Monday, December 15, 2008

I Want A Dog

and one day some kids too :-)

Leia Mais…

Monday, December 8, 2008

These Pictures Really Make Me Sad

Leia Mais…

BK ad

Here's the link to the newest ad campaign of Burger King: LINK. I was kinda bummed to hear all the Hmongers only speaking Thai, I bet they didn't have a Hmong translator so they only showed the responses in Thai. The experiment is very flawed (scientifically speaking), but I think anyone would recognize that, not just a Hmong lover like me. I do enjoy all the recent Hmong media though (this and the new Clint Eastwood movie).

Leia Mais…

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hmong people are Whopper Virgins

A commercial just came out for Burger King with hill-tribe hmong people from Chiang Mai, Thailand deciding if the Whopper is better than the big mac. I enjoyed the commercial, mainly because I have eaten at that burger king :-) The video isn't on youtube yet, but I'll post it when it is uploaded.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Many doctors plan to quit or cut back: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Primary care doctors in the United States feel overworked and nearly half plan to either cut back on how many patients they see or quit medicine entirely, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

And 60 percent of 12,000 general practice physicians found they would not recommend medicine as a career.

"The whole thing has spun out of control. I plan to retire early even though I still love seeing patients. The process has just become too burdensome," the Physicians' Foundation, which conducted the survey, quoted one of the doctors as saying.

The survey adds to building evidence that not enough internal medicine or family practice doctors are trained or practicing in the United States, although there are plenty of specialist physicians.

Health care reform is near the top of the list of priorities for both Congress and president-elect Barack Obama, and doctor's groups are lobbying for action to reduce their workload and hold the line on payments for treating Medicare, Medicaid and other patients with federal or state health insurance.

The Physicians' Foundation, founded in 2003 as part of a settlement in an anti-racketeering lawsuit among physicians, medical societies, and insurer Aetna, Inc., mailed surveys to 270,000 primary care doctors and 50,000 practicing specialists.

The 12,000 answers are considered representative of doctors as a whole, the group said, with a margin of error of about 1 percent. It found that 78 percent of those who answered believe there is a shortage of primary care doctors.

More than 90 percent said the time they devote to non-clinical paperwork has increased in the last three years and 63 percent said this has caused them to spend less time with each patient.

Eleven percent said they plan to retire and 13 percent said they plan to seek a job that removes them from active patient care. Twenty percent said they will cut back on patients seen and 10 percent plan to move to part-time work.

Seventy six percent of physicians said they are working at "full capacity" or "overextended and overworked".

Many of the health plans proposed by members of Congress, insurers and employers's groups, as well as Obama's, suggest that electronic medical records would go a long way to saving time and reducing costs.


Leia Mais…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Thoughts on Same Sex Marriage

In order to address the issue of same-sex marriage it is pertinent to have a preface discussion about gender differences. Sex has deep roots, reaching far beyond what one looks at in the mirror. The purpose of sexual differentiation is plain and simple: to reproduce. Women evolved in a way conducive of attracting a mate who would invest resources in her and her children. Men evolved in order to attract a fertile mate willing to copulate with him. Differences that arose from these two different (yet overlapping) goals are commonly referred to as sexual dimorphism. These differences are not limited to physical dissimilarities, but are a dynamic mixture of cognitive ability (male spacial ability v. female verbal ability for example), personality traits, etc. Although biological factors initiate differences, socialization plays the most significant role in establishing gender roles. Homosexual marriages, or children raised with same-gender parents are taking a chance against what nature evolved to be a family. Half the picture children were intended to see during their development is absent. Although many people don’t accept Freud’s psychosexual theory of personality development including the Oedipus complex, one would be hard pressed to find somebody unwilling to acknowledge the profound impact heterosexual parents have on their children.

In Plato’s Republic, Plato argues that nepotism is responsible for divisiveness in society. This schism could be eliminated if elite men were required to produce children with women held in common, and the children produced raised by nurses leaving the parents and children ignorant to biological ties. Aristotle saw something that Plato did not. He recognized devastating side-effects this societal treatment might cause. He wrote:

Whereas in a state having women and children in common, love will be watery; and the father will certainly not say “my son,” or the son “my father.” As a little sweet wine mingled with a great deal of water is imperceptible in the mixture, so, in this sort of community, the idea of relationship which is based upon these names will be lost; there is no reason why the so-called father should care about the son, or the son about the father, or brothers about one another. Of the two qualities which chiefly inspire regard and affection-that a thing is your own and that it is your only one-neither can exist in such a state as this.1

Aristotle recognized what evolutionary psychologists call kin selection or kin altruism. Altruism, or behavior that involves self-sacrifice, appears to be inconsistent with natural selection. If natural selection favors traits that add to the overall fitness of a creature then how can behavior that reduces survival and fitness be selected? The answer is that animals and people not only have an interest in their own survival but also the survival of their genes. This idea is called inclusive fitness, the reproductive success of those individuals who share many of the same genes. In Politics, Aristotle writes, “in common with other animals and with plants, mankind have a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves.”2 Thomas Aquinas, who was very influential in many Christian nations construct of marriage and family, saw four major driving forces behind marriage. First, the demanding nature of child rearing for an extensive amount of time makes it difficult for mothers to raise infants by themselves. Second, fathers are much more likely to attach to their children if they know with certainty that the child caries his genes and is his own. Third, reinforcing this attachment males feel towards their children is the mutual assistance and affection he receives from his wife. Finally, sexual exchange between the father and mother helps to integrate the father into the mother-infant bond.3 Research strongly supports that children do best when raised by their two married, biological parents who have low-conflict relationships.4, 5 Dismissing the relationship between kin selection (biological parents) and marriage is adultocentric- disregarding children’s rights. Children have the right to be raised by parents in families as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.6 Not only this, children also have the right to be raised in a society which protects legal and cultural institutions which maximize the possibility of them being raised by their biological parents. For this reason I am opposed to same-sex marriage being passed as law.

Something that has taken me by surprise as I have debated the issue of same-sex marriage is how quickly people label me as a “homophobe.” Quick background on me: I have never in my life felt any malice or any degree of hate for a homosexual person. I have had close association with some homosexual people in my life on sports teams, at work, at school, my neighbors, and within my own extended family. My association with them has always been exquisitely pleasant and I value their unique perspectives. Why then would I be labeled as a homophobe for pursuing peaceful discussion while taking the stance of defending marriage to be between a man and a woman? My conclusion is that the term homophobe is a potent deterrent to rational debate. Name-calling and scare tactics enable those unable to support their arguments otherwise to turn weak minds against their opponent. Thomas Sowell writes about this buzzword (homophobe) in The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy:

Writers who have written for years, or even decades, without ever mentioning homosexuals have been denounced for "homophobia" because they began to write about the subject after the AIDS epidemic appeared and did not take the "politically correct" position on the issues. How can someone have a "phobia" about something he has scarcely noticed? Many people never knew or cared what homosexuals were doing, until it became a danger to them as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Whether those people's reactions were right or wrong is something that can be debated. But attributing their position to a "phobia" is circular reasoning, when there is no evidence of any such phobia other than the position itself. Like so much in the vocabulary of the anointed, it is a way of avoiding substantive debate.
Among the writers who took non-"politically correct" positions on AIDS was the late Randy Shilts, whose best-selling book And the Band Played On is a chilling exploration of the political irresponsibility, based on fears of offending the organized gay lobby, that led to thousands of unnecessary deaths before the most elementary public health measures were taken to reduce the spread of AIDS. No doubt he too would have been called "homophobic" if he were not himself an avowed homosexual who later died of AIDS....7

Jeff Lindsey (an LDS member in Appleton, Wisconsin) wrote in his blog: “Homophobia is an epithet to stop argument. Name-calling can carry the day when reason and facts aren't with you. There certainly are bigots that need to be stopped - but the media and the gay lobby is quick to label anyone as homophobic who does not agree with their political agenda or with their lifestyle. But the issue of homosexuality needs thoughtful consideration and debate - not just name calling to force a politically correct decision.”

The idea of political correctness is an influential weapon gay-activists arm themselves with. I find the history of homosexuality in popular scientific thought to be particularly telling of the power this weapon yields. In 1973 the term homosexuality was removed from the official nomenclature of the DSM-II (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Such action would make one think this represents popular scientific thought on the matter right? Wrong. A poll taken in late 1977 of ten thousand Psychiatrists of the American Medical Association showed that 68 percent answered in the affirmative when asked "is homosexuality usually a pathological adaptation as opposed to a normal variation?" Again, in 1995 a poll of various psychiatric institutions revealed that a large majority of psychiatrists believe that homosexuality was a pathological adaptation. So if the scientific community decides to disavow homosexuality as a mental illness without research (or even popularity within the scientific community) to back it up why was this change made? Plain and simple: political correctness being pushed for by gay-activists. Political correctness trumps research. This reality was made clear when a group of researchers headed by Charles W. Socarides presented a report summarizing two years of research. They observed and unanimously documented the fact that exclusive homosexuality was a disorder of psychosexual development. At the end of this two year study, new members of the Executive Committee who ordered the study deemed their conclusions “not acceptable.” And so, good science is effectively filtered by gay-activists in the name of political correctness. I guess the same people who lament the far right trying to block evolution being taught in schools are guilty of a similar offense themselves.8

Many members of the LDS church who are supportive of same-sex marriages being legalized criticize the church for continuously choosing the wrong side of every political battle.9 They quickly make a comparison to blacks and the priesthood. I would respond with a question: is the church today the same as it was in the 70’s? The first presidency and quorum of the twelve is now saturated with PhD’s and expertise in various fields of study (this hasn’t always been the case). Are these men uneducated bigots? Is the idea that the church would stand up for marriage in order to suppress the rights of a minority group even fathomable to one with experience with the church? There must be more to the church’s stance than that which the church is continuously accused. I challenge anyone caught in a crisis of thought regarding this issue to study it out, trust our leaders and allow the facts to vindicate our position. How grateful I am that the church has stood up when called upon, proving to all that we are not ashamed of truth, and we will protect the family as the seedbed of civilization.

In my experience with members of the church who support same-sex marriage I have often heard them use Joseph Smith’s own words to validate their position. “I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves” said Joseph Smith as cited by John Taylor.10 Focus is on the latter part of this quote, implying that the church must avoid infringing on others’ rights. Often reference is made to Satan’s plan in the pre-earth life equating these rights to agency. There are a few visible errors in this thinking. I don’t think this position represents a correct understanding of agency. In Heavenly Father’s established plan, agency is not something that can be taken away. People will always have the ability to act according to their own accord. Even if rules or laws are put in place, this in no way infringes upon one’s agency. “For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.”11 This way of thinking also fails to acknowledge the first part of Joseph Smith’s words, to teach correct principles. The church has not really taken a political stand, it has taken a moral one. It has stood up for the family as being ordained by God and between one man and one woman. It is consistent with the churches long-time position, one which they have already made several proclamations to the world.12

1. Aristotle, supra n. 17, at Bk. I, ii.
2. Aristotle, Politics, in The Basic Words of Aristotle Bk. I, ii (Random House 1941).
3. Aquinas, supra n. 21 at Q. 41, A. 1.
4. Parke, M.; Are married parents really better for children? What research says about effects of family structure on child well-being (Policy Brief No. 3) Washington DC: center for law and social policy. 2003.
5. McLanahan, S.; Sandefur, G.D.; Growing up with a single parent: what hurts, what helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. 1994.
6. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7.
7. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy BasicBooks, New York, 1995, pp. 216 – 217



10. Journal of Discourses 10:57-58.

11. Doctrine and Covenants 58:28

12. For more on Agency see Dallin H. Oaks, Free Agency and Freedom, BYU Devotional and Fireside Speeches, 1987-88.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lakers are 5-0!

Anybody following the NBA this year knows that the Lakers are going to prove something. Kobe will prove once and for all that he is heir to MJ, Pau will prove that given the right atmosphere he can be a premier player in the NBA, and Bynum will prove that he was indeed worth more than Jason Kidd. It will be a break-out year for Jordan Farmar, who will not only take Fisher's starting spot, but also be this years Jose Calderon in fantasy league. All this will be great, but the best feeling of all will be when we're drinking champagne at the end of the finals, giving Shaq something to rap about. Once again, it's feeling pretty good to be a Laker fan!

Leia Mais…

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Debates on Hold

I have decided to put my debates about same-sex marriage on hold. I intent to do extensive research, collect data and the formulate a new opinion (or possibly stick with the same old one). Up to this point I have supported Prop 8 based on opinions of people I respect (namely my old room mate who is studying constitutional law and did his undergraduate work in Home and Family Living (HFL), and the LDS church). My religious beliefs and background bias me towards the "essentialist" mindset, but I will try and be as objective as possible. Thank you everyone who has helped up to this point in helping me understand the gravity of this topic.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Civil Rights?

The election is over, but this issue is far from dead.

I just found this video put together to combat the comparison of same-sex marriage to civil rights.

I think Obama made a good (even though it's blatantly obvious) point when he said "there are a whole host of things that are civil rights, and then there are other things such as traditional marriage that express a communities concern and regard to a particular institution."

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 3, 2008

This Is What I Have Been Trying To Say

From the Los Angeles Times


Protecting marriage to protect children

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving. But in all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood.

By David Blankenhorn

September 19, 2008

I'm a liberal Democrat. And I do not favor same-sex marriage. Do those positions sound contradictory? To me, they fit together.

Many seem to believe that marriage is simply a private love relationship between two people. They accept this view, in part, because Americans have increasingly emphasized and come to value the intimate, emotional side of marriage, and in part because almost all opinion leaders today, from journalists to judges, strongly embrace this position. That's certainly the idea that underpinned the California Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.

But I spent a year studying the history and anthropology of marriage, and I've come to a different conclusion.

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood -- biological, social and legal -- into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other.

These days, because of the gay marriage debate, one can be sent to bed without supper for saying such things. But until very recently, almost no one denied this core fact about marriage. Summing up the cross-cultural evidence, the anthropologist Helen Fisher in 1992 put it simply: "People wed primarily to reproduce." The philosopher and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell, certainly no friend of conventional sexual morality, was only repeating the obvious a few decades earlier when he concluded that "it is through children alone that sexual relations become important to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution."

Marriage is society's most pro-child institution. In 2002 -- just moments before it became highly unfashionable to say so -- a team of researchers from Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center, reported that "family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage."

All our scholarly instruments seem to agree: For healthy development, what a child needs more than anything else is the mother and father who together made the child, who love the child and love each other.

For these reasons, children have the right, insofar as society can make it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. The foundational human rights document in the world today regarding children, the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically guarantees children this right. The last time I checked, liberals like me were supposed to be in favor of internationally recognized human rights, particularly concerning children, who are typically society's most voiceless and vulnerable group. Or have I now said something I shouldn't?

Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him. Every single one. Moreover, losing that right will not be a consequence of something that at least most of us view as tragic, such as a marriage that didn't last, or an unexpected pregnancy where the father-to-be has no intention of sticking around. On the contrary, in the case of same-sex marriage and the children of those unions, it will be explained to everyone, including the children, that something wonderful has happened!

For me, what we are encouraged or permitted to say, or not say, to one another about what our society owes its children is crucially important in the debate over initiatives like California's Proposition 8, which would reinstate marriage's customary man-woman form. Do you think that every child deserves his mother and father, with adoption available for those children whose natural parents cannot care for them? Do you suspect that fathers and mothers are different from one another? Do you imagine that biological ties matter to children? How many parents per child is best? Do you think that "two" is a better answer than one, three, four or whatever? If you do, be careful. In making the case for same-sex marriage, more than a few grown-ups will be quite willing to question your integrity and goodwill. Children, of course, are rarely consulted.

The liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously argued that, in many cases, the real conflict we face is not good versus bad but good versus good. Reducing homophobia is good. Protecting the birthright of the child is good. How should we reason together as a society when these two good things conflict?

Here is my reasoning. I reject homophobia and believe in the equal dignity of gay and lesbian love. Because I also believe with all my heart in the right of the child to the mother and father who made her, I believe that we as a society should seek to maintain and to strengthen the only human institution -- marriage -- that is specifically intended to safeguard that right and make it real for our children.

Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes. But changing the meaning of marriage to accommodate homosexual orientation further and perhaps definitively undermines for all of us the very thing -- the gift, the birthright -- that is marriage's most distinctive contribution to human society. That's a change that, in the final analysis, I cannot support.

David Blankenhorn is president of the New York-based Institute for American Values and the author of "The Future of Marriage."

Leia Mais…

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Clint Eastwood Movie is About Hmongers!

I dunno if this movie looks good, but I'm positive that was a paj ntaub (hmong story clothe) hanging up in that old lady's house. I'll go see it :-)

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama.... Hmmmmm.

So I have learned a lot about myself this week. One: I am very fickle when it comes to my support for our presidential candidates and two: I have a lot of unresolved issues with Barack Obama.

So a week ago I was convinced that Obama was the best candidate and decided I would give him my vote. This week however I did a lot of heavy thinking on the subject and came up with a list of reservations I maintain.

1) Obama is a socialist. At first I didn't think too much of this, but the more reality sinks in the more uneasy I am about this fact. He wants to tax unequally to "spread out the wealth." That sounds like an infringement on people's rights to me. The only reason I can think that this idea could be justified is the "Robin Hood" mentality: take from the rich and give to the poor by force. In my mind this is wrong on so many levels. People should be able to give money to the poor on their own, and if they choose. I never feel good about paying taxes, nobody does. I do feel good about using my own God-given right of agency. People should give on their own terms and see the results of their actions. Giving and feeling good after wards is the best solution, it reinforces that good behavior. Paying more taxes does not have this effect, it embitters people and may even add more problems in the end. Forcing people to be charitable may appeal to the "95%" who make less than $250,000 a year and it may be popular with the majority because of that, but that doesn't make it right. Obama also supports universal health care, another socialist idea that I do not support. American health care has systemic problems that we must address, but universal health care is not the best solution.

Obama's socialist ideals do not seem to fit with the major political minds who wrote the constitution namely James Madison.

2) Obama will probably win this election because Bush was president when the economic crisis arose. Studies show that when major problems arise in a country, then the party or group in power is almost always removed. This is unfair, especially given the facts on the matter. Read the article by Orson Scott Card I posted below. No election should be won because of something so dishonest and incorrect.

3) Obama has shady affiliations. Ayres, Wright, ACORN, Franklin Raines (this one may not be true), etc. Based on Judith Harris' group socialization theory, I fear Obama may be influenced by people I don't want anywhere near the presidency.

4) This is connected to point #2, but I find it very interesting that the second biggest beneficiary of Fannie and Freddy was Barack Obama. This bleeds corruption in my mind and Obama's supposed to be the avator of incorruptable. You got to admit this is sketchy.

5) This one is stupid I'll admit that right away. Why did Obama change his first name from Barry to Barack? Maybe I don't like this because my dad's name is Barry I dunno, but what kind of person changes his name? That's your name man, I don't care if it embarrasses you, be proud.

Leia Mais…

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Year is OUR Year!

I am so stinking excited! So last year with Bynum we were on top of the west. Then he got injured and we traded for Gasol who took us to the NBA finals. Now we have Bynum AND Gasol. Can anyone else see an NBA Championship formula better than this one? The Lakers are back!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crazy Hits by former BYU KICKER!

We were studying impulse in my biomechanics class and for fun my professor showed a clip from 2004 when BYU's kicker Matt Payne rocked Boise State's return man twice. You gotta see this!!

That was the Kicker, the KICKER!?!! Awesome!

Leia Mais…

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate... give me my 97 minutes back please.

Did anyone else think that watching the debate Friday was a HUGE waste of time. McCain is creepy with his slow-progressing points and awkward facial expressions. It pained me deeply every time I had to watch him try to hold in laughter while Obama was speaking. Then there's Obama who kept on going "" like some doofus (isn't he supposed to be the literate one?). McCain should have blown Obama out of the water being the self-proclaimed foreign affairs specialist and Obama was weak as heck on the economy something I was led to believe he was strong in (I guess that's the problem with "believing" in a candidate). Now I am no political genius, just your average schmuck, but I am embarrased to say that those were our best two candidates Friday. Neither one was impressive and neither one has won my vote yet.

Leia Mais…

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meditation XVII by John Donne

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him. And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Leia Mais…

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Different Shade of Gladwell

So I decided since the last article I posted was 8 years old that I would see if Malcolm Gladwell has written more recently in regards to health care. He has and he's flip-flopped! He decided that his previous arguments made with Adam Gopnik were based on the money put into the health care system, i.e. funding problems rather than systemic problems. I really respect Malcolm Gladwell's opinion because his book The Tipping Point really changed the way I think. I want to post a link to his blog stating his current (still 3 years old) opinion on this issue. He says our government blocks any attempt to socialize our health care system (there have been about 6 attempts so far) because of what is called "moral hazard." The idea here is that if people have insurance for something they tend to use it more frivolously thereby adding inefficiency and waste to the current system. He disputes moral hazard using logic, case studies, and statistics. Here is a link to the post: The Moral Hazard Myth

Also, in response to my first post on SiCKO, my cousin Brad proposed the possibility of using an actuarial system analogous to car insurance to help move past our current dilemma. I thought that was a very novel idea. Gladwell addresses this idea. I thought what he said was interesting so I'll cut and paste it here:

"There is another way to organize insurance, however, and that is to make it actuarial. Car insurance, for instance, is actuarial. How much you pay is in large part a function of your individual situation and history: someone who drives a sports car and has received twenty speeding tickets in the past two years pays a much higher annual premium than a soccer mom with a minivan. In recent years, the private insurance industry in the United States has been moving toward the actuarial model, with profound consequences. The triumph of the actuarial model over the social-insurance model is the reason that companies unlucky enough to employ older, high-cost employees—like United Airlines—have run into such financial difficulty. It's the reason that automakers are increasingly moving their operations to Canada. It's the reason that small businesses that have one or two employees with serious illnesses suddenly face unmanageably high health-insurance premiums, and it's the reason that, in many states, people suffering from a potentially high-cost medical condition can't get anyone to insure them at all.

Health Savings Accounts represent the final, irrevocable step in the actuarial direction. If you are preoccupied with moral hazard, then you want people to pay for care with their own money, and, when you do that, the sick inevitably end up paying more than the healthy. And when you make people choose an insurance plan that fits their individual needs, those with significant medical problems will choose expensive health plans that cover lots of things, while those with few health problems will choose cheaper, bare-bones plans. The more expensive the comprehensive plans become, and the less expensive the bare-bones plans become, the more the very sick will cluster together at one end of the insurance spectrum, and the more the well will cluster together at the low-cost end. The days when the healthy twenty-five-year-old subsidizes the sixty-year-old with heart disease or diabetes are coming to an end. "The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance," the Stanford economist Victor Fuchs says. Health Savings Accounts are not a variant of universal health care. In their governing assumptions, they are the antithesis of universal health care.

The issue about what to do with the health-care system is sometimes presented as a technical argument about the merits of one kind of coverage over another or as an ideological argument about socialized versus private medicine. It is, instead, about a few very simple questions. Do you think that this kind of redistribution of risk is a good idea? Do you think that people whose genes predispose them to depression or cancer, or whose poverty complicates asthma or diabetes, or who get hit by a drunk driver, or who have to keep their mouths closed because their teeth are rotting ought to bear a greater share of the costs of their health care than those of us who are lucky enough to escape such misfortunes? In the rest of the industrialized world, it is assumed that the more equally and widely the burdens of illness are shared, the better off the population as a whole is likely to be. The reason the United States has forty-five million people without coverage is that its health-care policy is in the hands of people who disagree, and who regard health insurance not as the solution but as the problem."

Please respond with any additional insights, any differences in opinion, etc. and help move this discussion forward. I am still far from coming to any sort of conclusion on the matter.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Positives of Our Health Care System

I just read a debate between Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Blink) and Adam Gopnik., both are writers for The New Yorker. Each has lived in Canada giving them first-hand experience with the system put in place there. I sided with Gladwell in this debate. He favors our system. This may seem inconsistent with my previous posts, but keep in mind I'm still molding my opinion. How I start thinking isn't always how I end up, I love that about learning :-). Anyway I'll cut and paste my favorite point Malcolm Gladwell made and link you all to the article which shows up in Washinton Monthly published in 2000 (sorry it's a little old, but still very relevant and insightful).

said Gladwell:
"If you look at the level of medical innovation in the world in the last 25 years, virtually everything comes from America. Absent America, medicine in the world is in the dark; it is retarded; it is at a level that all of us would find unacceptable. What is happening right now is that all these cheap single-payer systems are essentially poaching. They are cherry-picking off the American system. The American system is pumping money into research, has got this free market system which is incredibly dynamic and incredibly innovative. Everyone else just sits back and cherry picks all of the things we come up with. What happens if there's no America tomorrow? What happens if we junk our system? Where does medical progress come from? "

"I would like to say as my closing comment that what impresses me most about health care is the extent to which more is going to change around in medicine and health care in the next 15 years than changed in the last hundred. I think, for example, the hospital as we know it is dead. I think that drugs become infinitely more important in the next 10 years than they've been previously. All kinds of diseases are going to be transferred from the surgeon to the pharmacist. What I'm most concerned about is what kind of health-care system is the most flexible, the most willing to deal with these changes, the quickest to adapt to them, the most innovative. To me, it's an open and shut case that single-payer systems are extremely inflexible. That is a great cost. The Canadian system has been very slow even to catch up with the change in the last 20 years. And I worry that if we were to move in this country towards piecemeal social engineering we would in some way compromise the system's flexibility at a time when, to me, the most important thing in the next 15 years is going to be flexibility.

We're about to figure out the human genome, for God's sake. Everything hinges on the speed at which we are able to adapt and bring to market that sort of knowledge base. I'm just terrified of tinkering with such an extraordinarily dynamic system at a time when dynamism is, to me, the paramount. I mean, this is the crux of our disagreement. You're impressed with what the medical system is now capable of providing. I am, on the contrary, impressed by what the medical system has not yet provided. And that's why I favor a system that is, for all its faults, incredibly dynamic; and you favor a system that, for all its faults, is incredibly good at delivering the status quo."

Read the complete article (it's lengthy): Canada Vs. U.S.

Leia Mais…

Friday, September 5, 2008

Follow Up On Universal Health Care

I decided to post a few clips from SiCKO that I found particularly moving and thought provoking. I still suggest watching the documentary in its entirety to get the full effect that moved me. I want to make it clear however that I am not an advocate of universal health care. I am simply an interested citizen, curious about what the future of health care can potentially become here in the U.S. My opinions are still undeveloped. These posts are simply thoughts to put on the table. Your feedback is very helpful if not critical to helping me see both sides and form an opinion.

Here's a doctor in London who is extremely satisfied with their system.

Here's an interesting confession .

Interesting words of Tony Benn

There's a few other concepts portrayed in Moore's film but I can't find them on youtube. One is an interview with a room of Americans living in France talking about how they almost feel guilty that they enjoy benefits (5 weeks payed vacation a year, 6mos paid maternal leave, health care, etc.) that their parents in the U.S. have worked their entire lives and have yet to attain completely.

These clips and the movie overall was persuasive, BUT it so so obviously bias that it almost makes a thinker like myself sick. It shows the worst sides of american health care and portrays a utopia-type atmosphere elsewhere. I'm positive that universal health care has its flaws just like any other man-made system (man-controlled) and I intend to do more research. I just want more substantial/reputable sources, right now its just Michael Moore v. Fox News.

Here's two clips opposing Moore's video:

Also here's a speech by President Ezra Taft Benson on Socialism which my cousin Brad sent to me which I found to be extremely insightful. I STRONGLY suggest reading it:

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Universal Health Care

My wife and I watched Sicko yesterday. As many of you know I am a year and a half away from starting medical school, so the state of our health care here in America is of utmost importance in my mind. Michael Moore presents a very bias documentary of health care horror stories here in America and the lack problems with foreign health care systems, everywhere from Canada to Cuba (he didn't seem to show lower class citizens in other countries). Despite the obvious flaws and holes in Moore's reasoning and research, I was left wishing we had universal health care here in the states. The doctor's in France seemed well off (one of my worries is working for the gov't), happy, and successfull overall. They couldn't dream of working in a system where they would have to turn away sick people because they didn't have insurance to cover the cost. I shudder at the thought of myself in the future being forced to stay my hand in healing those I would be capable of healing, in Christian terms burying my talents. The driving force behind my career path is service, to be a self-less physician. Will insurance companies and hospital administrations deny me of this goal? Is the only reason we don't have universal health care here in America because, as Moore said, propaganda against other countries (the French) and fear of change, fear of socialism? Is the idea of a self-less physician the core principle of social healthcare and an impossibility in the U.S.? Maybe I should move to France.

I guess the purpose of this post is to get more of the story. After watching Sicko I am ery moved. Anybody with any other insights on the matter wither for or against universal health care (especially the plans of Hillary or Obama), your thoughts are encouraged.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three Funny Videos Worth Posting

This one's good.

Random and pointless, but enjoyable.

This one is extremely inappropriate, mom and dad don't watch :-) or at least don't judge me.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some of My Thoughts on Politics.

Anybody who missed Obama's speech at the DNC should take some time and watch it. Up to this point I am very undecided as to which way I am going to vote. I like Obama (who doesn't?), but I cannot help but feel like I am being manipulated by the media, by his skin color, and by his great orating. Although I still maintain these speculations, I was very impressed by his speech. I like the idea of taxing more heavily the small (top 5%?) percent of Americans who make most of the money and relieving the rest of us of some of the burdon. I like the idea of opening more doors to people to go to school, get health care, obtain employment etc. I like the idea of investing in a long-term energy solution rather than off-shore drilling to temporarily disguise the underlying problem. I love how Obama focuses on our responsibilities as Americans not just our rights (he always couples job opportunities/college education/health care to those who are willing to work). Obama definetely stikes some chords within me.

This in mind I still don't like the idea of a bigger government. I don't like the idea of having the gov't less involved in moral issues and more involved in economic ones. I don't like the idea of gay-marriage, abortion, and so forth. I'm still unsure whether Obama needs more experience before being elected. I also don't like McCain's VP choice, but that's heavily influenced by how much i was pulling for Romney.

I'm looking forward to the Republican's response at the convention this week. I hope this election doesn't turn into a high school popularity contest. I cringe anytime I hear a democrat make fun of how "old" McCain is (*cough* John Kerry *cough*). Physical appearance, age and things of that nature should play no part in who we elect. I plan on hearing out both sides so that I can feel informed (According to my bro-in-law this means not watching Fox News :-) judging whether I actually believe them or not, and then voting my heart.

here's Obama's speech to watch:

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hike Up Mt. Timp

Mel, Myself, and some of our family hiked the backside of Mount Timpanogos last Saturday. It was a long hike but very fulfilling once we got to the top. Here's some pictures of that incredible experience. I suggest everyone here in Utah does this at least once.

We went on the most beautiful day possible.
I'm all about the bandana when hiking. Here we signed the book of life :-)
How beautiful God's creation
Is she eating a rock??

There's all ya'll WAY below us :-)
We really did have that much fun :-)

Proof of how long this hike was is all over Uncle Allan's back.

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ken Miller on Evolution

The first time evolution was taught to me I contracted an odd fascination with it. I read an article about a month ago about Mike Einziger (the guitarist for Incubus) and how he is in correspondence with Ken Miller, a professor at Brown University and a foreman in evolution/intelligent design debates. Ken Miller has this "rock star" image and style about him. He is well versed in recent research and popular scientific thought and portrays them in a way that's understandable to everyone and oddly entertaining. I just finished watching a lecture he gave on evolution at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Check it out if you have time it's very interesting and fun, complete with clips of him on the Colbert Report.

Also here is the link to the article about Mike Einziger and Ken Miller

Leia Mais…

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Evolution v. Intelligent Design Debates

I spent some time these past three days watching scholars debate the legitimacy of the evolution theory and trying to come up with an alternate theory. I firmly believe that evolution is the mechanism by which God created and still creates life. This said I also would quickly amend that view if, after I die, God tells me otherwise. The evidence supporting evolution is quite robust. I myself believe in a God of understanding, one who's purpose is our eternal progression. Progression in my mind includes learning and understanding who we are, where we came from, and who we will be. With all the fossil records left for us to study, plant life that has obviously evolved through natural and artificial selection, and many other species which have many indications of natural selection's hand in play, I find it hard to believe that God gives us these evidences if the theory is false. God does not confuse, instead he enlightens and magnifies, so theories of dinosaur bones coming from different planets or other ideas of that nature trying to debunk evolution seem inconsistent with the construct I have of who God is.

Anyway here's a debate that I found particularly interesting and fun (believe it or not). The reason I liked it is that the guys supporting evolution are Christians! Imagine that. Watch if you're interested. There's eight videos, here is the first.

Leia Mais…

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another Funny Clip Worth Watching

Leia Mais…

Thai Wedding Pictures!!!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finally Some Wedding Pictures!!

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This Video Cracked Me Up

Leia Mais…

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Update on the Lakers...

So a while back I posted about how the Jazz fans were classless so on and so forth, well time gave a very happy ending to that story. The basketball gods and karma brought the Jazz into Los Angeles in the second round of the playoffs and the Lakers settled the score. Have a nice off-season Utah.

I just watched the first game of the finals. Lakers v. Celtics.... hmmm, that sounds familiar. Celtics took game one, expected, but still disappointing. Kobe wasn't sharp for some reason, he'll be ready for game two though, he's too competitive and proud to have another off night in the finals. Although his shooting was off, I still liked the pick-and-roll play in the 2nd quarter. The Lakers showed signs that they will put up a huge fight for the championship, it'll be a fun series.

I like to make fun of teams based on their looks. I always call Utah the ugliest team in basketball (Boozer, Williams, Kirilenko, etc, etc i mean come on) BUT, Boston showed me today that they have the ugliest players in the one spot. Sam Cassell as everyone knows is Golem, but Rondo also has very odd physical features. He resembles (to me at least Gizmo from Gremlins). I know this isn't nice, but check it out:

Leia Mais…

Monday, June 2, 2008

Enjoy Life

An old Taoist parable describes a certain type of person.
There was a man who disliked seeing his footprints and his shadow. He decided to escape from them, and began to run. But as he ran along, more footprints appeared, while his shadow easily kept up with him. Thinking he was going too slowly, he ran faster and faster without stopping, until he finally collapsed from exhaustion and died.
If he had stood still, there would have been no footprints. If he had rested in the shade, his shadow would have disappeared.
I recently read a book called the Tao of Pooh. Benjamin Hoff describes this person in a chapter entitled Bisy Backson. “The Bisy Backson is always going somewhere, somewhere he hasn’t been. Anywhere but where he is.” Where is he going? Perhaps he is looking for something? But what is it that he’s looking for? Perhaps a reward is his destination, some grandiose prize as payment for all his efforts. “Whether it’s up in the sky, behind the next molecule, or in the executive suite, it’s somewhere always farther along than we are-just down the road, on the other side of the world, past the moon, beyond the stars…” They are always working, but not enjoying. They live for what comes next; failing to observe what is already there. They live for tomorrow and fail to take pleasure in today. Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, warned, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”
Is life’s purpose to attain eternal life? What does that mean? Is our purpose right now to get ahead in temporal affairs? Is it to get a job and accumulate capital? In my observations and during my times of self-reflection I have noticed that the greatest joys in life don’t come from destinations, but on the pathways that lead to them. Life is all about the process. Even the afterlife is a journey, to live and progress. God himself is still enjoying the process as he watches His children learn and grow. The point I am trying to get across is that we need to not let life pass us by looking forward to tomorrow. As a student it’s easy to think of how great it will be when I finally finish medical school and become a doctor. As a missionary sometimes you think of how great it will be when you finally know the language. When you work everyday you think of how great it will be when you’re able to retire. This is fine, except satisfaction never comes. There’s always going to be more to achieve, more words to know to perfect the language, more assets you can attain, more promotions available at work, etc. When I got home from my mission I remember thinking about how completely awesome the whole experience was and I wanted more than anything to go back, even just for a moment.
In April’s first presidency message there is a great story which illustrates these thoughts
Elder Monte J. Brough, formerly of the Seventy, tells of a summer at his childhood home in Randolph, Utah, when he and his younger brother, Max, decided to build a tree house in a large tree in the backyard. They made plans for the most wonderful creation of their lives. They gathered building materials from all over the neighborhood and carried them up to a part of the tree where two branches provided an ideal location for the house. It was difficult, and they were anxious to complete their work. The vision of the finished tree house provided tremendous motivation for them to complete the project.
They worked all summer, and finally in the fall just before school began, their house was completed. Elder Brough said he will never forget the feelings of joy and satisfaction which were theirs when they finally were able to enjoy the fruit of their work. They sat in the tree house, looked around for a few minutes, climbed down from the tree—and never returned. The completed project, as wonderful as it was, could not hold their interest for even one day. In other words, the process of planning, gathering, building, and working—not the completed project—provided the enduring satisfaction and pleasure they had experienced.
Enjoy life today, enjoy the work, enjoy the study, and enjoy the experience!

Leia Mais…

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Update on My Life

So married life is good, especially when you can escape the world of responsibility for a while. Melanie and I are living free in Thailand (which coincidentally means "free" land I've learned). We're staying at my in-laws place which is big and has an Indiana Jones feel to it. We justify our existance by selling Southeast Asian antiques on ebay. I specialize in the Hmong stuff :-). I am trying my best to learn Thai. I have an advantage knowing Hmong, but it still is no easy task. Mel's mom is a great tutor and the gardener and housekeeper who live with the family and only speak Thai make for excellent language practice buddies. Also I've been reading a LOT. Right now I'm reading Wild Swans, a book about three generations of a Chinese family. It is fascinating to learn about how life was in China and especially their perspectives with government changes and communism. It really gives a different point of view on things. Hopefully i can blog an overview of my feelings on that book once i finish, its a big lengthy though. Also (this will reveal my true nerdiness) I've been reading scientific journal articles and doing little pseudo-homework reports on them for fun. I investigated a Harvard paper on the Mediterranean diet for my Father-in Law and am now reading about the Group Socialization Theory (Judith Harris) which Mel and I both plan to read, discuss and write up a paper on it :-). Unfortunately, I've also gotten hooked to a computer game and spend more time than is necessary on the computer :-(.
Tomorrow I have my first day shadowing an American member of the church. He is a virologist and does research for the CDC (Center of Disease Control, I think). I am very excited for that opportunity. I've seen every good movie that has come out this summer, go shopping a lot, and have gotten sucked into the first season of 24.

My life is very relaxed to say the least.

My family arrives in Thailand on the 19th. On the 21st we will have a traditional Thai dowry reception thing which will be a BLAST! Then I will tour Thailand with my family (which has doubled since the wedding) for another month and then get back to the states on July 15th. Not too bad eh?

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another Great Day in Bangkok

So the title here is a little deceiving because a lot of my days here are filled with writing descriptions of things to put on ebay and watching countless movies, BUT today was rad!! We woke up early (at 930 am, i love that that's early now :-) and headed out to our friend Peter's house. Peter is a Thai guy who lives out in the boonies and breeds dogs. He had an amazing house. I fell in love with his Bulldog (i want one sooo stinking bad) and shot at chickens with a pellet gun. Then he served up SumTum for lunch with sticky rice and mango (mmmm...mmmmm) and we headed off to a Buddhist temple inside a water cave. On the way we ran into a pack (are they called packs?) of monkeys... that's right live monkeys in the wild! How awesome is that?!! There were tons of them in the road, in the trees, some with babies holding on to their bellies as they roamed around, some fighting showing their gnarly teeth. Man that was cool. Then we got to the temple in a cave. It was cool, Thai people really know how to make very tranquil places to worship. If I lived here I think I'd use Buddhist temples to pray (to heavenly father of coarse) and meditate. After the temple we sat and chatted with a few Buddha's (they seem like the equivalent of a park ranger in Yosemite to me, what a rad lifestyle). The conversation was in Thai, and so i quickly lost interest in trying to here words i know and just sat and watched the monkeys in the trees for a while. Then we went to the bat cave. We climbed another nearby mountain and went to another Buddhist temple. there we sat and watched as millions upon millions of bats spiraled out of the cave and off into the distant sky. The Thai describe their appearance like a dragon in the sky. It was cool. On our way down the mountain we climbed right above the cave and watched closely the scene of bats crawling to the edge of rocks and fly away, thousands at a time. cool stuff. then we ate some good, CHEAP Thai food and headed back home. Very good day!

Leia Mais…

Saturday, May 17, 2008

HONEYMOON!!! (in Phuket, Thailand)

Fire dancers at the sunset ceremony.

This is part of one of the pools. Under the waterfall were barstools under water and a little drink shop, how cool is that?!

One of the three swimming pools, they were so stinking nice!
So when my father-in-law saw this picture from across the room he said "who's that fat guy?" not realizing it was me.
We spent a lot of time reading. They had hammocks, beds, couches, lounge chairs, spas, etc. scattered everywhere so we always found a nice comfortable and secluded place to read in the sun.

On the path to the spirit house.

What a gorgeous environment, and my babe fits in perfectly!
Housekeeping did this little number for us on our first night :-)

Leia Mais…