Friday, June 27, 2008
Below are some helpful basics of on-line safety courtesy of http://www.staysafeonline.org/
Before I sign off, I'm going to throw my most basic and important rule out there...If it's something you would not say, do or share with a stranger, then think twice before you post it anywhere on-line, even private pages, because once it's on-line it's out there forever! (I'm still not sure about where "out there" actually is...we will most definitely need a guest blogger for that topic.)
Safe and happy posting cyber homies,
P.S. Becca and I are both I-Safe Certified so if you have questions or want more details about how to stay safe on line you can hit us up at email@example.com
BASIC ONLINE SAFETY TIPS
1. Guard your financial and other sensitive information. Never provide or post your Social Security number, address, phone number, bank account or credit card numbers, or other personal information that could be used by criminals.
2. Picture social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace. Police, college admissions personnel, employers, stalkers, con artists, nosy neighbors – anyone can see what you post. Don’t disclose anything about yourself, your friends, or family members that you wouldn’t want to be made public. And remember that once information appears on a Web site, it can never be completely erased. Even if it’s modified or deleted, older versions may exist on others’ computers. Some social networking sites allow users to restrict access to certain people. Understand how the site works and what privacy choices you may have.
3. Be cautious about meeting your new cyber friends in person. After all, it’s hard to judge people by photos or information they post about themselves. If you decide to meet someone in person, do so during the day in a public place, and ask for information that you can verify, such as the person’s place of employment.
4. Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails. They may contain viruses or spyware that could damage your computer or steal your personal information – including your online passwords and account numbers. Some messages may “spoof,” or copy the email addresses of friends to fool you into thinking that they’re from them. Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers, and if you get an unexpected message from someone whose address you recognize, check with them directly before clicking on links or attachments.
5. Protect your computer. A spam filter can help reduce the number of unwanted emails you get. Anti-virus software, which scans incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software, which looks for programs that have been installed on your computer and track your online activities without your knowledge, can protect you from online identity theft. Firewalls prevent hackers and unauthorized communications from entering your computer – which is especially important if you have a broadband connection because your computer is open to the Internet whenever it’s turned on. Look for programs that offer automatic updates and take advantage of free patches that manufacturers offer to fix newly discovered problems. Go to http://www.staysafeonline.org/ or http://www.onguardonline.gov/ to learn more about how to keep your computer secure.
6. Beware of con artists. Criminals scan social networking sites to find potential victims for all sorts of scams, from phony lotteries to bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud. In some cases they falsely befriend people and then ask for money for medical expenses or other emergencies, or to come to the United States from another country. Go to http://www.fraud.org/ to learn more about how to recognize different types of Internet fraud.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
For my birthday bash, Becca hosted a fabulous party for me which was a private cooking class. I got to work with the head chef to select the menu and everything! Does she know this birthday girl or what? We got our culinary learn on, enjoyed good wine, fresh food we prepared together and of course birthday cake ... now that's what I call a celebration! I can't wait to see what this next year will bring...
Awhile back I had an experience that I am not quite proud of but in recognizing my weakness I had a dash of personal growth and as such I want to share the experience with you. On a visit to NOLA (New Orleans) pre-Katrina we wandered into one of the great local coffee shops. There I found a bumper sticker. Now, I am not a bumper sticker person. Even political ones. But, this one really spoke to me-pictured above.
ERACISM. Under which reads, all colors with love and respect.
I was so into it that it has since resided on my back bumper. So when I was at a local drugstore, I was put off by this gentleman approaching my car door.
" Miss, miss can I ask you a question?"
Me- slightly freaked by the older gentleman walking over from his large pick up truck with a pony tail (not quite of the mullet variety but close).
'Yes. Can I help you."
My doors locked.
Walking closer to my car.
"I want to talk to you about your bumper sticker."
My immediate thought after assessing this gentleman was that this is a probable racist who wants to say something about my bumper sticker. I had some other thoughts too but the language is not appropriate for this forum.
"Yes." I said with a tone of irritation.
My presumed racist, says.... "I have never seen that bumper sticker before and wanted to know where I could get one."
Ok, who is the the racist now?
What followed was great conversation about New Orleans but the glimpse into my assumptive character was deeply disappointing to me. It is so easy for me, for many of us to be righteous on our own terms but how easily out in the world we draw the same conclusions we allege to fight against.
I was ashamed of myself. I have since been approached by others regarding the bumper sticker. It really draws a (no pun intended) diverse crowd of commentators. Young, older, old. White, Black and Hispanic. All positive. But each time all I can think of is the lesson the sticker has taught me. I can be better. We all can. It reminds me how much work still needs to be done. It further commits me to trying to make this a more loving world where we do not just make assumptions but can connect as human beings. The one thing we all have in common.
Learn more about the ERACE movement at http://www.eracismneworleans.org/
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We recently got together with a group of friends at a hip new bowling alley for a little friendly competition. Sadly, we failed to rehearse a spectacular song and dance routine as a sort of Grease 2 tribute to entertain the local patrons. It was hard to get the buy in from the gang on that, but there’s always next time. Maybe a future gathering will include a night of Karaoke! Here’s hoping…
Forever your Pink Ladies,
K & B
P.S. Michele would probably like us to mention that she bowled the highest score overall and that includes beating out her husband and all the other men too! You go Rizzo!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Not only is Lex fun to kick it with, but he's an amazing professional speaker, author, entertainer, producer and artist! We wanted to give you a little taste of what Sir Lex is all about so we did a low cost, no production time video shoot of him (because that's how we roll) so that we could easily share it with you. So we invite you to check out his bio, the video and read the text synopsis and please feel free to cruise his web-site(s) too!
7 Steps Towards a Life to the Full
1 Move towards, not away from. Every time you find yourself not wanting something to happen, ask yourself, "what would I rather have?" Then move towards more of that.
2 Nutrition - feed on good thoughts. The most important words for you as an individual are your "I am..." statements. Make sure you are only saying positive things about yourself, your skills and your attitudes.
3 Reproduction - find someone new to share your best ideas, skills and attitudes with.
4 Excretion - clear your clutter (emotionally, psychologically, or physically)Get rid of "stinking thinking!"
5 Grow - start learning a new skill - like an instrument. Music has magic in it - it'll enrich your experience of life.
6 Respiration - share, share, share. Grow up and start working 'with' other people. Individualism is over-rated - find a soul-mate, a kindred-spirit, and work together on a mutually beneficial project.
7 Sensitivity - STOP! Press 'Pause' on the iPlayer of your life. Reflect and then think about the other key players in your life's drama. Ask yourself, "How could I be more sensitive to their needs? When could I next spend quality time with them? How could I make it easier for them to open up to me?"
More about Lex...
Lex McKee has been in the business of making training entertaining since 1982. Weaving entertainment and training together, he believes in the importance of ‘Entertrainment®’ – making learning enjoyable, engaging and enduring. Alongside trainer-training, Lex specializes in three key Leadership Development areas: learning, influencing, and creative thinking – the three fields most strongly associated with sustainable success in life. He is now working on the concepts of "Living Organisations®", using biological, ecological, psychological, and even theological models to propose a fresh paradigm for business vitality and longevity. (See http://www.livingorganisations.com/) Lex also runs a recording studio to support direct training with ‘accelerated’ audio-visual productions. The techniques pioneered in the studio utilize a unique approach to enhancing the listener’s state-of-mind through blending layers of music, natural soundscapes, brainwave entrainment, empowering language, and binaural recording. Leran more about Lex and his work on his web-site - http://www.learnfast.co.uk/page.asp?s=Solutions&p=tatprog08
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Never afraid to make fools of our self we thought it was appropriate to now share the love with you! Maybe this will inspire you to plan a little summer weekend road trip for you and your buds or at the very least tune into a re-run episode of the Golden Girls! Or take it one step further as we often do and play the game, "Which Golden Girl character are you?"
Wising you safe summer road trips filled with lasting memories and endless sing-a-longs,
DJ Magic Kelly
Monday, June 09, 2008
Wendy's is running its 2nd annual Father's Day promotion benefiting children in foster care. During Father's Day weekend, the fast food chain will donate .50 cents from the sale of every Frosty product sold at participating locations to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
A delicious Wendy's Frosty is a tasty anytime treat! So, please indulge in this simple and oh so yummy pleasure. Do IT for you and do it for the children!
Friday, June 06, 2008
Our new Do “IT” For You campaign is all about finding pleasure in our lives by embracing the simple things that make life sweet. Over the next year as we push ourselves to grow and challenge ourselves to stop long enough to enjoy this wonderful life we have been afforded we hope you will join us in this journey of appreciation. We’re going to start out small and fabulous.
May’s Do “IT” For You challenge is to EAT ICE CREAM once a week for the next 4 weeks! Really enjoy it. No guilt. You can do it, we know you can. So what’s your pleasure? A little soft-serve cream action, sugar-free love, yummy soy goodness or a slam’n cup of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey-- whatever your choice, enjoy, relax and smile. After all it is summer.
The act of caring for others comes easily to so many of us, the act of caring for ourselves not as much. Take time and Do “IT” For You. If we are not enjoying the simple pleasures then ask yourself, what are we working so hard for?
Thursday, June 05, 2008
N.C. hospitals bill rape victims
Advocates say the state should shoulder the cost of rape kits, which are needed to help put suspects behind bars
Mandy Locke, Staff Writer
Rape victims across the state are paying for their ill fortune in the most tangible of ways: a bill for the evidence kit needed to lock up the rapist.
The vast majority of the 3,000 or so emergency room patients examined for sexual assaults each year shoulder some of the cost of a rape kit test, according to state records and victim advocates. For some, it's as little as a $50 insurance co-payment. For those without insurance, it's hundreds of dollars left when a state program designed to help reaches its limit.
Advocates want the state to spare rape victims and fully pay the cost of the examinations, which collect biological evidence that an attacker may have left behind.
"Rape victims are being treated differently than any other victim of crime," said Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "The county doesn't charge me for fingerprinting if my house gets broken into."
No one tracks what becomes of the hospital bills for rape victims who are privately insured.
But an analysis of state records and interviews with hospital officials and administrators at several of the state's major insurers suggest that charging the patients is a widespread practice.
In the cases of more than 2,500 people who receive rape kits each year, hospitals bill the patients' health insurer. Insurance companies, in turn, require emergency room co-payments and deductible costs.
For those without insurance, hospitals send the bills to the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, which has a modest fund to help. Reimbursements are capped at $1,000; the average cost of the rape kit exam is $1,600.
Trauma, then a bill
A Chatham County woman who reported being raped on her 21st birthday in September never imagined she'd get a bill for enduring a four-hour exam at the emergency department at Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford. But six weeks after a specially trained nurse searched her body for a trace of the man she said raped her, a bill arrived.
For the nurse's trouble and time in the exam room, she owed $175, her share after her parents' private insurance paid some of the bill, she said.
For months, she ignored her bill. Late notices piled up. A few weeks ago, another bill arrived: $193 for the doctor's care that day.
"I couldn't believe they would send me a bill for this," said the Pittsboro woman. (The News & Observer does not generally identify people who report they've been sexually assaulted.)
"I didn't ask for this to happen," she said. "The whole point of me going was to get evidence for the case."
Leaders at the state Conference of District Attorneys were surprised to learn rape victims pay for their exams. They agreed women shouldn't have to pay for tests used to find evidence needed at trial, but they didn't know which agency should pay. Their budgets are already strained, and they hear similar complaints from law enforcement agencies, said Peg Dorer, executive director of the conference.
Payment of last resort
The state's Rape Victims Assistance Program was established in 1981 to help with these bills. The fund covers the cost of assembling about 3,000 rape kits each year.
The rest of the money, about $258,000, is used to help pay the hospital bills for uninsured rape victims. Each year since 2004, the program has helped between 411 and 469 women, a fraction of those given rape kit tests each year.
Janice Carmichael, executive director of the program, said she wishes she had enough money to pay everyone's claim. The program was designed as a payment means of last resort, she said.
Hospitals settle the balance -- which can top $1,000 -- with the victims. Sometimes, hospitals forgive the debt. Other times, they work out a payment plan.
'Where do you stop?'
"The bottom line is these services cost money," said Rebecca Andrews, WakeMed Hospital's vice president of finance. "We do sometimes forgive. It's case by case. But where do you stop? We treat gunshot wounds, stabbings, abused children. No one asked for that to happen."
In January, Central Carolina Hospital put the Chatham County woman they treated on a payment plan to settle her $175 bill. She feared the hospital would turn over her bill to a collector and her credit would be ruined. Each month, she shells out $44 of her unemployment check to make good on her debt. She hadn't begun to deal with the new $193 bill.
Each month, she is reminded of the invasive and embarrassing exam. After the attack, she had already felt her life unravel.
She said she lost her retail job after she left shifts, embarrassed, thinking customers could tell she'd been raped. She said she dropped out of a few of her classes at a local community college because she couldn't concentrate. She was scared to go anywhere alone. Police didn't charge the man she said raped her. She said he told police it was consensual sex. Investigators told her they didn't want to pursue a "he said/she said" case, she said.
She said this week she regretted going to the hospital for an exam.
"The rape was tough enough," she said. "I believed I was doing the right thing, not just for myself. Now, I've got these bills hanging over my head."
On Tuesday afternoon, after learning of her case, administrators at Central Carolina Hospital decided to forgive her bill.
"Our CEO was shocked," said Danyl Butler, the hospital's director of business development. "It simply slipped by us. We didn't know this was happening."
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Monday, June 02, 2008
In our society athletes and celebrities are revered for their talent, their agility and their beauty but is that fair? Should those who step into the limelight be held to a higher standard?
Below is an article written by a St. Petersburg Times writer in response to a previous article that ran in The Seattle Times regarding Tight End Jerramy Stevens. Please take a moment and read them and let us know what you think.
Although it is my natural instinct to think the Buccaneers are crazy (as well as wrong) to have resigned this player I know that when it comes to violent and selfish acts I am biased.
So I want your opinion. Where do our athletes belong? Should we care what they do off the field? Granted I am not super keen on anyone athlete or otherwise with repeated alcohol offenses. Not choosing to learn from such a history of selfish decisions is just unacceptable so the alleged history of sexual violence, is for me the icing on the tombstone.
But, when do we say enough is enough? Is it even our business? Or does a person's personal choices and character even factor in to the equation if it does not effect their job performance? Would a teacher or accountant be fired for similar behavior?
Please let us know what you think by posting here or drop us a note at email@example.com.
We already knew tight end Jerramy Stevens had some skeletons in his past, but there are some very startling accusations made by an alleged victim and police in a riveting story published Monday in the Seattle Times.
As part of a series of stories detailing a long history of past offenses by numerous University of Washington players, the story says an alleged victim and police investigators accused Stevens of rape in 2000 while at UW. Stevens allegedly drugged the freshman student and then raped her, leaving her with memory loss.
A frustrating chain of events between the police, who wanted to charge Stevens, and the prosecutors' office, resulted in charges not being filed. The alleged victim and Stevens settled in civil court in 2004 for an undisclosed sum.
The gist of the story is that Stevens, and others associated with the UW program, have received numerous chances to make up for past mistakes. Stevens has been arrested three times for alcohol-related offenses, his most recent resulting in a conviction in Arizona in September. He was sentenced to 12 days in jail but the jail term was stayed pending Stevens' appeal. The first of those offenses occurred while he was still enrolled at Washington.
Stevens signed a one-year contract with the Bucs not long after his last DUI arrest for a relatively meager $600,000. He becomes a free agent next month, but there is no word on whether the Bucs plan to re-sign him.
The Bucs maintain that Stevens has been a model citizen for them since arriving in Tampa but make no apologies for his past offenses or allegations leveled against him. They offered no particular comment to this article because the allegations predate their relationship with Stevens.
(Times photo - Brian Cassella. Click to enlarge.)
Posted by Stephen Holder at 11:46:26 AM on January 29, 2008