Okay, so after posting “Pause4Politics” I noticed related blogs dealing with universal health care. One particular blog seemed to primarily about Universal Health Care being a bad idea. The writer linked one of the posts to a recent NYTimes article about a woman in England dying of cancer. This woman wanted to purchase medicine that wasn’t yet available through England’s universal health care. She was told that it wasn’t fair for a patient to take advantage of the free health care program and also to purchase medicine outside of what was being provided, that she couldn’t “have it both ways.” Now the lady is dying and the medicine is now available through England’s health care, albeit it to late to make much difference with this lady.

Now, this is an awful story. But the writer of the blog I read was using this as “yet another example” in the “case against universal health care,” and another reason why “people asking for universal health care don’t know what they’re really asking for.” As sad as it is that this woman dying of cancer was denied treatment she was willing to pay for not covered by her countries free health care plan, is that really a valid example that universal health care is a bad idea and that it shouldn’t be implemented in any form here in America? No, there are problems and errors in every system. Common sense and even the slightest bit of research can show you the countless problems and errors in our current health care system in America. People quite often are turned away from the treatment and medicine that they need, the treatment and medicine that could quite probably cure them here in America because their insurance won’t cover it and they can’t afford it. Countless of Americans go completely broke trying to pay for the treatment and medicine they need. The extremely wealthy can afford any treatment here, but is it fair that others can’t? The medicine denied a woman that could afford it in England is wrong, but why was it denied her? All medicine that is considered safe and possibly effective the any countries food and drug administration should be allowed to any patient, regardless of money, if that country can afford to provide it. If the medicine the English lady wanted to purchase was denied to her even though it was safe and regulated, then the people in charge of that decision made a mistake. One such mistake (or dozens) in another country doesn’t mean that we would or should make the same mistakes if we implemented a similar system in our country. We need to use our common sense and realize that in our country thousands of people die every year simply because they can’t afford the care that doctor’s can provide. Thousands do not get the medicine that is available because their insurance doesn’t cover it. As wealthy as our country is, with the ability it has to provide for everyone, from the sick and the poor, to the middle class and the wealthy, is it in any conceivable way morally, ethically or politically right to let basic health care and nurture be determined by something as vain and vile as money? We in America have the ability to implement and provide health care without a debt inducing price tag or a monthly budget destroying insurance plan for every person living in our country; our doctors would still make good money, our clinics could still be clean and efficient, staff would be well paid and we could do this without turning down approved medication/treament or forcing every person to wait “un-waitable” periods of time for such treatment.



July 24, 2008

Okay, so I know every chump with a home computer feels qualified to blog about politics, all the while feeling like an expert sharing excellent opinions with the masses. I have absolutely nothing to prove by this particular blog, but I feel like sharing a few obvious things I feel strongly about in relation to the political landscape surrounding us today.

1)Universal Health Care– This is quite possibly the most important political issue today. This affects life in America in almost every facet. After John Edwards made his political exit, no one else has sufficiently addressed this in their campaign, other than in passing. This is something that needs to be done now. We have the resources. We have the intelligence and the ability. We are pretty much the only industrialized wealthy country without some form of universal health care. What kind of nation can we be when we turn down our sick and poor, we leave them to suffer when we have the ability to care for them and ease their pain? Even the working class is neglected, insurance costs are astronomical, and health care in America grows increasingly sub-par. I have never heard a decent argument against universal health care, most negative comments tend to be along the lines of “This is America, I don’t want the government in charge of my healthcare,” etc. “I don’t want socialism,” others say, and as Michael Moore pointed out long before me in his film Sicko, don’t go to the post office, the library, or ever call the fire department if you don’t believe the government should aid in helping you in any form. Doctor’s would still make a living, life expectancy would increase, quality of life would magnify and the average family would notice a significant amount more of personal wealth. Less bankruptcy and poverty would be nice, considering that a huge percentage of these problems occur due to medical bills.

2) Emphasis on Electric Cars: Okay, come on. With gas over 4 dollars a gallon and pollution causing the damage that it is, how is this not a bigger issue. Anyone who’s seen Who Killed the Electric Car? can tell you how cool some of the plug in models that were on the road for a couple of years looked, and the owners of those vehicles clamored to keep them only to have the car companies seize the cars back and crush them. We have the technology to build efficient vehicles that do not require gasoline. It needs to happen.

3) Drug Law Reform- This one is yet another a ridiculous issue. Billions are wasted in the “War on Drugs.” Thousands upon thousands of people are incarcerated for over-inflated periods of time for minor drug offenses. Let’s stop filling our prisons with people involved in the buying, selling and use of minor drugs like Marijuana. How many government funded studies have to show up to different presidents finding very little overall harm and recommending the decriminalisation of marijuana before it finally happens? Legalize it, tax it, and use that money for these other important matters (electric cars and universal health care, perhaps?)

4) Get the government out of Marriage, Out of Morality: Homosexual couples want to marry? Is that really the business of any straight person or any government agency? Heck, polygamists want to marry more than one wife? As long as all participants are of legal age, willing and ready, who cares and why should the government be involved anyway?

5) Free Education: At least investigate what’s going on with these student loan companies a little better. There is no reason education should cost as much as it does in this country. Let everyone have an equal chance at getting an education without coming out saddled with more debt than they can afford to pay off in a lifetime of working.

6)Bust up Monopolies: I mean, look what happened with Standard Oil and Trust decades ago. Why do companies like Wal Mart seem to get a pass on their cornering of the market, complete with all the damage they do to the communities they are located in, the way they treat their employees and abuse the system in practically every way they can. An look at all major oil companies, even with gas obscenely high their CEOs pull in more per second than most of us can make in a lifetime.

7) Withdrawal of Troops from Occupied Countries around the world–There are lots of military men and women scattered around in countries they should have long been out of. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have any military personnel anywhere in the world, but there are some places they need to be out of by now. This would increase the money our country had to work with to implement some of the above-mentioned policies.

8) End the Bush tax cuts– If you make more than 100,000 a year as an individual, it won’t hurt you to pay a little more percentage wise in your taxes than someone making only 15,000. You’ll still have a lot more left over than they can ever hope for.

These are just a few things I find myself scratching my head over. Obviously a lot of these could result in higher taxes for some people, but they would also level the playing field a bit and restore and almost completely gone middle class.  I’ve heard all of the arguments against these points you can possibly think of, and occassionally the other side has valid points with intelligent argument, but never enough to convince me. I feel that if these issues were correctly addressed and policies around them were correctly implemented, the good would far outweigh the bad, and that people in this country would have a better chance at finding the “American Dream” before it’s too late.

I thought my first topic here would be very basic. I just want to mention a few newer (and by newer for me, since I like a lot of really old music, I mean last couple of years, up to 10 in the DBT case) musicians who are making great music and deserve your attention.

The Hold Steady is probably the best traditional rock and roll group out right now. Their early records showed a lot of promise, but with Boys and Girls in America they made the classic rock album they had waiting in them. Every song is great, the lyrics are well thought out and well-written, the music is reminiscant of the E Street Band but rightfully owned in and of itself, the backup vocals and harmony bring each hook to it’s high point, and although the lead singer’s voice isn’t traditionally excellent, it fits just perfectly. Give me an interesting and uncommonly good voice over an oversung over-compensating voice anyday. Anyway, The Hold Steady followed up Boys and Girls in America with Stay Positive which was released through itunes last month and in stores this month. It’s a terrific follow-up, it contains a few of the best songs they’ve ever written, and it exemplifies everything missing from most of what you hear on the radio or see in the videos.

Band number 2 I have to rave about is The Drive By Truckers. Now, they’ve been around since the early to mid nineties by this point, but they continue to get better and better. They’re among the best live shows you can catch, and usually you can catch them in a relatively small venue up close and personal. Their album from early this year, Brighter Than Creations Dark consists of almost twenty songs, every one of which is pretty much perfect. Vocals are shared between three, with guitarist Shanna filling stepping up with 3 songs of her own in Jason Isbell’s abscence from the band, and each offers a different type of song for the listener. DBT released several albums in the past, most notably The Great Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day, and The Dirty South. They also released an excellent live DVD, Live at the 40 Watt Club. If you want to hear excellent music with great lyrics, mixing hard rock, country, folk and the like, The Drive By Truckers are where you need to pay attention.

Lupe Fiasco is the best rapper making hip hop albums today, bar none in my opinion. Food and Liquor was perfect, followed up by an even better album The Cool. If a skateboarding Muslim rapper from Chicago sounds like a different type or rapper to you, wait till you hear the best written raps that deal with politics, pop culture and the modern day world more expertly than most writers and experts can. Lupe’s the place to go.

Okay, so the title of my blog is quite a bit pretentious, with the overused Dylan Thomas line and all, but it’s supposed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek.  I will basically post about things that interest me, just because I feel like writing about them. I was a journalism major and a creative writing geek for years before that, so I like to write and I haven’t done much of it in the past few years. Whether or not anyone bothers to read all of this is almost irrelevant, because at least I get to write it, throw it out there and leave it for anyone to find.

So like I said, things that interest me…comics, music, politics, philosophy, pop culture, sociology and the like. I’ll review things I like, comment on things I don’t, and generally ponder things. I don’t claim to be an expert on a whole generation of people, but I do feel that there are quite a few of us in our mid twenties that kind of fell between all the broad generalizations that supposedly paint who Generation X and Generation Y are, and we borrow a little from both and a little from somewhere else. So, I’ll probably deal with that too.