Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have just posted my Theological Term paper. I received it back from my professor today and was pleased (okay, thrilled) with my grade. If you've ever wanted to know what a ten-page paper looks like on blogger, take a look! And please comment and give feedback. Don't worry about offending me; believe me, this paper has been ripped to shreds before (constructive criticism, you know).

Just a quick update: I am alive, I am loving break, had my braces removed last week (pictures here), went on a harrowing shopping trip with Katrina, had a marvelous Christmas, turned 19 yesterday (I suppose I need to update my sidebar!), and am actually starting to look forward to college again. I definitely needed a break, though!

All right, I'm off to post on Erika's blog!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Which I Write Like a Hysterical, Relieved College Student


Sorry, I had to get that out....

See that smile on my face? ^^^^ Josh drew that picture of me, and I think he captured my feelings quite well. :)

This post will probably be sickeningly exuberant with an excessive number of exclamation points because I'm currently floating in a state of delirious happiness. First semester down!!! I took the last final last night, and now I have 28 days free. (Yep, I counted them.)

Life is fantastic and God is amazing!!! Not only am I done with college for the semester (have I mentioned that yet?), but my braces are coming off next Monday (December 21st), I will be 19 the week after that, and I am majorly thrilled about my plans for break.

What are my plans for break? Well, basically, I plan on being a complete slob. Just kidding...I have a long list of things that I've been unable to do all semester. It's the simple things that I miss, like...

cleaning my room (it has gotten pretty bad lately...piles of projects that I need to work on and haven't had time)


-emailing friends back

-writing letters

-Christmas things, like the newsletter, buying presents, and more


-writing in my journal

-talking to friends and family without watching the clock and keeping college assignments constantly in the back of my brain (It's true that I've been home since I do distance learning, but having assignments has meant that I've had to shut myself into my room [even when friends are here] and do school.)

Actually, it's a rather surreal feeling to have no assignments pressing on my brain. It's amazing.

But, I think my family is more relieved than I am...if that's possible. Why?

1) My mom has a list for me to do over break. And she's probably happy that I will stop completely forgetting to do the dishes!
2) My family will not have to listen to my incessant talk about college.
3) And Erika will no longer have to sit with me at late hours, performing the role of "study partner."

Oh, yes. This is where I tell the hilarious story about last night's frantic studying. At least I found it funny. I wasn't too concerned about the Theology Final, since the Theology Exams up to that point had been incredibly easy, but then I started hearing scores from the amazing geniuses in the class and panicked. Based on the numbers I was hearing, I was scared that I would completely bomb the test. So, I read through all the lectures and wrote 16 pages of notes to study. And who did I pick to help me cram my notes into my brain?? Yep, Erika. I bribed her with hot cider (I have a stash of hot cider in my room that only a privileged few can have!!) to stay up until 11 with me, reading my notes and quizzing me on them.

What was so funny was her pronunciation of the words. I admit, my handwriting was pretty bad, but she had never heard of most of the terms and was pronouncing everything completely phonetically. It was completely understandable (there were words like Patripassianism, anthropomorphisms, etc.) until we got to the definition of omnipotent, and she read it "om' ny po' tent *blink blink* Oh, omnipotent!" ...I burst out laughing, because she knows that word.

It was great. I love PHC. I'm glad to be done. That's about all I have in my head right now.

I've learned so much this semester which should prove useful next semester. I have learned those little details about how distance learning works and have some ideas about the standards of the professors. Next semester should be slightly easier, as I'm taking 12 credits instead of 13.

Today I'm cleaning, catching up on things, and loving life. Can life get better? I think not.

(Erika says this is a hyperactive blog post, which sounds a lot like me right now. So, I think I'll post it.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

9 Days!

But who's counting?

Oh, wait. I am.

Nine days until what? you might ask. Good question. You might also ask why I am writing in choppy sentences. That would also be a good question.

Anyhow. There are only nine days left until I will be done with my first semester at PHC. I am ridiculously excited! I finished the last two essays on Friday and now have only one more week of studies and then final exams. I'm seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Or would that be, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel? I don't know (or care, at this point!).

It's 12:45 AM, which incidentally might not be the best blogging time for me. But I'm currently caught up enough in studies to justify typing this out.

About those essays...I know I said I would publish them, but let's just say that they will not be seeing the light of day for a long time. And if I ever publish them, it will be as a joke! Sometimes I really dislike my writing. Like right now. I am not exceptionally proud of the two essays I wrote this week. But I still plan on posting the Theology paper and Research and Writing paper.

Hmm, anything else of note? Tomorrow (or actually, today) I get my lower retainer (for you non-braces people, that's part of the orthodontic procedure), which means I'm starting to see the light at the end of THAT tunnel as well. I was starting to despair of ever getting my braces off!

All right, this is all for now! I hope to post more often now that college is almost done.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I love ellipses, apparently.

Looking down through the titles of my last posts, I've noticed a pattern. So, the title of this post is going against the norm and challenging tradition by being completely ellipsis-free!

It has been almost a week since I blogged last (not counting the little post I just published), so I figure it's time for an update. Mainly because a certain someone is going to get back to college and internet access soon, and she'll be checking my blog (I'm sure it's the first thing she'll do, even before email and facebook! Well, maybe not before facebook. But you get the idea.)

Someone needs to get out their little violin and play "My Heart Bleeds for You" because I'm having a pity party in my room. Not really! I came down with some bug--I think it's just a normal cold, but with some of the comments I've heard lately, I almost thought about going to the hospital!!--and I have been shunned from social activities. So instead of playing Uno and such, I'm sitting here writing discussion board posts for college. And blogging.

But on the bright side, I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday! The past two days I've had a fever. Not a high one, just high enough to make me dizzy, disoriented, and confused. (YES, that is unusual. Thanks for asking.) I didn't want to get anyone sick, so when the relatives came over for Thanksgiving dinner, I quarantined myself in my room and ate whatever my waitress (AKA my amazing mother) brought me while reading Luther's treatises. It was a unique combination. Unfortunately I don't remember much of what I read because I kept falling asleep. How annoying.

Speaking of fevers, we have quite the thermometer saga in this house. You see, *someone* in our house is a hypochondriac. I will not mention names. A while back, the aforesaid hypochondriac was certain she had a fever, and thus took her temperature. *Without* shaking the thermometer down first. So it still said 103 degrees (from--I think--the last time I was feverish)...and yet she wasn't sick. I still laugh about that one. But she has the last laugh, because I am completely incapable of reading a thermometer. I have tried and tried, and I can NEVER see the line of mercury. At all. I always give it to the aforementioned sister and she reads it. If I ever have kids, I will have to get the kind of thermometer with a digital readout, or else I will have to take them to their aunt's house whenever they are sick. Actually, I like that last idea. Hmmm....

Wow, I'm rambling. As long as I'm in a random mood, I'm going to write things without bothering to transition from one paragraph to the next!

I'm listening to some awesome music. I recently discovered the album "Where Strength Begins" by Phillips, Craig & Dean and basically fell in love with it. (Yes, my dear Tennessee reader, I put that phrase in just for you!) My sisters somehow aren't as thrilled. I'm not sure if it's the perpetual loop that I put that CD on, the volume, or the songs themselves. They nod appreciatively when I tell them I've found "a new favorite song," allow me to subject their eardrums to the latest and greatest, and then escape when I'm not watching.

I'm just glad my computer is allowing me to type tonight. Sometimes it gets so slow that I will type something, leave, and come back a few minutes later only to see that "I" am still typing. One agonizing letter at a time.

My computer died. But it was worth it, because when I turned it back on, Firefox informed me that it had lost my pages and gave me my favorite message: "Well, this is embarrassing." I LOVE that. So creative. It makes the frustration of re-opening tabs worthwhile.

But Skype is a different story. I hate the sound that plays when it starts up. It sounds like a bunch of people inhaling together, preparing for a blood-curdling scream. Always makes me jump.

Okay, I will stop now. I love writing disjointedly. I have two essays due next Friday, so I will not be blogging until after that. Sayonara! (No, I don't know Japanese; I just thought it sounded cool.)

This sums up my life lately...

My logic homework has started to remind me of doing proofs in geometry (felt like writing "QED" at the end of one of the problems!), and anything that reminds me of math in any way is bad news! So the above picture adequately depicts my experiences with Logic. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On the dangers of essay writing....

Dangers? Yes.

As you may have inferred from my last post, this week has consisted almost entirely of writing papers. I smile when I think of the time it took me to write the health care paper (part of my application to Patrick Henry College). It was a 7-page paper, and yet it took me at least a month--maybe more. How did I suddenly learn to write a ten-page theological term paper in three days? One word: deadlines.

Deadlines are an absolute necessity for me. They force me to write when I don't feel like it, and also turn me into a raving lunatic. Well, not quite, but you don't want to hear some of the bizarre things I've said in the midst of a paper-writing brain fog (Erika just gives me this "look" and I know that once again, I am not making any sense and should either go to bed or write some more--and I unfortunately must pick the latter).

But where does the dangerous part come in? It comes from being entirely focused on writing, to the extent that everything else is blocked out. For example, I have a small electric heater in my room (I love it--it keeps me from growing icicles) and every time I would get up from my computer, I would trip over it. Embarrassing. And how did I literally not hear three girls practicing violins just a short distance away?

And I haven't even mentioned my battle scars yet! (Be very alarmed.) Actually, no, I think I will keep the origin of the scar next to my left eye a closely-guarded secret. Just know that my computer monitor has sharp edges, which my mom has threatened to put padding on (to kid-proof my room. When I get older and smarter she will take them off.)

So yesterday was the deadline for both my Theological Term Paper and my Research and Writing Argumentative Essay. <---- That is the stuff of nightmares. No, really. Last night, after submitting both essays, I had horrible nightmares about italics and footnotes. I kept waking up panicking, wondering if I really had ended my paper with the word with. I almost turned on my computer to check, but then decided that even if it were true that I had...

1) Left notes to myself in my essay (Such as "expand more here")
2) Forgotten to italicize book titles in my footnotes
3) Written a paragraph entirely about myself (what?!)
4) Used the word I throughout the essay (a major no-no)

...it was too late to change anything anyhow! Although one of the first things I did this morning was look at my conclusion to see how I ended it. I was paranoid.

A blog reader mentioned that by now I must be a coffee drinker, but I actually am not. I probably would drink coffee if we had it around the house, but maybe I prefer the bleary-eyed, physically-and-mentally-exhausted look! (I don't....)

So...that's the story of my last week. It sounds rather depressing reading about it, so I should add that college life is not all bad! I do enjoy learning (sometimes!) and I have met some awesome classmates from whom I have learned so much. Their diligence and academic achievements constantly push me to keep going and strive for higher goals. (It's hard going from homeschooling with no one in your grade level to classes with so many people who are ridiculously smart....keeps me humble.)

That's it for now! I'll try to post again next week. Possibly.

[Note: I had originally planned to post both papers now, but I've decided to wait until I get grades and comments back. Shouldn't be too long!]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An attempt to excuse my lack of blogishness...

Okay, so lately I have been receiving cryptic messages; messages of indeterminable meaning, such as this one:

[D]ear Jessica,
Please blog[.]
[name removed to protect the guilty]

However, after a serious study of the aforementioned notes, which included outlining them, finding key words and phrases, looking the larger words up in the dictionary, reading backwards, and reading between the lines, I have come to the conclusion that I need to eat chocolate!! No, wait, that was the first hypothesis. The final conclusion was that I needed to go to www.blogger.com, enter some log in information, and click "Create Post."

So, I did.

Now that I am here, all that I can think of is the necessity of doing a bunch of other things...chiefly, writing the two papers that are due on Friday (note: one of them is nearly done, the other is started). Unlike some people who have the luxury of Thanksgiving break, I have four papers due in the next exactly two weeks.

What does this mean? It means that I will be getting very little sleep, writing and revising, and in my spare time, I will be completing all the other college work (reading textbooks, writing discussion board posts, taking exams, etc). And it means that I can't justify sitting here and writing a post about my life. Sorry! I'd love to write a creative update-ish post. Really, I would. That's something that I will try to do after this semester ends (if it ever does).

On a positive note, it also means that I will have four blog posts in the next couple of weeks...and you know how much you love reading my academic writings! (Hint: nod vigorously)

Prayers are greatly appreciated for my sanity and for clearness and cogency in my writing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Taking a deep breath...

This is just a quick update to say:

1) I am still alive.
2) I have not forgotten my blog.

The essay that I just posted below is the product of a couple late nights and early mornings. It was crammed in between a bunch of other things, and a good deal of it was written in my hotel room in Cincinnati. So...it is what it is. Not the greatest, but it had to be submitted!

The last couple weeks were absolutely insane, but I'm finally caught up and able to take a breath! I may post later about my life, including the conference in Ohio (or not, you know how I am about blogging), especially if I can find videos or pictures.

Friday, September 25, 2009

And once again, I return to the blogosphere...

Yes, I realize that it has only been 15 days since my last blog post. In case you are worried about my mental health, let me assure you that I do not plan to continue blogging with this alarming frequency. And no, I have not kicked that procrastination habit yet.

(Actually, I have a procrastination pamphlet from my Research and Writing class that states: "This handout will help you understand why you procrastinate and offer strategies and [sic] to combat this common writer's ailment."* I think this pamphlet would be very informative, but I haven't found the time to read it.... Just kidding, I have read it, and it could possibly help someone. Just not a chronic procrastinator like me.)

I do have a reason--a very good reason, in fact--for this blog post. And it's not to complain about my procrastination habits. Not entirely, anyway.

You see, one of my friends told me about a Christian documentary that was released recently. She sent me the link to the movie's site where there is this lovely offer stating that I would get the movie for free if I promised to review it on my "well visited, updated blog." I worried that my blog would not be deemed updated enough, but to my surprise and excitement, it was!! I received it on Saturday, watched it last night with my dad and sister, and will now attempt to write an informative, accurate, interesting, descriptive, and captivating assessment of it for you all.

So, let's dive in....

On second thought, I've decided to place the actual review in a second blog post. This will aid in linking. Plus, anyone who is interested in a review of the movie will not necessarily wish to read all of my ramblings above! Read the review here.

In case it's not apparent, I've revamped a lot of my blog. Feedback appreciated!

*Source: http://www.unc.edu//depts/wcweb/handouts/procrastination.html (accessed Sept. 21st, 2009)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hey look! I still remember how to blog!

No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is, indeed and truly, a new blog post!

I am back by popular demand (okay, two people, but they sure are demanding!).

I was planning on having a blog post done over the weekend, but something got in the way. A little something called a Research and Writing assignment, worth 10% of my final grade, due by Sunday at midnight. It took so much more time than I thought it would, and this means that during the time I planned on blogging, I was sweating buckets (figuratively speaking, I assure you) and typing madly while watching the clock tick ever closer to the deadline.

But now I have finished that (not saying how many minutes to spare...), and I am here.

And...I have nothing to say. At least, nothing educational, intellectual, or mind-stimulating.

But because I don't want to let down the poor souls who sit on my blog all day, hitting refresh, I will attempt to write something substantial.

Something substantial...think, Jessica. There must be something to say.


And now it is Wednesday night, and I am sitting here watching my cursor blink, realizing that I really need to get this thing posted! Especially because my sister, Erika, decided that an update from me was so unlikely that she took it upon herself to hack in here and give you all brief run-down of my life (see below).

Her summary of my days is unfortunately pretty accurate. College has taken over my life!!!

I have learned that college is more difficult than high school (at least to me) and that I must spend much more time doing it than I had ever imagined. I cannot allow myself to fall behind even one day, because it is so hard to get back on track.

The first week of college was a nightmare; I was overwhelmed. But things are going much better now (Yet again, God's grace was sufficient!), and I am finding my classes to be manageable, interesting, and even sometime humorous.

Before I fall asleep on this keyboard, I should defend myself in regards to the cricket comment. (By the way, thanks, Erika, for not mentioning the watermelons growing on trees thing....) I haven't done biology in quite some time, never really cared about it, and probably would have realized that crickets are not vertebrates if I had simply thought about it before speaking. (Who, me? Think before speaking?!)

Jennifer wanted an update on my life, so I suppose I should mention more than just college. I have started taking piano lessons again (today), and have been learning to play the organ over the summer. I finished working for the Board of Elections (at least on a full time basis) on August 21st, so as to have time for college. The primary election is coming up next Tuesday, and I will be working that. It should be an interesting day. Local politics...never stops, and I try to keep up, going to meetings and volunteering and such. AWANA starts next Monday, and I'll be helping with that. Erika and I would both like to try for the Citation Award (Bible memorization is a good idea in general, plus I can get a nice scholarship from PHC if I get the award), so we are starting on some of the books. How is that for an overview, Jenn? Happy now? :) I'm sure I'm missing stuff, though.

Wow...this post is confusing and sadly lacking on so many levels. Maybe tomorrow I will read it and edit it, but for now...I'm going to hit "Publish Post" and hope that it will suffice.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hi Everyone!!

Yes!! A new post!! But not by Jessica. After several tries, I have managed to heroically hack into Jessica's blog to give her reader(s) an exciting, heart-warming, awwww-producing update. Basically, I have 15 minutes before she gets back from choir practice, so we'll do this quickly.

1. Jessica has started college.

2. She is currently working on college-related items, such as classes.

3. Her time can basically be summed up in two areas: college, and thinking/talking/writing/dreaming about college.

4. However, she still finds time to keep her social life a couple rungs above "hermit crab" level, so it surprises me how long she has not talked to you. I mean, I just sit down and words pour forth.

5. Maybe she's wanting to post something a above the random, exciting, hart-warming, awwww-producing update that I'm giving.

But, I do want to share with you a funny story about Jessica. So, she and I were talking about crickets this afternoon, as I was sitting at the table doing lesson 11.5 in my math. She was going to run downstairs and look up crickets in the encyclopedia, but she wasn't sure what (besides "cricket") she should look under. She wanted a general, biological classification name, something that would make Mr. ACE Biology dude proud of her. She said (and I am not kidding): "Crickets are vertebrates, right?"

I guess it's been a while since ninth-grade biology...

Okay. That was it. I need to go do chemistry and practice my "Who? Me? Hack into what blog?" look! Catch you all later!

-- Erika, who is Jessica's coolest sister. Undoubtedly.

Friday, July 17, 2009

And life goes on...

...even when I don't blog!

I read a blogging tips article a while back that said it was never right to blog for the sake of blogging, or simply because it had been a while since the last post.

However, I'm going to completely disregard the article and post about anything and everything that seems bloggable.

Why? Because it has been two months since I posted last, and because one of my longsuffering readers (you know who you are!) hinted that I would need to "dust off" this blog before posting anything.

Consider this my attempt to dust. [note the Swiffer in my hand. See? I am trying.]

Ironically, the rest of my life hasn't seemed to collect much dust lately. It's been pretty crazy these past weeks. I graduated from high school last Sunday, and I have one suggestion for any aspiring homeschool graduates: do not procrastinate so badly on school that you end up literally graduating the day of the party. Take it from me, it's not worth the dramatic finish! And the crash the next day is inevitable [sleep may be overrated, but trying not to fall asleep at a work desk is lousy].

Yes, I am speaking from personal experience. Why do I do these things to myself? An astute reader of my blog will remember that I have a problem with procrastination, especially when it comes to math.

And although an intelligent person would have learned from those torturous Algebra-filled weeks, I did not. You see, while most people learn from their mistakes, I tend to repeat mine. Maybe it's because I forget how much it stinks to do 14 lessons of math a day? My memory is patchy at best. (And people do laugh at me when I complain of having senior moments. But they are real, okay?) So, excuse me for one moment....NOTE TO SELF: Stop procrastinating on everything....Alright, I'm back now. We'll see if that works.

I have learned some valuable lessons, though. For instance, I found out that splashing water on your face actually will help keep you awake (the colder the water is, the better).

But on a more serious note, I also learned that even when I am in over my head, God is faithful.

Roughly two weeks before I graduated, I was sitting at my desk with my 20% completed geometry book in front of me, when I realized that, short of a miracle, I would never finish in time. The math lessons were harder than I expected, I was working full time, and I had overbooked myself with some political commitments. Completely overwhelmed, I started to cry, and cried out to God for help. And the instant I did, this verse popped into my head: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) It stopped me dead in my tracks, because I hadn't thought about or read that verse lately, and I could think of no rational explanation for that verse coming to me when it did. It had to have been God. So, I wrote the verse in my notebook, and started Lesson 22.

And God was faithful!

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands
But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand

In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

-Brian Littrell, "In Christ Alone"
{this song is on my playlist at the bottom of this blog}

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Oh happy day!!

"Oh happy day, oh happy day
When Jesus washed my sins away
Oh, happy day, oh, happy day
When my Jesus washed my sins away..."*

Very fittingly, I woke up this morning with this song on my mind. I say fittingly, because today I received a much-anticipated letter from Patrick Henry College. I'm afraid I rather demolished the envelope in the process of opening it, only to read the word "Congratulations!" and become an emotional wreck. (You may have heard the scream.)

This basically means that, after two years of hoping and praying, going through the rather arduous process of applying, and several weeks of suspense, I have been accepted. Praise the Lord!

So, it's a happy day!

What does this mean for this blog? Perhaps less neglect, because I've been told that PHC emphasizes writing, and I will therefore have more material to post!

I hope to blog soon** with two movie reviews.

*The song is on my playlist at the bottom of this blog if anyone cares to hear it.
** soon \'sün\ adv 1. anywhere from two seconds to several years in the future 2. roughly within the length of the Garfield Administration 3. when I start feeling guilty

Friday, April 17, 2009


I feel like I need to write another post, to atone for the really really boring post I just published. Honestly, if I hadn't written it myself, I'm sure I wouldn't read it. It's too long!!

So if you read some of it, or even just make it through the first paragraph, kudos to you! And if you read the whole thing, let me know so that I can promptly pass out. (not that I've ever fainted before, or ever would...it just sounded good.)

Actually, though, I would really appreciate some feedback on that paper, and on my writing in general. I've been informed by a friend (whose opinion was promptly corroborated by a sibling) that my sentences are too long and have too many prepositional phrases, and that sometimes by the time the end of the sentence is reached, it is difficult to remember what it started with. YES, I made that extra-long on purpose. I can write short sentences. Like this. See?

-are my sentences often too long?
-does my health care paper even make sense?
-do I consistently make grammar errors that I should know about?

Please give me your honest opinion!

Does Universal Health Care Work? (Lessons from Canada)

In recent years, there has been a push to nationalize health care in the United States. Proponents claim that this would decrease costs, make medical care more accessible, and increase the overall health of this nation. However, I believe it would do none of these. The concept of nationalized health care is not supported by sound economics, or by the results in countries that have implemented it. Canada is a current example of a country with an unsuccessful nationalized health care system. By studying the effects of the Canadian health care system and comparing with our health care system, we can determine if such a system would truly benefit our country.

For decades, economists and politicians alike have been deploring the condition of the United States health care system. Skyrocketing medical care costs, rampant waste, and the declining number of practicing physicians are touted as evidence of the seriousness of the situation. Entire books have been filled with accounts of individuals who have allegedly been denied medical care. Many feel that the relatively high percentage of uninsured Americans is yet another indication of the failings of our health care system. The United States spends more money on health care per capita than does any other industrialized nation, and yet our country is the least healthy (in terms of health outcomes) of the developed nations.1 These factors and diverse others have caused many to declare that the United States is in the midst of a health care crisis.

One proposed solution to these problems is known as universal health care. Universal health care is the catch phrase for a mandated, nationalized, government-funded, single-payer health care system. This would be a radical change from our current market-driven system. Universal health care has been debated for years, most notably during the Clinton administration, with First Lady Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt to nationalize the health care system. Now, with the beginning of the Obama administration, it is likely that the health care debate will once again gain national attention.

In 2007, then-Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech at the Families USA Conference. He expressed dismay over the current state of the nation’s health care system, and asserted that the only solution is the nationalization of health care. Furthermore, he said, “…the emergence of new and bold plans from across the spectrum has effectively ended the debate over whether or not we should have universal health care in this country.” 2 In reality, however, the debate is far from over. Universal health care is still a controversial topic. In the political world, what is promised and what is delivered are often different things. In the case of universal health care, it is fitting that we look closely at what is proposed and compare with the results in countries that have implemented such systems. In comparing our health care system with Canada’s, I will first refute several common myths regarding health result discrepancies between our nations. Then I will point out some of the major problems with the Canadian health care system.

Out of the all the wealthy, democratic nations in the world, the United States is the only country without a nationalized health care system. Perhaps the main argument made by proponents of universal health care is that these other nations all have better health care access and results than we do. Canada’s nationalized health care system is often considered a model that should be emulated by the United States. Arnold Bennett and Orvill Adams espouse this view in their book, Looking North for Health: “Canada…has an immensely successful health care system. Judging by health outcomes, it can be argued that Canada provides better care than we receive. Canadians live longer. Their babies are healthier. Their old folks are better looked after…. And they do all this while paying less for health care than we do. Because they organize it right, and we don’t.” 3

But can the health disparity between Canadians and Americans be wholly attributed to the differences in our health care systems? I think not. Many factors affect the health of a nation. These factors include the environment, behaviors and practices, culture, economic status, education levels, and even race.4

In 2005, Canada’s infant mortality rate was 5.4 (per 1000 births),5 while the infant mortality rate in the United States was 6.86 (per 1000 births).6 Proponents of universal health care would have you to believe that Canada’s lower figure is due to a health care system that provides more access to prenatal care. However, lack of prenatal care is not completely responsible for infant deaths.7 Babies born to teenage mothers are 50% more likely to be low birth weight, and therefore more likely to die in infancy, than those born to mothers of age twenty or twenty-one.8 Teen pregnancy rates are significantly higher in the United States than Canada. In 2002, the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States was 76.4 per 1000,9 and in Canada, the rate was 33.9 per 1000.10 The large number of teenage pregnancies in the United States helps to account for the higher infant mortality rate.

Race is also a big factor in infant mortality.11 The infant mortality rate among African Americans is more than double the rate for whites.12 According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “In 2005 there was a more than threefold difference in infant mortality by race and ethnicity…. many of the racial and ethnic differences in infant mortality remain unexplained.”13 In fact, the infant mortality rate for whites in the United States is only slightly higher than Canada’s total infant mortality rate.14 The United States has a much higher percentage of minority groups than Canada does.15 For example, the percentage of African Americans in the United States is 13.4%, while the percentage is only 2.5% in Canada.16 Thus, asserting that Canada’s health care system can be credited for the country’s lower infant mortality rate is a non sequitor.

Life expectancy is higher in Canada than the United States,17 but again, this cannot be attributed to Canada’s health care system. Obesity is one of the factors that affects life expectancy, and it is much more prevalent in the United States than Canada. In 2004, 34% of adults in the United States were obese (with a Body Mass Index of 30 and higher),18 while only 23.1% of Canadians were obese.19 Race also hugely affects life expectancy. In fact, “…the life expectancy at birth for an African American man is sixty-eight years, seven years less than for a white man in 1990…. African Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to develop cancer, and thirty percent more likely to die from it.”20 So although the United States has a lower life expectancy rate, and a higher infant mortality rate than does Canada, we cannot blame the American health care system for these short fallings.

Let’s move onto another common argument in the health care debate. American-made pharmaceutical drugs are more expensive in the United States than they are in Canada.21 Some would declare that this is evidence of the superiority of the Canadian health care system. However, noted American economist Thomas Sowell disagrees. He argues that pharmaceutical drugs are expensive in the United States because manufacturing companies must not only cover the cost of ingredients, but must also charge for the high cost of inventing the drugs. It can cost up to eight million dollars to create a single drug. Brand name drugs are expensive because the manufacturing companies are trying to recover the money invested in the development process. However, after the patent expires, other drug companies use that formula and market it as a generic drug. These generic drugs are less costly because their manufacturing companies do not have to charge for the cost of invention. Canada’s health care system can then make a very low offer—covering only manufacturing costs—to the American drug company, which then has the choice of selling the drugs cheaply, or losing a large amount of business. Usually it takes the former option. This is the reason for the lower drug prices in Canada.22

Although some would say that this method of forcing down prices is beneficial, I would contend that it is demonstrably counter-productive. Forcing pharmaceutical companies to accept less money than covers production costs causes both quality and the rate of invention to decline. Currently, the United States is a world leader in drug innovations.23 This is a direct result of our market-based health care system. But if we instated a government-run health care system that dictated prices to the pharmaceutical companies, our leading position in drug discoveries would be compromised. Sowell writes: “Reducing the brand-name producers’ abilities to recoup their costs means reducing the incentives for continuing the development of new drugs to deal with other diseases and conditions.”24 This is just one example of the potential negative effects that would be realized if we implemented a national health care system and the price controls that go with it.

Another inherent problem with nationalized health care is lack of funding. Dr. William E. Goodman attested to this in a speech he gave at a meeting of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. Dr. Goodman is an otorhinolaryngologist who practiced medicine in Toronto for many years both before and after the advent of nationalized health care. He said: “…the basic and unalterable flaw in any system like the Canadian model is that, in economic terms, it is an open-ended scheme with closed-end funding. In other words, the potential demands are completely unrestricted, but the money to pay for them is not.”25 Goodman maintains that lack of funding is a huge problem in Canada, and the country continually raises taxes and goes deeper into debt to pay for health care.26

Americans already suffer from a high tax burden. With a nationalized health care system, we would undoubtedly begin paying even more. Canadians do. Goodman illustrates, “If an American works full-time for a full year…the total burden of taxes is so heavy that it consumes his entire income from January 1 to May 3. …the comparable figures for a citizen of Ontario are January 1 to July 7th! A Canadian has to work over six months solely to satisfy government’s constantly increasing demand for taxes.”27 And yet, even after imposing this high tax burden, the Canadian health care system lacks the funding it needs.

One result of this lack of funding is that some Canadian physicians’ salaries are capped by the government, meaning that they can only make up to a certain amount of money per year. Once a physician has met this amount, he has absolutely no incentive to continue working, because he would not be compensated. The patients that need his services suffer the most from this arrangement, as they may need to wait many months for an appointment.28

Dr. Goodman also claims that the promised “universal access” is not a reality. Price controls and capped salaries have caused shortages, declining quality, and less access to medical care. Often, patients cannot get the medical care they need because the system does not have the finances. Yet the government has made it illegal for the patients to pay for their needs themselves. In this case, the only way to get proper treatment is to go out of country. Many do. The fact that Canadians often travel to the United States to get the medical care they need is more proof that the Canadian system is not adequately providing for its constituents.29

Besides lack of funding, the Canadian health care system is troubled by many other flaws. Loss of doctors is a major problem. Canadian physicians and other health care workers, realizing that they are not being adequately compensated for their work, either retire early or immigrate to a country where they can get proper pay. If the United States implements universal health care, our already limited number of health workers will likely dwindle as well.

These are only some of the many problems with the Canadian health care system. I believe that by studying Canada’s failures and the devastating effect of nationalized health care in that country, Americans will come to realize that universal health care is not the answer for our country. Though our system is not ideal, nationalization would only make matters worse. I am convinced that Americans can work together to find a solution that will not compromise our current standing in the world. Canada is proof that universal health care does not live up to its name, nor fulfill the promises we’ve heard from American politicians. By increasing awareness of the Canadian failure, we can prevent repeating that disaster in this nation.


1 Rudolph Mueller, As Sick as it Gets (Dunkirk, New York: Olin Frederick, Inc., 2001), 2.
2 Barack H. Obama, “The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care,” 25 January 2007, (accessed 4 April 2009).
3 Arnold Bennett and Orvill Adams, Looking North for Health (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993), 145.
4 Arthur Garson Jr. and Carolyn L. Engelhard, Health Care Half-Truths (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007), 4.
5 “Health—Infant Mortality,” 9 April 2009, (accessed 9 April 2009).
6 Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States, October 2008, (accessed 9 April 2009).
7 Garson and Engelhard, 6.
8 Kids Having Kids: A Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing, 1996,
(accessed 9 April 2009).
9 Stephanie J. Ventura, Joyce C. Abma, William D. Mosher, and Stanley K. Henshaw, “Recent Trends in Teenage Pregnancy in the United States, 1990-2002,” 15 October 2008,
(accessed 9 April 9, 2009).
10 Trends in Teen Pregnancy in Canada with Comparisons to U.S.A. and England/Wales, 2006, (accessed 16 April 2009).
11 Garson and Engelhard, 7.
12 Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States, October 2008, (accessed 9 April 2009).
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.
15 “Demographics of the United States,” (accessed 16 April 16, 2009); “Demographics of Canada,”
(accessed 16 April 2009).
16 Ibid.
17 Bennett and Adams, 129.
18 Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 4 December 2007, (accessed 16 April 2009).
19 Michael Tjepkema, “Adult Obesity in Canada: Measured Height and Weight,” 16 November 2008, (accessed 16 April 2009).
20 Garson and Engelhard, 4.
21 Thomas Sowell, “Letters About Medical Care,” 18 November 2003, (accessed 16 April 2009).
22 Ibid.
23 Thomas Sowell, Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One (New York: Basic Books, 2004), 85.
24 Ibid, 87.
25 William E. Goodman, “Can it Work? --- Anywhere?” February 1990, (accessed 16 April 2009).
26 Ibid.
27 Ibid.
28 Ibid.
29 Sowell, Applied Economics, 76.


Bennett, Arnold, and Orvill Adams. Looking North for Health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993.

“Demographics of Canada.” (accessed 16 April 2009).

“Demographics of the United States.” (accessed 16 April, 2009).

Garson, Arthur Jr., and Carolyn L. Engelhard. Health Care Half-Truths. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007.

Goodman, William E. “Can it Work? --- Anywhere?” February 1990. (accessed 16 April 2009).

“Health—Infant Mortality.” 9 April 2009. (accessed 9 April 2009).

Kids Having Kids: A Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing.
1996. (accessed 9 April 2009).

Mueller, Rudolph. As Sick as it Gets. Dunkirk, New York: Olin Frederick, Inc., 2001.

Obama, Barack H. “The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care.” 25 January
2007. (accessed 4 April 2009).

Obesity Among Adults in the United States. 4 December 2007. (accessed 16 April 2009).

Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States. October 2008. (accessed 9 April 2009).

Sowell, Thomas. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One. New York: Basic Books,2004.

---, “Letters About Medical Care.” 18 November 2003. (accessed 16 April 2009).

Tjepkema, Michael. “Adult Obesity in Canada: Measured Height and Weight.”
16 November 2008, (accessed 16 April 2009).

Trends in Teen Pregnancy in Canada with Comparisons to U.S.A. and England/Wales.
2006. (accessed 16 April 2009.

Ventura, Stephanie J., Joyce C. Abma, William D. Mosher, and Stanley K. Henshaw. “Recent Trends in Teenage Pregnancy in the United States, 1990-2002.” 15 October 2008. (accessed 9 April 9, 2009).

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's not February!

It can't be. Not yet. I am living in denial.

I'm afraid that I am officially old. Why? Because "old people" (by which I mean anyone older than I am) have always told me that time flies. And I never believed them. But now I do, and that's a scary thing.

When I was little, I was always asking my mom for things to do (with a qualifying statement quickly thrown in: "BESIDES work or school!"). Lately, I haven't had that problem. In fact, some things I'd really like to do have been thrown aside because I have no time. Yes, such as blogging.

I really was going to try to post every week this year...but (at the risk of stating the obvious) it hasn't been happening.

However, I do have a great excuse: I had to finish Saxon Algebra 2 by January 30th at midnight. (A goal my mom and I had set). Typical Jessica style, I put it off until it could be put off no longer (math and I don't get along very well), and then crammed fifty-four lessons into a couple weeks. My sister, Erika (http://www.lordsheritage.blogspot.com/ -- but don't go there because she just put up an embarrassing video starring yours truly) said "Jess, only you would try to finish eight lessons in one day!" I believe the word "procrastination" would apply here.

It's done now, though. (Finished with exactly 44 minutes to spare...that was close!) I would have liked to throw it out my window (do you have any idea how much I would enjoy that?! It would serve that book right for all the times it made me cry!), but unfortunately some of my siblings need to use it, so I can't.

I am happy to say, though, that I have learned that algebra is not hard. Saxon said so, on page 365: "Some people say that unfamiliar concepts are difficult concepts and that familiar concepts are easy concepts. These people have confused the words difficult and different. We have found that algebraic concepts that seem difficult at first are really just different, and they become familiar concepts after we have worked with them for a while. Thus we can correctly say that algebra is not difficult--it is just different."

Thank you, Mr. Saxon. I'm glad we have that little misconception cleared up. (sarcasm)

Honestly, though, I feel sorry for the guy. (Can you imagine how many kids are upset with him at any given moment?) I looked him up just now because I was curious about what he was like. He looks like a friendly guy, but I know better. Just kidding.

I think I'm starting to ramble, and I'm realizing this post is rather strange, so I will stop now.

I've recently a couple good books, and I will try post reviews of those soon. IF I ever get around to writing them. (I tend to procrastinate--have I mentioned that before?--and I sometimes start things and never

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Oak and the Acorn

I've been studying C.S. Lewis lately. His essay entitled "Two Lectures" is very thought-provoking. I would encourage everyone to read it. I would link to it, but I'm unable to find it on the internet. It can be found in this book, though. [Part of it can be read here.]

Basically, it is an essay that Lewis wrote in first person. He tells of going to a lecture where the professor, the "Real Lecturer," is teaching evolution. Lewis then goes home, and dreams about another lecturer, the "Dream Lecturer," who argues from a completely different point of view.

Here is a writing assignment I just finished, contrasting the two lecturers:

The “Real Lecturer” and the “Dream Lecturer,” from C. S. Lewis’s essay “Two Lectures,” could not possibly present a starker contrast. Ideologically, the two professors are complete opposites. This is because they each have totally different worldviews, which greatly affects their positions on the topic they are speaking on. Let’s look at some of their differences:

The Real Lecturer is stating the case for a belief in evolutionistic processes. He uses the words “upwards and onwards,” “ever-increasing perfection,” and “lower to higher” to make the point that all life evolves from primitive, underdeveloped forms and constantly improves and becomes more complex. For example, the mighty oak tree is formed from the tiny acorn. And, “The giant express engine of today comes from the Rocket,” says the Real Lecturer.

The Dream Lecturer, on the other hand, starts by saying that the “acorn comes from a full-grown oak.” He contradicts the Real Lecturer on every level. Although he does not mention God, the Dream Lecturer seems to be arguing from a Creationist’s point of view. His key phrases are “descent,” “downward movement,” and “higher to lower.” He reasons that everything comes from something more perfect and better designed than itself. “The first crude engine, the Rocket, comes, not from a still cruder engine, but from something much more perfect than itself and more complex, the mind of man, and a man of genius.”

It is evident that the lecturers’ arguments are greatly at odds with each other. Only one can be correct. C. S. Lewis comes to the conclusion that the Dream Lecturer’s premises are more logical, and I concur. While it is true that the oak tree comes from the acorn, it is also true that the acorn comes from the oak tree. It is an endless cycle.

So which came first: the oak, or the acorn? One must look to the origin of life to find the answer. Lewis writes, “You have to go outside the sequence of engines, into the world of men, to find the real originator of the Rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside Nature for the real Originator of the natural order?”

The answer is an emphatic yes. The belief that life created itself is not logical. We do not see life evolving today, nor do we ever see it spontaneously generate. When we see a painting, we assume there was a painter. In the same way, creation demands a Creator. Life is not a progression of low to high, small to large, simple to complex, or primitive to advanced. Rather, as the Dream Lecturer says, “The rude and imperfect thing always springs from something perfect and developed.” He had it right.