Man Up!

In Monday's edition of the Kansas City Star Mary Sanchez included an organization called Man Up! in her report titled Respect of women is key to manhood. She quotes Matt Sharples, a 41-year-old KC area entrepreneur who serves on the board of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, saying:
“When 97% of all sexual assaults, for example, are perpetuated by men — I think it’s high time we start calling this problem what it really is — a problem of manliness, or what it means to be 'a man'”.
“Men really need to have some serious ‘man-to-man’ dialogue about abuse, sexuality, masculinity, boundaries, pornography, healthy relationships, victim-blaming, drug-facilitated rape, etc., etc., and all the influences that serve to define what it really is to ‘be a man’ nowadays.”
I like what Matt says. Man Up! (a program that enlists men as allies to women) offers this advice: Sexual violence is everyone’s problem. Here are five things men can do:
  1. Question your attitudes — understand how your attitudes and actions might inadvertently demean women and perpetuate sexual violence.
  2. Don’t be a silent bystander — if a brother, friend, co-worker or teammate is disrespectful to girls and women, don’t look the other way. Speak up.
  3. Mentor and teach young boys how to be respectful men who don’t degrade or abuse girls and women.
  4. Refuse to support any media (music, movies, magazines, Web sites, etc.) that degrade or promote the abuse of women.
  5. Be an ally to those working to end sexual violence. Support organizations and events publicly and financially.
For more information and links to other programs, go to their blog.

The Lottery as a Tax Break

A lottery is the perfect tax...laid only upon the willing. -George Washington

State run lotteries: think of them as tax breaks for the intelligent. -Evan Leibovitch

Lotteries, a tax upon imbeciles. -Camillo di Cavour

The lottery is a tax on people who flunked math. -Monique Lloyd

I guess I think of lotteries as a tax on the mathematically challenged. -Roger Jones

I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not. -Fran Lebowitz

Not everyone in Oregon gambles. But to succeed a lottery needs a class of people who are problem gamblers and pathological gamblers. -David Leslie

Once you've opened that Pandora's box of selling lottery tickets, it's difficult to say you're going to sell them here and not there. But to have them on sale in places you go because you're strapped for cash, that ought to be thought about. There's something to that, that ... doesn't seem to be the best public policy. -Bill Rowe

If you really want something in this life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers. -Dan Castellaneta

The TEA Party

Have you heard about this new political "party"? They are holding rallies around the country on Tax Day, April 15th, this year. I am not planning to attend the one in my county because I don't think they make a difference. Maybe you can share a few thoughts about why you might attend one of these events.

Kansas Late-Term Abortionist Aquitted

A jury in Wichita acquitted late-term abortion doctor George Tiller of 19 abortion-related charges Friday. Here is a clip from his testimony in that trial:
Under questioning from Assistant Atty. Gen. Barry Disney, Tiller said that he charges $6,000 for abortions of fetuses that are "viable," or able to live outside the womb. He performs 250 to 300 such abortions a year, he said, and about 30% of his gross income is profit.
Yeah.. this is one of the sadder times to be a Kansan.. actually a sad time to be a human.. I really don't have much else to say.

Scary Future for Blogging Addict

Not me.. No MacBook for me :)

Pulpit Teleprompters

As I was reflecting on my Obama teleprompter post I had a thought about how Billy Graham memorized his sermons and how similar that is to using a teleprompter.. and I started wondering how most pastors, priests or rabbis deliver their messages.

I am not a great speaker.. when I do speak (occasionally these days at our local jail) I use an outline and generally speak extemporaneously from notes in my outline.. I spend quite a bit of time preparing but leave room for a bit of inspiration as I speak. Tuesday I am using a few songs to help communicate my thoughts about Jesus healing broken hearts. I also like to use an over head projector to help narrate my message.. check out my delivery style here.

I have seen folks deliver teachings via memorization, outline and pure unprepared extemporanious speech. I generally prefer folks who are neither too rigid (aka teleprompter) nor too loose (aka unprepared). How does your minister deliver their message? Do they weave technologies like overhead projection, music and video into their presentation? What is your preference?

Threes About Me

My friend Kirk sent me his threes via email. To celebrate Friday I list mine here.

Three Names I have been called:
  1. Bob
  2. Robert
  3. KB
Three Jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Soldier
  2. Software Designer
  3. Pastor
Three places I have lived:
  1. New York
  2. Texas
  3. Kansas
Three TV Shows that I watch:
  1. The Office
  2. Law and Order
  3. Morning Joe
Three places I have been:
  1. Hong Kong, China
  2. Manila, Philippines
  3. Vancouver, Canada
Three people that e-mail me regularly:
  1. Friends
  2. Bloggers
  3. Spammers
Three of my favorite foods:
  1. Pizza
  2. Barbeque
  3. Alaskan King Crab
Three things I am looking forward to:
  1. Spring (my favorite time of year)
  2. Vacation with Ann
  3. Seeing Jesus
You are invited to celebrate Friday with me.. this one is pretty simple to do. Feel free to list your threes either here in the comments or at your place.. and let me know if you do.

Fusion Centers give Me the Creeps

Over the past week I have read a few blog posts that have included information about Fusion Centers. The concerns seem to stem from a Fox News article that created an uproar when it reported:

"If you're an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group."
The article told about Fusion Centers that

"were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site."
In 2007 the American Civil Liberties Union complained saying:

"These new fusion centers, over 40 of which have been established around the country, raise very serious privacy issues at a time when new technology, government powers and zeal in the "war on terrorism" are combining to threaten Americans' privacy at an unprecedented level."
I think that President Bush opened a can of worms with the Patriot Act and these other forms of domestic spying. The Fox News and the ACLU articles bring up very important questions about the role of our government in our private lives. I agree with this ACLU recommendation:

New institutions like fusion centers must be planned in a public, open manner, and their implications for privacy and other key values carefully thought out and debated. And like any powerful institution in a democracy, they must be constructed in a carefully bounded and limited manner with sufficient checks and balances to prevent abuse.
I was sad to read that the new fusion centers have not conformed to these vital requirements. I am not a paranoid person but this stuff gives me the creeps.

AIG: Rich Man Angst

The following are a few excerpts from a letter of resignation sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.
"I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down."
"The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it."

"On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients."
You can view the entire letter (published by the NY Times) here. I had mixed emotions as I read Mr. DeSantis' letter.. at first I started to enter into his angst and began to resonate with his feelings. Then I realized that I was reading the narcissistic thoughts of a very very wealthy man. He does not see himself as a part of the problem at all because he was not involved in the precise part of AIG that caused their downfall. His million dollar plus payment seemed an appropriate compensation for him even though his company as a whole failed and had to be bailed out by the US taxpayer.

His complaint would have been so much more genuine if his annual compensation was not so extravagant. I mean really.. are we to feel sorry for this man who has probably bankrolled mega-millions over the past few years? I think that his letter is sadly representative of the problem. What do you think?

Obama's Teleprompter Blog

Replete with Twitter and Facebook companions, as well as 1163 followers, I present to you a new blog authored by Barack Obama's Teleprompter.

Personally, I am outraged that the new president uses a teleprompter.. why can't he be more like the former president and just wing it? The late night comedians would like it so much more :)


I have been using email almost 20 years and sometimes wonder if people ever really think about what they are doing when they hit send. Here are a few thoughts that I found, along with my comments, on the topic of Email Etiquette from this website:
  1. Be concise and to the point. -Put it in an attachment or link to it if it is really long.
  2. Make it personal. -That is kind of the point of email.. make sure to add an introductory comment if you are forwarding a message. 
  3. Answer swiftly.  -I sometimes send a reply to someone when I am busy saying that I got the message and plan to get back to them soon. 
  4. Do not attach unnecessary files. -Large files can cause downloading to be slow.
  5. Do not write in CAPITALS. -Every now and then I get one of these.. they are annoying.
  6. Don't leave out the message thread. -Even when you reply it is good to leave the original message(s).. people do get mail from other people :)
  7. Read the email before you send it. -Always good to proofread your stuff.
  8. Do not overuse Reply to All. -Not everyone needs to hear what you have to say.
  9. Mailings: use the bcc: field. -It is never a good idea to send a mass mailing out with email addresses exposed.. others may not want their address published.
  10. Do not use email to discuss confidential information. -You never know where your email will end up.. use discretion.
  11. Use a meaningful subject. -This is one of pet peeves.. especially when there is no subject at all.
  12. Don't forward virus hoaxes and chain letters. -Even if they say prayer request. Do I even have to say more?
  13. Don't reply to spam. -Even unsubscribing to a list can cause you problems becuase it tells the spammers that you read their message.
How about you? Any stories or tips to share?

Teenage Bernie Madoff

Unstoppable Inspiration

A Civilized Driving Age

What do you think the legal driving age was on Tatooine? Do you think that Luke Skywalker was ever pulled over for speeding around in his Landspeeder? According to this article reported this week by a Kansas TV station:
The age for getting an unrestricted Kansas driver's license could soon be going up from age 16 to 17. The Kansas Senate today voted yes, by a 35-5 margin, to make House Bill #2143 a law. The House earlier voted in favor of changing the unrestricted driving age.

The bill, that would require teens to have a learner's permit a year before becoming unrestricted, could soon be on the Governor's desk to be signed into law. Local law officers are praising the idea, calling it a move that could save lives. Also, some local motorists seem to favor the idea
I have never liked the legal driving age of 16 here in Kansas.. I had brown hair (sort of) before my teens began driving. Growing up in New York I had to wait until I was the civilized age of 18 to drive a car.. so I have never really understood the driving laws in Kansas. a bit barbaric if you ask me :)

What do you think the legal driving age should be? What is it where you live?

Stop-Loss Stopped

I was glad to hear the news this week that the US government's Stop-Loss policy is coming to an end. This unpopular practice has prevented tens of thousands of active-duty soldiers and reservists from leaving military service on time if they were scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Here are a few excerpts from a New York Times article about the announcement:
According to Pentagon statistics, 13,200 people are now under stop-loss orders: 4,458 in the Army National Guard, 1,452 in the Army Reserve and the rest from the active component. The Army said Wednesday that it would provide additional pay of $500 a month to those currently affected by the policy, retroactive to last October.
“The stop-loss policy is one that has been expanded and abused for too long,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of, “and it is a significant and positive sign that the president plans to largely end it.”

“If we had to point to one policy that has placed the most strain on our troops and their families, and adversely affected the morale and readiness of our forces, it would be stop-loss,” Mr. Soltz added.
My son was affected and forced to stay in the service an extra six months even though his last several months was spent stateside cleaning equipment. I am glad that the president is ending this practice.

Bugatti Veyron

For Bugatti's 100th anniversary, the company created the Bleu Centenaire version of the Veyron, and showed it off at the 79th Geneva auto show. As with previous special editions, the Bleu Centenaire is cosmetic, with a custom paint job using a special shade of blue and combining matte and gloss elements. Read more here.

Crassness vs Civility

Last week my good friend Jim told a story of how his son told him that there seemed to be a lot fewer idiots on the road when his mom drove him to school. We both laughed about it because we know how impatient we guys can get with other drivers on the road. We get angry and mouth off something crass.. but of course "Christian" crass.. our kids hear it and take note.

Lately there has been a lot of debate about talk radio hosts and the republican party. Folks seem to feel an obligation to defend the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter focusing on their "conservative" message and ignoring the crassness of their presentation.. of course this kind of rude and crass behavior is not limited to an ideology.. just turn on Keith Olbermann some night for proof.

I really don't want to debate the ideology of either of those folks but simply want to say that I long for a return of civility in politics and political discussion.. and I hope for a day when ideas are discussed and people are not called idiots.. and I will try to be a bit more patient when I am driving.. and maybe even when I am blogging :)

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. -Proverbs 17:28

Virtually 52.9

HT Teena! Click here to check your virtual age!

Happy St Patrick's Day

The 9-12 Project

Squawk radio and TV host Glenn Beck has a website going that has this in its stated goals:
The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001.

We want to get everyone thinking like it is September 12th, 2001 again.
Involved with this mission is the embracing of nine principles and twelve values. Here are the principles:
  1. America is good.
  2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
  8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
I frankly struggle over number 1 on the list. In the past we have not been so good.. just ask Native Americans.. or African Americans.. or persecuted union organizers.. and others that hoped in vain for our goodness. When it comes to our government I think that our "good" is sometimes a reflection of protectionism or just good policy done in our own self-interest. But sometimes we are good.. we are a major force in world relief and charitable efforts.. so maybe #1 might say something different about out country.. any ideas?

I am not sure that number 2 represents the place we were on 9/12/01.. I think that most Americans do not center on God.. I might be wrong. I am not sure that many of the other principles.. while good in themselves.. are uniquely American. I feel the same way about the 12 values that they present.

What do you think? Do you think that a website like this one makes a difference?

Are you excessively compensated?

The average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $13.51 million in total compensation in 2005, according to executive compensation watchdog Executive Pay Watch. That sounds like a lot, but is it really? What constitutes "excessive"? And what does it mean to be "compensated"? Are you excessively compensated? Take our quiz below and find out. Count every "yes" answer as one point.
  1. Are you compensated financially for your work?
  2. Are you eligible for performance-related bonuses?
  3. Do you receive any non-financial compensation (i.e., positive feedback, hard candy)?
  4. Is there a first-aid kit somewhere in your place of employment?
  5. Does your employer provide "holidays" such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and weekends?
  6. Do you bank personal frequent-flier miles when flying at your company's expense?
  7. Has another employee ever fixed your malfunctioning software, free of charge?
  8. Have you ever expensed a meal that included extraneous items such as soup or pie?
  9. Are you allowed to work from home during sick days?
  10. Do you now make more than you did at one point in time?

0-5: You are excessively compensated. Your compensation package most closely resembles Big Lots CEO Steven Fishman and popular actor Shavar Ross (a.k.a. Dudley on Diff'rent Strokes)

6-8: You are excessively overcompensated. Your compensation package most closely resembles former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken.

9-10: You are in the top 20% of excessive overcompensation. Your compensation package most closely resembles former Tyco CEO Dennis Koszlowski and 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney.

Don't argue your results with me.. check out the Motley Fools instead :)

AIG: Smarter than Congress


A few excerpts from George Stephanopoulos' interview yesterday with President Obama's top economics adviser Lawrence Summers on the subject of insurance giant American International Group's plan to award senior executives hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and retention pay:

"There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what's happened at AIG is the most outrageous," said Summers, chairman of the White House National Economic Council. "What that company did, the way it was not regulated, the way no one was watching, what's proved necessary, it is outrageous," Summers said.

In a phone call Wednesday to AIG CEO Edward Liddy, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said it was unacceptable for the company to give out tens of millions of dollars in bonuses for senior executives after the government committed $170-billion to keep the struggling company afloat -- far more government bailout money than has been awarded to any other firm.

In a letter to Geithner Saturday, AIG's chairman and CEO agreed to restructure some of the payments. But Liddy wrote, "quite frankly, AIG’s hands are tied," arguing the firm would risk a lawsuit if it scrapped the bonuses.

Liddy also wrote the government's demands could affect AIG's ability to retain "the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses" if "employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury."
Like it or not AIG has the US taxpayer over a barrel.. our congress gave them a boatload of cash before we read the fine print.. AIG played us well. The AIG CEOs' letter seems to be a reactionary response to Geithner's phone call.. I am sure that he would have done nothing before the call.. maybe this personal approach is just what these folks need? Maybe President Obama needs to make the next phone call? Maybe we all need to give him a call and express our outrage?

When the world went mad..

Got this in my email inbox this week.. it is a good reminder of what can happen when evil rules the day. It reminds me of this quote credited to Edmund Burke:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."


Yeah.. I Twitter.. I Facebook.. I Blog.. my name is Bob and I am an addict.

Cinema Surprises

In an article bearing the same name as this post Christianity Today offers a few thoughts on "movie surprises".. films that folks weren't necessarily expecting much from, but were wowed enough to leave an impression. Here are a few from their readers feedback:
  • Rudy, with its realistic portrayal of working-class life (something you just don't see from Hollywood)
  • Years ago, Rocky caught me totally off guard. More recently, O Brother, Where Art Thou? did it again.
  • Bruce Almighty and Liar, Liar both totally surprised me as I had Jim Carrey pegged as playing only certain types of roles that I did not enjoy.
  • I decided on a whim to check out Galaxy Quest with my boys. It has since become one of our all-time favorite films.
  • Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School. It's so much more than Rocky-does-ballroom-dancing.It's a story about grief and growing up, letting go and fighting for what you really want.
  • Finding Neverland. I was astonished in the wonder which this movie captured Peter Pan.
A few that would make my list are:
  • Dances With Wolves: The story moved me deeply and gave me a different perspective on our treatment Native Americans.
  • Schindler's List: A story that broke my heart and helped me understand the Holocaust in a whole new way.
  • The Sixth Sense: Just a great surprise ending from a pretty good movie.
  • Rain Man: I almost deep-sixed it early on.. then began to watch a love grow between brothers who had been separated.. and the acting from Hoffman and Cruise.. simply outstanding!
I could probably think of a few more. How about you? Any that you would add to the list?

Curing Debt with More Debt

Got an email today from Congressman Ron Paul.. here are a few excerpts..
Many Americans are looking to the new administration to solve our economic problems. Unfortunately, that is probably a vain hope. Although we were promised "change," we are only getting a continuation of the same superficial economic fixes that have damaged so many economies in the past, and that will only delay the return of prosperity.

These fixes are based on the false belief that the free-market economy has failed. But it is not the market that has failed. It is intervention into the market that has failed. The Federal Reserve and its manipulation of money and interest rates have failed. None of this can be blamed on the free market.

Our years of living beyond our means, of buying everything on credit and on money printed out of thin air, are over. Sure, our government will carry on with its nonsensical policy of curing indebtedness with more indebtedness, inflation with more inflation, but the game is up. It's not going to work. The resources aren't there. The more we intervene and the more we prop up economic zombies, the worse off we'll be. But the sooner we understand what has happened, assess our economic situation honestly, and rebuild our economy on a sound foundation, the sooner our fortunes will be restored.
Congressman Paul is such a plain speaker on these kinds of issues.. too bad he couldn't do better in the presidential race.. I think that he often comes across like a bit of a crackpot.

That said I have to agree with him about "superficial economic fixes" and the "nonsensical policy of curing indebtedness with more indebtedness". Not sure if we can continue to spend our way out of debt.. seems like a day of reckoning will eventually have to come.

Capital Punishment

I got an email note from my state senator this week about Kansas Bill 208 which seeks to remove the death penalty for (in part) the following reasons:
  • "Given the current financial predicament of our State, the proponents’ strongest argument focused on the savings that could be achieved by eliminating the current flawed system. According to one study, death penalty cases cost the state, on average, $1.2 million, whereas non-death penalty cases cost $720,000. In addition to the financial perspective, many compelling moral and emotional arguments were made."

  • "Opponents argued that Kansas’s death penalty statutes are among the most responsible in the United States, limiting capital cases to only the most heinous and cruel murders. Opponents also argued that even if some cost savings might result, justice should not be reduced to a cost-benefit analysis."
Honestly, I have not considered the death penalty in a while.. I sent the good senator an email a few days ago and asked why they are reconsidering it at this time.. no reply to date.. but hope that he will eventually respond.

I do wonder why our state senate is spending time on this issue.. the legal cost savings seems a bit of a crazy reason to change the law.. and I wasn't aware of a significant change in our legislative ideology.. perhaps the Anti-Death-Penalty lobby is stronger than I think? Do you know what your state or national laws are on capital punishment?


Experience is the name we give to our past mistakes. -Oscar Wilde

The man who achieves makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all - doing nothing. -Benjamin Franklin

Thinking you know when in fact you don't is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone. -Bertrand Russell

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. -Elbert Hubbard

The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. -Theodore Roosevelt

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. -Albert Einstein

The El Rushbo Buzzer

LOL - Finally a solution to all of the disunity in the GOP!

I liked what Julie blogged a few days ago about the Newsweek piece by conservative David Frum contrasting Limbaugh and Obama.. here is a snippet of his piece:

"This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father."
A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence.
Here's hoping that the GOP leadership can again find their way and unite the party.. the caustic vitriol is helping no one but Rush and the Democrats.

Medical Bankruptcy

My cyberfriend Casey over the weekend posted about Government Healthcare. It got me to thinking about how some people are forced to declare bankruptcy because of astronomical medical bills. Here are a few interesting thoughts from Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren who conducted a study on bankruptcy filings in 2001:
“As part of a research study at Harvard University, our researchers interviewed 1,771 Americans in bankruptcy courts across the country. To our surprise, half said that illness or medical bills drove them to bankruptcy. So each year, 2 million Americans — those who file and their dependents — face the double disaster of illness and bankruptcy.
“Every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.” That adds up to well over 1 Million Americans that the study linked health issues with bankruptcy.
I think that the study is a bit dated and maybe the numbers are a bit different these days. Yet I think the issue is still a huge one.. people with a lack of insurance (no insurance or not enough insurance) are often faced with the reality of either not getting medical treatment or incurring a massive amount of debt. Here is what I commented at Casey's place:
I really don’t know what the right answer is but it saddens me to see folks have to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills. And what about folks that cannot get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions?

The govt already is mandated to cover things like dialysis (after the first year) and other health care when people are disabled. It seems that there should be some sort of accommodation for extenuating circumstances.
What do you think? Should the government assist with such cases? Should there be a bailout for such people? It begs the question of who is entitled to medical care.. just the well insured or rich?

Prolife Senators Support Sebelius Nomination

President Barack Obama nominated pro-choice Governor Kathleen Sebelius this week as secretary of Health and Human Services - the most powerful cabinet position for the lives of unborn babies. Unfortunately and sadly Kansas’ two Republican senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, have said they will support the governor's nomination. The last I looked both of these guys (especially Sam) claim to be pro-lifers.

I guess this is just another example of how politicians really just give lip service to unborn babies. Wake up pro-lifers and stop believing the rhetoric coming from these politicians. Of course I am sure that staunch pro-life senators like John McCain will lead the charge to block this nomination.. and if you believe that I have a bridge in Kansas to sell you. Guess it is just a sad day to be a Kansan.

Manliest Cities

Here is the top 10 from a list of the "Top 50 Manliest Cities" according to a snack-food study released Thursday that ranks cities on criteria such as the number of professional major league sports teams, popularity of tools and hardware, and frequency of monster truck rallies:
  1. Nashville, TN
  2. Charlotte, NC
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. Denver, CO
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Columbus, OH
  8. Kansas City, MO
  9. Indianapolis, IN
  10. Toledo, OH
Interestingly most of these places are in the Midwest.. my local KC is #8. The Governator's San Francisco and Los Angeles came in 48 and 49th proving they are girly-cities. New York City came in 50th.. guess they have never been to Brooklyn.

Did your city make the list? Where did it place?


I just uploaded this photo, that I took 22 years ago when I visited China, and made this poster. I was motivated in part by this comment that my cyberfriend Casey contributed a few days ago:

All laws either encourage or condemn a certain behavior. It's not a matter of enforcing morality or not enforcing morality. It's whose morality are we going to enforce?
Sometimes people say silly things like we should not be inflicting our 'morality' on others.. Casey is right to ask "whose morality". I think that our laws are very reflective of our 'morality'.. at one time they reflected an ignorance about the rights of women and African Americans.. today they reflect an ignorance about the rights of the unborn - just because something is legal does not mean that it is moral.


I don't do this very often (I probably should) but today I want to recommend you to Altered.. a blog by my new cyber-friend Jill Hollis (pictured below). A wonderful gal that has ALS and is saying some of the greatest things these days.. here is a sample:
Early in my diagnosis a wise friend shared that observation with me. As I progress and adjusting becomes increasingly difficult, I am less perky. And I am okay with that. I just checked again to make sure. Perkiness is not a fruit of the Spirit.
But now all I can think about are things that I used to do - without help. Like walk outside every single morning - just the unbelievably awesome feeling of being outside at 6 in the morning. I miss it so much sometimes. Or get in the car and drive myself - anywhere I wanted to go. Plant flowers. Walk out to the mailbox. Play Kickball. I am not athletic, but that was my sport :) Drive to the beach. Walk on the Appalachian Trail with my son.
As he spoke to me his eyes filled with tears. He said he was sorry. No, my friend - no apology. I am grateful for your love and sharing in our sadness.
I am scared. Of everything related to ALS. But also, and this is huge, really really huge for me to admit this...... That people will think less of me if I share negatively. I am sad. A lot. Will the tears ever stop? I am negative. Thoughts bombard my mind of my inability to handle this. I worry. At this particular moment, the list is long. I struggle with my humanness taking over.
I so appreciate Jill's courageous and inspirational heart.. I love her transparency and vulnerability.. and I am glad that I found her blog.. I recommend it to you.. add it to your blog reader. Click here and leave Jill an encouraging comment.

Another GOP leader bows to El Rushbo

Isn't it interesting how Republicans are acknowledging the leadership of a radio entertainer these days? reports this response to this 30 second video:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Obama administration is probably correct in their identification of El Rushbo as the leader of the GOP. Just gotta wonder who he will anoint in 2012.

Car Memories

Bill tagged me with this on Facebook..
  1. What is your first “vehicular” memory?

    Watching my dad do a donut seated in the backseat of my dad's 1950 something sedan.

  2. What was the first “amazing” vehicle you ever saw?

    The 007 Goldfinger car.
  3. What car did you learn to drive in?

    1965 Ford Fairlane
  4. In what vehicle did you have your first date?

    1961 Chevy Impala Convertible - my first car.
  5. What vehicle do you most remember riding or driving to school?

    I took a NYC bus to school.
  6. What was the first vehicle that was yours alone and where is it now?

    1961 Chevy Impala Convertible.. hopefully recycled.
  7. Have you ever totalled/wrecked a car? Describe.

    I ran into a cement mixer with my very first car. My brother-in-law helped me replace the from fenders and dash as well as replace the engine.
  8. Your worst vehicle?

    1985 Plymouth Voyager van is tied with a 1978 VW rabbit.. both were money pits.
  9. What’s your current vehicle, and what’s the most favorite vehicle you’ve had?

    Currently a 2007 Honda Odyssey Rampvan - my all time favorite is a 1995 Lexus ES 300.
  10. What is your dream car?

    Tesla Roadster -
Feel free to join in.. you know what to do.

Cassel Repatriated to the Chiefs

After putting the franchise tag on Matt Cassel as insurance for Tom Brady the Patriots shipped Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to Kansas City on Saturday. The Chiefs gave up little — I tend to agree with the 82%.

Here's hoping that Cassel will have a front line to protect him.

Giving it All Away

Two Minutes of Inspiration!

Caption Needed

Government Workers

You know this is true :(

In a related story.. have you ever thought about how much our government workers are making these days? Here are some stats on air traffic controllers.
Median wages (2007) $54.29 hourly, $112,930 annual
Employment (2006) 25,000 employees
Projected growth (2006-2016) Average (7% to 13%) Average (7% to 13%)
Projected need (2006-2016) 9,000 additional employees
Controllers are government employees that are trained on the job by the government and these positions don't seem to have a predetermined educational requirement.

Ever wonder how government salaries are set? And what about those folks in congress that always seem to vote themselves raises and need 20-30 staff members to function as a legislator? Do you think we will see any federal government employees laid off? I doubt we will.. government seems to be one of the sectors where employment seems to be growing.

Paul Harvey, 1918-2009

News commentator and talk-radio pioneer Paul Harvey died yesterday.. he was 90 years old.

I have sweet memories of listening to him on the radio as I drove to work in the 80s. He always seemed to have a great inspirational thought and seemed to have a knack for giving us a peek into "the rest of the story".