Category Archives: Politics

Please Die Already

Rage.

Rage.

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently about the healthcare reform bill, incited mainly by this man and this woman. Why are they ranting and raving about Democrats creating “death panels” that will decide whether or not the elderly† or mentally disabled‡ continue to receive medical treatment? Can’t they see that America is chock full of people ripe for Death’s annual picking?

The Democrats want people to have access to “end of life counseling.” That is a nice way of them saying “we want to encourage you to die without eating up millions of millions of dollars in care.” And the elderly and infirm DO eat up millions of dollars; 80% of the money you spend on healthcare will be spent during the last three months of your life. Is it really worth it? To spend hour after hour, barely breathing, barely thinking, hooked up to life support with a feeding tube in your gut?

Americans have become highly sensitive to the issue of death. I thought that the whole reason behind this mushy Christianity stuff was to make people comfortable with the idea of dying. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s always the afterlife! Feel free to pass away as you wish.” Nope. Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics are amongst the most adamant individuals who support your right to clutch on to your existence by any means; even if your body and mind have rotted away to nothing.

Actually, they’re not even supporting your right to life; they’d keep you alive regardless of how you feel.

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddman crochety old for the State to continue financing your life."

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddamn crotchety old for the State to continue financing your life."

What about my right to death? Listen to me: people need to die. People have been dying for millions and millions of years. Its natural. It happens all the time. The problem is that no one has instructed us on how to cope with and move past these tragic events.

Wait. Tragic? It shouldn’t be tragic; it should be joyful. The joyful passing of your loved one. We are so far removed from our natural state of being that we no longer value death… excluding the deaths of our enemies; that has always been joyous.

Lion King

Even Disney supports death panels.

Human bodies were not designed (intelligent or not) to last forever. Our cells stop regenerating as well, our joints become rigid and sore, our systems fail to save over and over again until it gets to a point that your body just dies. All of this extensive healthcare is in denial of the natural ‘Circle of Life‘. Certainly the deaths’ of those who did not live up to the prime peaks of life are tragic; they died too soon. But that only covers people up to about age 40; if you live past that point, I will be joyfully celebrating your passing with explicit glee.

So lighten up. Embrace death (the insurance companies have been running death panels for years now). Maybe even buy a t-shirt. It’ll balance the budget for Christ’s-sakes.

You don’t want to be alive for the zombie apocalypse anyway…

†‡Not that either of these groups really qualify as  being ‘that alive’ in the first place.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Healthcare Reform: The Big Comedown

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; these are the principles on which America was founded. All men (and now women) are entitled to these rights, and it is the duty of the U.S. government to not infringe upon but to maintain our ability to live, live freely and live happily. Otherwise, the government would be worthless, and perhaps it would have been better for us to remain within the British Empire.

Of course, there are limitations to these ‘rights’, but the threshold of limitation is set by us, the common society, and it is our collective say that sets the standard. In recent months (years if you count the campaigns for the presidential nominees) it has become apparent that healthcare is a ‘right’ Americans believe they are entitled to; it is your right to have affordable health insurance coverage, or to at least be able to see a doctor and seek treatment without indebting yourself up to your eyelids.

I know the pains of healthcare personally, even at the ripe young age of 24. I have not been insured for 2 years now and it has made me hesitate to go to dentist. I finally became covered by my employer after working for 6 months, and I promptly scheduled an appointment. The results of my examination were fairly good; only two cavities on my archaic wisdom teeth. The state of my gums, however, had deteriorated into full-blown periodontal disease. If I don’t receive a ‘deep cleaning’ (eek!) I would risk the possibility of slowly but surely losing my teeth as my gums continued to recede (double eek).

How much would the procedure cost? $1077.00. That’s a pretty penny there. Not quite a triple coronary bypass, but I don’t have money for that either. How much would my insurance pay? $588.00. That leaves me paying about $500 in the end, which my broke ass can handle, most likely from some kind of deferred payment plan. For other people, with no insurance and dependents and a number of other financial commitments, paying for this procedure may very well fall to the wayside, letting their health fail as opposed to taking on the cost of treatment.

Preventative healthcare is cheap. What advice would my dentist have given me 2 years ago? The same advice he gave me this year. “You need to floss and use a water pik daily, as well as continue to brush your teeth and use mouthwash.” This might be common sense, but we as human beings need a little prodding here and there, and the dentist or whatever practitioner for whatever ailment just so happens to be the person to whip your lazy conscious into shape. Water pik: $20.00. Stock of floss for 2 years: ~$20.00. Savings incurred from not getting expensive dental procedure: ~$1037.00.

Why don’t people take advantage of preventative healthcare? Because they don’t have the money or they don’t have the know-how. If everyone had health insurance (or if all healthcare was single-payer like the federally mandated Medicare program we’ve had for the past century) they would be able to get problems treated before they get worse and even more expensive. Are you sick? Go see a doctor. Take your medication now instead of saving it for later because you can’t afford to buy more.

The biggest obstacle to everyone having healthcare is: 1. Insurance companies (HMOs), 2. Pharmaceutical companies, and 3. Hospitals and doctors. Everyone of them stands to make much, much less money with mandated healthcare; they’d much rather buy off our politicians than reform the system at hand. With everyone receiving preventative healthcare, you don’t need to go see the doctor as often. You don’t need to have complicated procedures, and all the tests and X-rays and MRIs that go along with it. You don’t need to be overloaded with a drug-cocktail every day.

Right now, Congress is in the process of writing a bill reforming the healthcare systems in America, and they have mistakenly included the nefarious legions of greedy money-grubbers listed above into the equation and excluded the idea of having a ‘public option’ (a government insurance program that would be affordable and available to all). I don’t know what we are supposed to do. Write your congressperson I guess; just be sure to put a $10,000 check made out to his/her re-election campaign account in the envelope too. Needy complaints get lonely without a little cash.

Does it really matter who’s lording over us, a tyrant or an aristocracy, if they could care less about our well being?

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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The New Taste Of Tea

Whilst perusing the local CVS’s beverage selection, I was advised by a friend against the consumption of bottled water. It occurred to me, at that moment, that while I quite agreed with him I would still throw down my dollar fourteen with tax for a BOGO on iced tea. I would have my very own tasty drink experience, and another could be saved for later or given to a tea-less friend – and that for a cost that seems, even in harsh economies, nigh unto pittance.

Now, before you all run out to CVS and buy up all the iced ea, you should know two things. Number one is that CVS’s prices on certain contraceptives are double that of the gas station up the block, a poignant example of how capitalism can literally hold you by the balls. The other is that the tea in this bottle might seem cheap, but a dollar and a pan of water will fetch you a between ten and a hundred bags of tea, depending on the refinement of one’s palette.

This revelation made my purchase of the tea seem like lunacy. What could possibly be so expensive as to warrant such a mark up? I came to two conclusions.

First, the expensive glass bottle which chilled the tea seemed thick enough to raise expenses, but this only served to make things worse. By choosing to buy the tea at a store, not only am I paying through the nose, I’m wasting resources which will then be chucked back into a landfill, possibly in a developing country. Or your backyard. Or something else scary – people seem to believe things when they’re afraid. In any event, the materials for the bottle were a horrible excuse.

(I suppose one could argue this about shipping as well, but this follows the same reasoning while necessarily implying the consumption of fuel and the consequent worsening of air quality.)

The second thought that sprung to mind was that it may be for sugar or some such thing, and for most of us, that may do the trick. Unfortunately, I had been drinking sugarless tea for awhile in he interest of physical health – not only was the stuff costly, but it was overwhelmingly potent. I felt so ripped off, I thought about cutting the tea with water as the bottle drained, to extend its life and decrease its seeming toxicity.

I like the idea of brewing my own tea. It also seems natural that the modern go-getter should keep themselves perpetually armed, a ready bottle ever at their side for the filling should the need of drink assail them! They could even fill it with –

Water.

Good, clear, natural water. I’ve been drinking more of this, and the taste does become acquired. Shit, you could even carry a thermos of water and tea bags simultaneously, perhaps even with some mint plucked from a kitchen garden.

There is so much to my simple life that strikes discordantly against the cry of reason. In these thoughts I find wonder, inspiration, maybe even…

potential for change?

Redpillneo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. Follow us on Twitter via the name PGTblog.

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You Too Can Be President

As the days pass from President Barack Obama’s inauguration we find ourselves looking to 2012, the next presidential election; the future is always at hand (the leading cable news networks’ talking heads confirm this daily). And no one could find themselves more shit-out-of-luck than the good ole’ boys, the Republican Party. Earlier I thought that the party would split into two, smaller, more pitiful parties; maybe I was wrong. Oh well. Granted, even if Obama doesn’t manage to fix the U.S., or hell, screws it up more, there is a very small chance that he’ll be unseated; but I’m still left wondering who is going to be the new face of the G.O.P.

It could very well be you.

That’s right. You. The assuming, unaware, run-of-the-mill American. Do you remember your teachers in grade school telling you that “you could grow up to be President of the United States”? It’s true. Or almost true. You can at least run a campaign and be shot down by the mass public.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Just look at the potential nominees. Sarah Palin? That’s a real life American Dream come true; housewife turned mayor, turned governor, turned vice-presidential nominee. I think the requirements to be President have been trimmed down to U.S. citizenship and being able to read a teleprompter. Did you see the Republican Party’s reply to Obama’s inaugural address? Bobby Jindall is a fucking robot.

The rest of the field is just as bad. Mark Sanford is an adulterer (along with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani), Mitt Romney is a Mormon, Mike Huckabee loves Jesus, etc. etc. They’re all also totally out of touch with what the average American needs. This is where you come in: you’re that American. Who would know how to woo the votes of the average American better than the average American? Write down whatever it is you think and voila! Campaign platform!

What’s holding you back from the White House? Political ambition. You simply don’t have the networking power of any big name politician; which is why I’m telling you this now. You have 3 years to ascend to power and rob Obama of his high and mighty throne. It’s going to take hard work, blood, sweat and tears, and the brown-nosing of every Republican asshole you can find, but all you need is a belief in yourself (Yes I Can!) and the nomination will very well be yours.

jakefunc is a contributing writer of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Bulking Up the BA–Questioning LERs

As an employee of Kent State University I receive an array of wonderful benefits, including of course free education. A few of those who know me well are aware that I had to make a brief departure from Kent State University as a student a few years ago due to financial issues. I opted instead to attend a private business college. My basic goal was to obtain an associate degree in hopes that it would provide me with enough leverage to secure a position at a local college or university where I could take advantage of free schooling.

One year after I graduated, I was able to say that I had achieved that goal. Few people supported my decision to leave Kent State in favor for that private business college, but I can honestly say that without my associate degree—I would not be reaping the aforementioned benefits that I receive today.

Now having given all of this background, I would like to point out that my associate degree while transferable to Hiram College for instance, is not transferable to Kent State for various accreditation reasons. Which essentially means my undergraduate work will be started at the ground level, instead of looking at two years as a full-time student, I am easily looking at four to five—providing that with my job I can actually work myself up to attending full time.

While not being able to transfer credits is a tad a frustrating, I am more frustrated with the “LERs.” The liberal education requirements are meant to insure that the community benefits from a well rounded individual. They cover a vast range of topics and subjects—which are often of course, totally unrelated to your major/field of study. Many individuals would rather dive into the field they are passionate about, rather than waste countless dollars and hours studying and memorizing information they will likely never encounter after their final exam passes through their fingers to their instructor’s fingers.

Obviously, since BA degrees are held in higher esteem than accelerated programs and associate degrees—employers are still banking on those LERs providing them with individuals who are capable of thinking outside of the box or more than likely filling more than one gap in the work environment.

Kent State has recently decided to rework the liberal education requirements, here is a passage regarding their progress:

“After five months of intense work, the committee has created a set of guiding principles for the new “Kent Core” (LER’s in our old language). The Kent Core is premised on a learner-centered approach to education that focuses on the programmatic learning outcomes of knowledge, responsibility, insight and engagement (KRIE). In addition to fulfilling Transfer Module Requirements, the model includes a diversity requirement, capstone requirements and an applied literacy requirement.”

For the full article you may go here: http://provostupdate.kent.edu/

Now, I have a few questions, because I can honestly say I have no idea what the hell that paragraph even means. If the new Kent Core is a learner centered approach, what were the LER’s? I would think that the LEARNER would be at the heart and sole of most of the universities dynamics. I am just not sure I understand what is meant by that. Also, I fail to see how the previous principles would not have included learning outcomes of knowledge, responsibility, insight and engagement.

When I first heard that the university would be reworking the LER’s, I was hopeful that we would see a greater flexibility that would warrant the individual to take classes more aligned with their true course of study. I was hoping for some radical shift in thinking that would give people the opportunity to really build a program that had more substance. It appears however, to be another example of important people using flash in the pan and articulate words to make it appear as if they are actually working.

I mean what the hell kind of update is that? What is going to be changing? That is the bottom line. Instead we get some pretty packaging around an articulately written update that ultimately does not provide us with sufficient insight. I would have greatly appreciated some reference back to the LER’s to demonstrate the contrast between the old philosophy and the new, now I am just left feeling lost—waiting for another update.

So here I am taking two history classes to meet my LERs—as a “pre-computer information systems” major. Luckily I am already a well rounded individual and happen to love history. If I did not love learning in general, I am not sure I would have the motivation to go through a year or two learning about anything and everything in order to get to the really valuable and pertinent information. Imagine all of the others who work two jobs just to make end me, single mothers who have to figure out daycare to come to classes, and senior citizens who begin their path to enlighten and a better career…imagine their frustration.

I suppose it comes down to what the purpose is of our higher education. Is it to ready one for their career, for their work, or is it to produce a society of well rounded intellectuals. I do not begrudge those who support LERs, or who even enjoy them—I think they serve a vast majority of us very well, but I certainly do not think that those who want to focus on their work, their passions, and their specific subjects of interest should be considered less competent—just because an individual as a degree for heating and cooling and did not take Psych 101,  does not mean that he or she cannot effectively install my air conditioning unit.

eelliso1 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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D-Day Anniversary: 6/6/09

Warning! Trouble ahead.

Trouble ahead.

Someone had remarked that it was the ‘D-Day’ anniversary and I responded with my usual, snarky “I really don’t care.”

“You should care. They were fighting Hitler and the Nazis.”

“It’s just a day man.”

“A lot of soldiers died on the beaches of Normandy on this day.”

“Well shouldn’t I care just as much the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War…”

“True. They’re all dead now though; you can still go and talk to veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. They’re normal men… quite a few thrown into the fray by the draft really. They did what needed to be done, even though it meant the cost of their own lives.”

At this point I’m pretty sure I changed the conversation to something that made me feel a little less like a total asshole.

The mark had been made though. I began to feel some sort of guilt for being apathetic about what I regard, in my blunt, frank opinion, as any other day of the week.Is this something that I should try to remember, to reflect upon?

I’ve always had a problem with the armed services, namely the fact that just about every war in history has been stupid, selfish, induced by the greed of both acting parties and has had absolutely no beneficial effect for those who actually fight in the wars, the soldiers, or for the civilian populations that prop up these malevolent governments. We are supposedly all free-thinking beings with awesome will-power; why can the soldier not realize that what he or she is doing is destructive and evil?

It’s the honor. The Flag. The pride of serving your nation, making the greatest sacrifice, having no doubt in your nation’s goal. I guess an army doesn’t work very well with individuals always questioning authority. But still, nonetheless, can you not see the horrendous act you are committing?

As soon as there were no WMDs found in Iraq, not only should Congress have stopped signing bills approving more funds for “Operation Fuel Corrupt Governance,” but the G.I.’s and Marines on the ground should have stopped fighting. Or, at least, for the sake of not having to court marshal their collective asses, their commanders should have told them to stop. Brought them home. Reinstated Saddam.

Each of us is are own personal catalyst for change; whether it be socializing at a party, building a home for a needy family, brushing your teeth, or righting something that you know is wrong. It does take more effort, but you will find the rewards ever more satisfying.

Yes, WWII was necessary, Hitler needed to be stopped (even though I do have my own personal qualms with the U.S., France and Britain refusing to ally with the Soviets earlier in the conflict, as opposed to later at the cost of millions of lives). It was a noble war. The men who died on D-Day died honorable deaths for a worthy cause, and it is unfortunate that I cannot truly appreciate their sacrifice because of my reservations about war.

So… given this realization, how can I be a personal catalyst for change now? Am I going to try to appreciate the soldiers who died for just causes? Those who died for unjust causes that were forced to? Soldiers who died period? Should I remember and reflect on just this day, or should I actually spend more time, once a day, once a week, once a month, contemplating their sacrifices and the depth of their experiences?

jakefunc is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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What Is Barack Obama Doing To Piss Me Off Today

I felt like I knew him, or at least knew what he was about. A bleeding-heart liberal whose compassion for human life would literally shake the foundations of U.S. policies, rising above and leading us out of the hard-line bullshit “No, We Can’t” actions and attitudes of a traditional, retarded bureaucracy. I guess that was Hope 2009; now we’re chewing the bitter fat of Reality.

Barack Obama

Don’t even try your charms on me Obama; best pack your things and go. And sheesh, get some Just For Men Gel while you’re out; first 100 days is puttin’ on the gray.
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