Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 U.S Transplant Games - Day 2

Today has been a great day at The Games. It's been nice with temperatures in the 70s. We've been driving around with the car windows down and been perfectly comfortable. Bet you folks back home in Big Orange Country can't say that.

We were up early since Joy was running the 5K. Over 2000 people including transplant recipients, living donors, and the general public participated in it. It was the largest field of runners in the history of the U.S. Transplant Games. Joy's goal was to complete it in under 40 minutes. She did it in right at 37 (pics below - blue shorts, white tank top, blue visor) !! She was thrilled and I was proud of her because she had trained hard and then MORE than achieved her goal. After I gave her a hug, I looked up and thought, "Lord, tomorrow it's my turn."
We completed the day with the team tailgate party and the Opening Ceremonies. I felt it was my duty as a Tennessean to provide some Big Orange and White for the party. Heck, everyone knows that any self-respecting Tennessean always has some at any tailgate party. Not to do so just ain't proper and is durn near rude. So, as Team Tennessee walked into the arena tonight during Opening Ceremonies, I MADE sure everyone saw that glorious Orange and White and knew Tennessee was there.
I am off to bed. Tomorrow at 9 AM, Jim and I hit the lanes for the doubles bowling competition. It's now game time and time for us to, in the words, of Elvis Pressley, "Take Care of Business." I feel good about our chances. Jim bowled a couple of practice games today with one being a 196. However, I also know that bowling is all about consistency. I ask for your prayers for Jim and I in the morning. We want to do exceptionally well and give ourselves an opportunity to win that gold medal very, very badly. I need your prayers for strength and the ability to focus solely on bowling. We've worked hard for the last two years for this moment. As I said earlier, Joy achieved her goal this morning, tomorrow morning it's our turn .

I'm praying that tomorrow's update includes a picture of Jim and I with our first gold medal.

Philippians 4:13 - I (We) can do all things things through Christ who strengthens me (us).
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Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 U.S Transplant Games - Day 1

Well, we here in Madison, WI. We arrived yesterday a little after 5 PM CDT. We drove to St. Louis Wednesday and then went to see and go up in The Gateway Arch Thursday morning. I had been to The Arch over 20 years ago but was not able to go up in it then because it was closed for repairs. However, we got to yesterday and the view was amazing. Two photos for you - one of the arch and one looking straight down (630 feet) from the top. Note The Arch's shadow. That was pretty neat.
Today, I practiced at the two facilities the bowling competitions will be held at. I got a VERY, VERY welcomed surprise. I was expecting the lanes to be heavily oiled and that's what I had prepared for. However, they are oiled very lightly. This is a good thing for me. The best 3-game series I ever bowled was a 590 in March 2009 at Hermitage Lanes. Both facilities here are oiled very similarly to Hermitage. In fact, at the second facility this afternoon, I bowled a game of 180 !! Managers at both facilities told me the oil pattern they had down today is the same one that will be down for the competition. I am pumped because I am better in light oil conditions. There will be no problems with getting the ball to turn. I am very confident that I will bowl well. As I told Jim this afternoon - just gimme the dang ball !!

Tonight, we registered and had the team picture made (pic below of some members of Team Tennessee hanging out before team photo). Tomorrow, Joy is running / walking a 5K. I am resting to be ready for Sunday and we have a team tailgate party and the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow night. Speaking of the opening cermonies, I've got something planned for them that will make every Tennessee Volunteer fan happy. You'll love it !! It's gonna be Football Time in Tennessee .... just in Wisconsin.

Check back tomorrow for more.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

FINAL Pre-2010 U.S. Transplant Games Update

Well, hello everyone. I am a day late with my Transplant Games update for this week which happens to be my last Pre-Games update, and I apologize. The next update will be from The Games on July 30th which is just 6 days away. Registration and team photos will be that day and Jim and I will practice bowling that day in Madison in the facility or facilities we will compete in on August 1st and 3rd. At this point, we do not know if the bowling events we be in just one or two different facilities. If you look at the schedule of events, it's unclear. Personally, I'm hoping both the doubles and singles are at the same place. That way we only have to focus on learning the "lay of the land" in one. Plus, it might minimize the "home lanes" advantage of Team Wisconsin.

I don't have much new to report this week except for the fact that informs arrived this week (see pic). I really like them. The red, white, and blue colors along with the outline of the state and the circle with three stars (like in the state flag) really stand out. In my opinion, the only way it could be any better would be if the colors were Big Orange and White (ha, ha). But that's another story.

I practiced twice the week. On Monday, I went to Smyrna Lanes where I was able to rent a lane for an hour and pick certain spares to work on. I chose to focus on picking up the 7-pin, 10-pin, and the 3 / 10 split. However, my primary focus was on the 10-pin since he has been my nemesis for the last 2 1/2 years. The good news is I smoked him on 12 out of 15 attempts. Then, after working on those spares, I decided to bowl one game but only managed to score a 142. The tough part to accept was that after being pretty successful picking up the 10 pin and hour earlier, I left it standing both times I needed to pick it up during that game.

On Thursday, I practiced again for the last time before departure. The next time I throw a bowling ball will be in Madison. I bowled a 170, 169, 125, and 134. The first two games were exactly what I was hoping for, but the last two were not. The same issue, consistency, bit me again just as it has for the last 2 1/2 years. I'm hoping that demon stays home and doesn't make the trip.

Lastly, I want to pour out my heart. Some have wondered why I have worked so hard and focused intently on these games. Some have wondered and not understood why I was so disappointed after the 2008 Games. So, I feel like I should offer an explanation. The heart disease that led to my transplant was caused by muscular dystrophy (MD). I am blessed to still have my mobility but it is limited. When you consider the fact that as a 10-year old boy, I was told I would be in a wheelchair in my early 20s and I'm now 40+ and walking, it's obvious that God has truly looked out for me. I am blessed to be much healthier than most with the disease. I've always been a sports nut and always had a competitive spirit because of it. When I was a boy, I played pickup games of football, baseball, and basketball with my buddies. I wasn't the best athlete in the bunch by far. However, we had a lot of fun and it was great exercise. However, when it came to basketball, I was probably the best long range shooter in the bunch. My biggest problem was a lack of stamina and that was due to the disease. The thing that frustrated me is that I was not allowed to play on a team such as Little League, etc. The reasoning was that if I blew out a knee, or broke a leg, and got laid up for a while, it would could allow the MD to accelerate the muscle deterioration. I didn't like living in a bubble because of "what could happen" but I had no choice. That was the rules.

When I was first approached about competing in the 2008 Games, I hesitated at first mainly because I hadn't played any sports in years. I didn't know what I could do. Then, bowling was mentioned. I had bowled some in years past but never seriously so I figured I could give it a try. Plus, it dawned on me that it would be another way to honor the Lord and Kent because without them, I would not even be alive let alone competing in anything. So, Jim and I got together and starting practicing and the competitive juices started flowing. We even began to feel good about our chances and I got to thinking that this could be my opportunity to do something I hadn't done before - win a sporting event. We went to The Games, bowled, and came up just 13 pins short of bronze in our rookie games. We were very disappointed. Why ?? This is what is hard for so many to understand. Both of us bowled 20 pins below our average in the second game of the three game series. If we had just bowled our average and had those additional 40 pins, we would have won SILVER. If you're a football fan, you've heard football coaches say "we beat ourselves" more than once. That's the way Jim and I felt. We knew the other guys didn't bowl that much better than us. We just didn't do what we knew we were capable of. That stung, and it stung because of our competitive spirit. If the other guys had bowled consistent 170s and 180s and beat us, we could have accepted that because they would have simply been the better bowlers, but that's not what happened, and it was hard to accept. Plus, my donor family was there and I wanted to honor them and Kent's memory with a medal. However, the experience did accomplish something - it made us hungry and determined to not come up short again because we didn't do what we know we are capable of. So, we go into these games to try again.

I came to the conclusion this week that Jim and I have done all we can do at point. I also realized that maybe we have put too much emphasis on us "doing it." For that reason, I ask for you prayers at The Games. I ask that you pray specifically for the following :
  • Safety to, from, and while there.
  • Plenty of rest.
  • We will be able to focus on bowling.
  • We do the fundamentals - hit our marks and follow through.
  • The wisdom to make the proper adjustments during the competition.
  • Control our emotions - not get too excited when things go good or too down if they don't.
  • Have a short memory when we through a bad ball.
  • We only have to compete at one facility.
  • And most of all, we remember to praise and honor the Lord in everything we do there and to ask Him to help us on the lanes because we cannot be successful on our own.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am not a great bowler and that there will be a number of much better ones competing at these games than me. However, I also know that Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me." Some would say "that ain't got nothing to do with bowling." To that I would say, "How do you know ?? It could." He could choose to help us bowl several perfect games while we are there. That would definitely be a miracle. Furthermore, as I said I know there will be better bowlers than me there, but I also know that none of them will be any hungrier to win those gold medals than us. I know that in my heart without a shadow of a doubt. That takes me back to the quote I've used in the past from Dale Earnhardt - "It ain't always the fastest car that wins the race. It's the one who refuses to lose" and I would add "the hungriest." Those words perfectly describe the spirit I am in right now. It's like I've been given another "second chance," and I want to take advantage of this opportunity.

Until Madison ........

P.S. For more information on the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games, visit their website HERE.
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The Washington Post's Report on the U.S. Transplant Games

The Washington Post did a wonderful article, These Athletes Are Already Winners, this past Thursday the 22nd. The article gives a brief synopsis of The Games including some information about The Games' history. In addition, a few of the athletes are highlighted. Read the full story by clicking on the title of the article (above).

For additional information on the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games, please visit their website here.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Shut Yo Pie-Hole ...... PLEASE !!

U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (top left) and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (bottom left) are currently investigating possible lapses during the May floods that raged havoc in Middle Tennessee. They're holding hearings to figure out whether the Corps. of Engineers, The National Weather Service, God himself, or somebody else should be blamed for the disaster. They're trying to make us think they're just humble public servants looking out for their constituents.

The truth is they're just trying to score political points with voters. Cooper is currently embroiled in the fight of his political life. The people are ticked at him, Obama, and the rest of the worthless Congress and he knows it. He has not been challenged this strongly in an election she he got his tailed kicked in 1994. So, he's doing what any good politician does in an election year - he's kissing up to his constituents and trying to make them think he actually cares about them. This from the same man who thumbed his nose at voters during the summer recess and refused to hold town hall meetings. He even locked the doors to his office to keep outraged voters from coming to his office to exercise their constitutional right to free speech and redress of grievances.

As for the Progressive Alexander, he's already trying to score points for his re-election bid in 2014. However, I'm hoping it's too little too late for this bum. After his votes against allowing carry permit holders to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in National Parks, his "yea" vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the other times he's sided with the Liberals and Progressives, it's past time for him to go.

The fact is, gentlemen, there is no one to blame for the horrible flooding that ravaged Middle Tennessee back in May. SO SHUT YO PIE-HOLE !! The approximately 20 inches of rain received that weekend just had no where to go. Millions and millions of gallons of water dumped on any land mass in that little time is gonna go where it wants. That's why it's called a "natural disaster." If the dams had not been opened after holding the water back for awhile, it's possible there would have been a worse disaster. The dams theoretically could have burst. I'm just hoping that Tennesseans see this hearing fiasco for the circus it is. Then, we need to find good conservative candidates whom can give Cooper his pink slip this year and Alexander his in 2014.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

..... and more Scat.

Late yesterday afternoon, the incumbent State Senator Mae Beavers released the e-mail newsletter below. It was her second of the day.  She played a lot of defense yesterday.
Just as in the one she released earlier in the day, I noted a "few" inaccuracies. And once again, I felt it was my "citizenry" duty to call her on it. And of course, it's my duty as a Sheepdog to once again inform my readers and set the record straight. My e-mail response is below.

Mae, Mae, Mae. Here ya go again.
This line of yours about voting "yea" on SB 959 concerning sending the HOT lane bill to a study committee because its the "... traditional and deferential way to kill a bill" makes no sense at all. Why send the HOT lane bill to a study committee for it to be killed when you could save everyone time and money by simply voting "NO" to kill it as Rep. Lynn did ?? That's plum silly. If you've "... always voted against toll roads in our state ..." just vote NO and be done with it. Plus, since you say you "Oppose Any Tax Increase" (noticed that on one of your mailers), just vote NO because the HOT lanes are another tax. Putting it off on the study committee makes about as much sense as it would for me to be out deer hunting, have a 10-point buck standing 10 yards in front of me, my bow cocked and pointed at the deer, and decide to wait on my buddy to join me in a couple of hours and let him shoot it instead. He'd have me committed to an institution !!
One other thing - in regards to you saying Rep. Lynn is in "desperation." Is that kinda like the desperation your feeling right now ?? Does your "desperation" have anything to do with why you, Jerry, and others are out dropping off those photocopied newspaper pieces of negative propaganda about Rep. Lynn ?? Oh, and let me say thank you for the fact that you, Jerry, or whoever were thoughtful and mailed one to me. I was beginning to feel left out. And please, don't try to deny it. Citizens all over the district have actually seen you guys leave your "gifts." Furthermore, feel free to take me off your "special mailing list" for those. I would hate to run up your postage costs unnecessarily and we need to save at least a few trees. Plus, I already know the truth and it has set me free. You're not gonna change my mind.
Once again, please knock it off. Your actions are most unbecoming of a Tennessee State Senator. Tennesseans expect and deserve better. It's why I'm voting Lynn in 2010 !!
Johnny Black
Once again, no response as yet from the Senator.
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Scat ......

Yesterday morning, the incumbent Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers sent out the following newsletter via e-mail :
Upon receiving it, I noticed a number of inaccuracies in it. I felt it was my duty as a concerned citizen to point them out to her. It is my duty as a Sheepdog to point them out to my readers. My e-mail reply to The Senator is below.


First of all, I love the subject line of this e-mail - "An Instance Where Talk is Cheap and the Facts Matter." That being said let's talk "facts." Shall we ??
  1. Fact #1 - It's interesting that you would try to connect the TWRA bill being taken off notice to the Health Care Freedom Act. I ran across an article about the whole TWRA situation that plainly shows one had nothing to do with the other. Here's the link so that you can be better informed. Interestingly, it was written (3/22/2010) long before your bill was killed in committee in June.
  2. Fact #2 - It's also interesting that Steve Gill tried to connect the Health Care Freedom Act and the TWRA bill, too. Makes me wonder who the mouthpiece is - is he yours or are you his ?? I would love to get that straight. Can you help me with it, please ?? It's a little unclear when considering your campaign finance reports and how much money ($12,955) you have paid to his media company. No wonder he likes you so much.
  3. Fact #3 - Rep. Lynn did take the TWRA bill off notice because Kent Williams told her to due to the commission insulting Rep. Faulkner at a meeting. From what I understand, Rep. Faulkner even had a tape of the insults. And if I remember right, although it could have changed recently and I missed it, Kent Williams is The Speaker of the House. I believe that means he is in charge of The House even though you seem to think you are. If Williams tells a member to take a bill off notice, they have to take it off notice. And just so you're properly informed, the TWRA bill extending it's existence has passed. I'm sure you remember that since you voted for it. Here's the link in case you forgot. I mean, c'mon Senator, did you actually think the General Assembly would kill the TWRA ?? You know as well as I do that if that had happened hunters and fisherman would have converged on the capitol reminiscent of the income tax protestors of years past.
  4. Fact #4 - Your e-mail says, "Unfortunately, Beavers' opponent's weaker bill was DEAD in the Senate as it had never been moved by the Senate sponsor, not heard by a single committee." Originally, the Senate sponsor of Rep. Lynn's bill was Sen. Diane Black. It was HER responsibility to move it through the Senate. However, I'll give you credit for telling the truth that politics killed the bill ... but only partial credit. Why ?? Because you didn't tell the whole story as usual. The blame for politics killing it rests upon you and Sen. Black, not Rep. Lynn. Your hatred for Rep. Lynn is what cost Tennesseans this bill and an opportunity to fight back against ObamaCare. Did you and Sen. Black cut some sort of election year deal to work together to delay the bill making Rep. Lynn look bad ?? Did Sen. Black do it in exchange for you helping her hopefully get elected to Congress ?? That would make sense considering how often I see you and Jerry being buddy-buddy with either Sen. Black or her campaign staff at events around the district.
My point in all this is - stop telling everyone that Rep. Lynn is a liar. The facts above are only a sampling of the times that I can point out that you have been the one distorting and / or not telling the truth. It is most unbecoming of a Tennessee State Senator. It will very likely ultimately lead to your downfall on August 5th because the people are getting tired of it.
Vote Susan Lynn in 2010 !!
Johnny Black
No response as yet from The Senator.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All New Yorkers could be required to become organ donors recently reported in a story, Proposal : All New Yorkers Become Organ Donors, that the State of New York is considering a bill that would enroll ALL New Yorkers as organ donors unless they opt-out. The bill's sponsor, Richard Brodsky, nearly lost his daughter at the age of 4 when she was awaiting a kidney transplant and then again at the age of 10 when she needed another.

Brodsky's motives are understandable. He nearly lost his daughter twice due to a shortage of donated organs, so he understands the need for more donors. His goal is to save lives. As a transplant recipient, I agree with him that we need more organ and tissue donors. However, a law that says "you are a donor unless you opt-out" is the the absolute wrong way to do it. First, it completely ruins the nature of transplant. The decision to be an organ and tissue donor should be completely voluntary - an act of charity because helping someone in need is the right thing to do. A government mandate that forces you to do it is WRONG. Secondly, I would also argue that it would be unconstitutional.

Think about it this way. If it is unconstitutional, as The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, for the government to take away a woman's freedom by telling her what she can and cannot do with her body in regards to abortion, then doesn't it stand to reason that it's also unconstitutional to tell her (or a man) what they can and cannot do with their body in regards to organ and tissue donation ?? I'm not a lawyer or a legal scholar, but that seems logical and makes sense to me. But, maybe that's the problem. We're running on fumes in this country when it comes to common sense. But that's another story for another day.  

P.S. Even though I used the issue of abortion to make my point in this article, I do NOT in any way approve of or support abortion. I believe life begins at conception and that ALL human life is precious and that we should use every tool that God has blessed us with to always preserve it. I guess you could say I am completely 100% pro-life - I oppose abortion and support organ transplantation because it saves lives.
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40th anniversary of first Memphis kidney transplant

Dr. Louis Britt celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first kidney transplant done in Memphis back in April. According to a story, Mid-South Doctor Who Performed the First Kidney Transplant in Memphis 40 Years Ago is Honored , on Memphis', Dr. Britt was honored by friends and family to mark the occasion. He admits that as the surgeon on that historical surgery he has seen many things change about transplant since that day 40 years ago, such as survival rates and medications. However, the need for more donors remains.
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Man's church helping him get transplant

An article, Church Unites to Help Man Get Kidney Transplant, that appeared in the (Chattanooga Times Free Press) tells the story of Victor Delgado and his struggle to live. Victor has fought diabetes for 37 years and now needs a kidney and pancreas transplant in order to live. A kidney-pancreas transplant is one of the rarest of transplants but Victor is relying on his faith and his church, Red Bank Hispanic Baptist Church, to see him through. In fact, his church is helping to raise the funds to pay for the portion of the costs of his transplant that his health insurance will not. Based upon the love and support his church family is showing him and his family during this time, it sounds like they are cut from the same cloth as mine.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm now on Facebook

Hope everyone's having a great weekend. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm now on Facebook. This is my profile photo. It was taken at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh when I attended the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games.

"Friend" me.

Go Steelers !!
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Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 U.S. Transplant Games - Update #8

It's hard to believe that it's now just two weeks until the start of The Transplant Games. Time has flown. I've got one more week of practice left here at home before departing and I don't feel like I'm ready yet.

This week has not been a particularly good week of practice. For weeks I've been struggling with getting my bowling ball to turn better. I've had it re-drilled and re-surfaced. Some days it turns. Some days it doesn't. I've talked about the "tune-ups" I've had done on it, but at this point, I don't know what else to do. Those of you that know me well know that I've been a NASCAR fan for 30 years. If you're a fan or watch the races, you've heard drivers and crew chiefs use the terms "tight" and "loose" when describing how their car is handling. When they talk about it being "tight," it means that when the driver turns the steering while in a turn, the car doesn't want to turn and wants to go straight. So, you'll next hear them say something about "loosening" the car up. There's a number of ways they can do that. They can adjust the tire pressure. They can put some wedge in or take some out which basically means they are shifting weight from one part of the car to another to make it turn better. My bowling ball has had the same problem - it's been "tight." Instead of hooking and turning into the pocket, it has continued going straight and missed the pocket. So, I had the pro shop "loosen it up" by plugging my original finger holes and drilling new ones. This basically shifted the weight block inside the ball so it would "flip" and turn into the pocket better. Some days it has worked but others it hasn't. That brings me to yesterday .....

Jim and I practiced together for the last time yesterday before we will depart for The Games. We will practice separately on our own next week. Neither of us had a good day but still bowled a combined 849 which would have won us the silver medal in 2008. However, we're not after silver. Silver is the first loser. In my first two games I bowled a 121 and a 112. I was ticked at the end of them. I prefer to play more of a finesse game. I bowl down the right side of the lane, let the ball turn left and hook into the pocket, and try to leave myself with easy spares and then pick them up. However, yesterday that simply did not work in the first two games. So, I told Jim I was gonna try something drastically different but risky in game three. I would try a power game. I would throw the ball straight down the middle of the lane as hard as I could. My goal - knock down all 10 every time and break them in half !!!!! The risky part is that if you hit the head pin straight on, you're gonna get splits that are extremely hard if not impossible to pick up. However, I knew if I was gonna try it, I needed to do it now in practice. So, first frame - STRIKE. Second frame - STRIKE. Third frame - seven on first ball and picked up spare. Fourth frame - STRIKE. I went on to throw 5 strikes in that game finishing with a 160. It worked !! I would prefer not to have to do that in Madison, but if the ball doesn't turn, I will. I now have a plan B. Now, for the moral of the story.

It never ceases to amaze me how God can teach you things about life it the most unlikely of places. And of all places - a bowling alley. His lesson yesterday didn't occur to me until I was going home. We all get into our habits, ruts, and comfort zones daily. We have our way of doing things and don't want to do it any other way. The problem is that then when things don't go our way, we get angry or frustrated. Sometimes we even give up. Instead, as the Lord taught me yesterday, we should look for a Plan B. We should get out of our comfort zone, if we have to, and use the smarts and the wisdom God gave each of us to figure out a way to accomplish the task before us. We've all heard the saying, "where there's a will, there's a way." There is wisdom in those words. Furthermore, we can NEVER give up. I've always tried to be someone who never gives up. Yesterday, after game two, I was tempted to throw the bowling balls in the bag and head home, but I didn't. I couldn't. That's not me. Furthermore, if I had, I would not have found Plan B in case the ball doesn't turn in Madison. It could be the difference between bringing home gold and coming home empty handed and disappointed. The lesson God taught me yesterday was mainly about myself and my bowling. However, if you think about, it has a lot of implications to everyday life.

Two last thoughts that I want you to think about today. They stick with me always. In fact, I have each of them taped to the metal support inside my bowling glove.
  • Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me."
  • One of my heroes, Dale Earnhardt, once said, "It's not always the fastest car that wins the race. It's the one who refuses to lose."
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taxpayers Bitten By Beavers Tax Votes

Incumbent Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers recently sent out a mailer (pictured above) to her constituents in the 17th District. One statement on it particularly caught my attention. The third line down under the heading "The Right Values for the Tennessee Senate" states that Senator Beavers is "Opposed to ANY increase in taxes." Unfortunately for her, her record says otherwise. She has voted for tax increases and / or against tax cuts on a number of occasions. For example, consider the following :
  • SB 2357 raised from 2% to 5.5% the tax the HMO's operating in Tennessee must pay on the gross receipts collected from an enrollee. In simple terms, it's a tax HMO's pay to the state based upon the amount of insurance premiums they collect. It amounted to more than a 250% tax increase. Senator Beavers voted in favor of it. Guess who the HMO's pass this tax increase on to in the form of higher premiums ?? Yep. You guessed it. The consumers. Why would anyone want to do that in a time when health care costs are rising ??
  • SB 453 extended for two years from June 30, 2009 to June 30, 2011 a $2225 per bed tax that Tennessee's nursing homes must pay each year on each licensed bed within their facilities. Senator Beavers voted in favor of extending this tax. Another way of looking at her vote is that it was a vote against a tax cut for Tennessee's nursing homes. If a nursing home has just 50 licensed beds at $2225 tax per bed, that comes to $111,250. If the facility has 100 beds, it jumps to $222,500. Anyone besides me think a nursing home could use a $100,000 or $200,000 tax break during the current recession ?? It might allow them to reduce the prices that Tennesseans pay for care in these facilities.
  • SB 959 required the State Of Tennessee Dept. of Transportation (TDOT) to examine the study and development of expanding qualifying existing HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes into toll or HOT lanes. Let me clarify - this bill was not about building new roads and paying for them via tolls. The bill is for the consideration of turning existing interstate lanes, ones that Tennessee taxpayers have already paid for once, into toll lanes. I would call that "double taxation." Wanna guess how Senator Beavers voted ?? Yep. She voted in favor of it. Now, why would a "conservative" vote in favor of even studying a proposal that would amount to "double taxing" Tennessee's working families ?? Makes no sense.
These are just three examples of Beavers votes in favor of tax increases and against tax cuts. If you do a little digging, you may find more. The purpose of me providing this information is so the next time you hear her say she's "for low taxes" or that she's "against tax increases," you know the truth and can call her on it. When it comes to Beavers votes on taxes, they tend to bite Tennessee's taxpayers.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 U.S. Transplant Games - Update #7

Hello everyone. I must apologize for being a couple of days late on my Transplant Games Update. I took a few days away from the computer. I needed a break.

In my last update. I shared that I had just put my bowling ball in the shop for a tune-up. I got it back this past Monday and tried it out. I was more than happy with the result as I bowled a 160, 165, 188 for a 3-game series of 513. It was my first 500+ series since mid-February. It didn't matter where or how I threw the ball, it turned like it was supposed to. Now, I've got something to work with and my confidence is back up. If you look back through the history of The Games, it shows that to be in contention for a medal you've got to be over 500. I'm now on the pace I need to be on. I'll get in another couple of days of practice with it this week hoping to improve even more.

I'll update again on Friday.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July !!!

Today, Americans celebrate our wonderful country's 234th birthday. We owe it to the tremendous sacrifices and thirst for freedom shared by a handful of patriots more than 230 years ago, plus the blessings of Almighty God and the sacrifices made by thousands of Americans over the years who shed their precious blood to protect those freedoms. Let us not forget them on this special day.

It has been a wonderful and sometimes emotional weekend for me. Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. I have enjoyed the first year tremendously and have been blessed by all the people across this country and even in Canada who have been regular readers. I hope you have enjoyed the posts and that in someway they have been informational and inspirational to you.

I guess the emotional part of the weekend started Friday night. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove a car owned by Richard Childress, his father's former car owner, to victory in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona. It was special because Junior's car carried the old Wrangler Jeans blue and yellow paint scheme that Dale Sr. drove for a number of years and won two Winston Cup Championships (1986 & '87) in. In fact, in 1987, Dale Sr. won eleven races, the most in one season during his career, driving the Wrangler car. On behalf of myself and millions of Dale Sr. fans across the country, thank you Junior for another great #3 memory. I imagine your dad was watching Friday night through those trademark mirrored sunglasses with that big sly grin on his face that said, "that's my boy."
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Darryl Moran on Flicker.

On Saturday, we had some fun. In the evening, my wife and I attended the Watertown, TN Independence Day Parade. For a small town, it was a big parade with a number of floats. It was an honor to actually participate in the parade. My truck was turned into a float for State Representative Susan Lynn who is currently running for State Senate in District 17. Rep. Lynn's magnets, 5 of them, covered the sides and the tailgate. One of her campaigns signs was attached to the front of my truck and one to the back window. We also had a large American flag, on a pole, flying on the back. It was pretty neat.
Rep. Lynn (center), two young Conservative Republicans (right) and myself (left) before parade.

The parade was wild !! There was a squirt gun and water balloon fight along the length of the parade route. Onlookers along the route and participants in the parade had "shootouts" and hurled water ballons at each other. At one point, some guys were filling buckets out of the back of their pickup truck and then dumping them on parade participants. It was wild but fun. There were two sections of parade participants - ones in the water fight and ones in the "water free" section behind us. All of the political candidates whom particpated in the parade wimped out and got in the "water free" section except Rep. Lynn. Her participation in the "water war" was welcomed and enjoyed by the onlookers. It appeared that they felt she was one of them by playing along. Anyone that knows Rep. Lynn knows that is exactly who she is - one of us. I think she enjoyed it as much as they did.
Rep. "Gunslinger" Lynn in a "shootout" during the parade. (Note her "shield.")

Lastly, the other emotional part of the weekend has been today. Not only is this the one year anniversary of this blog, but it also marks one year since my friend Robert passed away. He sent me the article "On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" that inspired this blog shortly before his death. As he protected our freedoms during his days in the U.S. military, I attempt to do the same with this blog. As the current administration continues it's attempt to scale back our freedoms, let us continue to be vigilant to protect our freedoms. The ones of us that do are often referred to as "right-wing nuts." However, that's fine by me. An e-mail I received from a friend last week (Thanks Colonel) contained a quote that said, "Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held it's ground." Holding our ground is the least we can do for our military men and women risking their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places every day. Happy 4th of July everyone. !!!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 U.S. Transplant Games - Update #6

Check-in for The Games is now only 4 weeks away. Time is flying and there is still a lot to do. Online fundraising ended Wednesday, June 30th. I was blessed to raise $1500 which was my original goal. After reaching it, I raised the goal by $500 to my second goal of $2000. However, no more donations came in. However, I believe I'm in good shape as far as having my expenses covered. My reason for setting the second goal was because I believed it would enable me to help some of my teammates who have not be as fortunate with their fundraising. I want to say thank you to all who donated. I kinda feel like a race car with multiple sponsors. I am so blessed to have 8 sponsors for The Games.

Now that fundraising has ended, I have one less thing to think about and can focus on bowling. I've been having trouble with my Roto Grip Cell Pearl for the last several weeks. It has not been turning as well as it used to. I've tried having it re-surfaced. I've tried slowing it down and changing lines. Nothing has worked. It became obvious that in order to get the ball to perform the way I need it to I had to do something drastic. That's not usually what you want to do four weeks out from a tournament, but I knew if I didn't I was not gonna be competitive. I am not going to run second, third, or fourth. Silver is the first loser.

Therefore, I put the ball in "the shop" today for a tune-up. It is being re-drilled more aggressively to make it turn better and hook more. I will get it back Monday afternoon and then get back to work with three weeks of practice left. The re-drilling is a bit of a gamble, but like I said, I'm going to Madison to win - period. NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt once said when asked what his strategy was for winning the The Winston, NASCAR's All Star Race, "I'm either gonna win it or bring back nothing but the steering wheel."

That works for me.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Old Politics vs. New Leadership in Tennessee

Below is an interesting article, Old Politics vs. New Leadership in Tennessee, by JB Williams that appeared in Canada Free Press.

Old Politics v. New Leadership in Tennessee
By JB Williams Wednesday, June 30, 2010
There is a national struggle underway for conservative control of the GOP in the 2010 elections and cases like the Tennessee Senate race between old RNC guard Mae Beavers and new GOP rising star Susan Lynn are playing out all over the country.
Old RNC power brokers like John McCain (AZ) and Carly Fiorina (CA) are fighting to maintain the status quo in a political party that long ago lost touch with its roots and the core conservative principles and values that most Americans hope to return to in the 2010 elections.
Across the board, incumbents are in BIG trouble in both political parties on the national scene. But that sentiment has spilled over into many state races as well and nowhere is that more evident than in the heated senate race in Tennessee’s 17th District.
As the left-wing Tennessean paper reports in its June 29th story —“It looks like it may be a summer for the record books, both in terms of heat and also for political shenanigans.”—“Anyone who is a regular listener to right-wing bloviator Steve Gill knows that “fact checker” is not in any job description on his staff. Gill’s attack on fellow far-rightist State Rep. Susan Lynn helps make the point.”
While I have been a supporter of Mae Beavers and a listener of Steve Gill in the past, I must admit that the left-leaning Tennessean has called this one right! Gill has been a well-known sycophant of TN Senator Mae Beavers for years now. His unwarranted personal attacks on TN Rep. Susan Lynn are well known in Tennessee, and have always been played off by locals as nothing more than Beavers Camp rhetoric.
However, the truth stands in the way of both Beavers and Gill this time around and Tennessee conservatives are looking for new conservative leadership, not old RNC campaign shenanigans.
As a conservative Tennessee blogger put it—“Before Mae announced she was running for Wilson County Mayor, she had options. Any decision concerning what to do about remaining the Senator from District 17 was hers alone. Mae admits many people encouraged her to run for Wilson County Mayor and that such encouragement was influential in her decision not to run for Mayor.”
Mae decided to retire from the TN Senate and run for the better paying Wilson County Mayor office, leaving her senate seat vacant and open to new conservative leaders like popular TN Rep. Susan Lynn. Mae also thought she had hand-picked her senate successor in long-time supporter and local businessman A.J. McCall.
But when McCall was forced out of the senate race, running far behind Lynn in the polls, and Mae was forced out of the race for Wilson County Mayor running far behind, Mae had a sudden change of heart.
Beavers dropped out of the Mayor’s race on the heels of McCall dropping out of the senate race, and Beavers announced that she was no longer going to retire her senate seat, placing her in a head-to-head competition with front-runner Susan Lynn.
The TN blogger states the obvious reaction of most Tennessee conservatives, especially Tea Party types seeking new conservative leadership and an end to old RNC political games - “No one forced her [Mae Beavers] to make that decision. She took counsel of her family, her God, her advisors, her constituents and herself and, ultimately, she alone made the decision not to seek re-election to the Senate. She alone had the freedom to make that choice for her life.
Once made, announced and implemented, other people took into account her choice and made their own decisions. Susan Lynn chose to run for Mae’s available seat and as many as 10 candidates may run for Lynn’s seat from TN House District 57. Money was spent, momentous decisions were made that impact individuals, families, voters, the TN GOP and perhaps even Americans beyond the borders of Tennessee.”
Beavers Shoots at Lynn and hits Tennessee Citizens
National Obama policies have forced the states to take up emergency legislation to challenge the federal government’s assault on Tenth Amendment rights.
One of those measures is the Health Care Freedom Act, which the conservative legislators group ALEC had written model legislation on, making it easier for state legislatures to move quickly to protect their citizens from an over-reaching Fed.
Beavers is single handedly responsible for killing the Health Care Freedom Act in Tennessee leaving all Tennesseans exposed to the federal health mandates pushed into law by Obama.
  • Lynn was the first to introduce the Health Care Freedom Act in the House with HB2622—a bill carefully crafted on the ALEC model, taking into consideration previous decisions by the state’s Attorney General concerning “unconstitutional” language in an older senate version.
  • A couple weeks later, Beavers followed Lynn’s lead by introducing a competitive bill in the senate, SB2560. SB2560 included the language which the states AG had already deemed “unconstitutional” which means it would have been vetoed by Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen had it passed.
  • Beavers refused to compromise by removing the “unconstitutional” text and going with Lynn’s HB2622 which had support in the House to pass, and was void of the “unconstitutional” text leaving Governor Bredesen no grounds upon which to veto.
  • In the final hours of floor debate, Lynn reluctantly moved to accept Beavers bill despite knowing that it would likely be vetoed, in an effort to pass some form of Health Care Freedom Act. But in the end, both HB2622 and SB2560 failed to pass and once again, the old politics defeated new leadership, leaving the people of Tennessee without protection of a Health Care Freedom Act.
Now folks, this is exactly why most American voters are as angry with incumbent Republicans as they are Socialist Democrats today.
Beavers’ personal ambition won out over honorable statesmanship and the best interest of the people of Tennessee. Don’t expect to hear this truth from Beavers sycophant Steve Gill.
But it is for this reason that I hereby endorse TN Rep. Susan Lynn for Tennessee’s District 17 Senate seat.
I further request that ALL conservative Americans seeking honest conservative leadership in government join me in supporting Ms. Lynn’s campaign to end the politics of old in the Tennessee Senate.
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