The State of Media Affairs in the USA

The State of Media Affairs in the USA

Here’s what happens when a busy teacher and parent sits down finally after a long day following Memorial Day weekend: She (in this case, myself) turns on the television and hits up the cable news networks to see if she can get a mosaic-view of what’s going on in the world—or at least our country here in the United States of America.

History Repeated? We Wish

Let me be clear. My philosophy on life in general is that we humans have the tendency to run the same algorithm over and over again in our life cycles, perhaps in a futile effort to see if we can garner the unique ending that we’d prefer on a Hollywood screen or Netflix episode finale. In 2017, however, I believe we may be hitting a whole new low as a culture.

What I saw in the span of a few hours last night floored me. It’s not that I haven’t seen it before in recent months: CNN says President Trump is awful. MSNBC says President Trump is awful. Headline News says President Trump is awful. FOX News says CNN, MSNBC and Headline News are all awful. We all feel awful.

As a teacher and a mother, good grief as an American whose parents immigrated here, I feel like we’ve all been run through a mill and thrown out on the other side without regard for where we’ve all been and how we may actually see the world in other colors other than just black or white—in other symbols other than a donkey and an elephant.

June 2017

And just like that that, we have hit the 6th month of this year and where are we at when we look at our pop-culture news culture?

I’m afraid it’s an awful smokescreen where we’re at as Americans. Do we really believe that the greatest threat to our respective “pursuits of happiness” is who is our President of the United States at the moment and if or who around him/her had intimate talks with the Russian authorities? нет, спасибо.

Jobless June, July and Beyond… 

Seriously, is it too much to hope that those who have the time and resources to sit in front of cameras would try to focus on some of the issues that truly are impacting Americans right now and in the future?

Here’s a few things that we all need to keep in mind while talking heads are whining about who is running our federal government, who they’re talking to and such:

  1. Artificial Intelligence: AI in our daily lives is a fact now, no longer a musing of what the future holds. With or without our knowledge, AI will touch every American who resides in an urban area and even a good portion of those still in touch with our rural side.
  2. Deep Learning: We humans, especially Americans, could stand to learn a thing or two from this new movement/technology called Deep Learning where a machine or computer is accumulating knowledge based on experience. Unfortunately, I’m afraid to admit that many of us may be regressing in our ability to learn or create—thus creating an easy pathway for Deep Learning technology to trump us (forgive the pun).
  3. In line with points number 1 & 2 above, vehicles that automatically drive for us will start to displace many jobs. This is the story that no one seems to really be talking about but is so obvious for our truckers. This is a major job sector that is set to be shattered if this technology takes off without them being re-trained to either be involved in it or transition to something else.
  4. Our Environment: We’re all talking about it but not really doing anything proactive. I personally have found it most difficult to reduce our trash in the household and have attempted to recycle nearly everything away but my heart still sinks every time I put a plastic wrapping or bag in our waste basket because our local recycling plant won’t accept them.
  5. Biomedical Engineering – Genetic Advances: I don’t even have to be well-versed in these areas to understand that already we’ve far surpassed the idea of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We’re fast approaching a human reality where we may be able to reproduce/clone humans without the standard male + female = human baby.

Looking Forward

These are literally just a handful of the countless other issues having a direct impact on most of us Americans today.

How do we proceed? Can we all apply so as to be hired and perhaps have some of these news media pundits fired? Obviously not.

The best we can hope to do within our busy schedules is to look at the world from our own eyes and act upon it with our own hearts. Such was the case recently on the Portland commuter train where folks died while protecting a couple of muslim young ladies.

We have to deny cable news media and social media their supposed delusion that we look to them for direction as to how to react to our political parties and our government officials.

Instead we should direct ourselves to evoke what the real truth is, that many of us want to have an enduring part of our nation’s history—not this re-run of Gore vs. Bush malaise or post-Vietnam War hangover types trying to define who and what we are as a nation here in the United States of America.

United we stand, divided we fall.

God we pray to stay united and hear each other out.

R.V.S.B.

Ramona cell phone 389

Bush and Clinton: Democracy or Dynasty?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Political Peas in a Pod

In our household we receive two newspapers in the morning the old-fashioned way: The Palm Beach Post and The Wall Street Journal.  WSJ had on their front page today “Clinton Freezes Rest of ’16 Field” by Peter Nicholas.  The Palm Beach Post had in their second page of the front page “Jeb Bush airs campaign ethos” by Peter Baker of New York Times.  Is it already time for 2016 presidential candidate talk?  Evidently it’s been happening for awhile now and only gaining momentum.

Shortcut Update

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was recently in Texas and made some public comments that Mr.Baker writes about saying “even as he sharply criticized President Barack Obama for his handling of foreign affairs and health care, Bush made clear that he would run against the style of politics that has characterized recent Republican nominating contests.”  Mr. Nicholas’ opening line in WSJ says it all: “Hillary Clinton’s phantom presence in the Democratic presidential-nomination stakes–neither in nor not–is freezing the rest of the field, creating formidable obstacles for other candidates needing to raise money and set up an organization.”

What’s in a Name?

When we hear the name “Clinton”, what does the general public call to mind?  Is it Bubba and his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall late night show?  The first black President of the United States?  The blue dress? A congressional call for his impeachment and the question of what “is” is?  Or is it first lady Hillary Clinton “standing by her man”? Perhaps it’s the pacification of President Clinton when his two term presidency was over and then Hillary Rodham Clinton was finally able to pursue her political career beginning with a U.S. Senate run, presidential run and most recently our Secretary of State during the first years of President Obama’s tenure.

How about “Bush”?  Enough negative press was showered on this name in this century alone that it may be appropriate to assume that the name “Bush” immediately invokes “Iraq” or “War on Terror”.  The truth is that most adults who are between 30 and 40 years of age can’t recall too much prior to 9-11-01.  We were just finishing school years and starting careers or families when that national tragedy struck and started that decade into a hurtling mess of economic disparity and loss of privacy in the name of national security.  Can we remember what President George H.W. Bush was known for? Vice-president for the iconic President Ronald Reagan? “It wouldn’t be prudent”?  Or was it the obvious loss to the more photogenic and charismatic Democratic presidential Bill Clinton-Al Gore ticket in 1992?

Buzz Words and Who’s Listening

It’s a somber reality that most of us will not be ready for the multimedia onslaught of presidential buzz words of who’s the possible candidate for this party and that.  The American public is pretty weary after weathering various difficulties–especially economically–that hit the middle-class and below quite hard.  In an era of people learning about how to simplify and return to organic and holistic means of living, we are also being inundated with talk of Obamacare and how we ought to sign up now for our health care security.  So now I hear from people in person and now in print media that it may be a Clinton versus Bush episode–is this a democracy or a dynasty system?

This rhetorical question doesn’t intend to belittle or insult what former Secretary Hillary Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have done in service to our country.  However, we should try to stop for a moment if possible and consider what we truly want when it comes to choosing a presidential candidate to lead our executive branch of the federal government–serving as the proverbial “leader of the free world”.

Political Benediction

Depending on who’s reading this either you may love politics and follow everything closely or you might abhor the nonsense of the rhetoric and corruption that seem to follow anything affiliated with the government.  I would encourage anyone who is a U.S. citizen reading to remember that we are all Americans together, despite the party or non-party affiliations.  This country isn’t perfect by any means and rather young when you look at the history of the world in general–still, it’s our nation and we do have a right to continue to ask questions and seek out whomever we think should be in the power seats we’ve set up through our governing system.  Please don’t forget that we are a country “for the people by the people”.

R.V.S.B.

 

 

A Political Short: Romney/Ryan vs Kerry/Edwards

Homemaker Intro

As a wife and mother of two young, busy sons I would like to throw my opinion out into the unruly mass of cyberspace regarding the latest “Political Short” in my mind.  This presidential election is unfolding with the same fatigue that I feel as I push through days with little sleep but lots of little energetic beings around me.  The Republican Romney/Ryan ticket also reminds me of the Democratic Kerry/Edwards election year in that although on the surface it seems that President Obama should lose this campaign–he will not.

Although I can be proven wrong this November, my sense is that barring anything unusual happening, I expect that President Obama will be re-elected without too much ado.

The Prediction

There are countless people out there who are doing the constant calculations of electoral votes and know every detail of what’s needed for either side to attain victory.  My measurements are based on my tiny universe and those around me who are just trying to make it through each day in their work and family lives.

Americans are in the middle of trying to pull themselves up after yelling at the local and federal governments about why they’re hurting financially.  Then there are people in our nation that are just starting to figure out that the greatest power they can wield over their circumstances is to take personal responsibility.  Between trying to attain and keep employment or survive as a caregiver, student, et cetera—Americans are tired and have little patience to follow the particulars of this Presidential race.

Student Council Days Part II

The past decade has not yielded dynamic Presidential races–in fact, the match-ups have been bland or downright annoying.  Mitt Romney may have taken this road several times but he still comes off as an aloof man and as John Kerry failed to naturally connect with everyday Americans, Romney is hitting a bumpy road in the popularity contest.

That brings us to the sad truth of how petty we’ve become as a society where even our Presidential race is like a wonkish version of “American Idol”.  We have Paul Ryan whose looks are pleasing to most eyes and his family story comes right out of the Hallmark Channel–add to that he’s wickedly smart and knows policy and you have a real robust vice presidential candidate.  This is reminiscent of the general appeal held by Democratic candidate John Edwards in 2004 prior to his crazy love child storyline that unfolded years later.

Political Benediction

I still hope that most Americans who are able to will come out and vote for whomever they deem fit to take our nation through the next four years this November.  As for whether the president is President Obama again or Mitt Romney is given a chance–what truly matters is that our President of the United States helps inspire us to be the best citizens we can be regardless of what political party dominates inside the Washington D.C. Beltway.

R.V.Saridakis Bean

Why Vote? A Humble Answer

This morning began before the sun had risen. My oldest son woke up the younger son resulting in a symphony of “Mama” in both verbal and nonverbal terms.  As I navigated the early hours between fixing coffee, breakfast for the family and dressing the children as well as myself, the silent question drifted through my mind: “How will I make it through the day?”

It was late morning by the time I was in the car with my children to start on the errands and adventures ahead of us for this otherwise ordinary Tuesday.  As I was watching the traffic for the safe moment to crossover I saw them.  The people waving on the side of the road with flags and political signs.  My mind again rattling off: “Crapp. It’s voting day. I don’t even know who and what for except for a couple of signs I’ve seen on the road in the past several weeks.”

As it turned out, our first item on our schedule would take me right past my voting precinct.  Internally I react: “I have to stop, of course I don’t want to deal with it since I’ve the boys with me and have no help, no distraction for them. I have to explain this play-by-play to my four-year-old and God knows I am exhausted already of doing so all morning as it is! But I have the right to vote.  I don’t have a paycheck-paying job but I work my mind, body and heart out everyday 24/7 and I can participate in having a say who is to sit on that circuit judge seat(s) and who will be our tax collector and eventually by this fall who I think has my confidence in leading our nation as the President of the United States. I have to turn in to this gated community to go and vote.”

As I pulled up to the security gate and gave my name and purpose, the guard lady gave me a warm smile and assurance that no one had really passed through recently and so I should be in and out quickly.  Perhaps it was the dinosaur Raptor-like screech she heard from my 17 month old or the constant “Mama, mama…” from my other son while I was stopped there that prompted her to give me the kind encouragement.  I did appreciate her candor.

Once at the voting place situated at the Ibis Country Club community clubhouse area, I saw the campaign people and signs again and took care to avoid them.  It was nothing against them personally, it’s just I already had my hands full as I was unloading the boys and picking up the food particles, books, toys and other random projectiles that catapulted out of our vehicle with each door that I was opening. I decided immediately that placing the baby in my back carrier was the best idea while holding my other son’s hand and making a game of running up to the clubhouse through the carefully manicured grass: oops, sorry Ibis.

Thankfully, the guard lady was right. No one was in the voting area except for the presiding volunteers.  After working out where my ballot was I found myself at the privacy booth with my boys by the window where they would look out and watch the activity at the golf course. I looked at the ballot and was slightly baffled, there were literally only two names I recognized on this ballot and that’s only because one I’ve known in my Greek-American local community and the other because I’m used to seeing them as the incumbent.

Enter inner debate with embellishment as I write this: “I’m so embarrassed with myself, I haven’t been paying attention and I made no effort to even try to look up some of these folks before I came here.  Yet, I’m here damn it.  I don’t have the luxury of time and although it may seem irresponsible to vote blindly for the most part, at the very least I am exercising my right to vote and if everyone did so it would be amazing to see the results.  Sometimes people making it in by sheer chance may be better than the ones everyone thinks will win.”

I understand that there are people reading this that will feel much differently and perhaps even group me into being part of the problem when it comes to the voting turnouts.  But try to hear me out one more time on this argument that it’s better to vote than not at all.

Everyone who is eligible to vote should because we can and if we all would in this country then truly the blame and disdain for whatever goes “wrong” in the government would be a shared responsibility by the nation’s citizens for placing these men and women in power and we could enact swift change when and as needed.  Our political campaign history has shown that when the voting population is galvanized to vote even just 5-10% more than what the average turnout is, political machines and pre-determined incumbent victors fall to the wayside in a delirious dusting like the shift I weathered as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill in a Republican office in the mid-term elections of 2006.

As for today, it turned out to be a local primary election.  Small potatoes but still a part of the construction of what are local offices are to look like by November this year.  I was given a voting ballot with my party affiliation and the simple instructions to connect the arrow pointing to my respective selections.  It was easy to vote for the two persons I knew, my next step was to vote for all women since my political passion is to help bring more women into the mix as we are still under-represented.

The boys were squirming by the end but I was grateful that they weathered this adventure well and that if anything they are witnessing continuously that mommy feels this is important to do no matter what the mood or weather of the particular voting day may be.  I do admit the following mental note: try to plan ahead for absentee ballots for voting days when possible.

My random voting day ended with a laugh as I drove out of the parking lot I recognized one of the names I had voted for and decided to roll down my window and speak to the lady there: “Are you Jaimie?” She answered that she wasn’t.  “Is Jaimie a woman?”  The lady had stood at this point and replied with a big smile, “No, but he’s a good man!”  I chuckled at this fly luck for this candidate as judging by her tone she had encountered this question as to his gender many times before.  “Well, good for him because I voted for him because I thought he was a woman!”  We both laughed and wished each other a nice day.

R.V.S.Bean

Post-note:

A colleague of mine made a very good suggestion via a comment to this blog posting: as long as your vote ballot is still counted, you can just vote for whatever/whoever you know. Case in point being the state amendments that end up on ballo…

ts–better to skip voting on that amendment if you don’t know its consequences. That being said, I still feel it’s important to come out and vote even if you end up only picking one thing/person on the ballot than not vote at all.

Why Fight? All Mamas Work!

Cue the New York Times latest online: Strategist’s Comment Sets Off Fierce Political Debate On Role of Women http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/us/politics/hilary-rosens-ann-romney-comments-spark-campaign-debate.html

Forgive me as I’m far too exhausted from a humble day of raising two boys and helping family out to actually type out a properly written response to the latest “debate” in the race for our next President of the United States as we creep closer to the 2012 Fall election season. However, since my partner in life’s crime called me today from his “work” to tell me what Ms. Hilary Rosen had said and thereafter apologized for, I must try to say something back.

“never worked a day in her life”…maybe it’s my Greek philosophical blood or my spirit’s overall demeanor, I just don’t see how anyone can accuse a mother of not “working” if she decides to be a “stay-at-home” mother.  At the same time, I also don’t understand or subscribe to those who would dare demonize a mother who has children and also takes time to work “outside the home”–they actually impress me as they are juggling two careers and I am inspired to do more because of them and want to help where I can if possible.  In short, to all those who would make comments I kindly propose that they shut up.  Why fight over this? All parents work!

Given my history of working in politics and my inevitable future of dabbling again in this rough area of our society (e.g. campaigning and working for/as government-appointed or elected officials), I understand that campaigning can get a bit dirty and idiotic.  However, in this case, I’m glad that even our First Lady Michelle Obama made the concise comment on Twitter that, “every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”

As I was pulling weeds and harvesting our cabbage in my garden with my sons this afternoon I had the thought flash in my mind that there were countless women centuries before our time that were also working like us if not even harder and that was before we had social security, pay stubs, time clocks and wage wars–let alone “mommy wars”.  What really hurts about this latest mommy slur was that it was a woman who uttered the disdainful comment–as if we don’t already have enough to deal with in an obvious patriarchal society here.

Thank you for apologizing Ms. Hilary Rosen for a momentary lapse in judgement (we all have them, no doubt) and thanks to Mrs. Ann Romney for being honest that as much as us mamas love our children, it’s not easy work–it’s a labor of love beyond delivery/acceptance/adoption and whether or not we receive paychecks I truly believe that all mamas work.

R.V.S.B.

Four More Years? Yes, He Can! Repeat Post: From January 28, 2011

NOTE: I was just reviewing some of my files and came across this post from last year.  I feel it still hold true even though President Obama has yet to deliver his State of the Union address for 2012. Enjoy!

Four More Years: Yes,  He Can!

We can acknowledge that history repeats itself in our human society here on Earth.  Those who weave a successful future usually have studied history well and focused on what worked well so that they can ensure a positive outcome in their own lives.  Enter here: President Barack Obama.  This man has played the cards of political fate with such precision that he is securing his legacy as our POTUS (President of the United States) and tenure for four more years until 2016.

I was unable to watch his State of the Union address earlier this week but was able to read the transcript.  You can go to this link for its entirety in text form: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/stateoftheunion2011.htm

Whatever your political bend is, you must realize and note that President Obama is effectively taking a page out of President Reagan’s playbook of how-to when the Executive Branch no longer holds dominance on Capitol Hill.  House Speaker John Boehner will be Mr. Obama’s Tip O’Neill.

As the media mix of cable networks, radio and freelancers that blog like myself churn away with our opinions and rebuttals, the fact remains that the American people overall only care to cling to a positive, unifying message.  The mad cocktail-gone-bad that has been our economy for the past several years has left many in our nation overall depressed and disillusioned about what’s ahead.  This has helped to spark more passion in our political parties—so much so that we had a change in power in the House of Representatives was quickly reversed this past fall after the Democrats had it only since the infamous fall of the GOP in mid-term elections 2006.

I noticed that President Obama’s tone of rhetoric changed shortly after the mid-cycle elections, perhaps he was grounded by the returns that election night or maybe he just understood that it was now his time to truly shine as a leader despite what the balance of powers was between the Executive and Legislative branch.  For those watching closely, Mr. Obama did ram through a few costly and liberal-themed things immediately after becoming our current POTUS.  This was a smart calculation as he was able to establish some items before there were any repercussions from either Democrats or Republicans.

Further, by weathering the political upheaval this past fall with a tactful concession, he is able to cover over any long-standing effects that will be due to his decisions since he was sworn in.  In part, by applauding and accepting that American wanted to be heard, he has encouraged us to look forward to trying to change our current predicament of a slump economy in need of jobs and debt removal.

His State of the Union address this week speaks directly to all of us Americans who are choosing to ignore the Wall Street hyper-talk and economic rumblings of demise.  He is able to capitalize on the recent Tucson, Arizona shootings tragedy in a positive manner by rallying the nation to embrace what we ought to strive for as one of the major world powers.

I offer these lines from President Ronald Reagan’s first State of the Union address to the nation on January 26, 1982 : “A year ago, Americans’ faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of 10 Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future. A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable, that we had to learn to live with this seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment. There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this administration as an administration of change, and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.”Read more: State of the Union Address: Ronald Reagan (January 26, 1982) — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/195.html#ixzz1CIwQgnAS

Couple those words with our current Commander-in-Chief: “What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.  I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

Amazing isn’t it? Not much has changed but that is to our advantage because it means we always can choose whether to tackle our future or not.  President Barack Obama is a great example of a man who although has faults and maybe even some fraudulence to his character, he embraces what has worked throughout the centuries—a positive message repeated in simple terms will often mobilize the masses to accomplish great things.

God Bless America.

RVSB

The New Extreme Sport and Other MMBs

THE BIG THREE: 3 Mom Media Bites (MMBs)

As the mother now of two sons, both now 3 years old and 3 months respectively, I have been navigating this new season as a Northern Atlantic fisherman’s boat tries to keep from top-sizing in hurricane strength swells. The writer in me has been posting “tweets” of countless questioning thoughts and resulting conclusions to my mind’s running page but never on paper, or as in the case of this post, in digital form. So in my humble attempt to disperse some of this philosophical and reflective backup, here are a few of my latest ramblings for your entertainment or information:

Road-Tripping with Tots: The New Extreme Sport

About a month ago, I embarked on a road trip with my sons that included stops in three different states. The goal was to make it to a very important event for one in my closest circle and it became an opportunity to visit other friends and family along the way as well. I did consider the plan ahead of time and certainly realized there were many calculations to be made in order for this trip solo with the boys to be successful. An energetic toddler and an unpredictable newborn were quite the duo to consider, mapping the actual driving route was the easiest consideration. In retrospect, I was best able to explain the trip as an “extreme sport”. I had to make clear plans like what time of day to depart, how to ensure that total driving time each day wasn’t more than 4-5 hours and coupling nursing stops with bathroom breaks, et cetera. At the same time I had to continually accept the fact that I needed to allow for unexpected delays, stops (especially with a nursing infant) and changes in plans of activities or driving. For instance, there was about a 2 hour stretch in the middle of nowhere-Georgia land that I just had to keep my cool with a few factors pulling at me including the fact that I missed a turn and was on a country road where there farms and churches but no gas stations. It ended up being a 10 day trip that went relatively smoothly and I was exhausted upon arrival home but felt that my relationship with the boys had actually hit some great milestones.

Weiner-gate and Foley Redux

In recent weeks the cable news and print media has had the gift of a story that keeps giving in the reporting of soon-to-be-resigned U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s revealing photos being “tweeted” via Twitter to women other than his wife. Last week I was able to watch some of the coverage and came to the Fox News channel that had Mark Foley in an interview with Sean Hannity. I hadn’t seen my ex-boss on national television in an interview since his political fall from grace in the fall of 2006 and it was a little jarring to my system. Couldn’t believe the sheer irony of it all—here was my ex-boss who had his Congressional career crumpled by his misuse of time as a Florida representative with the AOL instant messenger service and here now is Congressman Anthony Weiner “tweeting” photos of himself actually IN his Congressional office to his countless lady friends while married to a high profile government aid. Sadly, many of us are still surprised that history evidently teaches us nothing as in the case of Mr. Weiner. I thought that what Foley was punished for was seared in the minds of active politicians; a stern warning to stay off of the digital highway whether by personal computer, laptop, cell phone, Ipad or whatever is next when it comes to the personal indiscretions. It seems that the more we advance in this information age, the more impulsive our actions become that truly blurs our decision-making. In the case of these two gentleman and countless others, we’ve forgotten that privacy is not insured when communicating through cyber/digital hardware—we ought to assume that everything could at any time be posted on the screens in Times Square in New York City.

The Beach: Still the Best Village to Raise Children

Living in South Florida affords me the luxury of going to the beach often and I never take it for granted after residing in other states for several years. What I love about the salty air and sticky sand is that there is a general lack of other stimuli. Most people who routinely go to the beach are there to enjoy the raw nature of two major elements of our planet coming together: land and sea. It is also the thrill of that ebbing dance that draws me to bring my children there a few times a week. I hope to teach them about their environment while also giving them the freedom to run, dance, shout and becoming caked with sand and salt ruthlessly. Running into other parents and their children has also been refreshing and disappointing at times but I’m grateful for the experiences regardless. My children have the opportunity to interact with others, they learn to share and when to walk away. The parents get to small talk and swap ideas on raising children without any commitment to follow-up. I have also met some of my current friends at the shoreline (both Pacific and Atlantic) and strengthened existing friendships there that help enrich my life and thereby my children’s lives.

R.V.S.B.

$5.00 Per Gallon: What America May Pay For Auto Fuel If We Don’t Wake Up

$5.00 Per Gallon: What America May Pay For Auto Fuel If We Don’t Wake Up

I’m not claiming to be neither an energy specialist nor a bona fide economist but I think the latest developments in the political turmoil in the oil-rich nations across the Atlantic and beyond deserve our careful consideration.

SAME OLD REFRAIN

When we examine the last 30-40 years of international politics as it relates to the effect of war/upheaval/et cetera in these petroleum capitals of the world—oil barrel prices and such often rise without warning or constraint. Each and every time we Americans gripe and seem surprised even though for the most part we’ve escaped true debilitating price hikes and status quo cost of automotive gasoline at the pumps in some European nations.

DENIAL AND RESERVATIONS

What year is it again? 2011. Why are we still so reliant on fossil fuels in general? I fear it is for a number of very classic human flaws. One is definitely just because it’s the way we’ve always done things, despite all the technological advances we’ve made in a matter of a few decades—we are still “dinosaurs” in how we view our transportation needs. Second, since it is the most common source of fuel, it somehow manages to be cheaper in general than the initial start-up investment it would take to delve into renewal sources of energy. Third, American politicians, corporate giants and phobic environmentalists and/or crotchety landowners are the biggest blockades to our progress as an innovative energy leader of a nation.

REALITY BITES

A combination of volatile social factors resulting after the Tunisian and Egyptian political fallouts are causing a ripple effect that won’t be truly sorted out for years to come, yet Americans are already grumbling about the gas pump prices as we fill up our thirsty tanks. How many times do we need to learn this lesson? Relying on fossil fuels is not the best long-term investment for America regardless of wherever we may source them from (international or domestic).

PRIDE: SWALLOW IT

Change is never easy. Especially when it concerns our cash flow and the request for more of it is laid out. There has to be a collective effort by corporations, energy industry innovators, politicians and American citizens to willingly go forward with real changes in our consumption of oil to give way to newer, more sustainable sources of power for our transportation (just one of our many energy usage needs: think electricity, home heating, cooking, etc). As for countries like Egypt and Libya, we need to allow them the space to work out their futures without being a puppet to their oil drenched strings.

RVSB

Four More Years? Yes, He Can.

We can acknowledge that history repeats itself in our human society here on Earth. Those who weave a successful future usually have studied history well and focused on what worked well so that they can ensure a positive outcome in their own lives. Enter here: President Barack Obama. This man has played the cards of political fate with such precision that he is securing his legacy as our POTUS (President of the United States) and tenure for four more years until 2016.

I was unable to watch his State of the Union address earlier this week but was able to read the transcript. You can go to this link for its entirety in text form: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/stateoftheunion2011.htm

Whatever your political bend is, you must realize and note that President Obama is effectively taking a page out of President Reagan’s playbook of how-to when the Executive Branch no longer holds dominance on Capitol Hill. House Speaker John Boehner will be Mr. Obama’s Tip O’Neill.

As the media mix of cable networks, radio and freelancers that blog like myself churn away with our opinions and rebuttals, the fact remains that the American people overall only care to cling to a positive, unifying message. The mad cocktail-gone-bad that has been our economy for the past several years has left many in our nation overall depressed and disillusioned about what’s ahead. This has helped to spark more passion in our political parties—so much so that we had a change in power in the House of Representatives was quickly reversed this past fall after the Democrats had it only since the infamous fall of the GOP in mid-term elections 2006.

I noticed that President Obama’s tone of rhetoric changed shortly after the mid-cycle elections, perhaps he was grounded by the returns that election night or maybe he just understood that it was now his time to truly shine as a leader despite what the balance of powers was between the Executive and Legislative branch. For those watching closely, Mr. Obama did ram through a few costly and liberal-themed things immediately after becoming our current POTUS. This was a smart calculation as he was able to establish some items before there were any repercussions from either Democrats or Republicans.

Further, by weathering the political upheaval this past fall with a tactful concession, he is able to cover over any long-standing effects that will be due to his decisions since he was sworn in. In part, by applauding and accepting that American wanted to be heard, he has encouraged us to look forward to trying to change our current predicament of a slump economy in need of jobs and debt removal.

His State of the Union address this week speaks directly to all of us Americans who are choosing to ignore the Wall Street hyper-talk and economic rumblings of demise. He is able to capitalize on the recent Tucson, Arizona shootings tragedy in a positive manner by rallying the nation to embrace what we ought to strive for as one of the major world powers.

I offer these lines from President Ronald Reagan’s first State of the Union address to the nation on January 26, 1982 : “A year ago, Americans’ faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of 10 Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future. A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable, that we had to learn to live with this seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment.
There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this administration as an administration of change, and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.”Read more: State of the Union Address: Ronald Reagan (January 26, 1982) — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/195.html#ixzz1CIwQgnAS

Couple those words with our current Commander-in-Chief: “What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow. I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

Amazing isn’t it? Not much has changed but that is to our advantage because it means we always can choose whether to tackle our future or not. President Barack Obama is a great example of a man who although has faults and maybe even some fraudulence to his character, he embraces what has worked throughout the centuries—a positive message repeated in simple terms will often mobilize the masses to accomplish great things.

God Bless America.

RVSB

Friday’s Closing Thoughts: Simplify, Why & Gov. Crist’s Peril

CLOSING

It doesn’t matter what type of work you’re involved in, Fridays still seem to hold such a relief factor for most of us.  Especially if you have children and go by school or self-imposed schedules weekly.  For stay-at-home parents, Friday also brings the joy of your other half coming to the home front for hopefully most of the weekend helping you feel a little like an adult again. Welcome to Friday friends!

SIMPLIFY

I pulled an all-nighter this past week, I believe it occurred on Tuesday evening when my husband was out-of-town for a business trip.  It began with crusade to clean out our car, it has been a virtual gyspy-mobile for months with the necessity of mini-cleans along the way.  However, the spring cleaning I’m talking about consisted of pulling out all rugs, mats, special vinyl and leather cleaner, leather conditioner (yes, conditioner cream for leather!),vacuuming EVERYWHERE, de-gunking all appendages, buttons, et cetera. 

In addition to the car itself, I boldly attempted to clean my son’s car seat as well. WARNING to all my parent friends and strangers alike, do have your owner’s manual to the car seat handy before you start to remove fabric pieces and if you can manage, just take wipes and spot clean for the large areas. I almost tossed the entire entourage out of frustration of trying to reassemble the doggone contraption while my beloved toddler was in tantrum wind-up mode the next morning. (another caveat: reassemble child car seat while child is still sleeping soundly, so even if it’s 3:40am, just do it!)

Besides the car, in my post-tax season purge, I went nuts and tore into all random bags of receipts, bill stubs, business cards, random mail, you name it and I found it in its burrowed sack/box and had it all on the floor.  Between sips of my favorite Greek Retsina wine and leftover Publix cake, I battled through this reorganization, reallocation and ultimate trash-fest at about 4am officially Wednesday morning.  Shortly before 5am I came to my senses and realized that I was on morning kid duty in less than 2 hours so a nap would be in order.

You may expect that I regretted staying up all night clean and organize but the fact is that taking that unfettered time to simplify areas of my life that I spend so much time in was the best thing I’ve done in months.  Yes, I’ve paid through being a little more tired this week but I’ve relaxed in my mood because the catharsis of simplifying clutter and mess has allowed me to just indulge in the adventures (both expected and unexpected) of every day after Tuesday this week.  If you can find a way to do this for you and your family, I highly advise it as it truly has been a relief.

PERIL: Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist

In other news, I awake this morning to the www.sayfiereview.com headline for Gov. Crist stating that the stage may be set for him to become and run as an Independent in the state as he seeks the election win for the U.S. Senate race.

A fun quote from Mr. Steve Bousquet’s report from the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau reads: “Crist is boxed in politically. His political future is in peril. The former quarterback who loves sports analogies needs to throw a Hail Mary.” You can look this story up here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/with-veto-crist-sets-stage-for-independent-run/1087793

I remember working in Congress for a Florida congressman back when Crist was seeking to run for the Florida governor seat he now occupies. I had been tracking him in the headlines for years as I watched him strategically position himself to be the right candidate on paper.  Many of my colleagues contested the idea that he’d win the race, I stood my ground because I knew he was packaging it well.

In this case, I haven’t been paying much mind as everyday life keeps me occupied from reading all the details of the going-ons in the politics world. But I believe my sense of Crist hasn’t changed and I’m disappointed that he got the governor’s seat only to look again to other higher political aspirations instead of just doing the job he was elected to do. Now a young, vocal and naive Marco Rubio comes out and challenges him like Rufio from the Lost Boys in the Peter Pan movie rendition of “Hook” with Robin Williams.  Crist is flustered that his carefully crafted goals may be shook and possibly destroyed so he goes for the old change-my-political-affiliation get-out-of-jail free card.

Sigh. I love Florida and the politics in our state truly can be unique from other parts of our nation.  I just hope that this governor’s race plays out for the best of the citizens of the state of every political party: democrat, republican, independent and otherwise.  I’ve lived through both democratic and republican governors in our state and respect the office and the job they do more than the party they affiliate with. 

I simply don’t support Crist for the U.S. Senate seat because I feel he just went through the mediocre motions needed to fulfill his governor’s role and with that type of attitude, I don’t want him to represent our Florida voices in the U.S. Senate.

RVSB