Using Technology to Increase Organ & Tissue Donations

Organ DonationNova Scotia is the first jurisdiction in North America that will automatically classify individuals, by default, as organ and tissue donors.  An article by the CBC explains the decision in more detail and how families of deceased individuals will still be approached to confirm the donor’s wishes. Critics of the idea argue that this is a dangerous precedent that essentially gives the government the right to lay ownership on people’s bodies and could lead to further government invasions down the road.

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Instant Cynicism Test

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

For job recruiters, this might turn out to be a valuable test for detecting cynical attitudes from potential hires. Simply ask each person what he or she thinks of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge trend has gone viral within the last week, there’s been no shortage of those opining against the very act. These individuals believe we should just donate to such worthy causes without having to pour ice water over ourselves and share it online for all the world to see. Their common argument is that many of those participating will either follow-through with either a small donation or nothing at all. In addition, the stunt itself is simply driven by ego and narcissism.

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CPS’s New Teacher Evaluation System Still Protects Bad Teachers

Attempting to read on how Chicago Public Schools operates is usually a painful effort — this morning’s Chicago Tribune piece about the new teacher evaluation system was no exception.

Pertaining to all public schools, the children are the ones who often lose as a result of a school district’s limitations to implementing needed reforms across the board thanks to the unions. I’m not an anti-union guy, but in the school setting, they’ve been too many examples of unions hurting more than they help — again, the children often the ones who suffer as a result.

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Paul Krugman on Today’s Republican Party

Paul Krugman wrote an excellent op-ed for the New York Times on the Republican Party’s continued disservice towards the healthcare debate. Krugman narrates how the GOP ignores any inconvenient facts that may attribute any positive towards ObamaCare, and how they also simply make up their own facts that are more convenient for their agenda.

Krugman does ignore the potential unintended consequences that may negatively impact some people (i.e. teachers or those employed at a small business). Such concerns are legitimate, which I’m willing to personally vouch for (my wife is a teacher and I am employed at a small business with a staff of about 25 people and we both are aware that our respective employers are looking at how to best skirt around the law once it goes into effect).

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Unlocking the Restraints of Marriage

I heard an interesting discussion this afternoon on the SiriusXM Progress channel. The topic was modernizing marriage, making it an easier venture for both gay and straight couples.

The idea was to borrow property leasing ideas and incorporate it into marriage. Instead of “wedlock” there are “wedleases.” A couple who agrees to get married would also agree on a specific time frame, say 1 year, 5 years, etc. After that allotted time has passed, the couple can choose to renew or separate, without the mess that comes from a traditional marriage.

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Taste of Chicago Attendance and Money

Last year’s Taste of Chicago was scaled back significantly compared to previous years. Attendance overall was at 1.2 million, up from the previous year. Yet the event still lost $1.3 million for the city, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2011, the Taste lost $1 million.

We won’t know if the city made money, lost or broke even until accounting rolls through the numbers at a later date.

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Chicago Tribune Goes In-Depth on City’s Thousand-Plus Shootings in First Half of 2013

Over 1,000 shot in Chicago so far this year. Today’s Chicago Tribune profiles a sample of the stories surrounding such victims.

The trends have been positive this year, with the number of shootings and homicides running below last year’s tragic spike, but similar to other recent years. The regular weekly statistics released by Chicago police include the number of shooting incidents, not the number of victims. Even if an incident involves multiple victims, it is counted as a single shooting. But the Tribune analysis focused on the number of victims.

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Big Money & Betrayal: From DC to Your Own Backyard

Since I’m currently reading Mark Leibovich’s Washington DC shit stirrer “This Town,” certain political stories are having a more direct affect on my disgust for politics. Though Leibovich’s book is focused on big money and its influence in DC, many of the examples Leibovich cites are also happening, granted at a smaller scale, in various state, city and local governments throughout the country.

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Lisa Madigan Staying Put, Big Surprise (Not)

No surprise really that Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ Attorney General, has decided to run for re-election instead of running for governor. Even prior to Bill Daley’s (brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley) announcement that he was running for governor, I though Madigan was more likely to stay put where she is.

Why on earth would she want to be governor anyways, especially when her father Mike Madigan, Illinois’ Speaker of the House, is already for all intent and purpose the most powerful person in the state(!). With Illinois in shambles, the brunt of public dismay will fall on whoever is governor. Lisa doesn’t dare subject herself, or her father by proxy, to such accountability.

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Parenting Today’s Kids

A new Louisiana law requires sex offenders and child predators to declare their criminal status on their Facebook page, or any other social networking profile they may have. I like the idea of the law, but as with any other technology related complication, there are some concerns I immediately think of.

  • How easy would it be for a sex offender/child predator to create a phony profile, or an alias?
  • Why are sex offenders/child predators (in most states) even allowed to use social network websites?
  • Should the Internet usage of all sex offenders/child predators be closely monitored, and/or limited?
  • Why are children even on social networking websites — why would parents allow it?

That last question is what I am really thinking about. Since I am not a parent, I am oblivious to the standard norms of what parents will typically let their kids do, and at what age.

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