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Showing posts from December, 2009

Sports: Monday Sports Roundup

Without question, the biggest sports story has to be the Urban Meyer situation.

Aside from being a sports story of a coach at a highly successful football program at U of Florida, it is a human story of what matters in life.

What would you do?

Would you keep a job you really love but it subtracts from the total number of years you will live and impose health risks during the years you are alive?

Would you choose a high level of success but burn both ends of the candle or less success but have a life closer to "normal?"

In more routine sports stories, last year's Super Bowl champion Steelers still alive in playoff hunt.

Lakers bounce back from being embarrassed by the Cavs on Christmas day.

The PAC10 is 1-2 in bowl games so far. Tomorrow, this Bruin fan will be hoping they come out strong and salvage some pride for UCLA and the Pac10.

Howland's Bruin basketballers took care of business.

Of the seven losses, four (Kansas, Butler, Notre Dame and Mississippi State) were probab…

Devotional Thoughts: foreigners here in reverent fear

Continuing on ...

Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

What jumps out at you?

For me ...

"foreigners here in reverent fear"

and

"chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times."

I think one of the struggles of living out the Christian faith is finding the healthy tension between recognizing a higher calling (we belong to God) which leads us to be foreigners yet not become isolated from this pres…

Devotional Thoughts: Set your hope fully on the grace to be given

Its Christmas!

Can we get an Advent perspective on this reading from 1 Peter?

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.

When is "when Jesus Christ is revealed?"

At one level, when Jesus came to be born in a manger, he was revealed!

Most didn't notice.

But Jesus will come again ...

Some think this passage describes Jesus return, At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. If so, there will be no missing it!

And so Peter appears to be encouraging us to set our hope on that future event. But suffice to…

Non-profit of the month: December 2009 - The Saban (Los Angeles) Free Clinic

There are 300 million Americans.

If each gave $10 to a local Community Health Clinic that would be ...

$3 billion.

If the Saban (LA) Free Clinic (http://www.thesabanfreeclinic.org) which runs on $13.5 million a year is typical...

$3 billion = 222 Community Health Clinics can be funded for 1 year.

While the politicians in Washington DC pick "winners" and "losers" in 2000+ pages of health legislation, we, taking the initiative, could do something to help out that will make a difference.

Please consider giving to your local community health clinic!

Politics: Improving Health Care Delivery

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The "trinity" of health care discussion is cost, access and quality.

The hard reality is that you can't have all three to the degree that people want.

So the best we can do is try to maximize each element without breaking the bank and so that is the premise I use to look at the issue before the nation right now.

We should be honest about the size of the problem.

If indeed 46 million are uninsured, we do have a problem. But looked at another way, that means 254 million do have insurance!

Do we tear up the whole system to address the problem?

Cost

(1) As much as the MDs might not like it but the bottom line is that more of health care needs to be delivered by well trained non-MD medical professionals.


image source: http://innovatorsprescription.com/profiles/blogs/the-importance-of

As research pushes more medical conditions into the upper right side of this chart, more medical care can be delivered by non-MD medical professionals.

Thus, health care reform must include re-writi…

Politics: Some head shaking details of health care "reform"

The idea of extending health insurance to more folks has some merit.

But as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details;" far more than can be discussed in 59 seconds.

I don't have time to read 2000+ pages of legislation and I doubt any Senator or House member has done so either. Instead, they rely on staff to do the reading and writing of legislation and that is when things get slipped in.

And, inevitably, when some items are brought to the light of day, there may be outrage.

I suppose there are web pages that post some of the little "gems" buried in that legislation that if widely known should spark head shaking wonder at what the heck these people on the Hill are thinking?

Here are a few things I have heard that I wonder, if true, who the dickens put that into the bill and confirms the worst suspicions I have about the legislative process.

* the botox tax - There are actual medical reasons why some neurologists use the stuff on patients and indeed, if someone i…

Devotional Thoughts: Angels long to look

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Continuing in I Peter ...

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Jesus changed everything.

The prophets of old pointing were pointing to that change. But they didn't get to see it in their lifetimes.

The angels "long to look ..." I wonder what does that really mean?


image source: http://www.binoculartips.com/

Imagine if you will, angels in the presence of God and God speaks to them of His plans to initiate a salvation plan through Jesus. The angels wo…

Politics: When not nationalizing health insurance is nationalizing health insurance

It appears the "public option" is dead.

It appears the expansion of Medicare to 55 year olds is dead.

But is the current bill still going to result in a defacto national health insurance system?

This is the argument in this analysis piece over at FixHealthCarePolicy.com a project of the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:
Of particular concern to patients should be that the detailed benefits in their health insurance coverage will soon be determined by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, Americans got a foretaste of what Federal health benefit regulation means when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed its recommendation for breast cancer screening (mammography) for women aged 40 to 50 from “B” (recommended) to “C” (not recommended).
.....
Thus, a decision by a, heretofore, obscure HHS Task Force to recommend a specific medical service would in the future carry the force of law, and would impose additional costs on insurers and employer health plans.…

Politics: Health Care Reform in 59 Seconds?

The debate is framed: health insurance = health care.

How does health insurance happen?
(1) payed by employer as a benefit + employee kicks in some premium payments
(2) self-bought if your employer doesn't offer or
(3) Medicare (provides insurance for age 65+) taxes

There is a sizable segment of the population that doesn't fall into categories 1-3.

Proposed solution: force people to buy insurance
(A) some can afford but opt not to buy so penalize them
(B) some can't afford - so they need subsidies; therefore, tax items #1 and #2 in some cases, tax wealthy (define wealthy?) and shift funds from #3.

Of course I've simplified matters greatly and there are all kinds of problems with this proposed solution but I've used up my 59 seconds as my goal was just to attempt to define the state of play.

Was this a fair and balanced description of the situation?

UPDATE: The thing is 2000+ pages so there are lot of "devil in the details" type analysis that can't be done in 59…

Sports: Bruins in ruins?

That was quick ... we knew year 1 would be tough and it was. Year 2 got the Bruins back in the NCAA.

Years 3-4-5 were magic carpet rides to the Final Four.

Year 6 showed some slippage as the Bruins were eliminated in round 2 of the NCAA which wasn't unexpected given the talent level of that team.

Year 7 ... the team has fallen off the edge of the world. 8-(

The fans are getting restless.

How long before there is a http://www.firebenhowland.com just like there was a Fire Karl Dorrell blogspot?

Howland has earned some wiggle room because of years 1-5.

And as far as we can tell, he is running a clean program on and off the court.

But there are concerns about recent recruiting and starting/bench rotations.

Hopefully, Howland can make some adjustments on the floor and in recruiting and that this group of players will realize they just can't put on the jersey with U - C - L - A on it and expect to win.

Go Bruins!

UPDATE: Well, maybe Howland got the player's attention as they finally pull…

Politics: Doc in a box and community health clinics as part of health reform?

Had mentioned previously the notion of "doc in a box" as part of dealing with reforming health care.

Was listening to an interview with Clayton M. Christensen, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School who wrote the book Innovators Prescription. He mentioned the innovation of Take Care Clinic of Walgreens and Minute Clinic of CVS.

If this were to become a bigger part of our health care delivery system, would we make a bigger dent in the uninsured problem?

Would it help reduce some costs?

Also interviewed by Hugh Hewitt was Children’s Health Fund founder, pediatrician, Dr. Irwin Redlener.

He too supported a greater role for nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Additionally, he stressed a team concept with these mid-level health care personnel with doctors which can often be found at community health clinics.

Hewitt asked, might we get more bang for the buck by committing $100 billion to community health clinics versus $1000 billion in the current …

Movies: Fiddler on the Roof

Some musicals become a part of the cultural landscape when we know the songs without having ever seen the movie.

Such a film is Fiddler on the Roof.

Finally saw it a couple weeks back through my Netflix subscription.

Here is a playlist of the well known musical numbers from the film.

Here are a couple of my favorites ...



Devotional Thoughts: For a little while

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1 Peter 1:3-9 launches into a uplifting reflection of the end of our stories and how that helps us in the day-to-day.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.


image source: http://www.callbox7.com/a-complete-guide-to-ambulance/

2000 years separate us in the USA from the recipients of this letter from St. Peter. In some ways, we are quite different from those people. I think that the shadow of death hung over them much more than it does today. In a time with no medicine or hospitals, death was probably something the average person saw quite often. A trauma on the city street with no ER to rush them too, an infection with no antibiotic…

Politics: Ideas on health care in the USA

Wonder if any of the people on the Hill are reading these articles?

The Problem is Cost of Care by Michael Munger who is a professor of economics, and the chair of the political science department, at Duke University.

Excerpt:
The problem is that health care costs have increased at an annual rate double, or more than double, the rate of inflation for the last two decades. Right now, our attempts at reform are doomed by a law of accounting physics: Insurance can’t cost less than the health care it insures. That means that subsidizing insurance likely makes the problem worse.


Cato's What Is the Free-Market Approach to Health Care Reform? is another that goes beyond the usual mantras of "public option" and "mandated insurance."

Excerpt:
We also need to rethink medical licensing laws to encourage greater competition among providers. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, and other non-physician practitioners should have far greater ability to treat pati…

Devotional Thoughts: God's elect, strangers in the world

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As far as I can tell, there is no other Bible book that deals with suffering as directly as Job. But I think 1 Peter and 2 Peter do touch on the subject a bit more than many other writings of Scripture. These two books discuss many other topics as well.

So let's take a look ...

Let's get to the introduction.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,


image source: http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Exterior/StPeterStatue/StPeter-Apos.jpg

I hope someday to visit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

I would venture to say that Peter was probably the most famous of the 12 disciples as he was the most outspoken of the bunch sometimes to his detriment!

It is generally believed by scholars that the Gospel of Mark was influenced strongly by Peter's preaching. The Book of Acts which chronicles the growth of the early church has much material about Peter (Chapters 1-12). The Book of Acts eventually followed the role of Paul in the advancement of the church (Chapters 13-28).

Some scho…

Science: Climategate and questions I would want to have answered

Yes, Drudge can add sensationalized headlines to items and highlight odd stories.

But most of the time, he just links to articles that he thinks are interesting.

And so he links to an item that says Al Gore was confused on the emails regarding the "Climategate" scandal.

From that item, there are links to various web pages that highlight why some people are skeptical of man-caused global warming.

The daisy-chain as Dennis Prager points out is as follows:
(1) human activity produces CO2
(2) there are temperature increases
(3) CO2 increases lead to temperature increases
(4) temperature increases will result in calamity.

This is what I would want to know:
Statement #1 is probably true. But in the history of the planet has there been times when CO2 were higher than the are today which would have occurred without human activity?

Is statement #2 actually true? Modern technology gives us good temperature data from many locations. But that is using current technology. How good is the data …

Life: Adrenaline junkies with invisible capes and angel wings

Be sure to check out this profile on the ER nurses of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Excerpt:

ER nurses don’t give long-term care. They don’t get to know you, and they don’t even know what happens to you after you leave the ER. They are a platoon of adrenaline junkies with invisible capes and angel wings, there to take care of you at your worst moments. And it never ends. “Patients are like waves of ocean hitting the beach,” Shari says. “New ones just replace the old ones.”

As someone who has been on a gurney at the CSMC ER, I can only say, where do we find such people? Thank God for each one of them!

Non-profit of the month: November 2009 - For the Troops and Reagan Library

Went to the Ronald Reagan Library on Veteran's Day.

While there, there were some folks taking contributions to support For the Troops.

President Obama has asked the military and their families for more sacrifice with his plan to send 30,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan. He and they need our support in for this difficult, dangerous and important mission.

Of course, many tens of thousands are already there and will have spent Thanksgiving and will spend Christmas away from home. Thus, I felt the desire to support For the Troops.

There are many other like-minded groups and I hope you will consider giving what you can.

I am also supporting the Ronald Reagan Foundation because I cast my first presidential vote for Reagan in 1984 and for many today what he did is ancient history.

2009 marked the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

None will ever forget that JFK stood there in solidarity with the people of Berlin.



RR stood there in solidarity with the people of Berlin too and…