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Archive for July, 2007

National health care?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 31st July 2007

If the democrats win in 2008, national single-payer, Canadian-style health care may be on the table. In preparation, you may want to hear from a former advocate of this style of health care who has seen the actual results first-hand.

 caduceus.jpg

 ”Free” health care for all is not only not free but it’s not what you would choose if you needed care for your family – as this article points out.

It may be time to take a look at what’s missing in our health care system, but I don’t want what Canada has. You may not, either.

How would you like it if the government mandated a one-size-fits-all holster and at the same time made it illegal to spend more on a hand-made custom holster even though you could afford it? 

In a nationalized health care system the first thing to go would be choice. If you remember “Hillary Care” defeated years ago, one of the features was to make it illegal to go outside of their system. Yikes!

Posted in Controversial, Good To Know, Opinion | 1 Comment »

Houston lost a home town boy – at age 85.

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 30th July 2007

 ”HOUSTON (AP) – Marvin Zindler, the flamboyant television consumer reporter whose crusade against a rural brothel inspired the play and movie «The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,» died Sunday. He was 85. Zindler died of complications from pancreatic cancer.”

Marvin Zindler wore white wigs and blue sunglasses, had numerous plastic surgeries and tripped over pronouncing unfamiliar names of people and places.

MarvinZindler.jpg

Having lived in Houston myself since Marvin closed down the infamous “Chicken Ranch” house of ill repute in 1973, I thought I knew who he was.

He always signed off with a lound and self-important sounding, “Marvin Zindler, Eyewitness News!” For years I thought he was a buffoon. I didn’t like the way he looked, sounded or acted.

Now that I’ve matured a bit, I realize that I made a judgement of the man early on and I never really saw the real Marvin or acknowledged how much good he did. Frequently, I’m quick to judge someone by outward appearance, their voice or their quirks and totally overlook their commitment to doing good with their life. Yes, sometimes I’m a real jerk.

Marvin, did a lot of good for many, many people (and he didn’t care what I thought about him). You can learn more about ol’ Marvin here and here

Marvin, if you happen to read this blog post,  I’d like to apologize for my early judgements and wish you “godspeed.” You were helping folks from your hospital bed as recently as last night.  

The lesson I learned is to judge people by what they’re committed to accomplishing rather than their idiosyncrasies, quirks, wardrobe or looks. Let’s hope I can remember that the next time I meet someone new. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.

Posted in Opinion, Personal Interest | No Comments »

Russia’s really gonna do it.

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 29th July 2007

In late June I posted the story of Russia’s claim to the mineral riches under the North Pole. It was titled, “Have you ever seen a polar bear’s jaw drop?”

RussianFlag.jpg

Evidently, Russia is serious. Now there planning to plant an underwater flag under the North Pole ice to solidify their claim. Here’s a current article. More and more evidence points to the fact that we’re not done with Russia despite the fall of the old USSR. President Vladimir Putin is clearly leading a nationalistic effort that looks like trouble down the road.

Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union, has became a supporter of Putin’s assertive foreign policy and resistance to American power — calling occasional news conferences to praise Putin’s policies — but his criticism of the United States on Friday was especially harsh, calling us “Imperialists.” Where have we heard that word before?

“The Americans want so much to be the winners. The fact that they are sick with this illness, this winners’ complex, is the main reason why everything in the world is so confused and so complicated,” he told a packed news conference.

These two stories are just the tip of the iceberg. While the relationship between Russia and the U.S. appeared to be thawing, now it’s freezing up again into a glacier of opposite points of view.

For those who want a more complete picture of Putin’s influence go here. 

Putin’s even re-writing history and making Stalin look good.

 

 

Posted in Good To Know, News You Can Use | No Comments »

Robert A. Heinlein’s Legacy

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 28th July 2007

There’s been a show on the History Channel that lists the number of technologies created for “Star Trek” that actually have become available to us in 2007. Unfortunately, I can’t beam myself to vacation spots around the world yet, but science fiction has often been the birthplace of ideas that become future reality.

Robert Heinlein, the late science fiction writer, also predicted future technologies in his many novels. I ran across an article about Robert Heinlein’s life and legacy that you may enjoy reading.

 

Posted in Fun, News You Can Use | 1 Comment »

Do you work for one?

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 27th July 2007

Do you work for a Best Place to Work company?

Fortune Magazine has a top 100 list of Best Places to Work companies and so do numerous regional Business Journals. What does it take to be a Best Place to Work company? You might prefer to work for one of these companies - if you had the choice.

I don’t know about you, but I worked for years in various corporate cultures and looking back, only one of them was a great place to work. Since then, even that once-friendly outfit has grown big and impersonal.

The few people I know who still work there say they are not appreciated, management doesn’t really want to hear what they have to say and people don’t do what they said they’d do. It’s not much fun any more.

I’m self-employed now, but I’m still very interested in what makes a company a Best Place to Work. Thank goodness there’s a powerful movement in this country toward Best Places to Work companies. There are many good outcomes from this trend:

  The best talent wants to work at BPTW companies and employee turnover drops.

  Job satisfaction goes way up and these companies become more successful and profitable as well.

Business thought leaders and business publications are paying attention. Here’s the most recent 2007 Fortune Magazine list. Many who are on the list won’t be there next year. Why? They don’t really know what got them there.

There are 10 primary factors that are found in Best Place to Work companies. There is a special company that knows the factors, knows what it takes and specializes in helping CEO’s develop their companies into Best Places to Work companies.  If you want to know more about this important trend, check out The Best Places to Work.com. I admit I have a special interest in their success.

Posted in Good To Know, News You Can Use, Personal Interest | No Comments »

Tangerines no more!

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 26th July 2007

“The politics of global warming got very concrete, and oddly difficult, In a meeting with local environmentalists in the coastal town of McClellanville today, where Elizabeth Edwards raised in passing the importance of relying on locally-grown fruit.”

So says blogger Ben Smith on Politico.com.

tangerine.jpg

The substance of the blog blurb is don’t buy produce that has to be shipped in. Global warming, ya know.  Ever notice how much of the produce at your local supermarket isn’t local?

Does this mean I have to give up macadamia nuts?

One responder to the news wrote this comment on the blog:

“I predict that in about 20 years, some of the global warming freaks are going to be so overwhelmingly and utterly EMBARRASSED by what complete damn fools they were that they will kill themselves. No kidding. Just like Abbie Hoffman, who realized what a friggin dunce he was and ultimately offed himself because he couldn’t take it anymore. This is no joke. It will definitely happen. At least one, very high profile, global warming idiot will off him/herself in the years to come.”

Other comments abound.

BTW, all the leather Tucker uses is USA domestic vegetable-tanned leather. It’s not to save fossil fuels during transport. It’s the best leather.

Posted in Controversial, Opinion, Personal Interest | No Comments »

Not just another, “Support the Troops.”

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 24th July 2007

I imagine you get them, too. Powerpoint presentations, slide shows and videos with pictures of our servicemen and women doing their jobs overseas, set to music and dipped in sentiment. They begin to look alike.

You may have seen this one by Lizzie Palmer, 15 years old. Many, many people have viewed it. I think it may have originated on the “Operation Mom” website. 

It doesn’t look like all the other videos and is the more remarkable because it was created by one so young. I really think it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Believe it or not, some are calling this “right wing propaganda.”  It looks to me as if it promotes no cause except to honor our troops.

Having recently visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, I am in the frame of mind to honor all who have served.

Posted in Inspiration, Personal Interest | No Comments »

Four great questions.

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 23rd July 2007

I confess to being disappointed by politicians in general and Republicans in particular lately. (Haven’t agreed often with democrats on much.)

Physician Paul Broun, Jr. from Augusta, GA just got elected to the House of Representatives in a special election after promising to ask four questions before casting a vote in the House. I think these are four great questions.

1. Is it constitutional and a proper function of government?

2. Is it morally correct?

3. Is it something we really need?

4. Is it something we can afford?

Paul Broun Jr.jpg  Paul Broun, Jr.

Would I agree on all his positions? Maybe not, but those are four wonderful questions for a politician to ask.

See John Fund’s article of Monday, July 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT  here.

Posted in News You Can Use, Opinion, Personal Interest | No Comments »

What? Another example of….

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 21st July 2007

There’s a gap in wages between men and women. Whatever your opinion on the issue, do you want your government stepping on your neck to force an outcome?

This article (outlining proposed actions by the European Union to deal with wage disparity) is a good example of why we need to protect ourselves from those who seek governmental solutions for every problem.

The U.S. constitution is designed to protect citizens from the government. Even so, there are many who want to use government to force their beliefs and solutions on you and me rather than to succeed or fail in the court of public opinion.

It’s not always the democrats.

What do you think?

 

Posted in Controversial, News You Can Use, Personal Interest | No Comments »

When the nose goes…..

Posted by Rob Longenecker on 16th July 2007

Poor Sense of Smell May Be Alzheimer’s

Difficulty identifying common smells such as lemon, banana, and cinnamon may be the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study that could lead to scratch-and-sniff tests to determine a person’s risk for the progressive brain disorder.

Such tests could be important if scientists find ways to slow or stop Alzheimer’s and the severe memory loss associated with it. For now, there’s no cure for the more than 5 million Americans with the disease.

Researchers have long known that microscopic lesions considered the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s first appear in a brain region important to the sense of smell.

“Strictly on the basis of anatomy, yeah, this makes sense,” said Robert Franks, an expert on odor perception and the brain at the University of Cincinnati. Franks was not involved in the new study, appearing in Monday’s Archives of General Psychiatry.

Other studies have linked loss of smell to Alzheimer’s, Franks said, but this is the first to measure healthy people’s olfactory powers and follow them for five years, testing along the way for signs of mental decline.

In the study, 600 people between the ages of 54 and 100 were asked to identify a dozen familiar smells: onion, lemon, cinnamon, black pepper, chocolate, rose, banana, pineapple, soap, paint thinner, gasoline, and smoke.

For each mystery scent, they heard and saw a choice of four answers. For cinnamon, they were asked aloud: “Fruit? Cinnamon? Woody? Or coconut?” while also seeing the choices in text.

A quarter of the people correctly identified all the odors or missed only one. Half of them knew at least nine of the 12. The lowest-scoring quarter of the people correctly identified eight or fewer of the odors.

The subjects took 21 cognitive tests annually over the next five years. About one-third of the people developed at least mild trouble with memory and thinking.

The people who made at least four errors on the odor test were 50 percent more likely to develop problems than people who made no more than one error. Difficulty identifying odors also was associated with a higher risk of progressing from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s.

The researchers took into account age, gender, education, and a history of strokes or smoking, and still found lower scores predicted higher risk of cognitive decline.

Lead author Robert Wilson of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center said a diminishing sense of smell isn’t cause for panic.

“Not all low scorers went on to have cognitive problems,” Wilson said.

Older people should report a loss in smell to their doctors, said Claire Murphy, an Alzheimer’s researcher at San Diego State University who was not involved in the new study. The problem could be caused by a polyp in the nose or infected sinuses, she said.

“If a person is old and has a very good sense of smell, that’s a very good sign,” Murphy said.

© 2007 The Associated Press.

Posted in Good To Know, News You Can Use, Personal Interest | No Comments »