Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fleeced by Dick Morris

I noticed today that Dick Morris & Eileen McGann's new book Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the Do-Nothing Congress, Companies ... Are Scamming Us ... and What to Do About It is up to #1 on Amazon. Glenn got the book in the mail last week and I have been reading it over the last few days when I get a chance (so many books, so little time). It is a quick and worthwile read if you want to get Morris's perspective on how the government, Presidential candidates and various companies are out to screw you out of your money, rights, and safety. Most of the book is common knowledge for those of you keeping up with politics but you can certainly learn a thing or two from Morris even if you are politically savy.

Morris focuses a good part of the book on Obama and the problems should he be elected come November. Morris states that Obama would take the country on a sharp dangerous left turn starting with increased taxes with the top rate near 40%, lifting the tax on Social Security taxes, doubling the capital gains tax and taxes on dividends, and rolling back the increases in the threshold for the inheritance tax passed under Bush. He states Obama would open the door wide to illegal immigration making it easier for them to become citizens and voters, socialize medicine through a federal insurance program that would include illegal immigrants, weaken the Patriot Act, and lower penalties for some of our most dangerous drug criminals and give many a free pass to leave prison. In addition, Morris states that he would pull out of Iraq unilaterally and leave it to its (likely bloody) fate while blaming President Bush should it become a base for terrorists.

Morris points out that during the primary season, Obama has been clear about what he would do as president:

The trouble is that most voters haven't been listening to what he's been saying. Enthralled by his charisma, enraptured by the ideas of electing a first black president, thrilled to have an alternative to the deadly oscillation of Clintons and Bushes in the White House, the voters have allowed the specifics of Obama's agenda to get lost along the way. They have missed the dangerously radical substance that lies behind his attractive rhetoric.

I have noticed this when talking with people around my area who are Obama supporters. They often support gun rights, are against illegal immigration, don't want higher taxes, and are concerned about terrorism. Yet, they seem to have no idea that on these issues, Obama stands in stark contrast to what they themselves say they want. I hope as the election nears that those on the line or who favor Obama because they want something different will stop and think about the agenda they are actually supporting.

Labels: ,

Katherine Berry at Pajamas Media discusses social networking: "Having just spent another morning of my life reading the most boring details of other people’s mornings, I’ve realized how very little things like Twitter, FaceBook, or FriendFeed actually contribute to one’s life: it’s more like sitting in a room full of over-caffeinated narcissistic Tourette’s patients with ADHD who are all trying to be the most entertaining. And, really, what’s so social about a monologue?"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tidbits from USA Today

I am traveling today and while hanging out in the hotel picked up a USA Today to see what was going on in the world (like I can't find out more easily on the internet). Anyway, I like USA Today for their little sidebars and snapshots of interesting stats on American life.

On the frontpage sidebar, I learned that more and more women are attending law school then ever before. In 2007-2008, there were 53% men in US laws compared to 47% women. By contrast, there were 72% men in law and 28% women in 1977-1978, 59% men, 41% women in 1987-1988 and 55% men, 45% women in 1997-1998.

The next study I read was entitled, "Sweeping study finds blacks in U.S. diverse, optimistic." Interestingly, I found out that although liberals and others keep insisting that we call blacks "African Americans" (wouldn't this be like calling me an Israeli American because I am Jewish? Nevermind that I was born in California and have not yet visited Israel but that is beside the point), many blacks do not prefer this title. Blacks are evenly divided about what they prefer to be called--42% favor "black" and 44% favor "African American."

Finally, in the "Nation" section of the paper, I found an article that stated fewer Americans are expected to drive or fly for the 4th of July:

Fewer Americans than last year will be driving and flying during next week's Fourth of July holiday, travel experts say.

The number of people driving 50 or more miles from home will drop 1.2% to about 34.2 million, reflecting the continued impact of high gasoline prices, auto club AAA says.

The drop follows a similar decline over the Memorial Day holiday and is the first time this decade that AAA has forecast smaller numbers of people taking driving vacations on consecutive holidays.

The article goes on to talk about how the travel industry is responding to high gas prices by offering discounts, promotions, and other incentives to get people traveling this holiday. Really? I haven't noticed any. The bill for the hotel we are staying in seems higher than ever, including a charge (although very small) for the USA Today that I did not order but received anyway because in order not to be charged, one has to remember to call the front desk and tell them to take the charge off and not deliver the paper. Fat chance of that.

But anyway, the paper gave me some fodder for a blog post to keep a few readers amused or at least hopefully, not too terribly bored and entertained me for a few minutes so it's not too bad.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you have been following the Heller case, here is the opinion: "D.C.’s laws are invalidated. The handgun ban is unconstitutional" (via Instapundit).


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

“I love being a doctor but I hate practicing medicine”

This New York Times article on doctors' frustrations with their profession couldn't have come out at a more appropriate time. Although I am a psychologist, I do know how these doctors feel. Since I am in private practice, I handle all of my own paperwork for Medicare, TennCare and other various insurance companies and have nearly lost my mind with the mind-boggling paperwork. I spent the morning on the phone trying to track down lost checks, trying to figure out why I wasn't paid the right amount for certain services (too little, of course) and finally, how I could get off insurance panels altogether because I have come to the point of not caring anymore.

What struck me about the article is how most of the doctors mentioned are in their late thirties to early forties. I became frustrated around 37 when I realized that I did not really have the time or energy to chase down payments, beg for authorization and take pay reductions everytime managed care or Medicare decided to cut payments. Now it looks like there will be a 10.6% cut in Medicare on July 1st which has caused many providers to decide not to take it, but I digress. My real point is that by the time you have been in the field for some time, have family responsibilities and understand the realities of the "helping profession" you are now stuck in, you finally realize you may need help yourself.

And it is not just about money, it is the frustration of paperwork and the feeling that you can never get everything done. Many of us who are in healthcare are perfectionists or a bit compulsive. One has to be to a certain degree because people's lives and health are at stake. One doctor in the Times article sums up the problem:

For me it’s an endless amount of work that I can never get through to do it properly,” said Dr. Jeffrey Freilich, 38, a primary-care physician on Long Island. “I’m a bit compulsive. As an internist, I have to worry about working up so many conditions — anemia, thyroid problems and so forth. There is no time to do it all in a day.

“On top of all that, there are all the colonoscopies and mammograms you have to arrange, and all the time on the phone getting preauthorizations. Then you have to track the patient down. And none of it is reimbursed.”

And while for me, it is evaluations and therapy rather than colonoscopies and mammograms, the frustration is the same. Every year I work a little less in my field and turn to other areas to earn a living. But it makes me sad that the field I spent 11 years training for is not the same one I thought I signed up for, and I don't see it getting better. It is disheartening and makes me sad but other than quit, I don't know what else to do.

Update: Shrinkwrapped, it seems, is also having problems with Medicare: "As of the end of December, 2008, there will be one less Doctor participating in Medicare. I doubt I am alone in my disgust and annoyance." No, Shrinkwrapped, I doubt you are alone.

Labels: ,

eBay as Therapy?

It seems that a heartbroken man is selling his former life on eBay:

It seemed unbelievable when bids to buy a heartbroken man's life in Australia reached $2.1 million — and it was, with the bemused seller aware his life was only worth a quarter of that amount.

Ian Usher, 44, announced in March he was auctioning his life on eBay with the package including his three-bedroom house in Perth, Western Australia, a trial for his job at a rug store, his car, motorbike, clothes and even friends.

His decision to sell his life followed the break-up of his five-year marriage and 12-year relationship with Laura with whom he had built the house.

The blurb under his picture reads:

Ian Usher, a 44-year-old from Yorkshire in England living in Australia, launched the unusual auction after announcing on his blog: "I have had enough of my life! I don't want it any more! You can have it if you like!"

At first I thought this story was very sad and wondered if auctioning off one's life was much of a solution but in a way, I suppose it is much better than wallowing in self-pity and sinking into a depression. Some money and a fresh start might be a way to leave his former pain behind and it might provide a sense of control over the situation but auctioning off your friends? I wonder what they think of that?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sex and Housework

Reader Mark emails this article about women saying they are turned on by men doing housework:

Jen Simmons loves to watch her husband Danny tend to their two little boys, mop the floor or hang a picture. She also finds it sexy.

I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.

"If there's a sink full of dirty dishes, he knows I'm going to take care of that before I want to get intimate. If he wasn't helping with the housework, I would not find that very attractive....

And, says one expert, a more equitable division of household duties may lead to more intimacy in the bedroom.

"When a man does housework, it feels to the woman like an expression of caring and concern, which then physically reduces her stress," says Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework.

Reader Mark points out that the article is quite one-sided--only what women need for intimacy is made known. Mark states:

You know, I would be very turned on by a sweaty woman pushing a lawn mower, digging up that tree stump in the back yard, or fixing that leak in the roof. And, Oh... what a turn on to see your sexy legs extending out from underneath the car while you do the oil change!

I bet there are a number of male readers out there who feel the same way. Where is an article about that?