Voter Registration

I am compelled to repost these thoughts from the 2008 Presidential Election. I've registered several 1000's of voters in my lifetime. And I never did it for money. I did it because I believed in people and open ended democracy. Even more so today, I remain committed to ideals and concepts that are often bigger than the individual self.
-- Brian 
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I always had faith in the idea that filling the ballot box was the best way to change courses. It's hard work. It's non-violent force of collective wills.  The beauty of America is a our ability to change directions; not locked down by the baggage of history, and the trajectory of that history. Our society has a built in mechanism of change. We are not forced to keep living the errors and mistakes of the yesterday's decisions. We avoid anachronistic systems, we avoid extinction ... we change, adapt, and improve. Thesis, Anti-thesis, Synthesis.  Rinse, repeat.

Insurance Company Executive Salaries 2007

This is part of what a for-profit healthcare system gets you. Behaviors are always incented to create net proft. That's expected in business - however when profit is made from reducing cost by denying  health care, what that really means is people are Broken. Here are the 2007 insurance company executive salaries:  

ANNUAL COMPENSATION 2007:

* Ronald A. Williams, Chair/ CEO, Aetna Inc., $23,045,834

* H. Edward Hanway, Chair/ CEO, Cigna Corp, $30.16 million

* David B. Snow, Jr, Chair/ CEO, Medco Health, $21.76 million

* Michael B. MCallister, CEO, Humana Inc, $20.06 million

* Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO, UnitedHealth Group, $13,164,529

* Angela F. Braly, President/ CEO, Wellpoint, $9,094,771

* Dale B. Wolf, CEO, Coventry Health Care, $20.86 million

* Jay M. Gellert, President/ CEO, Health Net, $16.65 million

* William C. Van Faasen, Chairman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., $3 million plus $16.4 million in retirement benefits

* Charlie Baker, President/ CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, $1.5 million

* James Roosevelt, Jr., CEO, Tufts Associated Health Plans, $1.3 million

* Cleve L. Killingsworth, President/CEO Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3.6 million

* Raymond McCaskey, CEO, Health Care Service Corp (Blue Cross Blue Shield), $10.3 million

* Daniel P. McCartney, CEO, Healthcare Services Group, Inc, $1,061,513

* Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555

* Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825

* Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751

Communication as Power

An observation from Desmond Tutu: "Language not only describes reality, Language creates the reality it describes."

Language is powerful. Communication is a human arrow in the quiver of power. The communication of the meaning of a reality is a powerful act. I think Marshall McLuhan had it right, the way one communicates is as important as what he communicates. How people receive information is as important as the information they receive.The medium is the message.

How does technology, web 2.0, and the cloud impact and accelerate the communication of reality, identity, culture, nationalism? What is the impact of "many to many" communication upon "one-to-one" and "one-to-many" communication? It too soon to tell the final results of how the web transforms the ways people learn, communicate, and define reality, and ultimately create meaning.

The typographic mind is fading. The story telling tribal mind is challenged. Is the group think dying? Today, the birth and death and new creation of realities is growing exponentially; Expanding and splintering at the same moment.

What holds true is this: Shared experience remains key to humanness.

Socratic method is dying. We once gathered around campfires; Jesus used parables, and so it goes...

Common Sense and My Kids' Indoctrination

The furor coming from right-wing camps about the POTUS speech at Wakefield High School has completely befuddled and frustrated me as a Parent, Texan and US citizen. It's as if we have allowed our common senses to be over-run by a small group spouting a vulgar coarse rhetoric. It smacks of McCarthyism and HUAC. Personally it makes me sick. It makes my bones ache. It makes me suck my teeth with disdain at those who willingly tear apart discourse, institutions, & government. Shameful. A friend, @lettergirl, wrote a blog post that captured what many of us parents have been thinking, and searching for a way to express. I have included it below along with the speech Obama delivered to American students today. May reason, civil discourse, mutual respect, and the center hold ... before we harden into rigid sides, with jaws clenched, staring into the unfamilar future of  internal dischord and looming separation. From Dawn at http://notgoingpostal.com/2009/09/07/indoctrination/

I admit it. I’m worried this week about my children being indoctrinated.

Within a mile of our house, we have a McDonald’s, a Taco Bell, Taco Cabana, KFC, Jack in the Box, DQ and a Sonic. They can sing the commercials or tell you the slogans of pretty much all of them, and know at any given time what the Happy Meal/Wacky Pack/Cabana Kids Meal prize is.

The other girls in Middle School indoctrinate my daughter about the need to be popular, the importance of names like Aeropostale, why it’s just not cool to take a shower after gym, and why having a “boyfriend” is important for a sixth-grader.

The boys in elementary school tell my son only nerds have to play E-rated video games, and tell him the Halo and Doom and Mortal Kombat are way more fun than Wii Sports.

My kids are indoctrinated by Hannah Montana, the Wizards of Waverly Place, the Transformers, Ben 10 and a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

Sure, I swim against these tides. It’s what parents do. We teach our children our values, share our wisdom, encourage them to think for themselves. I fight indoctrination tooth and nail.

But this?

Obama’s Speech to School Children

This “indoctrination?” I say this.

Bring. It. On.

Take the bully pulpit, Mr. President.

Tell my son, whose birth family was torn apart by addiction and violence, “Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.”

Tell my daughter, struggling with the pressure to conform, worried about popularity, that ”Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is,”

If their schools lack the courage to stand up to the fearmongers and won’t play your address in the classrooms, we will read it at home. Because sir, I need all the back-up I can get. We’ve got a great support system. Good neighbors, committed teachers, a church family, grandparents, lots of friends who share our values.

But if you are willing to take time away from wrestling with our nation’s present struggles, and encourage the guardians of our country’s future? Mr. President, we don’t agree on everything. But in this, you be my guest.

Indoctrinate away.

  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZZ6GrzWkw0]