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Something to Think About

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Steve Sauder is president of Emporia's Radio Stations, Inc. the owners of KVOE-AM 1400, Country 101.7 and Mix 104.9. Steve has been in a leadership position with ERS, Inc., since 1987.

June 7, 2017

         This dying thing is getting out of hand for me. Half of the guys I played poker with on Wednesday nights three years ago have passed away with the loss Sunday of Ray Beals.

          Death is scary for most of us and unpredictable for all of us. Ray knew his time was near, but our friend Billy Martin hit practice balls on the golf course the day before he passed. He obviously wasn't planning to die.

          I had a death experience years ago when my doctor told me my cancer was serious. After some consideration I concluded I wasn't afraid to die because I believe there is an even better life after our earthly life.

          But, despite such a good promise from our Creator most of us fear death and take on amazing challenges to avoid it.

          I wonder if truth be known how big a motivator staying healthy and alive is for all these bike riders we have locally?

          Speaking of which with this year's Dirty Kanza came the showing twice of the incredible documentary called "Blood Road." It told the story of Rebecca Rusch riding her bike on the Ho Chi Minh Trail to find the spot where her father's airplane had crashed during the Viet Nam conflict.

          Most enlightening for me from the film were the messages her dad Steve sent home telling about his job, the danger and how he feared for his life on a daily basis. At one point he said, "I love flying these planes, but I hate my job."

          Death is a big part of life for all of us. We fear our own and we fear death for members of our family and friends. It's a part of life we strive hard to control.

          Sunday morning on TV several older actors discussed death. Their best line was about the possibility of dying in your sleep. They said the way to avoid dying in your sleep was always "to go to bed with something important you had to do in the morning." They were funny.

          I've noted a couple of things recently about getting older. First, they only renew your Driver's License for five years after age 65.

          And, recently I went to the Motor Vehicle Department to get a new Handicap placard. The lady gave me one with an expiration date in 2022! I said "Wow! I now have a new goal."

          "What do you mean?" she inquired.

          "My new goal," I said, "is to live long enough to renew my handicap placard in 2022!"

          I don't think she understood, but I do.

          So death is as they always say at funerals "a part of life." So prepare for it, but try not to fear it.

          Smell the roses! Don't put things off. Tell people you love them today! Get in shape. Cut out salt.......... yady, yady, yady.

          I'm rambling.

          From Face Book:

          Appreciate what you have while you have it.

          Don't dwell on the past, don't worry about the future, just live in the present and make the most of it.

          All Good advice!

          I'm Steve Sauder

May 31, 2017

            William Martin, better known as Billy passed away last Friday. He was almost 77, but way too young to die.

            Billy was good at a lot of things: among them: being a cowboy, as a commodity broker, investor, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, sportsman, world class cook and story teller.

            His golfing legacy is strong having won multiple championships including the Emporia Country Club and EmporiaCity titles. In the local golfing community when you mentioned "Billy," everyone knew about whom you spoke.

            Billy always had a story to share. Some were true often about hunting or fishing, but his most memorable moments were when he told jokes or tall tales.

            With that in mind the following Forrest Gump story made me think of Billy and how he might have told this story.

            Please don't be confused. I'm not drawing a parallel between Billy and Forrest Gump although Billy could slip into his country boy persona when necessary.

            Seems Forrest Gump died and approached Heaven's Gate where St. Peter informed him there would be a three question test to enter.

            Question #1 was: "There are 2 days of the week beginning with the letter T, name them.”

            Forrest thought and answered “Today and Tomorrow.”

            St. Peter said "Not exactly what I was looking for, but you aren't wrong, so carry on."

            Question #2. was: “How many seconds are there in a year?”

            Forrest took some time on this one and then replied " That's really hard, but it has to be 12."

            St. Pete sighed and said "How did you come up with 12 Forrest?"

            "Well, there’s January second; February second; March second.......

            "O.K. said St. Peter you got me, so here's number three. What is God's first name?"

            Without any pause Forrest Gump replied, "That's easy - it's Andy."

            "Andy" St. Peter gasped, "How did you decide that?"

            Forrest blurted, "It's in the song silly - Andy he walks with me; Andy talk with me; Andy he tells me I am his own.”

            St. Pete opened the gates and said "Run, Forrest, run."

            Billy Martin might very well have told that story!

            Not sure if they get the Golf Channel in heaven, but if they do you can bet Billy has St. Peter watching with him maybe even taking notes.

            Hit’em pure Billy!

            I’m Steve Sauder

            5-31-17

May 24, 2017

          According to Wikipedia the Census bureau's primary mission is conducting the U.S. Census every ten years, which allocates the seats of the U.S. House of Representatives to the states based on their population.The Bureau's various censuses and surveys help allocate over $400 billion in federal funds every year and it helps states, local communities, and businesses make informed decisions..

          The U.S. census is at the heart of our electoral process according to the TIME magazine article I read. It not only determines how political districts are drawn, but which Americans are counted and how federal dollars - allocated per capita are distributed. And a long list of important decisions rely on an accurate census.

          But soon, the U. S. Census Bureau will be leaderless!

          The 30 year Director of the Census Bureau is quitting the end of June. Colleagues suggest he was hobbled by pressure from Congress about cost overruns on a new Internet-based questionnaire and of course uncertainty about support from the new administration.

          TIME points out the Census Bureau being "rudderless" with the 2020 census looming creates a major concern. Without strong experienced leadership the 2020 census could lack the integrity American's have always demanded.

          Donald Trump is not responsible for the Director leaving, but he will be the person to appoint the successor. Our President's track record thus far for appointments has been shaky at best. This position might be as important as any he has ever filled.

          Congress had already indicated a desire to under fund the Census Bureau when in April it allocated less than half the budget increase requested. With the austere new federal budget being proposed under funding seems to be a certainty.

          Experts say if you under fund the census you get an under count and when you under count you lose the "hard to find populations."

          Yikes!

          At a time when we need integrity and accuracy in our government we find the Census Bureau - an institution American's have believed in and respected all our lives in danger of becoming a political football.

          The United States needs a census we can trust. A compromised census will create even more chaos!

          I'm Steve Sauder and there's something to think about!

May 17, 2017

Our friends who reside in the Flint Hills seem to have controversy concerning the environment on an ongoing basis.

Forty or more years ago there was a major discussion about preserving the Tallgrass Prairie with many people from outside coming to the Flint Hills to express their opinions.

More recently and ongoing is the debate about burning the tall grass in the Spring on a regular basis because the smoke from the massive fires cause pollution in far away places like Omaha and beyond.

Now the area is involved in the debate over the injection of salt water from oil wells back into the ground.

Evidence is present that blames the oil and gas industry for the increases in seismic activity in the area.

Amazingly there are an estimated 5,000 Class I saltwater injection wells in Kansas and another 16,600 Class II wells. Morris County and its' six surrounding counties have 121 of these wells.

Oil producers started putting the saltwater back in the ground years ago. It has to go somewhere. My dad was pioneer in using pressure in this process to change the formation underground to make oil pool up and be easier to find and pump. It was called "water flooding" back in the 60's.

Today this process of disposing of saltwater is given a lot of the blame for increases in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas.

The current issue in the Flint Hills is concern over a proposed new injection well in Morris County about 15 miles from Strong City. The owner has filed for a permit to put more waste water than normal back into the ground and at a slightly higher pressure than any of the other wells in the area.

The Kansas Corporation Commission is holding a hearing and will decide how to handle the request. Local folks have organized and hired an attorney.

The Oil and Gas Association of Kansas is asking for common sense especially in light of evidence there are acceptable ways to control this process that are safe without completely denying the application.

KIOGA points out Oklahoma and Kansas officials have been proactive and have a good track record for regulating saltwater injections with positive results in reducing seismic activity.

Hopefully the demands for a complete denial of the application versus allowing it as requested can somehow be compromised.

Common sense has always been a strong trait in the Flint Hills.

This all makes me wonder how ranchers who desire to burn their grass despite existence of pollution feel about the injection process and its effect on the environment.

Guess life in the Flint Hills is not all that simple.

I'm Steve Sauder and I'm betting on a good outcome.

May 10, 2017

My plan to today was to help clarify some of the questions about health insurance, but as I compiled ideas it became obvious there is so much information available it is almost impossible to offer anything factual without an opposite idea being available.

So, let me discuss one major facet of the healthcare debate – pre-existing conditions. This is not an endorsement of any plan or change, just something to think about!

ObamaCare addresses pre-existing conditions, but not without difficult questions.

Herman Cain ran for president four plus years ago and now writes a blog. Not sure Cain is an authority, but his thoughts were at least interesting: He wrote:

“One thing that will help a lot is if people realize what a bunch of bullfeathers they’re being fed with this whole business about pre-existing conditions. ObamaCare requires that people with pre-existing conditions who don’t already have insurance be allowed to sign up for it, and be charged premiums no different than those who are totally healthy. While this sounds wonderfully compassionate, it goes completely against everything that makes the economics of insurance work – which is why it’s been one of the leading drivers of soaring premiums since ObamaCare took effect.”

Cain likes the “high risk pools” idea, letting the states be involved and funding the losses by taxpayers.

While my understanding is admittedly limited the strategy here is to carve out those who are sick, but without insurance and let taxpayers finance their care rather than it being a burden on people who already were paying for health insurance.

There are arguments both ways, but for me if we as a nation truly desire to provided insurance for people with pre existing conditions it makes sense to have tax payers cover the losses rather than penalizing those of us who already pay premiums.

Yesterday I heard Senator Bill Cassidy a Republican from Louisiana tell  the Morning Joe just the opposite – that pre-existing costs should be spread over all who purchase health insurance!

My question is this: If paying for pre-existing condition coverage is “the leading driver of soaring premiums” why wouldn’t we choose a different path?

          I’m Steve Sauder

          

May 3, 2017

            My mother convinced me to try Debate in high school. It was a great experience.

            Each debate starts with a question. My first one was something like: Resolved: the Federal Government of the United States should provide significantly more support for public education.

            After stating the question the affirmative speaker defines “Terms.”

            In the 1962 question I defined: Federal Government, United States, public education and the Federal Reduced Lunch Program. The last one because it was a part of my “Plan” to solve the problem.

            Let’s fast forward to today.

            Maybe the debate question might be: Resolved: the Republican and Democratic Parties shall be required to disclose the source of all their funding.

            Here’s my point.

            How could you define what is a Republican or Democrat?

            In both Kansas and the USA we have gridlock in our legislative process because neither party stands for any one thing which can be explained.

            How many factions are there in the Republican Party? The Democrats in Kansas are not so split, but on the federal level they are certainly anything but united. Will Rogers’ old thought that he didn’t belong to an organized political party because he was a Democrat is very apt today.

            Another word worth defining is Polarization. It means “a sharp division into opposing factions often on the extreme.”

            This, my friends is public enemy number one in both Kansas and Washington. Elected officials who are so committed to their ideals they are unwilling to even consider compromises that might well be best for their constituents. 

            In Kansas we’ve been constrained by the conservative Brownback led majority that is hopefully about to meet its’ match.

            In Washington the polarization is of a unique nature. Donald Trump has his supporters and he continues to play to them and keep them happy despite a lack of real progress in areas that require more than his group’s support to accomplish.

If President Trump wants long term success he will need to find a way to get some bi-partisan support. So far he’s doubled down at every opportunity to keep the polarization alive. That’s unfortunate.

            Defining the terms in my day as a high school debater was easy. Today it might not be possible.

            I’m Steve Sauder