Friday, December 21, 2012

Small Reminders ............

Some look at the Mayan calendar and believe that the world will come to an end, or we will face a cataclysmic events. As a people the Mayan’s were a culture that was over 1 million strong at their peak yet today the only thing left are the ruins of their once great and advanced civilization. No one really knows what happened to them. Where they went or even if they faced their own cataclysmic event.
If nothing more this should perhaps be a lesson for all of us that nothing lasts forever. Every society and culture throughout history has gone through change or transition to eventually become something new. Empires and dynasties have risen and fallen with their own culture, science, beliefs, and medicine that for there time was cutting edge.
Take a moment and think about that. Here we all are,thinking we are immune from nature and life. Our own arrogance is our most dangerous weapon that  we hold at our own throats. As Sandy taught many life can change in an instant and what you thought was important no longer is.
What is even more interesting is watching main stream media dismiss any thoughts of prepping or being prepared for any eventuality. When the national disaster organization came out and advised that every person should have a grab and go bag for emergencies with a 3 day supply to get them through any natural event some of us actually listened. Even though many out there don't want to think about the what ifs in life its still better to be prepared for an emergency on some level then not at all. During Hurricane Sandy my family did really well, because we did think about tomorrow and were prepared for what came.
The good news is the  world probably won't end tomorrow.Thankfully we will all get up go to work and go on about our lives. The world we live in has the potential to "shake us off its back," as George Carlin used to say. Its a lesson worth remembering, after Sandy, Katrina, and the many earthquakes and natural disasters we have seen recently in our world. Its nature and its seems to be fighting back.  
So for today be thankful. Be glad you have a family to celebrate the Christmas season with. Be glad you have a home with a roof over your head and warm heat and water to take care of your needs. At any time any one of us could lose everything we hold dear. Remember to hold those things most dear to you this season, and to count your blessings. Don’t take your tomorrows for granted. Life can change in an instant and regrets are cold company for what you should have or could have done differently.
The saying goes “live each day as if it were your last.” Pretty good advice if you ask me.
May each of you who read this have a happy and safe Christmas, Hanukkah, or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year. May God bless you and keep you safe. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lesson's From Tragedy ... do we learn or do we keep our eyes closed and pretend it will just go away

Tiny Angels

Tiny Angels rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so". Author Unknown

Friday like many of you I was at work, when I heard about the shooting in Connecticut. As a grandmother and mother I was shaken and horrified that anyone sane or otherwise would think that it was acceptable to do something like that to innocent children.My heart and prayers go out to the family's who lost loved ones in such a horrible way just days before Christmas. My niece lives close by there now, and I  couldn't help but be thankful that her infant son is too young for school yet. Or be thankful my own 8 year old was safe.  
As I have listened to people respond I am amazed at the train of thought we have come to as a people. Blaming the gun manufacturers for the shooting? “No Glock & Sig Sauer did not barge into a school and kill innocent children. Nor would any other gun manufacturer. Frankly it's kind of pathetic to blame a real problem on the guns or their makers.
People use the brains god gave you, crack is illegal, meth is illegal, there are certain types of bullets that are illegal yet the bad people still manage to get them. More laws restricting gun ownership is the last thing we need. It really won't solve the problem.  
Others feel sympathy for the psychological issues this young man  had that would make him do such a horrific thing, and believe that we need to extend our psychological programs for the mentally disturbed. Here is the thing, all the outreach programs in the world are not going to make someone take the medicine they may need to stay in touch with reality.In this country we can not force them to, we made that choice. Also if they do not ask for help and stay under the radar no one would know there was a problem until it was too late.
The other option was over the top, put a fence around our schools (like a prison) and metal detectors, so that anyone coming in or out had to go to a holding pen to pick up their kids or come into the school. (Like a prison)Hmm this idea doesn’t deserve comment.
The President has come out and said we can't allow this anymore. Yes for once I agree with him, but here is where I may offend a few & differ from the president. If I do sorry.

1. If you are sick enough in the head to walk into a public area and open fire on innocent people you should forfeit your rights as an American Citizen, (you're not acting like one or respecting anyone’s right to live, or live without fear  so you  don't deserve those rights).

2. When you forfeit those rights you lose the right to a lawyer, a trial, and to get off by reason of insanity. You frankly do not deserve the mercy you did not show your victims. Oh yes and you also lose the right to waste hundreds and thousands of dollars on appeals for what you did.

3. You deserve less mercy than you chose to show others, and if you are mentally ill I frankly do not want you locked up in an institution some place where you can get out in a few years like Hinkley did after trying to kill President Reagan. You also don't get to sit in prison like Charlie Manson is while we all support your butt.

 4. If you hold life in such disregard and you are caught red handed, and identified you deserve to be immediately taken out and hung until dead.

Your end is closure . These people doing these things have gotten so out of hand that maybe it is time we stop being tree hugging liberals and start being the Americans we are willing to be when facing terrorists from other countries. There should be no mercy or excuses,deal with the problem two or three times and odds are those senseless attacks will drop dramatically. 
Stop allowing killers to get off, on the ground of humanity! There actions are not those of a civilized human being. There brutality is not culturally acceptable in any culture. I believe in the sanctity of life, and that each of us has a responsibility to look out for each other. These individuals do not value life, they do not care about who they hurt, and it will happen over and over until we wake up and stop them in their tracks.

The consequence has to equal the crime or we will all remain victims of the violence blossoming in our country.

For those who are offended by this post, don't read it. That is your choice.
If you think the idea has merit start a petition, get the signatures and push as hard as you can for change. NO loopholes, no excuses justice & punishment should fit the crime. Not excuse it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giving Back and Giving Hope

Only one life to live and one lifetime to give.
Sometimes life doesn't go the way we want. We don't get the golden egg, or the accolades from our boss or co workers. It just is what it is. So what do you do? Do you pout about it, walk around pissed off at the world or whine how unfair life is? People who spend their time complaining about everyone else and about how unfair life is should be kicked in the butt. You know a good old fashioned swoosh.
For those who go to bed hungry

There are so many people out there whose lives truly are hard, and do suck in a very big way. What is amazing is you do not hear them complain.With grace and humor most of them keep going smiling and paying it forward. More often than not they are the ones keeping everyone else going. Yet we never take the time to say thank you to them. Thank you for letting your positive outlook shine on others and lighten their mood. So here is the challenge Christmas is right around the corner. Do something nice for one of those special people, do something nice for someone who is in need. No, need doesn't just mean the homeless guy down the road. Its the single mom who cant afford Christmas, its the family who lost everything in the hurricane, it can be someone old or young it does not matter just give of yourself in some small way.  

For the elderly who have no one.
Do something to lighten their day and their load in life. Even if its volunteering to baby sit or a free set of movie tickets. Do something nice for someone else give back and pay it forward.

Not because you have to but because you can. It isn’t hard, and won't take all day. You may be surprised by the difference you make in their life. It can be a friend or a stranger, just someone who actually needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement.

Half the problem we face in this country is it takes tragedy to bring out the good in us, so do some good! Just because you can, make one small gift of yourself and give someone back some of the hope that they may be lacking right now. It doesn't take much to refill that well of hope, and each of us has it.Even if we don’t like to admit it.

For the single moms who go it alone

Do unto others as you 
would have them do unto you.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Politics Then and Now Has it Changed?

from Boardwalk Empire
Has Politics Changed? Then and Now

One of the interesting aspects of going to school is that I am old enough to appreciate the then and now. Looking back in our history right here in New Jersey one of the more politically powerful men of his time was Frank Hague.
Hague was the mayor of Jersey City for eight consecutive terms, that in itself is an amazing feat. What makes him unique is he was known as one of the boss’s during his time. Who managed to stay in power even after all of the other political bosses were gone. Why, well I believe in part that is due to the fact that he was able to make a difference in peoples lives.He wasn't all greed and wasn't all bad. He was a working class man who gained his entry into the business world as a fight manager. He quickly found his place and was able to do more by staying behind the scenes then out in the front.
For all intents and purposes nothing happened in New Jersey unless he knew about it or had a hand in it. Even President FDR realized he needed Hague to win the vote in New Jersey. For a mayor of New Jersey to have enough power and prestige that he was able to bend a sitting president ear to obtain political favors is overly unique. What makes it interesting is FDR dislike Hague intently, but still made sure he didn't anger the New Jersey boss. 

If you look at politics today on some levels it would be fair to say that yes business and media both have the power to bend the president's ear to their way of thinking. In turn though he has the power to steer them in the direction he wants them to go in. Although some organizations have come to realize that the manipulation that is going on is destroying their journalistic integrity. Fox News  was furious over the Libyan incident and that they had been manipulated by his office. It seems that today in journalism the term check your facts doesn’t really apply. With the invention of the internet access to data is more easily obtained today than ever before. So why would the media repeatedly allow themselves to not report facts?  From Occupy Wall Street to the past Presidential Election certain stations have blatantly twisted facts and information. One might even say they may as well have been on the payroll.

Our government wasn’t based on an idea of absolute power, or absolute manipulation. Yet men like that continue to find their way into politics and like the proverbial lamb we follow along instead of using the common sense most of us were born with. So what needs to change? Pretty simple us. We need to change, we need to not take what the media and politicians tell us as gospel. Do the homework find the truth, it really is out there if you look. OK so maybe it isn't as interesting as Jersey Housewives, or the Kardashians but do you really want to be the schmuck who terns to there grand-kids in 20 years and has to explain that you were just to lazy to be proactive about your own government?  

I will never forget the first day, of my first journalism class. The first lesson was simple Journalism is based on facts not opinion. Once opinion comes into it, once we slant it one way or the other we lose journalistic integrity. Then it simply becomes a matter of opinion, with all the advances in technology there is always a hunger for information. The hard part is finding what is real and what is opinion. My blog and articles are based on my opinion, so they are shaded with what I think. If anything hopefully it will make you stop and think or stop and question the status quo. We should be questioning things that is our responsibility as citizens of this world.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Ends Justifies the Means or so Machiavelli Say's

Machiavelli and Politics Today........ The Ends Justify the Means

This week one of the pieces we covered was Machiavelli’s the Prince. His writings were incredibly popular for his time. What makes his work intriguing is that despite the rose colored glasses many choose to look through his instruction can still be seen in our culture today.
No we don’t cut up the lesser of two evils so people will like us, although one could speculate that the media certainly did that to Romney on Obama’s behalf. The naivety that people choose to view the world with has to be one of the more amazing aspects of our culture. If you are drenched in reality you're viewed as a pessimist who is a gloom and doomer. 

Niccolo Machiavelli lived in the brutal world of 1469-1527 yet his writings are still worth reading today. Whether you agree or disagree with what he says if you look you can see some of his writings on power in practice today. Although the literal sword of brutality is gone, it is still cut throat the higher you climb.
We live in a world where we try to pretend brutality doesn't exist anymore when in fact it does. Every time we hear about a case of road rage, or someone plowing down grandma in the supermarket for going to slow.We see first hand that belief "The Ends Justifies The Means."
As a country we have grown so soft in our approach towards punishment of crimes we risk becoming victims ourselves. Every pedophile we let off the hook, every murder we parole. How do you project to the world that you're a force to be reckoned with when you can't deal with your own issues at home?
When did it become OK to leave the blinders on rather than dealing with life head on like our ancestors. When did we lay down and die giving up on ourselves as a people? Looking for handouts or entitlements from our government or others?
I often wonder if we ever woke up and decided to change our approach would it make a difference at this point in our history? Or has the damage already been done? Every generation steps further and further away from those values that make us human and connected to each other as a people. There is more I /Me in this world then at any other time, so in truth we aren't too far from Machiavelli, or his teachings. We have become a culture of what's in it for me, and what do I get out its.

I came away from his reading feeling that despite the manipulation, and treachery of his time he came across perhaps as a little more civilized and honest then we are today in our own “enlightened” culture.
The consulate in Libya

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Another Year Almost Over

December Already
It is always amazing to me how quickly time flies. Another year has come and gone and life continues to march on. This has been a year of ups and downs for many people. We watched a political race that seemed tight and wound up not beig tight at all. Then many watched in horror as Sandy battered New Jersey, New York and several other states. A warm winter and hot summer brought with it to many bugs.
For me going to school and coming to the end of a full time semester I can say that I am exhausted and very ready for a break. With only two weeks to go I can say I survived and believe I did well. At 45 it was not an easy load, I hate to imagine what it must be like for a 20 something working going to school and trying to stay social as well. 

“Yes one of the things I have learned is that the social seems to matter. At least when your 20." I give them credit for having the energy for it on top of work and school.
Many of my teachers have had to change there class schedule because so many were left without power for over two weeks. Some chose to drop those two weeks and others adjusted for it allowing more time to complete work that needed to be done. 

So what will I take away from this semester of school, well I loved my psyche class. It was both interesting and informative. I found a lot of information that was both useful as a parent, and self enlightening as a person. I learned that New Jerseyans, have been a self determined group of people from their first step into this country. Also that as a whole here in NJ we don’t like being told what to do, whether it is by a foreign government or by our own.
So much history that affected the rest of the country, and even parts of the world happened here. That's pretty amazing if you think about it. We can claim Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, at least for a while, as well as a host of other intelligent and articulate men.

Something else I learned was that as a whole we need to work on our communication with others from different cultures, religious beliefs and backgrounds if we are going to succeed as a people. We are still a mixing pot and each of us have ancestors who came from some other country. At one point or another someone was discriminating against them. So maybe it is time we pick ourselves up as a whole and stop pointing fingers, stop the self segregation, and just act like the human beings we are supposed to be.  
Lastly and perhaps one of my favorite lessons was that no matter what land or country a story may come from each culture has something to contribute to literature. There are some amazing stories out there, some I will read further into and some I will not, but that is the beauty of reading we do get to choose  what we read. The only limitations we have in that area are the ones we place on ourselves.
On a personal level it was a tough fall, for many reasons. I still have the same wonderful family and partner. That is what keeps me going, I have learned to be a little more stingy of my time when I have things to do and more generous when I have free time. I feel I am growing as a person and that we are growing as a family. I know that even though sometimes life can give us heart aches I am still very blessed. I wouldn't trade what I have for anything because it is what is right for me.

Its More then Just a Dream

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