Liberals Die When They Want To…

162Zeke says, “Time to go!”  I’ve now been educated that liberals die when they want to, or in fact, they need to, in order to make Obamacare less of a disaster.  Liberals mandate when it’s time to die.  Whereas conservatives die when they have to and not when its convenient.

I’m one of them.  A conservative.  I’m 62.  It may be convenient for liberals like you, Zeke Emanuel to die when you want to, but conservatives don’t have that luxury .  After all, somebody has to pick up the tab.  We don’t get to choose when to die.  There’s this thing called family.

I have a family.  A wife who’s retired and 2 grown children just getting started in their careers.  My wife needs a husband who can spend more time with her.

My two girls are just getting started in their families and in their careers.  Did anyone tell you Zeke, kids are getting married in their 30s and 40s, not in their 20’s?  Did anyone tell you, they’re having kids in their 30s and 40’s not in their 20’s?  Who are these kids going to call Grampa, if I cash in my chips, toes up at age 75?

My wife has been waiting over 40 years for me to retire.  She has worked in the school system and done the lion share to raise my children throughout their formative years.  We didn’t even start taking vacations until the girls were in high school.  What am I going say to my wife when I’ve finally paid off the mortgage, sold my business and our kids are popping out babies, snot-nosed kids that we can spoil at age 75?  “Sorry honey, Zeke says, time to go.”  Really?!

The Zekemobile

If I retire from my business at 68-70 years of age, I get to enjoy 5 yrs. in retirement?  My wife and I could spend time with our daughters, their children, and would have maybe 5-7 years to see the world or at least a little more than the backyard??!

That’s when I had an idea!  Like in Back to the FutureI could build a time machine like the DeLorean DMC-12 only in an 8 passenger family and friends van to escape from Zeke and Obamacare.

My Mom would have a heart attack if I told her I was going to die at 75 years of age.  She would only be 98!  It would be too much of a shock to her system.  How can I ask her to pass up an opportunity at age 100, to be mentioned by Willard Scott on the Today Show?!

I run a successful small business. I am employ over 35 people.  I take pride in helping them and their families.  They’re my extended family.  One of our very own extended families had a baby today, 8 lbs. 10 oz.  That baby will be 29 yrs. old Zeke, a young adult with a new family and hopefully a burgeoning career, when his own Dad is supposed to die.

I gave my Dad’s eulogy when I had turned 60.  I had 30 more years today to be with and learn from my Dad, Zeke, than you would ask of one of my own employee’s son’s to share with his Dad?!

131115160330-01-jonestown-massacre-horizontal-large-gallery

Jonestown Massacre 918 Died

Most of my friends are my age or older, so who would I hangout with?  I guess when that time comes in 10-15 years we could throw a Jimmy Jones Jonestown party and all drink the Kool-Aid Zeke Emanuel is selling?

Frankly Zeke, you’re a joke and you make me sick.  You’re an Obamacare zealot?  You’re just in it for the money.  You don’t care about anyone but yourself and your lord and savior, Obama, so I’m not going to rollover and die for you.

On the other hand, if liberals, like you, Zeke, want to die at 75 yrs. of age, that’s OK.  It just sounds like another liberal born entitlement to me.

One that I can live with…

A former White House science advisor speaks out about “settled science”

Idea Capitalist:

stossel beach.1.583 (1) houseCelebrities are afraid their Taj Ma-hall homes will slide int the ocean.  Hollywood personalities and the mainstream media monopolized every avenue of opportunity to get Barrack Obama elected and their global warming agenda imposed on the public through every media outlet available.

Freedom of speech is precious.  Paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of brave fighting men and women and a country of people who believe in truly democratic society, freedom is priceless.  Unfortunately freedom of speech has been compromised and severely curtailed due to lack of media coverage and unfair public commentary from over-zealous celebrity sound bites.  Their man-made climate change agenda (claims) paid for by influence peddlers.

Real people look up to people they have invited into their hearts and into their living rooms. The media outlets represent a modern-day, overwhelmingly effective form of communication and persuasion.  For this reason, as a person of influence, the mainstream media and celebrities should hold themselves to a higher standard, both in temperament and by example.  As people of influence and public figures, they’re responsible for their words and their actions in public.  For that very reason, there should be a real debate over the science of global warming, not a simple consensus of like minded liberals, the mainstream media and the Obama Administration and EPA.  News Flash! Man-made climate change is not settled! Read more below…

 

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Feeling unsettled? Try new Climate Science™, now with extra certainty!
HistoryOfSettledScience-big1[1]

Climate Science Is Not Settled

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about…

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Uber – Sign of the Times, Ride Sharing Boosts the Economy

DeLorean time machine provided by Uber

DeLorean time machine provided by Uber

Ride Sharing Boosts the Economy

Letter to the Editor – Tampa Bay Times – Small businesses are the engine of our economy. They create jobs, generate revenue, and embody the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in cities across the country. And that holds true right here in Tampa where small business plays a vital role in our future success and driving the city forward.

Our transportation ecosystem—which is in serious need of improvement—is one example where innovation and entrepreneurs can have a real impact on bringing about positive change and greater options for consumers. Competition in the marketplace results in better products and services, lower costs, and more choice. We should embrace competition and new ride sharing services like uberX that expand transportation alternatives, offering safer, more reliable and affordable ways to get around town. More and better choices for consumers is a win for the city.

Beyond the clear benefits to riders, Uber is also contributing to the local economy by providing new and greater opportunities for residents to start their own business, make a living, and pump money back into the market. Uber gives Tampa residents one more opportunity to leverage technology to be entrepreneurial, build a career and increase earning potential. The company is already creating 20,000 new driver jobs every month—we should welcome opportunity like that and offer the people of Tampa one more way to earn a living.

The New Yorker - Just a couple of weeks ago, Uber (which also runs services allowing you to book livery cars and cabs) disclosed that it had raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars in venture-capital funding, most of it from Google. The flood of new money into all these new businesses feels like a mini-bubble in the making. But beneath all the hype is a sensible idea: there are a lot of slack resources in the economy. Assets sit idle—the average car is driven just an hour a day—and workers have time and skills that go unused. If you can connect the people who have the assets to people who are willing to pay to rent them, you reduce waste and end up with a more efficient system.

James Surowiecki, a staff writer at The New Yorker goes on to write, “If these companies become more established, they’ll have to reach some kind of accommodation with regulators, perhaps along the lines of rules that California’s Public Utilities Commission recently proposed, which would let Sidecar, Lyft, and Uber operate if they implement certain safety and driver regulations.”

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission should put consumer choice and opportunity first—to embrace safe, reliable transportation alternatives like Uber. Restricting competition and limiting options for Tampa residents will only inhibit future growth and economic success. Modern technologies require modern regulations. The PTC should take a common-sense approach to regulating ride sharing and signal to the rest of the state that Tampa is indeed an innovative and forward-looking city.

Peer-to-peer businesses like Uber are nothing new.  eBay was the firth peer-to-peer business which has exhibited an extraordinary capacity to self-regulate.  eBay’s success is built on their on-line reputation of reviewing and commenting that rewards good behavior and outs the bad.  The same will be the case for the ride-sharing industry.

Innovations like Uber will solve many problems politicians and regulators refuse to face.    With internet start-ups able to self-regulate, stringent laws to govern start-ups such as Uber and Lyft are unnecessary.

Next up, driverless cars and RoboTaxi whereby a fleet of self-driving cars will pick-up commuters on demand.  It’s time to get with the 21st century.  Technology waits for no man. 

Money and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Idea Capitalist:

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Follow the money to stop ISIS. Focus on where the money is coming from (did I mention the Saudis?) that fund ISIS. All the more reason for the U.S. to frack away.  Every day we pay at the pump, we’re feeding the hand that bites us and kills innocents.  While the people who support ISIS have blood on their hands, we’re losing our souls.  ISIS has killed thousands of people, many helpless unarmed civilians,  The question should be asked, “What would happen tomorrow if we stopped buying Arab oil?”  If POTUS isn’t going to do anything about it, don’t we know best how to hit them where it hurts?  The pocketbook.  Stop funding ISIS. Why not boycott Arab oil?

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

In 2007, the Islamic State of Iraq was seen as “the richest of the insurgency groups” in Iraq with $1 billion to 1.5 billion “collected in revenue by the group through foreign donations, enforced taxation and confiscation of the property and funds of Iraqis.” But the U.S. surge and ISI missteps significantly damaged the jihadist group’s ability to raise funds.

Seven years and three names later, ISIS amassed a $2 billion comeback and took control of large swathes of territory in northern Iraq including Mosul and 35 percent of Syria.

ISIS’s financial recovery has been marked by a slight shift away from reliance on local extortion networks (although those are still in effect), improved organizational and financial management by ISIS leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the departure of U.S. troops in 2011.

The most important elements of ISIS’s funding are sadaqa (voluntary donations) from Arab…

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Alpha Natural just announced today layoffs in WV that will eliminate 1000 jobs

obamas-failed-energy-policiesAlpha Natural just announced today layoffs in West Virginia that will eliminate 1,000 jobs.  That’s right 1000 jobs!!!  These are mining jobs with average pay of $65,000 per year.  If we could create 1000 jobs in WV over the next year (which we can’t) they would pay somewhere around $35,000 per year.

For every 1 job lost we need 2 created to keep the tax base and contribution to the economy the same. Losing high paying jobs and replacing them with low paying jobs is the hallmark of the Obama administration. That’s why the economy remains in a rut and can’t gain footing and extract itself.   A friend traveled to 12 states meeting with clients and new clients and many have new jobs and the story is the same in all 12 states.

“Yes I’ve found a new job but I make less money than I did in 2008.”

He met with a union president who was awarded social security disability and he is retiring and no longer looking for employment.   Between 2004-2008 he made over $100,000 a year installing clean coal technology in power plants. Since Obama was elected he’s been unemployed the majority of the time, but this is his best year of earnings, since 2008 which was under $60,000.  A 40% pay cut from the Bush years.

According to CNBC, “Jobs growth in the U.S. since the 2008 recession has been undermined by lower wages, with workers earning an average 23 percent less than earnings from jobs which were lost, a report by an organization representing U.S. cities said on Monday.”  The average pay of lost jobs in 2008 was $61,337 and the average salary of replacement jobs in 2014 is $47,181 nationwide

When you calculate the increased spending of 6 years of inflation and 23% less salary, the lagging economy makes sense. That’s why the Obama administration keeps vilifying the wage gap and insists we’re all unpatriotic if we don’t support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

This President doesn’t care about working Americans, he cares about non-working Americans. If you’re on welfare you get a free cell phone, if you work, you’re treated with contempt.

Related articles:

They Shuttered Two More Mines in Wayne County, WV. Congratulations Mr. President.

ROMNEY to OBAMA in 2012 Presidential debate: “you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers”

Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

Obama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

The Fight of Our Lives: The Patient-Physician Relationship vs. The Government-Insurance Syndicate

Doctor Rebel MDOriginally posted on krisheldmd and Rebel.MD:

Constructed by progressives who seek socialized medicine and control over 1/6 of the US economy and passed against the will of the people through legislative chicanery amidst single party control of the House, Senate, and White House, ObamaCare is now the “law of the land”. The law is the manifesto for the promised “fundamental transformation” of the United States of America. Obamacare destroys the patient-physician relationship and defiles the Hippocratic Oath by inserting government bureaucrats and political operatives as voyeuristic intermediaries and callous controllers.

As a physician, I have been distraught over this travesty and have vowed to not participate in the Obamacare exchange. I am not alone. A November 2013 Jackson and Coker survey of 3000 physicians showed that 44% of physicians say they will not participate in the Obamacare exchange. There are about 800,000 practicing physicians in the US, and if almost half of us refuse to participate…

ObamaCare is nothing but a punitive tax, a false promise, and a VA-style dead-end waiting list.

OreillyIn a March 4, 2014 interview promoting his new book, Reinventing American Healthcare, with Bill O’Reilly, ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel said that doctors won’t opt out of the exchange. Excerpt from the BillOReilly Show.  “It’s not doctors who participate in the exchange, it’s insurance companies who participate in the exchange,” Emanuel curtly stated. He then revealed that the central planners think they’ve got us doctors by the orbs, crowing: “The doctors will take who’s in the exchange, because they have to.” Translation: the government-insurance company syndicate now controls the patients and the doctors. Patients and doctors have no choice in this. We are powerless.

Here is how this is playing out in the real world trenches of medical practice. Aetna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas both advertise me as a ” provider” on the federal healthcare exchange. They do this without my permission or consent nor even notice. Neither company has my permission to appropriate my name or likeness for this purpose. I have never contracted with either company or consented to see any subscriber of theirs with a policy purchased through healthcare.gov.

To meet the requirements to be deemed a “Qualified Health Plan”, an insurance company must have a certain number of contracted providers listed. To attract new customers a company must list respected, experienced, established physicians such as me. These government-colluding, patient-betraying companies are listing me as a provider for their personal financial gain against my will, in violation of my personally held beliefs, and to the detriment of the American and Texan patients they profess to serve.

I insisted they remove my name from the Federal healthcare exchange immediately. This has not been done. I am stonewalled. I am powerless, while the Aetna CEO’s salary has increased from $17M to $30M peddling the promise of my colleagues’ and my services.

Insurers need providers (physicians). Physicians are not indentured servants whose labor may be compelled.

The red line is, patients need physicians. Obamacare and its government-insurance syndicate are destroying millions of patient-physician relationships, millions of lives.

I am a physician. I am fighting to continue to see my patients with non-ACA plans. However, I will not allow my name, likeness, services, and reputation to be used in connection with the marketing of ACA plans.

I am a patient. I am fighting to see my doctors without government intrusion into the most intimate, sacred aspect of my life. My own non-ACA insurance plan does not cover out of network providers whatsoever. I am fortunate to pay out of pocket to keep my doctors so far, but what if my cancer recurs?

I trust my doctors. I trust my patients, and they trust me. I do not trust the government-insurance syndicate, Obamacare operatives, or the Obamacare enforcers, the IRS.

I am an individual American fighting for the ability to practice my profession freely, fighting to keep my patients, fighting to keep my doctors, fighting to restore trust, fighting to secure our blessings of liberty, fighting for our very lives.

Will you fight with me?

kris held

Kris Held, MD

 

Summary of Obama’s IRS scandal

Idea Capitalist:

IRS cartoonObservations from an IT Expert “If the IRS’ email server is in such a state that they only have one copy of data and the server crashes and it’s gone, I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“I don’t know of any email administrator that doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back,” he added. “It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace or in an archive server. There are at least three ways the government can get those emails.”

Originally posted on Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog:

In May 2013, the Washington Post reported that the IRS had illegally targeted conservative groups for additional reviews. Organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” were singled out for harassment, such as requiring them to provide a list of donors, details about their internet postings on social networking websites, and information about their family members.

When this was first reported by the media in May 2013, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that had conducted these illegal activities, claimed that only low level employees had known about it, and that no high level IRS officials had known about it. However, soon afterward, NPR reported that an Inspector General report showed that Lerner had been lying, and that she herself had actually been aware of it since June 29, 2011. Even worse, during March and April of 2012, Lerner herself had actually written such letters to fifteen different…

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Defining a Small Business

Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathLet’s face it, we are a small business, under 50 FTEs.  We’re no Goliath.  We’re not an Apple, a Google or a Microsoft.  We are a David, and to a degree, a family.  We actually make a difference.  People are our rocks and our products and services are our slings.
Today when technology changes in a blink of an eye, we would maintain the Goliath’s with the heavy armor and the shield may have the heavier burden. Every day there are new challenges.  The challenges we face with regard to technology, products and customers are also interwoven with life’s challenges.
Often they relate to challenges we face at home with our families and friends.  So how we perform as a business can affect how we perform at home.  In retrospect, if we are helping each other at work, we are helping each other at home.  More so than at a Goliath, we depend on each other. Everyone who works for a small business has to become a leader in some respect. We have to take a leadership role in order to insure our own success and that of others.  Where someone may be strong others may be weak.
It’s always a hard choice to make when we have work responsibilities that take time from family and friends.  These choices are not taken lightly.  We depend on each other.  Consequently there’s little room here for failure or mediocrity.  Isn’t that the way it should be? Many small businesses believed they could successfully run a business, make a fair profit, compete with the big boys and still provide a personal touch.  What a novel idea!

Small businesses have built their business predicated on personalized service.  They have survived the white box commoditization and low margins of off the shelf products and services and transcended the call center case number, whereby if your case number was called and a problem was solved it was like winning the lottery…”

Our work affects the people we are close to or have close ties with including our customers and fellow employees in a way much more intimately than in a large corporation.  Our customers and partners take a chance doing business with a David.  Each employee has the opportunity to help a small company succeed.  We see and hear from customers every day, instances where fellow employees are stressed out and still come through with a win. This is most often a collaborative effort. To put it in the right perspective…

Our greatest achievement is the relationships we have developed over the years with our customers, employees, partners and friends, of which many are synonymous. 

Climate Disruption? Let Cooler Heads Prevail!

 

Lessons in climate changeGlobal warming a.k.a., climate change will now be proclaimed “climate disruption?!” with extreme prejudice from a global warming zealot and White House Science advisor John Holdren .

Apparently there are more than a few scientists who strongly disagree with Holdren as published in a NCA rebuttal –  Scientists Respond to the Obama Administration’s National Climate Assessment –  2014.

I can acknowledge there are two sides to the issue of CO2 emissions but in any case I cannot defend the tremendous government waste of taxpayer money, the billions in taxpayer dollars wasted on greentech failures.  Nor the political rhetoric, the ignorance or the hateful talk and actions from either side.

Take CO2 emissions out of the equation we should be proud we, as a society, have done a tremendous job reducing pollution and carbon emissions.  On the flip side, we all know we can do a better job to reduce emissions and pollution.

On the one hand, you’re not going to want to suck on the tailpipe of a full-sized SUV, so you know carbon emissions contribute to pollution,6 of whom are cities in CA, like the smog in L.A. and other cities, but so does their location.  Certainly, I would rather run 5 miles in the Tampa Bay area vs. South L.A. where your lungs will burn.  So reducing carbon emissions is necessary in highly populated areas.

Cooler heads will not prevail without greater awareness, more education and a willingness to listen to both sides of the debate, all which is sorely needed.  It is difficult to have that debate on climate change when the POTUS says the debate on climate change is over, the Senate majority, the mainstream media and Hollywood go to great lengths to castrate anyone who they perceive to be a climate change denier.

The poorest 30% of  the US population spend 17% of their after tax income on gasoline while politicians and climate change proponents continue to point to perceived success stories of wind farms and solar, that fly in the face of sound economic reason.  The EPA and their regulations are systematically and progressively hurting the people and the economy which depend on fossil fuels and related jobs.  Case in point, the Keystone Pipeline and the War on Coal .  Working middle class Americans depend on cheap energy to commute to work and heat their homes during the winter months.

You can look to polar opposites on climate change for highly controversial opinions from both Dr. Tim Ball in his book, A History of the Disastrous Global Warming Hoax and to  Greenpeace activist Paul Gilding in his book The Great Disruption, which is a rambling read that addresses his theories on global warming and overpopulation.  The idea that the “earth is full” is and will be largely debunked.  Think Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper.  Calmer heads may prevail if you were to read and follow Bjorn Lomberg, in his book Cool It and his blog lomborg.com.

Lomborg, who’s position on climate change is not without controversy from the left, takes a more middle of the road, practical approach to reducing carbon emissions and pollution through innovation like driverless cars or this 19-Year-Old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From the World’s Oceans.

Lomborg has more recently defended his position, which is to say radical climate change policies hurt the poor, in his book How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World serves as more of a source or reference on pollution and the economic impact on civilization over time.

There are many things everyday people can do to reduce pollution and carbon emissions although I personally prefer long lasting LED lighting over compact fluorescents.  It’s really too bad most people will simply form an opinion based on their politics, inundated by sensational news stories from the mainstream “if it bleeds it leads” media and Hollywood celebrities who have little to sacrifice when it comes to policies that affect them in their daily lives. It does affect the rest of us.  I recommend looking at all sides of the climate change debate. Let cooler heads prevail.

NOTE:  Many global warming advocates say there are no credible scientists who debate the existence of global warming.  Here is the list from the NCA Rebuttal referenced earlier in this blog:

Obama Administration’s National Climate Assessment – NCA REBUTTAL AUTHORS/REVIEWERS

Joseph S. D’Aleo Certified Consultant Meteorologist, American Meteorological Society FellowM.S., Meteorology, University of WisconsinB.S., Meteorology (cum laude), University of WisconsinDr. Harold H. DoironRetired VP, Engineering Analysis and Test Division, InDyne, Inc.Ex-NASA JSC, Aerospace ConsultantB.S. Physics, University of Louisiana – LafayetteM.S., PhD. Mechanical Engineering, University of HoustonDr. Don J. Easterbrook Emeritus Professor of Geology, Western Washington UniversityPh.D., Geology, University of Washington, SeattleM.S., Geology, University of Washington, SeattleB.S., Geology, University of Washington, SeattleDr. Theodore R. EckPh.D., Economics, Mich. State U.; M.A, Economics, U. of MichiganFulbright Professor of International EconomicsFormer Chief Economist of Amoco Corp. and Exxon Venezuela Advisory Board of the Gas Technology Institute and Energy Intelligence GroupDr. Neil FrankB.S., Chemistry, Southwestern CollegeM.S., Ph.D. Meteorology, Florida StateFormer Director of the National Hurricane CenterDr. Gordon J. FulksPh.D., Physics, University of ChicagoM.S., Physics, University of ChicagoB.S., Physics, University of ChicagoDr. William M. GrayEmeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State UniversityPh.D., Geophysical Sciences, University of ChicagoM.S., Meteorology, University of ChicagoB.S., Geography, George Washington University Art HornB.Sc. Meteorology Lyndon State CollegeTeaches Meteorology/Climatology at Tunxis Community CollegeTV Meteorologist 25 years, lecturer, expert witness, radio broadcaster

Some interesting ideas for innovation to reduce pollution:

19-Year-Old Student Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From the World’s Oceans | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

A fuel cell for the home

Architecture Innovation Would Turn Air Pollution Into Biofuel

James Dyson’s Barge Concept Will Vacuum Trash Out of Rivers

China Tests Autonomous Smog-Busting Drone

One Artist Plans to Suck Pollution Out of Beijing’s Skies

Hand Tree Personal Air Purifier Helps You Breathe Easier

ROMNEY to OBAMA in 2012 Presidential debate: “you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers”

ROMNEY to OBAMA in 2012 Presidential debate: “…you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers…”

romney

Romney – click on Romney to hear video

Romney said i n the debate, “And in one year you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 year’s worth of what oil and gas receives and you say Exxon Mobil, actually this $2.8 billion goes to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. If we get the tax rate from 35% to 25%, why that $2.8 billion is on the table.  Of course it’s on the table. That’s probably not going to survive to get the rate down to 25% but don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind to solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. This is not the kind of policy you want to have to get America energy secure.

While the Obama Administration’s Eric Holder and the DOJ is investigating an illegal $20,000 contribution by Dinesh D’Souza, fierce critic of the President, who has been indicted the Justice Department, you might wonder why the DOJ doesn’t investigate how millions in green energy money got funneled back into Obama’s reelection campaign?

President Obama’s taxpayer-funded trillion-dollar spending spree –– spent over $90 billion earmarked for clean energy.

Harry Reid “led the passage of the $814 billion stimulus bill and worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean-energy projects.

Now the Obama Administration Is Taking Another GO at the FAILED Program That Funded Solyndra.  This must be stopped!

Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE ON TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

37. NEW – With the news of another tragic FAIL, Abengoa which received a $1.4 billion loan guarantee in 2010 to build one of the world’s largest parabolic trough solar plants near Phoenix, Ariz.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.

36. NEW – Smith Electric Vehicles – Despite $32 million in federal stimulus funds and status as one of Obama’s favorite “green” companies, the firm has halted production, having built just 439 of the promised 510 vehicles.  Bright Automotive (electric delivery vans)Carbon Motors (clean diesel-powered police cars)Aptera Motors (three-wheeled electric cars)Coda Automotive (inexpensive electric sedans), all bankrupt or near bankruptcy, applied for Government funds but didn’t win the lottery.  Tesla Motors, on the other hand has met with growing success.

35. Ecotality, an electric car charger maker, who won a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy four years ago filed for bankruptcy.

34.  GreenTech Automotive is owned by Capital Wealth Holdings, an investment company incorporated in the tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.  GreenTech president and Chinese businessman, Charles Wang, owns the investment company.  Wang is an expert on the EB-5 visa program and has coached other U.S. companies on how to effectively make use of it.  Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe is involved in electric car company.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange commission currently is investigating GreenTech’s use of the federal EB-5 visa-investor program, which raises funds from foreign nationals in exchange for U.S. green cards.

33. A $50-million loan previously award to Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG)through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program (ATVMP) has gone unpaid. VPG, a maker of compressed natural gas-powered wheelchair-accessible vans, shut its doors in May after running out of cash.

32. SoloPower, the startup pitched as the most innovative player in Oregon solar manufacturing, will suspend its Portland operations.  State officials, too, were working to get in touch with the company, which has received a $10 million loan and a $20 million tax credit.  It also is in line for a $197 million federal loan, meant to help fund later stages of growth.

31. Rentech Incorporated For most of its 33-year history, Rentech Inc. tried to make money on green fuel development. But like its plans to sell synthetic diesel to major airlines in 2009, those efforts never really left the ground.  Rentech received $23 million from the DOE for a Colorado refinery turn wood into fuel.

30. SunTech Power, a China owned solar company struggling from a downturn in photovoltaic solar panels, benefited from a combined $84 million in Energy Department tax credits.

29. SolarWorld, a German company received more than $100 million in state and local tax incentives – only to see companies like SolarWorld in Hillsboro and SoloPower in Portland struggle in the wake of fierce competition, especially from Chinese companies. Source: Oregon bet big on this emerging technology

28. VESTAS, A Danish wind turbine company whose subsidiaries received over $50 million in U.S. stimulus dollars. Vestas also reported a net loss of 62 million euros, or $83 million, for the second quarter, compared with a loss of 8 million euros in last year’s comparable period. Revenue declined to 1.2 billion euros, compared with 1.6 billion euros a year earlier.

27. COMPACT POWER Plant that received $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers.

26. CH2M HILL, is embroiled in atime card fraud scheme that took place between 1999 and 2008 when CH2M was servicing a DOE contract worth $2.2 billion, and at the beginning of 2013, it was discovered that CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) “provided inaccurate cost data to support a multi-billion-dollar federal nuclear waste cleanup contract, “reported the Washington Free Beacon. Despite their history of legal and workplace safety violations, in 2009 an additional $1.3 billion was awarded to a different CH2M subsidiary to go toward the Hanford cleanup.

25. Bankrupt Amonix.

24. Bankrupt Babcock & Brown.

23. Bankrupt A123 Systems.

22. Bankrupt EASTERN ENERGY

21.Near Bankrupt 5N Plus The State of Wisconsin handed over $500 thousand to a Canadian company to open a solar panel recycling plant near De Forest.

20. BANKRUPT Fisker Automotive–was awarded a $529 million loan under an Obama admin program designed to spur production of advanced tech.  Fisker drew about $193 million of the Energy Department loan to engineer its Karma luxury plug-in hybrid. AL GORE!  Now the Chinese benefit from our hard earned taxpayer dollars!!!

19. BRIGHTSOURCE — President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company.

18. Bankrupt Solar Trust for America.

17. Bankrupt Energy Conversion Devices.

16. Bankrupt Raser Technologies.

15. Bankrupt First Solar – of course GE’s in the mix.

14. Bankrupt NEVADA N.G.P.

13. ENN Mojave Energy LLC – linked to Harry Reid,

12. Bankrupt Ener1—

11. Tonopah Solar – linked to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Crescent Dunes

These 10 failed projects ALONE, cost $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds AND COUNTING!

10. Bankrupt SolarReserve,

9. Bankrupt Beacon Power,

8. Bankrupt Geo Thermal,

7. Bankrupt Sempra Energy

6. Bankrupt Evergreen Solar, Inc.

5. Bankrupt SpectraWatt

4. Bankrupt the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

3. Bankrupt Abound Solar of Loveland, Co. $400 million from Obama

2. Bankrupt SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra.

1. Bankrupt SOLYNDRA

Families will have less disposable income as they spend more to light and heat their homes, with seniors, families on fixed incomes and lower-income Americans being hit the hardest.

NOTE:  I agree much needs to be done (more practical examples abound, like passive shading) regarding pollution and the reduction of CO2 emissions but this post  is about pure politics, corruption and an abusive waste of taxpayer money.  I am not a climate change denier so don’t report me to the good professor.  I still do believe the jury is out on the all the reasons climate change advocates attribute to climate change.  Rather than panic and spend billions MORE of taxpayer dollars on failed Greentech technology, I believe in a pragmatic, limited government approach, such as that espoused by Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, to lower CO2 emissions.  I believe existing and new technology such as driverless cars will do much more to reduce emissions than government backed wind and solar.  Let the private sector do it’s job, which is to innovate, create jobs and grow the economy.  Let government get out of the way.

You Cannot Govern Leadership

individualism

While small business owners are putting up their houses and their life savings to survive, to cash flow their business, to hire employees, President Obama was and still is, greasing the palms of his political donors in the name of greentech failures, spending billions of our taxpayer dollars.

The alarming failure of big government was never more evident than when President Obama publicly and carelessly joked about a trillion dollars (stimulus (taxpayer) money) wasted on “Shovel-Ready Was Not As Shovel-Ready As We Expected.”  Where was the red flag then?  Where is the red flag now?

The only hope I see for this country is individual responsibility, and leadership that creates prosperity, not big government. You cannot govern leadership.   Today individual responsibility, leadership, and American exceptionalism are too often political talking points and empty words. When individual leadership fails, or fails to materialize, it creates dependency.

Leonardo da Vinci said it 480 years ago and he said it in Italian. Here is the clearest translation:  “People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.”

I don’t do what you’re passionate about, but be passionate about what you do.  Don’t follow your passion.  Let your passion follow you.  That’s leadership.

As a small business owner after 25 years it has been my experience, the most important life decisions you make, have to be made on your own.  I built my business and leadership is key.

Others will pontificate as to what a leader is, what a leader must do and how a leader must act.  I don’t have time for all that and neither do you.  The best way to find out if you are a leader is to deal with life’s biggest challenges when it comes to crunch time.

Decide on your own and act accordingly.  You’ll no doubt get plenty of advice, but no one is going to know better than you, what to do.  You are better qualified than anyone or anything to make the decisions that affect you personally and those who depend on you.

There’s a disturbing trend in our day-to-day lives towards dependency on others, big institutions, big labor and big government.  Sweat equity has been replaced by entitlement equity.  People measure success based on what they can get, not what they can give.  

A major new study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, however, shows things haven’t changed all that much. “Children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution relative to their parents as children born in the 1970s,” it finds.  “That doesn’t mean politicians can’t improve people’s chances of rising. It’s just that the best way they can do so is by getting out of the way.”  The Foundry

The problem is the more you lean on the government, the more your life depends on government.  You are governed by more  laws, more regulations and more public policy today than ever before.  Who you become, what you do, and how you do it, is shaped by public opinion and the mainstream media.

In this new era influenced by mass media and public opinion, big government is their divined solution to all your problems.  American exceptionalism, entrepreneurship and the multitude of small business success stories that built a thriving post WWII economy, are too often ignored, discounted and discouraged with crippling regulation and  laws that are the new normal.

What if a typical family spent like government?

What if a typical family spent like government?

Individualism and leadership are sorely needed.  People, not big government, can make a difference.  You and I need to step up to the plate.  Our country’s in peril as is our next generation.  Take on the career politicians who have created roadblocks to personal responsibility and leadership.  Our country is on the line. Vote them out in 2014 and 2016.

Career politicians passing laws that control our lives severely curtail the entrepreneurial spirit and small business startups, the little engine that could, that should and does grow the economy.   Consider the cost of healthcare has virtually doubled for small businesses in the past 5 years.  

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of free enterprise. Their heart is beating for their next customer, for their fellow employees and their families.  Their soul is intact.  They epitomize what comprises the backbone of our country, small business.  In their shadows are the real leaders, the chief cooks and bottle washers; the real risk takers that stand behind their champions, small business owners.  Small business owners are essential to the future success of the US economy.

Entrepreneurs are not the only leaders.  Leaders are people I see when I come to work before dawn.  I see them after dusk, when darkness settles.  They are resourceful.  They don’t think twice.  If you say something to them about the long hours they keep, they will readily commiserate with you, complain if you will, but there is a sense of pride in their voice.  There is a smile on their face.  These hard working people who are the heart and soul of the US economy.

In an atmosphere where people lean more on government, blame others and institutions for their circumstance, we need more leaders. Whether you are a parent, employee, small business owner or CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation; people depend on you for guidance.  You are accountable for the success or failure of others.  You have to make decisions that affect other people for better or for worse. 

In business or in your personal life, when the time comes, no one will make the important decisions for you.  Don’t get me wrong.  You will get plenty of advice.  “If I were you…” “You should…”  “You could…” “You might…” Later on, after the decision has been made, you will summarily receive the same words, only in a different context.  “If it were me…” “I would have…”  I could have…”  “I would have… Draw on your own experience.  Make your own decisions.

The most important decisions you can make, are made by you alone.  That’s leadership.  You can change the world, change you can believe in.

Turning the Page on 2013

new-year-visual

My New Year’s message for 2014 is to turn the page on 2013.  Not that I have regrets.  Well  maybe a few…

It never ceases to amaze me, even at my ripe old age, how naïve I can be!  The best intentions…

I have been taught to always emphasize the positive.  Politics aside, 2013 has been a true test.  So let’s see where this missive takes me.

I have been blessed with good fortune. I cannot emphasize enough, how fortunate I am.  I would do well to remind myself of as much, often.  Still, it is important to note, good fortune is more often earned than not and there is also the dark side.

There is always someone or something out there to challenge your rite of passage to peace of mind.  To which my best advice is to live life in the right here, and the right now.

I am a serial entrepreneur and a business owner.  Success as a business owner and as an entrepreneur is highly overrated.  Learn from Steve Jobs.  Don’t watch the movie.  Read the book.

Lesson learned the hard way, there’s little need to venture beyond my own front door to find true love and affection.  I can find the gifts life brings, right here at home with my family and friends.

It seems I chose the hard way or the hard way chose me. Not heeding the preceding advice, I chose the life of an entrepreneur and a business owner.  If I choose to assimilate my own advice, I would spend more time with my people, my customers, my partners and less time under the hood.

There are people much better qualified to deal with the mechanics of a business.  I’m mechanically deficient.  There are good mechanics and there are the people that piss them off.  I’m one of those people.  If I piss off a good mechanic, in the end they will always prove I’m right.  To me that’s success…

Again, I digress.  I will preface the following well-travelled and well-worn advice again by saying I am in good health and business is great.  I am very fortunate.  The Cheshire Cat from the Wizard of Oz said it best, and I paraphrase, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.

Life comes with warning labels.  How you choose to deal with them is called experience.   After six decades on this earth, four decades in business, celebrating 25 years in business, I have learned, if you are not looking ahead, you will lose your way.  Nose to the grindstone and all that… is seriously overrated.  So head’s up.  Comebacks are rare and they’re often costly.

Experience has taught me to shed self-doubt, to listen to my gut and not listen to the compelling voices that surround me, the voices that can box me in.

Now for my 2013 New Year’s resolution, I want to turn my life inside-out.  I am going to look past the face in the mirror.  Not to neglect each smile wrinkle that tells a story of lessons learned, but to open new doors.  See more faces.  Turn more pages.

My New Year’s resolution extends to you.  My best advice to you is, if you’re not looking outside the box people put you in, you’ll miss the faces.  You will miss the smiles, the frowns, the joy, the anger, and the fear.  That’s life.  Face it.

A good friend of mine ends each message to me with a new beginning…that message is “Onward!”  It seems fitting, here and now!

Onward! and Happy New Year!

P.S.

What comes to mind is, that I am writing this missive to my (future) grandchildren.  Today we live in a world of TMI, and zetabytes of content.  Later on I hope my grandkids dust this message off.  My hope is if “I WordPress, I perpetuate!”  To my grandkids I say, “Please Google me!”

Politifact – How the Liberal Media Carried Obama’s Water to 2 Elections

The Tampa Bay Times liberal media bias shows itself time and again while claiming to be a reliable source on the truth or lies politicians make.  Cancel my subscription.

In October 2008, when Obama still had two Presidential elections coming up, PolitiFact rated his statement as “true.”

In June 2012, when Obama only had one more Presidential election coming up, PolitiFact rated his statement as  “half true.”

In December 2013, when Obama could no longer run for President ever again, PolitiFact rated his statement as “lie of the year.”

Obama Should Consider A Permanent Staycation.

civics quizObama should consider a permanent Staycation. Why?  Because it may deter him from breaking his own ill-conceived law a.k.a. Obamacare again and again.

What kind of man would blithely disrupt the medical care of millions of Americans, and then repeatedly lie to them with glib assurances that they could keep their doctors or health insurance if they wanted to?”  Thomas Sowell

1) Within months after Obamacare was passed, Obama, without approval from Congress, illegally gave some organizations, including numerous corporations and unions, an exemption from some of the requirements of Obamacare.  As time went on, more than 1,300 organizations received these exemptions.

2) In 2013, members of Congress and their staff complained that Obamacare was going to cost them a lot of money, and said that this would likely cause a brain drain among their staff. In response to this, Obama made changes to Obamacare so that these things would not happen. However, Obama’s actions were illegal, because he made these changes without Congress voting on them first.  The New York Times wrote of this:

… the language of the health care law requires Congressional employees to obtain health insurance through an exchange created by the law, but other parts of the federal legal code restrict the ability of the federal government to pay the usual employer share for group insurance programs approved by the Office of Personnel Management.

A straightforward reading of the law thus means that Congressional staff members, starting in January 2014, will have to obtain insurance through the Affordable Care Act but pay for it on their own without the normal contribution from their employer — Congress. This would be a multi-thousand-dollar income hit for those affected… many… would potentially feel the pain, giving rise to concerns over a potential brain drain of Congressional staff members finding other employment.

… the federal personnel office initially ruled that Congressional staff members would not be eligible for the subsidies, and then changed this decision under pressure from the White House…

3) In July 2013, Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate part of Obamacare from January 2014 until January 2015 without Congressional approval.

4) Even though Obamacare requires the government to verify the income of people who receive subsidies for Obamacare exchanges, in August 2013 it was reported that Obama would not be verifying their incomes.

5) As it was passed by the House and Senate and signed by Obama in 2010, Obamacare sets caps on the out of pocket payments that people pay for health care, and these caps were legally required to take effect in January 2014. However, in August 2013, Obama, without approval from Congress, illegally delayed these caps until January 2015.

6) Obamacare requires that individual employees of small businesses be allowed to choose their own insurance plan during the first year of Obamacare. However, in March 2013, the Obama administration announced that it would not be allowing them to make this choice during the first year. Because Obama did this without approval from Congress, his action was illegal.

7) After Obamacare was passed, Obama illegally added 20,000 extra pages to it, without approval from Congress.

8) In May 2013, the Washington Post reported that Obama had illegally used Obamacare to give additional powers to the IRS, without approval from Congress.

9) In May 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius solicited donations from health insurers to help pay for Obamacare. Such soliciting is illegal. Obama refused to fire or prosecute Sebelius for her criminal behavior.

10) Obamacare calls for the creation of 16,500 new IRS agents. In March 2011, 15 IRS agents illegally seized the medical records of 10 million people without a warrant. Obama refused to fire or prosecute them for their criminal behavior.

11) In August 2013, it was reported that Obama had illegally used Obamacare to fund pre-K education without approval from Congress.

12) In August 2013, it was reported that Obama had illegally missed 41 of Obamacare’s 82 deadlines.

13) In August 2013, it was reported that Obama was trying to give illegal Obamacare subsidies to unions, without approval from Congress.

14) Obamacare requires that the online registration for small businesses be ready by October 1, 2013. However, five days before that date, Associated Press reported that this deadline would not be met.

15) In November 2013, it was reported that Obama was trying to illegally exempt some unions from some of the Obamacare fees, without approval from Congress.

16) In August 2013, without approval from Congress, Obama illegally gave an Obamacare waiver to Massachusetts.

17) On November 14, 2013, after insurance companies had canceled policies that did not meet the minimum requirements of Obamacare, Obama told them to restore these policies. However, he did this without Congress voting to approve these changes to Obamacare. The President does not have the legal authority to change a law that was passed by Congress, without those changes first being approved by Congress.

18) In December 2013, Obama ordered insurance companies to cover “customers” who had never paid any premiums. Obama’s action was illegal because it violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. It was also illegal because he did not have approval from Congress.

19) On December 19, 2013, Obama gave exemptions from the Obamacare mandate to people whose insurance had been canceled due to Obamacare. Because Obama gave out these exemptions without approval from Congress, his action was illegal.

Source: Dan From Squirrel Hill’s Blog

My “Lousy” Health Insurance Plan

President Obama’s November 14, 2013, news conference on healthcare, was nothing more than him trying to save face by putting a presidential spin on something that has clearly spun out of control.  Mr. Obama’s spin could sound good for those unaware of how things really work with insurance and state insurance plan filings.

Mr. Obama’s come under fire for lying to the American people with his now infamous sound bite: “You can keep your doctor and your health plan.”  We’ve all heard it.  When that didn’t come to fruition on October 1, 2013 (the launching date for ObamadoesntCare), Obama and his spokespeople tried to spin the spin with another sound bite: “well if you had a lousy plan, your insurance company cancelled it” and boy did the people eat that up, giving consumers the impression they have Lousy insurance, which is contrary to:  “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it” promise.

Rosello Insurance Companies

But don’t fret, Mr. Obama has changed his position yet again and is now “allowing” us to keep our “lousy” insurance plan for at least another year. What’s the difference between the POTUS and an insurance salesman?  The POTUS knows he’s lying!

Well let me relate a personal horror story with the latest example of an Obama labeled “Lousy” insurance plan (which has become a reality for many Americans around the country).  We are now a statistic with the other 5,518,000 insured’s who’s insurance plans are being cancelled and losing our coverage.

As an Independent Agent, we represent a number of different insurance companies writing health insurance for small and medium businesses in Florida.  Our own agency group health insurance plan is presently written through United Healthcare.   Here is a brief description of what Obama defines as a “Lousy Insurance Plan” since United Healthcare is discontinuing/cancelling/terminating:

My Current Plan that was canceled due to ObamadoesntCare: ACA Approved Insurance Company Proposed Replacement Plan: Now when I attended school, we learned under old math:
$1,000  In-Network Deductible $1,700  In-Network Deductible $1,700 deductible is 70% higher than a $1,000 deductible
100% Co-insurance after the deductible 80% Coinsurance after the deductible
 $1,000 total out-of-pocket expense for the year $4,000 Out-of-Pocket expense $4,000 Out-of-Pocket Expense is 400% higher than a $1,000 Out-of-Pocket
$25 Primary Care doctor office co-pay & $30 Primary Care Doctor office co-pay $30 doctor copay is 20% higher than a $25 copay
$50 copay for a Specialist visit $70 copay for Specialists $70 Specialist copay is 40% higher than a $50 copay
Remember this is what Barack Hussein Obama refers to as a “Lousy Plan” in an attempt to cover his tracks from his “You can keep your health plan” sound bites. Group monthly savings for the “Replacement Plan” =  $158  per month Save $444 per year in premiums and pay more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses per year

My out-of-pocket expense will sky rocket under the replacement plan, costing me thousands of dollars more per year.  Hey, but at least my individual monthly premium savings will be $60 per month or $720 for the year.  What an investment, save $720 per year in premiums and pay more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses per year.

So much for the “Lousy Plan”.   Wonder if things could sound better if we can use the new politically correct Common Core mathematics equations, and see if we could arrive at percentages for the massive out-of-pocket increase, that would seem a bit more palatable, giving the appearance that $720 annual premium savings, is much better than having to pay more than $3,000 out-of-pocket expense?

My money is on Mr. Obama laying blame on insurance companies for cancelling health insurance plans (having to comply with ObamadoesntCare rules and regs) and Obama will double down on the “LOUSY” Plan narrative.  When Americans learn insurance companies cannot go back and reinstate those discontinued insurance policies because of state laws, it will be the evil insurance companies fault and not the genius in the White House (and I’m not talking about Valerie Jarrett or Jay Carney).

Sadly, the President’s Executive Order does absolutely nothing (but makes for a great sound bite – something Mr. Obama seems to be good at) for the 3 million people who have already lost their health plan, which is 2,924,000 more than enrolled in ObamadoesntCare for the same time period.  Insurance companies cannot do anything to remedy except re-file and unless the states are put on notice to streamline and approve the re-filings, it will take months upon months for the re-filings to get to the consumer.

Good news for Floridians, the state insurance commissioner will comply with the executive order and reinstate the cancelled policies.  However, I believe 9 states, including the State of California, have indicated stated they will not be reinstating cancelled health insurance plans. So much for being able to “keep your health plan”.  In the meantime, Obama will have the luxury of telling Americans he’s doing all he can (such as bypassing Congress and issuing Executive Orders) and insurance companies are just not responding fast enough and this has been the problem with insurance.

Obama and the Democratic Party have managed to dismantle and throw into chaos, a healthcare delivery system that successfully covered 85% of Americans, in order to cover 15% of the uninsured. 

Obamacare regulations 3-12-2013

Could health insurance companies have tweaked health insurance plans and made them better, absolutely.  They could have done it without the federal government issuing 3,000 new pages of laws and spending billions of taxpayer money by getting into the health insurance business!  Billions of dollars of taxpayer money the United States does not have!

Ideally, allowing business to purchase health insurance policies on an association basis and across state lines, would have helped increase the purchasing power for small business around the country.  But purchasing insurance through an Association and breaking down state barriers is a threat to the federal government’s quest to socializing America’s health insurance delivery system.

Being able to broaden the purchasing power of business, as labor unions are allowed, would have given business the opportunity to bring insurance rates down and to cover more of the 15% of the uninsured having a hard time qualifying for insurance.  Labor unions have the luxury and privilege to purchase their insurance across state lines, pooling union members.  Business is not allowed the same privilege.

It’s clear, Mr. Obama’s goal is to have the federal government takeover 1/6 of the U.S. economy.   There was no reason for the federal government to spend over $600 million of taxpayer money in reinventing the wheel, when insurance companies were already set up to underwrite and deliver insurance.  I cannot reiterate enough; the federal government disrupted and has ascended the U.S. Healthcare system into chaos to cover 15% of the uninsured, while inconveniencing 85% of covered Americans! Why?  It makes absolutely no sense!

Tom Rossello
tom@fmi-ins.com
 Florida Independent Insurance Agent

Private sector velocity!? In 2011, IBM CEO, Palmisano offered the Obama Administration to fix Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of $900B for FREE. He was turned down twice!

AM-BB803_Watson_G_20140108221204

IBM Watson

This is mind boggling to me.  IBM’s CEO offering the Obama Administration software to fix Medicare/Medicaid for free…$200B in fraud, plus remedies for other healthcare concerns to the tune of $900B!  Reportedly the Obama Administration refused this offer not once but twice!

The obvious reason is Obama is running for re-election on Obamacare.  His reelection depended on the hype of the success of Obamacare as a means to reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  It is one of their five major talking points of their Medicare.gov website.  “The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029—a 12-year extension due to reductions in waste, fraud and abuse, and Medicare costs, which will provide you with future savings on your premiums and coinsurance.”  Why would you want someone in the private sector solving the problem?

Plus. if you were a freeloading on Medicare or Medicaid, would you vote Republican?

I had to dig to find this original video, because I was very skeptical.., scroll to two minutes into the video. My jaw dropped by the end.  VIDEO —> http://on.wsj.com/193939f

HERE’S THE NARRATIVE…
The video opens with the Journal’s Alan Murray saying: “When President Obama was elected, you started spending a fair amount of time at the White House.”

Palmisano: “Yes, I did.”

Murray: “What was that all about?”

“Well,” Palmisano replied, “part of it was the administration was reaching out to the business community. I mean, I was one of many, obviously … around economic (issues)… So we were having lots of input, lots of exchange. That’s what we all were working on at the time.”

Asked how he thought the White House visits had turned out, Palmisano replied: “We haven’t made any progress. It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot of interaction.”

Murray: “Well, what’s the point of interaction if it doesn’t lead to progress?”

Palmisano: “You’d have to ask the people who aren’t progressing.”

He added, We’ve done tons of work, and for whatever sets of reasons, we haven’t been able to establish, be in sync with, the priorities.”

Palmisano offered an example: “We — and I’m fairly confident about this one because it required no legislative change — we could have improved quality and reduced the costs of the health-care system by $900 billion… It was self-funding. You could have insured anybody you wanted to, illegal aliens, dogs, cats, ponies, whatever, right? And the stuff was simple. Did not require any big legislative change.”

About $400 billion of the reduced costs could be realized through negotiating discounts with drug companies, just as IBM negotiates its own discounts, he said. “Buy a nationwide discount,” he said. “Just like pharmaceutical companies sell to us on a nationwide discount. It’s no different. I said, ‘Take the IBM discount! Take the IBM discount.’ “

Another example of savings: “Two hundred billion in fraud. That was a 3 percent improvement, by the way. This wasn’t transformational. … There’s so much fraud in the system — 3 percent and then Year 7 was 8 percent, Year 5 was 5 percent. It’s 200 billion.”

Murray: “And why didn’t they do that? Is there a fraud –“

Palmisano: “I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down. You’ll have to ask them… Free. Free wasn’t good enough.”

I didn't know!

I didn’t know!

Murray asks again: Why?

Palmisano replies, “I think what it is, not to be judgmental about these things, I really do think what it is that we weren’t aligning with the priorities. … the priority at the time, if I stay on my example of health care, was not to reduce costs and improve quality. It was to provide insurance and coverage for more people. That was our priority in the line. All we said, if you did this you could fund the priority without increasing the deficit, taking taxes up. And we couldn’t sell the case.”

We have all paid a huge price for the 2012 election bid made by Barack Obama.

They Shuttered Two More Mines in Wayne County, WV. Congratulations Mr. President.

coal2Here is our “jobs” President speaking out about his War on Coal, “When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers.”

A few more interesting facts have come to light in the last few days concerning coal in WV. The EPA can cheer that they shuttered two more mines in Wayne County, WV November 5th, laying off another 250 miners. They’re certainly going to have a Merry Christmas.

Two years ago the WV state budget ran a $140 million surplus after balancing the budget. Last year WV swung to a $90 million dollar deficit and now 4 months into the new fiscal year WV is down $42 million dollars! Because of EPA rulings  and signing up to participate in ObamaCare WV is running a $10 million monthly deficit that’s growing! How will this have a happy ending? When you look at the remarkable change in just the last 30 months the fiscal change is incredible. WV is on track for a $140 million deficit this year after running a $140 million surplus just two years ago!! Move over Detroit here they come!

An interesting story regarding a high-ranking member of the iron workers union which you would suspect his story is common with all of his constituents. During the George Bush era he worked on various “clean coal” technologies at power plants in WV and Ohio and his pay year after year was well north of $100,000. Since the “Obama era” started in 2009 not only has he never made $100,000 annually again, he’s never made $50,000 in a year!

Half the time he’s been on unemployment collecting food stamps. The other half he’s traveled all over the country working for sub par wages on various “shovel ready” government stimulus jobs. He’s truly never made 1/2 of the wages he was earning just 5 years ago. Once again the irony of it all? He’s a life long democrat and voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012! This guy in the last three years has literally sold his car because he can’t afford the payment, taxes and insurance but still votes straight Democrat in all elections. He has to take a bus to the polls, yet he doesn’t see the connection.

Now I know where the expression “die-hard” comes from.  Liberals.

Read more here…

coalminer-e1328803782694Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

Excerpt – Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections so his views are much harsher since the 2012 election victory. Obama’s stance on coal in 2011 and the difference in 2012 are striking.   The 2 most recent years are the war on coal, of course we had growth from the bottom of the recession till 2011. The debate with the liberals has been, there are more jobs in the coal industry today than there were when Obama took office.  Tree huggers always use the number of jobs created from the depth of the recession and usually concentrate on job growth in 2011.Anybody who states there are more jobs in the coal industry today in spite of Obama’s EPA is truly drinking the Kool Aid.

raked-over-coalObama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

Excerpt – Who would hire a 50 year old with a high school education with only mining on his resume? Couldn’t they retire you ask? Many of the coal companies laid them off because they’re filing bankruptcy. Even those who were retired from a coal company had a federal judge uphold the coal company could cut their pensions by 70% and end their health care. In short, THESE PEOPLE ARE SCREWED!

I Got a Million of ‘em, I Tell Ya! Rodney Dangerfield but for Millions of Americans Obamacare is No Joke!

I Got a Million of 'em, I Tell Ya!  Rodney Dangerfield

I Got a Million of ‘em, I Tell Ya! Rodney Dangerfield

When Rodney says, “I Got a Million of ‘em, I Tell Ya!  he’s referring to jokes, but for millions of Americans, Obamacare is no joke!  There are millions of real life stories just like the one below happening now.

The most egregious lie of all the Obama lies about Obamacare – “I can tell you as the father of two young girls, I would not want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor,” Obama said from the East Room in the White House.”  This couple cannot even use the same hospital, let alone their doctor!

As we’ve all heard, many people across America are losing their insurance coverage because of Obama Care. Here’s an excerpt from an email from a family in New Hampshire who is going through this right now.

A week ago I learned that my family’s current health insurance plan would be terminated as of January 1st. In recent weeks millions of other American families got the same bad news. We received no official termination letter but noticed deep in a 110 page packet from the insurance company that our premiums had changed as well as our policy number. We had to call the insurance company to find out what was going on. The phone lines were jammed. We were put on hold. Eventually we got through and we were told that if we did nothing, we would automatically be enrolled in the cheapest plan available to us, a bronze plan with premiums totaling nearly $19,000 a year (covering three of us), 70% more than we are currently paying, with an $11,000 deductible, (10% higher than our current plan). Of course our plan would no longer be considered sub-standard (per the government’s definition) as we now would be covered for such services as maternity and newborn care (my wife has had a hysterectomy) speech therapy, substance abuse, behavioral health and other services that there’s no chance of us ever needing.

Our second option was a silver plan that would have cost us over $22,500 a year in premiums, 105% above my current cost. Our third option was to drop our coverage altogether and try to run the gauntlet of the federally run New Hampshire health care exchange where we could “shop” for new insurance. The only problem is that there’s no shopping as there’s only one option (Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield) and it only covers some of the doctors and hospitals in the state. More than a third of the hospitals in the state are not included in the plan. The hospital we use, the largest in Nashua is not included.

I tell you, with my (NEW) doctor, I don’t get no respect. I told him, “I’ve swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills.” He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest.  Rodney Dangerfield

Rock My World Innovations – Part III – Driverless Cars – Stuff We Can Live With

Driverless car

Driverless car

Technology waits for no man.  Technology will solve many problems  politicians refuse to solve, such as energy independence.

What if we could eliminate DUI’s?  No more accidents?  No more collision insurance?  No more speeding tickets?  No more traffic cops?  No more traffic jams and erase handicaps, too?  PLAY SHORT VIDEO

What if we save the billions with a “B” the DOT is spending on high speed rail?  Politics aside, what if we spend our billions more wisely on potentially more ubiquitous technology, like driverless cars?   What if driverless cars were allowed 1-2 HOV lanes on a perpetual traffic jam like the notorious LA freeway system?

What if we send a driverless care to pick you up for work?  What if the system of freeway Park and Ride’s was expanded to use driverless cars at the same rates per seat as other mass transit?  What if what we do for bikes in the inner city, like Divvy bikes, we do for cars?

One idea Google has been studying is how its vehicles could become part of robo-taxi systems in which a fleet of self-driving cars would pick up passengers and work commuters on demand, according to people familiar with the matter. Google believes that such systems could potentially reduce the need for people to own cars and reduce accidents. Google Designing Its Own Self-Driving Car, Considers ‘Robo Taxi’ 

We know politicians.  Money is burning a hole in their pocket.  If they are going to spend taxpayer dollars on infrastructure, would our dollars go further if driverless car makers were offered responsible loan guarantees and driverless car buyers were offered the same subsidies we afford to other green initiatives?

Electric cars and gas-electric-hybrid models currently for sale in the U.S. have captured just 3% of total sales through the first eight months of this year. The Toyota Prius line accounts for more than half of the hybrid sales. Electric cars such as the Leaf account for barely a 10th of the market. About 1 in 10 of today’s new-vehicle owners say they will consider an electric the next time they buy a car, says Strategic Vision.

driverless intersection

VIDEO – Driverless Car Intersection

Watch the VIDEO of a Driverless car intersection.  Technology advances rapidly. Consider in a 2004 desert test the Google driverless car went 8 miles.  In 2010 it went 140,000 miles.  They used the staggering amounts of data collected for Google Maps and Google Streets. View to provide as much information as possible about the roads their cars were traveling. Their vehicles also collected huge volumes of real-time data using video, radar, and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) gear mounted on the car; these data were fed into software that takes into account the rules of the road, the presence, trajectory, and likely identity of all objects in the vicinity, driving conditions, and so on. This software controls the car and probably provides better awareness, vigilance, and reaction times than any human driver could. The Google vehicles’ only accident came when the driverless car was rear-ended by a car driven by a human driver. Google’s is now looking to build their own driverless cars, has a fleet of Toyota Prius’s, that exist today and have traveled over a half million miles without an accident.

We already have the technology to automatically parallel park cars, from Toyota Prius, Ford Escape and VW Tiguan. New technologies also include early warning systems to warn drivers if they are following to close.

 “Giving automobiles auto-piloting features—up to and including completely hands-free, eyes-closed operation with trusting souls aboard—is the Space Race of global auto makers, and you are the monkey in the capsule. Last month Nissan and Renault chief Carlos Ghosn promised that Nissan would bring affordable autonomous cars to the public by 2020. Mercedes-Benz already markets some of its driver-assist technologies as “semiautonomous”: automatic lane keeping (positioning the car between the lines during brief periods of hands-off operation); and Stop & Go Pilot, an optics-and-radar-based cruise control that can see traffic ahead and adjust speed in heavy traffic.” Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal September 2013

UPDATE: Fully self-driving cars expected by 2030, says forecast

The future is now if we stop playing politics and start employing innovation, entrepreneurship and the technology at hand.  See Part II PCs are dead and Part I on Smart Phones.

Happy Thanksgiving a.k.a. Thanksgivukkah!

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

I have a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, a wonderful wife and family, good friends and yes, a job.  Speaking of a wonderful wife and good friends,  I recently visited Philadelphia, for a friend’s daughter’s wedding.

Philadelphia was our nation’s first capital in 1790, while the permanent capital became Washington D.C. in 1800.  While there, I was afforded the opportunity to tour the site of the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall.  I was not only humbled by the amazing stories of the sacrifices our forefathers made during the Revolutionary War, like the winter of Valley Forge, but by the National Park Ranger, who’s knowledge and enthusiasm took me to school.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

She was also kind of scary.  She reminded me of my 3rd grade teacher, a nun, except she was carrying a gun or a taser.  I immediately got on the wrong side of her when she asked everyone to raise their hand if they were under 21.  My gray hair didn’t fool her.  She challenged the tour with many history questions.  Lucky for me and the other gray-haired guys I was with, their was a boy scout troop as part of our tour group, who knew most of the answers.

There were memorials in front of Independence Hall from several of our great leader.  Here are excerpts from speeches from these great leaders in History on this day of Thanksgiving…

George Washington (1789) – And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. 

Washington Statue Independence Hall

Washington Statue Independence Hall

Lincoln at Independence Hall

Lincoln at Independence Hall

Abraham Lincoln (1863) – “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Kennedy Memorial Independence Hall

Kennedy at Independence Hall

John F. Kennedy (1961)  “Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.”

I’d like to revisit Philly, if not only to follow Rocky’s Run to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky’s Steps.

Note: Thanksgivukkah! Last happened in 1888 won’t occur again for another 79,000 years.

Healthcare.gov is 500M lines of Code!? Geeks Weigh In.

ACA LINES OF CODE

Lines of Code

The claim is the Healthcare.gov website is 500M lines of code!  At a cost of $600M plus, that’s around 80 cents per line of code.  Rule of thumb for quality code,  the cost for code is in the $20 – $50 per line, the high cost of $50 per line is for the more robust and professional architected applications, where you can get as low as $10 for the hack stuff.

Anecdotal evidence, crudely adjusted for reality, suggests that if you figure your code costs $5 a line you’re lying—or the code is junk.

At $100/line you’re writing software documented almost to DOD standards (HHS and CMS apparently missed that memo).   Most embedded projects wind up somewhere in-between, in the $20-40/line range.

From a Slate article, Getting disciplined about embedded software development,  “If the site really contains 500 million lines of code, they say, that’s a strong hint that the programmers involved are doing something wrong. (Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system, by the way, contained some 50 million lines of code, and was criticized for being slow and bloated at that.)  And if they’re using the number of lines of code as a metric for progress and project scope, that may be indicative of serious dysfunction in the process.”

From my perspective, running a software development company, the problems HHS and CMS have with their website after 3 plus years is unconscionable.  It smacks of crony capitalism.  First let me say, we do not develop websites.

We develop web applications.  Sophisticated applications for the banking and financial services industry.  One of our customers, does millions of transactions each year.  We capture, image, eSign and store all their  documents in over thousands of locations nationwide.  Imagine if we were down for 5 minutes.  Imagine if there was a security breach to our software or archive.  We would be out of business.

Let me be clear, I’m just speculating, but the Healthcare.gov website code that they say has to be partially rewritten is probably largely undocumented, poorly written (possibly using contractors from 3rd world countries), without  the proper testing and quality assurance every step of the day.

During a recent crunch time, we used 3 programmers from India on one miniscule project which took them 6 months.  We had to manage them very closely, and their work was still subpar.  We will never do it again.   It’s going to be a nightmare to patch and fix Healthcare.gov.  It should probably be completely rewritten.

Until hundreds of thousands of people have been successfully enrolled, applications processed, insurance plan in effect…with no horror stories regarding security breaches, I personally would not go on their website or even give a phone operator or navigator my personal information, especially a SSN or debit card.  Just my two-cents.

Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

coalminer-e1328803782694If you can’t compete, you cheat.  It’s clear the EPA is trying to shaft the coal industry.  Last year the state of WV balanced their budget and had a $140 million surplus. Today 12 months later they have a $90 million deficit. The reason is lost coal tax revenues. A negative swing of $230 million in just one year!

This next year will be much worse, WV will be lucky to survive. Many experts believe the state is the next Detroit because of EPA policies.

What does the EPA do to compete with coal?  They cheat.  The Obama administration poured over a billion dollars into alternative fuel technology’s like solar, which gave us the Solyndra debacle.  We flushed $535M of taxpayer money down the toilet and we are going to blow over a billion on wind power.

Caithness Corp.’s Shepherds Flat was awarded $1.3B from the Obama administration and $30M from the State of Oregon for wind power.  This project is highly suspect.  In a Politico article, it’s stated “Its developers gorged themselves on hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers for 45 jobs, and government officials were well aware it was over-subsidized.”

In the WSJ yesterday, “In announcing the EPA’s new carbon regulations, Administrator Gina McCarthy said that new power plants “can minimize their carbon emissions by taking advantage of modern technologies.” The fact is that the coal-based industry cannot realistically follow these rules without putting itself out of business.”

So the question I have for President Obama and the EPA is, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

If foolish spending and subsidies for energy industries that cannot compete isn’t enough, the EPA will strangle the coal industry with new regulations.  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) vows to fight destructive policies that harm America’s economy.

Senator Manchin, a stout Obama supporter until 2012, slammed President Obama’s proposal to address climate change, which imposes unreasonable restrictions that will have disastrous consequences for not only the coal industry, but also American jobs and the economy.

“The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable.” Senator Manchin said, in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology.

“The fact is clear: our own Energy Department reports that our country will get 37 percent of our energy from coal until 2040. Removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our recovering economy. These policies punish American businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage with our global competitors. And those competitors burn seven-eighths of the world’s coal, and they’re not going to stop using coal any time soon.

“It is only common sense to use all our domestic resources, and that includes our coal. Let’s make sure that government works as our partner, not our adversary, to create a secure and affordable energy future, and let’s invest in technology which will have the ability to burn coal with almost zero emissions.”  

Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections so his views are much harsher since the 2012 election victory. Obama’s stance on coal in 2011 and the difference in 2012 are striking.   The 2 most recent years are the war on coal, of course we had growth from the bottom of the recession till 2011. The debate with the liberals has been, there are more jobs in the coal industry today than there were when Obama took office.  Tree huggers always use the number of jobs created from the depth of the recession and usually concentrate on job growth in 2011.Anybody who states there are more jobs in the coal industry today in spite of Obama’s EPA is truly drinking the Kool Aid.

While the Obama administration is subsidizing green energy with billions to create a few hundreds of jobs, he could help save thousands of high paying jobs in the coal industry.  Again it begs the question, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

 

Obama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

raked-over-coalThe war on coal is in full steam with the latest EPA regulations that went into effect. This Bloomberg story talks about how sneaky the Obama administration is. Here’s a little background.

Because of the carbon tax levied on power plants that burn coal and the over drilling of the Marcellus Shale, natural gas became a cheaper alternative for power plants to create electricity. In February of this year natural gas prices spiked and power plants started to burn coal again because it was cheaper. The Obama administration raised the carbon tax very quietly by 60%, making natural gas with its elevated price once again the cheapest source.

The Bloomberg article details how it was done by slipping it in with some new air conditioning regulations so they wouldn’t take any heat over it. I might remind you Bloomberg is a raging liberal, and even his publication is crying foul. Coal doesn’t have a chance with an administration that simply raises the fine for burning coal every time coal becomes a cheaper solution. It truly is a war on coal. The next war will be on natural gas after they destroy the coal industry.

The human toll is something that’s not being reported anywhere. The average pay in the coal industry is $68,000 per employee. That’s not just miners, that’s secretaries, clerks, etc…  Extremely high paying jobs that are being eliminated 300 – 500 at a time. The last mine to close in WV laid off 504 employees that averaged this pay. When you see the Obama administration tout the jobs they’re creating, those jobs have average pay around $35,000 annually.

That’s one reason our economy is stuck, you need to create two jobs for every one job Obama eliminates. And that would only keep us even. For growth you need 3 jobs at the Obama pay rate to replace one good job in the coal fields. When you live in WV you can easily see the problem with Obama’s so called jobs plan.

Obama claims, repeatedly, ad nauseum, he is trying to save the middle class, while his war on coal is proof, he is busy wiping out the middle class and increasing middle class dependency on big government.

And by the way, most of these people who were making $68,000 a year have high school educations only. Their average age is around 45. Where will they find similar jobs? There aren’t any coal mines in cities the size of Tampa. These people live in rural areas of KY and West Virginia mostly. Why don’t they move you ask? How will they sell their homes? 500 of the richest people in a coal mining community of 5000 lose their job on the same day and put their houses on the market. With that glut of homes how could they get a fair price even if the could find a buyer?

Who would hire a 50 year old with a high school education with only mining on his resume? Couldn’t they retire you ask? Many of the coal companies laid them off because they’re filing bankruptcy. Even those who were retired from a coal company had a federal judge uphold the coal company could cut their pensions by 70% and end their health care. In short, THESE PEOPLE ARE SCREWED!

A statement from the West Virginia Coal Mining Association, “The Administration’s “War on Coal” has been waged with a barrage of ill-conceived administrative actions, litigation and regulatory actions such as EPA’s Spruce mine retroactive veto, the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s totally unnecessary efforts to rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s ill-conceived and scientifically baseless regulatory changes and EPA’s regulatory “train wreck.” The “War on Coal” is not rhetoric. It is real, and it is killing us.”

And finally the irony of it all. Without exception most of these miners are Democrats and supported Obama in the 2008 election. Even after he turned on them, the UMWA labor union still supported him lock, stock and barrel in the 2012 election. Romney came to WV and held a rally and told the miners, if he were elected he’d restructure the EPA and have them back to work in 100 days. They still supported Obama. There is a saying about folks like that. If God didn’t want them shorn, he wouldn’t have made them sheep. Obama was very blunt in 2007 when he said, you can build a power plant that burns coal but we’ll bankrupt you. For once, he is a man of his word.

NOTE: Nearly 300 coal-fired power units nationwide have closed or will be retired this year. Other plants have switched to natural gas. A total of eighteen (18) coal-fired units in West Virginia have announced their plans to close.  It is estimated that each unit accounts for approximately 100 full-time positions, thus the total number of jobs impacted in West Virginia by these closures is approximately 1,800 additional jobs.  Across the Appalachian region, the damage is even worse, with approximately 10,000 direct mining jobs lost and another 40,000 indirect jobs lost.  The net effect is the removal of $719 million from West Virginia’s economy and a $2.05 billion loss from the region.  These are real dollars that have been lost, impacting every family and business in their area.

Small Businesses in Florida Are HIT by Another Tax

Who's affected?

Who’s affected?

Fellow Floridians.  Here’s some info on the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and how it will affect “taxpayers.”   When I say taxpayers, I mean middle income people, earning a decent wage, including small businesses, to boot.  

Someone has to pay for Obamacare, the future king of entitlements.  Big business and insurers aren’t going to suffer.  They’re going to pass through.  Any tax burden is going to be on to us, the consumer.  So who’s going to pay for Obamacare?  One way or another, there’s going to getcha….getcha, getcha, getcha… I feel a song coming on!

How does the impact of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) as part of the Affordable Care Act, affect small businesses and consumers?  HIT will be applied to almost all health insurance policies in Florida beginning in January 2014.

According to the NFIB, a  provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a premium tax on all health insurance policies beginning in 2014 called the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT Tax.  This tax will exceed $130 billion nationally in assessments in the first 10 years. It is collected by health insurance companies, but paid entirely by consumers in the fully insured marketplace, where nearly all small-business owners, employees and their families purchase their coverage. This will result in higher insurance costs for nearly all Floridians.

The tax rate is not yet set for 2014 – it is expected to be announced by HHS on or near October 1st. It will be adjusted annually to meet a specific revenue schedule.  Experts predict the actual tax rate will be between 2% and 2.5% of the premium. NFIB estimates that the HIT Tax will collect $114-157 million in Florida in 2014.

This HIT Tax is in addition to the tax that the state of Florida already assesses on health insurance premiums, the state premium tax, which is set at of 1.75% and has been in place in Florida for decades.

The HIT Tax will impact all health insurance policies, except large group self-insured policies.  The HIT Tax will also be levied on Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Care policies.  It is a 100% pass through from insurers to consumers.  Most group health insurance premiums in Florida are paid by both the employer and the employee.

This tax will hit both families and small businesses directly.

Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part II

Laptops are doomed

Laptops are doomed

As I stated in Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part I, when I began researching “rock my world” innovations and how it affects us and our workplace, the hardest part for me is I couldn’t stop. It’s because in the course of studying innovation, much that you read and hear about today is already old news.

I found some rock my world innovations but more often than not, I found new stuff we can live with.  Stuff here today, possibly gone tomorrow…

I’m a big fan of the future and enjoy learning all I can about new innovations.  In studying innovation in my work I quickly discovered you can erase the past and create the future as quickly as you can erase chalk from a chalkboard.

One of my favorite recitations is that as a CEO in the technology business, we as a company must constantly reinvent ourselves.  We need new technology to keep up with the existing technology and the tsunami of information we have to deal with every day.

We live in a world of plentiful accurate data, and massive storage capacity and processing power.   So anything’s possible. here is Part II.

Game changers include Tablets.  So laptops are doomed.  In the next five years, tablets will displace notebook-style computers to become the dominant personal computing platform.  And the transition from laptop to tablet has already begun. Tablets are expected to outsell laptops in 2016 as tablet shipments increase by 5x from 80+ million in 2011 to 425 million by 2017.  A third of those sales will be directly to businesses, as tablets become standard tools for executives, sales staff and other information workers.

Another driving force, China and other emerging markets will drive tablet growth because they aren’t already saturated with laptops and smartphones. Emerging markets will account for 40% of tablets sold by 2016.

Here’s a great example of how technology can supplement and even trump government run programs who receive taxpayer dollars and quite honestly many of the non-profits too, who receive charitable contributions and government funding.  More money could be invested in entrepreneurial endeavours, in promising, proven and economical technology, and less in politically motivated boondoggles, like the Solyndra scandal.

Tablets are killing laptops

Tablets are killing laptops

Here’s an account from  Jim Nuttall, East Lansing, MI on how apps on mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones can help the handicapped improve their quality of life, and become more productive.

I am legally blind and have an iPhone. This is what an iPhone does for me and how it affects our economy.

- iPhone reads books to me — no more human readers required
- Internet books for blind — no more library
- Internet radio — no more standard radio
- iTunes Music Store — no more physical music store
- App Store — no mall software store
- Kindle — no more book store-
- GPS — no more maps or dedicated GPS
- Internet news — no newspapers
- Google — no more yellow pages
- Internet weather — no TV weather man
- Cell phone — no more landline company
- Camera — no separate photo or Video camera
 

I love my Kindle app on the iPad and access to social media sites is easy and easy to provide updates.  I can’t imaging the need for a separate digital camera or GPS.  I won’t give up my Garmin Edge on my bike or my Go Pro cam on my next great adventure.

I still have a PC (laptop) and I prefer my laptop when I am sitting at my desk reviewing volumes of information which requires editing, using spreadsheets and even blogging, but there is certainly a great deal of evidence mounting that we can and will readily adapt to new technology and innovations as they present themselves.

See Part III and the next great game changer.

Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part I

Sign of the times.

Sign of the times.

When I began researching “rock my world” innovations and how it affects us and our workplace, the hardest part for me is I couldn’t stop. It’s because in the course of studying innovation, much of what you read and hear about today is already old news.

I found some rock my world innovations but more often than not, I found new stuff we can live with.  Stuff here today, possibly gone tomorrow…

I’m a big fan of the future and enjoy learning all I can about new innovations.  In studying innovation in my work I quickly discovered you can erase the past and create the future as quickly as you can erase chalk from a chalkboard.

One of my favorite recitations is that as a CEO in the technology business, we as a company must constantly reinvent ourselves.  We need new technology to keep up with the existing technology and the tsunami of information we have to deal with every day.

We live in a world of plentiful accurate data, and massive storage capacity and processing power.   So anything’s possible.

We live in a world where computers improve so quickly that their capabilities pass from the realm of science fiction into the everyday world!

Like Watson the IBM Computer who can beat the world’s finest chess players or champions at Jeopardy and we’re not talking about surpassing the realm of science fiction over the course of a human lifetime, or even within the span of a professional’s career, but instead in just a few years.

So What is Innovation?smartphones

1) There are the Game Changers that can disrupt and create whole new markets.
2) There are Breakthrough Innovations that Introduces a new technology into an existing market and

3) There are Incremental Innovations that are Small but Significant improvements to our lives.

people toothbrush

More people with cell phones in the world than with toothbrushes.

So let’s talk briefly today about one of the most obvious game changers.  Smartphones.  There are more people with cell phones in the world than with toothbrushes.  Seems impossible right?  Well believe it or not, this guy owns a smart phone!

toothless guy

This guy owns a smartphone

Let’s talk about THE FUTURE of the smart phone 2013… Below is a short video about a new app called Project Glass from Google.  I’ll tell you, I’m definitely going use this app!  I couldn’t find my way around a department store if I had to save my life.  Here’s the story.

I had taken my 2-year-old daughter shopping with me for my wife’s Christmas gift.  I chose the local mall which was a mistake!  There were too many stores, on too many levels and subsequently too many choices.  My two-year old decided she would decide when to leave for me and declared in a high octave it was time to leave.  When I tried to get her back into her snow suit she decided to take it up a few notches so I made my exit as quickly as possible.  I was plowing through drifts of snow with a screaming kid under my arm, like a football and I couldn’t find the car.  I thought it had been stolen.  I quickly dismissed the thought, thinking who would steal a yellow Ford Pinto with a black racing stripe, affectionately nicknamed, The Banana.  When I came to my senses I had realized there was an East and a West entrance to the mall.  It seems I had been rendered temporarily geographically dyslexic.  It is strictly a male trait brought on by the trauma from entering a shopping mall and likely departing with a lighter wallet.

google glass

Google Glass

Here’s the short video…the future of smartphones a.k.a. Google Glass.

What are some of the other game changing innovations? Hint: Laptops Are Doomed!

Syrian Rebels – Are the Moderates in the Lead?

Roadmap to Syria Oposition

Roadmap to Syria Opposition

The President, the lawmakers, and the mainstream media, for more than two years now, continue to bank on the assumption the Syrian rebels are controlled by Al-Qaeda, and the misinformation from MSM pundits, that we should not aid the rebels in Syria.  Meanwhile over 120,000 have died and millions have been displaced from their homes. The refugee camp in Jordan is the 5th largest city in Jordan right now. This is the inconvenient truth.  

We should make them watch this atrocity —> An incendiary bomb dropped on to a school playground.

My concern is the public has been ill advised. Below are, what I believe, reliable sources that the Syrian rebels are controlled by moderates. Considering we still do have some predominantly Muslim countries, Jordan being one, and our long term ally, Israel, who have expressed allegiance to the US, what happens if we do nothing?

I saw Brett Baird’s recent interview on Special Reports with Elizabeth O’Bagy. Brett deferred to her experience of the region. I found O’Bagey to be intelligent, well-educated, and informed on the people, the countries, the sects, and the religions of the Middle East. Her observations were based on actual “feet on the ground.” Looks like I made a big mistake on Elizabeth O’Bagey trusting Fox News to vett their sources. NOTE: John McCain Hires Elizabeth O’Bagy, Syria Analyst Recently Fired Over False Ph.D Claim

Recent interviews on Hannity also buoy my opinion a US precision air strikes will benefit the moderate rebels in Syria. Gen. Jack Keane, who also has had his “feet on the ground” in Syria states, “Moderates are in the lead…”, and Krauthammer on the same Hannity (Hannity appears to have removed the video from his show), backs Keane up. You can see the videos on “Fox News-Expert on Syrian politics, security speaks out.” http://shar.es/z9kSL

Looking at the challenges we have had in the Middle East region, Iraq being one, would we better off today without Iraq’s testy alliance? How about the Iraqi people? Do the majority of the Iraqi people hate the US? Maybe that should be a clue as to what we should do in Syria, or is it too late? So many lives lost, so many Syrians misplaced from their homes. Do they blame the US?

There are many in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, who oppose us helping the rebels in Syria. Rather than condemn the Syrian people, it strikes me that, as a Christian, those of faith, Christians and Muslims, are being slaughtered both by the governments of Syria, Egypt and Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist extremists. There are even claims of the rebels killing Christians who have sided with the Assad regime, but I have to believe in the good in people.

On one hand, I like the way Greg Guttfeld said it in his book, The Joy of Hate “I don’t hate all of them (Muslims). I just hate the ones that are trying to kill us.” I have no doubt, we are in great danger. No doubt, there should be more support from the “good” Muslims, but they’re scared and intimidated, too.

I believe that the majority of Middle Easterners, regardless of what tribe, region, or faith, are basically good people. As Americans, we are rich in tradition for having helped innocent people in harms way, and we need to protect the Syrian people from further harm.

In the end I think O’Bagey is a legitimate source, whereas most in the mainstream media are hacks that are reporting on this story are relying on 2nd and 3rd hand information. Some might some might dismiss O’Bagey based on the history alone in the region. I believe. if you ignore all the rhetoric, follow the reporting of people like O’Bagey, Gen. Jack Keane and Charles Krauthammer the decision would be clear, to help the Syrian rebels.

If you believe in reincarnation, and we do nothing to help innocent people from dying maybe if we die and go to hell, we may be reborn in the Middle East?

A Dog in the Life of a Day

Cody cools off in Al's pool

A Day in the Life of Cody

The more important you think you are, the less important you become.  This is an important lesson in my life.  I am reminded of this lesson every day.

I have learned many of life’s lessons, from people who are widely heralded as the most influential leaders in technology, people like Steve Jobs.

I have learned from world leaders who have left a legacy of influence on freedom in our world, like Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.  I am humbled by their genius, by their resolve and by their vision.

I have to say, again the more important you think you are, the less important you will become.  I guarantee it.  Here’s how it works.

You have an important meeting you have to attend or an important call you have to take, at certain time of day.  You are waiting for that phone to ring.  Before it does, your chocolate lab, Cody comes into your office, places his head on your knee, looks up to you and says…time out.

You can have plenty of demands and plenty of reasons to deny Cody his walk, but he’s there to remind you just how special you are to him.  If you take that call, no matter the circumstance you are diminished in his eyes and there’s an ache in your heart.

You might ask me what the difference is whether it be a spouse, a child or a pet you put off?  I am here to say, you’re loved one’s will buy your story line, but if you want a truly honest assessment of your character, choose Cody.  You can’t get a line past him.

You can get a surrogate to walk him, feed him, bathe him and more, but you own him.  And he owns you.  Your family makes allowances for your behavior.  They know just how important you are; or you’ve become; or you imagine.  Cody knows you’re just the guy picking up his poop.  It’s that simple.

Think about it.

So Now… If You’re Opposed to Obamacare, You’re a Racist…

your a racist charlie brownDuring a monologue, if Jay Leno were to say something that could be interpreted as off-color, and the crowd reacted unfavorably, Leno would respond, “Oh yeah, like you’ve never… Ooh, ooh.” and the crowd would laugh sheepishly. Still they would laugh.

So what if you laugh at an off-color joke? Does that make you a bad person?

Maybe you have harbored some racial prejudice based on some bad experiences you have had in life with someone not your skin color. Is that racism?

We have addressed racism in America with effective laws and federal, state and local programs that were put in place to be equalizers, so race issues really come down to a personal level.

When it gets personal we have to add lawyers, plumbers, and car salesmen to a long list. How about Catholics, Jews, Poles, and the Irish? I’m sure you all have you have heard off-color jokes about these people, their ethnicity, their religion and their professions.

My favorite lawyer joke goes like this. A man walks into a bar, he declares loudly and drunkenly to the entire bar populace, All lawyers are assholes!” There’s this guy down at the end of the bar replies right back, “I resent that remark!” So the drunk asks, “Why are you a lawyer?” The guy from the other end of the bar replies, “No. I’m an asshole!”

My point is we can label people all day long, people we don’t like, but to call someone  “a racist” is a now a major issue in the face of all the other challenges Americans face is ridiculous.

It is getting more and more ridiculous every day. The Obama administration is wasting no time exploiting it. Now, if you don’t like Obamacare, according to Sibelius, you are racist! This is patently false and the race baiters need to look in the mirror.

The real problem in America on the issue of race is too many of you let someone else decide for you. Therein lies the problem. The mainstream media, the race baiters who make a living stirring the pot, appearing anywhere there is a racially charged incident and pundits, will decide for you.

We could use more leaders like Martin Luther King to address our nation on race issues. Take Robert F. Kennedy’s speech given on on the day of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Racism as a major political issue would be dead if we didn’t let the media, race baiters and politicians reinvent it. Does racism exist? Yes, but like President Obama said, “Things are getting better.”

I’m not defending George Zimmerman. Maybe he is racist. I wouldn’t let him patrol my neighborhood, would you? I think he should have backed off when he was told to back off. That’s my personal opinion. I’m not qualified to judge Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s certainly a dumbass. Sue his fat ass to kingdom come, but we don’t have a national epidemic of racism in America.

Race baiters persist because you want the media or your favorite celebrities to decide on racism for you. You can’t be bothered. Then you follow the herd.

page_2012_200_sowell_squareI don’t like it, when someone with an axe to grind on race, uses Thomas Sewell or other black leaders, left or right, as a tool to further their agenda, but the National Review’s Online’s article Who Is Racist? by Thomas Sowell is the most racially centrist message I have read.

The advice I give, I give to my kids. My opinions are my own. They are based on the broad stroke of life’s experiences over 60 years. I’m no expert on race relations. I don’t want to be, but I believe much of this media circus would go away, if you would stop letting the pundits decide whether you’re a racist, or not?

Which brings me to another one of my favorite off-color jokes, ending a sentence in a preposition.

A Texan visiting Harvard turns to a Harvard graduate and asks, “Excuse me can ya’ll tell me where the library’s at?” The graduate snaps, “Where I come from we don’t end sentences with a preposition!” The Texan replies “OK – can ya’ll tell me where the library’s at asshole?”

NFIB Steps Up to the Plate with a Helpful Guide to Obamacare

tea party member visit to the Doctor

Bend over! When will taxpayers wake up?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) a.k.a. Obamacare was to impose an employer mandate beginning on January 1, 2014. Only Congress is supposed to have the constitutional authority to change that date.

Again the Obama Administration, choosing to take the law, ACA, into their own hands, delayed the employer mandate until 2015. This is a deliberate ploy to postpone one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation until after the mid-term elections.

“News of the delay was not formally announced, but quietly slipped into a blog entry of one of the President’s top advisers. We’re giving businesses more time to comply,” blogged adviser Valerie Jarrett, who also claimed that the White House is “listening” to small business.

Dan Danner, the President and CEO, NFIB of the NFIB states, “It’s true that extra time to comply with one of the most convoluted parts of the law might provide marginal help to some small-business owners. But delay is not the long-term solution to rising healthcare costs that the small-business community has been asking for. The only way to get Obamacare right is for Congress to pass a permanent fix: full repeal. In the meantime, NFIB will continue to fight hard to correct its most dangerous pieces and do everything in our power to help you avoid its immediate pitfalls.”

The National Federation Independent Business has created “The Healthcare Playbook: A Small Business Guide to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,”available on NFIB’s website. Unlike the act, this playbook is easy to understand, provides clear dates for action items and explains major requirements that you must meet.

Most disturbing report yet we’re going to be enrolling uninsured families, without employer’s income verification, allowing them to sign-up for voter registration at the same time. Who’s going to be footing the bill? The entitlement flood gates are now open.

It’s being reported by the Daily Caller, in California, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP are already conducting door to door canvassing, phone banks and robocalls to encourage people to sign up for exchange plans. Even more onerous for Republicans, the state has mandated that voter registration will be integrated into the process.

This Administration continues to break the law. This latest ploy will increase the cost of Obamacare by at least $62 billion next year alone, by herding millions of people into taxpayer funded health plans whether they are eligible or not. And if you’re getting taxpayer funded healthcare for free why would you vote to repeal it?

America in Jeopardy? The Answer is, “4 DEAD Americans Heroes.” What is the Question?

What is Benghazi?

What is Benghazi?

I  wanted to try to put the question, “What is Benghazi?” out to people that get to go home every night.  They get to celebrate July 4th, Independence Day, tomorrow.

They turn on the TV.  They watch NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN News.  Then they turn on Jeopardy.  They think they have all the answers.  They never hear about Benghazi, or the IRS scandals.

So I decided to pose a question, as if it were asked on Jeopardy.

On Jeopardy, the answer is, “4 DEAD Americans heroes.”  The question would be, “What is Benghazi?

If this were a question posed on Jeopardy…maybe more Americans would stop ignoring and want to learn the answer.  This brings me to the next Jeopardy question, “What is the IRS scandal?”  The answer is, “A White House Cover up.”  The White House was targeting conservative groups (Tea Party) before the 2012 elections to keep them from getting out the conservative vote.”    Read – Strassel:The IRS Scandal Started at the Top.

Here is an excerpt.   President Obama raised the threat of illegality: “All around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates . . . And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation.”

There is also an Obama campaign website targeting of Romney campaign donors, like Frank VanderSloot.  While some people may think VanderSloot is getting what he deserves, there’s a real concern Obama can publicly target someone and a few days later Vandersloot is targeted by the IRS and the Labor Department with audits.

How can we, as Americans, allow the most powerful agency in government, persecute innocent Americans regardless of their political affiliation?  Instead of calling each other Libtards and Teabaggers, or worse, isn’t it time to realize our great country is in jeopardy?idependence day flag at half mast edit

As for Benghazi, did I mention it has been almost 10 months, 296 days and counting, we still don’t know who is responsible for Benghazi and we have held NO ONE accountable for 4 DEAD Americans?  They and their families aren’t celebrating the 4th of July with brats and beer like you and I, because they STILL don’t have answers!!!

The White House has become The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Obama is Charles Durning in the Sidestep, a must see!

Shame on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and all the the MSM outlets who refuse to admit the POTUS is your demagogue.  Your MSM creation.

I can’t celebrate Independence Day, the birth of our nation, when the Chicago Mafia has riddled, and will continue to riddle our Constitutional rights.  I’m hanging my flag at half mast on the 4th of July to honor of those who died in Benghazi and all American’s who have defended America and who have paid the ultimate price.

As for the IRS scandal, there may as well be a guy who goes by the name of “Ben” Ghazi in charge of the FBI investigation into the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, because the FBI still doesn’t know who’s in charge of the investigation and they don’t know who is responsible.  Make sense?

One last Jeopardy quiz for you that are still here.  The answer is “In Jeopardy.”   The question is, “What is America?”

God love America!  Happy 4th of July!

Gallup Poll – Small Business Gains the Trust of Americans

Americans' Confidence Gallup Poll

Americans’ Confidence Gallup Poll

Virtually all American small businesses hire Americans.  They spends their money here.  They pay their taxes here. Their profits stay here, helping to grow our economy. They support local businesses.  Small business grows American jobs.

While big government, big business and big union continue to capture the headlines in the Mainstream Media (MSM) the latest Gallup Polls tell the real story – Americans’ Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record. Small Business continues to garner the trust of most Americans – 76%!

Americans don’t discriminate when it comes to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship and American exceptionalism is an equal opportunity endeavour.

This message needs to resonate with more politicians, whose confidence with the American people is at a new low – only 10% according to the Gallup poll!!  Yet who do politicians pander to, Big Business 22%, and Big Union 20%, right there with them.

While Big Government is busy making deals with major corporations like Amazon and Time Warner here in Florida, small businesses are left to compete for business at lesser margins.  They compete for qualified employees at higher salaries.  Why?  Big government subsidized competition for big business through tax incentives, tax breaks, and now even Obamacare, delaying the corporate mandate.

What politicians need to do, is pay attention more attention to small businesses. Recently I tested my own theory that small business grows jobs at a much greater rate than big business. I arrived at some interesting conclusions.

Using a calculator from PoliticalCalculations.com How Many People Are Employed by Small Businesses? I did the math and here is what I found.

A large portion, over 50% of the 55M employees recorded by the SBA in 2008 employed by small businesses, are concentrated in the 1-50 employee businesses. One could then draw the conclusion, the more start-ups the better. Feeding start-ups to grow quickly into the categories of 5 – 25 employees is a path to greater job growth, than big business.

Business size – Category No. Employees Percent of Total Employees under 500 Increase in Employment by Business Size
1-4 3,724,975 7%
5-10 6,338,025 11% 63%
11-25 11,124,498 20% 53%
26-50 8,761,696 16% 29%
51-100 8,397,904 15% 22%
101-250 10,299,022 18% 21%
251-500 7,186,709 13% 13%
Total 55,832,829

There needs to be more start-ups, a.k.a., small businesses.  To encourage the increase in numbers of employees in the 5 – 25 employee categories would mean enabling small businesses to create more jobs, at a faster pace.

To demonstrate this further, another US Government Small Business Administration (SBA) study shows companies between 20 and 100 employees produce the most significant rate of growth both in employment and revenues.

Legal Form U.S., All Industries Employment Size of Firm
of Organization Total 0 * 1-4 5-9 10-19 20-99 100-499
Firms 3,781,343 13% 43% 19% 13% 11% 2%
Employment 45,087,926 0% 8% 10% 14% 37% 30%
Est. receipts 7,168,325,343 2% 9% 10% 13% 35% 31%

More of the incentives afforded to the large corporations should shift to smaller businesses to increase the numbers of smaller businesses who succeed.  Check out: America Runs On Small Businesses Infograph.

Consider as larger corporations continue to downsize, largely due to technology replacing people, where is job growth going to come from? The answer, entrepreneurs and innovation. There’s more to this story. Let me know what you think?

If politicians want to win elections, they need to run on a small business for jobs platform.  They need to ask, “What can be done to increase the success of start-ups, reduce their failure rate, sustain their growth and the rate of employment to the extent they can grow and produce significant gains in employment and revenues?”

A combination of small business development, combined with technology and innovation will grow this economy faster than dishing out boondoggles to big business.

Costs are soaring for community banks struggling to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act and new regulations.

finregsCommunity banks are small business folks serving their fellow local small business community.  Dodd-Frank is just another example of what BIG can and will do to you.

Big Government regulating Big banks has consequences and don’t say they’re unintended as the mainstream media will have you believe.  We should make little Barney Frank and Chris Dodd go with the Feds next time they raid a small bank in a small tight knit community on a Friday night quittin’ time.

Make Dodd and Frank answer to small town bank employees faces when they lose their job.  Make them stay until the Feds are done.  In one case I know they made an IT Manager stay until midnight.  She was told to stand outside her cubicle while they rifled through her files and computer.  I wrote about this in The “Physical” Cliff, Writing Checks My Ass Can’t Cash.

Turns out regulating the BIG banks hurts community banks.

The State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas suspended its entire residential-mortgage division for fear of the newly “spawned” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) liability.

Twelve hundred rural US counties would have “severely limited banking access” without community bankers, who also serve other key sectors of our economy:

Community banks provide 48.1 percent of small business loans issued by US banks, 15.7 percent of residential mortgage lending, 43.8 percent of farmland lending, 42.8 percent of farm lending, and 34.7 percent of commercial real estate loans, and they held 20 percent of all retail deposits at US banks as of 2010.

In the early crucial stages, when a small business needs a loan, the collateral must be equal to or greater than the loan value.  Most large banks just won’t bother.   So where do small businesses turn for essential short and long term cash flow needs?  

According to the National Federation Independent Business (NFIB), six percent of the owners reported that all their credit needs were not met, down 1 point and only 2 points above the record low. Thirty-one (31) percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis.  A net 7% reported loans “harder to get” compared to their last attempt (asked of regular borrowers only), up 3 points.  The net percent of owners expecting credit conditions to ease in the coming months was a seasonally adjusted negative 8% (more owners expect that it will be “harder” to arrange financing than easier), 2 points worse than in March.

Here’s an excerpt from one recent article titled, Main Streets May Soon Be Without a Bank

Government regulations have also forced many small community banks to close over the last three years. The Dodd-Frank Act was designed to regulate the banking and lending industries and decrease the likelihood of another financial catastrophe. Unfortunately, an unintended consequence is soaring costs for community banks struggling to comply with the new regulations. Many of those banks are located in smaller communities. The FDIC released a report last month that stated that no new community bank charters have been granted since 2011 due, in part, to Dodd-Frank.

According to an article, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: The Triumph of Crony Capitalism (Part 1) written by Jeff Harding, on August 11th, 2010 there are two questions you should consider while evaluating the Act’s impact and scope that help explain this boom-bust cycle:

  1. Why did the housing market become a bubble?
  2. Why would any lender lend money to a home buyer who (i) had a credit score of 500, (ii) made a down payment of 5% or less, and (iii) didn’t have to prove his or her ability to repay?

He answers these questions by saying:

  1. Only cheap money drives bubbles and there is only one entity that creates cheap money and that is the Federal Reserve—from 2000 to 2004 the Fed Funds rate went from 6.5% to 1.0% wildly distorting entrepreneurial behavior. This was the cause of this boom-bust cycle.
  2. No one would lend so carelessly unless they didn’t care. They didn’t care because someone else, in this case the government (Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA), would guarantee repayment.

Everything stems from these two factors yet there is nothing in the Act that prevents the Fed from starting a new cycle or that prevents Fannie or Freddie from again distorting the economics of the housing market.

Couple these alarming events with the fact there are 8.5M unbanked people eligible for Obamacare who will not be able to get it without a bank account…well we all know what rolls down hill.

The Streets of Baltimore

Thaddeus%20Logan%2C%20author%20of%20Hey%20Cabbie%2C%20published%20in%201984%2C%20which%20describes%20life%20in%20Baltimore%20as-he-see-it%20through%20the%20windshield%20of%20his%20taxi%2C%20has%20came%20out%20with%20the%20sequel%2C%20Hey%20Cabbie%20II.%20%28Kenneth%20K.%20LAM%2C%20Baltimore%20Sun%29

Thaddeus Logan, author of Hey Cabbie, published in 1984, which describes life in Baltimore as-he-see-it through the windshield of his taxi, has come out with the sequel, Hey Cabbie II. (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun)

I have never met Thaddeus Logan, but I can share a moment in time with Thaddeus several years ago.

There’s a great restaurant, highly recommended for its blue crab, in Baltimore. To get there you had to leave your swank hotel and drive through the slums on the east side of Baltimore. What I saw from my vantage point in a Yellow Cab made me lose my appetite for crab and left me empty at the same time.

I will never forget the sight of a man, who may now own a piece of my soul, sitting on the steps in the projects in Baltimore. I have often wondered, is my soul his for the taking?

Do either of us have a choice to create a better life? If there is hope, the choices should be available to us both, should either be necessarily more gratifying?

The experience prompted me to write this:

The Streets of Baltimore
Our eyes met in a moment.
One, sitting on the steps to nowhere.
Where hallways echo empty promises.
Where memories too often perish,
Where misery too often survives.
Ever so brief, our souls meet
On the streets of Baltimore.
One, just another fare,
All we shared was a glare.
A moment, no more.
One asks resolute.
Is it not too late?
Can you snub out your smoke?
Can you swallow that last drink?
On the streets of Baltimore
Both born rich in life,
Both born poor to circumstance.
Both bodies whole,
Both born spirits unscathed,
Both born undiscovered,
Only one is born,
On the streets of Baltimore.
One white, one black.
One who can’t look back,
One can only look away.
One lives on, in stark reality,
One lives on, with memories.
One lives on in misery.
One lives filled with hope.
One lives on the streets of Baltimore.

Alan J Wiessner

Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I’m not going to get a copy of Hey Cabbie or Hey Cabbie II. Thaddeus Logan’s driven along those very same streets 1,000 fold and he too, understands, one can not look back. I have a feeling he is a good man and he has written a couple of good books that need to be read and taken to heart.

Serendipity is alive and well on the streets of Baltimore. What is going to stick with me is the romance, sadness or even the empathy I experienced, while visiting, so as for reading his books, so I’m just not going there. Not now. I believe the solution is already on the table. All that is needed is willing patrons.

Master of Ceremony

You live for the moment,
In that New York state of mind,
On every street corner,
In every pizza place,
You’re just another slice in time.
In the midst of the masses,
Sits a beggar, a mere ghost,
Imitating a man.
An unfortunate icon of the city,
Short of shoes, sitting on lifeless wheels,
His tin cup, barely clutching his hand.
You…, you have a place to be,
Master of Ceremony,
Your parade marches on…
Past his dimming, glassy eyes,
Eyes you will never meet.
You sail past his hopes
Hopes you can never sink.
Past his tin cup, from which,
You will never drink.
Alan J Wiessner
Originally written after a trip to NYC in 2007
Updated 10-09-2012

You Are My Bright Stars

Live in the moment,
Or endure the past.
Blister or bathe in the sun.
Shiver or revel in the rain.
Make love or lose love.
Live free or imprisoned in self doubt.
Open or close your eyes to great dreams.
Travel the road of gods or demons.
Find peace in the bosom of friends and family,
Or fall at the feet of failure and his companion, evil.
Wherever fate finds you, choose to remember well…
There will always be bright stars in dark skies.
And you will always be the brightest star.
 Love forever and always.
 
Alan J Wiessner
Dedicated to my daughters
Updated 09-30-2012
 

If I Could Write You a Song



If I could write you a song,
I’d be asking you to sing along.
Lyrics without the music,
They just don’t belong.
Like this plane I’m sitting on.
Going nowhere, I’ve always been,
Into the setting sun, away from you,
Away from you.
If I could write you a song,
There’s no now, there’s no then,
My life’s not taking off.
There’s no place I’m landing soon,
So much for life’s baggage when,
I can’t even carry a tune.
No place I’m going soon.
If I could write you a song,
The music would be all wrong.
In this lonely hotel room.
Trying to forget, drinking wine.
Thin walls, thin lives, keeping time.
Keeping me away from you.
I need to be moving on.
Always away from you.
If I could write you a song,
The lyrics would be too long.
City streets, no place to turn around.
Can’t keep these feet on the ground.
In time, it’s always back to you.
If I could write what’s wrong,
This song would never end.
I’d be on my way back to you,
Back to you…
Alan J Wiessner
Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Colorado

Winter’s snow cascades into Spring.
Avalanches and rainbows,
Wildflowers bring,
To protest the clouds.
 
Celebrate Colorado!
I can’t catch my breath.
I’m missing you.
 
On every passing face,
A mask is wearily worn,
In a race against time,
The sun and the wind,
Creases faces into smiles,
To protest the clouds.
 
Celebrate Colorado!
I can’t catch my breath.
I’m missing you.
 
Alan J. Wiessner
Updated
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Made in the USA

Originally posted on The Real McCoy for Small Business:

“Made in the USA” isn’t about the Big 3 automakers…

It’s time to put the brakes on government spending. The road to recovery lies with the success of small businesses, not with behemoth car companies and big labor. If we were going to bailout anyone, we should have bailed out the car dealerships and auto supply companies to allow them to remarket, retool and invest in new technologies. We should be growing our tax base, which is only going to happen if we fuel the small business private sector. Speaking of which, why are we not doing more to grow and keep promising small business technology companies and their technology jobs in the USA, where our best talent and our best jobs can remain right here at home?

“You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living…

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“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

Originally posted on The Real McCoy for Small Business:

Business is improving, despite all the obstacles in this unpredictable economy that remain and those ahead of us.  This is largely self-fulfilling prophecy as our engine runs on premium personnel and our management team isn’t half-bad either.

We have invested a great deal in new products and new markets.  I’m a big fan of Alan Kay’s expression, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Klondike Bluffs mountain bike trail outside of Moab. In the background, Arches National Park and the La Sal snow-capped mountains (click on the photo for a better view)

I guess you could say this message comes somewhat diluted by the BP oil spill.  Accidents, like the BP oil spill and natural disasters are unpredictable but they are going to happen.  I can see the raw and gut-wrenching affects as they unfold for our neighbors in the Gulf States and the Florida Panhandle.  We are certainly not exempt from the fallout.  We are also far more fortunate.

There’s little one can do in the moment but there is much that…

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Lonely Man, You Know Who I Am

I was cleaning out files and papers from some drawers in my office, trying to provide a better example for our company’s slogan (link to company blog), “Advancing the Paperless Office.”

I ran across “Lonely Man.” prose that  I wrote for a Montel Williams MS poetry contest.  This was some years ago when I had first heard about his challenges with MS,  how I tried to relate to my sister Diane’s MS and then started a bikeMS team.

I think “Lonely Man” epitomizes how many of us feel from time to time.

At the same time it pokes some fun at those same self-effacing feelings.

The most humorous aspect is that I had to submit the prose to a site called poetry.com.  They sent me a letter, said they selected me for a “coffee table” edition of their next book and wanted me to spend $45.00 for a copy.

Can you believe someone would actually fall for something so ludicrous?!  If you’re interested, I am selling  a serious surplus of these limited edition books for 1.99 on eBay!  Here my contribution…

Lonely Man

Lonely man, you know who I am.  You’re a labor of love, hand and glove.  If you ever want to shoot for the moon, you’ll need to bring your own silver spoon.  Your drink is empty, nothing’s on the table.  Miguel your waiter, sells only by the label.  So you dance to music that never ends, and toast bartender Mike, your new best friend. You’re anybody who has a story. You’re the blood and guts, but no glory.  You’re the play that’s no longer afloat.  You’re the poem, you never wrote.

Lonely man, you know who I am.  You’re a labor of love, hand and glove. Johnny Cochran’s not your deal. You’ll never win on your appeal.  You’re the crowd in every room.  The conversation that always spells doom.  You’re the fly that’s always unzipped, the greeting card, that’s always skipped. You’ve become the sweat on everyone’s brow.  You’re the answer to, “No, not now!”  You’re the best friend you’ll never have.  You’re the rub, without the salve.

Lonely man, you know who I am.  Labor of love, fit hand and glove.  Win the lottery prize in your office pool?  What are the odds you’ve played the fool!

You’re someone’s smile, without a face.  You’re the awkward in an embrace. You’re the gaze behind an empty stare.  You’re the voice that isn’t there. You’re the cold pavement under bare feet.  You’re the toothless grin that never eats. So when you dare ask for a slice of life, you’re the one to brandish a knife.  And when your chapter is finally read, you already know what’s been said.

Your best friend,

Mike, the Bartender

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Rejection wasn’t my strong suit!

The difference between Fred and myself?
Fred knew when he was lying.

My first job out of college was to work for AC Forms.  My Dad owned AC. I’m not even sure what AC stood for but I do know from my Dad being first in the Yellow Pages was a good thing.  Dad was the only full-time employee.   Business was good.  My older brother Dan had already embarked on his career at First Wisconsin, the largest bank in Wisconsin at the time.

I joined my Dad with his company, AC Forms as a sales rep in 1974. We were a force of two.  My Mom was the part time administrative support person and the mother of six.   I was the future.   It was a shaky start.  My job was to get new business.  I used the phone to solicit appointments.  I can remember my voice quaked and my message was ill-prepared.  After exhausting all legitimate leads I was proffered, by phone, I hit the road.

My first cold call, “cold “ being the vernacular used for an unsolicited visit on an unsuspecting business to make a sales pitch.  I was a major contributors as to why there are so many “No Solicitors” sign on doors.

Like the polyester plaid I was wearing, rejection isn’t my strong suit.  I have to admit there were days I could not face the day ahead without becoming physically ill, cramps and vomiting, anticipating the rejection that inevitably lay ahead.

For better or worse, most of the businesses I “solicited” on the south side of Chicago, were unaccustomed to a 21 year old young man in polyester and a “pleather” briefcase showing up at their door.  My first “sales call” and I use the term loosely, required considerable surveillance.  I drove around the block several times. In the end, it was a relief to just to be dismissed.  To hear a simple “no thanks” was a victory, of sort.  I had broken the sound barrier.  I had made contact with the other side.  Soon, I was making 20 cold calls in a day.

Thankfully gas was 30 cents a gallon!  My father would get a call from someone I had visited and he would say, “Yes, that’s my son, he’s like manure, he’s spread all over the place.”  The message was loud and clear, I needed to take the next step, get to the next level.

Speaking of manure, here’s a great joke from Ronald Reagan, only takes a minute, during one of his speeches.  Precious really.  Good clean fun!

I needed to convince my prospects I wasn’t just another pretty face in plaid polyester.  My contacts were bewildered, annoyed, amused, indifferent or thankfully, on rare occasion, sympathetic to my pitch.  It’s simply amazing.  I became accustomed to the word“no”.   I managed to solicit a cadre of variations   theme to the extent I began to expect and anticipate the response.  I learned to take a “no” and solicit another.  As my skin thickened and the manure piled higher, I was able to garner a “maybe” here and there and occasionally a yes!  It was the “ying and the yang” thing, “Yes means No” to the extent a Tibetan monk would have been proud.

Later, as a regional director at NCR Corp. at the sage age of 28 years, where I managed more than 70 neophyte sales reps in 10 states, I became well known for the expression, “lose more orders”.  My mantra was the more orders you lose, the more opportunities you have to win.  Spread that manure!  Well not exactly…

Anyway, my dad fired me.  he put me out of my misery!  His too.  He said I needed more experience.  He was right.  I was keeping him too busy  spinning his wheels.  At the time, I was devastated.  I finished the blueberry pancakes my Mom had made me.  I left town to seek employment near my fiancé, in Racine,  WI.  I stayed with the in-laws while looking for work.

I painted their house for $70 bucks, but I painted their windows shut, so we were even.  I found a job right before I was evicted.  But there’s more to the story…

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Eyes wide open… Reflections

Eyes wide open… Reflections

In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.  I lie awake and I wonder…

Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?

Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?

Have I spread enough smiles?

Have I shared enough hugs?

Have I planted enough kisses?

Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?

Have I studied enough history?

Have I been engaged enough in current affairs?

Have I earned a degree in knowledge?

Is knowledge a benefit?

Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?

Have I learned from every victory and every folly?

If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?

Today, in this world that reports the past in real time; in time to worry for our future; and I only see and images of life, albeit in real time, can I relate?

Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?

Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear?

Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel?

Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed?

Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell?

Have I touched enough people?

Has cuddling become a lost art?

If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me?

Will I forgive myself?

Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever?

How much double churned ice cream is too much?

Will I die and when?

Will it be too soon!  Of course!

Would I fight for my life to the very end?

Out of fear?

Out of courage; for you?

Will I let go?

Can I fall away?

Will you miss me if I’m gone?

Will you miss me when you are alone?

Will you miss me when you are amongst friends.

Will you still laughing and smiling?

And for how long?  Don’t tell me.

My dog is asleep at my feet.

He has all the answers.

He won’t say, but I finally get it.

It’s not about me.

So now, I can close my eyes…

It’s God’s Will

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I’m a firm believer in the expression, “God helps those that help themselves.”

I’m not a big fan of the expression, “It’s God’s will.” Everyone needs to make important decisions every day that affect their own well being. Often you make decisions for others, to a lesser or greater degree, depending on your circle of influence.

Your circle of influence may be considerable, but there are those of us whose circle of influence can be much smaller and still have a much greater impact. Someone else’s decisions can be far reaching, worldwide, but ineffective. You and I can influence a family, maybe friends or a small business. If someone screws up worldwide, it’s up to you and I to win life’s battles… one at a time. That’s the way life should be.

Every day things happen unexpectedly, often uncontrollably, that affect you and me. Some good and bad things happen because we want them to happen. Some people can eat anything, get no exercise and never suffer the consequences. Someone can eat right and get plenty of exercise and never truly see the benefit. Sooner or later someone very close to you will be in a crisis. It may be emotional and or physical. It may be a divorce, an illness, or a death of a family member or friend.

I have a sister, Kay who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s my “littlest” sister. I have two other “little” sisters, Diane and Beth and two brothers. I love them all dearly.

Kay is very close to God and her family. I have it under advisement, that I am only one of hundreds that pray for her, which is a really good thing. Kay and I, we live far apart in so many ways. Oddly enough, we think alike in many ways. If I were to be reincarnated, I think I would be a lot like Kay, obviously an upgraded version due to our combined skill sets (ha-ha) and without the same plumbing, of course. Being a guy is so easy. My boys are much safer than her girls. You know what I mean…

If you know me, you know I don’t look or act like a guy that prays. Surprise! I pray for my family and my friends. I pray for Kay. Maybe this makes no sense to you, but I pray for me first.

That’s right. You’re second. I have tried to convince myself, the reason I have adopted this indulgence is; if I don’t take care of me first, I can’t take care of you. So I pray for you second. This might explain why some of you are so miserable (ha-ha). Get over it! We all have a cross to bear. That’s life. Marcus Aurelius, a way…way… long time along said it best, “Life is what your thoughts make it.”

Then there’s this…if I pray for you, does it really matter? Is God really listening to me? If you are in my prayers, you should pray God is listening, because I don’t pray enough. When I do, I want to make sure it’s important. So get in line! God’s a busy guy (excuse me… but PC would be to say…entity). There are a lot of people out there that need His or Her help a lot more than you or I do.

So why am I not a big fan of the expression, “It’s God’s will?” Well, I’ve heard that expression all too often. When I hear it from someone that I’m trying to help, it leaves me little room to offer my own advice, council; or an alternative. I’m competing with the best. God. So all I can do is pray for you?

Maybe God’s will is a blessing for those who are totally helpless, but if I have one ounce of strength left in my being, I’m going to be looking out for “numero uno” and I pray someone’s got my back. If you know me; if you and I are family or friends, I have your back!

What I love about Kay is she does not hide her love for God and her faith in God, but from my seat at the table, she is totally into the expression, “God helps those that help themselves.”

Kay has explored all her options in terms of her treatment, surgical, chemo and radiation, for her type of cancer. She has consulted with all the resources available to her and recognized all of her opportunities and risks. Once Kay made a decision, she was all in. I love and admire her for that. Most of all, I love her courage, to strike out on her own. Of course, all of you and I have her back.

Kay isn’t looking for someone to blame. She isn’t looking for someone to make it all better… She is all in. Now it is up to you and I to support her. We’re all in. Maybe that’s God’s will?

May you live every day of your life. Jonathon Swift

Missing you, Dad! Long before you’re gone… Happy Father’s Day!

There is no warranty on life’s journey.  The only guarantee is the past.  And then there is Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s is a horrible debilitating disease that sets about diminishing the past.

Today there is no remedy for Alzheimer’s.  For Alzheimer’s victims, tomorrow may never come.   It has become an ailment of epidemic proportion, not unlike the “C” word and other world class diseases.

Ronald Reagan had it, my Dad, Martin Gerald “Jerry” Wiessner had it.  Dad was in a losing battle with an unforgiving and relentless disease, Alzheimer’s.  Simply put, Alzheimer’s is an hour glass of life’s memories forever sifting and slipping away. Hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of their position in life, have it.  Hundreds of thousands more will be afflicted and so the journey continues.

President Reagan’s birthday has recently come and gone.  Still an inspiration, five years after leaving office, his final public comments included the following sage words…Excerpts…

“My fellow Americans, I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“So now we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it. “

“Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.”

“I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

With Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) the effect is a diminishing past and memories once shared are forgotten. For us, the Wiessner family, especially my Mom, we  lived with AD and its hold on our lives for just shy of a decade.   We had been missing my Dad long before he was gone.  There was no despair.  We had and we have each other and we are united in our efforts to heighten awareness for a cure for AD.

I am very proud of my entire family and how they came together and have held together throughout this ordeal with a family member with AD.  They have exhibited unheralded measures of endearment and respect for the spirit of  Jerry, the man, the husband, the father, the grandpa and the grand pa-pa  (Ba-pa).  As you embark on your next journey please know, “We are all going to miss you now that you’re gone Dad, you will live forever in our hearts.”

Visit my amazingly talented sisters’ blogs in support of the fight against Alzheimer’s, where they have given of their time and talent to fight this terrible disease.

Diane: http://dianedidit.com/

Beth: http://quiltersstitchtogether.blogspot.com/

There is a wonderful community of support out there.   Both sisters Beth and Diane have received nationwide recognition for their art through an organization well known for their support of a cure for Alzheimer’s http://alzquilts.org/

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Stranded! Kim Tran, an American Success Story – Part Two

Kim and her family survived one major ordeal only to face new challenges landing on a small island short of the island of Pulau Bidong, Malaysia.  Two days and nights later they would land on Pulau Bidong and begin an eleven (11) month odyssey on the island. Hard to believe their flight and their plight was perceived a blessing, but a blessing none the less.

There were thousands of their neighbors, friends and relatives who were less fortunate.  Young children, who’s parents had bought their freedom fell victims to pirates, were raped, had their possessions stolen, were thrown overboard or perished from malnutrition or starvation.  Those who remained behind in Saigon, with children too young to travel or couldn’t afford to buy their freedom met similar fates.

Pulau Bidong, one of the scenic and uninhabited islands off located off Kuala Terengganu, is often remembered as the temporary home of the Vietnamese boat people who fled their war-torn country in the 1970s. Out of the estimated 800,000 Vietnamese who left their country during this period, the biggest proportion, more than a quarter of a million, landed on their shores.

Although the island has the capacity to provide shelter for 4,500 refugees at any one time it took up to as many as 20,000 people at one stage, at the height of the arrival of the boat people. Pulau Bidong served as a half-way house for these people before they were sent to other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and several European countries, and it took time to grant approval to those qualified to be accepted as refugees. Those whose applications were rejected were sent to the Sungai Besi Refugee Camp, where they were later forcibly repatriated back to Vietnam after the war.

In the early stages, the refugees, some with nothing except the clothes on their backs, ate anything they could find on the island including monkeys, frogs and squirrels. The wildlife population was decimated. To ensure the refugees got humanitarian aid and better living conditions, the UNHCR through the International Red Cross supervised the activities on the island.

Long-houses and offices made from wood from the local forest were built and the boat people were provided with better basic needs and amenities such as food, schools, workshops, electricity and water. Perhaps to make it just like home, the camp was subsequently turned into a bustling mini Saigon. It had the trappings of a township – post office, church, temple, tailors, hair salons, sundry shops and even disco and bar. One part of the beach was even named Pantai Cina – China Beach – after its more famous counterpart in Vietnam.

In Kim’s own words…

Later I had learned the aid ship following us was a World Vision Missionary ship.  Approaching land, our boat had stopped once the propeller had stuck in the sand.  The boat had begun to tilt.  Someone had yelled “get off the boat as quickly as possible.”   The boat was taking on water.   The men got off the boat and assisted the women and children toward the shore.  I remembered as I walked toward the beach, my head felt heavier than my body.  Once everyone had gotten to shore safely, each family cleared an area for their family and settled on the beach.  The women used whatever spare clothing they could find to cover the sand, so the elderly and children could sit down. While everyone was busy setting up camp for the night, I looked out at where the boat had been.  Within minutes, it had sunk tail first.  I could not believe it.  We were all stranded on this small island with limited food and water supply (of course, I was too young to worry about food or drink, I just thought of how lucky that I did not drown).  Some people from our boat started to look around the island and search for help but did not see anyone else on the island. The men continued to look around the island and talked among themselves.  The women were asked to occupy the kids.  Our caretaker, Anh, told us stories to help us sleep but I could not sleep that night.  I heard too many strange noises close by.  I stared into the sky.  It was clear with plenty of stars out.  I looked again to the horizon.  There was no remnant our boat had ever existed. 

As the sun rose a boat with Malaysian soldiers approached.  The soldiers told everyone on our boat to surrender all of our gold and valuables to them for safe keeping.  They assured everyone that these items would be recorded and returned to us, once we had been accepted by and ready to depart to a new destination.  Most of the people on our boat were skeptical and didn’t want them holding their valuables.  Finally, the soldiers demanded that if no one surrendered their valuables, we would have to stay on this island until they got what they wanted.  So families started to bring a few pieces of gold to the soldiers.  My dad quickly told my sister, My, and other sisters to keep some gold hidden under their clothes.  My family gave up approximately 50 pieces of gold to the soldiers.  At the time, we didn’t know the exact value of the gold.  The soldiers wrote something down (in Malaysian) and had each family sign.  We had no idea what they had written on those documents.  We believed that the gold pieces were as good as gone.  My dad just considered it payment so we could leave the small island in peace, a down payment on our future.

After this, they left us alone and told us that they would call for assistance.  At that moment, everyone was just relieved, happy and excited that everyone had found FREEDOM.   Later that day, someone was stung by a poisonous sea urchin.  The poison spread so quickly that she went unconscious.  The soldiers called and asked for immediate rescue.  That evening, the rescue boat came.  It only took her and her family and to leave the island first.  They would not take anyone else who had been stranded.  The soldiers pushed the others away from the motor boat.  Someone explained that more boats would be back tomorrow for the rest of us.   That news calmed the remaining people.  One more night, we spent on this isolated island.  The next day around noon time, several boats arrived.  We all packed whatever belongings we had left and we headed toward these boats.  I remembered treading through the clear blue water and attempting to avoid stepping on jelly fish of all colors and sizes that had covered the island’s shoreline.  Luckily no one else got hurt that day.  It was a short ride to a larger island called  Pulau Bidong, where my family would reside for approximately 11 months.  There were plenty of adventures and obstacles to come.

 As we approached new land (Pulau Bidong), we saw the wood dock.  We could see the people on the beach that were Vietnamese by their clothing, which got us all very excited.  Side note:  We all had thought the boats were taking us to main land of Malaysia.  Come to find out, this new home for us all was a refugee camp.  After all of us had gotten off the motor boats, each family looked for a spot for our family on the beach to settle.  Hunger finally hit my family fast and hard.  We were starving. We hadn’t eaten food in several days.  We had only drank water or something close to it.   

There was very little rice left to feed my family of 16 members.  We had to cook rice in a broth to have enough for my family to share.  We shared a small half bowl of white rice soup between us.  We passed the bowl to each family member in turn to sip.  My family had never suffered hunger.  This was a very humbling and frightening experience.  We were a proud family living comfortably to a family starving within a span of 4 days. 

Since the boat that transferred us to Pulau Bidong was the 23rd boat that had arrived at this camp, it was labeled number 23.  The population on Pulau Bidong Island at that time was roughly 40000+ people.  Our boat was assigned to the D or B area of the island.  This was how the island officials would divide and find the families.   That night we slept on a bank along the shore of the island.  The next morning, each family was shown to where we were to live.  When we got to our new home, it was just a patch of dirt.  It was up to us to build a shelter.  Unfortunately for my family, we didn’t have the skill nor the know how to build a structure of any kind and we would rely on other refugees to assist us.  We were tired, fatigued and hungry.  We slept with a plastic tarp for cover.  That 2nd night, thunder and lightning woke us, the rain water soaking us beneath the tarp.   We picked up our belongings to avoid the rain from ruining them.  The rain was so heavy, it poured down the hillside.  We all stood till morning and then we had were provide help to start building our new home. 

My dad and brothers went up the hill to gather woods and branches.  My family had many restless nights in the beginning.  To top it off, I had chronic Asthma attacks.  My family could not get me immediate medical attention.  We had to wait until our family was officially registered into the refugee residential list.  It took two days for the process to be completed.  We were helpless.  We went from a well-to-do family to doing things for ourselves.  It was very difficult life-altering event for our whole family.   Though time was all we had, my family was forced to quickly adapt to our new lives. 

Life on Pulau Bidong - finding clean water was a problem

My family life on Pulau Bidong:

My siblings and I shared one bed. There were 3 beds total in our home.   All of our beds were made with multiple and  uneven branches tied together.  But it was better than the dirt floor.  It was very difficult for my elderly grandmother.  She could not sleep on these beds.  Later on, she bought a wood plank that came from a wrecked boat.  This was used to make a more comfortable bed for her to sleep on.   For cooking, we dug a hole and mounted several rocks for a fire pit.  Other appliances and supplies, we had to buy with gold or money depending on the sellers.  All families received some supplies from the United Nations like rice, instant noodles, and beans.  Note: This is why I dislike beans, especially kidney beans.  To earn a living, my older siblings would buy and sell fresh fruits and others products from a lady, whom was the longest survivor on this island.  This lady would buy her inventory from Malaysian civilians that sail by our island.  The island was deemed a gold mine; for without gold or money no one would survive the hard life.  There was plenty of price gouging.  For instance, one bottle of Coca Cola, which cost 34 Cents, was sold for a $1.00.  This was just a small example.  There was no employment on the island. So, people created their own jobs. 

Some climbed the hill and cut trees for trading with those in need of lumber for shelter or for firewood.  My oldest brother, Jimmy, took on a risky business.  He swam offshore to where Malaysian fishermen boat drifted by.  The fishermen would bring different items to sell items such as axes; hand saws, tents, even cookies, which were in demand in our camp.  Malaysian police patrolled and would beat or kick the sellers and the buyers of these goods.  They would chase off the fishermen. One time, Jimmy had bought 20 axes as the policemen’s canoe was approaching.  Jimmy had to jump off the fisherman boat. The weight of 20 axes sank Jimmy to the bottom of ocean floor.  He panicked but would not give up.  He managed to drag the axes to shore.  Lucky for Jimmy with the weight of the axes he sunk quickly, otherwise the policemen would have beaten him with their sticks regardless if he had surfaced too quickly. 

For drinking water, there were only a few public wells which supported the large population on the island.   We would travel for miles, stood in a long line.  It could stretch for miles and we waited our turn.  Once we reached the well, we would gather a bucket of water.  Public wells soon went dry.  People started to dig their own wells.  Before the water system was built, most private wells were only used for bathing and washing.  The island was undeveloped and not ready to handle people especially large populations.  No sanitary system existed.  Heavy rain would contaminate the water supply and jeopardize the fresh water supply, which made everyone’s life more miserable.  Later on, the United Nations brought in piping and helped build a water system that transferred fresh drinking water for everyone on the island.   

My family tried and gradually adjusted to the lifestyle on the island.  Yet we would continue to pray and hope for a miracle that some country would sponsor us.  My family was low on the list for sponsorship for several reasons.  We were not a part of US military services or affiliated in anyway.  My family was not classified as a priority at that time, the US delegates could not process the sponsorship right away.  My family could only hope and wait for acceptance based on a religious sponsorship.  The biggest problem was the size of my family.  Most groups did not have the financial funds to sponsor 16 people. Our lives on the island were like the movie Groundhog Day and seemed hopelessly mundane.  We all lived day-to-day as  best we could. Churches and temples were built.  W donated wood, tree, and tents.   My brothers, sisters and I would spend our spare time by studying Basic English at any church or temple that offered free classes. 

Who is the shy one? Kim and family - USA - airport

When the last of these boat people left the island in the early 1990s, what remained were mute reminders of recent history: charred wooden buildings and rotting huts which once housed about a quarter of a million boat people since their first arrival in 1978.

Today, the only welcome for visitors to the beach of Pulau Bidong is a barren beachfront stall and glimpses of buildings heavily hidden by overgrown brushwood and bushes. Only emptiness, signboards with Vietnamese characters and names are still on display – ghostly reminder of the past.

Kim recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at Integra Business Systems, Inc.

See Part One…

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Heartache

At Eternity’s Gate or On the Threshold of Eternity

When you’re losing someone close, it can empty your heart.  I guess that’s where the expression heartache comes from.

It doesn’t stop there.  You know the feeling.  The one you get in the pit of your stomach.  That tightness radiates back into your thoughts; where sadness is born.

Sadness can linger like a bad cold.  It can leave you weepy, nose dripping, eyes wet and swollen.  It can leave you numb, unresponsive and distant.  Sadness subsides in most. Sadness comes more often during anniversaries and holidays.

It’s easy to recognize an empty heart.  Look for that far away expression.  The one that comes when you see  someone absentia.  They think they are alone or just don’t care about their surroundings.  It’s brought on by a sense of loss.  It can be an illness or irk.  Someone could cause you more pain than you can bear.  You can’t bear the loss.  Sometimes sadness follows anger and easily succumbs to a sense of loss.

Losing someone can take time or it can happen in a moment.  You can fall out of love.  You can disagree with someone and fail to find your way back.  You can lose someone you love or failed to love (enough).

You can watch someone struggle and slowly grow old.  You can listen to them labor to breath.

The most amazing thing about losing someone is dealing with an empty heart.  We don’t talk about it.  We don’t share it.  We prefer to suffer in silence. I guess it is human nature?  We don’t want anyone to know we hurt.

We know those who are feeling sorry for themselves.  You will hear all about all their aches and pains!

And we sure know how to celebrate when we are sad!  We even celebrate death.  It even has leaders called the “funeral party”.  We all get together and cry and hug.  Then we go eat and drink ourselves silly.

‘Tis The Season

My Treasures

(‘Tis the season, yeah)
To see the children laughin’
Everybody should be dancin’
Come on and clap your hands ‘cuz

…and so on.  Artist: Mary Mary lyrics

‘Tis the season to spread joy and happiness.  “If you are unhappy, and you know it clap your hands!”.  Uh-oh, wrong song.  True, is it not?  You know when you are unhappy.  Chances are everyone around you knows you’re unhappy, too.

If you’re not feeling the love ask yourself,  “Am I happy?”  I find I rarely ask the question myself, certainly not often enough.  So just in the moment, try it on for size.  Ask the question, “Am I happy?”  The experience can’t be any worse than trying on your favorite pair of jeans.  Ha! Then again it is the holidays!

Seriously, you will probably become as retrospective as I am regarding the question of happiness.  Of course the answer, at least in any moment in time, can be entirely up to you. You may be wondering why am I asking now, at a time when the spirit of giving and receiving is at an all time high?  The holiday season can be a busy, stressful time. Many of us go out of our way to please others.  There’s even this myth that suicide rates are highest during the holidays.  Not so.  Fact is, suicide rates are lowest in the month of December.  The spirit of giving is safe, at least for now.

So if you’re broke or simply aggravated by the gift giving thing you might ask, “What’s with all the gift giving this time of year?”  Well there’s the Christians and Christmas.  Sometime after the birth of Jesus, three seemingly wise men, also known as the Magi, bearing incredibly expensive gifts considering the price of gold today, came to visit the newborn, Jesus Christ.  Or blame ancient Romans who held year end celebrations to honor Saturn, their harvest god; and Mithras, their god of light…  As part of these celebrations, the people prepared special foods, decorated their homes with greenery, and joined in singing and gift giving. These customs gradually became part of gift giving.

Then there’s tens of millions of Americans who don’t even celebrate Christmas religiously, either as followers of non-Christian religions (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews) or as individuals with no religious affiliation.  What a drag it is to buy gifts for someone you believe is barking up the wrong tree (or cloud). In reality, many different events, both spiritual, religious, and tradition based, are being celebrated in many different ways during these times.

Is it right time to spread good cheer?  Or is it laborious like Ground Hog Day.  Granted it is only a few very cold weeks out of the year.  There’s Black Friday.  Black Friday you camp outside in the freezing cold, gangrene sets in, turns your fingers black and they fall off before you can grab an unbelievable deal on Black Friday.  Cyber Monday specials are already gone because you can’t keyboard without fingers.

One month out of the year, you need to avoid the hype retailers bring to bear.  Retailers would have you trick or treating in Santa Claus costumes and dispensing candy canes in October.

Receiving gifts is equally taxing.  Too often a gift received becomes an albatross around your neck.  A comedic example being the prominent presentation of a framed photo of a friend(s) or relative(s) on the rare occasion (excluding Florida residents) they come to visit.  Personally, I realize this admission alone means there will be hell to pay.

So what makes you happy?  Giving gifts or receiving gifts; decorating your domicile; hanging lights and ornaments on a Christmas tree; preparing a holiday feast for the multitudes?  It’s not so easy.   One long sigh from someone down the hallway, one obscene sign along the highway, a wayward thought, an unkind word, a tear from inside your head and you begin to doubt whether you have an outside chance to be happy.

The answer is, there is no answer… to the question, “Am I happy?”  The definition of happy may be as simple as finding a favorite place in time, in your mind, alone or in a crowd, be it a smile, be it a moment to savor.  I have come to realize right now ‘tis the season.  There is no past.  There is no future.  Give a gift you can return without receiving;  love and respect for your family and friends.  From this gift you will find happiness, especially the returns.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to family and friends of all religions and faith.

One of my favorite expressions – May you live each day of your life.   Jonathon Swift

Kim Tran, an American Success Story

Kim Tran

Kim Tran has come a long way.  Perhaps farther than most people, over 12,000 circuitous miles from Saigon to the US, settling in the Tampa Bay area; and further than most IT professionals, from a seven (7) year old Vietnam refugee to a Team Leader; a highly respected and valuable technical support representative with over 9 years of service at Integra Business Systems.

When most children her age were contemplating Kindergarten, Kim’s life lessons were forever altered when South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivered an unconditional surrender to the Communists in the early hours of April 30, 1975. The few remaining Americans evacuated Saigon.

There are all kinds of connotations surrounding the term “boat people”.  Here at Integra, when we think of “boat people” they are personified in Kim Tran.  She’s a person with an easy smile and an even easier laugh, albeit more of a shy giggle.   We at Integra are fortunate to have our very own refugee (survivor) of an era of trauma and suffering that once was the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

KIm Tran - Upper Right with Family in Cho Lon

Many people think of Vietnamese refugees, as only those who were fleeing the country in 1975 as the Americans left Vietnam.  In fact, a large number of refugees “boat people” didn’t flee Vietnam until the late 1970’s when China decided to invade Vietnam.

The Chinese began financing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time.  The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978.  Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge.  The conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia escalated in 1978.  In response, China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War.

The short but bloody border war with China a year later resulted in a deliberate policy to encourage the departure of ethnic Chinese(Hoa) from Vietnam.  From 1978 to 1979, some 450,000 Hoa left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China.

In the late 1970s the Socialist Republic of Vietnam took increasingly drastic action to transform the capitalist economy of the south into a socialist one and the Hoa in Vietnam were disproportionately affected, leading to the first wave of ‘boat people’, fleeing the Vietnamese communists, primarily from the South, beginning in April 1978.

Cho Lon (Saigon's Chinatown)

Kim was a seven (7) year old and a victim of circumstance.  Beginning in 1975, the Hoa bore the brunt of socialist transformation in the South (Vietnam).  An announcement on March 24 outlawed all wholesale trade and large business activities, which forced around 30,000 businesses to close down overnight followed up by another that, banned all private trade. Further government policies forced former owners to become farmers in the countryside or join the armed forces and fight at the Vietnam-Cambodia border and confiscated all old and foreign currencies, as well as any Vietnamese currency in excess of the US value of $250 for urban households and $150 by rural households. While such measures were targeted at all bourgeois elements, such measures hurt thec Hoa the hardest and resulted in the takeover of Hoa properties in and around major cities.  Hoa communities offered widespread resistance and clashes left the streets of Cho Lon full of corpses.  These measures, combined with external tensions stemming from Vietnam’s dispute with Cambodia and China in 1978 and 1979 caused an exodus, a majority of the Hoa, many who fled overland into the province of Guangxi, China, from the North and the remainder fled by boat from the South.  Sadly, officials estimated that nearly one-third of these “boat people” perished at sea from starvation, drowning, and pirates, problems that increased when some Asian countries began turning away boat people.  By the end of 1980, the majority of the Hoa had fled from Vietnam.

This is the story of one of the survivors, one of the Chinese refugees “boat people” from the South and her family; our very own Kim Tran.  Kim Tran, a Team Leader and Technical Support Representative for Integra Business Systems, Inc. since June, 2001 will be celebrating her 10 year anniversary with Integra next year.

In her own words…

“Like many other immigrants after the fall of the South Vietnam or Saigon, my family and I had fled from our country in search of a better life.   My name is Kim H Tran.  What I am about to share is my recollections of my family’s escape from Vietnam.  This is my first time ever that I have written about this.  The event started when I was about 7 years old.

My family was financially well off before we left Vietnam.  We lived in downtown Saigon Cho Lon (Big Market), Vietnam.   I remembered after the war in 1975, many lives, including my family’s, changed forever.  The communist soldiers seized and captured what they deemed to be theirs, which was everything valuable…  Then they posted soldiers at each house and business 24/7.  We had two soldiers posted in front of our home.   Their job was to monitor everyone and every activity.  Large businesses shut down and migrated to other cities. Many families lost family members to the communist’s cause, either by choice or by involuntarily draft.  Saigon was no longer an energized and vibrant city.  It was  replaced by turmoil and confusion.  After the war, my family’s schooling was interrupted.  I remembered being sent away to our plantation in Long Khanh,  for several months then rotated to a factory in My Tho, in another city, for several more months.   My grandmother didn’t want to retain anyone who might attract attention to our home and businesses.  As a consequence, those who cared for my siblings and I (our caretakers) were let go except one, Anh.  Anh was presented as one of the sibling in my family to the soldiers.  
 
One day in 1978, I was awokened by my mom.  I was told to be quiet and get dressed.  She gave me 2 sets of clothing and I was told to wear them both.  I was instructed not to bring any of my personal belongings.  Once my younger brothers were dressed, we were led  by someone to the river.  My grandmother, mom, 4 younger brothers and several other people and I got into the small canoe. 

 The oarsman took us all along the river, which led to the open channel. 

Vietnamese canoe owners were paid to transport passensgers to fishing boats.

As we approached daybreak, two patrolling soldiers in a canoe came from the opening of the channel traveling in the opposite direction of our canoe.  They asked the oarsman, where we were headed.  The oarsman replied, “To a wedding across the way.”  I forgot to mention, we had a passenger pretending to be a bride in our canoe.  The soldier inspected the canoe and passengers and we were allowed to proceed on our way.  As their canoe disappeared, the oarsman and several other people began to row toward the ocean as fast as they could.

There was a planned rendezvous with a larger boat.  We finally reached the bigger boat, all of us were rushed onto the boat and we proceeded quickly below to the engine room.  And it was there that my mom, my younger brothers, several other people and myself stayed for days and nights.  We had neither food nor drink.  I couldn’t tell if it was night or day just darkness all around me.  One day, I was awakened by a soft voice calling my name.  I could barely open my eyes due to fatigue.  As I struggled to open my eyes, I saw a bright light crack open and slowly got wider.  I saw a small arm passing a cup toward my way.  I tried to raise my arms to grab it but my arms felt too heavy.

Someone close to me grabbed it and passed it to me.  First sip, I couldn’t tell what I was drinking.  It tasted lemony but salty and smelled funny.  I pass it back but someone encourage me to drink a little bit more to quench my thirst.  I replied I can’t drink, it tasted so bad.  A soft voice told me, yes but tried anyway.  I took another small sip and passed it along to someone else.  That was the first time, I saw a glimpse of daylight since my family and I boarded the boat.  It seemed like an eternity in the darkness. 

Vietnamese Fishing Boat #23 used by “boat people” in mass exodus.

Later that day, the light shined through from the same opening.  People were allowed to come up on deck to get fresh air.  One after another, people rushed to get out of the pit, as I called it.  My brothers, mom, and I weren’t able to reach. My mom was carrying my youngest brother; he was just a toddler then.  Someone jumped down from on top and took us kids up one by one and lifted us onto the deck. 

I got my first breath; the fresh open air filled my lung so quickly that it hurt.  I felt a boost of energy.  We were then allowed to stay above, seemingly safe from danger.  I looked out onto the ocean and as far as my eyes could see, all that surrounded us was the deep, dark ocean.  No birds or land in site.

As evening came, someone yelled out to get everyone below.  Once more, we were rushed down into the dark, smelly, pit of hell.  Everyone was told to keep silent.   A lady sitting next to me was pregnant and had a toddler.  The toddler wasn’t feeling well and started to cry.  Up above the deck, someone hushed us and told us all to keep the kids quiet.  This lady had to quiet her child by using her hand to cover her toddler’s mouth.  She held her child close to her body.  It seemed like hours.  The engine grew louder as it strained for more power.  The smell of engine oil burning became even stronger and almost unbearable.  The boat rocked violently from side to side with such force that people were thrown one on top of another. 

Soon I heard voices but I couldn’t recognize what was being said.   I heard a lot of commotion above me, but I couldn’t see anything but darkness.  Someone opened the hatch from where we were hiding below and spoke out.  I still couldn’t understand what that person was saying.  Another voice said, “It’s OK, come on up.”  People slowly climbed out one by one, all of them frightened.  When it was my turn, I remember a pair of large arms grabbed me and pulled me up.  I was passed to another person.  I must have blacked out. 

When I came to, I was on a big ship.  Later I learned it was a World Vision missionary ship.  People were talking strange, I couldn’t understand word.  I found myself wearing a strange think woven sheet around me.  Someone passed me some French biscuits (cookies).  I received several shots in the arm.  They directed me to follow the crowd towards our boat.  There was more turmoil back and forth from those on our boat with those on the ship.  Women from our boat started crying, which led us kids to also cry.  In the end, unwillingly, we had no choice but to board our smaller boat.  The ship departed but followed us for a time.  Morning came and evening came.  We felt lost and abandoned.  The rescue ship long since disappeared.   As our boat traveled on the open ocean, seemingly aimless, I saw wood planks floating very close to our boat.  First there was one, then another and then even more.  People started to worry.  Then the captain on our boat yelled out, “I see land ahead.”   The mood on our boat changed from one of doom to one of relief.  The boat grounded.  Those who could got off the boat and assisted the others to shore.  They carried women and children on their backs.  Once on dry land, I rememebered looking back and watching the boat sink into the sea.  We were stranded.

Kim has recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at Integra Business Systems, Inc.

To be continued… see Part Two

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Best friends!

Man’s best friend!

The expression can truly be a misnomer because it works both ways.  In my case, Cody is my best friend.  I’m not mincing words.  Everyone knows he’s the guy.   There’s no competition.

I’m not picking up anyone else’s poop.  I won’t give anyone else a bath, at least not with flea and tick shampoo.  If you’re nudging me with your cold nose and you’re asking me to get up in the middle of the night to take you out so you can pee in my back yard, what are the chances I’m OK with that?  Only for my man Cody Bear.

What are best friends?  I have to believe best friends will do just about anything for you.  They aren’t going to pick up your poop, but they are willing to change your diapers and clean up after you.

I’m saying, they will drag your ass out of bar when you are being booed for singing karaoke.

They will refuse to loan you money when they know you’re throwing good money after bad.

They are your best friends in the first place because they share your “bucket list”.

Best friends will give you grief, let you grieve, and they will be there when you are ready to let go.

There is no such thing as fair weather friends.  Friends are friends or they are suspects.  It’s not their decision to make.  Friends are friends until you decide otherwise.  You can take them or leave them.

What’s wrong with having sometime friends?  That is the key to friendships.   If you decide a friend is no longer a friend, is he still someone else’s friend?

Why can’t you have a friend that likes a part of you?  Friends may like some of what you do, some of who you are; but not all of you.  So what?

You have to be a saint to be everyone’s best friend so why not just be a friend to anyone who wishes to enjoy your company?  It’s not mutually exclusive.  I have friends I have offended, at least in some respects.  They may have even been offended by some of my other of my friends.

How many of you hang out with someone else’s friends for a friend’s sake?  That’s a good friend!

Cody Bear, “Bear” being the operative word, is a saint.  Bears forage for food heavily throughout the Summer and Fall months so they can hibernate throughout Winter.  They survive until Spring on the fat they have stored.

Unfortunately Cody, my Chocolate Lab has exceeded his quota and he doesn’t hibernate, choosing to forage throughout the Winter months, as well.  Before you jump to any conclusions, he is fed two measured cups of dry all natural, gluten free food each day with a rawhide chew for dessert and a small treat each time he does his business.  So think thyroid problem.

We treat him for that, too, but the medication makes him hyperactive and if you knew Cody, hyperactive means heavy breathing.  “This dog don’t hunt”!  He’s not jumping through burning hoops or running in circles chasing his tail.  A fifteen minute walk/sniffathon is enough to drive a patient man to the brink and Cody to barely avoid the 911 call for an EMT.

All that said, the Bear and I are soul mates.  If I want Cody to lose some weight all I have to do is leave town.  I can pull out the suitcase and just watch him go into a tailspin.  It’s to the point I pack in the dark, when he’s not around; carry my roller bag so he can’t hear me roll for my exit.

I will be home soon my friend!

Stop Commercial flights to the United States from West Africa

Sent via email Sunday, October 19, 2014

Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 205100001

Reference: Stop Commercial flights to the United States from West Africa

Dear Senator Rubio,

I read your comments on CNN Opinion on Wednesday and as much as I agree with you, temporarily denying visas is not enough.   I am imploring you to take action in Congress to stop commercial flights to the United States from West Africa. Seventy percent (70%) of the people who contract Ebola die! There’s really no “silver bullet”, antidote or vaccine. Congress needs to demand the Obama administration ban air travel to this country from West Africa.

We really don’t know if Ebola is transmitted only by direct contact. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published an article arguing that the current Ebola has “unclear modes of transmission”

Transmission rates in West Africa have risen, not diminished which is proof we do not have this disease under control, increasing the chances we will have travelers from West Africa, arriving in the US desperate for a cure. By January alone. By CDC estimates, Liberia will have 11,000 to 27,000 cases of Ebola.   Why wouldn’t West Africans want to run from Ebola, or if infected come to the U.S. looking for a cure?

There are not enough “boots on the ground” to effectively fight Ebola in West Africa. Military or otherwise, we should offer volunteers significant hazardous pay duty to go to West Africa and put our best resources available there, like small transit care centers, construction of additional treatments centers supplies and training towards defeating Ebola.

Finally, what’s to stop jihadists from getting infected, flying to the U.S. before symptoms are apparent and exposing themselves to as many unsuspecting American citizens as possible? No security checkpoint is going to detect terrorist carrying Ebola, while dormant.

I greatly appreciate your time and prompt attention to this important matter. Thank you for serving Florida.

Sincerely,

Concerned husband, father and employer

To email Senator Marco Rubio: http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

 

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #149

Idea Capitalist:

If we were to believe the mainstream media and the Obama Administration we are on the path to total annihilation from the affects of CO2 emissions. The compilation of articles here deal with the “rising tide” of climate alarmists.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

The Week That Was: 2014-09-13 (September 13, 2014) Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project

SEPP_logo_onclouds

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

WMO – Omits Temperature Trends: In recent years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued the “WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.” Generally, these are issued in November of the year. On September 9, the WMO issued a “Climate Summit edition” referring to the UN Climate Summit scheduled to be held in New York City, September 23, 2014. Some UN officials have declared the Climate Summit to be a “tipping point” meeting. If it is to be a “tipping point” meeting, it will be the abandonment of a key principle of science as expressed by Einstein in the Quote of the Week – Do not omit critical data.

The WMO report omits any discussion of temperature trends. There…

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Manipulation and Politicization of American Medical Education: Rotten to the Core

Idea Capitalist:

Socrates_and_Plato

Socrates says that his trial “will be like a doctor prosecuted by a cook who asks a jury of children to choose between the doctor’s bitter medicine and the cook’s tasty treats.”

The PPACA’s detriment to physicians is extensive. It will drown doctors in red tape and bureaucracy. It will limit physician autonomy and their ability to help and advocate for their patients. Job satisfaction will be drained and the patient-doctor relationship ruined. As federal regulators require physicians to do more, they will actually get paid less. As the situation worsens, older doctors will retire and younger doctors will look to switch careers. This will come at a time when the demand for physician services will be higher than ever. Ultimately the consequences of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will translate into restricted access and inferior quality of care. No matter how you look at it, this legislation is terrible for physicians; however, it is always the patient that suffers the most. Jason D. Fodeman, M.D.

Originally posted on krisheldmd:

When Obama and his Organizing for Obama operatives promised to fundamentally transform the USA, mesmerized groupies swooned while the majority of Americans opposed, but were forced to dry-swallow, the bitter pill- The Manifesto for that fundamental change, the paradoxically named “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Despite what Obama organizers claim, American medicine is the pinnacle of miraculous life-saving, life-prolonging medicine achieved through a long tradition of physicians’ and surgeons’ incomparable innovation, brute-strength hard work, self-sacrificial courage, and compassionate, dignified devotion to each individual patient. America’s physicians achieved all this because we take The Hippocratic Oath, serve each individual patient to the best of our ability, and endure a rigorous rite of passage through American medical education that is beyond description, known only to those who have survived it, and is like no other in the world.

The promised fundamental transformation requires that America’s physicians break the sacred Hippocratic Oath and…

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