She kissed a girl

One of the nice things about Facebook is the opportunity to keep up to date with the people I’ve gotten to know over the years but don’t have frequent contact with. Jean is one of those people. We served on a Board together for a number of years. Our paths cross occasionally but infrequently. I enjoy reading her FB updates and I send her a copy of the newsletter I write.
The other day Jean posted a link to a disturbing story about the Atlanta police harassing a group of bar patrons for no other reason than they happened to be gay. I’m happy Jean posted the link because we all need to be vigilant when it comes to civil/human rights abuses.
Jean has posted a number of links related to issues facing gay people. Some have been serious, some funny and some I’ve ignored. Out of curiosity I took a look at Jean’s profile. Jean is in a relationship and she’s gay. The world is now different and I’m not sure how to deal with this new information.
acknowledge or ignore: that is the question. To acknowledge Jean ‘s sexuality is filled with all sorts of presumptuous pitfalls. I don’t want to seem  like I’m showing some sort of approval: indicating approval for someone’s sexuality is kind of like indicating approval of someone’s racial background: “Hey I just realized you’re Asian and I want you to know I’m OK with that”. Showing some sort of solidarity seems like a noble thing to do but I can’t imagine being part of one of the very few groups who are openly (and legally) discriminated against so that would be a hollow gesture. Pointing out the dangers of living together out of wedlock might be useful if it weren’t for the institutionalized discrimination thing.
I guess I’m stuck. I’ll shoot Jean a copy of this blog post and hope she continues to share tidbits from her life in whatever ways our paths cross.

The Insurance Industry fears free-market capitalism

Susan Pisano of the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) trade group stresses two major points about health insurance plans:
1. The health insurance industry does not believe they could compete with a government operated insurance plan.
2. Only one percent of health care premiums go toward profits.
Two generally accepted points regarding health insurance administrative costs are:
1. For-profit health insurance have administrative costs of 15 – 30%.
2. Medicare has administrative costs under 5%.
When we put the position of AHIP together with what is accepted about administrative costs it is hard to see AHIP’s concern over the competition a government administrated plan would provide. True, for-profit insurance plans would have to bring their administrative costs under control but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Once AHIP members brought their administrative costs under control the one percent difference (profits) would be insignificant and a free market would determine if they were deserved.
AHIP appears to fear free-market capitalism more than anything else.

Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros are all that

In going through my e-mail yesterday morning I found a very welcome surprise. The group “Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros” was going to be in town for a show tonight. They would be appearing at Club Garibaldi, a small venue, for the nominal cost of $10 per ticket. This seemed like a chance that might never come again. My plan to see the show came together better-than-expected. Unfortunately, the show itself turned out to be quite a disappointment.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is a Los Angeles-based band led by Alex Ebertthe group plays a mix of folk, world music and acoustic music, delivered with an enthusiasm reminiscent of a tent show revival.
I’ve been following Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros through various Internet radio stations across the country.  I’ve heard them live in concert a number of times over the Internet.  I had put them on my (very short) list of groups to see regardless of the ticket price.  This opportunity appeared to be too good to be true and in unexpected ways it was.
Jeremiah Nelson (of Madison, Wisconsin) opened the night with a set of original songs.  Nelson was accompanied by a violin player and they put on a good set. A number of times Nelson noted they would do a couple more songs and then   Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros would be out. After the second time nelson said this I began to wonder if they weren’t getting the stretch signal from off-stage.
When Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros finally did come out it was clear this was not going to be their best performance.  It became all too obvious Alex Ebert, the group’s leader was performing while impaired.  My wife told me later all of the band members and the sound person were drinking quite heavily throughout the performance. 
By the end of the night my initial concern this opportunity to see Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros might be a one-time thing was confirmed. I had assumed the group was on a path which might leave “small markets” such as Milwaukee behind.  I never imagined the group might implode in a fog of substance abuse.
Some links to the music:

Helen and Dan on Relevant Radio

As a follow up to the article “

Couple begins every day with wedding vows

published in the August 6th Catholic Herald  we were asked to do an interview with  Sean Herriot of Relevant Radio.
The interview was great fun and we had a chance to share a little bit of how we have kept our love alive for these past twenty years.
An archive of the interview can be found about 45 minutes into hour three of the 9/3 program:
The Catholic Herald article can be found at: