Archive for March, 2010
I was at a friend’s birthday party a few weeks back, and found myself squirreled away in the corner talking to a cardiac surgeon from Denmark about the state of our healthcare system in the United States. I was frankly tired of debating the topic with many Americans who have never had the opportunity to live overseas, and experience nationalized healthcare first hand, and I was looking for a new perspective.
My Danish friend made three main points:
- Free healthcare is cheaper than making people pay (in the long run).
- Medical school should be affordable for anyone who wants to go.
- Once people see the value of the services, they are willing to pay higher taxes for it.
He told me a story about how healthcare in Denmark had been absolutely free at one time. Then the hospitals decided to start charging something like $20 a visit. This one change had a disatrous result. Why? Because some of the main customers at the ER had been addicts. Normally, they would come in immediately when they started getting infections around their injection sites. The doctors would see them, hand out antibiotics, and send them on their way.
When the ER started charging $20 the addicts stopped coming in, that is, until they were so sick they had to. So instead of just handing out antibiotics for minor infections, the addicts were now being admitted to the ICU for raging infections that had been left unchecked, all because they didn’t want to spend the $20.
We talked about the ridiculously high cost of medical school here, and how exclusive it is. In Denmark they pay you to go to medical school. They pay your tuition and give you a monthly allowance. If you have the smarts, you can attend medical school.
And lastly we talked about the tax rate in Denmark, which can be as high as 60%. When Danes were asked if they would pay higher taxes for better healthcare, the majority said they would.
When I lived in Finland for a year as a teenager I noticed something: the elderly were carefree, healthy and happy. They knew they were going to be taken care of by their national healthcare system when they retired. They knew they would never bankrupt their families with a terminal illness. They knew they’d have a place to live among their peers that would provide them everything they needed, to enjoy their sunset years.
Those without healthcare in the United States live in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. One major illness could send any one of us into bankruptcy, whether we have healthcare or not. It is time for America, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, to grow up and take care of its people before it’s too late.
Dear Jesse James,
Let me just start by saying “Fuck you!” There, now that we have that out of the way, we can continue.
Your wife Sandra Bullock stood up on that Golden Globes stage a few weeks back and thanked you for having her back. Well apparently you also had Michelle McGee’s back, and front too I imagine, while your wife was off creating an Oscar-winning performance for The Blind Side.
There is nothing more humiliating than taking a woman’s trust and trashing it by having an affair. I know, because I’ve been there.
My Facebook status once said, “I want what Sandra Bullock has, a man who has her back.” Today my status says, “I do NOT want what Sandra Bullock has after all.”‘
You may not have Sandra’s back but I do.
Single mom, actress, geek
Cheers: to Nathalee for giving Mary and me a ride back to Mary’s car Friday night after I lost my car key at the Roseland. And Cheers to Mary for giving me a ride back to my house to get my spare key. And Cheers to the cab driver who gave me a ride back downtown at 3:30 am to get my car!
Cheers: to Mother Nature for providing perfect running weather for the 15k Shamrock Run last Sunday.
Jeers: to people who use Facebook as a passive aggressive tool. Grow up!
Cheers: to Gina, who took me to the Portland Rock Gym last week for my first rock climbing experience ever! Great workout and great eye candy.
Jeers: to “The Frog,” who insists on dragging me to court for this mythical money I don’t have.
Cheers: to Jeff J. for giving me a Family membership to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in downtown Portland. That place will be my escape from work in the middle of the day on a regular basis.
Pictures from the Bollywood dance party at the Roseland…
DJ Prashant, Nathalea, Me, Juan Carlos, Yelizaveta
Prashant, Me, Juan Carlos
Over 800 people at the event.
The gang. Armaan, Scott, Prahsant, Natty, Me, Eric, Mary, JC, Yeli, Allen.
Mary, Me, Nathalee, Yeli
After a year on hiatus, the political talk show To the point! is back. These are the topics we discussed on the last show. I just checked the website and the shows haven’t been uploaded, but check back in about a week or so at http://www.tothepointtv.org.
In this photo from left to right: Richard Donin, Matt Wingard, Kelly Jo Horton, Courtney Clarke, Mike Riley.
Panelists for these two shows were:
Richard Donin, Energy and Educational Consultant
Al Young, former Oregon State Legislator
and guest panelists Courtney Clarke, a local business owner
and Jack Ohman, Editorial Cartoonist for the Oregonian
On January 12th, the worst earthquake in 200 years struck less than 10 miles from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, turning an already impoverished nation into a pile of rubble. Many have compared the disaster in Haiti to the devastation of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but you can’t really compare a regional disaster to an entire country in pieces, or can you? When the cameras stop rolling and the celebrities stop raising money for Haiti, will they be able to recover and how long will it take?
Toyota Motor Corporation has been criticized for its initial response to the consumer complaints of unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. In a recent hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee California State Representative Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Toyota had three responses to the consumer complaints: First, blame the driver. Second, blame the floor mat. Third, blame a sticky gas pedal. Toyota has now recalled more than eight million vehicles world-wide for unintended acceleration, brake problems and other issues. Is it too little too late, and have they damaged the brand loyalty?
Oregon voters recently passed Measures 66 and 67, which were supposed to prevent further layoffs in the public school system and fund public services. Since the measures became law some local businesses have closed due to the retroactive taxes owed, and schools are still being asked to make cuts. Did the voters really know what they were voting for, and where did all of the money go?
As we sit here and tape this show, the Metro Council is discussing the urban growth boundary, and voting on agreements with the three Portland-area counties to designate which land will be developed and which will remain rural for the next 40 to 50 years. Should Metro be picking the winners and losers, and will these property owners have any recourse if they want to but can’t develop their land?
U.N. Climate Chief Yvo de Boer recently resigned after four years of leading international climate change negotiations. Some say it was due to the chaos of the Copenhagen summit last year, and the fact that the summit quickly became known as Climate-gate after 1,000 suspicious emails between climate scientists were leaked to the public. Will these scientists ever be able to regain the trust of the global community, and will the world’s largest polluters be motivated to change now?
President Obama’s healthcare bill seems to be losing steam, with the recent departure of some supporters on the Democratic side of the aisle. Does President Obama have what it takes to convince the House and Senate to pass some sort of healthcare reform, or has his window of opportunity passed?
(I had to write this topic five minutes before the show because the previous topic was outdated by the time I drove to the studio!) We discussed the future of the newspaper industry, given the fact that the Oregonian had laid off 37 people the week we taped the show, and the fact that we had Jack Ohman on the show to discuss the topic.
The City of Portland is taking unspent money from the Big Pipe waste-water project, to use for other purposes, such as bike paths. The Willamette Week newspaper has documented other cases where the City of Portland is taking money collected for one purpose and using it for other purposes. Are these the kind of decisions Portland officials were elected to make?
Forty eight years ago today my mom put down her cup of coffee, stubbed out her cigarette, looked at my dad, and said, “It’s time.”
That was the first Facebook status I posted on my forty-eighth birthday earlier this week. I don’t know if it’s true, but knowing my mom, I’m sure it is. In fact I’m pretty sure she finished the cigarette before she went to the hospital.
Many of you have inquired as to my whereabouts over the past two months, so I thought I’d update you. I checked out from the public spotlight for a couple of months. Okay that’s a bit of a lie. I worked like a dog. That’s the truth.
Excuse #1: Working Like a Dog
I work in the field of interactive television. I am in a small group of people who deploy the hardware and software that supports all of the interactive applications my company has running at any given time. Well, for the past few months we have been ramping up to launch two major appllications. First an app for the Olympics on the NBC cable channels (MSNBC, CNBC and USA). This required lots of prep and being on call 24/7 during the Olympics. I can’t say much here, but let’s just say this one went out to about 13 million cable households.
Second, I was the lead support person for a Showtime Boxing app that launched last week. So I spent many nights testing that app on a live channel while you all were sleeping. :^) I spent last Friday night actually on the phone with everyone involved while we watched the app playout during a live MMA match. This was an incredible moment, because this was the first app ever to play out nationally on HD.
This is what I do for a living. This is what the app looks like on Showtime:
Excuse #2: Exes
Enough said. Let’s just say I see my attorney way too often.
Excuse #3: Kids
Demanding little buggers!
Excuse #4: Real Life
In the past two months I have been bowling with a little Yeti figure, spent time with an Italian tutor/friend, been to the Kink Live Performance Lounge a few times, discovered some great bands around town, survived a layoff, instigated Narcissist Thursdays (which is sometimes held on Saturdays), auditioned for Leverage (the TNT series), changed agents (now with OMM for modeling and film), gone swing dancing for the first time in years, kissed a stranger on New year’s Eve (He was hot!), started doing my TV show again after a year off, rediscovered the library.
Promise #1: I can’t Not Write
I love to write. It feeds my soul. I just don’t know what form that will take. This website will stay and my blogs will be here. I may also continue to write for The Portlander. We shall see.
To the Point TV show