No matter what type of home improvement product you need there are some basic planning strategies that you will need to do in order to get the right tools and materials to get the job done right. There are many types of home improvement products on the market. This article will discuss some of the best projects and products to consider. Discover where to find the proper tools and most importantly how to save time and money on the right home improvement product for the job.Planning the right project will depend on what you hope to accomplish. There are many types of home improvements to consider. First you must take into consideration if this will be a project for the inside of your home or outside. Will you need a home improvement product for summer or winter? Let’s look at both options in more detail.Summer time projectsThere is nothing better than seeing the sun come out in the morning. Something about summer just brings life into most souls. Yes, it is time to get out that home improvement project idea. One of the best projects you can do is fixing up the lawn. There are many good home improvement product supplies for lawn care. You could add a planter box or two to the front of your home. Thinking of having some friends over for a barbeque? A new deck may be in order.Building the deck of your dreams could be a bit expensive, but with the right home improvement product information you could save hundreds of dollars. There is no need to get the most expensive home improvement product materials on the market. Do some competitive searching and see what is available. Ask your local building supply store for some practical advice. Perhaps they have some wood that have a few defects (usually called seconds), but those defects will not be noticed when you build your deck. This could save you a lot of money in just one project. Get some good plans and you’re off and building…The internet is one of the best resources available for finding good building plans and the proper home improvement product for the job. Just do a simple search online and you will find many great ideas to go with. Use some key words in your search like home improvement plans or home improvement product. I did a quick search and found nearly one hundred thousand search results for the term home improvement product.Good winter time projectsYou may want to fix up a bedroom or bathroom in the winter time. Often times you can simply add a new piece of furniture and add some pictures to create a nice look and feel. Just remember no matter what you choose to do, make it a habit to visit your local store and internet for the best ideas on home improvement products. Have fun and enjoy your projects.
A constant of martial arts has always been new styles popping up all the time. For as long as there have been organized fighting systems there have been people putting there own unique spin on them. Every martial art was of course created by someone and often they had rather short time in the arts. Take, for example, an upstart 22 year old who studied martial arts for only 6 years before creating his own art and later took the rank of 12th Dan, he called his art Judo. However, it seems that in perhaps the first time in history the creation of new martial arts is widely shunned.It isn’t really that hard to understand why; today it seems that people want to study for only a couple years and then create a new art declaring themselves 10th degree grandmasters. This happens all the time. In fact, I recently watched part of a taped martial arts seminar where high ranking martial artists were encouraged to come and share their knowledge and I saw a few even have the words “Grandmaster” printed on the back of their uniform.There is a push-back in the martial arts against people creating new martial arts and if you really boil it down I think it is an argument for quality. There are a lot of actual masters out there that you could spend the rest of your life learning from and still find they have more to teach. In the rush to put out new styles people often don’t uncover the depth of knowledge already available in the martial arts.If you ask a lot of long time martial art instructors if they think it is OK to create your own art most will say “no.” They will say that you should find great instructors and study what is already out there because there are lifetimes worth of information already in the arts. I certainly agree with this logic but I don’t agree with it not being “OK” to create a new art. For me it is a matter of time spent in study.When I was kid I found that I didn’t really care for people my own age. Kids my own age seemed reckless and, well… stupid. After observing people for a few years I came up with the theory that anyone under age 20 was, more or less, stupid. People in their 20′s I believed to be naive and it wasn’t until a person turned 30 that I thought they had spent enough time on the Earth to begin to really get things down. I still hold this belief to a large degree.Growing up almost all my friends were over 40. It was those people that I thought I could really learn from. When it came time to learn martial arts I looked at it the same way. I was lucky to find a great and very knowledge instructor who had been in the arts for over 40 years. He introduced me to people who had 35 to 50 years in the martial arts and I took the time to learn all I could from their wealth of information.One thing I noticed from these men is that they didn’t look so much as a person’s rank as they did time in the arts. I found that “old timers” considered anyone with less than 20 years of active study in the martial arts to be a beginner. I knew some 6th degrees with less than 20 years in and it seemed weird to think of them as beginners.Their reasoning is that it took about 20 years to learn the basics, get your technique down, get a higher rank, spend some time teaching, promote a few people to upper black belt, get some experience with other styles and points of view, and see some fads come and go to really get a grasp on how things worked. I took their word for it then but now that I have 25 years in I think that they’re right. After 25 years when I see someone put on a black belt after only 3 or 4 years of study and think that they are an “expert” or that they’re ready to teach I have to laugh. I want to tousle their hair and say, “go get ‘em slugger” as I send them in to teach a couple colored belts they’re new techniques.In this world where everyone wants something right now, no one seems to have an patience, and most people only study the arts for a couple of years, I find that as I look for my peers I look at rank less and less and instead look for people who have been in it as long or longer than me Looking at it this way new arts are inevitable.For someone who has been in the arts for 6 or 7 years and has maybe a 1st or 2nd degree in one or two styles they probably have the ability to rearrange the techniques they have been taught to look like a new art but they don’t have the depth of understanding for it to actually be a new art. But what about after 15 years of serious study? After 15 years of study they surely have their own spin that they put on their material. They’ve taken their instructor’s teachings and adjusted them to their personal body type and ability and added a few things that they picked up along the way from fellow martial artists.What about after 25 or 30 years of serious study? What about after 40? After that amount of time you have two kinds of people: those that have devoted the entire time to only one or two arts and have put their own spin on their instructors teachings and have created their own unique version of their art, and you have people who have studied several arts over the course of that time. If you look at the way someone who has spent that amount of time studying numerous arts trains during their private workouts you will find a new martial art unique to their personal experiences, abilities, and tastes.My principal instructor, who I learned with from beginning at age 8, just called what he taught me “Kenpo.” It wasn’t until I was much older and started asking specific questions that I learned that what he was teaching me wasn’t one art but a mixture of everything he had learned over the 40 years of studying the martial arts. He told me that “this” was from Okinawan Karate which he had studied as a teenager, and “that” was from the Dragon or Cobra styles he had learned while in Taiwan, “that thing there” was from “Iron Palm,” and “this other thing here” was from a style called “Choy Li Ho Fut Hung” that he learned from this master out in California that had a fondness for Hawaiian shirts. He called what he did Kenpo because after 40 years when he looked at the breadth of knowledge he had some of it was from the Japanese/Okinawan systems and some of it was from the Chinese systems. He didn’t call himself Grandmaster or have a fancy title but he did teach a martial art that was uniquely his own.So yes, I think it is just fine to create an art but I don’t think that that should be your goal because if it is then it is probably simply self-serving. Instead I think you should study the martial arts in earnest and after 30 years or so you will have built a new art out of your experience and it will have happened by itself out of the simple wanting to learn more and get better each and every day.
The preference for minimal government oversight and ideas of individualism are responsible for the way American health care system is structured. However, access to health insurance and health care has been a pressing issue in this nation for a long time; rated by the WHO as one of the worst among industrialized countries, the United States’ health care system is too costly and fails to cover everybody. Despite president Obama’s attempt to bring about change, many continue to question the effectiveness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the concerning both costs and overall coverage. The issues regarding health care reform directly affect the feasibility of the American Dream because adequate health care and insurance are necessary to full citizen participation and it is the government’s responsibility to provide access. I believe that given this nation’s strong anti-statist values it will be difficult to implement a federal health care policy; therefore it is more feasible for states to create health reforms like the one in Massachusetts and ensure universal health care.In 2007, the US health system presented many problems concerning the amount of people who were both uninsured and underinsured and the fast rise of insurance premiums causing many Americans to report debts and problems due to medical bills (Commonwealth Fund Commission, 232). The cost of American health care is inarguably one of the major setbacks of the system; it is the highest amongst those of other industrialized nations but not necessarily more effective. For instance, a case study in the town of McAllen, Texas, shows how the overuse of medicine and the “fee for service” incentives available to doctors can really drive up the cost of medicine. McAllen is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country where most doctors focus less on preventive care and more on running extra tests, services and procedures out of fear of malpractice, influenced by differences in training, or simply to make a few extra dollars. (Gawande, 340-342). Although the situation in McAllen might be an extreme example, it does not fail to explain how the “culture of money” partly affects the cost of health care system. Unlike systems such as Canada and Japan, the American government plays a minimal role in bargaining down prices or setting price standards, this lack of control allows doctors and medical institutions to often purchase the latest technology, but not the most efficient (Klein, 256). Nevertheless, doctors are not to be labeled as the villains because private insurance companies add to the problem by expending a quarter and a third of their revenues on administrative costs (Weissert and Weissert, 350).The high number of uninsured Americans (45 million in 2007), is another disconcerting fact regarding the downfalls of the American health care system; it is unfortunate that in an industrialized nation, once considered the most powerful in the world, people are often forced to put their career dreams on hold in order to gain access to employer based insurance. This has a negative impact on the nation’s economic and political development because people who could create the latest technological innovations are “locked” at Wal-marts and the likes. Low income uninsured families like Greg and Loretta, who struggle to keep their children healthy, lose all faith in the American dream and essentially become a burden for the rest of society. Some argue that good health is a personal responsibility, and yes eating a burger everyday will obviously have negative impacts on a person’s health and they should be held accountable for those poor choices. Consequently, some would blame Greg and Loretta for their unfortunate condition, but the question is; how can their children be expected to become productive citizens if they lack basic health care? The American Dream encourages individualism, but individuals cannot perform to the best of their abilities if they lack the necessary tools to do so.In 2006, the state of Massachusetts passed an “ambitious” health care reform that improved access to care and lowered the rate of uninsured working age adults; in spite of its high costs, this plan exemplifies how reforms at the state level can perhaps be easier to implement and regulate, consequently having successful results. The plan is essentially composed of three parts: expansion of the state’s Medicaid progress (establishing income-related subsidies), creating new private insurance plan open to individuals, and lastly it requires that both individuals and employers participate in the health insurance system or pay a fine. Furthermore, it provides individuals with the alternative to buy from private insurers if they do not have access through an employer (Long, 321). Mixing public and private markets achieves near-universal and gives citizens options.Two of the most important elements of this reform are the certainty of having access to coverage in the case of unexpected unemployment and not having to worry about rejection due to pre-existing conditions (Kaiser Family Foundation, 325). The economic downturn has and continues to hurt many families, many jobs are uncertain and health insurance is no longer secure, therefore by making sure citizens continue to have access to health coverage, the state of Massachusetts is essentially contributing to the overall development of the nation’s economy. When people are not worried about paying astronomical medical bills, they have more time and money to spend on purchasing houses, cars, etc which ultimately results in consumerism and more profits. Lastly, the Massachusetts provides citizens with high quality care that allows them to make regular doctor visits and access specialists, tests and medications as needed (Kaiser Family Foundation, 328). This approach is similar to the preventive care practiced in countries like Great Britain; essentially it is more beneficial for both the doctor and the patient to treat any conditions before they get out of hand.Although the Massachusetts health care reform has proved to make significant improvements, like any other reform it has its downsides which may lead people to focus on the inequities and overlook the success. For instance many Massachusetts residents believe that more education about key aspects of the health reform would help better understand how the programs work. Residents are specifically interested in income limits to qualify and how to apply for coverage (Kaiser Family Foundation, 331). It is expected that citizens have questions about newly implemented programs and that they may not understand specific medical, political or economic jargon, but this is not a major concern because education can be easily provided. On the other hand, some would argue that the high cost of this plan is indeed a significant problem which must be addressed; nevertheless Massachusetts legislators are aware of the cost and are working to stabilize the finances. Firstly, they want a new payment of method that rewards prevention and effective control of chronic disease instead of paying according to the quantity of care provided. Secondly, the commission is looking to reimburse physicians for episodes of care rather than individual visits. Health experts agree that if Massachusetts is able to implement this changes, it will be as “audacious an achievement as universal healthcare” (Sack, 334-336).Today, the future of president Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is somewhat uncertain. Republicans want to repeal it and skeptics argue that it is not going to solve the existing problems. Although this reform promises desirable aspects like overall coverage and cost reductions, the results are solely based on projection, making it difficult to guarantee that it is going to be successful. The Massachusetts health care plan has already been implemented and proved to create significant improvement. Essentially this model presents an effective alternative for health care reform and it celebrates the values of anti-statism by allowing states to make their own decisions.Works Cited
Commonwealth Fund, “Why not the Best: Results from the National Scorecard on US Health Performance”. July 2008
Gawande, Atul. “The Cost Conundrum”: What a Texas town can teach us about health care. The New Yorker 1 June 2009
Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Uninsured: A Primer”. October 2008
Klein, Ezra. “The Health Nations: How Europe, Canada, and Our Own VA Do Health Care Better”. The American Prospect. 7 May 2007
Long, Sharon K. “On the Road to Universal Coverage: Impacts of Reform in Massachusetts at one year”. The Commonwealth Fund. June 2008
Sack, Kevin. “Massachusetts Faces Costs of Big Health Care Plan”. The New York Times. 16 March 2009