Monday, August 31, 2009

Health Care, not Sickness Care

An open letter to President Obama:

Dear President Obama:

I am taking a break from my normal satirical commontary to offer an opinion on your current mandate.

The fall session of Congress is set to re-engage in discussions around Health Care Reform. Both side will undoubtedly be just as far apart in coming to a resolution as they were before the summer. However, this is based mostly on political dogma and not on delivery of a public health care model that is equitable and economically sound.

Sadly, Canadian health care is frequently dragged into the argument for Universal Coverage. I say “sadly” because both sides use it as an example of how it does or doesn’t work. It is true that all Canadians have access to health care, however, it is neither free not quality (for the most part). We have access to universally poor care, long waiting lines, and no choice to pay for better care even if a person has the means. And most of us pay for it twice: once through the basic income tax contribution and second through provincial Medical Service Plans that deduct from your wages. Some places also institute user fees to see practitioners.

Furthermore, adopting such a system in the United States would not solve the problem because throwing more money at it will still do little as long as we have “Sickness” Care in North America, not “Health” Care.

Canada and the United States both contribute the majority of their public funding to health care (when you consider indirect spending in drug R&D and insurance claims in the US) and that figure continues to climb every year. While it’s true both our populations enjoy the highest standards of living in the world (on average) and some of the longest life spans, health care focuses more on illness treatment, not illness prevention. When you consider that more than 60% of deaths this year in North America will be from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory illnesses, nearly all of which are due to lifestyle and thus, preventable, putting more money into treating people once they are in hospital is a losing cause.

So what is the best option?

  1. Nothing of value is free; people only appreciate that in which they have invested. Provide an opportunity for every American to purchase a basic “universal” health insurance plan that provides them with access to a family doctor and a basic deduction for prescription drugs. This insurance could be no more than the cost of a case a beer a month. As well, the cost for this should be tax deductible, so it is cost neutral for citizens but don’t make it free.
    If someone arrives at the doctor’s without insurance, their first installment can be purchased on the spot.

  2. Provide tax credits for “Active Lifestyle” investments. One thing Canada does do right is a recent decision to provide up to $500 tax credit per child per year to participate in local sports. This should be implemented in the U.S. and extended to adults to join gyms, take up tennis, etc. The tax credit eliminates the barrier of exercise being “too expensive”.

  3. Ban the production, import or sale of all tobacco products. Cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke etc. Can you imagine trying to introduce cigarettes into the marketplace for the first time now? You would be branded an insane criminal on the scale of Pol Pot. Unlike the prohibition on alcohol in the 20’s and 30’s, small scale domestic growth and distribution of tobacco would be practically impossible. And to all those who say we can’t afford it because tobacco taxes bring in too much revenue, understand that they are a small portion of the cost of treating someone in hospital and the loss of productivity due to ongoing illnesses and death to the economy.

  4. Train more doctors and nurses. Across North America, communities (especially small or remote ones) are in desperate need for medical practitioners. However, schools maintain relatively small classes. While I understand the need to maintain high entrance standards, taking in an extra 10% every year will not diminish the overall “intellectual” average of the graduating class. Furthermore, the added cost to train more doctors and nurses is easily compensated for by the boost to the economy by having more highly paid professionals in the work force and the subsequent improvement to common health by having greater access to more doctors, nurses, technicians and nurse practitioners.

I’m sure that there are other improvements that can be made. However, as long as we are only focused on how to put more money into the current paradigm, whether it is through government coverage, HMO’s, or “free” insurance plans funded by the government, there will be no solution.

Your Canadian Friend,

Trooper Thorn

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Demotivation

The Friday Demotivational Posters are proving to be very popular. So who am I to argue with what the people want?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Summer of '69

The death of Ted Kennedy this week has brought a close to one of the most significant summers in recent memory. Most news outlets are telling us the passing marks the End of an Era: Camelot, The Sixties, the Baby Boom Generation etc. Of course they are correct, but only when you consider the other events that marked 40th Anniversaries this July and August:

  • The beginning of troop withdrawals from Vietnam

  • The Apollo 11 moon landing

  • The Manson Murders

  • Woodstock

The only significant 40th Anniversary to look forward to next year is the opening of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Bryan Adams picked the right summer to sing about.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Megan Fox's Career in a Nutshell

Fox News reports today are claiming Megan Fox will play Catwoman in the next installment of the Batman series. Unlike other actresses of the "sex symbol" variety, Fox is bypassing the obvious next step in her relentless quest to Hollywood stardom: Bond Girl.

If my calculations are correct, this should be the next few career moves after Catwoman:

  • "Buddy" movie with Hillary Duff and Beyonce where she shows her "chops".

  • Inner city high school teacher whose misunderstood students learn to see the world through new eyes. Fox receives and Oscar nomination but no shot at winning .

  • Critical acclaim for role in high concept tech-thriller opposite Christian Bale.

  • Wins Oscar for her portrayal of Najwa Ghanem, Osama bin Laden's first wife.

  • Disappointing romantic comedy with Jake Gyllenhaal where they have to sail from Manhattan to Miami to prevent the wedding between each of their best friends.

  • Box office flop of her personal pet project "NASCAR Angels" about a group of women race car drivers.

  • Moderately successful TV series where she plays the older, world weary best friend of Amanda Bynes.

Does that seem about right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dangerous Celebrity Surfing

Beautiful people are bad for your computer, according to reports. Googling for information or photos on some of the most popular stars can often lead to spa and malicious software. Security company McAffee says searching for any of the following 5 celebrities is just as likely to download a virus as download a sexy photo:

  • Jessica Biel

  • Beyonce

  • Jennifer Aniston

  • Tom Brady

  • Jessica Simpson

In contrast, searching for the following 5 celebrities is very unlikely to lead to any security compromise:

  • Bea Arthur

  • Regis Philbin

  • LaWanda Page

  • Al Franken

  • Emmanuel Lewis

Monday, August 24, 2009

Suicide Silver Linings

Ryan Alexander, the fugitive reality TV show contestant wanted for the murder of his wife, was found dead in a motel room just across the Canadian border this weekend. Thus, an end has come to a grim tale. However there is some "good news" in the outcome:

  • Canada has saved the State of California millions in trial costs, appeals and incarceration.

  • VH1 was forced to pull the tawdry "Megan Wants a Millionaire" show Alexander had been on.

  • The news cycle on this story should end today giving more room for items about Jessica Simpson's battle with her weight.

That's about it. Unless, however, this incident is the proverbial "straw" that breaks the back of the whole reality TV industry and we get back to non-exploitative shows like Full House and Facts of Life.

How about some of these TV show ideas?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Demotivation

Last week's demotivational posters proved to be so popular, and I'm wrung out from postings this week (and on Hot Dads), I'm putting up some more. Have a good laugh to start off your weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Go Joe! Get That Sequel Started!

Last night I took my sons, 20 and 15 years old, to see G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra. If could be because my expectations were not high, since it was a summer action flick based on children's toy, but I had a great time. The boys both really enjoyed it too. If you willingly suspend your disbelief and don't bother tracking plot inconsistencies, here are a few very cool things you too will get pumped by:

  • Supersonic planes unhindered by the laws of aerodynamics

  • Hot girls in form fitting leather suits

  • (For the ladies in the audience) Good looking guys in form fitting fighting suits

  • Awesome martial arts fights

  • Tons of gun play, but surprisingly little graphic violence

  • Exciting car/motorcycle/accelerator exoskeleton suit chase scene through the streets of Paris

  • Secret underground bases and secret underwater lairs that would have been impossible to build without the whole world knowing and require no support staff (janitors, cooks etc) to run

  • Nano-technology is always cool

  • Dennis Quaid is large and in charge. Imagine if his Gordo Cooper portrayal and his Tuck Pendelton character had merged and aged 20 years, and you've got General Hawk

  • Revenge and redemption

  • Particle accelerators that can do magical things even Stephen Hawking has not imagined

  • Did I mention the hot girls in form fitting leather suits?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama: The Verklempt Mensch

Word from the White House today is that President Obama will be adopting a more "emotional" approach to move forward on his Health Care Agenda. Dogs & Jeans Crack Research Squad has uncovered the President's 10 Point Plan to be more sensitive during speeches:

  1. Give more high fives and fist bumps when coming out on stage.

  2. Tell an embarrassing personal story, preferably something involving Michelle, a misunderstanding and no pants.

  3. Appear to lose place when reading from teleprompter.

  4. Sneeze in an unusual way that is both off putting and endearing

  5. Remind everyone that you are from Hawaii, Don Ho was from Hawaii, and everyone liked Don Ho.

  6. Get angry when describing inner city ER waiting rooms. Shake your fist.

  7. Step away from microphone to compose yourself.

  8. Describe yourself not as a Democrat or Republican but as an American. Be sure to dab at the corners of your eyes with a tissue.

  9. Talk about your daughters and the joy of fatherhood.

  10. Weep uncontrollably and be escorted from the podium.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brett Favre: The Worst Quitter Ever

Brett Favre is "The Worse Quitter Ever!" It sounds like a 1960's movie starring Don Knotts, Debbie Reynolds and a race car driving llama.

Anyway, Favre has reportedly signed with the Minnesota Vikings and is already in training camp wearing a #4 jersey and purple horned helmet. This despite vehement denials as little as a week ago that he would remain retired for the season.

Who's got dogs, wears jeans and predicted he would play in 2009? THIS BLOG!!!

Of course, this comes as no surprise to anyone and I am in no way saying I had any special insight. In fact, there was even a greater likelihood that Favre would un-retire than Lindsey Lohan would show in-appropriate amount of side boob at a movie opening this weekend. (I can't believe I found this picture with her, a suggestion of nipple and Rush Limbaugh. I love you Google!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Get High on Cash!

After a few weeks of positive gains in the stock market, the Dow Jones tumbled today amid speculation that the world economy was not as close to recovery as everyone thought. Financial experts are giving opinions on whether "the stock market may have overestimated the prospects for an economic rebound" and the economy is still some months away from "a durable and sustainable recovery."

I think the answer may be simpler that that. Late this afternoon I spotted this story about 90% of all U.S. bills carry traces of cocaine. That's the answer! We're all high. How the stock market could ever function properly is a mystery when everybody involved is handling wads of cash that makes them stoned. I expect aver Wall Street investor, Fund Manager and Bank Executive is just a tainted $50 away from "rainmaking" at a strip club like PacMan Jones.

For the rest of us, don't touch money if you can help it to prevent impairment. If you do, wait at least 24 hours before making important decisions like getting a tattoo or buying a yacht.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday De-Motivation

I'm feeling a little emotionally spent at the end of the week, especially on the heels of my emotional outpouring yesterday over at Hot Dads.

So to inspire us going into the weekend, here are a few Funny De-Motivational posters from around the web.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Survive Your Health Care Town Hall

So you have decided to join the political process and attend your local Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform. Good for you and welcome to being part of the solution! There are a few things you should know so it will be a positive process for you and the other attendees. Nobody wants to get tasered!

  • Make sure you write down your questions and practice so as to not waste time at the microphone.
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing as it may be a long night. Layering is a good idea.
  • Bring a book in case the proceedings are delayed.
  • Arrive as late as possible so you can duck out the back door when the chairs start flying.
  • Be courteous while others are speaking.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses if possible so if you do end up in the Internet, you won't be recognized.
  • Bring water.
  • If your part of the country is prone to tear gas, also bring a face cloth so you can pour the water on it and cover your mouth and nose.
  • Wearing a helmet is never a bad idea.
  • Don't fight the mob if you get caught up and swept away. They are likely older and there is sure to be a Denny's close by where they will stop for coffee.
  • If the National Guard have arrived, you've stayed too long.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Get Rich With Microsoft!

Today's court ruling in favor of a Canadian firm has paved the way for a slew of high priced lawsuits against software giant Microsoft. The judgement upheld an earlier decision that i4i's patent had been violated when Microsoft included the technology in it's Word application and that i4i was entitled to over $200 million in compensation. Other litigants against Microsoft are expected to be announced including:

  • Paris Hilton - claiming she has ownership of the phrase "That's Hot" and is entitled to $28 every time it is written.

  • Donald Trump - claiming he has ownership of the phrase "You're Fired" and is entitled to $116 each time it appears in the context of a termination letter. In instances where Spellcheck fails to identify the grammatically incorrect "Your Fired", Mr. Trump is only seeking $58 compensation. No decision has been made on the extremely colloquial "Y'all is Fired".

  • The Merriam-Webster Organization and the Roget Family have combined their actions claiming that Spellcheck and the thesaurus function are an infringement on their "book" versions of each application. The parties are seeking $341 Billion in compensation and a guarantee by Microsoft no no longer support new "words" such as 'webisode', 'staycation' and 'vlog'.

Any American citizen who would like to join a class action suit seeking compensation for the use of their given name in the Word program is invited to call the law firm of Dewy, Geddum & Howe at 1-800-LAW-SUIT.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do You Splooge or Phlormp?

I need to discover the next big technology thing so I can get rich, quit my job and spend my days drinking beer and playing with my dogs. I mean, writing significant philosophical articles to enlighten my eager readers. Yeah, that's it... philosophical articles.

Considering the biggest things lately have been goofy sounding made up names for unnecessary applications (e.g. blogging, youtube and twitter), I am going to devote my efforts to one of the following flights-of-fancy:

Splooge: Are you too busy at work, often doing more than two things at once? Splooge can reduce the chaos by allowing you to open and work in more than one Windows application at once. Word and Excel? No problem? MSAccess and PowerPoint? Easy. NetMeeting and surfing for porn in your underpants? Only where prohibited by law and your company's open cubicle policies.

Glimnik: Are you tired of avoiding telemarketers? The problem with most 1-800 blocking systems is they confirm that your phone number is valid, so the companies just keep calling in hopes of finally getting someone who will answer. The Glimnik tool will recognize an incoming 1-800 number and randomly re-rout it to a completely different telephone number. After several different attempts all result in connections to several unrelated households, your number will be removed from the software. Good for avoiding in-laws too.

Phlormp: Is being overweight, out of shape and ashamed of your appearance keeping you from jumping on the Facebook bandwagon? Let Phlomrp at your profile pictures. A simple "enhancement" application will trim the fat from your face and pounds from your paunch so you can proudly post that profile pic!

Creedonk: If you Twitter, and are tired of reading pointless tweets so mundane, not even the Twit's mother (is she a Twatter?) would care? Launch Creedonk and let the catalogue of criticisms such as "Who Cares?", "Get a Life!" and "Close the bathroom door Jerk!" train the Twits to tweet with something worth reading.

I ask Dogs & Jeans readers to vote on which application they would like most.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Attack of the Monuments!!!

In Belarus, a massive statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin collapsed on a man who was hanging from it, killing him on the spot.

In a related story, Washington DC's statue of Abraham Lincoln scowled at Jon and Kate Gosselin.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bill Clinton to Retun the Dalai Lama to Tibet?

Bill Clinton's charisma and power to influence has not diminished even after two full terms out of office. After a brief meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il today, Clinton was able to obtain pardons for two US journalists previously sentenced to 12 years of labor for "entering the country illegally".

But Clinton won't be ending his Expedition of Charm any time soon. Expect to see to the following news headlines in the coming months:

"Palestinians to End Intifada; Clinton Arranges for Major League pitching try-outs for all rock-throwing youths."

"Miss California Crown Restored to Carrie Prejean; Clinton and Trump reach deal for increase3d cloning research of supermodels."

"Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis all Re-uinted: Bill Clinton holds 'Celebrity Love-In" summit in Hollywood, the first of many."

"Global Warming Cooling Off: Clinton reduces atmospheric temperature with his cool, sweet breath."