Tag Archives: twitter

Is There A Solution To Gun Violence?

Simply asking that question will not resolve anything but facing and making adequate and lasting changes can lead to actually saving lives.

Most recently, the focus from the media, political leaders, gun rights activists and many others have not been focused on long-term needs or solutions but rather on short-term story lines, misleading voters and pushing policies as well as allowing misunderstandings which have led to surges in firearm sales.

The story of the century would be a day without a death from gun violence or even more so, violent crime.
Sound impossible? We are driven to think that way.

Read Full Article on EzKool.com

President Obama – Leading with Values

President Barack Obama in Tampa October 25, 2012

Personally, I feel there is more to a President of the United States than just being the leader of the land-of-the-free, the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the world and a person who makes decisions each day that not only affects hundreds of millions of people in our nation but has affects around the world for many generations to come.

That is just a fraction of who our President is and therefore, I like to know a person is open and honest about their beliefs, their views on humanity, women, marriage, world aide, our troops and veterans, education, healthcare, the economy and what has led them to be the person they have become.

I personally was raised with a Republican background, registered as Republican and voted as a Republican for my first few elections.

I have always listened to all sides and tried to put myself in the shoes of others before casting my ballots in any elections. I understand I am not just voting for myself but also for my Country. I have never considered myself to be judgmental or close-minded.

As I have grown older, raised a family and faced more of life’s challenges such as raising a child fighting a terminal illness, learning disabilities, fighting with insurance companies, having pre-existing conditions of my own and dealing with hers, I do see many things differently than others may see.

I have seen many denied life-saving treatments due to insurance issues in a country that’s said to have the best medical care available, but to whom?

I know I am not the only person that has changed. Our country has changed. Many people have faced changes. There are large groups of people that were in top-income brackets who suddenly found themselves relying on government assistance, not because they didn’t believe in working hard to support their family but because of a financial market that simply thought it didn’t have to answer to anybody, took risks with money it didn’t have and lost real peoples’ money, their life savings, retirements and suddenly, people who thought they had everything planned out, had nothing to show for it.

If there was a lesson in the last 5 or 6 years, it is the fact the bottom can fall out from almost anyone if everyone isn’t playing by the same set of rules!

During elections, Parties try to focus on things to get votes. Obviously, that makes sense. The voter however is the one making the final decision and therefore, as a voter, each one should know what their candidate stands for, who they stand with and what their intentions as President would be.

One of the biggest battles of this election is a very important issue, choice.

The Republicans want people to believe this is about abortion. That is not the case. A big part of this choice concerns women’s healthcare. This involves a great deal of issues. It also involves the fact Romney wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood. See the article, “Romney’s Women “Issues”” to learn more.

The fact is millions more of Americans have healthcare due to progress made during President Obama’s term. That includes women, children, men, multiple income brackets, people with pre-existing conditions, students, etc.

Mitt Romney wants to go in and repeal “Obamacare” (on his first day in office). That would undo everything in the previous paragraph. He says he would leave parts in. Mind you, Romney says things to win votes and then changes them depending on who he is speaking to BUT if you believe this part, then he said he would leave the part about pre-existing conditions. His terms are this. The person would have to have been insured and stayed insured. That would not cover someone who has a condition and possibly changes jobs, therefore changing insurance companies. This would not be including them. The new insurance company could still deny them.

In the case of women’s healthcare choices, there is no line in the sand here. It is not a decision to me of which side maybe has a better idea. This is plain and simple. When it comes to my body, my family planning, pregnancy, pap smears, cancer screenings, birth control, or any healthcare concerning any women, young adult or child, the government doesn’t need to be a part of any of those decisions. I know a country that has a part in the reproductive rights of women, CHINA. I don’t live there. I live in a free country and my vote will reflect my decision on keeping it that way.

Women For Obama

I have never thought to call my Congress Person, my Governor or my President to ask their opinion on whether it was a good time for me to have a child or let them know my concerns about my neighbor having too many kids or being unable to conceive. You know why? It’s none of their business!

You know what is their business? Helping to fund preventative medical care for those that can’t afford it, vaccines to prevent deadly outbreaks, studies to lead to cures and helping keep the land with the best healthcare moving forward. You know what has been one of the best healthcare achievements in decades? Obamacare.

Again, with all of the accomplishments that have happened regarding healthcare, the GOP wants the focus to be on abortion. Okay. So, how do they feel about abortion?

Most recently, one of the newest GOP announcements that have come up (this isn’t the first time) is about whether a woman would be able (yes, that means “get permission”) to have an abortion if she were raped and became pregnant.

ROMNEY ENDORSES RICHARD MOURDOCK (Rep. Candidate for US Senate) Mourdock: “I too certainly stand for life. I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that the case the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is a gift from God and I think even when life begins in the horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Mourdock isn’t alone here. The Republican Party’s Platform feels the same. They are just keeping it hush hush through the election. They have tried to get Richard Mourdock to withdraw his statement much like they tried to get Todd Akin to withdraw his. However, withdrawing your statement won’t mean you change your views or your vote will change when laws are written up in the House or Senate, does it.

Paul Ryan has written up and pushed his stand on the Right of Personhood which stands on the same ground as Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.

The GOP, Republicans and many Christian groups have tried to turn this election into a vote for or against abortion. It is not about abortion. It is about choice. It is turning into more than just choices about healthcare. It is voting rights, healthcare choices and leading our country either forward or taking it back to times we have already fought through to gain the rights and equalities we have today.

I am a Christian women, 43 years old, white, a registered Republican and although I would have considered myself conservative back when I was in my 30’s, I would have never made my decisions differently or based on different thoughts than I do today.

REPUBLICAN WOMEN FOR OBAMA

I feel the Republican Party has gotten to a point where they believe their core beliefs and values are the only way people should live. Therefore, they want the laws and everyone in this Country to live that way or they should just do without and be penalized.

I don’t believe in a system where my values or beliefs should take away from another person’s freedoms. What does that say for freedom of religion, freedom of speech or having one of the most diverse nations in the world? To make that work in the United States would be living under a dictatorship.

The GOP has distorted the facts trying to get as many of their Party into office. Their own Party didn’t stand behind Romney.

Their Party has made it a point to say they back Israel, always. Yet, when asked in the debate what Romney would do (in a scenario) of receiving an emergency call with Israel under an imminent attack, Romney became upset and refused to answer the question. Has he never thought of this? This is a country that is always under the threat of an attack.

Yet, the GOP Party questions Obama’s stand with Israel?

OBAMA’S CONSISTENT STAND WITH ISRAEL

The fact is this.

What the GOP wants is a majority in the House and the Senate. That would give them the ability to write and pass legislation. With a President of their party, they would not have to worry about a Veto.

This would also open up their Party to nominate at least 2 Supreme Court Justices.

Imagine how many laws could be passed and changes could be made with all of this control in the hands of the GOP.

It won’t matter that Romney doesn’t answer question or what he does or doesn’t say. They are relying on those that just don’t want to vote for Obama or those higher income people not wanting to pay more taxes. Right now, they also are relying on those who are against abortion.

I ask you though, if a 12 year girl was raped and became pregnant, should she have to carry that child while she is still coping with the tragedy of being raped?

A child suffering through incest at home or a family members house gets pregnant, should she? What if they don’t know who the father is? She will have to face this person while carrying the baby even though she is still a baby herself who has just been traumatized, been assaulted and now is expected to go through more trauma and emotional abuse. Is that is okay?

I think the suicide rate of young adults, both young boys and girls, in our country is high enough due to bullying. If you don’t think rape is worse than bullying and isn’t something traumatic for a person to live through, can cause life-long trauma, PTSD and then making the victim have to be reminded each day while they carry the baby of their rapist inside, then maybe the GOP Party is for you. I don’t think most people feel that way though.

I want a President with values who believes in treating others as he would want to be treated, how he wants his wife and children to be treated. I want a President who can look through the eyes of others and see how they feel, talk to them and make decisions based on real people, not Party or political popularity.

Obama: Re: His faith, “In time I came to see my faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community.”

“These are not Democratic values. These are not Republican Values. They’re American Values.”

Belief: “For unto whom much is given is given, much shall be required.”

(View the above video to see more about the man behind the Presidency)

For a person to say they are a Christian, it is not just a title but more than that. I don’t see real Christian values in much of the GOP Party, its candidates or those pushing for them… I see a lot of people who just want to vote against Obama.

Who is to blame for Washington

As elections in the U.S. again approach, there are many unanswered questions. However, something made very clear over the past two years and counting is the GOP’s firm stand on their goal of focusing to make President Obama a one term President.

Now the Republican Party is trying to get their people to back, endorse and in many cases just accept Mitt Romney as their potential Nominee. What is difficult about this concept has nothing to do with Romney himself. The fact is, the GOP has shown such a disdain for President Obama and over these months of primaries, it’s proven they would stand behind anybody who was a registered Republican. What does that say about their leadership or ideas for our Country? Who are they putting first?

Over these past few years in Congress, their focus was to prolong things, cause confusion and uncertainty and make sure nothing positive happened under President Obama’s watch. What about the American people? Time has been clicking by for everyone.

This has left little tolerance amongst most Americans and has not only caused more division between the parties but it has also cost more tax payer dollars, our credit rating to be dropped and more importantly is a horrible reflection on the U.S. both at home and abroad as well as to our youth. This period of time will go down in history. What does that say about us, our government and how we allow our government to run?

The question is why is this able to continuously happen? This is not unseen or discovered years later. This is going on in front of our eyes with live T.V. cameras capturing it, recording live interviews with blunt statements going back and forth.

It is said that “all politicians lie” or “that is how things happen in Washington” but who works for who? Who does the voting?

As a voter in this age of 24 hour news cycles, Internet and the capability to gather information from a variety of sources at any given time, it puts more information in the hands of the voter.

A person can watch or read an entire speech instead of a portion that may have been forwarded via email or shared on the local news station, Twitter, Facebook, Cable News Network, etc.

By visiting different media sources, it enables the viewer, the voter, to gather a better understanding of the candidates (on both sides) instead of being fed chosen outtakes which could potentially be taking the segment out of context, misinterpreting the message.

As we go into these campaigns leading up to the November elections, it is clear attack ads will start showing up everywhere. Emails will be sent out using statements that appear in these ads. Overnight, “facts” are born from attack ads. This is not new but it is easier to spread in a variety of ways, instantaneously.

All voters need to take a clear look at our country and the candidates running. Voting should not be viewed as some political weapon by a voter or the candidates. This is not a game about which side can win. This is about everyone and it does come down to each vote. Those freedoms that have made America so strong should not be able to bring division to America.

What is done in Washington should be for the good of America and its people, first and foremost. It is not about votes, sponsors or election cycles.

What goes on in Washington should be an example of what makes America stronger, a place of pride and honor, and the respect of those elected to uphold those values always.

A “Secret Weapon” to finding a job

"Carry a Paintbrush"

If you, or someone you know, is seeking a job or thinking about making a career change, would it help to have an inside look, or some type of a “secret weapon”, before you make this step? Of course!

In today’s economy, and this very competitive job market, having a working strategy to acquire the right job or career is as important as having the correct location or the right time of a job interview.

Best-selling Author and Career Expert, Susanne Goldstein has written a book which is not the typical, “how-to-get-a-job” or another “self-help” book. Goldstein’s book is written in a format that is not only easy to read but also has very practical life-experiences, solid techniques, and exercises that don’t just allow the reader to get on the path to a career but shows the reader how to find the career they are meant to be in and actually land the job.

“Carry a Paintbrush” is a must read for anyone of any age, whether you are just starting out into the workforce, changing careers or contemplating a complete “career makeover”.

Goldstein brings up very valuable points in the book which can help prevent job seeking mistakes and help create a much more pleasant career finding and life changing experience. Personally, I think “Carry a Paintbrush” should be a part of any High School Curriculum. It teaches lessons that are very valuable and would have been extremely helpful to learn much earlier on.

When a person first sets out to get their first job or they are laid off from their current job, what is the first thing they do? What should they do? What is the first thing you think of?

Many people search job listings to find where jobs are available, make those phone calls or contacts via email, send resumes and hope the feedback is returned for a possible interview and then hope they met the criteria or the expectations of the person or the company doing the hiring.

As Goldstein points out in her book, there is a solution to finding the right career for each person or even a job that may be temporary but heading towards their career. She highlights this using a demonstration, “The Sweet Spot”, which looks at a person’s passions, interests and skills. Goldstein points out, “The trick to discovering that sweet spot is to get really clear about what makes you passionate, what topics never cease to hold your interest, and what kinds of skills you possess.”

"The Sweet Spot" Diagram

The question would then be, “Okay, so how do I line up what I know I want to do with an available job?”

Since so many people are looking for jobs and companies know this, not every company list each job when a position becomes available.

When you feel you know what industry you will fit into and feel you have the necessary skills required, the next step would be to find a way to get the job. You’re asking, “Where is this job?” You may know about this job by knowing someone in this profession or in the company you’d like to work for but if you don’t have that, then you need to find an “In” person. How do you do this? You start by looking through who you already know and head to chapter 11 in “Carry a Paintbrush”. This is a great tool not only for job hunting but so many things!

As today’s world has changed so dramatically in the way of communication and Social Media, the ability to meet people is endless, therefore opening our possibilities beyond the classifieds or an online job listing websites.

Using Social Media to meet people within our same industry, desired industry or even our current workplace are tools that we can use to further our career, learn more about our potential to grow within our current workplace or if it is time to move on.

With the ability to learn about a company, their objective, the leadership and financial outlook gives us a broader view of what we can possibly offer a company or potentially if our future with a company may be solid or short-lived.

The idea of taking a leap out into a new career or even trying to move up within your current company can be extremely overwhelming but if you are seeking a position that fits you, have done everything you should to prepare for the move into another career or a step up, then you are already ahead of most others that may be seeking the same position.

Once we can acknowledge we are in more control of our career choices than we often give credit to and we have the right tools, we can have more ability to not only have a job or career, but something that is more rewarding.

To get started, I highly recommend you purchase Susanne’s book, “Carry a Paintbrush” and get started painting your own career.

Visit carryapaintbrush.com to read more about the book and how to be the artistic director of your own career!

Communication breakdown

Another day
Photo by: Marshall Astor

Do you get up each day wondering how you will make it through another day of repeating the same steps you repeated the day before?

Did you drop into bed the night before wondering why something just doesn’t seem to be “clicking into place” or that certain moment isn’t happening in your life?

Your “moment” may be different from someone else’s and what may seem repetitive to you may not to someone else but what is lacking more and more in society today is genuine interaction, conversation, listening, being heard and that feedback from someone on a level that is not only listening but being heard and really being tuned into to what is being said.

Genuine interaction with friends
Photo by: Philm

No, this is not an ad for Match.com but our society is changing everyday and with those changes come many benefits but also struggles if there isn’t the ability to adapt. However, is there always a way to adapt an entire society to an ongoing cycle of change?

Let’s look at one part, communication.

How many ways could one communicate 40 years ago?

Write a letter, make a phone call, telegram, or face to face pretty much.

"Old fashion" ways of staying in touch still do exist....
Photo by Muffet

Many people knew people in their neighborhoods, communities, schools, families and kept more in touch with the people around them on a more personal level.

Today, we have grown in the ability to have a much larger number of ways to stay in contact, at anytime, with nearly anyone, all over the world, even meet complete strangers.

We have the Internet which has given us numerous social medias like FaceBook, Twitter, Tagged, messaging, email, live chat, Skype, multiple online dating services, and countless ways which I am not intentionally leaving out. The fact is, the ability to communicate via the Internet is huge!

We have cellphones which allow us the ability to receive and make calls from anywhere and to anywhere which, even if it may seem rude, could mean a quiet movie theater, the bathroom, or in the middle of “nowhere” (can you hear me now?).

Contact ability goes everywhere we go....
Photo by: Anthony Quintano

Plus, with cell phones, there is texting…lots of texting! I’m not so sure if that counts as “communicating” but there are words being exchanged…so I am including it here.

It almost seems old fashion to mention the fact someone can send a Fax but it is a way to communicate….

So, here comes another point. It seems today there is less actual communication. There is far less listening and the ability to communicate and reason a point seems to be going down the drain.

Relationships are being built on the Internet, carried out through texting, and more of what was once built face to face is lost. That emotional connection, expression is becoming more of a lost part in our society.

Again, I’m not just talking about dating relationships. I mean real relationships with friends, family, people with similar experiences.

How well do you really know those you are “in touch” with?

How well do you know your neighbors, schoolmates, coworkers, distant family? Do you just keep up with their FaceBook, Blog or text here and there? Do you ask them questions?

Most of us have become very accustomed to today’s way of life. It’s easier and more suited to our busy schedules.

Our kids have the same way of life. Seriously, we text each other in the house (I have!)

But, we can’t let go of the need to sit down face to face and communicate, really let things go for a while. Ask people how they are doing and about their goals or what they are facing.

Discuss issues at work or social events
Photo by: Gelatobaby

People right next door or at our job may be facing hunger, a death in the family, domestic violence, loss of their home, divorce or a crisis but without asking or showing concern, the day may pass by, a week or a month and just the same, “I’m fine” until one day, they just aren’t at work.

In our country, we are facing some of the toughest times ever. This is not the time to say, “It’ll pass,” and just leave everything up to our leaders in Washington.

These problems started a long time ago. It is not a party problem or a political problem. This is a communication problem.

As many of us have lost close contact with those in our workplaces, schools, communities and even our own families and may not be listening to what is always being said, these leaders aren’t listening either. How can they be making sound and solid decisions without hearing what their constituents, the voters are really calling for, asking for and needing? This is causing consequences for everyone and needs to be understood and addressed. Each person taking responsibility for their own actions and what they have been given the opportunity and trust to uphold.

Here’s an example. As an adult, you have a choice of whether to go to work or not. You can choose to never go. There will most likely be very strong consequences for you choosing not to go and they will probably go into effect pretty quickly.

However, when an elected official in Washington has a job to get done and keeps procrastinating and all of America is on pins and needles, it is okay for them to put it on hold, bicker back and forth like babies and continuously act as though they can’t decide on whether it is more appropriate to help keep funding for those who need it or those who can afford to give up some breaks?

Either way, no matter what, their job isn’t on the line, their pay isn’t on the line, the health care isn’t on the line and their homes aren’t up for foreclosure.

Do they talk face to face to the people who are going through these things or do they just go by reports being fed to them by those working for them? Have they lost the ability to listen or be genuinely immersed in a conversation and have that desire to do something that matters or is it just more important to win?

Washington shouldn’t be about winning. It was supposed to be about representing but you can’t do that if you can’t listen to those you represent.

Instead of just using the phrase, “What the American people want,” maybe it would be to everyone’s benefit to find that out again by actually learning to communicate the old fashion way.

Talks, talks and more talks but who are the discussions about and who are they listening to? How long is this acceptable?

Change for Egypt

Protest in Tahrir Square
Photo by: AlJazeer


Soon after large demonstrations started in Egypt on January 25th, support poured in across Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter for Egyptians seeking freedoms, a better future and asking Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

Protestors had gathered in Tahrir Square and said they would not leave till Mubarak he had given up his 30 year position as President of Egypt. As time passed, the crowd grew. The numbers following via Facebook and Twitter also grew. (#Egypt #Jan25)

Many of the demonstrators were tweeting and texting directly from their locations and also giving information of what would be going on the following hours and days. In today’s fast-paced Internet world, picture uploading, video uploading, texting, blogging and sharing information is instant and with the world’s changing times, this allows millions of people to know instantly what is going on across the world and to alert others.

Egypt’s government has in its constitution a law, the “Emergency Law” which, among other things, gives the government the right, at its discretion to shut down the Internet and on January 28th, Internet Service Providers were told to cut services.

This “Emergency Law” has been in place nearly all of Mubarak’s time in office. This law is one of many grievances the people have with the Egyptian government and it was recently extended to remain another two years. When the law is enacted, it gives the government the right to arrest people without cause, hold prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly and more. At the time Internet was cut, most mobile phone services also were disabled especially text messaging. This greatly handicapped the ability not only for Egyptians to communicate internationally but also with one another in the country.

Until February 1st, the protestors mostly were peaceful. Tahrir Square remained full of protestors waiting for President Mubarak to step down. News had come that he had sworn in a Vice President which was a first in the country in over 30 years.

However, on the 1st, Mubarak made a speech on State T.V. which played on a large screen for all to see in the square. He stated he would not seek another term as president in the upcoming elections. The people quietly watched his entire speech and closer to the end he stated he would not be willing to step down before the end of his term in September, later this year.

On the ground in Tahrir Square and close by violence grew as the crowd became angry. There became a rise in violence and coverage of this was being shown internationally soon after the world had viewed not only this speech by President Mubarak but also a speech by President Obama on his thoughts concerning the situation in Egypt.

The rise in violence around Tahrir Square grew as pro-Mubarak groups grew larger in the square and clashes between them and the anti-government group became more violent causing a growing number of injuries and fatalities.

The following day as journalists were covering the clashes, they themselves became the targets of violence. They were being harassed, beaten up, having their equipment confiscated, being arrested, vehicles or teams attacked and as this grew increasingly worse, some were forced to leave for their safety and others went into hiding to continue reporting but to protect themselves and their crews.

This same day, Internet service began to slowly return across the country and as this happened, updates from Egyptians started to come in on Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other sources. These updates showed personal accounts of what had been happening around Egypt and confirming an even greater desire for freedom but also confirmed the fact journalists were being targeted on the ground, in hotels and around the country. Egypt’s government, it appeared, did not want the continued coverage of what was going on in the streets of Egypt during this crisis.

The question was, why?

Was the fear this coverage was making Egypt look bad internationally or was the fear the international coverage and the feedback it was getting influencing Egypt’s youth, inciting more displays of protests? Whatever the reasoning, the amount of international journalists in the country was greatly diminishing and those remaining were not being able to cover the revolution on the streets, the people, Tahrir Square up close as they had been doing, they now needed to look out for their safety and cover the crisis from afar.

The fact is though, covering the situation in Egypt is extremely important. It is extremely important to see the crisis and transformation as it unfolds. It’s more truthful and honest to see it from the eyes of the people and the government’s reaction and the angles there in Egypt and to have those views involved.

Egypt’s crisis and this transformation as some view it or revolution as it is turning out to be is not just a small event or something that will soon pass. It is much larger and significant.

Egypt has a population of more than 80 million people, the largest population in the 22 Arabic speaking countries.

Although the overthrow of Tunisia’s president in December ignited many frustrations and long held grievances of the citizens in other countries across the region, eyes are now on Egypt and at the moment, the leaders of Jordan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are looking at their own government and making tremendous changes and reforms to try to prevent many of the same actions. Protests are currently taking place.

As for the U.S. and its involvement in this crisis, of course there is a great deal of concern and the crisis in Egypt has great significance to the U.S. We have many Egyptian-Americans living in the United States and many have called this their home for generations but still, Egypt is their home as well. Compassion must always be shown not only to our fellow Americans but, all others.

What would you go to a demonstration for? What freedom would you not be willing to give up?

Much of what the Egyptians are protesting for, Americans not only have but take for granted. Fair elections, presidential term limit restrictions, freedom of speech and assembly and the right these freedoms can’t just be taken away at the whim of the government (like what is currently happening in Egypt and has been over the past 3 decades due to “Emergency Law”).

What is the United State’s position on making Mubarak step down being President?

This is a political revolution of the Egyptian people. They desire freedom and change in the way their country and government functions. Therefore it is up to Egypt and its people to unfold their new political system, laws and government, not outside countries. True change will come from within.

Since Mubarak has been an ally of the United States, there has been communication between Mubarak and President Obama as well as the Administration and other key officials in Egypt. It is important for the U.S. to point out certain views pertaining to matters that does affect the U.S. as well as what effects U.S. citizens in Egypt, humanitarian efforts and the safety of international journalists. The U.S. has remained a close ally with Egypt for many years and as long as diplomatically possible, this is important to continue without forgetting about the rights of the Egyptian citizens.

However, for the U.S. Administration or U.S. Citizens to act as though we can tell another country’s leader to step down does nothing to aide that country or the real long term efforts toward transformation they are working on. It also hurts our diplomacy efforts with other countries and in the long run would hurt our relations with the government that ends up being formed in Egypt. The U.S. cannot see itself as the strong hold over the world.

The best seat for the U.S. to strategically plan for what needs to be done after Egypt’s transition and the actions that follow in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and other neighboring governments may be in the observation area allowing the people of Egypt and its current government to build its own future out of its current turmoil.

Allow them to have change.

Recession ended, really?

It seems not only has the recession ended, but it has been over since June 2009. Missed that memo…

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, their finding is the recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 (lasting 18 months) which would be the longest recession the country has gone through since the Great Depression.

With this news just coming out today, reactions were mixed. On the Social Media website, Twitter, the hashtag#recessionended quickly became the #2 trending topic.

Many were passing along the news while others were just verifying the news had actually said the recession was over. There were tweets mentioning how many jobless people would “love” to hear this recently reported information and tweets from people without jobs or going through financial crisis feeling this report was really out of touch.

The nation has seen recessions in the past and has also faced its economic setbacks so it isn’t hard to imagine how an economic group would know which numbers to focus on. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) looked at figures that make up our nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) which measures the total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. The NBER also takes into account the incomes, employment and overall industrial activity.

Not only can the NBER look at these present numbers but they can compare them to past numbers during good economic times and not-so-good economic times in the U.S. Therefore they can look at trends in the U.S. economy. I’m not an economist but it gives them an advantage to use the past to possibly see a bit into the future.

However, that is only part of what today’s article is about. As the saying goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” That also goes for what someone says may be or what they think may happen. To a person without a job or only a part time job instead of a full time job with benefits like they need, to hear these “good news” is more like “passing news” until something more concrete shows up.

Twitter has been a great way for people to share their job finds, job losses or their job being saved. It has also been a good place to keep in touch with others from previous companies or post a type of job they may be looking for. As always, Twitter keeps people up with what is happening at any given moment all around the world. For instance, on a positive note, the DOW rose 145 points today. That is in the right direction.

How has the recession affected you? Or, were you someone that really wasn’t affected? If you were affected, have things improved for you yet? Share your comments.

Is the Internet really safe anymore?

By now, most adults and teens own a cell phone and it isn’t uncommon to see a 9, 10 or 11 year old texting these days.

There’s a number of ways a person can reach someone. Anyone can text, tweet, message or email from practically anywhere they are to basically anywhere in the world and it be received in a few seconds. Kudos to technology, right? But, the days of sitting down and writing a letter, addressing an envelope and actually putting a stamp on to mail it (snail mail) just doesn’t happen very much. Do people still receive personal, handwritten letters in the mail? Those were nice.

Remember when two people “liked” each other and they exchanged phone numbers so they could call and talk endlessly about their heartfelt devotion and then spend ten minutes deciding who would hang up first? Silly, right? Now mostly, things are done through texting and chatting online.

Here’s one that most people deal with a lot. Remember when a company had a phone number for customer service that when a customer called for assistance an actual, living person answered it and could work with their customer’s concerns instead of people having to go through automated options answering, “yes” or “no” and pushing in account numbers or numbers for 10 minutes only to be disconnected and have to start over?

It doesn’t take too long to look around and realize how many things have changed over the last 20 years. A lot of these changes were done to make people’s lives easier, save time or make things more convenient and sure, some of them have.

The Internet for instance has made the world available at the click of a mouse. A person can basically find nearly anything through Google or Bing. Researching has become very simple and learning about places around the world, other cultures, medical information, animals, cars, architecture, languages, nearly anything is there if a person wants to find it.

However, along with the Internet came the issue of privacy concerns and it also simplified the ability for criminals to commit crimes like child pornography, identity theft and stalking. Law enforcement basically had to catch up with the times to keep up with the criminals.

As the Internet’s popularity grew, computers were becoming part of nearly every home. What these homes were not getting was the information about how dangerous being on the Internet could be, especially for children and teens and how easily children could be drawn in by a child predator. Many parents were unaware of the dangers online as they weren’t actively using the Internet.

As the social media websites grew more popular and crimes became more obviously connected to these sites, news stories started coming out about Internet safety due to sexual predators stalking kids and teens through websites such as MySpace first and then Facebook. Suddenly more parents were becoming aware of this growing concern over Internet safety and changes needing to be made.

Social media websites needed to keep their users safe and block users under certain ages from being on their websites. They were made very aware that sexual predators were going online, becoming friends with minors, chatting, setting up face to face meetings, getting their personal location information and planning sexual encounters with underage children. This was being done with children using their computers right in their homes, mostly unaware of who they were chatting with online and what they would be encountering when they went to meet this person.

Laws were not set up to prosecute this type of crime where stalking or setting up a meeting with a minor was done online.

The first sexual predator law was Megan’s Law, passed in 1994 in response to the rape and murder of 7 year old Megan Kanka.

President George W. Bush signed two laws to make it much harder for child molesters to lurk with anonymity on the web, especially at social networking sites. One law is called the “KIDS Act of 2008”, which requires registered sex offenders to provide “Internet identifiers”, including email addresses, to state sex offender registries.

Bush also signed the “PROTECT our Children Act of 2008” which requires the Department of Justice to create and implement a national strategy, as well as a new task force for tracking down predators on the web and prosecute them.

Although laws have been put in place and there has been more awareness drawn to issue of sexual predators being online, parents need to continue to be more aware of what their children are doing online, who they are talking to, what sites they are visiting and keep computers in an area of the house where it can be visible when children are online.

Recently, both Facebook and Twitter have added applications that allow users to opt in and share their actual locations with other users. This shows their current longitude and latitude location with other users and also allows advertisers to see this information as well. The user has the ability to change their privacy settings if they understand how to do so. As in the past though, this has upset both Facebook and Twitter users but some have come to like the service, others have learned to opt out of the service while others have chosen to cancel their accounts.

Sadly, most laws that are made to protect our society from online predators or online fraud do not prevent something from happening and only come into light after something has already happened and it is too late.

One in five U.S. teens, who regularly use to the Internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Solicitations were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or to give personal sexual information.

25% of children/teens have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online.

Only around 1/3 of households with Internet access protect their children with filtering or blocking software.

With adults and children walking with a Smart Phone in their hands and “connected” 24 hours a day online, Internet safety is a must. By having that device in a person’s hand, there are certain responsibilities involved and those start by understanding Internet safety. For parents, when giving a child the “privilege” of using the Internet or having a phone that has text or Internet abilities, there are multiple responsibilities that go along with that for both the parent and the child.

Safety should always come first and if it questionable whether or not the child is ready for the responsibility, maybe doing without the data part of the plan or making other limitations could save their life.

Possibly moving a computer from a bedroom to the living room could save someone’s life.

Making laws and passing them to protect society is done in Washington D.C. but setting down rules and fulfilling a parent’s responsibility is something that should be passed down through each generation. The responsibility of protecting each child will never change even though life may continue to rapidly change.

To find more information on Internet safety or sexual predators in your area, please visit the following links.


National Center for Missing & Exploited Children



Locate sexual predators in your area



Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators



CyberSitter11



CyberNanny on Windows Vista


Recovery for America Pt. 4 – Intolerance, inequality and discrimination

Everyday there are more stories, news coverage, talk between friends and families about issues that are not only dividing the nation but are also dividing people, even causing arguments between complete strangers. The discussion is over the building of the mosque (Islamic Center) at Ground Zero.

The online social media website such as Facebook and Twitter show these divisions as well. On Facebook, soon after a ”hot topic” news story runs, the headlines or video clips will post and the comments themselves become a place for open arguments going back and forth, lines drawn down the middle. On Twitter, “hashtags” which typically are names to form groups, can often be used to make a clear point or in 140 characters or less, a clear confrontation can take place back and forth for all to see or jump in and join.

What are the issues? The arguments are more often about things that have nothing to do with things that a person can change or have control over and more about things that fall into a person’s constitutional rights, religion, race and a person’s national origin. What’s different about these arguments is the social media and the internet’s ability for things to swell up much quicker into larger groups of both support and hate, so both sides seem to grow much larger overnight. Both good and bad information gets passed around much quicker and what is said on the news, on a website or in an interview makes its way around the world in a moment. However, most often good things don’t go “viral”. Bad news travels fast.

As each new generation begins, it has been a new opportunity to bring up a more open-minded generation. That does not mean a generation of people that “give in” or a generation that does not understand its culture. It means a generation that does not carry with them the burdens of intolerance but a generation that has the ability to see each other as who they are and not what they are. A generation that sees people for what they bring to society and not what a group of them has done or what has been done to them. It is okay to understand history but not let history control the future but to learn from history and not allow it to repeat itself.

With the U.S. having such a diverse people within its borders, there is only more to gain, more to grow and more to learn. By having so many adverse feelings against each other, it is only hurting the nation as a whole and many opportunities are being lost for everyone.

In NYC, many people are upset about the idea of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. This has been an extremely sensitive subject for so many.

President Obama released a statement on a person’s right to practice religion this past Friday.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has risen in New York City and the nation.

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The plan now is to turn the property into a 13-story, $100 million Islamic Center. This is being developed by a group call the Cordoba Initiative. The Cordoba Initiative says on its website that its goal is to foster a better relationship between the Muslim World and the West, “steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.”

The Center’s board will include members from other religions and will explore including an interfaith chapel at the center.

The Center will include a basketball court, swimming pool, auditorium and culinary school as well as a mosque and mediation rooms.

We believe it will be a place where the counter momentum against extremism will begin, “the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan to the Associated Press. “We are committed to peace.

Across the U.S., different towns have rallied against mosque being built as well. This isn’t just in NYC near Ground Zero. In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a 25,000 sq. ft. mosque that would sit on 4 acres. Opponents say it would turn the town into a haven for Islamic extremist, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

A proposed mosque in July is raising concerns in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Proponents allege the opponents are displaying religious intolerance while people fighting the mosque say zoning issues and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Several hundred opponents faced off to counter protesters. The rhetoric was heated. Protestors bore signs with slogans such as “MOSQUE LEADERS SUPPORT KILLING CONVERTS.”

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years. “I didn’t think people would try that hard to oppose something that’s in the Constitution,” he said. “The Islamic center has been here since the early 80’s, 12 years at this location. There’s nothing new except it’s going to be a little bigger.”

Zuhdi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosque is no way to prevent terrorism.

A study by professors at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina back up Jasser’s statement. The study found that mosque, religious bookstores, and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together, prevent radicalization.

By taking the time to learn and understand a person, their religion and culture, it gives more of a chance to grow and develop in one’s own life as well as allowing one to accept a person more for their character and who they are and not judging them by who one thinks they are by their appearance, misunderstandings or what may have been heard by someone else.

Today it may be someone else being unfairly judged, someone else’s religion, race or culture. The hateful words may be directed at someone else. Those tables can be turned. Intolerance is never okay. Hate is never okay. Discrimination is never okay. Sitting by while a hate crime happens is never okay. Embrace our diverse Nation and learn about others, their culture and religions. Practice tolerance and pass it down to the younger generations.