations, are many other additional not so obvious costs to taxpayers when cities refuse to provide affordable housing. Perhaps most importantly and least understood by American citizens in general, it is a well-established historical fact that pandemics and plagues typically arise among the poorest sections within large urban areas, where adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care is most lacking.

Scientists for several years have been warning that major plague is long overdue and could erupt at any time here in the 21st Century. Disease knows no economic or other boundaries and can quickly spread in all directions upward and outward. It isn’t an exaggeration at all to say that failing to provide adequate shelter, nutrition and medical care for everyone within our borders, is simply begging for national and global disaster to erupt. No one is safe from contagious diseases, regardless of how wealthy or insulated we may be, nor are any of our own children.

Many millions of federal, state, county and city tax dollars are spent in various ways on social outreach services and similar programs that would not be spent if there was no homeless population. And, many billions more are spent by private charities, where much of this is donated by taxpaying citizens. The total cost of private donations combined with various taxpayer funded social outreach programs, significantly adds to the cost of not housing the homeless.

With all costs included, it is at least 50% less expensive to house a homeless person, charging them one-third of their income, than to not house the same homeless person. American cities could begin buying up vacant homes and other structures and start housing the homeless, which would have the added benefit of reducing crime, stabilizing and driving up property values in distressed neighborhoods. Can we afford NOT to house the homeless? You decide.

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ARE AMERICANS WELL-EDUCATED?

January 11, 2014

Albert and Agnes attended the same American Elementary School in Anytown, USA. From the first day, they were both taught to study hard and get good grades, so they could receive a scholarship, attend college and earn more money.

They weren’t taught to treat other people like they wanted to be treated, a theory long censored from American classrooms. Nor were they taught education should be focused on learning what is true so we can be free, rather than being focused on money, another theory long forbidden in American schools.

Albert’s wealthy parents had paid for him to attend a private preschool. He now attended public school because his father believed it was good for him to associate with “regular” children. Agnes’ parents were poor and poorly educated and thus, she was already far behind a learning curve Albert easily adapted to without hardly trying.

Though rarely paying much attention, Albert received mostly A’s throughout his American school experience. Several times he was caught dealing drugs and was twice accused of treating Agnes inappropriately. But his wealthy family hired an expensive lawyer, who convinced a friendly judge to keep his record clean.

Agnes tried hard to learn, but her grades remained poor and she fell behind a year after Albert forced an unanticipated pregnancy. Albert was taught from an early age he was smarter and better than most of his peers. Constantly applauded for superior intelligence, he became president of his high school science club and won two state spelling bee championships.

Agnes was ridiculed by other students for being the plainest, poorest and mentally slowest student in class. Her teachers told her parents she meant well while insinuating she wasn’t exactly born to achieve intellectual greatness.

Albert went on to graduate from an expensive American college and an even more expensive graduate school. He was hired by the American government to design advanced weaponry, lived in an expensive American home and drove several expensive American cars. He joined the Mensa Society and helped design an IQ test excluding any notion of intelligence in relation to helping other people.

Agnes went to work in a garment factory, where she helped organize a sweat shop union and consequently, lost her job. She tried to read the Bible but reading wasn’t her best subject and, her strange archaic English translation was difficult to understand and relate to. Nevertheless, soon she moved to one of the poorest slums in India and founded a mission without any money or religious organizational backing.

Agnes remained very poor throughout her life but, by an incredible twist of fate, she eventually became one of the most famous people in the world. Rock stars and presidents waited in line to meet her. Because of her example, missions to help the poor were established all over the globe.

Agnes ultimately helped raise billions of dollars to aid the sick and poor and, will long remain an international inspiration for generations to come. Are Americans well-educated? You decide.

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DOES SCIENCE REALLY KNOW WHAT IS TRUE?

November 26, 2013

Less than 600 years ago, the vast majority of scientists believed the sun goes around the earth.  Even after both Copernicus and Galileo died, many scientists still insisted the old Ptolemaic model was correct.  If we examine the evidence with any fairness at all, what humans call “science” has a historical track record of constantly changing it’s mind regarding even the most fundamental of concepts.

According to historian Will Durant, medical research was set back several decades because scientists refused to accept basic evidence for human blood circulation.  Until very recently in historical terms, most scientists believed disease spontaneously arises.  Two decades into the 20th Century, the majority still believed in an eternal static universe containing a single Milky Way galaxy.

Since the mapping of the human genome and other recent evidence, today there are major revisions taking place in biology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics and virtually every other field imaginable.  Many if not most scientists today believe life existed prior to the earth itself.

Emerging theory among various astrobiologists goes something like this:  What causes life came out of the big bang, is refined in stars, is constantly re-seeded from supernovas and other cosmic events, finds it way around accretion disks of newly formed stars and from there, ends up on innumerable planets and space-rock debris.

Then, as conditions allow within newly formed solar systems, life probably arises on untold zillions of planets, most likely in many exotic forms unknown to us.  At least one scientist has proposed exotic forms of life may hover on giant gas planets, needing no solid surface to survive.

Additionally, many geneticists have begun to openly challenge fundamental natural selection theory, contending that reproductive survival is only one of several reasons why living forms change.  How to define “species” is still debated; the term itself is a human construct, part of an invented system artificially classifying life according to our very limited view and understanding of a much larger cosmic process.

The modern evidence is overwhelming that all of life is created to adapt and change within an ever changing grand design Cosmic reality, very far over our collective heads.  And, though what we define as “species” arise and die out, life itself marches on, in spite of great cataclysmic events here on earth and, much larger and far more destructive events within a space/time continuum called “universe”.

On the other hand, today there is zero evidence life ever has or ever will “evolve”, in the sense life somehow magically self-designed from scratch.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica article “Evolution”, modern science doesn’t know how, when, where or why life first arose on earth, or what form it took.  Life adapts and changes in reaction to ever-changing universal environments and, that is all.

For all we know, life may have existed prior to the universe we live in.  And, life may continue to exist forever and ever, long after our current universe passes away.  Does science really know what is true?  You decide.

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