A Genius Died Today

The inventor of the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording, Les Paul, died today at the age of 94. Because of his hundreds of inventions and innovations, he is also considered the father of rock and roll which, if it existed at all, would certainly not have been the same without his contributions. He was still performing up until June of this year. He will be missed.

CLICK HERE to read more about Les Paul, his music, and his contributions to the instrument he helped to perfect.

Are We Really That Stupid?

If we want to be charitable, about the best we can say is that we are uninformed. A huge majority of Americans, whether they are for it or against it, cannot describe what is actually in the health care reform bill now being considered by the congress. Most Americans, who are fortunate enough to have a health care plan, cannot describe what it covers and does not cover. But many of them are certain that, whatever it is, Obama and the Democratic socialists in Washington want to take it away from them.

Many Americans, who currently receive some form of government subsidized or administered health care, and seem to be very happy with it, don’t want the government involved in any way with their health care program. A surprising percentage of Americans don’t know that Medicare and Medicaid are government run health care programs.

Add to this the fact that a huge number of Americans also believe that health care reform, under the Democrats, will include provisions for euthanizing our elderly. Again, all anyone has to do to find the truth is read the amendment in question which, by the way, was authored and introduced by a Republican. It simply includes payment to physicians for consultation regarding a living will, and end of life care. Medicare does not currently pay for this consultation. The amendment’s only purpose is to enable more people to have this conversation with their doctors if they choose to.

So, we as a nation have whipped ourselves into a frenzy, assailing and defending a health care reform bill that we don’t know anything about, except what we have chosen to accept from the rumor mill, and from the all-too-partisan cheerleaders on both sides, as truth. Are we really that stupid?

Maybe. But it smells a lot like lazy to me.

You may read  Sec. 1233. Advance Care Planning Consultation, as well as the rest of the health care bill by clicking HERE.

But you probably won’t.

David Perkins

If You Believe …

If you believe, I mean truly believe, that the President of the United States was born on foreign soil; that any version of any healthcare reform bill that is now, or ever has been, under consideration by the United States Congress includes provisions for euthanasia of the elderly; that the current democratically elected government of this country bears any resemblance to the nazi regime of the Third Reich; that the current democratically elected government of this country is drafting secret plans to come and take your guns away – then you are in the lunatic fringe of political and social thought in this country, and you should get comfortable with that label.

If you are so frightened by legitimate and vigorous debate of the issues facing this country that you feel the answer is to shut down the debate altogether, and simply not allow all voices to be heard, then you are undemocratic, unAmerican, and undeserving of the freedoms and the liberties that this country affords you. If you would rather see the government of this country fail and collapse, than be allowed to implement policies with which you disagree, then you are not fighting the “enemy within,” you are the “enemy within,” and you are a danger to this country.

And, by the way, if you truly believe all of the above, then someone should come and take your guns away, because you’re too fucking crazy to own one.

David Perkins

Stop Your Wireless Carrier from Stealing Your Minutes!

In his New York Times column today, technical writer David Pogue explains how all major wireless phone companies use “The Mandatory 15-Second Voicemail Instructions” to chew up your airtime, and make hundreds of millions of dollars. BUT, he also explains what we can do about it. He’s organizing an email campaign, and has forewarned the phone companies that we’re coming.

If you are willing to spend 30 to 60 seconds of your time sending an email, Pogue actually thinks it will have an impact, and he has the correct email address you should use to share your concerns with your carrier. Read what you can do today at “Take Back the Beep Campaign.” It could well turn out to be worth far more than the time you spend reading.

CLICK HERE to read David Pogue’s column, “Take Back the Beep Campaign.”

Outliers: A Review

I just finished reading the book Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell. I don’t pretend to be an astute interpreter of social comment or literary works, but I found this book fascinating. What apparently started as an investigation of the super-successful, in search of clues we might all use to improve our chances in life, became a revealing study of human socio-economic hierarchies, family and social histories, and just plain dumb luck.

Even if you don’t completely buy into Gladwell’s theories, his anecdotal evidence is intriguing and entertaining on many levels. He plots the success of several well-known people; Bill Gates, The Beatles, and others, and concludes that pure chance had as much to do with their mega-success as their natural talents, and their willingness to work very hard. By the way, he does not dismiss the talent and work ethic as major reasons for success, he just points out the several and incredible strokes of luck that contributed heavily to these people’s rise to the top. In the process, he concludes that these same factors influence how well your second-grader may, or may not, succeed in school.

Much more complete, and overwhelmingly positive, reviews are available on Amazon, but there are a handful of negative opinions as well. It’s a relatively short book, about 300 pages, and for my part, I think it’s well worth the read. At the very least, it should contribute to a spirited dialogue about how we view and measure success, especially in our young.

David Perkins

Click here to read Outliers reviews on Amazon.com

Stand By Me

If you haven’t seen the wonderful international music video “Stand By Me” you must click the link and go there now. Yes, it’s the old Ben E. King song, but it was recorded by dozens of artists all over the globe, and then cut together into a really creative and moving piece. Thanks to Lia Carmody for sending this to me.

You can  CLICK HERE or use the link in the sidebar.