Sunday, December 7, 2014

Unequal healthcare for men

I've been overdue for a rant relating to the oppression of men and I know I may have shocked many of my readers when I recently largely agreed with Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In".  Yes, I continue to believe that when all things are considered, men in America are victimized by gender discrimination as severely (but in different dimensions) than women.  One dimension where I believe men are trailing is in healthcare and I was shocked when I stumbled upon a blatant example of healthcare inequity while reviewing my annual insurance choices.

I am one of the rare individuals who are perhaps gluttons for punishment in taking time to read the details relating to the insurance coverage.  I first spotted this inequity when reading a competitor's offering where I was surprised to find that if you are a woman, you can opt for voluntary sterilization for free while if you are a man, voluntary sterilization will cost you 15%.  I was even more surprised when I took a closer look at my existing plan to learn that this injustice was not a fluke, but appeared in my policy as well  I have pasted the specifics below:

Benefit Description You Pay
Voluntary sterilization for men (e.g., Vasectomy) In-network: 15% of the Plan allowance
Out-of-network: 40% of the Plan allowance and any difference between our allowance and the billed amount
Voluntary sterilization for women (e.g., Tubal ligation) In-network: Nothing
Out-of-network: 40% of the Plan allowance and any difference between our allowance and the billed amount

Now I realize that there is probably not hordes of men lining up to get sterilized.  This is likely why this injustice does not receive the focus that it deserves, but you can count on MyTurnQuips to bring this to focus.

My first path of inquiry to attempt to understand this inequity was in line with that truism from Watergate - "follow the money."  I performed a quick Google search to eyeball the costs of Vasectomy versus the cost of Tubal ligation, thinking maybe it costs more to sterilize men.  This line of reasoning was quickly disproved; with Google results indicating a vasectomy would likely cost much less than the cost of tubal ligation.  Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals has already provided a thorough and academic analysis of the importance of including men in the solution of reproductive planning.

This rant represents much more than some guy whining about possibly having to pay 15% for a vasectomy.   Women should be equally outraged by this inequity.  Most obvious is that if you want men to shoulder equal responsibility for reproductive choices, then men should be afforded the same benefits.  The Affordable Care Act did much to mandate contraceptive options for women.  If our goal is equality, why are contraceptive options not mandated for men?  Why shouldn't there be some level of coverage for the purchase of condoms?

One of the conclusions that I have reached in regards to equality is that equality should not be about female versus male or male versus female; it is not about "women's rights" or "men's rights".  Equality should be focused on gender neutrality and fairness.  I believe this is why I am so closely aligned to Sandberg's "Lean In" precepts.  However, equality cannot be constrained to selective dimensions such as earned income or child care.  True equality must take a hard look at all instances of inequity including disparities in health care, insurance (yes, men pay more for auto and life insurance) and selective service.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Race and Yellow Journalism

The opening lines of Wikipedia provides this definition of Yellow Journalism:
Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.  Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reasons why you should submit a self-evaluation at work

I have conceptualized this as a two part posting.  In this post, I plan to explain why it is in your best interest to submit a self-evaluation as part of your employee evaluation.  In a future post, I plan to discuss the “how to” of writing a winning self-evaluation.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sex with Indians

Lately I've had perseverating thoughts about sex with Indians; no, not in a perverted way.  I consider my interest more as an innocent curiosity.  I anticipate that this posting may appear a bit tangential so I’m providing an advance warning for readers who want to ditch while they are ahead.  At times I think the only reason I don’t carry a mental health diagnosis is because I’m foolish enough to continue to show up for work and pay bills.  Yes, in America it seems that the most diagnosed are the poor who need public assistance or the wealthy who need something to whine about on the talk show circuit.  Anyway, back to the post…

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reinaldo Arenas

I have chronicled my penchant for reading and as is reflected within this blog, I steadily acquire books through the Book Nook at the Crossings, the Colonie library, Goodwill and the Salvation Army in addition to an occasional lawn sale.  The hunt for new material is often as much fun for me as the actual reading.  Oftentimes, I have some inclination to make a purchase such as having previously heard of the work through the New York Times book review or some other source.  Other times, I gamble with fate and pick up something I had never heard of based on interest piqued by a read of the covers.  Such was the case with Before Night Falls, by Reinaldo Arenas.  This book had piqued my interest as an autobiography of an individual who was severely impacted by Fidel Castro.  For us around 50ish who were not directly impacted and not students of Cuban history, Cuba and Fidel are generally given little thought.  Sure there are murky memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and Cuban boat people, but it is hard for us to feel it and truly get it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cohoes Falls

I worked for many years in Cohoes, NY, a small river city north of Albany.  Cohoes is rich in history and at one time well known for its textile mills which had long been abandoned during the stretch of time that I was employed in Cohoes.  These looming giants have since been refurbished to upscale condos along the Mohawk and it is nice to see new interest in this charming city.  My position in Cohoes brought me through the city on a regular basis including Remsen Street, the main drag in Cohoes as well as trips up Mohawk Street along the (shocker) Mohawk River.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cleaning House: Donate, Lawn Sale or Craig’s List?

I've discussed my recent efforts to clean house using Craig’s List and my Craig’s List iPad app.  At various times, I've also cleaned house through donations and lawn sales as well.  It occurred to me that a comparison of these strategies may also make for an interesting post.  In this post, I will discuss some of the pros and cons of each of these approaches to shedding your home of some of your accumulated debris.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lean In For Men

It may surprise my readers to hear that I was thrilled to score a copy of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.   After all, I am the politically incorrect (ex) social worker who posted, The Oppression of Men.  Sheryl’s book has been widely acclaimed and had created quite a buzz in the business community.  My readers may be further shocked to hear that I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and perhaps even more shocking would remark that I agree with almost all of what she has written.  Before you begin to think this is going to just be a nod and grunt posting, please recall that this is “My Turn Quips” so any nodding and grunting you read here is likely to be a bit atypical.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

E-mail etiquette

I like email; don't text me, don't IM me, don't tweet me, don't write on my Facebook wall and don't call me... send me an email.  I like email because it's quick and you are not restricted in size like text message and it is not intrusive like the nagging ringing of a telephone.  Fortunately for me, much of my job is dependent on email (and perhaps it is no accident that I work the type of job that I do).  In a prior post, I discussed the appropriate use of the blind carbon copy (bcc).  In this post I am going to share thoughts and tips in regards to communication by email.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Man Bag Essentials

Ok, I admit it; I have a man purse.  I know it’s unmanly to call it a purse so it is commonly referred to as “the man bag”.  When it comes to purse carrying liberation, us men haven't quite leaned in enough to know that we need a purse.  All guys know that bulging pockets aren't cool and you just can't fit everything you need in that tiny wallet.  My man bag started off as a cheap sort of brief case for work, but has quickly moved beyond just work and has now become an essential companion for day trips and travel.  The reason for this is that I can rely on it to contain my most common daily staples and it also provides a container for as needed items as well.  In this post, I am going to review some of the treasures contained in my man bag.  Some will sound obvious and some not so obvious.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh Sh##, my mute button was off?

I love that commercial with the girl who scores points with her colleagues by doing an impression of the client while the client is muted… “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…”  I think we all have those clients and what is said and done while errant clients are on mute can be hilarious.  And depending on who it happens to, what is said and done when someone thinks they are on mute can be even funnier.

Sure enough I had another mute button misfire at work.  I was on a national training call and my 15 year old son had arrived home from school famished and was raiding the kitchen for food.  I thought I'd add some harassment so I yelled out, “Hey, Jabber, how about bringing your father some ice cream?”  Sure enough shortly following my query, a moderator chimed in, “someone out there has an open mike”.  (Ugh, who might that that be?)  Needless to say, I scurried to mute my phone.

Sadly, this wasn't my worst encounter bobbling the mute toggle.  A year or two back, I was once again on a National call and an email came in that immediately pushed my blood pressure up a few points.  Believing I was the only one in the office (and also believing that my phone was on mute), I let out a string of profanities only to hear the speaker who was announcing some upcoming change relate, “Oh come on now, it’s not that bad.”

Conversely, I have had the opposite experience as well where I have verbally articulated what I thought was an intelligent response only to hear nothing from my audience.  Eventually, someone catches on (either them or I) and aside from the embarrassment, there is not a great harm done by speaking with the mute button on.  You simply may feel silly for a second, but repeat the original message a second time with the mute button off so that you can be heard.

I know I am not alone in the business world.  One of the big bosses that I previously worked with related how he had been on a call with some power brokers from DC and thinking he was on mute, proceeded to remark to the local audience, “that is the stupidest idea I've ever heard.”  Unfortunately for him, they knew exactly who he was and let him know clearly that his comment was not appreciated.  From that day forward he had the contortions required to mute the phone carefully written out and he would also pound the desk next to the phone to verify that the mute was on.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

50 Shades – a male perspective

Yes, I'm nearly through Volume II of the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy and family members have given me more than the usual number of strange looks.  Needless to say the reputation of this trilogy is well known; in case you're amongst the uninformed it is considered in the literary category of erotica which is another way of saying lots of kinky sex.  What may be most striking about this trilogy is that it is written by a woman, likely is most popular with female readers and has risen to a level of acceptance and popularity in mainstream reviews.  So finally, it can officially be proclaimed that when it comes to sex and porn, you ladies can be just as piggy as us guys… oink, oink, my fine ladies!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Adams, Jefferson, John and Paul

As part of my winter in New York ritual, I select meatier books to read during the extreme cold.  In past years, I was able to work through some long Michener novels; this year, I am working through David McCullough’s “John Adams”.  Prior to this I had done some reading on Jefferson individually (I believe it was, “Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History” by Fawn M Brodie) as well as collectively in Joseph Ellis’ “Founding Brothers”.  When considering John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, I find a striking resemblance to the relationship and personalities of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A winter walk along Rensselaer Lake (Six Mile Waterworks)

I think every blogger has one or more posts that defy their understanding in regards to "commercial" success.  My post is "Yachting with G" a just for fun posting that I wrote reflecting on floating in my inflatable boat on Rensselaer Lake in Albany, NY.  Due to the surprise success of this initial posting, I posted a follow up the following year, "More Yachting with G" that never really took off.  This deepened the mystery as it would seem that similar topic material would yield similar results, but that was not the case.  Regardless, I had often thought it would be fun to visit the lake during winter to enjoy a fresh perspective of this local treasure and so with that thought in mind, I made a winter trek to Rensselaer Lake.