Organ Transplant in Britain - You Must Opt Out Instead of Opting In

In the United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown has gone on record as supporting hospitals to take organs for transplant without the patient’s prior consent.

Only about 24% of the UK population has opted in to the program to donate their organs after death. So, Brown backs moving to a system of "presumed consent" whereby a dead person's organs would automatically be available for transplant unless individuals had opted out of the national register or family members objected.

Are you kidding me?!?
While they’re at it, they may as well set it up so that everyone’s life support is pulled after 24 hours, unless you opt out, and ask for 48!

Opting out generally applies to something that is an annoyance to us and we want to get rid of. We opt “out” of receiving emails from companies whose products we buy. We opt “out” of receiving phone calls from telemarketers. We don’t opt out of organ donation, we opt in.

To take a decision that is as personal and private as choosing organ donation and minimizing it to the point of saying the government has a right to your dead body is just plain wrong. This is the current set up in Spain, although they claim that they ask for prior permission before taking any organs; however, they can legally take your organs without any prior permission from you or your family members. I remember a story, years ago from Spain, when a little boy died in a car accident while on vacation from the U.S. with his family. His organs were taken without the families consent. The family was devastated when they learned what had happened.

Thank goodness we live in a country where (with a few exceptions) we can decide what happens to us when we are alive… and dead.

Tips on Saving Gas -- And Your Gas Money

Here in Denver, we are paying over $4 a gallon now, so I thought I would share a few tips of saving gas that were recently forwarded to me. I know a lot of you are paying even more. And while this may be off-topic for this blog, it’s a situation that is affecting us all -- metaphorically, we’re all dying at the pump these days...

I have heard a lot of these before but never knew the reasons behind them. I adapted this list from an unnamed worker for Kinder Morgan Pipeline in San Jose, CA.

• Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold.
Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the
temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

• When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see
that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

• One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves a zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

• Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up--most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

• Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:
‣ Sunoco
‣ Conoco
‣ Sinclair
‣ BP/Phillips
‣ Hess

All of this information is available from the Department of Energy as each is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.

A Consumer Guide to Funerals

The last blog in our series about free government brochures is Funerals: A Consumer Guide. However, the catch with this brochure is… it’s a dollar. Not a high price by any means but the Federal Trade Commission wrote it and evidently they want a dollar for every copy sold!

I think that the FTC has done a fair job regulating the funeral industry in this country, and don’t really have a beef with their federal laws, after all, I’m a consumer too.

However, this is the only brochure I’ve reviewed for you that I really don’t like and wouldn’t recommend. It reads like it was written by a very angry person that doesn’t like funeral service. I realize that sometimes unfortunate situations may occur surrounding the events of a funeral; but 99.9% of the funeral directors in this country are upstanding members of their community and are working very hard to serve their families in their time of need.

The language in the brochure is a little scary at times, and makes it sound like it’s not a matter of “if” something goes wrong, but rather “when” something goes wrong. Providing information without bias to an industry or those serving in it is what should be done. It is a disservice to the public to make them feel like they are going to get ripped off before they even meet their local funeral director.

Here’s an example from the brochure of what I mean: “So it’s in the seller’s best interest to start out by showing you higher-end models. If you haven’t seen some of the lower priced models on the price list, ask to see them- but don’t be surprised if they’re not prominently displayed, or displayed at all.” It is not in the best interest of the funeral director to sell a casket to a family that the family can’t afford, have a receivable on the book for a year, and eventually have to take a loss because they could never collect. A smart funeral director will sell a casket to a family that serves the family’s needs, is affordable to them, and the funeral director doesn’t have to carry a receivable on.

Here’s another example in the context of speaking about the funeral director, “They make take advantage of the clients through inflated prices, overcharges, double charges or unnecessary services. “ There are bad apples in every industry and funeral service is no different. But it’s in very poor taste for the FTC to make the consumer feel bad about decisions they haven’t even made yet. And, oh yeah, who was it that wanted the dollar for this brochure? That’s right, the FTC.