Your Daily Mindjob
This is my personal blog where I'll offer up some political straight talk as well as thoughts on technology and pop culture. That should give me plenty to talk about. The world can give you one heck of a mindjob. Think like me and get your daily dose.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maher's Obama Audacity Rant

By now, I'm sure you've seen it on tv somewhere. Who says the media doesn't offer up negative Obama coverage? Maher went off on him and the major networks picked it up and played the fat kid/cake routine. In cased you missed it, on the 6/12/2009 airing of Real Time with Bill Maher, the flagrant host ended his New Rules segment with a blurb about Obama. First, he went on and on about how much Obama is on tv these days. Then he went on to discuss how Obama basically needs to become a hardliner with a Bush-esque swagger.

Folks on the Right are actually agreeing with Bill without even wondering where his motivation is coming from. Because it's Obama criticism, they love it. Proof that folks on the Right are sheep. They won't agree once they understand who Maher is. They definitely won't be as pleased with his rant when they discover the ass Maher wants Obama to ram his foot into is a Republican one.

The media has actually covered this next point. Let me enlighten you. Obama obviously faces criticism from the Right. With some policy decisions, even the Left is taking swings at the President now. That's where Maher is coming from. He's an upset leftist in many aspects. By having his little tirade spinning Obama as a pansy spending more time on tv and less time actually doing presidential things, he appeals to a certain crowd. Look deeper. This tirade is a response to his need for Obama to push more liberal policies.

What policies?

Let's stick with health care for the purpose of my post. I'm fairly certain Maher is a strong defender of a single payer system. If you've been watching the news lately, you'll know that's not what the Obama plan is proposing. In fact, even during the campaign season, Obama did not advocate a single payer plan. If you look at Maher's history, he has it in for the drug and insurance companies to the point where you wonder if he might need to be on prescription medication himself. It's no surprise that when Obama tries to find balance with the insurance companies, Maher throws a hissy fit.

But that's the thing about Obama. He understands compromise and middle ground is the stuff Americans are craving right now. It's why he got elected. It's why the Dems are essentially in control on the Hill. The AMA is all over Obama's back. Insurance companies obviously have more than a few politicians in their pocket. It's not like Obama has a slam dunk opportunity to push health care reform through. Middle ground is mandatory, not optional.


With the Dems largely in control, he does have an opportunity to get things done. That's where Maher has a point. We saw this with Clinton. What happened once the Republicans had Congress? Nothing got done and they turned all the focus on the blowjob. We don't need another run of do-nothing politicians and we don't need to shove a boot up anyone's ass. There is no time like the present.

Other issues I'm sure Maher is upset about include legalization of marijuana and the environment. The first isn't happening. Not a priority. The second is sticky, but doable under this administration. With the economy in the shitter, green is the environmental policy and the economic policy all wrapped into one. That's the plan Obama preached during his campaign.

What do we need?

Folks on the Left need to stop throwing punches at Obama and go along willingly with his plans. He sure isn't going to get any support from the "No" Republicans in office now. Wait until later to pick your battles. Save your fighting words for when mid-term elections come.

As Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) said, "No man. Fuck sides! What we need is a little solidarity!"

What about Obama's celebrity status?

I think the motivation behind all the tv appearances has to do with morale. When Americans see their President out and about doing normal things, it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling which feeds into the love affair we've had with almost every guy that's taken office, almost (You know who). With the economy still in turmoil, I think Obama is trying to show the country that life is still enjoyable. Go out and do things. It's not like his job isn't stressful. Bush had his ranch. Previous presidents had Camp David. Leisure time is nothing new, even in times of war.

That being said, I do agree that he's spending too much time with things he shouldn't and not enough time getting in front of the camera telling the rest of us we need to sacrifice. I don't think we've learned our lesson yet. People still plan on living outside of their means. Greed isn't gone. We aren't cutting back on fuel consumption. We aren't taking global warming seriously. People still bitch about taxes, yet want government funded programs. Obama has to look these folks in the eye and just say what needs to be said. Sacrifice.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

National Health Coverage, The AMA, AMSA, etc

The American Medical Association, aka the AMA, said it would cooperate with the Obama administration in an effort to make health coverage a reality. Now they say they do not approve of a nationalized system. Profit appears to be their primary concern. I thought patient care was behind the oath physicians take.

First, let's get something straight. The proposed plan is not a full nationalized system. Those who are happy with what they have can keep it. Those who are not covered because they cannot afford insurance costs can be covered under the government system. It should create competition with the private insurers and bring costs down for all of us. Think of it as capitalism with a government edge. Competition is, after all, healthy and beneficial to the consumer.

The American Medical Student Association, AMSA, has long been a proponent of a single payer system as reflected in their publication, New Physician. It seems that the young up and coming future doctors in this country are at odds with the current AMA bunch. It must be pointed out, however, that not all physicians are at odds with AMSA. It's the AMA which has decided to make the conflicting statement. In other words, the AMA does not speak for every physician, unfortunately.

Let's look at pay under the British NHS, something I know a little bit about after doing my clinicals there. The starting salary for the first year resident equivalent, the house officer, can range from £25,000 to £35,000. Pay increases in successive years. In American dollars, using a rough exchange rate, that comes out to $50,000 to $70,000 a year for someone just starting out. Do our first year residents make that kind of money? No. The cost of living is also higher in England, but residents still do quite well over there. Residents in the US still struggle.

Do No Harm
There is an interesting debate when public health care is framed under the physician's motto, "Do no harm."

In one aspect, covering the uninsured and focusing on preventative care would improve health among our citizens. Depriving our citizens of health care would do harm. It would be in our philosophical interest to make some attempt at serving the community by offering coverage. Doctors will still get paid.

On the other hand, some doctors argue that if we nationalize the health system, they will be forced to treat more patients with less pay. They argue that patient care in hospitals, for example, would suffer as a result of overwhelming workloads. Less attention would be given to each individual patient. While that might be somewhat true under a completely nationalized system, ie: single payer, again, that's not the system being proposed by the Obama administration. This argument against government coverage needs to be modified to reflect the reality of the policy.

When doctors appear like their only concern is what's in their wallets, it makes us out to be those stereotypical money hungry arrogant jerks who care very little about patient care. On one side, medical students are being hit with medical ethics, the importance of a good history and physical, establishing rapport, and learning to be empathetic. On the other side, they are beat over the head that money dictates care.

What would remedy the workload concerns? Let me make a suggestion. There is already a shortage of physicians in the US, yet the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) passing score requirements have gone up over the last few years making it more difficult to move on from the 2nd year of medical school to the 3rd. Upon graduating, medical graduates must participate in the residency match program, a centralized system where hospitals match up their choices with potential candidates. The NRMP is somewhat flawed in that hospitals only take so many new residents a year. Thousands of potential physicians go unmatched every year. Yes, thousands. Get those folks into the workforce to take some of the load off.

Let's face it guys. Doctors and patients get screwed by the insurance companies. Insurance companies end up dictating how much a physician will make. The 10 minute consultation is a direct result of the demands insurance companies place on physicians. In order for a family practitioner to cover the costs of his office, he has to see more patients per hour in order to get paid by each insurer. It's really a nightmare trying to appease everyone. Patient care suffers as a result. Doctors who spend more time with patients end up providing better care to each individual patient.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Citizen of the world

Okay, so Newt said it. He's not a "citizen of the world."

So now that we find out that Reagan said it, the obvious question to ask is...

Did he just spit in the face of the man with whom many Republicans have an almost homosexual infatuation with?

Maybe not in those words, but you get the idea.

In the past, even Newt has said he's a citizen of the world.

So Keith Olberman and others now wonder how Newt can spin this so it's okay for Reagan to be a citizen of the world and not okay for Obama.

Easy, but nobody is saying it.

"Citizen of the world" is Republican code speak. It should not be interpreted as a proud part of a global family. It's code for not being a kiss ass to towel heads. Hey, I'm being blunt about this. Those are the people Newt is trying to reach with that comment. It's the same cowboy attitude Bush had when he was in office. They prefer to go it alone. They don't need help from anyone. Imagine the cranky old cripple who smacks you away because he wants to do something all on his own. That's the attitude stinking up the place.

It's all just malicious code people! Call them out when they make use of it! These are perfect examples of how the Republicans talk to each other behind closed doors. You know what they really mean, so say it already.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Haven't posted in a while

I have not felt the need to post in a while. See, the thing is, lots of things have been going on in the political world. Most of it has done quite well on its own.

The Republicans and conservative base have been doing all the damage on their own. They don't need any help exposing their evil side. Rush can do that all on his own. His sheepish followers help fuel the fire that has been so great to watch over the last few weeks. Cheney going out there and opening his mouth has been a blessing. Republicans are so disoriented right now.

On top of that, the media is having a feeding frenzy. With the new Ed show on MSNBC, my straight talk attitude is less necessary. His Crazy Talk segment pretty much sums up my feelings on most days. Most reporters are speaking their minds lately too. Bill Maher hasn't been as gung ho as I'd like, but he did stop the two Republicans he had on his show last Friday.

I'm wondering if there is a need for a voice like mine. People are finally catching on. Still, there are some things I'd like to cover and I might get back into writing in the weeks to come. Republicans have been saying the same old shit lately though, so repeating myself isn't all that fun. Democrats like me are equally frustrated with the broken record too. The conservative base is scared and the same old tricks are all they have to fall back on. They only have Rush, Savage, and Fox News to turn to for inspiration. It's time to leave the fools clinging to a lost cause in our dust. Let them scramble for power among themselves. We have progress to make.