Category Archives: opinion

Just Another Profile of Profiling

racism \ a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce and inherent superiority of a particular race (Webster’s New collegiate Dictionary 150th Anniversary Edition)

The Trayvon Martin case has once again prompted a call for a dialog about racial profiling. Usually this means that the black community wants the white community to understand that they find profiling to be demeaning and sometimes potentially dangerous. That is understandable. Profiling in its most basic form is a kind of stereotyping. Many cultures and subcultures are stereotyped in derogatory ways and when a person of a certain culture, especially one who is aware of the stereotype and works hard to overcome it is, however judged in that way, it is insulting and demeaning.

Any truly productive examination of profiling however has to look beyond the rhetoric, to seek the real reasons why certain groups of people are profiled. More often than not, it has nothing to do with skin color; rather it is a reaction to the behaviors of a large portion of people within a particular group. We all profile to some degree. Anytime we approach a person we don’t know, we subconsciously size them up to determine whether or not they are a threat to our safety. If that person appears by his looks or actions to be a threat we will behave in a defensive manner.
That is not racism. It is human nature. Black people are not the only ones who deal with this, Many Muslims who choose to dress in the traditional Muslim fashion are also profiled because of the terrorism committed by Islamic extremists. The main reason why black people, particularly young black males, are often looked upon with suspicion is not because they are black, but because young black males commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes. These young men usually dress and behave in a way that is meant to be provocative, (baggy pants with underwear showing, hoodies and jackets during the summer). When young black males who are not out looking for trouble choose for whatever reason (usually because they think it looks cool) to imitate the troublemakers they will be perceived as being part of that group. After all, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. In fact, young white males who choose to dress and behave in this manner are also looked upon with suspicion.

Most white people want unity with black people and are able to look beyond skin color to see what’s inside. We are bewildered, saddened and insulted when we are accused of racism when it is so obviously not the issue. The black community needs to realize that more often than not, they are being judged by the content of their character and that character, for some in the black community is being found wanting. The people to blame for the mistrust between the black and white communities and the tragedies that result are not the so-called profilers, but the black hoodlums who terrorize not only whites, but their own neighborhoods as well. Beguiling their little brothers into a life of easy money, and wasted lives. Those law-abiding black people who have worked hard, educated themselves, and have become productive members of society who are tired of having to live with the taint of the hoodlums, need to understand that these problems will not be resolved until they look to the inside, of their community. Work with law enforcement and openly condemn the gang culture, and the entitlement culture and come to accept that maybe it isn’t about race after all.

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My Predictions for 2012 the Horror, the Hope, the Hype

an image of mayan calendar on cosumel island' ...

Sean Patrick Hazlett at  Reflections of a Rational Republican  has thrown down the gauntlet and has asked other bloggers to list their technology predictions for 2012.

I am technologically defunct. Just starting this blog was a huge leap for me. I usually have to get my tech advice from my teenage kids. They love Apple. Now if I could just get them to eat one once in a while.

Here are my 2012 predictions. I chose to focus on issues that may be of importance to families. Some deal with technology, some not.

  1. As schools deal with budget cuts, virtual schools will become common. Children at all grade levels will take at least some of their public school classes at home online.
  2. The job markets will remain weak. As more and more families adjust to a reduced income, many people will choose not to re-enter the work force. This will create a return to the single income family with one parent staying home to care for the children. The stay at home parent will not necessarily be the mom. The spouse with the most income potential will be the one to return to work.
  3. We will no longer need to depend on Soyuz rockets to supply the ISS. Companies such as SpaceX will begin regular privatized missions late this year or early 2013.
  4. Video games will become more realistic. The gamer will be able to experience the feel of different environments. For example, feeling wet when in water, hot in a desert, or cold in the snow. He will be able to feel the sensation of various terrains beneath his feet and games will have sensors that emit real pain sensations when the player is injured in a battle. Thus giving our kids even more reasons to avoid playing outdoors.
  5. Biosphere resorts will become popular vacation destinations. Imagine relaxing in a lush tropical garden where it’s not too hot, not too cold, and no mosquitoes.
  6. The Mars Rover Curiosity will discover actual microbial life on the planet.
  7. Iran will test fire it’s first nuclear bomb this summer.
  8. Tensions with Iran cause gas prices to rise to over $5.00 a gallon this spring. This will result in real food shortages here in the US. In response more families will start to grow personal vegetable gardens. Several states will pass regulations to stop HOA’s from forbidding such gardens.
  9. Because an impending war with Iran will force us to stop our dependence on Middle Eastern oil in a hurry and because the technology already exists, I expect to see used vegetable oil  become e popular as an alternative fuel.
  10.  After the Republican Convention, Ron Paul, Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum will remain in the race as third-party candidates. The Republican Party will be fractured and Barack Obama will win the election as a result. This will cause the formation of a truly viable third-party and the election of a third-party president in 2016.
  11.  Star Trek type replicators will become common in American homes. I know, probably not, but a mom can dream.
  12.  And finally, all those of you who are expecting the world to end in December, and re using this, as your retirement strategy will be sadly disappointed come January 1, 2013.

I wish you all a blessed new year.

Pull on Your Wellies, Get Your Scoop the 2012 Campaign is Upon Us

Vote for me!

Image by cheerfulmonk via Flickr

The Iowa Caucuses are coming, and the 2012 election is well underway. Soon our country will be awash in political advertising. Maybe awash is the wrong word, maybe flushed is more accurate. As we don our waders for another slog through the sewers of campaign muck, I would like to suggest an alternative strategy. Instead of the inane mudslinging and mind numbing irrelevant dirt digging, how about having the candidates use their very expensive airtime to actually inform us.

(For the sake of brevity I will use the grammatically correct masculine pronoun to mean both he and she.) My dream candidate will admit honestly to any skeletons in his closet before his opponents have a chance to discover them. This will show a humble candidate who can admit his mistakes, has the wisdom to learn from them and disarm his opponents in the process.

He will be able to defend himself against the criticisms thrown at him by the other candidates with honest and forthright answers.

He will use his advertising opportunities to inform us on his views, his record and his solutions to the problems facing our country. He will be truthful about his take on “hot button” issues. He will not try to spin his way out of a controversy, but will explain himself honestly and completely.

This dream candidate will absolutely refuse to engage in negative campaigning. No digging up thirty-year-old indiscretions, or irrelevant but inflammatory comments made by an opponent. No taking pieces of an interview out of context. No misquoting or twisting facts. The dream candidate will publicly disavow any private group who campaigns negatively on his behalf.

He will go on record, informing all campaign contributors that their support of his campaign will have no influence on his decisions and that his purpose in government is to represent his constituents.

I know. I’m dreaming. It will never happen. But it would be nice to see.

Somebody Has to Pay? Guess Who That Would Be

I first heard this on the Neal Boortz show.

The video is astonishing in its audacity. It is an embarrassing illustration of everything that is wrong with our system of social services. I’m not a social worker, or a psychologist. I’m just a housewife and mother who’s had to work hard, pay taxes and live with the consequences of my choices. I could never imagine myself proclaiming that someone other than myself or the father of my children should “pay for them.” Yes, children are a gift from God. But when he blesses us with children He tasks the parents with the responsibility for their care. Not the government. It’s obvious that our welfare system is broken. Fortunately most of the problems are simple to fix. Unfortunately our culture of political correctness and preservation of self-esteem will prevent these changes from taking place.

We need to remember what the purpose of the welfare system was in the first place. It was meant as a way for people who had hit hard times or who were economically disadvantaged, to be put back on the path to self-sufficiency. No one was expected to stay on welfare for life. It was certainly never intended to be a “family business” handed down from parent to child. As our society began to put a higher value on self-esteem than integrity, the stigma of being on welfare began to disappear. We were taught that feeling guilt and shame regardless of the reason was a bad thing. This caused a fundamental shift in our attitudes, and so we began to feel that not only was it okay to live off of the charity of others, it was our right. Politicians eager to buy votes from the poor and poorly educated were all too willing to promote this attitude.

To cover all the minute details involved to fix the system would be too unwieldy to put into one blog post. We can begin however, by making some basic common sense rules for people who are receiving welfare to live by.

1. In order to continue to receive benefits, a person must demonstrate that they are actively trying to get out of the system.

2. When a woman comes into the system, the children she has at the time are covered. If she chooses to have any more children then she and her children are kicked out of the system.

3. Any one guilty of drug possession or of being under the influence of illegal drugs is kicked out of the system.

4. Any one convicted of a crime other than minor traffic violations is kicked out of the system.

5. Any one who uses welfare funds to buy alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or luxury items or services, or uses the funds for gambling (to include lottery tickets) will be kicked out of the system.

6. If an individual or family is living in any form of public housing they will be expected to take care of he property. They will not damage, deface, destroy, or willfully neglect the property or they will be evicted. Those living there who are physically able will be expected to participate in the upkeep and maintenance of the buildings and grounds.

Six simple, straightforward, common sense rules. Are they unreasonable? No. Discriminatory? No. Are they a bit harsh? Well maybe, but they need to be in order to change the attitude from a one of entitlement to one of self-sufficiency. Knowing what the rules are and the consequences for breaking them from the outset could be a good incentive to do the right thing. The taxpayers who are funding the service programs have a right to expect responsible behavior from those who are benefitting from the system. By demanding that people in the social services system make an effort to reduce the financial burden placed on the taxpayers for their care, we make them a partner in their care and help to create an attitude of stewardship rather than entitlement.

Occupy This

#OccupyLA protest

I hope the New Generation Hippies, the Junior Baby Boomers also know as the Occupiers realize by now that any hope of having a serious discussion of their grievances has been quashed thanks to their embarrassing shenanigans. It’s unfortunate because there truly is an intelligent debate to be had. People are really struggling.   And not just the spoiled twenty somethings still living on their parents labor, or those living off of the tax payers. There are many of us who work hard every day and still can’t get ahead. Our benefits get cut, and raises are eliminated. Prices for basic needs are getting higher and higher and each week our paychecks are stretched as tight as a fat lady’s girdle. And we feel no one is listening. We hear a lot about corporate greed and class warfare these days. I think both sides have it wrong.  At heart I suppose I am a capitalist.  I believe that strong businesses free of burdensome government regulation are the foundation to overall wealth in our country. It is obvious however, that there is something fundamentally wrong when a CEO can earn half a million a year at a company that can’t afford to pay its lower level employees a decent wage or even worse has to let them go. Loyal, hard-working employees, deserve to share in the wealth of a company.  Businesses that realize that keep a dependable well motivated labor pool who are satisfied with their jobs and work to keep a company profitable. Those who do not create an atmosphere favorable to the labor unions. Companies that choose to do business in an unethical fashion clear a path for government regulation. It all comes down to practicing good stewardship.  American businesses need to realize that they have a responsiblity to do what’s right by their employees, customers, community and environment.  Pay their employees a fair wage and benefit package, produce a quality product at a fair price, give back to the community they are located in and don’t exploit or pollute unnecessarily. In the town where I’m from, there was a man named H B Zachry. In 1924 he started his company with very little capital.  He had a contract to build a bridge and had to finish the job in order to be paid.  As the story goes, he didn’t have the money to pay his workers so he told the men if they would stay with him until the job was finished, he’d see to it that they were taken care of.  The bridge was finished and Mr. Zachry kept his word. He even took care of men’s widows. Personally delivering bags of groceries to them. This was a man who truly understood the values that make up a good business ethic. The answer to cleaning up corporate America is not in persuading the government to step in and force American businesses to do the right thing. The answer is in changing corporate values. in bringing more men like H B Zachery into play. In a free market society, the real power belongs to the consumers. We need to be smart, do our research and use the goods and services of a business only if it operates in harmony with our values.  The Occupiers are fond of shouting “power to the people not the corporations” but the people have had the power all along.

Good Thing I Have My Boots On (I Just Stepped Into the Primordial Ooze)

William Blake's etching/watercolour "Anci...

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I have been thinking about the controversy behind the teaching of intelligent design in the public school system. My opinion is that the classroom should be a place where the free exchange of ideas can take place. That cannot happen in an environment of political indoctrination. That being said lets examine some of the reasons for the controversy.

We are told that intelligent design is not taught because it promotes a religious viewpoint. To determine if that is true we first have to define what constitutes a religion. My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary’s fourth definition of a religion is, ” A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” This same dictionary’s second definition of faith is, ” A belief in something for which there is no proof.” The third definition is, “Something that is believed esp. with strong convictions.”

There is nothing in the Bible, no sermon, no theological study that can prove concretely, without the shadow of a doubt that God does in fact exist.  My belief in God is the result of my faith, based on my study of the Bible, my observations of the world around me and the sum of my experiences. That element of faith is what makes my belief a religion.

On the other hand, there is nothing that science can produce, no controlled experiment, no theory, that can prove concretely, without the shadow of a doubt that God in fact does not exist.  People choose to believe there is no God based on their study of scientific theories, their observations of the world around them and the sum of their experiences.  Without proof of the non-existence of God their believe is also based on faith.  This defines Atheism as a religion.

I do not disagree that the theory of intelligent design leaves open a door to the theory of Creationism, but Evolution by its implied indorsement of Atheism also promotes a religious belief.  The public education system cannot use the Constitution to allow one belief but not another.

Let’s take a look at the first amendment. It states” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

According to this principle, Public schools cannot compel nor forbid the teachings of evolution or intelligent design.  I say let out teachers truly educate our children by giving them a well thought out lesson on both theories, then teach them how to have a civilized debate on the subject and then draw their own conclusions.

Who’s Got Who’s Back?

Picture of Samsung Moment cell phone with scre...

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I am really irritated at those television commercials advertising free cell phones for low-income people. Yes, basic landline service should be provided for emergency purposes. No one should be left without a way to call 911. What gets me about these commercials however, is that they are misleading as to the source of the funding. One commercial practically insinuates that the Government owes you a cell phone if you are on public assistance. A women in another commercial proudly proclaims that she “has her mother’s back.”  Who do these people think the Government is? A more truthful commercial would have the woman thanking her friends, family, and neighbors for “having her mother’s back” by providing the tax money that subsidises her mother’s phone. I really feel that this is a program that seriously needs to be reconsidered. Why should my tax money go to provide a luxury that I can barely afford myself.

No Guts, No Glory

Support Our Troops

Support our Troops“. “Freedom Isn’t Free”. We see the words on billboards and bumper stickers, T-shirts and posters. They are the tagline and headline for political speeches and patriotic memorials. But what do they really mean? What is the price for freedom and how do we support the troops sworn to defend it?
I remember as a child hearing the stories of my mother, who, as a toddler underwent surgery on her foot. For years afterward she required special orthotic shoes that had to be replaced every time her feet grew. This was during WWII and rationing was in full force. Everyone was allowed only one pair of shoes a year. Including my mother. The government didn’t make a special exception because she was a child with a medical condition. Her parents didn’t demand that she was entitled to more ration coupons because of a unique hardship. Instead they gave up their ration coupons to get her the shoes she needed and when those ran out other family members, friends and neighbors donated theirs. Why was this necessary? Because the materials that were used to make shoes over here were needed to make shoes for the troops over there. Could you imagine giving up coffee, sugar, shoes and tires and sending them to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? How many of us who sent “goody boxes” to the troops would have done so if it meant taking the gum, deodorant, soap and Kool-Aid out of our own cupboards to send overseas? Truly supporting our troops requires personal sacrifice. My grand parents knew that.  Nobody knows that more that military families. But it is much more than that. To really support our troops we have to support the mission they were sent on.

Ever since embedded reporters brought the horrors of the Vietnam War into our living rooms, America has slowly lost its passion for freedom. Faced with the horrifying reality that the price of freedom is blood, many of us have decided that the price is too high. We would rather give up our freedom than fight and die, and to make our cowardice seem noble we buy into the negative reporting of an anti-war agenda. We believe that our military men and women are merely pawns, highly trained but brainwashed automatons sent by a corrupt government to kill babies, burn villages, exploit oil fields and humiliate Muslims. So we “support” our troops by wanting them home ….now.  We think that by demanding an end to the war we show the troops we care about their lives and families and want their deaths to have meaning. But by pulling out with the job undone and the battlefields left unsecured, liked whipped dogs with our tails between our legs we send the opposite message to our troops and our enemies.  We say “you have failed” and we no longer belive that anything is worth dying for.

I’m not naïve, I know that politicians have used wars to promote their personal agendas.  I also know that the intense mental pressures of the battlefield can alter judgment and atrocities are committed.  Yes, there are harsh and disturbing realities to war, but there are very real evils (whether ideological or personified) set to steal our dearly won freedom. To destroy our way of life. To defeat them, you can’t simply make nice, ask please and expect them to comply.  There are those who choose to forget that our troops do many good things out in the field. Even in the mist of the enemy they provide medical care, aid, comfort and security.

It is time for us to truly “support our troops” and remember that every war that America has ever fought from the Revolutionary War to today, was fought for a noble purpose. Our military has fought to overthrow oppressive governments, stop slavery, stop the spread of Communism and rid the world of insane despotic tyrants. They did not fight for conquest, land or resources. The image of our country as a “big bully” to the rest of the world is a fallacious stereotype created from the malicious propaganda of our enemies. It is time for us to quit apologising for being American. To not only welcome our troops coming home, but to also remind those still serving that “you did a good job”.  More importantly, “you did a good thing”. And we as a nation are proud of you.

Why This, Why Now

I admit it. I’m a news junkie. National, local, paper, internet, TV.  I could spend hours watching, reading, researching. The more I learn the more sure I am about one thing. Extremism is the most dangerous threat to our way of life.   Left, Right, Conservative, or Liberal, Republican, or Democrat, Tea Party, or Occupier. We seem to be as divided a nation now as we were in the period leading up to the Civil War. As we, as a people become more polarized, common sense and reason have taken a back seat to emotion, and group hysteria. Many people want change, any change, and others are mired in an inaccurate nostalgia for “the way things used to be”. Thus the need for this blog. I hope to impart some “real life” wisdom born from the experiences of someone who knows what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, and understands the necessity of making meaningful sacrifices for children, marriage, and country. Here I will speak my mind. I will offend or anger some, but I hope that many more will be inspired and encouraged to make a difference in their corner of the world.

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