Thursday, October 30, 2014

RIP Mayor Tom Menino

I grew up in Watertown, NY, but after finishing my education I moved to Boston. I had always been intrigued with the history of Boston and wanted to live there. Since my education was in the medical field, it made since to move to Boston, where job opportunities were abundant. So after a short stint at a private lab in Albany I moved to Boston. I can remember a small group of politicians who were infamously known for their bigotry towards anyone who wasn't Boston Irish or who were gay. I must say that I was a bit intimidated by these at first but learned to stay away from their territory in South Boston. This was in 1985 and eight years later things became to change.

In 1993, after Mayor Flynn resigned to take an ambassadorship, Tom Menino became acting mayor. He went on to become the longest serving mayor Boston has ever had, winning every election with a wide plurality. During my time living in Boston, my adopted home town, a lot changed. Menino championed the rights of all Bostonians, not just a select few. I can remember that every St. Patrick's Day, the organizers of the parade denied any gay group the right to march in the parade. I can still remember the bigoted head of the parade, Whacko. Yes that was really his nickname and he was proud of it. Menino refused to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade, but he proudly marched in the annual Boston Gay Pride parade.

He was not afraid to frequent Black, Hispanic, Vietnamese or Chinese neighborhoods or eateries, as he seemed to thrive in the different cultures that Boston was becoming a home to. I can remember when he first became mayor he attended our little neighborhood block party and came to my house to pet the dog. He was just another neighbor.

When I tell people I lived in Boston they often ask how I could stand the high taxes and big city life. The truth is I paid a lot less, about 50% less in taxes than I do now here in upstate New York and the "big city" of Boston was more like a bunch of little neighborhoods of different backgrounds, all living together.  Boston  became this way because of Mayor Tom Menino. He was truly a politician who cared for his city and its people more than politics and money. He was Boston and Boston will miss him, but she will never forget him. Thank you Mayor Tom Menino.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Life in These United States

I was passing the time a short while ago by reading Yahoo News on my IPhone and came across an interesting story, titled "The 10 States With the worst Quality of Life". The criteria for quality of life were employment rate, household disposable income per capita, health and percentage of people without health insurance. The 10 states were: 1.Mississippi, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. W.Virginia, 5. Tennessee, 6. Oklahoma, 7. S. Carolina, 8. Louisiana, 9. New Mexico, 10. Georgia.

The article described the poverty and quality of life in these ten states, without mentioning a word about politics. It did mention that in most of these states there was high voter turnout as compared to the rest of the country.  After reading the article I sort of thought there was something familiar with these states. All but Arkansas and West Virginia have Republican governors and all but West Virginia are Red states! Very interesting.

I can only draw one conclusion. With the high voter turnouts in these states, which support Republicans, maybe the electorate enjoys the poor quality of life! It makes no sense to continue voting for the party that keeps you in poverty!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another School Shooting

I have written a few posts in the past on gun violence and school shootings and now sadly I am doing it again. After each shooting there is an uproar from some parents and a few politicians calling for stricter gun laws and all kinds of nasty rhetoric from the NRA in defense of guns. Nothing ever gets done. So here we are again. In Washington state a teenage boy went on a shooting spree in his school cafeteria, because he was jilted by a girlfriend. He killed one student and seriously wounded others before he killed himself.

Once again people are looking for answers to stop the killings, but what is amazing is the number of loud voices who say this would never have happened if school officials and faculty were armed. They also warn people not to overreact because the Democrats will take every one's guns away. What complete and utter morons!

I have lived in other countries and have many friends from different countries in Europe and Asia. When I was living abroad I was so embarrassed each and every time there was a school shooting. I could never answer that question, "Why do Americans have to have so many guns?" America has more guns than any other country in the world and we also have abundantly more gun related deaths than any other country in the world, civilized or not.  Many opponents of gun control say that the violence is a result of violent video games. Japan, China and Korea have way more video games than the US, but they don't have any school shootings or gun related murders. These same opponents argue that gun violence is a result of poor mental health care. This is basically true, but we do not have a monopoly on mentally ill people and our care is much better than in many countries which have no instances of gun violence. Are Americans slowly becoming desensitized to school killings and regressing back to the uncivilized days of the Old West? It seems that way, especially in those states of the Old West.

The argument that Obama and the Democrats want to take away all of the guns is purely idiotic. I like to target shoot on occasion and I have friends and relatives that love hunting. The weapons that should be banned are not hunting rifles and shotguns, but assault weapons intended to kill as many people, not deer, as possible. These assault weapons are intended for  military use. Unfortunately these weapons have also found their way into the hands of terrorist organizations around the world, as well as high school students. Gun control opponents almost overwhelmingly follow Fox News and therefore get all of the wrong facts and outright lies. I am sorry to say that a couple of my friends are like this. You can't argue with them by using facts, as they believe Fox is infallible. 

The old argument that "people kill people, guns don't kill people" is true, but having so many guns so available to so many people, regardless of mental state, is completely irresponsible. For a long time this country was embroiled in the argument of whether or not gay people should be issued a license to marry. A license for two people who love each other to be married, which would hurt  no one, was bitterly fought over and most times denied, while any mentally unstable person could walk off the street and buy and assault weapon to kill as many people as he wished! When people adopt a dog or a cat they have to go through a process where they must prove they are responsible enough to own a pet. Not so with purchasing a gun in many states! As long as you a breathing, even better yet, wearing an NRA pin or Confederate flag, you can buy whatever weapon you want.

I doubt that things will change much in this country, especially since our politicians are increasingly bought  by the NRA and other large corporations. Conservatives in this country are increasing showing that they value owning a gun more than the lives of children.  Our democratic style form of government is slowly giving way to an oligarchic form of government and the American voters are too stupid to realize it. Sadly I will probably be writing another post sometime in the near future, after another mass school shooting. People are worried and demanding action after one person died from ebola, but show no concern about our increasing epidemic of school shootings! America has a problem!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Medications Could Kill You

When I was younger I didn't know anything about medications and I don't think too many other people did either. When you went to the doctor he gave you some medicine, which you hoped would take care of what ailed you. Most likely you didn't even know the names of the medications and didn't worry about side effects.

All of this has changed in the past few years with drug companies advertising their products. Every day we are bombarded by ads for medications for conditions including hay fever, ED, bronchitis, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and a myriad of other diseases. I think these commercials go right over the heads of most viewers, unless they are suffering with one of these conditions. So basically they are ignored by most of us. But what about those people who have a disease and may benefit from taking one of these advertised drugs?

The commercials always show patients,  who are supposedly taking the medications, as happy go lucky, smiling and sociable and without pain. The announcer suggests that you could be helped by these wonder drugs and tells you to ask your doctor about them. Then after you are told how wonderful the drugs are the announcer goes on to warn you of the possible side effects. These warnings include the possibility of stroke, heart attack, blindness and my favorite, "even death". The announcer even warns you not to take the medication if you are allergic to it. How in hell are you going to know if you are allergic to it unless you know the patented scientific name of the ingredient or unless you give it a try to see what happens?

I have breathing difficulties and have seen ads for medications that might possibly help me, but I admit that the possible complications would be much worse than having some difficulty breathing. I would think that a lot of people would be terrified to try these medications, for fear of death. I previously wrote a post on the high cost of drugs in this country, I've Been Ripped Off  by the Big Drug Companies, which leads me to make a point on that high cost here.  Drug advertising is extremely expensive on TV, the Internet and in magazines. So who's paying for this expensive advertising? We are, through increased cost of the drugs we buy! Every time you see one of these ads, just remember that even though you aren't suffering from that particular disease, you are paying for that ad when you buy another medication! Now that should make you sick!