Freethinking for Dummies

Skepticism, secular humanism, social issues

An Update, a Rant About Medical Insurance, And a Plea

I haven’t been posting much here lately.   I literally have dozens of writing ideas stashed away in my blog research notebook, but I just haven’t been able to get anything written. 

The main reason is that I lost my job a little over two months ago.  We’ve been lucky so far in that we have some financial resources that we have been able to draw on to keep us afloat, but these are quickly running out.  Unemployment barley pays the bills and will leave nothing left over if that is the only thing we have to live on.  Food stamps help, but $100 a month is hardly enough to feed a family of four.  

I suffer from Bi-polar II and depression.  I take medication for it.  Still, the depression has been acute and this makes it very hard to concentrate, so writing anything of substance is difficult.

I’ve been using what little concentration I have to concentrate on finding a new job.  The medication I take at least gives me enough stability to do that.  I’ve had several interviews that didn’t pan out, and I have three more companies who want to interview me, but the Holidays put that off.  Next week will hopefully see a lot of movement on the jobs front.

Going back to the issue of medical insurance, Medicaid covers the kids, but for my wife an I, we can’t get anything until we have met a $1100 monthly deductible.  That’s almost as much as we are bringing in.  I’m lucky.  Being a veteran, I can go to the VA hospital here and get my medication for only $8 per prescription.  My wife’s medication, on the other hand, we have to pay out of pocket.  These run to several hundred dollars a month, making it even harder to make ends meet.

All of this makes me wonder, if I didn’t have access to the VA, and can’t afford to pay for my medication out of pocket ($300+ per month), how would I ever be able to look for a job?  Without my medication I would almost surely be so bad off that I would either never get out of bed, end up in an inpatient facility, or dead.  Seriously.   Before I was diagnosed as Bi-polar II and got on the medication to treat it, I was suicidal.  The only thing keeping me from killing myself were my kids.  Since they live with me, I somehow managed to keep it together enough to care for them.  If I didn’t have them, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now.  

So, back to my point.  If people like myself can’t get the medication they need to function, or in some cases even live (think diabetics who can’t afford their insulin, heart patients who can’t afford their heart medication), how can we be expected to function well enough to actually find a job?  Job searching is hard.  It is time consuming and incredibly depressing.  Every rejection, or even every non-reply, is a slap down .  How can you be expected to perform well at an interview if your mental state makes you anxious and jumpy, or depressed and lethargic (something all in the same day)?   What if your diabetes or heart condition make it impossible to even get out to an interview?

Eventually, you could end up in the hospital (on the government’s dime), or worse.   The least the government could do is to cover medications that people need to function while we are collecting unemployment and looking for a job.  Otherwise, we become a burden to the state for much longer than we might otherwise, not to mention the terrible toll it can take on ourselves and our families.

Anywhoo, I still have some stock in my old company that I can sell if a job doesn’t come my way before the end of this month.  It isn’t much, but will mostly cover rent.  

Not being able to write is really bothering me.  I have an article being published in Skeptical Inquirer magazine in a few months.  I hope to use the exposure that I get from that to find other writing opportunities, not just to boost my ego, but to make some extra money.   Even one paying article per month would help pay a car payment or car insurance.  To do this, though, requires that I can be seen to be able to write not just well, but consistently and constantly.  That is something I’m making a priority, now that I’m starting to feel somewhat better (was without meds for a while until I could get things going at the VA).

Given this, I’m making a plea to anyone reading this.  I don’t want you to send money or anything like that, but if you know of anyone or anyplace needing some writing done, please let me know, or let them know about me.   I know I said I’ve been having a hard time writing, but if I have a deadline I always have been able to deliver the goods.  It would be a job, after all.

You may be asking yourself how I am able to write this if I’ve been having so much trouble.  Easy, it’s about me.  No research needed.



January 6, 2013 Posted by | Humanism, Social Justice | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Selling Hope

I saw a commercial on TV today.  Some guy (I didn’t get his name, and it’s not really important) was selling a book that he claimed contained his secret to overcoming any addition.   You see things like this all the time.  Someone has a cure-all for whatever might ail you.

I’m not going to talk about the details of this guy’s supposed cure.  I’m not going to analyze the efficacy of him claims.  I want to look at the idea of selling hope;  why it is a sign of selfishness and perhaps even sociopathic. 

There are plenty of reasons why dubious claims are harmful, just browse the what’s the harm website for a plethora of details.   There are many examples there of people who have died because the chose to follow programs that promised a cure for a medical condition.  These stories are sad and unnecessarily so.

What what I can’t help but wonder about guys like the one I’ve mentioned here is, if they truly have cure or treatment that is revolutionary and that does what they say it does, then why do they always insist on charging for it?  Sure, I know people have to make a living, but I can tell you that if I came up with a treatment that could cure and help a lot of people, I’d want to help as many as I could.  

To have a treatment, a real cure, for a disease like MS or cancer, or a treatment that will get people off their addiction and keep them off, would be an amazing thing.  The ethical, the moral, thing to do would be to share this with the medical community, to allow others to test it and perfect it, so that it can benefit everyone.

Sure, get compensated.  After all, you worked for it.  You discovered it.  Drug companies would pay millions for something like this.  But to horde it, to sell it only to those who could afford your asking price, it the ultimate in selfishness and immorality.

September 23, 2012 Posted by | Skepticism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alternative Medicine = What’s the Harm?

When skeptics point out the fact that alternative medicine like homeopathy and naturopathy don’t work, people ask, “What’s the harm?”  Brian Dunning from has a very sad and poignant example of just what the harm can be.  He opines that Steve Jobs might still be with us if he had pursued modern medical treatment earlier rather than naturopathy.  Go read the article.

If you want to read many more stories about the harm of alternative medical treatments, go to What’s the Harm.

October 6, 2011 Posted by | Science, Skeptical, Skepticism | , , | 1 Comment

Miracle Mineral Solution – How Bleach Can Cure the World!


I listened to the Righteous Indignation podcast today where they interviewed Jim Humble, the creator and promoter of Miracle Mineral Solution.   The interview was very interesting and revealing.  It was interesting in the sense that it was fascinating to hear Mr. Humble commit just about every logical fallacy that I’ve ever heard of.  It was revealing in that it became obvious that Jimbo is either completely deluded or an evil genius.  

From listening to his halting, folksy way of speaking, the first impression is that he is simply deluded, but later we found out that he created a church to promote the healing properties of his Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS.   When he was asked why he decided to use a church instead of a traditional non-profit organization to promote MMS, he rambled on about how Jesus told his disciples to go out and heal.   

When asked about an article in which he used the Catholic Church’s tax exempt status and the separation of church and state as examples of how this gives his organization more power than a non-profit, he fumbled around for a bit before admitting that it was a bad example to use given the abuses of the Catholic Church.

What strikes me about this, though, is that he obviously gave a lot of thought to how organizing as a church would allow him to skirt many of the laws and restrictions that a non-profit would be held to in providing health care using a product that can only claim testimonials and anecdotal evidence for its efficacy.  This shows him to be, in my book, a true charlatan. Evil genius it is!

The claims he makes for MMS are myriad and track perfectly with typical pseudoscientific claims.  It can cure cancer, HIV, malaria.  It can treat serious burns by lowering the PH of the burn area, which he claims is highly acidic, even though he has no medical research whatsoever to back up this claim.  In fact, he has no medical research at all to back up any of his claims.  When called on this, he spouts the usual clap-trap about modern science not wanting to believe the truth about his claims, invokes the evils of modern medicine, and goes on the seal the deal with anti-vaccination rhetoric. 

To quote his website:

“The answer to AIDS, hepatitis A,B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer and many more of mankind’s worse diseases has been found. Many diseases are now easily controlled. More that 75,000 disease victims have been included in the field tests in Africa. Scientific clinical trials have been conducted in a prison in the country of Malawi, East Africa.”

Strangely, he doesn’t not include links to these “scientific clinical trials”.  I wonder why?

This guy is treating people around the world with what is essentially bleach.  That’s right, bleach.  He advocates putting bleach on burns, open wounds, and drinking it to cure any number of maladies.  

Jim Humble should be locked up for peddling a dangerous product to innocent people, as well as practicing medicine without a license, but since he operations mainly in Africa, he is probably immune from prosecution here in the U.S.


May 16, 2011 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dishonest Repubgelicains Contort The Truth Again

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to an article that describes the latest in a very, very long list of spin, rationalizations, truth contortions, and outright lies that the Repubgelican party is feeding the American Public these days.

It has to do with the Repubgelicans’ claim that Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the Obama Administration, is a “rationing board” of bureaucrats created by ObamaCare. They claim that:

” The IPAB will be, essentially, the rationing board that will decide who gets what care.” (The Hill,

This is an outright lie.  According to the White House’s own web page about the IPAB:

“IPAB is specifically prohibited by law from recommending any policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums or cost-sharing, restrict benefits or modify who is eligible for Medicare.”  (emphasis mine)

Just to make it clear that the Administration isn’t the one making the decisions here, the White House goes on to say:

Congress then has the power to accept or reject these recommendations. If Congress rejects the recommendations, and Medicare spending exceeds specific targets, Congress must either enact policies that achieve equivalent savings or let the Secretary of Health and Human Services follow IPAB’s recommendations.

So it is congress, not the President, who has the final decision on Medicare spending.  The IPAB is merely an advisory board that makes recommendations to the President and Congress. Their recommendations have no weight of law behind them and only congress can make those recommendations law if they so choose.

This brings us to the really scummy part of the Repubgelicans hypocrisy and douche baggery:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday that private healthcare plans ration care for profit but that consumers should be free to buy whatever coverage they can afford rather than depend on government rationing.

What the Repubgelicans are saying here is that they are against any kind of rationing of medical care, unless that care is being provided by for-profit medical insurance companies.  That’s right, rationing is good if someone is making money off of denying your life saving care, but evil if no one profits it from it.

The Repubgelicans are liars of the most detestable sort, because they refuse to admit that they support the same ‘rationing” of medical care that the Democrats supposedly do.  The only difference is that they try to justify their stance as being about choice and the all mighty corporate dollar.  “Douche bags” doesn’t even begin to describe these cretins.


May 7, 2011 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 391 other followers