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January, 2004

Skeptic's Journal
By Jeanette Marie Pontacq

 

   In honor of the arrival of 2004, I have given myself permission to vent a bit....on a number of issues... so here goes...

   On local matters, why is it that no community discussion takes place on why so many West Marin parents send their kids over the hill to school? Even those who cannot truly afford to do so are doing it! What gives? The latest vandalism fiasco in Point Reyes/Inverness, attributed to Tomales High students, also highlights a problem that keeps being swept under the rug. Why the silence, on both West Marin School and Tomales High?

   Also locally, what does it mean for the community when victims of serious vandalism don't want to find the perpetrators? Such refusals to face reality don't work when it comes to kids or young adults who are doing such things. Unless the kids/young adults see that there are consequences from within a caring community, they will simply go on to bigger and better things and end up in prison or dead. Letting it go (i.e. co-dependence) is tantamount to saying that one simply doesn't care about where the kids involved are going.

   What else? How about health care in America? It sucks, being totally under the thumb of the insurance companies. The number of uninsured is soaring... Kaiser Permanente, for example, has increased costs once again. A single mom (age 40-49) with one child pays $363 a month or $4,356 a year. Hospitalization costs went from $200.00 per incident to $200 a day ($1,200 a week out of pocket in an emergency). Co-pays for the Personal Advantage plan have gone up to $25.00 each time one uses Kaiser. And Kaiser is one of the better alternatives! Health care in America is screwed up and totally overpriced due to the overlay of insurance company costs and profits. We need single payer, like the rest of the industrialized world.

   On another level... what do you think about the "Outsourcing of America?" So many American corporations are using workers in India, Panama, China, etc... while firing American workers... that one has to wonder how they expect Americans to buy their products without jobs. Let's define what patriotism means for American corporation? The list of these corporations is growing and growing... according to CNN's Lou Dobbs, it includes Dell, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Monsanto, PG&E and several hundred others you would recognize. Think about it: your financial data, health records, computer technical support and the design work on California's aging power grid are in the hands of people overseas! What is fueling this outsourcing phenomenon? Greed: the cost savings reaped by the corporations is never passed on to consumers.

   And... about dogs and cats... I am a foster mom for rescued dogs awaiting adoption via Second Chance Rescue (www.secondchancerescue.com). What I have learned from this experience, being involved in transportation of rescues, housing and training....is that those who abuse dogs or cats should be shot... especially those gangs in the East Bay that train Pit Bulls to fight to the death to make some bucks. What kind of human being would do such a thing? There is a sainted woman in Oakland that goes each morning to pick up the broken bodies of the dogs who have been thrown in the gutter....she saves some, but most are so badly broken up that they die horrible deaths. She is the other side of the coin from the creeps who use the dogs so badly.

   The problem of too many dogs and cats due to the failure of "owners" to spay/neuter their charges is also tragic. Millions and millions of dogs and cats (each with an individual personality and feelings) are killed every year due to overcrowding in underfunded shelters. Please don't cause more suffering: spay or neuter your pets.

   And finally... we need a national conversation on the undocumented persons/illegal aliens in our midst. The issue of giving illegals drivers licenses is illogical and keeps the present chaotic immigration system in place. What workers, illegal or legal, need is decent pay and protection from abusive bosses. As long as workers are illegal, they will be taken advantage of. Duh. And any country who has porous borders and cannot have a say on who enters is a country with a huge identity problem. The answer is to provide those other-nationals who wish to work in this country with a documented system that allows them to enter, work and be protected, and then go home with bucks. The Federal Government is guilty of allowing California and other states to be overwhelmed by illegals while providing no funding to offset costs, and sanctioning the abuses. Myths and false information abounds on this issue. The bottom line is that the United States government is dangerously dysfunctional to not have a comprehensive immigration policy that is fair and fully enforced. Kudos to those businesses who act ethically in the face of all this immigration chaos. And a black mark for a government that makes sure the chaos continues.

   So welcome to 2004. Thanks for letting me vent... feel free to do the same at [email protected]

 

 

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