INdiana Systemic Thinking

October 2, 2008

State Sen. Marvin Riegsecker Loses Cancer Battle

From the AP, via the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

State Sen. Marvin Riegsecker, a Goshen Republican who helped push statewide adoption of daylight saving time during his two decades in the Indiana General Assembly, died Tuesday at age 71.

Riegsecker died of cancer at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, where he was surrounded by his wife, Norma, and immediate family members, according to the Senate Republican caucus. Riegsecker was diagnosed this year with lymphoma and decided not to seek re-election.

Riegsecker, a retired pharmacist who was first elected to the Senate in 1988, was a longtime supporter of statewide daylight saving time and helped usher the contentious proposal through the legislature in 2005.

“I just want to get this over with,” Riegsecker said on the day when the daylight time bill won final approval. “I guarantee if it’s not over with, it will come back to haunt us again.”

Riegsecker represented Senate District 12, which covers most of Elkhart County in northern Indiana. He worked to protect consumers from counterfeit prescription drugs and championed causes such as providing services to those with developmental disabilities.

“In my four years in state government, I never met a kinder or more decent person than Marvin Riegsecker,” Gov. Mitch Daniels said. “Plus, he was brave in helping us tackle tough issues, always caring more about Indiana’s future than his own political future.”

Riegsecker was hospitalized for parts of the last legislative session.

“Legislative colleagues will always remember Sen. Riegsecker’s intelligence, passion and commitment,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne. “We will all miss Marvin greatly.”

The Blogmeister wishes Sen. Reigsecker’s family well in their time of sorrow.

October 1, 2008

Matt Lauer Screws up on “Today” Show

Filed under: Politics: Legislators — kurtglmft @ 10:58 pm
Tags: ,

This morning I’m sitting in my favorite chair, drinking a cup of coffee, and watching the “Today” show. They announce Robert Kennedy Jr. Is going to be interviewed by Matt Lauer. Here is the clip:

I just about spit coffee all over myself! For those who are historically challenged, Robert Kennedy Jr. is the son of former Attorney General and Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy, who was assasinated in 1968.

March 16, 2008

25 Tips for Staying Married

The Evansville Courier-Press carried this article today.  As I read through them I was struck by how correct this writer is:

1. Always put her first — before work, friends, even basketball. Act as if she’s the best thing that ever happened to you, because we all know she is.

2. Keep no secrets. Pool your money. Allow nothing and no one to come between you.

3. Pick your fights with care. Play fair. Show some class. Hurtful words can be forgiven, but they’re hard to forget.

4. Fall in love again every day. Kiss her in taxis. Flirt with her at parties. Tell her she’s beautiful. Then tell her again.

5. Never miss an anniversary or a birthday or a chance to make a memory. Memories may not seem important now, but one day they’ll be gold.

6. Never give her a practical gift. If she really wants a Shop-Vac, let her pick it out herself.

7. Go to church together, and pray every day for each other and your marriage.

8. Pay your bills on time and make sure you each have a living will, a durable power of attorney and life insurance, lest, God forbid, you need them.

9. Love her parents as your own, but don’t ask them for money. Never criticize her family or friends. On her birthday, send flowers to her mother with a note saying, “Thank you for giving birth to the love of my life.”

10. Always listen to her heart. If you’re wrong, say you’re sorry; if you’re right, shut up.

11. Don’t half-tie the knot; plan to stay married forever.

12. Never go to bed mad; talk until you’re over it, or you forget why you were mad.

13. Laugh together a lot. If you can laugh at yourselves, you’ll have plenty to laugh about.

14. Never criticize, correct or interrupt her in public; try not to do it in private, either.

15. Remember that people are the least lovable when they are most in need of love.

16. Never fall for the myth of perfectionism; it’s a lie.

17. When you don’t like each other, remember that you love each other; pray for the “good days” to return and they will.

18. Tell the truth, only the truth, with great kindness.

19. Kiss at least 10 seconds a day, all at once or spread out.

20. Memorize all her favorite things and amaze her with how very well you know her.

21. Examine your relationship as often as you change the oil in your car; keep steering it on a path you both want it to go.

22. Be content with what you have materially, honest about where you are emotionally, and never stop growing spiritually.

23. Never raise your voice unless you’re on fire. Whisper when you argue.

24. Be both friends and lovers; in a blackout, light a candle, then make your own sparks.

25. Finally, be an interesting person, lead your own life. But always save your best for each other. In the end, you will know you were better together than you ever could’ve been apart.

Here’s to happily ever after.

DOC Makes Improvements At Girls School

Remember back in December when I posted this about St. Joseph County Judge Peter Nemeth? The story then was he refused to send female juveniles to the Indiana Girls School for a variety of complaints.

Well, today’s South Bend Tribune is reporting the Department of Corrections is making some staffing changes that are encouraging to Nemeth. Specifically;

The DOC has announced it will end a two-year-old arrangement to house boys and girls at the same Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility by moving the boys to a recently renovated section of the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility.

Nemeth said he was encouraged by the DOC’s announcement that a “staffing plan for the facility is being developed to ensure the appropriate deployment of staff.”

“If they are actually doing a staffing plan … if it means more than just words, I think that is real progress,” the judge said. “I applaud them for that.

Girls will be moved into the unit being vacated by the boys. The unit will house girls in single rooms that lock from a central control location, along with a special management unit specifically programmed for girls struggling with mental health issues.

“It looks like they are going to do what we want them to do,” said Bill Bruinsma, executive director of the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center. “We’ll have to see what staffing they’re going to add in and what kind of programming they’re going to put into it … It’s a step in the right direction.”

However, Nemeth doesn’t appear completely sold on the changes…

Nemeth said he still will avoid sending girls to the Indianapolis facility until he knows more details about the changes, especially whether staff-to-child ratios improve. Instead, he said he is sending girls who are the most difficult to rehabilitate to a private juvenile detention facility in Vincennes, at a daily cost to the county of $138, compared to $60 a day at the Indianapolis DOC girls school.

February 27, 2008

2004 Indiana Health Insurance Law Misses Mark

The Indianapolis Star Business section has a great in-depth story on the 2004 insurance change in Indiana that allowed insurance companies to either deny insurance policies for pre-existing conditions, or waive coverage for 10 years for those conditions. At the time, it was touted as a way for more people to be covered, at a lower price, because the insurance companies would not have to cover “high risk” patients. In addition, in 2004, Indiana was only one of two states requiring insurance companies to cover these “high risk” patients. When the law was being discussed in the legislature, the insurance companies told our representatives they were in support of this measure, because it would help more of the citizens of Indiana get coverage, at a lower cost.

Well surprise, surprise. We now find more people are not covered, and, in fact, there are less people covered and the insurance companies continue to make record profits.

Here are some quotes from the story:

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, sponsored the change in Indiana law and hoped it would reduce the number of people denied health insurance.

She also wanted to limit the increasing number of people who had no choice but to seek insurance through the state’s high-risk insurance pool, which covers people who can’t get insurance from any other source. The pool was facing insolvency.

“We believed having some insurance was better than having none at all,” Miller said.

Miller said she’s had no complaints.

Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, opposed the measure and still thinks it benefits only insurance companies. He called the measure just an effort by the insurance industry to “take advantage of people who need health insurance.”

Rich Collins, chief executive of Golden Rule Insurance Co., an Indianapolis-based subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that sells individual policies, said Hoosiers have access to a strong and competitive health insurance market.

Collins said his company offers coverage to more than 89 percent of applicants.
“The fundamental issue is that health care is expensive,” he said.

I’ll let the reader make up their own mind as to what was really going on back in 2004, but I thinking it’s pretty clear this turned into a huge bonus for the insurance industry at the expense of citizens regardless of the intent.

Mr. Collins also got my dander up as he hit on a pet peeve of mine. “Health care” is not the same as health insurance. While “health care” may be expensive, health insurance is generally 30% higher to cover administering the policies, and paying his salary. Making health insurance much more expensive than health care.

Whatzup with the Blog

Filed under: About The Blog,Announcements — kurtglmft @ 9:07 am

I’m sure both the people who regularly read the blog have noticed I’ve been posting rather infrequently of late.  Here’s whats up.  First, I’ve had that nasty cold/flu/plaque thing making it’s way around northeastern Indiana.  Along with the physical symptoms, it appears to make one just plain mean, as reported by family and co-workers.  So, apart from not feeling all that well, I didn’t want to write something unfairly mean or unjust.  Secondly, I’ve been working on setting up the server at the office to work with new web software.  The primary purpose is to enhance our practice web pages, but an added bonus will be I could host this, or another blog, from that server.  It’s not done yet, but it has taken quite a bit of time.

Neither of those issues are really resolved at this point, but I am feeling a little better.  So, please bear with me and things will hopefully return to normal in a few days!

February 24, 2008

Dems Still Hopeful Bayh Will Be on Ticket

A few months ago, I posted that I thought Senator Evan Bayh made huge political mistake by endorsing Hillary Clinton. My take was/is he wanted the VP slot so bad he would violate a cardinal rule of politics by showing his hand too early. Well, turns the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is now wondering aloud what the consequences of his early endorsement will mean. Sylvia Smith goes way out of her was to rationalize and justify why Bayh should be on an Obama ticket. I’m not going to post any quotes, because the story is so far from being anything close to political reality that it would be a waste of space here.

However, I will use the space to say this. Folks, get over it. Bayh isn’t going to be anywhere near a Presidential ticket. Obama needs someone older…way older than Bayh, and someone who can deliver some hefty electoral college votes from a very swing state. Bayh isn’t the guy. While he may be well known in Indiana, no-one knows who he is outside our borders. Argue with that all you want, but it’s the political truth. Add to it that he has never done anything memorable legislatively, he continues to enrich himself through his wife’s woefully unqualified “employment” as a professional board member, and the fact he has never had a real job, and he will never pass a national vetting.

So, can we please go back to sticking our heads in the sand on Bayh?

Nader to Run Again

The Associated Press just came out with news Ralph Nader will make another attempt at being elected President. You can view the full story here, but this is what he basically said/stands for:

…the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will “shift the power from the few to the many.”

…most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy.

…tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration… [have] left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.

[He] criticized Republican candidate John McCain and Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for failing to support full Medicare for all or cracking down on Pentagon waste and a “bloated military budget. He blamed that on corporate lobbyists and special interests, which he said dominate Washington, D.C., and pledged in his third-party campaign to accept donations only from individuals.

Sen. David Ford Pens Letter, Updates Condition

State Senator David Ford updates us on his condition in a letter published by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  I’ll post the whole letter here.

I would first like to thank Rep. Tim Harris for hosting our town meetings while I have been ill. He has been a really great partner, as we have represented Blackford and Grant counties over the last four years.

Second, I profoundly want to thank everyone in the Senate district for their support, prayers, cards, e-mails and wishes that have been sent.

I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I am now home and feeling very well. I am under the care of my nurse-wife Joyce, sister-in-law Kelly Ford and Family Hospice of Northeast Indiana. They are a troop of angels who make it possible for me live in my own home and still get a very high level of medical care and attention. I have begun a course of chemotherapy with Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. So far my body is tolerating the treatment quite well.

I have not been able to get back to the Statehouse since falling ill on Jan. 15, but I am able to participate in several ways. I attend caucuses through teleconferencing. I talk to various Senate colleagues on the phone daily. I get all of the bills and documents electronically. I can watch the Senate sessions and committee hearings live via the Internet. With the help of Senate co-authors, I have two bills (SB 190 and SB 197) that have already passed the Senate and House of Representatives and will shortly be on their way to the governor for his signature.

Obviously, this is not the way I would prefer to be representing my district, but it is the best I can do for now. I am able to deal with all of my mail, calls and e-mail, so if you contact me with your thoughts on legislation or your needs with regard to state government, I and my wonderful legislative assistant will give the same service that we have tried to provide in the past.

Briefly, on the issues: Rep. Harris has a handout covering major points of the Senate Republicans’ property tax relief package. I am firmly convinced that the General Assembly will take major steps toward property tax reform by the end of the session.

Thank you for your understanding and for all of your kindnesses. It is this “heart of gold” spirit within Hoosiers that constantly reminds me of why I do this job and how important it really is.

SEN. DAVID FORD  Hartford City

Straight Talk

Filed under: IN Judiciary,Indiana,Legal/Law — kurtglmft @ 9:04 am
Tags: , , , ,

This little tidbit is too good to pass up. Unfortunately it was buried way down at the bottom of this article. You have to like it when someone bypasses all the politically correct diplomacy and says exactly what they mean and want:

Fielding special requests is just part of the job when it comes to holding public office — just ask Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The governor spoke Tuesday at the Outlook 2008 economic luncheon in Carmel.

He recalled receiving an especially flowery introduction before another recent address. Daniels said he stood up on that day to say first that he appreciated the kind words.

“I got up and said, ‘Bob, I don’t know how to thank you,’ ” Daniels recalled.

“He jumped up and said, ‘I do — I want to be a Superior Court judge.’ ”

The governor appoints county judges when there are vacancies.

Niiiiiiiice.

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