I ran across an article last night. It’s written by Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, MD. It’s something I’ve written about many times in the past, but perhaps he says it better here (emphasis is mine):
“The third party payment system prevents normal market forces from working. The health care providers and hospitals are negotiating their prices with the third party rather than the consumer. The third party payer has a completely different set of interests and priorities than does the consumer/end user. The consumer is never offered a direct, transparent price. The consumer is actually out of the loop! Without transparent prices negotiated between the consumer and the producer (provider), market forces are unable to work. There is no realistic feedback between production and consumption using the pricing mechanism. Innovation is, likewise, not consumer-driven, but rather driven by the interests of the third party.”
Read the entire article!
I know I need health insurance, but I don’t WANT health insurance. What I want is to feel good and have the ability to see and afford a doctor to help me when I don’t feel good. All the effort of the political class seems to be about insurance and less about real health care. They really don’t get it and I think that is due to the influence of lobbyists who make enormous amounts of money by promoting the status quo.
I walked around Swedish Days in Geneva today. I was looking for a booth for the Republic of Letters. Annie Baldwin had passed around postcards about this organization this morning at Limestone. It’s a non-profit, new in the area, with a mission that states: “Reclaiming the civic space through reading, writing and argument.” They plan on holding events, classes and setting up a bookstore in Geneva. I support any attempt to bring more literary stuff into the area and so should you. Check out their website and if you like what you see, do what you can to get involved and help. Hopefully I will see the Republic of Letters organizers at Waterline next season! Being a writer is a tough gig and we all have to help each other out.
Every day is a gift. A friend told me that today on my way to Limestone Coffee & Tea this morning. She was walking her dog and flagged me down. She told me one of our neighbors had gone into cardiac arrest yesterday while attending one of her son’s ball games. Our neighbor was, at that time, unresponsive in the intensive care unit at Delnor hospital. She’s only 50. I’ve lost friends already; I imagine many of us have, but events like this still makes me pause and think about how short life is, how it can all change so suddenly and how my friend was so right: each day is indeed a gift, and we should never forget that.
4:58 and I just got my 250 words done (on my novella-in-process, not this post). It would be so easy to blow it off, but then I would feel so lame. 250 words! It’s not really that much and I can’t think of a good reason I cannot get time to write 250 words, no matter how busy my day. Now I can crack open a Friday evening beer, or have a Manhattan. I sweated over 250 (256 to be exact) novella words today – mission accomplished! It’s the little things in life.
I saw a friend today at the library, one of the errands I attended to today. He is a changed person. He’s turned from an occupy-wall-street type to a raging capitalist! I may have read the signals wrong, but I doubt it. He’s starting his own boutique consulting business and buying and selling stocks like a hedge fund guy online using the new-fangled Robinhood app (which I read about in this article in Fortune). It just goes to show that people can indeed change. I enjoyed his enthusiasm and positive attitude. I tried to voice-of-doom-and-gloom him on the stock market gains, but I don’t think I had any affect. Good for him. What do I know?
Another of my clients released a book this week. It’s called Lighting the Chalice and it’s the history of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, which was founded in 1842. I did the interior formatting for the book. The cover was done by Tom Lichtenheld. It’s available on Amazon. Visit my book design project page to see what else I’ve worked on.
Normally I abhor nature. I am a city boy, far more comfortable on concrete than on grass. Decades ago, when I lived in California and Alaska, I entertained thoughts of living out in the country, but I was always more comfortable in town than I was on a trail. However, today is a stunning day in Illinois. The sun is out, the temperature at 9 AM is 69 degrees and the humidity is at a comfortable 68%. It couldn’t be a whole lot better. The backyard is looking good – the plus being I can just take a picture of it and not feel compelled to do any actual work, though I do have to clear seed pods out of the gutters today before the rains come again Thursday night. As I’ve said before, home maintenance never ends.
On Monday, nature invaded my kitchen. I awoke to find many, many little tiny ants on my kitchen counter. They do not belong there. I got out the chemicals and eradicated the little bastards. I have no qualms about using whatever technology works best once they enter my house. Within minutes the problem was solved. As I found their trail back to the kitchen window, I sprayed that area intensely and they have not returned. You will never completely win the war against ants, maybe just a battle or two. That’s enough for me.
We also have nesting doves in the birch in front of our house. The nest had baby doves earlier in the year and they already departed. Now we have two more! I don’t know a thing about birds, though this surprised me. I figured once they had their babies they were done for the year. This could be another momma bird I suppose. They all look alike. The nest is perfectly placed for viewing or pictures, though we tend to avoid hanging around too long as it appears we get the little ones upset.
Technically, the summer solstice was at 11:24 (Central time, the only time that matters) last night. Seems kind of stupid to have summer solstice, celebrating the day with the longest amount of sunshine, at night. But what do I know about it? So little. I do know we will have light for a long time today, so try and get out an enjoy it.
I have made a commitment to myself to write at least 250 words per day. I should be writing my 250 words in the book I’m working on, but blog entries count too.
I would like to make some money writing, but that seems almost impossible to me. I read blogs about blogs and all of them say the same thing: to make money blogging you have to choose a niche and find products to advertise within that niche. That makes sense to me. My dad told me something similar when I was in college. Pick a niche and milk it. I did that and it worked for a long while, until it didn’t. Then I had to pick a different niche, which was OK. Now I’m niche-less, which if you are reading this on my blog you are quite aware. I’m all over the map. I write about political stuff and even there I stray from liberal to moderately conservative, depending on the issue. I write about books. I love to read and I read a lot. I thought book reviews, with links to buy the books might make some money. And it could, but we’re talking pennies, literally pennies, every time someone clicks a link on my blog and buys a book I recommend. That’s not likely going to help me pay the outrageous health insurance bill (there I switched to politics again). I like trains and planes and boats, like a little kid. I can’t see a way to exploit that niche for money.
Maybe I should just write whatever pops into my little brain. Yea, I’ll stick with that and try and forget all the “make huge money blogging” schemes! Back to my book…
A summer rain. Thunder. A steady hard rain falls. I’m sitting on the screen porch. With no wind right now, I’m staying dry. It’s quite pleasant. I love the sound of the falling rain. We need the rain too. We started out with a pretty wet spring, but June has been pretty dry and the flowers and lawn need this. Although I do notice I probably have to clear off tree seed pods off of one of my gutters – home maintenance just never ends.
I also like rain because it keeps the lawnmowers, weed-whackers and leaf blowers in the garage. Yesterday was sunny and gorgeous. However, one of our neighbors decided it was a good day to set up his table saw in the driveway and cut wood. He cut wood from 10 am or so to 5 pm. He had a whole trailer of wood and he just cut and cut. I live one street away and the noise was loud. I can’t imagine what his immediate neighbors must have thought. I can’t imagine what he was going to build with all that wood either. It was father’s day – both neighbors to the west had their dads over, out in the backyard barbecuing – the noise seemed so obtrusive to the celebrations. But, it was his right to saw wood on his own property if he so chose, and he did.
The rain is slowing now, but there are still plenty of clouds and sounds of thunder in the distance, so I doubt this is over just yet.
I saw Scott Pelley on one of his last newscasts on CBS. It wasn’t his final show, but he was in his final week. He was offering commentary on the latest mass shooting – the one at the Congressional baseball game. His main point was that we need to think before we talk. I think many of my problem moments in my life stem from my inability to keep my mouth shut. I seem to have a fear of silence and often rush to fill the void, often to my disadvantage.
But, now stifling your speech is considered being politically correct. If you can’t say what is in your mind, unfiltered and immediately, then you are being PC. Trump is certainly in that category, whether speaking or tweeting. Of course, this is crap. Our parents taught us: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And there used to be a more prevalent concept of politeness. I think the anti-PC crowd is often just rude and impolite. Manners seem to be a thing of the past, much to our disadvantage. We need the strong, silent type back! It would sure make our politics more civil and, probably, more effective.
This has been a rough week for justice.
A Minneapolis police officer was found innocent of charges in the killing of a black man. The killing was captured on video by the man’s girlfriend. It looked really obvious from the video that there was no reason to shoot the man, much less seven times. I’ve never been a policeman, or faced that kind of danger, so I don’t know what it’s like. But, my reaction under those circumstances is not the least bit relevant. Policeman are supposed to be trained and know how to handle situations that I would not be able to deal with. Hardly any police officers get charged when they shoot someone, black or white. And I suspect they do protect their own. I find it hard to believe, given the plethora of video evidence that has been shown over the last few years, that a hefty percentage of these shootings were not justified – that there had to be another way to handle that situation without killing someone. Like I said, I’m not a policeman, never have been, so I don’t know what I’d do, but I would hope that their “training kicks in” during a situation and that prevents a life from being lost.
The other miscarriage of justice concerns Bill Cosby. So far, sixty women have come forward to claim he sexually assaulted them. How can he end up with a hung jury and a mistrial? What is wrong with our system? What is wrong with juries? Maybe the juries are the issue! I read in the Washington Post this week that perhaps 7% of the population, about 16 million people, believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Maybe there are just too many stupid people in America. That explains a lot really.
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book made me feel more optimistic about our chances for the future. Way back in college I wondered about the underlying assumptions in my economics classes. The concept of continual growth made no sense to me. The supply / demand curve overlooked so many common-sense facts that I couldn’t take it seriously. I got a good grade, but I thought the mathematical emphasis of economics was wrong – far too limited in its capabilities to explain what is really going on. Here I am, 40 years later and now I find I wasn’t the only one!
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