Monthly Archives: February 2009

Thank you Mrs. Ferguson from Henderson Texas

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While waiting for my flight home from Las Vegas, I looked up from my laptop long enough to see an elderly woman walking with a cane towards me. She introduced herself as Mrs. Ferguson from Henderson Texas. She was clearly of Mexican national origin, and did not look like what I perceived a Mrs. Ferguson should look like. Before I could ask, she started telling her life’s story. “I’m a Mexican American, and I have lived in Alaska, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, and Germany, and the father of my four children, my first husband was killed in Vietnam. When she first came to America, she learned to speak English, and she admitted proudly, honored and privilege to do so.

Later in her life she met a Mr. Ferguson from Henderson Texas her second and current husband, “I real hillbilly from Texas” she said, I never cared too much for hillbillies until I met my husband. Growing up in America it seemed the hillbillies were not very tolerant of Mexicans, and now I am a hillbilly, life is funny that way. She smiled and reminded me that we are all immigrants in America.

Until that point, her voice had much excitement in it, and then she began to speak about the Mexican mountain people and how the Mexican government was trying to starve them to death. These people will eventually grow tired of this and fight back, and that is what people do! Thank you Mrs. Ferguson for a simple reminder of what people do.

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Why can we openly offend people under the cover of freedom of speech?

During a business flight to Nevada, the passenger in the middle seat had a thick Russian accent. My traveler’s curiosity kicked in, I asked her where she was from, her response “Kiev, Ukraine, Russia” she went on to say Russia is a big country and when she was a child, Stalin had forced her Jewish family to move around, they were never welcome in one place very long. She said, honestly since Russia is a big country she was from all of it! In her own words, “Stalin shuttled our people across the country,” this brought a noticeable sadness in her voice.

During the same flight two seats forward and across the aisle from me was a middle age man who had Nazi swastika tattoos visible on both his arms; I found it so distressful that this person would willingly place such offensive tattoos in plain sight for all to see. We as a nation place so much emphasis on hatred from citizens from other nations that we forget to look at ourselves. I understand that we have a right to freedom of speech, but what happens when the free speech and symbolism represent hatred? I wonder if freedom of speech means freedom to openly offend other people.

Perhaps the first step, to understanding why we in the United States can openly offend people under the cover of freedom of speech; maybe to simply acknowledge that it occurs and then find a way to do the complete opposite is enough!


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Change, We Cannot Live with!

“Death for Dollars”

The insurance company makes all the rules when it comes to medicine. A coworker has been taking Lipitor (atorvastatin) for treatment of high cholesterol with amazing results. Our employer was forced to change health insurance because that particular health insurance provider no longer does business in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The replacement health insurance will not pay for Lipitor because this medication is apparently too expensive. A great example of bad medicine; a risky approach to health insurance coverage, my coworker’s health is now placed at risk because the new health insurance is only focused on cost savings and not the patients health (This practice is called “Death for Dollars”).

Business practices like this have the potential to do more harm than good. The dilemma is obvious, doctors select the best medication for their patients, the pharmaceutical companies place an unhealthy price tag on a prescription drug because they can, and all this does is feed consumer outrage when health insurance providers refused to cover the cost of excellent medicine creating a substandard health care system. An interesting outcome from a society that demands extraordinary results, from our doctors, politicians, and citizens. Health insurance providers have placed profits over providing good health care, these strategies are profound and far-reaching, and this will create many public relation challenges, foster unwelcome criticism from citizens and politicians. Festering unwelcome criticism is the by-product from unhealthy insurance practices creating change, we cannot live with!


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