Thursday, February 28, 2013

How can Congress cut spending?

It's hypocritical of either political party to point fingers at the other as if one or the other is solely responsible for marching the country toward some hypothetical fiscal cliff. 

Remember, it was more than a decade ago that a certain president hosted a war but cut tax revenues.  The resulting deficit from that fiscally irresponsible approach should never have come as a surprise. Its burdensome long-tail cost chains our collective pocketbooks and strains the federal budget.

But that fiscally UNconservative and financially irresponsible choice is only part of what keeps US in debt today. Ongoing government waste is the currency of political budgetry, and neither party is blameless.
One Congressman's Pork is another's Bacon; Trim ALL fat.
Credit: apgovernment-faust.blogspot.com
Anyone who has studied Econ101 knows: You can't reduce your debt if you don't pay it off. To do that, you have to earn more income (in this case, that would be Taxes) and reduce expenses (in this case that would be federally funded programs). As the constituent credit advisors to the legislative debtors, it is up to us to make sure our elected representatives take the correct actions to remedy the imbalance.

As with any big business, government is filled with duplication, ineffective programs, and just general wasteful spending. But the most costly overspending in government aren't programs to help masses of lean and hungry real people, rather they are the special budget items that benefit already-fat profit-making businesses. It's called Pork Barrel Legislation because those businesses are feeding at the public trough like greedy pigs.
Elephant-pigs and Donkey-pigs feed at the same public trough.
Just like average citizens have to diet when they overstuff with food, Pentagon Porkers, Fossil Fuel Porkers, and general all-around Porkers need to go on a diet.

It's time we citizens insist our legislators join together as Waste Watchers instead of continuing their bad habits as secret Pork Pushers.
 
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Why do we fear our Common Welfare?


I'm not much of a detailed student of history. The gist of one era of hatred and war followed by another seems too wasteful and wrong. I can't understand why leaders rely on fear and hatred of others to hold power over their world. It seems to me there would be far less unrest and far more progress if we all just shared alike and got along.

Instead of cooperating and helping each other along, the dominating group has kept the resources and spread the wealth only as far as to pave their way to more conquest. The few at the top have made sure everyone else was kept without -- without power, without resources, without education, without food or safety, without possibility of better. They structured life around fear -- fear of those in power, fear of people who look different, fear of groups who practiced different rites and rituals, fear always that the ones with even less were threats.

Fears paralyze
Fear is always outward-pointing. Fear eschews stability. Fear is agitating and restless. Fear always focuses on some other, never looks inward, never seeks common ground.

At yet, at heart, we are all the same. We have identical hopes and dreams. We yearn for the same peace; we idealize living in plenty. We struggle to learn more and become more of our potential.

The division of fear though prevents us from ever achieving all we could. As long as there is the divisive struggle to keep some with less -- less land, fewer resources, less food, less possibility of growth -- it is impossible for all to rise to the fullest potential.

Fear-based power pervades our world today and makes us all less than we could be. We -- the world -- will only evolve into something better when we -- all people -- join together to bring forth our best ideas of possibility and all collaborate for the common welfare.
 
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why can't coffeemakers pour?


It seems that in all the years of making coffeepots, someone would have by now come up with a pot that can actually pour without dribbling all over the counter. I make a pot of tea in mine every morning, and when I pour, especially from a full pot, I have to hold the cup over the sink. After a few days, the porcelain is tea-stained and needs a scrub. Is it too much to think that ONE of the manufacturers (and I've used MANY brands) would come up with a better spout?
Pouring coffee MESS
It's the same throughout industry. They make products that are expedient for their manufacturing process rather than the real needs of their consumers. The service industry is sadly identical. The packages utility providers market meet their own preferences rather than client needs. What ever happened to the American ethics of ever-improving ingenuity and customer service?

Somewhere along the way, corporate executives and their minions have taken a short-sighted detour. Instead of being responsive to their driving market, they cater to clamoring greed for higher profits. To neglect quality in the quest for lower costs is long-term self-defeating. To ignore customer complaints with the assumption that there are no better alternatives creates marketplace discontent. To lobby against public demands to support research and development of alternative energy or  environmental protections indicates a vast misunderstanding of sustainability.

It all derives from the same failing business model. Bigger isn't universally better. Profit margins can't grow wider forever. Richer executives aren't worth more than their underpaid laborers. The current model is maximizing long-range stupidity.

When the world isn't working, it is time for individuals to stand up for change. Insisting a coffeepot should pours even when full isn't asking too much. Neither is expecting service for customers or executives to care about the future.

As more people stop accepting the norm and insist on a better way, the tipping point to change becomes inevitable. Let's pour our efforts into seeking that new equilibrium of improved standards for us all.
 
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

How can you have a happy heart?

Life shows up for us as it does because of what we DO, not because of how we intrinsically are at core.
Happiness lies at the heart's core.
photocredit: www.goodenoughmother.com

We learned as children to respond to the environment we were in, and unless we've been surprisingly reflective and figured out we want to change those old patterns, they continue to inform our present actions. We live in the world we created (back when we were children who didn't know any better!) and we don't even notice that life could be another way today and that then the world (right here, right now) might appear different and produce different outcomes for us.

If life isn't going the way you think it should, stop a moment and look, really look, at how you are contributing to make life the way it is. We make assumptions; we draw unsupported conclusions; we shut up without asking the questions we need answered; we retreat and lick our psyche's wounds instead of clarifying what is going on and asking for what we really need. To have a different result, we need to DO something different. We need to uncover reality; we need to ask; we need to clarify; we need to approach; we need to be vulnerable in who we are and let others know what we are feeling and dealing with and needing. We need to be standing by our values and reflecting our value.

You can't be fullfilled to your deepest core if you're living someone else's dream or expectation.

When we recognize that we are worth the time and effort it takes to change our participation in the world, we begin to notice that life is more of what we yearn for it to be. And the more we practice being the person we hold closest to our deepest core, the more we love the life we are living every day.

Your heart can be happy with life only when you are fully filled with the value of your being.
 
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Monday, February 11, 2013

How can we solve the gun control debate?

A knowledgeable Constitution reader recently commented to me:
What I really don’t get is that everyone ignores the first clause of the second amendment. 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. If one goes back to the historic record and why that amendment was included, you will see that what it is trying to prevent is having all the power in the military and creating a situation where martial law could take away individual liberties. That is what the colonists thought the British did in quartering soldiers in their homes and taking away their rights to assemble and voice their grievances.
It's the NRA lobby that has everyone convinced that the second amendment is for the individual gun purchaser and not intended for state militias. Certainly no well-funded opposition group ever corrected the NRA (which must really stand for National Retail Armorers) interpretation, so it has become popular "knowledge" for every gun defender around.
WhiteHouse Gun violence Plan
Credit: www.whitehouse.gov
Guns are used to perpetrate not only murders but suicides and accidents (see the facts), yet gun owners are all brainwashed into thinking having a gun in their home makes them safe. Framers of the Constitution, on the other hand, wanted to make the country safe, but today's NRA misinterpreters are putting military weapons on the streets and putting the nation at risk.

Maybe the gun proliferation problem could be solved by requiring everyone who owns a gun to be in their state militia....
 
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Friday, February 8, 2013

How far has education progressed?

Education is the keystone in the area of freedom and progress. [...] A free nation can rise no higher than the standard of excellence set in its schools and colleges.


Ignorance and illiteracy, unskilled workers and school dropouts – these and other failures of our educational system breed failures in our social and economic system: delinquency, unemployment, chronic dependence, a waste of human resources, a loss of productive power and purchasing power, and an increase in tax-supported benefits. [...] Failure to improve education performance is thus not only poor social policy, it is poor economics.
JFK Speaking to America
Credit: historyofamerican.blogspot....
 [...] This nation is committed to greater investment in economic growth; and [... investment in education] yields a substantial return in the higher wages and purchasing power of trained workers, in the new products and techniques which come from skilled minds, and in the constant expansion of this nation’s storehouse of useful knowledge.
~ John F. Kennedy - Message to Congress January 29, 1963    

It's been 50 years. By my reckoning, we still aren't close to meeting the country's pressing need for better education. Certainly Congress hasn't heeded this mid-century warning.

Kennedy's clarion call remains unheard: "For the nation, increasing the quality and availability of education is vital to both our national security and our domestic well-being."

Now, more than ever, if our representatives understood the value of quality education, they would advocate its support and fund it far more than any "defense" budget items. Our students are our nation's future; they need a better foundation for success.
I wonder... what you think.
 
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's the "right" education for P.Q and C.Q. to originate?

According to Thomas L. Friedman, success in our hyperconnected digital era will be claimed by "those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient)" rather than those with high I.Q.s (as if I.Q. were ever a predictor of success).

Adapting to the new economy, he says, will require "more of the 'right' education" to "develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it" and it will be necessary to "be innovating new products and services to employ the people who are being liberated from routine work by automation and software."

Um, great pep talking, except under the current paradigm of public education that's not going to happen. The president can never claim “Yes You Can” or urge “Yes You Must” as long as public education in this country is both underfunded and underappreciated.
School is No Fun
Credit: historytech.wordpress.com
But even more importantly, the America public education system is totally unprepared to to teach its students those two most crucial skills for Friedman's vision of success. Neither passion nor curiosity is fostered in an education system that merely tests for recognition of standard answers.
Girl looking out window, yearning to escape automaton testing
Credit: blog.socrato.com
If Friedman hopes for America's workforce to be able to invent or reinvent their own evolving jobs as well as be prepared to "relearn for a lifetime," he'd better get behind some public education reform today. No regimented curriculum can forcefeed individual initiative, and no standardized exam can possibly test whether a classroomful of minds has opened to their fullest potential.
Standardized testing: go climb a tree
Credit: simmonsatshowcase.wikispace...
The "right" education for the future Friedman envisions is a system that teaches children to think creatively for themselves. America's educators will need to return to the drawing board and reinvent public education before P.Q. and C.Q. can become the American way of life.
 
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why is over-do unwise?

If the flu has hit you or you've succumbed to one of the other seasonal malaises, there's a reason. Pushing the limits of your time, effort, and energy is exactly what leaves you laid up for long periods. When you don't honor your body's capabilities and you forget to provide the nutrients and mental and emotional stimulation you crave, the immune system lets you know that you need to take time off to re-evaluate your ways of living.
Succumbing to the flu
Credit: www.easternct.edu
You have to remember one thing about housework: You don't have to do it all everyday; it'll still be there to do the next time you come around to the task. Pushing yourself to "catch up" is foolish because it's neverending.

And while promises are important to keep, if you are promising ridiculous deadlines to people who will not understand a delay for sickness or emergencies, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate what and who you are promising your time, efforts, and attention. The most important promise is to take care of yourself so you're always healthy and capable and enjoying each day.

To take life at a manageable pace and periodically rest and recreate along the way keeps you at your physical, mental, and emotional best. You'll be able to be continuously active and enjoy the fruits of your efforts more fully.

To prepare yourself to live this more effective way, plan a more measured approach that prioritizes your efforts. You need to undertake your daily chores in a way that accomplishes the most important in the most effective ways -- and leave the least important if not unattended at least minimally so.

E-value-ating your priorities will leave you more time and energy to treasure your relationships and to invest in what you truly love to do that helps you learn and grow into more of who you yearn to be.

Nurturing connections with others and with yourself will forge stronger bonds of health and happiness than all the household chores and limit-pushing activities ever could.
 
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

How can we reclaim government for the People?

Our democracy is broken. I've said it before, and today I signed a petition at the official White House website that says so too.

I'm signer 32572 on the petition asking President Obama to "Use the State of the Union to call for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics."

I can't say it any better, so here's the full text of the petition:
Our democracy is broken, flooded by money from corporations, billionaires and SuperPACs that puts their interests over those of the public. From big banks sinking our economy while blocking real reform to the NRA preventing sensible gun safety measures, big money forces are corrupting our politics. Since the US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations and wealthy donors have the right to spend unlimited money in our elections, a growing popular movement is now calling for a constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy. Eleven states and nearly 500 cities and towns have joined this call. We petition President Obama to use the State of the Union to call for a constitutional amendment to reduce the influence of money in our political system and restore democracy to the people.
If you agree it is time to reclaim government for the People, you too can add your signature.

The deadline to sign is February 7th, so sign now and share with your friends and family today!

Be sure to note the caution on the website: "Creating a duplicate or similar petition will make it harder for you to get an official response. Instead, sign and help promote the one that has already been created." So share this link at We the People: Your Voice in Our Government with your friends and family:  http://wh.gov/P9j7

The White House website is worth checking out in more detail as well.
 
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

How can you live the life you yearn for?

The crux of living the life you yearn for isn't found by rationally prioritizing separate goals. Pretending dedication won't fulfill your dreams. Life isn't an either/or proposition; you don't have to sacrifice love for success (or vice versa) or give in to any other seemingly incompatible conflict.

If you're torn between two directions or trying to go it alone and pushing beyond your available energy or faking it, you're missing the greatest resources the universe offers. The most essential truth, as every nonverbal infant knows instinctively and instantly, is the need for connection with those who nurture you. Interaction with those who share your most valued ideals generates synergy to more fully fill your life with all you yearn for.
Connecting with a Hand Up leads to more Fulfillment
Credit: www.katsaksyoga.com
By e-value-ating your core ideals and setting your intention to become more and more integrated with your most valued ideals, you naturally connect into CommonUnity with your energetic community. As the resulting resonance of your choices expands your energy, time (as Einstein explained) becomes fluid, the Infinite Potential takes a quantum leap of transcendence, and fulfillment of all you yearn for becomes possible.

In the community of your CommonUnity, you don't have to spend an eternal GroundHog Day churning though mistaken shortcuts to happiness. When you are loved for who you are and supported in ways that help you grow, you can do it all without a single sacrifice.

True FullFillment is both internally and externally integrative. When you are on the right path, you don't have to choose between doing good and being the person you yearn to be.


 
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