Friday, May 14, 2010

Cole Schmidt as Evel Knievel 2010

Cole played Evel Knievel in his school's wax museum this year. It was a hoot. he worked really hard to memorize all the details and also to use exaggerated hand gestures as recommended by his teacher. Pretty funny stuff.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Reform

I've been in some pretty vigorous debates on health reform over the past year. I've been surprised at the anger and downright misinformation displayed by some of my friends who sit on the far right. During one exchange I was shocked by comments from a friend who is quite religious and who basically said there is nothing in the bible that says she has to pay for the health care of those who won't pay for themselves. Another friend told me she couldn't believe the government would try to penalize people who worked hard their whole life and now wanted to have cosmetic surgery (this was when a tax was proposed on cosmetic surgery).
The whole thing has turned sour. I am a big fan of T.R. Reid and his research on health care around the world. He presents a fair and unbiased view on the shortcomings of our system and just the economic sense covering all citizens makes. I am not a fan of a single payer system, but I am a fan of universal coverage done in a private/public combination.
Today, on one of my professional lists, members were cheering for the 13 republican attorney generals who filed a lawsuit saying the reform bill is unconstitutional. I was appalled and this is what I wrote them back:
I’ve worked on health reform for the past two years, serving on a national committee and being lucky enough to meet with senate finance committee staffers on the hill. In the end, last week our association actually opposed this bill. It is an economic fact that our current system, which is socialized, subsidized, private, and commercial is killing our economy. It is fact that of all the richest industrialized nations on the planet we are the only one who does not, whether private, public or a combo, cover all its citizens. Taking personal beliefs aside, it just makes economic sense to cover them up front instead of the rest of us covering them afterwards while bankrupting them and providers in the process.
Our association didn’t oppose this bill because we were against it as much as because it didn’t go far enough. Our position is meaningful reform must do the following:
• Fix the Medicare physician payment system (not done in this bill)
• Simplify administrative transactions (decent start to this)
• Enact meaningful medical liability reform (not done in this bill)
• Expand coverage (excellent start to this)
• Improve quality and safety (could be good, could be misguided)
• Promote the adoption of health information technology (good start but need to fix the meaningful use definition)
While the legislation contains valuable provisions related to issues such as administrative simplification, it is hard to envision the successful transformation of our healthcare system without permanent repeal of the SGR. Additionally, establishing an independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will exacerbate the SGR crisis by placing physicians in double jeopardy of additional reimbursement cuts.
So it was due to shortcomings, not because we feel big government is going to take over healthcare that we opposed the bill. I find it extremely damning of the republican partys to choose to litigate in this manner rather than using the other avenues to add the additional fixes needed…especially in areas like tort reform and the SGR. To throw all their eggs into the basket of “no” and to portray this as an evil imposed on the people is disingenuous at best. Both parties have their problems but I am very disappointed in the aggressive, negative, and downright slanderous approach taken in the past 72 hours by members of the grand old party, including the party chair. And if those nutjobs who showed up to protest and shouted racial and other hateful slurs at our elected officials represent the GOP, I want nothing to do with them or the party.
This and the other lawsuits soon to come are a disgrace in my opinion.

It's how I feel.

Friday, January 15, 2010

DCFC Does Simple Minds

Tonight we let Coley (my 10 yo step son) have a birthday sleepover party. 6 boys and much chaos! I took the opportunity to sneak into the back room and flip on the tube. VH1 happened to be on and to my surprise, Death Cab for Cutie was performing live at the VH1 Critics Choice Awards. Cool performance of Simple Minds with a tribute to John Hughes was playing as I tuned in. Sweet memories as John Hughes movies played in the background. Check out the video:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quinn the Eskimo

At this point I am figuring my blog is now really more like a diary that is left on a counter so any hapless passerby with nothing better to do could open it and peruse as opposed to a real blog...I continually bemoan my own pathetic attempts to maintain anything similar to a regular posting regimen. And it's a shame really, as so many things have happened to me, my family, and friends since my last entry and well, I think they are rather interesting. Oh well, trudge onward.
The most significant event of all was the birth of my second son, Quinlan Charles Terry O'Connor on December 2nd, 2009. After another hard labor (not quite as long or hard as Liam, according to Jen), Jen delivered the mighty Quinn at about 5:15 PM. He is an awesome little boy who has already developed one heck of a personality. My wonderful parents were able to be here again and stayed for almost three weeks; they were amazing in their support and help and love. As is our habit, we couldn't decide on a name so we used three! Quinn has settled into a routine of being up about 4 times a night and I am again rediscovering the art of getting by on little to no sleep. I am now fully sucked into family life and am having a great time.
Some other items of note...last week we were in just an awful accident that I am reliving several times a day. On the way home from Billings, Montana we struck a full grown deer at 75 mph on a very dark stretch of Interstate I-90 at about 7:00 PM. This was not your Indiana deer...this was a large deer of the Montana variety that took out the entire front of the car. She literally exploded on impact. The air bags deployed and everything worked exactly as it should have...all 4 kids were unscathed and neither Jen or I were hurt either. The trooper arrived about 10 minutes after the 911 call and was extremely helpful and out wonderful neighbors drove a half hour out to pick us up. It was only at about 11:00 PM that it all set in and my hands started to shake. Seriously, I am quite certain we would have all died had I swerved to avoid the deer. Unfortunately we are down a car but otherwise we are spectacular.
All of this puts my ultimate frisbee misadventures in perspective. My team, the Mental Toss Flycoons (winners of the 2008 national championships) once again qualified for the national championships and went into the event with a big swagger. I gave up my spot as an active player and opted to fill the role of coach for the series. Don't ask me why or how (that will be a post for another time) but the experience in Florida this year was just plain bad. We finished tied for third, losing in the semi-finals to the eventual champions, and qualified for the world championships in Prague to be held in July of this year. But my personal experience and just about everything I thought about my place on the team and the esteem in which I thought I was held were all shattered. I suppose it was what needed to happen for me to finally say, it is time to set aside my addiction to Ultimate.
More later, it is time for a hair cut.