This is what 'socialist' medicine looks like

What I had suspected was a particularly nasty case of Man-Flu has turned out to be a bit more serious as Dave is now into his 24th hour in residence at North Shore hospital. Maybe it’s his appendix maybe it’s giardia WE JUST DON’T KNOW. I wish someone would figure it out. We are visiting him at the moment and Ethan is alternating between being fine and getting really upset about his daddy having to stay here .
Dave’s amazing optimistic attitude keeps shining through – he can’t believe that this is the reality of free health care. It really makes you wonder what all of those rednecks are fussing about.

Daddy and Ethan geeking in hospital PIC132

Where was I?

You know what I’m talking about.

I was on my way to work.  I had just left the ghetto-assed place where I was staying / nannying in Atlantic Beach, Florida and was heading for my lovely job at video production company Atlantic Video in Jacksonville Beach.  It was one of those weird mornings when you get in your car and you’re not listening to the radio, you just keep flicking stations trying to find some music.  That’s what I was doing.  I was flicking stations but there was no music on any of them.  That’s when I started listening.  It was 8.46am and flight 11 had just hit the north tower of The World Trade Centre.  I don’t remember the drive to work, but it was probably quick.  I do remember calling my boss and telling him to turn on the news now.

I got to work within 5 minutes and flicked ALL of the TV’s on – it was a video production company so there were monitors everywhere.  The networks were going crazy and as we all know there were cameras rolling in New York after the first plane hit.  I saw the second plane hit at 9.03am and like the rest of America I was knocked back in my seat and couldn’t take my eyes of the screen for the rest of the day.

I grabbed the phone and called my parents in New Zealand.  It was the middle of the night and I told them to TURN ON THEIR TVs NOW.  It was awful, it was impossible to convey what had happened to my family on the other side of the world who had been sleeping only moments ago and could in no way comprehend the enormity of what had just happened on US soil.

Thirty minutes later it happened again, this time into the Pentagon.  Thirty minutes after that it happened again, this time in Pennsylvania.

David and I will never forget that most horrific of all days.  Though it was without a doubt the worst day in living memory, I am so glad that I was in America on that day.  It sounds like a strange thing to say, but having lived through it with my American friends and then later marrying a US citizen, I will never forget how the country stopped and we all cried together that day, how everyone hurt so bad for all of the victims, and how the Super Power that so many around the world hate so much, became so human to me.

I love The United States and will never forget September 11th, 2001 and the hideous suffering that occurred that day, and every year since.

New Zealand Telethon & the mass hatred of the underclass

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this topic but my opinions on the matter keep running about in my head and what’s a blog for if not your own personal soapbox right?

Background (for the foreign peeps)

  • This weekend past, New Zealand’s first Telethon in 15 years was broadcast.
  • What the?  Basically, it was a 23hr long televised event to raise money for charity
  • Who benefits?  The charity this year was KidsCan
  • What do they do?  KidsCan helps kids in need by providing basic items (raincoats, shoes, socks, food, toothbrushes).   These items are not distributed at a family level, but rather through schools in low income areas
  • Why is this important?  Kids can’t learn if they are freezing cold, sick or starving.  If kids can’t learn, there is no hope of escaping generational poverty.
  • How much was raised? $1,944,225 NZD

What the haters are saying

  • Why should we support other peoples kids?
  • Why, in a welfare state, are people unable to provide basic necessities for their children?
  • The people that recieve this help are mostly islanders, why can’t they get their shit together?

What I think (this is the important bit of course)

(I get really fired up about topics such as this so the bullet points are helping me stay on track!)

  • New Zealand is not a third world country, there is NO excuse for any of the kids in our country to be going to school hungry or cold.  This goes for EVERY other wealthy nation as well.  If parents are shirking their responsibility to provide or are simply unable to do so, there must be an agency to ensure that these kids are ready to learn with full bellys and shoes on their feet.
  • When we are talking about THIS event and THIS charity, is there even a need to discuss what people are doing with their money, their income or their benefits when the fact of the matter is – THERE ARE CHILDREN WITHOUT SHOES!  If the National Government, specifically Prime Minister John Key, has failed to deliver an oft touted election promise to “challenge the business community to work with us in backing a programme of providing food in low-decile schools for kids in need”, then lets give a rousing cheer of  ‘hell yeah!’ to charitable organisations such as KidsCan for picking up the governments slack.
  • The Big Night In Telethon was not about the merits of low income parents, the ability, inability, willingness or unwillingness to work, their budgeting skills, whether or not they send money home to the islands or the rest of the right-wing population’s argument for why they didn’t donate to KidsCan.  The whole shebang was simply about making sure kiwi kids in low decile schools have basic food and clothing.
  • If the telethon had been raising money for Child Cancer, would there have been such a backlash, and staunch denial of charitable funds?  No.  People in New Zealand believe poverty is a choice – even if you are 6 years old apparently.  Kids are born into poverty, much like those unfortunate souls who are born with debilitating illnesses and neither is a lesser affliction in my opinion.
  • KidsCan provide to children that attend low decile schools, what does this mean?

From The Ministry of Education website, the five factors that make up the decile rating are:

  • Household income – percentage of households with income in the lowest 20% nationally.
  • Occupation – percentage of employed parents in the lowest skilled occupational groups.
  • Household crowding – number of people in the household divided by the number of bedrooms.
  • Educational qualifications – percentage of parents with no tertiary or school qualifications.
  • Income support – percentage of parents who received a benefit in the previous year

If there is a high population of Pacific Island or Maori students at these schools, what difference does it make to your donation dollar?  Are we really just skirting around that nasty word that rhymes with mace-ism?

I don’t know New Zealand, I loved the Telethon but I really thought that 2 million was a pretty weak total, that’s not even .45c per person!  Surely we could have done better than each donating FORTY FIVE CENTS!