Category Archives: Own It

Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance Part 2

On February 1, 2012, at 7:05 p.m. the U.S. House of Representatives members voted to repeal a part of the 2010 health care law, the CLASS Act that provides long-term health care services. In October, the Obama administration said that it would not implement this portion of the law.  The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.

America is about empathy and responsibility: people caring both for themselves and for one another, and acting responsibly on that sense of care. When I hear otherwise, I wonder if the speaker really understands and wants this vision of America. There is certainly room in America for those who can afford it to purchase long-term assisted care insurance. And they are free to do so. The real question here is: What about those Americans who can not afford to purchase long-term assisted care insurance? And, we’re talking about the majority of Americans – hundreds of millions of people.
American democracy has two roles: protection and empowerment for all its citizens. It’s a myth only recently created in American that people make it on their own. In fact, nobody makes it on his or her own. Yes, the individual is responsible to pursue happiness, and in doing so, meets countless individuals who have made contributions to their success.
Your Exercise
Own It: What are your moral values when it comes to others in our society? Whose ideas in this debate do you identify with most?
Feel It: How do these values make you feel? (Review the list of emotions on this blog site)
Live It: Contact your Senator(s); share your experience with long-term assisted care insurance; and let them know what you value in the life of aging adult living in America.
Love It: Be happy about your contributions to the debate. Tell six other friends about this site, the CSPAN video and your hope for America.

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Philosophy 1A- To Whom Do We Owe a Duty of Care?

Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance

On February 1, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives members debated a bill to repeal a part of the 2010 health care law, the CLASS Act that provides long-term health care services. In October, the Obama administration said that it would not implement this portion of the law.  You can read more at CSPAN.org. Read More

Everyone should enjoy listening to this debate.  It’s an easily accessible discussion in basic philosophy.  And, it is discussed by some House members from a conservative strict moral values perspective, and by other House members from a progressive affectionate care and attention moral values perspective.

As you read, listen or view the debate, see if you can pick out which moral values perspective each speaker is “Owning It.”  How does it make you feel when you hear the moral value perspective?  For anyone who has tried to contract  for long-term care insurance, they will tell you the coverage is limited, the insurance premium costs are high, and there is no certainty that the company will be economically stable to pay benefits by the time coverage is needed.

Your Exercise

Own It:  What are your moral values when it comes to others in our society?  Whose ideas in this debate do you identify with most?

Feel It:  How do these values make you feel? (Review the list of emotions on this blog site)

Live It:  Contact your House of Representatives member(s);  share your experience with long-term assisted care insurance; and let them know what you value in the life of aging adult living in America.

Love It:  Be happy about your contributions to the debate.  Tell six other friends about this site, the CSPAN video and your hope for America.


Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance

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Jobs, Industry, and Cantankerous Old Men

The title was so catchy, I couldn’t resist reading this essay by Christopher Ketchem at Truthdig.  Two points caught my attention:

“I’ve been thinking recently of another old man, a friend of the family named A.J. Centola, who went homeless a few years back… A.J. and I used to sit around gabbing on afternoons, walking around the old neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, where he grew up during the last Great War, [with]… merchant marines in boardinghouses, and dockworkers, ironworkers, grocers, and freelance laborers like him.”

 

 

“…A.J. said one day. “…You have one class now in Carroll Gardens, the mono-class of the rich. No industry, no trades, no jobs for the average person to pull himself up. Now it’s all restaurants on Court Street that the old-timers can’t afford. People live their whole lives in the same place, and then this is not their place.” 

 Christopher Ketcham: God Bless Cantankerous Old Men – Essay – Truthdig

What struck me was the idea that there were jobs in the neighborhood:  diverse jobs in industry (ironworkers), trades (grocers) and manual labor that paid good enough to raise a family on (merchant marines, dockworkers).  As both Robert Reich and John Taylor spoke to on PBS Newshour today, the principle problem is jobs and low economic growth.

If Americans want to get serious about increased jobs that pay wages sufficient to grow and build a middle class, we’re going to need industry, trades, skilled and manual labor sectors.  I can’t imagine a highly industrial America.   But its clear jobs will have to come in many different forms, to fit different worker skills. 

It won’t be easy, but I’m confident adjustments will be made by government so that capitalism again advances the interests of the people.  Gainful employment is at the top of everyone’s list.

 

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Economy at Risk with short-term deal on debt

Oooh..there are groups wanting citizens to be active in this debt-ceiling theatrical production.  What fun and opportunity to have your voice heard.  I’m filled with excitement and hope.  What a terrific opportunity for folks to separate political theatre from actual governing.  For example, I stumbled upon this link

Tell Boehner: Do Your Job
Sign up & Tell Boehner – “It’s Time
to Compromise On The Debt Celing!”
www.DSCC.org/Boehner-Do-Your-Job New Window

I’m sure there are others on all sides of the political belief spectrum.  Point is,  “Whatcha doin’?” Are you getting involved, gathering information about this issue,  talking to those who share your beliefs and those who do not, owning your beliefs;  taking time to really let yourself feel the emotions about the political theatre versus  the budget policy?  And then doing something about it?  Own It, Feel It, Live It, Love It.

There are so many places to get started.   The reality is that the debt ceiling is being used as political theatre for back-room deals.  Meanwhile, the Nation is facing some serious negative outcomes if the debt ceiling is not raised and the government is not transparent about the budget.

For example, at CBS News reports:

The first is market stability – the perilous nature of the current talks have spooked rating agencies which are threatening to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, which would spike interest rates, making it harder and more expensive for everyone to borrow money and pay back loans, especially the federal government. Preventing that possibility for as long as possible is a good thing. Stability in knowing that Washington won’t be going through another debt debate again soon will help calm the market and investors.

(Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The White House reiterated its opposition today, saying that “a short-term extension could cause our country’s credit rating to be downgraded, causing harm to our economy and causing every American to pay higher credit cards rates and more for home and car loans.”

A close second reason: Simply not having to go through this again. The morass that has overwhelmed Washington looks bad for all sides, and shows that the federal government is not functioning well. The president believes that going through this debate for a second time in the near future would be a futile exercise, made even more difficult by the fact of 2012 being an election year.

And third? Yes, politics. Keeping the debt and spending issue away off the front pages and out of the election season will be a good thing for the White House, just as much as getting a big debt deal done would help show that President Obama is serious about getting the nation’s financial health in order.

While the president may wish to avoid the politics of another debt ceiling increase until after the next election, the White House is hoping that stability in the debt issue will take away one nugget of uncertainty that could be dragging down the economy. With certainty in the markets, their hope is that the economic recovery could get back on track. They fear going through another debate like this wouldn’t help.

“What we’re not going to do is to continue to play games and string this along for another eight, nine months, and then have to go through this whole exercise all over again. That we’re not going to do,” said the president, optimistically.

After Republicans backed out of the latest rounds of talks, an angry president charged them with going for a short term goal to play politics with the debt issue.

“How serious are you actually about debt and deficit reduction? Or do you simply want it as a campaign ploy going into the next election?” he said Friday night.

via Why Obama wants to avoid short-term deal on debt – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

 

The Educating Gossip™ wants to know:   “Whatcha doin’?”

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Political Theatre: Debt Ceiling and Back Room Deals

Oh joy!  I like to follow the headlines and separate the political theatre from the national policy that’s at stake.

The political theatre behind the debt ceiling theatrical production currently playing for the American public is political posturing.  We should all ask our selves: Do we want government that plays political games behind the “debt ceiling,” or do we want government to get to the business of raising revenue, cutting spending (including international “conflicts”), improving infra-structure, restoring financial market protections, etc.?

Me, I say, cut the comedy; get to the business of governing.  And, not through back room “debt ceiling” deals.  We want to know exactly who is asking for what concessions, what are going to be the costs, upsides, downsides, trade offs, etc….and would it be too much to ask for a national discussion or conversation about these domestic policies?

Playbill for the Debt Ceiling Production:  the excerpt below  is all you need to know about the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling is a legal cap on the amount of money the U.S. Treasury can borrow to fund existing government functions. It essentially authorizes the Treasury to borrow the money necessary to pay the bills incurred by the federal government.

Where it came from: Before 1917, Congress authorized the Treasury to issue bonds for specific purposes. But that meant approving every bond separately. To fund World War I, Congress decided to give the Treasury more latitude by instituting caps on how much it could borrow through each type of bond, rather than forcing it to get every new bond approved separately. In 1939, this was changed so that most bonds were bound by the same limit, effectively creating the general debt ceiling we have today.

How it has worked: The debt ceiling has traditionally been raised as a matter of course whenever Congress passes spending bills requiring more borrowing, though the opposition party has often voted against increases to signal its opposition to the majority’s deficit spending. Between 1940 and 2010, we have increased the debt limit more than 70 times, and from 1979 to 1995, a House rule proposed by Rep. Dick Gephardt made increases automatic by raising the ceiling whenever new spending is approved. The new Republican majority repealed this rule in 1995 to use raising the debt ceiling as leverage in getting President Clinton to agree to spending cuts.

Why it’s an issue now: Currently, the debt limit is set at $14.3 trillion. Around Aug. 2, the Treasury will exhaust that borrowing authority. Because spending currently exceeds revenues by almost 45 percent, if that happens, we will either have to default on our debt or stop funding a substantial portion of the government. Congress could simply choose to raise the debt ceiling, but like the 1995 House GOP, the 2011 House GOP is insisting that it will not increase the debt ceiling without large spending cuts from President Barack Obama.

Do we need a debt ceiling? Strictly speaking, no. The debt ceiling is unique to America. In other countries, when the legislature passes a law, the Treasury is given automatic authority to carry it out. A number of former Treasury secretaries have said it should be abolished, including Larry Summers, who said, “I think that given that Congress has to approve all spending and all tax changes, there is not much logic to the debt ceiling.”

Does the debt ceiling reduce deficits? In general, no. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office examined this issue and concluded that “setting a limit on the debt is an ineffective means of controlling deficits because the decisions that necessitate borrowing are made through other legislative actions. By the time an increase in the debt ceiling comes up for approval, it is too late to avoid paying the government’s pending bills without incurring serious negative consequences.”

Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional? A number of commentators have suggested that the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned,” renders the debt ceiling unconstitutional. Others have disagreed, saying the Constitution gives Congress the sole power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States.”

— The Washington Post

via Too late for a debt deal? | | The Bulletin.

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Did You Hear? Democracy Needs Trustworthy and Impartial Information|the Educating Gossip™

Feel It, Love It!

Ohhh this makes me feel sad but also more determined

“Gone with the Papers,” written by Chris Hedges ( http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/gone_with_the_papers_20110627/)  noted: 

 “We are losing a peculiar culture and an ethic. This loss is impoverishing our civil discourse and leaving us less and less connected to the city, the nation and the world around us.”  And also, “A democracy survives when its citizens have access to trustworthy and impartial sources of information, when it can discern lies from truth, when civic discourse is grounded in verifiable fact.”

The writer holds passionate beliefs about the role of a free and impartial press especially now as “[T]he increasing fusion of news and entertainment, the rise of a class of celebrity journalists on television who define reporting by their access to the famous and the powerful, the retreat by many readers into the ideological ghettos of the Internet and the ruthless drive by corporations to destroy the traditional news business are leaving us deaf, dumb and blind.”  Powerful stuff.  Love It!

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Teachable Moment: Moral Panics, Anthony Weiner and Seal Team Six Insights

Can we separate political ethics and morality from personal ethics and morality?  This seems to be the question America has been struggling with for some time.   “Moral panics” are what George Lakoff refers to them in his book The Political Mind Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain.

America likes to gossip about the personal details of a public person’s life—the more outrageous, the more perplexing, and the more morally confounding the better. Such talk is considered “juicy” and America could talk about it all day long.

Representative Anthony Weiner is at the center of the current moral panic.  Should he resign?  Should his wife divorce him?  Can he be trusted as an official elected to represent the voters of New York?  Is he “true” to them?  And if he indeed walks his political talk, should his actions within his marriage matter?  Can we separate his morals and his ethics?

We can make a distinction between the two that I think is useful.  Ethics refers to a theory or system that describes what is good and, by extension, what is evil.  Morals refer to the rules that tell us what to do or not to do.  Morality divides actions in to right and wrong.

Ethics are more theoretically focused:  How do we judge white-collar crime versus violent crime?  How do we allocate health care when demand and costs out strips resources?  Mythology and theology are the oldest sources of ethics, though philosophical systems are often more discussed today.

Ethics are about theory, while morals are about practice.

Morales are the rules you live by; ethics are the systems that generate those rules.  Morals have to do with your personal life:  What is appropriate behavior on a first date? Is taking a ream of paper from your job home for personal use a crime?

Teachable Momemt: SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper author Howard Wasdin said to Jon Stewart on the 6/9/2011 Daily Show, that although he is a republican and did not vote for President Obama, Wasdin would consider doing so in the future because the President had it right on three accounts: keeping the mission operations secure, burying binLaden’s body at sea, and not releasing the pictures.  Wasdin admired the President’s political actions.

Should we really care about a politician’s personal actions?  Some say we should, for it gives insight into that person’s theory or system by which they judge good and evil and thereby decide what to do.

Stay tuned.  As we enter another presidential election cycle, the major weakness of ballot-box elections will once again become glaringly apparent:  the voters decide on a candidate by making an X rather than by exploring what it means to be the best candidate for the job.

The influence of smear campaigns, misleading political ads or the force of party-line habit voting, will make it a struggle for voters to possess a deep understanding and consensus on policy issues and thus elect the best candidate for the job.

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Attack on Religion or a Call to Discovery?

 I have a friend, a learned scholar, who brought this engaging exchange to my attention posted at The Science Network.

File:Neil deGrasse Tyson - NAC Nov 2005.jpg
Neil deGrasse Tyson

It’s a talk by  Neil deGrasse Tyson basically saying that religion is what some early scientists turned to when they could not explain the unknown and was used to fuel their creative thought.  The talk is lively and fun.  Tyson tells us to keep in mind that some of the greatest minds that have preceded us expressed notions of  intelligent design  when faced with the limits of their knowledge. “Science is a philosophy of discovery, intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. “     He encourages us to acknowledge that people are feeling at the limits of their knowledge when they invoke the notion of intelligent design.  He also encourages us to be self-aware of when we are at the limits of our knowledge and not let our belief systems limit our creativity, our search for knowledge.   Fun, fun, fun.

File:Shermer wiki portrait4.jpg
Michael Shermer

Dr. Tyson is joined on the panel by speakers including  Michael Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”  Michael Shermer takes a social scientist’s point of view, asking the question:  what are the different variables that go into a person’s belief system?   He states that smart people believe weird things “because they are better at rationalizing beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.   Which is to say that most of the beliefs that most of us hold we arrived at because we were raised that way, or we were influenced by peers or mentors.”   It’s human nature to want to find reasons to justify what we believe. 

Another panalist states that business interests understand that science and innovation is important for the economy but they don’t particularly care if there is a large number  of uneducated people.  However, from the public policy and government affairs  point of view, it is critically important that citizens are educated.  In the United States, elected officials are tasked to represent and put into law policies and practices that the voters want.  If the people are uneducated on the most basic of human affairs, bad policy and government will result.  Business and government need educated people–business may need a few, but good government requires many more.

I started this blog to encourage myself and others to challenge beliefs.  First, acknowledging and modifying beliefs in light of new discoveries (“Own It”).  Then, acknowledge how the updated beliefs make us feel (“Feel It”), put those new beliefs into daily practice (“Live It”), and then be happy with our lives (“Love It”). 

It’s worth the 75 minutes to view the program because it makes you think about religion and beliefs in a different way. For me, this program was a reminder that wisdom (religion, philosophy, psychological) is a means for people to seek a deeper human experience and be encouraged to press forward, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming confusion, doubt, and unknowns. I felt both hopeful that public policy will balance the teaching of science and intelligent design in schools and happy that there is a role for belief in play in people’s creative lives. Watch the program and let me know how it made you think about what you believe, if it made you modify what you believe and how that makes you feel as you deeply connect with people and the world around you.

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Who Can You Trust?

We all have beliefs, ideas, and concepts that influence our understanding of the world and behavior– whether they’re aware of it or not.  Understanding  the beliefs of others is a step toward trusting their opinions and decisions.  Check out this article   http://pdfcast.org/pdf/trust-the-importance-of-trustfulness-versus-trustworthiness  I found it interesting that first, we need to understand the difference between trustful and being trustworthy; and then, second, how being untrustworthy tends to make us less trustful/trusting. 

Here at the Educating Gossip, we’re going to have fun looking at our personal degree of trust in government and other public institutions estasblished to advance the public good.  We’ll explore actions by public agencies regarding issues such jobs, wealth creation and health care.  We’ll discuss what we believe is impartial, honest and competent.  We’ll have fun doing what is good for our selves, our community and the world.  We are what we believe and we will: Own it, Feel it, Live it and Love it!  

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