Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hats on the Ground Needed in Iraq

   Boots on the ground? I don't know that they are necessary, but that ISIS has marched so close to Baghdad shows that intelligence needs to be on the ground. Combat boots, maybe not, but intelligence hats, perhaps. You might need someone on the ground to identify who is marching across the land. Your planes and air surveillance might identify the movement of people, but you need someone on the ground to identify the movement as ISIS, not innocent civilians.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Would a Michael Brown Incident at the Border See the Light of Day?

   What if you took a Michael Brown incident and placed it on the border, would the story even get told?
   Perhaps it would, at least some of the time, for it is reports in the media of lethal force that have led U.S. Customs and Border Protection to announce it will make its officers more accountable. Lethal-force incidents at the border haven't yielded a public outcry, but eyebrows have been raised.
   The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit on behalf of a mother of a teenager who reportedly lost his life to unwarranted use of deadly force, and ACLU reports there have been at least 29 lethal-force incidents since 2010. One wonders if there was an investigation of each of those cases. Were the officers placed on leave pending the outcomes, as is a practice in others police-innvolved shootings?
    Just 29 or so lethal-use-of-force incidents? One wonders if there have been others. If a Michael Brown incident happened at the border, would it even see the light of day, that it could be investigated to determine if it were justified? Could an officer too easily cover it up? On the border, there are no witnesses. It is easy to dispose of bodies. And, no one is waiting for a missing person to come home.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Great Division Among the People

    I so wish we weren't a society that just ran around calling each other idiots instead of reasoning with each other. I see a post on my newsfeed of a liberal calling a conservative an idiot. Then I scroll down and see a conservative calling a liberal an idiot. I think of a scripture that says the Lord will cause a great division among the people. I do not know, but wonder if that division could be liberals against conservatives, democrats against republicans, for it is the greatest division I see on the face of the land. The scripture perhaps is referring to some other division. I only know I have read the whole chapter, for context, and it surely appears to speak of here, in America, and now, in the last days. The last days is a relatively long time frame, so maybe it refers to some other division in the last days. As I said, this is the greatest division I find in America at this time.
   2 Nephi 30:10. "For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people." Unless someone points out a clearly greater division, or persuades me the scripture is referring to another place and time, I do not think it wrong to wonder.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

News Items Roll Out of Ferguson One After Another

   News of Ferguson, news of Ferguson, news of Ferguson. Story after story rolls out this week. The Justice Department asks Ferguson police officers to quit wearing bracelets engraved with "I am Darren Wilson" on them. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson issues a video apology to Michael Brown's family and the African-American community. And, Jackson joins in a march with the protesters.
   President Obama mentions the Ferguson affair before the United Nations. A Ferguson police officer is reportedly shot in the arm.
   And, the protesters protest.
   Of the bracelets, perhaps you would suggest if the officers believe Wilson innocent, let them side with him. Surely there can be nothing wrong with showing support for a fellow officer, you might say. I would suggest, though, that the evidence out so far suggests Wilson wrongfully shot Michael Brown, so a show of support for Wilson does not reflect that you are seeking justice and understandably inflames an already upset group of people.
   Of Chief Jackson's apology, I judge it as a good thing. You might continue to want Jackson to resign. You might be wonder why he did not put a stop to the bracelets (if he knew about them, and it would seem he would have). And, you might suggest an indictment of Wilson better be forthcoming. But, why not accept Jackson's apology as a good thing?
   The same goes for his marching with the protesters. Why not accept it as good measure?
   The firing of the public relations consultant? I would not be too critical of that move, either. While not discovering Devin James as a convicted killer before hiring him was a mistake, it was a mistake that should given some slack. The important thing is that they cut him loose as soon as they learned.
   If it is true that James was being paid $154.10 an hour, well, I understand that such work might simply command a high price tag, but, yes, I do think that very excessive.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Give doTERRA and Young Living Their Freedom of Speech

   doTERRA and Young Living have run afoul of the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA warning them not to make claims that their products can cure various diseases. Your first reaction might be to agree, to say that companies should not be allowed to make unproven and therefore possibly fraudulent claims.
   I wonder about freedom of speech. If a person truly believes a product can do something, shouldn't they be allowed to say so? Freedom of speech is being limited. The First Amendment is being violated. Even if the person doesn't sincerely believe the product can cure something, I wonder but what the First Amendment dictates that they be allowed to speak as they will.
  Why do we allow one set of marketers to verbalize their feelings that their products help, but not allow another set to do the same?
   Perhaps there is cause, for if someone is led to expect the product will perform, and it doesn't perform, great physical harm can result. My response to this is the same that I would give to those who see need for gun registration and/or regulation. With regard to guns, the Second Amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. With regards to claims made by medicine makers, the First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. That is the highest law in the land. If we don't like what the Constitution says, we should amend it, not ignore it.
   doTERRA and Young Living are now well-profiting companies, but the situation we are discussing also calls up the need to protect firms that are not so well off. You might say the FDA process is fair. Don't make a claim unless you can get your product registered with the that government body. But, is there a negative side to this? Does it give the pharmaceuticals a hands up on small start-ups? In some situations, does it shut out the small start-ups altogether? How much expense is required and how difficult is it to get FDA approval? If it is an easy process, then the rule is not so offensive. But, if getting FDA approval is long and difficult, then this limits the competition. It cuts out the small entrepreneurial companies lacking the resources to win FDA approval.
   I don't believe our rules and regulations should eliminate the small person.
   I wonder about the law against making claims of treatment, wondering if it did not result from lobbying from the pharmaceutical companies. I read doTERRA's response to the FDA's chastening, doTERRA saying, "Because doTERRA's Products are natural products and are not registered with the FDA as drugs, we are restricted on the health claims that can be made for marketing purposes." If I translate it correctly, that means if a product is not registered with the FDA, there can be no claim made that the maker hopes it will be beneficial as a treatment for a disease.
   I guess we already knew this -- knew you need FDA approval to make a claim.
   But, no, I did not know natural products cannot be registered with the FDA as drugs and therefore cannot be advertised as being beneficial in curing diseases. Is this true? If so, is it fair that a natural product might do as much good as the pharmaceutical one, yet not allowed to be marketed as being beneficial in fighting off a disease?
   Can marketers only claim cures for artificial products? Are they prohibited from doing so if they sell a natural one?
   Even if you believe some freedom of speech must necessarily be restricted, you probably would agree this is unfair and wrong and is, indeed, an encroachment on free speech. If a product does good, just because you start marketing it does not mean its benefits no longer exist.
   The FDA could play its role without restricting free speech. If a company received FDA approval for its product, it could then advertise that it had that approval. "FDA Approved" could be stamped on the bottle.
   To take it further, we could treat this the same as how we handle cigarettes. When products were found to be being marketed to cure diseases, the FDA could step in, test the product without being asked to do so, and if it, the FDA, did not find enough support for claims being made, require that a statement such as this be printed on the bottle, "The FDA has been unable to determine that this product has any notable effect in curing cancer."
   Well, in conclusion, should we allow health-care marketers to make unproven claims, especially if they sincerely believe their products are beneficial? I say, only if we make a constitutional amendment saying something like, "Marketers shall not make claims their products can cure deadly diseases unless the Federal Drug Administration, through testing, finds ample evidence the product often does cure that disease."
   And, I tend to wonder, even then, if I like limiting the natural-health industry's freedom of speech. I wonder if there some of the other approaches I have discussed are better options.
   (This blog has been expanded and edited, the last changes coming Oct. 8.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thoughts on the $2.61 Billion in Settlements to the American Natives

   Whistle when you hear how much money the Navajo Nation and other tribes have won in litigation with the federal government. For the Navajos, alone, a $554-million settlement for mismanagement made news today. Since 2010, eighty tribes have won a total of $2.61 billion for grievances by American Indians.
   This news brings a number of thoughts and wonderings to my mind. Among them:
   (1.) I think of a scripture of the LDS people, from the Book of Mormon, suggesting the American Indians would be nursed by others. I do not know if the federal government's care of the American natives is a fulfillment of that prophecy, but I wonder.
   (2.) This $2.61 billion is is a discernible amount in the national debt. I do wish such a large sum was not required. However, if it is just dues, if we were wrong, we should pay it.
   (3.) I understand a grievance from the Navajos was that the development of lands (causing water and uranium pollution, among other harms) was unwanted. I do so believe the reservations should belong to the native Americans, with them deciding how the lands are used and whether mining or other such activities should take place on those lands. The federal government manages the land? I believe it okay that the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management manage the lands only if they do so at the direction of the tribes. We took all of America from the American Indians. Surely, we can at least let them have -- in every sense of the word -- the reservations for their own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Impressive #s: More than 50 Nations and More than a Million Refugees

   Two numbers jump out at me from the day's news.
   (1.) More than 50 nations are allied in the fight against the Islamic State. I wonder if that large of a coalition has been seen since the days of World War II. (Only a handful are involved in the fighting, I believe, so how are the rest involved?)
   (2.) Well over a million refugees from the war in Syria have been take in by Turkey during the 3 1/2-year-old conflict. Of them about 150,000 have been taken in during the past week or so. That is a lot of people fleeing the ravages of war.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Never is War a Happy Venture

   Never is war a happy venture. News of air strikes against the Islamic State and against an al-Qaida group
of veterans sometimes known as the Khorasan Group brought me mixed feelings, and I know many felt the same.
   While we see some necessity of striking out at these terrorists, we cannot but note all war comes with the loss of life. War's success is measured in the spillage of blood.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Washington-Lincoln Tolerant Society

   Here's a group I dream of belonging to. Not readily thinking of a better name, and I being late for bed, I'll call it the Washington-Lincoln Tolerant Society. This society would seek the truth in politics. Yes, members surely would have definite opinions on many issues, but they would be seeking the truth on all issues. They would seek to learn as much as to persuade.
   The society would be open to those willing to discuss politics without hating, ridiculing, or demeaning those with different opinions. It would seek out those with varying opinions for membership, rather than those all of the same opinion.
   It would have a discussion-debate site on Facebook, and would hold public forums and debates on issues each week.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Omnibus Spending Bill is Not a Good Government Practice

   Would we take all the bills proposed over a year's span, lump them all into one, and pass them as a single bill? Why, then do we place all our funding in single bill? Seems dysfunctional, to me. I watched a video of Sen. Mike Lee of Utah trying to persuade his fellow Congress members to change the practice, and I agree with him that it is not at all the way to run a government.
   As I listened to him, my mind flipped back to a news story I saw Thursday.  "House votes to arm Syrian rebels," it was titled, but when a got a few paragraphs in, I read how the legislation to arm Syrian rebels was part of the same bill allowing the federal government to operate normally after the budget year ends Sept. 30. Yes, it was tied to the spending approval. I later learned funding for war efforts in the Ukraine was also tossed into the bill. How's that for an all-or-none approach: You can approve the spending and the wars, or you can deny the spending and the wars. One doesn't come without the other. Now, if you are against the war efforts, you might be stuck voting for them, anyway, for how do you vote against funding the government?
   Slapping any rider into a bill is a bad practice. Each issue should be considered on its own merits. But, placing all funding in a single bill, and slipping in war measures, to boot, is taking this practice a bit too far.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Must Children Give Up Their Most Formative Relationships?

  The child needs both a dad and a mom, rather than two dads or two moms. So, Mary Summerhays, organizer of the "Stand for Marriage" rally held Thursday, was right when she told the crowd,  "It strains the credibility of the courts to suggest that children must give up their most formative relationships when they get in the way of adult relationships."
   Almost this is a winning argument Utah's lawyers could hammer home if the same-sex marriage case is accepted to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. How can you sacrifice the child's right to needed relationships in favor of the adults' right to have a relationship? As is said, one person's rights end where another person's nose begins. The child might have a small nose, but it's still a nose that should be counted.
   Unfortunately, there is a hitch in this argument, isn't there? Utah's lawyers are going to have to show the child does indeed benefit from having both a mom and a dad. Saying it's so doesn't make it so.
   But, suppose Utah's lawyers were succesful in persuading the Supreme Court judges that the child's rights should take precedence over the adults' rights. Would the court then say, Okay, those of same-sex affections can get married, but they cannot adopt children? That would be kind of a split decision on the matter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Does the Spirit of the Sixth Amendment Suggest More Openness?

   It does seem to me the spirit of the Sixth Amendment suggests more openness in our criminal investigations and judicial system. Indeed, to me, the Sixth Amendment suggest we should be given more details in the Darrien Hunt case, which is a case in which officers shot and killed a young man carrying a toy samurai sword. And, police should be more forthcoming in the Dillon Taylor case, which was also a case where officers shot and killed someone.
   Says the Sixth Amendment, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial . . ." The spirit of that suggests openness in our legal affairs. It suggests public disclosure. Yes, it does say only that the trials shall be public, but it follows that the investigation should, likewise, be a public matter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Likening the Immigrant to the Man on the Road to Jericho

   Bless those who feel differently than I do on whether this scripture makes an argument for helping those immigrants who are needy. Many feel upholding the law means no person should be allowed into our country unless they receive permission, and I can understand that position.
   But, I like this scripture the same, for what to me are likenesses to our immigration situation.
   Luke 10:25-37.
   There was one who was injured, laying aside the road, and people walked by him, not helping. Then came a person of another nation (or nationality, anyway) who bound him up and cared for him and sheltered him. Even so, many immigrants are needy, and many diseased. Many of those coming along the road from Mexico fall among thieves, and are injured crossing the border, and arrive half dead. Too often, we look the other way, not helping them. Let us care for our own, first, we say.
   Love thy neighbor as thyself (verse 27)? No country is more of a neighbor to us than Mexico. Those arriving on the road from Mexico are not unlike those on the road from Jerusalem in the story of the good Samaritan.
   Perhaps one reply to this post would be to say the man found half dead on the road to Jericho was not coming illegally. Another wreply would be to say there is a world of difference between those who come from Mexico, as some of them are bringing drugs.
   Bless us both, for our opinions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Details of Darrien Hunt Case Should be Revealed

   The case of the Darrien Hunt. He carried a toy samurai sword and was shot and killed by police. How much do we expect police to tell us, at this point?
   Yes, it is still under investigation, but, I believe, police should disclose more of what happened. Why would they not be able to give us the basic details of what witnesses or involved officers are saying? Are the witness statements going to change? Are the officers' statements going to change? If not, why cannot more be revealed?
   To me, it should. More should be released.

Monday, September 15, 2014

If the Gun is More Apt to do Harm, We're Better Off Without it

   Do we say we like guns or that we oppose them? Perhaps it is, the society that sees both reason to like them and oppose them is the nation that might benefit the most from them. Look at all the good that comes from the gun. Among other things, it offers protection, and law enforcement. To refuse to see the benefit of the gun is not wise. If we are not willing to acknowledge how the gun benefits us, we unmask ourselves, revealing that we are less than objective.
   But, the same is to be said of those who will not acknowledge guns have a negative side. They uncover the truth that they are less than objective.
   Now, what if a society both valued the gun for the good it could do, and feared it for what harm and damage it could cause? If that nation knew the values, it would seek to use them. And, if it knew the dangers, it would seek to limit them.
   Now, are we willing to acknowledge the dangers? I repeat what I wrote the other day: The same gun that can be used for you, can be used against you. When the gun falls into the hand that misuses it, it enters into the realm where it is harmful. If, by owning or possessing a gun, our gun is more apt to end up doing harm than good, we are wiser not to have one.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Think it Wonderful to Believe the Ways of the Savior are Possible

   Perfection, is it possible? Is it just something we will bang our head on if we try to attain? Does God expect perfection of us?
   I can only tell you how I feel, my thoughts on perfection.
    When this topic is discussed, of course the passage in Matthew 5:48 comes up. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And, the rejoinder is always that the footnotes in the LDS edition say "perfect" means "complete, finished."
   For me, and what the Lord is asking of me, I am comfortable with being asked to become -- by the time I leave this life -- a sinless man. I do not know whether I will reach that point, but hope to, and am striving to.
   To me, if the Savior is my example, what was He an example of? He was sinless. There would be thousands of people, at very least, who could be examples of being just good. He wasn't an example of being just good. He was an example of perfection.
   And, to me, He is the evidence that perfection is possible, that it can be achieved. That He came to earth and lived a perfect life is proof that it is possible. We cannot say it cannot be done, for Someone has done it. His example shows it can be done. Now, I will not be perfect from start to finish, as He was. But, I can attain perfection. By life's end, I can be living a perfect, sinless life.
   Yes, I believe that. Christ set the example, showed me the way, and told me to live the commandments. If His being our example is to mean anything, it seems to me that is what it would be: that sinlessness is possible. I do not find this a burdensome thought. I find it wonderful to think I can become -- eventually and at some point in my life -- a sinless person.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Ferguson Lesson: When an Explanation is in Order, Give One

   It would have been good had we learned this lesson from Ferguson, but I don't think we did: Give the public an explanation. Give them an assurance that law enforcement can be trusted. If you don't want them to revolt, to riot, then you better take the opportunity to explain, for explanations are in order.
   First, If there was a rationale for the officer doing what he did, get it out. You might not be able to say a lot, but you owe the public some information. Second, assure that justice will be served. Tell the public that if an investigation shows the officer was in the wrong, he will be prosecuted. You can say it is too early in the investigation to determine if there was fault, but if fault was there, it surely will be prosecuted.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Gun that can be Used for You can be Used Against You

   Guns in the right hands can do so much good. We want our police officers to have them, trusting them to use them with wisdom to bring the wicked among us to justice. And, of course we want our soldiers to have them.
   It is when the guns fall into the wrong hands that things get precarious, both domestically and in situations of war.
   So, what of the report that 232,400 firearms are stolen every year? And, that a share of the stolen weapons are later used in other crimes? And, what of the report that those in ISIS once were armed by the U.S. as we fought Saddam Hussein? What of the report that the Afghanis we once armed and trained to fight Russia went on to use those weapons for the Taliban and al-Queda?
   The gun that can be used for you, can also be used against you. There is wisdom in realizing this. As we "deploy" our weapons, both domestically and in wars abroad, we are wise if we heed this principle.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

If the Public Demands Action, Congress Comes out of its Funk

   Okay, let's say we decided Congress is dysfunctional in that it fails to take action when action should be taken. Let's just say we noticed it has a strange penchant for putting things off until after elections. And, even when there is no election at hand, it fails to act. Think of immigration, the debt ceiling, and whether war should be declared.
    What should be done, to straighten Congress out?
   Shall we blame it on political divisiveness, and outlaw political parties? Shall we create a law requiring Congress to take action on major political issues? Shall we throw out all the rules that encumber how things are done, such as filibusters and sending bills before committees before they come to vote?
   We could just blame ourselves. After all, Congress does act when the public gets heated up about it not taking action. The nation demanded health care reform, and the Affordable Care Act was the result, whether you like that law or not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Congress Freezes When it Should Take Action

   I have not yet caught up with the speech President Obama offered tonight, on planned military actions in Iraq to counter ISIS.
    But, I remain of the opinion I offered yesterday, that Congress should be the one weighing what we should do. While I was posting last night, I couldn't help but thinking how Congress is too dysfunctional (that's my word, and I hesitate to use it) to be carrying out its responsibility. I was surprised to hear KSL's Ethan Millard say something of the same nature as I listened to the radio on my way to work.
   And, I picked up the paper during my lunch to read of Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of Calif. saying, "As a practical matter, I don't really see the time that it would take to really get this out and have a full debate and discuss all the issues." (McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.)
   That is precisely the problem, I thought: Congress is not inclined to make fast decisions. See: budget deficits. Oft-times, Congress comes to no decision at all. See: immigration.
   Forgive me, Rep. McKeon (who I like and who I met while I lived in his area), but, as a practical matter, that Congress is not able to act on this in a timely fashion shows have gravely inoperative it has become. It cannot act on the issues when they need to be acted on. It's processes and procedures and divisions and hatred between Democrats and Republicans leads it to freeze over instead of carrying it into action.
   This points out how urgent it is that we reform the process and set in place procedures to provide that when action is required, action takes place.

Placing Utahns in Jobs Along with Giving Them Insurance is a Benefit

   I hail news that Gov. Gary Herbert expects to reach an agreement with the Obama Administration that will allow Utah to provide jobs along with health insurance to a category of those now not insured. (Gov. Herbert has named the program "Healthy Utah.")
   Gov. Herbert indicated the offering to tie jobs to those receiving the insurance will be sold as a benefit. I don't know if Utah will require them to take jobs, require them to be available for jobs if jobs are found, or just how it will bake out. Indeed, though, however it does bakes out, if Utah is placing these people in jobs, that is a benefit.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It is Congress that Should take More Responsibility in War

   When I heard about a week ago members of Congress taking President Obama to task for saying he didn't have a plan for how to deal with ISIS, I thought it a little ironic.
   For it is to them, not to the president, that the Constitution gives power to declare war. More, the Constitution say Congress shall define and punish piracies and felonies on the high seas. It says Congress shall make rules concerning captures on land and water. It says Congress will provide and maintain a Navy, raise money and support armies, make rules for the calling forth and regulation of land and naval forces, and  provide for the calling forth of the militia.
   It says that it is Congress that shall provide for organizing, arming, disciplining and governing of the militia.
   So, if you thought that Congress had little more to do than to sign off on a war when the president came calling with the request, go back and read the Constitution again. It sounds more to me like Congress is to be in charge, and the president is to do the bidding. The president is commander in chief, but I think of a commander in chief as being the lead officer executing what Congress tells him to do, not the person who organizes, governs and says when and where the wars shall take place.
   Who should have a plan for how we are to handle ISIS? It seems to me, Congress should be taking a bigger role in that.

Monday, September 8, 2014

One Million Deaths and Not So Much as an Obit

   One million deaths a year, and instead of talking about them, we talk about Ferguson, Missouri. Now, Ferguson, too, is important, and should be talked about, but what of these million?
   One million deaths a year, but we speak instead of Israel and Gaza, of mass murders, and of child immigrants at the southern border. We speak of Iraq and Syria. We speak of Ebola and earthquakes and hurricanes. Important things, all, but what of the one million?
   Tell me, if one million die each year, is that not news -- front-page news? Are these lives of no consequence, that their deaths do not make news? Of the million, I doubt so much as a one of them had an obituary in the newspaper, and not a one had a funeral, I would guess.
   Not a one.
   You tell me if their lives are of value. Or, do we say they have no right to even live? Do we say, To begin with, you have no right to life. And, secondly, when we take your lives, we are not even going to  pause with a tear. We will not so much as recognize that you ever lived. No flowers, no casket, no honor, no memorial, nor tribute -- nothing, not even a kind word of respect. Perhaps we will find a garbage bin for your body.
   If something has no value, it does not make the news. Move along, as they say, move along. No news here.
   I fear, though, that by our not giving it value, we reveal our own lack of values.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Atlas MD Provides Successful Model for Reducing Health-Care Costs

   Four years ago this month, Dr. Josh Umbehr (there are two other doctors in the practice, but I believe Dr. Umbehr founded the business) opened his revolutionary health clinic in Wichita, Kansas -- revolutionary because it knocked prices down.
   And, how have Umbehr and his partners gone about reducing health-care costs? Their biggest trick has been to boot the insurance companies out. Middle men, they call them, and why bring in middle men if they are just going to be an expense?
   Another trick has been being frugal with the customer's money. While a six-physician practice not too far away employ a staff of 62, Atlas MD with its three physicians has all of one full-time nurse and one part-time nurse.
   Now, if you measure this just in terms of it being a doctor's visit, Atlas MD might not seem that great of a deal. After all, Atlas charges a person in the 20-44 age bracket $50 a month. Considering most of us pay maybe $20 for a co-pay, and don't visit the doctor that often, the rates might even seem high. But, remember, you've already had a big chunk of money taken out of your pay check for insurance and the doctor wouldn't be letting you in for just $20 a visit unless you had the insurance.
   With Atlas MD, you don't need to pay for insurance to see a primary care physician. And, as much of the lab work and ultrasounds and testing that they can provide, its all free, all covered by the membership fee.
   The rub might be that your membership with Atlas MD doesn't cover a visit to the hospital or to a specialist, should that be necessary. Still, this fee-based medical care minus insurance is a step in the right direction.
   Only if this insurance-free model could be expanded to the hospitals. A hospital, instead of using insurance, would invite you to participate by purchasing a membership. In essence, this would be your insurance. I suppose you could call it hospital-based insurance. Hospitals see enough people that the costs for surgeries could be absorbed, same as they are now absorbed by insurance except that this would mean the extra hand in the wallet would be removed.
   If the business model is working at Atlas MD, covering just that portion of the medical care, I see no reason why it shouldn't work if expanded to include specialists and hospitals.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Atlas May have Shrugged, but Don't Shrug at These Health-Care Prices

   Hey, hey, this really is revolutionary! While concierge medicine, as it has been called, has been around for some time, these doctors are turning it on its head. Instead of pricing it to attract the wealthy, they price it to serve the commoner.
   Fifty dollars a month for unlimited visits and free ultrasounds, etc.? As little as $6 for a prescription that might cost 100? They treated one homeless lady for $147 whereas traditional care might have costed as much as $1,500. Doctors Josh Umbehr, Doug Nunamaker and Michael Palomino and their Wichita-based primary-care practice apply a business model to health care that I wish would sweep the nation. The key to it is eliminating the middle man -- that would be insurance. Another key is holding down the overhead. The three of them have a staff of two -- a full-time nurse and a part-time nurse. They compare that to another clinic they know of with six physicians and a staff of 62.
   While this business model just reduces the cost for physician care, not care that requires hospitalization, this is a step in the right direction. It would be wonderful if this business model could be applied to hospital care, as well.
   Atlas MD takes its name from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," but this business is nothing to shrug at.





Thursday, September 4, 2014

In the Name of Decency, Join the Kite Sisters Boycott

   What if the two ladies seeking to take a bite out of Carl's Jr. (without taking a bite of the hamburgers -- or actually, that is, by NOT taking a bite of those hamburgers) were successful? What if their social media efforts went viral and enough people boycotted Carl's Jr. that the chain was forced to drop its alluring ads?
   We're talking Carl's Jr.'s ads featuring bikini-clad women chomping down on hamburgers. Lexie and Lindsay Kite don't like the ads, don't appreciate them, don't approve of the sex-sells approach.
   So, what if enough of us said the Kite sisters are right? What if this mattered enough to us that we joined their effort? What if this got just half the attention of the Bucket Challenge? Isn't it, too, a worthy cause?
   So, I challenge you, in the name of decency, to boycott Carl's Jr., that women may not be made into meat in order that meat should sell.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Does 'When Our Cause it is Just' Include This?

   "When our cause it is just," says the song, and, with the beheading of another U.S. journalist, I think more on when there is cause to go to war.
   There is cause to seek out the killer of Steven Sotloff, to search him out and to bring justice to him. But, war? Do we say, "Enough is enough," and go to war with ISIS and the Islamic State? It is not just the individual who slashed off Sotloff's head, but the organization, itself, that was behind the crime. The organization was involved in it, whether you consider them co-conspirators or accomplists. The organization posted the video.

Two Lines of Thought on the Max Hall Arrest

   I've two lines of thought on the Max Hall arrest.
   (1) I think it wonderful to be running into so many people who are expressing concern for him, compassion, love, understanding, and sorrow. Gordon Monson ran a column in the Tribune along these lines, and comments I have heard as I'm out and about show many others are also more inclined to sorrow with Hall than to condemn and mock him.
   (2) I notice the connection between drugs and theft. So often, those on drugs feel the need to steal in order to support their addictions. I don't know whether Hall's cocaine needs led him to shoplift to save money for the drug, but I wonder. I pick up the Deseret News. Above the masthead is the teaser for the Max Hall story. Just below the masthead is the lead headline: "Heroin fuels uptick in bank heists."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Issues Mattering Most are Those Containing the Sins of the Nation

  The most important social issues, in one manner of judging importance, are those that reflect our values as a society.
  Not global warming. Not whether the economy bursts. Not whether Barack Obama is a good president.
  No, the issues that matter are the ones that contain the sins of the nation. If we are doing something wrong, if we are choosing wickedness, these are the things most important to change. That said, I know that what I consider the moral high ground might not be the same as what another person views as the correct and righteous stand.
   In this sense, we call each other to righteousness. I suggest, for example, that there is a negative influence of guns upon a society that grows to value them too much. I fear for us as a society for how our gun values can erode who we are. As another example, I view it as a sin, in a way, that we treat harshly those who are in need who are among those trying to immigrate.
   Others will take stands on the opposite sides of these issues, and they might well reach their opinions based on what they think is morally right. So be it. The good thing is that we both are seeking to help bring about righteousness in our nation. My voice might seem to be unheard. Few read my blog. But, somehow I enjoy posting, anyway.

Monday, September 1, 2014

War, When Successful, Leaves the People Better Off

   War, when we go to war in foreign lands, should be to help a people. "When our cause it is just," says the song, and so we should not go to war just because someone ruffles our feathers or thumbs their nose at us.
   So, I was happy to hear from an Iraqi vet tonight, who spoke of how, when his unit arrived, the insurgents were sniper shooting at school children, but by the time the unit left, the school children were walking the school yards without being targeted by snipers.
   War, when successful, leaves the people better off than it when it was entered upon.