Friday, May 17, 2013

Firefighter gets healthy after life-changing event

From the North Oaks News

By Kathy Laur/Editor

The death of a parent is difficult to imagine for those who haven’t gone through that loss, and the idea that you could die someday in the same way can be scary — maybe even alarming enough to inspire you to make some significant lifestyle changes.

North Oaks resident Jeff Rhein experienced this firsthand with the death of his father at the young age of 64 from prostate cancer in September 2011. Both of his grandfathers also had prostate cancer at the time of their deaths.

Most prostate cancers are slow-growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. Globally, it is the sixth-leading cause of cancer-related death in men. In the United States it is the second. Many men with prostate cancer never have symptoms or undergo therapy, and eventually die of other unrelated causes. Numerous factors, among them genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer.

During the last year of his father’s life, Rhein was extremely motivated to get in shape.  Having to travel often for work as a territory manager for a company that manufactures fire apparatus (trucks), he was eating poorly and wasn’t exercising. Also employed as a firefighter on the Lake Johanna Fire Department, Rhein set a goal to train for a competition called the “Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge,” which is held several times a year. Firefighters around the world participate in the demanding, five-event physical challenge and try to complete the course with the fastest time. Competition events include a stair climb with a high-rise pack, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance, and a victim rescue. The primary purpose for the Scott Challenge is to promote physical fitness, an essential part of structural firefighting.

“Originally, I was planning on doing the competition the first week in October 2011,” Rhein said, “but with my dad’s passing in September, it had to be postponed. I’m now planning on doing the competition in April in Indianapolis.”

Rhein plans to compete in memory of his dad. “He went through some tough last months on this earth and for me, mentally having a mission and a goal to compete in the challenge and finish helped me immensely to get through that time,” Rhein said.

In his early 20’s, Rhein worked out 2 to 3 hours a day and was diligent about his eating habits. Between the ages of 25 and 40, his life seemed to be about everything but fitness. Family, work, house, vacations, etc. all took precedence over his health. At that point in his life, he was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 268 pounds.
Jeff Rhein, Regional VP Pierce Manufacturing

Rhein now hits the gym by 5:15 a.m. at least six days a week and stays at hotels with workout facilities in them or nearby. “It’s really about planning more than anything,” he says. He includes 30 minutes of cardio and resistance training into his workouts and mixes it up weekly. Now at 194 pounds, he has begun his final phase of training for the contest: he exercises in his heavy firefighting gear.
Rhein feels obligated to do his part in an effort to inform men, especially those over the age of 40, about prostate cancer and staying physically fit. He said, “Any doctor will tell you to cut back on the obvious stuff and exercise, but everyone has their own way of doing that. Finding that balance and making it a lifestyle change is what will make you successful.”

Jeff’s “Before” photo

Editor’s note: Jeff finished with gas in his tank at the FDIC this year and is looking forward to going sub 2 in the not too distant future. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Double Standard?

Since we spend a significant amount of money each year (as do some of you) on airline travel, this article in today’s Washington Post seemed like something that should be shared.

George WillGeorge F. Will

Why Judicial Activism Matters

"The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex."

-- James Madison, Federalist 48

WASHINGTON -- But under today's regulatory state, which Madison could hardly have imagined, the legislature, although still a source of much mischief, is not the principal threat to liberty. Suppose a federal executive department flagrantly abused its regulatory powers for the unmistakable purpose of suppressing truthful speech that annoys the government. If you assume the Supreme Court would rectify this assault on the First Amendment's core protection, you would be mistaken.

The government has done this and the court has declined to do its duty to enforce constitutional limits. Herewith an illustration of why conservatives must abandon their imprecise opposition to "judicial activism" and advocate for more vigorous judicial engagement in protecting liberty from the vortex of the regulatory state.

Spirit, Allegiant and Southwest are low-cost carriers that have thrived since the deregulation of the airline industry, which began in 1978. The government retains a narrow authority to prevent deceptive advertising practices. But as the airlines argued in petitioning the Supreme Court to hear their case, the government is micromanaging their speech merely to prevent the public from understanding the government's tax burdens.

The government's Total Price Rule forbids the airlines from calling attention to the tax component of the price of a ticket by listing the price the airline charges and then the tax component with equal prominence. The rule mandates that any listing of the tax portion of a ticket's price "not be displayed prominently and be presented in significantly smaller type than the listing of the total price." The government is trying to prevent people from clearly seeing the burdens of government.

These three low-cost carriers compete for the most price-conscious travelers, and want to tell those travelers which portion of a ticket's cost the airlines control. The government, far from regulating to prevent customer confusion, is trying to prevent customers from understanding the taxes and fees that comprise approximately 20 percent of the average airline ticket.

Timothy Sandefur, of the public-interest, limited-government Pacific Legal Foundation, notes that decades ago the Supreme Court, without justification in the Constitution's text, structure or history, created a binary First Amendment. So today the amendment gives different degrees of protection to two kinds of speech -- strong protection to political speech, minimal protection to commercial speech.

The court has never clearly defined the latter but has suggested that commercial speech proposes a commercial transaction between the speaker and the audience. And the court has held that freedom of commercial speech cannot be abridged if the speech is neither false nor deceptive nor related to an illegal activity.

Note two things. The airlines' speech the government is regulating with the Total Price Rule would be protected even if it were just commercial speech. And it actually is political speech: It calls its audience's attention to, and invites disapproval of, government policy.

In permitting the government's regulation of this speech, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held, 2-1, that the Total Price Rule "does not prohibit airlines from saying anything; it just requires them to disclose the total, final price and to make it the most prominent figure in their advertisements." But this ignores the government's obvious purpose of preventing the airlines from drawing attention to the government's exactions.

In their brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse the D.C. Circuit's decision, the airlines noted that the government is forbidding them to do what virtually every American industry does -- advertise the pre-tax price of their products. Shirts and shoes and salamis are sold with the pre-tax sum on the price tag.

D.C. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph, dissenting from the court's permission of this unauthorized and indefensible regulation, asked: How can the government's supposed interest in consumers having "accurate" information be served by requiring "significantly smaller" typefaces for taxes and fees that make up a larger share of the prices of the low-cost airlines than of the older airlines? Randolph said the government's purpose is "to control and to muffle speakers who are critical of the government."

Government is violating one of the natural rights that the Founders said government is "instituted" (the Declaration's word) to protect. This episode confirms conservatism's premise that today's government is guilty of shabby behavior until proven innocent. And conservatives enable such behavior when their unreflective denunciations of judicial "activism" encourage excessive judicial deference toward the modern executive's impetuous vortex.