Talking points 21st Aug

Good morning WHYSers, Kate here with you again today.

Thanks very much to Brett for moderating last night. Please get in touch if you’d like to have a go at moderating the blog yourself.

First up, an anniversary that deserves a quick mention….it’s exactly 40 years today since Soviet troops rolled into Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the ‘Prague Spring’ of an emerging liberal government. Is it a more poignant anniversary in light of what’s happening in Georgia? Or should we move on from cold war stereotypes and stop comparing modern Russia to the old USSR?

The biggest story in Europe this morning is of an horrific plane crash at Madrid Airport, which has killed at least 150 people. The exact causes of the crash are not clear yet, but do cases like this ever actually put you off flying?

The rights and wrongs of plastic surgery has been generating healthy debate on the blog overnight.

Mohammed Ali on the blog says..
Being natural is better than any form of plastic surgery. Those who do plastic surgery without any form of prior damage to the body is a complete rejection of one’s esteem.

But Angela in Washington highlights a growing trend of plastic surgery in the young. She says..
I know many girls who have had plastic surgery before they were 20. A few girls from high school had surgery as a graduation present.

So should people be able to have plastic surgery whenever they want, at any age? Or is cosmetic surgery a drastic option that we should encourage people to avoid?

Let us know what you think.

156 Responses to “Talking points 21st Aug”

  1. 1 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 19:25

    It’s a good news bad news sort of thing. Fewer Americans are dying on the job, but more Americans are getting murdered on the job.


    After a report like that, I’m glad I don’t work for the USPS. 🙂

  2. 2 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 19:26

    Hi Brett:

    Did anyone saw the Airplane crash today in Spanish capital of


  3. 3 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 19:29

    Gary Glitter was refused entry to Thailand and Hong Kong….Why doesn’t he go back to the United Kingdom….

  4. 4 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 19:35

    Well well well, been layin low for the past few days but lookin to get back into the swing of things! What’s got you talking or pondering today?

  5. 5 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 19:37


    It is nice to take time of the world! I hope you had a nice time…..


  6. 6 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 19:38

    @ Julie P:

    Less accidents mean’s the processes are becoming more refined and safe, but the people are becoming more dangerous… Yikes!

    Could the high level of stress [comparatively with other countries’] in the US jobs have anything to do with it?

  7. 7 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 19:44


    I was wondering the same thing too about stress with US jobs including how it would compare to other countries. My company is European owned, so we get more paid time off than what my friends and family expereince, yet I think it still lags behind with what I think Europeans get off. Could it be the pressure to perform, with not enough personal time off?

  8. 9 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 19:48

    Well Dennis, thanks!

    I have been adjusting to having cable television haha. I haven’t ever really had it since moving out on my own 8 years ago. My new roomie insisted on it and I figured I would get HGTV and History so why not? Especially if I am not even paying any more than I was for just internet since now the total bill is split.

    One thing I was struck with though was some show on Discovery Health (I think it was Before and After?) which he was watching, about plastic surgeries. And I got to wondering, how does the WHYS community feel about different plastic surgeries, the risks, results, social consequences, etc. Anything from gender changes, to augmentation of various parts, to maybe just removal of a bit of fat or skin to tighten things up.
    Would love to hear thoughts or opinions.

    Personally I was torn between feeling horribly sorry for some of those on the show, as they really were troubled by some of their appearance issues, to feeling nothing but apathy at how shallow some of the candidates were.

  9. August 20, 2008 at 19:50

    My heartfelt condolences to the family members of those involved in the plane crash.

  10. 11 Meg in Canada
    August 20, 2008 at 19:53


    I agree. Some people are horribly dissatisfied with themselves and turn to plastic surgery to feel good – I feel sorry for them. Others just seem to get plastic surgery for superficial reasons. Regardless of which is the case, I think everyone’s simple purpose in life is to be happy. So if plastic surgery is going to improve someones quality of life by making them happier, so be it. It’s not for anyone else to judge or understand. It’s a personal choice.

  11. 12 Robert
    August 20, 2008 at 19:58


    Could it be that in the best we expected not to get everything we wanted. Today we do. Instead of accepting our lot in life we stress that we are failures. Some of us breakdown, some jump out of the race and other just snap and hurt people.

    Another aspect may be that we have become too safe in our day to day life. We have become so protected in our lives that we have disconnected our actions from the outcomes. Is it too far a stretch that people don’t automatically link shooting or stabbing somebody leads to death (the thought being that the medics will sort it out and it will all be OK). Maybe an extreme but could play a role.

  12. 13 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 19:59

    Julie P.

    this is because everybody hunts the elusive 100% safty margin. just think how many hours are wasted studying absured safty manuals, when common sense would be a better option. i have had a 3 hours liquid nitrogen safty course, just for me to open a liquid nitrogen tank, which have been doing for 20 years. it is commen sense not to drink liquid n2 or lick it or stick your hand into it.

  13. 14 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 19:59

    @ Meg,
    Exactly. Is it a fault then in society, for putting pressure on people to change their appearance often by drastic measures? Is it a fault of industries such as fashion or cosmetics? Or, to be balanced for Julie as I think it should be addressed, should a portion of the blame lay with a male dominated / shovanistic society or industry?
    It seems that more females tend to get cosmetic or plastic surgery than men. What’s the reasoning behind that?

  14. 15 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 20:00


    i am way to good looking to consider plastic surgery…….

  15. 16 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:01

    @Cosmetic surgery,

    While I was in college there was a guy I came to know. He did some modeling on the side, every time I turned around he was either considering getting something cosmetic done, or had some done. He thought I would be empathetic to him as I required some plastic surgery on my face after a really nasty car accident. Finally, after two years of his listening to his tales of cosmetic ‘enhancements’ I asked him why he does so much. He told me he felt addicted to it and couldn’t stop.

  16. 17 Meg in Canada
    August 20, 2008 at 20:03

    @ Brett,

    I will think over some of those questions on my commute home. I’ll let you know when I get there!

  17. 18 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 20:08

    @ Julie:
    Well it is a common thought that body modification is ‘addicting’ (tattoo’s, piercings, etc).

  18. 19 Angela in Washington
    August 20, 2008 at 20:09


    I envy you… If we all could be so lucky…

    Cosmetic Surgery

    I don’t want to get anything done now, but after I have kids I am definitely get work done to the chest area. My family shrinks. My cousin had surgery after her last child and she looks better at 38 than she has every looked. I don’t want to get stuff done to my face but I don’t care about others. I know many girls who have had plastic surgery before they were 20. A few girls from high school had surgery as a graduation present.

  19. 20 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:17


    I got tired of listening to his prissy ways. I got rid of him. It was too much. There is one thing to want to look your best and then another when you’re consumed by it, which he was. But on the subject of tats, I have a friend whose young adult daughter went through a phase where it was one tat after another, mom didn’t say anything about the small ones that clothes can cover up, but when she got a tat that was between her throat and “the girls” my friend went ballastic. The daughter hasn’t gotten another since.

  20. 21 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 20:21

    Here are some stats from surgery.org:

    Click to access 2007_11yearComparison.pdf

    11 year comparison shows the sharp rise in the number of surgeries over the past 11 years, broken down into surgery types.

    Shows various statistics by year.

  21. August 20, 2008 at 20:22

    @data theft, the German authority needs to do something or the situation will go out of control.

  22. August 20, 2008 at 20:25

    @brett, being natural is better than any form of plastic surgery. Those who do plastic surgery without any form of prior damage to the body is a complete rejection of one’s esteem.

  23. 24 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:25


    I wonder how much of that is related to an aging Boomer population?

  24. 25 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 20:30

    @ Mohammed:
    being natural is better than any form of plastic surgery. Those who do plastic surgery without any form of prior damage to the body is a complete rejection of one’s esteem.

    One type of surgery quite a few mothers I know have been interested in having done (including my own mother, yea, wierd to talk about, lol), is breast augmentation or implants after child birth. Often times to restore things to the way they were before child birth {maybe a little better). Are you opposed to surgeries such as this which damage was a result of natural means or aging?
    Just curious. As we can already tell, theres plenty of reasons for having cosmetic surgery.

  25. 26 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 20:30

    Anyone know the name of lion/tiger lady, the one who had so much plastic surgery she looks like a cat?

  26. 27 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 20:31

    @ Julie,
    Good point on that analysis of the boomer population! Though I know quite a few people my age (20s) who have already undergone procedures; And its seeming to get more and more popular with the younger generation.

  27. 28 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:34


    If the younger set is having more than previous generations, I wonder how they are paying for it? With my car accident it was $7K, which the insurance paid for, because of the circumstances. That amount was is 1988 figures.

    As for Boomers, that generation appears to not want to grow old. It’s 30 years old forever!

  28. 29 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 20:38

    @ Julie P

    Well, does anyone watch Intervention? I know that’s an extreme example, but those completely basketcases have sugardaddies that provide everything for them. I’m thinking that someone who is remotely sane even has more options, either daddy pays for it or does the older boyfriend. But if those nutjobs on Intervention can get a sugar daddy go buy them drugs and plastic surgery, I would have to say it’s relatively common. I remember in high school, girls would take two weeks off “sick” from school and come back with a different nose..

  29. 30 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 20:38


    alternativly i am just a cooky guy…….

    well i am reasonably happy with my looks. sometimes the 6’8″ can be a pain, when flying or having little old ladies ask you for the cornflakes box onto of the shelve, or hearing the same old jokes about how’s the weather up there……..on the other hand i know it is an advantage to be tall and be proportional, especially in business.

  30. 31 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 20:41

    People who modify how they look via plastic surgery (without an accidents or something similar) suffer from inferiority complex. Plain and simple.

  31. 32 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:44


    I don’t watch shows like that. My personal opinion on them is that they are to generate ratings without a second thought that what they are peddling is not reality for those of who do not live in a celluloid world.

  32. 33 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 20:46

    @ data theft. It’s the same old story. Safety of the ordinary citizen’s private data can not be guaranteed, another field day for hackers and identity thieves.

  33. 34 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 20, 2008 at 20:46

    Lets keep the topic in the fold: Cosmetic Surgery. Deviation from this angle and looking at surgery in general you will open a pandora box to justify all surgeries. Without any medical reason, a cosmetic surgery is just to blush. Natural look is enchanting.

  34. 35 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 20:47

    @ Julie P

    Intervention is on A&E, I think that’s one of the stations not overly concerned with ratings, unlike the major networks.

  35. 36 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 20:49

    Health Care in the U.S.
    An article by HealthDay as posted to Yahoo news has some interesting and relevent information about the nature of the lack of access to health care that Americans have. Some interesting points:
    * In 2007, 41 percent of working-age Americans — 72 million people — reported having medical bill problems or trouble paying off medical debts, up from 34 percent in 2005.
    * More than half of adults earning less than $40,000 annually reported problems paying medical bills or being in debt as a result of health care expenses.

    Are there health care models in other countries around the world that might do better for the U.S. than what we are currently doing?

  36. 37 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 20:50


    I just don’t watch those shows. I think they’re trash. I don’t care who is putting them out. It strikes me as just as obessive as those who continually out themselves under the knife.

  37. 38 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 20, 2008 at 20:51

    @Nelsoni, is it a cyber crime? Or a thievery from a data processing facility? The Global information gateway is too porous. At think i wonder how hackers gain assess to people’s personal details.

  38. 39 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 20, 2008 at 20:56

    People undergoing cosmetic surgery could likely suffer from cancer. The various aggresive chemotherapy usually have side effects.

  39. 40 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 20:59

    Sadly many plastic surgeons now have 3rd parties willing to lend money to people so they can “afford” it.

  40. 41 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 21:01


    EVERY television station cares about ratings. That is how they set their advertising rates which is how they make money. Just because it isn’t one of the networks doesn’t mean they don’t care about the ratings.

  41. 42 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 21:02

    @ Vanessa

    IF that’s the case, then that source of loan is going to dry up.

  42. 43 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 21:04

    @ Amy

    Most probably care about ratings, the non major networks don’t care nearly as much as the major networks, and Public TV, like WETA in the DC area, doesn’t care at all about ratings. They still have HD stations, show some pretty good stuff, but it’s non commercial.

  43. 44 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 21:06

    @ Shirley. This BBC Documentary Better Health would be of interest to you and should answer a few of your questions.

  44. 45 Jessica in NYC
    August 20, 2008 at 21:11

    Hi Bret– re your post

    RE: Cosmetic Surgery

    It’s very common in Colombia and Argentina. Many Americans travel their to get work done. A while back there were some articles about the high rates of cosmetic surgery in AR and how “everyone” did it.

    RE: Job Safety

    Recently there has been a lot of discussion at the city and state government level about this. There have been a lot of cranes related accidents in various construction sites. A few heads of dept/commissions were fired or “resigned”, because of failing to keep us safe. Here is a recent article/blog about many of the recent injuries.

    When Things Fall From Above

  45. 46 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 21:17


    No thanks!

    i don’t like needles!

    i have had enough dental work, 2 operations…..


  46. 47 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 21:18

    I would be interested to hear from the non US bloggers about how common plastic surgery is in their countries or if it is available at all? Jessica you say it is common in Colombia and Argentina. Is that the locals or just foreigners (really, Americans)?

  47. 48 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 21:21

    Steve ~

    I read about it somewhere and hopefully that type of loan will dry up but somehow I doubt it. There was an article about this woman that had cosmetic surgery loans that acted much like a revolving credit line.

  48. 49 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 20, 2008 at 21:23

    @ nelsoni, i guess your link to shirley will make things clearer to people wishing to compare notes on the US and British health system.

  49. 50 Jessica in NYC
    August 20, 2008 at 21:24

    @ Julie

    I’m not hawking Michael Moore here, but I saw his doc on medical care called Sicko. Besides the medical differences in US/ various EU countries he illustrates, it also show cases many worker rights differences: vacation time, lunch breaks, sick time, government assistance.

  50. 51 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 21:24

    @ Amy. People here are more concerned about getting daily essentials for their families so frivolities and favorite past times like plastic surgeries does not cross their minds at all. They have far more important things to think about and spend their money on. To the best of my knowledge, plastic surgeries done in Nigeria are mainly for corrective purposes(accidents etc) and not for silicone implants etc.

  51. 52 Nick in USA
    August 20, 2008 at 21:25

    Not sure if this is old news, but I received an email from congress.org, which informed me of a vote about this:


    Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced a bill that would amend the Social Security Act to require States to implement a drug testing program for applicants for and recipients of assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. If an applicant fails a drug test, or was convicted of a drug related crime they can be denied aid. Also, states would be allowed to require random or set time drug tests. A person can be permanently denied aid if they fail three drug tests or receive three drug related convictions.”

    Talk amongst yourselves.

  52. 53 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 21:27

    Vice President contest in the United States of America:

    Who is going to be in it for

    Mr. John McCain

    Mr. Barack Obama

    ~i am not representing the bbc and or interests~

    *John McCain: Mitt Romney
    *Barack Obama: Joe Lieberman


  53. 54 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 20, 2008 at 21:28

    @ AMY, i guess many of my colleagues from Africa will agree that plastic surgery is too expensive a venture here in Africa.

  54. 55 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 21:36


    Thanks for letting me know about Nigeria 🙂

  55. 56 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 21:37

    Plastic surgery finances: Any one interested can check this out. This website helps women raise money for free breast implants and enhancements. With “Charities” like this, I don’t think funding will run out any time soon.

  56. 57 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 21:38


    I didn’t see Moore’s movie, but I am aware that EU countries get more than we do. I get two weeks of paid vacation, two weeks of sick time, 5 four day holidays, and two personal days, which far more than some of my friends get. Lunch breaks are for an hour. Government assistance? Other than the family medical leave act – zippo. I wonder if our European friends could fill us in on what their comparable benefits are?

  57. 58 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 21:39

    HEY EVERYONE!!! So, Russia gave a big “middle finger” to NATO. Cold war, or hot war coming??? I think it’s getting pretty hot over there!!! Do I see an ugly WWIII head poking its little head around the corner???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. August 20, 2008 at 21:40

    @brett, the kind of surgery i’m talking about is for example changing the shape of the face, nose, ears, mouth, or just having some sort of surgery to alter the appearance of oneself.

  59. August 20, 2008 at 21:45

    @anthony, has russia refuse to withdraw from georgia? By the way, what fish does the west have to fry in this? Russia is defending her citizens and future attacks from georgia.

  60. 61 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 21:45

    @ Amy. You are highly welcome.

  61. 62 Brett
    August 20, 2008 at 21:51

    @ Drug tests to receive aid:

    I agree with taking drug tests for substances like crack, cocaine, heroin, etc. But if we’re talking about smoking pot and being denied aid… Your going to have a whole heck of alot of people denied aid. Start big and work your way down. Pick the worst tier of drugs and apply testing, then follow suit with others when you get all the cards sorted out.
    And what of people who fail? State funded rehab (which is just diverting the aid money to rehab money). Just drop them and forget about them till they get clean?

  62. 63 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 21:53

    I am listening to News Hour on the BBC worldservice. The BBC reporter in Jamaica interviewed some one who said during the period of Jamaica’s impressive run on the tracks ( Usain Bolt’s record et al), Crime levels have actually dropped. Any thoughts on that?

  63. 64 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 21:57


    I remember the very first time the Atlanta Braves went to the World Series. Prior to that they sucked and were always at the bottom of the league. The team they played against had the same story. In both cities the crime rate dropped. During the World Series the streets were deserted, not a soul to be seen anywhere.

    Nelson, people are excited for the home team and they are glued to the tv watching the game.

  64. 65 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 21:59


    russia is doing what it wants, because it knows that we are going to pussyfoot around it anyway.

    honestly whan can we do? say “do’t do this again or we will tell you don’t doe this again, again”?????


    is this the reason why liebermann is talking at the republican congress???????

    Nick in USA,

    yes they should be drug tested. not only are they wasting my taxes on drugs, but I also pick up their bill if they end up with drug related diseases. plus if they are not drug dependent they can find a job. i am sick of spongers

    julie P.

    yes europe has a lot more vacations etc, BUT not many if any companies offere benefits, as part of the job. i lived and worked in schwitzerland and it is a pretty could place to be. reasonable wages and very high standast of living, but the health costs are about the same as in the usa. the poor-rich gap is smaller and less apparent. i also lived in the UK and i can tell you that place is falling apart, low income, brutally high taxes, piss poor public services. my wife almost died because the GP told her she did not have any problems. lucky i am working in the medical field and litteraly forced him to write the referal letter. everybody thinks it’s free care, but you pay via taxes more than what you would pay here in the usa for good helth insurance. it is only free for lazy freeloaders, who do not work and in my perspective they do not need health care, since they have all the time to live a health life and go and work out.

    trust me socialist health care SUCKS big time. i lived through it for 12 years and Mr Moore is a lying turd.

  65. 66 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 22:08

    @ Jens:

    i was thinking with my head on few hours of sleep….

    lieberman wants to be a republican party friend….


  66. 67 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 22:08

    Jens ~

    I work with people living in Europe and I when I asked about the healthcare system all of them were pleased with it. I wonder how many other people feel the same way you do. The response you gave was the one I expected from my co-workers.

  67. 68 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 22:09


    Before I forget, safe travels to China for your studies.

    Regarding the Russia/Georgia issue, to say that Russia was defending their citizens isn’t quite accurate. Even though some South Ossetians carry Russian passports and most of them consider themselves Russian, technically they are Georgian citizens. It kind of goes back to a discussion we had on the Blank Page when all of this erupted about borders. Just because they declared their independence doesn’t mean they became Russian citizens. Russia invaded a sovereign nation. We they provoked by Georgia? Probably.

  68. 69 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 22:09

    @ Julie P. It is relatively the same in Nigeria and I am sure fellow African bloggers here would agree with me that when our National football (soccer) teams are in action, the streets are usually empty, even the criminals pause for a while to watch the games.

  69. 70 Jessica in NYC
    August 20, 2008 at 22:11

    @ Amy

    The locals have/get a lot of cosmetic surgery, they are very nonchalant about it…the article I remember the most was interviewed a women who worked cleaning houses and she had a nose job. Apparently it’s very affordable, so much so that teenagers get them (surgeries) as graduation gifts.

    @ Julie

    I don’t want to hear about all the benefits our friends across the Atlantic get. It would be depressing. LOL

  70. 71 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 22:15

    @ Amy. Fine point. If the Russians were sincere, why did they not evacuate their Nationals as is the normal practise? It’s highly unfortunate that Georgia played into Russia’s Hands. What was the President thinking? An African proverb says only a drunk rat will challenge a Cat to fight. There can only be one outcome.

  71. 72 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 22:16


    I am curious about the number of Swiss citizens (or foreigners working there) that do NOT have health insurance provided. You say that the costs there are about the same as they are here in the US. Here, the costs are pretty high. My family has great coverage but my husband works for a large company that can negotiate with the insurance company to keep costs reasonable. I know lots of people that can get insurance through their employers but the cost is too high ($900 a month just to add a spouse and one child in one case) or the insurance is provided as long as a certain number of hours are worked (but then those hours are not given). I’m not saying that we need to have socialized medicine here in the States but I do think we need to overhaul the system. How does the Swiss government deal with those that do not have insurance? I’d like to know – really!!

  72. 73 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 22:21


    i lived through this system and it is as horrible as people tell you. waiting lists that are endless. my wife was left waiting for appendectomy for 4 days!!!!!!!! all on a gluose drip and some antibiotics. i had a motorcycle accident, had great surgery, because i played soccer with that surgical team, but the physio therapy was CRAP. they left me wirually unable to walk. i came to the usa and the physio team at the university of michigan managed the apparentluy unmanageble and got me back walking and running AND skiing.

    plus how do you feel about sharing a mixed ward with nearly 60 patients and shitty support services. Uhhhh sorry it hurts but the cart with painkillers is looked and we cannot open it until 8 am. Thanks i hope you die of dysentry……..

    the health care in switzerland is great, BUT so are the MANDOTORY health care insurance premiums…..

  73. 74 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 22:23


    I love the African proverb! I will have to remember that one. I truly think that the Georgian president knew what he was doing when he provoked the Russians and that the Russians were more than willing to accommodate him. Both were trying to prove a point (Georgia’s point, the West would condemn Russia; Russia’s point, we can do what we want). I’m not sure how all of this will play out but I don’t think it will be pretty.

  74. 75 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 22:30


    health care is mandotory in swizterland and the premiums are pretty steep (read USA level). you can select certain levels of coverage, like having choice of physician, having a higher deductible, having different types medication covered, having a 1st class room etc.

    basically switzerland and the usa are similar in terms of having coverage levels, the big difference is that insurance is mandetory.

    we need to change our ccoverage system here in the states. i think a big problem is the helth for profit stucture, where access can be denied by insurances or where doctors routinly prescribe the most expensive test available to stiff the insurance companies, who then stiff the patient. up until now we have had a great experiance with both the insurance and the doctors treating us, but then being a well paid highly qualified white male pust you into a different category.

    i just advise not to fall into the trap of socialized medicine. it may sound sick in a way but you have to have insentives for people to be motivated to deliever the best care….mr moore is a charlatan the way he described socialized medicine as the be all end all. it is not

  75. 76 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 22:48


    No having seen SICKO, I can’t comment on it. And, I don’t claim to be inside Mr. Moore’s mind. Having said that, I think the point he was trying to make is that there is a better way than what we currently have. Using Cuba as an example was just a sensationalized way to get the point across. He knew that would raise the hackles of a lot of people. Using some first responders from 9/11 would also raise the profile. As a movie maker, marketing is something you need to do and what better way to generate discussion than to invoke 9/11 and implying Cuba is better than the US in something. As they say, there is no such thing as bad advertising.

  76. 77 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 23:11


    sure, but distorting the truth is not going to help the cause. it’s the smae thing the republicans are doing but giving them ammunition on top of it is not helpfull either.

    i could sit back and say “who cares”, my coverage is fine so screw all the guys without coverage. the proble herin is that general well being of the population will contribute to the well being of me. so i have a vested interest in people being healthy and happy. this helps to consolidate my position. now i know some of the folks on here will be harpping on about the fact that i am an atheists and as such i should be living after the dogma of survival of the fittest. HOWEVER, society does not work only that way.

    what does it help me to be the fitest if i have to do everything myself to support my current standart of living……do all my plumming, car fixing etc etc by myself. therefore i am for health coverage of all, because only a healthy society is able to face all the challanges thrown at it. hope this was not too conveluted.

    nevertheless moore is entertaining but he is a biast idiot, after all. i prefer maher a million times.

  77. 78 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 23:12

    Jens ~

    that’s very interesting and I’m glad you shared. I too believe there needs to be healthcare reform in this country but I am not a big fan of socialized medicine. I have enough trouble getting referrals to see the doctors I prefer and I don’t want yet another layer of crap to try to get through to get proper care.

  78. 79 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 23:14

    High School principal denounces homosexual student: When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

  79. 80 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 23:21

    U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones is in the hospital in critical condition. An aneurysm in her head burst, causing cerebral hemorrhaging.

    * official Congressional webpage of Stephanie Tubbs Jones

    * Congress.org’s bio page for Stephanie Tubbs Jones (contains official contact information)

    * Wikipedia article on Stephanie Tubbs Jones

  80. 81 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 23:32


    i am luckily in an isurance that let’s me see the specialist without refereal, which makes sense. i do notneed a PCP to tell me that i need a urologist because i have problems peeing, or a orthopedic surgeon because i have a broken leg. in general people pretty much know where it hurts and very often also why it hurts.

    one of the biggestet problem in the UK is that every GP, UK equivilant to PCP, has a budget for the area he/she covers. our GP kept on sending my wife to more and more hormonal test, diagnosing her with abdominal migrane, phantom pregnancies etc because he had money in the test account. her problem was simply acid reflux, but he would not prescribe the medicine because it would be a constant burdon on his medicine account. other doctors carried out routine smeer-tests on nuns, because we all know that catholic nuns are as promsicuriouse as women come, probably second to hookers. he did it because he had a quote to fill to get the money.

    friends of ours had to wait 6 months for phisical therapy. guess what the condition does not get better, if any thing worse. others waited 3 years for a hip replacement. i personally was very lucky the two enounters with the hospital i had were relativly OK, even though I was stood up twice for having my screws in my leg removed and the wisdome tooth exctraction left a part of tooth in leading to a 3 months puss filled infection. otherwise i can not complain too much….;)

  81. 82 Amy
    August 20, 2008 at 23:33


    I used to like Bill Maher (still do sometimes) but when I heard he was dating Ann Coulter, I really questioned his choices……

  82. 83 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 23:35


    Are referring to his choices in anti psychotic medication?

  83. August 20, 2008 at 23:48


    Hats off once more to the ACLU!

  84. 85 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 23:48

    Jens ~

    I had a healthcare plan that didn’t require referrals last year and of course my company (who is quite large and rich) decided to make cuts and I couldn’t enroll in the same plan I had. Needless to say while I was under my old plan I had knee surgery and was in PT. Evidently I was supposed to stop my PT and go to my primary to get a referral to my orthopedic surgeon who then had to write the up that I needed PT and then my primary could submit it to the insurance company(and this is the same insurance company I had last year). What a joke!

    Like you clearly point out above it is laughable to say the least when insurance companies pull this crap. As if my primary has ANYTHING to do with my knee surgery…GRRRRR! And don’t get me started on my healthcare reimbursement account…Between my very large HR department who is inept and the company that manages the funds I’ll be lucky if I ever see any of the money that is coming out of my paychecks. I’ve been arguing with them since March to get my money.

  85. 86 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 23:53


    the healthcare reimbursment account is a bit of a joke. i have to submit my reciepts all the time, even though the claim was submitted from my dentist or doctor. i mean it is not as if i am paying for my six pack with my payflex credit card…..


    come on that must have been an explosive relationship….hey maybe Bill gets off on the fact of boneing a hardcore republican…..one of the few moments when a republican gets effed by a democrat 😉

    i am not sure that this was actually really the case…

  86. 87 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 23:59

    There is word again of a pullout agreement between the U.S. and Iraq. As always, the U.S. is trying to insert conditions establishing economic etc. ties between Iraq and the U.S. This goes directly against the spirit of recommendations of major figures such as Ayatullah Sistani, who spoke out against shadows of the occuptation being present in an Iraqi government.

  87. 88 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 00:02

    Jens ~

    You’re cracking me up! I know that’s what I use my payflex card for! Hehehehee…

  88. 89 Jens
    August 21, 2008 at 00:07


    You must mean self-medication…….one scotch, one burbon, one beer……..

    well talking about socialized medicine. guiness used to be given to pregnant women in the UK, because of the high iron content. i guess not all socialized medicine sucks equally…now we are talking medication.

  89. 90 Bryan
    August 21, 2008 at 00:12

    nelsoni August 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “I am listening to News Hour on the BBC worldservice. The BBC reporter in Jamaica interviewed some one who said during the period of Jamaica’s impressive run on the tracks ( Usain Bolt’s record et al), Crime levels have actually dropped. Any thoughts on that?”

    They mean crime dropped for nine seconds or so during the hundred metres and a nineteen seconds or so during the two hundred metres?

    Maybe Jamaica’s crime rate is so bad that they notice a drop while criminals are glued to their TV sets for nineteen seconds.

    I guess it proves one thing: criminals can afford access to TV.

    I agree with you and Mohammed Ali on plastic surgery unrelated to disfigurement through an accident, especially when it affects the face. Actually plastic surgery performed on someone who doesn’t need it is itself a form of disfigurement. It’s a bloody horror story and there should be a law against it.

  90. August 21, 2008 at 00:18

    @amy, thanks a lot. @nelsoni, probably the criminals are enjoying the olympic games especially so when Usain Bolt is breaking and setting new world records. Those are some of the positive side of sports.

  91. 92 Brett
    August 21, 2008 at 00:25

    @ Shirley and US Iraq pullout:
    the U.S. is trying to insert conditions establishing economic etc. ties between Iraq and the U.S.

    *Gasp!* No!
    Surprise surprise 😉

  92. August 21, 2008 at 01:04


    Speaking of pullouts, does anyone believe that Russia will pull out of South Ossetta?

  93. 94 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 01:20

    Universal Health Care
    It really does seem to me that the best way to ensure that no-one falls through the cracks is to establish public healthcare for everyone. In my opinion, anything less than universal publicly funded health care is unjust. I used to be in a situation where I rubbed shoulders with both poor people who couldn’t afford enough food to feed their families and rich people who complained when they could no longer spend three or four digits in one place on accessories.

    I hate injustice. I hate having what others cannot. I think that the current system of for-profit health coverage that is only available for those who can afford it is a sick slap in the fact to the indigent and the working poor. If it means that some of us have to decrease our standard of living and maybe even wait for the same time to obtain the same quality of treatment as the rest, then so be it. Luxury should be expressed by the possession of and access to things that we want, not things that we need.

  94. 95 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 01:25

    She’s gone. Stephnie Tubbs Jones has died.

  95. 96 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 01:33

    @ Mohammed Ali
    I am sure Russia was “terrified” that Georgia was going to attack & conquer them.
    This is raw naked aggression and Russia has placed the entire world in danger.

  96. 97 Roberto
    August 21, 2008 at 01:49

    Speaking of pullouts, does anyone believe that Russia will pull out of South Ossetta?

    ———– First they have to pull out ot Georgia.

    Not a given with the signing of the missle agreement between Poland and the US today.

    Given the preoccupation of recent WHYS threads, perhaps we can examine homosexual rights in the Russian and Georgian military, and the necessity of obtaining plastic surgery to look sharp in the uniform whilst scattering and blasting defenseless civilians to the winds.

  97. 98 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 01:56

    @ Brett: It only took you 8 years to get cable! I hope you can have some time to watch some history and write about it!

    @ Drug tests for benefits: Here in New York State, i would like to see that ASAP!

    @ Mohammed: i hope you have a safe trip to china, for your studies….

    @ Russia: another day of promises, another day of telling a another set of lies…

    @ the death of Stephanie Tubbs-Jones: i am sending my condolences to her friends, family and colleagues and anyone who knew her…..


  98. 99 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 02:00

    @ The homosexuality issue: it is sad that in the year 2008, being gay or lesbian is a bigger problem for high school kids………

    @ anyone has heard from Lubna? i hope that our dear friend is safe and sound?

    I think that we should be happy that Ros is back, following his vacation!


  99. 100 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 02:06

    @ Shirley
    Publicly funded!!?? Does that mean that we are taxed to pay for health care?
    How do we stop the abuses by those that clog the ER’s and how about all the extra tests that Doctors do protecting themselves from lawsuits? In fact how do we restore the large number of G.P. Doctors this country used to have.
    Perhaps if we taught basic hygiene and first aid to people and also enacted tort reform I could get behind universal health care.
    If you hate injustice so, then you certainly must agree…yes???

  100. August 21, 2008 at 02:24

    Dan –

    Universal health care can be paid for either by taxes or a direct insurance payment from wages (some in the UK still call this a tax).

    What that does is free up ER’s so people can have access to a GP family doctor. They then can do their job etc.

    In the NHS simple hygine is taught and publicised, people do do basic first aid, many companies now pay for a lot of their employees to go on first aid courses.

    What I have read with so many Americans and those without universal healthcare systems is that they feel their taxes or insurance payments are being used for other people – which is quite odd to me. Insurance payments are used for other people and profit to the insurance companies – so paying for profit is more worthwhile than paying for another’s healthcare? Quite, quite odd.

  101. 102 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 02:34

    @ Will Rhodes
    Explain how free health care will free up the ER’s? With it being free people will flock to the ER’s with the simplest of symptoms.
    I must also take issue about basic hygiene. how many times have you witnessed someone leaving a public restroom without even washing their hands?
    I have never seen any company pay for any employee to learn basic first aid. The Red Cross teaches CPR, something we all should know, and that is a far cry from First Aid.
    Still tort reform must be accomplished for any universal health care system to work.

  102. August 21, 2008 at 02:39

    Hello all,

    Looking over coments.

    @Fewer injuries and deaths on jobs.
    Could it be that there are fewer people working and also those dangerous high paying factory jobs have been shipped over seas? thank goodness the policies of the last few years have found a way to reduce the rate of injuries. I wonder what the suicide rate has been over the past 6 years?

    @ cosmetic surgery.
    From a strictly finacial point of view, it make more sense to get a better education. it last longer and the effects are more positive overall. in the end I only need you to be good looking for about 10 min. then I have to talk to you.

  103. 104 Nick in USA
    August 21, 2008 at 02:49

    @ high school principal

    It’s astonishing that someone in his position would do such a thing. My school had plenty of openly gay people, and they didn’t receive trouble from anyone, aside from the occasional cowboy redneck. In my school however, the cowboy rednecks were the least popular group, so nobody really paid them any attention. If some cowboy had happened to pick a fight with a gay person, a large group of students would have quickly rallied around the gay person and put the cowboy in his place.

  104. August 21, 2008 at 02:57

    @ health care

    The politicians have us all chaing out tails on this one.
    IT has bothered me for some time now that for most general visits and health maintenance, why can’t i just afford to pay the doctor when I need to go why have to go through an insurance company to do it?

    I think insurance and even public funded version artificially keep prices high.

  105. 106 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 03:06

    About healthcare: on 20 August 2008, i went to the dentist [hygenist] and it cost $ 137.00 dollars, since i get New York State Medical Insurance it only cost me $ 3.00 dollars for my co-pay….


  106. 107 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 03:07

    this school principal, should be ASHAMED of his/her duties and,
    should RESIGNED from the job….

    this poor child, need some help with her problems, regarding her sexual orientation…


  107. 109 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 03:44

    Good morning all!

    I’m still reading in but just thought I’d say that, with regard to plastic surgery, I’m beyond all that. I need Polyfilla and a trowel!

  108. 110 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 03:47

    @ Dan

    How does public health care free up emergency rooms? Easy. If you don’t have to worry about finding the cash to visit a GP, you make an appointment and GO to your GP (who has your medical records, know’s your history and foibles and can make a far better diagnosis. He can also tell that you should have a flu injection (because you’re in a high risk category) and that you need your cholesterol checked because it’s been a couple of years, thereby getting involved in preventative medicine which can save oodles in the long run.

  109. 111 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 04:02


    You are right about tort reform. We are too much of a “sue, sue, sue” country here in the States (hello, coffee is hot. Don’t put it between your legs ever, let alone when driving!) However, Bob is right about how the ERs will freed up. For so many people, the ER is the only place they can get basic health care. If health insurance were mandated for all (be it a single system or a system like Jens described from Switzerland) then those who call the ER their “primary care physician” would be able to have an actual GP instead of taking up the beds needed for true emergencies.

  110. 112 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 04:04


    I hope you are enjoying you last few days of your college break. I had an email from Lubna this morning and she seems fine 🙂 I think I can speak for her that it makes her feel good that we all are concerned for her. Asking about her lets her know we care and want nothing but the best for her.

  111. 113 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 04:39

    @ Amy:

    Thanks, i get worry about Lubna! Thanks for keeping in contact with her!

    I will be going back into the Residence Hall @ Onondaga Community College, in Syracuse, New York on 31 August 2008….

    I am currently have a bad cold….so, i am using my computer [not my laptop from bed]…..

    I am enjoying my vacation! it has been pretty nice….

    On August 20, is my brother birthday! he took his new york state bar exam to become a lawyer!!!!


  112. 114 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 04:41

    @ about tort reform:

    we need to reform it! and make it available for SERIOUS injured people!

    Interest of full disclosure: my mom, who was injured seriously in a car accident, several years ago…and her lawsuit against the accused was dismissed by the judge in my home county!


  113. 115 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 04:44

    My first day of classes are 2 September 2008—sorry for not mentioning that in my response.


  114. 116 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 05:04

    Isn’t healthcare reform allegedly on the agenda of the next president? Does anyone have any idea what these people are proposing?

  115. 117 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 05:04

    I meant whoever the next president may be….

  116. 118 roebert
    August 21, 2008 at 05:22

    I hope the BBC will do a program on alternative politicians like ex-bishop Fernando Lugo of Paraguay. It’s an offbeat situation in a relatively unimportant country, but it really raises my hopes as to the advent of some form of new politics in the world. Or is Lugo just another dreamer soon to be disposed of or simply co-opted into the ongoing corrupt and war-torn scenario that is the keynote of the Realpolitik of the new millennium?

    Re: cosmetic surgery: one benefit of using polyfilla and a trowel is that you could screw in cuphooks for keeping your motorcar keys etc., perhaps on the temple area, thereby saving money on memory enhancing medications which also accompany the onset of facial cracking.

  117. 119 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 05:27


    Feel better. Lots of chicken soup and orange juice (that’s the mom in me 🙂 ). Best of luck to your brother on the results of his exam. I remember when my cousin took the bar exam (in California) how relieved she was once it was over. My older daughter, Natalie, starts 3rd grade also on September 2nd. My little one (Abigail) has to wait until the 9th before preschool start up.

  118. 120 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 05:27

    @ Venessa:

    I think that both Presidential candidates, should have HEALTHCARE on the agenda…


  119. 121 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 05:28


    Funny you should bring the health care reform issue up right now. I just got off the phone with a pollster asking me about health care and education issues (as well as local candidate questions). How timely given todays main topic!

  120. 122 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 05:36

    Amy ~ I had someone at my door yesterday asking about it and in light of this discussion on the blog today I realized I have heard very little on the issue from the candidates.

    Dennis ~ Indeed it should be on the agenda!

  121. 123 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 05:55

    Health Care Worldwide
    WHYS discussed health care access in June.

    I hope to be able to see Michael Moore’s “Sicko.” However, I would recommend another documentary. It is by T. R. Reid, an author who also writes for The Washington Post and comments on NPR. Reid explained in a PBS Frontline documentary called “Sick Around the World” that the World Health Organization made a matrix for rating all of the world’s 191 health care systems on which the U.S. scored very poorly on fairness.

    In the documentary, Reid explained some of the models used by other countries to operate their health care systems. Most or all of the countries that he surveyed had capitalist economies. Even so, he pointed out that those other capitalist countries don’t trust health care entirely to the free market but rather impose limits. He highlighted the main conditions: insurance companies must accept everyone; they cannot make a profit on basic care; the government pays the premium for the poor; and hospitals have to accept fixed prices.

    PBS has placed a transcript of the show on its website. One can also Google frontline sick around the world for a wider variety of sites dealing with Reid and his work.

    Number of words: 205

  122. 124 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 05:56

    Health Care Costs
    One of Reid’s favourite questions while he travelled around the world investigatin health care systems in various countries was whether very many people went bankrupt due to medical costs. He encountered very few affirmative responses to that question. He noted that the malpractise issue adds very little to the overall cost of care in our country and attributed the high cost of health care in the U.S. to “sheer inefficiency…and the huge administrative costs that the insurance industry takes out of the system before it pays any medical bills.”

    I tried Googling for medical debt and the names of various countries (i.e. Canada medial debt). I only got stories about the medical debt in the U.S. The contrast with people in the U.S. seems evident. 39% of people with medical debt said that they had depleted their savings to pay off bills. 29% had difficulty affording food, heat, rent and other basic necessities. 30% had credit card debt. Around 25% of working-age adults with medical debt owe $4,000 or more. 12% owe $8,000 or more. I also chanced upon the Global Medical Tourism website.

    Number of words: 185

  123. 125 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 06:09

    Hi Shirley,

    The reason you had trouble finding data on “medical debt” in other countries is that the USA is pretty much alone amongst first world countries in not having some form of medicare or national health scheme. The details of these schemes vary hugely from country to country but even the most basic systems tend to protect citizens from bankrupting themselves with medical costs.

  124. 126 jamily5
    August 21, 2008 at 06:14

    Plastic surgery:
    I can’t tell anyone else what to choose. If they want to get many surgeries to ogment their body, then it is their choice.
    Just as it is their choice to ignore any psychological issues that might … … **might** be associated with it.
    But, for me:
    No. I don’t want to give any illusions.
    I don’t even color my hair because I want to look how I am suppose to look at a certain age. And, yes, having children has changed my body. But, that is a part of life and when I chose to have children, I chose to suffr that consequence.
    That is just me and I respect anyone else’s choice. If they can pay for it and if they want it: then why not.
    the only problem that I have are those who deny plastic surgery; when it is obvious that they have had some.
    Be honest with yourself and your friends.

  125. 127 jamily5
    August 21, 2008 at 06:16

    drug testing:
    uring selling is alive and well.
    So are the $60 chemicals to help you pass.

  126. 128 Jonathan
    August 21, 2008 at 06:18

    Howdy Bob, hey I made it onto the show Wednesday! Just my second time actually using my voice (they’re always reading my tidbits), and much better than the first one.

  127. 129 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 06:31

    Hiya Jonathan…I fell asleep as the show was starting Wednesday night…guess I’ll have to download it!

  128. 130 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 06:32

    U.S. Presidential Candidates
    Venessa, here are some Wikipedia and other links that I have found useful so far.

    * Comparison of United States presidential candidates, 2008 by Wikipedia
    * Political Positions of Barack Obama by Wikipedia
    * Barack Obama’s campaign site, issues section
    * Political Positions of John McCain by Wikipedia
    * John McCain’s campaign website, issues section
    * Cynthia McKinney’s responses to the Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire

    There is also a Libertarian running; and Ralph Nader is an independent.

  129. 131 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 08:52

    @ Jonathan

    Yup…I found you on the replay…about 14 minutes in I think it was. Well done–you actually sounded concise, thoughtful and sensible!

  130. 132 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 09:11

    @ Bob Q~ Jonathan on air and Jonathan on the blog seems like two different persons. It’s a bit hard to beleive that it’s the same person.

  131. 133 Bryan
    August 21, 2008 at 10:03

    Bob in Queensland August 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

    “Well done–you actually sounded concise, thoughtful and sensible!”

    You mean in contrast to his contributions on the blog?!

    Seriously guys, someone who comes onto this blog for the first time could be forgiven for thinking that he’s wandered into a mutual admiration society, with people frequently patting one another on the back, rather than a forum for serious discussion on vital issues of concern under the umbrella of an international news agency. Do you ever consider the impression you make?

    Your sister blog, Have Your Say, despite having basically the same name and similar House Rules is very different in this respect. Sometimes you do get off-topic chat on the ‘Reactively Moderated’ topics but it is generally moderated out. I and another guy had a brief, non-confrontational personal exchange deleted from a reactively moderated topic on HYS. This, despite the fact that we had been on-topic the rest of the time.

  132. 134 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 10:48

    @ Bryan

    Er, yes I do consider what it might look like to a new-comer. It would look like a conversation. To me, the whole point of the WHYS blog is the conversation between people from different countries and cultures, enabling us to get to know each other. Often–even usually–this takes the form of “serious discussion on vital issues of concern”. However, sometimes a little spark of humanity creeps in–and quite often these little asides actually give a bigger insight into life and attitudes in different cultures than the set-piece debates.

    Similarly, to be interesting a topic doesn’t need to be grave and serious. Often the lighter diversions can lead to the most compelling topics.

    Obviously this is a BBC site and what they say goes. If they were to issue a “get serious and cut the chit chat” edict, I’d oblige–but so far they haven’t and I personally think they have the balance about right. The main BBC HYS board is primarily aimed at a (relatively) homogenous British audience who don’t need to spend a lot of time learning about each others’ culture. The World Service and WHYS is a different kettle of fish, bringing together people who wouldn’t normally have a chance to exchange views. I think that makes the “looser” moderation entirely valid.

  133. 135 Katharina in Ghent
    August 21, 2008 at 10:57

    @ Bob and Bryan

    I also would like to add that most of the “back-patting” happens between the real regulars, and that the Talking Points and Blank Pages are mostly visited by us addicted regulars. On top of that, the opposite, namely being rude and offensive, is not allowed here (which some of us should remember, occasionally), and that leads automatically to a more friendly and inviting atmosphere.

  134. August 21, 2008 at 10:59

    Go Bob…

    Well said.

    This is precisely what this blog should be about.

  135. 137 Bryan
    August 21, 2008 at 11:00

    I had another thought – it happens sometimes: why not have a separate ‘chat’ page as a permanent feature? If people find themselves getting involved in chat on say, a blank page, they can they can arrange to meet for further dialogue on the chat page, which can perhaps be installed on the sidebar, or a moderator can shift them over there with a short note to that effect.

    I suppose it really boils down to the purpose of the blog.

  136. 138 Katharina in Ghent
    August 21, 2008 at 11:03

    About the plane crash:

    First of all I would like to offer my condolences to the families of those that got killed in that horrible crash.

    Every time I fly to a vacation place I always hope that if I have to die in a plane crash, it will happen on the way home, at least then I still could enjoy my vacation. I don’t think that anyone seriously gets put off by such an incident, it just makes us a bit more tense, for a while and then it’s back to usual. Every day you step in your car you risk that somebody misses the red light and crashes into you, if you take the subway you risk that some idiot pushes you from the platform, if you go to bed you don’t know if you’ll actually wake up the next morning. If we lived our life in constant fear, it wouldn’t be much of a life anymore, so we just have to face the possible risks and continue to live.

  137. 139 Katharina in Ghent
    August 21, 2008 at 11:04

    @ Bryan

    … And what you’re doing right now does not fall under the bigger term of “chit-chat”?

  138. August 21, 2008 at 11:08

    Not the sort of thing I want see on the news 3 days before I fly to Europe!

    As we can see from the recent experiences with Qantas jets, flying is not something that should be taken lightly. Especially when it comes to matters such as fitness of pilots to fly these things and the maintenance involved. If you have ever had the opportunity to tinker with planes, especially larger jets then the matter of cost cutting becomes more than just a decision about profit. Until companies realise that it will cost more to kill passengers than just compensation costs for iffy maintenance practices that lead to a fatal crash then things like this will happen. Consider weighing up having a fully qualified technician service your jet against a barefoot grease monkey on $2 an hour.

  139. 141 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 11:25

    @ Bob in Queensland
    You assume people will go to a GP but can they find one? Number of GP’s falling as it is no longer as profitable as it once was and malpractice insurance is astronomical. Once health care is free, the ER’s will be jammed.

  140. 142 Bryan
    August 21, 2008 at 11:25

    “However, sometimes a little spark of humanity creeps in…”

    Hell, Bob, are you really suggesting that humanity is absent from the more serious debates?

    HYS has an international as well as a UK version. I access the former mostly.

    Love to chat, but in a rush, gotta go.

  141. 143 Pangolin-California
    August 21, 2008 at 11:28

    The US health care system is oxymoronic. It has become a profit taking system designed to exploit peoples ignorance and fear about their health. Actually having insurance or the money to see a doctor is no assurance of good health care because the doctor you are going to see is far more concerned about his income than your care.

    That doctor went to a medical school that is far more concerned about maintaining a market reputation than producing skilled medical personnel in the most efficient manner. The doctors education was likely funded by a huge load of crippling loans which guarantee that the doctor won’t have any time or attention for non-profit or pro-bono care for the indigent. The drugs he will prescribe have more to do with the marketing focused on him than your best result.

    Yeah, we have socialized medicine in the US. It’s just socialism for the rich.

  142. 144 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 11:32

    @ Shirley
    If you are hospitalized for any length of time in the USA the system will drive you into bankruptcy. In the end the insurance company will not pay the bill and the hospital & Dr’s sue you. Unable to pay bills in excess of $500,000 you are forced into BK. The State then pays the hospital making every taxpayer pay your bill and the insurance company walks away richer as it has your premiums and paid nothing. This happened to me but I fought the insurance company and while it took time I won. It was neither easy nor pleasant.
    Oh yeah….Michael Moore’s Sicko is a lie and his solution will not work either.

  143. 145 Vernon
    August 21, 2008 at 11:42

    It’s quite a timely reminder from the 40th anniversary of the Prague invasion. It seems the same old approach is still there from the Russian authorities side although in a muted form. We still get the apologists for the Russian regime from westerners. If only they could balance their comments by admitting that they have their bad points too but the impression one gets is that they are the good guys and the West is the bad. We need a broad international response to the atrocities of the Soviet past as there was to the South African apartheid regime.

  144. 146 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 11:53

    @ Dan

    I think you may have this backwards. If the United States had a proper health care system that paid for EVERY citizen to be able to go to a GP as required, I’m pretty sure the decline in numbers would be reversed. Supply and demand would determine this…just as right now there’s not enough demand because so few people can afford sufficient health care.

    As for malpractice suits, somehow every other country in the world manages to find a way around this…

  145. 147 Dan
    August 21, 2008 at 11:58

    @ Bob in Queensland
    I don’t think I have this backwards at all. I think you may not fully appreciate how screwed up the system is in America.
    GP’s are declining as incomes are plummeting. Medical schools are expensive and new Dr’s are debt laden. New Dr’s go into high paying specialties. Additionally malpractice insurance is so hight that a GP cannot afford to practice anymore.
    Supply & demand laws do not apply when an outside force, lawyers, are circling like sharks ready to sue at a moments notice. The lawyers skew the process so tort reform is a must. Texas passed tort reform and the lawyers quickly left or quickly changed specialties and Dr’s are again flocking to Texas.

  146. 148 Bob in Queensland
    August 21, 2008 at 12:01

    Re: The Plane Crash

    Normally I’d be the first person to explain how flying is the safest method of transport and, while accidents happen, you’re safer in a plane than in your own armchair–or whatever the statistic is.

    However, I do wonder if, as safe as flying is, economics may be eroding this slightly. Qantas has subcontracted its maintenance out to the lowest bidder and is, all of a sudden, having reliability problems. They deny a link, but…

    In the US, several airlines have gone into bankruptcy while at least one of the survivors has been hauled over the coals by the FAA for falsifying maintenance logs.

    Another story is that pilots are coming under implied pressure to carry the minimum fuel load. Pilots still have the final say but now they have to be prepared to justify to management their decisions to carry a bit extra .

    All this is anecdotal and it wouldn’t stop me flying–but any system coming under financial pressure is going to be tempted to cut corners.

  147. August 21, 2008 at 12:14


    It is a sad thing, but airlines are driven by profit taking and now with the rise in fuel costs things are only going to get worse. It is a shame that you have the lowest tender fixes your plane as of course the more time spent examining a plane taking up one space and more cost associated with replacement parts that are costly.. less profit from your contract. How many investigations have shown private firms falsify repair logs to say they did an inspection but didn’t so they can charge phantom works.

    Or inept and inexperienced technicians working on your plane. To think that a plane can be brought down by only the merest of things, in the case of one famous case, a 20c piece of tape and you realise that rolss royce treatment should be given to air maintenance, but that isn’t going to happen. Reminds me of the Ford effect where it was cheaper to pay any potential litigation for faulty fuel tanks that exploded on impact than to do a recall and fix the problem.

  148. August 21, 2008 at 12:16


    I would be a bit worried down there… Singapore is populated by Chinese.. is basically a Chinese nation… therefore must be part of China.

    Soon the tanks will be rolling across the causeway, better build an OP on Bukit Timah!

  149. 151 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 12:22

    Hey Gang,Thr over night discussion on Plastic Surgery and generally cost of health care in the US/BRITAIN is enriching. Thanks to my brother Nelsoni and others who are involved in given the African perspective. I bet that there is a common ground reached already. Cosmetic Surgery requires huge funding which the ordinary person dare not venture into. I guess celebrities and other well-to-do will find it easy because of their economic status. To the average African man,it is a complete luxury.

  150. 152 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 12:27

    My condolences to the bereaved family and i ask them to take solace in the Lord Almighty.In my deep religious thought, i imagine where our world is leading. Too many tradegies and calamity. Who knows, maybe endtime is nearing.

  151. 153 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 12:34

    Many of these airlines i guess are paying lip service to passengers safety nowadays. Who knows, they only care about the funds they are generating. Safety regulations are facade.

  152. 154 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 13:25

    Andrew ~ I wish you safe travels!

    Normally I wouldn’t worry about flying either but as several of you have pointed out safety is taking a back seat to profit due to financial difficulties. I find this very frightening since you rarely hear of stories where people survive a plane crash.

    Katharina ~ I too hope that if I’m on a plane that goes down it’s on my way home from vacation so I could have enjoyed it prior to death.

  153. 155 Katharina in Ghent
    August 21, 2008 at 14:12

    @ Julie – Vacation days in Europe:

    In Belgium, officially you get 20 days off, but many companies (including my own) have special deals that will provide you with more, in my case, we get 12 extra days and when an official holiday falls onto a Saturday or Sunday we can take that day off on another day, that way we get a total of around 35 days per year (plus official holidays, about 10 per year). If you’re sick, you’re sick, and you need a doctor’s notice, but there’s no limit to how long you’re allowed to be sick. In addition, your employer is not allowed to fire you while you’re sick.

    In Austria it’s quite similar, it’s five weeks of vacation plus official holidays, and if you have children, you can take an extra 5 days off if they get sick. And you haven’t heard about maternity leave yet…

    As far as the different health care systems are concerened, generally speaking most of it is covered, but usually you have to pay a little bit yourself. But it will never be so much that you’re bankrupt!

    All the same, amazingly enough Europe is still quite productive, even if we don’t have the same growth rates as the US. (And not the big down-turns, either.)

  154. 156 Virginia Davis
    August 21, 2008 at 14:58

    No to plastic surgery for me. Corrective for people in accidents; for children with cleft palates, etc. Otherwise an exercise in affluence, sometimes disastrous.

    I agree with Africans it is a Western vanity.

    Virginia in Oregon

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