Sunday, September 27, 2009


After a summer of pain and frustration, I'm finally going back to work. I've had a lot of people ask what happened to me, so (since I tend to believe in lots of transparency) here's the very truncated story of what took me down and how I got back up. Sorry if this is too much information or too medical in nature.

It all started on June 13th on the morning before the start of
The Komen Race For The Cure. The race route goes right in front of the radio stations I program, so we turn out in a big way every year to support the racers.

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I was out early that morning and was walking on Market Street towards one of the station's tents. I tripped on a lump of asphalt or whatever they pave streets with and fell forward with my hands getting pretty deep lacerations and bleeding a LOT. Of course, all the streets were closed as the race was about to start, so the very kind people who work with me emptied all the First Aid kits at work and helped hold back the bleeding until someone could drive me to the E.R. Its a long story, but if I break my skin in a significant way, I have to go to the E.R. for examination and antibiotics.

After dealing with the deep abrasions on the hands and one on a knee, there was also lots of pain, especially in the left hand, to deal with. It took ten weeks of doctor visits, physical therapy, testing, dealing with my very generous employer and their insurance company along with the not so generous Missouri "no rights for employees" Workers' Compensation rules and lots of discomfort to come to the conclusion that my Ulnar Nerve in my left arm was damaged and it would need to be repaired with surgery. Click the link above to learn more than you'd ever want to know about the problem and the solution.

After a really bad experience with a hand specialist, I was sent to Dr. David German, a very gifted surgeon. I only mention him because he did a fantastic job. No consideration was offered or taken for the mention. The surgery was done on September 16th, and it was a bigger deal than I thought. You can read about the surgical procedure here or check out this short description and illustration:

One method is called ulnar nerve transposition. In this procedure, the surgeon forms a completely new tunnel from the flexor muscles of the forearm. The ulnar nerve is then moved (transposed) out of the cubital tunnel and placed in the new tunnel.

The following images show each step

Even I say "ewwwwwwwww". My muscles were cut, the nerve was moved from one side of my elbow to the other, and the muscles were reconnected. Amazingly, I had begun to get feeling back in my previously numb fingers in the recovery room, and the feeling continues to return, but not without pain. I got to wear this lovely 20 pound apparatus on my arm for about a week too.When the casts (there were multiple casts including a softball sized plaster mold protecting my elbow) came off, I had more feeling and movement in my fingers, but my elbow hurts more than watching Tom DeLay dance. So its Physical Therapy time. I'm going three days a week for about 90 minutes per session. I have a feeling I'll be doing that until the end of October, maybe longer. The elbow needs a lot of work, the fingers still aren't perfect, and I'll do whatever it takes to get back to as normal as my icky bad body can be.

That's the deal. Its been a very difficult Summer, there is still rehab ahead, but I've been blessed with a very passionate and generous employer, an insurance case manager who really knows her stuff and cares, and a gifted team of medical professionals. I've also gotten tremendous support from a long list of people at work who have done everything I'd usually do while I've been recuperating and will still be doing some of my duties going forward.

I don't need to sit home and watch Judge shows and The Weather Channel all day, so I'm returning to work, or to whatever work I can get done. I'll be in the office as much as I can, but will be going to PT (that's what us in the Physical Therapy Club call it) and doctor appointments, combined with the extra effort everything seems to take these days, will limit the amount of time I'll be able to work. Typing, lifting, and lots of everyday duties are either forbidden or a huge challenge, and it will just take time to get back up to full speed.

I hope this helps explain what life has been like since June 13th and what to expect, especially if you're trying to reach me by phone, in the next few weeks. I'll try to take as many calls as I can at work, but I'll need extra time to do everything else, so you will most likely get voice mail if you call. E mail is the best way to find me, and I can respond without typing by using very cool voice recognition software on both my computer and BlackBerry.

Here's to healthier, happier, and more enjoyable times ahead for all of us!

P.S. Click on the post title for a special musical treat!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bob Baer and Metro

In December 2007, I wrote here that I had every confidence that interim Metro president Bob Baer would do a great job of restoring public trust in Metro’s direction that had been lost by its previous managers. Looking at a new study of public opinion about Metro, it is clear that Bob’s leadership has done that. People’s concerns about Metro’s future have once again focused on issues other than its management. Instead worrying as much about its litigation strategy and lack of fiscal oversight, people now are talking wanting the region’s public transportation system to go more places, to be more convenient to their homes and offices, and to be safe. That’s Bob Baer’s mark at Metro so far: he has reassured us that the transportation agency in back on track.

To my surprise and pleasure, Bob Baer has agreed to become Metro’s permanent president. As its top official, he will be very prominent in the public discussion of Metro’s request for additional revenues to maintain and expand public transportation in the region. St. Louis County voters will be the first to weigh Bob’s arguments, most likely at an election this coming year. But, voters in St. Charles County , Jefferson County , and in southern Illinois will not be far behind. (City voters have already approved additional funding.) The stakes are high: a useful and efficient system of public transportation is one of the keys of the region’s economic prosperity. The panic of suburban employers over recent budget-related cut-backs in service surely reminded everyone of the stakes.

I do not envy Bob Baer the challenges ahead. I cannot think of anyone else more likely to overcome them. He will have my strong support.

Some observations to the actual words of Mayor Francis Slay's own words (because he would never use a professional PR person to write the blog) are here:

TO MY SURPRISE AND PLEASURE????????? Surprise because Mr. Baer, who is not a bad guy, has accepted the second worst job in St. Louis, the worst being in charge of attracting major national conventions here. But he's pulling in 190K a year, so he should be able to afford enough antidepressants to make the job worth his while.

THE PANIC OF SUBURBAN EMPLOYERS OVER RECENT BUDGET RELATED CUT-BACKS IN SERVICE SURELY REMINDED EVERYONE OF THE STAKES. Yeah, nobody within the city limits must have cared about the gutting of the bus system. Is that what you're trying to tell us, Mr. Mayor? When's the last time you've been to where the buses used to run in South City, or perhaps at AG Edwards/Wachovia/Wells Fargo on Market Street? I forgot, the city is wonderful and the county is EVIL and that's why you want to combine them into one completely dysfunctional unit of government.

HE WILL HAVE MY STRONG SUPPORT. Until I have to tell all the suburbanites on TV or Charlie "I Hate Metro" Brennan's show that I support a tax increase that will not build a nice new Arch Grounds, Sculpture Garden, or Ballpark Village.

Personally, I think Bob Baer, Jessica Mefford-Miller, and other very dedicated people really do want the system to improve and better serve its customers. The problem is that County Executive Charlie Dooley, Mayor Slay, a posse of legislators in Jefferson City, and tens of thousands of citizens are working hard to make sure the St. Louis region STAGNATES because nobody with political and public opinion influence will properly explain the benefits of a good mass transit system and how a small tax increase will benefit everyone in the area, even the elected officials who wouldn't be caught dead on a bus unless it was for a photo op when unused buses are turned into cooling shelters.


Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jack in the Box: ‘Bonus Jack’ Sandwich Makes its Return


Jack in the Box is never one to stay out of the limelight for too long. According to our good friend over at the Fast Food Maven, we now know that Jack will be re-introducing The Bonus Jack. This sandwich is akin to McDonald’s Big Mac, featuring two beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, pickle and their own secret sauce. The sandwich will debut at $2.79 making it cheaper than the Big Mac, yet a tad more expensive than Carl’s Jr.’s Big Carl. It will also be available as a combo for $3.99 with a small fries and a small drink. While some restaurants have already begun selling the burger, come monday, a majority of the other locations will make the sandwich available as well.

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Bonus Jack, Deep Fried THAT'S livin!

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0


Shameless Plug. I've "cleaned up" the design of my blog Followers via Google Friend Connect and design tips are MOST welcome. PLEASE be honest, I don't see well, and this new design could really stink. I need all the help I can get. xoxo

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


From the Tuesday, September 22 St. Louis Business Journal:

St. Louis County lobbyist Cline to resign

St. Louis Business Journal

Darin Cline
View Larger

Darin Cline plans to resign as St. Louis County’s chief governmental lobbyist.

Cline’s duties include acting as liaison to the state of Missouri.

Cline also was County Executive Charlie Dooley’s campaign manager in 2006.

“He had an opportunity to get back into full-time political consulting, and it was an opportunity too good to pass up,” said Mac Scott, Dooley’s spokesman. “The county executive wishes him well.”

Cline did not return a request for comment.

All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.

Here's the story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Curiouser and curiouser...

09.22.2009 9:18 am

As the rumor mill turns: Dooley aide resigns amid political frenzy

St. Louis Post-Dispatch



As our St. Louis County beat reporter Paul Hampel reports in today’s paper, there was intrigue out of Clayton last night, where an aide to County Executive Charlie A. Dooley abruptly resigned.

His departure has nothing to do with persistent rumors of a federal probe into county government, Darin Cline, Dooley’s director of intergovernmental relations said.

Nor, Cline added, was he leaving because of a pending IRS inquiry into his personal finances, though that at least is real, Cline acknowledged.

“My attorneys and my accountant are handling that matter on my behalf,” Cline told Hampel.

Welcome to St. Louis politics, circa August/September 2009.

Since the guilty pleas of two state lawmakers that straddled the city limits — former State Sen. Jeff Smith represented St. Louis, ex-State Rep. Steve Brown calls Clayton home — suspicions have run rampant among Democrats across the region.

Adding to the frenzy is that Smith was caught on a wire worn by Brown, who in turn was busted with the help of recorded conversations he had with now-jailed Democratic strategist Milt “Skip” Ohlsen III.

In other words: You never know who is listening.

Cline’s departure may have more to do with politics than justice — with Dooley gearing up for what could be a tough re-election campaign, he does not need any distractions on the Ninth Floor.

That’s not to say the feds are done with their crackdown of political corruption. But it’s anybody’s guess if the next conviction, should there be one, will finally temper speculation — or add to the paranoia of who might be on deck.

Tags: , , , ,

I've written about this gentleman many times before in this blog, and from everything I've been able to ascertain, this is the person behind the embarrassingly amateurish and woefully unsuccessful campaign to add a one half cent sales tax in St. Louis County to fund mass transit. The campaign was run out of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's office because Metro, as a public agency, can't conduct a political campaign.

Cline seems to have been the henchman, I prefer the term HACK, charged with running the campaign, and his efforts were so horrid that a freshman PolySci student would have been sent home with his tail between his legs after having proposed a campaign that so underestimated the needs of the people and the importance of the issue. In a real business, this guy would likely have been fired for blowing the campaign, endangering the economy of the entire St. Louis region, and not carrying out his duties on behalf of the people of St. Louis County.

I don't know Darin Cline, but not for lack of trying. I've tried to link to him on Facebook and LinkedIn, but clearly this man wants nothing to do with me. I've written him asking to meet to discuss how I can help the disaster that is mass transit in St. Louis County. Not a word in reply. Maybe its the whole thing about me caring about the St. Louis region. Whatever the reason, it looks like Cline's days are numbered and he might be taking up residence in lovely Terre Haute, Indiana.

As of now, a tax to help raise money for mass transit in St. Louis is due to go on the ballot in April of 2010. County Executive Dooley is in for a major battle for re election, as he has proven once and for all that he is no Buzz Westfall, someone who would have NEVER let Proposition M fail in 2008.

Dooley, and EVERYONE in St. Louis, needs someone with an understanding of the importance of public transit, the economic value to the future of the St. Louis region that comes from a complete transit system, and the ability to communicate a message that will get people to vote for a small tax increase in April. Darin Cline is all but gone, what's the chance Dooley and his cronies can do better and actually get the ballot measure passed?

By Semi-Popular Demand, My Encased Arm

Here's my arm with plaster (as in heavy) cast, bandages, and miles of tape.  Seeing Doc today, hoping to get some of this removed.  Still hurts more than watching my Cubs choke...again.

Stand by for updates, but NO gross pics, I promise.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaak Video Status Update

Click here to download:
I'm Back!_converted.mp4 (3821 KB)

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Well, update fail

I tried to send a video of update, but I don't think it worked. So here's an audio update. Still in the hospital Thursday afternoon. Surgery went well. Big pain still in elbow, I got a friendly nurse as just walked in with medicine. Stand by for more thank you for all the good wishes.

 *** Composed with Vlingo for BlackBerry.

 Sent with flying thumbs from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Storm

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting Health Care While The Getting Is, uh, Good

I’m having surgery on Wednesday, September 16 and will be off the Interwebz for a couple of weeks, hopefully not much longer.  I may be able to update Posterous, which will then send updates all over the Web.  Should you wish to check in there, you can find me at  I’m also easily found on Twitter at @markedwards and Facebook at

I’d better get this surgery over with before I find these guys as my doctors under the new Health Care Program.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, September 14, 2009

HD's Killer App Goes Poof! Radio InSights by Glenda Shrader Bos & Richard Harker

HD Smiley

You’ve probably heard that Apple’s new iPod Nano will have an FM tuner with iTunes tagging built in. Lost in radio’s coverage of the announcement was its impact on HD Radio. You may recall that in Fall 2007, iBiquity Digital announced a deal with Apple to enable iTunes tagging on HD radios.

Clear Channel, Cumulus, Cox, Entercom, and Greater Media all quickly announced that they would support tagging. You can read iBiquity’s complete explanation of the process here, and Apple’s latest explanation here.

Here’s how Wired’s Listening Post blog explained the process:

HD Radio stations send song information along with their signal; when the user hits the tag button, that information gets stored on any iPod in the receiver's iPod dock. The next time the iPod is synced with the user's iTunes collection, the tagged songs show up for purchase within iTunes.

Tagging finally gave HD Radio something quite unique. It nudged HD Radio a little closer to hip by aligning the product with the essence of hip: Apple. There was a slight problem.

For tagging to work, your iPod had to be docked in an HD Radio designed for tagging. So those who already owned an HD radio without the feature were screwed. Today, some two years after the announcement, Amazon lists only five radios capable of tagging, all pretty pricey. Don’t plan on tagging with your sub $50 Insignia.

Wired added this analysis:

Nano 3

I suspect that Apple created this feature with more than HD Radio in mind, and plans something along the line of Rhapsody's hardware tagging feature, which lets users tag radio songs on Sandisk and Sonos players for purchase or subscription download.

Wired was pretty close. Apple’s deal with iBiquity was just a test. They wanted a system that could sell more downloads and trump Rhapsody, and HD was the perfect guinea pig. They already had tagging on the entire iPod line. With the kinks worked out, now all they had to do was add an FM tuner to the iPod. Which they did with the new Nano.

Make no mistake. This move was not designed to help radio. It was designed to give iTunes a revenue boost. Radio stations do share in the download revenue that tagging brings to Apple, but it probably won’t be enough to reinstated the Christmas party.

The real value to radio is the acknowledgment that radio can move product. They were looking for more revenue, and they knew that the Internet couldn’t deliver. There is no other vehicle that can expose people to music like commercial terrestrial radio. The Labels and performers may have forgotten this, but Apple didn’t.

As we stated in an earlier blog, Steve Jobs needs radio more than radio needs Steve Jobs.

And HD? Apple knows how many downloads HD generated for iTunes. Maybe that’s why they didn’t bother adding an HD tuner to any of the new iPods. Today, Apple has over a 70 share of the MP3 player market. In contrast, Microsoft has a one share. We think they’ll wait to see how well Microsoft’s new Zune with an HD tuner sells.

This post makes me sad. And I've been sad about the future of HD Radio since the Apple event on September 9th. The Nano has FM, but NOT HD FM Radio. How could iBiquity have let this happened?

Tomorrow, the unanticipated HD Radio Zune will be unleashed by Microsoft. I personally spoke with a senior executive at iBiquity over three months ago about getting a test unit or giveaway items so listeners can experience HD Radio. Not a peep for follow up. I've always been a supporter of HD Radio, I program HD Radio stations, but it seems that iBiquity and the HD Radio movement keeps on getting into the "Red Zone" (football season is here) and fumbling. If they could get their chip in the Zune, I've got to think they could have shelled out the cash to get it in the Nano.

Sadly, I have to agree with Glenda and Richard. STEVE JOBS NEEDS RADIO MORE THAN RADIO NEEDS STEVE JOBS. And I'm wondering (PERSONAL OPINION) how many people really want or see the need for HD Radio. As an industry, WE ARE NOT CREATING A NEED. As they say on the Interwebz, EPIC FAIL.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

09/09/09 - The Day the Record Industry Died - Anil Dash

Today brings two announcements of great import to music fans, but they're most notable for who's not involved: The major record labels.

First, The Beatles are announcing a slew of new launches to reboot the band for the digital era, including a branded version of Rock Band and the release of a set of digitally-remastered recordings that ready their catalog for purchase online for the first time. At the same time, Apple is holding their annual iPod advertising event, focused (as is often the case) on music. Most of today's announcements from Apple are focused on the packaging and distribution of digital music, not just on songs and artists themselves.

But what's remarkable is what the confluence of these two events represents: The final decline of the record industry's ability to define the popular narrative about music. With only a few exceptions (such as Reprise, started by Frank Sinatra, and Apple Corps, started by the Beatles), record labels have been started by business people who have a terrifyingly consistent history of exploiting the artists they were ostensibly trying to promote. The labels compounded these affronts by developing a contempt for the new way consumers have decided to consume music in this millenium, hastening the end of the era of the major record labels .

But today marks a clear and unmistakeable milestone, dramatically demonstrating that the only entities with the power to make news about music today are artists themselves (as in the case of the Beatles) or technology companies (like Apple). You could arguably include a few TV shows, as well, insofar as reality competition game shows help introduce new artists. Despite this reality, though, most record labels today still absurdly believe that the media covers something like a new Jay-Z album because of the label's promotional efforts, instead of that coverage having arisen from genuine demand from fans, as demonstrated by dialogue on blogs, Twitter, Facebook or just in face-to-face "hey, you gotta hear this song!" conversations. The reality is that the people who can get excitement going about music these days aren't in the record industry at all, but rather all around it.

It's not surprising, of course — the record industry was remarkably late to realize that we've all cared about the music, not the records or CDs themselves. Thousands of articles and blog posts have been written about that transition, to the point where the record labels' demise has gone from unimaginable to being accepted as an inevitability in less than a decade.

Nothing could be more striking, though, than a day that's all about music but ony features a minor, marginal role for the traditional record companies. They've had a good run, but looking at the larger pattern of today's news makes it clear that their moment has passed.

Thanks to Anil Dash for the thoughts. Original content at

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pres. Obama National Address to Students

As promised, the speech that has corrupted our children. Parents-please be aware of the evil propaganda that is being spewed on the Youth Of America.


After being brainwashed by THE speech today, I wish I was back in school so I could join the Subliminal Secret Society and serve HIM.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, September 07, 2009


I know this will knock me right off Glenn Beck's Christmas Card list, but I think its important. So as a service to America, I'm proud to go against all that is Fox News and offer you, the American Citizen, the chance to watch the President Of The United States poison the minds of unsuspecting children on Tuesday at Noon Eastern, 11 in St. Louis, Midnight Wednesday in Beijing, 8PM in Moscow, and 9PM in Tehran.

If you'd like to read the speech in advance and check for hidden fascist and socialist references, here it is:

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

I must say that it bothers me that so many people are all lathered up about the President addressing kids about staying in school and getting a good education. I don't care who the President is, I have respect for the office and have taught my kids that they should too. Cable news hacks and spineless school districts have urged, and in many cases exercised prior restraint and have already decided that the speech is not appropriate for kids to see at school, or anytime in some people's minds.

I'm a big fan of free expression, and have respect for the Oval Office, regardless of my thoughts about the person sitting in the "big chair". Blocking kids from seeing the President give a "first day of school" speech with absolutely NO idea about the content of the speech is just plain wrong. So below is a link to the live speech, and it will be replaced with an archived version after the broadcast.

I know, I'm a rebel and I'm going on the list of radicals who would dare to disagree with the Tea Partying, Right Wingnuts, but that's just the price of being a believer in free speech, whether I personally agree with what is said or not. Call me crazy, and part of a shrinking group who might still read and at least basically understand the Constitution.

Friday, September 04, 2009


This Just In from

That's it. I give up. Its over. No postseason play, no 2009 Championship Season. And I never even got to a game this year because I hurt myself in June. Another sad year for Cubs Fans. Let's just get it over with now.

9/04/09 7:37 PM ET

Cubs shut down Soriano indefinitely

Increasing pain in left knee is becoming mental distraction

NEW YORK -- Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano tried to gut it out and play with the pain in his left knee. Now, manager Lou Piniella believes the best course of action is to shut down one of his main power sources.

Piniella would not put a timetable on when Soriano might return to the lineup. He would not rule out that the veteran outfielder could be done for the season. There is a strong possibility Soriano will need a surgical procedure to have debris cleaned out of his left knee when the season is over.

"I had a talk with him before coming out here and the crux of it is his knee is not strong," Piniella said before the Cubs began a weekend series against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday night. "He's having trouble playing on it, hitting on it. In fairness to him, we're going to have him continue to do all his exercises with our trainer and revisit this thing down the road.

"There is no timetable," Piniella continued, adding that Sam Fuld, who has no homers and no RBIs to show for 41 at-bats prior to Friday night's game, would be one of Soriano's replacements. "We appreciate the fact that he wants to play, he's a gamer, that he wants to help us. But at this time and point, because of his knee, he is not able to do that."

Soriano, 33, has hit 25 or more home runs and driven in 70 or more runs in every season since 2002, but this year, he has 20 home runs and 55 RBIs in 117 games.

Soriano, who was limited to 109 games a year ago and spent two stints on the disabled list with calf and hand injuries, initially hurt his knee this season when he slammed into the outfield wall in a game against Cincinnati on April 22.

The outfielder had a shot in the knee on Sunday and was back in the lineup on Tuesday, but he took an 0-for-4 in a loss to the White Sox on Thursday and was 5-for-18 with one homer and three RBIs on the homestand that concluded Thursday.

"I cannot concentrate because my knee bothers me," Soriano told reporters before the game without revealing that he was being shut down. "My knee is a little sore and that's what I have in my mind right now."

Piniella said he pondered his decision for a long time. He thought about it on the team's charter flight from Chicago to New York on Thursday evening and spent most of the night considering Soriano's condition.

"I vacillated about it, and this morning, I still felt this was the best thing to do for this young man," Piniella said. "And I stick to it."

The manager was asked if Soriano might be done for the season.

"I'm not going to go that far," Piniella said. "Remember, he had a shot a few days ago. We gave him a few days off, but obviously it hasn't been enough. I had a nice talk with our trainer and strength coach on what we need to do to get it stronger, and we're going to go with him in that direction. And then we'll revisit it. I don't know when or how soon, but we'll revisit it."

Soriano said the knee has become a mental distraction to him only recently.

"The first time when I was sore, I wasn't paying attention, because I like to play this game," Soriano said. "Now, it's at the end and it has been getting worse. At the beginning, I wasn't even thinking about it."

Soriano said he'd like to avoid surgery, but he sounded like a man who didn't have much choice.

"They said they want to clean it up," he said. "Maybe after the season they want to clean it up and get ready for Spring Training next year.

"It's not big. It's like changing the oil when you have a car."

Kit Stier is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Labor Day, Schmabor Day. The weekend's highlight is INTERNATIONAL BACON DAY Saturday! CELEBRATE!

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

The Uncle Sam Interviews: Helen Thomas from FOD Team - Video

Another installment of Uncle Sam interviewing influential Americans. This time, its the Queen of the White House Press Corps, the great Helen Thomas. Kudos to Helen for telling it like it is, straight to Uncle Sam.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0