Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bruce Jenner is a Conservative Republican?

   


    I am sure by now that most people have heard about, if not seen Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer regarding his transition to a woman.  It was a very interesting and informative interview to say the least, even though ABC peppered it with a million commercials!  I truly believe that he has been going through an agonizing struggle all of his life and I admire him for his courage coming out as a woman now. A lot of people say that he has become a role model for the thousands of transgendered youth who are currently having to deal with this in their everyday lives.  I am not too sure about this though. Coming out now as he is doing is a brave thing to do, but after all he is a very wealthy person who can afford the cost of surgeries, medications and therapies, which the normal high school teenager could never even imagine begin able to afford.  Some have even accused Jenner of staging a huge publicity stunt to improve the ratings of the reality show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians".  I certainly hope not.  I have a very low opinion of the Kardashians, but I don't think they would allow this to happen. I also doubt the strength of their support for Jenner.

    As I have said before, I found the interview to be very informative, but not shocking, except for one segment. This was one segment of the interview is where I strongly believe Bruce Jenner to be in denial and to have lost touch with reality. This is where Diane Sawyer asked him if he was a Republican and he responded that he was a Conservative Republican! He went on to say that he would expect John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to be very supportive of him and his actions! Wow! The very people who are helping to spearhead the denial of all rights for the LGBT community Jenner thinks are his friends! They might support him until they have taken all of his money, but then they would throw him under the bus.  If Jenner wants to help other transgender people he should help fight the right wing Conservatives who are trying to destroy the transgender community!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is the Wizardry of Dr. Oz Over?

   



    A little over two years ago I decided to try taking raspberry ketone capsules to see if I could lose some weight.  I even wrote a post about  it here in this blog, "I've Joined the Raspberry Ketone Craze".  I usually never fall for these cure all or miracle weight loss gimmicks, but since it was recommended by Dr. Oz I thought I would give it a try. I didn't lose any wight, but I did throw my money away on a snake oil salesman. I knew quite a few people who also, on Dr. Oz's advice, decided to try raspberry ketones. They too got ripped off and didn't lose any weight.

    It seems that in the past few years every time I see a miracle weight loss drug or gimmick, or a new and healthier way of eating or exercising, Dr.Oz's name was somehow connected to them. His name and face were plastered all over TV, the Internet and newspapers and magazines. I often wonder if he really is a good thoracic surgeon, where does he find the time to operate?  He seemed to be selling something all of the time!  After the raspberry ketone and green coffee bean extract scams I lost complete faith in anything Dr. Oz said or did. To me he was just a greedy quack, who gave other hardworking doctors a bad name.   Even the once entertaining and informative show "The Doctors" is following in Dr. Oz's footsteps, selling anything form skin care products to supplement.

    Dr. Oz is fighting back at his many critics, but I wonder if it is more to keep or increase his ratings rather than to protect his professional integrity! I think it is time he decided whether he wants to be a physician or a he wants to be a television celebrity. He can still be a physician and have a TV show where he can offer up to date information on healthcare and medicine, as long as he doesn't take advantage of his viewers trust and try to turn that trust into a financial benefit to himself. Better yet, maybe he should just stick to medicine and give the best patient care he can possibly give.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What do Indiana and ISIS Have in Common?

   

    Lately I have refrained from writing any posts in regards to the escapades of the Tea Party and the
 right wing conservative Republican reprobates, settling instead for just watching them self destruct in the next election.  But the actions of the Christian right in the past few months and especially of Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signing the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law has really got my blood boiling.  This so called religious freedom law actually makes if legal for any business to refuse service to anyone the business owner deems to be in violation of his or her religious beliefs. In other words if you don't fit their model of a "good Christian" you don't get any service. It is quite obvious that this law is actually an anti gay law since it is aimed at the LGBT community.  There are also states like Arkansas and others mainly in the deep South and "Bible belt" in the country that either have similar laws or are about to enact them.  Ordinarily I would not be this upset, as I cannot foresee a visit to such holes as Indiana or Arkansas, which I would akin to a trip back 500 years into the past. But their are are many more implications of these laws that are extremely dangerous to us as a democratic country.

    It is true that the main focus of these laws is to deny rights to the LGBT community and legalize discrimination in dealings with members of the community, but the discrimination will not stop here. The people pushing these laws, Right wing conservative Christian Republicans, argue that their "Christian faith is being attacked by gays and others who are trying to deny them their religious freedoms. They believe that the only religion is their brand of Christianity.  So after it is okay to deny service to gays it will be perfectly legal to do the same for Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and naturally Muslims. Once this is accepted practice they will further hone their discrimination to include Christian sects they do not particularly agree with, such as Catholics, Unitarians, Episcopalians etc.

    These laws are a blatant violation of the doctrine of separation of Church and State and must be addressed by Congress, if they have the guts to go against the religious right and the American people.  The proponents of such laws and a vast majority of Conservatives actually believe that the Constitution established Christianity as the state religion. They believe that our founding fathers intended that the United States be a Christian nation.  They totally refuse to believe any facts presented to them which prove otherwise and they totally deny the separation of Church and State.

    This country is spending millions of dollars a day and sacrificing the lives of our service men and women to fight religious fanatics overseas who are determined to force their religious beliefs of the rest of the world and deny rights to those who disagree or are of other faiths. The US is fighting the implementation of dreaded Sharia Law in societies of our allies in the Middle East, as our friends in the UK and Europe are faced with extremists trying to make Sharia the law of their land.  The most terrifying and dangerous thing that is happening is that the while we are fighting extremists abroad our own religious fanatics here at home are forcing their beliefs on everyone else.  There is absolutely no differences between members of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram and members of the fanatic Christian right in the US.  Just as Islam has been hijacked by radicals in their religion, Christianity in this country has been hijacked by radicals promoting their brand of religion and bigotry. If we continue to look the other way or placate the Christian right, as most of our politicians tend to do, we are all in danger of losing our rights as Americans.

   How can we stop this attack on our democratic rights and freedoms?  Well the most important action is to vote? The percentage of the American public who vote in our elections is deplorable. The religious right and Conservative fanatics, such as the Tea Party are able to gain influence because they get out and vote while the rest of us sit on our butts and then complain when it's too late. Another thing that must be done is to take away the tax exempt status from churches. By giving this tax exemption we are enabling churches to preach bigotry and discrimination and the denial of rights to fellow Americans.  While our military is fighting hate abroad, our churches are preaching hate back home! This situation is not just a passing political phenomenon it is a dangerous trend leading to disaster.

   

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why is Dental Care in the US So Very Expensive?

 


 When we lived in Malaysia our home was right across the street from a dental clinic, which was one of many on the island. This clinic was as modern or probably more modern than most I have seen in the US. The equipment was state of the art and the dentists were all trained in Germany or other countries in Europe, as well as the highly rated dental schools in Malaysia. When I knew that we would be soon going to the US to live,  Kevin and I made a trip to our local dentist to get a check up and work done , if needed, as we knew dentistry in the US was expensive. Kevin had 2 wisdom teeth removed and I had a filling and a bridge made. The total cost for the two of us was about 500 US dollars for excellent work.

    Now we live in the US and of course I chipped a couple of teeth and I need a couple of fillings. I knew that it was inevitable that I had to visit the dentist.  I began the process of searching for a dentist, even though I knew there would probably not be too much of a difference in the cost. I asked around and discovered that no one dentist came highly recommended, so I randomly chose one near where we live.

    The dreaded day came when I made my initial visit to the dental office. I must say it was a pleasant experience, as the dentist and his staff were very cordial and explained everything to me. The first day I had an examination and x-rays, which were expected. I was told that a number of teeth would have to have work done on them at some time in the future. Again this was expected. The cost for this visit was a little over $300. The following week received a filling in one of my teeth which was chipped. The cost $495!!!!  At this rate it will cost me thousands to have my teeth taken care of.  In just 2 visits to the dentist in the US I have spend almost as much as 7 years of dental care for both Kevin and myself! As with most people we do not have any dental insurance, which also is quite costly and does not cover much of the dental care. The cost had to go on a credit card, which will probably max out after a few more of the procedures!

    I knew dental care would be expensive here, but I was still shocked to see the exorbitant rates that were charged.  Dental insurance can be much more expensive than medical insurance and it only  covers a certain percentage of the costs.  There are various dental plans which offer discounts on dental work and are more affordable, but the problem is finding a dentist who accepts these plans.
I am sure that there are millions of people, especially seniors and children who go without much needed dental care because they simply cannot afford the outlandish costs. Dental care in the US is more expensive than any other developed country in the world. In Europe no one is denied dental care because of their inability to pay and other countries offer assistance in paying for dental care. When is the US going to wise up and realize that dental health is inextricably linked to overall physical health?  Soon in this country we will be able to ascertain the financial status of a person by looking at their smile!

    Looking at the high cost of dental insurance and dental procedures I have come to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to buy a ticket to Malaysia  and stay a couple of weeks to have our dental work done than to have it done here!