Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Makes His Mark


 Hurricane Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 late last night. This morning we are hearing stories of water over top of the levee in Plaquemines Parish.  They are experiencing flooding.  Rescues are taking place.  This slow moving system could  pound New Orleans and its surrounding areas with rain for up to 36 hours.  400, 000 residents in Louisiana are without electricity.
Many people chose to stay in New Orleans, sure that the upgraded levees would be strong enough and high enough to hold back the water.  Somebody has to do it, but I would not stay to be a test subject.  Maybe next time. or the time after that.  In experimental situations not under my control my mantra has always been "never go first, go third".  I believe in giving the experts time to work out the bugs in the system. Would you stay? Did you stay?
I will spend a part of my day watching news coverage of Hurricane Isaac.  While I'm watching I will pray for those in the path of Isaac, the first responders and their families, those risking their lives to bring us news coverage, the elected officials who have difficult decisions to make and for those who are preparing to go in to provide much needed assistance.
Let's get it right this time folks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Will the Levees Hold?

Katrina aerial view
Broken levees caused mass destruction in 2005. Photo courtesy of FEMA

As we approach the seven year anniversary of the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding areas, we are faced with another hurricane, Isaac.  This week all eyes should be on the Republican National Convention being held in Tampa, Florida. But Mother Nature has decided to upstage the RNC event once again.  

Will the levees hold? More than 14 billion dollars has been spent to protect New Orleans.  The outdated, time worn system now has 133 miles of levee walls. The levees are deeper, stronger and higher than ever before. According to the US Coast Guard, the pylons are up to 200 feet deep at some points.  But is it enough?
Katrina made landfall on the morning of  August 29, 2005 as a Category 3 hurricane.  The current predictions are that Isaac will make landfall as a Category 2. The best estimates are that 2000 people lost their lives in the hurricanes destruction.  Both the federal and local government seem better prepared and definitely more responsive than what was seen before, during and after Katrina.

[President] Obama said at “my direction” the Federal Emergency Management Agency has had teams on the ground for over a week to prepare for potential damage. [President] Obama said he has signed a Louisiana disaster declaration, which allows the federal government to provide additional resources to the state. He said the government has already positioned supplies in Florida and Alabama, and has sent response teams to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
 President Obama speaking on Isaac said, "Now is not the time to tempt fate". The city of New Orleans has a dedicated website for Hurricane Preparedness, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, has chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention, and stay in his state to attend to the needs at home.  Although Jindal has been very vocal about his perception that President Obama spends federal dollars excessively, he has asked the President for additional funding to cover costs incurred in preparation of Isaac. I guess its not excessive if its something that benefits you....
All eyes are on New Orleans and the surrounding areas. It is my prayer that with seven years of preparation, New Orleans is ready and the levees will hold.
What do you think?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Your Birther Joke was Not Funny Mitt....

Mitt Romney took the low and easy road with yet another mention of President Obama's birth certificate on yesterday while in Commerce Township, Michigan.  Instead of using his valuable time with the voting public giving (still unheard) details about his platform, he made the following comment:
 "I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born," Romney said. "Ann was born at Henry Ford hospital, I was born at Harper hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised".
 It's gotten to the point were the birther comments are so common place that we hardly raise an eyebrow anymore. But we should.  Romney's campaign aide says that he was only referencing Michigan....If you want to convince me that I'm being overly sensitive, that something is wrong with me and I can't take a good joke, forget it, it's not gonna happen.  Romney's comments were very contrived and said at the right time in the right place to get a desired response. 

There are those who believe that the American system is so flawed we could elect a president and not know with 100% certainty that he is an American.  Those that believe with all of our technological advances, not only in America, but indeed, throughout the world, we have been duped by the son of an African student and an American student.  That this has been a diabolical plan for over fifty years to be played out now.... Really???  It is difficult for me to believe that "thinking" people can have such a negative opinion about  my America.
Romney, leave the jokes to the comedians.  How about spending some time talking about women's rights, undocumented immigrants, explaining the the difference between rape and "legitimate rape", your stance on abortion, same sex marriage, education for all, unemployment and jobs..... oh and while you're at, explain why your tax rate is lower than mine


Friday, August 24, 2012

The South Will NOT Rise Again...No Civil War in Texas

Texas Judge Warns Obama May Spark “Civil War”
Most Days I'm proud to be a Texans, but when some of our  "slow to enter the twenty first century" elected officials make the national news, I must admit I cringe a bit. Here in Texas, we know that some our people in positions of power are not as evolved as the rest of the thinking world, but we try to keep our "house business" here in Texas.  Well, somebody left the door open and our secrets keep coming out.  
We knew what Rick Perry was like, but then he left home and went to the national arena and now EVERYBODY knows what Rick Perry is like.  Everybody knows that he agrees with Todd Akin on the abortion issue. And now everybody knows about a little known conservative Republican judge in Lubbock, Texas -Tom Head.... 
If Obama were to be reelected, Head warned, “he's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN. What is going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst case scenario now,” he explained during an interview with FOX 34 in Lubbock. “Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war — maybe. And we’re not talking just a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”
This Woman's Words on this situation are that this guy should be watched very closely if not detained, by the Secret Service. Am I the only person that has a problem with an elected official telling civilians to get a gun "get rid" of the President of the United States of America?  When did that become acceptable?
I grew up hearing the phrase "The South shall rise again". It wasn't until I was a teenager that I understood what my world view would be if the South did indeed go back to the times that my fellow southerners yearned for so desperately. Today I can say with confidence... get over it, it's time to move forward.  There will be no Civil War. The South will NOT rise again. Not in the way of the old confederacy.  
We are moving forward with diversity, acceptance, and mutual respect. With that the South will SOAR.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rapist Wants Parental Rights?

Today I'm concerned about a law in 31 states that gives rapist who impregnate their victims the same parental rights as other fathers.   Yes, they have the right to visitation and custody of the child. If nothing else, Akins' faux pas will serve to enlighten many about antiquated laws and beliefs held by some of our fellow Americans.  We are learning through the endless news coverage and reading interesting stories like the one about Shawna Pruett.  Shawna gave birth to a baby conceived in rape and was faced with the challenge of having her rapist petition the court for parental rights. If nothing else, we are opening our eyes to laws and elected officials who have been allowed to stick around for far too long.

The GOP Platform Committee agreed earlier this week that it would seek passage of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.  I've heard men from both the Democrat and Republican parties speak out about this. Where is the outcry from female elected officials? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Legitimate Rape Vs. Illegitimate Rape?

“if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”
When I heard the video of Missouri Congressman Todd Akin saying that "the female body had a way to shut that whole thing down", I felt a tremble of fear throughout my body. Oh my God, what if the Republicans win this presidential election? Of all the Republican candidates that started this race, there were a few that I thought would never make it to the end because their ideologies were just too extreme for thinking people to support. Willard Mitt Romney was one of them, and here we are....
Although the Romney Ryan camp is doing its best to distance itself from Akin, it is common knowledge that Ryan and Akin have co-sponsored legislation to distinguish between "types" of rape.  Of course, in their legislation instead of using the word "legitimate" they call it "forcible". Sorry, I'm still not seeing the point of distinguishing rape into "types".  Rape is Rape. There is distinction between legitimate and illegitimate.

 Dr. Jack C. Willke, the former president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee, is quoted in his book, the name of which won't get a mention in This Woman's Words, as saying;
When a woman is assaulted and raped, there’s a tremendous amount of emotional upset within her body,”  adding that this trauma  “can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.”
That leads me to believe there is a whole faction of Americans out there who truly think this foolishness is true! Who are these people???  Are they living under a rock? How can you be so sheltered, so trusting of ....of what, I don't really know, that you believe this to be true?  And are there women in this faction also?  Are there women of child bearing age who believe if they are raped and get pregnant, it means they really wanted it? It wasn't rape?  Oh, how they must suffer at the hands of their family and community. Oh, the shame they must feel. 
Listen to This Woman's Words....It's not your fault.  Rape is Rape.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Have Passport, Will Travel

 As I looked through my regular Internet news sources this morning I found that I was repeatedly drawn to the travel sections. When I travel, I always try to experience something new, do something or eat something that I couldn't in my home state. The highlight of my recent trip to Honduras was dancing, or rather trying, to do the Punta dance. I'll just tell you it was beautiful when the natives did it, and leave it at that.  My daughter recently traveled to Japan.  She was amazed at their use of technology, the wealth of healthy food choices, and especially....drum roll...the vending machines! Yes, the vending machines.  Apparently, there are vending machines for everything including pizza. I can't wait to schedule a trip the Japan to see it for myself.  

Several months ago while in Las Vegas, outside of my hotel I noticed a vending machine that sold ladies flat ballet shoes.  The Venetian hotel has a popular nightclub, and I simply thought...hmmm, excellent product placement, and moved on.  Can you imagine the number of women leaving the nightclub with sore feet after dancing all night in 5 inch heels??? Easy sell.  But this vending machine thing seems to be catching on.  Way down south, all the way in Texas, we have a cupcake vending machine.  It's in an area that's pretty upscale, and I've only seen the one (let me know if you've spotted others), but when it reaches Texas, it's a trend.  

I'm a curious person by nature, so this train of thought had me searching for interesting vending machines in other locales.  Of course we've all seen the tech store vending machines at the airports... just in case your have a sudden urge to buy an mp3 player or headphones on the way to your gate.  Somebody must be buying these things, but who are these people?  There is a pecan company near Austin, Texas with a vending machine that sells pecan pies.  There's one in Florida that sells sunscreen and goggles, okay, that makes sense.  There's one in Boston that sells underwear and t-shirts... really? There's one in Atlantic City that sells gold bars, I can't make this stuff up.  And not to be outdone, there's a vending machine in New York that will sell you the keys to a new Bentley Arnage T, just in case you find yourself stranded and need a ride in the middle of the night.....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School...A System in Crisis

Today I'm concerned about the millions of students returning to school full of hope, ready to learn, eager to achieve and be their personal best.

The students are ready, but are the teachers? Some are relieved that unlike their colleagues, they are not among the thousands of educators who were laid off at the end of the last school year due to "education budget cuts".  They start the year already thinking about the possibility that next year they may not be so lucky.  They've already had the speech from administrators that this school year they are expected to do more with less. Oh, and they are expected to have 100% student pass rate for standardized exams.
Are our school systems ready?  In 2011, out of 34 industrialized countries, America ranked 17th in math and 34th in science.  The future of the world rest in our knowledge of math and science.  Many of our students are returning to school buildings that lack the infrastructure to provide much needed technology that would keep our education system competitive.  Many students are returning to campuses badly in need of repair.  Where does this leave our students? What happens to their future?  At what point do we admit that what we are doing is not working?
Our current system is failing our students. As a forward thinking industrialized nation, why is it that we are still teaching our students the same way they were taught in the 1800's or even 1900's? With the technology available to us, why are we not using it?  For Americans, this discussion always leads to cost.  Have you weighed the cost of providing Internet access to all students, basic laptops, and online books vs. hard copies of books?  Have you looked at the ROI? 
It's time to invest in our teachers with updated training, current technology and adequate compensation.  It's time to invest in our students and give them a chance to survive in our global community.  It's time to invest in America's future.

What is the point of offering a free education to every child in America if we don't plan to succeed? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Undocumented Immigrants in Search of a Dream

Program granting work rights for childhood immigrants begins Wednesday
Today I'm concerned about undocumented immigrants who came here as children.  Here in Texas, we seem to be most concerned about illegal immigrants from Mexico.  It is not uncommon in Texas to hear of, or know someone who has been deported. In my past life as part of the public education system, kids of all ages, kindergarten through high school lived in fear that their day would come.  
I'm concerned about the children because many of them have no memory of what life is like in Mexico and some of them don't even speak Spanish.  I'm concerned about the high school student who is doing so well academically and wants nothing more than to further her education.  I'm concerned about the 22 and 25 year old adults who feel that even at a young age, their time has passed.  They are destined to a life of menial work.  
Starting today, people who came to America as children and without proper documentation can apply to work legally. If the application is approved, it must be renewed in two years. This is definitely a good start.  But it's only a start.
While this could defer the fear of deportation for a while, those completing applications surely must be thinking, hoping and praying, lighting candles, fasting....what if President Obama is not reelected? The DREAM Act failed to get enough support from Republicans to pass.  This is an Executive Order made by President Obama.  If Willard Mitt Romney is successful in his bid for presidency, he has been very clear that this Executive Order will not stand.
America is a nation of immigrants.  What if the Native American Indians had border patrol? What if they stopped Christopher Columbus at the border and asked to see his papers? I know that I'm over simplifying the issue, but at some point we need to apply common sense to this issue.  It makes sense to allow a 25 year old who came to America at the age of 2 or 3 to work legally and pay taxes.  We need the money, don't we?  
Don't forget to vote in November.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Medicare, Romney and Ryan

Today I am very concerned about Romney, Ryan and what they plan to do with Medicare.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
  "This budget is Robin Hood in reverse -- on steroids," said Robert Greenstein, the center's president, when the Ryan plan was announced. "It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times."
Medicare is a safety net for our elderly who have spent their lives working and paying taxes to support our country.  When, at the end of their lives, they find themselves in need of a little extra help....or in some cases, a lot of help, our elderly know that they can depend on our great nation to fill the gap.  With the current systems, Medicare is not doled out to anyone who asked.  There are basic requirements and standards to ensure that those who truly are in need receive at the level needed. 
Those of us who are under the Romney - Ryan cut off age of 55 deserve and have a right to expect the same assurances as our elders.  As many of us continue to contribute to the system funding Medicare we must be cognizant of the fact that we may not benefit from that system.  Where is our motivation to continue?  Would our dollars better serve us and our families if we used them in a different way?  Should we begin to put more monies in investments so that we can take care of ourselves in our twilight years? Should we stop caring about how the funds we contribute help all Americans? Is it time for us to be selfish?
I know that many seniors face the question every month of paying for rent, food or medical care.This is America. We should continue to honor our elderly and not leave them to face such critical questions without providing a path to the answers.
Let's not  cut Medicaid, Medicare, HeadStart, or Education funding.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Abortion...Mitt Romney

Today I am concerned about a recent poll conducted August 6-7. The poll was conducted via telephone with over a thousand registered Republicans and Independents that lean towards the GOP.  The public is working in earnest to figure out who Romney will select as his vice presidential running mate.  The poll indicates that 42% of those surveyed want Romney to select a VP who believes that abortion should be illegal.  For 42%, this was their TOP priority!  I am not quite old enough to have had friends lost to back room abortions, but the reality is that they will return if Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned.  Of all of the things the GOP could focus on....why abortion?  
Women's health should never be compromised.  The reality of our current and past America is that people are having sex.  Sometimes people have sex and the unexpected result is pregnancy.  This is not a new challenge.  Before Roe vs. Wade, wealthy families took their daughters to the family doctor after hours and the unexpected pregnancy was taken care of and never spoken of again.  Or they sent their pregnant daughters to a home for unwed mothers where they stayed until the baby was born. The babies were then adopted. There daughters returned to school and went on to lead productive lives.
Wealthy families had palatable options.
Poor families of all races...Black, White, Latino, Asian... had options too. Have the baby, and face the financial challenges of having an unplanned pregnancy. Or go to some shady character  that is known in your community for conducting unsanctioned, substandard, often unsanitary abortions. Not much of a choice, but that was all there was. Most often the birth of the unplanned baby altered the life of the mother forever.
I don't want to see America move backwards.

America its time to move FORWARD!

Romney Vice President Poll

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

American Sikh: A Case for Gun Control?

How will the most recent shootings impact families and children in the coming years?  They are happening everywhere... Colorado, Wisconsin, where next? One of the founding principles in America was FREEDOM OF RELIGION.  I  have a hard time understanding  how one man gets to a point in his life that he feels he has the authority to restrict another American from practicing his religion of choice. Is the "white power music" THAT persuasive?

As I look at the constant news coverage, the therapist in me wonders not only about those directly touched by the most recent mass shootings, but I am also concerned about the families, especially the children who are watching the news coverage.  As a nation, are we beginning to feel vulnerable on our own soil again? As we did immediately following the 9/11 tragedy....

I also wonder what is the right solution to keeping guns out of the hands of those who mean to do harm? I believe law abiding citizens have the right to bear arms to protect themselves and their loved ones. But how do you keep those who don't have a criminal history ...yet... from purchasing guns???? In the most recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, it is my understanding that guns and ammunition were purchased within the boundaries of our current laws.   

It is my prayer that the acts of this lost soul will not cause a single practicing Sikh to stop attending or even hesitate to attend temple.  
As a nation, let's agree to wrap our arms around the families directly impacted in this tragedy and give them a strong, solid, American hug.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gabby Douglas Gold Medal Winner

Like most of America I am proud of Gabby Douglas and the other Olympians who have earned medals in London. Gabby worked hard and deserves all of the accolades she is getting.  

Let me also call your attention to the woman wearing sunglasses to hide her tears positioned above Gabby's left shoulder.  Her Mother.  I'd like to say thank you to Gabby's mother for her sacrifices, words of wisdom, tough decisions, sleepless nights, early mornings, trips to the emergency room, and on and on and on ......
Thank you Natalie Hawkins!!!! Well Done.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Welcome to my blog!!!

Welcome to my blog. I am an ordinary woman who is choosing to share my views with the world.  There are so many things happening in the world today that I doubt I will have a lack of topics. But I ask your forgiveness in advance if I have a lack of time.