We really appreciate your visits! Every Friday, our goal is to provide you with a few laughs, some inspiring stories and some food for thought. We look forward to your visiting with us again next Friday! Y'all come on back now... ya hear!
How to be the best you can be
Do you expect nothing but the best from yourself?
Well, you are not alone.
As someone who’s highly committed to personal excellence and growth, my motto in life is to ‘be my best self and live my best life.’ I strive to uphold this motto every single day.
In doing so, I have adopted ten simple principles which help me stay on track:
1) Follow Your Heart
Follow your passion. Life’s too short to spend it doing something you don’t love.
When I made the decision to leave my management career, I faced varying levels of resistance from people all around me - my parents, friends, managers, colleagues, mentors, etc.
Some thought I went crazy. Some thought I was undergoing a strange life-phase. Some thought it was a waste to give up a Fortune 100 career with excellent prospects and a sizable paycheck. And others thought I was just being rash and wasn’t thinking things through.
And I knew I could be doing something I really loved instead. So I quit my job to pursue my passion, and I haven’t looked back since.
So what’s your passion? What are your goals and dreams? If you absolutely knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do with your life?
2) Prioritize and Focus
One of my core values is excellence... and I believe a key component of excellence is focus.
I ensure that everything I do has a single-minded focus - it starts off first with my purpose in life, laddering down to my life goals, then my long-term goals, my short-term goals, and finally down to my daily tasks.
One of the tools which helps keep me focused is my life handbook. It’s a life manual I created back in 2007 that contains my purpose, vision, goals, strategies, and specific plans to keep me on track.
It has served me tremendously over the years. I’m also a strong advocate of the 80-20 rule - where 20% of the causes, lead to 80% of the effects.
Many outcomes in life are attributable to a few small actions, and once we get all those key actions right, we will gain phenomenal results.
3) Look on the Positive Side
Probably cliché, but true nonetheless, you must stay positive. You can look at a half-filled glass from multiple perspectives. If you are positive, you will cheer at how the glass is half-full.
If you are negative, you will sigh and resign at the half-empty portion of the glass. If you are a realist, you will simply see the glass as a glass.
At the end of the day, what you are faced with is simply the way it is. Everything else is your own perspective. Focus on the negative side of the situation, and you will be mired in negativity.
Focus on the positive upside, and you will gain a positive outlook which will improve your experience and quality of life, giving you the momentum to move onward and upward.
4) Place Yourself in the Way of Uncertainty
Uncertainty is my compass towards growth. Whenever I’m faced with something that makes me feel uncomfortable or uncertain, it’s an indicator that there are growth opportunities inside me.
In fact, the more uncertain I feel, the more it signifies the possibility for growth.
If I feel uncertain about a particular topic I’m writing about, it means I need to learn more about this topic before I continue writing. If I feel uncertain about a circumstance, it means I need to learn how to deal with it.
It has become a natural reaction for me to explore feelings of uncertainty inside of me as they arise, work on them, and then emerge with an increased level of self-awareness.
5) Concentrate on Actionable Steps
Don’t waste your time on things that you cannot change. I generally classify things you cannot change into 2 categories - (1) The past (2) Other people.
This means that you should focus on effecting the present, so you can shape the future and progress your well-being. Harping on things that cannot be changed is just a waste of your time and energy.
If something happened in the past that upset you, focus on what can be done to alleviate the situation in the future. If people are annoying you, focus on what you can act on to remove the annoyance.
6) Learn from the Best
Many of the things you want to know have already been experienced firsthand by others. I have found that I can achieve so much more by studying what others have already done.
Then I can build upon the knowledge I gain from them. In the process, I keep the best practices and remove everything else.
This doesn’t mean that you stop experiencing new things for yourself. It just means you aren’t reinventing the wheel a hundred times over. It’s a simple way to avoid making the mistakes others have already made.
This cuts down the learning curve by a whole lot and gives you much better results in a much shorter timeframe.
7) Help Others
I used to be quite a selfish person, keeping everything, including my knowledge, for myself.
I had heard many talk about the benefits that come from contribution and giving, but I could never comprehend them until I gave it a try.
In the past year after I left my day job, I have dedicated myself to serving others and helping others live their best life. It has been the most incredible and meaningful year of my life yet, and I just know there’s so much more to come.
When you help others, you not only help them grow, but you also grow yourself. Your generosity opens the floodgates to an abundance of love and resources that flow between everyone involved.
How to protect yourself from the "Heartbleed" computer bug
A major new security vulnerability dubbed "Heartbleed," was disclosed Monday night with severe implications for the entire Web.
The bug can scrape a server's memory, where sensitive user data is stored, including private data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.
It's an extremely serious issue, affecting some 500,000 Web sites, according to Netcraft, an Internet research firm. Here's what you can do to make sure your information is protected, according to security experts contacted by CNET:
Do not log into accounts from afflicted sites until you're sure the company has patched the problem.
If the company hasn't been forthcoming -- confirming a fix or keeping you up to date with progress -- reach out to its customer service teams for information, said John Miller, security research manager for TrustWave.
You can check sites on an individual basis here, though caution is still advised even if the site gives you an "all clear" indication.
If you're given a red flag, avoid the site for now. (Editors' note, April 10: Check our constantly updating list of the top 100 Web sites and their Heartbleed patch status.)
The natural response might be to want to change passwords immediately, but security experts suggest waiting for confirmation of a fix because further activity on a vulnerable site could exacerbate the problem.
Once you've got confirmation of a security patch, change passwords of sensitive accounts like banks and email first.
Even if you've implemented two-factor authentication -- which, in addition to a password asks for another piece of identifying information, like a code that's been texted to you -- changing that password is recommended.
Don't be shy about reaching out to small businesses that have your data to make sure they are secure.
While the high-profile companies like Yahoo and Imgur certainly know about the problem, small businesses might not even be aware of it, said TrustWave's Miller. Be proactive about making sure your information is safe.
Keep a close eye on financial statements.
Because attackers can access a server's memory for credit card information, it wouldn't hurt to be on the lookout for unfamiliar charges on your bank statements.
Even after following these guidelines, there is still some riskiness in surfing the Web in the wake of the bug.
Heartbleed is even said to affect browser cookies, which track users' activity on a site, so even visiting a vulnerable site without logging in could be unsafe.
There is evidence that the NSA knew about this security glitch years ago... and they have been using it to access confidential information on the internet.
Yahoo seems to be the most major Web to site have been vulnerable to the bug (preliminary tests for Facebook, Google, and Twitter's Web sites said they appear to be safe).
The question in the aftermath of something like this is whether Web companies will reform their security practices.
There has been a move toward Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) by many of the major Web companies, but not all of them have implemented the practice.
PFS means essentially that encryption keys get a very short shelf life, and are not used forever. "People should want their communications to be secure as possible.
In case you haven't heard, or you are oblivious to the news of the day... America's 'Debt Limit' is now again the latest fabricated crisis in Washington.
Today is April 18th... and your taxes are still going up... and our country is virtually bankrupt... and going $4 billion dollars deeper in the hole - each and every day. Yet Obama pretends all is well. Here's Obama's latest propaganda...
Here's Obama's "bull crap" for the week... 04/18/2014...
A Tennessee State Senator trolled Kathleen Sebelius... and gave her a copy ff 'Websites For Dummies'.
Kathleen Sebelius finally resigns... Obama continues the charade and deception?
The resignation of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), marks the end of a turbulent chapter in the launch of President Obama’s signature program, the UN-Affordable Care Act.
And the icing on the cake was at the news conference.... When Sebelius stood at the podium to give here final farewells from prepared notes, by someone, obviously not her.
Ironically a page was missing as she was reading, so she had to stop in here tracks, so to speak. She had no idea what was in the notes, so she couldn't even continue on her own.
Sebelius faced harsh criticism for the disastrous rollout – one in which the Obama administration reportedly came close to scrapping HHS’s poorly constructed website, Healthcare.gov, and starting over.
Obama claims Obamacare has reached 7.5 million enrolled. But an recent article by the Los Angeles Times... states that less than one million have actually paid the premium?
Typical liberal. Fabricate a consequential detail - quickly change the subject - and turn it into what they would like the topic to be.
That is why Liberals are referred to as, "Navel-gazers". They love to pick at their belly buttons, pluck the lint from same and turn to the nearest person to show it off....
Obama actually praised Sebelius for a job well done?
Are you kidding me? This is typical of the Obama regime... pretending all is well... as they screw things up and make the problems worse.
The latest Obamacare news... it is reported that health care costs have soared by 12% in the last quarter alone... because of Obamacare!
Signed up and subscribed are two different things. Amazingly, many stupid Americans are once again buying into the lies of this president.
Until last week... he claimed there was no mechanism in place to be able to accurately report how many had signed up. Now when the deadline comes - they magically have exact numbers.
But, when ask how many of those that have signed up were previously uninsured, or of the ones signed up how many have actually paid...
And then of course how many of the ones who previously signed up and paid the first month premium actually paid the second month...
They advised the many stupid Americans - that there was no mechanism in place to come up with those numbers.
The Democrat party has done a rope-a-dope on the American people... and many are stupid enough not to call them to task.
Have you noticed the Obama 12-step pattern of schemes, lies and diversion?
1) Administration appoints horrible thug without moral fiber into high ranking position.
2) Administration "allows" thug to pursue illegal actions which further the progressive agenda.
3) Administration vehemently denies any wrongdoing of the thug.
4) Adversaries attempt to investigate.
5) Thug simply refuses to answer questions as long as they can.
6) Adversaries prove wrongdoing and pursue prosecution to force answers and hold accountable.
7) Thug resigns before trial can begin and takes the reputation hit.
8) Administration claims "innocent angel" status - had no idea of wrong-doing.
9) Thug receives promotion with equal or higher benefit behind the scenes.
10) Administration appoints another horrible thug without moral fiber into the high ranking position to "do the right thing" and "fix the problem".
11) Liberal Media changes the subject as quickly as possible.
12) Allies of Administration label any further challenges, criticism or pursuit of legal action as "hateful", "political", and "tired".
Is no one else noticing and tiring of this trend - over and over and over - with this administration?
Obama's stifling regulation overload... and every regulation steals money from your pocket
The Federal Register of government regulations grew astronomically last year – by the tune of 26,417 pages. Meanwhile, businesses are being stifled.
As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Anyone wondering why the U.S. economy can't seem to grow at its usual pace ... should examine one product category where production is booming: "federal regulation.”
All told, the Register ended the year with 3,659 absurd new rules, or 79,311 pages worth of regulations.
“That didn't match President Obama's 2010 all-time record of 81,405 pages,” reports the Journal.
“This means that the burden of complying with federal rules costs roughly the annual GDP of Australia, Canada or Italy,” adds the Journal.
This doesn't even take into account the thousands of additional regulations forthcoming.
Every one of these regulations is basically a stealth tax, with a singular purpose - to suck money out of the economy and out of your pocket.
An artist from Austrian troupe Strut & Fret participates in a rehearsal prior to their presentation during the 14th Ibero-American Theater Festival in Bogota, Colombia, on April 8.
A hairstylist trims a volunteer's hair with an axe during a 'Barber Trash' show on the first day of the annual Ideal of Beauty spring festival in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on April 10.
Marutaro the hedgehog ‘smiles’ for the camera in Japan on April 10. Marutaro became an Internet celebrity after his owners posted pictures of the hedgehog on Twitter with tiny clothes & facial expressions drawn on paper.
People get dangerously close to the edge of a crumbling cliff at Birling Gap in Sussex, England, on April 9. The cliffs have suffered from massive erosion & collapses recently.
But this hasn't deterred sightseers from venturing near the unstable edge. Earlier this year a coastguard cottage had to be demolished after being left teetering on the edge.
Weaver ants were stranded in a tree until they decided to build their own bridge — by climbing on top of each other. The ants worked together & locked legs as they slowly extended off the branch to make a 10-centimeter bridge to reach other branches.
People visit the garden during the 2014 International Horticultural Expo at Baiguo Mountain Forest Park, in Qingdao, China, on April 9.
A lighting test is carried out on the Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland, ahead of their official opening to the public later this month.
These spectacular ice caves look like something not from this world. Photographer Dario Martinez, 37, braved sub-zero temperatures to explore the underground icy palaces & marvel at their giant stalactites.
Some of the blocks inside the caves in Vatnajokull, Iceland, are more than 1,000 years old.
The Bigger The Government - The Smaller The Citizen.
Help! Send chocolate! -- Jennifer Konerman
War does not determine who is right... but who is left. -- Chinese proverb
"I haven't the slightest idea how to change people... but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates, just in case I should ever figure it out." -- David Sedaris
Do infants enjoy infancy... as much as adults enjoy adultery?
"According the liberal propaganda, over the past 30 years... the Democrats never "spend" our money foolishly... they prefer to call it an "investment" ... when they waste our money." -- Charles Krauthammer
Artist creates Jackie Chan portrait with only chopsticks
Actor Jackie Chan turned 60 years young on Monday. An artist celebrated the stuntman's birthday in a way Chan could have never imagined.
Malaysian artist-architect Hong Yi, who goes by the nickname "Red," paid tribute to the actor with an incredible portrait made of 64,000 chopsticks.
It took her about a month to conceptualize the work, gather the pieces, and tie them together for the final project.
"Jackie has used chopsticks during his kungfu scenes in a few movies like the Fearless Hyena and Karate Kid," Yi explained on YouTube of her reasoning behind her choice material.
"I used disposable bamboo chopsticks to show that disposable materials can be reused and made into something else more meaningful and beautiful."
Obama has made America weak
How much mettle does President Obama have now that Putin has declared war on Ukraine? Vladmir Putin has shown the world how weak America is.
Notice how China is just sitting back, watching Obama run his mouth at Putin, laughing behind their polite hands to the face," a reader adds to the discussion.
Putin just takes what he wants and China's leaders give him tacit support, knowing they are the ones who will ultimately gain the most from whatever happens.
And Obama keeps making the U.S. weaker in everyone's eyes, in fact, choosing a battle he cannot win - and that makes him look like an ass."
Duck 'n Cover... Hillary Clinton narrowly escapes getting shoe'd in Vegas
A woman was taken into federal custody Thursday after throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton as the former Secretary of State began a Las Vegas convention keynote speech.
She thrower has since been released... I assume because she missed.
The incident happened moments after Clinton took the stage before an Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries meeting at the Mandalay Bay resort.
Clinton ducked, and she did not appear to be hit by the object. She then joked about it. “Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?” Clinton quipped.
Many in the audience of more than 1,000 people in a large ballroom laughed and applauded as Clinton resumed her speech.
I will take a calculated guess the shoe-thrower was from the Middle East, where to throw a shoe is showing ones contempt for the person speaking.
Heck, I thought she’d be braver after supposedly being shot at by snipers? You remember that liberal nonsense propaganda a couple years back, don't you?
Have you heard of "Anonymous?"
Anonymous has made headlines over the past few years in connection with Internet fueled civil disobedience and DDoS attacks on notable sites such as Sony and MasterCard.
The hackers go by the mantra "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."
The attacks Anonymous have made are far-reaching, and have effectively hurt many of its targets.
Coining the term "hacktivism" the collective chooses its targets based on perceived injustices by the group and attacks through the web accordingly.
Anonymous has openly supported Wikileaks since the site published government documents, and Julian Assange was then punished for his acts.
When MasterCard prevented donations to the organization, Anonymous decided to seek some retribution for Assange.
Sistar live ... "So Cool!"
"So Cool" is a song by South Korean girl group Sistar. It was released to radio as the fifth single from the album on August 9, 2011 through Starship Entertainment.
The song debuted at number 1 on South Korea's Gaon Singles Chart. "So Cool" has risen to the top spots on the CyMusic, Bugs, Naver Music and Dosirak online music charts immediately after release.
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFjgMG8c7c
The Easter Story
By Joanna Fuchs
Jesus came to compensate
For all the wrongs we do.
He came to earth to die for us,
So we’d be born anew.
"This bitter cup, let it pass from me,"
He cried, in a plaintive voice;
"Yet not My will, but Thine be done;"
He said, in His faithful choice.
The Judas kiss would seal his fate;
He faced a hostile crowd;
The governor, Pilate, saw through it all;
Jesus’ guilt he disavowed.
"I wash my hands of all of this,"
Said Pilate, "Let Him be."
But the crowd yelled "Crucify him now,
And set Barabbas free!"
Pilate yielded to their wish;
And Jesus was led away.
The soldiers beat him, and mocked Him, too,
Yet He continued to obey.
A crown of thorns lay on His head,
As His sentence was carried out;
His hands and feet were pierced with nails,
But He did not scream or shout.
"Father, forgive them for this crime;
They know not what they do."
He said this despite His torment, because,
He was thinking of me and you.
"It is finished," he sighed in His anguish and pain,
As His body gave up to death.
The curtain tore, and darkness fell,
After He took His last breath.
The best of the story is the very last part;
It’s why on Easter we’re filled with pleasure:
Death could not our Savior hold;
His power is beyond all measure.
He rose from the grave, and was seen all around;
Ever since, He’s inspired devotion,
And we’ll be with Him for eternity,
When we get our heavenly promotion.
That’s why Easter is a major event:
He suffered and died in our place.
He rose and forgave us and loves us still,
Our Savior of matchless grace.
Scientists experiments discover new way to make ethanol... without corn
Scientists said on Wednesday they have developed a new way to make liquid ethanol efficiently... without using corn or other crops needed in the conventional method for producing the biofuel.
The scientists said their process turns carbon monoxide gas into liquid ethanol with the help of an electrode made of a form of copper.
They said the new technique may be more environmentally friendly and efficient than the current method.
Critics say that growing crops for biofuels is energy-intensive and takes up vast tracts of nonagricultural land, using too much water and fertilizer.
They also say diverting corn and sugar to make biofuels pushes up food prices.
The United States leads the world in ethanol production, with 13.3 billion gallons in 2013, followed by Brazil's 6.3 billion gallons, according to the Washington-based Renewable Fuels Association.
A group of scientists led by Stanford University chemist Matthew Kanan described the new method in research published in the journal Nature.
Kanan said a prototype device could be ready in two to three years, enabling an assessment on whether the process can become commercially viable.
"I emphasize that these are just laboratory experiments today. We haven't built a device," Kanan said.
"But it demonstrates the feasibility of using electricity that you could get from a renewable energy source to power fuel synthesis — in this case ethanol.
There are some real advantages to doing that relative to using biomass to produce ethanol."
Ethanol fuel generally is produced at high-temperature fermentation facilities that chemically transform corn, sugarcane and other plants into liquid fuel.
Kanan and his colleagues built an electrochemical cell — a device consisting of two electrodes that were put in water saturated with carbon monoxide gas.
One of the electrodes was made of a material they call "oxide-derived copper."
When voltage was applied across the electrodes, the carbon monoxide gas was converted into ethanol, they said.
The researchers hope to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to carbon monoxide, which then would be fed into the copper-oxide catalyst.
The researchers hope the catalytic cell would be powered by a renewable energy source such as solar or wind.
Stay in the Game
I was watching the football game a while back. One of the players had a broken hand and bruised ribs. He's a big offensive lineman and wasn't expected to play.
The trainers wanted him to sit it out, but he wasn't about to miss the game. He had a big cast on his arm. He was wearing a special vest to protect his ribs. He was all bandaged up.
He looked like a mummy. A reporter asked him how he felt. He said, "It's a little painful, but I'd rather be in the game in pain, than sitting on the sidelines watching."
If you're going to become all God has created you to be, you can't let that injury, that hurt, that disappointment, that setback cause you to sit on the sidelines of life.
You might need to take some time out, but do like this player. Bandage up what's hurting. Forgive the person who did you wrong. Let go of what didn't work out and get back in the game.
I saw a lady in our lobby one day that I hadn't seen for a long, long time. She's an older woman, very faithful. I said to her in passing, "Hey! I haven't seen you lately. Where have you been?"
She said, "I had to have emergency surgery, and I've been in the hospital for three months."
I said, "Wow! We're so glad to have you back. How are you doing?" For as long as I live, I will never forget her words.
She said, "I'm hurting, but I'm here."
Friend, that's the kind of people God rewards. Faithful people, people who are determined; people who get knocked down, but don't stay down.
You don't let the hurt, the pain, the bad break cause you to get bitter, lose your passion or start blaming God.
No, like this lady, you stay in the game. No matter what life deals our way, our attitude should be, "I'm hurting, but I'm still here. A friend did me wrong, but I'm still here.
Business is slow, but I'm still here. I didn't feel like coming, but I'm still here."
You've got to have a made up mind that you're going to stay in the game.
You're not only going to be faithful as long as you feel perfectly well, as long as everybody treats you right, as long as it's sunny and cool outside.
No, you've made up your mind, "I'm hurting, but I'm still coming. My boss did me wrong, but I'm still getting to work on time; I'm still being my best.
My child won't speak to me. It's breaking my heart. I'm in pain, but I'm still singing in the choir. I'm still ushering each week. I'm still being good to a friend that's in need. I've still got a smile. I'm still giving God praise."
Anybody can sit on the sidelines. Anybody can find an excuse to be sour, to drop out, to give up on life. I'm asking you to stay in the game and let God lead you to victory!
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14, KJV)
The Missing Resume?
Daisy, a resident nurse at the City hospital, was not satisfied with her job, so she resigned. She was confident that she would easily find another job due to the high demand for nurses in her locality.
She sent e-mails with cover letters to several potential employers and attached her resume to each one. A couple of weeks later, Daisy was disappointed as she had not received a single invitation for an interview.
Finally she received a mail from a prospective employer which explained the reason she hadn't heard from anyone else.
It read: "Your resume was not attached as stated. I do, however, want to thank you for the vegetarian burritos recipe."
"Last week I announced that I'm retiring. Now I'm hoping I can hang on long enough so my son can take over the show. I never thought I would retire. I always assumed I would be impeached." -- David Letterman
"I'll tell you exactly the moment I made the decision to retire. A couple of months ago my cue card boy came to me and said, 'Mr. Letterman, I'm sorry. I just can't print the jokes any bigger.'" -- David Letterman
"About a year from now, I'll be doing commercials for reverse mortgages." -- David Letterman
"The White House says it's surpassed its goal for people enrolled in Obamacare. It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it, and keep extending the deadline for months." -- Jimmy Fallon
"U.N. experts are saying that climate change could start threatening the world's supply of fruits and vegetables. Then Americans said, 'OK, let us know when it starts affecting Twinkies and Hot Pockets.'" -- Jimmy Fallon
"'Captain America' is currently the No. 1 movie in China. The Chinese say their favorite part is when Captain America asks Captain China for a $17 trillion loan." -- Conan O'Brien
"In a recent survey, 84 percent of Americans were unable to locate Ukraine on a map. When he heard this, Vladimir Putin said, 'That's easy, it's in Russia now.'" -- Conan O'Brien
"Congratulations to the Huskies, who are the NCAA champs. There were a lot of celebrities at the game last night. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat together. Apparently they're becoming good friends. I smell a sitcom." -- Craig Ferguson
"Yesterday Hillary Clinton admitted she is thinking about running for president. Though it would be more shocking if she admitted to ever thinking about anything else." -- Seth Meyers
"France has passed new legislation that makes it illegal to work after 6 p.m. They're hoping to encourage workers to spend more time with their mistresses." -- Seth Meyers
Topping Medicare's list of highest paid physicians from it's claims database was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen (right), whose relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez (left), D-N.J., made headlines last year...
After news broke that the lawmaker used the doctor's personal jet for trips to the Dominican Republic. Medicare paid Melgen $20.8 million.
Top Medicare fraud billers... are some of the Democrats biggest donors?
Two Florida doctors who received the nation’s highest Medicare reimbursements in 2012 are both major contributors to Democratic Party causes...
And they have turned to the political system in recent years, to defend themselves against suspicions that they may have submitted fraudulent or excessive charges to the federal government.
The pattern of large Medicare payments and six-figure political donations shows up among several of the doctors whose payment records were released for the first time this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For years, the department refused to make the data public, and finally did so only after being sued by The Wall Street Journal.
Topping the list is Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, 59, an ophthalmologist from North Palm Beach, Fla., who received $21 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2012 alone.
The doctor billed a bulk of his reimbursements for Lucentis, a medication used to treat macular degeneration made by a company that pays generous rebates to its doctors.
Dr. Melgen’s firm donated more than $700,000 to Majority PAC, a super PAC run by former aides to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada.
The super PAC then spent $600,000 to help re-elect Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who is a close friend of Dr. Melgen’s.
Last year, Mr. Menendez himself became a target of investigation after the senator intervened on behalf of Dr. Melgen with federal officials and took flights on his private jet.
Another physician, Dr. Asad Qamar, an interventional cardiologist in Ocala, Fla., has sent at least $250,000 in donations over the last decade to the political campaigns of President Obama and other prominent Democrats.
He has become the target of scrutiny related to cardiovascular treatment centers he runs in Central Florida.
Dr. Qamar was paid more than $18 million in 2012, making him and Dr. Melgen by far the largest payment recipients nationwide, according to the data. A pathologist from New Jersey received the third largest Medicare reimbursement, $12.6 million.
In an interview on Wednesday, Dr. Qamar said any questions about his Medicare bills were unjustified.
“Just looking at the sheer volume of work and billings from a single physician is not a sign of wrongdoing,” Dr. Qamar said, noting that his practice handles cardiac procedures in its outpatient clinics, which he said explained the large billable amounts.
The state of Florida was home to many of the physicians who received the largest payments, 28 out of the top 100. California, with a much larger population, was second, with 10 of the top 100.
Doctors in Florida have been frequent targets of Medicare fraud investigations, based on irregular patterns of bills or extremely high bills.
Just last month, two Florida medical clinic owners were sentenced on charges of Medicare fraud, both in cases involving more than $20 million in fraudulent payments.
In addition, the Halifax Hospital Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., agreed to pay the government $85 million to resolve allegations that it had billed Medicare for care based on referrals from doctors who had a financial relationship with the institution, a forbidden practice.
Dr. Qamar has sent more than $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee and other state-based branches of the Democratic Party around the United States, and has donated to President Obama’s presidential campaigns and groups with ties to Mr. Obama, federal records show.
He has also made donations to congressional candidates — almost all of them Democrats — from Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa and Florida, among other states, the records show.
At the same time some of those donations were being made, the prominent law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig - and a former Justice Department official and Capitol Hill aide from the firm named Gregory W. Kehoe -
Helped Mr. Qamar contact more than a dozen members of Congress asking them to help him address why he was subject to such intense scrutiny from Medicare auditors.
The political donations, Dr. Qamar said, are unrelated to the Medicare scrutiny, but he acknowledged he had reached out to lawmakers in Congress to persuade the federal government to back down.
Both Dr. Qamar and Dr. Melgen are still certified to receive Medicare payments, although Dr. Melgen at one point was suspended from the Medicare program, which accounts for 70 percent of his practice.
He has been reinstated. And an official at the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on either physician or to confirm that they were a subject of special scrutiny.
Walmart and Wild Oats reveal expanding into less expensive Organic line
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart is using its massive size to drive down the price of organic food items from tomato paste to chicken broth to make them more affordable for its low-income customers.
The world's largest retailer and nation's largest grocery seller said Thursday that it has teamed up with Wild Oats to sell a new line of organic foods, starting this month...
That's at least 25 percent cheaper than the national organic brands it carries and in line with the prices of its branded non-organic alternatives.
Wild Oats helped pioneer the organic food trend in the late 1980s but has largely disappeared from store shelves since 2007.
Wild Oats' 6-ounce can of tomato paste, for example, is priced at 58 cents, compared with 98 cents for a national-brand organic version.
And a 32-ounce can of chicken broth under Wild Oats is priced at $1.98, compared with the $3.47 for a national-brand alternative, according to the discounter's survey of 26 nationally branded organic products available at Walmart.com.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is unveiling nearly 100 pantry items under the Wild Oats label over the next several months, adding to the 1,600 organic food items it already carries.
It's taking a cautious approach, planning to have them in about half of its 4,000 domestic namesake stores to make sure it can satisfy demand. The Bentonville, Ark., company will be the exclusive national retailer of Wild Oats.
"We are removing the premium associated with organic groceries," Jack Sinclair, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of grocery, told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.
Wal-Mart and other mainstream stores are eagerly trying to stake a bigger claim in the hot organic market as they see shoppers from all different income levels wanting to eat healthier.
Analysts believe that Wal-Mart's strategy could put more pressure on companies like Whole Foods to lower prices.
Sinclair declined to comment on how big Wal-Mart's organic business is, but he says sales of organic food are growing more quickly than nearly every category of non-organic food items. Still, high prices have kept a lid on that growth.
Wal-Mart says that 42 percent of its customers surveyed in 2011 bought some organic or "natural" goods, according to outside research.
According to its own survey, 91 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers would consider purchasing products from an affordable organic brand at the store.
This mesmerizing 2-minute illusion... is bound to go mega-viral
Lindzee - Amelymeloptical illusion. We don’t know how this is even possible — but it’s amazing.
I'm quite familiar with Poi, sataff and contact juggling isolations, but this is the first time I've seen there rings, and it's absolutely amazing. Great choice of music to go with it.
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XmFmYLAveWM
7 Day Free Trial @ Chemistry.com.
Thought for the day...
Most Effective Meditation
Transcendental Meditation... what is the TM Technique?
It is a simple, natural, effortless technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.
The TM technique is easy to learn and enjoyable to practice, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. Over six million people have learned it — people of all ages, cultures, and religions.
Over 350 published research studies have found that the TM technique effortlessly produces a state of restful alertness that markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.
What happens when you meditate?
The Transcendental Meditation technique allows your mind to effortlessly settle inward, through quieter levels of thought...
Until you transcend the thinking process and experience the most silent and peaceful level of your own awareness — pure consciousness, your innermost Self.
This introductory video provides a clear description of what happens during TM practice.
What is its value in daily life?
Research on the TM technique has found that it produces many wellness benefits, including:
• greater inner calm throughout the day
• reduced cortisol (known as the “stress hormone”)
• normalized blood pressure
• lower risk of heart attack and stroke
• reduced anxiety and depression
• improved learning ability and memory
• reduced insomnia
To learn more, contact your local certified TM teacher.
“Transcendental Meditation doesn’t focus on breathing or chanting, like other forms of meditation. Instead, it encourages a restful state of mind beyond thinking…
A 2009 study found Transcendental Meditation helped alleviate stress in college students, while another found it helped reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression and anger.”
A patriotic senior citizen tells it like it is... selfish politicians, false propaganda and America's downfall
This is very well written! It will be well worth the tthree minutes it requires to read this. It is quite impressive.
You can be a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Independent or Libertarian... and I bet this will hit a nerve. Our country is in real trouble.
This gentleman is obviously smarter than the two senators he sent the letter to.
All I can say is amen to everything he said. A very articulate letter sent to the two U.S. Senators from Washington State.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-CA)
April 3, 2013
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Washington, DC , 20510
I have tried to live by the rules my entire life. My father was a Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, who died of combat related stresses shortly after his retirement.
It was he who instilled in me those virtues he felt important - honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our various governments.
I have served my country, paid my taxes, worked hard, volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.
Today, as I approach my 79th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things abysmally wrong, which you can multiply by a thousand fold.
I have calculated that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep the Senate barbershop open for one year!
Only Heaven and a few tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers. So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.
Last year, the president spent an estimated $1.4 billion on himself and his family. The vice president spends $millions on hotels. They have had 8 vacations so far this year!
And our House of Representatives and Senate have become America's answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the "perfumed princes and princesses" of our country.
In the middle of the night, you voted in the UN-Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. "Obama Care," a bill which no more than a handful of senators or representatives read more than several paragraphs...
Crammed it down our throats, and then promptly exempted yourselves from it, substituting your own taxpayer-subsidized golden health care
You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the "one percenters," consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises, while making 3.5 times the average U.S. individual income...
And give up nothing while you (as well as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).
You understand very well the only two rules you need to know - (1) How to get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected.
And you do this with the aid of an eagerly willing and partisan liberal press, speeches permeated with a certain economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed and under-educated citizens...
(and non-citizens, too, many of whom do illegally vote) who are looking for a handout rather than a job.
Your so-called "safety net" has become a hammock for the lazy.
And, what is it now, about 49 or 50 million on food stamps - pretty much all of them Democrat voters - and the program is absolutely rife with fraud, with absolutely no congressional oversight?
I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves.
It is the nature of both houses of Congress - which requires you to subordinate your virtue - in order to get anything done, until you have achieved a leadership role.
To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.
As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 - 1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men." I'm only guessing that this applies to the female sex as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than Congress?
While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much more dictatorial...
Using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what health care we must buy.
Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle our businesses - costing the consumer more and more every day.
As I face my final year, or so, with cancer, my president and my government tell me "You'll just have to take a pill," ...
While you, Senator, your colleagues, the president, and other exulted government officials and their families will get the best possible health care on our tax dollars until you are called home by your Creator...
While also enjoying a retirement beyond my wildest dreams, which of course, you voted for yourselves and we pay for.
The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero, as your staff will not pass it on.
But with a little luck, a form letter response might be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe that you, our senator or representative, has heard us and actually cares.
This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the chance to read one person's opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government, its administration and its senators and representatives.
I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by law, we must pay.
Unless, of course, it just goes on the $17 trillion national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours, ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.
My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to destroy this country I deeply love...
And put it so far in debt that we will never pay it off - while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power.
For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how power has corrupted you and the entire Congress.
The only answer to clean up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs. And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up.
3096 Angela Lane
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
This Week's Government Goofs & Goofballs
An Independent & unbiased accounting of our government & political mischief
It's easier than you think to cripple America... with power grid sabotage
Imagine a world without electricity. Not just for a few days in a limited area, like after a storm.
I'm talking about every American across the country unable to conduct ordinary business, heat their homes, access money or keep food fresh - for weeks or even months.
And now imagine this scenario caused not by an act of God, but by terrorists.
It could happen. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says that terrorists could shut down the U.S. power grid for more than a month - by sabotaging just nine - of the more than 55,000 electric substations spread across the nation.
Beyond that, there are another 30 crucial facilities that use large transformers to boost voltage over long distances. Most are protected by no more than a chain-link fence. Maybe a security guard if we're lucky.
Taking them out could cripple us.
This is just some of what would happen:
• Water would no longer pump into most homes.
• Food in our homes and supermarkets would spoil.
• Your computer would not work. Goodbye, Internet.
• Your phone wouldn't work. You couldn't call 911.
• ATM machines would shut down.
• Debit cards and credit cards wouldn't work.
• No TV. No radio.
• Gas pumps would stop.
Good thing no one wants to take out our grid, eh?
Well, hold on to your hat. A year ago, snipers opened fire on transformers at a PG&E Corp. power station, near San Jose, Calif.
The snipers knocked out 17 of the big transformers, causing millions of dollars in damage. The attack plunged the region into a blackout. It took utility workers 27 days to make repairs.
The attack was called "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred" by the chairman of FERC.
Who did it? We'll probably never know. The gunmen were never caught. It's as if someone was testing the defenses of America's power grid.
And no wonder. A whopping 99% of Department of Defense installations in the U.S. rely on grid power.
Easier than you think
But you don't need a rifle to take down America's power grid. A cyber-terrorist with a laptop computer can gain access and wreak havoc in a power system across a region.
Cyber-hackers can penetrate America's power transmission systems with "startling" ease, according to recent tests. The Department of Homeland Security is worried. It sent alerts to power grid operators, telling them to upgrade their software.
But after each upgrade, hackers find new vulnerabilities.
Did you know that companies hire professional hackers to test corporate computers for security? One such hacker said it takes just two to four hours to gain admin-level access to a power grid.
And you've probably heard of so-called smart grid technology. In a smart grid, information between the user and the power company goes both ways.
That's opened a fresh array of security risks.
Your Tax Burden
If it's possible to have an anti-holiday, last Tuesday would be it. April 15. The day the government gets paid.
The official deadline when you have to mail in all your financial information, so the government can decide how much of your money you get to keep.
But April 15 shouldn't be the day that gets you really upset. That day is April 18.
Or as many people like to call it, Tax Freedom Day.
You see, today, you and every other worker in America will have worked long enough to fund the federal government.
That's right, it takes 108 days for the country to earn enough money just to pay for the government we get.
The same government that tells you to buck up and pay your fair share, when you think they should lower taxes.
The government that then uses your tax money - to spy on you...
You know... to keep you safe.