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People With Guns Kill People

As NRA supporters love to say “Guns don’t kill people, People kill People” well they forget to mention that the killer had a GUN in his hands…in this case several guns in his hands…

The Connecticut shooter had these guns in his possession, all guns purchased legally by his mother:

Bushmaster Caliber .223 Remington: The civilian version of the weapon is used by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and some police forces in the United States.

Glock Caliber 9mm: semi-automatic pistol

Sig Sauer Caliber 9mm: semi-automatic pistol

The question is: WITHOUT THESE GUNS HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD HE HAVE KILLED???

The second amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The second amendment protects our right to protect ourselves from corrupt governments or foe, But do we really need these types of guns to protect ourselves? to hunt?

Is this right more important to our society than the right of the people being hurt by them?

Ask yourself that…


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Multitasking Behind the Wheel…Putting a Stop to Texting While Driving.

While multitasking is a sign of the times, multitasking behind the wheel, “texting while driving” is taking efficiency to newer limits. Before SMS was even in our vocabulary driving was already dangerous, what with all the inexperienced young drivers, “reflex challenged” elderly drivers, drunk drivers and just plain bad and distracted drivers, every time you get behind the wheel you are taking your life in your hands.

Distracted drivers are becoming a huge road hazard. As if talking on a cell while driving is not dangerous enough, now we are trying to type while navigating the roadways. People forget or are simply oblivious to the fact that a car is a weapon in the wrong hands.

According to a study by Carnegie Melon University’s Psychology Professor Marcel Just, “simply listening to a cell phone while driving can cause drivers to commit errors as if they were under the influence of alcohol. New findings by Carnegie Mellon researchers show making the devices hands-free or voice-activated is not sufficient in eliminating these distractions…Just’s study used brain imaging to document that listening to a call reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. This can cause drivers to weave out of their lane, based on the performance of subjects using a driving simulator.” Carnegie Mellon Study Now imagine what trying to “type” a message does to your driving ability.

This study spurred the National Safety Council to call for a ban on cell phone use while driving. The government recently had the “Distracted Driving Summit” to address the dangers of text-messaging and other distractions behind the wheel.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood admits “You can’t legislate behavior,” LaHood said. “Taking personal responsibility for our actions [while driving] is the key.” But as we all know personal responsibility  is not enough to stop drinking and driving, and it won’t be enough to stop habitual texters.

While legislating a ban on cell phone use and texting while driving will be a deterrent to some, it won’t be to all. Another option that is being looked at are collision warning systems that are right now being offered on some expensive autos.

Texting while driving has become not only a worry for parents of teenagers, a bad habit of the “busy people syndrome”, a liability for employers who have their workers make use of company phones, but also a danger to anyone’s life and must be dealt with more seriously. According to Oprah, “…It’s become America’s new deadly obsession.” She is having a show on the subject of texting while driving on Monday Jan 18th follow the link to watch the episode.

The best solution that I’ve seen yet comes from several companies that have come up with a solution that employs innovative GPS technology which allow cell phone owners to disable texting and other features while driving. Some of them lets parents and employers customize cell phones to selectively disable texting functions, block certain numbers, or only permit incoming and outgoing calls to preset “safe lists” or emergency numbers. In addition to preventing dangerous use while driving, users may also set up ’safe zones’ that do not allow distractions around focused areas such as schools or worksites. Maybe in the future it will be a service offered by the cell phone companies, for a nominal fee.

But ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual to recognize the dangers involved in texting while driving and to put a stop to it.


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Healthcare Advisors to the President

Answering a question during a debate, the president stated to look at his advisors and that would give one an idea what his response would be on issues. President Obama stated that if you want to know his ideas on economics one looks to Warren Buffet and Paul Volcker. If you want to know his views on foreign relations one looks to Republican Senator Lugar of Indiana and General Jim Jones former Supreme Commander of NATO. President Obama stated that as we could see, he has a bipartisan mix of advisors.

We are all familiar with the views of such media prominent Americans as Buffet and Lugar but what do we know about the president’s other “advisors”. Names such as John P. Holdren, Cass R. Sunstein, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and Van Jones are not as well known to the average Joe but one should get to know them. They are among the people that are shaping policy in this country and have the ear of President Obama. Now they are not all of the Czars this president has surrounded himself with, but these are the ones that have views on healthcare that one should be aware of.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, not one of the Czars but the brother of the President Obama’s Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel, received his degree in medicine in 1988 and a PHD in Political Philosophy in 1989 from Harvard University.  Dr. Emanuel was tapped for White House health care advisor in February.

In a 1996 article for the Hastings Center Dr. Emanuel wrote:

            This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason”.

What Dr. Emanuel is suggesting here is that there needs to be rationing. This statement means that the continuation or constitution of a politically organized unit (government run healthcare) is dependent on making sure that only those withpractical reasoning skills” should be guaranteed basic healthcare. One has to ask where that leaves the mentally handicapped, autistic children and others that may not fit Dr. Emanuel’s “practical reasoning skills”.

In Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions (January 31, 2009), Dr. Emanuel and colleagues Govind Persad and Alan Wertheimer wrote:

            Consideration of the importance of complete lives also supports modifying the youngest-first principle by prioritizing adolescents and young adults over infants. Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments. Similarly, adolescence brings with it a developed personality capable of forming and valuing long-term plans whose fulfillment requires a complete life.”

 

In the same article Dr. Emanuel and his colleagues write:

 

“The complete lives system also considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses. When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly, allocating to the better-off is often justifiable. Some small benefits, such as a few weeks of life, might also be intrinsically insignificant when compared with large benefits.”

 

and…

 

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.”

 

In essence some Americans are more worthy than others. Under Dr. Emanuel’s health care, only those who can immediately contribute to society or have a chance to, should be given the best healthcare. One has to ask, am I one of the “worthy” ones.

The next article in this series will focus on John P. Holdren.     

 

 

health care reform health coverage health decision 08 health insurance healthcare


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Your Opinion On Health Care Reform

Here is your chance to make your voice heard on the Health care reform debate. Fill out as many options as you like and fill in more if we missed something.

Health Care is an important issue for our country as it affects all of us. Let’s all participate in the process with the understanding that no one idea or philosophy is prefect. Change is always difficult but not to change is to become stagnant.


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Letting Fear Rule Your Health Care

Letting fear rule our Health Care really comes down to a matter of choice, do I let fear rule my decisions or do I open my heart and mind and help change takes it’s course.

Health Care reform will not cause the end of the world, or the end of our country as we know it even if a public option is included in the bill. Everyone agrees that the system is inadequate, and that change is needed. But, as with most political debates the emotion quotient on the Health Care debate is rather lacking.

Like any other issue it needs to be debated by all sides and the more ideas into the pot the better, but emotion needs to stay out of it. It is the driving force behind all the trouble with the Health Care debate.

Heated disputes brought about by fear, rarely come to any fruitful outcome. Outshouting or insulting your opponent really doesn’t change their mind or make them see your point any more clearer. It’s more likely that it will make them angry too and react in a similar manner, which usually comes to nothing good. In the end in order to come to some decision both sides will have to calm down and listen to each other anyway. So, why not start that way and avoid all the anger and hostility and wasted energy on all sides and work together with the common goal of coming up with something better than what we have now.

Let’s check our emotions at the door and then debate the issues. Make a list of the things that you want to change or not change about health care and forward it on to your representative, or go to the town meeting and present your case, without emotion into it. Everyone has a different idea about what Health Care should be like, but participation in a debate does not guarantee everyone’s ideas will be included in the final product. If we start off the process with the acceptance of that knowledge, than we are way ahead of the game and will move forward much faster. Fear and anger do not make for a better world and it will not make for better Health Care.

Any major change to a system is difficult but there is no need to make it more difficult than it is.


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Catatonia No Longer a State in the U.S.

Most would say that Obama has taken on more that he can chew, and though that may be true, his momentum has already gone a long way towards taking our government out of the catatonic state it has been in for many years. In essence Obama and his administration has stirred up the soul of the U.S. and the World.

In his five or so months in office, Obama and his administration have stirred up more issues and feathers that the last three presidents put together. The agenda is large and complex and it also challenges the status quo that we have been stuck in for years.

People don’t often like change, but the culmination of the war in Iraq and the economic crisis that we are going through is helping people understand that sometimes change is good, and will help this administration in pushing through a lot of the changes that need to happen in order for our society to keep moving forward. No one understands this dynamic better than Obama.

These are some of the issues that this administration has tackled so far:

Now whether we stand on one side or the other on any of these issues is not the issue. The fact that some of these issues are being tackled at all is a testament to the good intentions behind this administration, and deserve the full attention of the people of this country. Let’s not let politics as usual continue to interfere with the well being of the country.

We should all embrace change on a personal, national and global level. Change is the impetus for growth.

Let’s get involved in resolving these issues, tell your representatives how you feel about the issues and let them know what you want them to do. And if they are stuck in politics as usual, vote them out. It’s time to make our representatives accountable for what they do or don’t do.

After all do they not work for us?

Get Involved:


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The Good Side to the Piracy Story…

One good thing to the story of piracy off the coast of Somalia is that it brings attention to the problem of world hunger.

The WFP, the World Food Program, is the United Nations front line agency in the fight against hunger. Their objectives are to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies, to reduce chronic hunger and undernutrition everywhere and to strengthen the capacity of countries to reduce hunger.

The WFP has also been a victim of the growing problem of piracy in the waters off the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. There have been two incidents just this last week, that involved food shipments carried by the WFP on their way to the Somali people by way of India and Kenya.

Since 2007 the WFP has had the help of Naval escorts provided by the European Union to guarantee the flow of food delivery to the people of Somalia who are suffering from drought, conflict, and the impact of high food prices. This help has so far ensured that the deliveries get to Somalia without the interference of pirates who where previously threatening to cut off the humanitarian assistance to their own country.

But the two latest incidents were shipments headed for different ports of call, Mumbai, India and Mombasa, Kenya, which raises the question of the security of these two ports. WFP and other aid agencies with cargo bound for hunger-stricken countries in east and central Africa are worried that the piracy may be spreading to these two ports which are instrumental in the world hunger fight, and are used to carry aid not just to Somalia, but also to Kenya, Southern Sudan, Uganda and the Republic of Congo. Millions of people would go hungry if the Somali pirates are allowed to flourish.

What to do about the pirates is the question that everyone has on their minds since the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. Whether it be that these ships carry armed guards, or are equipped with barbed wire or some other way of protection against these pirates, the world has to band together and come up with a fail-safe way to carry these life saving shipments to these countries.

This is a good opportunity to look at what each of us are doing in the fight against world hunger. Any day is a good day to start. START HERE! go to the website of the World Food Program and find out how you can help.


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Earth Hour 2009- Switch Off



Vote Earth Your Light Switch is Your Vote

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.


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Why Bad News Sells…

Bad news sells! Everyone is aware of it, bitches about it, but buys it anyway. The TV news is inundated by it, the Tabloids are filled cover to cover with it, it’s what makes headlines in the newspapers, negative Radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbo have huge followings because of it, and afternoon Tabloid Talk shows draw millions of watchers by displaying it. It makes you wonder why, why are people more drawn to bad news than good news.

What is the attraction to bad news? At first it appears like a case of the chicken or the egg, and which came first. The supply or the demand? Are we the consumers asking the providers of information for bad news or are we being fed the bad news with the understanding that humans have a bigger emotional response to negative information or pain, thereby we listen longer, we watch longer, and read farther. This gives the providers of bad news a more attentive, captive audience, for longer periods of time. This in turn gives them higher ratings and sells more papers or magazines, which in turn they use to sell more advertising which sells more products to us. The operative word here being sell, sell, sell.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the barrage of bad news, and have a plan to escape it. My plan is simply to tune it out, opt-out like Deepak Chopra likes to say, “choose not to participate.” It might seem naive, but if you really contemplate on the whole question of positive and negative thinking, you can make your own choice of what you would like to be surrounded by, I choose hope.

Let’s do a little research of our own and fill out the poll below. Let’s see what wins out positive or negative news. I have a feeling that given the choice people will choose positive news over negative…

Found an interesting story on a study that says that Happiness is Contagious.

But before you go fill out the poll…


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How to Keep Positive Amongst All The Shenanigans…

It seems that not a day goes by that some piece of bad news swoops down to take our breath away. If it is not the outrageous AIG bonuses (supposedly to maintain the top talent that has brought the company to its knees), it’s yet another round of layoffs in some corner of the country, or it’s Madoff the Scammer trying to keep some of the millions he stole from his clients, or it’s the wasteful ways of the government, or the unemployment rate plummeting, or the housing prices going through the floor, or the Market tanking, or Geitner this and Paulson that, or the Earmarks on the budget, or Congress did this and the Administration did that, and that’s not even getting into the International rhetoric. I think you get the message, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep upbeat and keep going on this journey we call life.

I came across a quote from Deepak Chopra that caught my eye and put the things that are happening right now in a little better perspective:

” Societies get into the grip of their own self-created story. It’s helpful to realize that we can choose not to participate in that story. Realize that national and tribal stories are limited, self-serving, based on the past, reinforced by orthodoxy, and therefore opposed to real change. Stories are incredibly persuasive. Wars are fueled by victimization that runs deep, for example. So let us not try to change any one’s story. Let us only notice and observe ourselves when we buy into it and then let us back away from participating in it.”

This comes from a quote from Peace is the Way -Ten Steps to Peace Consciousness written by Deepak Chopra. You can read the whole quote HERE.

Let’s face it “Bad News Sells” whether on TV, Radio, Newspapers or the Net. And if it sells, then we are going to be bombarded by it. Now why bad news sells is a whole other topic for another day. But while we are bombarded by it I think Deepak’s words can helps us realize that we are not obligated to participate in the fear mongoring and “can opt out of the Stories”. But more importantly, we can create our own story by keeping positive, making a plan for ourselves and looking forward. We can choose not to participate in the negative stories. If nothing else for our own sanity and the sanity of the country.


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Led by the Drug-Induced Rantings of a Mad Man…

Just when you thought it was safe, a new leader claims the GOP. The arrogant, pompous, self-indulgent, incendiary entertainer Rush Limbaugh. Yep, you heard right, the right which has been flying without a strong leader for some time now, has been adopted by the king of pomp, from the land of sensationalism. After being allowed to ramble on for an hour and twenty minutes, Limbaugh, now feels that he may be ready to be the leader of the CPAC if not the GOP.

He seems to think that he represents the conservatives of this nation, and if that is true it may be the saddest comment of all. In as much as he may be, in the eyes of some, a good entertainer, much like Jerry Springer is, neither one really contributes anything of substance or of importance to a society that is in dire need of leaders. Leaders that will unify the people of this country and the world we live in, not separate, divide and drive a wedge between them. To what end? Self-glorification.

If anyone has any doubt as to how Limbaugh really feels about this country and it’s people, just ask yourself what was the intent behind his statement “I hope Obama Fails”? Is it because he cares for the people, for you and me? or is it because he only cares for his own popularity? More incendiary comments to draw attention to himself.

Right now we are experiencing what unchecked greed does to a society, Limbaugh is still stuck in the old way of doing things. Don’t get pulled in by the labels and the name calling from the likes of Limbaugh, that only drives people into a frenzy of wasted energy. We have to rise above that if we are to get ahead.

If Obama fails, America fails, we all fail.

The preamble to the Constitution goes like this: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.

We may all be different, but we can strive for a common goal that benefits all, not just the few.

Search your heart who has the country’s best interest at heart Limbaugh or Obama?


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Creativity Not Negativity Will Stimulate This Economy

What this country needs right now, during these hard economic times, is for us to put our creativity caps on and innovate our way out of this slump in the economy.

All the negativity that we hear coming from the news and especially the channels that cover the markets does absolutely nothing but sell airspace for them. It will not help the economy, and worst yet it only helps to drive the Markets further down. People listen to them thinking that they are some kind of authority on the economy and that they know better than the rest of us. When in reality they know no more than any of us. If they did, they would have warned the world of what was to come. Creativity and innovation has always made this country stand out above all, and that is what we need to get back to to get us out of the mess we are in now.

While pondering our situation and surfing the net today I came across an old NPR article “African Farmers try KickStarting Their Farms” from 2006 that featured a group called KickStart who’s mission is to help millions of people out of poverty. They promote sustainable economic growth and employment creation in Kenya and other African countries. They develop and promote technologies that can be used by dynamic entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable small scale enterprises.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with our current situation and our country. Nothing and everything. These two guys from England wondering how to help people in Africa come out of poverty came up with this simple model of business to help people, help themselves out of poverty. Instead of wallowing in negativity and pity for these people, they put their heads together and came up with a simple 5 Step Process to end poverty which is basically this:

Now this may not seem like a new business model, and probably it’s not. But what is innovative about it is that they did not let the dire situation of these people stop their creativity. They came up with this concept and since 2005 have helped over 400,000 move out of poverty. If 2 people can get this done, imagine if we all chose to use our creativity.

We have a choice as a people, a society and as individuals in this and all situations. We are at a crossroads, go the negative route and nothing good comes out, go the positive route and the possibilities are endless.

Read more about the Impact of Kickstart and how you can help too.


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TARP Recipients Corraled: Taxpayers Avenged

Finally our government has realized that TARP is not a blue piece of canvas to be used to cover up past mistakes. TARP recipients will be put in their rightful place, as that of “borrowers” of taxpayer money. As it should be, “borrowing” comes with duties and responsibilities. The taxpayer has no obligation to lend money to irresponsible borrowers, and the government has every obligation to make sure that recipients of such funds do nothing with the funds that is contrary to the public interest.

Treasury Secretary Paulson,  Fed Reserve Chairman Bernake, the Bush administration and most of Congress, including President Obama somehow did not grasp this concept, they seemed to believe at the time that we had to give these financial institutions incentives to allow the government to bail them out. Unbelievable! They coerced the country into believing that throwing money at the very same banking and financial institutions that got us in this mess in the first place was the way to go. The recipients, the same people whose greed superseded sound financial decisions that lead the country into it’s downward spiral, were going to police themselves and rectify the situation without the need of any rules and regulations being imposed upon them. Upon receipt of the money they were going to use the money to ease up the credit markets which they had caused to dry up. But, in actuality what they did with the money they were given, besides the reported 19 billion dollars in bonuses is known only to them. In the end it looks more like a cattle drive gone bad, with the money spread everywhere but making no difference.

Better late than never, Obama’s reaction to the arrogance of Wall Street’s 19 billion dollar bonus giveaway of taxpayer money, has been swift and to the point. As part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009″, better known as the Stimulus Package, the recipients of the TARP money will be leashed and set on the straight and narrow path. Here are some excerpts from that legislation which is currently being debated in the Senate as we speak. These rules will address both future and past recipients of TARP money.

TITLE VI–EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

And last but not least:

Now I know this is a lot to swallow all at once but it is worth it to see that finally the taxpayer will be avenged. Now if you are really interested in looking at all the details of the “stimulus package” you can go to the Library of Congress and see the latest revised version as it stands right now before it goes to a vote in the Senate.


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I.O.U.S.A. The Movie: America In Debt

In case some of you missed the movie on CNN, I though it might be nice to put it up for people to see. The movie takes a look at how we got into the financial situation we are in, not just as a nation but also as individuals, and what we need to do to get out of it…

Living beyond our means has caught up with us, What now?

Watch the movie, share it with friends and family and get involved, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to the next generation too…

I.O.U.S.A “One Nation.Under Stress, In Debt”

Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Their Vision: To keep America strong and the American Dream alive by promoting responsibility and accountability today to create more opportunity tomorrow.

Indebted.com We are broke, let’s fix it…


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What The Bankers Forgot…

Found this great cartoon video about being responsible for your actions. It has an environmental twist but it applies so well to the economical situation the world finds itself right now. Mainly because of the greediness, arrogance and irresponsibility of our financial institutions.

I thought you would enjoy it too.

Whatever comes around goes around…


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The Changing Of The Guard: Goodbye W, Welcome Obama!

As the inauguration approached I was inspired by this historic moment to write a poem for the changing of the guard.

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The Changing of the Guard:

A New Guardian

Pomp and Circumstance

Ceremony in motion

A sea of humanity in witness

The change

The direction of the wind

Palpable

In the air, Hope

Even in the midst of despair

A fresh start on the horizon

The spark

Out of the crowd

A beacon

Instilling confidence

The collective mind evolved

Cohesiveness achieved

Consciousness elevated

A necessary step

On the journey

Light at the end.


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Drugs Tonight…HIV For Life…

Drugs

A moment of fun

AIDS

A lifetime shortened


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Response to Barron’s Open Letter To Obama……………………… The “Card Check” Issue

Barron’s put out an Open Letter to Obama on November 15th, outlining the 8 steps or recommendations “he should take to restore order to financial markets and bolster the economy.” (full article)

This post addresses the 8th recommendation on the Employee Free Choice Act, which has to do with the workers right to choose to Unionize their workplace.

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Here is Barron’s 8th recommendation to Obama on how to handle the “Card Check” proposal:

8. Keep Union Ballots Secret

Prove you are not beholden to special interests by promising to veto any “card-check” plans favored by the labor unions. Mr. President-elect, if you want stock markets to rebound, follow our advice and make this clear to investors as soon as possible.

You should echo the sentiments of former Democratic presidential contender George McGovern, who in an Aug. 8 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal said, “The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.”

The key provision of such legislation would change the way unions are organized. Instead of secret ballots, union organizers would merely need to gather signatures on cards from more than 50% of workers in the workplace. This system invites enormous abuses. As McGovern pointed out: “There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.”

The secret ballot allows a worker to vote his conscience and not be cajoled and intimidated by a bullying mob or persecuted for standing alone on an issue. The card-check proposal would breed tyranny and lead to higher labor costs, dramatically slowing the formation of new business in America. Like it or not, we are competing in a global economy, not a closed one, and America would be less competitive.

You co-sponsored card-check legislation as a senator. You promised unions while on the campaign trail that you would sign such legislation into law. You have more responsibility now and should be considerably more circumspect. This proposal is a job-killer, not a job creator. It is designed to fatten union coffers, not encourage innovation and investment.

You were elected by secret ballot, why can’t unions face elections the same way?

________________________________________________________

In response to your 8th plea to Obama about the ” Card Check ” proposal. Let me first say that I was a union member for 30 years in the Hotel and Restaurant industry in San Francisco and I agree with you that members should have a secret ballot. But something needs to change because the current system tips the scales more in favor of business than of the workers.

What most people don’t know is how the current system works.

In a nut shell, the Union goes out to try and organize a business, and get enough card check signatures by approaching employees outside the workplace. Once they have enough signatures they approach the business and ask them to engage in contract negotiations. On a rare occasion a company will accept the employee wishes and will enter into negotiations with the Unions. More often then not a business takes the case to court to fight unionization or simply ignores the wishes of the workers which cause the Unions to take the businesses to court and there it hangs for years.

Now what we have to ask ourselves is, is the current system fair to the workers that want to “vote their conscience”. Yes they have a right to a secret ballot but it takes years to process because business fights it so vigorously.

Let’s be honest, businesses like the status quo and don’t want this proposal to make it through Congress because it allows them to delay the inevitable, not because they are worried about the rights of their workers. Employers do not have the interest of their workers at heart, they have the interests of the company at heart. If they cared about the right of workers and didn’t want them “cajoled and intimidated by a bullying mob or persecuted for standing alone on an issue” like you say then they would lobby for an “expedited secret ballot”. Often the cajoling and intimidation happens in the workplace by the employer who resists unionization. Example

But to be fair we also have to admit that Unions like the proposal because it would speed things up and make things easier to increase Union membership, which has been decreasing for years. But a card check alone is too open to corruption and dishonesty and would only lead to more lawyers and court cases and more delays.

I’m sure a lot of people are looking at the situation with the auto industry and the lucrative Union contracts that the UAW was able to negotiate for their workers and blaming those contracts for the downfall of the Big3. But let’s not forget that contracts are negotiated, management of the auto industry is just as much to blame for signing these unsustainable contracts as are the Unions for proposing them.  When the CEO of a company brings the company down, and walks away with Golden Parachute worth millions of dollars who is at fault for that contract, the CEO or the people who approved his contract without tying the compensation to their performance? After all who knows better the financial situation of a company than the management.

As for being a global economy, we have been that for years and recent times have shown that business models that have not been successful, whether unionized or not, have failed not so much for non-competitive wages as for the greed and mismanagement by the management. Maybe giving large bonuses to the few instead of small wage increases to the many has proven not to pay off afterall.

The average workers need someone on their side and the employer is not it, it’s kind of a conflict of interest for the employer. So what is the answer.  A better proposal for the right of workers to vote on union membership that would work and would be fair for all, one that includes a secret ballot and an expedited process. Once a majority card check is proven, secret ballot voting should take place within a reasonable time frame like a couple of months, not years. And when it comes time to negotiate sustainable contracts, businesses and unions have to be open and reasonable on both sides for the success of the companies and the workers.

I’m sure we could convince Obama of that.


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Living Life As A Refugee…

Bloggers Unite

Life as a refugee cannot be easy, imagine being displaced and uprooted from your home and to have to leave everything that you know, or lose your life. That is the case for thousands in the Central African Republic. A little known country by the rest of the world, the Central African Republic is rich in diamonds, uranium and gold, but is one of the poorest nations in the world.

War is the cause for it’s refugee problem. People fleeing conflicts between rebels and the government since 2001. Estimated 265,000 displaced by the ravages of war. Adding insult to injury the Central African Republic is stuck between other war torn nations, Chad, Sudan’s Darfur Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all in conflict today and all displacing their own people to the region’s refugee camps.

Living in refugee camps is not easy, international aid is coming but not fast enough. Leaving the violence of war only to face the insecurity of refugee life plagued with poverty and illness.

Our job as citizens of this world is to bring awareness to the rest of the world about little know regions like the Central African Republic and the refugee problem that they are experiencing, through our blogging and social networking and to contribute what we can to aid organizations that go into these areas to help out.

Every little bit helps: Here are some Aid Organizations that go into these worn torn areas and try to help in the refugee situtation.

  • Doctors Without Borders
  • Doctors of the World
  • American Red Cross
  • CARE
  • Direct Relief International
  • Global Community Center
  • International Medical Corps
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Mercy Corps International
  • Oxfam America
  • UK Refugee Services
  • UNICEF - USA
  • United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrant Children
  • Women’s Commission for Refugee Women & Children
  • If you’d like to participate: Refugee’s United at Blogcatalog


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    I Cast My Vote For Batman And Robin…

    Let’s face it the way this country has been run into the ground by both the Democrats and Republicans, it will take Super Heroes like Batman and Robin to get us out of the mess we are in. And since there were no Super Heroes on my ballot, I wrote mine in.

    I have been debating within myself and with my friends about who to vote in as president for weeks. We have early voting here and today was “the day” for me. Up until the last moment I agonized about my decision. But finally settled on what my conscience was telling me.

    Voting for the lesser of two evils didn’t sit well with me, so I opted for the Super Heroes.

    Obama is a great orator, he could probably make you give up your first born in exchange for affordable health care. But, can you trust the man behind the words. I always remember what my grandmother use to say, “actions speak louder than words”, “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”. So if one should choose a candidate for his character, for his judgement, and for his stance on the issues, then where does that leave Obama. Too many shaky associations, and too many well meaning promises that will probably end up being just that, promises that cannot be fulfilled. Not to mention his running mate Biden, who has contracted “Hoof In Mouth” disease, and should be kept in an undisclosed location, somewhat like Dick Cheney, as damage control.

    McCain couldn’t give a decent speech if his life depended on it, which makes it hard for him to get his message across. Now that may be part of his downfall, because people are often swayed more by the eloquence of words than by their substance. To top it off his message is lackluster and flawed as well, full of promises that the democratic congress would never let through. His judgement has also been called into question as has his running mate’s. And speaking of running mates, Sarah Palin would require her own post.

    With the state of the economy as it is, they are both writing checks that they cannot cash. They know it, and that means they are both LYYYYYYING. Both sides are flawed in their ideas and lacking the type of character that this country needs to get it back on track.

    What we need is a candidate, and a sidekick, endowed with superhuman powers, who can rise above the pettiness of men and their greed, who are willing to fight evil and crime, even the white collar type, without destroying it’s own in the process. One who makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation to make things better for his people, not just himself and his circle of friends. One who can, not only resist the temptation of lobbyists and interest groups, but wipe them off the face of the earth. A “Dynamic Duo” if you will. An archetype for all politicians to come.

    Unfortunately I did not find one of those on my ballot this time around. And so I was left with no choice but to write in my own candidate, Batman and Robin. I hope you find yours.


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