December 30, 2007


After the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto, her party had no qualms in granting her son and her husband power.

NAUDERO, Pakistan (Reuters) - The 19-year-old son of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal, was on Sunday appointed chairman of her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) along with his father, party officials said.

"It has been decided that Bilawal will be the chairman and Mr (Asif Ali) Zardari will be co-chairman," one of the party officials said in the southern town of Naudero, where top officials of Bhutto's party were meeting.

Read the rest
Some years back it was apparent that her power had come from being the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, which had founded the Pakistan People's Party. This post is not in any way trying to diminish her role in the party, but there had been some that had put their hopes in her being able to help create a democracy in Pakistan. I do not know the beliefs of her party, but I believe that creating leadership from family descendants is not too compatible with democracy.

I also feel this way about the existence of George H W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the fact that Senator Clinton is running for president. Family members in the past have been elected president; John and John Quincey Adams, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, both 24 years apart. It didn't seem then to disrupt our government, but it wasn't a trend or close to the next succession. Now there is only 8 years between the Bushes and possible 8 years between the Clintons. This is too soon and too often, it is almost an expectation, like when Bobby Kennedy and Ted Kennedy ran for the Democratic party's nomination. Yes, I would like a woman to run for president, but there should be other women to consider. After 2008, will we see another Bush run for president?

Do people ever think that if we get into the habit of choosing our presidents like this, that abuse of power isn't far behind, when candidates know, they only need the name? What of the opposition, you say. They have a candidate that had a father as governor, another type dynasty. In a few years all the successful candidates could be descendants of governors, senators and presidents. It becomes the family business and the other 300 million people will become inconsequential, because they know that their name is more important than their policies.

December 25, 2007

December 19, 2007

Maybe it would save one child.

There are some that think the right to bear arms is a natural right. I am not sure how one gets to that assessment, since man has had guns less than on percent of his existence. For others it is a sacrosanct amendment to the U.S. Constitution; one may repeal the 14th amendment but not the 2nd. There are quite a few of us who may not object to the right for someone to own a gun, but do not want them sold as casually as a pack of cigarettes. I think now there may be more restrictions on buying a pack of cigarettes. I think that at a bare minimum, that you should at least be able to prove you know the rules of safety and at least be able hit a target. I understand that you cannot ensure a person will be safe, use common sense, or have any accuracy, but it might get some to think that they bear responsibility when they purchase a gun.

Last year in my city, 22 children were killed and not all the teen agers were in "the life." There are some that would want you to believe that they all are, when they are justifying the 2nd Amendment; a very poor argument I would think. What stands out in this article is that one of the victims is 3 years old and shot himself.

Ty-Ty [Tylib Bailey-Hankerson] died looking down a gun barrel. He was laid to rest holding a lollipop. Police said that on Oct. 15, about 1 p.m., the child found a registered .45-caliber pistol and shot himself in the face. The gun and the Raymond Street rowhouse where it happened belonged to Dave Walter, boyfriend of Ty-Ty's mother, Lawanda Bailey, who lives across the street. Both adults and Ty's brother Dejour, 9, were in the house.
It happen again yesterday, a four year old killed himself with his father's gun. He had very easy access and again a parent was in the house. I read about this at the field negro this morning.
... Sadly, Mr. Boyd chose to play cards with his friends, while his four year old son, Dyshon, was left unattended. Mr. Boyd had a loaded 9 mm Glock in his coat pocket and casually hung it in an upstairs bedroom. Left unattended, little Dyshon found the gun, and, well, you can imagine what happened next. The poor kid shot himself in the throat and later died at Children's Hospital.

To add insult to injury, or I should say death. Mr. Boyd chose to throw the gun out the window and hide the magazine. (it's still missing) Fortunately the authorities found the gun and charged Mr. Boyd with involuntary manslaughter and some lessor charges.
read the entire post
In their grief, most in his family is saying what a good father Dyshon had. Since his father had been shot himself, I ask why would he had not known that a gun could cause great harm and be responsible enough to not want it around his child? Sometimes in life you only get one chance. The field negro sees this as the responsibility of the parents.
This is the kind of environment we are creating for our children. This is the world we are giving them to live in. I have said this before, but it's worth repeating: If people are going to be just sperm donors and not real parents, what's the point in having children in the first place?

I see it also as the responsibility of society. In last years shooting, the gun has been purchased properly and registered and this year's, the gun was probably purchased illegally; the outcome the same. With many taking sides with the 2nd Amendment issue, no one thinks it might help if gun safety ads were run in the media. The NRA talks about what it does, but that is only for its membership. When Charlton Heston made adds for the NRA, it was only to position the viewpoint on owning a gun. The other side is so anti-gun that they probably don't think of running safety ads, to push safety would be to say guns are OK. Meanwhile we have mega messages about smoking, lead paint and marijuana, in which the chances of any of them killing you at first encounter, is close to nil. The idea would be to peak the awareness. Some years back they ran TV ads before New Years, to remind people that it was not only illegal to fire guns in the air, but that the bullets had to come down. Previously some people had been inured by those New Years' stray bullets.

I think the fight over the 2nd Amendment will go on indefinitely. I find it interesting how some people just know how the Constitution, if written now, would word the 2nd Amendment. When the constitution was written, one had to load a gun, one bullet at a time. I don't think a 3 year old had the capability to load one. We can not wait for the fight to be over, but I think we can try some other approaches. I would hope that safety ads could save one child.

December 16, 2007

Some thoughts on Medicare

The last few years I have gotten a notice from Social Security, stating what I am eligible to receive. This year I could get minimum benefits, more at 66 years old and maximum at 70. The notice also stated that I am required to sign up for Medicare benefits at 65. The way it read, it seemed mandatory, although I am not sure.

While I was on dialysis, I had signed up for Medicare, because I wasn't sure my union health plan would cover completely the dialysis treatment without a copay. I could not afford to pay even $10.00 per treatment at that time. My cost for Medicare was quite a bit lower per month than the copay. After my kidney transplant, Medicare became my primary insurance and my coverage was not as complete as my employee plan. I wound up having to pay a deductible and other unexpected cost. My employee plan not taking up the difference from Medicare; having Medicare then, sucked. Fortunately for me it ended three years after my transplant.

With my retirement plan, I will be able to keep my employee health plan for five years after I retire. I don't want to sign up for Medicare until the health plan is over, because the coordination of benefits between my health plan and Medicare is certain to screw me. The prescription plan, Part D of Medicare, is certain to be more costly, because my prescriptions run about $10,000 a year. I have to buy supplemental insurance to fill the gap, between $2000 and $5000. I don't know if the prescription plan I have when I retire, would even work with Part D. Not any of this was explained in the booklet the government distributed.

What I don't get, is that I keep hearing there will be a crisis in Medicare, more so than Social Security in a few years when the first wave of Baby Boomers retire. If there is a crisis, why is it then mandatory that you sign up for Medicare, if not at 65, certainly when you sign up for Social Security? Having had experience with Medicare, I wish I were financially able to opt out completely. This is one reason I get a little edgy about a national health care plan. I don't think it would save me any more money and I can see congressmen that don't want it to work creating a compromise that will make it more complicated and and more costly which would eventually doom it to fail. Then there is also a mindset about the people who will benefit, it may be seen as welfare, in which it will be designed to keep one ill, rather than healthy: as the welfare system was designed to keep the poor, poor; because to really give them enough benefits to help them out of poverty, would do so without them deserving it.

There isn't a particular idea in the post. I was listening this morning about the economic outlook for this country and as always Medicare and Social Security came up. I had some thoughts about my own experience, I wanted to share. There is another question that I would like to ask the blogosphere, but unfortunately most of my traffic comes from folks who find my blog from two images, one of polycystic kidneys and the other showing women Iranian soldiers wearing a hijab. Anyway the question is: would those who are well off and bitch about Social Security and Medicare not being the government's responsibility, opt out? I was thinking if they did, would there be a crisis?

December 02, 2007

Mirror, mirror... who's the rightess

What do we demand of other people in their political beliefs, if we have identified with a particular one ourselves and never waiver? Do we demand coherence, purity, or for it to be identical to our own? If we demand this, why? I have been personally engaged in an argument, that has gotten too the point of figuratively punching low blows, because my opinion is different from the other person's interpretation of an event. Because of this, my beliefs are being lumped into one category and accusations are being made that are not true. It seems that I have to fit neatly into this box, to keep their vision of the world intact. I may be wrong, but is how it appears to me. It is disturbing to me, because I though that person knew me better. I can't say that I am fighting fair, either.

I came across an article by McQ, MURTHA: THE SURGE IS WORKING at QandO, sort of in the same vein. It had surprised the author, that Rep. Murtha had change his opinion about the surge in Iraq and said that "I think the 'surge' is working;" this after his visit to Iraq. McQ made this statement.

Although very late, welcome to the club, Congressman. Is that hell I see freezing over?
One should not think that a person is not capable of changing their mind, especially when they see an event firsthand. Hell doesn't have to freeze over. A few in the comments section want even more purity of this change of view, to other things they think he has to atone for. Is that necessary for them to believe him now?

I think for most of us, we are not pigeon holed in any fixed political policy. We may be right or left or something else, but sometime there are ideas or positions that don't have any labels or are common sense that all may agree. I never thought that it made anyone less of a person if their ideas weren't absolutely consistent. I don't always believe the person to be an enemy, even if I think their ideas could be destructive. It is the persons actions that I look at. I see too many Americans look at each other and consider them the enemy or traitors, strictly because the other does not believe as they do. I am not speaking of extreme beliefs; these persons have not been involved in an effort to overthrow the government, commit terrorist acts, or harm anyone. I don't know what to think, when I hear those who talk of liberty, hint that the opposition is not loyal to America.