Tag Archives: American

Americans want Social Security answers

As Social Security just celebrated its 75th birthday this past week, politicians have not denied themselves any golden opportunity to use this as a ticket to get more votes even if it means telling half-truths or flat out lying.

To current Social Security recipients, this is a very serious matter and to people paying into Social Security this is becoming an all too familiar issue, parties saying different facts and figures but rarely back them up with solid proof or anybody answering the questions being asked.

In President Obama’s Saturday Radio Address he stated, “Seventy-five years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, laying a cornerstone in the foundation of America’s middleclass, and assuring generations of America’s seniors that after a lifetime of hard work, they’d have a chance to retire with dignity.”

He went on to say, “One thing we can’t afford to do is privatize Social Security – an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.”

As usual, the different parties and their constituents have different opinions on whether Social Security should be privatized or paid into the Social Security Trust Fund maintained by the U.S. Treasury.

Many Americans believe that Social Security is broke or going broke. According the Congressional Budget Office Projections, Social Security can continue to pay 100 percent of promised benefits for more than 25 years, until 2037, with no changes and three-quarters benefits for 75 years, until 2085. With modest changes, Social Security can pay our children and our grandchildren.

A question that has come up is another program Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a government program that provides to low income persons who are either aged (65 or older), blind or disabled. This program can also be provided to children. Although administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded by the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security Trust Fund. SSI was created in 1974 to replace federal-state adult assistance programs that served the same purpose. Today the program provides benefits to 7.6 million Americans.

With so many questions and rumors going around regarding Social Security and other programs that sound as though they fall under the same Social Security Trust Fund, it is not surprising that politicians try to use this as a campaign token to draw voters in by either just confusing their constituents or making their campaign ads in a way that either lie or bend the truth. Often, when asked straight forward questions, they find a way to avoid answering the question directly because when a vote comes up, they don’t want to be caught voting in a way they said they wouldn’t.

One question is will the retirement age be raised to receive full benefits (100%) of a person’s Social Security? A very good tool to use at the moment is on the Social Security website. There is talk of this changing and at the moment, that is just what it is. But, the age limit has recently changed. Using the tool is as simple as putting in the year of a person’s birth.

The breakdown is this.

Prior to 1942 – 100% at age 65

1943-1954 – 100% at age 66

1955 – 100% at age 66 yrs + 2 mos.

1956 – 100 % at age 66 yrs + 4 mos.

1957 – 100 % at age 66 yrs. + 6 mos.

1958 – 100 % at age 66 yrs. + 8 mos.

1959 – 100% at age 66 yrs. 10 mos.

1960 and later – at age 67

Over the years, there’s always problems with fraud and people taking advantage of “the system”. This uses a lot of tax money unnecessarily and takes away from those who do need the funds to live and have earned the money. One of the best ways to prevent fraud is to report fraud and of course to never be a part of the problem but always a part of the solution. To report Social Security Fraud, call 1-800-269-0271 or use this online form.

Social Security is not only paid to those who qualify by age as some may think. Children can be entitled to receive Social Security Child’s Benefits if a deceased parent was fully insured by Social Security and meet the necessary criteria. A spouse may also qualify as long as they also meet certain criteria as well.

Social Security is a very important part of everyone’s life, both now and in the future. It shouldn’t matter if a person is a Democrat or a Republican or too young to even vote at this moment.

This is something that has worked for 75 years and was put together with very admirable reasons and very well thought out. This should still be looked at as a goal for all Americans and by all Americans.

Many statements are being made by candidates running for re-election or office. These cause rumors or confusion but nonetheless, they spread. Most often if a person goes to the candidate’s website, that statement is not there because it wasn’t substantial enough to post next to their name due to it being unfounded, weak or compromising. Social Security is too important for games, lies, deceptions or costly mistakes.

In his weekly address, President Obama said, “We’ve been talking for a long time” about how to fix Social Security’s issues, “and I am committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security.”

Mr. President, so are many Americans.

Recovery for America Pt. 4 – Intolerance, inequality and discrimination

Everyday there are more stories, news coverage, talk between friends and families about issues that are not only dividing the nation but are also dividing people, even causing arguments between complete strangers. The discussion is over the building of the mosque (Islamic Center) at Ground Zero.

The online social media website such as Facebook and Twitter show these divisions as well. On Facebook, soon after a ”hot topic” news story runs, the headlines or video clips will post and the comments themselves become a place for open arguments going back and forth, lines drawn down the middle. On Twitter, “hashtags” which typically are names to form groups, can often be used to make a clear point or in 140 characters or less, a clear confrontation can take place back and forth for all to see or jump in and join.

What are the issues? The arguments are more often about things that have nothing to do with things that a person can change or have control over and more about things that fall into a person’s constitutional rights, religion, race and a person’s national origin. What’s different about these arguments is the social media and the internet’s ability for things to swell up much quicker into larger groups of both support and hate, so both sides seem to grow much larger overnight. Both good and bad information gets passed around much quicker and what is said on the news, on a website or in an interview makes its way around the world in a moment. However, most often good things don’t go “viral”. Bad news travels fast.

As each new generation begins, it has been a new opportunity to bring up a more open-minded generation. That does not mean a generation of people that “give in” or a generation that does not understand its culture. It means a generation that does not carry with them the burdens of intolerance but a generation that has the ability to see each other as who they are and not what they are. A generation that sees people for what they bring to society and not what a group of them has done or what has been done to them. It is okay to understand history but not let history control the future but to learn from history and not allow it to repeat itself.

With the U.S. having such a diverse people within its borders, there is only more to gain, more to grow and more to learn. By having so many adverse feelings against each other, it is only hurting the nation as a whole and many opportunities are being lost for everyone.

In NYC, many people are upset about the idea of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. This has been an extremely sensitive subject for so many.

President Obama released a statement on a person’s right to practice religion this past Friday.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has risen in New York City and the nation.

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The plan now is to turn the property into a 13-story, $100 million Islamic Center. This is being developed by a group call the Cordoba Initiative. The Cordoba Initiative says on its website that its goal is to foster a better relationship between the Muslim World and the West, “steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.”

The Center’s board will include members from other religions and will explore including an interfaith chapel at the center.

The Center will include a basketball court, swimming pool, auditorium and culinary school as well as a mosque and mediation rooms.

We believe it will be a place where the counter momentum against extremism will begin, “the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan to the Associated Press. “We are committed to peace.

Across the U.S., different towns have rallied against mosque being built as well. This isn’t just in NYC near Ground Zero. In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a 25,000 sq. ft. mosque that would sit on 4 acres. Opponents say it would turn the town into a haven for Islamic extremist, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

A proposed mosque in July is raising concerns in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Proponents allege the opponents are displaying religious intolerance while people fighting the mosque say zoning issues and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Several hundred opponents faced off to counter protesters. The rhetoric was heated. Protestors bore signs with slogans such as “MOSQUE LEADERS SUPPORT KILLING CONVERTS.”

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years. “I didn’t think people would try that hard to oppose something that’s in the Constitution,” he said. “The Islamic center has been here since the early 80’s, 12 years at this location. There’s nothing new except it’s going to be a little bigger.”

Zuhdi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosque is no way to prevent terrorism.

A study by professors at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina back up Jasser’s statement. The study found that mosque, religious bookstores, and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together, prevent radicalization.

By taking the time to learn and understand a person, their religion and culture, it gives more of a chance to grow and develop in one’s own life as well as allowing one to accept a person more for their character and who they are and not judging them by who one thinks they are by their appearance, misunderstandings or what may have been heard by someone else.

Today it may be someone else being unfairly judged, someone else’s religion, race or culture. The hateful words may be directed at someone else. Those tables can be turned. Intolerance is never okay. Hate is never okay. Discrimination is never okay. Sitting by while a hate crime happens is never okay. Embrace our diverse Nation and learn about others, their culture and religions. Practice tolerance and pass it down to the younger generations.

Politics 101-Getting to know your government

Where are interesting websites to learn more about past presidents through President Obama? I decided to take a break with the series that I am working on to look up some interesting links on the history of U.S. Presidents as well as the White House. Here are just a few of those links.

Sometimes the best way to get involved is to know more about the subject. Understanding more about the United States’ past presidents and their accomplishments as well as some of their day to day life can possibly open doors to more interest in today’s activities in the local government as well as what goes on in Washington D.C and our 44th President, Barack Obama.

A very interesting website to visit is The American Presidency Project. This is an online resource of documents that go all the back to President George Washington. Documents include Inaugural Addresses, press conferences, executive orders, State of the Union addresses, convention speeches and much more. There’s even a link to find out the word usage in the State of the Union messages and so far, President Obama’s longest message was 7,904 words. President Theodore Roosevelt however had one that was 27,397 words on December 3, 1907. A few of his used near the same amount of words. This is an interesting link and very informative.

Another link, which is often overlooked, to get to know more about the U.S. government is the White House Website. By clicking on the section “our government” there is a large amount of useful information on the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the government. There is an area on the Constitution, Federal Agencies and Commissions. A person can learn more about the elections and voting processes and also about how the state and local government work within their daily lives.

By surfing through the White House website, a person can find information such as daily schedules, statements, history on past presidents, pieces of legislations, different issues on a wide range of topics like energy & environment, health care, veterans, taxes, defense, immigration and much more.

Aside from the President and First Lady, there are also links to learn more about different administration members at the White House. If you’d like to send a message to the White House with comments, suggestions or a message of support, there is a link to do that as well under the “contact us” section. You can also mail a letter to the White House.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers
Comments: 202-456-1111
Fax: 202-456-2461

Of course to learn more about the presidents, politics and Washington D.C., knowing more about the White House itself and its history as well as its day to day functions is certainly important. By visiting the White House Historical Association’s Website, a person can see historical pictures, timelines and facts as well as videos, art images and slide shows. There is even an online classroom section for students and teachers to visit. For teachers there are lesson plans (grades K-12) and students have different links to click on for informative and fun lessons.

For those in Florida, getting to know more about the local state government and politicians as well as what is available through their community and state services and be done by visiting the MyFlorida.com website, a person can find information on public schools, taxes, social security benefits, Veteran’s Affairs, unemployment and more.

For Hillsborough County residents, more detailed information can be found by visiting the Hillsborough County Website to find links from different government agencies like the Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Court House and the website has many more links to visit. By taking time to go through the links on this website, a person can look for job opportunities through the county and state, file for permits, register to vote or find voting times and locations, pay property taxes, search for public records as well as find links to outside resources and more.

This is only a small amount of websites available to learn more about the local and national government and its history and resources. Understanding how the government works allows people to be involved and therefore be part of making decisions and making a difference.

Why vote?

Twitter users have been asking and answering that question for a while now under the hashtag, #whyIvote. A “hashtag” is a way of creating a group or a theme on twitter so others can keep up with a topic or add to the topic and #whyIVote has definitely caught on. It became a way of showing party likes or dislikes, candidate approvals or disapprovals and there are those that give the reason why they just don’t vote. Of course, there will be a wide variety of differing opinions and insights as Twitter users range in age from young teens to the elderly, they can come from the Tampa Bay Area, New York, from Europe to Asia and they come from all walks of life and backgrounds.

What really draws attention is an overwhelming amount of inspirational reasons why people vote as well as some common sense reasons behind voting. For those on Twitter, go to the search area and type in “whyIVote to follow this hashtag and feel free to continue adding on. Here are just a few example tweets.

@utbrp “I remember the Joy I felt when Obama was elected President. I cried like a baby. No one can steal that”. #WhyiVote


@isthisamerica “Because I think our best days as a country are ahead of us, not behind us”. #whyivote


@TheHarrisWalker “Because I want to make a difference and you have no right to pass judgment on what happens if you don’t”. #whyivote

So, why vote? Voting has been the way this country has run its democratic process. The locally elected officials go on to represent their constituents both statewide and nationwide but somehow this system seems to be breaking down. In press conferences, the elected officials often say, “The American people want…” or “The American people feel…” but is it really what the majority of American people want or feel? Are they asking the people or… who do they ask? What or who do they follow? What plan of action sets up their goals in office? What happens to the promises they make?

Are the best individuals running for the job? Or, is it a “party against party” vote? Do parties look for individuals to run that are well qualified or do they back candidates that will get more votes, more campaign dollars and overall just get elected, which will bring them more seats in D.C.? What is most important to Party Officials?

To be successful, this nation needs elected officials that are looking ahead to build, empower and design a newer America while focusing on bettering our nation. What America doesn’t need is more politicians taking office to tear down, blame or go back to a system that doesn’t work.

A person that is elected to office is elected by each voter that went in and cast a ballot. That vote doesn’t stop there. Voters can be just as involved following the elections as before the elections. They can show that compromising and dropping the ball is not acceptable and not what the American people want. When elected officials see that their voters want more than someone that can stand up during campaigns and make a good speech and make more of the same promises that are made each year but then afterward nothing happens until it’s campaign time again, maybe it will show them to either make changes to how they are playing their “political game” or actually see that Americans don’t see this as a game at all. This is life.

So, why vote? To be heard, have a say and make a difference. Vote because people have fought for the freedom to vote and the ability to be represented and because this country is a democracy. Vote because you can.

Feel free to leave a comment below sharing why you vote.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.

What gain or loss has social media brought to a political candidate?

With elections going on across the country, campaigning is again in the local media, mainstream media and across the social media. Around the nation people are talking, debating, discussing, tweeting, texting and blogging about politics. In 2008 the U.S. had one of the biggest elections ever and the fact was whether Barack Obama or John McCain won, CHANGE was happening in America.
The “winds of change” are often difficult for people to get used to or work with but the fact is times are always changing and people are always growing and reinventing themselves. Look around. A person’s day to day life has taken on a new look. For example, the daily newspaper is becoming more digitalized and turning to online editions. This allows a reader the ability to have continuously updated information. The ability to communicate worldwide has completely changed with new mobile gadgets and high speed internet ability as well as social media. People are “plugged in”. Change happens.

With elections coming up and campaigns seeming to never really end, politicians have turned to social media as well as their constituents using their own social media circles to reach out to millions of people on a daily basis, not always trying to spread a message but often just trying to keep their candidate of choice in the headlines and being discussed. Social Media has been one of the biggest changes that have come along and those who understand how to use it both in a good way or a negative way can certainly make a difference in a campaign.

The question is, are they spreading a relevant and truthful message as well as something they will stand behind in the coming months and years if they take office? Or, are they just trying to catch the attention of the voters, get the headlines forwarded to reach more viewers and ultimately win the largest number of votes? But with social media, another question is do their constituents know this and allow this to happen? Do they become part of the process by pushing their candidate’s messages in the social media outlets while sometimes knowing the message may not be completely factual or actually promoting lies just to promote their party of choice?

Social media can spread the message of a candidate over night and help them gain political points while at the same time, spread a message of half truths or lies but through the same process this tool can be used to hold a candidate responsible for sticking to the facts during a campaign and long after.

What spreads through the internet often comes back later to hold a candidate responsible but also those that put the message in the media to begin with. Some things never change and one of those things is that one’s words can come back to haunt them and social media just means that more people have seen, heard or watched a message or video and will be able to pull that up again at a later date. A person’s words or a person’s message should be something they want their name attached to for a very long time.

View article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber to see new articles as they are released.

Inspired or Angered?

Inspiration:

*In 2007, Gary Oppenheimer ended up with leftovers from his garden that his family could not use. In trying to find a way to put his fresh produce to use, he came upon an idea that has since really caught on and is not only helping him use his excess surplus but is also helping others in need to eat and stay healthy and has given gardeners across the nation a way to get involved and help save lives. His idea grew into AmpleHarvest.org. The free online resource enables food pantries to register and be listed in a central nationwide directory, and makes it possible for American gardeners to easily find the local pantries where they can donate extra produce.

*HelpOthers.org is just an amazing source of ways to reach out to anyone. If you have someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and aren’t sure how to make that connection again, visit this site. If you want to do something nice for someone and aren’t sure what to do, go by this site. They have a lot of good “random acts of kindness ideas.” They also have something called, “Smile Cards”. They are cards you can either print up yourself or they will mail them to you, FREE!! Yep, totally FREE!! How kind is that?? You can donate if you can or want to but other people donate to keep this service going. The idea is though that you will mail out these cute little smiley cards to cheer up someone’s day. And, let me tell you, cards do cheer up someone’s day. Having a daughter that has spent month after month straight in the hospital, cards are great! But, also think about the fact that now-a-days the only thing most people still get in their mail box is bills or junk mail. When is the last time you sat down and wrote a nice little note to someone and stuck a stamp on it? Yeh, stamps? Texts and emails are nice but a note or letter in the mail? Wow! But, drop by this site, there are a lot of great ideas and even stories on there.

*Out of personal experience and having lived in the “world of cancer” for so long now I can tell you that being around cancer patients and kids fighting cancer, I am surrounded by inspiration. I find it very difficult to complain about a headache or a bad day since I have been introduced to people that daily fight for their lives while being inflicted with so much pain and sickness. Do you know what I noticed right away on the oncology floor that I would have never imagined to have seen? I noticed a lot of smiles, lots of smiles. I am not sure if they were always there, if people were just always smiling and I didn’t notice it or if it was the fact that the people fighting hardest for their lives found more of reason to smile through each day they were living. I think it is the second point. I think they found more of a reason to smile. I will never forget when I noticed those smiles. Ever. They inspired me to notice that each day is different and each day is a gift. They inspired me to realize even more that none of us are promised the next day, the next hour or even our next minute. Life is a gift.

*In a previous article on my blog, “21 Days Makes a Habit”  I spoke about the Pay It Forward Foundation.  . The idea of “Pay it Forward” was brought out very clearly after a movie was released in 2000 based on the novel. In the movie, an 11 year old boy, Trevor is doing a project for his science class. Trevor calls his plan “pay it forward”, which can be described as a charitable pyramid scheme, based on good deeds rather than profit. “Paying it forward” means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back. His plan not only caught on but it caught on BIG! This 11 year old inspired a movement and people really felt so eager to do something for others. They not only did something but they did so with a happy heart and in many cases, their heart had been closed or had been just going from day to day not really feeling much of anything.

*Do you think the above people are still doing what they started doing in the links mentioned above? I mean once someone gets inspired to get involved like Gary Oppenheimer with his garden helping others or people that go by helpothers.org once, do you think they will go by a second time. Well, the people that started that site were inspired enough to start it and the people that donate to keep the cards free obviously have been inspired enough to get involved to help with that part of the service as well. I know we have been so inspired by our daughter’s fight for life and others’ fight for life as well as how different organizations such as BeTheMatch.org, Florida Blood Services, and so many others that we wanted to do our part to further help educating others on the need for marrow donors and blood product donation as well as helping families going through transplant so we started our own foundation, the Katia Solomon Foundation back in 2003. Inspiration tends to continue on a daily basis because it not only touches your life, it touches your heart. It has somehow changed your life and maybe given you purpose.

So, what else moves people to get up and do something? There are a lot of times people get angry over something that happens in a community and a community gets together to make a statement. It can be a tragic accident with a drunk driver, a missing person that a community gets together to help find and sometimes the news turns out with a very happy ending or the reverse of that story the person is found murdered after a long search. When communities come together to help each other, it is great and even better when the news covers the story. When a community stands up against a tragedy together, it often brings the community together.

However, so many things have become arguable. Things that most would think are beyond argument. I mean one can always find a path to an argument if you choose to go looking but these days it seems nearly anyone is ready for an argument, ready to take sides on things that there should be at least a clear understanding on certain parts of the story.

I mean has it really come to the point that everything is an argument and that is what motivates people to speak up? Get involved?

Anger:

Here are a few examples.

*Oil in the gulf… is bad. The problem has to get fixed. We need accountable, competent people fixing the problem until there is no more oil coming out of the oil well. A lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of damage is being done to wildlife and beaches. This damage is going to last for a very long time. Everything needs to be done to assure these issues do not happen again.






*Immigration Reform is something that will always be a work in progress as our country is in a constant change and each year more people will migrate here from different countries all over the world. As our country is constantly changing and more people are coming and going, laws need to be updated and relooked at on a normal basis. Our country’s safety is always a top priority.






*Education is the foundation to a good future. Every child in every town across America deserves a good education. This should be a top priority across our Nation.






*If you think your child is sick, you take them to the doctor. That is what any good parent does, right? Not if you don’t have health insurance. Well, of course you should be able to take you child to the doctor or go to the doctor if you are ill. Of course you should be able to go to the doctor for regular screenings that can catch cancer early, diagnose the beginning of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or many other diseases that when left untreated can end up causing significant health problems and run up enormous health cost or cause death. Health reform was set out to correct this issue.














Personally I don’t see where there is even an issue with any of the above things mentioned. I don’t see how someone can jump on any of those statements and say how there is a disagreement as those stand. I can see how there is something a person can jump on IF they already have a set view and don’t want to look at the plain, easy-to-see picture as it stands. There is always a way someone can drag it from the “left” to the “right” and not see it in the way of humanity and simply as what is just the basic right thing to do. That is very often overlooked until things get just too far out of hand or something so tragic happens that the cloudiness over our eyes that has been put there by our own views and the views of what we watch, read or listen to is finally washed away by tears of tragedy and sadness. It doesn’t need to come to that to see how we can be a part of doing what is right even though we may feel differently about some things. Just because we may see things in a different view doesn’t mean we should overlook basic human rights, common sense and being part of the growth of our nation and not a hindrance on our growth.




My response to the above issue:

*When a company is responsible for the death of any of its employees, damage to natural habitat, loss of jobs and the ways of lives that have gone on for generation after generation, they should claim that responsibility. It should be done in a legal way according to a way that is laid out and agreed upon. Too often these types of incidents become something more like a “witch hunt”. At this point it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or even if you aren’t keeping up with BP and the leaking oil in the gulf, you are on the wrong side. Someone is totally against you and you don’t know what you are talking about. The fact is this was the first time this has happened and yes, it should NEVER have happened. It has taken a long time for someone to even come close to finding an answer and there is still oil leaking in the gulf at this moment…leaking, leaking, leaking. Not like a dripping faucet either. More like barrels just being dumped! But, the point is, nobody has the answers. I think a lot of people want to do a lot of firing and even more people want to find a problem. Even more wish this had never happened. This is the optimal time for political parties and campaigns to point fingers of blame at each other. It will go on for years. But pointing fingers and placing blame on each other doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t reverse time, fix the leak or clean up the gulf now does it?  While I am typing this, there is hope of a new solution fixing the problem…let’s pray this works.






*Immigration Reform is another one of those issues that either people really have an opinion on or some people just don’t touch the topic due to its heated debates. This country was built with immigrants. There is hardly anyone in the United States that didn’t have family who at some point in time migrated from another part of the world. At different times, there were different standards of how immigration was done, how land was claimed, or what rights a person had as an immigrant. If you have read my past articles, “Will History Repeat Itself?”  and “What Divides Our Nation“, you will see how far our country has come and also have to ask yourself what is going on now? For a country that has been built on diversity, freedom and so many have fought for human rights even fighting for the human rights of others in countries around the world, why is it that the immigration issue is now becoming something that would even come close to taking away anyone’s human rights. Not sure what I mean? Read “Arizona is just the beginning… watch out!”  Yes, Immigration Reform is a necessity and it is something that needs to be done now and continuously monitored. It is a federal issue and it is something that both democrat and republicans need to work together on. You see, everyone came to this country seeking freedom and a better life, right? This country. The UNITED States of America.

*Education is something that everyone should see is a top priority. I think that part everyone would say, “Of course, absolutely.” The education system in our country has moved down the list when compared to other countries and there is absolutely no reason for that. When George W. Bush became president, he signed the No Child Left Behind ActIt was signed to increase funding, accountability of schools and teachers and close the gaps between minorities and children in impoverished areas. It measured students annually through standardized tests. The numbers that came back were shared and showing improvements for the first few years. The gaps were closing and the funding appeared to be working for the teachers’ incentives. Schools that were doing a poor job needed to earn a better grade to get more money. There were problems with the NCLB act. The tests were on math and English. So, to score a higher grade, teachers were “teaching to the test”, basically preparing their students for the test and not teaching on other subjects or preparing them for even their next school grade. There is also the idea that ALL students can take the same test and the school can be judged by the outcome or the teacher can be judged by the outcome. Although a teacher does teach in the classroom, more often, that has less to do with what students take away from a class. Although our students go to school each day, they are taking less education away from school and more outside influence. I feel there could be 10 standardized tests on education a year and it really wouldn’t give much information at all about what students are learning in schools. There is certainly not anything standardized about the public school system in America.

I don’t believe in stating a problem without a solution so here is at least the beginning of a solution because to give anymore would be another blog. What is missing from our public schools and even most private schools today is the communication between the student and their parents, the communication between the parents and the teachers and the communication between the parent, teacher and the student together. If a teacher knows that the parent and the student are communicating (and that is saying you do communicate with your child) and then the teacher knows they can communicate with you if there is an issue at school, it opens up a whole new avenue of tools for the teacher to use to help your child with their education. Teachers have less available to them now than ever before when it comes to dealing with their students. They are teaching less due to funding, testing and class size. They are held back and paid very little but are expected to turn out something amazing after approximately 35-45 a day, 5 days a week with your student. How often do we as parents get involved with our students after school, ask what they are doing, read something they have written, talk to them about their friends, their goals, etc. Teachers can’t do all the teaching. Our children are our responsibility. Teachers are there to help us teach our children. We should know what they are doing and communicate with their teachers. A teacher should have a phone number they can feel free to contact you and know you are there to work with and take part in your student’s education ALL the way through their school years.



*To me, the last one is just a simple fact of humanity. If someone is sick, they go to the doctor or the hospital to get better. That shouldn’t have anything to do with whether they are rich or poor, have a certain type of health insurance or another or have no health insurance. It shouldn’t have anything to do whether they have recently lost their job or do not have a job. It is their health. They are not going to the doctor to get a 6 pack of beer, a tattoo or play poker. It is not a day at Disney or a free vacation. It is the doctor’s office and it is either that they are sick or someone they take care of is sick. It’s pretty simple to me. I am not even going to go into the politics of all the things our country’s citizens will pay money on but taking care of people when they are sick is something that I don’t consider should be one of these things that should cause a roaring debate for over a year in this country. When we are each born, we aren’t promised to be born into a family that has it all!! We aren’t promised to be born into a country that has it all!! During our life we aren’t promised there won’t be any obstacles or tragedies to come our way. Anything can happen to any of us at any time. That I can promise you. A family member can come down with a terminal or debilitating illness and either with insurance or without insurance bills add up. A car accident can suddenly put one of your family members into a coma for a long time and they can come out with irreversible brain damage. Again, even though you may have the best of insurance you can lose everything due to medical bills. What if the person that is diagnosed with the medical condition or involved in the accident is the one the medical insurance is under? What if you have insurance and then lose that insurance? You are then with the millions of others without medical insurance. So many people are willing to stand against EVERYONE without insurance saying they don’t want their money going to pay for people without insurance but yet these people fighting against those without medical insurance don’t know the stories of these individuals without insurance. They think they do. They think they are all people that have never worked a day in their lives, don’t plan to and just live off the system, thanks to the tax payers!


Meanwhile, plenty of the people at those rallies didn’t have health insurance. Many people right next to those people at their jobs making plenty of money to be able to buy their own insurance didn’t have health insurance. Why? A lot of people don’t think they need it. While people at low paying jobs who are thought not to have insurance do have insurance because their company offers it and the employees understand the importance. You see, you can’t judge a person unless you not only know the person but you know the circumstances. So it is best just not to judge. My belief is that insurance is a right. Insurance should be available to everyone. Every company should be able to afford to offer health insurance to their employees and the employees should be able to afford to buy it. If health insurance was seen as a human right and a basic necessity, it wouldn’t be something our representatives could argue over for a year holding up a bill getting signed into law. It wouldn’t be something people fought over while people were getting sicker and dying. That tends to get overlooked or it is looked at and not cared about as though, these sick and dying ones are different than the ones that hold their insurance cards in their hands. They have a card that says they can live, for now.




So, you see I get motivated by both inspiration and anger but anger doesn’t make me go and do something that isn’t going to solve anything. Anger doesn’t make me do something that is going to hold back another person from moving forward in their life. Anger isn’t going to get me to do anything that will hold someone back from getting what they need to live a full and happy life. No.

I have been inspired to do everything in my power to see that I leave this world better than I found it.

I have been inspired to help someone who is down.

I have been inspired to think of a solution instead of dwelling on the problem.

I have been inspired to look past the differences and see the likenesses.

I have been inspired to not only dream but to soar with the possibilities.

I have been inspired to not only see what can be done now but to inspire others that will go on long after my time is over.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”. Robert Byrne

Is America Being Micro-Managed

Are there too many ideas and not enough action in Washington D.C.? Do you ever feel as though you wake up in the morning totally frustrated because each day’s events bring more tragedy, a higher deficit and uncertainty to our nation? Does it seem the leaders of our country are looking to the media for polls and support numbers? Does it appear there are too many things going on at one time and nothing getting actually done? If you feel like this, you are not alone.

In a world of social media rising, blogs and more people being able to openly share their opinions effortlessly throughout their day from work, home, school and wherever they may be, people are venting and they are venting a lot!

On Twitter, people can get their opinion out in (140 characters or less) and be heard to millions of other users. You can instantly get positive or negative feedback from a large number of other ‘Tweeters’ in seconds. If you don’t have your privacy settings set to private, your tweets are there for everyone to see and, as of recently, they are being archived in the National Library of Congress.  Things can get very heated up on Twitter but also opinions can be shared in these short 140 character or less exchanges and people can see the similarities and differences between each other in a new light. Everyone from the halls of congress, senators, court justices, state leaders, CEOs, actors, business people, college students, parents, teens and people from nearly (sadly not all) countries are on Twitter. Imagine the influence this is having on our world, the influence on decisions being made; all kinds of decisions by all kinds of people.

If you read an earlier blog of mine, “Privacy Matters”, you will remember the part about Facebook’s influence on our lives. Facebook has boomed each year following its arrival. People ask if it will ever go away or lose its popularity. My opinion is IF it does, it will be quite some time from now. Facebook has brought something around that many people have craved. It is a way of getting back in touch with people and meeting new people without actually having to be face to face. It is a way for families to stay in touch, share pictures and chat even though they can’t actually travel and be together. It allows people to have a sense of “togetherness” even though they aren’t physically together. This is nice but it is missing an important factor in a relationship which is a real face to face conversation, a real handwritten letter, a real phone conversation. In some instances and some of these online relationships, there is a sense of “knowing” someone in a way that is really not there. Today’s idea of knowing someone is so much different. Of course it all depends on the type of relationship you are forming. In my eyes, without meeting someone, it is more of a “Pen Pal” type of relationship than anything else.

I say that to say this. So much of what many people base a decision on is what their peer group feels or what they hear on TV or read. I have talked about this in previous blogs.

Change Happens” 

Will History Repeat Itself?” 

Who is Running Our Country?”

There are so many blogs in our world today it is basically putting newspapers out of business. Most newspapers are using bloggers as their journalist now. Not saying there aren’t journalist still doing the writing but there isn’t so many in “hard print” as there used to be. A lot of newspapers have gone digital and being read online. I love the AC360 blogs  and Jack Gray is one of my all time favorites! The great thing about newspapers and magazines that have turned over to digital media is they are more updated and they can change on a dime if the news changes, which it does (ALL DAY).

With 24 hour news on TV and 24 hours of updated blogs and news online then everyone can be getting around the clock updates and opinions all day long. That includes our local government, state government and national government. Trust me, they are keeping up with the news sources, Twitter and blogs just like anyone else.

So, I asked is our government being micro-managed? What I mean by that is are we too involved in the many different things that come across our messages, facebook, twitter, blogs and news all day? Then we share our opinions which can be positive or negative with a great number of people and then they share their opinions and that trend goes on and on. It can become viral if it catches on. Is that a bad thing? Well, not necessarily. But, it can be if we really don’t know what we are talking about.

I can admit that I really didn’t know a lot about the oil spill when it first happened. I felt I needed to know more facts. I wasn’t going to point fingers at anyone. I still feel the investigation needs to be carried out. I don’t appreciate anyone that says, “It isn’t our fault” or tries to back out of responsibility or someone who drags their feet doing something to find a solution. But, I can also understand the problem is much worse than anyone could have ever planned or imagined. It would be like trying to stop a Category 5 hurricane from happening, then blaming someone for the Category 5 Hurricane hitting a certain location.

My opinion at this point seems to be (and I may stand corrected) that it may appear there was a warning there was a problem back in March? That has to be shown to be a fact and no matter what, it is BPs well and there is a lot of damage coming from it. Everybody that can be helping to stop the oil and contain the problem should be. If there is a chance at saving wildlife and habitat it should be happening and I understand many things are much easier said than done. That is why things should always be secured so these disasters can be prevented at all cost.

Here is my thinking on the Israeli and Gaza situation and I wrote about this in an earlier blog as well, “Will History Repeat Itself?” as well as “Are You the “Right” Color?” Again, this is something that started out with so many people having an opinion as soon as the news came in and Twitter especially lit up and a lot of people get angry that anyone else has an opinion that differs from theirs. But, it comes down to something very simple and history has shown us this over and over. As long as anyone or any group of people think they are better than anyone or any other group of people are less than them or deserve less than them, this will continue. This isn’t right. It doesn’t matter who is the one throwing the first stone, shooting the first shot, jumping onto whoever’s ship. It is wrong. This boat may have been carrying humanitarian aid or it may have had some weapons on it. It may have had 100% good intentions. Israel may have had a perfectly good reason to board the ship and things got out of hand. This may have been all because of bad communication. The point is it has gotten to this because of the same reason. Groups of people thinking they deserve better than the other. You may say one group or the other but the fact is, everyone has a different opinion. Nobody should have to worry for their life because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. This is just wrong. This is not my opinion. This is human rights.

So why does it seem to take so long for our government, world government and the UN to come out and make a statement? It is almost as though they are looking to public opinion. It is as though they want to see what the world is feeling. Or, is it that our opinions have become so quick and so abrupt these days due to our ability to share them and get instant feedback? Do we expect instant feedback from our leaders? Do we expect the same direct, in-your-face kind of answers? Are we micro-managing our government? Do they need our micro-managing?