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Everything posted by frankj

  1. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    Interesting chart referenced by lisabob. And I am in debt to her for allowing me to debate based on "gut feelings," although I suspect that my gut feelings would be acceptable to her if they agreed with her opinions. A couple of comments on the comparision. Most of the other countries cover "citizens and legal aliens," implying some limit on who is covered. The info on the US simply says 100% of people over 65 and, I think it was 82% of people under 65. How are illegal aliens to be handled under a universal system in this country, given that there are a lot of them? A friend of our family, lives in England, is himself a doctor, had a heart problem that ran in his family -- in his late 40's this condition began to act up, seriously. The socialized system told him to wait his turn, fortunately for him and his family, he had the means to get the treatment he needed, privately and he is still alive. So to you socialists and universalists out there, by all means, bring on universal health care, just make sure you squirrel away enough cash to take care of your own, or your families, emergencies.
  2. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    I thought we were having a debate, or at least an intelligent discussion. But I don't have to first show you a nation that wants to get rid of socialized medicine in order to express my opinions. I'll go back to my generational arguement. Or, more to the point, the frog in the pot arguement. A frog in a pot of water heated slowly, won't jump out and ends up being boiled, but a frog dropped into boiling water is going to try to jump out. After a while, a society gets used to the notion of socialism and socialized medicine. After a generation or two, they accept it because they haven't experienced anything else. The fact that there are no riots or debates in government doesn't mean things are as good as they can be. Surely, that is not your yardstick for measuring success, is it? Once the structure is in place it strikes me as being difficult to go back to the free market system, or something close to it like we have now. This frog does not want to be boiled.
  3. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    I think the answer to Blansten's question as to why the British don't toss their socialized medicine system can be answered by the following. 1) The political will does not exist. There are enough socialist politicians in power to block such action and possibly, the politicians who might be so inclined to change, may just be rich enough to provide for themselves by private care, so why bother? 2) The generation(s) (?) who have grown up under socialized medicine don't know any difference and/or can't conceive of a better system. Where have most of the medical innovations taken place in say, the last 20 years? In a country with socialized medicine, or in one with a system like ours, where the inventor stands to be rewarded financially for something new. Would the incentive be there in a country where the government controls the level of treatments? If a certain drug seems to work OK for a certain illness, and that is what government approves, why would someone try to find something better? What would be the incentive? Who would fund the research? In a socialist system it certainly would not be funded out of corporate profits, would it? Just a question. Maybe GernBlansten has the answers. We are waiting to hear from you.
  4. frankj

    "I Hope Obama Fails"

    SR540Beaver asked: Do we continue chasing and depending on cheap oil or do we try to develop new types of energy to break our dependence? My answer is, Yes, that is exactly what we do, for the time being, at least. And here is why. First, using your word, oil is "cheap." Secondly, we have the technology and the know-how to get it out of the ground, or from beneath the oceans. There is no substitute for it in our current economy and there will not be for years to come. Natural gas could come into the picture and it should, as a fuel for fleet-type vehicles that can be fueled and serviced at a central location. But for the short term, and maybe the medium term, petroleum, pumped out of the ground, will fuel and lubricate our vehicles, heat houses and continue to be put to the many other productive uses we make of it. Another reason to exploit our own oil: national security. The more oil we produce, the less we buy from regimes that hate us. Iran and Venezuela to name two. The writer you cited, Charles Krauthammer has made this point, I read the article you cited when it was originally published. Lower oil prices are hurting Hugo Chavez, he has asked for help from oil producing companies now, after having nationalized oil production. Krauthammer called for $1 per gallon tax on oil to spur conservation by American consumers -- along with, and this is the key, an equivalent REDUCTION in taxes elsewhere. That's ok with me. Now about these other forms of energy you referred to. I love wind power, but wind produces less than 1% of current energy needs. Wind farms are fought against in many of the places they are proposed. Wind energy would not even be the minor player it is today without tax subsidies from the federal government. Wind energy is not "portable" like petroleum and natural gas. It has to be linked to existing transmission lines from the point of generation. Some of the energy generated is lost in the transmission through the lines and I don't think it is a trivial amount. Maybe an electrical engineer can weigh in. Coal? We have a lot of it, but it is dirty. If you're against drilling for oil, then logically, you should also be against using coal. Are you? Solar -- same category as wind -- a footnote in the scheme of things. Tidal? Hydropower? Clean, doesn't pollute, but so many environmentalists don't like it that dams are being taken out in the Western US. Nuclear -- Now, that's what I'm talkin' about. Here is where you will get your baseload power, so when you flip on the light switch on a windless night, when the windmills aren't turning and the sun isn't shining, -- the lights actually come on. Our technology and infrastructure have developed around petroleum-based energy. We can't wish this away and the government cannot mandate changes to non polluting types of energy, although I am sure they would like to. The reality is, we will continue to rely on fossil fuels because they are, in your words, cheap. There will have to be an orderly transition to other forms of energy and I see our exploitation of petroleum resources off our own coastlines, in ANWR and elsewhere in the US as part of a logical, orderly use of resources.
  5. frankj

    "I Hope Obama Fails"

    Further to what Narriticong was saying about executive orders, last week BHO issued one that puts on hold GWB's exec order which lifted the ban on offshore drilling. In other words, the ban is still in place, while the new administration studies the problem. This is not how you help fix the domestic economy. It is not how you take steps to insure energy security for this country. It is a good way to signal other oil producing countries that we aren't serious about developing our own resources -- go ahead and raise prices. It is a great way to tell environmentalists that if they yelp loud enough, and long enough, a Democrat admin will give them what they want. And, finally, delaying things while the Admin "studies" the problem, might be a great way to wring political contributions out of potential lessees, producers, suppliers, etc. This is not change and it not the bold action so many people blathered about. It is the same old, same old. This is why I said I wanted him to fail. If he defines success as halting energy exploration, I want him to fail.
  6. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    Vol_scouter: Thank you, very much.
  7. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    Gern: McCain presented an alternative health care plan during the campaign. I read a side-by-side comparison of his and BHO's and his was better. BHO criticized it by mischaracterizing it with the sound bite: "He wants to tax your health care," and he got away with it, in my opinion, because too few people took the time to inform themselves on the issues and the popular press, certainly didn't pick up the slack.
  8. frankj

    Health Care Policy

    Well, I am honored. After posting off and on over the years, a declarative sentence extracted from one of my posts ends up being spun into a thread. Health care, and more specifically, the government provision thereof, has the potential to bankrupt this nation. Don't take my word for it. Read this column by George Will: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will010109.php3 I don't have the answers but here is what I do know, not in order of importance. 1) The public and private employers cannot continue to bear the burden of insurance for their own employees, and indirectly subsidize the uninsured. 2) Health care seems to be one of the only things in this modern world of the USA where the consumers cannot shop for services and make price comparisons. 3) It is my belief that people, in general, do not accurately place a value on goods or services that they deem are "free," as in the case of employer-paid-for medical costs. 4) When the government gets into the business of paying for health care, costs will go UP, not down. 5) When the government gets into the business of paying for health care, they will draw up a list of what conditions are covered and what conditions are not. And, the list of covered conditions will grow shorter, the longer government is involved. 5) When the government gets involved in direct payments for health care, using public money, that is taxpayer money, groups and organizations seeking a place at the trough will expand: use your imagination on this one. An overhaul of the system should include these items, in my opinion: 1) Portability -- a person's medical coverage should not be tied to their job. 2) A large deductible (how large, I don't know) but it should be big enough to discourage people from abusing insurance coverage. 3) Catastrophic coverage that is available to purchase -- the purchase of which should be encouraged. Don't ask me what do we do with someone who doesn't purchase it, or can't afford it and they have a big problem -- if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't be sitting here, I'd be in Washington DC making policy. 4) Get the routine stuff out of hospital emergency rooms and into clinics. This is a place where some taxpayer money might be well spent -- maybe some deal where doctors etc. agree to work for a while if gov't pays some of their education costs. 5) There will always be some element of "free" government health care needed for the destitute. This, in my opinion, should only be extended to the legal citizens of this country. Period. In closing, in my opinion this is one of the most difficult problems we face as a nation. Regardless of which party is in power, in the White House or in Congress, this is going to be difficult to solve in a manner that does not bankrupt this country.
  9. frankj

    "I Hope Obama Fails"

    Put me in the same column with Rush Limbaugh. Although I have not listened to his show for years, I saw the clip and agree with him. I do not want BHO to succeed with policies that lead to even greater government involvement in our lives. I do not want to end up with universal (socialized) health care. I don't want the youth brigade (or whatever name they for it) established. I don't want government to issue "refund checks" as a stimulus to people who don't pay federal income tax in the first place. Lower the payroll taxes instead on both employees and employers. I don't want federal energy policies that favor, via subsidies, wind and solar which produce a tiny percentage of energy needs. I don't want energy policies that ignore nuclear. I could go on but I think you get my point. I am not in favor of trying this stuff out to see if it works.
  10. frankj

    Big Three Bailout?

    The auto companies got some relief yesterday from the White House, in the form of a bridge loan -- despite Congress having failed to approve relief after Thanksgiving. Is it a "legacy thing" for GWB? I think it is that, and partially a goodwill gesture of sorts, toward the incoming administration -- the problem will be their to deal with but the meltdown, if there is going to be one, won't start until a few months into the next administration as opposed to right away. In my opinion, the new administration and the Congress will not be able to resist more financial assistance. Because with financial help, they will be able to exert some control as well. I think Congress would like to mandate more rapid development of all-electric and hybrid vehicles. I have a mandate of my own: the person or the design team from Ford, who engineered the way the driver's side headlamp bulb on my Expedition is accessed (for replacement), should come to my house personally and do it the next time it needs replacement.
  11. frankj

    Big Three Bailout?

    No bailout. Short term thinking and action created the problem. The 3 automakers and the unions got themselves into this untenable position by such thinking. The unions did what their members expected them to do over the years, bargain for ever higher wages and benefits. The mananagement went along to avoid strikes and maintain production. Both groups figured the future (the promised health care and pensions) would somehow take care of itself. The future is NOW, unfortunately. The credit crisis has precipitated what was destined to happen anyway. It is short term thinking to suppose that a "one-time" cash injection will lead to the structural changes needed in this case. The president of the UAW has already said that his union is not going to give up any of their benefits to help the situation. Maybe he was posturing, maybe not. But it really is all about the wages and benefits and the promised future benefits. Sure, cut executive compensation like someone suggested, it will be symbolic, not material but maybe worth doing. I don't like what's happening with the so-called bank bailout, but I think the line must be drawn. Otherwise, what industry sector is next? And if a bailout is given to correct the problems created by overpromising benefits and pensions, then why shouldn't cities, counties and states be bailed out too, for their now-underfunded future benefits? Rumblings are now being heard from those entities.
  12. frankj

    So Now What re this fiscal mess

    I don't work for a bank or a credit card issuer. Someone in an earlier post suggested forced caps on credit card interest. Sure, it would "benefit" credit card users who don't pay off their balances monthly, but the unintended consequence would be that companies would get out of the business of offering credit cards or they would offer them only to people who had high credit ratings. Someone with little credit history (a category all of us were in at one time) could not get access to credit, so people in this category who have the ability and the intention to stay current would be penalized.
  13. frankj

    Staying On Topic

    Another well-known Churchill retort: Woman at dinner table says to Churchill: Sir, if you were my husband I would put poison in your coffee. Churchill to woman: Madam, if you were my wife I would drink it.
  14. frankj

    Motorcycles; whats your pleasure?

    In order: Kawasaki 350 Street Scrambler, Kawasaki 500 Mach III, BSA 441 Victor, Triumph Daytona 500, Triumph Bonneville.
  15. frankj

    Eagle Project Issue

    It sounds like a good project to me. The fire pit could be a focal point for meetings of all kinds of community groups if the local fire dept. assn. would allow that. This would truly make it a project that benefits the community. Maybe as part of the project the Scout could work with the fire assn. to develop a few fire safety-type programs aimed at seniors, grade school children, etc. It could be a continuing opportunity for the troop to provide fire safety type presentations if the fire assn. did not want to .
  16. frankj

    Could You Give Up TV?

    We gave it up in 1992. The kids were 2 and 4 at the time. It was not part of any pre-conceived plan on how to raise the children, but I am convinced it was an important factor in their academic success and enjoyment of reading. If someone were to ask me today for advice on child rearing, I would tell them to turn off the TV. And to answer the original question, no, we do not miss it.
  17. frankj

    Unplanned activity

    I applaud you for having the willingness and the agility to reward the participants in the original activity with a spur-of-the-moment canoe outing. The message that non-participants might take from this event is, "you snooze, you lose."
  18. No, I don't care about TQM in the Scouting context, if you're talking about some new initiative because I think there already exists a quality standard, and that is simply "delivering the program." This is a phrase that has been used often in this forum. Gonzo mentioned Deming. He revolutionized thinking about quality in manufacturing processes. Later on, the hucksters, consultants and hustlers took the concepts, packaged them for corporate USA and the rest is history. scoutldr's post is right on the money!
  19. frankj

    Rumor about Paul Punyan Award

    I like Fuzzy Bears story because it reminds me of the admonition, "don't try this at home." If the tree was leaning toward some structure, it should have been cut. And doubly so, if it was dead. There is little that a pro, much less an amatuer can do to reverse even the moderate lean of a tree. Dead trees are hazardous because they may contain a rotten core and once you cut through the sound outer ring, the tree can 'go' without warning. Falling timber is hazardous whether you're a pro or an amatuer.
  20. I'm approaching the 'double nickle' age, 55, so these memories are from the mid to late 1960's: My first campout with the troop when I had to pass the fire building requirement and was advised by 'Sarge' (one of the adult leaders) to "...gather all the firewood you think you'll need, then go out again and get three times as much!" On this same campout (November) I slept in an army surplus bag and wriggled so much at night that a wriggled the lower half of my body out the front of the tent and woke up in the morning with my legs freezing. My Dad and I going to Sears and buying a 'Ted Williams brand' sleeping bag after this campout. It must have weighed 12 lbs and was in no way, shape or form designed for backpacking, but what did we know? Weekly meetings in the basement of the Presbyterian church. 'Sarge' teaching us how stand at attention and march. A low-key and very competent Scoutmaster named Jim who really knew the outdoors. An unforgettable canoe trip in the Adirondack Reserve one summer. Hikes and campouts in the Watchung Mountains. The hoopla and ceremony (all well deserved) when the ASPL reached the rank of Eagle, followed a few months later by the SPL. There are many, many more, from Troop 78 in Westfield, New Jersey, but today, I think the more important memories for Scouters my age are the ones that will come from the units they now assist in.
  21. I agree that the initial "No" should have been all that's needed. Is it possible the group raising funds is large or disorganized so they can't keep track of who has said no? This doesn't sound likely if the town is small. So there is another possibility, based on the fact that they wanted you on the building committee. You are respected in the community and your name on a donor list would help with the overall effort. One way to deal with this is to have a reason other than "I don't like your project" (You were probably not that blunt). Having some alternate charity or cause you regularly support and explaining this as the reason for not giving to the new undertaking is, I think, understandable by the solicitors of funds.
  22. frankj

    Menu planning - what a disaster

    Here are a couple of ideas: If I get the opportunity to "consult" on meal planning, I try and get the boys to think about the end of the meal, that is, the clean up part. I try to get them thinking about food they can cook (as opposed to Pop Tarts) and to get them thinking about stuff that is easy to clean up. A troop cookbook would be a great resource, I think. If you have enough boys for two patrols, you might want to have two notebooks, each with proven recipes and an ingredient list that the grubmaster could take to the store. The recipes could be organized by Dutch Oven, aluminum foil, or other cooking themes. Assembling such a notebook might make a useful task for the Troop Scribe. As an add on, you could consider taking a digital picture of each meal and including it with the recipe, or the digital photos could be your table of contents.
  23. Farther afield maybe but worth a suggestion: Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. Why? Think "The Star Spangled Banner"
  24. frankj

    A Modest Proposal on Terminology

    Correction: that should have been "uninformed when it comes to uniforms."
  25. frankj

    A Modest Proposal on Terminology

    A group of Scouts or Scouters may be "Non-uniformly uniformed" as a result of being uniformed when it comes to uniforms. I'm happy when they wear the shirt, I'm really happy when they arrive at the meeting with it tucked in.