Thursday, September 25, 2008


In this segment, we'll look at a topic related to online identity theft. From time to time you may receive legitimate emails from your bank. However, people called phishers sometimes send an email masquerading as if it were from a legitimate financial institution. The obvious homonym of fishing for phishing indicates the style of theft which occurs. Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

In this first example it appears to be a legitimate email from the security department at Bank of America. They request that you login to a specified site and provide information about your account. In the last line of the first paragraph, there is a misspelled word which reads "submin" when it should have been "submit." An official Bank of America communication would have at a minimum had a spell check completed. Another key sign if you note the address listed in the bottom left corner directs you to an address which is nothing like Bank of America's web address. This was found by hovering over the link instead of clicking on it. If a user goes to this site and provides the requested information, it is likely they would have wiped any money in the account.

In the second example, everything looks legitimate including the web address. However, if you note the other email addresses in the To: line, it looks very much like a bunch of auto generated email addresses. Phishers use software programs to automatically generate email addresses hoping that they send one to an actual address being used. They sometimes also use bots which browse the web and anytime an email address shows up online will capture it and use it when sending out this phishing spam.

Be very cautious anytime you receive an email from a financial institution and especially if they request your personally identifiable information. A legitimate institution will not ask for this information in the unsecure medium of email. When logging into a bank's website, always type the web address in yourself rather than following a link in an email. This helps ensure that you are at the actual bank's website and not a fraudulent site masquerading as a legitimate one.

The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw has coined the World War II generation the greatest generation ever. In this book, he chronicles the lives and times of those who fought in World War II and how it affected them. The book is broken up into sections with miniature biographies of individuals telling of their lives before, during, and after the War.

Undeniably, there were tremendous sacrifices by those in uniform and at home and the whole country rallied to help the troops win the war. The book includes average Joe and Jill type of people as well as more well known veterans such as Hank Greenberg, Bob Dole, Andy Rooney, George H.W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, and Art Buchwald. It also covers the story of women's contributions to the war effort whether in or out of uniform. Additionally, the civil rights issues of equality to minorities is covered in fairly extensive detail. Some of the stories describing the inequalities and discrimination which occurred provided better insight into the nature of things in that day.

By and large, veterans following the war were eager to get on with life, start families and successful business and political careers. The war helped shape their focus and sense of purpose. This generation helped create a framework upon which all living in America today now benefit.

Towards the end of the book, things seemed to slow down a bit and the overall flow of the book could probably have benefited from cutting down the length 50 or so pages. This is not to say the stories were not worthy of being told, it simply had a feeling of weightiness and length at 390 pages.

This book should be a required part of high school curriculum so that all students would better understand the tremendous sacrifice, efforts, and heroics performed by the incredible men and women of this generation. By understanding the values and things that drove this generation, the youth and upcoming leaders of today can draw upon their wisdom and positively shape the future of our nation. Like individual pieces in a jigsaw puzzle come together to create a picture, the individual stories of the regular folks and well known come together to create a picture of the greatest generation America has yet seen.

If you found this review helpful, please let Amazon know at this link.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

Michael J. Fox once said, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get It, Read It, Give It Away

It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

For anyone in leadership at a ministry, this book should be required reading. Groeschel describes the characteristics of that elusive "it" that some ministries have where God is very clearly moving on a regular basis. Places with "it" have aspects similar to the early church of Acts. They commonly have strong vision from leadership as well as specific focus on areas of ministry. Rather than trying to be involved in 500 different things, ministries with "it" tend to focus on certain core areas that they are good at and believe God has called them to. Groeschel also discusses the importance of having fun and being involved in each others lives. Churches with it are vibrant, active, and alive.

Just because a ministry doesn't have "it" doesn't mean it can't get "it." And just because a ministry has "it" doesn't mean it will always keep "it." Copying another church's successful program or style does not necessarily work for everyone so the church needs to evaluate how God has uniquely called them at a particular moment. This clearly involves lots of prayer for direction and humbleness to admit mistakes and move on.

Though geared towards people in leadership of church ministries, lessons can be gleaned from It for an individual's life as well. I particular drew some ideas on developing vision and focus for life.

Throughout the book are pictures illustrating various points that Groeschel makes.

If nothing else, the book will help in evaluating your ministry to see determine areas for improvement and getting back to the important things of the Bible and God's leading.

If you found this review helpful, please let Amazon know at this link.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tour of Missouri

Yesterday, I went to the finish for stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Professional cyclists from around the world came to compete in one of the top 3 stage races in the US. They started in St. Joseph, Missouri and after approximately 90 miles, finished with three 5 mile circuits of the Plaza and downtown area. There were hundreds of people watching at the finish. Mark Cavendish a phenomenal sprinter from the Isle of Man who won 4 stages of the Tour de France won the 1st stage in a time of 3:15:14.

See more pictures at Community Faces.

Upward Soccer

Here are some pictures from Upward Soccer at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. The kids also got the opportunity to play on several inflatable moonwalks.

For more pictures see Community Faces.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Riding With 5.0

I spent Friday night in the back of a police car. No, not as a bad guy but as a ride along observer of the Kansas City good guys. We hit the streets around 9pm and made a routine traffic stop to get started. We then patrolled around and stopped a few perpetrators.

While going to some calls that came over the radio we had the opportunity to hit speeds over 100 mph which was an adrenaline rush. It definitely gives you a different perspective for when the police are zooming along. If you do hear/see them, get over to the side as quickly as possible. They're going somewhere for a reason.

The most exciting part of the night was when one of the squad cars was in pursuit of a vehicle and the suspect jumped out followed by the policeman. We quickly made our way to the area where the suspect was being tracked by a helicopter. The police men I was with jumped out of the car and ran to the area. I heard bang, bang, bang and then "shots fired, shots fired!" over the radio. A Rottweiler ended up attacking one of the policemen and they had to protect themselves. Ultimately, the suspect was taken into custody and the remainder of the night was spent cleaning up the area and doing paper work. I would highly recommend anyone taking advantage of this type of opportunity to see crime fighting at the ground level.

Pat Green Concert

Here are some pictures from the Pat Green concert I covered in the Power & Light district.

More pictures available at this link.
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