Friday, February 26, 2010

Bass Pro Shops aiding youth outdoor programs

Currently through March 3rd, Bass Pro Shop is holding their annual fishing reel trade-in sale. You can take your old reel into any Bass Pro Shops and trade it in toward the purchase of a new one. Here's the neat part - after Bass Pro inspects the traded in reel to make sure it is in good working order, it donates that reel to local youth organizations to aid in their outdoor education programs.

So, go trade in those old reels. Get a coupon toward the purchase of a new one, and help a kid fish. Sounds like a good plan to me.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

The beginning of my 4th overtime

I love sports - football, basketball, hockey, bowling, racing, hunting, and fishing. Overtime in football and hockey are always exciting, and now even NASCAR has overtime (the green / white / checker finishes). Today .... I feel like I'm beginning my fourth overtime. Yesterday (February 21st) was the third anniversary of my heart transplant which I celebrated with family and friend (please enjoy the pics above). Today, I begin year number four. To me, after nearly being out of time in 2006, it's like God's allowing me to play overtime everyday. I'm soooo thankful for the three extra years and counting I've had to enjoy life. I haven't wasted it and I don't plan to.

I've been able to get back into the outdoors. I've hunted, fished, and went on short hikes with my wife. Since the transplant, I've been blessed to bag 8 deer, including my first 2 ever with archery equipment, and my first turkey. I've been to football games, concerts, NASCAR races at Darlington and Talladega, watched my nephews play soccer, and toured Yellowstone National Park with my wife. I've competed in bowling at the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games where my teammate, Jim, and I missed medaling in mens doubles by about a dozen pins. We'll get another shot at this years games. This time .... the outcome WILL be different.

Today, there are over 105,000 Americans on the waiting list hoping for the same second chance I received. As I continue on this journey of advocate for organ donation, I will tell mine and Kent's story with the goal of one day reducing the current number of Americans dying each day waiting on a transplant from 19 to 0. It is a lofty but reachable goal and one that I think Kent would want achieved. All that has to happen is for Americans everywhere to decide to be organ and tissue donors. You can learn more about how to do so by visiting the Donate Life America website by clicking here. I think each of those 100,000+ currently waiting deserve a chance to play overtime, too. You have the power to help them make it happen. Can they count on you ??
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tennessee legislature should "just say no" to toll roads

Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee
Tennessee Capitol building - Image via Wikipedia
On February 16, 2010, ran a story titled "Lawmakers, TDOT Look at Adding Toll Lanes". Apparently, the state of Tennessee is considering changing the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes on I-24 from Nashville to Murfreesboro and I-65 from Nashville to south of Franklin into HOT lanes a.k.a. toll lanes. The article says that the toll would vary depending on the time of day and that the average toll in other U.S. cities with HOT lanes during rush hour is $1.70.

If that is $1.70 each way, it works out to approximately $3.40 a day, $68 ($3.40 X 20 working days) per month, or $816 extra out of pocket per year for someone commuting back and forth to work. The goal is too encourage carpooling because carpoolers get to drive in the HOT lanes for free. This latest proposal by the Tennessee legislature to "nudge" Tennesseans into carpooling would make Cass Sunstein, Obama's Regulatory Czar, proud. In his book, Nudge, he states that if government cannot get the citizenry to do what it wants, they should not force it upon the citizens but rather "nudge" them in the "proper" direction. Why ?? Well, because the government knows best, of course.

With the current state of the economy, why would the Tennessee legislature even consider what amounts to an additional "employment" tax (people have to pay it to get to work) on working families ?? Many of them are doing well to keep their heads above water now. They can't afford to pay out what amounts to a weeks worth of groceries or two extra tanks of gas just to get to work each month. Plus, Tennesseans have already paid for the roads considered for these HOT lanes once. These tolls amount to double taxation.

The Tennessee legislature should drop their consideration of these toll roads immediately for four reasons :
  1. Economics 101 teaches that tax increases stifle growth during a recession, and that's what these "tolls" amount to.
  2. Tennessee's working families can't afford it.
  3. Democrats love tax increases. Does the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature want the same label ??
  4. Do I need to remind Tennessee's legislators that 2010 is an election year, and the Tea Partiers are already chanting "throw all the bums out." Do they really want to give them another reason ??  
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lane Kiffin = Liar

Lane Kiffin at the VOL Walk
Lane Kiffin at the VOL Walk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New reports out show that Lane Kiffin never intended to stay at the University of Tennessee very long. When Kiffin first signed on as head football coach, numerous statements made by him, including repeated verbal shots at Urban Meyer and the University of Florida, led myself and others to believe he was dedicated to turning UT into a champion and being there for the long haul. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

According to a report on he never registered to vote in Tennessee. Another report on says he never transferred his driver's license from California to Tennessee. This tells me he never intended to hang around no matter what he was implying. Furthermore, Tennessee law requires you to change your license within 30 days of moving. The report also says that Kiffin was involved in a traffic accident in August that resulted in damage to a rental car he was driving. It also appears that Kiffin originally left the scene. So, did Knoxville Police never do an accident report ?? If so, shouldn't they have noticed he had not changed his license ?? If not, why not ?? Maybe they just chose not to do their job because he was UT's head coach. Better yet - shouldn't Kiffin's insurance company have noticed the problem since they paid out on the claim ??

The more that comes out about the Kiffin boon-doggle, the more UT's administration looks like a bunch of morons. Since "Kiffin the liar" is gone, now it's time to clean house further up the food chain. I say .... fire Mike Hamilton, the athletic director, and do it now. He's the head idiot that brought Kiffin in there in the first place. And before anyone says "lighten up," let me remind you that I am a UT alum and often say my blood runs orange. I think I've got a right to speak my mind on this issue.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Jersey woman is first heart transplant recipient to give birth to twins

According to a story on, Stefania de Mayo is the first heart transplant recipient in history to give birth to twins. The twin girls were born in late December only 16 months after Stefania's, 29, transplant. Her and the twins are reportedly doing well and she is eternally grateful to her donor, Sean Clegg, 14, who was tragically killed when hit by a car while riding his bike. Sean gave her the opportunity to be a mother and she believes he "is watching over her babies." Rich de Mayo, Stefania's husband, says that Sean will "... be part of our lives forever."

As I close in on the third anniversary of my heart transplant this coming Sunday, I can truly relate to that sentiment. Live long and prosper, Stefania.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

McMurray wins NASCAR's Super Bowl

Image by waynepearson via Flickr
A wild, wild Speedweeks at Daytona is over with Jamie McMurray (pictured taking checked flag at right) winning his first Daytona 500. Speedweeks 2010 was not only wild but will surely go down as one of the best in history. The mutliple rule changes made by NASCAR during the off-season led to exciting racing. Multiple drivers had to go to backup cars due to numerous wrecks in the Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duel qualifying races, and the multiple practice sessions. Plus, Danica Patrick made her NASCAR debut.

We saw drivers at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to understanding the Daytona 500. Juan Pablo Montoya referred to it as "just another race." On the hand, McMurray was emotional in victory lane after his win, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fought and scrapped his way from 10th to 2nd trying to catch McMurray in the last two laps. Junior understood that The 500 is the one every driver wants to win and second place is just the first loser.

McMurray's tears of joy in victory lane were refreshing as he expressed what every stock car drivers dream is when entering the sport - winning the Daytona 500. It is nothing less than stock car racing's Super Bowl. I doubt that anyone has been as excited or appreciated the victory as much as McMurray since Dale Earnhardt won The 500 in 1998. I'm sure The Intimidator (Earnhardt) was all smiles as he looked down Sunday for two reasons - 1) McMurray appreciated his win and understood the history and prestige of the Daytona 500, and 2) McMurray's team (Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing) was founded by Earnhardt and now has four Daytona 500 victories. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder what Dale would think of Montoya's comments. Personally, it's obvious that Juan Pablo doesn't get it and has no appreciation for the history of NASCAR or The 500. Maybe next year, he should either let someone who appreciates the opportunity to run The 500 drive his car or sit it out altogether giving some other team a chance to race. Better yet, maybe he should just go back to open wheel racing which would open up an opportunity for someone else that gets it to drive his car. There's plenty of other drivers out there who would.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are your tires safe ??

I guess today's post could be considered a public safety message. A recent story on ABC's 20/20 tells of the dangers of tires being more than six (6) years old.

Please watch video. If you get my e-mails, you'll probably have to go to my blog page to view. Just click on the post title, "Are your tires safe ?," as the video probably will NOT come through in the e-mail.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

New drug may eliminate need for immunosuppressants after transplant

According to the article Organ Transplant Drug Keeps Immune System in Check in Business Week, a new drug currently in development may one day eliminate or at least substantially reduce the amount of immunosuppressant drugs transplant patients have to take. The immunosuppressants keep the transplant patients body from rejecting their new organs but come with a number of side effects. For instance, these drugs can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney problems. Reseachers say that this new revolutionary drug "educates" the patient's body to believe that the transplanted organ is the body's original organ. Therefore, the body does NOT reject it. Furthermore, if the new drug proves successful in either reducing reliance upon immunosuppressants or eliminating them altogether, it would also remove the aforementioned risks associated with the immunosuppressants. Any transplant patient will agree that is a good thing.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Did Obama make a "tactical error ?"

I've been "chewing on" Mr. Obama's State of the Union Address for the last week and a half. I'll be honest. I did not watch it. I just read the news reports afterwards, read some commentaries, and briefly read part of the speech's transcript. In doing so, it has occurred to me that the Community Organizer in Chief may have made what could be referred to as a "tactical" or "strategic" error. Let me explain.

About a week before the speech, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down it's opinion in the Citizen United vs. Federal Election Commission (FEC) case which overturned the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (a.k.a. McCain-Feingold Act). McCain-Feingold prohibited both for-profit and not-for-profit corporations from running campaign advertisements either for or against a candidate in the 30 days before a presidential primary and in the 60 days before the general elections. Now, with the CU vs. FEC decision, corporations can run such political advertisements. However, they still can NOT make campaign contributions to a candidate.

During his speech, with the nine Supreme Court Justices and all 535 members of Congress in attendance, plus millions watching on TV, Obama basically called out the Supreme Court by saying :
"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."
Afterwards, Justice Alito, who cast the deciding vote, was seen shaking his head and muttering, "not true" which caused a controversy similar to when Congressman Joe Wilson yelled, "you lie." However, can you really blame him since Obama basically insulted the nine justices on national TV ??

Now - here's why I say Obama made a tactical / strategic error. The Supreme Court is "The Supreme Law of the Land." The 535 members of Congress can pass any bill they want and Obama can sign it into law. However, if a legal challenge is made to that law and it makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, then if just five of the nine justices decide the law is unconstitutional, the law is void and can NOT be enforced. It's the same as if the law never passed. So think about this - Obama's health care reform plan has still NOT passed, but state's attorney generals from all across the country are already planning court challenges if it does. If ObamaCare passes, is then challenged in court, and makes it to the Supreme Court, the same nine justices he dissed on national TV will decide it's fate. How long do you think they are gonna remember the dissing they took ?? Could it effect their decision ?? I'd like to think that those nine justices are more professional than that, but who knows. They are human and we humans can be vengeful.

Furthermore, there is still this controversy swirling around about whether Obama is or is not a natural born U.S. citizen, and there have been several lawsuits filed challenging his legal status. However, to my knowledge they have all be dismissed for "lack of standing." For arguments sake, let's say that one of those suits comes before a judge that was offended because his or her colleagues on the Supreme Court were disrespected. Let's also suppose that judge decides the case does have STANDING and allows it to proceed. As it works it's way through the system, the case winds up before the Supreme Court. Now Obama's in between a rock and a hard a place because the justices he basically called stupid will decide whether he remains in office. Can you say "oops ?"

Lastly, Obama saying the CU vs. FEC decision will allow foreign corporations and special interests to basically buy elections shows either no knowledge of Federal election campaign laws or he's simply twisting the truth. It is still unlawful for corporations to contribute to a candidate. All the decision does is allow corporations to put together advertisements supporting or opposing a candidate or the candidate's policies. I think Obama and the Democrats are afraid the decision hurts their chances of getting re-elected. Why ?? Groups like the tea partiers, pro-life groups, pro-gun organizations, and others can now run ads to support candidates that line up with their values and oppose the ones who don't. However, it also will allow unions to do the same thing for Obama and other Democrats. Think about this - Fox News and the NRA can now spend money to help conservative candidates and that makes Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, and others awful nervous, plus they know who just went to work for Fox News - Sarah Palin.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

GQ gives 2009 "Better Man" award to transplant advocate

GQ magazine recently presented it's "Better Man Better World Search 2009" award to John Piano from Hornell, NY. He owns a computer software company that aids in putting donated organs and the people who need them together. It is believed that his company is involved in about half of the transplants in the U.S.

Mr. Piano first became involved in organ donation after several relatives had friends die because they ran out of time waiting for a life-saving transplant. The article says he started the company in 2004. Since I received my heart transplant in 2007, it makes me wonder if his company might have been involved in mine. If so, I must say a BIG THANK YOU to Mr. Piano and his company. If not, the fact remains that he and his company have been involved in saving thousands of American lives since 2004. For that, they more than deserve this award.
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