Archive for September, 2009

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Problems Reforming Healthcare

Let me preface this by stating that I completely support an effort to reform the current state of health insurance; any effort that legitimately seeks to introduce an environment that creates a more open and competitive market will get a resounding, “Aye!” from me.

With that said, I will not, and cannot support the reform measures being pushed in Congress, touted by the President, and expounded upon by many a celebrity. The introduction of a government plan will ultimately fail to produce the sort of competition being promised, and I have a sneaking suspicion this is just fine by them. The other factor that makes support difficult is the long term cost of the plan; if projections are to be believed the solvency of the United States is at stake.

Take a look at some of the projections provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

I won’t guess at, or talk about, what I think their goals are for introducing this sort of legislation, but you know the reason is hardly related to competition when they reject the notion that allowing insurance companies to offer insurance across state lines would breed at least part of the competitive reform they’re seeking in a way that benefits businesses and individuals. Watch them weasel their way out of that conversation. It doesn’t go well.

It’s incredibly hard to pass the plan they seem hell bent on passing. The support isn’t there.

But here’s the real kicker. You absolutely cannot, and really should not, blame Republicans for the possible failure of this reform. Democrats have no excuses with majorities in both houses of Congress, and a Democrat President ready to sign whatever plan they produce.

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Not Far from Soccer

I started cutting exercises last Thursday and was basically told that if I could get through that day and into the next without added, new pain, then I could add it to my workout. I will have one more PT session next Friday, then I’m done with that part of my recovery.

The only caveat here is that I’m dealing with a bit of tendinitis where the tendon was harvested for the new ligament–I’m one of a small number of people “lucky” enough to experience this sort of pain–and it has hindered my efforts at strengthening that quad. I’ve been told I’ll experience probably up to a year post-op. The good news, however, is that the pain I’ve experienced in various exercises has decreased significantly over the past two months, so I’m confident that I’ll get back to soccer in the next two months, as long as I can get back to full out sprinting and squatting/leg pressing a bit more weight without pain.

I don’t feel completely comfortable with my leg strength for my return, but I imagine my first year of getting back to sport will be a little shaky at best in the beginning. My speed is gone, as I have to relearn how to run, as well as get those muscles firing quickly again. I’ve done some kicking, dribbling, passing, etc. and those things seem OK, except for various types of kicks and the sort of one-legged squat position my affected leg (my plant leg) gets in when I wind up for a big shot.

BUT, these things are minor. The pain is not excessive and neither my doctor, nor my physical therapist feel too concerned about what I’m experiencing right now.

So, this is progress, and it feels pretty good.

In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are.

Nicholas Chamfort

A Brief Discourse on Race

We are constantly assaulted–verbally bloodied, really–by the message that we are not beyond the issue of race in this country—that racism/sexism/et al runs rampant in the system, and that we have very little chance of progressing positively on this matter. In light of these facts, it is claimed that we must positively discriminate in order to make up for our past wrongs. 1

And boy, are our past wrongs terrible. Don’t get me wrong on that point, we have certainly not afforded liberty to individuals who should have had it, but I must ask: how in the world are we ever expected to move beyond race, when it is such an obvious factor in determining anti-discriminatory discrimination? That sort of logic is a hell of a thing to figure out.

I don’t believe that we can realistically eliminate the discriminating nature of individuals, however wrong their conclusions may be, simply because we’re wired to do so. We judge situations, we judge ourselves, and we judge others based on actions, our surroundings, and past experience. You cannot eliminate that through legislation, no matter how badly you would like to do so.

To compound matters, we are dealing with a class of individuals who use such language (crying, “Racist!”) in a way that stifles debate on the matter; by many accounts, and by my own experience, I believe we are beyond race or gender being a realistic barrier to any sort of future opportunities. There is an equality of opportunity that surely exists, and there is no question about that. Unfortunately, not all individuals are born rich, well off, in the right neighborhood, attend the right school, etc. but we cannot possibly rely on the government to provide a level playing field in that regard.

Today, I learned of former President Jimmy Carter’s statements concerning opposition to the agenda of President Obama. He feels deep down that any opposition can primarily be attributed to racism, and racist attitudes. Mr. Carter refuses for a single moment to consider that it is opposition to the man’s policies, and not his color or creed, that causes individuals to refuse to support his agenda.

But, once it is claimed that we are racist in our thinking, it becomes difficult to defend our position in a debate–frankly, it is impossible to do so–and thus the debate is ended. In spite of the vitriolic way in which this is done, it is often brushed aside or given legitimacy as an argument against any opposition.

I find it difficult to believe this sort of rhetoric concerning race. In my own life I have not seen the effects of racism on others–though I attended a racially diverse high school–but what I have seen is the unequaled tolerance for diversity my generation has shown.

In brief, the United States seems unwilling to have an open, honest discussion on race simply because it is convenient to maintain the status quo; convenient only because of what it offers in terms of drumming up votes and maintaining the power of the few who would use race, gender, and identity to do so. We will never eliminate discrimination, but we’ve certainly created an environment of equal opportunity, and that is all that we can do in a society that favors liberty.

  1. We’re talking about affirmative action here. The program once had a usefulness in helping to foster equality of opportunity, but attitudes concerning racism today have taken the debate beyond reality.