Archive for October, 2008

How many times when talking with friends has someone inevitably chatted about how their husband acts like “such a baby” when sick and yet refuses to go to the doctor?  Or how women are the ones that make special meals and guide their husbands (and families) to taking better care of themselves? I know I’m generalizing here, so apologies to those men who don’t fall into this scenario – but according to a recent report by the NYTimes, health insurance rates for men are considerable less than for women, due in part to the fact that “in general, insurers say, they charge women more than men of the same age because claims experience shows that women use more health care services.”

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passage of the pregnancy discrimination act, I choked when I read it’s also because women have babies that the insurance companies have to raise the rates.  And yet, according to the article, “women still pay more than men for insurance that does not cover maternity care. In the individual market, maternity coverage may be offered as an optional benefit, or rider, for a hefty additional premium”. I’m sorry, but just because the woman carries the baby, is not the reason she’s pregnant a joint responsibility?

Remember we laughed and groaned at Viagra’s delivery (pun intended) and got angry when we found insurance covered that but not the cost of birth control? Well my sense of anger has rekindled with this “new” news. Apparently this disparity in insurance fees for men vs. women is becoming known publically now more than ever since economic conditions including job loss are making more and more people shop for insurance.

Keep your eyes on what happens with this issue of inequality for women in health insurance costs, no matter who wins this Tuesday. It certainly will be a barometer of what other equity actions will be taken once the “honeymoon” is over. And meanwhile, if you guys out there aren’t taking proper care of yourself, please do so. Don’t forget we only make 78 cents to the dollar you do, so we wouldn’t be able to carry the financial load for the family if anything happened to you.

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I know this was originally a 1980’s John Travolta dance movie, but I can’t get the tune out of my head after reading in CNN about the most recent plot to assassinate Obama and 14 other African Americans by two white supremacists. Any such attempt against this presidential candidate has been a topic of conversation at more than one dinner table and the fear is the possibility of success.

For awhile there, it was McCain’s age and health that was of concern, especially when he chose Palin as his running mate. I think the concern is still there, but with the point spread showing Obama in the lead and with headline news about this assassination plot, concern has also grown on his “staying alive” factor. Everybody I know says they expected this due to Obama being of a mixed ethnic background and that there are many frightening groups that want to “take matters in their own hands”. 

I don’t know if either candidate is capable of doing the job as President of the United States. I do know that whoever gets elected will have to worry about succession planning “in case”. Biden or Palin?? What kind of a choice is that? Or is it time to actually take a look at how we run the government and decide an update from the 1700’s might be in order. Is the job more than one person can handle? Do we give the VP more actual responsibilities (and I don’t mean more ribbon cuttings)? Or do we review how we govern and come up with a new plan in leadership that will ultimately succeed in eradicating the prejudices, inequalities, economic disparities, etc., that continue to face Americans today.

Meanwhile, let’s not just give more money to police around the country, but let’s make sure to focus on educational campaigns to wipe out bigoted, racists beliefs and actions. Let’s make “staying alive” not about dancing or assassination plots but about health care and the environment. Not being naive here, just hopeful.



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I hadn’t been to Gettysburg in a long time and when the chance came to play tourist, I took the opportunity to visit on what turned out to be a beautiful fall day. One of the things we found –you can’t do it all in one day, so make sure to check out the web site first and decide what you do want to cover. Since the weather was cooperating, we decided, with help of “computers down”, to see the museum and spent the rest of the time on the grounds themselves.

“Computers down” in Gettysburg? Well those who fought certainly wouldn’t have known what that meant, but visitors in today’s world would groan. They were apparently trying to “re-boot” the  20 minute film, “A New Birth of Freedom”, about the Battle of Gettysburg  and the very nice guy selling tickets said he figured it wouldn’t be up for hours yet given past experience. You have to see that to see the Gettysburg Cyclorama, the 1884 painting that depicts “Pickett’s Charge”, and of course pay for both. So if you visit Gettysburg, I would imagine it’s worth seeing these, but we decided to see the real thing instead.

A quick stop at the museum first turned into several hours as we looked at every film and every exhibit, worthwhile as we better understood Gettysburg when we then went into the fields themselves.  Knowing the history of the troop movements, the smart tactics or errors made, the vast number of lives lost, made us see through the beauty that belied the horror or war experienced there only a few short years before (in relative time). Having also watched Ken Burns, The Civil War, I could almost hear the canons in the background and the shouts and screams of chaos around us. The smell of bus fumes aptly stank where Pickets Charge took place and the yells of school children scrambling around Little Round Top added to our own little history of the place. I was thankful we didn’t have the memories the survivors had to relive, over and over again.

A small but not insignificant piece of Gettysburg history–apparently the one civilian killed in Gettysburg was a woman, 20 year old Mary Virginia Wade. I found a couple of websites giving an overview of women in Gettysburg as well as throughout the civil war:  Women at the Battle of Gettysburg and The Society for Women and the Civil War who is having a conference in Washington in 2009 (who knew?!).

On a humorous note, I couldn’t help but chuckle at one of the captions in an exhibit overlooking an officer’s camp, where it stated, the “higher the rank, the more baggage they got to carry”. Oh so true today.

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Watching CNN last night I caught the tail end of some commentator, a Republican, saying the American public shouldn’t concentrate on the president so much. They should really understand, as our fore-fathers did, that in times of peace, it’s the local politicians who make much more of an impact to individual than did the president. So instead of worrying about $150,000 in clothes for Palin, we should be worrying about our local candidates instead.

Huh? Of course one has to beg the question, given the amount of lives lost or wounded in Iraq and now Afghanistan, if that does not constitute being a “war” vs. at “peace”. 

But that aside (!), I do worry who will be in the White House as well as who is going to represent my community. He will appoint all those justices that, gosh, do indeed have impact on my daily life. He will sign or veto those laws that will impact my taxes, my livelihood, my family, and my friends. He will (hopefully) make sure those who make decisions based on greed, irresponsibility, or favoritism do not control the global economy so we can keep or get a home, a job, or retire without sacrificing medications so we can eat.

Of course, next time, it would be nice to say she instead of he.


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Or so the RNC/Palin promoters think as they spent more than $150,000 on clothes and other accessories on Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin recently.   

According to politico.com, the amounts included:  

·         Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74;  

·         a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September; and 

·         $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

 I guess one could argue she must “look the part” and we all know if she didn’t look well she would be trashed by the media and commentators as they have other women public figures in the past (just ask Hilary).  However, she does claim to be of common folk, so you have to wonder if she couldn’t look as good buying from JCPenny’s.

 However, as reported on the all the morning news shows and in the New York Times, then there were all those costs she claims as expenses incurred as Governor, which include:

·         Costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and

·         A trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

·         In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters’ 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. She also has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

It’s up to Alaska and their citizens to determine if any law was broken or she stretched the boundaries. Many a politician has enjoyed the “bennies” of their position, and one can always hope the accounting and ethics departments keep watch–although from what I can tell, that’s certainly a hit or miss proposition.  To me, it’s whether one practices what one preaches. . .

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I am a true believer of freedom of speech. I understand the need for candidates to campaign. I know commercials are helping keep TV and radio on the air, especially as other sources of revenue are drying up in this economy.

But–enough already! With about two weeks to go before the presidential election, I can’t take it anymore. Why does the same ad have to play at the same time during my commute every morning? Why does the same ad have to play over and over again when all I want to do is watch Food Network Challenge after I come home from work?

Maybe if I thought what the ad said could be trusted I’d pay more attention. If I had more faith that different TV or even radio stations weren’t pushing their own agenda (aside from making money which is always their number 1), I’d respect the choices of ads they paraded in front of me.  Given that at least for the next few weeks ads are inevitable, I went looking for laughter.

So I went YouTube searching for the lighter side of campaign ads. Here’s one out of Australia that reaches across all party lines and is making fun of campaign ads themselves –


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Ok, I couldn’t resist. As a follow-up to my earlier post on the AAUW blog (Political Humor), here’s a link to the SNL Palin spot she did, live on Saturday night.  I’d rather see her there than in the WH….

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