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I have the Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation implant which is used to reduce tremors.  I have Essential Tremors.  The battery is typically supposed to last 3 to 5 years.  The previous one lasted 3 and half years, but this one only lasted two.  I had to stop what I was doing because my tremors are so bad I can’t work.  It primarily affects my head, voice, and hands.  I’m having trouble typing this.  I had to get Obamacare and got the Blue Cross Blue Shield Multi State 101 Premier plan which was supposed to be a gold plan.  I didn’t realize it was an HMO till after I got it.  It’s incredibly difficult to find someone who is in network for the HMO around here.  I finally found a primary care provider who would do the initial referral who was in network and who took their HMO.  Blue Cross was requiring a referral from a primary care provider to my surgeon even though I had the initial surgery in 2010 and just needed to have a surgery to get the battery replaced.  My neurosurgeon isn’t in network though.  I called Blue Cross Blue Shield and they said to have the primary care provider do an out of network referral explaining that the surgeon was the one who did the initial surgery.  The PCP did that, and all of this is so the surgeon can be considered in network.  I’m running on savings right now and I don’t know if I will be able to afford more than the deductible.  Blue Cross left a message for me yesterday referring me back to the PCP to get an in network surgeon.  I had already called to see if there was one from Blue Cross, and they told me one, but when I called his office they didn’t do that type of surgery.  I called Blue Cross’s pre authorization line back today, but got their voicemail.  This is incredibly frustrating to say the least.

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via How To Turn Strangers Into Colleagues Using LinkedIn.

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Ten-Simple-Ways-To-Optimize-Your-LinkedIn-Profile-For-Success

As a LinkedIn group manager, I have the daily opportunity to view profiles of nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Although I’m delighted to engage with so many social entrepreneurs using this platform, there are some unwritten best-practices about using LinkedIn that I’d like to share.

I am confident that they can help you grow your network and help spread the word about your organization’s important work more effectively.

Building upon my last #SM4GOOD post “How To Turn Strangers Into Colleagues Using Linkedin“, I want to share ten simple ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile for success.

Ten Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success:

  1. Use a professional, classy picture of yourself. LinkedIn is a professional network, not Facebook. Use a classy looking picture of yourself that helps build your brand as a leader. It is ok to use an image of yourself with your…

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This is me doing a few lines from the play, Oedipus Rex. Let me know what you think.

I know what you’re thinking. What is an atheist like me doing commenting on changes within the Southern Baptist Convention? Well for starters I spent the first 21 years of my life mostly going to Southern Baptist churches. Moving on though, I have read about some changes going on within the SBC that are interesting to say the least.

The SBC has had four years of declining membership and will likely continue to decline going forward as the country becomes more and more secular. To turn around this losing streak churches are trying various methods. Some are opting to not even use the word Baptist in their name though they still retain membership in the SBC. Some are moving toward non traditional music and worship styles in order to attract more of the younger crowd. What is most interesting for me though is that some churches are also doing away with altar calls.

What is an altar call you may wonder. Well, an altar call is an invitation by the church’s pastor to come forward publicly at the end of the service and make a public profession of your faith. Some churches are doing away with this. It is primarily some of the larger churches that are doing this. The primary reason given is that people can pray the “sinner’s prayer” from their pew and the public profession of their faith should be their baptism. I would suggest that it has more to do with adapting to modern culture. After all if your in the middle of a crowded pew and you decide to accept an altar call in a large church then it is very much like having to go the bathroom in a crowded theater. You have to negotiate around the other people in the pew. Some are suggesting that it may also have to do with a growing acceptance of Reformed theology over Arminian theology within the SBC, and while I think there is some merit to that happening I don’t think that is the case in this instance. I won’t bore you with the differences between Reformed and Arminian theology except to say that Reformed theology essentially teaches that there is an elect that God has chosen that will be saved regardless whereas Arminian theology says not so fast we have to get out there and spread the word because people have free will. That is a simplistic way of putting it. If you are interested in looking at the differences in more detail look it up on Wikipedia.

Another change that is interesting is that apparently the President of the SBC has appointed a task force to consider a name change because Southern Baptist sounds too regional. That maybe a good move though whether the Convention will go along with it is hard to say as they have rejected name change suggestions eight times before in their history already.

There are some good reasons to consider the name change besides the regional reason given. One being that Southern tends to remind people of the racist past of the convention. They were originally one convention including Northern Baptists in a group called the Triennial Convention, but in 1845 the Triennial Convention wanted to ban slaveholders from being missionaries. Of course the southerners didn’t want to step on the toes of their slave-holding brethren so they formed their own convention.

The SBC has tried to move away from its racist past by building more diverse congregations and there are some African American Southern Baptist churches now, but in some of the smaller, more rural churches, prejudice still remains largely in place. In my experience I’ve heard of pastors and deacons ask visiting African Americans to not come back. That is often because in the smaller rural churches the congregation tends to be old, set in their ways, and prejudiced.

Of course that doesn’t really happen in the larger churches anymore and it is the more urban larger churches who are pushing for change within the SBC. They do have some influence and an African American was elected for the first time recently as a Vice President of the Convention.

The Southern Baptist Convention was once called the “Catholic Church of the South” largely because of the influence it held when it held a majority of the population of southern states as adherents. Yet this isn’t the case anymore with the exception of Mississippi. Why you may ask. Well the answer is largely due to immigration. The Hispanic population that immigrates here tends to remain Catholic.

Is there anything Southern Baptists can really do to stem their losses? I doubt it. The country is becoming more and more secular and from my perspective that’s a good thing.

Richard Engel of NBC news tweeted today that Gaddafi was reported to have fled along with his sons by Libya’s state run TV. If it turns out to be true, that would be a welcome sign as the struggle for the freedom of the Libyan people comes to an end.

I noticed that it has also been on Twitter that the rebels have taken the Tripoli Airport. If so that is another good sign. Gaddafi has shown he is among the worst of tyrants.

One point of disappointment lies in the fact that American news media has paid little to no attention to the developments. I turned on CNN and there was little coverage of it. Perhaps that explains why people are turning to online news more and more.

Of course it remains to be seen how the Libyan Transitional Council will go the course and implement real democracy there. Lets hope so.

Okay so I figured I would offer up my thoughts on the Google buyout of Motorola.  Overall  it appears to be a good thing, but I must admit I wish they had bought Samsung instead because it seems that they are looking for a way to make their own viable Google phone rather than continue to just have manufacturers take advantage of their operating system.

That also doesn’t bode well for companies like Samsung and others who are using Android as their primary smartphone OS.  Nokia had a good option if it had stayed with Meego instead of moving to Windows.  That was one of the worst decisions Nokia has made, but it was a result of bringing in a former Microsoft guy to run things.  Go figure.

Of course Nokia has been horribly ambiguous in deciding which product they would support any way.  They were going to switch from Symbian to Maemo, but then were like no we’ll support both, then they merged the Maemo platform with Intel’s Moblin to become Meego.   There were some reservations about this decision, but then when previews of Meego were released, many of those reservations fell by the wayside.  Then they brought in the Microsoft guy who decided Windows was the way to go.  Really?

Windows has a horrible user interface for their smartphone line up when compared to Android and iOS and lets face it Microsoft has been trying to get a successful version of Windows to run on smartphones for years and they have fallen flat on their faces.