Tonight's Colbert Report

I couldn’t laugh at The Word segment tonight. It hit way too close to home. I’m working as a waitress for way too little money in hopes of getting insurance so that I can stop paying COBRA, because if my insurance ever runs out no one will cover my cancer and I’ll be poor forever trying to pay for treatment if it ever comes back, which it often does with thyroid cancer. I’m looking at getting a second job. For this American worker, it’s not funny at all.

Paging Robert Sharp to this thread to extoll the virtues of the US healthcare system…

I had no idea there were food service jobs that have health insurance. Do you have to be full-time? My gf waitresses and bartends at a jazz club, and they don’t even have a gimp to clean the men’s room.

They only have insurance because they are owned by a larger, local company that offers insurance to everyone to maintain a good reputation with the community. But they still pay the $2.13 an hour for servers. Fuck.

Well, the free universal healthcare I got from the UK’s NHS was singularly awesome for my minor outpatient needs, but I hear they are running out of money and that the system is going to implode any second now.

Don’t know what else to say, besides that I wish you a relatively bitch- and asshole-free day at work.

Oh. A friend was telling me about a cancer treatment that’s undergoing human trials right now involving nanotechnology and atoms of gold. They chain gold atoms into ball-like structures that cancer cells find irresistable, and once the cancerous cells have gobbled enough gold, they burn them with microwaves or lasers or something. No harm is done to the noncancerous tissue.

The gold balls are hollow, so they can also inject medication into the gold balls to deliver localized chemotherapy. You don’t have to poison the entire patient, but just the cancer cells.

That has to be the most badass treatment for an illness I’ve ever heard.

But they still pay the $2.13 an hour for servers.

States that still allow this are fuckers.

Many would stay that the government in Angie’s state has the second-most dense fucker population in the union, directly after D.C.

I would agree with that.

I saw something like that at Photonics West last week, I think they have a very complex method of building clumps of quantum dots with nasty radicals inside them, and they have some trick to get the cancer cells to eat them. Then they can heat them up with lasers at a specific resonant frequency, they break open and kill the cells they are in. Maybe I can track down the paper, if you are interested.

They’ve been saying this for as long as I’ve been alive: I remember seeing talking heads on TV in the early 1980’s dooming the NHS to death by the next election.

$2.13 an hour? Holy fuck. That’s actually a legal minimum wage for waitstaff in Texas? That’s incredible.

It was the same for NY ( and it still my be ) a few years ago. I think NJ is also the same. Its really fucked up when you take a look at it.

It’s the minimum in most places. The theory is that waitstaff rely on tips, and thus can be paid less by law. Fair or not, you’re hardly getting a unique shafting on this.

H.

In the spirit of fairness, states that use lowball minimum wages for waitstaff also require them to fill out forms claiming the amount of tips they receive so that tip income can be taxed. If the lowball wait staff wage + the tips doesn’t equal the normal minimum wage then the employer owes the wait staff the difference.

So no, the minimum wage for wait staff isn’t really lower than any other profession. They employer is just allowed to let tips make up part of it.

Wow. And here I thought Alberta was stingy when I was in highschool and the minimum wage was $5/hr. I think nowadays it’s more like $6.50.

I worked on a technology similar to this not long ago, basically creating nanotechnology approaches to vector cancer killing agents directly to the tumors. The problem with many cancer drugs is that they are as toxic to the body as they are teh cancer (which makes sense based on the structure of the tumors) so you can’t get as high a dosage as you’d like. So if you can put the anti-tumor agent in a “carrier” and vector it directly to the tumor, you can get an effectively much higher dosage of the drug to the tumor.

We tried shrinking people down really small and putting them in a tiny submarine, but apparently someone already had the patent on that. (We did have a slide with a picture of the little sub from the movie in our presentations. ;) )

Yeah, that’s the basic idea. These guys had q-dot clusters, I think, and they were able to light them up and demonstrate that they congregate specifically in cancer cells and that they can be opened with radiation while in the cells. This is all on a microscope slide, though, I think.

This talk was late in the conference, and not related to why I was there, so I don’t have it in my notes. Maybe I’ll bump into the abstract again, though.

Sweden doesn’t have minimum wage laws. Sucks to be us, eh?

Well there are benefits and drawbacks to having a minimum wage, but overall I think it is better to have it. Otherwise workers can get exploited too easily.

The waiter thing is just odd though. They base it on the fact that in an average hour, you will almost certainly make back the difference in tips. That’s probably true in most cases, but it still doesn’t equal a well paying job. At least in many cases. A lot depends on where you work. Do waiters ever get benefits either? Angie, are you saying you are trying to make the money to buy your own insurance, or that somehow the waiting job will cover your insurance (or partially pay it)?

What was the segment about? I didn’t see it.