“Our Time” Our Way

It’s pretty difficult to find objective news on the go- especially with iPhone apps.  Unfortunately, I am often times reduced to reading the Huffington Post.  As painful as it is, I power through and remind myself of the source.  (I also just tell myself that it’s a nice way to stay up-to-date with what liberals are learning.)

That being said, I recently came across an article the other day that was truly disturbing.  “AARP For Under 30 Set Aims to Get Fair Share for Millennial Generation”.  Here is the general gist:
-The article complains of an average $24,000 in debt from student loans
-1/10 of people under 30 are “forced” to move back in with their parents
-1/6 of people under 30 are unemployed
The proposed solution is an organization called “Our Time”.  This organization “seeks to change corporate practice, create exclusive deals and spark a national conversation”.  It also seeks bargaining deals on health insurance and credit cards.  The president of this organization is 25.  He claims that it’s a “civil rights issue for our generation” and that we are simply “pawns” for lawmakers to leverage their legislation but nothing is actually happening.  Our Time uses humor in their advertising claiming “Living at Home Sucks!” as one of their many slogans.  The organization also claims that they were not able to vote in the 2010 election because they were too busy looking for a job.

Let me start by asking a few questions:
1) Why are you waiting for that big break? You don’t want to live at home, you want to be independent, wouldn’t you take the opportunity to do by taking any job you were offered, whether it be a grocery clerk or a Chick-fil-a janitor? There actually is a term for that…it’s called being underemployed.  You may have a college degree, a truck load of experience and an impressive resume, but you are forced to take a job that you are more than qualified for. Thousands of American’s are doing just this simply to make ends meet. Why are you above this?
2) Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Oh yes, the track record of our government allocating funds and incentives to certain demographics because they are in some way unequal or disadvantaged. The organization claims that they are NOT looking for a handout, but the direct mission statement says otherwise.  At a minimum, they are looking for special treatment with their request for breaks in health insurance and credit cards.
3) What happend to starting at the bottom and working your way to the top? Sure budgeting isn’t always fun and I’m certainly guilty of overextending myself every now and again, but who’s fault is that? Mine.  I know how much money I make and what my monthly expenses are.  It’s MY responsibility to make that work.

With a society that is obsessed with image, cars, the size of your home and the amount of money in your bank account, we’re not in a position to offer hand outs.  We are teaching society that they DESERVE things, and then we give it to them.  There is no motivation, no drive, no accountability.   People want a certain sandard of living but they are not willing to work for it, at least not without a little help.

The most frightening part of it all is that the government continues to grant different handouts to different demographics.  Before you know it, everyone will be entitled to something…But at what cost? Aside from taking from those who actually work for their money, we are teaching this generation, my generation, to be lazy and dependent upon the government. What good can come from this??

Civic Dootie

March 11th, 2011, I get off work and head home. It’s sunny. A bit warm. I’m happy. Check my mailbox before I head to the apartment. Sift through, see some bills, coupons, a catalog and…OH NO, there it is….JURY SUMMONS!!!!! Like a knife through the heart, I knew this day would come. First I’m upset, “WHY ME!” Then I’m mad…”Couldn’t they have chosen someone who DIDN’T have a job?!” Then I see that I’m on standby status and can call the night before to ‘verify’ that I need to show up. I notify my boss but say a few quick prayers that I won’t have to go.

April 3rd, 2011- Ring ring. “Group 1 must report..” Dang it! I’m so ticked, I don’t even finish the rest of the recorded message. ::CLICK:: Off to find a cute outfit and an offensive book.

APRIL 4, 2011
5:45 am- ::HONK HONK:: The alarm starts to ring. So not ready for this day. Can I call in sick? SNOOZE.
6:00am- Okay, fine. I realize I must get up.
7:00am- An on time departure has me eating breakfast in the car, but missing all traffic on the expressway as I head into the city.
7:30am-I arrive at the ‘Orange Lot’ of Turner Field as instructed to do so on my jury summons. I am told I do not have to pay to park and a bus will be by to pick me up shortly. With my water bottle, book and fully-charged iPhone, I board the Fulton County Shuttle Bus. This little wonder, actually multiple wonders, drives back and forth, up and down MLK, Pryor and Hank Aaron delivering government employees (and jurors) to their destination.
7:32am-Arrive at the courthouse. Wait, what?! A two minute bus ride?? Pretty sure that is about a 5 minute walk. What a waste of tax dollars. STRIKE 1. As we’re walking in, we’re greeted by a rather friendly Fulton County Sheriff’s Officer in a clean brown uniform. He says, “Welcome to the Fulton County Courthouse!”. The lady next to me asks, “Is this where we come for jury duty?”. Ohh lady–Yes, this is where most people come for jury duty, but we’re taking you to the jail for asking a stupid question. Strike 2.
7:45am-I am through security and getting settled in a large room that seats 450. Whew, what a morning! The room starts to fill up quickly and I begin to people watch. After about 45 seconds I’m bored and delve into my book. Just then, a man with a raspy, but loud voice and stinky breath sits down next to me. He says, “First time?” “Yep.” I reply, going back to my book. He doesn’t stop, “I love coming here. It’s such a wonderful experience and I love fulfilling my civic duty. I hope I get picked!!” Better you than me, big guy.
8:30am- They lower the lights and turn on the projector. We watch a 20 minute video highlighting the specifics of jury duty like: 1) understanding that many chosen jurors cry because they understand how important their job is, and that is okay. 2) comprehending the idea that we can forfeit our $25 juror allowance and instead make a donation to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library (PUH-LEEZ!!) and 3) are notified of the wi-fi passwords. Following the video, we hear a brief speech.
9:00am- SNACK BREAK! Wooo!! After all that work, we have a break.
9:30am-……….waiting to reconvene from snack break…..
10:00am- …..Waiting…Still nothing. Thankfully, the ladies behind me are having an intriguing conversation. One lady is detailing how she is glad she didn’t have to go to work today because she “needed some vacation time” and was able to sleep in. Vacation time? You call being held captive on the 7th floor of a government building vacation? Clearly we live very different lives.
11:00am- 60 jurors are called in. Roughly 240 remain. I think I’m starting to develop a twitch from listening to the people around me chomp on chips and slurp their drinks.
11:18am-Becoming restless, I decide to take a walk. Inevitably, I wind up at the vending machines. I think I’m in the mood for some peanut M&M’s. I wait in line and when it’s my turn, I step right up. I put my first quarter in when I’m bombarded by this beast of a woman. “EXCUSE YOU!” I say, as she puts her dollar in snatches the last peanut M&M’s.
UGH!!!!!!!! She walks away with my peanut M&M’s and without looking back.
11:28am-Another 50 people are called. Not me.
11:55am-LUNCH BREAK! Thank goodness. After reconvening our 9am snack break at 11:28, I was concerned we’d have to sit here too long without a break.
NOON-I venture to the cafeteria where I am greeted by fried chicken, beans and a line of 7 vending machines, two of which dispense different kinds of icecream treats.  I think to myself, ‘Michelle Obama would be MORTIFIED if she saw this food spread!” I skip the cafeteria and opt for a bag of cheez-its. Michelle may not like processed foods, but after the M&M tragedy, this was just what I needed and satisfying none-the-less.
1:00pm- Everyone returns from lunch…except the people who work there.
1:30pm- They announce that if we are still sitting in “this room”, there is a possibility we could be stuck here until 8 or 9pm.  Panic erupts in the room as if an imminent Earthquake was announced.
2:10pm- 100 people are released to go home. Not me.  We should hear another update around 3:00pm. I begin to itch.
3:37pm- I am released with a group of 14 people, the others left behind–SORRY SUCKERS! We all hussle to the elevator and hop on as quickly as we can. We scurry to the street. IT’S OVER!

…Not yet…I have to take that stupid, tax-payer funded bus back to the orange lot. So we head to the stop. And we wait. And wait….

4:00pm- The bus arrives. Apparently, this efficient government ease-mobile runs every 15 minutes during non-rush hour hours, and there’s a “possibility of it being late”. Whatever.  Take me to my car.
4:05pm- So happy to see my little car sitting in the parking lot, all covered in pollen. I hop in, roll the windows down and peel out without looking back.

I understand that we have a civic duty to participate in the legal justice system, and I am thankful that such a process exists. But I have to wonder…who is really on trial? The criminal? Or my mental ability to sustain a day like that?

Honor your father and your mother…and all the athletes, the waiters and the guy down the street…

Do you remember when you were in middle school and every night you wished you would meet Nick from the Backstreet Boys? Or Britney Spears? Or Kobe Bryant? You planned what you would say if you got that chance, knew exactly what you would wear…it would be just magical!

Well, today our Georgia Senators got a little taste of that magic. So thank you for paying your taxes!!

Today, March 29th, the Georgia Senate honored the Atlanta Falcons during session. Yes, you read correctly…honored. On tax payer time and money, a sports team was honored at the Capital. On the count of three…you can get mad…1…2…3!!

Why on God’s green Earth are we honoring professional athletes in the middle of the business day while the Senate is in session?? What have they done for the state of Georgia?? Some argue their playing abilities and successes bring a great deal of revenue to Georgia. Okay, yes, they do. So now we are honoring people because they do their job?! You score a touchdown, manage a team effectively, coach a winning season and now you all get a giant pat on the back down at the Capital!!! Next week, we’ll be bringing in all waiters that did not spill any drinks in the month of January!

With illegal immigration climbing every day, public school education lagging-with many of our schools closing their doors, Medicare and Medicaid fraud costing us millions every year and a pending national health care act that stands to change all medical practices as we know it, I find it hard to believe that we have any time to honor the Falcons.

And what’s more…why are we honoring professional athletes (who again are simply “living the dream” and doing their jobs)?? What happened to honoring service men and women who lay their lives on the line for us, their fellow soldiers and our freedom? THAT justifies honor.

What a disgrace.



More MAGIC!!

On Friday, the Georgia Senate once again honored an athlete. This time, it was Auburn quarterback, Cam Newton. Even as a loyal Auburn fan, I still do not see a place for this in the Senate. Senator John Albers (R-56) stated on his Facebook page during the FIRST blog that they honored the Falcons because “they were a huge source of revenue for the state”. If that is the justification, then what business does Cam Newton have being honored in the Senate? It’s true that he is from College Park, but any subsequent revenue he would have produced would be directed toward Auburn, no? So it appears that even the justification that Senators provided does not always apply. (Note- Senator Albers responses were directed toward the questions of another constituent on his Facebook page, not mine. He chose not to respond to my inquiries on his page, despite his declaration that he was willing to answer questions that ANY ONE may have…it appears that he does not like to be challenged, as I was consequentially deleted from his Facebook page for asking questions.)

The Evolution of “Life”

I have the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with two very brilliant children. They teach me a lot. More recently, I learned how perceptive children are to minor details and subliminal messages that often times go unrecognized by adults.

A trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday was a real eye opener. My 6 year-old friend noticed the game display in the window as we pulled into our parking space. “The Game of Life!!” she shouted, “But that box is different…” Indeed it was. It was the original box, the version from the 1960’s. Mind you, these children have the game at home, the 1970/1980 version. What she said next was nothing new to me, but disturbing nonetheless. “It’s good we have the version we do because the new one is full of lies”. Hmm. I thought back to my recent trip to visit my brother and his family and we played the newest version of the game. It was, in fact, much different from the original and even the 1990’s version I grew up playing. The new one was filled with applicable lawsuits, entitlement tiles and “Share the Wealth” spaces. It really got me thinking, so I did some investigating.

“The Game of Life” has changed entirely since it’s original release.
The 1960’s version was basic, a bit bland but straightforward. You could take a “business” route or a “college” route into the real world. Not much changed in the 1970’s version, but the money values nearly doubled to reflect inflation and the original car model of a convertible was traded in for a minivan. The 1990’s version is where we start to see some solid changes: Rewards for people recycling trash and helping the homeless, stock cards are limited and the there is no longer a “business” route, but a “career” route. College loan debt increases in 2005, and investments become more risky. Finally, the newest version. The ‘Share the Wealth’ cards, the ability to withdraw insurance policy options and the fact that no occupation has “special abilities” anymore, with the exception of the police officer, are among a few of the new aspects of the game.

So, where shall I start?? Inflation, okay, I get it. But when in real life are you rewarded for recycling or helping the homeless?? The game suggests a monetary reward, but all I’ve ever received from recycling is an extra bin to drag to the curb and a pat on the back. Further, “Life” is a game based on American values and the American Dream, which are in turn formed from democracy and capitalism. At what point did the makers of this game think socialistic tendencies and special abilities of a certain profession, A.K.A. a union, fit this criteria? And why would we instill the idea of investments being “bad” into the minds of our children who will one day have to put their own money somewhere?

A seemingly innocent game, one that’s been around forever, but has been secretly evolving. So much so that my brother has cut construction paper out to cover the “Share the Wealth” tiles on the board. So much so that children born in the 2000’s are playing a game from the 60’s, because even though the lifestyle may be dated, the values are correct.

So it seems that the overly analytical, thought-provoking 6 year old is right, once again. “The Game of Life” is full of lies…and not just when applicable to the board game.

Georgia SB-63…Preventing Fraud…and a bunch of other hidden stuff too

On March 14th, the Georgia Senate passed SB-63 which “requires that Medicaid cards integrate a computer chip that includes a digital photograph of the card holder”. Sources claim that Medicaid fraud costs U.S. tax payers $60 billion a year, and $26 million just in Georgia.

According to Senator Albers, a Republican from Roswell, the legislation will “preserve the Medicaid program for those who truly need it”. It is apparent that an overhaul of the current system is necessary to save Medicaid (if that is what we, as a state, intend to do), but this bill is nothing short of inappropriate. Unfortunately, it was introduced, sponsored and pushed through the entire process by Republicans.

The original bill stated that “patients will also provide a fingerprint scan when they enter the office and before they leave”. Supporters of the bill claim this will prevent providers from charging Medicaid for services that were not rendered since the patient will verify everything before he/she leaves. At some point in the process, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee dropped the fingerprint ID stipulation and it was not included in the final bill.

Thankfully, this is only going to be used as a pilot program to ensure that it is beneficial and cost effective…but even in a trial period, one must ask:
1) How is this any different from a national ID card that so many conservative representatives vehemently oppose?? While it will only apply to Medicaid participants, I can’t help but be incensed by the idea of a photo and computer chip installed on a card that people will be carrying in their wallets. Who’s to say that this won’t be used by the government in a more overbearing manner later on down the road??
2) Many opponents to this legislation claim that there will be a significant administrative burden on the offices when this is implemented. The doctor’s will be required to have the appropriate technology to facilitate the new measures this legislation requires. According to Senator William Ligon, the program will initially cost about $26 million to implement (Note: this is the same amount of money the state loses each year on the Medicaid fraud). By increasing the cost of doing business for these medical offices, we risk further increasing the costs to the patients, which in turn affects the Medicaid program.
3) How much will these “smart cards” cost the Medicaid program and it’s participants?????????????? Who will eat the cost? The program? The participants? The tax payers?

The Republicans in the Georgia Senate very much so missed boat on this legislation. It is imperative that we establish programs that are cost-effective and efficient. I’m not so sure Senate Bill 63 is going to facilitate in this movement……

I spoke with Senator Albers last week in regards to both this blog and his legislation (SB-63).

Senator Albers wanted to clarify that the cost of implementing the legislation would only be $3 million, contrary to the $26 million his colleague earlier stipulated. He claims the reduction in cost is due to the elimination of the fingerprinting portion of the program.

Senator Albers continued to point out that I did not have a “better solution” for the Medicaid program despite my assertion that this blog is analytical and an editorial and that I am not an elected official.

Senator Albers also emphasized that Medicaid is a voluntary program that participants do not pay in to, unlike Medicare. He used this to justify the implementation of computerized chips in the cards and compared them to credit cards.

After our conversation, Senator Albers and I agreed to disagree on this issue. I stand firm on my implications that this program is vulnerable for misuse down the road and does not seem to be cost effective. Senator Albers maintains that this is the best plan for Georgia and that it is not a fascist move. He mentioned the use of a similar proposal in the future for the food stamps program. For more information, or to contact Senator Albers, visit www.senatoralbers.com


This article was sent to me after the posting of this blog and it’s update by two different readers.