30 August 2009
27 August 2009
26 August 2009
Things have been crazy around our house for the past few weeks. Our kitchen and dining room are in a state of remodel....which actually began in April of 2008. My office downstairs is complete and awaiting my relocation and the rear porch (which is kind of our front porch) is almost finished after 6 years of waiting.
The kids started back to school last week and my wife and I went opposite directions this weekend as she went on a retreat and I went kayaking on Sugar Creek-again. Projects have taken me to Syracuse, Porter and Indianapolis over the last week and a half which has affected my blogging. But, even with a schedule that is filling up through the fall, it seemed we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a certain calm began to set in.
Except for one problem. A few weeks ago I noticed what appeared to be bat "leavings" in our basement stairwell. Great. We've had bats before when we reconstructed the attic to add my son's bedroom. They "hung" around for a few days until I believed they escaped through the window or were sealed up in his wall. That was our first bat episode in almost four years of living in this old house....it was also our last until the winter flood of 2008. After 6 years of bat-free living, one rather large flying rodent dive-bombed my head as I went to check on the rising waters in our basement.
Then last summer we had a bat that wrecked havoc upon us for three nights in a row. We tore the house apart looking for it and sealing up every little crook and cranny with 2 tubes of caulk and three cans of expandable foam inside and out. We felt reasonably assured nothing could penetrate our bat-proofing. Then the "leavings" showed up almost a year to the date of our last encounter.
Last week, after a strong storm and loss of power, we sent the kids back upstairs to their bedrooms once the lights came back on and we soon followed them. But our dog, who has a keen sense for these furry flying fiends, started going crazy sniffing around one of our supply duct grilles. Oh you've got to be kidding...it's in our ducts? So we closed all the grilles and went to be a little uneasy. At about 2:30 a.m. the dog and I heard something banging around in the ducts like a tennis ball being thrown through them.
Bat eradication, 2009
A friend of mine came over the next night to install a phone line for the office; as we headed downstairs I warned him about our bat problem and as we turned the corner, there the little bugger was roosting in the stairwell....a good 12 feet overhead. So we shut the basement's bottom door, opened up the outside door and turned on the light assuming it would leave. It didn't, so I began to throw rocks at it from outside the house, only to scare it....not to kill it, because they're endangered or something. It finally flew out and I again used up another can of spray foam sealing up what I thought could be the last possible entry points.
Last night at 1:30 my son called from his room and said there was a bat flying around. We didn't believe him until I got up and saw it darting between his room and the stairway. Crap. I turn on lights to disorient it...the dog starts going crazy barking and jumping at it....and I grab the tennis racquet from the cedar closet at the top of the stairs. Back and forth it flew with an altitude in line with my head, the kids screaming....and wife screaming, dog barking and me in my "pajamas" or lack thereof. It turned the corner to head downstairs, which is where I had positioned myself, and with a prayer of forgiveness to St. Francis I put every ounce into one big whack.
It hit the floor. Whack! Whack! Whack! The dog was ecstatic. As I held the rodent down, trapped between the racquet and the floor, I yelled for my wife to get something to put it in and a towel to pick it up. It now rests in an ice cream container on our back step. Tonight I set up a "bat watch" as recommended by the internet "batman" to determine if and where they are going in and out of our house. Do I feel bad? Maybe, just a little bit. But the sure fire way for these guys to stay endangered is to make their way into my house. Had it not been for the two cases of rabies nearby, I probably would be more tolerable.
21 August 2009
I am extremely fortunate to have several close friends who are also doctors....and according to the newest ad campaign by the hospital....are real people too! That's quite a relief, buddies. I have had a chance to talk about the health insurance debate with most of them. One said, "I don't know what the big deal is, 50% of our patients are already on a government provided plan". And another followed that up with that fact that it is generally inefficient. But, based on my experience with private health insurance, it can be just as maddening.
As a Christian, I do not, under any circumstance, want the dollars I am paying into the government to go toward prematurely ending life-either the unborn or elderly. And withholding care, in terms of the elderly or unborn, can also be ethically troubling. I have a couple of thoughts here: 1) the exorbitant premiums I am paying to Blue Cross, I assume, may already be paying for ending lives; 2) give to Cesar what is Cesar's (i.e. financially support the Roman soldiers who are killing and raping your neighbors), and 3) until such laws making it legal to end life are overturned, the government is forced into interpreting abortions as medical procedures.
That last line probably really ticked some people off. Here's the thing, since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973 there have been Democrats in the White House 13 1/2 of the 36 years. If Republicans really wanted to overturn Roe vs. Wade.......it would have already happened. Christians need to wake up to this. Furthermore, if Christians really wanted to end abortions in this country........I am convinced that it already would have happened, and not through the ballot box, but by making an impact with young men and women. Christians are responsible for the moral decline in this country. Until we understand that.....and stop pointing fingers at people outside of the church......things will continue to slide.
The caveat is this: no one should be forced to take a life. My understanding is that, whether it is part of the current plan, or is attempting to be added, physicians who are trained to perform surgeries will be required to perform abortions. What I did not know is that this is already the law in several states; however, enforcement is non-existent. This particular part of the plan, without regard for conscientious objectors, should not stand. There is nothing gray to me about this.....pretty black and white.
20 August 2009
The solution? Ban business from providing health insurance to its employees. What would happen? Everyone would be responsible for providing their own insurance and consequently be completely outraged at their premiums, if they could afford health insurance, and (herein lies the beauty) they would demand reform from their elected officials. Hey, at least it gets us moving in a direction!
Shortly after I posted HC 101 I got a phone call from the "Presidential Coalition" represented by Newt Gingrich's "associate". He wanted me to listen to Newt's speech. I agreed. Newt went on and on about Obama's socialist agenda and how we need to get back to conservative values of the Reagan administration......hidden between the lines was Newt's testing the waters for a presidential run in 2012. When his associate got back on the line I let him have it.
This is the problem people! For the Republicans health reform is all about political positioning. Did George W. Bush offer ANY health care reform in his 8 years? Do you realize we've been talking about the problem for 16 years under both parties and have gotten nowhere? Part of the problem is that the American people generally don't know that there even is a problem. Unfortunately the GOP response is to do nothing but protest.
Here's the deal: people need health care and cannot afford it......some of you guys out there want to say that it's not a "right". OK, from the world's perspective, you are correct. From my understanding of Christ's teachings, it may not be a right.....but it is right. If you disagree with that conclusion then we are going to have to agree to disagree. If you call yourself a Christian and disagree that we should take care of people.....something is a little twisted in your theology.
So you say, but that doesn't mean that the government should provide health care. OK, I'll give you that. A hundred years ago churches provided health care. So, I attend a church of about 300 with approximately 100 family units. Multiply that by roughly $5000 for premiums and we would have a half million dollar expense in providing health insurance to just take care of our parishioners. Now, Christ didn't call us to just take care of ourselves.....so, we have to provide coverage for the indigent, poor, homeless.....you know, the people we are called to.....and maybe we're cheap and we only take care of another 10 families, or another $50k (standard 10%). So, I think we clearly see that the church cannot provide health coverage. So, as a Christian, what's the next logical step?
Capitalism, right? Let the free market system work! I got into an exchange on facebook over a poll denouncing the Obama plan as socialism. I was most amazed at the final comment made by, I'm sure, a well meaning person. She insisted that "capitalism works!!!!" Oh yeah, right. IT IS NOT WORKING, THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THE MESS WE DO! Are people that stupid? Again, I believe it is because people get all jacked up and have no clue as to the problem that's really out there.
I don't disagree that we need tort reform. The problem? Lobbyists. We also need health insurance reform....the problem is the same. My buddy told me this morning that the ratio of lobbyists working for the health insurance interests outnumber senators and congressmen 300 to 1. Did you get that? 3-0-0 to 1! So, who do you think is going to be heard? Not you and me.
As a so-called Christian and civilized nation we (collectively) need to be certain health care is provided for every individual. I'm not saying it should be a government plan. But I AM saying WE have a responsibility to provide care. So, given that statement, we need to either 1) provide health insurance to all people or 2) provide the actual care. At least insurance would provide incoming capital to cover costs.
Seriously, going back to the solution born out of coffee this morning. If businesses eliminated the cost of health insurance...it would stimulate economic growth....taking into consideration that at least some adjustment should be made to wages. This would do two things: 1) make insurance "portable" and 2) would eliminate small "pools" and instead create giant pools in each insurance company. Common sense would dictate that premiums, because of the increase pool size, should go down.....and insurance companies would also have to become more competitive. Isn't that capitalism at work? Understanding that insurance companies are the devil, and that capitalism without moral consciousness is detrimental to a society, I think there would have to be some regulatory oversight at least initially.
Now, what to do with the people who cannot afford insurance or would not purchase insurance if their place of work dropped them? One of two solutions currently being bandied around Capitol Hill. Either 1) create a government plan that one can opt in or out of or 2) a similar non-profit solution. This would create a GIANT pool that Americans may find more competitive than for-profits....which may also reduce general costs. Here you have to be careful, because tax dollars are no doubt going to have to partially subsidize this. And with this, I go back to our moral obligation for people to receive health care.
The particulars? That's why we elect people to office. It's time they start serving the public and not special interests. As far as tort reform? The answer is simple....liability caps. No, really, it IS that simple. Regarding taxpayer funded abortions and requirements of physicians to perform these.....Healthcare 103....sorry, but this has gotten way too long.
19 August 2009
I'm a 40 year old guy, possibly in the best shape of my life, was rejected by Blue Cross/Blue Shield because I had muscle therapy (massage) on my neck. I am paying extortionate fees for catastrophic coverage for my family plan that could soon surmount to as much as $32k out of pocket for an incident extending over a narrow period covering two insurance years.
I'm essentially a small businessman whose monthly health insurance premiums are more than any other expenses combined. I also come from a long line of independent small business owners. I am a conservative.....which doesn't necessarily mean being a Republican any longer. I AM PATRIOTIC TO THE CORE; I love my country and state probably more deeply than most white collars who are more in love with Capitalism than a nation of ideals, potential and freedom.
But, most importantly, I am a follower of Christ. American, Hoosier, Conservative...whatever label is placed on me holds less merit than the core beliefs I have because I take the teachings of God's Word as directives in my life. This is important to note because it compels me to act and vote from those convictions.
I believe all life is precious. In the womb, or out. In advanced stages of disease or age. And I believe this stretches across all social and economic boundaries. I believe that caring for the sick, elderly, unborn, poor and hungry is one of the most fundamental teachings of the Bible. Not only is it the DUTY of a Christian, it is also a moral imperative of any civilized people.
I believe health insurance costs are extortionate and are undermining the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation. I also believe that they have become a severe detriment to our economy. Along with this are the equally devastating high liability costs endured by physicians.
So, my question is how does a civilized and "christian" nation address health care for its people, also understanding its impact on our economy? That's for Healthcare 102.
17 August 2009
My daughter started talking about a month ago where she'd like to go for her birthday dinner. She said the place with all the fish on the walls. Fish on the walls? After a few minutes and missed guesses, I asked, do you mean the Bass Pro Shop (in Portage)? Yep, that was the place....it does a father's heart good! So Saturday we spent a good part of the evening at the Bass Pro Shop, then stopped by the dunes to watch the sun set.
After a small birthday party Sunday, and some emergency tree cutting, our church's annual baptismal service was scheduled at a parishioner's pond in the afternoon. Both our kids asked to be baptized this year. We're not an infant baptizing church, nor a sprinkling church....we're the dunk 'em good kinda church. If we were the sprinkling kind of church....it would have been an "all-church" baptism yesterday as the rain fell pretty hard. 20 were dunked.
15 August 2009
An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States; ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, Penalty on libelling the government, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.
In the mean time, should any of you hear of disparaging remarks concerning the author of Hoosier Happenings, Hoosier Reborn, I would greatly appreciate knowing. Could you please respond to this post with any malicious or otherwise outrageous comments you have witnessed against this site or its author, false or factual. I have an angry little weiner dog that will be unleashed to quiet such rhetoric.
13 August 2009
I went by the old place yesterday, which if you remember from previous posts, was demolished earlier this year. The debris pile is finally gone. Not much at all remains...but the memories.....and now my cousin's foot. I asked him if he planned to put more pictures of his foot on facebook to please get a pedicure first.
11 August 2009
10 August 2009
or Chan's church that is walking the talk:
07 August 2009
06 August 2009
04 August 2009
03 August 2009
But what you probably have not heard is that the President has already purchased a 180 acre farm in the Amish capital of Indiana for a presidential retreat. Due to the frequency of the President's visits to this part of the country, he and the First Lady and their children will plan to make this their midwest Bushesque ranch complete with livestock barn, draft horses, clotheslines and whitewashed unelectrified farmhouse. They have dubbed it "Obamish Acres".
My understanding is that the secret service is concerned that the 6'+ African-American may stick out like a Guernsey among Holsteins in this predominantly short, stocky German community, so they have instructed the President to begin growing the typical Amish beard and switch to suspendered britches while on retreat. Amish dress is being fashioned for the first family and intense farming lessons have already been given, including how to drive a team of horses. Their names are Dick (Cheney) and Donnie (Rumsfeld). There is also a jack-ass on the farm.....you can only imagine what the President has named it.
Helicopter One arriving (right)
Presidential motorcade (left)
The First family has been seen at least once driving an armor-plated buggy into Nappannee, being followed by secret service buggies complete with tinted windows. One Jacob Yoder, who lives nearby the presidential farm, commented that it is a strange sight to see indeed and is glad that Elder Barack has already passed the rum springer stage.
"there goes the neighborhood, Jonas"
Well, I say welcome back Mr. President....or is that Barack Obamiller?