Sunday, September 5, 2010

In Honor of Labor Day: Freedom and Prosperity! For Whom?

Free, freedom, and prosperity are wonderful words and concepts with life-altering implications. Of course, these words also deeply and favorably resonate with most Americans. The key question is are they applied equally to all, or to just a few with crumbs thrown to the rest as placation? Freedom, prosperity, benefits, and jobs have been the buzz words for the past 20 years; they've even been used to describe recent wars.

In reality, the free market economy, free (vs. right to work) states, free trade agreements, prosperity to work and innovate, as well as anti-unionism, deregulation, outsourcing, corporate subsidies, corporate personhood, too-big-to-fail corporations, monopolies, and media/propaganda megaliths have been created and used by the top 10-20% of the world's elite to maintain and consolidate their financial and net worth, as well as their power. They misuse "socialism" as a rallying cry against public health care, unions, and worker benefits.

Worker's jobs, salaries and benefits have been reduced or eliminated to increase the wealth, benefits and golden parachutes of the top 20%. Then, those same 20% point to unions and union workers who still have decent wages and benefits and make them the bad guys. 'See! They have what you don't. Go after them!' 'They're socialists!' These are emotional appeals, not facts.

What should be happening is that we bottom 80% should all be working together to demand a major reduction in the CEO-to-worker wage and benefit ratio. CEO's now earn over 300% more than the average worker, compared to 25% in 1965. Our wages, benefits, pensions, and jobs, have been reduced or elimated to increase their wealth and power. It is a simple, and perverse, inverse relationship.

Freedom? Nevada is a Right to Work state where businesses are free to work and innovate, and it has both the highest unemployment and foreclosure rate in the country. We're now reaping the benefits of "free," unregulated businesses.

Of course, corporations have been subsidized by us for decades and they've recently been bailed out by all of us (a "socialist" collective supporting the ones who failed?). For whom has all of this been free? Certainly not most of the bottom 80% of us who only hold 7% of our country's financial wealth! The elite who have benefited from all of this "freedom" and "prosperity" of the past twenty or so years should also be held responsible and accountable for the current economic situation.

If people appreciate and want to continue to enjoy 5 day work weeks, weekends off, benefits, pensions, eight hour work days, holidays, vacations, living wages, safe jobsites, and continued restrictions on child labor; thank and support the unions. Union members and organizers literally gave their lives for you to benefit from these labor laws, practices and policies that weren't in existence before unions.

Those in power have outsourced our jobs, shut down our worksites, stripped us of our wages, benefits, and pensions. They have caused the massive under- and unemployment in this country. They created the tax structures that further increased their wealth and reduced ours. They gave themselves and their buddies free money through cost-plus, no-bid contracts. They have cut corners on worker safety, while cutting costs to increase profits. In doing so, they have also created the largest environmental disaster in our country's history. They have bought public offices and votes, and influenced policies and laws to their benefit at the cost of our own current and future wealth and health, as well as a clean environment. They have exponentially increased their power and influence by getting our Supreme Court to create corporate persons. They use their wealth to run for and change term limits on public office in order to maintain their status quo. Again I ask, who benefits from all of this freedom and prosperity while our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, our wealth, our prosperity and our jobs have been sacked?

The elite want to keep the other 80% of us down. They want unions broken so we can go back to pre-union corporate practices. They want to keep us focused on blaming unions for the loss of jobs, wages, pensions, and benefits, rather than look at them as the true culprits with their outlandish wages, pensions, benefits, personal holdings, and corporate profits! The top 20% own 93% of our nation's wealth and use it to attack and create propaganda against some of the most powerful in the bottom 80% of the population. They want to get rid of collective bargaining and privatize public jobs to increase their wealth, power, influence, and control. They've already done a wonderful job with our economy! Read history, read other economic research, and read between the lines. Don't buy into their propaganda.

Instead, let's work together to vote, lobby, write, educate each other, influence public policy, demonstrate, and do everything legally in our power to stop this imbalance of freedom and prosperity and improve the lives of ALL Americans! We are in the fight of our lives, for ourselves and our children. The elite don't want us to work together, because unity creates power, even among the poor and disenfranchised. They are afraid of us becoming united, which is why they're trying to break the unions. Feedom and prosperity do not belong just to the elite few. Freedom and prosperity should not be won by climbing on the backs of 80% of the population. Freedom and prosperity should be shared. Freedom and prosperity rightfully belong to us all!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Really? A Mosque at Ground Zero?

When I think of both the Statue of Liberty, and the Twin Towers that once stood tall above New York Harbor, they remind me of what happened on 9/11. Many men and women, who could have remained safe and alive by staying outside, rushed into burning buildings to rescue ALL of the people inside, regardless of citizenship, race or religion. Their message of selflessness, generosity and love for all of humanity in their final act will have been in vain, unless we continue to defend the rights of ALL citizens under our Constitution and Bill of Rights, so that we may all remain free. If we forget that for one moment, we too will be lost.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” ~Abraham Lincoln

All the lies being spread about President Obama’s non-citizenship, his being a member of the Muslim faith, as well as the building of a “Mosque at Ground Zero” are all about the fires of xenophobia, bigotry and hate projected and burned onto others. Remember when Hitler began requiring Jews to carry identity cards, then he made them wear yellow stars, then he had them captured, put in concentration camps, tattood with numbers, and eventually killed? All because they were different and made to be the scapegoats for the political and economic situation of the time. Good and bad things, both, begin with the first small steps. We consciously choose which path to take.

Irrational beliefs and denial of reality are a part of fanaticism. Fear-mongering and irresponsible “journalism” are stoking both these fires and their underlying fanaticism. The facts are that President Obama is a US citizen, is a Christian, and some people, who also happen to be Muslim, want to build a community center 2 blocks AWAY FROM Ground Zero, from which it can't even be seen.

Read our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They apply to ALL citizens, not just the select few who look, believe and act like “us.”

United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article VI – …This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Bill of Rights, Amendment I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I wonder how people would feel if we substituted just two words, Christian Church, for Islamic Mosque? Extremists were responsible for the horrific events on 9/11, not all members of the Islamic faith.

Addendum on 7/23/11. The horrific attacks in Norway were allegedly perpetrated by an extremist who was an avowed Fundamentalist Christian. Should the Norwegian people now prohibit the building of any Christian churches or Christian community centers anywhere near the sites of those attacks on the grounds that Christians were behind the attacks?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Response to “What Is It About 20-Somethings?”

Response to the August 18, 2010 NY Times Magazine article “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” by Robin Marantz Henig (link below).

Boomerang kids and failure to launch are trends that have been around long before we were “graced” by The Great Recession. Emerging adult is not a stage, but a trend resulting from a different parenting style than that used in the past. As an educator, I’ve seen the "failure to launch" roots sprouting even in grades 1, 2, 3 and 4. Little Jane and Johnny are allowed to blame others for situations of their own creation. Some parents excuse their own and their child's responsibility in many things, and would rather place it anywhere but themselves.

Teach and develop focus, leadership and responsibility, or get aimless wandering and dependence. There are some children and adults who may truly need extra nurturing, and their parents should provide for those needs. If society needs to change to accommodate improved parenting, then let’s advocate for that, rather than play the blame game.

I truly don’t believe that emerging adult is a viable stage. The structure of our brains hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years, yet society has changed tremendously. Although we’re rapidly learning more information about our brains and metacognition, these new findings may not necessarily mean anything is really new in how we’ve been thinking and developing physiologically.

Perhaps the emerging adult trend is a “Western” phenomenon because it’s partly driven by the luxury of a higher than average life expectancy (approximately 75-81 years, compared to 35-50 in other countries). You have more time, therefore you feel you have the luxury of more time to waste. This trend is also impacted by a larger percentage of people achieving higher levels of educational attainment than their parents and grandparents. While in the global village of 100 people, only 1 has a college education. Perhaps when higher life expectancy, education, increased access to quality health care, and attainment of adequate economic power become a part of the lives of all humans, this will truly be considered a stage in the life process of a human.

Then, there’s the question of nurturing, also known as (hopefully) parenting. Years ago, only winners received trophies. Children learned that you had to work hard, and even then, you don't always "win." Both luck and opportunities have been a part of the winning mix as well. Now, everybody gets a trophy to increase their self-esteem. What children really learn is that they are entitled to get things they haven’t earned. Then, they grow up to be the adults who run our corporations, governments and society.

Children learn what they live, and childhood is the best time in which to practice living and making mistakes that won’t always negatively impact their adult life with a high, long-term cost (arrest records, D’s and F’s on report cards, losing a game, rebelling against authority, etc.). Make similar mistakes as an adult, however…

There comes a time when enabling a now young adult Jane or Johnny to cool their heels, rather than encouraging and empowering them to take up the reigns, responsibility and leadership of their own life and ride out on their own, is counterproductive and, actually, hurtful both to them and to society. Maybe we simply need to exhibit more tough love and do more real parenting, rather than walking around on the eggshells of our child’s life trying to be his or her friend. It’s all in the balance of things, and the pendulum is late in its return swing back towards the center. That is when we will see less of the sociological trend of emerging adults and an improvement in education, because a child’s first, and most important teachers, are his or her parents.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In the Light of Human Rights

I recently read a letter by Sharon Underwood describing her son's and her family's experience of discriminatory and cruel treatment by others. Wow! This letter is powerful, beautiful and heartfelt. Although I am not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in the intrinsic worth and rights of all human beings. As such, the type of thinking and actions that this mother, her son and many others have to deal with is unconscionable and inexcusable. The idea that one group doesn't have rights, while another does, is the heart of discrimination, bullying, hatred, greed, trafficking, slavery, violence, and genocide. The next step is for people to blame others for their own inadequacies or failures, and we have a repeat of Hitler's Germany or countless other instances of genocide and crimes against humanity. Responsibility for one's own actions and outcomes, as well respect for oneself and others, are the foundations of a peaceful and equitable society. In what kind of world do people really want to live?

Here's a link to Sharon Underwood's letter...

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Uncontaminated, Healthy Environment: My Proposal for Constitutional Amendment #28

I, Patrice Palmer, citizen of the United States of America, propose the following Amendment #28 to The Constitution of the United States of America:

An uncontaminated and healthy environment is a human right. The right of citizens to a healthy, uncontaminated environment cannot be denied by industries or their representatives, corporations, corporate entities, corporate officers or their representatives, and/or the government or its representatives. Governmental, industrial, and/or corporate policies, laws or actions cannot deny the right of citizens to breathe clean air; drink clean water; eat healthy, uncontaminated food; and to live, work and play in a healthy, uncontaminated environment.  Non-natural environmental disasters and the defense of human, governmental, industrial, and/or corporate laws, policies and/or activities that cause climate change or contaminate the environment also cannot deny the right of citizens to a healthy, uncontaminated environment.

Stop BP and Government Control of Americans' Freedom of the Press

In the presence of US Coast Guard officers sworn to protect and defend American shores and American rights, representatives of British Petroleum denied journalists access to American beaches upon threat of arrest. If BP or any other corporation (e.g. Monsanto) control our press and use our military against us, we have lost yet more of our constitutional rights. Now our own government is doing the same thing.

When media access is denied or controlled, cover-ups abound and the truth, as well as the true consequences of an event, cannot be independently evaluated. This has happened in many places around the world, including Gaza. It's happening today in the United States, preventing independent evaluation of the true environmental extent and impact of the ongoing oil spill, which impedes the timely and effective remediation of this horrific environmental disaster.
Freedom of the press is necessary for the transparency through which accountability can be determined. We should all be screaming "BP Fouls Freedom and the Environment!" at the tops of our lungs! Contact your legislators and the president to demand that our right to Freedom of the Press be restored!!!

The more you use your voice, the more more power you have to create change. The more people work together to create change, the more collective power they have to make that change happen. There is strength in numbers. The change begins with you, here, now!

Here's the link you need to take action:

Watch Anderson Cooper of CNN on this:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Please Take Action Against Lung Cancer

If you or someone you know lives in California, please ask them to go to the following link and take action against lung cancer by contacting their State Senators to pass Senate Bill 600. This bill will levy a $1.50 tax on cigarettes and provide millions of dollars in funds for lung cancer research and tobacco reduction programs.

My mom died of lung cancer, so this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Please forward this to all of your friends, relatives, acquaintances, and fellow bloggers. I hope we reach the point where no person ever dies from lung cancer again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iranian Cleric: Immodest Women Cause Earthquakes

An Iranian cleric is blaming the recent earthquakes in Iran on immodestly dressed, degenerate & promiscuous women. Allah-forbid they blame poor engineering and inadequate building codes on the high loss of life after the 2003 earthquake in Bam. Of course, Iranians also stone women to death after they've been raped, saying the women seduced the men.

By the way, America has something in common with Iran. We're one of the few countries (and the only major industrialized country on the planet) that refuse to ratify & sign the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (the CEDAW Treaty). The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 women and girls will be raped, experience domestic violence, and/or torture in their lifetime. Are you or do you know the 1 in 3? E-mail/call your Senators to ratify CEDAW.

Here's a link to information on CEDAW:

Here's a link to contact your Senators:

For other background information:
Here's the Washington Post article on the Iranian cleric's comments about women-caused earthquakes :

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stop the Oil Speculation Game

Wall Street oil speculators are driving up oil prices in a time of weak demand. The ability of American citizens to pay for housing, energy, food, and health care has already been severely curtailed due to the rampant speculation, opacity, deregulation, lack of accountability, and greed that has brought our country to its knees. All of this has created homeless and jobless citizens who can’t pay their bills, put food on the table, or pay for health care. People's lives, homes, jobs, and their very survival should not depend upon the whims of Wall Street gamers playing the shadowy Oil Speculation Game for the sole purpose of increasing their corporate profits and personal bank accounts. They're playing this game at the expense of both our citizens and our country. Please take action. Contact your Senators to pass the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010. Here's the link for you to tell Washington to act now:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Income Tax, Corporate Persons, and We the People

How about the Tea Party getting rid of taxation without representation? Federal income tax, by law, was to be paid only on money earned across state lines. Not many of us do, and we should not have to pay it. Since many politicians vote for what's best for corporations, and corporations can now greatly influence the course of elections, who's representing we the people? Murray Hill, Inc.'s satirical application for candidacy to run for Congress may have been turned down by Maryland's Secretary of State, but what if the corporate person had registered to vote and was older than 25? This would have been the first test of corporate personhood in the US under the new ruling. Do any 25-year-old corporations or unions out there care to open Pandora's Box? Since they are now also persons, when are the Feds going to collect their income taxes?

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Hi all! Well, last week's sinus surgery went well and I've been recuperating. Hopefully, no more chronic sinusitus! I'm looking forward to being much healthier from now on, and am so blessed to have such wonderful doctors. So, it's back to work on Monday. I'd like to wish all of you a Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Happy Spring Equinox. Please enjoy the beauty of new life growing all around us and share your joy in living with all whom you meet. Take care and bless you all!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taking Our Countries Back from the Recession

People should take responsibility for themselves and their actions. This also goes for those who created the "recession" in which we now find ourselves. Taking a judgemental position of superiority and entitlement is what created the foundation for the problems many countries now face. The problem began, not with the unemployed, but with the greed, abuse of power, and purposeful financial deregulation by politicians and top CEO's (who now earn approximately 540% more than the average American, compared to the approximately 56% more that top European CEO's earn over the average European worker) to enable exponential increases in monetary acquisition, along with the greatest transfer of wealth and property to banks in history...paid for by the average citizen in taxes, loss of jobs, foreclosures, furlough days, reduced wages and benefits, reductions in funding for necessary things like education and basic health care, teacher layoffs, etc.

Don't blame the victims of this abuse of power and greed. The abusers' refusal to take responsibility is why those who created this mess should be tried and held accountable in a court of law. Those who are allowed to abuse with impunity will continue to abuse. In fact, our failure to hold accountable those responsible will encourage more abuse.

Taking back our countries should be about demanding ethical behavior of those in power, free and fair elections, justice for those who abuse their power, paying living wages, and adequate educational and health care funding for a start. It should be about empowering all people to rise to their highest ability level and giving a helping hand up to those who are down so they can once again contribute to society. Those who have a sense of superiority and entitlement should walk a mile in the shoes of those whom they judge. Life is very different from another's perspective.

How can we empower ourselves and each other to take our countries back to responsible leadership in politics and business? How can we take on greater responsibility and more effective leadership in our own lives as individuals and as citizens?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A New Way of Seeing Data May Influence US Health Care Reform

Hans Rosling is a doctor and a Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. He is also the Director of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system and is continuously working on making publicly funded data accessible to all. The Gapminder Foundation has made interesting fact-based animations of data that really help people see trends among countries over time. The data can also be used to analyze trends within a country, by state, as well.

I want to share this website with all of my readers, not only to disseminate great information, but also to spotlight and compare the status of health care in the United States with other countries by looking at life expectancy and infant mortality. When you look at the animations in the link below, you'll see that, although we have a high per capita income, our life expectancy is not as high as many other "first world" countries, and our infant mortality rate is not as low as theirs either. There is a definite need for improvement in US health care. Although we spend far more money on health care than most other countries, our results are not the best among "first world" countries.

The current state of our health care system is remediation of illness and dispensation of sick-care benefits and procedures decided upon by insurance analysts, rather than well-care, preventative medicine and dispensation of sick-care benefits and procedures decided upon by medical professionals. We have millions of un- and underinsured people who are literally dying for health care reform. They certainly do not believe our health care system works.

Doctors are going out of business. Those that remain in practice are unable to provide a high quality of medical care due to the forced necessity of seeing a high volume of patients in order to make enough money to live, because insurance payments per patient are so low. Some doctors are splitting their practices into cash-based cafe services in which they can spend more time with individual patients who can afford to pay, while their lower-income, medically-insured patients see a physician's assistant. Other physicians are totally cutting out their insurance patients in favor of those who can afford to pay cash.

When physicians are effectively reducing or eliminating their medically insured patients, this further increases the patient load on the remaining physicians who still see patients covered by insurance. As this happens, and they are able to spend less and less time with each patient, the quality of health care will be compromised. Our own health care providers do not believe our health care system works. The AMA endorsed the health care reform bill. The highest quality medical care in the United States is now based upon whether or not you are in the top income brackets. At this rate, I see our future statistics moving even further away from those of  "first world" countries.

If United States citizens spend more on health care than do those in any other country, then where are all the dollars we spend going? They go to the for-profit insurance companies and pharma industries who are only interested in their bottom lines, and will do what is necessary to maintain profits and defend their products.

Women are discriminated upon by the insurance industry as domestic violence and rape are still considered pre-existing conditions in some states. During the heat of the health care reform debate late last year, insurance companies conveniently and just in time to stir more controversy about the health care reform bill, pushed to revamp mammogram and pap smear testing in a way that would exclude millions of women, putting them at higher risk for cancer, while saving the insurance industry billions of dollars. The insurance industry will do whatever it takes to maintain profits and their position of power in the United States, no matter how many people they hurt, in particular women who already pay significantly more for their premiums than do men.

Putting peoples' health and lives in the hands of a business whose primary goal is increasing profits and saving money, not lives, is a huge mistake. A public option that is not-for-profit, as is found in countries with higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates, is a much more intelligent method of providing health care. Statistics don't lie. Just because something has always been done one way, doesn't make it the best or the most intelligent method to use in the future.
Here's a link to one of Hans Rosling's wonderful TED Talks:

Life Expectancy:$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=6;ti=2007$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1jiMAkmq1iMg;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj2tPLxKvvnNPA;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=8.21;iid=phAwcNAVuyj0XOoBL%5Fn5tAQ;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID0;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=194;dataMax=96846$map_y;scale=lin;dataMin=23;dataMax=86$map_s;sma=49;smi=2.65$cd;bd=0$inds=

Infant Mortality:$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=2.9316129032258;ti=2006$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=pp59adS3CHWfKPVb7dEexFA;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=pp59adS3CHWeR0Ufcou95MQ;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=20;iid=pp59adS3CHWcajNS5Y44uLw;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID1;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=240;dataMax=152481$map_y;scale=log;dataMin=1.569;dataMax=211$map_s;sma=50;smi=2$cd;bd=0$inds

Powerful Money-Mongers Steal from Children and Average Citizens

Those who caused the "recession" are thieves. Who is going to stand up and tell the Governor and our Legislature not to take anything away from already underfunded education? Where are all the people who, in good times, tell me that teachers should be paid more? Now is the time for all of them to stand up and be counted to save education!

When people say, we have to share the tough times, I want to ask them a question. Why weren't you first in line to have education and teachers share in the good times with you, as well? We've been here all along, working ourselves to the bone for the children, the future of our country, yet you stood by and enjoyed the fruits of success without sharing it with education and educators. Now you want to take what little we do have, and have worked so hard to attain. Why is that? Doesn't anyone value the education their teachers gave them?

Those who have caused this "recession" remain sitting sweetly in their offices on high, enjoying the perks, bonuses and offers of golden parachutes because of the hard-earned money of taxpayers who bailed them out. These same taxpayers are now scrimping to make ends meet because of their greedy, unethical and collusive practices. They are no better than the folks at Enron and other power companies who stole money right out of our pockets without, again, any restitution being made.

What are these people doing to repay their debt to society? Why isn't our government protecting the people, rather than the corporations? Why is the government taking hard-earned money away from the people to pay for the corporations? The rich may have been affected, but most are not losing their homes, worrying about how to pay the utility bills, put food on the table, gas in their cars to go to work if they're lucky enough to still have a job, or clothing on their backs. Most citizens did not profit from the practices of shylocks and white collar criminals who will never meet the judge and jury, yet average citizens certainly are the ones paying for them to remain in their positions of power and continue their unethical practices. Now, our children suffer in poverty and homelessess while money is taken away from their education, stealing their future.

How do we change the current course of events? Who will stand up and demand accountability and restitution? When will people speak out and demand a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people? Denial and putting one's head in the sand never makes problems disappear. Silence is effectively a proxy vote for those who hold the reigns of power, whether or not that is one's intent, as one will be bound by the decisions of others, good or bad. Wake up, unite, protest, and make your voices heard!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Icebergs May Alter Ocean Currents

Massive iceburgs that have calved away from the vast Antarctic ice sheet may alter ocean currents, which may also cause a die-off of ocean life due to oxygen deprivation. The question is, will ocean inhabitants be able to migrate quickly enough to be saved, given an outside human-generated impetus of some sort? Will this be necessary? Hopefully scientists will be carefully monitoring the situation in the coming months and years.

Many other questions come to mind. Will this alteration of oceanic currents eventually also affect sea surface temperatures, change the albedo of the planet, and alter our weather and climate? Will this cause the release of some of the carbon dioxide and methane stored in our oceans? Will all of this begin another negative feedback loop? If there is a massive die-off of ocean life, how will we feed the continually growing population of this planet, most of whom live along our coastlines, and many of whom depend upon fishing for survival?

Whether or not the calving of country-sized iceburgs is caused by global warming, I sincerely hope scientists are modeling all of the effects they may have on our planet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Living a Bigger Game

As I grew up, I always dreamed of doing great things. At this point in my life, that goal has not yet been realized. The good news is that I'm still alive and have the opportunity to rectify that situation. Now, the question is, how do I live that bigger game?

Sitting back in fear, inability to stretch due to lack of confidence, or just plain letting everyday life get in the way are no longer viable choices. Unfortunately, I can't just say "Bam!" like Emeril, and kick my life up a notch. The most important thing is to do things before I'm ready, because waiting has gotten me nowhere towards reaching my higher mission in life.

One solution is to network to find like-minded people by joining organizations and taking classes. Another is to finalize my books and get them published. Learning how to improve my public speaking and speaking up at public events would increase my chances. Blogging is one more conduit through which thoughts and ideas can be effectively communicated. I've already begun taking some of these steps. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. If any of you have created and spread your life mission to the world, how did you go about living a bigger game?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

So, Why Are You Still There, You Ask?

I'm always looking at and dreaming of new places to visit, photograph, write about, and maybe even live. As I've said in a prior post, dreams are important, as they enrich one's life with possibilities that can be realized.

The internet and, in particular, blogs are tremendous resources for planning the future. As with many of you, I keep my eyes on a few favorite blogs that personalize places of interest. Chantal, the author of the blog "Writer Abroad" has listed the top portable careers for expats. Upon perusing the list, I discovered five for which I'm qualified to be hired. So, why are you still there, you ask?

In running from place to place, one brings one's issues along as extra baggage that weighs one down in life. So the best course to take is to stay and deal with things, in order to move forward into the future without that extra baggage, and with an unencumbered heart.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Fashionista?" Nay, the Real Question is, "Fascista?"

Is it fashionable to continue the unequal balance of power in the United States? It seems as though the Supreme Court justices may be fashionista. The continued collusion between corporations and the United States government has birthed a Supreme Court decision that now gives even more power to corporations, financial institutions, and the people who run them. Until recently, corporations and financial institutions enjoyed exponentially escalating profits over the past decade, unencumbered by regulations and enhanced by tax breaks. Those who ran them received extraordinarily high salaries, bonuses, benefits, and golden parachutes that exponentially increased the disparity of wages between CEO's and the average worker. Due to the recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited dollars on campaign contributions, they now have unlimited power to influence the course of elections in favor of candidates who will continue to benefit them. Free speech belongs to individual people: one person, one voice, one vote. The Supreme Court justices have elevated corporations and unions to the same status as a person by also granting them the right to free speech. Next, maybe they'll let the CEO's and Union Leaders place votes for these new "people." I guess the old saying is true, money can buy anything. Too bad the new voices who have been newly granted the freedom of speech will drown out the voices of the majority of Americans who are unable to compete with such tremendously affluent budgets and increased power to steer the course of "democratic" elections. Perhaps a more appropriate word for the Supreme Court justices' decision may be fascista.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson spoke about elective despotism: "Mankind soon learn to make interested uses of every right and power which they possess, or may assume. The public money and public liberty, intended to have been deposited with three branches of magistracy, but found inadvertently to be in the hands of one only, will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them... They [the assembly] should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic, and will be alike influenced by the same causes. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."

What is Fascism? This link defines the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism:

Poor Boy! Remorseful Rapist is Let Go With 3 Year Detention

A 13-year-old British boy beat and raped a 20-year-old woman in front of his 10- and 11-year-old friends, who were yelling at him to stop. He bragged about what he did to his victim's boyfriend while speaking to him on her phone, stole her purse, and later sold her phone and i-pod. Oh those poor, poor rapists! They feel so badly for what they've done to their victims. Poor rapists. Poor young, old, any nationality, color, religion, or socioeconomic status rapists. The British court let the rapist go with only a 3 year detention. Poor boy! Maybe we should just let them all off without serving any time or parole. Why not just take rape out of the judicial code altogether? After all, if they're remorseful, they'll barely serve any time anyway.

Does remorse change history? Does it heal the victim? The answer is, "No!" Rapists can now play upon the courts' sympathies by saying they're remorseful so that they will "get off" with lesser sentences. Nothing like the court and judicial system also raping the victim.

When will judicial systems around the world begin taking a tough stance on rape and domestic violence? When 1 in 3 women and girls will be raped or experience violence in their lifetime, why are courts still enabling the perpetrators of rape and violence? I don't care that the perpetrator was 13 years old. He knew that what he was doing was wrong and still chose to do it. He should face and live with the full consequences of his actions, just as his victim will for the rest of her life. Judicial systems around the world should try under-age rapists as adults. People who rape are not the victims and the world should stop treating them as such.

As for my own country, shame on us! Our Senators still haven't even ratified the UN Women's Rights Treaty - CEDAW - Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Incidences of rape and violence against women in the US are increasing, and there is a huge rape-kit backlog that delays the serving of justice on perpetrators of rape. Criminals have a right to a speedy trial. Why don't rape victims have the right to require the criminal evidence of their rape taken from their violated bodies be processed just as quickly?

U.S. Senate Should Ratify CEDAW:

Soaring Rates of Rape & Violence AgainstWomen:

Sexual Assault Bill:

Rape kit backlog:

British Boy Given a 3 Year Sentence for Brutally Raping and Beating a Woman: