Musings: Comedy as a Teachable Tool

Musings: Comedy as a Teachable Tool

 

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Is there a line that is crossed when comedians act as “news sources”?  (Washington Post)

Comedy can be a teachable tool.

Bad and vile comedy can cross a line. Good comedy can teach us about something we haven’t thought of.

There are two news pieces that are good cases about how comedy can teach us in different ways.

The brilliant Daniel P. Finney of the Des Moines Register writes a thought-provoking piece about comedians dipping their feet into politics. You can offer a political opinion, but there are consequences when it crosses the line.

It is a stark reminder to me about the role of journalists. Unfortunately, there are a cadre of journalists who continue to blur the lines between “reporting” and “commentary”.

The takeaway quotes are below from Finney’s column:

“When you stake out the moral high ground and say you are the party of inclusion and diversity and the other party is not, you’d better make damn sure the people who are carrying your message are morally sound,” said Rachel Caufield, an associate professor of political science at Drake University who has taught a course on political satire. “Racial slurs and faked decapitated heads are not the way the left are going to reach the center.”

Whether we like it or not — and for the record, I don’t — comedians are now treated as thought leaders and news sources in this country.

And the fake decapitated heads and racial slurs do more than just besmirch the images of a couple of rogue comedians. They undermine the message of liberals and Democrats. 

Daniel P. Finney, “Comedy is killing the political left”, Des Moines Register, June 7, 2017 

The statement underlined is the various reasons I am a small minority of viewers who chose not to watch individuals like Jon Stewart, Colbert, Trevor Noah and others. They are comedians who are treated as “news sources” because viewers do not trust the mainstream media.

Is it wrong to assume that these are the same viewers who feel obligated to “support” the mainstream media that is being “attacked” by the current presidential administration?

Do these viewers support the media and at the same time loathe them enough to get their “news” from Samantha Bee and have her affirm their beliefs?

It is clear that viewers want “affirmation” for their beliefs, not information that they need. That comment comes from (surprise!) noted hot sports take aficionado Colin Cowherd., who has been saying this for a decade.

I need information to learn what is going on. I can form my own opinions privately, without the help of a comedian. Especially unfunny comedians like Maher who has become increasingly bitter and acrimonious because he isn’t the “go-to” guy that Colbert, and Stewart before him, was.


The recent arrest of Reality Winner, or whoever her real name is, for allegedly removing classified information from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, is  starting to pick up some traction. Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents whistleblowers, said that Winner isn’t a whistleblower. She had grudge against the President and decided to use her grudge as retaliation.

I don’t know much about this story, so I’ll refrain from forming an opinion until I understand more about what took place.

Which leads to this question….

“Do government workers believe in the policies that their elected leaders come up with?”

Government employees are hired to carry out government policies. That should be a simple task, but it’s not. With any change in leadership, policies can fluctuate and change quickly. That puts government employees, regardless of  in a conundrum.

Yes Minister
“Yes Minister” is a great lesson in how government operates, for good and evil. I highly recommend this series. I prefer it over “House of Cards”. Don’t @ me. (Den of Geeks)

This question popped into my head while watching one of my favorite television shows, “Yes Minister”. “Yes Minister” (and its successor “Yes Prime Minister”) details the inner workings of the British government and the comedic attempts by Sir Humphrey Appleby and the Civil Service to thwart (Government) Minister Jim Hacker’s pursuit to enact policies for the public good.

In the episode, “The Whisky Priest”, Hacker is alerted about an illegal sale of arms to an Italian terrorist group. He plans to tell the Prime Minister, but Sir Humphrey attempts to discourage and obstruct Hacker from telling the Prime Minister.

In the pivotal scene in between Humphrey, Hacker, and Bernard Woolley, Humphrey’s dialogue about what his job is and what the role of government paints a picture of what government workers go through on a daily basis when elected officials try to create policies that goes one way or another and then expect government employees to believe in it and enforce those policies.

Sir Humphrey: My job is to carry out government policy.

Hacker: Even if you think it’s wrong?

Sir Humphrey: Well, almost all government policy is wrong, but… frightfully well carried out.

“Yes Minister” unveils several questions about how, and who, actually runs the government.

Do the elected officials run the country or is it the bureaucrats who dictate the daily operations on Capitol Hill, state capitals, and in City Hall?  If citizens do not trust politicians, should we trust bureaucrats and government workers, who clearly has more knowledge about what goes on?

When you finish “The Whisky Priest”, I encourage you to watch several more episodes and ask yourself “Do we really know what is going on in our governments, and do we care to know?”

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A Missing “Core”

A Missing “Core”

Two stories in the Des Moines Register recently caught my eye, and it tied into a piece 2014 piece I wrote.

The Brookings Institute published a report on metro areas that has seen economic recovery after the recession. Des Moines was one of the cities that enjoy “inclusive” economic growth that benefited a diverse range of the region’s population, however, Brookings also indicated that also the greater Des Moines economy is leaving some workers behind, namely poor workers.

The second story was a release of a study from The Directors Council, a local non-profit group, on the widening racial disparities in Polk County and Des Moines.

In October 2014, I wrote on how Des Moines is so progressive in many areas and yet ignoring the African-American community within the urban core. Surprisingly, some groups are finally getting around to addressing these issues. The urban core is poor and most of the citizens of this core are African-Americans.

There are a two questions that I have…

  1. I have never heard of this The Directors Council or the affiliations underneath TDC. I had lived in the Des Moines area for 13 years and not one person of color, or anyone else, has mentioned this group to me. For the record, I am African-American. I have been seeking organizations like these as a way to connect to possible mentors or to establish new networks.
  2. What was this group doing when Ako Abdul-Samad told the National Journal in 2014 about his frustration on how Des Moines has viewed and treated its predominantly black urban core?

There is a lack of African-Americans in (political) leadership, in arts and nonprofits, and in the Des Moines business community. The only time I hear of a prominent African-American in Des Moines, that person is in the business world.

I hear of their names, but I never see them in person.

They must be hard to track down. It’s better to not be seen than to have people recognize you, that is my guess. And no, attending the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s diversity receptions do not count as an official appearance.

When I look back at my experience living and working in Des Moines. I continue to question the willingness of Des Moines to address actual problems regarding the socioeconomic disparities within its city borders, without slapping paint on it and say “everything’s fine”.

The new wave of “gentrification” in the downtown area, unemployment rates for African-Americans, safety for those who live in poorer neighborhoods, and food scarcity with regards to affordability to buy fresh food over cheap junk food are vital topics for the urban core, beyond the common topics of race, unemployment, and economics.

I don’t have an answer to how all of this can be fixed. I’m no policy wonk. I do know that in order for Des Moines (not just city leaders, but business leaders especially) to be actively “inclusive”, they need to do a better job of addressing what it means to be “inclusive” and effectively supporting groups and individuals who are disadvantaged from a socioeconmic standpoint.

“I’ll Give You a ‘Trigger Warning’ About Uber…” and other observations

“I’ll Give You a ‘Trigger Warning’ About Uber…” and other observations

A few observations this week…

  • The NFL Draft is this week (Thursday night). I don’t know when it happened, but I stopped caring about the incessant draft over-analysis and speculation of who is going to where. I don’t know which player will be drafted and what draft order they will be selected in. I only care about one thing…will the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets find a way to screw it up again?

 

  • The biggest, and most important, news story in Iowa isn’t Chris Soules (not even close). It’s the Jane Meyer vs. University of Iowa civil suit case in Des Moines. Meyer is suing UI for discrimination. Meyer was a top assistant athletic director at Iowa. Meyer was reassigned in the athletic department. This took place after Meyer’s partner, Tracy Griesbaum, was fired as Iowa’s field hockey coach. You can follow the trial here from Des Moines Register’s reporter Grant Rodgers.

 

 

  • The topic of free speech on college campuses is one that is messy, but it needs to be had, regardless if many go out of their way to censor it. The same goes for sensitive and uncomfortable topics. Dayna Troisi on Bright (through Medium) pens a piece about how using “trigger warnings” to give students advance warnings about distressing topics are meaningless. (Side note: as much as many try to block out the discussion of topics and individuals who do not reflect your views, you need to hear them. You don’t have to agree with them. That’s not the point. The point is individuals have viewpoints that are favorable or unfavorable).

 

Unpopular opinion: the “shutting down” of people on social media. That term is stupid. If you oppose a view, you oppose a view. It would be beneficial for sites like Twitter and Mashable to stop using “shutting down”, and for people to stop trying to act like they’re doing a public good in attacking back.

 

  • Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to reconsider public transportation, taxis, or someone you know to give you a ride. At the rate that Uber is going, I doubt if Lyft and other entities can withstand such backlash. (Yes I linked a Mashable story. I’m guilty of using clickbait).

 

Judging others is easy. It puts them in a category that makes us comfortable, it gives us excuses to either do or not do something with or to a person, it helps us convince ourselves we “understand” people better this way. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking of truth. It asks you to listen, learn and think, rather than making an instant judgment.

“The Longest Week” at 35: The First Major Story I Remembered As A Kid

“The Longest Week” at 35: The First Major Story I Remembered As A Kid
Waterloo Courier headline July 13, 1981
Waterloo Courier headline July 13, 1981.

Every five years, or a quinquennial, I pull out the old newspaper clippings like clockwork.

The gravitational pull of an unsettling anniversary continues to bring new angles and perspectives that percolate.

Age and time can do that to a person.

Over the past week, a popular question was asked on social media:“What was the first major news story you were aware of as a kid?”

Many responded: the JFK assassination, the September 11th attacks (15 years coming up), Challenger (30 years ago this past January), among many. Some also had local stories that were the first big news story that they remembered.

For me, it was, and always will be July 12, 1981.

Thirty-five years ago this evening, Waterloo, Iowa police officers Michael Hoing and Wayne Rice were gunned down during a noise dispute at a home.  A manhunt followed as the suspect, James Michael “T-Bone” Taylor, was on the loose and was eventually captured.

Taylor was and will always be the first major news story I remember vividly because that week was surreal and scary.

Page A3 of the Waterloo Courier, July 13, 1981, on the story of two Waterloo police officers slain.

To write a personal account of the story reinforces the impact that the case has in my life and the history of my hometown.

Several things have happened in the past five years since I wrote “The Longest Week” on July 12, 2011.

In March 2014, Taylor and former Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Marvin Messerschmidt died within a week of each other. Messerschmidt was the officer who chased down Taylor in a bean field outside of LaPorte City. Taylor stumbled to the ground, Messerschmidt apprehended him, ending the largest manhunt in Iowa history.

On the morning after Taylor’s death, I received a phone message from Adam Amdor. Amdor formerly worked at KWWL-TV (he currently works in public relations). Everyone’s friend Paul Yeager suggested to Adam to reach out to me.

Adam wanted to link my story to KWWL’s website story on Taylor’s death.  I was caught off guard by his request. After thinking it over (quickly), it was a story that needed to be told, for educational and historical purposes. I am a strong proponent of using history as a form of education. I called Adam and left a voice mail, giving my permission to link my post.

I prepared myself for an onslaught of reaction, comments, or something trollish.

It didn’t happen.

What did happen was that people read the post to get an understand the events of that hot humid week in July 1981 in the eyes of a five-year old kid. To this day, it is the most read blog post on this site.

The Taylor story stands out as a moment that remains a permanent fixture in the Cedar Valley.

———————————–

“Hi, are you the one who wrote about T-Bone Taylor?”

The Facebook message blinked across my screen two weeks after Taylor’s death.

“Yes, I am the person who wrote it.”

Her request was simple. She was attempting to write a book about the slayings and the eventual forgiveness of Taylor and the families affected.

I consented to help, but I acknowledged to her that I did not know all of the details of what was said and done, outside of what I remembered and the recollections of my father. Remember, I was five years old. Five year old kids see everything and asks a lot questions that adults do not feel comfortable answering, especially at that time.

We traded information on what we gathered. I felt that she has some salient material to go with, especially the time period from the trial until Taylor’s death. That angle was one of great interest to me.

After a month or so, due to personal issues, she abandoned the project. I never heard from her after that. It was unfortunate, but as the cliché goes “life gets in the way” and it does.

—————————–

Once in a while, I’ll glance at the post, and the late Randy Brubaker comes to mind. Brubaker was the Des Moines Register’s news desk editor. Randy passed away from heart failure in May 2014. Bru grew up in Waterloo, and he knew all about the Taylor case.

“Bru” sent me an email days after the original post in ’11. Bru said that it would be a good idea to pitch the story to the Register’s editorial board because it was one of the biggest stories in Iowa over the last 50 years.

I sent an email to Randy Evans, who was on the editorial board until his retirement about a year ago. That idea didn’t go anywhere, but it was worth pitching a story.

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When I wrote the original story, the one thing I never did was to pull out the old clippings, take a picture of them, and post them. I decided to do it for this post. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier has several more archives of “the longest week” (front page headlines, the manhunt, and the timeline).

I don’t know why this story continues to be a major part of my life.

Maybe I do know why. I lived through that week. My grandparents and father had an indirect connection to it. I remember the weather, the sense of fear, the surrealism of the events.

The best answer for it?

It was the first major news story I remembered as a kid, and it’s the one I can never forget.

It’s Never Boring When You Have Topics to Write About

It started with a cause and a passion…five years later, a blog proved that it’s never boring in Des Moines, Iowa.

Today is the fifth anniversary of “Des Moines Is Not Boring”, a blog dedicated to touting and showing everyone that Des Moines is not boring…ever. The brainchild of Pete Jones has expanded over the years, with featured writers and topics, but the premise remains the same, which is there is plenty of events, activities, and things to do in Des Moines.

If Forbes and other publications have acknowledged that Des Moines is a busy place, then DMINB is doing their job.

Congratulations DMINB on this special day. From one local blogger to another, a tip of the fedora for a job well done and continued success.

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No visit to the Iowa State Fair means not seeing the new tractors and combines for this John Deere guy. Remember my friends, nothing runs like a Deere.

For the first time in 12 years, I didn’t go to the Iowa State Fair. From a physical standpoint, I’m dealing with some pain in my right leg which makes walking or running unbearable at times. It was sad not being able to see some of the new things at the fairgrounds, but missing one year isn’t the end of the world.

Neither is missing a cold glass of cherry phosphate…and fried cheese curds…hot beef sundae….pork chop on a stick…sweet potato fries…JR’s mini donuts…you catch my drift?

If you have never heard or read anything from noted sports writer Wright Thompson, this week might be a good time to read some of his stuff. On Wednesday, his story on Dan Gable‘s fight to help save wrestling is required reading. To be honest, Thompson did a better job of telling the story and the life of Gable than the old SportsCentury episode did a decade ago.

As a native of Waterloo, Gable is one of the most recognizable faces that represent my hometown, along with the Sullivan Brothers, NFL great Reggie Roby, among a few others. However, Gable, with Bob Siddens, Jim Miller, Dave Natvig, Bob Buzzard, and others, put Waterloo on the map as the hotbed of prep wrestling in Iowa.

Picture of Dan Gable when he prepped at West Waterloo High for legendary coach Bob Siddens from 1964-66. (courtesy of DanGable.com)

For many sports fans, the return of football is much like the sports version of New Year’s Day. Friday will mark the return of prep football in Iowa, as Week 0 opens up for 54 teams, most of them in the 8-player class.

Where did the summer go? Sly and the Family Stone must have taken it with them.

Which brings me to do some shameless plugging, if you don’t mind. Good friend Marco Santana of the Des Moines Register profiled DM Webcasting earlier this week. I happen to know Greg Goaley and Pete Tarpey. So does everyone’s friend Paul Yeager.

Getting to do games with this guy on Friday nights…priceless. It’s time to “…go back, Jack, and do it again…” on August 30th.

This will be my fourth season working with Paul covering the CIML, notably Dowling Catholic and WDM Valley football and our third year webcasting high school football on the internet.

DM Webcasting is behind the live online streaming of both schools’ home games. Paul will handle the play-by-play duties, I’ll do the game and score updates on Twitter, Seth Drury has the sideline report, and we’ll make sure coach Andy Pollock knows how Aplington-Parkersburg is doing in their games.

In case you didn’t figure it out…there will be a heavy Wartburg presence in the pressbox.

UPDATE: Today, The Des Moines Register announced that they will carry a live feed of all the games this season, via DM Webcasting, on their website. That’s a big news for high school football fans across the state.

We’ll make our season debut next Friday as Valley hosts Waukee at Valley Stadium. I hope you can tune in, watch, and enjoy the broadcast, because as we all well know, “there is no cheering in the pressbox. If you want to cheer, buy a damn ticket”, as the great Duane Schroeder famously said.

In Search of…an Identity

Mike Draper’s column in Juice tripped my trigger on something that I’ve put off writing about.

I’ve been a Des Moines resident for 15 years. I didn’t grow up here, left the state, and came back, like Draper did. I’m from Waterloo, went to Wartburg College, and came here after college. And yet, I’m still an outsider to some of the locals, because I’m not a native of Des Moines.

Mike noted in his column that no one who visited his store during the Division I wrestling tournament was there for the tournament. Is it me or do I think that the customers Mike polled were local folks that didn’t care much for the wrestling tournament?

No wonder why I feel like an outsider. I was happy as hell to have the tournament here.

If there is one thing that sticks out to me about living here and that is how much a sizable number of locals are indifferent about things and events that people outside of Des Moines are interested in.

This is how a good number of people who live in Des Moines view the Iowa State Fair, high school tournaments, and other events that take place in their city…with a healthy dose of apathy. (pickthebrain.com)

The majority of people who attend the Iowa State Fair, the high school state tournaments, and the Drake Relays, to name a few, are not from Des Moines. A good number of DSM residents do not care for these events, much less be bothered by them. The longer I’ve lived here, the more accurate it is, at least in my mind.

There’s so many other things to do here, which is great and healthy. But let’s not get in the habit of dismissing things that help bring recognition and respect for our city. The wrestling tournament was a good thing for Des Moines. To say that it’s not, is delusional at best.

I was put off by Draper’s comment towards the CVB, the Partnership, and the business community, in the way they are trying to attract people to Des Moines, with his veiled shot by calling the wrestling tournament a useless folly that Des Moines didn’t need.

I think he’s wrong to assert that Des Moines doesn’t deserve to host the wrestling tournament again.

St. Louis and Philadelphia are larger than Des Moines. Secondly, their arenas are built for professional teams and leagues.The Scottrade Center holds 19,260. The Philly Wells Fargo Center holds 19,500.  Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena holds 16,980. Just because Des Moines didn’t get over 100,000 (96,000) fans during all six sessions of the wrestling tournament, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Des Moines blew their one and only chance. Hell, 96,000 is better than zero.

For years, the Iowa State Fair couldn’t crack 1 million in attendance. I don’t see no one calling for the State Fair to pack up and leave.

Yes, Mike, people come for the experience. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s why they are “visitors” for a reason. To experience Des Moines. You shouldn’t be offended by that.

Now, let’s get to the heart of Draper’s column.

Draper is correct when he says that Des Moines needs to utilize its natural strengths. The question is: what are these strengths besides financial services and agriculture? Are we not trying to break out of the stereotypical mold of insurance and corn?

I have attested in the past that Des Moines is searching for an identity to cultivate and grow.

Just like humans, a city in search of an identity have to go through a lot of shifting and shuffling before it finds what they are good at. (searchingforgrace.com)

It’s getting tiresome trying to be the next Omaha, Kansas City, Twin Cities, and Chicago. They have their own identities. They have went through the growing pains of finding what works for them.

There is no quick, painless way to naturally develop an identity. It’ll take a many face plants, mistakes, hits and misses, and a few good things to build an identity. Unfortunately, that isn’t good enough for some folks, who think Des Moines should be a midwestern cosmopolitan that would rival Minneapolis and Chicago.

I think we’re doing just fine…as long as we continue to evolve, tweak, poke and prod.

Des Moines is a work in progress. It’s identity will change throughout time, so will these natural strengths that Mike Draper touts.

Des Moines is the city that fits me. Not Chicago, New York, or Dallas. Not too small and not too big. It’s just right.

I like my art and my RAYGUN shirt as much as I like my wrestling.

A Letter to the Editor in re IowaCare Program

In this morning’s Des Moines Register, editor Andie Dominick wrote a column explaining that the IowaCare program is a flawed program.  She formed this opinion based on an interview with Sharon Davis, who is on Medicare, and her son, who in need of coverage for Asperger’s Disease.  Davis asserts that IowaCare is a defunct system.

After reading Dominck’s complaint about IowaCare, I feel that a response to has to be made to address IowaCare.

I am currently a patient under the IowaCare program.  Dominick says that IowaCare is not an option.  To this I reply:  IowaCare is not a failure as Mrs. Dominick perceives it to be.  I disagree with a few of the broad stroke statements that were made.  I hope my personal observation of IowaCare will help clarify several of these misconceptions.

Andie Dominick (Des Moines Register)

Mrs. Dominick and I have one thing in common.  We are both people living with diabetes (if you haven’t read it, please pick up and read “Needles”, Dominick’s personal story about living with diabetes).  I do not know how her experience have been as it relates to health care coverage.  So, I’ll give a synopsis of my experience.

In September 2012, I was diagnosed with advanced stage diabetic retinopathy.  Retinopathy is when the blood vessels around the retina in the eye start to bleed and swell, causing vision impairment.  If not treated immediately, it will cause blindness.  I am a young professional who is affected by the economic downturn and have worked as a temp employee to make ends meet in the best way possible.  For three years, I did not have insurance to cover for medical visits, insulin, and necessary equipment to manage my diabetes.

As a result, my health took a dangerous turn, especially my eyes.  I’ve heard a bit about IowaCare in the past, but thought of it to be another convoluted program that middle class people couldn’t get into because it was only for individuals who had no coverage and little to no income.

Once I was enrolled into IowaCare, I made it a point to learn more about the program and what it offers.  If I was going to save my vision, and my life, then I need to know what it does, rather than complain about its limitations.  In other words, use it to my advantage.

IowaCare, in essence, save my vision and potentially my life.

In regards to Davis’s claim that IowaCare doesn’t provide specialized treatment, that is partially true…and false.  I am receiving specialized treatment for not only my eyes, but also for diabetes through Broadlawns Internal Medicine clinic.  The problem for most who seek treatment at Broadlawns is that they are normally referred to the Primary Care clinic.  Primary care is for general maladies such as colds, flu, and minor health issues.

Sharon Davis (Charlie Litchfield/Des Moines Register)

The major issue is that patients who have more serious health conditions such as diabetes, foot problems, or mental health, should not be sent to primary care.  They should be seeing specialized care.  Broadlawns do have a mental health wing at their campus.  They also have diabetes care, foot care, et cetera. But the prevalent route is to send patients to a form of simple regular care that will not address what they really need.

My interpretation of the Dominick opinion piece is that everyone “assumes” that every condition and every illness would be covered under IowaCare or any other state-sponsored insurance program.

Which leads me to inquire if Mrs. Dominick talked to a larger sample of individuals who are receiving treatment under IowaCare.  She would have probably received several different viewpoints from those who are just as frustrated as Ms. Davis is, or those who have taken the time to ask questions and learn more about IowaCare as I have.

I am disappointed in Dominick’s view that a program is flawed, based on one person’s opinion.  I offer a different observation, for which it should be heard.

There are other programs and coverages out there that people have to research, find, and ask questions about.  I hope I’m wrong in saying this, but it appears to me that Davis assumed that IowaCare would cover everything.  To make that conclusion is not wise.

Neither is not asking questions about what it covers and accepting it “as is”.

All of us know that the new national healthcare plan that the Obama administration will put into place isn’t an “one-size fit-all” operation, and yet we continue to blindly believe that it will be.

Here are my suggestions for improvement of the IowaCare program, if Mrs. Dominick cares to read what a lowly blogger who is in the program thinks:

Location:  There should be consideration to expand the program to other hospitals to serve a regional area (NW, SW, SE, etc).  The push back will be that an established health system will prefer to offer patients their services over a state-supported service that is affordable and feasible for patients who can not afford a $500 visit and travel long distances, to name a few.

Resources:  UI Hospitals is a research hospital that is able to provide a wide range of specialized services to patients.  UI is able to receive federal funds for research and medicine.  Broadlawns is “county hospital’ for the poor and disadvantaged who need primary care.  Over the past few years, Broadlawns have expanded their specialized services, including mental health, but is limited due to their status, and being operated under the auspices of Polk County.  There should be a push for more funding to give Broadlawns the resources that is close or equal to the U of I Hospitals and Clinics.

Education:  in my opinion, IowaCare is not a failure, Mrs. Dominick.  We failed it because we don’t bother educate ourselves in understanding more about programs being offered.  We just “assume” everything is under one umbrella.  The more knowledgeable we are about the different types of programs, the more input and suggestions we can offer to help make the them better and provide expanded specialized services.

If a physician or specialist doesn’t know what type of programs are out there for patients who needs specialized care, then how will the patient know where to go to receive said care?  We are in a world where the internet is at our hands, and patients are going to find the sources to address their health situation.

I was extremely fortunate to have an ophthalmologist who knew the IowaCare program, enroll me in it, and made it a priority for me to be seen by a specialist in Broadlawns Internal Medicine clinic.

Blowing up any health care program would simply put many patients, including me, back to square one:  no coverage.  I don’t have the time to wait for the long-anticipated national health care plan to kick in.

Time is of importance.

My retina specialist put it bluntly this way:

“…people who have health benefits through their job, take them (benefits) for granted.  They’re just pissing it away by not regularly using them for checkups and health maintenance.  People who don’t have insurance and/or health coverage are constantly reminded every day that their health could go sideways.  They are the ones who really care about their health.  It’s all they got.”