Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. Many people do not know that Memorial Day began as Decorations Day, an event created by African Americans to honor Union soldiers of the Civil War. Its scope grew and it developed after World War I into an event to honor Americans who have died in all wars. Today, it honors Americans who have died while in the military service.

It's befitting to remember and honor the men and women who have died serving our country. But it would be wrong to equate Memorial Day with honoring militarism or aggression or American superiority over other countries. It is not, and should not become, a day to celebrate military service, nor should it be considered a day to equate patriotism with support for American military engagement. Memorial Day has become, and should remain, an occasion to express remembrance and gratitude to men and women who have taken seriously their duty to their fellow Americans and who have died while performing that duty.

I am opposed to wars and especially to wars launched with the objective of strong-arming the world around us into doing our bidding. War is an entanglement into which a country should go only as a last resort and only then after all other options have been exhausted.

That having been said, the men and women of the military do not set policy about wars; they only execute the policies they are given. Whatever they do at the behest of their commander-in-chief and their country, whether that direction is right or wrong, the sacrifice of their lives, made while performing that service, warrants our deep and everlasting appreciation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unspoken Conversations

There are conversations waiting to be held. Waiting for what? I don't know, at least I don't know all the reasons. No one does, really. But there they are, ideas sitting patiently beneath a mountain of unknown reasons, unshared, unappreciated, unspoken.

Some of them are mine. I have conversations tucked safely away in my head. Most of them are one-sided and late to the retort, unable to deftly shred the egos of those whose word caused their creation, simply because they are too late.

Unspoken conversations define regret. They define it. They do.

Monday, May 23, 2011


If there's anything about the Buddhist philosophy with which I am at odds, it's the suggestion that one MUST live in the now. I think memories...the an extraordinarily important part in our lives. They can shape the present and they can shape the future. Remembering things that once were unimportant can trigger the realization that those "unimportant" byproducts of daily life were, indeed, deeply important.

My memories of my early years have never been very clear, nor have I had many of them. Somehow, my years from 5-20 seems to have almost disappeared from my mind. But those occasional glimpses into what life was like for me when I was younger can bring back a flood of emotions. There's more to memory than recollection. Memory is the framework upon which our lives are constructed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Heatlh Insurance: Make it Burn!

It occurs to me; we bitch and moan about health insurance companies taking us to the cleaners and refusing to provide the "services" they are supposed to provide at fees that are remotely close to reasonable. Have we ever, collectively, decided to tell them to fuck off?! It's time we did that. Every company, and individual, in the USA should simply say, "enough!" Put aside as much as you ever paid to them into a pool that will provide health care to people who need it...people who join the pool with you. Illegal? Bullshit! Let the government show up and try to take it away while we scream bloody murder to the television cameras!

I'm so utterly, completely, irrevocably pissed off at the greedy bastards who run healthcare and the insurance industry in this country I could SCREAM! It's time we stop complaining and DO SOMETHING! The assholes feel it in their pocketbooks. Make it burn, people. Make it burn!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

To Your Health

The decision about whether to go without health insurance is, for me, purely a financial one. It's simply about weighing options: do I want to hand over $700-$800 per month to an insurance company for me and for each of my staff members or do take a risk and set aside some money to help pay for "catastrophic" medical bills?

It's not a decision I want to make, but I have to make it. Of course it's not only about money. It's about whether I can keep staff; will they decide they cannot risk it and simply go to a larger company at which "exposure" is not the insurance company's only criterion for pricing?

I learned from one person that the threshold at which insurance companies no longer look at rating individuals is 100 employees. Below 100 employees, you're screwed if you have employees who are "aging" and/or who have any pre-existing conditions that frighten the insurance companies. Beyond "rating" each individual, the companies can "rate up" the high risk people by 67% of the peak premium for those individuals considered to be high risks. Me. My wife. My client services manager.

So, our glorious government decided to get tough with insurance companies and require them to offer coverage to groups of at least two people. Hooray. But they allowed the companies to "rate up" individuals to the tune of 67%. Not so hooray.

The ugly, but not-so-secret, secret about insurance companies is that they are wallowing in obscene profits. While claiming they cannot risk their "low" premiums on "sick" people for fear of spreading unreasonable burdens to others who pay premiums, they are literally awash in money. One piece of evidence of that fact is the fact that they are deluging with wife with marketing materials for Medicare Part B coverage; they are actively SEEKING people over 65 as policy-holders? These are the same people they will not write without being forced to in small group settings? Aahh...but the Part B coverage is in addition to coverage provided by the GOVERNMENT. It is ADDITIONAL coverage. So catastrophic coverage is already "covered." I see. So, if you remove the risk for insurance companies, they are willing to take the risk. What the fuck, EXACTLY, is the business they are in? RISK! But they want ME to pay for it. They do not want to risk their profits by taking risks. They want ME to take the financial risks for the policies they write.

I absolutely LOATHE the insurance industry right now. I loathe the healthcare system in this country. I loathe the greed-driven approach to health "care" in this country.

I am an unhappy camper. And I don't know just what I'll do, but regardless of the direction I take, it will be financially very difficult and very hard on my ability to get and retain staff. Thanks to my old age and my perceived ill health. NOT, of course, the greedy bastards who run the healthcare insurance system in this country.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Want to be Buddhist, I Think

I am a million miles away from achieving my objective. I will have contradictory objectives along the way. Those intervening objectives, I think, can be pleasurable and can temper the path toward that one objective, but they get in the way. I don't quite know why I pursue them, too.

But the thing I desire to is to free myself from suffering and to free others from suffering me. If I were to live how I believe, I believe I would live better than I believe I do.

These may seem to be silly riddles, but they're least not entirely.

There is exceptional wisdom in Buddhist philosopy. But it's a hard target to reach.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I think I may have uncovered the problem. I'm just sad. It's me. It's not the environment, it's not other people, it's not chemicals. I'm just fucking sad. That's life. I'll get over it. If not, that, too, is just fucking life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just for the Record

I haven't known what to write lately, so I haven't written. At least not here, where I tend to write what I really think...sometimes. My mind has been on other things. Writing what I think has not been among them.

As I sit here wondering what to write, I realize I'm not ready, still. My mind remains on other things. It is on other things entirely.

These last few weeks I've been ill-at-ease over issues that are hard to articulate in my own mind, much less write about. I'm trying to make, and stick with, decisions, but none of them seem right or, I should say, prudent. But I am beginning to get a sense that there's an inevitability to it that suggests decisions are not mine to make. So I worry and I fret and I wonder what to do or what to do differently.

I'm being obtuse. It's only because I don't know quite what I mean. That notwithstanding, and just for the record, I am here. I really am. Right here. Right now.