Monday, August 13, 2012

This will only hurt for a second...

After reviewing a classmate of mine's blog on the infamous meningitis vaccination, I was left with a few thoughts. One of which, is why are we forced to have the shot in the first place? Like Mindy said, there should be a "tweak in the law." This tweak would be a change that would make sure everyone knew the risks of refusing the vaccine, as well as the ability to sign a statement refusing the vaccine altogether.
This topic hits very close to home for me, because I'm not exactly a huge fan for shots. While yes, they are necessary, I still get a pit in my stomach when the doctor mouths the word. The reason I find this topic very relate-able is because I was forced into getting one for basically no reason. I got my meningitis shot when I was 13 years old, and the requirement for ACC states that you must have had it no less than 6 years ago. Mind you, I am a student at the University of Texas, and was not required to have the shot, because I didn't stay in the dorms as a freshman. Instead, i passed on the opportunity and went on my merry way until I came across the requirements to pass my registration bar for ACC. The shot was the only thing standing in my way. Now, why would I need this shot if I'm only taking one class...and that class happens to be an online course? That, I may never know. This is why I feel that the requirement needs some revisiting. 
Mindy makes another good point, which I believe has already been done. She goes on and states how people should be able to refuse the vaccine based on philosophical reasons or religious reasons (not just cause they are a wimp like me.) In revisiting the proof of the shot I had done, I did happen to see that there was an option to opt out of it, but the paperwork was gruesome. Those that have religious/philosophical reasons not to get the shot should not be punished with an exorbitant amount of paperwork. 
All this being said, this shot really is a necessity. Of the people that contracted meningitis and treated, 15% died and a enormous 20% of survivors were left with long term diseases like seizures, deafness, mental retardation, and even nervous system disorders.
So, the next time the doctor mentions a necessary shot, cowboy up, and take it like a man. In all reality, a little discomfort could save your life, and keep your risks for these serious disorders at bay.

That's the way Scott sees it

Friday, August 10, 2012

Affordable? No. Necessary? Yes.

Just about everyone's favorite subject to gripe about...gas prices.  Whether you loathe them, or accept them, the truth is, you're going to have to face them if you plan on driving.  Over the past weekend, gas prices in Texas have jumped a stout 13 cents a gallon.  This jump is considered a "plateau" (meaning prices aren't expected to rise any further for a little.)  But, "the real truth is, no one knows...there are so many variables at play." (  I know not a more sinking feeling than visually seeing the dollar amount climb 3-4 times as fast as the gallon input.  But hey, doesn't this beat the 4-5 dollars per gallon some experts predicted by the end of summer 2012?  It sure doesn't feel like it.  But who are we to complain?  Experts claimed that gas prices could have reached 6 dollars a gallon by election season, and thus become a huge national debate.  Instead, shouldn't we feel lucky that gas is a little more than half of what was proposed?
Well, I for one, don't feel lucky at all.  The Middle East and the oil trading companies have such a strong hold and monopoly on the oil business, that no one can drive their price down.  If we could somehow manage to produce more appealing and better running electric/alternative fueled cars, we could possibly force the gas companies hand at lowering prices.  Heck, any attempt is better than no attempt.  Another method we could maybe attempt is seen in fracking.  It's not exactly a new-age technology, but if we could incorporate it into an engine, it could possibly be even more efficient and environmentally stable.  
Basically, this all comes down to one thing.  Oil companies' monopoly on the reserves in the Middle East will continue to fluctuate the price for a barrel of oil as they see fit.  There will be nothing that gets in their way, provided we don't have a better way to break the monopoly.  
While this is an issue across the nation, Texas should actually consider itself lucky.  The national average as of this weekend for a gallon of gasoline was $3.66 while the Texas average was $3.49.  But, there is no guarantee that we won't surpass that national average.  Who cares that we own the lion's share of oil that is manufactured here in the states?  Obviously not the Middle East.  Their prices will continue to fluctuate until we tap into our "rainy day" reservoir.  But let's be honest, that won't be happening anytime in the near future. There are only two things that would cause that.  One, being a depletion of the oil in the Middle East, and the other would be a world war.  While neither of those seem appealing, we are stuck at relying on the gas lords for prices and will continue to be that way until someone (or some new technology) breaks that monopoly.  Till then, I'll see you at the pump, draining your wallet, like the rest of the nation.

That's the way Scott sees it

Friday, August 3, 2012

With great speed comes great responsibility...

Texas' constantly rising speed limits are becoming becoming a national topic as of late. There are two sides to the coin. There are the "pepokes" as you call yourself in your article, and the speed demons. While I am more of a speed demon myself and (admit-tingly) drive about 5 over in that "buffer zone," I don't necessarily feel more dangerous than any other person on the road. In an article on slate it is confirmed that driving faster doesn't equal more accidents at all. New York raised its state-wide speed limits in 1995, to find out that this increase actually dropped the crash rate by 4%. A similar study was conducted in California, and found the same results. How is this so, you may ask? It all has to do with the driver's comfort zone and the conditions that day. Studies have shown that drivers rarely ever drive over their speed "comfort zone" as this article calls it. Even with legal encouragement that they can drive faster, a driver won't. This simple explanation could be the reason why you feel as if you're a "pepoke" on the streets, while there are people flying past you. They just may have a higher comfort zone than you. The perception of hazard on the freeway (the insane speed) actually has been shown to boost safety by heightening drivers' caution.
The other topic, provoked by your motherly instincts, is the chances for fatal accidents. While I stated that increased speeds don't result in more accidents, they do result in more fatalities...This is what could be perturbing to you as a mother. Realistically, any accident at 60+ miles per hour has the easy possibility of being fatal, an accident around 80+ does seem to make that risk for death worse. With "pepokes" and speed demons on the road at the same time, this becomes even more of a problem. That's a whole other topic of discussion. What should the range of the speed minimum/maximum be? The greater the range, the more dangerous the two types of drivers become for each other. The age old feud lives on. Fast drivers will always despise the slow drivers, and slow drivers will always feel at risk when a fast driver zooms by. The question is, who is to say that their isn't a way to make everyone feel safer on the roads? Maybe we should look into a fast and slow lane, so drivers don't feel endangered by the other "species." That may be a bit of a stretch, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Both parties would be catered to, and maybe there'd be less interaction between the two species of drivers...thus equaling less accidents and more importantly less fatalities.

That's the way Scott sees it...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, you're 18? Here's a gun. (On gun control in Texas)

Possibly the most heavily debated topic in politics across the United States, (and even more so in Texas) is gun control.  Since the July 20th shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight premier of "The Dark Knight Rises," 'gun control' has been the main topic of news.  It's even been trending nationwide on Twitter, and is the elephant in the room when it comes to Texas' constant leniency towards the issue.  
Now, Texas of all states, is the most lenient on gun control.  An individual only needs three qualifications to be capable of buying firearms:
1. You can't be a convicted felon within the past 5 years of release or parole.
2. You must be 18, or have parental consent if you are not of age.
3. You cannot be confined in a penal institution.
I know what you're thinking...Let's just all go buy guns now.  In all simplicity, we could.  That's where our biggest problems occur here in Texas.
As seen in the shooting in Colorado, this man has to have some mental corruption to go and try to kill a theater full of teenagers and young adults.  (Let's be honest, how many adults or grandparents do you see at a midnight premier?)  Texas, of all states should re-look at the qualifications to bear firearms in the state.  While, we have a constitutional right to bear arms, there should be some disclaimers to this.  
First, we need to have a way to perform a more elaborate background check.  This could be detrimental in preventing loons from getting a hold of a firearm.  I'm talking, a background check that even mentions recent divorces or bar fights to recent diagnosis' for bipolar disorder/depression.  While these may seem like random events that have nothing to do with guns, divorces can be a huge cause of mental instability, which may then be the justification for someone to shoot up a school or public event.  A simple bar fight, on the other hand, could determine short temperament and aggressiveness, which could easily transfer into a quick trigger.  And, more controversial, is the background check involving what medications the person is taking.  While, yes, this impedes on an individual's right to privacy, (as promised by the constitution) these individuals are most susceptible to shoot up a room, or cause harm to themselves by having access to a firearm.
Finally, the state needs to take a look into the kinds of guns we are distributing.  Joe Blow, at a gun show, could walk away with a M-4 military grade rifle, and a magazine large enough to take down a whole movie theater easily.  Who's to say he won't?  That's where the state needs to step in.  There should be a limit on magazine size for handguns in the state of Texas, as well as the inability to so easily access anything over a hunting rifle.  I honestly think this could help ease the wave of distress falling over our state.  
If we can make a dent in gun control and prevent loons from having the access to firearms, we may have a better sense of security across the nation, and especially across the state.  The first stage of action is to change the ease of gun trafficking in Texas.  From there, we could try to implement a more rigorous background check, that (hopefully) keeps our great state off of national headlines when concerning gun control.  But, this all has to start with a gutsy politician because no one approaches this problem in the state of Texas.  It gets swept under the rug for generations when, in reality, it is the elephant in the room as of 2012.

That's the way Scott sees it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mudslinging: A Dark Art at its Finest

In the latest mudslinging battle between Romney and Obama for voters in this year's election, Obama has been accused of quite an offense.  According to "My Way News," Romney accused Obama of classified material leaks.  This takes mudslinging to a new level.  If, indeed it is proven, this could be a huge detriment to Obama's success in this year's election.  He was accused of leaking classified details about the U.S. raid on Osama bin Ladin for political gain.  
From the TexasFred Blog, Obama's discipline for office is brought into question.  In the blog commentary of the article "Romney accused Obama of classified material leaks," the editor is clearly disgusted.  If it isn't apparent from the first line of the commentary, the editor is clearly anti-Obama and probably a Republican (while we can't rule out a smaller party affiliation.)  The editor is clearly reaching out to all the Republicans and people that are on the fence about their decision for this year's election.  He/she even states that "If Barack Hussein Obama thought it would win him a 2nd term in office he would leak the current nuclear launch codes..." This is quite a harsh statement for someone to make when all the offenses being brought to light aren't even confirmed.  From this statement, the editor loses all credibility.  While yes, Romney did accuse Obama of leaking classified material, the editor takes this accusation too far.  This, is why I believe the editor to have no credibility.  He/she goes as far as to say "Obama is NOT a leader...he lies to America, he will bow to world leaders...etc."  On top of these rash statements, there is little to no evidence to back up the claims (only Romney's word at this point.)   
If this isn't a non-credible source, I'm not sure what is.  The editor throws way to much of his/her personal dislike for Obama into an article that has yet to even be proven.  The only claim this author has in the whole article is that Obama is not suited to be a presidential candidate and cannot be trusted and how he would sell his countries secrets in order to be elected into office.  
Now, while I am no Democrat, and I surely will not be voting Obama this year, this accusation and accompanied exaggerating is one step too far.  The editor lost all class in this article as he chose to pull out anything and everything he could think of (poorly) of Obama.  I am not a fan of mudslinging, especially to the degree this author took, so if anything, I'd say it only upset me about my own party's ruthlessness.
Let's stay classy Reds.

That's the way Scott sees it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Perry: Ignorant, or Insightful (on the new Affordable Care Act)

If it isn't apparent from the headline of this editorial, this critic is obviously not pleased with Gov. Rick Perry's rejection of the new health plan proposed by President Obama.  He entitles it "For better health, pay Perry no mind".  He/she briefly sets the scene then gets straight to the point.  The editor is obviously displeased with the amount of uninsured individuals in the state of Texas.  Almost 25% of our population (or 6 million people) ranks #1 in the nation in percentage of uninsured persons.  Even though this policy would cost a mere 15.6 billion dollars over 10 years, the editor quotes that Tom Suehs (the state's health and human services commissioner) expected an expense more like 27 billion dollars.  So, in the editors mind, this seems to be a no-brainer of a deal to implement.
Although the editor seems completely pro "Obamacare" (as it is referred to across the nation), he/she concedes an argument for the other view.  The editor poses the question, is whether the cost of the plan is more significant than the cost that the plan will shift to those Texan taxpayers and those that are already insured.  If those that are under this Obamacare choose to abuse the insurance plans and overuse emergency rooms for even minor medical needs, taxpayers in the area will feel the hurt in their wallet as the April 15th deadline draws nearer.  Instead, the editor suggests that because these newly insured people (almost 2.3 million by 2023) would be more inclined to make regular doctors visits and thus stay away from expensive ER problems down the road.
From the wording of the article, I'm sure this one is written with the hopes that the 6 million pairs of eyes that aren't already insured stumble upon it.  It has a sense of hope intertwined between the lines on the editorial.  No doubt, this was the intention.  While, I don't particularly agree with the critic's main thesis (that Perry was wrong to decline this plan), the writer does point out some major flaws.  Texas does happen to have the highest percentage of uninsured individuals in the nation.  In the editor's mind, this translates to "Texas would benefit the most from Obamacare."
While this author does voice his/her own opinion, it is a very credible article with substantial evidence pointing out the weaknesses in our state.  There is a good concession to the other side of the argument which also establishes credibility.  The editor concludes while "The Affordable Care Act isn't an elixir that will cure everything that ails American health care," this plan is a step in the right direction.  While I can't argue with that, you won't find me at a rally supporting this particular movement.

That's the way Scott sees it

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No to "Obamacare"?

Currently, as a pharmacy technician, just about the worst thing you have to tell a customer is, "Ma'am I'm sorry but you are in the 'doughnut hole'."  This is what may become commonplace in pharmacies across Texas if Gov. Rick Perry does go ahead and decide to deny "Obamacare".  The 'doughnut hole' (as it is commonly called) is a term coined to state that once an individual has used up a certain dollar amount quota, they must begin to pay out of pocket for their medications for the rest of the year.
States were granted the right to deny "Obamacare" that would add roughly 15 million people nationwide that are currently not eligible for Medicaid to help subsidize medication costs.  If this federal policy is denied by Rick Perry, almost 1.3 million Texans (about half of the uninsured population of Texas) would be denied this newly eligible plan.  They would be forced to stay in the doughnut hole unless the policy was accepted by a successor of Perry.
This decision is aided by the already strained budgets of the federal government, as well as the "lack of confidence that Washington will honor its financial commitments in the long run". These two reasons, as well as the years of frustration with Medicaid's mandate that limit state choices and shift costs to the federal government, are the main stipulations in Gov. Perry's reason for denial.
As I see it, this article is very crucial to all of us in the beautiful state of Texas.  If this policy is accepted, many of our hard earned dollars will be sent to the government to pay for other people's medications.  I, for one, believe that the government already takes enough out of my income, so I'd like to do as much as I can to keep it there (as opposed to being taxed heavier to pay for "Obamacare".)  This article is a gem, and definitely worth reading, because if Obama is elected into office this fall, this could be the future.

That's the way Scott sees it.  

States saying no to 'Obamacare' could see downside