Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Saw a great quote by Andy Stern, President of SEIU today:

Real leadership does not govern out of fear - fear of losing the next election, fear of what might be used in an ad, fear of being too partisan. Leadership is not thinking about the next election - but the next generation.

This is indeed the very necessary time when we must not procrastinate. We must treat our challenges as opportunities and seize the chance to reinvent ourselves. Having cut my teeth in the corporate environment, one of the most important things I learned is that the only constant is change.

Change, especially advancement in technology, is occurring at an exponential rate. This is our time... to innovate, to change our country for the better, and in doing so, reestablish our sterling reputation for doing what's right--for our citizens, our country, and the world.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

To Be or Not To Be: The Public Option and thoughts on politics

As one of the former employed who will be losing my health insurance in March, I strongly and sincerely call on Congress to pass health care reform containing a full and robust public option. That is one of the reasons I worked so hard to elect President Obama and the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. This is the time when the proverbial rubber needs to meet the road.

We the People created a huge call for change during our last election, yet I haven't seen very much change in the way legislation is being crafted. Kowtowing to industry and corporate welfare seems to be the message of the day. We the People elected you, and if you can't get Our Business done instead of getting Corporations' Business done, then I will work even harder to elect people who will actually live up to their campaign promises.

Speaking of which, there was once a thing called truth in advertising, and this whole mess has me thinking about starting a grassroots effort to sue elected officials who break their advertised campaign promises.

And since we're on the topic of advertising... am I the only one who's noticed that healthcare costs started skyrocketing immediately after we removed or watered down the regulations regarding advertising for prescription drugs???

Perhaps the politics of the day is too entrenched in the culture and we need to work to make it easier for parties other than Dems and Repubs to be in power. Maybe other parties could do a better job and create the change we demanded (and so desperately need) in our last election. If a majority in the House and Senate can't make this happen, then we have a very serious problem on our hands.

Either way, not a dime of my now limited money will go to support any political campaign or organization that does not support real reform in our healthcare system.

Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support

I am so frustrated with the idea of a trigger. "Trigger" is typical politicalese for "we are telling you we're going to do it, but we're not really going to do it" kind of reform. A trigger does nothing but allow the status quo, which is definitely not working, to continue. The only way a trigger of some kind could work is if there is a strong tracking and enforcement mechanism built into the trigger option... something I've not heard a thing about. If anyone can enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.

I don't often agree with Harry Reid, but I very much prefer his idea of the opt out public option. This would provide the states who want it the chance to have it. Those who don't, don't have to and the residents of both will be able to see the differences between the two healthcare ideas.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, October 23, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Live In The Land Of You, Me And We

My comment on Matthew Modine's article on Huffpost
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

I join your call for We and am sorry your thoughts were misrepresented. Thanks for discussing the constant use of fear and divide & conquer tactics. My own posts often call for active citizenship, truth in journalism, and an end to the increasingly outrageous use of selective content, half-truths and outright lies I've seen lately.

abmabardy, class is not discussed in the US. I'm a diversity consultant, and while we often discuss bias and power dynamics when it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability, I hardly ever hear mention of class. I'm actually trying to learn more and raise awareness. I'm gathering a discussion group focusing on the dynamics of wealth, class and power in the US and Canada.

If you or any of your readers are interested or would like to learn more facts about wealth over time in the US, including the ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay, visit: http://musingsbytams.blogspot.com/2009/09/fix-it-president-hits-wall-and-it-us.html

William50, the best way forward on issues of bias is to keep talking. Thanks for your perspective. Whether it be race, class, age, religion, gender, etc., we humans use difference to divide ourselves. Until we learn to tap into the creative power of difference (and it's possible because I've been lucky enough to experience it), then we shall never be We. The more we talk and seek to truly understand, the closer we'll get.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Tribute to Long Lost Friends...

Thanks to the clever people who created facebook, I've been able to find a lot of people I thought were out of my life forever. I'm grateful to have the chance to revisit those memories, treasure the resulting smiles, rekindle some of those relationships while letting others go where they may. I have to be honest, I was addicted to FB for a while. But that's faded. I do still love checking in, but I'm not on it for hours like I used to be.

However, there are still some people whom I haven't found on FB and they've been on my mind a lot lately. So I thought I'd spend today reminiscing and send the best of wishes to some people I've not seen since high school. And if you, dear reader, happen to be in touch with any of these wonderful people, please pass along my best to them:

Stori Whitted, for one. She was my best friend in 9th grade, and in an odd way, started me on my path to meeting my husband, actually both of them, come to think of it. Sassy, beautiful and way out there. Stori pulled me out of the shell I was in and I like to think that I pulled her back from the brink of outrageousness. After a couple of moves, she drifted out of my life, but I've always hoped for good things and happiness for her.

Nikki Sweigard is another person I wish I could find. She was my best friend the rest of high school: Incredibly smart, pretty, funny and definitely strong in her sense of self and style. We had so much in common, including our determination to succeed. I lost touch with her in college and looking back, I don't think I appreciated her as much as I should have. I've blamed myself for that friendship being lost. I didn't handle a disagreement anywhere close to how I should have, but I also didn't have the maturity then that I do now. Nikki, wherever you are, I'm sorry for not understanding, and I miss your caterpillar stamp to this day. = )

The twins, Ebony and Brian Bookman. Both smart and good-looking, and always with the best of hearts and smiles galore but such fun to watch when one would get the other's goat. Gotta love that sibling rivalry!

Jennifer Todd and Quyen Tran, each other's best friend, and with me and Nikki we turned into the four musketeers... I miss our jokes and laughter, our talks about our trials and tribulations, and especially, our scheming those Evil Elf Christmas plots to get even with Martin Biggers' teasing me. Heck, I even miss Martin, class clown #1. Although I don't miss the jokes about Santa and me. But it led to some wonderful stories, so I don't regret them in the least.

Terry Howie, one of our other class clowns. Incredibly clever and a handsome one, too. I definitely miss him. I don't know how, but somehow, whenever I needed it most, there he was with a laugh or a tease and he was always able to take my mind off whatever I was stressing about. We weren't as good friends as I now I wished we'd been, but I know Howie wouldn't want me to have regrets, only good memories.

Last but definitely not least: Jay Gilmore, a smart and sweet guy who like me was a bit of a late bloomer, but when he did, Wow. He was there for me during some stressful times, and I'll always appreciate that and his ready smile.

You know the saying that some people are in your life for a moment, some for a short time and some for a lifetime? Regardless of which type these friends of mine may be, I hope and wish that wherever you are, your life has been filled with love, happiness, and fulfillment.

And here's a P.S.... I left someone really important off my list... Jeff Carver. even though lots of people thought he might be a bad influence, I never believed them. He was always my protector and he had a lot more in him than most people gave him credit for. I just found him and for all the people who thought he was a bad influence, you were dead wrong. He's a great man who owns his own business and has a beautiful family. Lesson here... Always look below the surface, you'll be amazed at the beautiful spirits you'll find.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Patriotism Above Politics

I've spoken earlier about the extremist conversations that have raged in our country these days. Still, I was a bit surprised when I heard the glee some people spread when Chicago didn't become the next pick for the Olympics. At that point I shrugged and realized, "That's politics as usual."

Then I woke up this morning and discovered that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace prize. My pride in my country was overwhelming. "Wow," I thought. "The world doesn't hate America anymore, or at least not as much. Maybe this will give us a pause in the constant back and forth of the 'I hope Obama fails' meme."

I caught one story that made me laugh so hard because a couple of White House staffers thought they were being punked when told about the prize. Thanks for the laughter, staffers:

"White House Aide: 'It's not April 1, is it?':

Two key White House aides were both convinced they were being punked when they heard the news, reported ABC News' George Stephanopoulos .

'It's not April 1, is it?' one said.

Upon being called by ABC News at 5:45 ET this morning, a White House aide said, 'This better be good.'

When told by ABC News that the president had won the Nobel Peace Prize, the aide replied: 'Oh, that is good.'

In the midst of that article, though, I began to think that perhaps I thought too soon that extremist opinions were going to fade on this topic as the article linked above shows a variety of reactions--several of them negative. What American wouldn't be proud that one of our own was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

So then I started doing some more digging and an additional article caught my eye. In which, Sam Stein of HuffPost captured some conservative reactions:
"Obama isn't the first American president to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he's the first to win it without having accomplished anything," wrote John Miller, of the National Review. "Obama's award is simply the projection of wishful thinking."

"The prize seems not just premature but embarrassing," wrote Mark Krikorian, also on The National Review, "this just reinforces the Saturday Night Live meme that Obama has done nothing. This really might be his Carter whacking-the-bunny-rabbit moment."

Indeed, an online petition was started just hours after the announcement was made, objecting to the "absurd decision to award B. Obama Nobel Peace Prize."

And so, in the immediate aftermath, the meme had already been established -- seconded by the usual purveyors of conventional wisdom -- that the Nobel Prize was more burden than benefit for the White House. The conclusion: the president needed to turn the prize down.

"I predict right now that he will find a way to basically turn it down," Time Magazine's Mark Halperin told MSNBC's Morning Joe. "I think he is going to say, I share this with the world or whatever. I don't think he'll embrace this. Because there is no upside."

"The damage is done," added Mika Brzezinski shortly thereafter.

He hasn't done anything? Really? Really???

How about when he got the leaders of France and China together instead of them storming out and his other missions to repair the United States' tattered reputation? How about his focus on reducing nuclear weapons? Or how about all the real terrorists he has protected us from?

Me being the political mutt that I am, I never thought I would agree word for word with a response from the Democratic National Committee, and I admit this is much more extremist language than I tend to use:

"The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists -- the Taliban and Hamas this morning -- in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize," wrote DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. "Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize -- an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride -- unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it's an embarrassing label to claim."

Let me repeat that: "Politics above patriotism." Today, I'm putting Patriotism above Politics. Today is a day in which all of us should be proud.

So whether you are independent, democrat, republican, libertarian, green party, communist, socialist, etc., let's stop with all the politics for the moment. The Nobel Peace prize epitomizes the very foundations of our country. So lets take a pause, please! Even if it's only for a day...

And instead, let's bask in the moment, proudly fly those Stars and Stripes in our minds, step up and be We: United States citizens who remember and are proud of the ideals of our country--freedom for all, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Obama Puts Government On Greenhouse-Gas Diet

I am thrilled to see the President walking the talk on this issue. Not only will these measures help save taxpayer dollars in reduced energy costs, it will also help stimulate the economy and job creation by increasing demand for green energy products and services. Way to kill two birds with one stone!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Noblesse Oblige, Anyone?

I've been thinking a lot lately of truth, justice and the American way, along with how frustrated I've been at the anger and fears fanned from the swindles (identity theft, Enron, Madoff, golden parachutes, etc.) exaggerations, out-of-context half-truths, and sometimes the outright lies that are being passed as pure truth. And unfortunately, more people than I'd like are falling for it. And I'm not blaming this behavior on any particular group either, because there have been and are people on all sides that have participated in these departures from our ideals--ironically sometimes in the name of those very ideals.

Maybe this is a sentimental longing for "the good ol' days," but I was raised with this subconscious belief that honesty and fair-dealing were embedded in our culture. Sure you might run into someone trying to con you every once in a while, but the vast majority of us believe in those values. Then I thought maybe that's just me being the one who always tries to spot that flash of silver in the black clouds.

But when I started rereading Double Star from my Heinlein collection tonight, I was reminded I was not alone in thinking that there were indeed those good ol' days--that we Americans had adapted the concept of noblesse oblige to everyone instead of just those of higher class or standing. He published this story in 1956, and below is one of his main character's thoughts:
"Noblesse oblige.

I decided that notion could be generalized into any occupation. 'Value for value.' Building 'on the square and on the level.' The Hippocratic oath. Don't let the team down. Honest work for honest pay. Such things did not have to be proved; they were an essential part of life--true throughout eternity, true in the farthest reaches of the Galaxy."
Over fifty years ago Heinlein imagined that freedom, honor, kindness and generosity would be values held by humans far, far into the future. Well it's the future, and while I still believe we have the potential to achieve those ideals, I think our moral compass has gotten off kilter these last few decades.

So everybody, take a few long, slow breaths and just let your mind savor those ideals. Let them trickle through your thoughts and into all the swirls of your imagination.

Do you see that bright and shining place? It may never be perfect, but I'd so very much like to live there: where respect was earned by our ethical actions--not what we look like, how much money we have, where or how we live, or who we know.

Each and every one of us can choose every day whether to make that place a reality, and as far as I'm concerned, "The more, the merrier!"