September 2004 Archives

If you are ever in Starkville and need to go to a hospital, we have one but, unless your need is urgent, I suggest you look elsewhere. I can assure you that they are not capable of handling billing. And if you have a problem, you will have a hard time finding anyone to stand up and take responsibility.

But I wouldn't expect anything less. You need only look at their web page to see that no email address are listed. Now why would a webpage not list email addresses? They do have them, or at least their administrators do, for I found them on another site.

Now don't misunderstand me here. The medical staff is top-notch, the clerks and adminstrators are the one's I've found fault with. Yes, I actually did get into the operating room and the paperwork they had listed the wrong leg. Fortunately I was awake and alert and talking to the staff. When they read the orders I noticed there was a problem and we laughed about it. I'm sure that had I not been awake, they would have noticed the error and all would have been well but it does reflect the quality of the paper pushers they employ.

This is also not the first time I've had problems with this outfit, but it is the last. When my daughter was born we also ran into problems. I also can not say that all medical care facilities are this bad either, for they are not. The accident which ultimately landed me in Oktibbeha County Hospital resulted in first going to another hospital, seeing another emergency room physician, having another radiologist review the X-rays, and at Oktibbeha County Hospital dealing with yet another radiologist, an orthopedic surgeon, an anesthetist, and physical therapy at another facility. How many of them did I have billing problems with? None. Not a single one. Oktibbeha County Hospital however, was a problem from the git go. So seven medical facilities that are capable of competent of handling their accounting, and Oktibbeha County Hospital, not capable of handling their accounting and billing.

So, should you have to seek service from Oktibbeha County Hospital, I recommend the following:

1) Take someone with you and make sure they record everything brought into the room;
2) Review all paperwork personally before undergoing any procedures;
3) Follow up on billing and do not assume they will provide you with a bill;
4) Be prepared to do business the old-fashioned way for they are apparently email shy;
5) Set aside several hours so that you can fix the messes they make;
6) Maintain your honestly and integrity, you'll need it.

Should you not need urgent care, there are other options in nearby counties that, from what I've heard, provide excellent care, have reasonable rates, and can keep their books in order.

New Laptop Arrives

My new laptop arrived today. I finally grew tired of the old one after sitting around waiting on it to process information so I bought a new one. I picked a Dell Inspiron 9100 and so far I like it. I do not like have to switch to a new computer because of the trouble involved in getting all the right files in all the right places. Sure there is software out there to help, but I've never found any that works all that well.

With all the traveling I do, this new one should help me stay somewhat ahead of the game. I must admit that I now select hotels based on the availability of high-speed Internet access in the rooms. I really like the hotels that provide this free (read, it is covered in your room charge).

I'm Going to Memphis

I drove to Memphis tonight so that I can facilitate the Reserve Officer Leadership Continuum this weekend at Naval Reserve Center Memphis. The drive was not unpleasant but hardly a scenic trip. I had to go out of my way a little as I realized on my way that the ink cartridges in my HP Deskjet 340 were dead. I found a Staples, spent a fortune, but got the cartridges to print certificates.

I was somewhat nostalgic on the way. It was not too long ago that I made the trip on a regular basis. Once a week I would drive up for my Naval War College class taught on the base. I did that for three years and had a great time. I did see some changes over the years but none that made the trip much shorter. One road that was under construction most of the time I made the trek was finished this time.

My daughter was headed the other way to meet her boyfriend's parents. She was driving herself and planned to return later that night to go to work the next day. WE finally succeeded in getting her to stay the night and leave early in the morning. I'm worried she is rushing this relationship and would much rather she take it easy for a while.

When I arrived on base, I was sent to the old BOQ for lodging. Now part of the Navy Inns, this building is not used as often as the newer complex but was still a nice facility. When I walked in to check-in I realized where I was. I was standing in the lobby of the building where I was commissioned many years ago. I could still see my daughter, about six years old at the time, running around the lobby.

Rather Lied!

Well it certainly took long enough, but now Rather admits the documents were fake. CBS, as if we can trust them, has launched an investigation to find out how this happened. Well, it seems pretty simple to me. Rather is biased, something that has been known for a while, and he and the liberals at CBS were more than willing to jump on a story they wanted to believe.

In his questioning of the Bush-baskher who provided the documents, Rather asked how they could trust what he said..

Rather: "You, you lie, you"

Burkett: "yes, I did."

Rather:: "You lied to us. Why would I, or anyone, believe that you wouldn't mislead us about something else?"

Burkett: "I could understand that question. I can't. That's gonna have to be your judgment and anybody else's."

Burkett still insists the documents are real, but says he was in no position to verify them.

Burkett: "I also insisted when I sat down with your staff in the first face-to-face session, before I gave up any documents, I wanted to know what you were gonna do with them. And I insisted they be authenticated."

Well, Mr. Rather, I ask, how can we trust you or CBS?

CBS and Dan Rather

Danny Boy has got to go. This last week's embarrassment to the entire profession of journalism is worse than Peter Arnett's phony Baby Milk Factory new cast from DESERT STORM. Dan just won't give up his personal opinions for the sake of his career. A news reporter has nothing but their skill, integrity, and impartiality. Last week Dan demonstrated he has none of the three remaining.

The documents are now obviously fake, something that was obvious to many a long time ago. One of the principals has since come out and said the feelings attributed to him were not true, but because he is a Bush cupporter, we have to discount him (according to the ethics of CBS News). Other problems with the documents seem to be so obvious that anyone with half a brain could have seen them before consulting any experts.

Dan's integrity is also shot. Not only did he rush to judgment, he is now willing to back off the report. The controversy alone is enough to result in an apology. Danny Boy needs to say he is sorry, that the report was obviously made too early to be sure of the facts, and that he will continue with the investigation and let us know what he finds in a few weeks. He won't because he has not integrity left.

The 2000 election covereage was the last straw for Rather's umpartiality. His obvious personal joy and sadness, all expressed in the same night, show he was a Democrat (surprise! surprise!) pulling for Gore. Now how we take someone with such obvious bias as a serious reporter.

Dan may have been a good reporter in years gone by but his days are over. CNN fired Peter Arnett, CBS should get rid of Dan. He's got this time in, let hom retire and move on with the rest of his life. The world will be a safer place without him on the air.

MSU 7, Maine 9

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To say it was a disappointing loss would be an understatement--but it was a disappointing loss. The Bulldogs are not the best they've been and we all know that. The team has declined over the last several years and it will take some time to buld it back. There are some very good players on the field, the discipline is much better than it has been (witness the few number of panalties), and the coach, Sylvester Croom, holds a lot of prgress.

The bright spot of yesterday's game was that the team did not give up. For too many years the Bulldogs have been playing thirty minutes of a sixty minute game. Now they are playing the full sixty minutes and need only get better to win some games. During the recruiting season, Coach Croom said that the new recruits would have the opportunity to play for an SEC championship while they were here. I still belive him and am ready to buy my tickets.

What disturbed me yesterday was the poor officiating. I, and many others, have long said that the SEC has the best football teams and the worst officials in the nation, and I still believe that. You have question any organization in America that prohibits those most affected by something from talking about it yet that is excatly what the NCAA does. Why are they worried about coaches complaining about officials? Most every game is televised it seems so if a coach gets out of line and unduly accuses an official of a bad call, a simple replay of the tape will show the truth.

Now don't get me wrong. referees are human and will make mistakes. No matter what we do there will still the ocassional bad or missed call. It just seems to he be happening more often than not of late.

One call that bothers me from yesterday is the incomlete pass call. One official ruled it complete and another ruled it incomplete. The replay showed it was complete. But why did the two differ? Obviously one saw it better than the other and the one on the oppostie side of the play ruled it compelte. Oficials have to learn that you do not make a call unless you are sure you saw what you are calling.

Look at the increasing number of "conferences" on the field with officials these days. Yestraday's game had several flags waved off because a hasty official had to toss his yellow hanky before he was sure of what he saw. After they meet on the field, they take bakc the flag and play on.

Nothing wrong with conferecnes and reviewing calls except the number of flags thrown only to be recalled are growing. The oficials are, wuite simply, not as good as they should be. And the world of collegiate athletics, where there is a lot of money involved, not to mention careers of coaches and their staffs, a bad official has an impact that extends far from the playing field.

The wrst officiating I have ever seen however reamins that of the MSU BYU game a few years ago. That was just blatant bad officiating and everyone of those refs should have been fired. That was also the first and last year that BYU was really a ranked team. Did the officials have something to do with that?

Ivan the Terrible Moves On

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Hurricane Ivan, well at least the western edge of it, passed through this afternoon. All in all we had very lttle trouble. The power went out this afternoon for about an hour, but the power seems to go out everytime it rains. Yes, all that really needs to be done is for he lines to be kept clear but that calls for trimming trees and 4 County Power Association is afraid to trim them too much.

Yesterday we cleared off the front porch and the house now looks like no one lives here. We had a small storm a few years ago that blew stuff off the porch and broke a few things so we took extra precautions this time. The only problem is that when we got everything off the porch, it occurred to us that this would be the opportune time to paint the porch again. So I guess we will have teh paint in the next few days and get a coat of paint on the porch before witner.

My parents live further south and they've had a little more trouble. The winds were greater and they've been without power longer. They also live in the middle of nowhere so it may be a while before they get power turned on again. They are also serving as the storm shelter for the relatives who live on the coast. Everyone is safe though, and given the death and destruction elsewhere, that is a lot.

Schools were closed today in the area. At first look it did not appear to be that bad but then I heard there was concern for the school buses being out on the roads in the wind. Given how most people in Mississippi drive in good weather, keeping the buses off the roads in bad weather was a good idea.

Classes at Mississippi State were not, however, cancelled. The word was that classes would be held but students should use their own judgment about attending. As if they do not use their judgment any other time!? As I worked in my office I noticed very few students walking to class so I suspect attendance was low. My class did meet and we had pretty much a full complement. I suspected attendance would be low becasue so many people come from out of town to attend. This afternoon, after the storm had passed, night classes were cancelled. I don't understand why they did that and, if they were going to cancel classes, why wait so late. Many students come from out town and may have been on the road already.

A few years ago I was taking Naval War College classes in Memphis and driving up there every week. There were several times when I did not go because of weather, either severe storms or snow, and I did wait to be told to "use my own judgment". I guess when you are given a commission they expect you to use your God-given common sense all of the time!

My most frequently read blog, Thomas P. M. Barnett, was oof the net earlier this week which put a wrinkle in my ritual. He is back on now. It seems as though his book, and specifically his C-SPAN appearance have resulted in many visits to his site resulted in his allocated being exceeded. He got more bandwidth and is back up and running. Lesson learned: the price of fame is more bandwidth requirement.

IS is t just me or is Kerry complaining about everyone and everything these days? Somehow it is not President Bush's fault that the assault gun ban expires tonight. Is there a problem with legislators proposing legislation these days? Is it up to the President to the job of the President, Congress, and the Courts?

There is a simple fact about this and that is that there is only one person running in this campaign with the title "Senator". If Senator Kerry is so upset about the assault weapons ban, then he should have introduced legislation calling for it to be extended. Of course he may well know that there was not enough interest in extending the ban and that is why he didn't try anything. If he introduced legislation and it failed to pass, what could he complain about?

With 535 peope in Washington capable of introducing legislation to extend this ban and not one of them did anything leads me to belive that this ban is not high on the list of most people. But still, why blame Bush? Why not blame the legislators, begining with Senator Kerry?

Liberals Scrambling

Dateline: Fairfield Inn Airport, Greensboro, NC.

Just finsihed my ten-hour drive to drill and spent most of the time listening to the news. Sirius Radio is the best thing for long trips! Mainly what I heard was lots and lots of scrambling and whining by Kerry supporters. I am always amazed at how liberals seldom address a question head-on.

At issue today was Bush's war record. First, the questions being asked by the Kerry mob show, if nothing else, that they have little idea of how the National Guard (Army or Air) or Reserves work. Perhaps it is because Kerry was a member of the Naval Reserve who was placed on active duty during Viet Nam and when he returned he set about endangering our Soldiers and Sailors with his talk rather than drilling. Anyway, it seems that the documents Dan Rather aired on CBS may not be authentic. Of course Rather claims they are and he is never wrong. I for one would feel much more comfortable if they called in CNN an Peter Arnett to review them. With CNN's OPERATION TAILWIND bogosity a few years ago, surely they are better at spotting problems now.

During my drive I heard interviews with both Bush an dKerry supporters and I noticed a drastic difference in the two. Kerry supporters did not stay on topic, Bush supporters did. Bush supporters were calm and talked at a reasonable level allowing the opposition time to talk, Kerry supporters were yelling, talking in loud, high-pitched voices, and kept interrupting. My favorite ploy was to say that this was not about the voracity of the CBS documents but about what Bush did or didn't do. One Kerry guy actually said even if the CBS documents were fake it didn't matter because there were many other documents out there. Now let me get this straight, there are so many documents proving Bush failed to do his duty, someone may well have had to create one? I don't get it. If there were so many documents out there, then why not use a real document.

I'm kind of enjoying it anyway. First Dan Rather is on the hot seat and perhaps this will push the guy into retirement. I long ago lost any confidence in CBS News and 60 Minutes became such a farce that I quit watching it years ago.

Good New from Iraq

I ran across this story about an Iraqi farmer the other day. Interesting how the people of Iraq seem to be different from what we hear on CNN and CBS. Sounds to me like the people appreciate what has been done for them by the US and the coalition.

It was revealed today that the geniuses running Oxford have decided to ban parking along a controlled-access, 4-lane Highway during football games. Who'd a thunk it? All it took to accomplish this feat was for a student to get killed.

Now most people, people with half a brain anyway, would have realized that cars traveling in excess of 55 MPH with plenty of room to pass slower cars, and parking on the same road was a recipe for disaster and would have done something sooner. Apparently this is not the case in Oxford, the place that can not even properly pronounce the name of their county (Lafayette, from the French General of American Revolution War times--not the redneck "La Fay Ette"). Finally after one student is run over by another drunk student, they eliminate parking. (Yes, I realize that "drunk student" is redundant when referring to University of Mississippi and LSU students.)

What is really sad about this is that although parking on the highway was not the brightest thing to do, the real cause of the death of the student was a drunk driver. Recall that the University of Mississippi was chastised by a judge in the not too distant past about its leniency towards alcohol consumption by students. The police have said that they will ensure that no one parks along the highway for the next football game, which is good; if only they could be as dedicated, determined, and efficient in removing drunks from the road. In the meantime, stay out of Oxford, it is not a safe place to be.

I heard way too much Kerry today. I know the man is smarter than he comes across but he really irritates me trying to separate everything when everything is, in reality, connected. He is losing to Bush on national security so he wants to talk economy. Well it looks like the economy is picking up a little so he starts in on outsourcing. If only each could be treated in a vacuum by itself, we could really solve some problems.

The problem is that all of these are connected. Outsourcing is a result of globalization. Our economy is global and three is really nothing we can do about that. That ship has sailed and can not be called back into the harbor. What is going to have happen is that people are going to have to change. We Americans are simply too expensive to do some jobs anymore. There is nothing wrong with that as we realize that we simply need to do something else, and do it better than anyone else. The problem comes when the guy working for GM wants to stay in the same spot on the assembly line. He can't, and it is that simple.

We also can not divorce economics from national security. Second only to the devastating loss of life, the worst part of 9/11 was the shut down of the economy. A few letters of anthrax, some that just look like anthrax, and businesses slow down if not shut down all together. And a few months ago when a computer error caused power outages across the northeastern United States, the economy suffered.

The fact is that we can not have a viable economy without national security and Kerry knows that. The fact that we are a global economy also means that national security neither begins nor ends at the US border. Our national security does involve Iraq, Iran, Korea, China, Africa, and all the rest of the world. We are connected and our economy is intertwined with national security. I only hope the American public gets it before November.

This afternoon I had to get an inner tube for the lawnmower. The mower is old but good--it is one of Mississippi's Yazoo Wheel mowers. After fifteen years the inner tube in one of the tires finally blew. The rear wheels are large for a mower, they are actually twenty inches in diameter and their width is two and one-eight inches.

So, I go to the store and tell them the size tube I need and what I need it for. First they have to second guess me--tires, that large, on a mower? Yes. I do know what I am doing here. So I ask and they look. First they try to show me some ten inch tires. Nope ten and twenty are both good numbers but not the same. They finally say they don't a tube so I ask about a bicycle tube. "Oh, that might work."

The guy looks and the comes back and tells me they do have one two and one-eight inches wide but they've got one about two and quarter inches wide or maybe about 2.1 inches. I say, fine, I'll make it work. So the guy brings the box and puts it on the counter. Right on the side of the box, in great big numbers is the tube size--20 X 2.125. These people have so little math education that they do not recognize that one-eight of an inch is the same as 0.125. Guess they missed math class that day. And Kerry is wondering why jobs are being outsourced!?

Unfit for Command

I finished reading Unfit for Command by John O"neill last night and I see why the Kerry campaign is hell bent on trashing the Swift Boat Veterans. According to the news stories the big complaint is about Kerry's medals and what he did, or did not do, to earn them. That is certainly part of the book but the main gripe I saw in the book, was with Kerry's behaviour when he returned from Vietnam.

If there really are problems with this book then Kerry should confront them. He has certainly mis-used the veteran's group picture and, if we are simply counting numbers, there are more SwiftVets against Kerry than for him. And we must remember, Kerry is the one who said "bring it on". Seems to me the SwiftVets have "brought it on" and Kerry is running as fast as he can--away.

Getting Kerry to own up to anything is an impossible task. Remember a few months ago when he said more foreign goverment officials supported him than supported Bush? Well he never seemed to come up with a list. I even emailed his campaign just to mess with them a little and I got no response. Well, that is not exactly true, I did get added to his mailing list (from which I promptly removed myself). Just something un-nerving about getting email from Kerry that begins "Dear Friend:".

It's Not One Thing, It's Everything

John Kerry is at it again. Now he says that if he were Commander in Chief he would not have done one thing differently from President Bush--he would have done everything differently. Now, was this when he voted for the war before he voted against? I'm confused by all the flip-flopping this guy is doing.

It does not matter what he says now, we all would probably do things differently after we've done them and learned from them. What matters is what would he have done at the time. He had the same intelligence the President had so he would likely have made the same decision. Is this not, in fact, what he did when he voted for the war?

Once again, Kerry-rhetoric is taking over and I'm getting confused.

Oxford, Mississippi--The Place for DUI

Last year in Oxford, Mississippi, home of that renowned party school, The University of Mississippi, a drunken student ran head-on into another student. I just heard on the news that he was sentenced to 10 years with 9 years suspended. I also heard that late last week, another drunken University of Mississippi student ran over another student killing her. Wonder how much time he will get for that murder?

It really irritates me that we continue to have judges in this state who are so lenient on crimes committed by people who simply to damn stupid to not drink and drive. Even when they kill someone they still get off. Just last week this same University was mourning, and rightly so, the death of three students killed in a fraternity house fire. Perhaps a little outrage over the lenient judges who essentially let drunken murders off so easy would result in a little less drinking and lot more students living. How hard is it for seemingly intelligent students to understand that you simply do not drink and drive? Apparently it is too much to ask for from the students in Oxford.

New Used Car

Spent several hours today buying the daughter a new car. New to her, used to the previous owner. She has been saving her money for a down payment, has a job now to help make the payments, and needs one. Inside New Car Small.jpg
Ofcourse what she wanted was simply out of reach. We found one car that she liked but to get the payments to where she wanted them would have required a longer loan, and the bank would not make loans for that long unless the car was sbout $3000 more expensive.

So, she ended up getting a car like she wanted, only this one was several years old and has some miles on it. All in all I think it was a pretty good deal.

The sad part is that we have daughter now getting her own car and making payments (with me as the back up, of course). It will take every bit of her paycheck to make payments but she will learn some economic responsibility, and have a credit record when she finishes college. That should help in the years to come.

Tomorrow is tag time and insurance. Our agent recommends we get another policy that Kathryn can take with her when she leaves for work or graduate school. Really scary thinking about how much my little girl has grown.

Beside New Car Small.jpg

Beside Her New Car Rear small.jpg

Sylvester Croom in Washington Post

Saw a picture of Sylvester Croom in the Washington Post along with a short write-up. They had to mention that he is the first black coach in the SEC. While it is a fact that he is the first black SEC coach, it seems to be more important elsewhere than it is here. We talk a lot about the football team and the coach and I've not heard anyone here make a big deal out of the coach's skin color.

Perhaps we are starting to break the stereotypes people outside the south have about us. If so, well, it's about time. In my travels I have to admit that save for of the most rural areas I pass through, I find race to a bigger issue outside the south than in it. Sure there is always the toothless guy stuck in the 1940's that will find his way onto any news show, but people are well over those years. And that is a good thing because it gets us Sylvester Croom!

Sylvester Croom and Thomas Barnett

What a game! Mississippi State 28, Tulane 7! Okay, Tulane is not the caliber of teams we will play later in the season but ti was good to win a game for a change. It was also great that Sylvester Croom's first game go in the "W" column.

Although it was good to win, it was even better to see a team with spirit and discipline. Mistakes were surely made, but they seemed to be mistakes attributable to inexperience and lack of playing time. There were no stupid mistakes that resulted from undisciplined players. I have a good feeling about the team. We have a long way to go and may not win another game this season, but as long as they play like they did tonight, a championship is certainly in the future.

Caught the last little bit of Thomas Barnett's second showing on C-SPAN. Barnett, a professor at the Naval War College and author of The Pentagon's New Map, gave his briefing to ICAF students at the National Defense University a few months ago. C-SPAN recorded it and it was shown tonight. I missed the first showing because of the football game, and then had my old roommate and his wife come by for a visit.

I did record the show and watched the tape later. What a brief! He truly does take PowerPoint to new heights, but more than graphics, his message is interesting. I'm reading the book which fills in some of the details he can't cover in the brief, and it too is good. I wish I had time to just sit down and read for a while but time is truly a luxury these days.

The Whining Has Begun

I said I wasn't going to do it but I couldn't myself--I have been watching parts of the Republican Convention. I did not watch the Democratic convention becauseI detest lying. I wasn't going to watch the Republican's because I figured I would not hear anything new.

The other night, after the speeches had died down, C-SPAN took phone comments from viewers. The second call was from a self-reported Democrat who accused the Republicans of being hypocrites. Why? Because they had a banner that read "People of Compassion". Well that is certainly hypocritical to me. After all that was the first time Republicans had claimed to be compassionate. No, wait, I forgot, George W. Bush actually ran as a compassionate Republican.

This particular caller, like so many Democrats these days, was blinded by her hatred of the President that she read far too much into the banner. She actually said that the banner implied Democrats were not compassionate. Excuse me? Where did that come from? I certainly didn't see that, but then again I do not live in the black and white world she does. (Of course, with flip-flop Kerry, the world can be both black and white at the same time!) I actually believe that both parties can be compassionate.

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