too big? too small?

Am so sick of this people debating ‘big government/ small government’ basing the whole argument on their very narrow viewpoint of their very small lives. Maybe it is a Midwest thing or life in suburbs. Or maybe as a small business owner, it is the kind of people I come across. If it suits their purpose and helps them rake in some money, they are all sloganeering for less regulations “keep government out of my business” and if they are cheated or deprived of business by a bigger corporation or a bully, it’s all “why is the government not doing enough to protect my freedoms and right to astounding privileges”. Flipfloppers. It is no wonder that most people elected by these flipfloppers end up flip flopping at best, incapable of compromise or sacrifice, speechifying in grandiloquence of rhetorics with no concrete plans at hand. Their narrow perspective is confounding. How on earth are they going to relate to the meet-in-the-middle pragmatics of President Obama?  From the Housing reforms to banking and lending reforms to foreign policy – everything has long term in mind. Where is the ‘unnecessary and crippling meddling’ of the Government ?  show me one item on that Obama list of Accomplishments thus far that has made your life worse.

But no, we would all like our elected representatives to personally take care of our every little problem without really meddling into our affairs. Sometimes I wonder why am I not joining the other side – Hey Obama, under your administration, I have been single, gluten sensitive and working 2 jobs because the fantastic State of Il is so broke, it should be panhandling – find me a date, cheap gluten free food and adopt Illinois – but don’t cramp my style with your overreaching arms.

There have been thousands of “wise men” who have said the world is WAY bigger than we are. I wish this perspective was shared everyday with every child in every family so that “big” and “small” is properly defined and not left to the whims of flipfloppers.

We allow a Church in altogether a different country  meddle in our day to day life every breathing moment, the US government is never going to be bigger than that! (God-willing!)

Pay more taxes so that your “rights” are upheld and vote for sensible regulations so that inconveniences get in the way of greedy people taking advantage of you. Vote for better education, better global opportunities, fair immigration, better healthcare and shared responsibility. Not someone who wants to steer this country as though it was a corporation or a household. It is not and never should be treated as one. It is a government, it is way bigger than a corporation or a household and has completely different responsibilities. It actually has to spend when we cannot and it gets to save when we can spend.  If it wasn’t that complicated, my uncle would have been the Best President Ever.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Healthcare for all – part 2

I find it so hypocritical when people who have utilized government benefits –  even FOUGHT HARD for those very benefits, wanting to vote Republican. I don’t have a problem with people whose political inclination has been truly Republican and that has been the voting history of their family for generations. But for people who have children with special needs, especially this year, all of that should change. There is so much venom out there, so much misrepresentation and spinning of ideas that it is hard to understand what your representative really stands for. So, in a faltering economy, we need to be thankful that we are not in a double dip recession like other European countries, not mired in crime with lawlessness like our southern neighbors. We have an administration that cares. The current administration has a ‘work in progress’ sign put up and a long, long way to go. Give them 4 more years.

But I digress. I want to make a point today only and only about healthcare and special needs community. I cannot understand why we do not want people to benefit from having their unemployed children covered way into adulthood. I do not understand why the special needs community is not jumping up and down with glee, now that the pre-existing condition clause has become history, they not have to wait 6 months before coverage “may” resume with the next plan they have to sign up for because of changes in their work situation.  I cannot understand how it is not an outright reason to celebrate the removal of arbitrary ‘annual caps’ for many, many treatment costs.

One reason, I partly understand, the premiums have gone through the roof – but so has overall cost of healthcare – (shameless plug to my earlier blog on Affordability) -atleast now coverage is ensured.

I implore my special needs community to come together and fight for healthcare for all. Your children were taken care of by the system. Yes, some providers came through and some didn’t, some systems work better than the others – but all of that is incidental and not in anyone’s control as you would think it should be.  The Federal mandate resulted in that therapist or counselor ringing your doorbell. The Federal job is to lay the law, the State’s job is to facilitate and manage that law into action. And your job is to take advantage of it and be grateful someone is on your side. So how come you don’t see that this ‘healthcare for all’ mandate is ON YOUR SIDE. How come you are fighting for government to leave you alone?

How, if you have seen the State pay your bills week after week, do you not understand that we do need a society where it’s weak and vulnerable are taken care of? Do you think you could have gone out and been able to procure and access all medical and therapeutic support on your own if there were no mandates on the community to help you out? It is NEVER as simple as keeping costs down/spending on necessary programs and needing a big/small government.  Who decides what is important and for whom? Lets face it, we do not live in a world where everyone lives a ‘pious’ life and will pitch in their share. That is Utopia. In this for-profit world, we need mandates. Look how far your family has come from the help that you got because the Government laid down the law and the money. Then look beyond your family, your social circle, your town, your state and see how much more work is needed to create that society that you want your child to live in.  Vote for the person and party that want something as basic as healthcare, for all.

 Say YES to Affordable Healthcare Act. Vote Democrat this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Of texting and Online Dating, a PSA if you may.

Here are a few tips re. use/ misuse of texting when using online dating sites – for male online daters out there, specifically those over 30 – because lets face it, nobody knows what they are doing in their 20s and much can be forgiven (or atleast not regretted) because there is *hope* and much, much less cynicism in our 20s, by comparision.

Rule#1 : Be a man, grow some balls, get over texting. Before you have had atleast one real conversation, it is not ok to text ‘hi, how are you’. I have never quite understood the purpose of even friends asking that over text. What do you really want to know when you text that? At lamest best – it conveys – ‘hey I am thinking about you but have no time to devote to you so asking you over the text, hope you are ok so that this does not turn into a long drawn out affair’. Unless you just won a lottery or almost died, there is nothing you can reply other than ‘good, you?’ because, lets face it, nobody likes an over-sharer. And sure, it probably counts as ‘check’ against the ‘do something to get a date’ part of YOUR to-do list. But what does that have to do with ME?

Being over-limit with talk time is SO 20s. And take my word for it, you are too old to IM if you are online dating. So, is it that you are simply to lazy to pick up the phone and atleast pretend that you care? Or is it that you really don’t have the courage to have a real conversation and are hiding behind a text. C’mon. Or is it that you are too tired, busting you ass off at work. Well, guess what, I am tired as well and if you are not going to put in real effort, don’t you expect me to. I will promptly and enthusiastically ignore your text.

Rule #2: “Good morning, happy Monday” is cute, thoughtful. “Good morning, happy Tue” is less so but sweet enough. “Good morning, happy Wed’ is uh-oh, not again. “Good morning, happy Thu” is boring, predictable. “Good morning, happy Fri” is OCD, mental. “Good morning, happy Sat” is get enrolled into a conversation class already. And “Good morning, happy Sunday, hope you are having a nice wkend” – text stalking and grounds for calling it off. – ofcourse this is true only when accompanied by no other communication, text, phone, email, bbm, ichat, facebook, tweet or google whatever. And yes, it happens. More times than Constitution should allow.

Rule#3: Do not text important things that would otherwise warrant some amount of serious back and forth over text. For same reasons as above. Get used to discomfort and own up to it. Be a man. In a relationship you are going to make each other upset plenty of times, life is not, I hate to break it to you, a walk on a moonlit beach. Besides, it is so easy to misunderstand the tone of voice over email, let alone text. So call, it might be shorter than the texting storm you are possibly creating.

Rule#4: If you haven’t gotten over someone you dated over a year ago, for couple months. Do not start flirting over texts. Ask yourself at your most serious moment in the day, would you really want to get back together? And if so, once again, show that you have balls and call. We women tend to like a ‘man’ and not a ‘sissy’. And really, if you are just looking to kill time, are bored, need a play thing – GET A LIFE.

Rule#5: Do not, ever, EVER EVER EVER break up over text. Do I still need to explain? ‘man’ ‘balls’….

Rule#6: It IS all about timing. Do use texts to flirt or make plans once you are somewhere into ‘I think like you’ phase. It is fun, it is spontaneous, it is convenient, it is something we look forward to, it smells of a possible romance. ‘I miss you’ after the first 20-min-introductory call is – psycho.

The more you know 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Epidemic of lousy fathers?

A lot of kids 10 years from now are going to remember that their dads sexted, whored, cheated on their moms or worse – left their moms when they were pregnant with them for a younger / hotter non-mom. Oh what fun they are going to be for the psychiatrists and for their future dates.

 How does one look up to anyone or anything after having gone through that kind of humiliation as a child? I suppose you just never fully understand concepts like respect or admiration or feel the security. In some cases, if mother figure proves to be too strong, the child is most likely going to suffer from ‘mama’s boy/girl-dom’. Yep, future dating gold. (That, you see, is my only real problem with all of these penis -sharing people)

If anything is anarchy (David Tyree) this is. Not same sex marriage. I believe where there is love, true love, there is a sense of responsibility. No amount of power should ever overrule that of love.

The amount of airtime cheating Congressmen and Senators get these days or for that matter train wreck celebs and athletes and just generally everyone who has an obvious inclination to large scale cheating, is mindboggling compared to that of the consequence the ‘penis photo passers’ faces. Time magazine had an article on why men act like pigs – in which there was a whole page explaining why power gets to some these men’s heads. That and that they mostly do this because of too much testosterone. Really?  This kind of publicity is obviously, no longer humiliation.  Or people would have learnt a lesson the first time MMS and phone msgs were “intercepted”. What really are the consequences of private wrongdoings in public? It is having to say “deeply or profoundly sorry” in a press conference, in most cases, and maybe moving over to a more glamorous job.  Look at Spitzer and his successful gig following his resignation. Has there been any book written on “how hard it was to recover the trust of my son after I sexted”?  

Lets leave Arnold alone, let Maria deal with him privately. I want to hear more about the real families, that chose to stick together or dad’s that really do make the choice of doing what’s right by their family – not just the crazy ones shown on sitcoms or shows like Big Love. it is good to have a family, it is important to have a family, it is nice to have a family and most importantly, it is a privilege to have a family.

I wish there were more stories published about the role model dads. For that matter I wish there were more stories of real love and family and friendships that last and last. But I suppose that wouldn’t make any “headline-ish” news or be  “ticker tape-worthy”  a story. Where are the movies on endurance? And responsibility and the reward that family life is. Why is it that mass media is so single mindedly focused on the “stresses of having children” “juggling your career and being a parent” and “how difficult is the life of a parent”. I think, by now, we all know and fully understand how hard all of these things are. But really, it is time to say, suck it, grow up, do your job as a family member, it is what your parents did and their parents before them. That’s why you exist in the first place. 

Ironically the only people who talk about family values are insurance companies,  pharmaceuticals and real estate people who mostly want to make money off the concept of health and family. “protect your family” “don’t let your children get dirty, bathe them in Lysol everyday”  “want your dad to pass the cholesterol test, feed  him Cheerios”. Might I suggest one of the many things required to protect your family? Keeping your dick to yourself.  And maybe your wife.  And if you feel compelled to share it, please, please, please learn to do it privately, so your child does not have to go through the humiliation. Or even better, don’t have kids.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Right To “Sin”

I heard yesterday on NPR that there were a few senators working towards a bill that would reduce or eliminate tax benefits to private insurance companies that pay for medically necessary and approved abortions. In this environment it is so hard to dismiss something as a rumor because most of the “issues” brought up between right and left are so ridiculous, they all seem like a parody on SNL skit – eg birthers.

Why the insurance companies have tax breaks in the first place or why is it that a woman’s right to have a say in what happens to her uterus or life really, is debatable – are both beyond me but this is not about either of those.

What I have trouble processing is that since when did it become ok to preach your religion to people outside your family. Since when did those Senators forget that we as people are, at best, their “work families” and not “personal families”. Why is it that they are so eager to push and implement their own values on to us. Wasn’t Church and State separated a few centuries ago? Why is this still such a big issue? If people want to sin (sin meaning – in their books – abortion), they have a right to. It is not the personal responsibility of the Senators and Congressmen to ensure “we the people” go to Heaven (if there is one, of course). We did not elect them to ensure our “moral development”, we have more than enough churches, mosques, temples and synagogues for that. We elected you to take care of our roads, our safety, our security, our infrastructure, our economy, our education, our quality of food, water and medicine, rules and regulations to make life easy and things essential  to life ACCESSIBLE to all- to say the least. If you have successfully tackled these issues and are sitting around and twiddling your thumbs, even then I would not allow you to take up my personal morality as your cause.  Do you live in a glass house?

 Are you done taking care of access to better health? How are you doing on limiting access to child porn, access to drugs, access to guns?  If all of that is a work in progress, leave my morality and my uterus alone.

At an individual level too – this whole thing about “not on my tax dollars” has gone a bit too far. Do you even know what percentage of your tax dollar is used for doing what?  I understand that we as people should hold the government accountable for the use of our tax dollars. But there are plenty of good causes to fight for that require a bigger portion of your tax dollar – safety, education and health.  Are we stuck in 3rd grade level? Compromise anyone?

Having said that, I am sure no such thing can be passed, mostly because of the strong muscle that the private insurance companies can flex.  And  that I still have immense faith in the intellect and judgment of President Obama.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Go Green!

So, in view of Earth Day, I figured, I can waste a little bit of e-space, create a little e-waste of my own. 

Hari Kondabolu tweeted today  We have ‘Earth Day’ in the US, but we also have ‘National Egg Salad Week’, I believe this clarifies our position on the planet” (kindly-to-be-informed – HK is a brilliant comedian of Indian descent and to all those who want to yell out “Russell Peter” – shut up. They live on different planets, HK on an intellectual one).  

So, on Earth Day, all you businesses that claim to be “green” by putting a green colored logo on their ads and ad – material and give out a “green tip for the day” in print and on their products – I want to applaud you and tell you “good job” like I would indulge a little child. The right idea, but, really, I think a young child would have a better sense of responsibility and awareness of the larger scheme of things than a lot of our ‘everyday businesses’ we deal with.

Case in point: Kohls. Ok, I admit, I have a Kohls card, love their jewelry, the store layout, they do make shopping easy. But in the recent months I have considered cancelling my card and not shopping there simply because I am pretty sure, they hate our earth. Why else would they send out 5 pages of heavy paper, wrapped in a plastic bag, sent to me every other week or sometimes every week, with yet another non-bio degradable peel off on the mailer that hides what percentage I can shave off my bill if at all I chose to shop there. Why can’t they average out the savings for everyone? At the store, a kind looking lady asked me to sign up for email list and I thought great, that way I can get rid of the paper solicitations. Oh no no, the paper assault continues. Not only that, I get a gazillion emails from them, I had to block them!

Here a suggestion Joel Stein made about yet another business “why doesn’t Bed Bath and Beyond just lower the price of everything in the store by 20%”. Nuff said.

Have you looked at a Nicor bill lately? I signed up for automatic bill pay ages ago but recently changed the plan and forgot to do the sign up for e-billing – that is a whole different procedure than automatic pay, so I got a paper bill (thick envelope, including a return envelope) with a bill that tells you that they will deduct the money in so many days. Who on earth understands anything written on those bills except for the owed amount? Even people who work there don’t know what half those charges mean. Just don’t bother telling us, take the money and leave us alone! Don’t stuff a bill with pages on “going green tips”, we have the internet. Even old people get online. And if they don’t, lets face it, they might not really care about going green.

If you put on a solar roof on the store and keep chopping down trees to market your goods – how much difference are you really making? Ask us right off the bat – “do you want to receive paper anything”. With any business transaction, please make it possible for us to also sign up for ‘electronic everything’ right there at checkout. If you are still taking the trouble to solicit us over phone for anything, your first duty should be to take us off the paper trail.

We are the ones who have to go to websites and sign our names and addresses to get on ‘don’t call / don’t mail’ lists – get verified that we really don’t want to be responsible for the slow painful death of the earth. We recycle meticulously, plan our trips so we don’t use too much gas, use public transportation (even the painfully slow ones that take a generation to reach anywhere), promptly refuse a coffee cup sleeve if we have to buy coffee when we forget our reusable mug, carry a steel water bottle everywhere even if it is a job to remember to bring it back, carry our own reusable totes and refuse plastic bags, refuse receipts, pay extra to buy organic and local, turn off (ok- well atleast think about turning off) all electronic devices at night and unplug the charger units, get our windows insulated, buy as many ‘energy star’ appliances not just to save money  but also our dear earth.  But we have to sit back and watch these businesses trying to take us for a ride, call upon us to applaud their efforts for this one day so that tomorrow, they can go about their daily task of demolishing a rainforest.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Affordable Healthcare for ALL.

Today I have to speak up.  Just finished reading a few things: the TIME article on Ryancare, Fareed Zakaria’s take on Obamacare and Ryancare and my own bills from my short ER stint few months ago. I consider the latter ‘reading’ because it is indeed a document, an article in itself and because it made me think, think and act. My action being doing a immediate google search for  ‘medical bill interpreters’ to check if such a thing existed.  Seeing that it didn’t (except in the capacity of working for an insurance agency),  I thought that would be an ideal small business to start. And with that came a lot of thoughts flooding, the chief among them, how to fund such a business. That was when the circle closed in my mind, that is exactly what is wrong with Healthcare in America.

 Ok – now I have to give you a little background. I myself am an Occupational Therapist with a private practice and a degree from a third world country with its own set of healthcare woes. There is a little bit of a socialist in me and I yearn to change my practice into a non-profit one much to the chagrin of my accountant.

 Let me get back to the issue of American Healthcare. As I see it, as a successful and popular practicing healthcare worker, if I have to give one WHOLE paycheck to get a simple CT scan done – I have to wonder, how do the other people afford this. And why is it, that a simple CT scan, the technology that is by now, so old and so common (been around since 70s, became popular in the 90s and standard scanning option in the new millennium, still  costs  4 figures. I see that it is so because I have to pay 5 people to do that – the person who takes the scan, reads the scan, signs off on the scan, interprets the scan and who tells me of the scan. I think the only person left out of my bill was the person who wheeled me into the scan. I don’t have a problem with so many people being gainfully employed for the sake of a successful completion of the act of the CT scan. But they all need to be paid and they all look at me to get paid. And I look at my insurance. And then I wonder how can they afford it.

Unfortunately I know how exactly they can afford it. Today, thanks to the bungled up version of Affordable Healthcare Act out there and the sheer length of the time given to private insurance companies to make sure they do not fall into the trap of – oh actually doing what they are supposed to do – pay for sick people and God forbid, not make a profit by doing so – that they can exploit to the best degree and pass on the cost of paying for the said “affordable” healthcare to actually every single family that has a sick person listed on their policy. Today, a family of 4 has to pay twice their paycheck for monthly premiums and atleast 4 times their monthly income on annual deductibles (which, by the way, since middle of 2010, has to be met by each individual covered under the policy individually and not collectively as a family)  – all because the private insurance industry is preparing to pay for the care of the sick individuals who, prior to mandates of  “Obamacare”, they could essentially ignore.  Really – how does this make healthcare anywhere close to “affordable”?

I myself have advised families to look into ‘state offered health plans’ because it is outrageous that they have to take out a second or a third mortgage just to pay us – us meaning all healthcare workers in this for-profit industry. We take pledges to care for people’s welfare and general health and contribute to wellness. How is having people go bankrupt compatible with our Oath?

Why do we have to pay out 5 people for a simple procedure? Why is it that when you go to a doctors office, there are 4 people you have to see before you see the physician? We have not improved the efficiency of service delivery in this model but complicated it to such an extent that we need “people to interpret our bills”. We have increased the probability of making an error fivefold by adding the number of people delivering one service. Whose masterplan was this? Which fresh grad right out of healthcare management thought of this brilliancy? Why does not my physician know how to read a CT? why does he have to pay someone else to read it? Quite like Windows  when the world needs a Mac.

And why aren’t people speaking up about this – about where can you cut costs within the existing model of service delivery? Why are we sitting around and analyzing Ryancare which essentially does nothing to change this, instead passes the buck to Private industry, who we so very well know, are only interested in not letting their profits sink. Sure that is going to save the federal government the money, absolutely. But who is going to pay for it? We, the people. So people, please speak up. Drive down the cost of service delivery.  Bring down the bills to one or 2 lines and not itemized into ridiculous individual codes that creates room for exploitation of ANY system.  Look at the beautiful system of service delivery of Mayo clinic. People that we have voted into Congress and Senate – please hear the common man on the street and not just the rich economists and fiscal advisors, who probably have the comfort of enjoying the greatest healthcare plans that cover every sniffle and every itch, leaving the really sick ones to pay, really pay when it hurts.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments