Friday, July 30, 2010

Scrutator: It's back!

October of 2008 was the last time I put together a scruator post. My life got really busy and I just didn't have time to keep it up. Today, I pull out the old Scrutator publisher and breath a little life back into something I once had a lot of fun with and was kind of proud of.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a compilation of news articles that I have read during the week that caught my attention and drew my commentary.  I have no idea if I am really going to be able to do this weekly, but I do hope to bring this back into my life.

California is getting serious about legalizing marijuana.  Apparently, they are pulling out all of the stops.  A company wants to grow and sell marijuana on a very large scale basis.  The cities want to tax the sales to replace some of the revenues they have lost under poor leadership.  Replacing tax revenue isn't their only argument for legalizing the substance.  Other arguments include breaking the Mexican drug cartel and reducing the number of illegal immigrants that come here with pot.  They also argue the ending this prohibition will give society the ability to address addiction problems that people face because the problem with legal punishment will no longer be relevant, which also means that the prisons won't be filled up with people who were busted for possession.  One group doesn't plan to stop at marijuana, however.  They intend to push until all prohibitions are eliminated!

One can see how legalizing marijuana would carry a lot of positives.  I wonder how the feds would deal with this.  I doubt it will go quite like they plan, but it might be interesting.  I keep telling people who smoke pot because they don't think it should be illegal that their philosophical outlook will not save them from punishment, and that if they are serious about it, they should do something to legalize it.  If you don't like the law change it - don't break it!  Here are some people blazing a trail for you.  Will you help them?

Scientists have developed the technology that can help to diagnose autism at an earlier age.  This is great news because the one thing we know for sure is that the earlier you start treating the symptoms, the better chance the child will have at an independent life.  Of course, good news must be tempered by a bad comment.  Joyce Schulte is sad to learn that there is another autistic boy in the world and that autism should be prevented.  A lot of things should be prevented, like flotsam spewing forth from the mouths of hateful, obtuse people.  She doesn't say she is the parent of an autistic child, and I hope she isn't, I certainly wouldn't want to be that poor hated child. is a new web site that explains how health care will change and what you can expect when (if) the changes are made in 2014.

When health care reform was being created, I was really hoping for a public option. I really think health care needs to change, because too many people, including myself, can't afford insurance premiums. It never fails that I have no money to see a doctor when I get sick, however, I never have health care bills that even compare to what insurance premiums are. The last time I had insurance was when I worked at the school district and they paid the premiums. My premiums were more than $300 per month, and the last year I had the insurance, my health care bill for the entire year was only about $30 or $40 more than a one month premium. That bill, by the way, was for routine preventative care, not illness. The last time I got sick, the doctor visit was $70 and lab costs were about that. It was for a stupid UTI!

The media likes to remind us as often as possible that polls show Americans are not happy with health care reform. I would like to point out that those numbers are high not because of what the republicans say - that it will be too expensive for our country - but instead isn't popular because it didn't include the public option. Now I will be forced to give money to insurance companies who will charge far more than what my health care bill will ever be. A public option would have been the only way to ensure that staying healthy is a great way to not have high health care bills. I would actually much rather see all health care run by the government.

I think the argument that doctors and services would be worse if we had socialized medicine. I have worked at jobs where there were lots of people riding the coat-tails of those who work, and I really don't think things would be that different if someone was making sure that everyone got a fair shake. I also have worked in places where pay wasn't based on job performance. There were still people who rode the coat-tails of those who worked. Even more amazingly, there were people who worked hard to get things done because they were dedicated to what they were doing. Most of the jobs I've had don't pay a living wage, and yet, when I went to work I worked hard to make a difference. That's what people need more of. Capitalism doesn't give people that drive any more than socialism takes it away. It either exists in a person or it doesn't. My guess is that if everyone made enough to live on no matter the job, more jobs would be filled by people who actually want to be there - but that's just me. A person who goes to work because of a paycheck is not the person I want taking care of my health, or my education, or my city streets, or anything else! I also do believe that ALL people have a right to health care. Aren't Americans supposed to have the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It is hard to have LIFE if you get sick and die, isn't it? I really hope this reform works. I hope it changes the way health insurers operate. I won't hold my breath - and not just because I don't have the health insurance that would be necessary to cover the disability care I would have to have because of the brain damaged caused by oxygen deprivation.

Jennifer Keeton
Picture taken fromFox News at link
 provided in text
Two separate cases regarding students in counseling programs have hit the news.  Jennifer Keeton is suing Augusta State University because they have demanded she complete a remediation plan because she has expressed her beliefs regarding sexual orientation.  She believes, as do many religious people, that homosexuality is a lifestyle that should be stopped.  She wants to be a school counselor.  I wonder how many young people who are confused about their sexuality would end up being terribly hurt by her proselityzations? 

Julea Ward
Picture taken from Fox New at
link provided in text
The other case is extremely similar, but here Julea Ward was expelled because she refused to counsel homosexuals.  Once again, she feels that homosexuality is morally wrong. 

Fox news, of course, is upset because they see these cases as dangerous presidents being set that will allow christian students all over America to be expelled because of their beliefs.  I think it's easy.  If you want to be a religious counselor, go to a bible college.  If you want to get real counseling credentials from Universities, learn about the diversity in humanity and accept that you will have a significant number of clients who have beliefs that are not congruent with your own.  If you can't do that, you really shouldn't be a counselor, which I believe is what these universities were trying to say, and what the courts agreed with.

The Arizona immigration law has been stopped for now. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton decided that there were portions of the law that trump state law. She feels that the government has a very strong case in many parts of the law, including requiring people to show papers, which will very likely create problems for American citizens of Mexican ancestry. Fox News of course, has a slightly different slant on the issue.  Sen. John McCain complains that it is disappointing that the power to control the border is given to the federal government, but the federal government won't do anything to address the problem.  They just aren't doing what they need to do to protect us.  Wait a minute!  Isn't John McCain a senator?  Doesn't that make him part of the federal government?  Doesn't that make him one of them?

Now that we are embroiled in a recession people are pointing their nasty little fingers of blame. Remember, the recession was caused by rich American white men. i can't figure out why they are getting a free pass. The American president is trying to pass legislation that would regulate these companies so that they can't cause such devastation to us poor people, but can't because us poor people apparently would rather blame the hard working Mexican farm workers. If we want to get rid of the drug smugglers, it can happen. Just refer above to the end of all prohibition.  An maybe, for once, someone should please figure out that WE are the government.  We NEED a strong government that can protect US against the greedy business practices of our big corporate bosses that refuse to pay their laborers enough to live on.  When that happens, we'll be glad once again to have so many kind Mexicans willing to come here and do our grunt work again - for a pittance.

And there it is! My soapbox interpretation of some of the news that caught my attention this week. I don't know if you agree, if not, I hope we can agree to disagree! And I will start to work on next weeks edition of Scrutator.


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