Wednesday, 2 May 2012

My Neighborhood

There's only one meeting in the Pentagon which people would actually pay money to attend, and regretfully....it's not with Leon or the four-star generals.  It's with the Pentagon building manager.  So I attended one of these meetings today.  There was this interesting topic which came up.

As most of you know....a number of our GI's have come back from combat and pretty bothered by their experience.  So some smart doctors have found this nifty trick.....therapy pets.  The idea is that you pair up a GI who has emotional issues with a dog (typically).  For some reason, the guy starts to recover from his experience and feels more positive about his life.

The Pentagon....has tons of rules....but there's only a page or so on seeing-eye dogs....guide dogs.  It's probably been around for twenty years and never updated.  So we have a couple in the building....never been an issue ever.  But this topic got brought up in the last week or two.....if therapy dogs would be ok.  The building guys are pondering over this.  They'd never considered this type of scenario before.

Naturally, you could tell that folks were wondering just how big a deal this would turn into.  Quietly, I sat there.  My initial thinking was how many?  Twenty?  Forty?  Three hundred?  You just don't know.  Should there be a limit.....you don't know.  Should we allow only border collies as part of the program....just to make sure the whole Pentagon functions correctly?

From the audience in the room.....the conversation continued on....were there therapy cats?  Well....there could be.  Then immediately....could there be therapy donkey's?  I was thinking we were going in a vastly different conversation with this (might have been a Army guy who asked anyway)....then someone suggested therapy goats.  Our building director cut the conversation off at that point....figuring we were going downhill.  Goats are always a slippery slope.

So you can imagine this scene.....three hundred Army guys in the building and all bringing in their dogs.  The dogs need to poop every four hours.....so we'd naturally be using the center courtyard for this deal.  Some dogs would start fighting with other dogs.  Then someone would want to ban poodles or wiener dogs.  Therapy cats would lead to folks complaining about shedding of hair.

It's inviting a pretty big mess.....if you ask me.  The thing is.....for the recovery phase for these Army guys....I'm in full agreement.  It's just hard to see how any work would be getting done with everyone playing with Sargent Snuffy's lab or watching Private Joe's border collie herd the IT guys into a corner.

Health Stories

There's two interesting health stories that sat and pondered upon today.

Some smart guys talked to Fortune 100 companies and eventually got them to admit....the way that the President's health care law works....it'd really be beneficial for them (not their 5.9 million employees) to just drop them from the current plans in 2014.  The companies would save over $28 billion.  The employees?  Well...they'd have to walk over to health insurance exchanges and rig up some personal deal.

The odds of this happening?  I think it's pretty good odds.

So here's the outcome of this....if you were around in the middle of 2014 and owned stock....there would be these vast dividends handed down....instead of that 50-cents that you'd typically see for each stock you owned....it's bound to be around $2 each.  American corporate feelings would be huge and it'd bound to be a five-star year for American business.  2014, however.....is an election year, and these folks who got dumped off their health insurance deals....would pay back the Democrats even more....giving the Republicans absolute and full control of the Senate and House.

A planned outcome by the President or Representative Nancy Pelosi or Senator Reid?  I seriously doubt they were that smart to grasp what the special interest groups were doing.  I think it's truly a naive deal that they were given and they are sitting there now....wondering why they didn't understand the full impact.

The second big story of the day?

There was this big Medicare bucket of money that the President got Congress to give him back in 2010.  It was for grants that were supposed to help old folks and the Medicare program.  Someone discovered this one grant up in Nashville....that the city's Humane Association used.

Now, you'd scratch your head and ask what the animal guys had to do with a grant via the Medicare bucket of money.  The deal was that they got the Feds to pay for free pet spaying, neutering, and rabies shots.  Yep....Medicare money....sent in a form of a grant.....that ends up being used for dogs.  The logic is that if the streets were safer without so many dogs....then old folks would walk more.

This story has attracted the interest of the Republicans, and I doubt that it continues on.  What other weird projects ended up with Medicare grants?  I'm guessing in the weeks to come....more will surface.  In the end.....this all ended up as a plain old bucket of money.