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Views & News Online Week of November 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004, John R. Taylor
Alternative News & Editorials

South Georgia 2nd Edition Page two
Insurance is no miracle

by Mike Morris CLU

For several years now there has been much debate about insurance coverage. On either side of the issue there are pundits telling us they know the answer. Some say that a government run health care system like Canada or Australia is the way to go. Others say this would be terrible and would be more costly than we could bare and would not work. What is lost in all the discussions is the distinction between insurance coverage and health care cost. Most Americans think that insurance coverage is some magical fiscal vehicle that will make it possible to afford what other wise could not be afforded.

Before we can understand the real problem we must first understand what insurance is and what it is not. The concept of insurance has its origins in the European shipping industry of the 16th century. During that time valuable cargos were being shipped for the new world back to the old. The problem was that sometimes pirates would capture a ship and its cargo. When this would happen the owner would most often not be able to sustain the lost. This is a time when bankruptcy meant losing all you property and being thrown into prison. The chances that it would happen to any particular ship was slight, however, the consequences if it did were catastrophic. In order to safeguard against such a catastrophic lost, the shipping companies agreed to each contribute to pay to replace the ship of any company that had a ship lost to pirates. The principal in this is the same as insurance today. Each shipping company knew that their chances of losing a ship were small, but if it did happen it was so bad they would likely loose everything. By agreeing to help pay for any lost ship, they were exchanging a large, unsustainable possible loss for a sure, sustainable smaller loss. If the lost of any ship was likely the concept would not work.

Insurance companies today operate on the same principle. You exchange a possible unsustainable loss, such as the death of a breadwinner, for a known and certain smaller, sustainable loss, the premiums you pay the company. In the case of life insurance, the company has no idea if a specific insured person will die before they make a profit, but using mortality and actuary tables they do know how many will die out of a certain number. Because of this they can make a profit, - and quite a profit indeed. Go to any large city and look at all the skyscrapers owned by insurance companies. They and the Federal Government are about the only ones who need the term trillions of dollars.

Insurance companies make huge profits because, after considering the time value of money, they receive much more dollars in premiums from their customers than they pay out in claims. It is not my assertion that we don’t need insurance. For example, a person would be a fool for driving a car without liability insurance. (Not to mention, that they would be breaking the law in most states.) Liability insurance on your car is a perfect example of when we need insurance and the concept fits perfectly. The likelihood that we will have an at-fault accident that would result in astronomical losses, such as a death or permanent injury, is slight; luckily most of us drive our entire lives and never have this to happen. However, it does happen. If it did happen to us, most of us don’t have millions of dollars to pay in damages. We pay the relatively same premiums each month, year or when have you, so we are free from the risk of losing all that we have.

Now dental insurance is another matter. While some people are happy with their dental insurance, most are not. The reason for this is fundamental to the concept of insurance. Unlike the terrible automobile accident in which we are at fault and cause a death or permanent injury, cleanings, fillings, root canals and the like are not so improbable. Most of us will have some fillings and probably a root canal or two before we die, and if we don’t have regular cleanings we will just have more of the former. Because of the likelihood of these treatments, insurance premiums, co-payments and exclusion must be comparatively large. Dental treatment is not nearly so good a fit for the insurance concept.

Now this brings us to the cost of health care in this country today. Insurance coverage would help to protect those who are now uninsured from an unlikely astronomical loss, the problem is that we now, on the average, live so long that there are few treatments which are truly unlikely. The chances that we will live long enough to need to be treated for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and any number of other ailments which cost a lot of money to treat, are quite great. Open heart surgery is almost a right of passage for late-middle aged men. So long as the cost of these treatments remain so high and continue to rise, insurance coverage will do very little to help. For insurance companies to make a profit, and they will quite fairly do everything they can to do that, premiums will be prohibitively high.

How do we get the cost down? There are some obvious places to start, but a detailed discussion is beyond the scope and space for this article. The main point is that it is the cost of health care must be controlled if insurance coverage is to be effective. There is much fraud and misuse of current government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as insurance fraud and misuse. Tort and malpractice insurance reform should be looked at, as well as stifling and inflationary regulations.

What ever we do we must first reduce the cost of healthcare; then we can address insurance coverage.

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Answers to last issue’s  

Our Country & Our Government

 ·         Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. George Washington and Benjamin Franklin should have been easy. Abraham Baldwin was one of the two signers from Georgia. William Few was the other.  He was also the founder of the University System of Georgia. There is a college in Tifton which bears his name. Thomas Jefferson, although a famous patriot, was not a fan of the Constitution. He was not in favor of such a strong central government and he felt that the Constitution did not do enough to protect the citizens from the power of the government. Because of him and those who agreed with him the first ten amendments, that we call the “Bill of Rights” was added.

·         No, the phase “separation of church and state,” is nowhere in the Constitution or any of its amendments. Amendment one states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” This part of the first amendment was meant to protect religious freedoms, not to abolish them.

·         Amendment 18, the Prohibition of Alcoholic Beverages, (1919), was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.

·         No one. The Articles of Confederation, which was the national government form 1781 until 1788, had no executive branch, hence no president.



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Our Country & Our Government

A lot of  readers told us that last weeks questions were too hard. These should be easier.

·         The following is a quotation from a famous speech. Who gave the speech?
”Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bare any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
     George Washington
     Patrick Henry
     Abraham Lincoln
     Harry S. Truman
     John F. Kennedy

·         Who said this,
”The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists, till changed by explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacred obligatory upon all…”
     George Washington
     Patrick Henry
     Abraham Lincoln
     Harry S. Truman
     John F. Kennedy

·         How many of the 43 men who have been President of the United States of America were lawyers?

·         How many of the 43 men who have been President of the United States of America were farmers or planters?

·         Who served the shortest time as President?

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The Theme of the Week


 I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.

            Abraham Lincoln

 Great works are performed not strength but by perseverance.

            Samuel Johnson

 Never, never, never, never give up.

            Winston Churchill

Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

            Calvin Coolidge

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How many national champions are there?

As everyone not living on Mars knows the Division I college football national championship is as much a popularity contest as anything else, with two, three or more “National Champions”. The polls are completely crazy and bias. If some sports writer or coach picks Team A as number one in the preseason he is going to keep picking Team A as number one unless it losses- no matter what else happens. Why? Because those doing the picking want to be right, so they make themselves right.

After Auburn handedly beat a very good Georgia team, everyone with a brain, except many of the pollsters, felt they were the best team in the nation or at the very worst number two. And those with brains have a very good augment. Auburn has beaten  several good teams by a large margin and never been close to losing. USC and Oklahoma have both trailed poor teams and had to rally to win. A poor officiating call at the end of the Californian game gave USC a win they didn’t deserve and Oklahoma gave up a ton of points and had to rally late to be two mediocre teams.

Should Mike Shula get his injury laden Crimson Tide to upset Auburn in the Ironbowl or if the tigers have their worst performance of the year in the SEC Championship game, allowing an inferior Tennessee team to beat them, the polls will make little difference. But neither of these things are likely to happen. More than likely, USC, Oklahoma and Auburn, to say nothing of Utah, will all end the regular season undefeated. There is more than a good chance that Auburn will pass Oklahoma with wins in its last two games. But this doesn’t change the fact that somebody will be left out.

We could end up with two or more teams left undefeated after all is said and done. One would be crowned the “National Champion” by the BCS, and maybe the AP and CNN/ESPN, or maybe they crown another “National Champion”. They may have three or four “National Champions.” Last year there were two major “National Champions”. I say major because there were other polls that selected someone else.

Without a playoff for division one football we will never have a true National Champion. Alabama claims the most national championships, but so does Notre Dame. Who is right? Well it depends on who you ask and what you count. Alabama says they have twelve, but if you count every year any poll selected them as the National Champion, they have seventeen. The twelve Alabama itself counts are the AP, UPI, CNN/ESPN, and before these polls existed, their selection by the majority of the earlier polls. There were twenty-one years that some poll picked Notre Dame as the National Champion, but if you use the criteria that Alabama uses, Notre Dame only has nine championships. In other words, nine years one of the major modern polls, AP, UPI, CNN/ESPN, or before them a majority of the other polls selected Notre Dame. In 1993 all the major polls selected FSU as the National Champion, but there was one poll that selected Notre Dame and another that picked Auburn. (The selection of Notre Dame was ridiculous, but Auburn was the only undefeated team that year, but they were on probation and could not play in the postseason.)

In 1966 a few obscure polls selected Alabama as the National Champion but the AP and UPI picked Notre Dame. The AP and UPI had Alabama third behind, Notre Dame and Michigan. This despite the fact that Alabama was 11-0-0 and Notre Dame and Michigan was 10-0-1. They tied each other. A few years later Bama was on the other side of an injustice. The UPI voted them National Champions although they lost to Texas in the Cottonbowl.

Playoffs are not perfect either. Valdosta State lost in the first round of the division two playoffs a few yeas ago. They were ranked number one in the polls at the time and probably were the best team in the division that year. They were much better than the team that beat them, just not that Saturday. While it is unfortunate that a bad performance on one day can wipe away a great season, is still much better than to have someone’s opinion decide the champion.

Those that say that a playoff for division one football will not work just have a hidden agenda. Other division one sports have playoffs. The other collegiate divisions have football playoffs. The only reason not to have playoff is to protect the bowl system. Views & News will present a playoff system for division one football that is fare and will work with the bowl system, in our next issue.

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Know Religion

While many of the humanists and atheists would have us believe that religion is outdated and irrelevant in today’s world, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of the world’s inhabitants have very strong religious views. Most of the good actions, and sadly, many of the bad, are done for religious reason. In this country we as a nation have strayed far from our religious roots. Views & News will present an essay on a different religion each week.

We will be as subjective, opened minded, factual, and fair as possible. Nothing in any essay is in anyway intended as an endorsement of any particular religion. If you would like to dispute, correct, or add to anything presented, please submit these to us. Christian and non-Christian religions will both be covered and we will select their order by what we deem as relevant and interesting at the present time. Religions that are very well known, will be presented after those we know little of as a matter of course.


At this point in history there is no other religion that is more in the focus of Americans than Islam. We know little of it, and few of us are Moslem, yet it impacts our lives in a major way.

Islam is the religion of over 1.1 billion people. It ranks 2nd to Christianity, which has about 2 billion followers worldwide. Moslems or Muslims are most heavily concentrated in the Middle East, North Africa, and Indonesia, but there are Moslems in almost every country of the world. It is the state religion of many Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, and Kuwait and until recently Iraq and Afghanistan, where the practice of other religions is outlawed or unofficially suppressed.

The name of their religion, Islam, means to surrender, (to Allah, (God)). Muslim or the Anglicized “Moslem” means one who surrenders. Islam, founded in 622 AD, is the newest of what is called the three great monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. According to its own declaration, Islam acknowledged the validity of Judaism and Christianity, believing itself to be the fulfillment of these earlier religions.

Evidence shows, however, that Islam went back to a primitive monotheistic belief of ancient Arabia. Though the early faith in Allah was not monotheism complete with theological dogma, there was a continuous tradition among the peoples of the desert, or among some of them, which maintained a belief in an Originator, a Supreme Being. This High God was the guardian of their flocks, arbiter of ends, protector of their lives, sender of the rain, and their defender against the hazards of fate.

Moslems worship one God, called Allah (Arabic for “The God”). They believe He sands alone, has absolute will, and controls all of man’s actions. In most other respects, however, He resembles the Christian and Jewish God.

Moslems believe God gave certain men the power to communicate with him through angles. The function of these men was to guide other mortals to Salvation. The greatest of theses prophets were Adam, Noah, the house of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. Moslems accept the miracles and virgin birth of Jesus but deny his divinity, crucifixion and resurrection. The do not attribute supernatural powers to Mohammed, but consider him the last and hence the most authoritative of the prophets.

The Koran, now usually spelled with a Q, is the basic source of Islamic law and ritual. Moslems believe it was dictated to Mohammed by God, though the angel Gabriel.

Like Christians, Moslems believe in a Judgment Day, when the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished. The Koran’s description of Judgment Day is generally similar to the Bible’s, although the details differ.

A Moslem has five religious obligations: Profession of faith. A Moslem’s most essential obligation is the repetition of this creed: “There is no God but Allah; Mohammed is His Prophet.”

Prayers: Prayers must be said five times each day. They may be said either privately or in a mosque. In public worship, men and women are usually separated. A worshiper precedes prayer with a ritual washing. He then faces the holy city of Mecca and follows a fixed ritual of recitation and prostration. On Fridays, a worship service at the mosque is required. Besides the ritual prayers, the service includes a reading from the Koran and a sermon.

Almsgiving: Alms maybe compulsory (zakat) of voluntary (sadaqat). Only when zakat has been paid, in money or goods, is the rest of Moslem’s property considered purified and legitimate. In Moslem states, zakat is collected by the government.

Fasting: Moslems cannot eat or drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan, the ninth month of their lunar year.

Pilgrimage: Once in his lifetime, every Moslem who is financially and physically able must travel to Mecca. This pilgrimage is called the hajj. A Moslem who has made it is a hajji.

Religious War or Jihad: Moslems consider it an obligation to spread Islam by force. The Koran does not specifically state this but Mohammed taught, “invitation first, next the sword.”

The beginnings of Islam go back to Mohammed’s preaching in his native Mecca. However, the faith did not become fully developed until he moved to Medina, (until then called Yathrib) in 622 AD. His migration to Medina, called the Hegira, begins the Moslem calendar.

Mohammed expanded Islam through conquest; he fought some eighty wars and by his death he had conquered most of the Arabia peninsula.  His early successors continued this practice. The Moslem warriors believed that if they died for Islam they would automatically go to heaven. This belief, along with the promise of land and loot, spurred the Moslem armies on to conquer the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. They almost overran southwestern Europe, but were stopped by the Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours.

During the early period of conquest, bitter theological and political dissension developed among the Moslems. In the selection of early caliphs, (successors to Mohammed as rulers of the Moslem world), Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, was bypassed. The third caliph, a member of the Omayya family, was murdered by malcontents in 656, and Ali was elected to succeed him. Muawiyah, the Omayyad governor of Syria, refused to recognize Ali as caliph.

When Ali was murdered in 661 by a member of a dissident sect, Muawiyah succeeded him, moved the Moslem capital from Medina to Damascus, and made the caliphate hereditary in the Omayya family. Military force was required to establish the new caliph’s political authority. Spiritually, many Moslems never accepted him. The followers of Ali formed a new branch of Islam – the Shiite, as opposed to the Sunnite, or orthodox, branch. These two great divisions still exist today. The Shiites believe that Ali had divine powers and was the first legitimate caliph and that his heirs, also divinely inspired, were the rightful rulers of Islam. These rulers are called imams.

The succession of caliphs, called the caliphate, survived until 1924. At the present time, there is no universal Moslem leader.

Next Week – Jehovah’s


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