Friday, August 14, 2009

8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

The information above is from the White House. My personal research into this shows that every claim above is correct, all of the myths are just that, myths.

The wilder the claims from the lobbying groups, the better the Reform will probably be. Please use the Retweet button below to share the word on Twitter.


I look forward to interacting with you on Twitter.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cloaking & Protecting Your Affiliate Marketing

So you have finally stepped into the world of making money online. You too, like the others, have decided to start with the affiliate programs. Also, you must have heard that it’s not a big deal to make good money with affiliate marketing, provided you choose the right programs and do some strategic planning while promoting your affiliate products. So far so good.

Whether you are promoting other people’s products or promoting your own products – that doesn’t matter because after all it is nothing but your own business and your means to earn good money. So whichever be your case, I am sure you would not want to leave money on the table and invite others to steal your share of profit.

Even though the industry of affiliate marketing is pretty competitive but if you are cautious and are strategic in your marketing techniques then, it could be very profitable for you.

Take a close look at the industry, you will see that not every one who gets into affiliate marketing is successful. People who are doing well leave no room for failure and take all security measures and understand its importance.

Yes! Security is one of the key factors in affiliate marketing. If you do not adopt proper security measures, then your business will be at high risk. One of the most important way to restore security is to protect your affiliate links. Do not take them for granted. A bit of carelessness on your part in regards to affiliate links may cost you a lot of dollars.

Do you know the long complicated links that you send to your prospective customers not only look convoluted but they can create a lot of problems too! If you send such an affiliate link to your customers, then the smart ones will definitely figure out that you are promoting someone else’s product and they would rather visit the parent company. Also, if your link does not function then your customers have to type a really long URL into the browser, which will definitely put him or her off.

You could be a victim of even a worse situation. What if some devious Internet pirates steal your affiliate links and replace them with theirs. If they do that, then you get no commission at all.

Did I scare you off with all of the above possibilities? Well, that certainly wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to open your eyes and state facts that actually happen in the world of Internet. It happened with me until I came across ViralURL , that brought a revolution to my online ventures.

So, if you are not getting the desired results out of your affiliate marketing,don’t lose hope. There’s definitely a remedy to this problem and that is

Do I hear you asking, what is it and how can it help in averting any adverse situation for an affiliate marketer like me?
Be patient and read on, if you love your business.

ViralURL is a link cloaker that protects you in the truest sense. There may be many unethical people lurking around, who might play with your affiliate links by cutting them off or replacing them with their own etc. How much effort you put in towards building your business and advertising your business, if your links are tampered with, then all your hard work will be rendered useless.

In order to avoid such a rip off, ViralURL gives you full protection and sees to it that your affiliate links never get exposed to others.

So save yourself from getting ripped. Get all the commissions to your account that you rightfully deserve. All this is made possible by

It is a blessing for every affiliate marketer like you and me, who wants to achieve success in their endeavor.

Is ViralURL limited to only link protection?


It does much much more than that. Let’s see what ViralURL can do for us:

*ViralURL helps us in protecting commission.
*ViralURL helps in building mailing lists.
*ViralURL helps in tracking statistics.
*ViralURL helps in earning extra ad credits.

In short, ViralURL allows us to create massive business leverage.
I don’t see any negative aspect associated with ViralURL. All you have to do is join it for free, then cloak your links, promote them and see your business soaring higher and higher.

You can get all detailed information about the program from the site . There, you can find several unsolicited testimonials from various users of ViralURL. So if you want to protect your business and see your earnings grow, try ViralURL. You have nothing to lose with it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Message on Health Care

I'm finally getting pissed about health care reform. Here's a personal message on health care...

There's so much bullshit flying around the Internet about the health care bill it isn't even funny. Now this is not just Liberal-Dan speaking. Most of the stuff I have read actually looks familiar. And that's why I'm starting to get really pissed when people talk about it and take it as truth (the rumors about what is in the health care bills). The reason is most of it is VERY similar to what TRICARE is. I've spent nearly five years with TRICARE now, and I know A LOT about the insurance (actually, technically, it is a "government benefit" and not an insurance plan), and how it works, what is covered, what is not, and how things get paid. It is BY FAR easier than getting things pain from a regular health insurance plan. So many of these people still have a work insurance or a supplemental to Medicare, and they don't pay SHIT. Nothing. All is copay or deductible, and then they won't pay because it isn't covered (yet Medicare covers it). And they're PAYING for it!!!! TRICARE is free (for the ones on Medicare), and we pay the balance more often than not. Nobody stands in the way. No bureaucrat, no forms to delay paying or deny coverage. And the "panel" (as mentioned in the health care bill, that people are claiming is a bunch of people deciding your care if you're on the public option) is exactly what insurance companies already have. the TRICARE "panel" is actually military doctors (since it is a military thing) that decide what should and should not be covered, based on whether it is experimental, proven effective, or might be a waste of health care dollars because the test/procedure shows no benefit. In an insurance company (like plans I've had), when it comes to private insurance, it is NOT a panel of doctors but a panel of executives...some of who are doctors. And believe me, they look at profits first, then effectiveness of a medical test or procedure. In essence, since anyone who is happy with their current insurance will get to keep it and will not be forced to take the public plan, why not let the 47 million who cannot get insurance be able to get it? Why make them suffer because people are paranoid? And for those claiming "yeah, but they haven't read all 1,017 pages"....there were only two people (if I am recalling correctly) that actually admitted to reading the entire Patriot Act before voting. So hello kettles and pots. Lets stop making people suffer and go without, stop scaring them, and give them what they need. CARE. Its as basic as "the right to bear arms" and "freedom of speech" (we do still have that one, right?). It is a part of The Commons.

And for those that want to claim socialism and how bad it is...this message is for you: Stop using the police, fire department, and ambulance services. Stop using the roads and don't bother with traffic lights. No freeways for you. No tollways, either. Stay away from the parks, get off the bike trails. Because those are all socialist programs. We all pay for the privilege, and for those who can't pay these things are 100% free. And that's (GASP!) Socialism.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What is BEing?

What is #BEing?

For #FollowFriday this week I am doing something new: It's all about BEing.

We all spend so much time DOing, but what are we BEing?
This technique I learned from Teresa Romain, one of the greatest personal development coaches I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

We all have To Do lists. But don't they feel a little less than "Good" sometimes? They can be overwhelming and reminders of what we have NOT accomplished in the day. Doesn't feel good...especially when the "To Do" list has so much left to be done at the end of the day. Do you feel grateful when that happens?

So Teresa introduced me to the idea of the "To BE" list.
Instead of DOing, we're BEing.

Say you have "To Do" opening bills.
What feels better?
To Do: Open Bills
To BE: Responsible by opening my bills and organizing/paying them.

To me it is clearly the second.

So for #FollowFriday I'm honoring those who are BEing on Twitter.
BEing Inspirational. BEing Love. BEing informative. BEing helpful.

So search for #BEing from @Dagenais and start BEing enriched by the lives of these Twitter people who resonate with who and what you are and wish to BE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Common Sense Customer Service

I wrote this article back in 2004. Now providing it as a resource to my Twitterverse friends. :) Let me know what you think. I may have more insights on Customer Service now than I did back then, so I'll be redoing it if needed...

Common Sense Customer Service
by Daniel Dashnier (@Dagenais)

The key to growth in any business; whether it be the largest corporation on the planet or someone working a home business from their laptop on the dining room table; is exceptional Customer Service. Customer Service can't just be "good" or "OK"; it must be exceptional, above the bar, and above anyone who may be competing with you for the business of those customers. However; there is a major difference between a large corporation and your home business: Customer Retention must be one of your top priorities if you are to succeed. Target™ or Wal-Mart™ can lose a couple of customers per month as a result of poor customer service and it won't even be noticed; yet the loss of one or two customers per year due to lacking customer service can (and will) be devastating to a home business. The whole idea behind "Common Sense Customer Service" is simple; if you don't provide proper Customer Service, you fail. Word of mouth is the best advertising venue on the face of this earth; and in the Internet age it can spread within minutes instead of days or weeks…sucking away potential customers to an ecstatic competitor.

Let's first take a look at what we call "Common Sense" and how it relates to Customer Service for your home business. The first question you need to ask yourself (every day, every call, every e-mail) is this: "If I were the customer, how would I want to be treated?" We've all probably encountered situations where we have had to deal with a company whose product or service we have questions or even complaints about. What was your experience like? Would you have done it differently on your end? If so, how? Did they show empathy to your situation? These are just some of the questions you need to look at when evaluating whether or not you are going to provide "good" or "exceptional" customer service. 

If there is a complaint, you can't be defensive or argumentative. EVER! If there is a question, you better be ready to answer it; or provide the customer with a call back time estimation as to when you will have an answer if you need to contact the vendor, a mentor, or another company to get the answer for the customer. Whenever possible, do not simply refer them to another person or department, because that will turn them off. Try to resolve the issue yourself first, and if it is something where they in fact do need to talk to someone else, conference them in or transfer them to the correct department, along with contact name, business name, etc. Here are some basics, right from the "bible" of some of the best customer service call centers in the world:

Be Courteous: Always answer the phone (or an e-mail) in a prompt and friendly manner. For phone calls, always answer with, "Thank you for calling (Business Name); this is (Your Name); how may I be of assistance today?" SMILE when you answer the phone. Believe me, the person on the other line knows whether you are smiling or not on a phone call!! This has the immediate effect of disarming the angriest customer. They may still be angry, but their defensive lines have already been breached by the way you just answered their call.

Gather Information (LISTEN!): Get their name (and then address them by their name); phone number, e-mail address, and the product they use. Write it down. It serves as an immediate reference during the call, plus allows you to create documentation of whom you have spoken with and when -- especially if you need to call this individual back in the future or suspect they may call again.

Empathize: This is probably the most important of them all! Show empathy (concern and understanding) about their situation. Whether it is a product question, complaint, billing concern, etc. This is where "The Customer Is Always Right" enters the equation. , even if they're wrong or simply misguided. By listening carefully; repeating back the issue to the customer; and not being apologetic but concerned, you will establish immediate rapport with that customer and break down any other defensive barriers the caller may have. And if you're still smiling, you can disintegrate negativity and turn this into an educational experience and opportunity for you both. An example of apology vs. empathy:

oApology (not recommended for most situations, shows you are wrong, they are right, and you will never be right again): "I'm really sorry that you are not happy with the product. It's my fault entirely. We'll do (whatever your resolution is) to get this taken care of. Again, I'm sorry."

oEmpathy (the right approach): "I completely understand your displeasure with (product). I'd like to do what I can to assist you through this (complaint matter; descriptive, shows you were listening). First, let me make sure I have the information correctly (repeat issue, verify, thank them)." Move on to Resolution.

Seek Resolution: I feel it is important to first state a little "disclaimer" as to what you will do for your resolution: it is up to you. The most important thing to remember is that there must be resolution to your customer's question, complaint, or concern, even if it is a temporary resolution. If you don't have a way to resolve the issue, for good or for the short term, you might as well not even take the call, because you will lose that customer! This is where we step back to "Common Sense": Would you remain a customer somewhere where they did all of the above and then said, "Well, I really can't help you."? What would you do? Hang up? Walk out? Demand a resolution regardless of what they just said? 

**Personally; I've been through the latter just recently. Demanding a resolution worked for me; I refused to leave the building (a large appliance and electronics "Superstore") until I had my refund and an explanation as to why they delivered a product that wasn't even close to what I ordered. This once again shows "The Customer IS always right"! The sad thing is, because they didn't help me, and I had to become a demanding and stand-offish customer (which I avoid at all costs); that company has lost my business forever. They tried to "appease" me with a gift card, which I ripped in half in front of them. Why? Because if they can't even try to resolve a problem right then and there, then why would I ever want to buy a product from them again? So they lost, I "won." It doesn't ever have to be that way!** 

Now you must show the customer that they are right; but so are you, so are your policies, and so is your plan of resolution…

You should have solid policies and procedures in place for your business to use as guidelines when it comes to resolutions.

If you are in a distributorship type of business, be sure to have all Policies and Procedures of the company memorized as much as possible and available at ALL times to be able to reference in case of a complaint.

Be open to ideas; don't use guidelines that are too rigid. This however is a very careful balance. You need to be able to bend, but if you bend too far, every customer will know about it and try to get the same thing out of you that you give a particular customer to satisfy them. 

Be ready while listening and repeating issues or asking leading questions to be able to have a rough idea of what resolution will be, so there is no awkward silence or long delay in communication between yourself and your customer (of course this depends a bit on method of contact, phone, e-mail, fax, or letter).

EXECUTE the Resolution. This can be painless for you and for the customer. Concisely state (with Empathy) the issue at hand and your proposed resolution to the customer. Do not say "Well, our policy says…," as that puts the customer back on the offensive and you on the defensive and you don't want to be there. Disaster will follow, and you will always lose. Give your proposed resolution not as an "Is this OK?" type of resolution, but "We can do this." 

If the customer continues to argue or disagrees with your resolution statement, then you can bring up policies or procedures that are in place (and the customer should have a copy to reference themselves). Be firm about adhering to your policies while expressing a desire to do everything possible to resolve the issue. Do not state anything in a defensive way. Try to practice stating or writing things in a way that shows you are actually "bending" for the customer while still holding true to the guidelines you have in place. 

After an issue is resolved with a customer, there is something that should be "Common Sense" but is often missed by many companies and individuals. They assume the problem is solved and move on. Wrong. The customer may have "accepted" your resolution, but did it SOLVE the problem? This is where the most powerful customer retention tool comes into play: Follow-up

You probably follow up with prospects and potential customers, right? You probably even follow up after a customer has ordered something to ensure everything is to their liking. Customer Service and Issue Resolutions should be no different. This time, if the customer had contacted you by phone and you have their e-mail address, follow up by e-mail. If the back and forth customer service that led to resolution was through e-mail, follow up with e-mail and a phone call. Starting to see it? It shows extra effort. You already placed a ton of effort into a phone conversation, but through e-mail it is much easier as you don't need to respond in real time and they can't "see" the hesitation in your voice. However, always remember, they can see hesitation in the written word.

The follow-up should be simple and should also include courtesy and empathy. Wait at least 24 hours if it is an "instant" resolution; if it is something where an exchange takes place, wait until you know the customer has received the replacement product or service (or refund) before doing the follow-up. Something as simple as the following would suffice:

Dear George,

We at Widget Enterprises want to thank you for your business, and wanted to take this opportunity to follow up with you to ensure that the resolution to your issue (Short, concise restatement of issue here) was satisfactory and that your communication with our company was pleasant and what you expected.

If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call at (555) 555-1235 or e-mail us at We'll also be sending you a short survey via e-mail so that we may better serve our customers in the future and ensure the highest satisfaction rate.

It has been a pleasure doing business with you, George, and we at Widget Enterprises look forward to serving you in the near future!


Customer Service Name
Widget Enterprises

Follow-up is that easy. They feel GOOD when they get a letter like this!!! Have you ever gotten one? How did you feel? See? If you want to do a survey, ask simple questions about what we could have done better, etc. This gives you the opportunity to adjust anything that may need correction in your Customer Service Structure. 

I hope you take the opportunity to use these valuable pointers in your next contact with a customer. Have fun, help people. Customer Retention will always follow!


Customer Retention Associates: "Complaints: Customer Loyalty Torpedoes or Lifesavers. "

Dashnier, Daniel L. "Level I Helpdesk Training Manual." Instrumentarium USA, 2002.

Dashnier, Daniel L. "Quality Assurance Guidelines for Palm Customer Service." SITEL Technology Services, Inc. (Daniel L. Dashnier, 2000).

Dashnier, Daniel L. "Quality Assurance Guidelines for Palm Web Chat." SITEL Technology Services, Inc., 2000.

The many customers I have dealt with over the years from McDonald's to GE Medical and my own company. I appreciate you!

On The Web: (SITEL Corporation) (CRM Community Online)
© Daniel L. Dashnier. All rights reserved worldwide.

The author has written Quality Assurance Guidelines, score sheets and held hundreds of coaching sessions with Customer Service (phone), Technical Support (phone and web chat) staff for SITEL Technology Services, Inc. He has also written guidelines and training materials for management and employees to use for Quality guidelines in providing internal technical support to the over 1,450 employees of Instrumentarium USA, now a part of GE Medical Systems.

Daniel Dashnier is a Freelance Writer and Abundance "Coach in Training" based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Deal with Emotions with Out Food

We eat for a lot of different reasons other than for fuel such as celebrations, comfort, and out of boredom. Every once in awhile indulging is ok, but if you feel like it is happening more on a reoccurring basis it is best to analyze your emotions and focus on seeking solutions for those emotions in other ways besides with food. 

We turn to food as a way to calm our feelings of displeasure caused by a situation, a person, or your own behaviors, thoughts, and actions. 
Practice deep breathing. 
Distract yourself. Listen to pleasant music, do a task on your To Do List, write down your feelings in a journal, or go for a walk. 
Don’t resort to eating, nagging, or door slamming. Try to resolve the conflict. 
Ask your self “Why am I angry?” 
State “I know that eating will not help me handle this situation long term. I need to deal with the problem and not cover it up.” 

When you are tired of doing the same thing or you can not think of anything to do it is easy to rummage through the kitchen or cupboards to stay occupied. 
Mix up your daily routine as to not get bored. Drive a different way to work as an alternative of right by McDonalds. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV have an activity planned. 
Take your work outside on a nice day if possible. 
Have a list of things you can do on the fridge so you can just pick one instead of opening the door and grabbing food. 
Pick up a new hobby. 

Feeling sad, hopeless, and/or worthless. Constantly tired, having a hard time concentrating or making decisions. Often times we find comfort from these feelings in the food we eat. If you are lonely sometimes food is looked at as a friend. 
Get a new hair style or pamper yourself with some new makeup. 
Watch your favorite movie or TV show. 
Tell yourself, “I do not find comfort in food.” 
Focus on doing things that you will get satisfaction from other than eating. 
Help someone else with a project. 
Call a friend when feeling lonely. 

 The feeling of dread, fear, or distress over things that exist or things that you image being a threat. Often times people eat in order to avoid a situation that causes anxiety. 
Sit in your favorite spot and focus on relaxing. 
Ask yourself, “What is the worse thing that can happen in this situation?” 
Ask yourself,” What am I truly upset about?” 
State “I know that food will not make this situation go away.” Imagine the situation being resolved.

What are you grateful for today?

The Grateful list. List 10 things more & no less, this is very important. No matter how trivial they may seem! Do it as fast as you can. Don't think that anything is "not good enough" to be grateful for, as it defeats the purpose of this exercise. I look forward to seeing your grateful lists! My list for today:
1) Coffee
4) My Followers
5) My cat, Pumpkin
6) A union job!
7) My vehicle
8) Money 
9) My good, no, BEST friend Jimmy PS Hayes (@JimmyPSHayes)
10) Homemade fudge (no matter what it does to my waistline)

Comment to post your Grateful list!!!!
You can follow me on Twitter @Dagenais. I follow back.
If you're on Twitter, please Retweet this post.

Have an awesome & fulfilling Tuesday!!!!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Crazy in Minnesota: Rep. Michelle Bachmann

Rep. Michell Bachmann (R-MN) is doing it. Again. Absolute wingnut. And traitor?
In an interview last Saturday when asked about Obama's Cap & Trade Plan, had this to say:

BACHMANN: And really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent in enemy lines. And I try to keep everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. […]

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.

Does what she said make her treasonous? I would say yes, but it does squarely fall under Sedition.

Sedition (N)
1. Incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government. 2. any action in speech or writing promoting such discontent or rebellion. 3. Archaic, rebellious disorder.

If we rewound the clock one year, and made it the Bush presidency again (ugh) and a Democratic Representative said the same things, what would have happened? Not only in the Mainstream Media, but in the halls of Washington. All hell would've broken loose...and here we are, a crazy bitch from Minnesota inciting sedition against the Federal Government, and all we see is a blip on the radar screen. And really, over cap and trade? To protect the polluters? She would incite a revolution for pollution rights? C'mon lady.

I really hope our friends in Minnesota recall their crazy lady.
And in all seriousness, after a shooting in Pittsburgh yesterday claimed the lives of three police officers , we should be seriously looking at the virtual incitement of violence being instigated by people actually claiming to represent their constituents. The shooter in this attack:

Mr. Poplawski had supported Republican candidate John McCain in the presidential election and had "very spirited debates" about Democratic candidate Barack Obama, Mr. Vire said. Mr. Poplawski was opposed to Mr. Obama's election, which he thought would result in the loss of his rights, Mr. Vire said.

So, friends, I highly recommend the Dump Bachmann blog for reading the insanity.

Get rid of her!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More on New Reserve Currency...

It looks like more are falling behind the U.N. Panel's recommendation that is due out soon...
Original post is here: One World Currency.

"Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, argued that what he called a super-sovereign reserve currency would not only eliminate the risks inherent in currencies such as the dollar, which are backed only by the credit of the issuing country and not by gold or silver, but would also make it possible to manage global liquidity," reported the Times Online.

However, the technical and political hurdles to implementing China's recommendation are enormous, so even if backed by other nations, the proposal is unlikely to change the dollar's role in the short term. Central banks around the world hold more U.S. dollars and dollar securities than they do assets denominated in any other individual foreign currency. Such reserves can be used to stabilize the value of the central banks' domestic currencies. Mr. Zhou's comments -- coming on the heels of Mr. Wen's musing about the safety of China's dollar holdings -- appear to be a warning to the U.S. that it can't expect China to finance its spending indefinitely.

he central banker's proposal reflects both China's desire to hold its $1.95 trillion in reserves in something other than U.S. dollars and the fact that Beijing has few alternatives. With more U.S. dollars continuing to pour into China from trade and investment, Beijing has no realistic option other than storing them in U.S. debt.

Information from Times Online & The Wall Street Journal Online

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wisconsin Rapids Man Accused of Assaulting Toddler

From my hometown of Wisconsin Rapids.
If guilty, this guy is a sick bastard. 25 year-old Jeremy Lund of Wisconsin Rapids is accused of sexually assaulting and abusing a 17 month old toddler. If he's convicted he faces 79+ years in prison. Some will say if he is guilty he should be killed, castrated, strung up by his junk, etc. I say just let him go to prison. I hear prison is a very unpleasant place for child rapists. Justice would be served.

According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 20, a Wisconsin Rapids couple left their daughter with Lund while they went grocery shopping. They were gone a little more than two hours. When they returned, Lund was not there, and the woman found baby wipes with blood on them on the floor of her daughter's playroom. She found the baby in her crib, injured and bleeding. The woman wrapped her daughter in a blanket and took her to the Riverview Hospital Emergency Room, while the man waited for Lund to return.

At the hospital, doctors reported the baby had a large bruise on the left side of her face, a large bruise on the left side of her forehead, scratch marks throughout her neck and bruising on both of her ears. She also had injuries consistent with sexual abuse. When confronted by the baby's father, Lund said he didn't mean to hurt the child and asked for a chance to explain. The father got into a physical confrontation with Lund, and a janitor pulled the two men apart. Lund told Wisconsin Rapids detectives that he "blacked out" and didn't remember what happened to the baby. He said he was willing to take responsibility for what happened, even though he didn't remember doing it. DNA evidence from the baby was found on Lund and DNA evidence from Lund was recovered from the baby. According to court documents, Lund was sentenced to six months in jail in 2003 for a Marshfield child abuse case. In that case, Lund told authorities a baby fell from a table.

In the Wisconsin Rapids case, Lund first told the father the girl fell from the couch, the complaint said.

Jeremy Lund, 25

Saturday, March 21, 2009

One World Currency Conspiracy-Heading Towards Reality?

Just a few minutes ago I was thinking about writing a post about how I'm tired of politics being such a negative force in our world today. I was thinking about focusing all on the positive. Then my conspiracy bug took hold when I ran across a story about a U.N. Panel's findings:

Truthout has a story about a recommendation to be made next week by the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Finance Reform (I'll call them CEIFR). CEIFR seems to believe that the dollar should be ditched by the world as its reserve currency in favor of a "shared basket of currencies."

I am in no way a financial expert. Not even close! But this move concerns me. It further degrades the value of the dollar during this current financial crisis. It also allows Russia to have a stronger position when introducing their plan for the creation of a new reserve currency at the G20 meeting in April. One positive is that it could prevent the move towards using the Chinese Yuan as the global currency reserve. Does this mean that if the proposal becomes policy, we move one step closer towards a world currency? 

Now I'm seriously considering investing in gold. Gold is the standard by which all currencies are based. Having that significantly improves our chances of staying financially strong and viable in a rapidly changing global economy. 

I'm open to people's thoughts about this. Is some group purposely trying to devalue the dollar to prevent or delay economic recovery for the United States?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gangland Shootings at Walmart? (No Its a Hoax, Maybe)

Friday X-File:

There is a suspicious text message going around from an unknown sender to cell phone owners in Dane, Rock, and Dodge counties in southern Wisconsin. The text message says that 3 women will be shot at a Walmart as a gang initiation. The texter does not specify which Walmart it will happen at.

The police have now decided it is (most likely) a hoax.
Of course, there was a similar text message circulated in the past in other parts of the country as well as email chain warnings which were very similar:

"S'port & Bossier police are asking that no women go to walmart tonight. A possible gang initiation, 3 women will be shot. Please send this to all women."
So nice to have a little drama outside of work for a change. Of course its a sick idiot who started the hoax. Idiot being the key word.

Speaking of work drama: Dear God, LOUD TALKER is at it again!
I need it to be 3:30 so I can GO HOME.

Lehman Sisters

Wives/girlfriends of recently-orphaned Lehman Brothers executives who bond to share their collective, unexpected fall down the socio-economic ladder.

Amande and Jane are now the Lehman Sisters 'cause the Devil took away their Prada when their boyfriends lost their jobs on Wall Street.

George Bush is writing a book

Former president Bush is writing a book about the decisions he made while president of the United States and defining moments. I really hope he titles it "The Decider". I still wouldn't read it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Loud Talker

OK. I can't stand it anymore!!!! I have to bitch! Somewhere! To someone! (Lucky you)

I sit next to a person @ work who tends to "talk a little loud" when she's on the phone. When I say a little loud, what I really mean is she makes the ears bleed of anyone within about 30 feet of her. I'm going to need hearing aids. I seriously thought about buying duct tape at lunch. But I pussed out. But that's not the only thing. She types like she's working on a type writer from the 1820's. And then she trims her her desk...which is like nails on the chalkboard to me.

The beauty of it all? If you say anything to her, she gets all offended and upset. Dear God I wish I could have a drink right now.

How much do you think it would cost to soundproof her cube?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wisconsin Stories & Opinions

Dane101 posting: Lifting the Ban on Gay Marriage. Couldn't agree more.

From The Capital Times: A proposal in Governor Jim Doyle's budget would allow the secretary of the DoA (Department of Adminstration) to transfer state employees from agency to agency "at will." Not sure I'm supportive of this idea. Gut reaction: No. I'd like to hear what AFSCME has to say about far they've been silent.

And today is going to be the warmest day in southern Wisconsin in a very long time, so get out and enjoy it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March

The Roman Calendar names the 15th of March the "Ides of March." This is the date that a soothsayer supposedly warned Caesar about on his way to the Senate after he declared himself dicator for life. Caesar was murdered by members of the Senate on this date in 44 BC.

At least the Romans stood up to those who would be dictator.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Paranormal

A little Monday distraction from politics.

I want to hear Ghost Stories. I'm going to go into more than just politics on this blog, in the spirit of "The Truth Is Out There" (aka The X-Files).

I'm a huge fan of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International, and really enjoy that there is reasonable and understandable explanations for a lot of the activity. For instance, at my home, the basement is a place where I "creep out." I feel very uncomfortable, feel like I'm being watched, and sometimes begin to have trouble breathing. After watching GHI for several episodes, I took a look around at the wiring in our basement. The house I live in is ancient (the basement has not been redone as the rest of the house has), and I'm convinced that there is Electromagnetic interference in the basement. Nothing spiritual or supernatural, just old wiring.

I'm going on some haunting trips this summer in the Midwest (mainly Wisconsin). So let's have some story time...

Lifting The Ban on Stem Cell Research

In his own words...

Remarks of President Barack Obama - As Prepared for Delivery
Signing of Stem Cell Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum:


Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.

At this moment, the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown, and it should not be overstated. But scientists believe these tiny cells may have the potential to help us understand, and possibly cure, some of our most devastating diseases and conditions. To regenerate a severed spinal cord and lift someone from a wheelchair. To spur insulin production and spare a child from a lifetime of needles. To treat Parkinson's, cancer, heart disease and others that affect millions of Americans and the people who love them.

But that potential will not reveal itself on its own. Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research - from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit - and from a government willing to support that work. From life-saving vaccines, to pioneering cancer treatments, to the sequencing of the human genome - that is the story of scientific progress in America. When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored. Some of our best scientists leave for other countries that will sponsor their work. And those countries may surge ahead of ours in the advances that transform our lives.

But in recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research - and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.

It is a difficult and delicate balance. Many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. I understand their concerns, and we must respect their point of view.

But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans - from across the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs - have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research. That the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.

That is a conclusion with which I agree. That is why I am signing this Executive Order, and why I hope Congress will act on a bi-partisan basis to provide further support for this research. We are joined today by many leaders who have reached across the aisle to champion this cause, and I commend them for that work.

Ultimately, I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No President can promise that. But I can promise that we will seek them - actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground. Not just by opening up this new frontier of research today, but by supporting promising research of all kinds, including groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.

I can also promise that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted. We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.

This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let's be clear: promoting science isn't just about providing resources - it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda - and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

By doing this, we will ensure America's continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. That is essential not only for our economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity.

That is why today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making.. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions. That is how we will harness the power of science to achieve our goals - to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.

As we restore our commitment to science, and resume funding for promising stem cell research, we owe a debt of gratitude to so many tireless advocates, some of whom are with us today, many of whom are not. Today, we honor all those whose names we don't know, who organized, and raised awareness, and kept on fighting - even when it was too late for them, or for the people they love. And we honor those we know, who used their influence to help others and bring attention to this cause - people like Christopher and Dana Reeve, who we wish could be here to see this moment.

One of Christopher's friends recalled that he hung a sign on the wall of the exercise room where he did his grueling regimen of physical therapy. It read: "For everyone who thought I couldn't do it. For everyone who thought I shouldn't do it. For everyone who said, 'It's impossible.' See you at the finish line."

Christopher once told a reporter who was interviewing him: "If you came back here in ten years, I expect that I'd walk to the door to greet you."

Christopher did not get that chance. But if we pursue this research, maybe one day - maybe not in our lifetime, or even in our children's lifetime - but maybe one day, others like him might.

There is no finish line in the work of science. The race is always with us - the urgent work of giving substance to hope and answering those many bedside prayers, of seeking a day when words like "terminal" and "incurable" are finally retired from our vocabulary.

Today, using every resource at our disposal, with renewed determination to lead the world in the discoveries of this new century, we rededicate ourselves to this work.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

North Korea has decided to threaten war (yawn....again?) if the US or Japan chooses to intercept the so-called satellite launch that N. Korea intends to carry out shortly. Of course, the US and others in the region believe the real goal is to test a long range missile "capable of striking Alaska." Of course, I do not take their threat all that seriously. If they chose war, they would be crushed. But Kim Jong Il is nothing more than the boy who called wolf, which makes either the laughing stock of planet earth or the most dangerous man alive.
President Obama stated yesterday that the US is "not winning in Afghanistan." True enough. “There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region,” he said, while cautioning that solutions in Afghanistan will be complicated. And that's probably why we're not winning. "Complicated" solutions just were not Bush's forte. I believe that President Obama's actions so far with increasing troop levels and openly stating that Pakistan must participate is the right start to turn things around so Afghanistan is not a repeat of the Soviet failures for the US.
It appears that violence in the "Mexican Drug Wars" is beginning to spill across the border into the United States, opening a new front in the battles that have already claimed thousands of lives. The Merida Initiative,a security cooperation between the US and Mexico will flood the region with over a billion dollars in aid and training. Where this ends up going I have no idea.

In closing...what wars/rumors of wars do you think loom on the horizon for the citizens of planet earth? Are we headed towards a more dangerous time, reminiscent of the beginning of the 20th Century or are we heading towards the end of mankind (as we know it)? I'm an optimist. I think these "upheavals" are a part of a larger change that will end well for all humankind. Not necessarily a utopia, but a state of affairs where we are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Today's Roundup

I'm finally back. After two years of no posting, I've decided to return to writing.
The times call for as many voices as possible.
Change is here.
But is it good enough? Is it change enough? And is it really the change we need?
More on that in future posts. For now...

An Ex-UN Prosecutor says that Bush should be next up for the International Criminal Court. I don't, even in my greatest of fantasies, ever see this happening. I do find it interesting that it was said at the Human Rights Council on the day that the US finally had observers there after the Bush administration's boycott of the council. 

I find the Royal Rush Limbaugh Saga immensely funny. And so does Stephen Colbert. Of course. The whole mess this is creating in the Republican Party is the reason for the Truth Blog's first poll available on the right hand side of this page. Rush along with the Tennessee Congressman saying that healthcare is "a priviledge" just goes to show what they really think about the middle class and working poor of this country.

Visit the Raw Roundup for your weekly review of stories from the Left.