Friday, July 31, 2009

Doug's Health Care Plan

In case you haven't noticed, whatever the government comes up with, it isn't going to be good. The Donkeys or the Elephants aren't going to get it right. To see the most bulletproof plan, you have come to the right blog.

In no particular order, here are some of the highlights of my plan:

1. All medicine will be treated like cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is the only truly efficient medical market. Doctors publish their prices and people shop around. This will give folks a chance to negotiate and the good doctors will make more money because they will be able to charge more.

2 All medical insurance will be treated like car insurance. If you are high risk, you will get charged more. Fat? Pay more. Sky dive? Pay more. Smoke? Sorry, we don't cover lung cancer for you. High triglycerides? Cut out the sugar or PAY MORE. According to Bill Frist (former Senate Majority Leader and medical doctor), 70 percent of all medical costs are due to lifestyle. Wow.

3. If you can prove you ran a marathon in less than four hours in the last two years, you will have no co-pays; for anything.

4. No public option from the government. The insurance industry doesn't need more competition. Some in politics are finding in convenient to bash the insurance companies (I guess gas prices aren't high enough yet). But the last thing we need is the government in business.

5. Malpractice lawsuits will be judged by a jury of six doctors and six lawyers.

6. According ot Michael Milken, the world spends $50 trillion a year on cancer treatment. This staggering sum is offset only by $5 billion a year in medical research for a cure. So, more research for cures. I haven't put a dollar figure on it yet, but the government is going to pony up for some massive spending on this. I've got ideas to pay for it, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

7. Hospitals will be required to publish outcomes for cases they treat. If Acme Hospital has a 28 percent survival rate for open heart surgery, folks will tend to look elsewhere. Hospitals will also divide their outcome score by the dollars spent. Hospitals with a high ratio of successful cases to dollars spent will receive tax breaks from Uncle Sam. This will force hospitals to focus on outcomes, not treatments.

8. Primary Care Physicians will be rewarded for healthier patients.

If you have any suggestions for improving the Huber Health Care Plan, please post a comment below.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Funny Bone

If you grew up around me, you know I have a big funny bone and I love to laugh. When I was younger, I would laugh until I couldn't breathe. I haven't done that in a while. Not until today when I discovered this ...

Emails From Crazy People

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Make sure you read this one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Pleasant July

As Nicole Micensik (our local TV weather woman) reports in her blog, our July has been one of the coolest on record. With only one day above average and the coolest recorded high since 1909, we are, without a doubt, spoiled here in Central Indiana this summer.

And, we have been taking full advantage of it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Promise I'll Drop It ...

I can't leave the topic of the cops who arrested the black Harvard Professor without one closing remark; and it is a sad commentary at that.

You see, the police were presented with a man inside his own home who was presenting ID that proved that he lived there. But, because they were trained to be suspicious, they continued to question him to make sure that the man was telling the truth.

Conversely, the professor automatically assumed that the police were there only becuase he is black. His outrage was borne from years of thinking that the police target black men because they feel that black men are always up to no good.

Our society has become one where we don't trust the pure motives of another. The cops don't believe a guy inside his own home. The professor just can't wrap his mind around the fact that the cops are trying to do the right thing and keep his neighborhood safe. Meanwhile, our president weighs in without knowing the facts.

A sad state of affairs for America today. I Promise, now, that I will move on ...

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Mallory: Daddy, I tell you something?
Daddy: Sure, sweetie, what is it?
Mallory: I three on my next birthday.
Daddy: That's right.
Mallory: I tell you something else?
Daddy: Of course.
Mallory: I went to the museum.
Daddy: With who?
Mallory: Mason and Mommy and Daddy and Henry and Baxter.
Daddy: Did you go with anyone else?
Mallory: Uhhm ... Uncle Allen and Aunt Leanna.
Daddy: Anyone else?
Mallory: Uhm ... Gramma and Papa!
Daddy: That's right. Did you have fun?
Mallory: Yes! (jumping up and down).

Mason: Dad, I watch dot coms when I am in elementary school. (editor's note: 'dot coms' is synonymous with the Cartoon Network. Not really sure how that happened)
Dad: What did Mommy say?
Mason: Uhm, she said yes. In October, I be six and I go to elementary school so I watch dot coms.
Dad: If Mommy says so.
Mason, Oh, yeah!

There is a mobile in Mallory's room that she made at school hanging in her room. It has her first and last name on it.

Mallory: Daddy, you spell my name?
Daddy: Sure.
Mallory: Say 'M'.
Daddy: M.
Mallory: Say 'A'.
Daddy: A
Mallory: Say 'L'.
Daddy: L
Mallory: Say 'L'.
Daddy: L
Mallory: Say 'O'.
Daddy: O
Mallory: Say 'R'.
Daddy: 'R'.
Mallory: Say 'Y'.
Daddy: Y.
Mallory: What that spell?
Daddy. You tell me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My New Hero

Yesterday I wrote about President Obama's comments concerning the Cambridge, Mass. police officers who arrested a black Harvard professor. Earlier today, a report caught up with him in his back yard. After you watch, let me know if you think this cop lost his cool or it was the professor.

You can read the complete police report here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama Doesn't Back the Police

I watched intently to this evening's presidential press conference to learn about the future of health care. After about 10 minutes, the only thing I learned is that I wasn't going to learn anything of substance from the president on this issue.

What did catch my ear was the last question focusing on a Harvard professor that was arrested last week after he forgot his house keys. As the Boston Globe reported, a passerby saw the man struggling with the apartment door and called the cops. As the police arrived, Prof. Henry Gates was already in his house. He showed the police his ID and, as the conversation escalated, the police arrested him for disorderly conduct.

When asked, President Obama said few things that were striking: 1) that he didn't know if race played a role in this. 2) that the police acted 'stupidly' for arresting him after he showed his ID (of course, he wasn't arrested for burglary, but disorderly conduct). and 3) that he didn't know all of the facts in the case.

So, if you don't know the facts, why insult the police who put their lives on the line every day to defend you and me? Racism is not dead for two reasons. 1) Some people hate others for no good reason. 2) People of all color perpetuate racism by screaming racism when none exists.

We could use a lot less of both.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Leaky Bucket

Today, Matt Drudge sent the USDA into a fervor after a line item on implied that the Stimulus Bill paid $1.19 million for a 2-lb ham. Of course, the government was guilty of poor descriptions and not of buying an overpriced ham. Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, issued a statement in response to the Drudge Report headline.
Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.19 million to buy ‘2 pounds of ham’ are wrong. In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191m, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound.
To wit, the Drudge Report promptly found an advertisement at Food Lion for frozen ham at less than $1 per pound.

And, thus, the leaky bucket is dragged across the economy of America once again. For those unfamiliar, Dr. Arther Okun coined the phrase ‘leaky bucket’ many years ago in describing wealth transfers by taxation.
The money must be carried from the rich to the poor in a leaky bucket. Some of it will simply disappear in transit, so the poor will not receive all the money that is taken from the rich.
Imagine if Uncle Sam called up Wal-Mart and placed an order for 760,000 lbs of frozen ham. I am sure they could beat the $1.91 million price tag. In fact, my bet is that they could beat it by 40 percent … and throw in free delivery! If the government put rational thought behind these contracts and saved the American people five percent of the Stimulus Bill, that is a stunning $39.35 billion (yes, with a ‘b’). You could employ lots folks to scrub those contracts for that amount of money.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Great Weekend

Any three day weekend can be considered good. One spent with family on your birthday could be counted as great. The fam visited Columbus this weekend to see Noel's folks (who flew in from Orlando) and her brother and his family. I can dream that the whole weekend was spent horizontal with a Belgian beer, but I will take 20 minutes of it on anytime.

There is something about Columbus, most probably the warm, satisfying memories of my days spent there in college, that puts me at ease there. I tell myself that I remember the smell of Columbus when a light breeze blows or that it doesn't have the problems other towns do. Noel tolerated a (yet another) tour through campus. It reminded me of how much things change (a state of the art rec center that doubled in size) along with how much they stay the same (Woodruff Ave. leading to the frat house doesn't look like it has been touched in 15 years - by a street sweeper or otherwise). We visited COSI to let the kids run loose and to see the John Deere Exhibit, which turned out to be little more than a paid(?) advertisement for farm equipment; replete with green and yellow price tags dangling from the machinery. The kids enjoyed climbing on them but they seemed to enjoy the river front and fountains behind the exhibit more satisfying all together (don't they always?).

We ate some wonderful food (thanks again to Noel's folks for a delicious birthday meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse) and relaxed as best we could with four children under six afoot. All in all, a wonderful way to turn 34.

What I learned in Journalism School ... Find Cooler Friends

To all of the folks that patrol, I would like to thank you for your multiple submissions of the latest graph. I received several emails regarding it ...

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Fail Blog

A while ago, I mentioned one of my favorite web sites, Well, I found a submission. We'll see if they publish it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Give 'em an Inch

In a recent post, I discussed Maj. Stephen Cook and his ploy to not follow and deployment order and serve in Afghanistan. I was under the (mistaken) impression that the U.S. Army would prosecute this guy for not following orders. Turns out, I was wrong. According to USA Today, the Army has already revoked Maj. Cook's deployment order.

As the law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head, the Army has unwittingly given credence to this argument. USA Today also reports that a retired two-star general and a reservist lieutenant colonel and inserted themselves into the fray.

I am sure that they will crawl out of the woodwork now. Some of the soldiers coming of their second and third deployment may now believe that all they have to do is ask for Obama's gift certificate like some phantom get-out-of-jail-free ticket. The Army doesn't need this headache. It needs discipline and consistency. It seems to have lost both in this case.

Back in Action

My apologies, faithful readers, for being off the grid. Lots of the mid-Summer crud circulating the Huber household. Mason and Mallory were afflicted Tuesday, followed closely by Mommy with Daddy recovering this morning. More to follow!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Any Excuse Will Do

Meet Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook.

According to Reuters, he is refusing deployment to Afghanistan because President Obama doesn't have the authority to send him. Maj. Cook has some inside info (that apparently no one else has) that our Commander-in-Chief was not born in America. So, transitively, he isn't eligible to be president ... and any order to send him to combat is made outside the authority of a true president.

Maj. Cook, meet Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; Deserion

(a) Any member of the armed forces who—

    (1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;

    (2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service;

The maximum punishment for desertion is dishonorable discharge, 5 years inprisonment, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and reduction to E-1. Oh, and by the way, in a time of war, the good ol' U.S. Army can up the ante to the death penalty. I can assure you, the army takes this seriously.

Sir, you are about as creative as my five-year-old with your excuses. Get on the plane.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a Small World After All

Above is a picture of me with a good friend of mine from High School. It was taken on Feb. 3, 2001. Michael Dick and I played water polo and swam together in Cincinnati. He was a year behind me and caught up with me at Ohio State where we were both in ROTC. Mike was always a head and shoulders above his peers. He always 'got it' when it came to things military. Whether it be knot-tying, physical fitness or (most importantly) leadership skills, Mike had it figured out and always did well. We ran into each other in Kosovo while he was with the 3/187 Rakasaans of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Divsion out of Fort Campbell, Ky. I was serving with the 1st Armored Division (1st Bn, 35th Armor) out of Baumholder, Germany. It was good seeing him and great to catch up. It's a small world after all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Capturing the Memories

Earlier this month, I was cleaning (no, seriously) and I came across a stack of slides in 8.5x11 inch slide holders. They were from our wedding. Jeff, my uncle, brought along his camera (somewhat of a photophile, if that's a word) and gear and snapped a great deal of pictures. Not owning a slide projector (although relavtively cheap on eBay) and probably never owning any future 35mm slides, I took them to Costco so they could convert them to digital images. I gotta tell ya, some of the best money I have spent in a while.

Looking over the pictures (thanks again Jeff for capturing so many of the memories!), it reminded me of how much I love my wife. She looks so young in the pictures and we have been through a lot since they were taken (five moves - spanning two continents and four states, one dog, two children, three deployments ... deep breath) and somehow we survived. But the wedding started it all. We have had a lot of the 'for better' and a pinch of the 'for worse' but, to her testament, she is still with me.

I love you, sweety. You look as beautiful now as you did on our wedding day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Next American Idol?

Our little princess discovered she likes to sing. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Excel ... Do you Think I am Good Looking?

Google recently announced that they are producing a new operating system. I could never do it. Never, ever, could I turn my back on Microsoft like that. We have been in a relationship for several years now. Ever since the Spring of 1999 when someone showed me the true power of Excel. He had automated the entire deployment schedule using Microsoft Excel. I was hooked. Over the years, the romance has blossomed. Each and every day more fulfilling than the last. At first it was innocent enought. We started just flirting with numbers. A SUM() function here, a ROUND() there. It devolved into concatenations, COUNTIF() functions and the sordid SUMPRODUCT() (oh, you sneaky double unary, you work so well).

When I started using array formulas, I knew i had a problem. But, I couldn't let go. Deeper and deeper I went into the Excel abyss. SUMIF(), NETWORKDAYS(), TRIM(), DSUM(), AMORLINC(), NPV(), VLOOKUP() [used in conjunction with ISNA()!], the INDEX(MATCH()) combo, SUBTOTAL(), and on and on. The pinnacle was using the infamous intentional circular reference.

Ah, Excel. You are my mentor, my champion and friend. Google Docs has nothin' on you. And you can ignore that OS nonsense. It won't stick. I am with you 'til the end.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Football Miracles

The football Gods have granted your humble blogger with a true gift. Each year, I enter the Ohio State University Alumni Association football lottery. I could join the Buckeye Club and drop $750 to buy season tickets but, unfortunately, our money tree that was growing in the back yard died last year. Each year, we are grateful for our tickets. Troy University, San Diego State, Ohio U. and other un-competitive non-conference games.

This year, however, is different. This year, we were selected to attend the Ohio State - University of Southern California game on September 12th. For many of you, that may mean very little. For those of you that understand what I am talking about, this is proof that there is a higher Football Power. If he truly loves me, he will allow my beloved Buckeyes to win.

Fifty-nine days and counting before kickoff of the 2009 season.

So Much for Spelling

As the children get ready in the morning, if they do well, they can get a piece of bubble gum for the car ride to school. On the way out the door, I said to Mommy, "Don't forget the B-U-B-B-L-E ...".

Trying to multitask, Noel was focused on Mallory and looked at me, not understanding.

"Mommy," Mason whispered, cupping his hand close to his mouth. "Daddy, said bubblegum."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Tawt I Saw a Puty-Tat

Every so often, our neighors down the way go on vacation. Since they are DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) they take trips and leave behind their Mercedes. No, not that kind of Mercedes. This high-performance machine is a cat. And, who, do you think, could watch over this precious cat while they are away?

You guessed it. Mason and Mallory are always up to the task. Rain or shine, they stand ready to run down the street, ring the door bell (even though no one is home), crash through the door and find the cat!! Quick, pick up the cat toys. "My turn to get the water!" "I'll get the food!" "Where's the kitty, daddy?" "Daddy, do you want to see how I turn on the lights?" (No.)

All of this excitement and energy. All of the fun. Whodathunkit? The best part about all of this is that they only get to do this if they behave. Turning chores into rewards is like having the fox clean the hen house and then quietly showing him the door before he realizes where he was. You should see the look on their faces when they can't do it. Boo-boo tears for everyone, please.

Our neighbors take good care of Mason and Mallory; rewarding them with world's only true global currency: McDonald's Gift Certificates. Thank you Mr. Courtney and Mrs. Aubrey for letting us watch your wonderful cat!

In memory of BlackJack Cusack.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reaching the World ... One Post at a Time

Thanks to the power of Google (who hosts this blog), I able to track where the traffic that visits my blog originates with Google Analytics. I have gotten visits from across the world. Chihuahua, Mexico; Cordoba, Argentina; Manila, Philippines; Villeurbanne, France; Sacravem, Porto, and Portalegre, Portugal; Seoul, South Korea and (somewhat, oddly) Tehran, Iran. I trust the great citizens of the world are enamoured with the ramblings of a 30-something from Indiana.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dolphin Show, Daddy!

The Huber family continued to take advantage of the extremely cool summer we have been having and ventured out to the Indianapolis Zoo this morning. With the zoo boasting a pair of Komodo Dragons (on loan from the Denver Zoo), we just had to go and see them. Donning jeans (yes, my friends, jeans in Indiana in July. I told you it was cool), we headed in to see what captive nature had to offer us. We started the trip (as we do all zoo trips) looking at the Oceans exhibit. I love this exhibit because the children can get so close to the animals. The sea lions swim inches from their faces. The penguins practically leap out of the water at the young ones.

The highlight, though, is the shark exhibit where you can touch the sharks as they swim by. Mason would have his shoes off wading if you would let him while Mallory won't get near the water with her hands.

Having touched sharks and having found Nemo and Dorie (straight from the Coral Reef display), we visited with the polar bear who was content to do laps in front of us for five minutes. The only downside to the Oceans exhibit is the constant, monotone about how we are terrible stewards of the environment and "Gee, I love going to the beach, but I hate stepping over everyone's trash to do it". It all seems a bit too Clockwork Orange for my liking (okay, maybe the Clockwork Orange reference is a bit much, but it is a smidge overbearing at times).

"Dolphin show, Daddy!"

"Yes, sweetie, we are getting there. It doesn't start for another 45 minutes."

"But Daddy, Dolphins!"

And on and on as we made our way to the Komodo Dragons. Inhabitants of Malaysia, it was too cool for one of the two, so we settled for one dragon this morning. He was happy enough to oblige us by sitting there and pretending to sleep. Only opening his eyes long enough to see if we were still there. We learned from the zoo keeper that these fine creatures have 60 teeth and can eat an astonishing 80% of their body weight in one sitting. Wow. (Further reading on Wikipedia told me they are able to dislocate their jaws and swallow an entire goat. Double wow.)

And, after a trip past elephants, kudus (no, that is not a made up animal) and the giraffes, we made our way to the dolphin show!! Always a treat, the dolphin show transfixes the kids for 15 minutes. From the splashing to the jumping, they enjoy if the same every time they see it.

In at 9:30 and out by 11:45; home in time for naps. Another advantage of having a zoo membership.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


It rained all day today. What a wonderful treat for someone who has found that he doesn't like fireworks. There, I said it. I just can't get into them. Now, I enjoy the professional fireworks displays that light up the night, but the Black Cat, bottle rocket non-sense is something I can do without.

Maybe it is the fact that I have small children and I want them to sleep through the night. I find that fireworks are dangerous, obnoxious and are just plain noise pollution. I can't think of a worse way to squander 20 bucks than to tie a fuse to it, light it and watch it explode. I remember laying in bed during my first July 4th back from Iraq. The weather was beautiful and their were fireworks aplenty. We turned in early and laid there in bed, tossing and turning. Finally, Noel had had enough. "What is wrong," she grumbled, waking. Half asleep, I said, "It sounds like Baghdad outside."

She sat straight up. "What did you say?"

"I don't know." I replied. "I just don't like the noise." And I don't. Maybe, one of these days, the ghosts of Independence Day Past, Present and Future will visit me and show me how truly wonderful roman candles are. But, until then, I will continue to shut my windows at 9:30, put my head under a pillow and bear it.

I will leave you with a bit of fireworks humor. This is from the movie Joe Dirt, starring David Spade. It is my favorite scene in the movie. Enjoy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Daddy's Day Home with the Kids

Today I had the day off and Mommy had to work. So, I got to entertaint the young ones for a day. Noel left the house bright and early (6ish) and I woke up and hopped online to read the latest from my RSS feed. Mainly tripe I get from the sites I listed here. At precisely 6:22, Mason came into my room and asked where mommy was. I reminded him that Mommy was at work.

"Oh," he said. He turned and went down stairs. I followed him and flipped on the morning news. Not 10 minutes later did I get the "Daddy" alarm from upstairs.

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" Not in a panicked way. Just a 'I am making sure you can hear me' kind of tone and volume. I headed up to rescue Mallory from her crib (at 2-and-a-half she still hasn't figured out how to crawl out of her crib ... and, don't you go telling her either!). I fixed eggs and bacon for the kids and I ate leftover pizza from the fridge. The kids watched some Phineas and Ferb and I worked on the tile (yes, the same tile. Quit judging me.) The grout clean up has been a little more challenging that I had anticipated.

I mixed in some laundry and some Wii action as we geared up to go to the pool. Our neighborhood pool is quite nice and has a wading pool for those times that we forget our life vests. Daddy won't forget them next time.

After the pool, it was nap time. Daddy cleaned the kitchen floor while Mason had some lunch. We played some more Wii (where I got totally schooled by Mason in boxing) and I posted to my blog by request of my buddy, Greg. Up from nap, we were ready for CostCo. Today at our beloved CostCo, it was a menagerie of samples. Strawberry shortcake. Yum! Polish sausage on a toothpick. Gimme! Grapes. Thank you! Coffee. No, thank you. The kids are geared up enough. The crown jewel of this trip to CostCo was their lattice apple pie. With a $2 off coupon, that makes it just about perfect. Arriving back home, we discovered mommy had returned from a long day at the hospital. We made her some coffee and vegged out so she could unwind. After that, bath, books and bedtime!

This beats work any day of the week.

Freedom of Speech

My good friend sent me one of the op-ed pieces from today's Wall Street Journal and asked what I thought. The subject is whether or not the U.S. should pass a constitutional amendment banning desecrating the American Flag.

As much as I disagree with someone burning the U.S. Flag, I whole-heartedly support their right to do so. It may be surprising to hear this from a former Army officer and someone who takes their patriotism seriously. I still get chills every time I hear the National Anthem. Being an American means a lot to me and seeing someone desecrating a flag is upsetting.

Folks for the amendment argue that because of the uniqueness of the American Flag, it should hold special status. Chief Justice William Renquist wrote that the burning of the flag is:

The equivalent of an inarticulate grunt or roar that, it seems fair to say, is most likely to be indulged in not to express any particular idea, but to antagonize others.
Eugene Volokh, the author of the editorial points out that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) doesn't believe that the 1st Amendment covers non-verbal speech. Volokh spends the rest of the article debunking that and I couldn't agree more. Putting limitations on speech, no matter how distasteful they may seem to someone, is the most anti-American think I can think of. Even more disgusting than the clowns that protest and disrupt the funerals of servicemen and women killed in combat, by holding up signs that say such deplorable things as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" or "God Blew Up the Troops". The real irony is that the soldiers died protecting their very right to denegrate that funeral.

Most importantly, though, this type of law creates a slippery slope when the government now chooses what speech/expression is legal. Speech that is unpopular is often times the most important in a democratic society.

Happy July 4th to everyone, especially the soldiers who are in harm's way. God bless them and usher them a speedy return to their families.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Facepainting Fun

Today it was Mallory's turn with the face paint. As you can see, she got a 'fleefly' painted on her face.

Tommorrow, daddy is home with the kids all day. It should make for some good times. If I am not passed out at 5pm I will post and tell all how it went.