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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

6
Jul

It’s July 6th: 309 Mass Shootings So Far

July 4th is the day we celebrate our country – the United States of America – whose states don’t seem united on many issues but especially on guns.  When the nation’s 309th mass shooting killed 7 people and injured dozens of bystanders at an Independence Day (the irony is not lost on anyone) parade in Highland Park, Illinois, I was in my home where I tend to be more these days because I am afraid to be in a place with crowds. Read more »

10
Jun

Executive Compensation at Kaiser Health (2019)

Kaiser Health is one of many terms (Kaiser, Kaiser Permanente, etc) that refers to one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care insurers and providers with more than 12 million members (primarily in California but also in Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia). With 39 hospitals, more than 700 medical offices, and about 220,000 employees, Kaiser Health is considered one of the leaders in the industry.

Kaiser Health is comprised of the health plan (Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc), the hospitals (Kaiser Foundation Hospitals) and the medical groups (Permanente Medical Groups) although there are numerous non-profits that make up the entire organization. The focus of this post is on the executive compensation reported on the Form 990 of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (KFHP) because this organization reports the paid compensation for the key executives including the Chairman and CEO (as opposed to a related organization reporting compensation from a related organization). Read more »

24
Sep

Where Does $100 to Planned Parenthood Go?

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is generally referred to as “Planned Parenthood” and known to provide reproductive healthcare in the US and globally.  Although Planned Parenthood is often in the news over women’s reproductive rights and specifically, abortion rights, the organization provides general healthcare, birth control, patient education, pregnancy testing, STD testing, treatment, and vaccines, women’s services, LGBT services, and men’s services. Read more »

23
Aug

I’m Struggling to Understand

I’m struggling to understand what’s going on in this country.  We’ve been dealing with a pandemic for about 18 months and we just can’t seem to get control over a killer virus that we have vaccines for. Nearly 1,500 people died in the US from Covid on August 20, 2021 with more to come if we don’t get this virus under control.

The US has about 330 million people. Approximately 50 million are under the age of 12, which leaves 280 million eligible to take the vaccine. To date, about 170 million people have been vaccinated leaving 110 million Americans age 12 and over eligible for the vaccine. But, they won’t take it for a variety of reasons.  As a result, we are losing the battle by allowing the virus to mutate:  causing more illness and killing people. Read more »

20
Aug

Skeeter: 2003-2021

My sweet dog, Skeeter passed away this week. He was 18 years old and I was the lucky one who spent the last 6 years of his life with him.

In the Spring of 2015, I was running on a dirt road in central Iowa when a spry lean dog that looked like a Jack Russell ran out of a distant barn and followed me home. He seemed a bit detached but intent on hanging out with me so I gave him a bath (he was filthy), fed him, and then drove him back to the barn he came from. This back and forth went on for a few weeks.  I would go out for a run and Skeeter would appear and follow me home where we would hang out.  How he always heard me running down that dirt road I’ll never know. Read more »

17
Aug

Beefing Up Sustainability

A few years ago I stopped trying to deter people from eating animal products because its an impossible task.  Most people defer to their doctors (most of whom eat animal products) but they should also read the medical studies (who paid for it, how it was done, and what the conclusions were) because these studies provide valuable information (both good and bad).

No one (including me) wants someone giving them bad news about their bad habits. And, yet I still feel compelled to write from time to time about the realities of eating animals and dairy products because the impact on our health and our planet is significant.

Food is emotional and and one of the few things we derive joy from every day.  It’s hard to break habits but if hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, bacon, cold cuts, eggs, and dairy products, and eggs are a regular part of your diet, consider the following: Read more »

3
Aug

Radon and Lung Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death (after heart disease) in the US claiming approximately 600,000 lives annually.  Nearly 150,000 of those deaths are from lung cancer, which according to the American Cancer Society is more than breast, colon, and prostate cancer deaths combined.

Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer so when someone is diagnosed with lung cancer, they are shocked when a patient was a non-smoker.  What many people don’t know is that the second leading cause of lung cancer is radon:  a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas that naturally occurs in the atmosphere (radon comes from the natural decay of the radioactive chemical elements uranium or thorium that are found in nearly all soils, according to the NIH). Read more »

26
Jul

The Purple Harmony Pillow

When I used to walk through an airport and see someone tugging along a pillow with the pillowcase billowing in their wake, I often stared and wondered if the pillow was for comfort, familiarity, or even a germ thing?  I didn’t get it because for decades, I could rest my head on any pillow and get a decent nights sleep. But then things changed; I got older and started feeling tightness or discomfort if my head and neck were not properly supported, all of which started me on a search for the perfect pillow. Read more »

4
Mar

I Am Not Alexa

Just a few short months ago, we were doing simple things – turning the lights on and off, playing music, and shopping on-line – all by ourselves.  But, things changed around the holidays when the cloud-based voice service called “Alexa” entered our home. Thinking her dad would love to have someone turn the lights on and off, give a weather update, or turn on whatever music he wants to listen to, my daughter decided to give him “Alexa” for Christmas.  But, my daughter was also thinking of me. Read more »

20
Feb

Executive Compensation at ERCOT

Most people outside of Texas had not heard of ERCOT (Electrical Reliability Council of Texas) until this past week when the company was slammed for the massive loss of power across the state.

Although ERCOT is considered an independent system operator, the organization is a membership-based tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (4) governed by a  board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature (who decided decades ago not to allow power to come from outside the state to avoid having to comply with federal regulations that kick in with interstate transactions). In other words, the responsibility to provide power falls upon the management of ERCOT and Texas state officials – not the federal government.

ERCOT’s members (303 as of 12/31/2018) include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned public utilities, transmission and distribution providers, and municipally-owned electric utilities. Read more »