Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Monday, April 16, 2007

On Health Care

This country is in crisis, and no one but the general population knows it. Once again, the people are way out in front of the politicians and the press.

People are healthier, live longer, and have lower death rates at every age in countries such as Canada, England, France, Germany, etc., etc. than they do in the USA, where we spend tons more money on health care. Besides, they have more doctors per capita than we do.

In fact, we have the most inefficient health care system, and the most expensive, which seems to go hand in hand. It is long past time for us to grow up and join the rest of the developed world and gain some sanity in the way we pay for the health care of our population. Insurance companies, as I have ranted about before, are destroying the country.

Juan Williams, then of NPR, noted that people rejected Hillary Clinton's health care plan a decade ago because they said you wouldn't get to see the doctor of your choice and some faceless bureaucrat in Washington would say what drugs you were allowed and how long you could stay in the hospital.

Instead, we got HMO's and other insurance plans so that you don't get to see the doctor of your choice and some faceless accountant in New Delhi says what drugs you are allowed and how long you can stay in the hospital.

Those brainwashed by the current situation in America talk about the long waits for surgery, etc. in those other countries, even though the research shows that waits there are no longer on average than they are here. Besides, if they spent the portion of their GNP on health care that we did, every single patient could have a solid gold wheelchair.

But I doubt much will change in the near future because of the campaign contributions by the big drug companies and insurance companies.

Just one more reason for public financing of campaigns.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scattered Thoughts

I haven't had a chance to post lately, so I want to bring more than one thought into this post.

The Presidential candidates the other day disclosed what kind of vehicles they drive. I noticed that John Edwards said they traded their SUV for a Ford Escape hybrid. Good on them. But they also have a Chrysler Pacifica for the room they need carrying the children around. I remember those days, when my son had to carry his whole arsenal of toys with him wherever we went.

But he also has a 1995 model pickup truck for when he needs to haul things. Now, that impresses me. This guy is, in my father's immortal words, "rich as three foot up a bull's butt," and he can afford any new truck he wants, but he chooses to hang onto one that's 12 years old. You got to trust someone like that. I like older pickup trucks, and I want to trust someone who hangs onto one, even if he doesn't need to. Full disclosure: My pickup truck is a 1993 model.

But, then there's George W. Bush, who drives a pickup around that mini-ranch of his. I don't know the vintage of that truck, but for him it's an affectation, anyway. Does he EVER do anything on that land of his besides clear brush?

Next thought: On the Don Imus controversy: I have never been much of a fan of Imus, and as the years have gone on, I have become less so. This latest outrage of his about the Rutger's women's basketball team is just more of the same stupidity we have come to expect from this blowhard who tries so hard to be hiply politically incorrect. As far as I'm concerned, he isn't worth listening to. Hasn't been for years.

Of course, I have tried listening to Howard Stern and have been about bored to death, too. Another one who could disappear from the airwaves without my missing him.

Having said that, now let me say that I disagree with those who advocate firing Imus over this insult. I believe in the First Amendment strongly enough that I believe there is room for Howard Stern's idiotic ramblings, Don Imus' desperate attempts to sound outrageous, and even the drug-addled bloviations of Rush Limbaugh. Though why anyone would take any of these clowns seriously is far beyond me. But I don't believe in censorship for political reasons.

I do believe there are things that children shouldn't listen to, which is why I tried to monitor what my kids listened to on their audio devices at home. But the immorality of the idiots listed above along with the Fox fools is not enough to justify taking them off the air.

Same goes for the Dixie Chicks. I deliberately bought their latest CD, even though I generally don't like that kind of music, just to support their freedom of speech.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jokes you can't tell any more

I once made a list of jokes you can't tell any more because of things that have changed. Right now, I need a diversion, so I'm going to share the two I remember.

A herd of bees was flying along, and they decided to stop for gas. They all flew into an Amoco station, except for one who flew over to an Esso station. That just goes to show you: There's always one Esso bee in every crowd.

You can't tell that any more since Esso changed its name to Exxon. Exxon bee doesn't have the same meaning.

The other: What do you call a dog with wings?

Linda McCartney.

You can't tell that one any more because Ms. Eastman-McCartney has passed on, and it would be in poor taste, anyway.

Then there are racist jokes, which I have no desire to pass along, anyway.