Archive for the The Hell You Say! Category

Just Say “No” to Obama and the Republicans: Fixing Health Care With 10% Reform

Posted in The Hell You Say! with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by andeeroo

by Andy Freeman

I’ve been giving the health care debacle considerable thought. President Obama’s call for reform will be devastating to our fragile economy – the Republican alternative is non-existent. With those sad options at hand I have reached the following conclusions:

* The Democrats want to throw money at the problem thinking they will do a good deed and lock up the White House and Congress for years to come

* The Republicans see the danger of growing deficits, but are so in the pocket of Insurance companies, Pharmaceutical companies and Mega Hospital chains that they are scared to reform for losing campaign dollars, clout and their big business political paradigm

* Nobody in the private sector is going to budge. They want to “get theirs” and titillate Wall Street with great revenue numbers

* Socialized health care has been “demonized” to the point that it cannot be considered objectively and tossed out for rational reasons

* Private health insurance will slowly fade away from increasing costs until employees opt out because they can no longer afford the premiums through their employer

* All of the above will result in one in three Americans without health care by 2020

So, I’ve decided to propose my own health care reform. This may seem a brutal plan, but someone has to put forward an easy to understand program that will reduce costs, improve health and put the burden on the right shoulders. Here goes:

* The Fast Food Industry will give back 10% of all profits to subsidize health costs for heart attacks and other cardiovascular emergency procedures

* The Tobacco Industry will give back 10% of all profits to subsidize health costs for lung cancer, emphysema and other emergencies caused by their products

* The Alcohol industry will give back 10% of all profits to subsidize health costs for liver, kidney and other emergency procedures caused by their products

* Makers of Candies, Cookies, Ice Cream and other sugary treats will give back 10% of their profits to subsidize health costs for dental and diabetic procedures resulting from their products

* The entertainment industry will give back 10% of all profits to subsidize health costs for mental and emotional therapy.

* A 10% tax will be levied on all of the above industries. These monies will be used to fund medicaid. Now, the list above is not comprehensive. We can easily add other addictive products that have a negative impact on weak-willed people. The second phase of my health care reform has to do with the existing private industry. My reforms are as follows:

* Health care Insurance for an individual of family will be provided at a cost of 10% of the the final taxable income number on a single or joint federal tax return. Dependents will be covered under this cost until they reach 18 years of age. After that age, they will receive their own coverage based on the 10% rule. If they are a college student, they may purchase coverage by semester as is currently available privately. So, if you make 50,000 dollars, your health care cost is $5,000 – if you make, $300,000 dollars, your health care cost is $30,000.

* Private Businesses and Corporations will contribute 10% of their gross annual earnings to cover the permanently hospitalized, handicapped and unemployed. The poor and elderly will be serviced under medicare and medicaid.

* Health care insurance companies, Pharmaceutical Companies, Doctors and Hospitals will give back 10% of their profits annually to fund medicare and medicaid

* A complete listing of charges for procedures will be published by every doctor, clinic and hospital and made available for all potential patients to see. This will allow competitive shopping for medical care instead of just accepting the inevitable in costs.

* Doctors, clinics and hospitals will be given an annual rating based on service and costs, much like restaurants. After all, who wants to go to a 78% rated medical facility when a 98% is 15 minutes further away.

* Health Insurers may no longer force the insured to jump through hoop after hoop and reject claims just to wear down consumers and net more revenue when the insured gives up and just pays the bill. Claims will be paid. If there is disagreement it will be settled between the medical provider and the insurer, not by grinding down the patient.

* Everyone who works in government (including the President and Congress) will function under the same guidelines and health care. The only exception being our U.S. Military who will receive free health care for themselves and immediate family during their term of service. After they leave the service, they will enter the normal 10% health care culture.

* The government’s role in health care will be solely to enforce these reform rules and guidelines and continue the management of medicare and medicaid, with the taxes provided by the health care industry lock boxed for this purpose alone.

O.K., folks, there you have it. The 10% Health Care Reform Plan. No political play, no lobbyists, no socialized medicine, no skyrocketing costs. An honest program that covers all and allows profit without government interference with a little help from everyone involved.

Give me your thoughts, criticism and advice. Just don’t play politcal favorites.

How Many Atheists Does it Take to Survive an Earthquake?

Posted in The Hell You Say! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by andeeroo

calvin_hobbes_math_atheist

Recently, by random selection, I visited “The Friendly Atheist,” blog (Hemant Manta) {friendlyatheist.com}. This incident seemed very strange to me as I had just returned from Ethiopia where I saw the reproduction of the famous bones of “Lucy” (the crown jewel of ancient skeletons). At only 3 1/2 feet tall, Lucy was quite the cougar 3.2 million years ago, living a swinging lifestyle with chimpanzees in the trees of Africa. Anthropologists believe her promiscuity helped spread the the appearance of humans on planet earth (yet another argument for safe sex).

These two“athe-incidents” happening to me in such a short time frame seemed more than just mere chance (with all due respect to Charley D.).  Might there be a cosmic purpose to me experiencing these two events firsthand? As you can imagine, all this and Darwin’s recent 200th birthday bash was enough to make me get up off the couch and walk upright to my computer, engaging my opposable thumbs and fingers to write this all down.

As far as descendants of one-celled organisms go, Hemant Manta seems a gentleman who is highly evolved and quite interesting to read. If I was forced to play situational ethics with an atheist, I believe he would give me a fair shake in the lifeboat before throwing me overboard to save the doctor, the physicist and the Bill Maher.

I would even note that Hemant and I have a shared belief in at least part of Genesis 2:7  that states God formed man from the slime of the earth. We both believe in the slime, I simply believe it took a Creator to craft us, whereas Hemant would believe in a kismatic occurance.

Now, before any intellectuals tee me up for not hearing the “big bang’s” call in my life, let me go on record as saying I enjoy atheists as much as the next primal guy. Atheists of all sorts: entertaining atheists (Woody Allen, Dave Barry, Eddie Izzard), rugged atheists (Lance Armstrong, Studs Terkel, Jodie Foster), sensitive atheists (Keanu Reeves, Barry Manilow,  James Lipton), even “Big Apple” atheists (Harvey Fierstein, Howard Stern, Billy Joel). And it goes without saying that I have a cool, cryogenic admiration for atheism’s head of the class: deceased baseball legend, Ted Williams.

I will not take the time here to list all the “God believing” people I admire as there are almost as many as there are religious denominations (or matters of faith in the theories of evolution); albeit without the messy inquisitions, holy wars and missing links.

Anyway, I de-evolve. The reason for this essay is to consider the critque of Hemant and his respondents to a fair question he raised about the tragic earthquake in Italy.

In Hemant’s blog entitled “272 Die. 1 Lives. God Gets Credit For. . . “ He recounts the hundreds confirmed dead after the earthquake that rocked the area near Rome and a 20 year old boy, Giulio Colangeli, who survived when pulled from the rubble.  Hemant notes one paper’s headline stated “Divine Intervention Helped Antonello Colangeli Find His Son.” Mr. Colangeli was quoted as saying:  “I am a doctor. I a rational man. But I can only say that all those signs, all those coincidences that led me to my son, must have been sent from God.”

The Friendly Atheist goes on to point out that if God is to be thanked for Dr. Conangeli’s son surviving, God should also accept blame for the deaths of all the other people and the massive destruction of cities and infrastructure.

As Mr. Mehnta puts it  “God shouldn’t be getting credit without any chance of getting the blame.” I have a sentimental spot in my little ole’ evolved, quadraped’s heart for this thought. Too often,divinity grabs the “miracle” headlines leaving only the latest bone shard discoveries in Africa or Wyoming for evolutionists to muddle over.  Isn’t it about time in the evolutionary process of that Charles Darwin”s likeness shows up on the face of an atheist’s scone in the morning? To be fair, if random chance can replicate Mary so often that she even appeared as a Cheeto, surely the father of evolution deserves, nay, demands a spot on a Galapagos Island Tortoise shell.

Evolution should not be ignored when it comes to disasters (Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld” a chief example).  If we were to reframe the news story from Italy and give proper due, the headline would read:  “Natural Selection Claims 272 Average Humans: One Highly Evolved Young Man Survives.” With the proper worldview, Dr. Conangeli might have said:  “I am a doctor. I a  biped. But I can only say that all those coincidences were completely random. My son is lucky as hell I found him in that pile of rubble.” While this headline and story might not encourage those who look to the heavens for hope and a future, it certainly gives evolutionists a fair shot at selling papers. And the way the newspaper business is going, it surely couldn’t hurt the fourth estate.

While this may not settle the debate between those who believe in God and those who believe in man, it does bring us to a more balanced approach to covering disasters and who survives.

Darwin himself said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

If this theory holds true – then one day – only Madonna will remain.

Hard to believe a loving evolutionist could do this to the human species.

Exposing the TRUTH about the Iraqi Shoe Bombing of President Bush

Posted in The Hell You Say! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2008 by andeeroo

So, everyone is all up in arms about the shoe tossing at President Bush by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi at a news conference with the Iraqi Prime Minister. Was it inappropriate? Sure. No one threw shoes at President elect Obama after his victory (rumor has it Sarah Palin AND Hillary Clinton gave it serious consideration; but both chose a more courageous path).

Now, before we string up this guy or mock President Bush for the balance of his term, we need to take a more “hole-istic” view of this man’s shoes and actions.

First: the press communicated that this is the ultimate sign of disrespect in the Iraqi culture. I refuse to believe this is worse than:

  • being voted in as President of Iraq in  free and open election.
  • receiving any award given by Spike TV.
  • being buried in the ground and stoned because you are gay.

Second:  President Bush showed great grace and generosity under fire: to  al-Zaidi:

  • What the press failed to report was the President not only returned the tossed shoes, he also gave the man a gift of Berluti Italian loafers. At $700 a pair, he is likely to keep those babies on his tootsies at his next press conference.

al-Zaidi comes from a family tradition of shoe tossing:

  • His forefathers threw sandals at Muslim leaders in the past (all relatives were one and done: his survival is a record setting first).
  • Farther back in time, they threw actual feet (owners attached) Not as effective or as accurate.

He measures his options well:

  • As a young journalist in 2001, al-Zaidi considered throwing his shoes at Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. However, al-Zaidi was unwilling to have his feet caned, be dragged through gravel and made to sit in a tank of urine; a favorited tactic of Uday with Iraqi Olympians who failed to win medals.
  • Muntadhar al-Zaidi also hates Iran. But after considering the actual decapitation of his head and removal of      his feet, he chose to pass on the weekend press conference with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. . . democracy wins out over religious rule again.

Apparently al-Zaidi was not angry about Iraqi independence:

  • He was actually infuriated that his $6 million dollar bid to Gov. Blagojevich of Illinois for the open Senate Seat was turned down because it was in Iraqi Dinars.
  • He then responded to the ad for the Illinois Senate seat on E-bay and ended up winning a physical chair from the Senate – you’d be angry too; the same leather seat is $350 at Office Max.

Time does not allow me to address the deep seated depression al-Zaidi suffers from due to his athlete’s foot, bunions and chronic dislike of the Kurds.

However, I would suggest a positive gesture from readers of this honest coverage: leave a comment sharing more appropriate items to be thrown at world leaders for future press conferences.

Obama: How He Took Conservatives to School

Posted in The Hell You Say! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2008 by andeeroo

As a Conservative, it’s always tough to swallow when your philosophy and values have been kicked to the curb for (fingers crossed) the next four years.

But now that we’ve put a bit of distance from first Tuesday, I think it’s worth considering the right moves of the President-elect. It will set the jib and course for our nation through difficult waters. It can also teach all of us in “flyover” country a thing or too as we plan for the next election.

1. Being a “Community Organizer” paid off.
He was ridiculed by Hillary and McCain/Palin for only being a community organizer. Yet he used that knowledge and an incredible team of Internet professionals to generate tremendous grassroots support and a handsome campaign war chest: hunger for change provided all the change his campaign required.

2.  Running a Campaign based on hope still works.

Like FDR, Reagan and Clinton before him, Barack Obama understood Americans hope for a better day. He energized the youth vote in America, stole the Hispanic vote from the Republicans and reclaimed the Reagan blue collar voters. Obama carefully avoided running on an “outrage against the establishment” or “anger against injustices to minorities” image. He spoke, debated and campaigned with a calm, measured demeanor, cooling expectations of a liberal revolution led by Bill Ayers or a Jesse Jackson – Al Sharpton – Jeremiah Washington troika in cabinet.

3.  The President-elect chose experience over change in transition.

While many have complained about the number of Clinton administration picks by Obama, he has shrewdly decided that change does not equal stumbling around in the DC dark.
By choosing experienced transition team members he will step in to the Oval Office running full speed, able to take full advantage of the leverage of his first 100 days.

4. Lead from the middle.
He continues to send out the message that he will seek wide support in the Congress for proposals and actions in order to make “lasting” change. Time will tell if he can get the most liberal in his party to play with the most traditional in the Republican minority.

5. Practical battles over platform promises.
Tackling the financial debacle will trump health care reform  –  rethinking the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will take precedence over kowtowing to special interest groups –
a radical independent energy program for America will influence the salvation of the automotive industry.

Can the “permanent Republican majority” claimed by Karl Rove be resuscitated?  Are big business, strong military and security voters and Evangelicals still a good fit? Or do the ethics and morals of these groups no longer align as smoothly as before?

As we Conservatives work the kinks out and plan our political future, the five areas that provided Obama a healthy victory and quick start are well worth considering.

Career Change Off-Limits to Porn Star?

Posted in The Hell You Say!, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by andeeroo

Several years ago Louisa Tuck (stage name, Crystal Gunns) exploited plastic surgery and personal innocence in exchange for fast money. Today she works with children in elementary school and the YMCA in Vineland, New Jersey. By every measure, a career change in an honorable direction.

But Louisa Tuck has come under fire from parents and education administrators. They have no grounds for her dismissal based upon her work. She has proven herself to be positive and effective in her work with children. But her past still lives on through the internet and other media sources. And that past raises fears of parents and educators in Vineland.

Now the school board of Vineland has been tossed this hot potato and asked for a verdict.

Board of Education President Frank Giordano wants Louisa Tuck fired. He let concerned parents know if it was his decision alone, he would fire her and worry about consequences later.  District Superintendent  Lawyers for the school district have said no action should be taken against Tuck; she has done nothing to violate her duties as a Teacher’s Aide.

Two important issues beg discussion here:

#1 Jesus constantly demonstrated forgiveness to others and directed those people toward a redeemed life.  shouldn’t people (particularly of faith) offer a second chance to this woman?

#2  Five years removed from her former life, has Ms. Tuck significantly demonstrated her desire to leave her past behind and serve in a job that benefits children? If not, what amount of time marks the tipping point for her to clear her past?

So, is this a just war waged on Louisa Tuck or a modern-day stoning taking place in New Jersey?

Blinded to Ghandi’s Legacy, Hindus Turn to Terrorism

Posted in The Hell You Say! with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2008 by andeeroo

by Andy Freeman

Having just returned from shooting documentary footage in Northeast India, I am acutely aware of the dangers and violence taking place in several regions there. Thankfully, I filmed in Misoram, a majority Christian state in India where billboards remind citizens that true Christianity is shown by loving your neighbor, no matter their religion.

Compare the tolerance of the Indian state of Misoram with the nearby state of Orissa. Today’s London Times reports that Christian Aid workers in Orissa identified a bounty program being run by Hindu extremists to assassinate pastors and torch churches. Weapons and gasoline are even provided to those willing to commit these heinous acts in the name of Hinduism.

67 Christians have been killed and countless homes and church destroyed by Hindu terrorism. Over ten thousand Christians are now living in refugee camps in the district of Kandamal; fearing if they return home they will be forced to convert to Hinduism or be murdered.

This religious campaign of terrorism is the result of the assasination of a hardline Hindu Swami: Lakshmanananda Saraswati. The Swami had been outspoken against Christian missionaries outreach and evangelization of impoverished Hindus.

His self-identified killers are a group Maoist militants. Yet Hindu extremists blamed Christians and acted with bloodthirsty vengence against innocent people. Now Christians have been warned if the killers of Saraswati are not caught by December 15 the Hindu terrorists will kill more Christians on December 25.

Local Catholic bishops believe all these actions are a “preplanned masterplan to wipe out Christianity from Kandhamal. . . establishing a Hindu nation.”

Keep in mind that India’s culture is historically based on a caste system. While discrimination based on caste has been officially barred for years, it survives outside of major cities.Those who live at the bottom of the caste ladder have responded in greatest numbers to the gospel message. By becoming Christian they discover equality among fellow believers that eludes them in rural Indian society.

Hindu extremists manage to prey on the fears of fellow Hindus point to Christians as a dangerous group whose open faith is changing Indian culture. This is nothing more than a straw man argument in a state where Christians are a peaceful minority.

The real question to be raised is how far have these Hindu extremists strayed from the teachings of their religion and its greatest leader, Mahatma Ghandi? The question requires two answers.

If Ghandhi were living, he would vehemently protest these extremists. His hallmark was change through non-violence
to gain the independence of India from Britain – for the liberation of Indians of every religion and no religion at all.
His credo was clear when he stated: “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.”

While he remained a faithful Hindu, Ghandi learned much from the teachings of Jesus Christ and applied these truths vigorously throughout his leadership of the Indian people toward independence. In her book, “Ghandi: the Man,” Millie Pollak points out how Christ’s Sermon on the Mount were a constant inspiration and source of quotation for Ghandi and a portrait of Christ hung over the desk where he worked.

The second answer requires considering teachings in the Hindu holy book, the Bhagvad Gita and how they can easily be misused.
No doubt they are quite different in their message than the one that Mahatma Ghandhi preached. Consider the setting of the story about to be quoted is war and the warrior Arjuna is struggling with his reasons for fighting and conquering his enemies. Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) tells Arjuna:

“O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Spirit is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and immutable, kill anyone or causes anyone to be killed? (2.21)”

“O Arjuna, the Spirit that dwells in the body of all beings is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for anybody.” (2.30)

One can see how easily this type of philosphy can be used to justify religious killings or any other type of killing. If one believes the spirit is reincarnated, they are coming back anyway. As an extremist you are performing an act of justice and providing the spirit another chance to return and get their life right next time.

Krishna goes on to tell Arjuna:

“Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver like this. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war.” (2.31)

“You will go to heaven if killed on the line of duty, or you will enjoy the kingdom on the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna.” (2.37)

If terrorizing and killing non-Hindus is presented as a righteous war, you are coherced into violence; otherwise you lose honor and end up a coward and outcast. But the benefits of righteous fighting include heaven if you are killed in action or the spoils of victory here on earth. This type of teaching is comparable to the Koranic teaching used to drive Islamic extremists to violent acts against non-Muslims.

So, these Hindu extremists face a gaping disconnect between the teachings of a modern Hindu leader like Ghandi who declared:
“My position is that it does not matter what faith you practice, as long as the soul longs for truth.” This belief is no longer being lived out among the Hindus of Orissa as they rape, burn and murder those who do not match their brand of religion.
Instead, easily swayed Hindus are steered to violence by thoughts of righteous war and the warning from Krishna to Arjuna:
“If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin.” (2.33)

When we pause to consider that Mahatma Ghandi was killed by a former member of a Hindu extremist faction, we know
our prayers and political action must be vigorous on behalf of Christian believers and the leaders of the nation of India.

Jesus called us to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us. I’m sure is far easier to cite these truths living in America than caught in the midst of religious violence.

Ghandi’s words echo loudly when we consider all these troubles within India, as well as Africa, the Middle East and so many parts of our world: “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”