Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 33

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This is the Mahoning Valley Podcast and it occurred to me that there a plenty of people here who may want to do a segment. Who may want to have their voice heard on a Podcast. Maybe you have an event or cause or just want to say hi to the Valley. This podcast was never meant to be all about me. It has been a work in progress. Well, it is your turn. If you want to record a segment and email it to me, I will consider adding it to an episode.

Because this is a community project, you must be a part of the Mahoning Valley or have some connection to the Valley. If you want to talk about your grandma or how you grew up in Struthers or what you favorite restaurant is, or favorite gym, or favorite bar, or favorite band or anything. It just needs to be about something or someone in the Mahoning Valley.

Free Shoutouts with Mahoning Valley Podcast

You may be thinking, how much is this going to cost me. Nothing. Nada. Just record on your phone. Record with your friends. Record on your laptop or tablet. Save the file as an MP3 and send it over. Send it over with any links or pictures you want to include. This is all about everyone here in the Valley. So give it a try. It is easy and free and will get your voice added to the Mahoning Valley Podcast Archive. Send as many as you want. Any topic. BUT, no bad language. I look forward to helping you be a part of the Mahoning Valley Podcast.

Reach out on Facebook and like my page.

Follow me on Twitter and Reach out there.

I touched on this a couple of weeks ago, and I am going to go by it again today. Get registered to vote if you have not already done so. Get involved with our local politics. Don’t leave it for someone else to do. Don’t try to say you don’t have time or it doesn’t matter. It still matters. Your vote matters.

Your voice needs to be heard. And if you are in Youngstown, you will have the opportunity to get out and talk to some of the candidates on Monday March 20.

Register to Vote with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

The Core Team Ministry of Union Baptist Church presents a Candidate Forum on Monday, March 20, 2017 at UBC, 528 Lincoln Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44502 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Invited guests are all candidates running for Mayor, President of Council, Clerk of Courts and Municipal Court in the City of Youngstown. Come and listen, ask questions and be an informed voter! 330-746-1217)

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DYP with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

The Downtown Youngstown Partnership (DYP) is a community-based organization which seeks to foster an environment where businesses thrive, art flourishes, residents are abundant and community pride prevails. The group plans to fills the gaps where needed as it relates to attracting and retaining business and community pride in the downtown Youngstown area.

Please join us for our March 28 meeting! Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

5:00pm: Sign In & Welcome

5:15pm: Agenda

1. City of Youngstown Update:
– First Ward Councilperson Julius Oliver
– Michael McGiffin, Director Of Events & Special Projects

2. Business Spotlight:
– The Federal

3. Service Project Update
– Updates regarding service projects or opportunities.

4. Downtown Updates and Happenings:
– Open time to share any events, promotions, or activities happening with businesses or organizations Downtown.

6:00-7:00pm: Socialize!

A special thanks to The Federal for hosting this meeting!

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Ursuline Band Boosters with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

The Ursuline Band Booster Organization is committed to the music program at Ursuline High School and we need your help to continue our work. Our annual quarter auction fundraiser will take place on Saturday March 18, 2017 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Center. Doors open at 5:30pm with the auction starting at 6:30pm. All money raised will support the Marching and Concert Band programs at Ursuline. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased from any band student or staff member. You can also contact Roseanne Winner at 330-402-0075 or Debbie Pruchniewicz at 330-559-4004 for tickets. With 100 gifts to bid on it is sure to be a great evening.
For more info please visit our website at www.ursulineband.com
Don’t Forget Your Quarters!!

meals-on-wheels-logo_2

Meals on Wheels of Mahoning Valley needs you to volunteer. Our seniors need you to visit and bring by something to eat. And you would be in good company. Mario Andretti volunteers and so can you. Just don’t speed to get there.

Have a Podcast Party with me.

According to the Business Journal Daily, March 23 is the deadline to get your registration in for Spark Talks with Chris Thompson on March 28.Collaboration’s Essential Element: Leadership” is the topic of the March 28 “Spark Talk” presentation sponsored by The Raymond John Wean Foundation.

The presenter will be Chris Thompson, president of Civic Collaboration Consultants LLC.

This two-way learning opportunity provides hands-on exercises designed to develop and strengthen collaborative leadership skills. Participants will leave with usable strategies and approaches to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The presentation will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Western Reserve Room of the foundation offices here. The cost of $10 per person includes light refreshments. The session is limited to 25 participants, and the registration deadline is March 23. To register, visit this website.

Ohio Optometric Association with MAhoning Valley Podcast

Congratulations go out to Dr. Rebecca Brown of Salem on her election as president for the Ohio Optometric Association. According to the Business Journal Daily, “

Brown, who practices at Essential Vision Care here, has served in the association as a zone governor, trustee and several officer positions. She was selected to her new role by a unanimous vote at the recent East West Eye Conference.

“It is a great honor to serve my profession and the many people receiving our vision services in this manner,” Brown said in a statement. “It is a blessing to be able to help people in our community every day, but it is very meaningful to be able to influence and help legislators understand issues important to saving vision.”

In April, Brown will be leading dozens of Ohio optometrists to the Statehouse for a day of advocacy. They will help state legislators learn the best ways to help Ohioans preserve and maintain their vision.

A graduate of Salem High School, Brown has practiced optometry locally for 13 years. She received her doctorate from the Southern College of Optometry and her bachelor of science from John Carroll University. She completed a residency with the U.S. Veterans Administration.

Brown volunteers for InfantSEE, Vision USA and Realeyes Save Our Sight Classroom Initiative. She also is an active member of the Salem Junior Mothers’ Club, Kiwanis Club of Salem and Dustin Huffman Memorial Scholarship Board.

KISS with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

KISS is a program that let’s school children bring someone they love to school with them. Boardman Local Schools carries the program and according to the Vindicator, it is a strong effort to involve parents in the education of their children.

As a working mom, Heather Newman doesn’t get to attend many of her kids’ school functions.

That’s why she was especially happy to be her son’s special person Wednesday at Robinwood Lane Elementary’s KISS – “Kids Invite Someone Special” – Day.

The annual tradition is a chance for family members, or another special person in a student’s life, to see what their student is up to during the school day.

“It’s about trying to bring the community into the schools,” Principal Don Robinson said. “The kids get so excited when they get to bring their special friend to school.”

Second-grade student Cooper Bartholomew asked grandfather Joe Novosel to be his special someone, continuing a tradition for the two.

Cooper said he asks his grandfather to come every year, and Joe always enjoys the visit.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I try to encourage him so that he is going to be an outstanding citizen and leader someday.”

Read more about the event in Today’s Vindicator or on http://vindy.com

For more great podcasts, head on over to the PodtoPod Directory

marchmadnesswith the Mahoning VAlley Podcast

A Canfield Native, Paul Krebs helped set up the NCAA Tournament this year. According to the Vindicator,

A 1974 Canfield High School graduate, Krebs is currently in his 10th year as vice-president and athletic director at the University of New Mexico. This was his first appointment on what many believe is the NCAA’s most prestigious and influential group — the men’s basketball tournament selection committee. Krebs will oversee Midwest and South Region first-round games beginning Friday in Sacramento, California.

“In terms of service and the committees to which they have been appointed, ask any athletic director and they will tell you that there is not a better assignment,” Krebs said prior to his Sacramento flight. “It is absolutely fun, the basketball is exciting and between committee members and NCAA staff, it’s a great group with plenty of camaraderie.”

The committee members even participated in a “practice” for Selection Sunday that took place in February.

“We met in Indianapolis about a month ago and went through a mock exercise, which was very helpful,” Krebs said. “Last Tuesday, the committee arrived at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, started in earnest on Wednesday and never left the hotel after that. We created eight brackets on Sunday, which were based on the outcomes of five or six games and it just happens so quickly, which is why you prepare different brackets.”

Accommodating the media was also a part of the process.

“On two separate occasions, both CBS and ESPN came into our meeting room in order to shoot ‘B roll’ in advance of their selection shows,” Kreb said. “The stuff that we were working on at the time was put away and concealed.”

He admits that his time in the area during his formative years were a lot of fun.

“I used to get back home once or twice a year when my mother was still living in Canfield and have great memories of growing up next door to Dick and Dr. Ray Duffett, and Bob Dove and his family on Neff Drive,” he said. “Those were truly special times.

“I still follow YSU and President Tressel, know the great job Bo Pelini has done with the Penguin football program and also follow Ohio State as well. Twitter and Facebook has helped in that area.”

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 9 Transcript

Listen to it here.

Today on Mahoning Valley Podcast, Save your money, Public Library Resources and Kwanzaa, Continuing the destruction, Boardman UPS Grinch, Holiday Generosity to the Salvation Army

Save your money this Holiday and wait until next week to do your shopping. Why? Because it is inevitable that the places where you get your gifts are going to be offering the best prices of the year in most cases a few days after the big holiday windup. If you have never noticed this trend, then go on out to your favorite department store next week when the retailers show their desperation to get those last few dollars in their coffers to close the fiscal year. According to Deal News

There are seven categories or items you can save a lot of money on next week. Please be advised that this section does contain affiliate links to Amazon to help offset the cost of producing this podcast. So if you like what you are hearing and need some of these items, please go ahead and get them and it will help you and this effort.

Clothing

Apparel deals dominate after-Christmas sales. Last year, some of our most popular sales during that time included discounts of up to 70% up at Nordstrom, Amazon, Columbia, and H&M. And don’t forget the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale, which often (including last year) lands right at the end of December. Winter coats, hats, and gloves will see even deeper discounts now than they did during Black Friday. In 2015, post-Christmas sales went as high as 70% off select items with most discounts around 40% or 50%, plus additional discounts on clearance items.

Cameras

While we’ll see all manner of tech discounts after Christmas, camera deals are what really impress us this month. We found that 31% of after-Christmas camera deals were Editors’ Choice last year. And remember, there’s still plenty of things your phone can’t do that a camera can.

About 31% of the camera deals found in after-Christmas sales will be of Editors’ Choice quality.

If you really want to maximize the value of your camera purchase, consider a refurb. The best deals we see are factory-refurbished units from Canon, Nikon, and more. These items, restored to almost-new condition and backed by manufacturer warranties, are even preferred by some experts.

Audio Gear

Headphone and home theater deals will be on fire after Christmas; in years past, 41% checked in as Editors’ Choice. However, true audiophiles will have to continue paying top dollar: We don’t typically see high-end gear at Editors’ Choice prices this late in the year. Expect bargains on entry-level to mid-tier options from brands like Pioneer, Sony, Polk, Klipsch, and Beats. This is also another area to check out refurb products, especially if you’re looking for Polk, Beats, and Bose.

Sports and Fitness Gear

Retailers love to take advantage of those New Years’ resolutions to get in shape by offering deals on sports and fitness equipment. While we don’t necessarily see more deals or all-time lows after Christmas, we definitely saw better sitewide discounts from a range of stores.

Last year, stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Groupon, and Sears had after-Christmas discounts of 25% to 50% on select sporting and fitness goods, sometimes on top of clearance discounts.

We’re particularly excited about Sears this year, which is likely to offer big deals to offset lackluster performance this year. Last year, Sears offered lots of deals on NordicTrack, so keep an eye out if you want a treadmill or an incline trainer. Plus, NordicTrack has its own New Year’s sale, cutting 40% to 60% off select items.

This is also traditionally a good time to get deals on gym memberships. Be sure your deal includes no upfront fees, and at least one month free. You can easily negotiate these freebies if they aren’t included in the plan.

Video Games

This will be a great time to stock up on your favorite video game titles, especially for older systems. Even better than audio equipment and cameras, a whopping 56% of video game deals are expected to be Editors’ Choice during the upcoming after-Christmas sales. Last year, we saw Assassin’s Creed for Xbox 360 from $5, and Xbox One games from $6.

Christmas Decorations

We know you want to enjoy your motorcycle-riding Santa now, but the best time of year to buy Christmas decorations from a savings perspective is the day after Christmas. On December 26, prices on holiday decor will drop 40% to 75% at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, and Pottery Barn.

Last year, inflatable lawn ornaments were the best bet, with inflatable Christmas Yoda and Darth Vader options each marked down by about $15 to $30. We’re hoping the force is with us, and these deals will be back this year.

Hatchimals

If you’ve promised your kiddo this season’s hottest toy and haven’t bought it yet, then you don’t have many options: You’ll have to pay hundreds of dollars on eBay, if you can find one at all.

But if you can convince your little one that Santa is bringing Hatchimals in February this year, the toys will likely be back in stock and down to normal prices ($50) once the manufacturer has had a chance to make more and the craze has diminished. On a personal note, I cannot imagine why anyone would want one of these hatchimals. I understood the Pet Rock as it never spoils the carpet or wakes you up with it’s butt in your face or needs $1000.00 in Grooming. But a hatchimal?

Make a Wish PSA

Here is something many people never think about, but our Public Library in Mahoning County is a wonderful source of information and free events. Coming up next week for instance in a number of different branches; there will be reading with your baby sessions to get them up to speed on the ever important skill of reading. Events for adults like learning how to access ebooks and online resources there and even Blood Drives with the Red Cross and a Kwanzaa Celebration.

On a personal note, I have often thought that Kwanzaa is one of those winter holidays that makes a lot of sense. What better way to wrap up a year then to reinforce seven values that all have the potential to make our or anyone’s community a much nicer place to live. Among these values, Unity, Economic Cooperation, Faith, Purpose and Creativity. If we all celebrated Kwanzaa, it is my opinion that the world would be a much better place to live and work in.

On a much sadder note according to the Vindicator, a deep injection well will be permitted to reopen in Weathersfield Township. The destruction of this earth continues to line the pockets of irresponsible and greedy persons who will someday give account for their actions. More than two years after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down a deep injection well in Weathersfield Township because of small earthquakes, a judge has ordered the state to allow it to reopen.

Judge Kimberly Cocroft of Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a decision Friday that orders ODNR and American Water Management Services, owner of the well, to submit a proposed entry setting forth the parameters under which the well will reopen.

Specifically, the judge said the entry should address the amount of oil and gas drilling waste that will be injected initially into the well, the injection pressures to be used and how they will “incrementally increase the volume and pressure while simultaneously providing constant monitoring for seismicity.”

Guess what? Even if these things are monitored it does not change two facts about deep well injection and fracking. These practices are destructive and dangerous. Any manipulation of resources that are offered by nature is going to have a deleterious effect on the quality of life for all of us. It is logical to assume that if you inject toxins into our environment they will not just go away, They will start to leach into the water and the ground and effect anything that uses that water or earth. That means food supplies and water supplies will be contaminated. People wonder why Cancer has been on the rise despite our efforts to curtail it. It is directly related in my opinion to the toxins that the Industrial Revolution has produced and deposited in our environment.

Then in the usual antiholiday spirit the Vindicator also reported that someone has been playing the Grinch at the Boardman UPS Store.

Police are investigating a theft at the UPS store at 143 Boardman-Canfield Road, the second theft reported at the store this week, both involving Christmas gifts.

A woman told police she mailed a package containing $920 in cash and various other gifts to family Dec. 12. By monitoring the tracking number, she determined the package never left the facility.

The woman followed up on Dec. 20, and the store manager told the woman UPS security would open an investigation. She will pursue charges, according to the report. On a related story, A family decided it would not pursue criminal charges against a former UPS employee for taking $650 from Christmas cards an elderly woman was sending money to her grandchildren. That report was made with police Tuesday.

So I guess this just goes to show that Corporate America is still refusing to pay a living wage to people. Well that and people in general can have a tendency to look out only for themselves. Of course corporate greed is no excuse for engaging in criminal acts and stealing from people. In fact there is not an excuse for such a thing. It is despicable. If you don’t like your lot in life or the wges you earn, go get another job or figure out a way to live on what you make. As a reminder people get what they give. So if you are not getting what you want; try giving a little more and see if it comes back to you. It will.

St Jude PSA

And now onto someone who definitely gets it. According to WKBN Channel 27 our local CBS affiliate, For the fifth year in a row, a generous donor dropped gold coins in a few Salvation Army buckets in Mahoning County. The Salvation Army received a fourth gold coin in its bucket at the Poland Giant Eagle late Thursday night. It’s a 1 ounce pure gold Canadian Maple Leaf.

“We are pleased by this generous donation and we wish to express our gratitude to the donor,” said Major Elijah Kahn, Mahoning County Area Coordinator. “It will help us narrow the gap in our fundraising deficit this year as we approach the finish line.” Three 1 ounce gold coins were discovered in three of its kettles across the area on Wednesday. A Canadian Maple Leaf was dropped in a kettle at Canfield Giant Eagle, a South Africa Krugerrand coin and a Grant Wood American Arts Commemorative Series coin were dropped in kettles at the Giant Eagle in Austintown. The donor remains anonymous and left no note or information.

And that is the way to do it. I know that I gave a shoutout to Owens Construction last episode for sponsoring a Holiday Party at Youngstown Community School

And I believe that it is good to give recognition to people who do things that are worthy of mention, but the fact of the matter is, that it is the things that people do in secret that are the most valuable in my opinion. Not the things that people do in the public eye to get themselves attention for the good works they do, but the things that we do in private when no one is watching or paying attention that sometimes have the most value. There are some people who would say that integrity is not about what you do when you know people are watching but about the things that we do in private. I would also go so far as to say that if you are going to engage in charitable acts; doing it without recognition demonstrates far greater generosity and character.

WWF PSA

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 8 Transcript

Get this episode here.

This Episode goes back to the topic of the podcast. Local stuff. Although no one called me on it, I am apologizing for the last episode first. It may seem surprising to some of you who hear this episode, but I am sorry about the last episode. If you heard it, then you may know why. Anyway, Back to why I started doing this in the first place.

Cockfighting continues to be a problem here in the Valley. According to the Vindicator For the second time in less than a week, police and humane agents have served a search warrant as part of a broader investigation of cockfighting.

Members of the vice squad, Community Police Unit and Animal Charity served the warrant at a 1413 Forest View Drive home on the East Side today.

Unlike a warrant served Dec. 15 at an Ives Street home where police found roosters, heroin and cocaine, the Forest View Drive homeowners were cited only for violating housing codes prohibiting farm animals in the city.

About 30 roosters were found in a makeshift coop covered with a tarp in the backyard. It had wooden floors with straw and portable heaters inside. A detective described it as one of the cleanest he has ever seen.

This may seem somewhat insensitive to some listeners, but: Why is this illegal? Who cares if people want to set a couple of cocks in a ring and watch them tear each other up? Obviously some people do care, but for many it is a nonstarter. It does not harm any people. It does not cause property damage, unless you count the damage done to the fowls themselves. And it is not posing a health threat unless you happen to find some of that chicken in your chop suey or mcnuggets and it has not been cooked or stored properly. What about you? Do you care if people go to or organize cockfighting?

Then up in Niles, or down in Niles: I guess depending on your perspective the Vindicator is reporting that some more of the public officials announced that they are quitting. Robert Marino, council president since 2004 and a fixture on council for more than 20 years, shocked his fellow council members tonight by announcing he will not seek re-election next year when his term expires.

Two other council members, Steve Papalas, D-at large, and Frank Pezzano, D-1st, immediately followed Marino’s statement by announcing that they, too, will not run again in 2017.

And as if those announcements were not enough, long-time Law Director Terry Dull said he will retire next February.

The four revealed their plans at the conclusion of Wednesday’s council meeting.

Yeah, well for those of you who missed it, their alleged ringleader was indicted last month on more than 50 counts of various corrupt activities. According to the Vindicator, Two years after news of an investigation of possible corruption in Niles government began, an indictment of former Mayor Ralph Infante laid bare allegations of public corruption few could have imagined.

The 56-count indictment of Infante, released Tuesday, references bribery dating back to 1993, unreported gifts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including envelopes of cash around Christmas time, accepting money for a job with the city and a vice that harkens back to the Niles of yesteryear – gambling.

The indictments unsealed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court contain a variety of allegations, including 17 counts of felony tampering with records, five counts of money laundering, two counts of theft in office, four counts of bribery and others.

The most serious charge Infante faces is engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which carries a 10-year prison sentence upon conviction.

The other charges, especially the 17 counts of tampering, could make his possible sentence rise to more than 100 years.

The charges date back to 1993, just one year after Infante began his career as Niles mayor, which spanned 24 years, ending in 2015.

So I say good. It is apparent that Niles needed a good laxative. And so the rest of the excrement that had been running that town is voluntarily evacuating itself. And it is about time. Who knows how many people were oppressed by that group of alleged criminals. Notice I keep saying alleged. That is because an indictment does not a conviction make. But at least, the rest of our allegedly organized criminal element in this town has been put on notice. You are being watched and recorded. It won’t be long before we come for you too. Or you can skink off like the cowards you are and find some other rock to crawl under in some other Valley. Are you getting the idea? Aint everyone affeared of you.

And related to this story the Vindicator is also reporting that Niles Oversight Committee is grappling with another or revised plan to bring it’s finances back into balance.

Despite some reservations, the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission unanimously approved the city’s latest amended recovery plan from fiscal emergency – the fifth such revision.

“You have demonstrated quite a bit of progress since the emergency was declared,” said Quentin Potter, commission chairman. However, Potter and several other commission members are concerned about one of the plan’s key elements – the leasing of the financially troubled Wellness Center.

The city hopes to lease the building for $240,000 annually for three years with an option by the tenant for a three-year renewal. John Davis, a commission member, was skeptical about finding a tenant and questioned Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia as to the level or probability of success from low to high.

“If it’s low, then it shouldn’t be in the plan,” said Davis, who earlier this month in an interview with The Vindicator called for the mayor’s resignation after council rejected his fourth revision to the plan.

“I would say it is a high probability,” the mayor promptly responded.

And that is what a mayor is supposed to say isn’t it? He is not supposed to say, “well: you know for the last 20 or so years our community has been allegedly raped by it’s governing officials who were to busy enriching themselves to bother trying to actually serve the public interest” No, any descent mayor is going to say, “this is the plan and it will work. Or at least there is a good probability it is going to work.” And let’s hope for the sakes of the beleaguered residents of Niles, now that the crap is clearing itself out of the area, it can start living up to it’s potential instead of being a haven for alleged criminals.

St Jude PSA

So in brighter more Holidayesque news, The WFMJ Channel 21 News reported that Youngstown has passed a budget for the first quarter of 2017.

Youngstown City Council approved its quarterly 2017 budget Wednesday evening December 21, 2016.

A total amount of 40 million dollars will be used until March, with almost no changes from this year’s budget.

Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray says no changes will be made to police and fire departments, and that the council does not see any future layoffs within the next year.

The downtown amphitheater project will also not affect the budget.

Council will meet again in the coming months to decide the budget for the full year.

Now there is some good news. Police and Fire protection for the City will not be affected. That is progress. Not only that, but one of them wonderfully free venues will be added to the Downtown area, an amphitheater. Not that it will be free to build, but many times; such a venue actually will provide free entertainment to the community. Not to mention the fact that when it is not hosting an event, it makes a great place for childrens and adults alike to play. It may not be a playground, but who when they were growing up didn’t love to hop up on an empty stage and look out over a large space and act like Robert Plant? Or Cher? Depending on what gender you identify with.

Now this is not exactly Valley related, but before you click on Cher’s website: I want you to make sure that you are not at work for 2 reasons. First, she is forward thinking enough to welcome people with audio onto her site. Yes, I said forward thinking. She welcomes you with her own voice to her website. That is so smart, If you have a website and are that smart; you need to get in touch with me. Because that is part of what I do here at Mahoning Valley Podcast.

Second reason. Cher has a tendency to put her best features forward. And if you never have seen Cher, then in her case and in my opinion one of her best features is behind her. Yes she is a good singer, but like wow, she has an incredibly attractive behind. And she is not shy. So, if you click over to her website, within 1 minute you will be graced with a very nice picture of one of her more revealing outfits. I almost was delayed in the writing of this transcript the view is so nice. Anyway int may not be safe for work.

Let’s get back into local news and commentary. Apparently the Austintown PTA thinks that perpetuating myths is more important than raising their youngins with the truth. According to the Vindicator, As Austintown Elementary School student Bryan Fleshman stood in line to meet Santa Claus, he confessed he was a little nervous.

“I’m not ready for Christmas yet,” said Bryan, a red Santa hat perched on his head and green face paint coating his cheeks.

The second-grader was one of about 1,000 of the school’s students who got to meet Santa on today, thanks to the school’s Parent Teacher Association. An annual Santa Claus visit is a school tradition.

“We try to bring in any kind of fun or educational activities that we can,” said PTA president Bethany Martinez. “Some of the kids, it’s the only time they’re going to get to see Santa.”

A flurry of holiday happenings took place district wide over the last few weeks. The intermediate school also got a visit from Santa this week, thanks to the PTA there. AIS and AES both hosted a “Santa’s Shop” for students.

That is great, but the fact is that Santa is a myth. A figment of the imagination. And that is why no living or dead person has EVER seen Santa. News flash, the dude doesn’t exist. Why am I being such a grinch you may ask yourself? Because when I was growing up, my parents (God rest their souls) had me going for a few years with the myth of Santa. I know they were just doing their best to be entertaining and even fun, but it would have served me better to learn from an early age that there is no such person. That in order for them presents to appear on Christmas morning, someone had to work their ass off and make sacrifices and even cause themselves to pay horribly high interest rates on Credit Card balances. That way, when I found out that Santa is a fake, I wouldn’t have started wondering in my young mind, “What else did my parents lie to me about?”

FEMA PSA

Now because this is a podcast and it represents for the most part a mobile form of communication here is one headline about Mobile Internetting. According to The Verge, The European Commission has accused Facebook of providing “incorrect or misleading information” in the run-up to its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. Information requested by the Commission is used to vet large mergers and takeovers, aiming to find out if the resulting business would be anti-competitive. If Facebook cannot provide a decent excuse for misleading the Commission before January 31st it could be fined up to $179 million.

The Commission’s complaint refers specifically to the nature of the data-sharing agreement between Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2014, Facebook told the Commission that it would be unable to automatically link data between accounts on the two services, but in August this year, the social network introduced a new privacy policy that does exactly that. WhatsApp user data — including phone numbers — is shared with Facebook in order to map social connections and deliver more relevant ads on both services.

Does this surprise anyone of my listeners? If so, let’s talk. Contact me for a free and very quick consultation on privacy on the internet and if you want in modern society. And then if you want we will talk about how you can start using the internet to your advantage as well. Because I know some of you out there in the cyber audience know that the Internet can be used for more then jut sharing pictures of your dog eating your lunch. Or emailing grandma that your sled needs a tuneup so you can’t make Christmas dinner this year.

Lets wrap it up with some more examples of how people can actually do some good in this community. According to the Vindicator, Owens Construction helped Youngs-town Community School celebrate Christmas in style with a dance and pizza party.

Mike Owens, owner of Owens Construction of Youngstown, and a few other company employees wanted to give back through a donation of some kind for this holiday season.

His choice was made easy when he heard the gifts students wanted for Christmas.

“One kid wanted a blanket, and another, a mechanical pencil,” Owens said Tuesday afternoon. “These were just such basic needs, not really wants. That’s what got to me.”

In addition to the dance party, pizza, snacks and drinks, students received nearly $2,500 worth in Christmas gifts for students and their families.

Principal Heidi Cope-Barker said the holiday party is a symbol of what the YCS represents – being a child.

“We want to make sure we are celebrating our kids everyday,” she said. “Having a holiday party for them reminds us we are all kids at heart, and we get to be kids, too.”

Beyond that engaging in such charitable activities benefits the Owens Construction Company too. Everyone hears this time of year about how it is more blessed to give then receive. Well due to this act of generosity, they are not only getting a free plug in the local paper, but I shared their facebook page post on my timeline. I am sharing this story on the podcast, I am sharing the link to my twitter account and I gave them some link juice too by linking back to their website with a Search Engine Optimized Link that will point back to them from at least 4 different locations where I post these transcripts. All that from one act of generosity. And a nice attaboy from me too. Well done Owens.

WWF PSA

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 7 Transcript

Listen Here

Welcome to the Mahoning Valley Podcast for 12/20/16. We are going to look at what’s trending on Social Media this week. Not everyone who is interested in the Mahoning Valley wants to use Social Media, so this episode is for you too. I also enjoy adding a little commentary of my own to this effort. Some maybe you agree with, some maybe you don’t. We are also going to hear from a guest as to why podcasting is such a unique content format. I will also throw in a couple of Public Service Announcements for good measure, so stick with us for this episode.

Over on youtube, Saturday Night Live got a big boost with their Skit on Hilary Clinton. If you didn’t catch it, I won’t spoil it for you now, let’s just say that she is portrayed as doing a grassroots effort to stay the hand of the Electoral College from officially electing Mr Trump as our President on December 19th. By the time this hits the interweb, the vote will be cast. According to the National Archive, it won’t be officially counted and announced by Congress until January 6 2017.

Here is a little more about what to expect on Counting Day. The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes. Congress may pass a law to change this date.

The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the Electoral College vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State on the Certificate of Ascertainment would be counted in Congress.

If no Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election. If necessary the House would elect the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each state having one vote.

If no Vice Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment provides for the Senate to elect the Vice President. If necessary, the Senate would elect the Vice President by majority vote, choosing from the two candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each Senator having one vote.

If any objections to the Electoral College vote are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider their merits under procedures set out in federal law.

December 19th may well go down in infamy as the day that The United States of America became the Divided States of Donald Trump.

Needless to say, as of this writing, Twitter is also buzzing loudly with noise about the Electoral College. Twitter is a much more outspoken media than most though for those of you who do not follow Twitter Trends. Much more expressive and vitriolic in my opinion. Even Donald Trump himself is known for openly expressing his opinion much to the detriment of his soon to be appointment to govern this fine nation of ours.

Facebook is not so much concerned with the Electoral College today as it is with the assassination of a Russian Diplomat today 12/19/16. According to CNN.com “Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, was the gunman who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a press conference. The attacker was born in 1994 in the town of Soke in Turkey’s Aydin province, he said. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that the gunman has been neutralized. But it was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed or captured by police as of this writing.”

Cnn.com continued “Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday, after the gunman shouted, “Do not forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire.

The shooting of Ambassador Andrey Karlov was captured on video. Russia’s foreign ministry described it as a “terror attack.”

If you have been following mainstream media, then you know that the situation in #Aleppo has become ridiculously tragic. People under constant threat of death and destruction as government forces and ideologists fight it out. Personal opinion, if your ideology is causing to you to do harm to anyone, it is probably time to rethink.

And then if you want another reason not to hold your cellphone next to your ear, on youtube and facebook, Ceelo Greene is a trending due to a phone malfunction. I personally started using speakerphone a few years back when there were stories about how Cell Phones could cause brain cancer. Anyway, if you didn’t see the video check the show notes and watch this poor man’s phone blow up in his ear. There are also a few vids showing Mr Greene discussing the idea that it was all a part of a new project of his. With him apologizing for stirring people up.

What do you think, Publicity or Tragedy? Or both?

Make A Wish PSA

It also seems somewhat ironic that on the same day we saw security footage depicting a cell phone blow up on someone’s face, we also have the Samsung Galaxy 8 trending on both twitter and Facebook. I am thinking Samsung may have bought the trend. Not that I can prove this, it is not too hard to buy trends on facebook or twitter. If your pockets are deep enough. If you have a very large budget for 2017 (think at least 5 million dollars per quarter), contact me and we can discuss how you can bring your product or service into a trending position on twitter or facebook. And let me know if you believe it is possible to buy trends on any of the places you may find this transcript or podcast.

What else is trending on youtube this week? Korean Bar-b-Que If you ever wondered if you get what you pay for, check this video. These nice young men decided to check out the difference between barbecue that costs 24.00 and 346.00. Apparently Korean barbecue is pretty popular in modern cuisine these days, cause this video garnered over 3 million 6 hundred thousand views by the time of this writing. To be fair, the Channel that is displaying this video has over 11 million subscribers and apparently has been running these food price comparison videos for some time.

People do love food talk and food videos and food pictures though. I often enjoy checking out my cousin’s culinary adventures on Tumblr. Food and Wine has over 5.3 million followers I am among them of course. They also have nearly 2 Million Likes on Facebook. Food is such a popular subject on Social Media that Twitter itself decided to get into the act and set up their own account. Ironically it only has a little less then 1 million followers.

Here is a story you won’t see reported on the mainstream media this week, (Most likely anyway)

So we will head back to Samsung. There is a movement going on to ask the manufacturer to compensate their employees for diseases caused through the manufacture of Smart Phones. According to Green America “Since 2007, more than 70 Samsung factory workers have died due to work-related diseases and hundreds have fallen ill, according to SHARPS, an occupational health advocacy group in South Korea.

Courts in Korea have sided with one victim, ruling her leukemia was caused by dangerous chemicals she was exposed to at work. Seven years after her death, Samsung finally issued an apology to workers in 2014.

In July 2015, Samsung finally agreed to pay victims $85.8 million in compensation—in line with the recommendations of the Mediation Committee. However, so far, Samsung has ignored the core recommendation of this committee: to fund an independent non-profit foundation that will determine how to fairly distribute compensation to workers for their diseases and how to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production, in order to prevent future diseases.”

The Associated Press is also reporting on this story here.

One last trending topic According to Cnn.com again, A truck rammed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Monday night, killing nine and injuring at least 50. Officials are investigating the crash as an act of terrorism, according to a German intelligence official familiar with the matter.

Authorities have apprehended the suspected driver, according to a police spokesman.

The crash occurred in Breitscheidplatz in the western part of central Berlin. Another person who was in the truck died on scene, Berlin police tweeted. “A truck just ran over a sidewalk at #Breitscheidplatz Our colleague report multiple injuries. more to follow,” Berlin police tweeted.

The “accident” is being investigated as an act of terror.

So now for some of my opinion. The mainstream media is conspiring with the criminals who commit these crimes whether they are attributed to ideology or simple human criminality. It is not a conscious choice on the part of the media. Yet, many times some one commits a criminal act regardless whether a motive is known or not, rather then simply identify the act as criminal, it is sensationalized as an act of terror. EVERY criminal act is an act of terror to the victim. Does this mean that we are to differentiate between terroristic motives and other motives?

How is it a conspiracy? Well by identifying the alleged perpetrators. If Al Qeada or ISIS or ISIL whatever they want to call themselves claim responsibility for some criminal act, they get exactly what they want from the mainstream media. Publicity and the furtherance of their goals to inspire terror. Why would a responsible journalistic organization give credence to a claim that so and so committed a criminal act without proof? In fact, in America; any allegations of criminality must be proven in a court of law before it is considered to be fact.

So what can our mainstream media outlets do? That is the usual question. Well, what do you expect them to do? I expect any reporter or journalist to stick with verifiable facts. I expect that using sensational terms such as “act of terror” or “terrorism” be reduced to the much more accurate terms “criminal act” or “criminality” And that no attribution be made to any group or individual unless it has been proven in a court of law. Why? You may ask. This means that no matter what any criminals do, they never get credit for it. They get no play on the media. They are simply identified as criminals without any name or ideology. And when their free publicity dies out, they will have to find some other way to terrorize people.

St Jude PSA

We are going to listen some to award winning Podcast Host, Producer, and Consultant Daniel Lewis discuss why podcasting is a unique and perfect media for reaching your audience and gaining the trust of your subscribers and audience. So we have some excerpts from Audacity to Podcast along with my personal commentary. If you enjoy the excerpts, feel free to subscribe on the show notes. You can also contact me if you are ready to develop your own podcast.

Why is podcasting a unique and perfect media for reaching an audience, gaining trust and establishing a unique voice in the cacophony of voices on the internet?

A quick summary of 8 points that make podcasting more intimate and unique than writing, video even TV and Radio.

  1. Authentic Voice
  2. Speaking to individuals
  3. Building Relationships
  4. Publishing Consistently
  5. Taking Content Everywhere
  6. Engaging with Real People
  7. Connecting Through Social Media
  8. Focusing on the Niches

I am going to just briefly go over a few of these points as I have already listened to the entire episode. First off an Authentic Voice. If you are on Social Media, you know that there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals and companies vying for your attention. Many of them may seem to sound exactly alike. Having the same messaging. Save Money. Save Time. Try this new thing or that. Did you know that there were over 30 Billion Podcast Downloads in 2015 according to the Pew Research Center? Or that there were estimated over 200 million pieces of new content produced every minute on Social Media?

So where is your content in that incredible multitude of pieces being produced and shared every minute of every day? Is your voice being heard? Or are you sounding just like everyone else? Your podcast will represent your unique point of view that people can appreciate for it’s authenticity.

And what about speaking to individuals? When you podcast, you are likely (if you are doing it well) speaking to your microphone. Or interviewing someone. And that as if it were your best friend or someone you love and care about. Why does this happen in most cases? It is natural to be much more considerate, genuine and careful when you know that you are being recorded. This comes across in your podcast and helps you to build relationships with your listeners.

And that is the third point. Podcasts help you to build relationships. Just like Social Media does if you use it properly. Building relationships is what all this Internet Stuff is all about. Although there are many different uses for the internet such as research, information gathering and disemmination, and personal and professional expression; at the heart of it all and at the beginning it was all about relating to each other.

So let’s talk about how podcasts can be taken anywhere. It maybe that you are listening today on your computer. But possibly you are listening on your phone or tablet. Whats the point? If you are an experienced podcast listener you know that you can download your podcasts and listen to them anytime and anywhere you have your phone. Or Ipod. Think about that. When you are making podcasts, your audience can listen to you anywhere. Anytime. On their schedule. No other media allows you to do this for your audience with the exception of music.

There are many creative ways of using this unique media. And I have thought through them. Not to brag, but if you have something to say either to customers or clients or prospects; we can figure it out together. And make it work. And make it worth your while. You only need contact me at mahoingvalleypodcast.com or on Facebook or Twitter. And we will figure it out. Just as an added incentive for doing so, I will respond to your inquiry with actionable ideas and if you want to work on them with me, we can do so. If you want to implement them yourself; so be it.

WWF PSA

Today’s Target Porn

Image courtesy of KNPR.org

Today’s target is porn. I discriminate against Pornography for a few reasons as you can well guess. But the inspiration for this post is this new development in the porn industry. The use of facial recognition software to find webcam models.  This is going to turn many a webcam model into the kind of celebrities that will be earning entirely too much money to EVER get out of the sex trade.

And that is one of the reasons I hate porn. Because it takes one of the most beautiful and intimate activities that God has given man and turns it into a commodity. Like Orange Juice or Pork Bellies. People get so caught up using pornography that they ignore their mates, stop dating, and sometimes even pursue the most perverted of activities just because they saw someone else do it and thought it may be fun.

To be fair, it is actually a love/hate relationship. But I am doing my best to avoid it going forward simply cause I am single and it is way too easy to rely on porn and avoid real opportunities to actually share intimacy. But enough about me.

Another reason I am discriminating against porn is that in many cases it is the product of sex trafficking and the sex trade.

How tragic is it that people get caught up in the sex trade?

Let’s look at some statistics:

Sex trafficking that involves the forcible abduction of people for the purposes of profiting from sexual slavery either in the porn industry or prostitution. According to one source equalitynow.org 20.9 people are enslaved every year. With 2 million of them being children. Children. That means that 2 million children every year are enslaved by some criminal to perform sex acts for money.

That is some wack shit right there.

And what of the death toll for sex workers who are enslaved? An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24, and some are as young as six years old. According to a Newsmax story that was published in 2001. So if we extrapolate a modern estimate, it is probably closer this year to 50,000 people. Or maybe even 100000. Only God knows for sure.

And here is the last one that hopefully will persuade you that porn is worth discriminating against: According to Louise Shelley in Human Trafficking, A Global Perspective:  Human traffickers are increasingly trafficking pregnant women for their newborns. Babies are sold on the black market, where the profit is divided between the traffickers, doctors, lawyers, border officials, and others. The mother is usually paid less than what is promised her, citing the cost of travel and creating false documents. A mother might receive as little as a few hundred dollars for her baby.

So you may be saying to yourself, well how does all this relate to the nice dvd my wife and I like to pop in every now and then cause we want to do it, but we need a little impetus to get us started?

Consider the logic I employ here.

Maybe the people in the DVD were kidnapped at the age of 13. Maybe they were compelled to perform sex acts on other people for money or just for fun.  Maybe this caused them to be involved in filming the sex acts so they could continue to support a drug habit they acquired due to the fact that one of their customers gave them a pill one day to help them perform some extremely perverted act. Maybe you are watching a victim of human slavery. Maybe you helped the criminal that enslaved them to pay for his BMW. Maybe you are just as guilty as they are. Guilty by Association.

Todays Target Criminals

Image courtesy of appdevelopermagazine.com

Criminals are on my list today. Why would I discriminate against criminal activity? Because it discriminates against me and mine. Because criminals of all sorts are out there preying on people like you and me who are just trying to get through and find some peace. But modern American society glamorizes these piece of crap gangstas. People who sell your children drugs and rob your homes. People who would just as soon kill you as look at you if you get in their way.

So we get alleged criminals like Donald Trump running for president and a whole bunch of lost souls supporting him. We get alleged criminals like Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre teaching generations of children that it is good or even beneficial to flaunt the law to get ahead. We get tons of modern entertainment options in the movies and tv that glamorizes crime and make it seem as if it is somehow ok to break the law to survive.

Sure a lot of these entertainment options usually have some morality component, like it is ok to become a criminal if you or yours have been wronged somehow, but that doesn’t change the fact that vigilantism is illegal. It is illegal to take the law into your own hands. For any reason. But criminals and the criminally minded make it seem like it is OK. So then, we get white collar criminals who somehow justify to themselves that it is ok to take people’s money for themselves to take care of their families or somehow pay back an unjust society.

And the most appalling of criminals, the so called terrorists. The religious fanatics who can somehow justify the terrorizing of people just cause they hold a different belief system. The lunatics who believe that the only way to change society is to destroy it. These criminals come with various self rationalizations, but the end result is all the same.

Today then all you criminals be put on notice, that just cause people emulate you and you get paid well in  all cases, there is also justice. You will pay it all back. You will end up in jail. You will end up dead. Universal Jurisdiction is a real thing and you are courting yourselves to a sorrowful end. My advice, if you are not interested in having the universe rule against you, then consider allowing people to hold their own believes and opinions, and you hold yours. Then go out and get a real job and pay your taxes like everyone else does.

Todays Target the Era of the Expert

Image courtesy of Tribune International

Era of the Expert.  What is this exactly? It seems as if there are many experts around on all number of topics.  Content and Social Media Marketing come to mind initially. There is even an article on how to present oneself as an expert.  Everyone wants to be an expert and the internet has made it possible to appear to have expertise.

Take for example Amy Cuddy.  She has made herself an expert on something that she termed “power poses”.  Some doctored up research and a few TED talks later she is supposed to be some kind of expert. Problem is she and her fellow researchers engaged in shoddy research techniques and biased the study that she based her “expertise” on; and as it turns out; she has become more of a charlatan then an expert.

People set themselves up as “experts” so they can appear to have some handle on solving societal problems, but have in many cases have contributed nothing to actual solutions. This is also apparent  in governance as well.  According to the Arnold Kling writing for the Cato Institute a public policy research organization;

To summarize: We live in an increasingly complex world. We depend on experts more than ever. Yet experts are prone to failure, and there are no perfect experts.

Given the complexity of the world, it is tempting to combine expertise with power, by having government delegate power to experts. However, concentration of power makes our society more brittle, because the mistakes made by government experts propagate widely and are difficult to correct.

It is unlikely that we will be able to greatly improve the quality of government experts.

Instead, if we wish to reduce the knowledgepower discrepancy[1], we need to be willing to allow private-sector experts to grope toward solutions to problems, rather than place unwarranted faith in experts backed by the power of the state.

So if you want to present yourself as an expert keep in mind that individuals will always have the right to ignore you.  And of course, when you present yourself as a “know-it-all” there will always be critical thinkers who discriminate against your opinions.

[1] When knowledge is dispersed but power is concentrated, I call this the knowledgepower discrepancy. Such discrepancies can arise in large firms, where CEOs can fail to appreciate the significance of what is known by some of their subordinates. I would view the mistakes made by AIG, BP, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and other well-known companies as illustrations of this knowledge-power discrepancy in practice.

Todays Target Gender Politics

Image Courtesy of Timeforequality.org

Why Gender Politics? Why should I discriminate against Gender Politics? Well in my opinion because it is stupid to try to pigeonhole a person into any role just because that is what society as a whole expects in whatever time you happen to live in.

So if we lived 50 years ago and I wanted to stay home and take care of the children instead of go out into the world and get a job; I may have been ostracized. Likewise, today if someone would prefer to work and take care of himself or herself rather than have children, they are looked on as weird or gay.

Gender politics have been used by strong and rich people to oppress poor and weak people since the beginning of civilized society and it has gotten people nowhere closer to understanding each other than any other form of politics.

It is ridiculous in my opinion to say stupid things like, “I am a man, so I must go out and win the bread for the family.” Or “I am a woman, so I must stay home and scrub the skid marks out of my man’s undies and clean up after him.” Just because that is what society or culture says. Forget that noise.

It is ok if you choose to play the role of breadwinner or housewife. As long as you are choosing it for yourself. It is completely bullsquaggle if you are choosing these roles because culture, or society or your mamma or your grandpa is telling you to.

I know that choices are sometimes hard to make and it can take time to decide what roles are right for a person to play. However, please don’t decide what your life can be just because of your gender.  Do you have any ideas on this topic? Please share.

 

 

Todays Target Partisan Politics

Partisan Politics has to be one of the most ridiculous and sadly entertaining products of our Democratic Capitalist Society.  Watching the advertisements on TV and on Social Media is like some kind of horribly surreal Soap Opera where there are no good guys, just people with no way of communicating their positions on policy or how to solve problems;  but with seemingly endless ways of attacking each other.

To be fair, it is important to note that as the two major Parties struggle to become more cohesive and unified in their seeming disdain for each other, there is one benefit.  According to Pietro Nivola at the Brookings Institute, at least we can find out what to expect from our candidates when the two major parties become more unified and entrenched in their positions.

But the reasons that I am so dissatisfied with this coalescence is that nothing seems to be getting done. Or if it is, it seems as if it is entirely too slow. It seems as if the major problems of our time and within our society are just getting worse, while a bunch of rich and entitled jerkwads keep bickering about what to do about them.

When it becomes time to elect our representatives, many of our elected leaders seem to take a bunch of time off to travel and campaign.  Does this seem like some kind of scam? We are paying these people to travel around and campaign for themselves to get rehired instead of doing what we elected them to do in the first place.

Take for instance gun control.  Is there any rational person in the United States that really thinks that there is not a problem with how firearms are sold and distributed in this country? Is there anyone who does not think that there are entirely too many guns on the streets?

And what of the Affordable Health Care Act? Although for the most part, I lean towards democratic notions of how to provide health care to the citizens of this country, this thing is a complete disaster.

Case in point.  During my last stint as an employed person with benefits and a salary; I signed up for the “minimum coverage” required by the AHCA.  So I end up with a infection and have to go to the emergency room. While I am being treated for the infection and am in the hospital, I am confronted on the second day there with the news that I have no Insurance Coverage.

That I am going to be billed for the entire stay including all testing and antibiotics. I am astounded and decide that as soon as possible I am calling the Insurance Company. I call them, and they confirm that I am not covered for actually getting sick and then being treated. My minimum coverage only covered preventative care.

So although I had the required insurance, I still got bills totaling over $5000.00. And my insurance company who was faithfully collecting premiums, got to deny all the claims made by the Hospital. Is this the result of a partisan political environment where it was necessary to throw the insurance industry a nice sized bone to get them to stop lobbying against a Health Care Plan?

I do not know if that was the case, but I do know that I should have read the fine print on that Policy. Story of my life, I should have read the fine print.  So what about you?  Are you feeling some concerns with the way politics operate in the US? I am interested really.