Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The American Jobs Act White House Tweetup

 My "Golden Ticket"

Welcome to Jamestown, NC

The President was safe and secure

with lots of news coverage (including yours truly)

at the Mary Perry Ragsdale Family YMCA venue for the "bus tour" stop.

My copy of the American Jobs Act

Finding my seat

among Americans of all walks of life;

Americans through and through.

The press box was filled with broadcasters from all over

and from the floor, your White House tweetup spokesman for today.

The following is a tweet-by-tweet (with a few video inserts and photos) of President Obama's speech:

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
To all the children at Cathedral School in Raleigh, NC, I hope you enjoy the #whtweetup of President Obama's American Jobs Act today!
9:33 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
 #whtweetup  at the Jamestown YMCA is filled to capacity and more coming in the door. The air is thick in anticipation of Obama's arrival.
9:56 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
Sitting next to Senator Hagan's staff and enjoying a bipartisan conversation on economics at #whtweetup
10:15 AM

The introductory speech by Linda

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
And here comes President Obama entering the YMCA in Jamestown, #NC for the American Jobs Act "bus tour" at #whtweetup. "Hail to the chief!"
10:57 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
President Obama praising teachers and educators in Jamestown, #NC as an intro to the American Jobs Act. #whtweetup
11:23 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
Rebuilding America where if you do the right thing and everyone contributes will take time to rebuild but America will do it. #whtweetup
11:25 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
American Jobs Act will be paid for by those who make over $1 million per year. #whtweetup
11:27 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
The American Jobs Act includes health care provisions and tax cuts for small businesses. #whtweetup
11:34 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
I will be interested to see just how the tax cuts for small businesses really play out to be.Having run one myself this is needed.#whtweetup
11:36 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
#NC has faced teacher staff cuts while Korea is importing them in drives to compete against the USA according to Obama. #whtweetup
11:37 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
The Jobs Act will provide the manpower to fix infrastructure issues like schools,roads,bridges,etc.So we don't fall behind China #whtweetup
11:39 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
"Don't be bambuzled," says the President about how the Jobs Act will be funded. The top 2% people in our economy will pay for it.#whtweetup
11:43 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
The weight of the Jobs Act does not address other issues like taxing unemployment checks and other hardships. #whtweetup
11:44 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
I do agree with the President in that parts of the Jobs Act will improve the economy - he is breaking it up into smaller acts. #whtweetup
11:45 AM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
Standing ovation for the President's speech. #whtweetup
11:47 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
Great experience seeing a standing president of our fine country here in Jamestown, #NC for th American Jobs Act. #whtweetup
11:48 AM

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
And with a few handshakes, hugging babies, and the occasional wave goodbye, the President moves on. What a privilege to be here.#whtweetup
12:01 PM 

twubbell Ken Hubbell 
Waiting for President Obama's motorcade to leave so we can exit the YMCA here in Jamestown, #NC#whtweetup
12:08 PM

And so ends my detour to Jamestown, NC, today, where I took a short step to the left and joined a majority of Democrats in hearing the President talk about real change for Americans. I don't agree with all of the provisions in his plan, but for those I am in favor, I hope that both parties in the Senate and Congress will quit playing games with the lives of average Americans and remember that we put them in office to do the right things for all of us, not just their favorites.

What a memorable experience this was, both to be there for the speech as well as to be able to share the experience with all of you.

- Ken

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tweeting the President

I have always said that grassroots politics and lobbying are only accomplished by professionals in the field and folks without day jobs. Now, the latter part is not necessarily true given the number of people who like to volunteer for their cause, but unfortunately for me, fourteen to eighteen hours a day six and sometimes seven days a week did not accommodate my desire to support the cause. Tomorrow, however, courtesy of my recent surgery forcing me to take a leave of absence from the daily grind (and enjoy naps in the afternoon to aid in my recovery), I found myself with a morning in North Carolina with nothing to do but watch bad television or read or take up the invitation I received from the White House to tweet from the Jamestown, NC stop on the American Jobs Act bus tour led by President Obama. So tomorrow morning, I will be taking a detour on my way home from dropping my son off at school to head a little farther east to capture the words and images of our  44th president.

Now to be fair, I must point out that I am a registered Republican and have been a staunch conservative most of my life. I was actually surprised to receive the invitation, but I want to believe he desires a balanced audience. And as such, I promise to give a balanced #whtweetup of the President's message to North Carolina and to the country at large. You can follow me @twubbell.

In 1985, I had the privilege of attending a speech by then President Reagan at Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of NCSU. The thrill of seeing a president of the United States in person was one of the highlights of my college days. I am anticipating a similar feeling tomorrow, for though I may not see eye-to-eye with him on many political issues in the end he is the leader of the most powerful and respected country in the world and he's our president.

I have skimmed over The American Jobs Act being promoted by the President and the Democratic members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and I will say that the sections on small business tax reform are right on target. For those of you who have shared my story here and in my book, you know the trials I and my family faced during the first decade of this new century because these types of reforms were not in place. Same goes for a decent health care policy and improvements to the unemployment system. We have to have some kind of change to both motivate our people in the short run and serve the well-being of our country in the long run.

Come back tomorrow night for a recap of the day's detour. Later this week I will have a complete after event blog posting with photos (I hope).


- Ken

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanks, without you, I wouldn't still be here!

Stitches, staples, shunts and other techniques and technologies provided the means to save my life. They do not happen by themselves, however, and I would like to pay tribute to one of the finest team of doctors, surgeons and nurses I have ever known. Of course I would never have had the opportunity to meet this fine team were it not for the insistance of one person that I go to the hospital in the first place. And so, without further ado, my thanks to:

  • Heidi Zdrojeski (Supervisor and Mentor) – without whose insistance I would be no more
  • Dr. Steven A. Josephson, M.D. (Gastroenterology & Hepatology) – whose confidence and brilliance left me with no doubt that I was going to make it. Not to mention his diagnostic and emergency surgical skills helped me stay around long enough for the portal shunt surgery
  • Dr. John Hanson (gastroenterology,transplant hepatology and internal medicine) – head of the team
  • Dr. David Eagle (Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology) – his energy and diagnostic approach led to the determination of my blood, liver and spleen condition
  • Dr. Lon Brian Eskind (Surgery and Liver Transplants) – no-nonsense analysis, determination and execution of the surgical strategy that ultimately saved my life
  • Dr. Blair A. Wormer (Surgery) – his bedside manner and clear explanation of the procedures reduced patient and family anxiety during the surgical process
  • Nurses Janet, Sean, Jessie, Matthew, Steve and many others both at Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville and Carolinas Medical Center for their care.
  • Family, friends and teammates for their thoughts, prayers, rides, meals, cards, flowers and visits.

And above all, the guiding hand of God empowering us all to survive this ordeal. He truly has a plan for us (I know He does for me or else why save me again?) and I hope all of you have experienced His love and strength through my experience.

- Ken

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Road to Recovery

There are moments in your life when you realize you are in control of nothing. Recovering from major life-saving surgery is one of those moments. I can go from feeling almost fine to so tired I can barely move in an instant. My body is in complete control right now and courtesy of some well-placed advice from those who know and love me most, I believe I am going to listen.

Being an ‘A’ type personality is not a good thing when you are in recovery. Relaxing for long periods of time is not in my nature. Don’t get me wrong, I like to take some time off here and there to spend with the kids or to read a good book. But anything beyond an afternoon of playing outside or the occasional “three chapters to avoid the dishes bathroom break” I start getting fidgety to accomplish something. When watching sports, unless it is one of my kids’ games, I have to have something else to do or else the downtime between plays is excruciating. Even back in high school, the teachers included a note in my folder that said, “Make sure Ken has a book to read every day so that when he finishes his assignments early he has something to do!”

In business, this requirement to stay busy has served me well for the most part. I usually juggle two or three main projects while maintaining an inventory of smaller research projects and white papers. This allows me to provide immediate service to our stakeholders while planning for future technology requirements.

So, when faced with several weeks of recovery on short term disability inhibiting my ability to perform my duties at work (meaning DO NOT DO WORK, RECOVER!) what’s a guy to do? In the past, I had no disability insurance, in fact this time they had to explain to me what it is and how I was supposed to use it. When faced with my previous two surgeries a decade ago and more, I simply worked; whether in the hospital or laid up in bed. Back then we didn’t even have the benefit of the Internet. My wife transported files back and forth via a large portable hard drive. But the reality was I worked. Now I was a bit younger in those days, however, since I was working from home I could set my schedule based on when I was sleeping and when I was awake. It gave my mind something to do while just lying there in bed. Was this the best mode of recovery? Based on what I now know, no. At the time, however, it was and it kept the lights on and the mortgage paid.

So, here I am today, lying in my bed, recovering slowly. The older tissues are mending well, but the soreness and weariness is a lot more than I remember from the past. Ten years applies a lot of wear to the body. Fortunately, with the exception of the recent vena caval issue, I am in great shape and the healing process is proceeding according to schedule. Maybe even a little faster than expected. For me it seems like eternity.

I am catching up on the grad school work I missed while in the hospital for two weeks. I have started the most recent “Change” Novel from SM Stirling. And, I have attempted to keep everyone up to date with semi-regular Facebook entries and mass emailings. And, as promised to my boss and my wife, I have not done one ounce of work while on disability. This is not to say I have not thought about it or what I would like to accomplish once I get back (you know you’re in trouble when you start dreaming of learning solutions in your sleep), but I have not acted on any of it; no papers, wireframes, PowerPoint slides, etc.

I think the best part on the road to recovery has been the people who have joined me from time to time. The loving support of my friends and family both outside and inside of my work has been amazing. Between the cards and emails and food and flowers and prayers, I have felt more loved by more people than any time in my life. I am truly blessed by God and all the angels he has sent my way. I was faced with a human burden of the flesh and through His grace he provided me with the best medical care and the best support team possible.

I am not sure how long this road will be. Initial estimates were the end of October. I am hoping for a week earlier, but we shall see. I at least want to be driving by this weekend, but we shall see. In the meantime I eat, sleep and occupy my waking hours with Netflix, Sci-Fi novels, grad school and the occasional blog post. The great thing is that there is an end to this road, and contrary to where I started two weeks ago, I am going to make it alive and well.

- Ken