Thursday, February 02, 2006

medicial reform

recently I have been having some health scares and have been seeing various doctors. And now from personal experience, I can tell my dear readers that our system is completely out of wack.

Because it is an employer-based and profit-motivated system, we get loads of unnecessary tests to bill to insurance rather than to make sure something is nothing. In the rest of the developed world, their health care system is dramatically cheeper and their life expectancy is just as good or better (Japan) than ours.

Why? They don't have loads of officials trying to weasle there way out of paying for something, or asking for people to fill out and copy the same forms a billion times. They share as much equipment and patients as possible, making the cost per a patient dramatically lower.

When the focus is on cost rather than profits, we will practice preventative medicine rather than letting millions of Americans wait until they have to go the emergency room until they get expensive care. There will still be precautionary tests, but we won't have doctors insisting on expensive tests that serve no purpose when it doesn't effect their bottom line.

By pooling patients and doctors, we can reduce medicial insurance and malpractice premiums, instead of creating thousands of little boxes to put people in. The more I think about our system, the madder I get and the more irrational and unnecessary it seems.

The rich could still have supplimental care so that all our super specialists could make their big bucks and do all their fancy tests with pricy machines, but most people would not need to use those super specialists except in rare cases of acute problems.

All this fear of socialism has gotten us into this prediciment. Our people are earning less because premiums go up while wages stay stagnant or lower. Americans are quickly having a competitive disadvantage relative to Europe Canada, etc. when it comes to companies wanting to employ people here. Why else would GM make noises about a single-payer system.

Here's a thought: change federal law so that states like Maine and Massachusetts could try out a single payer system. Then if it works in a place like Massachusetts, with all its teaching hospitals and specialists, it can work nationwide. What is Congress afraid of? Political donations from Pharma and insurance companies drying up?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

update on teaching

so today I taught again, and it was much better.

part of the solution was that I had 30 minutes less time to teach. Another part was that I purposely slowed down and did some review with candy. Every time a kid answered a question correctly, I threw candy at them.

This got at least 5 people talking, but I would love to hear more ideas of how to involve more students.

I also was able to make it somewhat interesting to them by telling them about Utah's exonoree, Bruce Goodman and how the trial system and appellate process works.

On Friday, I plan on having them all act out the McDonald's coffee case, with some being witnesses and the rest being the jury. Any thoughts on how to wake the kids up, use up 1.5 hours, and make it fun are welcome. Thanks to commmentors who talked me off the proverbial ledge after Monday's train wreck.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

orwellian traditional media

If say a lie enough times, does it become true? Hamas' victory was a surprise. Bush is popular. Bush is winning the political battle on warrantless domestic spying. Democrats are divided. Democrats are weak on defense. Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman are the ones Democrats should listen to. DeLay is just a conservative guy, and everyone does it. Both parties have their hand in the Abramoff cookie jar.

Most bloggers say this is the right wing talking points trumping reality and the the media is buying them out of fear of being labled "liberal."

But in reality, it is the only propetual motion machine. I think the media have been conditioned to think this way, and when conservatives say it, well that's nice too for the media.

It is the media that are living in fear asking permission for what they should cover and how they should cover it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

sleepy in salt lake city

so today was my first day teaching at East High School. Way back in the 1930s my grandfather graduated from East as a validictorian. These days I roamed a completely different hall filled with minorities and kids who I swear should still be in middle school. Were kids really that small when I was in 9th grade? I was over six feet and growing facial hair at the time, so I am not a good judge.

Anyway, back to the story. I was expecting the real teacher to be giving them a little quiz on the constitutional convention but he decided to scrap it to be nice to them (or because he was too lazy to draw up a quiz). So these minutes I thought I had to kill where not there.

I got up there and ploughed through the first day's topic (introduction) and low and behold I had over an hour left. Crap. Was it because I didn't explain stuff adequately? Because the kids were half awake? Because they don't care? I tried to get them engaged by asking them if they had a driver's license, if they had a credit card, a cell phone, etc. to show them that the law is important to them. So with this hour left, I had them read the next unit (lawmaking) and then talked about that.

So now my Wednesday topic became monday part II and my reading for friday (the court system) became my reading for wednesday. For those of you who teach or have teached, any suggestions? I am thinking of having a review section at first on Friday and then going on to the the Courts. All suggestions are welcome.

The kids are dressed either grungy (white boys), hip hop (minority boys), stripes (nerdy white girls), and tight shirts (all girls). I even got a semi-flirty girl telling me good job and to calm my fears. Oh I hope she doesn't think that smile will get her anywhere. Especially since she showed up late.