Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My advice for President Obama and his talk to congress about health care tonight:

Dear Pres. Obama,

Public health care is not, and can not be, insurance. It is charity.

We do not, and should not, let people in this country starve. But we help those unfortunates who need help with charity, not by opening a government owned chain of supermarkets. A government owned and operated health insurance company makes no more sense than creating such an Uncle Sam's Mart or Barake's Club.

Yes, we must have a strong public health care system to make sure disease does not spread, that illness is treated in clinics rather than more expensive emergency rooms, and that jails aren't warehouses for the mentally ill.

President Obama, yes you should guarantee that all Americans will receive adequate medical care by strengthening our public health care system, but do not take us into the never, never land of a government owned and operated health insurance company.

For an example of how a government insurance company would operate, look at the insane decision to close Ft. Logan mental health center here in Colorado, an example of bureaucratic thinking of the highest order. When there's not enough money (and there never is) make the people with no political power pay the price.

If people don't like dealing with private insurance bureaucrats, wait until they are waiting for approval of care from a former IRS agent or post office worker.

How to correct the real problems with private medicine? Allow the market to operate, which is not the case today.

Reasonable people should judge your plan on how well it: 1) cares for the least of us and 2) allows the operation of the free-market to correct the Bernie Madoff approach to medicine that is now too often the case because of government supplied wool that is pulled over our collective eyes.

John Wren

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Thanks to the University of Denver Magazine for the mention on page 48 in their Fall 2009 edition I just got in my mail box:

John Wren (BA '69, MBA '89) of Denver has formed the Denver Startup Forum, a community of practice for entrepreneurs, business owners and their advisers.

Are you interested in how inspiration and ideas become a reality? Then join us in this world-wide community of practice focused on the topic of startup and business creativity. We have live meetings that are video and audio taped, then the discussion continues online. We already have nearly 300 members from all over the world, from India to Houston and Phoenix.

Our next live meeting will be September 24 here in Denver, for an invitation become a member of Denver Startup Forum (free) at

We DU alumni have the chance to return to the classroom and be students for a weekend at the third annual Alumni Symposium, Oct. 2-3 on campus. I attended last year, and am registered again this year. It is outstanding. It is open to all alumni; admission is free but registration is required. (303)871-2701 or
"Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win."
Jonathan Kozol, born this day in Boston in 1936, author of Letters to a Young Teacher (2007)

Are you reading To Kill a Mockingbird? Join us at a Franklin Circle to discuss it, see my comment on today's Denver Post article:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

42 years ago Janet and I were married and we had 4 great kids and 20 years of a happy marrage. And 20 out of 23 isn't too bad!

Harvard Business Review: When work doesn't make you happy (click here).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It was on this day in 1901 at the Minnesota State Fair that Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech and uttered his famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." He said that it was a West African proverb that he had always liked. He probably picked it up from his wide reading — he often read a book a day, even after he became president, and he wrote a total of 40 books during his lifetime.

In 1901, Roosevelt was vice president under President William McKinley, a position that he didn't like very much. He said, "I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than Vice President," and said that the position was "not a steppingstone to anything except oblivion." When he was invited to give a speech in February of 1901, shortly after he had taken office, he refused, explaining that it was "chiefly for the excellent reason that I have nothing whatever to say."

But eventually he got so bored that he decided he needed some regular activity besides his vice presidential duties, and so he went on a speaking tour after all, and the Minnesota State Fair was part of that. Just four days later, at a public reception back in Washington, McKinley was shot in the stomach by a young anarchist. After a couple of days, the president looked like he would recover completely, and so Roosevelt took off on a hiking trip with his family. But the president died on September 14th — a messenger had come to find Roosevelt in the Adirondacks, but by the time he made it to Washington, McKinley was dead. Less than two weeks after his famous speech at the Minnesota State Fair, Roosevelt was the new president, and at age 42, the youngest in the country's history.

From today's The Writer's Almanac