Thursday, April 29, 2010

Uncle Sam likes organ donors

The Washington Post recently ran an article, "Organ Donors Have a Friend in Uncle Sam", about the Federal Government giving its employees paid time off for being a living organ donor. The article says they are given "... 30 days of paid leave for donation testing, surgery and recuperation." Furthermore, in accordance with the 1999 Organ Donor Leave Act, these 30 days, up from 7 before the act, are not counted against the employee's regular vacation or sick days.

WOW !! It's a miracle !! The Federal Government actually can do something right. Who woulda thunk it ??
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Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 U.S. Transplant Games are July 30 - August 4

Jim (left) , myself (center), and friend and fellow heart transplant recipient, Dale (right)

The 2010 U.S. Transplant Games will be held July 30 - August 4, 2010 in Madison, WI. The Games are open to all U.S. transplant recipients who are at least nine months out from their most recent transplant. For more information on this years games please visit the games' website at

I first attended The Games in 2008 in Pittburgh, PA (please see 2008 U.S. Transplant Games slide show on the left side of my blog page). I competed in men's doubles bowling with my friend and fellow heart transplant recipient, Jim (pictured above before our 2008 doubles competition) and also in men's singles bowling. Jim and I were transplanted three weeks apart at St.Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN. I was their 298th heart transplant and Jim was their 299th. In 2008, we came up just 13 pins short of a medal in our "rookie" games. We both bowled about 20-30 pins below our normal average in the 2nd game of our 3-game series and it cost us. We're gonna try again this year in both the doubles and singles bowling competitions and are determined that things will turn out much differently. Our goal is simple ...... bowl our best and win Gold Medals - period.

We need your help to pull it off. The estimated cost per athlete to attend The Games is about $1500. We need people to help out with sponsorships and the deadline is June 30th. To read more and to sponsor us for The Games, please visit our secure, fundraising pages below :


Also, if you are a fellow transplant recipient and plan on attending the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games, please send me an e-mail at I think it would be neat to meet up with some of my readers who are fellow transplant recipients at The Games and say hello.

Lastly, starting the second week of May, I will begin posting fundraising and training / bowling practice updates here on the blog. Also, once I arrive in Madison for The Games, I will post daily competition and other event reports here on the blog. So, sign up for my e-mails in the box on the left side of the page and those updates will come straight to your inbox.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

HB 2655 passes out of committee .... FINALLY !!

Good news - on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, HB 2655, the Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010, passed out of the Tennessee House of Representatives Health and Human Resources Committee. The next stop is the Finance, Ways, and Means Committee. However, at this point we do not know for sure when it will be on their agenda, but I will be sure to let you know.

Let me say a big thank you to everyone that made phone calls, sent e-mails, and attended the hearing. Your help has been instrumental in advancing the bill toward becoming law in the State of Tennessee. It's passage will further ensure the continued well-being of Tennessee's transplant recipients and others taking prescription medication that require close monitoring. Please also take a moment and thank the committee members for their support this past Tuesday. Their contact information can be found here.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Circle of life in Illinois

A story in the Chicago Sun-Times, Kidney Donors, Recipients Form Their Own Circle of Life, tells of three Illinois residents who each donate a kidney to a complete stranger. Why ?? Each of them had a family member who needed a kidney transplant, but they were not compatible donors. Therefore, they were guaranteed that if they would each donate a kidney to a stranger, in turn, their family member would receive a kidney from a stranger. I guess you could at it along the lines of "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

It's an interesting concept and one that I've don't think I've heard of before. But hey - if it works, saves lives, and doesn't break any laws or present any ethical dilemmas, why not do it. Right ??
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Steve Jobs hoppin' on on the organ donation advocacy bandwagon

A recent article in Business Week, Apple's Steve Jobs Urges Californians to Become Organ Donors, tells how Jobs is advocating for a new piece of legislation in California. The new law will establish the country's first national registry for living kidney donors. In addition, it will also require California DMV workers to ask anyone applying for a driver's license if they want to be an organ donor. Jobs believes the new law may "double the number of transplant organs available in the state.

Since the article goes on to say that over 400 Californians died while waiting for liver transplants in 2009 and 20,000 are currently awaiting life-saving organ transplants, I think we can all agree that doubling the amount of donated organs is a good thing. Now if we could get the numbers all across the country to increase like that. Man, what a difference it would make in the number of lives saved.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Family hits the road to save lives

According to a story on, the Greiner family from Illinois is spending the next year on the road traveling to each of the 50 states to spread the word about the importance of organ donation. Mark and Sheri Greiner and their two kids began their journey this month to commemorate Donate Life Month. Organ donation is very important to this family because Mike received a life-saving kidney transplant in 2003. The family begin advocating for transplantation in 2004 and has no plans to let-up. In fact, they have set-up a website ( so that Americans everywhere can track their progress and learn how to become organ donors in the state they live.

P.S. I must thank my friend Heather for passing this story along to me.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 delayed AGAIN this week ...... by doobies ???

Yep. You read the headline correctly. This week The Tennessee Medication Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 (HB 2655) was delayed AGAIN. However, it wasn't the rabid animals fault THIS time. It was doobies. Yes, marijuana, wacky weed, grass, Mary Jane, or whatever else you want to call it.

The Tennessee House Health and Human Resources Committee spent 60 of the 90 minutes allotted for their meeting discussing the Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act (HB 2562) and never got to HB 2655. Why ?? Apparently, studies show it is an effective treatment for people with certain medical conditions such as cancer. However, as I sat patiently and listened to the presentation given by one of the witnesses, I realized that wasn't it. The witness showed a couple of slides about the financial impacts that medical marijuana will have in Tennessee. His projection is that in the second year after it is legalized, it will bring in $450 Million worth of additional revenue. The state will regulate it and in turn receive 20% of the revenue. That works out to $90 Million. It's all about the money just like most everything else nowadays. The Tennessee Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 has the potential to save lives but doesn't generate any revenue. So .... it gets put on the back burner. Interesting.

Now, before somebody says, "Oh, you just sore because the bill you are interested in isn't making progress." Yeah. I am getting a little ticked because it's being delayed for no logical reason. However, even before this, I did not support medical marijuana. I believe that just as ObamaCare is a back door to a single payer health care system leading to poor quality care and discrimination by rationing, the legalization of medical marijuana is nothing but a backdoor to legalizing the sale, possession, and use of marijuana nationwide for everyone. Won't it be great to have this narcotic legal everywhere ?? Many of the lefties that support the legalization of marijuana are the same ones that oppose concealed carry permit holders from carrying in restaurants that serve alcohol. Doesn't make any sense. Oh ... it just hit me. I bet it will be legal to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol if you have a prescription for and are using medical "weed." But I digress.

Kinda takes me back to 1989 and Motley Crue's hit Dr. Feelgood. I'm sure Tommy, Vince, Nikki, and Mick would be proud if we re-arranged the lyrics, kinda like Weird Al Yankovich does, to the chorus and make it the new state song - Tennessee Feelgood :

Tennessee's the one they call Feelgood,
Tennessee's the one that makes ya feel all right,
Tennessee's the one they call Feelgood .....

Absolutely unbelievable. We'll try to get HB 2655 through committee again next week - Tuesday, April 20, 10:30 a.m., Legislative Plaza, Room 16.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 delayed by ..... rabid animals ??

Headline got your attention, didn't it ?? Your initial reaction was probably something along the lines of, "Delayed by rabid animals ?? What in the heck is up with that ??" Well, hang on for a minute and I'll explain, but first let me apologize for taking a few days to update everyone. The hearing was on Tuesday and it's taken me a few days to cool off after what I witnessed. I felt like I needed to before I posted about the goings-on.

The Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 (HB 2655) was scheduled to be heard in the Tennessee House Health and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday.  However, HB 3834 by Rep. Janis Sontany and Rep. Mike Turner (why am I not surprised he was behind it) was moved up the agenda "to accommodate schedules" and heard first. HB 3834 dealt with rabies vaccines for pets. The committee spent nearly 90 minutes (one and a half hours) debating a provision to add a $1 fee to the current price of rabies vaccines to fund the state rabies program during the current recession. The worst part was that after all that, they then rolled the freakin' bill two weeks !! Yeah, that's right. They weren't finished with it after 90 minutes and will waste even more time on it !! Due to this, very little other business was conducted. The committee did not even touch on our bill.

When I left, I was furious. They had spent nearly all of the allotted time debating a $1 fee on rabies shots. Some of them argued that pet owners would stop getting their pets vaccinated if the increase passed. That's ludicrous. How many pet owners do you know of that will stop getting their pets vaccinated over $1 ?? Yeah, that's what I think, too. Very, very few if any. They should have settled this issue in 15 minutes - tops. Heck, I wanted to stand up and call for the question myself. Then, I thought, "How can anyone question why the Tea Party groups are gaining momentum ??" This debacle was a perfect example of why. Ninety minutes wasted on a bill that doesn't amount to a hill of beans and not one single minute spent on a bill, HB 2655, that has the potential to save human lives. What a joke.

We will try again this coming Tuesday, April 13th, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 16 of Legislative Plaza. Hopefully, we will not have to deal with such foolishness again. If you have the time (remember, it's about 90 minutes long), watch the video from Tuesday's hearing at this link. I believe you will be appalled. Also, if you have not had a chance to contact the members of the Tennessee House Health and Human Resources Committee to express your support for HB 2655, please do. Their contact information is available at this link. Lastly, let me clarify that the "rabid animals" I am referring to are not Tennessee's "public servants." Although, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck .........

P.S. The Sheepdog is gonna take a blogging break for a few days. I'll start back up next week. In honor of April being Donate Life Month, I'll focus on organ donation for several days.
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cooper's Crap

On March 21st, The U.S. House of Representatives passed ObamaCare. A few days before, I sent Jim Cooper, who supposedly represents Tennessee's 5th District, the last of my multiple e-mails to him requesting that he vote NO on ObamaCare. Furthermore, I laid out my reasons for feeling the way I did. Mr. Cooper voted YES in favor of ObamaCare along with 218 others in what will go down in U.S. history as another moment that "will live in infamy." Mr. Cooper's response to my e-mail hit my inbox on March 23rd. I have posted it below for all to see :

Dear Mr. Black:

Having heard from tens of thousands of Middle Tennesseans like you on all sides of the issue, and having spent months studying the various bills, I know that America must improve its health care system because it is unsustainable. I voted for health reform legislation because it will make it better.

Any decision of this magnitude must be made very carefully, after weighing every concern. We Nashvillians are proud of our outstanding health care community that makes us "the nation's health care industry capital." Every Nashville hospital strongly supports the legislation, whether it's St. Thomas, Vanderbilt (both University and Hospital), Centennial, Meharry Medical School, Nashville General, Summit, Skyline, or Southern Hills. The largest senior organization, AARP, supports the legislation. A majority of physicians who contacted me support the legislation. A majority of local nurses support the legislation. Despite media controversy regarding abortion, the Catholic hospitals, and groups representing 59,000 Catholic Sisters support the legislation.

Let me make clear that I respect the advocacy of those who are opposed to the legislation. They actually help me make sure that more people in Congress do their homework and pay attention to America's financial problems. They are strengthening our democracy with their voices.

The bottom line is that this legislation offers the only realistic hope that most Americans have for getting a fair deal in today's private health insurance markets. This is not a government takeover, but a way to encourage better private-market competition. Tens of millions of Americans will benefit immediately and thousands of lives will literally be saved due to the greater affordability of health insurance.

Although CBO claims that the legislation will reduce deficits in the first ten years by over $100 billion, and by over $1 trillion after that, you don't have to believe CBO to realize that, even if you assume zero deficit reduction, this is a huge improvement in the policymaking of recent years. This legislation does not do enough to contain medical inflation, but it makes a good start because it contains the largest proposed savings in health costs in history, $600 billion over ten years. In plain English, this bill is paid for, and may even save big money.

I encourage you to visit my website at to read my full statement on health care reform and find answers to your questions on the bill.


Jim Cooper
I was very perturbed with Mr. Cooper's response. Therefore, I fired back the below response on March 24th :


I appreciate you taking some of your valuable time to reply to my message. I also would like to congratulate you for being chosen as one of the Top 10 Congressman to be fired in November on Fire the 219 blogspot. In fact, they were nice enough to rank you number 3. What an honor for you !!!

I would also like to inform you that nearly everything you have written in your response (below) to my original e-mail is false. As a transplant recipient, I have talked to each of my doctors and nurses about this bill. NONE of them support it - NONE, NADA, ZILCH. Furthermore, the polls show that about 75% or 3 out of every 4 Americans do NOT want this health care takeover. In addition, this bill is NOT paid for, as you say. That's unless, of course, you are already counting the massive tax increases that Mr. Obama and your Socialist cronies will eventually place on ALL Americans to pay for this unconstitutional boondoggle in the future. If we had wanted Canadian or British style health care, we would have moved there !!

Lastly, some have said that this bill will save lives. That could be true at the outset. However, in the years to come, when this program and this country go broke, which most economists say is coming, due to out of control spending for which you are partly responsible, it will cost lives. Why ?? Because rationing WILL occur. The elderly, the disabled, chronically ill Americans, and ones such as myself whose maintenance care is expensive WILL be denied care and left to suffer and die. When that happens, our blood will be on your's, Mr. Obama's, and the other 218 Socialists hands. The good part is all of your firings WILL be on ours the very next time we go to the polls. It's gonna be fun, too !!! That's of course, if we don't impeach all of you first.

Johnny Black

The puzzling thing is that I have not received a response back from Mr. Cooper. I wonder why. It's almost like ...... I hurt his feelings or offended him in some way. Surely I didn't do that ...... or did I ??

Dang ..... I hate that.
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter !!!

...... He is risen (continued from Friday) !!!

Today, we celebrate Christ's resurrection - Easter. It's not about hunting eggs or chocolate bunnies. There's nothing wrong with all that because it's good, clean fun for the kids. However, we cannot forget that God's plan of salvation for us was completed on this day with Christ's resurrection. He, and he alone, had the power to raise himself from the dead defeating death, Satan, and the grave for us. His awesome power gives us hope and shows us that there is NOTHING he cannot overcome. We just have to trust Him.

My regular blog readers have read my rantings since last July about Obama, his Czars, socialized medicine, national security, alleged global warming, U.S. politics, Tennessee politics, and other things that have ticked me off. But .... let's be honest - does any of that really matter in the grand scheme of things a.k.a. eternity ?? No. Not a bit. That being said, will I stop ranting ?? Probably not. However, I'll try to keep it all in perspective and I urge everyone else to do the same.

Happy Easter everyone !! Spend some time with family and friends celebrating what Christ accomplished for us many, many, many years ago.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts about Good Friday

Today is The Second Chance Sheepdog blog's first Good Friday online. As we go through this special weekend, I wanted to share some personal thoughts with you.

At my church's Good Friday service this evening, our pastor had each one of us take a yellow ribbon and write our names on it. Then, we were asked to take them to the wooden cross at the front of the auditorium and do one of two things with them - either hang them on the cross or lay them at the foot of it. As I approached the cross, it occurred to me that I was unworthy to hang the ribbon with my name on it on the cross. Instead, I laid it at the foot. Even though it was just a symbol of the fact that Christ was thinking of me when hanging on that cross over two thousand years ago, it was very humbling.

When I started this blog nine months ago, it was for two purposes - advocate for organ / tissue donation and freedom. As I thought about Good Friday this evening, it occurred to me that just as organ and tissue donors donate their bodies to save others and give them freedom from the disease that afflicts them, Christ did, too. He voluntarily laid down His life and shed His blood to save each of us from our sins and give us eternal hope. I've heard people say that this or that group and Pilate killed Jesus, but that is not true. He laid down His life voluntarily because He loved us. He had the power to come down off that cross any time He wanted or to call thousands of angels to come and rescue Him if He so desired, but He didn't. He took the beatings, torture, and humiliating death for us because He knew it was the only way we could be saved and have spiritual freedom from the sin that afflicts every one of us.

Our pastor concluded this evening's service with a video called "That Was Friday, but Sunday Was Coming." It was pretty awesome because yes indeed, Sunday was coming, and ....................
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Judge sets Atheist Holy Day

An atheist filed suit against the Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring the suit, a discrimination case, against Christians, Jews, and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it is unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s). The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, "Case dismissed."

The atheist's lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case ?? The Christians have Christmas, Easter, and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kipper, and Hanukkah. Yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But they do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant." The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists." The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day.' Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned."
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