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Archive for December, 2009

Apologies for not posting last week. I had final exams, I was going through a week of sleepless nights and food-less days. By the end of it all, it was worth it (although my body seems to think otherwise). I’m pretty sure I passed all my classes, and I’m back to complaining about politics, economics and human society!

This week, I’ve gone back to the health care reform debate to talk about the Senate bill for Health Care reform. It is interesting to note that “A Bill” (yes, that is the name of the bill) is roughly 2,700 pages long, so I don’t expect anyone to read through the whole thing. Admittedly, I did not read the whole thing myself (I no longer have the time to read 2000 page bills that are being thrown around Congress), but I have skimmed several sections on it, and yes, I did read up on it using several sources (both Democrat and Republican -aligned). The bill has gone through several radical changes since it’s movement to the Senate, so note that this is almost a totally different bill than the one that was introduced in the House several weeks ago.

Also, I’ve made a decision to no longer be a redditor. Unfortunate, yes, but I’ve decided that Reddit.com is too unfriendly of a community, and that the users of Reddit are misinformed, ignorant, liberal morons who refuse to acknowledge that other people may be offended by their pretentious and ass-hat behavior. Not every avid internet user is a pig headed atheist who thinks that Obama (or liberal thinking as a whole) is the voice of a generation.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope you all have a very pleasant winter vacation! As I will continually remind you, if you’d like to comment, please comment on wordpress (not facebook).

Currently Reading: Nothing, but I anticipate books for Christmas
Currently Drinking: Apple Juice
Currently Eating: Butter Biscuits (which are delicious)
Current Mood: Relaxed

It’s been an interesting week for health care reform, especially since the Senate called their health care reform bill to question (this means forcing a close of debate “on the floor” and making everyone vote) in the early hours of a Monday morning (somewhere between 12-2 AM). Drastically different from the House bill (“The Affordable Health Care for America Act), the Senate bill (“A Bill”) will not include a public health care option, but would increase subsidies to help Americans pay for government-approved health care plans that are in the government-run “marketplace,” otherwise known as The Exchange (The Exchange exists in both the House and the Senate bills). The senate bill also gives more control to the states, who would regulate their own exchange programs and would be able to effectively “ban” health care plans that supported abortion.

Democratically-aligned politicians have urged a passing of this bill. “We need health care reform, and we need it fast,” they urge. As a result, we get this rushed health care reform bill that disregards costs, efficiency and individual rights. So long as it’s a reform, it must be good right? And it’s the government, so we’re sure they have our best interests at heart, right?

Wrong. By forcing the bill to pass, at any cost, before Christmas, the Democratic half (60 of the 100 votes) neglects many problems with the bill, including high cost and poorly designed contracts with private programs. Any problems that they may have essentially gets dumped on the state governments, who have to organize costly marketplace programs, mostly without federal support. And, instead of actually providing reform to our health care system, Congress will opt to pump the market with subsidies so that people have to take poorly designed health care programs. And, if people (or business) don’t want to get health care, they’ll have to pay a fine. They’ll be forced to take government contracted health care plans that they do not want.

And, in total, this bill would cost up to and maybe over 780 billion dollars, even without the organization of a public option. Much of this money would be going into providing subsidies for people under the poverty line (increasing taxes), organizing new health packages (that only cover 50% of all costs), creating 50 different marketplaces, and paying for contracts with private companies. And where will this money come from?

Why, you, of course! Both the House and the Senate bills claim to be self-sustaining bills, but the chances that either plan will receive the money they project from Medicaid/Medicare or any public option are slim, at best. And, as medical costs continue to increase (as more and more people decide to take medical operations that they feel they can afford because “it’s on my health care plan anyway”), taxes will have to increase. Increased taxes on medical supplies, increased taxes on business both large and small, and increased income taxes.

The government may want to pay for health care for 30 million Americans, but money simply does not appear without consequences. And by pushing the bill to be passed before Christmas, the Democratic Senate and President Obama pushes for poorly organized health care reform that will dump us in a worse state than before.

Yes, our health care system needs reform. No, I don’t need to have it before Christmas. If I have to wait another several months for reform that is cheaper, better regulated, and more organized, I’m willing to hold out. This is not a situation where “it’s better than anything else.” This is worse than the health care system we already have in order.

For more information about the comparison between the House bill and the Senate bill, the New York Times has a rather comprehensive compare-and-contrast list between the two. It can be found here. Please remember that the House bill has already been passed, while the Senate bill is going to a vote at 7:00AM on December 24, 2009. Most of you will probably be busy with your friends and families, but it’s important to please keep an ear and eye out for any news! Go! Be informed!

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Hello everyone,

I hope you all are having a splendid and wonderful winter season. There hasn’t been a lot of snow up here, but it has been rather windy (and chilly as all fuck), so we get all the crummy cold weather without the actual fun snow stuff.

I’ve been working hard in actually doing well for my classes. Finals are coming up (which also means winter break is coming up, hurray), so I’ve been stressing about upcoming exams, presentations and papers. Next week will be my “finals week,” so apologies in advanced if I do not come up with some magical post. As much as I love writing here (and I assure you, I do), I’d really like to pass my classes. That’d really be awesome.

Other than that, things have been kinda slow. It’s sort of “the calm before the storm” so I’ve been taking advantage of the time by… cramming for exams. So much for calm before the storm.

Currently Reading: An assortment of books on Kabuki Theatre
Currently Drinking: Mountain Dew
Currently Watching: Mononoke (subbed)
Current Mood: Tired. I can’t wait for winter break. I really can’t wait for winter break.

A couple days ago, I started (and finished) watching an anime called Toshokan Sensō (English Translation: Library Wars). The anime is situation in an alternate-universe Japan where a law called “The Media Betterment Act” allows censorship of various books to protect the Japanese public from “harmful media.” Through the Media Betterment Act (MBA), the government is allowed to use force (sometimes excessive) to censor media that is deemed harmful and to suppress the freedom of media/speech/expression. During the same year, however, the government developed the “Freedom of Libraries Law” (a far less known law) that protects libraries from prosecution from the MBA and allows for limited freedom of expression (through media). Out of this law, The Library Defense Force is created to protect the freedom of media by backing up copies of limited books, opening public libraries (that are free from MBA control) and aiding in the protection of books by preventing book burnings and helping transfer books from one library to another. Their jurisdiction, however, is limited only to libraries, and they are not government funded like Media Betterment Troops.

But this post is not supposed to be a review of the anime (which, by the way is very good; I highly suggest it to anyone who has a couple hours to kill). A lot of the anime has to do with allowing us the freedom to express ourselves and making sure the audience realizes that we shouldn’t take things like that for granted. Because we live in a society that expects the freedom of speech and press, we tend to take it for granted. Having the freedom to say, do, write and act as you want (so long as it isn’t detrimental to yourself or others), is a powerful resource. By taking it for granted, the American public has allowed the integrity of expression to fall to the wayside. Instead of using it as a tool to propel progressive thinking and new ideas, the freedom to express one’s beliefs has become a defense mechanism to protect disorganized thoughts and biased opinions, as if they were fact.

And it is because we take the freedom of expression for granted that we are unable to see the importance in our words and actions, especially with regards to expressing our beliefs. We don’t see the importance in our words, because we are free to say what we want. But we should realize that, by being able to say what we want, we are opening ourselves to a community that has as much right as we do to respond and counter-argue. It also means that we should own up and take responsibility for our words and expressions, and we should put more thought into what we’re actually expressing, saying or writing.

But the opposite has happened. Instead, we use the freedom to express as an excuse to say and do as we want. The freedom to express doesn’t mean that any moron can blabber their head off to the rest of society, and it certainly does not mean he (or she) is right, and it has never (and should never) be used as a tool for poorly written ideas and work. It ruins the integrity of innovative fields, fills the world with poorly written ideas and works and destroys the meaning of “Freedom of Expression.”

Is it so much to ask for people to think before they project their opinions, thoughts and comments to the rest of society? It is so much for people to consider their actions, or put a little effort into properly expressing themselves? Apparently so, because I’m sure there would be a barrage of people who will complain that they have every right to say that people can say what they want because they have the freedom of expression on their side.

Yes, the freedom of expression allows you to say what you want, but realizing that you CAN say what you want should encourage you to put some work into thinking about what you’re saying. Consider doing some research on your topic, take other opinions into account, WORK to really make use of the freedom of expression.

The poor and biased writing and expression of today’s society makes me wonder if the American public even deserves the Freedom of Expression. For every gem that comes out of free expression, tons of shit comes out. And no, this does not make the gem look any brighter. In fact, it simply just covers the gem up in shit, so that no one can find it. Not many people are willing to wad through a sea of disease-infested crap to find the one diamond, no matter how wonderful it (the diamond) may be.

Not only do we need to take advantage of the gift of free speech, but we must understand as US citizens and residents that the freedom of expression comes with the responsibility of self-education and a little common sense. Perhaps it just proves that we, as a society, are incapable of using this freedom in a responsible and mature way,

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I just really wanted to apologize for not posting in a timely manner. Things have been rather hectic on my side (my play just opened [and closed], finals are slowly dawning upon us, and various personal matters have sprung up… I am a student, I don’t get paid to write… yet) and I promise you’ll get to hear more of my needless banter eventually!

I’ve also been working on a new costume. For my final project in Asian Theater, I’ve chosen to make a Kabuki costume. It’s been taking a lot of my energy and will continue to take much of my energy for the following few days.

But, never fear! I will post tomorrow (promise). If I don’t feel free to curse my name to the heavens.

Besides that, I just wanted to mention that I’m not a bitter old spinster, and I’m not some depressed jaded soul. But what would this blog be for if not for bitching and complaining?

And with that in mind, I’d just like to post some things that have been on my mind and are rather tiny, but warrant comments (too short for twitter, too long for wordpress).

  1. Twilight and its accompanying books act as a reflection of our poor reading and writing skills because it proves that we are incapable of liking complex character and must resort to consistently liking empty characters that we can fill with our own personalities.
  2. It’s funny to think that Democrats (and liberals) consider themselves the oppressed ones when they’re currently they hold the larger of two political parties, and the majority of both the Senate and the House (and if you’ve forgotten, our president is a Democrat).
  3. That being said, it’s equally funny to claim that Democrats will “drive this country to the ground with their liberal ideals.” Few people actually understand the platform differences between Democrats and Republicans. You’d be surprised to find out which party believed (or is supposed to believe) in what.
  4. People should read classics, not because they’re classics, but because they’re damn good stories. Romance, lying, cheating, backstabbing, toilet humor and deep human insight can all be found in a good Charles Dickens (maybe) or Jane Austen (definitely) book, and they do a much better job at it than JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyers.
  5. It is not cool for people who do not understand geek culture to suddenly call themselves geeks. It’s not something you can magically become just because your friend handed you a Linux Ubuntu disc or because (OMG) you bought your first hard drive (or because you like LOLcats).
  6. I don’t care how much of a rebel against “the man” you’re supposed to be. Everyone needs a nice set of clothing. No more pit stained dress shirts or mismatched slacks. This goes double for ladies.
  7. People should really do their research before they make a speech on it. This goes double if you’re taking about free speech, net neutrality, separation of church and state (and no, that is not clearly defined in The Constitution) and the Creative Commons License.
  8. It’s much easier to let knowledge go in one ear and out the other, unless you were taught to stick a sponge up your brain. We should all encourage sponge stuffing into American babies everywhere.
  9. The freedom to speak, write and think as you please comes with the responsibility of being able to logically think and analyze. Without that ability, the freedom of choice becomes a dangerous tool used by the ignorant masses who are simply too lazy to think, and too stupid to understand the importance of it.

Special thanks to Phil, Heather, Christian, Bill, Vince and Brian for coming to watch my play at some point in time, even if it was sad and even if I got raped and died in the end.

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