Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Assignment!

It started at Facebook. The original post:

Class - Today's POLITICAL LESSON: With all the fighting going on about health-care and such, today you must argue CONVINCINGLY for the OTHER side. If you can't do that, then you not only don't understand any other option but the one you support, but cannot see & address the problems with the plan you support. Sooo...who is up for the challenge?

Ignoring the discussion that ensued (for the moment, anyway), here is my entry:

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The US needs not only general reform of the health-care industry, but serious governmental oversight AND a public option so that ALL Americans are covered.

1) Rights: The issue of whether or not health-care is a right, at least on a practical level, is a point settled long ago. It is illegal in this country for emergency rooms to refuse treatment on the grounds of one's ability to pay. This demonstrates, at the most fundamental level, that most Americans (including those opposed to Obama's plan) feel that health-care is at the very least a quasi-right.

2) Range of coverage: Extending from point #1 and the term "quasi-right", no one is even remotely suggesting that a pubic option or "health-care as a right" extends to cosmetic surgeries, lazik surgery, and other purely elective non-urgent treatments. While "functional" electives should be covered (re-constructive surgery, cataract surgery, etc.), no one is positing that breast augmentation or rhinoplasty be paid for with tax dollars. "Right" doesn't mean "hand-out" for every whim or fancy.

3) Public option: Let's cut to the chase - the biggest 2 issues with those opposing Obama health-care package are the public option and the insurance mandate. One at a time....The public option is not a governmental take-over of the health-care industry. What is it? It's the acknowledgment that we are a civilized society, period. No rational argument can be put forth that it is somehow "good" or "moral" for so few to sit in pampered luxury while so many starve and die in the streets. It is exactly because of this that we implement social "safety nets" like fiscal aid to the poor (free & reduced cost housing, food stamps, WIC, Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, & so many more). But not only that, we provide assistance to level the paying field, and provide that assistance (read "opportunity") to rich & poor alike (public schools, for example, or public roads & trash collection & hospitals/clinics). No one would soberly claim that only the rich should have their garbage collected or have access to travel or be able to read.

Similarly, it is the duty of any civilized society to provide to all it's citizens - regardless of income, gender, race, etc. - the the most basic requirements of living. Otherwise, we only claim to be civilized, but we are actually only a concrete & prettied jungle functioning at the most base "survival of the fittest" level.

4) Insurance mandate: You are required to have auto insurance to drive a car, boat insurance to drive a boat, and more. The fact that the US pays for those who DON'T pay their medical bills demonstrates that we already subsidize (though in an indirect & thus more costly way) those who lack insurance, and those who are in-insured or under-insured cost the tax-payers billions of dollars a year. An insurance mandate simply streamlines (& thus saves money) the situation and makes those who CAN afford it pay their fair share. Those who cannot afford it have immediate access to the public option.

Summery: Though money shouldn't be a primary concern when dealing with moral issues, the fact is that an insurance mandate and a public option is the best way not only to serve a requisite for an ethical society, but to be as financially responsible as those who oppose the new health-care package propose. Clearly, Obama's solution is MORE fiscally responsible than what we currently have.

In summation, the free market had it's chance. In fairness, it did quite well for a while. But as the market often does, greed got the upper hand. Corporations aren't run by elected officials and are thus not beholden to the public at large. Therefore, it is time to make our elected officials reform the health-care market and put the health of ALL Americans back in the spot-light and the profit-motive in the back-seat where it belongs.

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How did I do?

Original discussion:

http://www.facebook.com/skinnydevil?v=feed&story_fbid=107997382554058

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2010 Lifestyle Challenge!

For Facebook users, I'm rotating the tags (and using both my personal profile and the ALIEN BLUE page to tag), so don't feel left out if you weren't tagged...and don't be confused if you were tagged and haven't heard of our Lifestyle Challenges before. Same for MySpace & Tribe users.

For those unaware, it's all about self-analysis & improvement. Pushing yourself just a little or a lot. I list some of my goals, then ask abotu yours, which you can post to share with everyone. Lotsa mutual support here!

Sooo....It's time for the March Lifestyle Challenge!!!

What are your personal or professional goals? Writing songs? Finishing that book? Changing your diet? Exercise?? De-cluttering your life? Re-committing to a project or loved one?

My personal goals are more intense & productive workouts, and going back to near-vegan status (limiting sashimi heavily after learning about the continued devastation of ocean life & severe over-fishing of tuna, oysters, and other "seafood"). Ramping back up from about 80% raw to 90+% raw.

Biz goals are to book most of the 2010 dates for ALIEN BLUE. Looking for not only the type of gigs we did last year, but some major opening slots, larger blues, folk, & new music festivals, and the like.

Musical goals are (technical) to increase speed by 10% on all scales & arpeggios and (creative) to compose 4 new ALIEN BLUE songs....giving us about 8 new trax by month's end. Aslo looking for some old spirituals &/or work-songs. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

What about YOU???