USA: *adopts and uses foods, festivities, music and sports from every other nation on the planet*

The World: Hey, USA, you should adopt this universal healthcare system and gun control laws that works so well in other countries, too!

USA: No, that’s unamerican.

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A self-professed “Commie-hating, Obama-hating, lead-spraying” Tea Partier named James Webb took to YouTube on Monday to announce that he is seriously considering voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election because he’s afraid that a Republican might repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Seemingly aware that his confession might be understood as hoax by conservatives and liberals alike, Webb presented his dilemma with a pained sincerity, saying that “I’m kind of having a difficult decision — I don’t know which party to vote for.”

The Democrat Party, he said, has done more for him in past 20 years than GOP.

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10 Things Germans Do Better Than Americans

“Here are 10 things Germans do better than Americans. Germany and the US are both pretty cool countries, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same across the board. 

Number 10. Engineering. Much of it comes down to training. Germany’s vocational system continues to thrive and offers learning opportunities that combine practical application and theory. Among the most sought after programs is a 3-year apprenticeship with the multi-industry innovator Siemens.

Number 9. Beer Gardens. Makeshift sidewalk cafes are plentiful in the US, but actual expansive, dedicated areas where people can sit in large groups and in some cases even bring their own food are quite rare. In Germany, on the other hand, they’re a regular thing.

Number 8. Soccer. As you may know, the 2014 World Cup title went to the German team. It’s expected that their winning streak will continue as the current team has been playing together at various levels for about 10 years, and is now well prepared for world domination.

Number 7. College Fees. The typical college graduate in Germany leaves school with no educational debt. As of October 2014, every public higher learning institution in the country is tuition-free, even for students from abroad.

Number 6. Trains. Sure, Amtrack will get you from one US locale to another, but it’s going to take a while. Thanks to high-speed rail, Germans can travel from city to city in a fraction of the time. The typical train moves at around 180 miles per hour, but express services with fewer stops are available should the regular pace not be quite quick enough.

Number 5. Sundays. It’s a serious day of rest for just about everybody, including people who work in retail. By law, stores in most areas remain closed all day long. There are a few exceptions, but those shopping places are primarily in airports and train stations.

Number 4. Paid Vacation. Employers in Germany are required to not only give workers a minimum of 24 days off a year, they have to pay them for the time away. There are no such mandates in the US, and 25% of the American workforce doesn’t even get one.

Number 3. Healthcare. In addition to healthcare coverage in Europe being generally more comprehensive, the prices of procedures are often significantly lower. For example, in 2007 numbers, a hip replacement performed in Germany cost roughly half of what it did in the US.

Number 2. Castles. One of the greatest things about countries that were architecturally active during medieval times are the amazing castles we see today. Often perched high on mountaintops, their presence lends a fairy-tale feel to the countryside.

Number 1. Driving. Considering many stretches of the Autobahn have no speed limit and analysis shows that fast driving results in more accidents, one would expect Germans to be involved way more fatal crashes than Americans. Yet, they’re not. In 2012 Germany had less than half the number the US did.

What’s your favorite thing about Germany?

(Go to their channel, it’s Americans doing this comparison with several countries.)

ROBEAR Lifts!

It’s no secret that one of the biggest drivers behind Japan’s full-court press to develop useful robotics is its aging population. Government projections indicate 40 percent of Japanese will be 65 or older by 2060. That statistic actually contains a double whammy–a greying society means that there are fewer women in their childbearing years, which leads to fewer births and a shrinking population. What Japan is left with is a major demographic headache that will make it increasingly difficult to provide all the healthcare and elderly support services the country’s citizens will need.

Potentially stepping into the breach are machines like ROBEAR, a robotic nursing assistant being developed by the Sumitomo Riko Company and RIKEN, Japan’s largest research institution. The bot is designed to lift patients from bed or a sofa and place them into a wheelchair or to help those who can walk but can’t rise from a sitting position. 

We’re just not sure if the bear head is creepier than no head at all. What do you think? Read more and see the video below.

Keep reading

Search for trans-sensitive and competent health care often frustrating, hurtful

Canada’s health-care system may be built on the premise of equal access for all, but the transgender community says the provision of services for those who don’t conform to traditional notions of male and female can be far from universal.

A common complaint is that many doctors and other medical practitioners lack an understanding of what it means to be transgender, and even seeking routine care can lead to invasive and irrelevant questions about sexual orientation and genitals.

And with some practitioners, the response to a transgender patient can be outright hostility.

“Health care is incredibly inaccessible for most trans people across the country,” says Ryan Dyck of the LGBTQ advocacy organization Egale Canada. “Finding a health-care professional outside the MTV — Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver — is pretty difficult.

Continue Reading.

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Nearly a full three-quarters of Americans believe sexual orientation should receive the same constitutional protections from discrimination as race, according to the results of a Bloomberg poll released on Friday. The poll found that less than a fifth of Americans believe LGBT people should not be considered part of a “protected class,” with 74 percent of respondents agreeing that sexual orientation should be guarded from the sort of discrimination condoned by so-called “religious freedom” laws in states such as Indiana. 

A majority of respondents also favored the Affordable Care Act and saw legalized marijuana as inevitable

Last week Georgia changed its policies regarding healthcare for transgender prisoners, partially inspired by trans inmate Ashley Diamond’s lawsuit against the state’s prison officials. 

Diamond asserted that she was not receiving proper doses of her hormonal therapy, in addition to being subjected to sexual assault by being placed in men’s facilities. Under Georgia’s old policy, trans inmates “could maintain the level of transition at which they entered prison.” But because it’s hard to prove exactly what that “level” is, and because treatment plans may change, many trans people found themselves receiving inadequate care.

The new policy states that “If a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria is reached, a treatment plan will be developed that promotes the physical and mental health of the patient. The development of the treatment plan is not solely dependent on services provided or the offender’s life experiences prior to incarceration.” (View the full standard operating procedure document provided to BuzzFeed News here.)

The change came four days after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a brief in 36-year old transgender inmate Ashley Diamond’s lawsuit against Georgia prison officials, identifying “freeze-frame” policies as unconstitutional.

“Prisoners with gender dysphoria should not be forced to suffer needlessly during their incarceration simply because they were not receiving care, or could not prove they were receiving care, in the community,” Vanita Gupta, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said at the time.

Hell yes. Safe and affirming medical care is a necessity, not a luxury.