Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, mercy me - it's time for Music Monday again.

As I mentioned last week, March's Music Mondays have featured #1 songs. Today will be more of the same. The only difference will be the music genre. Instead of rock / metal, today's artist is the Contemporary Christian artist Mercy Me. Mercy Me has won numerous awards, including two Dove Awards for song of the year in 2002 and 2004. They've recorded more than 20 number one songs including today's feature - "So Long Self" (click here to watch video) from their 2006 album Coming Up to Breathe. Enjoy.

P.S. After today, The Sheepdog's gonna take a break from the blog. I'm currently working on a renovation of my website,, and I'm gonna spend some time finishing that up. When I crank up the blogging again in April, it will be Donate Life Month and things will be a little different on The Sheepdog. I will continue Music Mondays during April because I think they are a good way to start the week. However, the rest of the week will be devoted to organ and tissue donation. Then, when May rolls around, I go back to the regular format. See ya in April.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Tennessee's Big "Gubmint" Republicans

The 2010 elections featured big wins by Tennessee Republicans. They re-took the governorship, gained more seats in the state legislature, and installed the first ever female Speaker of the House with Beth Harwell (pictured right.) It all happened because Tennesseans, like many Americans, were sick and tired of the Democrats failed economic policies. One of Speaker Harwell's first orders of business was to establish a litmus test for bills coming before the legislature this session. She said (see, January 11, 2011, Republicans Take State House Control, Install Speaker Harwell) that for each bill lawmakers should consider :
Does it (the bill) increase the size of government or not ? Second, does it make it easier to start a business and operate it in Tennessee or not ? And finally, does it keep us moving forward in reforming our educational system to best meet the needs of the next generation or not ?
Speaker Harwell's litmus test led me to believe she was sending a message that if a bill didn't pass these tests, then the sponsor shouldn't even bother bringing it up this session. However, this post will show that there are a number of bills currently before the Tennessee Legislature that don't meet any of these tests. In fact, many of them actually increase the size of government and decrease the freedom of Tennesseans. Below I list some of these bills and their sponsors and tell what they do. You will be surprised at what you see.
  • SB 257 / HB 1822 - Liet. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Rep. Jon Lundberg - DNA and Genetic Testing - Bill would require a DNA sample be taken from all persons arrested on a felony charge - not after you're convicted, but when arrested. The DNA would be entered into a database to be maintained by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). It changes existing law which requires a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a "violent" felony and makes it applicable to all felonies. It would require the TBI to destroy the sample if the charges are dismissed or if the accused is acquitted. This bill stinks of unconstitutionality under both the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Personally, I don't trust the "gubmint" to destroy the sample after an acquittal or dismissal of charges as required. I suspect that after your DNA goes into that database, it will stay forever. Then, whenever a crime is committed, the first thing law enforcement will do is look for DNA at the scene and then check the database for a match. No more thorough police investigations, and Lord help you if your DNA shows up at the scene and if you're in the database. That'll be the end of the investigation and you're on the hook for the crime whether you're guilty or not. The good thing is that the bill has not gotten anywhere in the legislature and Liet. Gov. Ramsey has taken a lot of heat for the bill. In fact, he's gotten so much heat that in a recent interview he said he may drop the bill because "... it's not worth the hassle." Please notice he didn't say because it's unconstitutional. He said because of the hassle. I guess he would have went full steam ahead if he hadn't been called on it. The scary thing is Ramsey was the preferred pick of many conservatives and Tea Partiers for Tennessee governor. I guess now we know his true nature. Thank God he didn't win the governorship.
  • HB 910 / SB 785 - Rep. Jon Lundberg and Sen. Bill Ketron - Criminal Offense - The bill is known as "The Animal Fighting Enforcement Act" and it increases the penalties for animal fighting. Maybe they should have named it "The Michael Vick Act." What I'd like to know is how does this help with jobs or education ?
  • HB 1112 / SB 1568 - Rep. Frank Niceley and Sen. Bill Ketron - Agriculture - The bill is known as the "White-tailed Deer Breeding and Farming Act." And yes, you read that right. The state of Tennessee wants to regulate deer. Why ? So, they can charge the "deer farmers" fees for such regulating. I promise I'm not making this up. Once again, how does this create jobs ? Oh yeah, that's right. It'll create "gubmint" jobs because they'll have to hire "deer regulators." Thus, it will increase the size of government. Doesn't that mean it fails one of Speaker Harwell's tests ? 
  • HB 427 / SB 418 - Rep. Dale Ford and Sen. Rusty Crowe - Administrative Procedure - The bill would require a state agency to file a report with the Government Operations Committee if they levy any fine over $1000 or suspend or revoke for more than 7 days the license of anyone licensed by that agency. Why does the state legislature need to get involved here ?? Let the licensing agency handle the disciplining of their licensees.
  • HB 428 / SB 416 - Rep. Dale Ford and Sen. Rusty Crowe - General Assembly - The bill sets up a committee to evaluate the fines, suspensions, and revocations reported to the Government Operations Committee due to HB 427 / SB 418 mentioned above. Unbelievable. This is Big "Gubmint" at it's finest.
  • HB 153 / SB 74 - Rep. Bob Ramsey and Sen. Doug Overbey - Motor Vehicles - The bill makes it illegal for a child under 5 to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Here's an idea - LET THE PARENTS REGULATE WHETHER OR NOT THEIR KID IS ON A MOTORCYCLE. Focus on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Is Tennessee becoming the Mother of All Nanny States or what ? Abso-freakin'-lutely ridiculous.
  • HB 1537 / SB 1503 - Rep. Dennis Powers and Sen. Ken Yager - Drugs, Over the Counter - The bill says that a pharmacist can only sell you an over-the-counter decongestant after he or she has consulted with and "observed" you in order to determine whether or not you are planning to use the medication to manufacture methamphetamine. Once they are sure you are not gonna make meth with it, they can sell you the medication. I guess this means pharmacists are gonna have to undergo some law enforcement training in profiling techniques if this passes. I bet they're gonna love that. I wonder if they'll have to Mirandize you before questioning ? I can see it now - "You have the right to remain silent." However, if you choose to exercise your right to remain silent and not talk to us, then we will be forced to not sell you the Claritan D." Lovely, huh ?
  • SB 325 / HB 234 - Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Debra Maggart - Drugs, Over the Counter - The bill would require sales of over-the-counter decongestants containing pseudoephedrine to be entered into a national registry. A consumer would only be able to purchase a certain allotment within a specified time period before being "cut-off." So, if you have a lot of sinus problems, at some point you could be prohibited from purchasing Claritan D, Zyrtec D, etc. It would work much like the instant check you go through when buying a gun. The pharmacist would enter your identifying information into the registry, and as long as you've not been "bad" and purchased more than your allotment, they would complete the sale. If not, then too bad, so sad for you. The bill is being pushed by law enforcement agencies and others due to the meth problem in Tennessee and the huge costs of cleaning up meth labs. However, just like gun control through the registering of firearms doesn't prevent gun crime, this "meth control" scheme won't work either. Just like bad guys will always find ways to get guns no matter how much gun control is implemented, they will find ways to make meth even if this bill passes. The only people that will be affected are the law-abiding citizens. For years Sen. Beavers has been an opponent of gun control and gun registration schemes because they don't work and only punish the law-abiding. Therefore, she should scrap this worthless bill for the same reasons. Tea Party groups have liked her in the past because she is anti-big "gubmint." Could it be they were wrong and she actually likes Big "Gubmint ?" Or, maybe she's just changed her mind recently and went from anti-Big "Gubmint" to pro-Big "Gubmint ?" If that's the case, I wonder if she's pro-gun control now, too ? However, here's the really screwy part of this bill. Sen. Beavers voted in favor of the bill in committee, but when it got out to the Senate floor she voted against her own bill. What happened ? Did she see the error of her ways and vote against it ? Or, was she just as confused as I was when I saw that she voted for her very own sponsored bill while it was in committee and then against it on the floor ? Maybe this was one of those "she was for it before she was against" kinda deals.
  • SB 756 / HB 1119 by Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Curry Todd - SB 477 / HB 1252 by Sen. Mae Beavers / Rep. Bill Dunn - Election Laws - These two bills go hand-in-hand with each other. They tell the county commissions in Tennessee that even though the county election commissions are funded by county tax dollars, the county commissions have no say so in how they are ran. It's been previously established by the courts that the county election commissions are state agencies and their employees are state employees. Now, this bill will tell the county commission that they must fund the budgets of the election commissions and cannot cut or otherwise change their budgets. In other words, "You're gonna fund it, but we're gonna tell you how to run it and there ain't nothing you can do about it." In my opinion, that's crap. That's about like me going out and buying a brand new car and then my neighbor telling me how and when I can drive it. It's another Big "Gubmint" / Nanny State bill sponsored by Sen. Beavers. She's the same Sen. Beavers that railed against ObamaCare and the state taking Federal stimilus dollars. Why ? It was because she felt the Federal government was overstepping it's bounds by telling us how do things in Tennessee, of course. Now, she wants to pass a bill allowing the state to do the same thing to it's 95 counties that she pitched a fit about Obama and the Feds doing to Tennessee. Isn't that a bit hypocritical ? And she's supposedly a small government Conservative, huh ? Perhaps someone should change the definition of small government Conservative.
Some are probably wondering, "Dang Sheepdog. You're being awfully hard on the Republicans. What's up with that ?" It's simple. As I've said before, I considered my a Republican for 30 years. However, recently I've felt just like Ronald Reagan did when he said he didn't leave the Democratic Party, they left him. The Republican Party as a whole has lost it's Conservative roots. It's why I've joined the ranks of the Independents. There's still some good Republicans, but they're getting few and far between. Republicans in Tennessee were hired to do a job. I think Speaker Harwell had it right when she said the priorities should be smaller government, the economy, and education. Every one of the bills I highlighted above fail that test. Every single one. Republicans should take this as constructive criticism. Tennesseans and Americans everywhere are fed up and running out of patience. Republicans in Tennessee and all across the country whined, complained, and criticized the Democrats when they were in power for passing legislation that was intrusive into the lives of the American people, increased the size of government, and spent millions upon millions of dollars. The Republicans promised to put an end to all that if we would elect them. Well, we did and they haven't lived up to their end of the bargain. We can vote you right back out. The problem is that it puts the Democrats back in power, and they are a lost cause. The Democratic Party of today is not the one our fathers and grandfathers knew. Today's Democratic Party has been infected by Socialists. It says so right on the Socialist Party USA website (click here). They are working to pass their agenda through the Democrats. When the American people lose their patience with the Republicans again and vote the Democrats back into office, these are the jokers that will be in power !! Is that what the Republicans want to see happen ? If not, then they need get to work doing the job we hired them you to do which is making job creation easier, helping with the economic recovery, and shrinking the size of government. Knock it off with the Nanny State Bills. They don't create jobs or opportunities. Get it in gear.
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Joe knows the Constitution

In 2007, President Bush was considering military action against Iran. At that time Joe Biden was Senator Biden and in this video he "warns" President Bush that he would lead impeachment proceedings against him if he chose to attack Iran. Biden said he "knew" the constitution and that Bush did not have the constitutional authority to attack anyone without Congressional approval. In Biden's opinion, the only exception was if the U.S. had been attacked or if there was an imminent threat of an attack. This is the same Joe Biden that is known as "The Father of the Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994. That bill was one of the most unconstitutional gun control assaults on the Second Amendment in the history of the U.S. Perhaps The Second Amendment just slipped Joe's mind back in 1994. Or, could it be that like most Democrats, Joe picks and chooses the parts of the constitution to follow and at what times to follow them based upon whatever is politically expedient at that time ? Just remember, Joe Knows the Constitution.

Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008So, since Joe Knows it would have been unconstitutional for Bush to attack Iran, surely he realizes that in regards to Libya Obama has done the exact same thing he threatened Bush over. So, the question I have for Joe is - who's gonna lead the impeachment proceedings against Obama ? Is he gonna do it ? Or, did that just apply to Bush and Obama gets a pass ?

Hello. Joe, are you out there ? Yo Joe ........

Oh well. Maybe he's at another Beer Summit. After all, it is Friday and Joe Knows the Constitution.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Study shows anti-rejection drug may slow rare lung disease

SpirometryRapamune is a common anti-rejection medication often prescribed by doctors to prevent rejection in transplant recipients. However, a recent research study shows that the drug may also slow the progression of a rare and very serious lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM for short. Researchers noted that Rapamune stabilized the lung function of the study's participants but that the benefits ended when they stopped taking the medication. So, it appears once started as a treatment of LAM, it cannot be discontinued.

LAM mainly strikes women. According to the article on titled Rejection Drug Slows Decline in Rare Lung Disease, LAM is a cystic lung disease that affects about 5 out of every one million people. During the course of the study, the researchers found that on average the patients taking the Rapamune made small gains in lung function while it decreased in the ones taking a pacebo. One doctor referred to the findings of the study as "a big step forward" for sufferers of the disease who previously had no hope. Since lung transplants are one of the hardest to come by, I'd say this is good news indeed.
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Californians on organ donor registry tops 8 million

According to a new report, Eight Million Californians Say "Yes" to Organ and Tissue Donation, on, the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry now has over 8 million of the state's residents as registered donors. The numbers show an increase of 33% in the last year with 1 in 3 visitors to the DMV signing up to be donors up from 1 in 5 back in 2006.

To find out how to join the ranks of the millions of Americans who have made the life-saving commitment to be organ and tissue donors, please visit the Donate Life America website. Just click here and then on your state to find out how to sign-up where you live.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Transplant patients have new weapon in skin cancer fight

One of the side effects of transplant recipients' anti-rejection medications is a higher occurrence of skin cancer. I know first hand as I've had to have several removed since my transplant. However, there is a new weapon in the fight against these cancers. Learn more in this video. I, for one, am excited and glad another option besides cuttin' and dicin' will soon be available. The cuttin' and dicin' method sucks.

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Connecticut firefighters promoting organ and tissue donation

Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead performing.Image of Phil Lesh via Tony on Flickr via WikipediaFirefighters in Westport, Connecticut are promoting organ and tissue donation through a new program called "Firefighters Going Further." According to the article Westport Firefighters Step-up Campaign for Organ, Tissue Donors on, the program began about a year ago after Westport firefighter Joseph Arnson heard former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh speak about his own liver transplant. Lesh was speaking after a concert at the Gathering of the Vibes festival last year about how one person's decision to be an organ donor gave him a second chance to live. Lesh's word's were the inspiration for the new program.

The program was originally intended to promote organ and tissue donation awareness among firefighters and encourage them to be organ and tissue donors. However, on April 4th, the Westport Fire Department will kick-off their expansion of the program into their local community. The event will include the raising of a Donate Life flag autographed by each member of the department at headquarters. Their goal is to raise awareness locally in hopes of saving lives there. These guys have realized that organ and tissue donation is not about death - it's about life. We all need to learn that lesson.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

A Music Monday with U2

When trying to decide on a music video to feature today, it occurred to me that my March Music Mondays have had a commonality - they've all been number one songs from the '80s. So, I decided to continue with that trend today. Last week I watched U2 play an outdoor concert atop the BBC building in London on TV. So, I decided they would be the featured band this week. The featured song is their first career number one in the U.S. and Canada - "With or Without You" from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. "With or Without You" was the first of three singles from that album to reach number one with the album itself reaching number one. The Joshua Tree earned U2 two Grammy Awards in 1988 for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Enjoy.

(My e-mail subscribers can see the video by clicking here.)
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Do Republicans support "Free Speech" or not ??

The Republican Party's (GOP) platform is pro-life, pro-gun, and for low taxes and smaller government. They say they want to cut government spending, have a strong military, and support the Constitutional protections of individual liberty including freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. Unfortunately, many times their actions say otherwise. When they're in power, we've seen the GOP spend, spend, spend and grow government bigger and bigger while criticizing the Democrats for doing the same thing. It's often hypocrisy at it's finest. A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post similar to today's which pointed out one such Republican hypocrisy. It's title was Are Republicans Pro-Life or Not ?? In that post, I showed that even though the GOP says they're "pro-life," some of the GOP's members seem to think that "pro-life" only applies to babies. Today, I'll show another Republican hypocrisy involving freedom of speech, and I'll base it on a personal experience.

On January 29, 2011, I attended a meeting of The Wilson Co. (TN) Republican Party (WCRP) in which an election was held to elect new officers after they were given an "order" by "Big Brother," a.k.a. The Tennessee Republican Party (TNGOP), to do so. In my opinion, "the order" was an example of The Big Government / Nanny State-itis that has infected the GOP, but that's another story for another day. In fact, the ones of us in attendance at the meeting saw an example of this "Nanny State-itis" in the meeting's opening minutes. Chris Devaney, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, was the master of ceremonies for the election. Right after the meeting began, a gentlemen by the name of Reed Working made a couple of motions to amend the rules in place for the meeting. Chairman Devaney immediately ruled the motions out of order. The crowd booed and voiced it's displeasure with his ruling. It became apparent very quickly that it was Devaney's way or the highway. More GOP Nanny State-itis. No free speech. Just "shut up and sit down." It made me wonder - "Was I at a meeting of Democrats or Republicans ?"

A couple of weeks before the officer election, I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I would help out by giving a few hours of my time to work as a volunteer poll worker for the election. Basically, my job was to check ID's and follow other criteria set forth by "the powers that be" to help ensure that votes were cast only by people that were actually eligible to vote. One of those criteria was that the voter had to be a "bonafied Republican." The question is - what is a "bonafied Republican ?" Is it :
  • one who is for limited government and low taxes who follows the Constitution and has the same values and principles that the Founding Fathers did, or
  • one who likes big government, higher spending, higher taxes, is a politician instead of a public servant, and only follows the Constitution on occasion ? In other words - Democrat-lite.
Confusing, huh ?

Image via Bernard Gagnon on Wikipedia.
Let me be honest. I didn't really want to go help out as a poll worker that day, but I agreed to as a favor for a friend. We've all been there, right ? We do something we don't want to because a family member or friend asked us to. However, the night before the election my friend called and said I had been marked off the list of poll workers. I had been "fired" before ever reporting to work. Weird, huh ? Actually ... not really. I didn't have to be Albert Einstein to know why I was "fired." In my opinion, it was because during the 2010 election cycle, I had been very open about my displeasure with some of the so-called Republican candidates on the ballot. If I had to guess, though, my biggest "sin" in the eyes of the Republican-establishment-elite was my open, outspoken opposition to the re-election of incumbent State Senator Mae Beavers. If I was a poker player, I'd go "all in" on that being the main reason for my "firing." Somebody or somebodies had been "offended" by me thinking for myself and then exercising my freedom of speech when exposing contradictions in her voting record. I guess they expected me to just fall in line and go along to get along. Nope. Sorry. I don't work that way. The amazing thing is that the big powerful establishment feels so threatened by this little ol' transplant-recipient-blogger that they basically censored me for doing so. That just blows my mind because it doesn't make one iota of any sense. Perhaps they should spend more time trying to help Tennesseans get back to work instead of worrying about me.

So, where am I going with this ? My point is simple. Over the last couple of years, we've heard Republicans cry foul over the desire of the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress to place new restrictions on freedom of speech through renewing The Fairness Doctrine, instituting new FCC regulations, and other means. The Democrats and others on the Left are notorious for loving free speech unless it criticizes, contradicts, or threatens them. In other words, as long as they agree with what you're saying, you can say whatever you want. However, if they don't agree with you, then it's "shut up and sit down" or worse. Hitler and Stalin were famous for it. Now, it appears that some Republicans are getting in on the act if you dare to oppose "the establishment candidate." Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all Republicans are doing such things because many are good, compassionate, friendly conservatives who are sticking to their values, principles, and ethics. However, speaking from my own experience, it seems that some Republicans are going the way of the Democrats and others on the Left by supporting free speech only when they agree with it. That's too bad because it's a darn shame when you can't tell the Pachyderms from the Jackasses.

Ouch !!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Register as organ and tissue donor via ...... Smart Phone ??

Yes, you read the headline correctly. According to an article, Would-be Organ Donors Can Register by Smart Phone, on, residents of the state of Illinois who have either a driver's license or an Illinois ID card number can now register as an organ and tissue donor via their smart phone. All they have to do is visit

The article goes on to say that about sixty percent of adults in Illinois are currently registered as organ and tissue donors with approximately 4800 of the state's residents waiting on a life-saving organ transplant. Hopefully, the new "smart phone sign up" will help increase the number of registered donors in that state. If you have not registered as an organ and tissue donor in the state where you live, then I encourage you to visit the Donate Life America website (click here) to find out how to do so.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good news for transplant recipients !!

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatm...University of Louisville researchers are working closely with ones from Northwestern University on a project that one day may drastically change the lives of transplant recipients. According to a study on the courier-journal.comUniversity of Louisville Researcher on Cusp of Organ-Transplant Breakthrough, the researchers are currently conducting an experiment where specially processed stem cells from an organ donor are given to the donor's recipient. The recipient then develops a "combined immune system" which includes part of the donor's immune system and part of the recipient's. The recipient's body will then recognize the transplanted organ as it's own and not reject it.

Currently, twelve kidney recipients are involved in the experiment. One of them stopped anti-rejection medications last July, another went off theirs in February, and three others will stop them by June. So far, the results of the experiment have been great bringing great promise for the future. If transplant patients could stop taking anti-rejection medications one day, their lives would change. They would not have to worry about the side effects the medications can cause, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney problems. The problems that result from a suppressed immune system, such as higher risk of infection and cancer development, would be a thing of the past, too. Plus, their medical expenses would go down drastically due to not having to take the ultra-expensive anti-rejection medications. Now, that's change you can really believe in.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Music Monday with 38 Special

Last week's Music Monday took a journey all the way back to 1984 and Van Halen's only number one song, "Jump." Today, we go back just a little further to 1983 and feature another number one song - 38 Special's "If I'd Been the One" from the band's Tour de Force album. The song reaching number one was a Christmas present for 38 Special in 1983. It reached the top of the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart on Christmas Eve and remained there until Van Halen's "Jump" bumped it from the top spot on January 21, 1984.

38 Special has long been my favorite band and "If I'd Been the One" my favorite song of theirs. The video is great. The tune is fast, it contains a vintage car, an antique truck, and beautiful scenery with horses running across open fields. 38 Special has been a great band for many, many years, and I've been fortunate to have seen them in concert twice. Many rock bands spend an excessive amount of time running their mouths during their shows but not 38 Special. They just play music. If you've never seen them in concert, you need to. They give you your money's worth every time. Plus, if you're a gun enthusiast, like me, how can you go wrong with a band named 38 Special ? Enjoy the video.

Oh yeah - one other thing. I bet your foot will be tapping by the end of today's video because this one's a rocker. Let me know if I'm wrong.

(My e-mail subscribers can click here to watch the video.)
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

California doctors perform 1st successful hand transplant in state

The new UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, fro...Recently, doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical personnel from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (image right via Fuzzy 901 on Wikipedia) gave a 26-year traffic accident victim a new hand. The hand transplant performed by this team of 17 medical personnel accomplished this miracle by performing the first successful hand transplant ever done within the state of California. Five years ago the patient, a mother, had lost her hand in a traffic accident. The doctors say she should regain feeling in her new hand and the full use of it in about a year after completing rehabilitation.

According to the story, UCLA Doctors Perform CA's 1st Successful Hand Transplant, on, the surgery was the 13th such procedure in the U.S. since 1999 and the 40th in the world since the first one was done in France in 1998. UCLA opened it's hand transplant unit, only the fourth in the U.S., last year. Doctors have been performing re-attachments of amputated limbs for some time. Now, they have entered a whole new realm and given amputees more options and hope by integrating re-attachment surgeries with transplantation. 

WalMart employee will save boss

How much do you like your boss ? Seriously. Do you like him or her enough to offer to donate one of your kidneys to save their life ? To Teresa Pearson, a WalMart employee in Grandville, Michigan, the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes." In fact, she was the one to bring it up when she approached the assistant manager, Jeff Goodale, at the WalMart where she works and volunteered to be a living donor for him.

A picture of the inside of a remodeled Walmart...According to the story on titled Woman Donates Kidney to Her Boss, Jeff inherited kidney disease from his father and cysts growing on his kidneys had "... shut them down." He had been on the waiting list for a kidney for two years and was facing a lifetime of dialysis when Teresa stepped up and offered to help. One of her reasons for doing so was that Jeff had served our country for 20 years in the military. It was Teresa's way of saying thank you. Jeff's transplant was originally scheduled for March but has been re-scheduled for May. Something tells me he can't wait, and I'm hoping everything goes great for both him and Teresa.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oklahoma bill grants bone marrow donation leave

Seal of Oklahoma.
Several weeks ago, I shared (see article here) that California had passed a new law requiring employers to grant time off to employees who choose to be bone marrow or living organ donors. Now, I'm pleased to learn that Oklahoma is considering a similar bill.

According to the report on titled Committee Advances Bill to Facilitate Bone Marrow Donation, House Bill 1078, sponsored by State Rep. Mike Shelton (D), authorizes a leave of absence for employees who choose to be bone marrow or living organ donors (i.e. - kidney or partial liver). The employees could choose to take sick time, vacation days, or annual leave in order to save a life through donation.

Supporters of the bill believe it will encourage living donation by reducing some of the obstacles, such as time off from work, that prohibit people from donating. Last week the bill passed unanimously out of the House Economic Development, Tourism, and Financial Services Committee and will next be considered on the floor of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. I say "kudos" to the Oklahoma legislature for considering this bill. I encourage them to pass it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Jumpin' Music Monday

Today's Music Monday takes a long walk down memory lane to this week in 1984 when Van Halen had the only number one single of their career. "Jump," from the album 1984, stayed on top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart from February 25 - March 24. Van Halen's popularity through the years makes it somewhat amazing that "Jump" is their only number one song. Enjoy the walk down memory lane.

(My e-mail subscribers can watch the video by clicking here.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

UNOS proposing new, discriminatory kidney allocation system

I've recently ran across several articles concerning a policy change by UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing). The change would greatly effect the way kidneys are allocated for transplantation. I'm combining today's Transplant Thursday post with tomorrow's Freedom Friday post, and the reasons for doing so will become very obvious to you as you read through this blog entry. This blog entry will summarize the information in the three articles below and couple it with my own opinion, analysis, and commentary.
UNOS is a non-profit organization that facilitates donated organ placement in the U.S. via a contract with the Federal government. Currently, there are over 110,000 Americans on the national waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant and about 75-80% of them need a kidney. UNOS' present kidney allocation policy gives placement priority for donated kidneys to patients who are either the sickest or have been waiting the longest. The proposed change would give priority to younger, healthier patients. Specifically, the new system would grade and segregate both patients and donated kidneys into groups. One group would be the youngest and healthiest 20% of the patients and donated kidneys. The other group, the remaining 80%, would then be broken up into sub-groups. These sub-groups would be comprised of patients and donated kidneys where the age difference is +/- 15 years or less. For instance, a 50-year old patient could only receive a donor kidney from someone between 35 and 65 years of age.

The purpose of this proposed allocation change is to try put "the best kidneys" with people who will receive the most benefit from them for the longest period of time. However, as a heart transplant recipient and an American, I do not like it for two reasons. First, the proposal is age discrimination pure and simple. We have laws in this country against discrimination on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, disability, etc. We have worked for years and made great strides against ending discrimination, but obviously, we still have a long way to go. Lives have even been given for that cause. The elderly have given of themselves for years working long and hard to keep our country vibrant and competitive. Many of them have served in the armed forces or as police officers or fireman, but yet UNOS is proposing that we thank them by discriminating against them when it comes to a kidney transplant because of their age. In fact, Lainie Friedman Ross, a physician and bioethicist at the University of Chicago, said in regards to the UNOS proposal, "The best kidneys are from young adults under 35 years. No one over the age of 50 will see one of those (kidneys). There are a lot of people in their 50s and 60s, who with a properly functioning kidney, could have 20 or more years of life. We're making it harder for them to get a kidney that will function for that length of time. It's age discrimination." In my opinion, that's just wrong - period. Since UNOS is a federal contractor, wouldn't U.S. anti-discrimination laws apply to them, too ? The answer is yes, they do. What's next ? Is there gonna be a proposal to discriminate in organ transplantation based upon race or sex ? Can you imagine the ruckus if that happened ? We should be complaining about this injustice, too.

Second, in my opinion, the proposed new kidney allocation system smells of a mixture of eugenics, health care rationing, and "the complete lives system." Eugenics and "the complete lives system" are theories by which arbitrary values are placed on human life. These theories are pure evil. For instance, these theories place more value on the the life of a young person versus an elderly person and would consider the life of someone healthy more valuable than the life of someone who is chronically ill. These theories have been advocated by people such as Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw, and Adolf Hitler as a way to eliminate people considered "defective." For instance, Sanger proposed using eugenics in immigration policy because immigrants might have "conditions" that could be "... detrimental to the stamina of the race," and Hitler, of course, was in favor of using eugenics as a way of "controlling" the Jewish population. The Declaration of Independence guarantees all Americans the right to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." It doesn't matter what race they may be, how old they are, or whether they are healthy or ill. It would be wrong to begin allocating donated kidneys based upon the perceived value of someone's life or who would "get the most bang for the buck." If they start doing this with kidneys, how long will it be before a similar policy is instituted for patients who need a heart, liver, or other organ transplant ?

The main reasoning for the new kidney allocation system proposal is because there are not enough donated kidneys to go around. I agree that there is a shortage of organ and tissue donors. That is a fact. Nineteen Americans wouldn't die everyday waiting on a transplant if it weren't. However, there is a better way to eliminate the organ shortage problem. It doesn't involve discrimination, rationing, or other un-American allocation methods. It involves Americans of every race, socio-economic class, political affiliation, faith, and age working together for a common cause - saving lives. It's very simple. All we need to do to end the shortage of organs available for life-saving transplants is for all of us to sign up to be organ and tissue donors. Please visit the Donate Life America website (click here) today for more information about organ and tissue donation. Then, sign up to be an organ and tissue donor in the state where you live.

Furthermore, UNOS is accepting public comment on their new allocation system proposal until April 1, 2011. If the new allocation system is implemented, it could go into effect as early as June 2012. If you agree with me that this new system is not the answer, then please take the time today to e-mail UNOS and tell them that their new proposal for allocating donated kidneys in discriminatory and should be scrapped. Tell them to either come up with a better and fairer proposal or to just leave the present system alone. Their e-mail address for such comments is I sent them an e-mail expressing my own displeasure with the proposed policy earlier today. I hope you'll take the time to do so, too.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recipient and living donor become close friends after transplant

In September 2008, Elizabeth Kelly saved Stacey Baade's life by being a living kidney donor for her. At the time, neither had any idea what the future would hold. They have since become close friends who advocate for organ donation together.

According to the article, Organ Donation Forges Fast Friendship, on, Elizabeth and Stacey's lives crossed paths because they are both members of a special community - law enforcement. Stacey's husband, Eric, is a Folsom Police Officer. The Folsom Police Chief contacted all law enforcement in California via e-mail to try to find someone that could help Stacey. Stacey received many responses but chose Elizabeth, a retiree of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, as her living donor.

Stacey's energy and quality of life have returned since her transplant. She has run in 5K's, 10K's, and even a full marathon. Currently, Elizabeth and Stacey are training and preparing with Team Donate Life in order to participate in the Ride Across America which is a 3000 mile bike race for public awareness. They will be the first ever recipient-donor team to participate in the event. Their goal is to show the difference that people can make by choosing to become organ, tissue, and blood donors. It is a great goal.

One way you can make a difference is by visiting the Donate Life America website (click here). There you can find more information about organ and tissue donation. Plus, you can find out how to commit to donation in the state where you live.

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California law will make it easier to be organ donor

Chamber of the California State Assembly. Take...California Assemblyman Jared Huffman is sponsoring a bill that will provide another way for Californians to sign up to be organ and tissue donors. Currently, Californians have limited opportunities to do so other than when going to the DMV to get or renew their drivers' licenses. Huffman's bill will change that.

In the article California Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easier to Become an Organ Donor ( Huffman states, "California is still among the lowest of the states in the country in terms of voluntary sign-up for this program, so we have to just get the word out, and that's the concept behind this bill, provide more ways for folks, who I think want to do the right thing and save lives." This is a novel conept - an elected official who wants to pass a bill that will help save lives. Simply amazing. Lawmakers all across the country could learn something from this gentleman.
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