Politics: Common Sense on Illegal Immigration = Temporary Worker Visa Program

It is easy to demagogue the issue.

As long as the disparity in economic opportunity is so great, illegal immigration to the USA is inevitable. There just is too many miles of borders to guard.

Thus, the sensible thing to do is provide a mechanism like temporary worker visas.

The people who want to work would be provided a means to be here legally and the employers who want to hire them won't have to break the law to have them on the payrolls.

That is the idea in this article which, in my opinion, is offering a pretty common sense approach to the issue.

Excerpts:
In the early 1950s, Congress and President Eisenhower faced a similar challenge. The U.S. Border Patrol was making 1 million apprehensions a year. Congress and the president responded with more vigorous enforcement, but also a large increase in visas for temporary workers.

The result: Apprehensions at the border fell by 95%. Given the choice, low-skilled immigrants from Mexico chose by the millions to enter legally rather than illegally.
......
A temporary worker program would transform the debate about enforcement. If the large majority of people now entering illegally were to enter legally through normal ports of entry, U.S. border agents could focus their time and resources on apprehending real criminals and terrorists.

A sufficient inflow of legal workers would drive out illegal workers, reducing the rationale for workplace raids, national identification cards and employment verification systems. Companies that can hire legal workers would not be so tempted to hire illegal workers.

To overcome political opposition, Democratic leaders must face down labor-union opponents of a temporary worker program, just as Republican leaders seeking a new plan must face down the anti-immigration wing of the conservative movement.

Devotional Thoughts: Do not be surprised at suffering


image source: http://www.indianolapres.org/joomla/images/candles-big.jpg

1 Peter 4:12-19 ...

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

When Peter wrote this, I wonder if he was thinking about the teachings of Jesus found in places like Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21?

Mark 13:9, But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

I also wonder to what extent the Apostles were familiar with each other's writings?

This verse reminded me of Philippians 3:10-11 where Paul believed he could in share in the sufferings of Christ and thus, like Christ be vindicated in resurrection, that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians is estimated to have been written in AD 61, while I Peter dates prior to 67/68, the time he died. Thus, it is possible that Peter might have known about Paul's letter to the Philippians. However, another possibility is that the theme of sharing in the sufferings of Christ was simply a widely held attitude among the early believers and Peter is simply reminding his readers of this.

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

The idea of being blessed for suffering recalls the part about suffering in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:11-12, Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

What is the believer's response to suffering?

On one hand, those who suffer for their faith could throw up their hands and simply give up in resignation to the karmic fates that have fallen them. On the other, one could say, there is so much suffering, I should eat, drink and be merry while I can and have a blast while I last.

Instead, Jesus followers are challenged to go a third way, yes, we are to have an acceptance that suffering is a part of life but we are also to have a zeal for doing good amidst it.

Lord, help me to be a faithful to you. I don't like the idea of suffering. And certainly, here in the USA, there isn't much suffering for having faith; maybe some ridicule. Yet, even that I fear. Lord, have mercy upon me and give me courage. And may you give an extra measure of courage for your followers who in other parts of the world suffer and die for calling you Lord. Give them a vision of your faithfulness and assurances that they will be welcomed into your kingdom with honor for their endurance. Amen.

Business: Would United's CEO Try the "Undercover Boss" Experiment?

Dear Mr. Glenn F. Tilton,

As the chairman and CEO of United, have you attempted what some are doing on the television show “Undercover Boss?”

Have you attempted to use one of your self-check in kiosks?

Have you worked along side the agents behind the counter?

I recently took two friends to LAX on the morning of April 28, 2010 and found a chaotic scene at the Terminal Seven United ticket counter. Though I’m not a frequent flier (once or twice a year), I do understand there is some amount of waiting involved but this scene was clearly out of control.

My question for you and your management team are the following:

Are your software engineers working on improving the self-check-in computer system such that less agent intervention aside from tagging the luggage is required?

On that morning, there was a long line to get to the check-in machines which we understand as many east-coast bound flights leave at that time. But what was frustrating was that upon using the self-check-in device, we quickly reached the point where it asked us to get assistance.

As I looked around at the other passengers, this seemed to be a fairly common occurrence. The passenger on the right kept asking the agent for assistance and eventually bellowed, I’ve been trying to get someone to help me for the last 45 minutes. The same was true of the passengers to our left.

In looking down the bank of kiosks, I can’t be certain, but it seemed only about 1/2 of the people appeared to breeze through the self-check-in process while the other half had to flag down an agent to continue the check-in process beyond receiving receipts for their luggage.

Is management aware of staffing levels at peak periods?

The agents behind the counter were clearly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of passengers requiring additional assistance. I can’t imagine that the crowd that day was any more than any other day, after all, it was a mid-week flight. Perhaps, for some reason, that shift was particular short-handed. In any event, it was clearly a case of too few agents trying to address too many passengers.

What kind of training is your company giving these agents?

I could overhear many complaints that passengers were given conflicting information about which line to get into and what the charges were for luggage. In my two friends case, their 3 luggage (all under 50 pounds) should have been free since their final destination was a foreign country. But the agent at the counter insisted on charging them $50 for one extra luggage. Upon giving her $60 it took over over 15 minutes to get change back which involved talking to a supervisor who said the luggage fee was only $20 (still incorrect). At that point, weary of the confusion, we got the change and was done with it.

I realize that the airline business is difficult with unpredictable fuel costs, expenses to address terrorism, turnover in staffing and unexpected problems like an Icelandic volcano grounding flights. However, poor customer service is going to hurt your business far more than those external challenges.

Your management team needs to get into the front-line and see what your employees are facing and give them better tools and training so they can get the job done well so passengers will choose United again.

Thank you for considering this feedback on your customer service.

Sincerely,

Economics: Cost of Health Care

One of the RR readers posted a link to this CNN.com article.

And certainly, the immediate reaction is outrage.

However, we have to think a second time and get beyond the initial reaction.

The startling number: surgery that costs $33,127 in the USA versus $2930 in the UK.

Taking a closer look ...

At the bottom of the article, it turns out the hospital misquoted the cost to the patient: "We inadvertently provided an incorrect quote for the consumer," a hospital spokesman wrote in an e-mail. "The actual procedure price was less than half of what we initially quoted."

The cost should have been at most $17,850.

The number is still quite striking (rounding-off) $15K vs. $3K.

Why does it costs more in the USA?

If I was the CNN reporter, I would check the following ...

The author points out: "If something goes wrong, you don't have the same legal recourse as you have in the United States."

How much additional cost is due to malpractice considerations?

The author points out: Here's a list of hospitals accredited through the Joint Commission International. The joint commission inspects facilities to make sure they meet the necessary standards.

Which leads to this logical question: How much additional cost is due to the higher technology and perhaps higher certification requirements at US hospitals?

I hear that the USA has more MRIs than other countries and those gadgets costs lots of $$$. I would figure the cost of those devices get spread out among all cases whether or not those high tech imaging systems get used for any particular case.

It is a question of allocating resources. In most cases, having that MRI around doesn't help! So how many MRIs should we have when most cases don't need one?

And who wants to be the hospital without one when it is needed to make the diagnosis?

One also has to ask, how much are doctors in the USA paid compared to doctors in other countries?

In that $15K, how much is "labor" costs of the surgical team of doctors and nurses which is likely higher in the USA?

One last reality check: how much is due to "cost shifting?"

What is the "true cost" of care?

I hear that Medicare might pay X for Procedure A.

When Blue Cross pays, they pay Y > X for procedure A.

Medicare is the largest insurance program in the USA, it can ask for lower prices though doctors and hospitals could refuse to take Medicare patients with the exception of a life-threatening condition which leads to the scenario of "uncompensated care."

When a patient who can't pay (if a condition is life-threatening, US hospitals are required by law to provide the care whether or not it will be paid for), it falls into the hospital's accounting slot "uncompensated care." They may pay Z << X.

Add up X + Y + Z ... the hospital might then "overcharge" the person who pays "out-of-pocket" to make up the true cost of carrying out the procedures.

Since I'm not a health care blogger nor a reporter whose full time job it is to track down the numbers, I do wonder how much of the $$$ can be accounted for by the four questions I pose here?

There are problems in the US health care system; no doubt about it.

This CNN story highlights some of them beyond the obvious immediate one that one might think of.

Economics: How do you reform the banking industry?

Not an economist but as an observer of economic activity, here are some thoughts:

Is "too big to fail" here to stay?

Because of globalization and the size of big projects, super large banks are needed. There is still a place for your friendly small town banker for some activities but when you are financing multi-billion dollar projects with multi-national partners, you need a ginormous bank.

But the problem with "too big to fail" is that those banks will take risks because they know or think they know they will get bailed out if they get into trouble.

Is there a sweet spot where banks are big enough to conduct business on a global scale yet small enough that if one or two fail, it doesn't bring down the US or Global economy?

This item in Business Week says, let them fail and NOT letting them fail actually caused more chaos. Excerpt:

The driving premise offered is that investment banks such as Bear Stearns and commercial banks such as Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are "too big to fail." I was always under the impression that capitalism was about taking risks, including the possibility of all-out failure. I thought capitalism was about reaping rewards from taking risks. Instead, the government chooses to treat market participants like consumers who continually expect that some safety net be provided for every transaction. We should allow big banks to fail because "market stability requires it."

There are two dynamics here. One is our loss of appetite for risk. When it comes to the American attitude toward risk-taking, we have lost our swagger. We have regulated risk away to the point that we are now scared to let a Bank of America or a Citigroup wind down and dissolve.

Let us not forget that there are thousands of community, regional, and national banks that could come in and buy up the deposits and performing loans of a Citigroup should it fail. The federal government erred in believing that the failure of one bank amounts to market failure.

How do regulators set capital requirements for banks?

Excerpt:

Banks hold capital as reserves to cushion the impact of unexpected losses. But many banks found ways to exploit existing capital requirements in the lead up to the financial crisis, and weren't prepared for the heavy losses that resulted from bad bets on real estate and other loans.
......
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair pushed for an international leverage ratio a few years ago but made little progress with skeptical foreign officials. The financial crisis has breathed new life into the idea. Canadian officials have pushed aggressively for it, too.


Leverage: Leverage helps both the investor and the firm to invest or operate. However, it comes with greater risk. If an investor uses leverage to make an investment and the investment moves against the investor, his or her loss is much greater than it would've been if the investment had not been leveraged - leverage magnifies both gains and losses. In the business world, a company can use leverage to try to generate shareholder wealth, but if it fails to do so, the interest expense and credit risk of default destroys shareholder value.

Leverage is what banks do. People/companies deposit money in the bank expecting a return. The bank uses the deposits to lend to borrowers expecting a return to cover the return the depositors expect plus some profit for the bank which is paid to investors in the bank through dividends and increases in share price.

But if they lend too much and some of the borrowers default, they will not be able to pay back the depositors.

Thus, the challenge for the banker is:
1. how much to lend?
2. how much cash to keep on hand?

I don't know if I have the energy to read up on the current banking bill in Congress. However, this piece suggests they haven't done a good job. Excerpt:

Even Dodd's claim to shut down companies is full of holes. On page 145, the bill clearly states that the FDIC "may" liquidate and wind up a failing company. That means the FDIC "may" also decide not to.

In short, Dodd's bill wouldn't see failed firms put out of business in the next crisis, but instead produce ad hoc bailouts like those of 2008.

To function properly, capital markets need certainty about how the government will respond in crisis situations. The Dodd bill doesn't provide that clarity: Instead, it massively delegates power -- allowing regulators to decide who gets rescued and who doesn't.
............
Perhaps the greatest of Dodd's sins are ones of omission. Nowhere does his bill address the actual practice that caused the crisis: permitting widespread writing of mortgages where the borrowers had little or no equity. The Dodd bill keeps in place the same federal incentives for homebuyers to treat our housing markets as casinos.

And the only time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac get mentioned in the bill is to continue their favored treatment. Notably, banks can still engage in proprietary trading in Fannie and Freddie securities -- even though that practice was responsible for much of Bear Stearns' catastrophic losses.

The American public has a lot to be angry about, but the spark for that rage was the bank bailouts. Yet Dodd's bill makes bailouts into permanent policy. It wouldn't bring stability to our financial system, but further erode market discipline -- while asking us to put all our faith in the same regulators who have failed repeatedly.


UPDATE: Here is a primer on the banking bill in Congress. I'll have to sift through this later ...

UPDATE: The electronic media megaphone largely gives the Democrat's point of view because they have the votes and most media is supportive of their policies anyway. But, there are some outlets for conservative views and here is a critique of the current banking bill in Congress.

Economics: Wind Farms off Cape Cod

UPDATE: Wind farm greenlighted by Dept. of Interior.

Really didn't know what tag to put on this item. Economics? Politics? Culture?

Interesting piece at CNN.com about the wind farm project in Cape Cod.

And it appears after all the court cases, environmental impact reports and lobbying by both sides, it comes down to the Secretary of Interior to give the thumbs up or down on the project.

Excerpt:

The decision now rests in the hands of one man: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. He has the unenviable choice of cutting through nine years of regulatory red tape. He can greenlight the project or kill it.

For Salazar, the wind farm proposal is a perfect storm as well. It represents a collision of Interior Department priorities: green energy, Native American heritage and eco-concerns over fisheries and bird life.

The Cape will soon learn which is the top priority. Salazar has said he will make his decision by the end of April.

I don't envy his the decision he has to make!

Cape Wind Trailer - August, 2009 from Rebirth Productions on Vimeo.

Food: Coq Au Vin

Am not as talented as Julia Child or as obsessed as Julie Powell but the chicken is marinating in the red wine and I can go to sleep and hopefully, tomorrow, something like Coq Au Vin will be for dinner.

If people knew the details, I'm not sure they would eat it!

Why you ask?

Bacon fat!

But I did pull the skin off the chicken!

Culture: Tax Day April 15!

How many Americans pay NO Federal income tax?

142 million.

For more numbers see here.

Now, in fairness, there are other forms of taxation which hits those who do not pay income taxes and the article points that out.

So what is the big deal?

Well, as a matter of principle, I think if something benefits all people than most if not all should help pay for it even if only very modestly for the lower income folks. I realize there are some people's income that is really low and they should have no Federal income tax burden. However, 142 million in a nation of 300 million seems like a lot of people!

And that is the point the article ends with:

As the number of refundable tax credits continues to grow, more and more tax filers are seeing the IRS as a source of income, not as a feared tax collector. That may be OK for the public relations department at the IRS, which now pays for ads nationwide touting its giveaways, but the nation needs the IRS to be a tax collector, not a welfare dispenser.

The real issue is that millions of Americans no longer have any skin in the game and are becoming inoculated from the basic cost of government. To them, government seems free and politicians can easily convince them to support more and more spending because someone else is going to pay the tab. This trend deserves a broader national discussion than either party in Washington seems willing to engage in. [ed. note - emphasis mine]


Full disclosure: I do pay Federal Income taxes and I am not in the upper brackets.

World: Who has the bomb?

With all the activity in DC about containing nuclear weapons, I was wondering: who actually has "the bomb?"

This briefing sums it up.

Not surprisingly, the "big" powers that have veto power in the UN:
China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States

These have tested their weapons:
India and Pakistan

Never tested but universally believed to have them:
Israel

Nations of concern developed or developing nuclear weapons:
North Korea, Iran, Syria

Had weapons but gave them back to Russia:
Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine

Had weapons programs but gave up for various reasons:
South Africa, Iraq, Libya, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan

Politics: MD shortage

MD shortage coming soon after years of fearing a glut of doctors.

I wonder if the roles of physician assistants and nurse practitioners will increase?

There will always be a need for doctors and their extra advanced training for the more complicated cases. But for a lot of routine health care, a PA or NP could do a excellent job and looks like that is already happening.

In light of the MD shortage, will their roles increase?

I would hope so!

Food: My pet microbes ...

My new hobby ...

Keeping a sourdough culture going in my refrigerator.

My first attempt yielded edible bread. Not too much sour taste though but very fluffy!

Plan to experiment in future batches by using whole wheat flour, rye flour and whole grains!

Politics: We may not agree ...

As a blogger with an opinion, I have to accept the criticisms, fair and unfair, that comes with this small piece of turf on the Internet.

I will continue to try my best to present reasoned discussions of the issues of the day and resist the temptation of shrill screaming style punditry.

I have to say it is challenging when some readers believe that being an opponent of the President's policies means your side consists of liars, belong to the KKK and advocate violence.

I wonder how many of the visitors to this blog looking for political discussion are on the political left, right and center? How many are interested in a thoughtful conversation? How many want to engage in "flame wars?" How many leave thinking that calm political debate is actually possible? How many conclude it is a lost cause?

I suppose one part of the problem in political debates these days is that one side can't accept that the other side might have honorable objections.

As for me and this blog, I will keep trying my best to present reasoned discussions of the issues of the day.

Devotional Thoughts: Use whatever gift you have received to serve others

Continuing on ...

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

There is a branch of Biblical Studies called textual criticism. Since the Bible is so old, what we have are copies of the lost originals. From what I have heard, the copies are quite good for documents of such antiquity. Now, some, Bart Ehrman being most famous, feel it isn't good enough. Interestingly, his teacher, Bruce Metzger, who died a few years back, who has access to the same scholarship as Ehrman, believed the Bible copies to be reliable.

I'm just a "blogger in pajamas" so I am not qualified to assess those claims in a rigorous way. However, I will say, that even reading the Bible in English, I do wonder if some "editing" and "cutting and pasting" did happen?

This passage is an example. Read by itself, it looks like St. Peter is winding up the letter and closing it out. But I Peter actually goes on for a bit more! Thus, is this the end of the letter and the material following was edited in? Or was Peter ending the letter and then decided to write more?

Would it bother you, if you are a believer in Jesus, if some editing did take place?

I think there is a difference between editing and fabrication. Fabrication would be problematic. But of course, a skeptic will say, how do we know? They would ask, if there are edits, are they authentic to Peter (and other alleged Bible writes) or added much later?

Thus, to the extent textual criticism helps us get to the "originals," we are using the minds God gave us. Then, with the best reconstructed original we have in hand, we ask, is it authentic and authoritative for our lives? Now, that question is a matter of faith.

Now, back to the text with the trust that it is authentic and authoritative ...

For Jesus followers, the arrival of Jesus and his resurrection changed everything. It marked the beginning of the end. And with that reality in mind, Peter in rapid fire fashion summarizes how we are supposed to live. Theological belief must manifest itself in life ethic.

1. Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray
2. Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins
3. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling
4. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others

Lord, thank you that the status quo has been overturned with your sending Jesus. Now, overturn the status quo of how I live my life. Give me clarity instead of a distracted mind. Help me to love rather than linger in selfishness. Strengthen me to choose a hospitable attitude over a distrustful one. Embolden me to use the gifts you have given me to serve others thus resisting the tendency to inaction. To you be the praise, glory and power for ever! Amen.

Devotional Thoughts: Sabbath in the 21st Century

Previously, had some thoughts on Sabbath.
Excerpt:

Let us seek the wisdom of God and encourage each other to find practical ways to set aside time to differentiate Sabbath from the rest of the week and make it sweet and beautiful. Each of us has different life situations, so our Sabbaths won’t look alike, but each of us has a need to carve out time to cease, to stop and to rest so we can remember. Whatever it looks like for you, find the answer to this question: how shall we organize our time to serve the causing of remembering?

What are some of the things that you do to help yourself to rest and remember?

We all have different situations so there isn't a one-size fits all way to approach the practice of Sabbath.

For me, part of Sabbath is the typical idea of ceasing from work life, in my case, from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown. Like most of folks, I work Monday to Friday but occasionally on Saturday for a few hours but not often. I sometimes check work emails or do "paperwork" on the weekends. But, as much as possible, I try to refrain from work life from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown.

Because the Internet is such a part of my connection to normal daily life, I have decided part of my Sabbath observance is to take a break from the Internet from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown. I try to sharply curtail my usage. I feel doing this is a tangible way for me to stop my regular life and thus make Sabbath special.

Lastly, not in a very strict way, but as a matter of preference, I try to reduce activities of commerce from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown.

In terms of positive actions, for Sabbath, I go to church on Sunday which helps me remember God and reflect on what Jesus has done on the Cross and be encouraged and challenged to live my life with justice and mercy in mind. I also try to reserve Saturday sundown to Sunday Sundown for family and friends. Lastly, I make an effort to rest by doing nothing and taking naps! I'll do some reading with the restriction that it be non-work related or non-political since I'm a political news junkie!

So how about you?

What do you do for your Sabbath?

How are you serving the cause of remembering?

Politics: Tax Freedom Day, April 9

Tax Freedom Day!

Excerpts:
The answer this year is that taxes will amount to 26.89 percent of our income, and the stretch of 99 days from January 1 to April 9 is 26.89 percent of the year.

But if one factors in the annual deficit ...

If Americans were required to pay for all government spending this year, including the $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit, they would be working until May 17 before they had earned enough to pay their taxes - an additional 38 days of work.


I wonder what the numbers look like if one factors in the cumulative Federal Debt?

Am not an anarchist! I believe the government has a role in society. The questions are how big a role, is it doing a good job and is it being fiscally prudent?

I suspect many feel the answers are "too big," "no," and "no."

Devotional Thoughts: Easter Sunday - Maasai Creed

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We remember.

Thanks be to God.

For more about the Maasai Creed, go here.

Devotional Thoughts: Holy Saturday

In the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, there is a prayer for Holy Saturday listed in the "Proper Liturgies for Special Days" section.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the
crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and
rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the
coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of
life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Devotional Thoughts: Good Friday - Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Gorecki

On this Good Friday Evening, as I reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, my thoughts turn to Gorecki's Symphony #3, Op. 36 also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

In the first movement, there is a lament of Mary (Mother of Jesus) written in the 15th Century at the Holy Cross Monastery in Poland.

My son, chosen and loved,
Let your mother share your wounds
And since, my dear son,
I have always kept you in my heart,
And loyally served you,
Speak to your mother,
make her happy,
Though, my cherished hope,
you are now leaving me.

Non-profit of the Month: March 2010 - Venice Family Clinic

Regardless of one's view of the newly passed health bill, I think we can all agree that there are folks who could use some help.

Thus, I'm directing a donation to the Venice Family Clinic.

Here is their story:

Mission
To provide free, quality health care to people in need.

History
Founded in 1970 in a borrowed storefront dental office, the Clinic has grown into the largest free clinic in the nation. Founder Phillip Rossman, MD, and co-founder Mayer B. Davidson, MD, called upon friends and colleagues to help. That spirit of volunteerism prevails today with more than 1,500 volunteers and $11.3 million in-kind contributions from hospitals, laboratories, specialty-care providers and pharmaceutical companies.

Programs and Services
The Clinic provides comprehensive primary health care, specialty care, dental care, mental health services, health education and child development services, as well as public insurance enrollment to more than 23,500 patients, including approximately 5,800 children, who make nearly 100,000 visits annually. Prescription medicines are provided at no charge.

Patients
Patients, most of whom live and work in the Westside neighborhoods of Venice, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Culver City, and Inglewood, are low-income and lack private health insurance. Sixteen percent of the Clinic's patients are homeless.

Regardless of political affiliation or religious beliefs/non-belief, I think we can all agree that this kind of good work deserves support and praise.

Heading into the October international break

LA Galaxy have dropped two in a row and in both cases their defense was the culprit. As a result, they go into the MLS playoffs in fifth pla...