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Feeling the Bern

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Feeling the Bern

I am a sixty-year-old woman that had pretty much given up on having a candidate to vote for that was not the lesser of two evils.  This year, my dream candidate arrived in an unlikely package of a seventy four year old man that calls himself a Democratic Socialist.  I see Bernie Sanders as my once in lifetime political candidate cut in the model of FDR.  He is running a campaign that is both positive, which is how I have always lived my life, and issues oriented.  The appeal for me is the way he includes everyone in the process.  He knows he needs the people to be with him, not just for the vote but to make anything happen.  It really is not about him; it is about us!  How unusual that in politics today where most candidates are so full of themselves that they can’t even understand how us little people live, we have an opportunity to vote for a person that has always stood up for the people and is willing to take this on, even if it is the last thing he does!

I have had people say to me that he is too old.  My father lived to be ninety-seven and was a sharp person.  I feel no one has an expiration date stamped on his or her forehead.  Some people unfortunately die young; others seem blessed with long life.  Bernie’s ideas and platform have called me to him.  He believes we can make this country better and I believe it as well.  If other countries can provide universal healthcare, why can’t we?  My sister died an early death because she didn’t have health insurance.  I feel strongly about this topic.  I have given money to people on Go Fund me pages because they needed money for surgeries.  This should not be happening in our country.  A poor person’s life should be as valuable as a wealthy person’s life.  Republicans like to call us a Christian Nation.  I don’t particularly care for that label, as I believe in a separation of church and state.  However, if you want to go with that idea, then what would Jesus do?  Would he let people die on the street or suffer?  I doubt it.

AS far as tuition free public colleges go, I am all for this.  As a teacher, we have been pushing for college for everyone for the last several years.  Unfortunately, college is largely unaffordable for most people of lower and middle economic standing and thus unattainable.  I believe we need to be an educated nation.  It is better for our work force and it helps to teach tolerance of other people’s ideas.  We should be embracing college for all that are able to withstand the rigors of a higher education.  We should also be investing in trade schools as well.  I recently read an article about many American students going to Germany for their free college program.

Germany wants an educated work force and they know some of those foreign students are probably going to stay there and be productive in Germany using what they have learned.  Our country needs to embrace the concept of free tuition for public colleges.  Our kids are the future of this nation.  Do we really want some of our best and brightest students to skip college because they can’t afford it or leave after a year because they have accrued too much debt?  Do we want our children enticed to live in other countries because they have a better life style?  Do we want our children facing massive college debt that largely forces them into years and years of an ever-growing debt payment that sometimes gets larger because they can’t get the principal down on their paltry salaries?  I think we can do better as a nation.  We seem to have plenty of money for prisons and war.  Maybe we need to invest in our children first!

A few years ago, I read that the cost to house a prisoner at the little prison in Coldwater, Michigan was around $27,000 a year.  Most schools in Michigan are getting around $7000-$7500 to educate students.  I know that most prisons cost like double the figure from Coldwater, so that seems like a bargain.  However, from my point of view, I could see that money easily spent on educating people instead of building prisons and especially those “for profit” institutions.  Bernie also has talked about how the years from 0-4 are so important for children’s future well-being.  He wants affordable childcare for parents that have to work.  He has mentioned getting the proper training for the childcare workers so these children can be in a loving environment where they are nourished.

Bernie wants to invest in our country.  He knows our infrastructure is pathetic.  We need everything repaired.  There hasn’t been much invested in this country in years.  Why can’t we invest in our country?  We spend an unbelievable amount of money on these wars that seem endless to me.  I think we need to invest in our roads, our water systems, affordable housing, airports, modern transportation systems that move the masses, and building businesses that can thrive in this country.

Bernie believes in the American people and he will do everything he can to keep jobs here.  He has been against many of the trade bills that have devastated our country and moved so many of our jobs out of this country.  He bellows on and on about the 1% and how much they own and how little the rest of us own.  He has ignited a flame in the people with that bellow and it is what happens when he tells it like it is to the masses.  He asks us to have the courage to join him.  How can we not join the man who has dedicated his life to the people of this country?

This ad means so much to me.  I look at my students in school and I see all of them in this ad.  Yes, I know that the ad features adults but I see my students.  I think our country needs to come together and be the best that we can be.

TOGETHER from HUMAN on Vimeo.

Now some people might be wondering why I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter.  Back in 2008, I was a John Edwards supporter because of his issues addressing poverty and healthcare.  He was a flawed candidate and I moved on to Hillary Clinton and had an opportunity to attend a rally at South Bend, Indiana.  I was impressed with her and left supporting her.  Naturally, when she came into this election, my first impulse was for Hillary and that first woman president concept.  However, I study politics and read a lot about what is happening.  I discovered that Hillary was involved in things over the last eight years that really left me wondering what I ever saw in her.  It’s the whole money thing.  My son is always asking me when is enough enough?  Why do the rich always want more?  Her speeches to Wall Street firms for hundreds of thousands of dollars just put a nail on that coffin for me.  Her ties to Wall Street, the $350 some thousand that a Wal-Mart billionaire put into the Hillary Victory fund, her questionable ethics when she was Secretary of State, and the interesting Clinton Foundation donations during that time are inexcusable.  To add to this, she pushes for troops on the ground and war, which has created crises in Libya and Syria and make me see her as a very flawed candidate.  When she said we would never, ever have single payer, I wondered why anyone would support her.  Her constant use of the word “I” and not “We”, (Well lately, she seems to have gotten that message.) tell me she just doesn’t get it.  She has really become the candidate of the “establishment” Democrats.  This, for me, is just unacceptable and excessively far right of where I want the Democrats to be.

In reality, I feel like my party has abandoned me in favor of a center right party that appears to be a lot like the old Republican Party before it went very crazy.  I find myself unsubscribing from emails, un-liking Democratic candidates on Facebook, and very discouraged by the direction my party is going.  I see people pretty much the way Bernie does when he was asked a question about religion which I will share in the video below.  I believe we should be giving each other a hand up not stepping on people’s fingers when they are trying to pull themselves up out of despair, poverty, suffering, getting an education, getting a job, and volunteering.  We are all connected and it is time we all see what Bernie sees.

I can’t seem to embed this video, so here is the link.  I get the link to work so you will have to copy it and paste it into another url tab.  I am sorry you will have endure the ad first.  I guarantee it is worth watching.



Mitt and Mini Mitt

  • Posted on August 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

( Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) speaks as Mitt Romney looks on during a campaign rally at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C.

By now, everyone knows that Mitt Romney has made his VP choice.  I have had a few days to digest this information and really feel that Mitt just picked himself in many ways.  Not that Ryan had the same life as Mitt but Ryan looks a lot like any one of Mitt’s sons.  I saw the two of them on stage together wearing similar shirts.  It reminded me of an image I can remember of my many brothers lined up in their white shirts and dark pants, except for the pattern on the candidate’s shirts.  The image of Representative Ryan is that of an all-American family, much like Mitt’s image.  However, the family that currently resides in the Whitehouse is just as all-American as Mitt’s family except for the ingrained image White America has of themselves.  In many ways, the image Mitt portrays is a message he continually sends out when he refers to President Obama as not sharing your values.  This ad is a message about values that I personally find repugnant.

I personally believe in a separation of church and state.  I do not believe President Obama has declared a war on religion.  However, the image and message are clear.  If you are white, the president does not share your religious values.  He probably wasn’t even born in this country and he probably isn’t a Christian.

Therefore, we have the two religious candidates that share our collective values, a Mormon and a right wing Catholic.  I’m not sure that those protesting nuns agree with Representative Ryan on his vision for the poor, so maybe they too are un-American because they don’t share these exact values.

We are not all the same.  The beauty of our country is the fact that we are a melting pot of people, cultures, and ideas.  I believe our greatest strength is the diversity of our people.  With our diversity we are able to develop and create new ideas and stimulate thinking beyond the cookie cutter mode of one size fits all.  We are not a cookie cutter nation where the religious right owns our brains.  We can and must think for ourselves.

As an educator, I am appalled to be inundated with narrow-minded thinking that implies we are all of the same values…one size religion for everyone.  How many times are we going to be told that we are a “Christian” nation?  In our country, we are able to be what we want to be whether it involves religion or it doesn’t.  No one has to buy into any of this nonsense.  It’s like a subtle brain washing.  I always thought that religion was a personal matter between a person and their God.  I have never looked to a politician for my values and I doubt I ever will.   When I think of most politicians and how they got where they are I certainly don’t think of religion.  It’s backroom deals and money that talks.  You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back.  We largely don’t have control over whom we get to vote for because it’s the money that gets them where they are.  It isn’t God and it isn’t love of country.  This is the same old crap they roll out every year to get the masses on board for the next big thing (You know tax cuts for the wealthy and shared sacrifice for everyone else).  They put up something about how religious they are and stupid sheep follow them.  Take your blinders off and see these people for what they really are.

Mitt Romney was a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  He used his own religion to get out of fighting in the Vietnam War.  He has five sons that will never go to battle for anyone except a hostile takeover of some company.  He had a “cushy” gig in France where he tried to convert French Catholics to the Mormon Church.  I think he converted two.  While he was there, he had a car accident that I would like to know more about than I’m currently reading on the web.  He is wealthy beyond our imaginations and he won’t let us know about his taxes because it’s none of our business.  He has a lot of money outside of this country and we are supposed to believe that is a patriotic thing to do.

Then there is Representative Ryan who cannot wait to dig in and dismantle the social programs created by FDR.  Here is a man that lived on the safety net of Social Security and Pell Grants but wants to deny them for the future citizens of this country.  He wants more breaks for the wealthy and less for the poor and middle class.  He believes in the same old trickle down bullshit the Republicans have been spewing for years.

I don’t see the pick of Ryan as being that big of a stretch for Mitt.  They both are really after the same things.  With these guys, the rich get richer and the poor look for the scraps left by the rich.  Social programs and social justice, those things we were taught in church when we were kids are just some left wing Commie plot that we should avoid.  In their world, they are self-made men and the rest of the world better get in line and pull up their bootstraps.

Last night I was talking to my son and he told me he watched “The Dictator”.  Now I am not a Sacha Cohen fan but Josh wanted me to watch the dictator’s speech on Youtube, so I did.  What can we learn from this?  Where is our democracy?  I will leave you with the dictator’s speech, as it is a parody filled with truth!

The Republican Primary, Religion, and Women’s Issues

  • Posted on February 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Barbara Kruger, Your Body Is a Battleground

I have been reading the book, “50 Women Artists You Should Know”, and of course I came across the work of Barbara Kruger.  I am familiar with her work from other pieces I have seen.  However, this image says it all for me in terms of the current state of political affairs.  I feel frustrated as a woman during this presidential primary season.  I cannot possibly relate to any of the Republican candidates because they are ready to take me back to some crazy time where women are once again submissive to the whims of their mates.  I thought we had gotten over all of this but of course during the 2008 election I realized that women were still vastly mistreated in the world of good old boy politics.  I remember the mistreatment of first Hillary Clinton and then Sarah Palin by those same good old boys that just couldn’t deal with any woman having the nerve to run for the Presidency or Vice Presidency of the United States of America.  Back to the future of politics, 2012, and I feel like I am somewhere lost in time.

Rick Santorum says some of the craziest things.  Unfortunately, I think he believes the things he is saying which is very scary for most educated people actually living in the 21st century.  Who would have ever guessed that contraception would become the big issue of the 2012 election?  We have an economy that is flat, millions of people out of work, an infrastructure built after WWII in vast need of repair, cities that are crumbling, wars in the Middle East and yet he is more concerned about women’s bodies than anything else.  It befuddles my mind.  I always thought most men wanted some form of contraception.  I didn’t think all men wanted to raise large families.  It seems to me this has been a settled issue.  While most people believe in a separation of church and state, Rick believes the opposite.  The more I hear in this election the more I am frustrated by religious zealots.  I want a clear separation of church and state.  I don’t want to have to follow Rick’s form of God any more than some other religious zealot’s form of religion.

As I look at the other Republicans I see more of the same.  I have some brothers that like Romney.  However, after listening to Rick I can see that Romney and his form of religion could be just as bad.  One of my brothers is a Mormon.  I am divorced.  He once told me that the only way I could get to Heaven is through my ex-husband.  Now that’s a scary thought.  I must already be doomed to the depths of hell if I have to depend on my ex-husband for anything quite so important.  I have also heard about the concept of the baptism of dead people.  I don’t quite understand it.  My parents were Catholic.  I don’t know if my brother has performed the magic baptism on them, but I know my parents wouldn’t be happy if he did!  I am aware that Romney has participated in this concept but he isn’t talking about it.

I really don’t care what your religion is or whether you have a religion.  However, I do care if your religion wants to get involved in my government and create laws that will have an impact on my life.  I believe a woman has a right to her privacy when it comes to her health care.  Men shouldn’t be making decisions for women in the 21st Century.  Women are strong and should make their own decisions about their bodies.  Period!  They don’t need a “daddy” figure in the government controlling their bodies.  If a woman is involved with a mate chances are they will make decisions together.  However, what Rick Santorum, Mitt, or Newt think, really shouldn’t have an impact on my life or any other woman’s life.  They are entitled to their beliefs but they don’t need to make women’s lives miserable with their paternal power.  Newt really cracks me up because when he was messing around on all of his wives I’m sure he was happy that his many women were using some form of contraception!

All this primary election has done for me has made me wish that none of my tax dollars would go to “faith based” entities.  Churches that are exempt from taxation receive oodles of cash from the government to perform their “faith based initiatives”.  Many people aren’t even remotely aware of this funding that has grown over the years.  The group Americans United are for a distinct separation of church and state and I am all for that.  You can check out their website here and read about the faith based initiatives.

The other day I was reading Sky Dancers blog and Bostonboomer posted a video clip from JFK’s speech on religion.  If you haven’t seen it you should watch it.  He talks about the kind of America he believes in.  It is spot on for today.  It is timely.  Watch it and think about what kind of country you want America to be.

Then move on to George Carlin.  Of course you can’t watch George if you’re a prude because he will violate your ears in the way that only George can.  What is amazing is how George is dead but his genius lives on!

The End of Summer Vacation

  • Posted on August 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Beautiful Duck Lake in Norhtern Michigan

This year has been challenging for me.  In addition to teaching my regular art classes at school, I chose to take some courses so I could move up on the pay scale.  Originally I was going to take my 20 credits over a period of two years.  However, with everything our governor was busy doing in Lansing, I decided to escalate my goal to be completed in one year.  The classes I took were online courses that were actually very involved and demanding of my time and effort.  This summer I took the final two courses, both involved with using technology in the classroom and developing 21st Century literacy skills.  Now that I have finished my original goal, I have some time for reflection before the students start coming into my classroom.  I am really proud of what I accomplished this year.  While I’m glad I was able to get a pay raise, I was actually surprised at what I have taken away from the courses I took.  I know that I am a better teacher today because of them.  I always thought I was a pretty good teacher.  I have always been very dedicated to my profession and to my students.  What I have learned over this past year were some very useful strategies for helping students to become more motivated in the classroom, better classroom management skills, a greater understanding of adolescent student behavior, and ways to develop and integrate 21st Century literacy skills into my art classes.  That sounds like a lot and trust me it was!

I finished my courses on July 18th and since I hadn’t had a moment from the time school was out until then to have any summer at all, I decided to see if I could find a cottage where I could spend a week on a lake just relaxing.  My online search led me to Traverse City Chalet which is a cottage on beautiful Duck Lake near Interlochen and Traverse City.  As the picture reflects, this decision gave me a peaceful summer retreat.  This was just what I needed to get ready for the next school year!  I even managed to spend some time drawing and painting.  I loved it so much I’m going back next summer.  Two of my brothers, Joe and Paul, reside in Leelanau County so I invited them over for a barbeque.  I really didn’t want to leave the lake but I wanted to see them.  My brother, Bob and his wife, Sue, were also visiting Michigan from Alaska.  The dinner party included Joe’s wife Karin and Paul’s ex-wife Bonnie as well.  I am so happy that I got to see everyone as I haven’t been up north in a couple of years.

Given my families love of politics and discussing political issues it didn’t take long before the conversation turned to politics.  What I noticed was the fact that I was surrounded by political conservatives.  I consider myself to be a liberal.  These of course are just words that we attach to ourselves and most people don’t really understand exactly what they mean so I’ll explain what I mean.  My parents were really FDR Democrats.  They were married in 1934 and lived during the Depression and their experiences were shaped in many ways by the Depression.   They were savers and they didn’t waste anything.  My mom and dad were both teachers and my mom was very involved in the union at her school in Kingston, Michigan.  They supported the Reese teachers during their strike.  I can remember going to Reese as a kid!  In my young life both as a Catholic and as a child of my parents, I learned about caring for other people.  So when I say I’m liberal, the policies I’m talking about are policies to help and lift up people so they can become productive citizens.  I believe in helping people that may not be in the best circumstance to be their own advocate.  This doesn’t mean that I think I know what is best for people.  It just means I believe in finding ways to level the playing field.  This can be done mostly through public school education in many ways because the truth is education is the big divider in most countries.  Those that have a good education can usually attain a more successful job and lifestyle than those that don’t.

So I’ll get back to the dinner I shared with my brothers.  What I came away with was how deeply divided politically my family really is.  My brothers grew up with the same teachings I did but we are a world apart in our views.  Bonnie and Sue both like Representative Michelle Bachmann because she is a tax attorney.  I was shocked because in my mind she has said some crazy things.  My brothers are over the top conservative.  Paul even talked about child labor laws and how they are detrimental to the work ethic for young people.  I said the laws are put in place to protect children.  Of course it made me think about the governor in Maine that is working on changing those child labor laws.  This divide that I witnessed at our dinner really seems to be all across our nation.  It isn’t just my family.  It may be your family as well.  The next day my brother Bob came back because he forgot his hat.  We chatted a little longer and I asked him how he could possibly have become so conservative given our parents and our upbringing.  He said he was a Mormon.  Several years ago Bob became a Mormon and that was his response.  I don’t personally know if all Mormons are politically conservative like Bob, but that was his response.  It felt like that was a standard answer.  I didn’t get an in depth response and of course religion choices are always very personal and I don’t think it’s my place to question him about his decisions any more than he should question me on mine.  This dinner party was relaxed and fun and nobody was fighting about politics.  Paul did bring up my hefty donation to John Edwards and made some snide remark about how I helped pay for John’s mistress.  Of course, I told my brothers that I don’t look to politicians of any type for my moral code of ethics and that I still believe in what John Edwards talked about.  He wanted to give a voice to the voiceless, you know the poor!  Of course Paul says John’s a big old phony and that’s the end of that.  Unfortunately, with Edwards being the constant poster child for scummy politicians that voice for the poor is silenced.  On both sides of the political arena politicians have been all too human.  I wouldn’t put any of them on some kind of moral pedestal.  Some of them have even been fairly good presidents though.  Everyone knows about FDR and his mistress or Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.  Bob said FDR was a terrible president.  Bob said he read some books and I could feel hatred from him for FDR.  My parents loved FDR and they lived during the time.  I have to wonder if Bob’s feelings have more to do with the morality issue than the policies.  It doesn’t matter.  Our country is divided.  We can’t even agree on how to teach our kids.

The conversation moved on to education.  I personally think the push for constant testing is crazy.  Of course we have to meet certain standards but there is far too much emphasis on passing “The” test.  I told my brothers that a test isn’t what any of us remember from our days in K-12 education.  We may remember taking the ACT or SAT as those were memorable days because we were getting ready for college.  However, what most of us remember about our schooling is either some teacher that made us feel great or some teacher that made us feel lousy!  The rest is probably not that important to us today.  What is important for students today is still having great relationships with teachers.  Students need teachers that truly care about them, not how they perform on some test, but about them as children.  Teachers have a powerful position.  They can elevate dreams or crush them!  To me the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are both programs that have forgotten the key element to a quality education.  Money is tied in both of these programs to test scores.  This is ridiculous.  The push towards merit pay is not a true standard for teaching quality.  Ultimately, what will be retained by the students in the end after all the dust settles is whether a teacher cared about them or not.  Those students won’t remember the test as being important to them.  They will remember the teachers that treated them like an individual with a heart and a soul.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we had our first “teacher days” at Sturgis and our open house at Sturgis Middle School.  Of course I was in my room last week unpacking my supplies that were ordered for the coming school year and working on my room getting it ready for the open house.  Last Friday I invited a couple of seventh grade girl students to come in and help me and we had a lot of fun.  We took a break and ran to McDonald’s to get some lunch.  We brought it back to the room and those two girls had me laughing so hard I could hardly stop.  I know they are going to remember that silly day they spent with Ms. Svoboda and I will also remember it.  They felt special and I felt special to have some time alone with these two girls to get to know them even better.

Last night we had our open house.  I came away from that open house knowing how much so many of my students really do love me.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am having a positive influence on a child’s life.  I had a girl come back to see me.  I was astounded to realize that she is a senior this year.  I told her I wanted to show her something.  Back when she was at the middle school she gave me a student picture of herself.  I had taped it inside this swivel draw under my desk.  Whenever I open that swivel drawer, I see that picture and think of her.  I know she was blown away that I really do remember her and care about her.  She told me she is going to bring me a senior picture.  The point I’m trying to make is when these students are treated special by their teachers, they will remember those teachers.  I love teaching and I love middle school students, even the ones that on occasion drive me crazy!  I know they can have bad days but I also know that if I can reach them and develop a positive relationship they can accomplish great things.

I ended the night an hour after open house because I had a long conversation with a parent and a child that I really care about.  I gave them what I felt was some good advice so that this child will hopefully have greater success in her other classes this year.  As they were walking out the door the little girl had to come back to give me a hug!  I know she knows I care about her.  The point I’m trying to get at is not how wonderful I am but at how important it is for all of us teachers to remember that what is most important in our students’ lives today is not some test, but is still the relationship you create as a teacher.  As a teacher, I feel I wear many hats.  I have to teach, sometimes be a parent, sometimes a friend, and sometimes a counselor.  I have to know how to get a student back on track when their having a bad day, or had a fight with a friend, or seemingly doesn’t care about anything.  Anyone that thinks being a great math, science, art, music or any other type of teacher can be scored by a single test a student takes is just plain stupid!  The true measure of a teacher has more to do with what they have in their heart and their capacity to be persistent and patient and loving with the children they mentor and teach.  I don’t know exactly how this can be measured but I do know that when you can see it in action, you can recognize it!  Great teachers are those teachers we all remember in a positive way.  We hold them in our hearts and remember how special we felt because of them.  I have two teachers that I remember the most.  One gave me a briefcase for my books when I was moving away.  I was in second grade.  The other was a teacher that I remember paddling a boy almost daily when I was in fourth grade.  I know which one I have always aspired to be like.

I’m a humanist! What are the Democrats and Republicans? Oh, yeah Corporatist!

  • Posted on November 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Most wars look a lot like this to me! If it isn't religion, it's oil or some other mineral.

It’s a week after the midterm elections and after hearing all of the Monday morning quarterbacks tell us play by play how the Democrats got it wrong and some how magically the Republicans got it right, I feel a need to express myself.  I heard for the umpteenth time today Joe Scarborough proclaim on “Morning Joe” that we are a center, right nation and Barack Obama doesn’t understand that.  He went on and on today about how so many Democratic senators have come to him and expressed their displeasure with Barack Obama.  The part that I am frustrated about is that center, right nation proclamation.  I, for one, have never had any real political representation in my entire life.  That’s hard to believe since I am fifty five years old, but it is true!  I have never had the real opportunity to vote in any election other than a primary for the person that I truly think will best represent me, my beliefs and values and, who for that matter, be best for the country.

I think conservatives have been over represented all of my life and in recent years the far right has had the ability to control much that goes on in politics.  I’m tired of the politics of fear and control.  I’m tired of politicians that talk about gays and lesbian as though they are some crazy creature from some netherworld.  I’m tired of politicians that talk religion and spew all kinds of morality issues and then run off to Argentina to have an affair like Governor Mark Sanford.  I’m tired of politicians that claim to follow the constitution but do everything they can to inhibit it by stomping on the rights of others.

I used to say I am a yellow dog Democrat.  I have also said I’m liberal.  However I am liberal only to a point, as I am liberal on issues but personally quite conservative.  These are labels that we assign to ourselves.  I really think I’m what I would refer to as a humanist.  I really believe in an education for everyone that includes free college to all that qualify and want to go.  I believe in the humanities and an approach in life that includes studying the human condition and the arts.  I am a woman and because of it I feel woefully underrepresented in politics.  We, as women, are a bit more than half of the population but we virtually run nothing when it comes to our national politics.  I am religious, but I don’t want religion to be mixed with politics.  I don’t believe in my tax dollars going to “faith” based initiatives.  I don’t believe in my tax dollars going to any form of private education either.  I definitely want less money going to defense and more money going to education.  I believe that in the pursuit of happiness we all should have health care, not health insurance, but health care.  No one should lose their home over an illness.  I believe in the common good of all, not the common good of the corporations or the rich and powerful.  I believe if you are at the top you owe it to your country to put your hand out and lift up those that are at the bottom!

Some may think I am an idealist but I am not.  I am a realist that believes in humans, not things!  I believe in kindness, not hatred.  I believe in the power of love and what it can do to transform people and even a nation.  It seems to me that there isn’t much real love going on in Washington D.C.  The two parties cannot even have a civil discussion unless it’s after hours.  From all appearances they don’t look like they care too much for each other.  However, I think that is a scam played out on the American people, so they don’t have to really get much done.  They can scream and holler and roll their eyes at each other for the cameras and never accomplish much of anything for the people.  It’s exhausting how little for the people, the masses, is really accomplished by either party.

I do understand the frustration people have and the many reasons they don’t vote.  Many don’t feel it really matters.  I’m starting to feel much the same way.  Why does it matter who we vote for when the new stuff smells and looks a lot like the old stuff?

As I said the new boss is much like the old boss.  President Obama decided to pursue much of the same policies of President Bush which is kind of mind boggling.  We are still involved in two wars, one of which was totally a war of choice and there will be no way we will pursue anyone in the past administration for any kind of crime or misconduct.  Oh, no we’re better than that.  Hearing President Bush recently explaining himself has left me breathless.  I feel like Ricky Ricardo when he’d say to Lucy, “Lucy, you got a lot explaining to do!”  President Bush continues to spread his lies about the war and he is treated with such respect about it all that it’s hard to understand where that line is between Democrats and Republicans and truth telling and lies.  The American people are expected to listen to his lies and take them as truth.  This is his truth which is water boarding is okay because some lawyer told him it was okay.  Could this have been his appointed friend, John Ashcroft?

In this letter I find an awful lot of that squirm test.  We will wiggle here and there and frankly do whatever the hell we want to do because we are the United States of America.  We aren’t bound by any Geneva Convention are we?  Aren’t we better than this?  Aren’t we part of the human race?  What about President Obama?  He ignores all of this.  Even though the Republicans will be dragging out a daily hearing on everything from Obama’s birth certificate to Nancy’s plane, rest assured he will do nothing.

However, he has brought out his “Deficit Panel” and surprise, surprise, the cuts are coming and their not for the wealthy!  Could this be the “Death” panel Sarah Palin kept talking about?  Oh, dear me, they will cut social security, Medicare, Pentagon (which has so much waste who cares) and Middle-class tax breaks.  Imagine that!  You know when Obama appointed Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson as co-chairmen on the deficit commission we shouldn’t be surprised.  Here is a direct quote from Simpson, “And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ’em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!” His response was to a Huffington Post blogger.  This was made this August.  Personally, I don’t think this man should have anything to do with the future of Social Security.  President Obama let him stay on because this is part of the plan.

Remember when Representative Alan Grayson said that Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick?  That was his response to the health care debate.  It seems like the same thing could be said of social security.  They want you to pay into it all of your life and die before you can use it!  None of this will concern the wealthy.  They don’t even need Social Security.  However, most people in the United States count on their Social Security.  For some people, that is all they have to look forward to with low paying jobs.

I said earlier that I have never truly been represented in my entire life by any politician.  The truth is that none of us have been represented.  Lobbyists and corporations are the only ones that get representation.  Back in the seventies when I was a young woman I really thought we had come a long way, but of course now I know that was all bullshit.  We are like an under developed nation when it comes to women in politics at the national level.  We may have some women governors and their may be state representatives but anyone would be hard pressed to name ten women at the national level in politics.  That is just unbelievable.  We have made a giant leap backwards with politics in its current state.  Women have suffered the most losses but the American people are the real losers.  We have no choice in our politics and we are told constantly what we believe.  However, the media doesn’t know me or you.  They feed us the lines they want us to talk to our friends about.  We are played constantly and most people are too stupid to even feel that voice of propaganda.  Our election system is messed up with these two corrupt parties and it looks like I’ll never get the representation I desire and deserve and you won’t either!


  • Posted on October 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Is it religion or is it just a Mac?

I came across this article today and it made me think.

It was funny that it was in the Christian Science Monitor because the other day I was likening Mac lovers to being part of the religion of “Macintology”.  That is a totally made up word by the way.  I made some comment about how Mac people seemed like sheep.  I’m laughing about this because my son is a major computer geek.  He knows anything anyone would want to know about computers.  He gets annoyed with Mac people because they seem to be close minded and elitist.  At least I think that is what he thinks.  He does have an Iphone and I know he likes the Mac platform as he has used it on his PC.  He couldn’t believe all the people at the Mac store in Chicago where he went to get his phone repaired.  He had an appointment but still had to wait an hour and a half.  The people in the store didn’t seem to mind waiting.  The store was packed and he couldn’t believe it in this economy.  It’s interesting that Mac has these marketing ploys where they get everyone worked up over their next big thing.  Whatever the new thing is on October 20th I’m sure there will be many Mac people standing in line like little sheep paying homage and waiting patiently for whatever Mac is selling them!

Looking at the Apple “iCandy” pictures I must admit that Ipad looks like it would be a lot of fun.

I never got into the Apple format because I was always “PC poor”.  I could always buy two or three personal computers for the price of a Mac, so I never had the opportunity or urge to join that religion.

Apple wants you to think different and then follow the other sheep!

Mac people don’t be offended by my little entry here.  I suppose one religion is as good as the next.  At least you believe in something and you’re willing to defend your right to believe in the almightiness of Mac.  I on the other hand will continue to use my PC and never refer to it in any type of elitist tone as it is what it is, a computer, something I use to get to some place else, to create some other place, to learn about the world and to whine about everything from politics to religion.  It’s not my religion.  It’s just a good friend when I have something on my mind!

What Motivates People?

  • Posted on April 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

I just watched this amazing video of a 96 year old man bungee jumping.  I found it strange but amazing.  First of all it is amazing when anyone does something that would really scare the hell out of most normal people.  However, when you’re 96 and doing these crazy, scary things one has to wonder what motivates you to do it?  This all got me thinking about what motivates people?

I know a lot of people are motivated by money either they have it and want to keep it or they don’t have it and want to obtain it.  Some people are motivated by jealousy.  They want something someone else has.  Others are motivated by thrills.  This would be the bungee jumper types and those people that want to climb every mountain they can find.  Some people are motivated by sex.  It defines their every real moment in life.  Some people are motivated by religion.  It is their center for all they do.  As I’m writing this I’m thinking this reminds me of the seven deadly sins:  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.  Maybe these are all of the things that really motivate us.  If you think about it and plug in the word each and every one of these probably motivates many of us.

Some people are motivated by anger.  Anger gets them to do things they might not otherwise do both good and bad.  Anger can be a great motivator when you want to show someone else that you are better than they are at something.  However, then you have to worry about that old “pride” thing.  I’ve never really understood why pride is a sin unless you are holding something over someone else’s head.  You know like “I’m better than you are stuff.”  Jealousy can fall under the old greed and envy sins.  They are all tied together.  We all know people that always think the grass is greener on the other side or those that feel like life has some how been harder for them, and maybe it has.  I don’t know if people are motivated by sloth.  I do know some people that don’t want to put much effort into anything.  We all know people that want to just “get by”.  They aren’t really motivated to push themselves for anything extra.  They aren’t motivated by money or much of the other things that motivate people.  They’re happy when they’re not challenged.  They aren’t motivated to clean up their own environment as that might take too much effort.  Many of us are motivated by food or alcohol or some other vice.  We’re motivated because it tastes or feels good.  It’s a quick fix for anything that might be ailing us.

Obviously, as I’m thinking about it many things can at any one time motivate us.  I have always been motivated by my own moral code and sense of honor and duty.  There is no escaping this thing inside me probably developed from Catholicism.  It’s that little thing that constantly tells me what is right and wrong and heaven forbid that I choose what is wrong.  It’s hard to live with a moral conscious but I’ve grown accustom to it all these years.  It doesn’t mean that I sit in judgment of other people, it just means there is always something in my head weighing most important decisions that I make.

Some people are motivated by other people.  I suppose Barack Obama motivated a lot of people with his “Yes, I can!” mantra.  We know that Hitler was highly motivating as he got many people to follow him.  Other people can be motivating to us whether we realize it or not.  Sometimes when I’m teaching I see my students get motivated by the artwork of other students.  They watch and learn and sometimes it will get them working and feeling like they too can create something wonderful.

I’ve never understood what motivates a lot of people.  I don’t think I’m very good at figuring people out at all.  I am just an observer of this crazy world we live in.  I will quietly think and write about all of the things that I think about.  What motivated me to write today was a crazy 96 year old bungee jumper.  My words cannot express the exhilaration he must have felt flying through the air but I can try to understand what might have motivated him.  Humans are a complicated species that are made up of risk takers and quiet writers that can only dream of the excitement and exhilaration of the oldest bungee jumper!

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