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Archive for January, 2011

Please Don’t Kill My Mother, President Obama…with Your New Health Care Program

23 Jan

As of this month, my mother who is on a fixed income can no longer afford her insulin shots.  They now cost close to thirty times the amount she’s used to paying.  A woman who valiantly survived and fought back from two strokes with relative injury now isn’t sure where she’ll scrape together the money necessary to also pay for the Plavix that keeps her arteries open.  If the government is lucky, without these medications, she will simply die.  If not, she’ll cost the state, she’ll cost the country hundreds of thousands of dollars when she lapses into an inevitable diabetic coma.  She is but one victim of President Obama’s 500 billion dollar “slash the waste” motto from Medicare.

There are many others suffering from these deep cuts that are just a part of patch working a new health care system for those who don’t have one.  Cadillac plans are also being hit.  A professional friend of mine who is a single mother, the head of her family and has worked all of her life at a good paying state job, is actually contemplating going without the life saving medication that will prevent her from having another heart attack.   Who will provide for her family if God forbid something happens to her?  The average tax payer who is barely in the black might just have to pick up the tab.

My husband’s stomach medication that used to cost fifteen dollars is as of the first of the year over a hundred.  He’s now doubling up on an over-the-counter substitute, not to mention doubling over from the cramping.  Another friend’s father who suffered damage to his shoulder and is on permanent disability must take Advil instead of a stronger, more pricey prescription pain medication.  As a consequence, he has forever lost a good night’s rest.

This is not to say that President Obama’s health care program isn’t well-meaning.  Minus our grand debt to China, we are a wealthy nation that should logically provide adequate medical services to its citizens that go beyond the emergency room.  I get that.  What the government who passed an over two thousand pages long bill no one cops to actually having read doesn’t understand is that by forcing Medicare and private health insurances to raise their costs, they are doing more than decreasing a good, hardworking American’s quality of life.  They are systematically killing off many of our nation’s citizens.

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Jerry Brown’s Gas Problem…Among Newer, More Noxious Issues of Our Returning Governor

11 Jan

I am a kid waiting out a long line in my father’s prized maroon 280z when I first heard Governor Jerry Brown had a problem with gas.  I laugh when my father tells me this because I’m imagining it’s the airy kind that sounds funny coming out and makes everyone hold in their breath.  He’s given me no indication I’ve misunderstood.  He even makes a farting noise when we finally reach the pump.  It was always in my father’s nature to make a joke during hard times.  We’ve been in line for the past hour and a half waiting to fuel up at the local Chevron.  My father is among the lucky.  Since he’s self-employed, he gets a decal to buy gas whenever he wants.  If my mother or other neighbors on our cul-de-sac, who also work, want to gas up, they have to take their turns on odd or even days, according to certain numbers on their license plate.

And while remembering that moment with my father makes me smile now, there is nothing humorous about the cuts Brown has just proposed.  There is nothing humorous about the local newspaper, The Press Enterprise, touting these killer cuts on the front page as “trims”.  These so-called trims will gut CalWORKs, the state’s workforce development by 1.5 billion and both the University of California and California State University by 500 million respectively.  As a consequence of the university cuts, student fees will skyrocket across the boards while professors who are fortunate enough to keep their jobs will have their pay decreased by at least ten percent.  Classes will be closed and students will be forced out of their educations.  There already is in play plans to root out and basically kick out students who barely make that C grade.  Explain that to a brilliant psychology or English major who happens to suck at general education mathematics.

But hey, it’s alright, say the hearty supporters of Brown’s master plan – he’s not touching K-12.  What they’re not saying is that classroom sizes in public schools are already busting at the seams from having laid off hundreds of thousands of teachers.  How can a student crammed in a room with at least forty other students, many undisciplined, learn anything?  Apparently the state is well beyond answering that question. Leave those classrooms overcrowded.  Two of my closest friends, one a teacher of kindergarten, the other high school, continue to remain, as they have been for the past two years, out of work.

As a college professor, I’ve had to watch a bright ROTC student, with aspirations of serving our country for the long haul, drop out because he could no longer afford the tuition hikes.  Adjunct professors have to leech off the system in the summer and oftentimes now during the rest of the school year by taking unemployment benefits.  If you want to raise taxes, go ahead.  The money has to come from somewhere.  But without an ever increasing educated workforce, Governor Brown, you won’t know what broke is.

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Hey Baby, What’s Your Dollar Sign…

05 Jan

At lunch my single friend excitedly tells me how a dark balding stranger was pursuing her on Facebook.  She in turn had checked out his photo and page.  Decent build.  Decent job.  Divorced.  Granted, he virtually had no hair but men of a certain age rarely do, no matter how many bottles of Minoxodil are sold yearly in this country.  She was willing to give the newly unmarried Mr. Clean a shot.  For a while they exchanged a flurry of flirty messages back and forth until the dreaded question came up – not how old she was, not even if she wanted children, but – What does she do for a living?

It is a practical question men who are not attached to a jobless someone young enough to be their granddaughter ask. Those heavy hearted men that have had their bank accounts and 401K’s looted by a failed first marriage, maybe two. Not to mention the recently enacted ObamaCare and other social welfare programs that siphon the black right out of their paychecks and always leave these men in the red.  Once my friend said she was a missionary, he must’ve quickly tallied up her lightweight tax return as a religious do-gooder, then promptly stopped all contact.  It was nothing personal, of course.  He just couldn’t afford to spend any more time on a woman with a heart of gold.

This is not just a question for older men who are looking for a mattress stuffed with financial security.  At an art gallery in Beverly Hills, well before I was married, a good looking twentysomething foreigner asked me what I planned to do for a career.  Even then I knew my answer of wanting to be a writer and professor should’ve sent him crashing like a lunatic straight through the plate glass front door just to get away from me.  For some reason, though, it didn’t.  Apparently in his native land writers are considered prominent people in society.  He said he wanted to be a part of it.

A part of what?  My part-time teaching gigs?  The endless hours I would spend locked away in a room writing a book, writing essays I wasn’t sure anyone would even want to read much less publish?  I was young and naive.  I didn’t understand.  Suddenly a wrinkled woman in a bejeweled turban and flowing gown let out a laugh, a throaty sounding one damaged by cigarettes and cynicism.  She had found our conversation amusing.  It was right then that I realized with much nausea that he was with her and romance, real romance is allotted to the couples fearless enough to fall in love without a net accounting of his or her self-worth.

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