Friday, September 28, 2007

SCHIP...The Reality

The showdown has begun over SCHIP. The health insurance program for children is up for renewal and there is some controversy. There are some that think that this will lead to social health care, I believe they are over reacting and overgeneralizing. In Idaho over 27,000 children are covered by SCHIP, that is more than reside in most Idaho cities or towns. These children are covered because they qualify. What does that say about the state of health care in our state and the economy when that number of children are covered by this program? To em, it says that the economy is not as strong as those in power want you to believe and that families are struggling to meet their health care needs. I can speak on this from experience, I work at a small business, less than twenty employees and our insurance is outrageous. The monthly average per person is over $600.00. That is for $500.00 deductible and only covering the employee. If I was going to cover my family (spouse and three children) it would be over $800.00 per month. That is almost as much as my mortgage. It is not something that I can afford. So to see the Idaho congressional delegation compare SCHIP to social insurance is not fair. How much do they have to pay to cover their families? I contacted my congressional delegation and I received one response, Senator Crapo was afraid of social medicine. I don't recall SCHIP allowing for adult coverage? It is for children and I can't believe that as a father and a person who was seen people in Eastern Idaho suffer due to poverty that Sen. Crapo could be so cold and heartless. Speaking of social insurance, I know a family that recently lived in Britain for over a year and they were party to the "social medicine" and they had nothing but praise for the ease of seeing a physician and getting things taken care of in an efficient and timely manner. They didn't have any major surgery, just routine checkups and stuff. But they were very pleased with the experience. So when people criticize social medicine and have never partaken, I question their motives. I guess the insurance companies and drug companies how a lot of fund raisers for congressman. Maybe I should hold one to pay for may families insurance.

Wedding videos...

When my brother was married I made a wedding video for them. It is the only wedding video that I have really done, although I have made many other videos. I think it is fun to capture the scenes of the event and then try to package all the emotion and memories into a movie. The following is the memory that I made for my brother.

Part 1

Part 2

People can change...

I saw a video today on YouTube that proves that people can change. You can make your own judgments. People can change. For better or worse.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update! Tim is home!!!

Tim finally returned home on Wednesday September 27, 2007. The family picked him up at the airport and it was a great reunion. We spent all night watching movies and talking. Great to have him home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Return of a Soldier

My brother in law, Tim returns to Idaho from Iraq this next week. He has been at Ft. Lewis in Washington for the past few days. So he has really been out of Iraq for almost a week. It is good to have him back on American soil. He came to visit in May, but the final return is the best. My wife is very excited. My in-laws who are serving a Family History Mission for our Church in Salt Lake City UT are coming into town to coincide with his return. This will be great for my kids to get to see their uncle and their grandparents. It's good to have him home.

Coeur d'Alene here I come.

Today I fly to Coeur d'Alene for the state real estate convention. This will be the first time that I will go. I am pretty excited, we are flying up there this afternoon and then Thursday and Friday we have a trade show that we are working in. There are three of us going from our office. This convention is a big conference of Realtors from all over Idaho. They can take classes to keep their license current and see all the new stuff available in the Real Estate Industry. We are flying on Horizon Air in a two prop plane. Right now it is raining here in Boise, but hopefully we can get above the storm. It is only a 1 hour flight, so we'll see. I'll do some blogging from there and keep this updated.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thinking Different...

When I worked at the Boise State University computer lab in 1999, long before the word "blog" had been coined, I wrote a short essay about my computing experience up to that point. I want to share what I wrote, then later I'll add some additional thoughts. So from Fall of 1999...

In the United States, we have a strong belief in individuality. There is a prime example of this sense of individuality in our schools. Each adolescent student tries to be his or her own person and stand out by dressing in a certain way or hanging with a specific group. The desire to be different is a strong almost intrinsic one. Why then are we content on following like herds of sheep toward the cliff when it comes to computer operating systems?
A major part of our society has conceded to the idea that Windows is the only operating system to use. It would be like everyone driving General Motor’s automobiles, which would be great for GM, but very boring for the rest of us, not to mention the lack of business that Ford and Dodge would receive. It is as if people do not understand that there are alternatives out in the computing world and those products are of equal and sometimes better caliber to those that Microsoft has produced.
One example is the Macintosh Operating System. It was developed before Windows and was a key influence in the development of Windows. It was not solely based on the development at Apple© Computer, but they were the first to offer a GUI as an alternative to the command driver computers of that day. The Mac OS was created as a user-friendly interface for the personal computer. The Mac OS was a GUI, (Graphical User Interface) long before Windows (as we know it) was in the earliest stages of development. But, I am not here to promote the Mac, only the thought of diversity. There are other operating systems that people use also, for example the BeOS operating system, Linux and Unix. I am sure there are others out there too, but my call is not to introduce these operating systems to the masses but to encourage learning about the diverse possibilities that we have in life.
If at the advent of the automatic transmission people had abandoned the standard transmission what a boring world we would live in today. No one would have had the chance to learn to drive a standard while stopped on a hill, letting other cars pass because you couldn’t find the tension point to disengage the clutch. Diversity is encouraged in all fields with the exception of the personal computer. Do all athletes wear Nikes? Are all television programs sit-coms? What a bland and un-interesting place we would live in if was really this way. Yet, some people desire that the computer world be a single interface place.
Where I worked, we use two types of personal computers, Micron Millennia© and Apple Power Macintosh©. Both are middle of the road computers that have passed their prime and both run operating systems that are a few years out of date, but they are both suitable for college students to use to do basic word processing and internet research. The software they run is almost identical and they both run the Microsoft Office suite. But time and again I watch students enter the lab turn to the right where the Macintoshes are and turn away in fright. “Those are Macintoshes”, they say, “don’t use those”. What they are saying in essence is “come and follow along like a drone-worker bee, don’t be an individual”. Now I am not contending that there are not computer users out there who have used both products and just prefer the PC to the MAC. But, I would venture to say that the greater majority has just followed along not even taking an informed look at the Macintosh.
In our capitalist society this would usually drive the lesser-used product out of the market. It would be like the Edsel or "new Coke" in a way, a novelty that never caught on.
But alas, the Macintosh still exists, why? Because some people have tried something new, they decided to “Think Different®”, as Apple has said so many times. This minority that is Mac users and enthusiasts have been the faithful to the product that dared to change the nature of computing forever. It is for this reason that Apple’s two Steves (Wozniak and Jobs) have been named by the LA Times as businesspersons of the century. The recent resurgence or rebirth of the Macintosh is due largely to the innovative translucent computer, the iMac©.
What I guess I am trying to communicate to anyone still reading is that life is full of choices. You have to decide if you want sauerkraut or just mustard on your hot dog, if you want to watch Tom Browkaw or Dan Rather either way you have to make a choice. The point is you cannot make a good choice until you have at least examined the possibilities. So, I guess I hope that we could all take a second to hit "ctrl+alt+delete" and try something different.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11...Brady Howell

9/11. There is not much more to say than that. I wanted to share a memory that I have from 9/11/2001, not what I was doing, but about someone I knew.

When I returned to Rexburg, ID and Ricks College in 1995 I began working at a gas station/ video store "Horkley's". When I started I was the only person that was not a local. It was a fun place to work. Many of my coworkers mentioned to me another person that had worked there before he went on a mission and that he would be returning in the spring of 1996. That is when I met Brady Howell. He and had fun when we worked together, we would swap mission stories and give the less active members that worked with us a little nudge (like slamming the cooler door when they would come into work in the morning with a hangover). He and I didn't work together a lot as we were both over 19 and could sell alcohol. But when we did it was fun.

When I graduated in August of 1996, I left Rexburg and moved back to Nampa, ID. I didn't really think much about Brady except when thinking about working at Horkley's as a whole. Then 9/11 happened. After the attacks the names of the people killed were released and I heard the name of Brady Howell. When this occurred it was years since we shared the cash register in Rexburg. By now he had married and was working in Washington D.C. at the Pentagon. When I heard his name I remembered him and realized that 9/11 touched everyone.

Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 I think about Brady's widow and what her life has been like since the loss of her husband and how every year there are many reminders of her great loss.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Get it while you can...

I saw this and had to comment on it. Looks like an Idaho Radio Station wants to get the most they can out of their advertising money. Funny that a conservative leaning radio station is making light of the Larry Craig issue. Shows you where they think most of their listeners are. Probably like most people, wanting this to go away. But LC wants it to go on as his legacy. His attorney was on the Today show this morning.