Tuesday, January 10, 2012

President Who in 2012?

I admit, it took me more than one year to write a new post, but this post begins a new chapter in my writing life.  My thoughts lead me to say "President who?"   I mean, what person has the correct qualifications, capabilities and caliber to lead our country.  Will this person be a visionary who sees beyond the current state of affairs toward a better America and can deliver changes?   All too often both political parties vow "they will change Washington DC."   Living in the D.C. area I have one word to that:  "Hogwash!"  It has never happened.   Also, also things are promised, but people forget in the heat of emotion that a U.S. president is not a magician--he/she cannot snap their fingers, things go "poof" and suddenly things are better.  They have to work with the other two branches of government -- the legislative (Congress) and the judicial courts in order to hopefully see some or most of their political promises come true.

But, I'm going to share with you how you CAN change Washington:  Start in your communities.  Work with community groups, with churches, with young people, elder adults, young families, help your friends.  Be there for others.  Gandhi said, "Become the change you want to see".  Well, I am going to say this instead:  "Become the Catalyst that excites others to WANT to change for the better."  When you help a person, even when what you have to say is true and it hurts, it does make a person think--you might have just saved their life and not realized it.  Being a Big Brother/Sister, or being a teacher, a minister, a good parent--all of these make for a better America.  We cannot change ALL of America at once--we have to start at that part of American we can change--the place where we each physically stand.  Look around you--do you see good around you, or is it all bad?  Are there things that can be improved upon?   If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem and frankly, that is NOT the American spirit.   What made this country is the cooperative nature our predecessors had to make it happen.   They did it long before the phone, automobile, train, cell phone, computer, typewriter, steam engine, the incandescent light bulb, refrigeration, air conditioning, airplanes were ever an idea to be invented.  Their ingenuity has been passed down to us.  Can you think of a time in your life that someone made a huge difference in helping you grow and be a better person, a better citizen?  

Now, returning to my original question.  Voting for a president and on down the line to our state and local leaders helps us hire individuals who we believe want our personal best.   We have to seriously learn about each candidate's personal views on issues--ignore the attack ads and do your homework.  Research them for yourselves on respectable websites.  Learn about who they are first as a person.  You have to get past the slick, re-polished, fabricated image you see on television and the internet.  In order to vote, you have to make an informed decision for yourself--NO one else can, will, or should do that for you.  Voting because you like what little you learn about them in your evening news is not enough--you have to become an interactive voter. Please don't wait until the primary elections in your state of residence or at the polls in November--it is too late then.  Start now (January, 2012) reading about them.   Ask yourself the following question:

1.  Will the candidate I read about truly live up to his/her words spoken, and why?   If I don't feel comfortable with the answer, why not?

2.  How much background history do I possess about the candidate, their political beliefs and how they arrived at them?   Does this candidate mesh with my own political beliefs?

3.  Is the candidate sincere and completely honest (now, that's a twist!) in all they say?  

4.  Are they being realistic in their campaign promises they are stating they will accomplished if elected?

5 . What are your doubts and reservations about the candidate, and why?

6.  Finally, will you be able to sleep at night after they are elected?  Remember you have to live with your voting decision.

Notice that no actual candidate was spoken about here.   That is not the point of this blog.  The point of this blog is to give you suggestions, ideas and tips to help you in your decision-making.   Use your freedom to think to lead to your freedom to vote.   If you follow these steps you will reach the epiphany moment when you will know who you want for president.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Better Late than Never!

This blog was created several years ago, and I thought I would never find it again.  I wrote many pieces focusing on women-centered issues.  But, I am finding that many issues also affect everyone.  The important thing is being able to bring awareness.  Awareness on a social justice level.  Awareness on a very caring level.  Awareness on the world stage level.  Because every issue, little or great, public or private, affects all of us in some ripple effect.  World government revolutions start with one person convincing another person, and so on, and so on.  

Our world needs change.  Lots of it.  Too many are unemployed and poor.  Too many are lonely and without love.  Too many are crying out for justice and only receiving a deaf ear.  Too many still live under political repression and denial of basic human rights.  Too much focus on wealthy sports athletes who earn more money obscenely per year than all of the U.S. governors and the U.S. president combined (this is an unscientific answer).   Too much focus on worshipping certain leaders in the U.S. Congress, too them too much power and credence and way too much giving any political party at the expense of the people who voted them into office.  Too many senators and congresspeople receiving money for useless projects, while that money needs to drive change for America into a better position.  One that provides good, suitably-paying, steady jobs that will NOT be outsourced to every other country.  One that will make sure that children never suffer because money was not adequately placed in educational programs that prepare them for a globalized world. 

I will write more pieces as time goes forward.  Please feel free to read my previous posts from several years ago--I stopped writing in 2007, but those pieces are still here.  Whatever we do, let's make 2011 a year of significant change.  We will all be better for it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Long Time Coming

Oh My!!! She's Alive!!!! You all can jest; in fact, I took a very long break, and it has been a very busy time in my life! I will do all I can to keep you informed on issues. Some of my readers commented my texts were negative--however reporting on issues truthfully does involve not-so-pleasant things. Dr. Phil McGraw, in his "Life Strategies" says "We cannot change what we don't acknowledge." A surgeon cannot repair a broken body unless what is broken has been diagnosed. The world's problems cannot be resolved unless there is discussion to bring the problem to the surface, share it, brainstorm about it, and then work to resolve it. When this blog was first created, it was shaped solely as a woman-centered blog. Some say feminist; I say for all women. Not all women are feminists--nor should they be forced to become one. We have unique social, emotional, mental, physical, financial, and familial differences that separate us from men. We also have different expectations of us than those for men. We also have different needs, wants, desires, and aspirations in life. We want to celebrate our femaleness, our womanhood, our motherhoods, our daughterhoods, and our sisterhoods. We want to believe that we count in this male-dominated world, and hope one day for a world that is not so testosterone poisoned. I write this blog for our ancestral mothers, our own birth mothers, for our sisters, our daughters, our girlfriends, our nieces, our granddaughters, so that all of us worldwide may bond together in unity, friendship, community and love. How many times have you heard "We girls gotta stick together"? Countless. I promise to you my readers that I will not let up on issues; I will be as direct as I was before. I will not waver in separating truth from fiction, nor will I use this blog as a bashing of men. We need men--there are plenty who still make their gender proud. Women can discriminate against women; cause hurt and harm against other women too. Let's be creative too--let's begin working on a better world now--there has been too much bloodshed, war, violence, crime, poverty, homelessness, hunger, depression, loneliness, indifference, cruelty and hatred. Since these things are written here, let us begin to eradicate these things one and for all. No more Darfurs; No more Guantanamo prisons; no more torture; how about more monies being spent on affordable health care, affordable child care, education for young mothers, assistance for elder adults, and after-school children's programs. Let's work together to eliminate gang activity and its' related violence. Let's do make sure our mothers and children have food first to feed them; and let's begin to say we have a sick world that needs help. Are you ready to brainstorm?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Your Personal Life

On the first Tuesday of each November, elections are usually held for major federal, state and local races. We elect candidates who, in our best judgment, will fulfill the campaign promises they have made to gain our trust to win the coveted public office they so desire. We hear and see the 'mud-slinging' ads about a candidate's opponent; we listen and read about professional organizations who lend their endorsement for candidates. With all this happening, what are we to do and believe? How should we approach an election? After all, we get overwhelmed with the 15-to-30 second ads that don't say much, are usually incorrect, and try so hard to make us vote a certain way. First, your vote is YOUR personal endorsement. However, a recommendation before proceeding: Some time this weekend, sit in quiet, and look at your family (parents, spouse, significant other, children), look around your home, look at your bills, and reflect on events you have experienced first-hand. Ask these questions: Do I have affordable housing? Do I or my family have good-paying, stable, long-term jobs? Do I have affordable health care that provides sufficient coverage for everyone? Do I have to struggle and juggle the bills to get by, because work is no longer plentiful? Do I agree what my current elected officials have done, promise to do? And most importantly, like a job performance evaluation, have they met the minimum promises/requirements I expected them to reach. Elections are not something "out" there--Elections begin with YOU! Your needs, dreams, wishes, goals, freedoms, liberties, justice--all begin with you. YOU have the ability to learn about what the candidates believe in, their voting record if not a new candidate. Contact your local League of Women Voters to obtain a voter's guide. If you do not vote and were able to legally, don't complain. You then chose to ignore the power your vote has with all the others. If you do vote, vote with knowledge about the candidates. If you read the soup labels to know what ingredients are in it, or read instruction manuals for your job, you can also read about your candidates. Please consider this: You are voting for more than yourself--you are bonding and joining with all others of like mind who share your mindset, and want a better world. Please don't avoid this--it will affect your destiny personally.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Crushing the Crime of Human Trafficking

There is a global, pervasive and very insidious network of smuggling predominately women, especially beautiful women, from their home countries to a distant one. Usually the countries of destination are Asian or European; but increasing numbers of African women are also being taken against their will as well. These women are forced to work the sex industry, where they are exposed to every humiliating behavior imaginable. Many sadly are murdered in the end. The vicious, barbaric and inhumane treatment these women receive is as bad as any person confined to a torture camp. If they don't perform as their captors demand, they are beaten; if they don't bring in enough income, they are tortured; and if they cause problems, they are raped mercilessly. The United Nations is working on a clear strategy to end this practice. Women have been found bound, gagged, and stuffed alive into intermodal shipping containers; stowed away under armed guard. They do not usually have passports or any official papers, thereby leaving many imprisoned in the country they end up. If they get pregnant, they risk being killed; and worse, many contract HIV and many other contagious sexually-transmitted diseases. There were articles recently expressing concern that the human trafficking was so visible that the demand for these women surfaced during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. There is not a single country in any continent except Antartica--where human trafficking is not a problem. The abuses are so horrific that this author does not want to list graphic content. Many women are young naive girls seeking work, who get lured in with "get rich quick" schemes, promises for lots of travel, lots of new friends, and are promised they will be "satisfied" and be "well-loved", and the nonsense that this is a "career of a lifetime not to be passed up." All the usual "too-good-to-be-true" statements. Law enforcement agencies are having a difficult struggle breaking up the trafficking rings and bringing the members to justice. We as women must step up and put a stop to this awful sadistic crime! We must keep on Congress and our respective state legislatures to enact and enforce tougher laws against this disgusting behavior. We have to say "NO" and step up--if we don't, then human trafficking will go on and on. Please read up on this growing crime, and please protect yourselves and your friends from being lured in who may be lonely, down on their luck, needing money, and are vulnerable to this kind of predator. It can happen in your community -- yes, even in the United States as well. So, be alert and watch out for this.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Live Free, Live Healthy, and Take Pride in Yourself

Compiling from many conversations over years, writing these ideas here gave me hope, purpose, and strength. It is never easy to write something what I am about to. I hope it comes across as not preachy and more an "atta-girl" posting. Since the aim and focus of this blog is on women, and our issues, I will direct the comments to women. However, many pieces can be gleaned and adapted by men as well. Women have borne plenty of the burden of abuse from partners--whether it be emotional, verbal, alcohol, drugs, physical violence, sexual, etc., since time began. And women, too, have abused themselves. There is not one of us that has either been abused or been an abuser in some form. And yes, there are those women have been both. Being one way, the other way or both ways drains us, makes us physically and mentally affected adversely, and affects our ability to heal, thrive, survive and grow. We want those around us to be healthy--maybe if the one we love would change themselves and stop drinking, for example--things would be better. Or, if we just ignore the abuse we've received--rationalizing that, if we overlook a partner's abusive behavior toward us, it can be chalked up to only a bad phase in their life. How many times have you held on to someone who is like this abuser, thinking it is better to have this person than be alone? How many times did you convince yourself that you could change them? How many times have you cried, screamed, been angry, been depressed, been hurt, been manipulated, and been lied to by that person who is this way? How many more times are you going to permit them to bargain with you to give the next chance after a billion or so you already have given them? If you are an abuser of some type, have you done these things too, and what are you doing to bring lasting, healthful, safe, and total renovation of your earthly existence to stop it toward yourself and others around you? You can be happy, and joyful. It will take hard work, sweat, tears, and allowing yourself to learn from others like yourself, to network, to become accountable, to believe via actions (not words) in a new lifestyle. Healing can only occur when you start clearing out inside yourself all that is not okay, that is not healthy, admit yourself that nothing works, and lay out a concrete plan to make the necessary life conversion. You are not here for just yourself--you are here for others --be it parents, spouse, children, friends, and colleagues--we all need you and you need us. None of us have all the answers, or a magic pill, or the ability to snap the fingers and "poof" all is magically better. But together, we can hold up each other, love each other, cry with each other, share ideas with each other, and strengthen each other. Women have an amazing way of connecting, bonding, sharing and networking. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be open, to learn new ways and explore methods we've used that we declare don't work, and devise new strategies that do. This author spent the majority of her life as a negative person. It was a nasty habit, and it still can happen. It also clouded many wonderful friendships, and impaired relationships. Finding this out opened more things to be worked upon internally. Dealing with anger, self-esteem, and depression management were key components in this amazing personal odyssey to my personal growth. What works for this author will not be the same for the next person. We each much find our personal lifemap, redraw our unique blueprints, and chart new directions. When healthy growth takes place, pain cannot be avoided or evaded (paraphrasing from the late Dr. M. Scott Peck's book "The Road Less Traveled.") If you have been a victim of abuse or an abuser yourself, personal one-on-one therapy is necessary. Being honest with an impartial therapeutic professional is critical to your successful mental health self-care and recovery. Coming clean to those you love and those who have hurt you or you have hurt, is vital. At any rate, life as you have lived, cannot continue without someone eventually being hurt. Saying to yourself that nothing is going on is a great lie--and lying to yourself is worse than lying to someone else. Remember that every storm has an end, and sunny skies appear again--it is your choice to either steer clear after it, or steer again into another one. You are the custodian of your choices, thereby making you the custodian of your consequences. What you keep is what you asked for--no one else is responsible but you. What can you do differently today about your life you haven't done yet that breaks the cycle you are in? Time to start now--tomorrow may never come--don't wait.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

If Billions Can be Spent on War, Why Can't Trillions be Spent on Peace?

There seems to be this blood-thirsty, war-mongering, delusion that fighting every battle tete-a-tete is going to produce peace around the world. There also seems to be this attitude that if an enemy is beaten back, blown up, attacked, etc., then war and its goals become achievable. But, has anyone thought about the real aftermath? Yes, a group may be defeated, but they will regroup for another day. More seeds of hatred have been planted in people. But when are we going to stop and say, "Do we truly want peace in the world?" "Can we truly co-exist with each other on this fragile planet despite our social, religious, political, economical and varied cultural differences?" What do we really gain by killing so many people--only that--killing more people. But the very issues at the heart of the debate and differences between the groups -- remain intact and unresolved. The world has to learn that these different groups have a right to their own autonomy, their own culture, their own beliefs, and a right to land to live upon. It is not right that any group be oppressed, suppressed, bounced from country-to-country while others enjoy living on the land they take for granted. People are angry and downcast because they are not taken seriously for their authentic needs for food, shelter, civil human rights, cultural recognition. Taking the "not in my back yard" attitude does not improve conditions, nor does it magically make the problem go away. Avoiding and evading means we refuse to enact fair social justice, and yes, the problem will come back to haunt us. Why can we spend more for peace? Helping groups who don't have the money or resources? Helping others who are in poverty thorough well-paid schools, and universities? Families in all countries affected by war, strife, economic downturn, and greed are being categorically denied fair wages, affordable housing, good healthy affordable food, clean water, and gainful employment. Too many families have lost husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, close friends--to all the needless violence of war, murder, crime, etc. How much more bloodshed will it take before we realize that taking innocent life does not and cannot solve the deep core issues that lead to fighting? We have only one time on this earth each of us to live, and one planet to live on. Take care of it and save lives--it might be your own that gets saved.

When the Predator is a Professional in a Trusted Profession

In the past several years we have seen, heard, or read horrid stories of girls, women and minor-age boys being brutally raped, sexually abused in unmentionable ways, and even murdered. It is terrible enough that it happens as it is--but it is much worse and more when the perpetrator is a priest, minister, rabbi, medical doctor, dentist, male nurse, law enforcement, psychologist, or psychiatrist--the type of person women seek out for help through very difficult situations. It is very important that the numbers are incredibly small for this to occur in these professions--but there are still enough that abuse and misuse their professional background to mislead, gain the trust of women clients--only to sexually abuse them, rape them, and cause them more physical, emotional and spiritual harm. Individuals like this need to be prosecuted, not be allowed to practice ever again in any helping profession, be denied freedom and be incarcerated for life. Recently on NBC's "Dateline NBC" there was a rabbi and a six-grade school teacher who were caught soliciting sex from minor girls, who even did disgusting acts online and sent filthy pictures of themselves to the supposed "girl". A special education teacher was also caught in the sting. Separate from all this the leader of an extremelyfundamentalist Mormon group is on the FBI "Top Ten Most Wanted List" for sexual crimes again minor girls. There is NO place in society where these offenders will ever be trusted again even if released from prison. No child should ever be left around them. The victims will spend thousands of dollars getting treatment, will feel damaged and scarred for life -- since their innocence and dignity have been stolen from them. You could be a married woman who even has been seduced by your religious leader, and it cost you your relationship with your husband, left you feeling used, and also hurt so much so that you left the place of worship you loved so much. People in authority must bear greater burden and responsibility by keeping a professional distance from their congregations, patients, or citizens they serve. You could be a single woman who sought out counselling, was seduced by the counselor with inappropriate behavior, and have buried the terrible assault feeling it was your fault--it was not, nor will it ever be your fault. We have a duty to put these criminals behind bars for life--how many more people will suffer by that person that hurt you if you don't come forward to the good police officials who have an honest integrity to protecting the general public? If you have been assaulted, come forward to another woman you trust -- suffering in silence only makes the perpetrator win--and your life pays a greater price. There is still a good world here--let us show you that good, decent, moral, caring, loving world by letting us fight for you, stand up for you, and hunt down these predators, convict them, and place them where they can never hurt you or others ever again. We are very much here for you!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Holding the Torch for Women's Issues

Think about the following question: "Am I satisfied with how I am honored, respected, and treated as a woman, and more importantly, are the women I know around me getting the same?" How many do you know that don't get fairly treated; get abused in a multitude of ways; get attacked, raped, or murdered; get left with the children while the father doesn't pay child support; are not getting proper medical care, get misdiagnosed for illnesses because the doctor is male and doesn't understand women's medical issues; get told they must cover their entire bodies so men won't be tempted to lust, while the men abuse women; and finally, how many women do you know who are victims of any form of molestation, ranging from childhood violations to adult rape to genital mutilation? All too often how many times were boys/men excused for their bad behavior toward women with the phrase "Boys will be boys"? In China, baby girls were being aborted simply for being female; girls in Africa are having their clitorises ripped out; In parts of Africa the medicine men tell HIV-infected men to have sex with virgin girls, no matter what age, whether forced on her or not-and if they do their HIV or AIDS illness will go away! How about in May/June timeframe 11 first-grade age boys sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl at school in the United States!!! It seems that the 3 major religions have done so much damage to girls and women by suppressing, oppressing, discriminating, and treating us inferiorly simply for having a vagina. Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Catholics and Evangelical Christians (for the most part) refuse to let women be ordained. Look at the recent election of a woman to be the worldwide head of the Anglican communion--and many people want to balk at her leadership simply because of their prejudice she is female!!!! All of this is unholy, unacceptable and undeserved misogyny. Well, it time to say "Women will be Women"!! We have to stand strong together, call for action, tell ourselves not to accept the abuses/pain/damage, trust our Creator to help us, fight for social activism relevant to women's rights and causes. Who decided that men should be the strong leader? Who decided and approve that men were more competent than women in matters of leadership? Who said we have to submit, subjugate, and subordinate to men, simpy because they have a penis???? Who said women cannot be politicians, CEOs, bishops, priests, rabbis, heads of households? All because of having a vagina? Let's get real here--the world's majority population is female--why do we let this continue? Why do we give them permission to perpetrate this myth that we women are not able, capable, or strong enough to do these things? Too many of us are suffering too often in silence. It is very okay to speak up when there will be those who say "a woman should be seen and not heard". It is very okay to fight for justice so that you, your mother, your sister(s), your girlfriends, your women work colleagues get the much-needed civil and human rights accorded by the Creator to every female. Call a spade a spade--women are NOT free yet, and are NOT well represented or protected worldwide. Please visit websites on the main blog site to learn more. Make a difference, change a life, do the correct thing--elevate the dignity of ALL women worldwide by speaking out, acting up, and refusing to accept the status quo of the myth that "it's a man's world"--because it isn't -- it is a woman's world too!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Real Assault on the Nuclear Family

How many times in the past year have you seen news stories depicting how the U.S. Congress promoted war, but failed to meet the basic needs of the average American citizen by ignoring the critical issues affecting the everday home? For example: Affordable Health Care plans--has anything been done? Another--ensuring affordable housing for ALL Americans--NOT just for the wealthiest. Still another--Jobs--yes -- JOBS--protecting not only them by keeping them in the States, but making sure that people are paid a minimum decent wage that keeps up with the cost of living in these expensive United States. Another: protecting retirement and pension plans, instead of sucking them dry to pay the top executives of companies. How about really proving to Americans (yes, we are NOT dumb or naive) WHY the gasoline prices increased in 8 years from 87 cents per gallon of 87 octane to over $3.00 per gallon--and we live in the same world as then, while the retired head of a major oil company is receiving 400 MILLION DOLLARS as his retirement package????? Where this writer lives her utility companies are raising their rates between 38 percent and 72 percent!!! And yet, wages are NOT increasing--of course--the U.S. Congress blessed itself again by giving themselve ANOTHER annual salary raise, while voting down any increase of the minimum wage! Too many American families have paid huge sacrifices for the blunders, goofs, failures and bad decisions that the U.S. Federal Government has made in the past 10 years (Clinton included!) It's time that we step up, vote into office people that DO care, that DON'T want lobbyist payments, that WILL represent their constituency, and WILL MAKE sure that legal Americans out of work get first dibs on ANY open job available instead of rewarding illegal immigrant behavior. Our own children, who are in high school or college, and those of us who have experienced hard financial times, deserve even the supposed jobs that the current president says we will not do---This country was built by Americans, for Americans, and through Americans doing these jobs! It is shameful that greed runs the U.S. Government, not the Constitution. It is wrong that the value of money has replaced the value of law, and it is terrible that liberty/fair justice is affordable by the filthy rich, while the average low-to-middle class American citizen (the majority of this country) cannot get attorneys, or get social services assistance, or get training for jobs. Instead of a fair system "based" on the U.S. Constitution, it is now based on who you know, who likes you, and even by what connections you have. This is NOT the America that is in the history book--It has become the Home of the Illegal and the Land of the Loophole. What a travesty of justice!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Feminism is Highly Misunderstood

When you hear the word "feminism", what image and emotion come to mind? When you hear the word, does it make you think of only pro-choice, or abortion? Does the word make you think of radicalism? Does it make you think of anti-male thoughts and/or male-bashing? What else does this word make you think of? The word to this author has multiple connotations. First, feminism, in its purest form, is derived from "female." It is a consciousness-raising term denoting all things pertaining to females. It is a celebration of the many varied forms of femininity expressed. Feminism is a term also that expresses the unity of women worldwide. The term separates females from males, and identifies the social, political, spiritual, emotional, cultural, and physical differences women have, and must face everyday. Feminism also acknowledges from the previous sentence that we have struggles in the arenas mentioned. Freedom, liberty, equality, fairness, proper parity, sound education, good job pay, and sound political representation as women are still a distance away from us, even in the United States, and more so outside this country. We are reminded that gender discrimination, rights to make our own informed choices on various issues (and we don't even have to discuss abortion here), sexual harrassment, sexual predators, and violence against women are far from solved. We also have too many women in poverty. Just last week, here in the United States this author learned of the tragic and horrible conditions/treatment women deal with when living in polygamist communities where teenage girls and young women become a man's property and subject to his abuses. Learning about this tells us that our fight for women's dignity is not over. Making sure that all women obtain excellent, unbiased, competent medical diagnoses with top-notch health care is part of our struggle. Making sure that women and girls worldwide are not denied equal and fair school education is paramount for us feminists. The focus of this posting shows that you can be a feminist by fighting all the human rights denial that we face daily, and our sisters worldwide have had stolen from them. Please remember that feminism should never be about one facet of women's issues. Getting involved to stop hunger, poverty, disease, providing jobs for women, education, and health care does mean you are a feminist--a practical feminist. We cannot discriminate and blame men for all the problems--we have to get after women who look the other way, who do cause other women harm. We must get involved! Being a feminist is NOT a bad thing--it benefits all of us. Being a feminist means being a leader for helpless, impoverished, under-educated, and abused women who don't get a voice for themselves in many parts of the world. Take action, not a seat; take a role, not an excuse; take heart, not hopelessness--we can and we will make a better, safer world for all our sisters--only if YOU do YOUR part in the sisterhood.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Scourge of Violence Against Women

Any day, any time, anywhere, there are news pieces all over the world that covers a new assault, whether it be physical or sexual assault, against a woman. Even more tragically and horribly, the numbers of murders of women, particularly pregnant women, are increasing. It seems that the value of the human person that any female is, no matter her age, is ignored by the men who vilelessly and violently harm them. There is this awful assumption by men that we are "open-season" to them for abuse, rape, attack, violence, molestation, and homicide. It would be better to have the men who put us on pedestals than the men who wouldn't think twice about putting us into a grave. It is far from acceptable to disgrace any human's dignity or violate their most intimate sacred space--their bodies. We are not property, nor are we doormats, nor are we punching bags. Perpetrators need to be brought to the strictest justice, and if the laws are not strict enough, then we have to make them so. There must be a change in the restraining order laws to be amended so they read that any one who harms another person violently must be detained until the trial. There must be better education for boys and men how to communicate with females. Most women acknowledge that restraining orders do nothing to keep the attacker-on-bail away from them who have been hurt. This has happened to 2 girlfriends of mine. Violent crimes against women need to be spotlighted and exposed to demonstrate that protections must be improved. How many more women have to die before the safety of women is improved? How many more crimes do we have to hear happening to women before we get involved? This author's perspective is that the men who commit the crimes are misogynistic to begin--we pose some threat to them personally. There is way too much domestic violence occurring worldwide--even in the U.S. every day. Please don't wait until you have to bury a girlfriend who was murdered by her boyfriend/husband/father/male friend to get involved. Learn about domestic violence--help out in a battered women's shelter, a homeless shelter for women, etc. Educate the boys and men in your lives that help is available for them if they have the tendencies to be violent against women. It is preventable and treatable. We must work diligently to stop the violence--It's time to...your own life, your sister's , your mother, and your best girlfriend's lives all depend on us fighting back.

Desperate House Lives

Forget the bubble bath commercial that "takes you away" from all your day's hassles, troubles, foibles, and faux pas! We lead wild, wonderful, wacky, lives, don't we, Ladies? How many roles do you juggle with, struggle with, and still manage to get it all done? Sleep????? Never heard of it or experienced it... Here are some state-of-the-art inventions we need: First, a self-cleaning house: Like its' counterpart, the self-cleaning oven, it cleans away dirt, dust, mold, mildew, lazy helpmates, etc. Second - computerized makeup machine: You sit, stare at a special computer screen, press the start button and it sprays your face with perfect makeup in the right places--right down to the eyeliner!!! Third -- The Clone Machine: The machine allows you to make many copies of yourself so you can be the soccer mom, the ballet mom, the cleaning mom, and still go get your nails done, pedicure done, and work your job -- ALL at the same time!!! Fourth -- Portable Spa Room -- Push a button--- a little box expands to the size of a room, complete with sauna, attendants, a masseuse, oils, and all you need for a full-size body treatment....when done, step back, push the button and it folds neatly into the size of a compact makeup container. Did you get to laugh a little? Don't we all daydream what we'd like to have that would make it easier? But then, if we had it all handed to us, we would never experience the miracles of how we do so many things as women so wonderfully well, right? Take a moment, admire what you do, what your girlfriends do, and thank your mother--she was your starting point and first mentor in successful womanhood.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What Are You Doing to Get Involved with Women's Rights?

We are all busy women--needing roller skates, organizers, even a clone of ourselves to get everything done we have to do daily. We also are still seeking parity, respect, equality, honor, respect, equal representation, and justice. We want changes that bring equal pay for women to every man's dollar earned; we want all child support paid on time and fairly; we want women's rights throughout the world to be treated as critical human rights issues. We want all women to enjoy liberty, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom to play sports, and freedom of life as females...Right? We also don't want us to be property of men or their objects, right? Sadly, this is far from resolved. Too many women in many parts of the world cannot drive, cannot work, cannot get an education, cannot get fair justice for perpetrators who commit horrific acts of violence against them--simply for being female! For the majority of readers on this blog, you are all champions in this cause that we need to do legwork, make phone calls, write letters, etc. to get the message that women are NOT there yet.... We have come a long way, but still have an even longer way to go. We cannot sit yet on our laurels. Our sisters globally need us to remind the powers-that-be that they want the same freedoms we now enjoy. Today on the main blog page here are listed many influential women's groups and feminist causes you can write, contact, and help out. These groups are important to us; setting aside abortion -- even the feminist organizations need help with OTHER women's issues that impact our lives. They need us. This notion that being a feminist means being an abortionist automatially is a myth. You can disagree with abortion and still be a feminist. We are not here to malign men, bash them, hate them--we are here to promote our cries for freedom, justice, and for the voices of our sisters who cannot speak out without retaliation. We may live in a male-dominated world-but we don't have to operate as they do. We need to reshape the world to function from a woman's point of view--and be fearless, strong, helpful, creative, and celebrate the joys and blessings that femininity brings to this earth. Being feminine is never a weakness--rather an undiscovered strength and asset yet to be mined. It is a diamond to be worn proudly; it is a priceless picture of nurturance, birthing, children, family, unity among sisters globally, and we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder via the internet. For years the letters on the internet "WWW" stood for "World Wide Web". Today let us reclaim the anacronism and change it to mean "Wonderful Womens' Web"!!!!! Read as many links provided on the blog, and connect on to other links at the sites provided. Become empowered, educated, informed, and respond. You want change? It has to begin at the grassroots with us. If we don't ask, demand, and expose, how can we see results? We are NOT a group of pretty faces--we are a group of brilliant, dyanamic, creative, wonderful women--don't forget that!!! Today, call your best girlfriend, email her, whatever you do--tell her you are committed to improving women's and girl's lives even if it is only sending an email, writing a letter, joining a group online devoted to causes--and ask her to do the same. Together we can feminize the world to achieve peace.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Washington, We have a Problem!!!

This day is a sad in human rights in the United States. The major news media are reporting that the National Security Agency has been secretly recording domestic state-to-state telephone calls of millions of Americans for several years. This news, following adamant denials that such a program was being used, is chilling. Doesn't this smack of the same behavior that totalitarian regimes the U.S. criticized for many years? And do you feel your privacy has stripped naked too at the same time? Didn't you think that we WERE a democracy, who considered itself the champion of liberty, justice, and voters having rights? And yet, it appears our very federal government is lying to us, concealing its illegal activities, and stripping our rights through the Patriot Act. All these actions make the U.S. Constitution worthless--we are losing our voice, rights, privileges, and personal privacy. Not only that, we have lost many jobs and companies to other countries. Who does this country truly belong to, and what does it really stand for? What good is it to fight to bring democracy to other countries, when, for example, the U.S. Congress for 200 years has denied a population the size of Vermont--the city of Washington D.C.--their voting rights and representation in the U.S. Congress--500,000 without voting rights? Or how the U.S. Government could care less for women's rights or minority rights. We have to clean up our own house before we clean up someone else's! Please ask yourself this: How can we feel good about our freedoms when even in our Nation's Capital a half-million cannot vote for equal representation in the U.S. Congress, yet establish and push for a new Iraqi government, replete with full voting privilieges? How can we feel good that only 5 percent of our current representation in the U.S. Congress is female? How can we feel good that our government will provide medical help to other countries, yet refuses to create a low-cost medical support system to aid the poorest of our own nation who cannot afford to pay for even the most basic treatment? How can we feel good about fighting a war, and when these fine soldiers return and retire, that they won't have a decent veteran's medical system to support them. It is in danger of being cut by the President drastically. Why did 25 million Americans have to resort to getting their food from charitable food banks in 2005? Why have 23 million American jobs been shipped overseas? Who really cares about us or you? You can say it is not your problem--until it happens to you. Domestic issues are being swept under the rug in favor of giving the money to the wealthiest. How can we feel good about that? Call your Congressional representative--tell them America's priorities are misguided, and we must deal with the homefront issues now....too many years of ignoring them is enough!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Need Health Benefits? Your Life and Your Family's Will Depend on Them!

In the past 6 years, health benefits have evaporated for millions more Americans, bringing the estimated total without health benefits to nearly 46 million. You and I know people who need medical care, dental care, emotional care, but are delayed, put off, and denied simply for being uninsured. Too many stories of people in ambulances shuttled from one hospital to another hospital simply for lacking a health plan. I know of several people like this--one woman has been to the emergency room for a foot injury, only to be given a few kind words, examined, given a pain prescription she cannot afford, and referred to a doctor she calls during the week--only to be told that if she has the magic several-hundred-dollar fee payable at the time of service, can she receive treatment. She cannot sleep at night, she hobbles on her foot in grimacing pain--all because she is not in the elite who have good jobs that provide benefits. It only takes one medical crisis to wreck affluent families. For families that are in poverty, forget it! They won't get good care. In the case of the woman I mentioned, she went to a county's community medical clinic--only to be told she has to wait 4 months!!!! Don't people care about others in need, in pain, or have people become a nuisance, a bother, and a liablity? The decision-makers who arbitrarily decide who qualify for services obviously have not had medical crises themselves. And If they have, shame on them for being hippocritcal. I am not a physician, but does not the first rule in the Hippocratic Oath state "First, do no harm"? If we cannot get treatment, are the doctors promoting harm and further injury? Our government is looking the other way--saying it's not their problem. What happens if it it was your child, your husband, your boyfriend, your significant other--and you witnessed first-hand their denial of service--you would hurt inside and angst for them. My friend is one example--you can fill in all the other examples with other people. Something needs to be done--and not take forever to get reformed. The problem is, managed care is big business. Your coverage or lack-of--is decided by people who never stepped foot on a medical university--you are a business decision--never mind how sick you may be. They don't care about YOU--they care about getting their money. They have executives to pay, staff to keep on their payrolls--your medical problems are a big risk to their success. They won't care about your outcome--if they can prevent payment, or paying at all--they gladly will do it. It's their job to find the right excuse/justification/reason you don't qualify for care--even if you are able to pay high co-pays and monthly premiums. And the U.S. Congress refuses to help us--they can send billions to every other country, yet strip every dollar needed to help the poor and destitute in need of medical care. What does it matter to them? They are filthy-rich--and they don't care about us anyway. As long as they put up a fake appearance of caring, and hide the votes that they don't care to fund medical care for the millions who need it. Why is it necessary to do this? The poorest among us cannot function healthfully or safely without antibiotics; the illnesses they can get can cause great harm. For example, drug-resistant tuberculosis is prevalent within the homeless population. What about the poorest children who cannot get routine immunizations. Why did Iowa have over 240 cases of Mumps this year, when in years' past, only 5 cases average annually? Please don't tell me money is the reason we cannot care--if we are the richest country on the earth, then we have the ample resources to keep all our own people safe--it's called "taxpayer dollars" that need to be used on our own. If we can funnel billions of dollars to every other country, then we can take care of citizens here too. There is absolutely no excuse for this happening. Before you criticize this posting-be careful--it only takes ONE medical crisis or job loss to put YOU in the same boat as the 46 million. We don't need a band-aid solution--we need surgery on the whole system--and it's in critical condition.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Human Beings Must Never Be Treated This Way!!!

In the past several years news features, both written and visual, have exposed the horrible tragedy of children being used for unmentionable sexual activity by adults. In the United States there are so many convicted sexual predators on parole and in communities that it is clear the most vulnerable, our children, are under attack from these individuals. Convictions and time served does not change the mind of these people. We do everything we can to keep them safe from inappropriate images, movies, television shows, and we seek to protect them from all things they are not mentally mature to handle given their young, naive ages, yet.... Too many solicit these children on the internet through reviling conversations that even a mature adult would find offensive. Treatment options do not work; permanent incarceration does. Our children need to grow up to enjoy their innocence, to be kids, to not become someone's perverted pleasure source. These delicate, treasured, little children must be guarded at all costs. Keeping the computer(s) they use in full view of your supervision, observing their activities, discussing with them the proper rules of computer usage, as well as teaching them it is not only okay, but necessary to report any and all strange conversations they have. Parents should be able to contact the internet provider who provides the chat room services and request printouts of conversations your children have had with people online. Their safety depends on your vigilance, discipline, and love. Talking with them about any words, phrases, and images they receive not only keeps you firmly involved, but you can use these moments to teach them how NOT to respond on the computer, and how to report it. Help them report these incidents without fear of punishment by you--otherwise they will keep the conversations secret. Too many children have been harmed, and worse killed by these perpetrators. It is clearly time for stronger legislation that for a first-offense to solicit a minor for illicit sexual purposes should be a minimum of 25 years in prison with no parole. Push your legislators to enact these laws. Also, those currently free on parole need to be strongly forced to register as a sex offender, and they be kept from all children. You may think this writing is harsh, but sadly the statistics demonstrate they are more likely to be repeat offenders. And now, for us women: We must push for an end to plea bargains that convicted rapists receive in many states for probation or short-term prison sentences. This loophole must be tightened--they are a high-risk repeat offender. We cannot afford to put them on the streets again, knowing they violated a woman once, and very well, would do it again, given the chance. Children and women are not objects to be used illicitly; they are who the Creator made for a specific dignified purpose and for that purpose only. No other human being has the right to steal away their purity, dignity, and their self-esteem. Stopping this violence cold in its tracks with stiff prison sentences is the only way to protect people. It is our civic and moral duty.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Creating a Strong Unified Voice

Are you jobless? Are you working poor? Are you near homelessness? Are you feeling disempowered, helpless, frustrated, angry, bewildered, invisible and unwanted--simply because our leaders ignore us and forget our real needs for us Americans? Are you tired of worrying how your children will get a sound, quality, safe education? Are you worried about how you will pay your bills, how will you maintain affordable healthcare, keep housing affordable, how you will avoid bankruptcy, and how you will avoid foreclosure? You are all these things, and much more, aren't you? Of course, you are! How many of you are wondering which bill you pay this month, or what food you can afford to buy, or which food bank do you visit this month. And if you aren't at that level yet, you worry about how long, if you have one, your job will remain in this country. And for many of you, if you are working, how many jobs -- 2 to 4 -- will you have to have just to pay for the basic things you need. The voices of all of us are unifying. We are wailing, screaming, raging, and we want safe, legal change in how the laws are used to help us and protect us. The most important thing you can do today is ask your girlfriends--give them a copy of this posting -- and ask them--"What are YOU willing to do to help change this country for the better?" Pick up the phone--write letters--send emails--to ALL your elected officials for your community, county, state, and U.S. Congress--and IF their positions do NOT help you, then VOTE--VOTE for representatives who WILL. VOTE your heart, your pocketbooks, not religious hot-button issues. You have to live with your choices and how they will be once elected. Contact women's organizations--learn what the issues are -- ask others to help you understand if you don't--but don't sit a single moment on the sidelines--You, your spouse (if you have one); your children--and your neighbors--all must unite as one voice calling for jobs to be returned; for homes and rental units made affordable; for affordable health care plans available for all; and for wiser use of taxpayers' money to be spent on these domestic issues. We cannot afford America in its current condition--can we? Be honest with yourself--it's getting harder and harder to survive...prices go up, up, up, while your salary goes down, down, down. Are you winning? If you are, congratulations! you are a rarity. If no, then join your voice to the millions across this country who need to galvanize, organize, rally, and make it clear that we matter, and we have not gone away! Please don't let the sun set before you tell others about this posting today. Get Started!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

America' Running Out of Jobs, Homes, and Gas

Did you ever expect to see that jobs were being lost in record numbers overseas to outsourcing, the massive influx of immigrants, the loss of affordable housing, and also the loss of affordable gasoline. Too many families are pawning off prized possessions to pay for the staggering rise of fuel. Communities are drastically cutting back funding; retail stores are paying extremely high prices for goods shipped to them; affordable electricity rates have vanished...the question is: Does anyone in Washington D.C. care about us? Why the disconnect between the mainstream American and the U.S. Congress? It's not just Katrina or Rita--it's protecting jobs here and keeping companies here in the U.S. Last week the Chinese Premier Hu-Jintao and President Bush did not come to terms on the trade imbalance or currency problems the Chinese cause. The numbers here speak volumes of how our government ignores that there many millions of unemployment mothers, fathers, single adults, etc., who have been out of work for a year or longer. And no one seems to care about providing affordable housing--seeing, for example, mobile home parks being sold to developers, and the poor people who cannot afford high-end housing or condominiums, end up becoming homeless--Something is very wrong with this picture. Fuel prices over $3.00 a gallon for regular unleaded--yet a retired fuel company executive is receiving $400 million dollars as severance pay? Something is wrong with this picture. Colleges hike their tuition costs each year anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent on average--but why do college presidents and sports coaches in universities receive millions of dollars, as poor students scrape to pay for a single course--something is wrong with this picture. Too many Americans cannot even live on $7.00 to $15.00 per hour--never mind jobs paying minimum wage. The biggest issue affecting this country and bringing it down is good, old-fashioned greed. It is wrong that our children cannot afford things, or be able to have a summer job. It is appalling to learn that people support illegal immigrants knowing that they are classified as "cheap labor", or sending the jobs overseas--calling the workers in India or China "low-cost" or "dirt-cheap". Yet, we are expected to keep our families safe, pay the bills, pay the taxes, have a car to get to jobs, etc. Americans have been betrayed by companies--they don't care about us--they care about the top executives getting cushy and comfortable. They don't believe in loyalty to its employees. Case in point: stripping health-care benefits and pensions. Call your Congressional Delegation -- tell them you've had enough! Don't excuse them, and don't look the other way. If there have been protests in 64 cities by immigrants, maybe it's time for us to do the same thing. Congress needs to see and hear directly that it MUST tend to these issues and stop playing favorites with the wealthiest. They must be told in no uncertain terms to stop punishing the poor. We can inform them that if they don't, we can all band together in our respective districts and vote them out of office in favor of people who will fight for us. We are in trouble.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

One Amazing Mother

Motherhood is a vocation given by the Creator to women who do amazing miraculous things to raise, nurture, train, and grow their children into adulthood. I have an amazing true story about a woman friend who gives herself so much into her being a mother that "love equals motherhood" true embodies her. Linda, who I have had the blessed fortune to have only known a few short years, lives in the Midwestern heartland of the United States, has three children--the oldest I will save for later. Of her other two, one is a son with Autism, and a younger daughter. Linda has had to spend the better part of her time raising them. She has struggled financially to afford her place. She relies on help from various financial streams to get her through. She lives where she does due to she found an excellent place for her son's care with his autism. She has been so poor that she sacrifices meals for herself, sometimes for days, in order to make sure her children get the proper food and nourishment they need. She gives herself so completely that whenever I speak to her, she has a gleam in her eye and a peppy tone in her voice, being the proud Mommy she is, as she talks about her most prized gifts--her children. I never hear her complain about being a mother; I never hear her feel sorry for herself. She keeps a keen sense of humor, and she is such a loving woman, she is an inspiration to me. She gives totally from her want, and she never hesitates to give and give and give. She spends so much time helping her son to adjust to living in the world with Autism--it takes so much energy from her but she never complains about it and she loves this child so much. She makes sure her daughter also gets so much love and attention. This is the Linda I have come to know and love. She is a sister to me, and a wonderful girlfriend to other women. The oldest one is a son she gave up for adoption many years ago. For the first time they talked last year. She speaks so glowingly about him, and she made sure that if she could not care for him at the age she birthed him, she ensured that he would grow up cared for, fed, loved, and safe. She has hurt over this, but she did not abandon this child, nor did she abort him prior to birth. She sets a model of a loving mother who has made ultimate sacrifices. Who, like Linda, do you know of in your own lives that does with so little the many things she not can do, but does so outstandingly! How do they inspire us as women, challenge us to give beyond hurting us, to love someone so deeply that we want them safe, secure, fed, clothed, educated, nurtured, loved, celebrated and happy? Maybe it was your own mother, or your girlfriends' stories about their own mothers, or the story of a woman who raised so many of her own through adversity, painful times, and great struggles. They teach us to persist, endure with a smile, be joyful, laugh with a good sense of humor, rely on our girlfriends to help us keep our sanity, how to become leaders ourselves, how to love, how to thrive, and how never to give up for anything. One of my grandmothers raised 15 children; my other grandmother raised 13. Each suffered the pain of losing 2 respectively in childhood years. They watched the others all grow into adult years. Both grandmothers raised all their children through the First World War,Great Depression years of the 1920s and 1930s, Second World War, and into the Korean War era. They suffered greatly physically yet they never thought being a mother was a weakness. They were inspirations to me, from the stories I learned about them (one died before I was born). They made all their children's clothes by hand; they washed clothes in the old-fashioned hand-rolling washing machines and hung the wash to dry on clotheslines. They canned all their food, butchered their own meat, made their own bread, cut the wood, educated the children, and saw to it that they had a safe, secure home to live in. And they, too, did so much with so little. It takes a very special woman to be a mother--there is no textbook with your name on it that shows you how to be the mother you were meant to be--you discover the gifts you have inside you as you go along. So, take inspiration from Linda, my grandmothers, your mother, other mothers, ask yourself this question: What lesson do I need to learn today in my own womanhood, and how can I by my own example, help another? Linda, thank you for all you have taught me, this writer, and your lessons are better than all the diamonds in the world. Thank you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Life That Belongs to Us All

This week is a time for deep reflection and a time to celebrate the Presence of the One who made each of us, and the reasons for why we were made in the first place. It is a time to recall how, if you are Jewish or Christian, great acts of love and miracles that took place saving humankind. It is a wondrous time to acknowledge how special that we were, each of us, that the Creator, who many call God--felt it so necessary that we be born, live, and to serve God through service of our neighbor. We can recall little events that God used to preserve us, sustain us, clarify and set right our personal journeys. We can see how God protected us from harm, shielded us from hurt, helped us heal when wounded, and stood by us in times when no one else would or could. The greatest miracles are the little things that we take for granted: thinking, talking, breathing, walking, moving, eating, seeing, smelling, touching, feeling, listening, and praying. The list is endless--and the gift of each other to each other. God needs us, wants us, loves us, and helps us through all things. We are good intrinsically because God made us good to begin with! Let your inner being celebrate with great love the awesome mystery of life you have today--for it could be snatched in the next minute!! Let your voice rise to praise the One who made you--never ever take for granted this power you possess inside you. It solely comes from God and God alone. Your free will is a gift too; You ability to love and be loved is a gift also. Your capacity to have compassion, to understand human suffering and the gifts of empathy and sympathy truly also are from the same God. The gift of your dignity, your self-esteem, your unique identity and talents are all from the same mysterious God. As this writer gets older she says to herself that the older she gets the less she knows. The mystery of God and human nature expands greater every day. Do not dawdle with the days; you do not know how long you have left. Do all you can to better humanity in the little ways you do. Take the example of Elijah who became silent and humble in the Presence of God when God spoke to him in a whisper. Acknowledge each day a prayer that separates you as a mortal from the Divine God who made you. Believe that even the difficult events and circumstances God has a hand in using in your life. Nothing is wasted by God on you; nothing is truly bad--it has purpose. Remember that the very purpose of your existence is this very moment--the future has not happened, and the past is over. This moment is sacred--in it you are actualizing life as it happens. Seek good, not evil; seek love, not hate; seek peace, not war; seek resolution, not strife; seek happiness, not sadness; seek humility, not arrogance; seek gentleness, not aggressiveness; seek goodness, not bad things; and seek life, not death. Take to heart that you by your very life you lead makes you a person to emulate, and a person to look up to. You may not realize it, but you are on the stage of life and we are the audience. You are our teacher--we learn amazing things from your personal example how to live. We cannot function without you and need your lessons. You may feel you are insignificant--but you are you--and that "you" sets you apart from us. Yes, we know of famous holy people--but you have much to share and lead with too. Those holy people did not become loved or honored overnight--they did what is suggested here in this posting. The honor that you gain from God will not come due to the religion you practice; it only comes from the authentic person you are and have become. Be a living candle of light that shines hope and expectant faith and dispels darkness and despair. Give yourself freely and please do not look back. Blessings abound from small to great. And live in God every moment, every day. This is what real Life is all about. Blessings!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Passover from Violence and Death Into Peace And Life

This week 2 major religious event occur simultaneously and in the spirit of them both, let us ponder for a few moments how our world has sadly rejoiced in violence. It fills our ficticious television show and novels; it permeates and oozes in every newscasts. Many television shows make their ratings dollars in how graphically they can display dead bodies. Even how the macabre fills movies, video games, and the like. Our world has developed a delicacy for death and destruction--as long as it is not our own lives. Every day there are new horrible accounts of mass murders, suicides, IEDs, homicide after homicide. This is madness--it is not normal. We were not created by Our Maker so that someone else could strike us dead, nor for us to do the same to another human being. Our lives were designed to bear fruit, life, and purpose to those around us. We are bearers of Love--protecting life, nurturing it. We are also ambassadors for peace--a coexistence that celebrates cultural differences which the Maker intended to be and not for us to destroy. Too much killing has taken place--but there is not enough love--love that says "We cannot continue this madness-we realize that we have to learn to respect and build bridges between peoples." Every person will stand before their Maker alone and be judged. This is a common belief of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. No one escapes--yet most wars over the past 2,000 years have started over a religious disagreement. We are only human--we are unable to contain, comprehend, or fathom the Mystery of the Creator's Essence. Nor are we able to decide on the part of the Creator who is right, wrong, or both. We can only say that our words in our religions are crafted to support the tenets of whatever faith we adhere to. But words also lead to war--they can lead to peace; words can lead to hate--they can lead to love; words can lead to confusion--they can also lead to clarity. words can lead to condemnation--they can also lead to vindication; words can lead to destruction--they can also lead to edification; words can lead to insults--they can also lead to comfort; words can lead to prejudice--they can also lead to breaking down stereotypes; words can lead to lies--they can also lead to truth; words can lead to slavery--they can also lead to liberty and freedom; words can lead to death--they can also lead us to life. We are what we say--the words we use and say come subconciously from within us as a deliberate free act of our will. This day--ask yourself--which choices will you use words--for bad, or for good. Yes "Sticks and Stones may break our bones, but words can hurt me." This week find at least one person that you have hurt with your words and use good uplifting words to better your relationship with them. Words are powerful--use them wisely--the life you save may, in fact, be your own.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congress Cannot Fund Housing for Katrina Victims, but Can Pay $29 Billion in Wasteful Projects

Okay, I promise not to stay on my soapbox, but I had to write on this one!!! Today the news media is reporting that the U.S. Congress voted to pay for $13.5 million dollars to support the World Toilet Summit in Ireland, another $500,000 for a teapot museum, $6.5 million for wood utilization research--naming a few of the $29 Billion dollars for little pork projects. This money is hard-earned taxpayers' dollars--not to be used for special interests. This money needed to be passed into the hands of the poor who need rental assistance, food assistance, education assistance, job training, child care support, and disaster relief. Instead the money was wasted on needless, useless things. Isn't it true that if we hold our peers to being financially responsible in their private lives, that we should ask the same of the elected officials in the Congress and State Legislatures??? It is not the average American who gains from these projects--only the wealthiest few. They are playing with our money and gambling it away frivolously. In a time where the economy is showing housing sales cooling, job hiring (meaning jobs that pay a decent fair wage) is anemic, and affordable housing is disappearing, for our leadership to not provide this money in higher priorities tells one thing: they don't care about the neediest. Talk is cheap--pork projects are an expensive waste. Challenge the Congress for a full explanation--you have that right to know. This is not the time for spending on luxuries...This country cannot afford it, Period.

A True Tale of Revival

Stories like the one I am going to share always warm the heart and give us pause to ponder the sanctity and beauty that life brings. The life itself in a pet brings us joy, comfort, love, and even life-lessons. The life-lesson happened to my girlfriend Rachel, who raised 2 ferrets, Charlie and Jasmine. Rachel arrived home after work to find that both ferrets this week escaped their cage and ate something poisonous. Sadly they appeared to have died. They appeared lifeless. So, sadly Rachel and her boyfriend prepared to bury them both. Rachel, wanting to view them one last time, opened the box. Charlie clearly died--but Jasmine jumped up and out of the box!!!! Needless to say, Rachel was startled, as were her son and her boyfriend!!!! Jasmine was rushed to a local veterinarian, who said that while Jasmine was poisoned and very sick, she would make a full recovery. What a story about hope, life, and love! It was amazing that Rachel was led inside herself to open the box--and out sprung life!!! Rachel shared with this writer how she was heartbroken over the apparent loss of both--and when she shared with me the great news--her sadness melted away and joy filled her. Yes, there was loss--Charlie--but all was NOT lost--Jasmine. That is the mystery of life itself. Doctors give prognoses about people everyday--saying they have so many months to live, and yet--they live for many more. Hope, faith, trust, love, and our tears get us through life. What stories of amazing events can you share that not only uplift your life--but will uplift others around you? Could it be a relationship you are having that appears dead--then something wonderful, even magical occurs--to revive and grow it beyond where it was lifeless? Could it be a difficult time in your life that appears to be failing, and all of a sudden--you turn the corner--you meet the man of your dreams, a career dream comes true, a social situation that appeared hopeless suddenly is resolved to your favor--these all have the miracle of new life in them. In the forest, when a fire occurs and scorches the earth--not all dies...In fact, the burned-away brush gives room for new life to appear. That which appeared to be dead really wasn't--it just needed to be opened and released from its box. So, today, find that box of something in your life that appears dead--open it to new air--it will spring up into new life!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

American Arrogance

Whenever you go shopping for clothes, electronics, etc., the list is long as to how many products you purchase are not manufactured or assembled in the 48 contiguous United States. That's not new. But what you may NOT realize is how much workers in China, for example are paid--a few pennies per hour. That's correct! Many people there are paid less than a dollar per hour! These are workers who are making your expensive televisions, DVD players, clothing, to name a few things. When you see a hangtag on your clothes or an imprint on the electronics that says "Made in China" keep in mind the following: These people are not free. They must work or be put in prison. They do not enjoy freedom of expression--case in point is the recent prosecution of Chinese citizens using the Internet who criticized their government. They cannot worship except at state-run religions, which tow the Communist Party line. This is the same government that crushed the Tiannanmen Square bid for freedom. This is the same government that is threatening Taiwan and wants to take away their freedom. This is also the same government that radically stripped democracy from newly-reacquired Hong Kong. We are paying for them to keep people in bondage...we are paying their dirt wages so company executives in these companies can live filthy rich lives in non-Chinese countries. The same holds true for outsourcing jobs to India, where a person is paid 90 percent less of the original salary that was paid to an American worker doing the same work. This is why so many companies are failing now here in the U.S.--the greed factor is destroying our country. And also, even here in the States, where the Hispanics who are here, whether they have documentation or not--are exploited and paid dirt wages. Our government brags and says they promote freedom and justice and democracy--but--at who's expense? A just wage is a moral and virtuous right guaranteed by the Creator so people can enjoy life. Too many people are so poor and yet cannot get a fair wage. Articles proclaim that if we don't outsource, keep the immigrants, etc...the arguments claim that we would not be able to "continue enjoying low-cost items." Maybe if we started to say that if we feel we ourselves deserve a fair wage--why aren't we demanding it be given to the same flesh-and-blood people in the other countries? Why aren't we demanding boycotts of companies who are aligned with this greed factor? Why aren't we standing up for the people in need as much as people standing in churches praising their God???? If we do not amend our ways on this, we will get what we give... Did you know that we have currently only $12 Billion dollars (U.S.) of our products being sold to China, while $212 Billion is imported from there??? Something is VERY wrong with this picture. Don't be fooled by what Washington is allowing; Don't be lulled to sleep thinking the problem will go away magically. It will affect you, your life, your family's life, and your friend's lives for years to come if we don't start demanding that companies make products here--so good paying jobs will remain here on American soil. Do your homework--do research--learn about the companies, and learn what you can do to slow down the flood of jobs out of this country. It is more than outsourcing--it is the ultimate act of preserving, protecting, and upholding basic human rights for all people worldwide, not just here. Please do your part, little or big, to begin a national conversation: Are my actions in buying these products hurting the liberties and freedoms of others worldwide, and can I help bring the jobs back home? You decide...yours and my future depends on what we do collectively.

Fighting the Fight for Children

Doesn't it seem that in the past 5 years that horrid stories of abuse against children have surfaced like a volcano erupting? All the news stories about children physically, sexually, and emotionally abused. Now we have to contend with protecting children from becoming victims of online sexual predators. Now we have to protect teenage children from not only being that, but from becoming infected with HIV. Violence and death by handgun affects so many children. Recently, in my community, an 8-year-old boy brought a fully loaded handgun to his daycare. Children in many countries suffer malnutrition, horrific and barbaric acts against them by adults. Many non-custodial adults still avoid and evade paying their dutiful and owed monetary support for the children they helped create. In the United States, when 60 percent of all homeless are women and children--too many children do not enjoy a safe, affordable home. In the Darfur region of Sudan, in Appalachia in the United States, in too many places--children are in harm's way. Too many stories of "latchkey" children being alone and tragedies occur all too often with death resulting. They need us to be advocates, protectors, to be friends, and caregivers. Many children need good stable homes--free from substance abuse, violence, and sexual abuse. They need love, care, concern, esteem-building, gentleness. They need places to play; they need to be treated as children--not as little adults. They need us to stand for them--to be the responsible adult voice who will intervene on their behalf for their safety, health, growth, and protection. That child we save today may be tomorrow's U.S. president; that girl we protect may be tomorrow's CEO; that boy who is turned inward may be tomorrow's astronaut. We need to help children believe that while this world is unstable, and in spots unsafe, it is still a world where dreams do come true. We can help them realize and fulfill those dreams. A famous golfer spoke recently how he places his millions into childrens' development centers and said that this brought more joy to him than a single golf stroke (Tiger Woods on CBS "60 Minutes") Bill Gates, his wife Melinda, and the singer Bono were declared Time Magazine's 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian efforts. We all have a gift to share--we can pass on goodness, light, hope, love, patience, creativity, gentleness, encouragement, peace, faith, knowledge, morality, sound ethics--to the greatest investment of all--children. This is the best investment than all the money ever invested on Wall Street. We must strengthen laws to protect children..it is our moral, civic, ethical and social duty as adults. They will thank you later as adults.

Friday, March 31, 2006

No Girls Left Behind

Much discussion is taking place in how to best provide sound, quality education for young girls growing up around this world. While in the United States strides have been made in the past 25 years creating improved opportunities for education in topics traditionally taught more to boys, there are too many countries where education is denied, even against the law in some countries. In Afghanistan, the Taliban forbade girls from learning to read or write. In many improverished nations girls usually are kept to home and provided little or no formal education. Education is the key to liberation and true freedom. Girls must be provided the same rights to learn, to explore, to become all they can be and much more. Denying any education to young girls and women in other countries must be treated as a human rights abuse. If they could learn to read, they could read safety labels, food labels, instructions, protections from illnesses. Illiteracy is still rampant in many parts of the world. Being able to read would empower young women to work in higher-paying jobs. Many Hispanic immigrants who are here in the United States have little or no literacy training. If they could read and write, they could do better. Girls have dreams to be fulfilled--not all want to be mothers or stuck in the home for their lives--just as boys don't want to be. We can, and must, work to end illiteracy, to help people overcome the lack of these very important life skills. What you can do is if you know of people who cannot read to encourage them to contact the local school where they live so they can be connected in to community-based programs. There is one woman who recently won a nationally-televised contest, and admitted her own personal inability to read. There is no shame on this person--there is much we must do to eradicate this in our country. Please let's get girls worldwide into schools, and let's help them become the strong vibrant women leaders of tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Real Beauty of Women

Fashion models strut their stuff down runways every week somewhere in the world, demonstrating designers' latest inventions of clothing, jewelry, shoes, and handbags. The models look frail, almost skeletal--too thin and not realistic for the average woman's frame. The clothing for the most part is not practical for everyday use. Even copycat gowns called "knock-offs" won't be seen on most women because they don't get to go to expensive parties. Most women, if they wear cosmetics, wear what they can afford. For most of us, that is usually what we get from a drugstore or grocery store. But our beauty is something that cannot come from a fashion runway, a grocery store, a department store, or a drugstore. The authentic real beauty of a woman is her soul. It radiates when she is born--with squinty eyes, pudgy face, clinging close to her mommy; It radiates in the precocious little girl who plays, sings, explores, and whose eyes light up being alive. It radiates in the teenage girl first finding boys, being with her girl buddies, enjoying her newfound womanhood as she changes during puberty. It radiates as a young woman, finding her own independent identity, her likes, her choices, her own desires, her real loves, her hopes, her dreams, and grows into the woman she early on wants to be. It radiates in the woman who juggles raising children and keeping a career or in the woman who becomes scholarly in her educational pursuit yet remains single. It radiates middle-aged woman who watches her children graduate from high school, go on into the workforce or on to college; and it radiates in the same woman who embraces each of her grandchildren as they are born--the circle of life completely fulfilled for her. It radiates in the grandchildren who come screaminig "Grandma!." It radiates in the long-term, never-say-die sister friendships she has built up over many years. It radiates in the woman who retires from work but never from motherhood, always as active as she can be until such time she cannot be physically. And it radiates in the end, when God gently leads her by the hand home to Herself. And her beauty will radiate forever in the memories, stories, tears, and happy times she filled during her life. This tapestry of beauty did not require plastic surgery, mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick, foundation, little black dress, heels or hair done to the nines--because her beauty radiates because of the love that flooded forth from her soul to everyone. How do you radiate to others your inner beauty? Be genuine, simple, humble, humorous, sincere, honest, loving, dedicated, and true to yourselves. All those things radiate the real beauty of women.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sister, What are YOU doing to fight to get Affordable Women's Health Care?

About 45 million Americans currently cannot afford any health care benefits. Let's use a guestimate that roughly 1/2 of those are women--who have young children to raise. How many of these women go year after year without routine mammograms, PAP smears, routine physical examinations, and ignore medical warning signs simply because they cannot afford even a visit to the local hospital's emergency room? Women are dying at a faster rate than ever before from heart disease, breast cancer is still the second cause of death for women, and lung cancer is claiming more non-smoking women than ever before. Too many working poor and homeless women cannot even be seen by a doctor as a charity case. In fact, emergency rooms are treating less impoverished people than ever before in the U.S.--they are near bankruptcy. Many people are being triaged, and most triaged for lesser illnesses are given referrals to doctors' offices, who tell them that they cannot be seen unless they pay the full amount. It was recently on a national news documentary show that the uninsured unfairly are charged the full amount and not given discounts, while those on health plans receive huge invoice discounts. Why are we going backward in this country? It's not just the women--men also--but for the sake of this--when the majority of poor are women and children, then it truly becomes a civil rights issue for women. Women who get paid shabbily and don't get medical care benefits while trying to support their children on what they make. The travesty here is that we are the richest country in the world that can pay for every spacewalk, every university, every road, every weapons system--but somehow social medicine cannot be created, funded, or maintained. If other dangerous illnesses spread, such as HIV and (hopefully not) Avian Flu, who will provide adequate treatment? If the U.S. Government invested in ensuring that every woman, man, and child had good medical checkups, immunizations, and preventative maintenance, many illnesses such as colon cancer, heart disease, breast cancer--may be stopped through early detection. Women who have to avoid the routine tests could obtain them without fear of inability to pay. What may cost a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars in medical testing could avert paying millions of dollars for cancer therapies and emergency heart care. How many women have you encouraged to fight for her getting competent medical care? How many women have you encouraged to perform monthly breast self-examinations, or have regular heart checkups? How many women have you gotten after for their smoking cigarettes? Also--are you doing it yourselves? Another area is getting sound mental health care for women as well. We bear heavier burdens given the dangerous posture the world finds itself in. Trying to survive in this world with all its trauma, stresses, and pain will wear you down. Depression is treatable and needs to be treated when it occurs. It can do irreparable damage physically to you as well as impair your outlook on life. It too, can cause heart disease. Another area is dental care---poorly cared for teeth will cause major health problems. I had a friend who died from periodontal disease that infected her heart. Please today get after your girlfriends to act healthier, think healthier, and be healthier...You just may have saved their lives.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Women's Empowerment, Entitlement and Equality

The National Women's History Month is fast drawing to a close for this year. During this month hopefully you have explored the lives of courageous, strong, vibrant women who were visionaries ahead of their time. These many women stood in the face of gender discrimination, sexual bias, misogyny, knowing that it was wrong to treat females with less respect than males. They also believed in the dignity, class, character and spiritual beauty that each female possessed naturally in her soul. They refused to give up the fight for today's women's freedoms; they did not allow the old status quo of the "good old boys club" to forever define, shape, and govern the lives of women. They chose to break new ground in the "male-dominated" career fields; they fought to get equal education, equal sports opportunities for girls and young women; they blazed career paths that they went from being secretaries to being CEOs and corporate board members. They went from kitchens to being astronauts in space; They went from being women in the pews to becoming church clergy; They clarified that being feminine is not weak, or limiting, or helpless--they celebrated its's virtues, strengths, and goodness. They showed that females globally not only deserved free and equal civil rights--they demanded it. They made it quite clear that being female is an amazing gift of the Creator who made each of us. Become empowered--don't settle for less; don't believe you are incapable of contributing to this ongoing change of society. Don't become complacent by thinking that women's rights and freedoms have been reached--we still have many things to achieve, and new countries to blaze new trails for women's civil rights. Be aware of your entitlements--naturally bestowed on you by your Creator as a woman. You are entitled to respect, love, honor, dignity, class, character, respect, legal representation, equal footing, equal pay, higher education--and you should never settle for anything less. You deserve to be seen and not be treated as invisible; you deserve to have your opinion equally considered in the midst of any man as valuable; you deserve to be seen as talented, competent, and a main contributor. If our female predecessors can do it, so can't we--and so must we. The fight is far from over.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Desperate Families

In every community across North America, growing numbers of families find themselves being denied access to support services. Social (or should they be called "unsociable") services funding is being slashed by federal, state and local governments, frequently justified as "cost-cutting measures." Yet, the numbers of laws giving more money to the wealthiest citizens are increasing. Homeless shelters are being closed in record numbers; food stamps eligibility is being strictly tightened; jobs are being moved in record numbers like never before. Affordable housing has evaporated. The wealthiest and the greediest are the ones getting blessed with asistance they don't deserve. People lose jobs faster than lightning striking, and when they cannot pay their bills, it is assumed it is their fault they cannot find work. When they go for lengthy periods of time without work their credit scores are affected adversely. So,when they apply for new jobs and credit checks are performed, they get denied jobs because they did not pay their bills on time. What was once a very strong, vibrant job economy now is anemic and weak. The U.S.Government is eager to move all manufacturing, administrative, information technology, financial, and security jobs out of the country, but by the legislative actions it has taken it truly could care less for the majority of the people. This includes both parties in each chamber of the U.S. Congress. The members will never be poor--they will never starve, go with out work, they have security and limos to drive them around. They have chartered flights; they have luxurious homes, and enjoy high-end life. They are for the most part disconnected to real Americans. They "talk" a good speech, but they truly are naive to real suffering. If they really cared cleanup for Hurricane Katrina would be further along; if they cared about protecting American families they would have stopped the flood of American jobs out of the nation; and if they truly believed in preserving U.S. homeland security they would have sealed the borders in faster time, prevented companies from outsourcing our private business data to non-American workers who work in jobs in other countries handling our everyday decisions. Frankly, they do not care for us--it's not loss personally for them. Families are desperate--they want good jobs, not substandard paying ones, or to have to work 2 to 3 jobs just to pay rent for a low-income apartment. They want financial protection, not to see corporations be blessed with not having to pay taxes, to get away with wiping out pensions, or to collect massive profits off the backs of sending outsourced jobs. They want good food on their tables, not to have to rely on food banks to feed them. Americans are not lazy, and they do any job if it available. They may not like it, but if it means keeping themselves and their families from homelessness, they will do it. It is wrong to give them to undeserving, unauthorized people. Why should American children have to suffer because the leadership refuses to support their own people first? It was believed that citizenship has its privileges. Our children need medical care, dental care, after-school jobs, etc. Adults want to see that their college education will not be wasted because companies don't want to pay them a fair wage. Why should veterans of our wars have to see their hospitals be closed, or elder Adults have Medicare benefits cut,while Congress votes themselves large pay increases each year? Family values mean we value the social family unit and must do everything to create a safety net for every American. Tax money is not given so it can be paid to the wealthiest only or every other country. Stand up and say no more--Family Values ARE true American values. No one should ever take that away--not now, not ever!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What are YOUR Dreams, Goals, and Ambitions?

When you were born, everyone had their dreams and thoughts and personal hopes what you would become as a woman--a mother, a wife, a good sister, a good daughter...and the like. But did you find that your own life experiences conflicted with all the desires others wished you would be? What if you did not want to be married, or did not want to have children; what if you chose to wait until you met the right man--after you finished your professional education? Were you trained socially that you would have to have a family in your 20s--never mind a personal career? The subliminal images and even direct social expectations still have young teenage girls wanting to please a boy rather than finishing their education, or focusing on the fashion rather than her dreams. What about the young woman who gave up her college studies to be a stay-at-home mom out of duty to her man, who leaves her with the children? Who is going to help her then? Do you know of too many women who have been mislead down the mommy track too soon and are unable to provide for themselves? We need to build a new coalition of women determined to get as many women through a 4-year college degree they can use in the real world. We need to make it clear that women need good careers, not minimum wage jobs, to provide for their children. We need to ensure that financial aid is adequate so a woman can complete her college education faster than the average 5 to 10 years it takes an adult to complete a single bachelor's degree in the U.S. We must provide help to young girls to see a healthier self-image as female, to motivate them in understanding they too have dreams, goals, and ambitions. Many women have pierced the glass ceiling in business--but more need to do it--it needs to be shattered. More churches need to ordain women as ministers and priests. If we are going to revolutionize the world we better bring change to the heart of our very daily events we attend--work, faith, and social groups. If women were provided many more models of strong, vibrant, creative women, such as Oprah, J.K. Rowling, the late Princess Diana, Queen Latifah, the late Rosa Parks, and the late Coretta Scott King, and many others--they would stand up and say that their goals, dreams and ambitions are not selfish but intimately connected to their personal womanhood. It is never wrong to be true to yourself--it is a lie when you say that you will set yours aside for someone else who won't do the same for you. You then become a model for other women, and your future children. Why can't you be a doctor, or a lawyer, a CEO, a minister, or priest or business owner, or maybe president of the United States? Dream big--Success is a great goal--fulfillment is an even greater goal and ambition. Don't give up on what your dreams are--they matter for you too. And they are ALL achievable--only YOU keeps you back.