Archive for the ‘society’ Category

ACA Loophole

March 21, 2013

I was reading in my local paper an article about changes that the County Conservation Board would be making in the future.  They regularly employ individuals for seasonal work.  These employees work forty hour weeks, some of them for more than four months.  Under the Affordable Care Act the county will be required to provide health coverage for these individuals.  Some of these people are actually retired, covered by Medicare.  The county will still be required to provide health coverage under the ACA.  Anyone working more than thirty hours a week for more than four months  must be provided health insurance or the employer will face penalties.

The solution is likely to be either limit the employee to four months, or more likely, reduce the weekly hours to less than thirty hours a week, and hire more people to make up the hours.  This will allow the county to still get the work done and not have to provide coverage.

I strongly suspect that there will be a lot of companies that will take advantage of this loophole.  Instead of providing health care, they will simply have more employees, working less than thirty hours.

This, of course, will mean that their employees will make less money, and be legally responsible for their own health care.  This health care will be made available at lower rates, subsidized by the government, adding to the financial burden placed on our country.

In addition, the workers will most likely need to find additional employment, working a second job to provide enough income to meet their needs.

I am concerned about the future for workers, employers, the medical field, and our government.

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The Morality of “Bodies Revealed”

March 7, 2013

Bodies Revealed is an educational exhibit that is traveling around the United States.   It is a unique display of human bodies in various stages of, I suppose you could say, dissection.  The bodies of people who had donated their remains to science have been disassembled to various degrees, preserved so that they will not decompose or smell, and then posed in various positions.  Some body organs are available for people to handle, so that we can literally hold another person’s heart in our hands.  It is claimed that it demonstrates the workings of the human body in a powerful and unique way.  The hope is that it will inspire a new generation of doctors, scientists, etc.

They are obeying the letter of the law.  The bodies were donated for educational purposes.  The end result may be positive in that it may result in people pursuing careers in the medical field.  It is possible that the driving forces behind the exhibit really do have motives that are more honorable than simply making money.

Even so, it just seems wrong to me.  I recognize that I am primarily relying on an intuition that other people may not share, and so there may not be many who agree that it is wrong.  It is not possible to argue from intuition, all we can really do is see how many other people share our opinion.  We can also challenge some of the claims that provide moral support for the exhibit.

I do not have a problem with the use of human bodies for medical education and research.  However, the  vast majority of people who will be viewing this exhibit will not be  pursuing anything other than a morbid curiosity to see real human bodies.

Yes, people donated their bodies to science, without many restrictions.  I wonder if they would have donated their bodies if they were made aware previously that they would basically become preserved and publicly displayed?  In some regards, they are the subjects of human taxidermy.

Although some will be inspired to pursue medical careers, will some merely have their imaginations further excited?  In a time when we regularly see human bodies in all states of decomposition regularly displayed on our television sets, are there some people who want to see the real thing?  Will this lead some down the right path of medical research?  Will it lead some down a more sinister path?  What will be the true lasting consequences of this morbid display of human remains?

The exhibit has done very well at the places where is has been on display.  I suspect that revenue is up.  That is not a bad thing, our museums do need to meet their operational budgets.  It does make me wonder whether the motivation behind the exhibit is indeed, public education, or does it simply come down to profitability?

Were the scientists/artists who put the exhibit together motivated by a desire to share knowledge, or were they more excited about working with a medium that was taboo throughout most of human history?

As I said earlier, this might all be a perfectly moral enterprise.  I do not know any of the people involved.  They might all be wonderful people, working from pure motives.

It just seems wrong to me.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Chick-Fil-A: Hatred and Intolerance

August 2, 2012

Hatred and intolerance appear to be alive and well in the United States.

Chick-Fil-A chief operating officer,  Dan Cathy, recently made remarks about his personal support of the traditional family in response to a question posed to him in an interview by a religious magazine.  Dan Cathy is well-known for his conservative, Christian beliefs.  There has been much written about his chains six-day work week.  Chick-Fil-A is not open on Sundays because of the chain’s staunch support of the concept of a Sabbath rest.

The interview demonstrates the hatred and intolerance in America, not because of Cathy’s comments,which simply reflect a traditional religious viewpoint, but because of the strong reaction to those comments.  Gay-activist groups were the loudest to protest, as would be expected.  A little more unexpected, was the reaction of the mayors of Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco, who all made strongly negative comments about the Chick-Fil-A chain, expressing their vehement disapproval.

It would seem, that to many, tolerance is a one-way street.  Religious conservatives should tolerate gay-activists, but apparently, conservative Christians do not deserve toleration.  That is not right.  Our country is a free country and people should be free to express their views.

 

Grassroots Politics

March 20, 2012

I am in my fifties.  This is the first year that I have participated in the local political caucus.  I also had the opportunity to participate in the county convention.  What this experience has shown me is that there is an avenue for the average person to be involved in politics.  If you feel strongly about issues, you can bring like-minded people with you to these events and it is possible to have an impact.  You simply need to be willing to invest some of your time, energy, and a little money and you can be a part of the democratic process.

It was also surprising to me the range of opinions that were represented.  I certainly did not agree with all of them, but I recognize that everyone has a right to their opinion, and a right to be heard.  It is my hope and prayer that, in the end, right decisions will be made for our country.  It was fun to be a part of the process.  Why did I wait so many years to get involved?

Yield!

February 28, 2012

When the light is green it is your right to drive through the intersection.

Way back in high school, I was driving home after class, when I had an interesting event.  I had stopped at a red light, a block away from my house.  When the light turned green I started to accelerate, but I noticed a truck coming out of the corner of my eye.  He wasn’t slowing down.  I stepped back on the brake and watched him sail through the intersection directly in front of me.  I can still see the look on his face as he realized, too late, that the light was red.  My friend who was riding with me, said “Wow!  I’m glad you were driving!  Greg or John would have accelerated right into the path of that truck.”

I learned an important lesson that day.  I had the right to drive through the intersection, but to avoid a collision, I needed to yield.  That lesson has served me well through decades of driving both automobiles and motorcycles.   You may have the right-of-way, but sometimes it is right to yield for the sake of safety.

Knowing when to yield is important in many other parts of life.  There are many situations where we can either stand firm, or “yield” the right of way.  This is true in family matters, work issues, neighbors, politics, and so on.  The first step is to recognize that things do not have to always go our way.  The second step is even harder.  That is being able to recognize when to stand firm, and when to yield.

Traffic Cameras

February 23, 2012

Here in Iowa there are a number of cities that utilize cameras for both speeding and red-light violations.  The Iowa congress is debating banning the use of cameras for traffic law enforcement purposes.

I fully support the use of cameras,  for the following reasons.

Speeding and running red lights increase the risk of accidents.

People are less likely to speed or run a red light if they know they will get a ticket.

There will likely be fewer accidents in areas that utilize cameras.

People who are ticketed shouldn’t have been breaking the law.

People should not expect privacy on public streets.

Criminals do not deserve privacy so that they can break the law.

The income from fines can be put to good use.

Owners are responsible for their vehicles.  If a car is loaned to someone other than the registered owner, the owner should recoup their costs from the person to whom they loaned the vehicle.   If that is a problem, then people will be more judicious about whom they let use their vehicle.

I suspect that the only people who really oppose traffic cameras are people who habitually disregard traffic laws.

Oh…

Many people do habitually disregard traffic laws.

No wonder there is such a fuss.

In God We Trust

September 29, 2011

I appreciate that we still have the saying “In God We Trust” on our money.  These days it seems even more important to realize that our ultimate trust is placed, not in our government, nor our own resources, but in God.

As the fiscal year for our country comes to an end, we have serious problems  facing our country.  I regularly pray that our leaders will make good choices and good decisions, that God will give them the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength and courage to do what is right.

I think I need to pray harder…perhaps you will join me.

Perhaps we can hold meaningful discussions of possible solutions, rather than shouting matches of entrenched ideology.  Perhaps if we worked together, we would collectively find the wisdom and strength that we need to build a stronger country.

May God help us.

The Egg and Political Reformation

April 26, 2011

When the time is approaching for a chick to break out of its shell it needs to be left alone.  If someone standing by were to decide that they wanted to help the chick, by helping to break it out of its shell, that bird would certainly die.  It is necessary for the chick to remain in the shell until it has sufficiently developed and is able to break out on its own.

There are countries throughout the Arab world experiencing political turmoil.  It is hard to passively watch as these countries are in the throes of breaking free, but we are doing them no favor when we interfere with the natural process of political reformation.  When outside forces assist, the developmental process is hindered and a weakened, dependent, political agency is the result.  That is not good for the nation’s sovereignty.

We should let a countries internal conflicts be resolved by the people of that country.  The social contract will be worked out in time.

Contrasting Religious Response

April 5, 2011

Christian Bibles are burned.  The response is to express sorrow, be thankful if no one is hurt…and send more Bibles.

A pastor of a small church in Florida burns a Koran.  The response is sorrow…and anger, rioting and people die.

No one is concerned about Christians erupting in violence if their sacred book is burned.

Last summer, when a pastor in Florida first announced that he was going to burn a Koran there was widespread concern about how Muslims around the world would respond to the image of their sacred scripture being burned.  There was legitimate fear that such an image would evoke violence and strengthen the resolve of terrorist groups that already call America the
“Great Satan”.

It is an interesting contrast in religious response to the same action.

1000 Dead Civilians?

April 4, 2011

Last week I heard that our primary reason for the use of military force in Libya was to protect civilian life.

Saturday, I read about 1000 civilians that had died in the Ivory Coast due to internal conflict.

Should we have been involved there as well?

If we are trying to protect civilian life there are many places in the world experiencing turmoil.

We cannot be everywhere.  How will we decide who gets our support?

Our interjection of force into a nation’s internal conflict is not the way to go.