Universal Healthcare?

Posted by Randy David Friday, May 29, 2009 12:34 PM 2 comments
I've been asked a lot lately about why I hold such strong views about universal healthcare in our country. Invariably, the argument against adopting it is, "talk to people in the countries that have it. They don't like it." My question is why they don't like it? Do they have anything to compare it to? If the only discount store in my town is Target, and that's the only place I ever get to shop, eventually I'm going to have a gripe.

On the other hand, I don't feel we have much to brag about here, either. People are denied life saving treatments by insurance companies every day. Those who are lucky enough to be insured. Even the small stuff is bad. Recently, my wife and I waited for SIX hours in an emergency room (from 9:30 PM until 3:30 AM) when she sliced open her finger and needed stitches. We had someone look at her finger after the first hour and were told "ooh, that's pretty bad. You're going to need some serious stitches. Now go sit back in the waiting room and we'll be right with you." After waiting a couple of hours, I asked the receptionist when they would see her. She said she had no idea. Finally, my wife insisted we leave. The bleeding had finally stopped. This is not an indictment of the people who work in the emergency room. I know they had their hands full. However, under a single payer, they could have told us, "Hey, St. Generic's emergency room is slow, why don't you zip over there and they will be able to help?" Our insurance would have been just as good at either one.

I think what it all comes down to is this question: Would you rather have a bureaucrat from a non-profit government agency deciding on your healthcare or, a bureaucrat from a huge for-profit insurance conglomerate deciding on your healthcare with profit as the main priority? Give me the government every time. At least I get to vote on the leadership.

Below are the links to a series of articles that illustrate why I feel the way I do and why it's the best direction for this country.

Universal Health Care Can Save Our Economy

Universal Health Care Can Save Our Economy Part II: Quality Control

Universal Health Care Can Save Our Economy and Keep 1.7 mill

Obama on Health Reform: The Dog That Didn't Bark

The Health Care Cave-In

The Only Sure Way to Fund Universal Health Care

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It's a Generational Thing...

Posted by Randy David Tuesday, May 26, 2009 2:38 PM 0 comments

Picture taken of the atomic bombing of Nagasak...Image via Wikipedia

The battle of musical tastes continues between the 14 year old in the house and his older, wiser male role model. Score the last round to older and wiser.

I've been hooked on Green Day's new release "21st Century Breakdown" since it came out on May 15th. It was downloaded on itunes and burned immediately so it could have near-permanent status in the CD player in my car. Much to the dismay of the younger male in the clan.

See, being an actor and the age that he is, it's difficult for him to have much rock-and-roll taste. I accept this. Around his peer group, he is constantly exposed to broadway tunes, sappy R & B, Disney tunes and and the latest in bubble gum rap, as I like to call it. He calls it hip-hop, but that's an argument for another time.

With his musical taste as a weapon. he has become one of the most annoying teenagers since Macaulay Culkin. Currently taking vocal lessons, he walks around the house and, without even realizing it, bursts loudly into song. Sometimes he sings actual lyrics. Sometimes he hums. Always it is loud. Usually it is some song I can't stand, or at the very least interrupts a good movie or hockey game.

For my part, I try to make sure that the time he spends in the car with me is quality time. We either discuss news stories on NPR or I expose him to real music. As you can imagine, much of his time is spent rolling his eyes during these excursions. Undeterred, I feel like it's my duty to develop his tastes and to make his eyes roll. It's really the fun part of being a dad. Of course, the best part is when I play a song and he says, "hey, that song is on my Guitar Hero game!" Or "that is a song by (insert sampling, bubble-gum rap artist here)" and I have to explain that (insert sampling, bubble-gum rap artist here) couldn't come up with a bass line that good so they ripped it off from The Who.

This brings us to yesterday. On the way home from his vocal lessons, I had the Green Day CD playing and he begged me to turn on NPR. That is all part of my master plan to increase his intelligence level. However, I was really rocking out to the Green Day, so I denied his request. He rolled his eyes all the way home, heaving sigh after sigh, in between complaints, of course. I was not aware he had the capability to multitask like that, but I learned something new.

After we got home and had dinner, he was cajoled into helping clean up the kitchen. While cleaning he had one his burst-into-song moments. He was humming the tune "21 Guns" ...from the Green Day album ...in front of me. I stopped and looked right at him. At first, he thought I was annoyed because he was humming loudly. Starting to laugh, I asked "What was THAT?"

Slowly a look of realization came over his face. He looked like he wanted to spit some foul tasting drink out of his mouth but had nowhere to spit it. He blurted out, "see what your crappy music has done to me?"

It may take years and cost thousands of lives but I will win.

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Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget? I think not.

Posted by Randy David Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:46 AM 0 comments

The packaging plant at the Anheuser-Busch head...Image via Wikipedia

Last night KSDK St. Louis aired an investigative report by Leisa Zigman exposing a lavish meeting held by Anheuser-Busch executives. At this meeting decisions were made about job eliminations. An anonymous employee was outraged over it. The story was hyped on teasers for a few days and then aired on the 10 o'clock show.

I'm impressed with KSDK news and their investigative team. They work very hard and sometimes face hostility and physical threats to get the story and get it right. And Ms. Zigman got it right in this case. My question is the relevance of this particular story because of the way it was hyped.

Was the meeting lavish? It didn't appear so to me. Off-site meetings where large scale HR initiatives are discussed are common. A sensitive meeting should not take place somewhere where a misplaced proposal or a hallway conversation can be overheard and rumors initiated. So the fact that this type of meeting took place off-site was actually prudent.

The lake-side facility is owned by Anheuser-Busch, so otherwise, it sits empty. The same goes for the "yacht" which was used to transport the group to a dinner at a lakeside restaurant. The meetings did involve an overnight stay so feeding your employees is proper. As someone who worked in the hotel industry for several years, trust me, there are much more expensive ways to hold a meeting. As far as the drinking that went on, as long as they weren't drinking a competitors product, I don't see a problem with that either.

Currently out of work myself, I don't begrudge companies doing this sort of thing at all. Many of the workers and managers who do have jobs, have unrealistic expectations placed on them. Getting out of the office where there are fewer distractions is a good way to get them to focus and be creative.

We are letting the public hysteria over corporate spending grab hold like a runaway train. If corporations cut all of these type of events, will there be any jobs worth returning to when the economy rebounds? If anything, it provides stockholders ammunition to keep cutting perks in the workplace to the point where a coffee pot in the stockroom is considered "lavish". No surprise that someone like Juli Neimann, who is one of the best financial analysts in the St. Louis area, and someone who I admire, would come down on the side of corporations cutting expenses. In the meantime, with reduced spending, who gets more profits? Stockholders and CEOs.

Keep up the good work, Ms. Zeigman. Your report was mostly balanced as you presented some of the Anheuser- Busch PR departments facts about the meeting. I might suggest an independent expert meeting planner be consulted to give the audience an idea of how cost effective the meeting really was.

The problem with the story was the hyping of it. If the teasers had been presented as a question, "Did these Anheuser-Busch employees go too far?" the same report plays with a more balanced tone and creates a forum for civil discussion on what constitutes "corporate greed". Instead we get an emotionally charged debate leading to the memo released yesterday at Anheuser-Busch attacking Ms. Zigman personally.

Unfortunately, that increase in the rhetoric around the issue makes the piece irrelevant.

Just my $0.02.

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New Word Project

Posted by Randy David Monday, May 18, 2009 11:59 AM 1 comments

Image via Wikipedia
Taking a cue from an article I read recently, I thought it would be fun to coin new words to add to lexicon of everyday life. I would like people to submit their ideas for words or phrases to cover life situations that don't have their own words.

For instance, I ran into one yesterday (not literally) when I approached a traffic light and suddenly the light turned yellow. I was too close to stop but too far away from the other side of the intersection to clear it before the light turned red. There MUST be a name for this situation. The one that popped to mind immediately was "amber inert" but I'm sure others can be more clever than that. So let's hear it. Send me an idea and I'll post the best ones next Monday.

Feel free to submit ideas for things you'd like to name, as well.

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St. Louis Is on the College Hockey Map

Posted by Randy David Friday, May 08, 2009 12:17 PM 0 comments

City of St.Image via Wikipedia

It's nice to see that I won't have to travel as far after next season to get my NCAA hockey fix. The St. Louis Sports Commission announced yesterday that St. Louis will host the 2010 and 2011 Ice Breaker Tournaments. In between those two events, the city will also host an NCAA Men's Ice Hockey West Regional.

Less travel for Randy! Whoohoo!

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Bird Brain

Posted by Randy David Wednesday, May 06, 2009 11:22 AM 2 comments
For three straight years, we have seen the return of the first robin of spring at our house. Our first robin is little "different" than most.

This video clip is just a short sample of the bizarre behavior or this bird. Each year this robin shows up in April and starts to pound on our window endlessly. All day, every day for a couple of months. The only time it stops is when someone walks through our great room. Then, five minutes later, it starts again. I kid you not.

As I type this entry, it's there. Smack...smack...smack...smack. It's like something from an Edgar Allen Poe story. You know, "The Robin".

From Bird_Brain_

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