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This is an inspired moment from a recent post from my blog buddy and dear friend The Idiot Speaketh’s, “Sarah Palin helps me yet again” .

Having a” relative” secure spot in the harem I dare go out in the ledge and say that since the Kate Gosselin and Sarah Palin TLC incident, I have a new-found respect for Palin!  She made that crazy and media obsessed, (even though she says she hates it) Kate Gosselin lay in the fetal position sucking her thumb in one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

I also watched her recent interview on FOX ( January 17, 2011).  Yes, I do cross over to the “dark side” and watch that network along with CNN  CYA (they will not use “targeted”, “cross hairs”, “sticking to your guns”, “point-blank” or any reference that could be construed as encouraging violent rhetoric.  Give me a friggin’ break!   I am a smart person who writes and that just insulted my intelligence and love for the use of metaphors.) I digress. . .

The next day after the interview I  heard all the media scuttlebutt on what she said.  I was really disappointed on how many of the sound bites taken were not at all what was really said or even within context.  I double checked that by replaying the interview and what was being reported. It actually disturbed me.   The bottom line is, she may play the victim well, but falsely reporting what someone says it what the media obviously does well on both sides. 

For example, last nights’ news cycle on FOX was stating that the Democratic side was calling the Republicans Nazi’s during the repeal debate of Health Care Reform on the House floor yesterday. I saw and heard what the gentleman said.  IT WAS A METAPHOR so he could make his point.  Was it a bad metaphor?  It sure was not one of the best ones I have heard, but there was passion behind it and passion can fuel bad judgement in choice of words.   I have fallen victim of that many times (I am the queen of open mouth insert foot).   There was NO need to run that and have a “taking head” commentator instruct the viewer on what was said between the lines.  All it caused was more hate mongering and getting off point to what matters.

What unnerves me is how all this false reporting and stirring the pot for a story just continues to egg on hate for someone who if they would just blow each other off and not comment they would shut up and actually work on getting this country back on its feet. 

To me this whole thing is just a big political game.  It is like both sides need each other.  The left needs characters like Palin for a good story to showcase how conservatives and Tea Party constituents are a threat and ignorant and the right needs the Palin character so she can say what they are all afraid to say;  total passive aggressive approaches and that boils my blood. 
The bottom line is, whether you like her or not she has balls.  Are they smart balls? Yes, I think she “dumbs”  down like the stupid blond in High School in math class so she gets the attention she wants.  The one thing I can give her credit is that she does stick to her guns (no pun intended) and you know where she stands regardless if you like the smell of what she is standing in.  You don’t see that often enough in politics and that is something that I can appreciate and it makes me angry that she was portrayed in saying things regardless if you like what she said or not in a very untruthful spin.  

Just to clear it up, I not a “I love Sarah Palin” fan, but there are things she says that I can understand where she is coming from and I find myself agreeing with.  There are also things she says that I feel she just crawled out from under a rock on.  However, it all comes back to the fact she was able to showcase Kate Gosselin’s amazing ability to birth a cow on national television (roughing it in the great outdoors is always a good way to bring out someone’s true character)!  This just proves my point that you can always find silver lining in anything, even when it comes to Sarah Palin.

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I have  a good friend that has humanitarian as part of her DNA.  She is a child psychologist that focuses on PTSD in children and young adults.  She has led teams to Shir Lanka 6 weeks post the devastating tsunami and then did follow-up six months later.  She has traveled the world working with oppressed and traumatized people.  Recently she headed off to South East Asia to work with orphanages and safe havens for those that are fighting to stay off the radar of human trafficking and sold into sex and other forms of slavery.   This developed a passion that she is taking on and doing something about.

Currently she is trying to raise around 40k to build a safe haven for those that have their mark on them to be sold into the sex industry of South East Asia.  This is a place where these kids will live, grow up and be educated and protected from those, mostly family members, from being auctioned off for pennies on the dollar to be prostituted out at young as the age of five. 

Unfortunately, it does not just stop in the remote parts of the world.  It is here in the US in a very serious way.  There is a big question of the millions of  illegals that are in the this nation, how many are here against their will with death threats to themselves and their families if they do not comply with those that they fell into the hand of for trafficking and slavery.  There have been several sting operations that have been successful in my county alone within “massage” parlors and drug houses that is clear evidence that this is happening here on our soil.  

It just does not stop there with the US and the world having some responsibility in this issue.  Companies that take their business overseas  or across the border for a higher profit are not holding up their end of the deal on ensuring a realistic work environment that ensures safety and humane working conditions. They are not holding up their end of the deal to ensure that children are not being born into indentured families and having to work in insane work environments as early as the age of five or seven years of age.  

Free 2 Work is an organization that is slowly setting up a resource for consumers to be able to make informed decisions on the products they are chosing to buy and be able to boycott the ones that are not holding up their end of the deal of ensuring safety and humane treatment of the people who make or are a part of the manufacturing of that product.  It is graded from A-F on the US standards of manufacturing.  Obviously we can’t hold other countries to our standards, we can’t even do that without killing the profits of a company (that why is we send a vast majority overseas or across the border to be manufactured).  However, this website seems to be realistic in the fact that an A to a C- rating are companies that we can still do business with.  Those lower than that, need to get their act together and stop looking away from crimes on humanity. 

They have developed an application for your smart phone where you can scan an item and get a rating, that can help with making informed choices and not being part of enabling companies being able to profit and get away with bad horrifing business practices. 

This is something we all should think about;  it is our fiduciary responsibility as consumers to think about it. If you knew for a fact that the shirt or sneakers you are wearing were made by a child that was 5 years old or anyone of any age for that matter,  working 16-18 hours a day, never seeing the light of day, beaten, on machinery that exposes to radiation and/or no safety guards in place where there are daily amputees and serious injuries would you really want to support a company’s profits and wear that? 

Learning about this has changed our household and how we look at products before we buy them.  I wanted to get a Leap Frog toy for my child, and I will not now that I know they have a D- rating.  I love Carter’s children’s clothing, especially their jammies, but they get an F because they will not respond or communicate their business practices (which means they don’t feel they have a responsibility to be transparent to the consumer providing them their profits).  

 Free 2 Work is a good starting point on trying to make a difference in how consumers of the world hold companies accountable to just being humane. 

 http://free2work.org/home

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Lately I have heard that  this past Congress has spent more than the fist 100 Congresses combined. Considering this past Congress is the 111th that seemed like a fairytale, and it was hard to believe.   I went to research this and the only place I could find that fact was on conservative news presses, there was nothing coming up on mainstream media.  So I went to the treasury site and started breaking it down for myself.  They are right!  Why is that not being reported? 

Regardless of what your political views are we all agree that living within your means is an absolute.  When you think about putting the national debt (which is not just this and the former administration’s fault, this has been decades of doing) in perspective with an  average individual that is making 100k a year, that person’s credit card debt would be around a million dollars.  We would think that person was insane and understand that they would never get out from underneath that kind of debt nor would his kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren. 

Obviously the politicians have a serious spending problem!  Everyone of us would questions the judgement if an individual behaved like this with their own life, why are we not doing the same with politicians that are in charge of spending the taxpayer’s money to make this country a great place? 

Regardless if we need healthcare reform, extensions on unemployment, bail outs of companies, the first thing that the politicians should ask is can we afford it and if we can’t and it is important to us, then what do we have to get rid of or cut down in order to make that happen?  I know that is how I have to live. 

When an average person hears that the national debt is around 14 trillion dollars, it is a number that is so hard to conceive, that we just blow it off.  But when you put that number into perspective to someone who deals in just thousands, not billions or trillions, it changes its shape to having a great deal of concern. 

Today Congress changed hands, and there was  a lot of grand standing and show-boating of reading the Constitution like it was the first day of grammar school.   Politicians as a whole are not trust worthy and they should have been reading the Constitution decades ago.  It is like someone with their New Year’s Resolution diet plan; we all know how those work out in the end.   Unfortunately, it looks like we need Congressional Spending Gastric Bypass,  not Constitutional Weight Watchers.  Counting points to cut spending is not going to cut it, we need an extreme and invasive spending cuts that may be hard to digest to get us on the right track. 

It is time to wake up America, this is our future and it is in some seriously scary hands on both sides.  We are the ones that can change this, not Congress or any politician in Washington DC.  We need to start holding these overpaid, out of touch, on their own health care plans, guaranteed retirements and the “unlimited credit card” funded by us, the world and our future generations accountable and really see what is happening on the Hill.

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‘Tis the season for heading off to the mall and embracing it for all its glory.  My Christmas shopping is pretty much done, however, I headed off to the mall for a personal reason; to buy the beloved popcorn maker that was on sale at Williams – Sonoma I have been drooling over for the past month! Another outing this holiday season that is the inspiration for the Top Ten Tuesday!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Photo from Kyle Dahl

10.  The parking lot situation is less than desirable, especially in a torrential down pour.

9.  There is a Salvation Army Santa at every corner ringing that friggin’ bell.  I don’t know what is worse the ringing in my head hours past the visit to the mall or the guilt I have every time I walk by one of them and not put some coin in the bucket.

8.  The way Macy’s places displays in the middle of the aisles making it pretty much a crap shoot to get through with a stroller ( I have a narrow incline double stroller; it is as wide as single stroller), trying to keep your kid’s paws off the merchandise as you are cautiously maneuvering them around them, or better yet trying not to run over people at the MAC or Clinique counters.  Oh, the looks I got yesterday when I asked people to “excuse me”.   “Seriously, lady?  What other options do I have?  Risk running over your foot or knocking down the 8-foot display of perfume gift sets.  Let me tell you, if you don’t move your foot, it will get run over and you can go file a claim with Macy’s for their inconvenient strategic display of merchandise!”

7.  The people on cell phones or texting while walking around, totally clueless of their surroundings.  This is such a blood boiler for me.  That is why the mall has benches and seating areas.  If you wish to turn the mall into your personal social network office, then pull over and sit the friggin’ down and twitter and Facebook that you are doing your Christmas shopping and the mall is a nightmare.  NEWS FLASH: YOU ARE ONE OF THE REASONS THE MALL IS A FRIGGIN’ NIGHTMARE!”

6. When needing to get on to the elevator and the people unloading decide to stop and block the doors for those trying to get on while they are discussing where they want to go to lunch or their next shopping destination.  I have a stroller to push onto the elevator and if my kids gets clocked by the doors closing on them because you screwed around discussing if you want to go to Cheesecake Factory or just the Food Court, I am going to run you over with my loaded stroller.  PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!

5.  The kiosks in the middle of the mall.  If I wanted to buy cheap Chinese crap from people who look like they are one day out of a state prison or a halfway house I would go to Wal-Mart.

4.  The line to Starbucks.  Since the mall does not sell booze, which I think would make the whole experience much better or at least tolerable (Marty Gras is a mob infested nightmare, you don’t realize it because all are intoxicated), caffeine and sugar are the next best thing.  Having to wait for that in a line that rivals the line for Santa is  beyond me!

3.  Other people’s kids.  Letting them run around like wild banchies is just something I will never get.  The world is not every kid’s play ground.  

2. Standing in line waiting to purchase your goods and having to hear a woman on her cell phone yelling at her mother that she is an enabler and all her 9 year-old son wants for Christmas is that his uncles get off the hooch and meth.  Now, this did make me fill a little better about my Christmas family situation.  At least there will be no tweakers at my table this year!

Photo from Kyle Dahl

1.  When you see that there is people standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the first and second floor of the food court that may be a sign that a major tragedy is in the forecast and it is time to un-ass the area.   Nothing would make it a holiday to remember by having the second floor collapse while waiting to hear Handel’s Messiah in a Random Act of Culture moment.  Go home and play the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and enjoy your festive egg nog and avoid the Random Act of Culture turned breaking news nightmare.

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Today is Veteran’s Day and since I am a daughter of a Vietnam Vet, I sit and really think about this day and what we are truly observing.  I will never fully understand what the Veterans of this nation from any war has gone through and are currently going through, but I have a compassion and honor towards each and every one of them.  The below post is a piece of something I have been working on for over ten years.  It is the birth of a book. 

 I remember walking in the cold and rain past the Korean War Memorial and its frozen majestic metal soldiers.  The dogwoods were in bloom and blossoms were falling with the steady sprinkle of the rain.  I caught one in mid-air before it could reach its final resting place; it was delicate and perfect.  I placed it behind my ear under my hood and continued on my journey.  My purpose was to pay respects to a man who had fought for this country beside my father.
As I made my way up the sidewalk I saw a black structure ahead. It seemed to grow in size as I drew closer, and suddenly I was enveloped in an ocean of black stone walls with numberless engravings.  I was unprepared for this; I had heard that The Wall was big, but that was a gross understatement.  I had no idea where to start among the many flags, flowers, family pictures, unopened letters, and poems left at the base of The Wall.  Then I noticed a kiosk a few feet away where there were directories.  I flipped through one as if I were trying to look up the local pizza parlor.  Eventually, I found the name and location code.  I was on a mission, still very detached from what I was doing; it was exactly like solving a puzzle.
As I walked down the sloping sidewalk, the wall seemed to grow even larger and the engravings became recognizable as individual names.  My heart beat faster; I felt hot and sweaty beneath my raincoat and my throat tightened.  I was beginning to understand that this was not just one of the many tourist attractions of the Nation’s Capitol, but was instead a horrifying reminder amidst this beautiful setting of manicured dogwood parks, majestic granite, and immaculate walkways; a perfectly evanescent of Viet-Nam.

I could not grasp the sheer number of names on that Wall.  It seemed to go on forever, with each name representing a family, a wife, a lover, a friend, a son, an enemy never reconciled with… but most of all a life never truly lived unto its fullest.  How did this happen?  How did it get so far out of hand?  Those were the questions that ran through my mind as I finally found the name for which I was searching.   It was too high for me to reach; I found a step stool provided by the groundskeepers, pulled out a pencil and a scrap of paper and began taking an impression (never suspecting that when this mere scrap of paper, when presented to my father, would cause him to fall on his knees and weep as no one had ever seen before). 

 As I rubbed, I began thinking about his family and those who survived him.  How they must have felt so robbed and betrayed by death, the Government, and the senseless war he fought.  He was very young — in his prime — and it never should have happened.  It never should have happened to any of them.

I left the dogwood blossom that I had caught earlier on the ground just beneath his name, and an undeniable truth suddenly occurred to me: The Wall is not big enough… it is missing numberless names, and for countless reasons!  Most particularly, the names of the survivors with whom these men and women took their last breaths.  My father is one such survivor.  The guilt that he bears on that account is just another death sentence awaiting execution at any time.  He is only the least bit better off than those veterans who have lost their minds, their self-respect, and who sit outside the local grocery store hoping for a handout.  Likewise the veterans who didn’t make it even a decade past the war, whether death was by their own hand, or drugs, or alcohol, or violence.  And you must include the veterans who cannot cope without substance abuse or some toxic relationship to dull their pain.  Their widows, their ex-wives, their estranged family members, their forgotten high school classmates, their neglected children who forfeited childhood because their fathers lost all enthusiasm, compassion, understanding, and their once responsible outlook on life… they must be included in the list of casualties.

At that moment, standing in the rain and looking at my reflection in The Wall, the child of a Vietnam veteran, I knew that this Wall did not only memorialize the tragedies of those engraved upon it.  I realized that this Wall was only prologue to another war that will be fought for generations yet to come.

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 A return to Soap Box Sundays! Click here to find out what Soap Box Sunday’s are all about.

Thursday evening, while I was driving home from dinner  with my aunt, I happened to be listening to an interview with Mr. “You are Fired”,  Donald Trump given by Greta Van Susteren (click on the link to see and read the interview).  They were talking about the election results and the subject of jobs in America came up.  Mr. Trump starting talking about something I have been thinking about for quite some time.  How can we get more jobs in America, when we are shipping them to places overseas, Mexico and mainly to China? 

When we had the lead crisis in 2007 and 2008 with toys made in China, many Americans were shocked to realized that 95 % of the toys on the market are made in China.  I challenge anyone to go into a Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, or any store for that manner and see how many products they find that are made here in the US vs those that are being made in China.   I did, and it is very disturbing that I found three products out of sixty-seven in just one aisle.  I feel that every American should find that disturbing. Manufacturing is what built this nation and we are now single handedly handing over our manufacturing to build other countries, like China, because it is cheaper.  

Mr. Trump asked a simple question why politicians never bring up this issue when discussing jobs.  Now, I don’t know enough about Donald Trump to make a full assessment of him, but the one thing I know is that he is one heck of a business man and he knows a thing or two about making money and creating  jobs.  So when someone of his background is asking those hard questions, questions that I have been pondering on as well, you tend to stop and listen to what he has to say and this is the three points that I came up with on my own post his interview.

1.)  American’s want much, but really need less.  Walk into any person’s house (including mine) on your street and see how much excess one has.  I am not talking about living like a crazed frugal person, but seriously, do we really need six sets of sheet for one bed, eight sets of drinking glasses, a toy room that is bursting at the gills, of toys that the kids will only play with once because they have so much,  sixteen different types of cooking utensils, and thirty-seven pairs of shoes (trust me I could have more than that if I could wear heels) and the list goes on?

We have become a society that wants everything and thinks we need everything.  In our own way, we are becoming modern-day hoarders that is now completely an acceptable part of society.  Our need to consume things is what is driving these companies to have to make them affordable because the demand is alive and well. 

The past couple of years I have tried to downsize our house by not buying things we don’t need (outside of my Gymboree addiction, which is sadly made in China) and when I do buy something I get rid of a like item.  I am a natural “three times a year -purger”, far from being a pack rat,  but I still think I would fall under the too much excess category.  I am exactly a picture of the problem of being dependant on China.

2.)  Unions.  Being a Human Resources Specialist for eleven years, I think I can stand very firmly on my beliefs that Unions are something that is no longer needed.  American Employment Law/ERISA Law has evolved into something more powerful and just than it was before Unions were put into place.  Unions served it’s purpose, but it is now time to roll up shop. 

It appears that they now only serve to hold up productivity and be cash cows for politicians and lobbyist.   I saw a study of a GM  worker vs. an American based  Toyota company worker burden rate and the numbers spoke for themselves.  The total annual burden rate for a GM worker was $74 and the Toyota worker was $48 per hour and the productivity was greater at the Toyota Plant.  What amazes me is with those numbers, the government should have allowed the American car manufacturers to go under, file Chapter 11, and restructure.  That what the Airline Industry has done for decades and it definitely weeds out the weak from the strong.  Yes, thousand’s of jobs were at jeopardy if they did this, but so were thousands of job in the airline industry and let’s not mention the thousands of job in the manufacturing world that were lost in this country when they take their business to Mexico or China.

The hubs was one of those statistics in 2008.  His company of 45-year longevity in our area moved to Juarez, Mexico.  We had a choice to move to El Paso, TX and he commute to Mexico each day. You all have read the headlines, that was a no brainer. Thankfully, the hubs was gainfully employed before his final day at his former company.  Many of his colleagues were not so lucky and were out of work for 18-months or longer.  This company the hubs worked for, shut down production in three mid-western state plants that were the heart beat of the town and when they left to go to Mexico, the town suffered greatly, horribly, actually.  The govenment was not making sure these companies stayed in the states to keep their consintuants employeed.  No, they decided to bail out union based companies beacuse that is where the money is.

3.) Government placing too heavy of  EPA regulations and tax laws on corporations. The United States leads the world in high  corporate tax rates. Why would companies have an incentive to stay here in the US, if they are paying through the nose when they can take up shop for pennies on the dollar in China, Mexico or other countries?  You don’t have to be a business major to figure that out.  

 I live in a state that has some of  the strictest EPA laws and regulations and the politicians that just got re-elected back into office were a part of making those regulations stick.  The environment is important, but think of how many jobs it would have created, in addition to the manufacturing companies, to have people working with these companies on finding other ways to manufacturing products cleaner and safer.  That to me would be a good use of tax payer money, instead, huge fines and taxes incurred under many very unreasonable environmental statues and forced companies out of California. 

I saw an ad during the election process sponsored by Barbara Boxer slamming Carly Forina for laying off 30k employees and moving HP to China.  The thing “Ma’am” Senator Boxer forgot to put in the ad is how she was too responsible for the loss of those 30k jobs and that plant moving to China.  She was part of the push for higher taxes on corporations and hand tieing EPA regulations and got them.  What they also left out, was that in order to save HP from economic down fall they had to make those hard decisions to keep the 150k jobs here in the US.  Do I think Carly Fornia was a saint? NO WAY! In this case however, it was the legislators of California that is to blame for those jobs going to China.

I think the ship has sailed, unfortunately, when it comes to our dealings and relationship with China going away.  We are in bed with them, the past decades of political administrations have made that bed for the American people.   What we can do  now is truly take inventory of our personal lives and really ask our selves do we need so much stuff?  When we do need to purchase things we need to ask ourselves “Is this made in the US?” and if it is not, then try to find the closest substitute that is.  Remember cheaper is not always better.   Lastly, when thinking about our politicians and the things we vote for, look at the bigger picture and ask the harder questions that no one seems to be asking, “Are these things that they are doing building up our country or building up another?”

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Yesterday I found out that the city of San Fransisco passed an ordinance that fast food chains could not include a toy in their kid’s meals if they do not meet certain nutritional requirements.  This was passed by an 8-3 vote and will go into effect in 2011. I truly live in a state that is a few french fries short of a full Happy Meal!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  Former President Ronald Regan. 

Regardless if you like his politics or not, that quote makes  sence.  Why is the government infringing on the rights of a private company in doing business?  Essentially they are taking away the freedom of not only the company to offer goods to the consumer, but the rights away from the citizens of San Fransisco or any American that visits that city.  I like to use Happy Meals as a special treat to PD1 and I have a right to be able to exercise my right as a FREE American to do so. 

Happy Meals are not something that should be demonized as “bad”.  They are not bad, they are fun and exciting for kids and parents.  If we start demonizing the Happy Meal to the problems of childhood obesity, then you are opening a huge can of worms on a lot of products that are out there.  If you think the “food police” that is trying to birth “Food Law” will stop here, you are only kidding yourself.  I like junk food from time to time, I do not want anyone telling me when, how or what I can have.  Some would probably say that is the Libertarian in me, I say it is the American in me coming out.

 It is not the McDonald’s of  America that is making our kids fat.  I feel it is a  cumulation of  five things that are making these kids fat, which all points back to parent/guardian responsibility for their kids.   

1).  Parent’s not taking the nutritional responsibility of their kids.  The fact that San Fransisco feels that they have to pass laws on private companies to keep kids out of obesity trouble is abominable.  I know that there is an argument that areas of more economic challenge tends to breed bad and cheap food choices, but I was one of those kids growing up in poverty and I was not eating McDonald’s or other fast food options.  We ate home cooked meals made by a step- mother that worked three jobs. Sure, it was not organic or top quality, but it was full of a  balanced nutrition and that was before WIC was ever put into place. 

2.)  Kid’s no longer know how to play.  They just know how to play video games and watch TV.  Some of this has to do with fear based ideas that there are predators lurking around every corner.  Most incidents come from inside the family/friend circle.  It is very rare to have an outsider be a predator. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comfortable to just letting my kids go willy nilly in the neighborhood, but if more families would let their kids out to play there is safety in numbers.  As a kid, I traveled in a pack, outside of the few kid related dramas of bones, scrapped knees and disagreements all was harmonious and fun.   I guarantee that I burned hundreds of calories riding my bike  and running around with my buddies.

3.)  Snacks need to be more realistic in size and in food options.  We were a poor family, but eating just an apple was a filing snack.   A couple of crackers with peanut butter was a snack, and an orange was a snack. These snack options would tied me over to the next meal just fine.  It is amazing what a “snack” constitutes these days.  It is equivalent to a meal calorie wise.  I take my PD1 to a mommy and me class setting and we have “snack time”.  I see these other two-year olds eating so much for a snack and then loaded up with fruit juice.  If one feeds their kids a snack that are high in content and calories a couple of times a day, in addition to three meals they are going to set their kids up to being fat.

4.) It is not an option for Physical Education to be the first to be cut when budgets gets weakParent’s should be holding the school board accountable of keeping a balance of education.  This meaning keeping art, music, and physical education that is the glue that binds the core subjects together.  Hey, their taxes are paying for it.  

In my observation it appears more class room behavioral problems surface when those three subjects are booted out.  It also un-nerves me to see the school administration say that they are doing all they can in their power to better the education of the kids even with all of these hard economic times. Really?   School is about the kids, right?   Then cut the administration salaries and give it back to the school so these programs stay alive.  If you ever been to Los Angeles Unified School District Administration building in downtown, you understand that LAUSD is very top-heavy and could use some serious re-structuring and salary readjustments.

5.) Parent’s going back to the grass-roots of fast food being a treat.  Fast food should never be  a quick and easy fix to feeding your kid for the day.   Parent’s need to take control of the situation.  So what if your kid wants fast food every night, it does not mean that you comply.  You can feed your kids quick and inexpensive meals at home. 

A whole wheat tortilla, cheese, tomatoes, refried black beans, brown rice burritos takes about the same time to make as sitting in the drive thru. You can even can make extras and freeze them for a “quick pop in the microwave need”.  I did a quick break down of this choice that many kids get at Taco Bell and it literally costs a total of $15.oo for all the  ingredients that would make about 12 burritos. That comes to about $1.25 per burritos.  I included instant brown rice which cooks up in the microwave in 90 seconds, the beans heat up in the microwave in about 2 minutes and assembling the burritos (all twelve of them) would take about ten minutes.  That comes to about 15 minutes to have an immediate meal and 11 more for the future. 

Yesterday, I  also did a test  going through the McDonald’s drive -thru during an “off-peak” time and it was seven minutes (during peak times one should add about 3-5 minutes to that).  The time between the two are just a few minutes. Therefore, the rationalization that I have heard from parents that it is cheaper and faster to resort to fast food is an excuse and a lazy one at that.  The bottom line is there are many more meals that can be made at home that are cheap, quick and has a good nutritional value.  There are no excuses!

It is the parent’s that are responsible for this problem,  not the fast food industry.  Just taking out a toy from a Happy Meal is not going to keep the kids from eating Happy Meals, eating ice cream from Dairy Queen, or having frozen milk shakes and burgers from Sonic.  It is time to teach our kids self-control, making good choices, and being accountable. 

Teaching our kids that it is OK for government establishments to put unreasonable and non-successful “smack down ordinance laws”  is only teaching them that freedom has its limitations when someone views it as” not good for you”.   Fast food is not bad for you if you do it in moderation, it is bad for you if you do it all the time.  To much of anything is not good for anyone.  To much TV is bad, too much studying is bad, even too much water can be bad. 

We are wired to have self-control and responsiblity be our guide.  We are smart and intelligent beings, we are  people who should understand natural logical consequences and face those  consequences if you make bad choices.   What is next, they take all  cookies, chips, crackers, soft drinks, ice cream and candy out of the grocery stores if it does not meet nutritional guidelines!

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United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

October 14, 2010

President Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique, Ph.D.

Santiago, Chile

Dear Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique, Ph.D.,

The citizens of the United States are pleased to extend an offer of employment as their new President of the United States.  Your credentials and interview process (dealing with the recent tragedies that have struck the current nation you are leading this past year) demonstrated that you have the knowledge, skills, experience and most of all leadership that we find to be some of the most valuable asset a person can obtain.  

You are an example and have set the bar to all the leaders of the world of what a GREAT leader should strive to be.  You demonstrated a great amount of wisdom in allowing the assistance of the world and its valuable resources, without  ego attached to the acceptance of assistance, in the recent mining tragedy.  You demonstrated that you are not a weak leader and are willing to take risks for the benefit of your citizens by insisting to move forward on the rescue effort ahead of schedule once you recognized that the process was hopeful.  You would  not take no for an answer; we need that in a leader. You also demonstrated what a man of compassion and endurance you are by tirelessly standing vigil until every soul was brought to safety.  This is more than any national leader in this world has done in recent decades.  

We understand that you were the first billionaire to come into Chilean office and you did sell off many of your stocks as it was a conflict of interest. We expect that you would continue to make good ethical decisions regarding your financial gain and your leadership of the United Sates if you accept this position.  We understand that you have been a professor of economics, a successful business man and politician.  We also understand that you have already lived in the US while your father was an Chilean ambassador for the United Nations and you attended Harvard for your post-graduate work.  This will make security clearances easily attainable.

We do understand that the current nation you are leading are experiencing difficult economic times as the United States with and unemployment rate of 10% as of 2010, however it seems that Chile has been able to keep themselves out of the red by utilizing its own resources to take care of its people on most economic levels.   This is something that the United States needs to relearn and we feel that you are the guy for the job. 

 Compensation and Benefits:

The president earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 non-taxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment.

The White House in Washington, D.C. serves as the official place of residence for the president; he is entitled to use its staff and facilities, including medical care, recreation, housekeeping, and security services. Naval Support Facility Thurmont, popularly known as Camp David, is a mountain based military camp in Frederick County, Maryland used as a country retreat and for high alert protection of the president and his guests. Blair House, located adjacent to the Old Executive Office Building at the White House Complex and Lafayette Park, is a complex of four connected townhouses exceeding 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of floor space which serves as the president’s official guest house and as a secondary residence for the president if needed.

For ground travel, the president uses the presidential state car, which is an armored limousine, built on a heavily modified Cadillac-based chassis. One of two identical Boeing VC-25 aircraft, which are extensively modified versions of Boeing 747-200B airliners, serve as long distance travel for the president, and are referred to as Air Force One while the president is on board. The president also uses a United States Marine Corps helicopter, designated Marine One when the president is aboard.

The United States Secret Service is charged with protecting the sitting president and his family. As part of their protection, presidents, first ladies, their children and other immediate family members, and other prominent persons and locations are assigned Secret Service code names.*

Position Start Date information:

This position has an immediate opening.  Due to your current circumstances we will hold this position open until you can find a suitable replacement for yourself and the nation of Chile or by January 20, 2013

This will be the first time in American history the citizens and national law will lift the exemption of having to be a born national citizen to be president. It is also the first time in history that a current president can be removed and replaced without notice and not be replaced with his/her appointed successors.  This is also the first time in American history that the citizens are truly acting on their own accord and are chosing a leader without a campaign process that is filled with corruption and political agendas.  We are chosing to live by the words of President Abraham Lincoln, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  As you can see we are in serious trouble based on the decisions of past and present administrations and we need a fresh energy and life that you seem to obtain. 

Acceptance of Position Details:

We, the citizens of the United States of America hope that you’ll accept this job offer and look forward to welcoming you aboard. You have until December 31, 2010 to accept or decline this offer. Your immediate supervisor will be the American Citizens, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact any State Senator or Congressman to set up town hall meetings with the citizens of the towns, cities or states you would like to address. That contact list will be available upon acceptance of position.

Sincerely,

The Citizens of the United States of America

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebasti%C3%A1n_Pi%C3%B1era

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picture used from The Sun/UK "Up, Up and Hooray!"

Last night I was glued to the TV, not with one of my silly shows, but it was the human spirit that captivated me.  I saw the first miner come to the surface of the earth after being trapped 2,000 feet under ground for 68 long days.  Tears where streaming down my face and my heart was overwhelmed with all I was taking in.  It was like I was there chanting their Chilean football cheer.  PD1 looked up at me and asked me if I was sad as I was wiping the tears away and gathering her together for bed.  This was the fist time I had to explain to her that not all crying is because someone is sad or hurt but can come when one is happy and at peace with what they are experiencing. 

After the kids were tucked safely away in their beds, I decided to go to bed early and just watch this amazing feat of engineering, collaboration, unity, perseverance , fear, joy and faith that this country is dealing with and experiencing.  The next miner comes up and he is just a ball of energy!  He is running and jumping and leading the crowd in the football cheer.  He embraced every rescue worker and was full of life!  Again the water works just came back. 

I have seen two more rescues and as of right now they are in the process of rescuing the 13th miner.  They are still far from the end, but the spirit you see being fed back via the media is infectious. You feel a sense of pride, you feel a sence of hopefulness, you feel a sence that human life is precious and resilient and worth all that has been put into this rescue effort. 

In watching this, I realized that this media coverage is not just covering an amazing rescue,one for the history books,  but it is covering what is important.  Each time a miner comes up safe and you watch them embrace their families and friends, the world seems to be less evil, less broken and less full of nonsense.  It seems that not only has the tangible effort brought together countries, villages, companies, and people who would more or less never of given thought to each other but it is bringing the world together seeing the human spirit at work . 

There are no campaign agendas, there is no Al Qaeda and Taliban, there are no wall street  investigations, there is no 9.6% unemployment, there is no recession recovery, and there is no left or right.  All there that being pumped into my living room is this fragile peace that passes all comprehension; something each of us are born with but rarely ever tap into. 

This peace could change the world, if everyone could just take one slice of what this amazing moment in history is giving us and really understand its power!  In doing that the world would be a little bit less confusing, the egos would be a little bit smaller and the evils would be a little bit less scary. 

If you have not seen this amazing feat of turning a tragedy to an amazing story of rescue, survival and the thriving human spirit, there is still time.  Sit down and at least watch one.  I believe it will be a moment you will never forget.

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This is a fellow blogger, Perpetually Peeved inspired moment based on her accounts and experiences during her recent outing to her local pumpkin patch family outing.  She got a volume of good material and I just got this.  Thanks PP for a bit of inspiration and like promised, I will share my findings!

Camp Pie Hole headed out for our first annual Pumpkin Patch Festivus!  After the hubs got over the highway robbery he witnessed regarding his pocket at the gate, there was fun for all!  They had a great Corn Maze, hay rides, tractor slides, Kettle Corn, Critter Zoo and an actual educational moment for the hubs and I while visiting Valentine, the donkey. 

Now, I think I am relatively savvy in a lot of areas especially synonyms for insulting explicit words.  What I found out is not only amusing, but I will actually use in the presence to PD1 and PD2 while I am driving, watching political banter, Jon Steward, O’Reilly, Greta, Olbermann, and Nancy Grace. Thank you Underwood Farms for giving me good replacements for Dumb – A . . ., Jack -A . . . , A-Hole and Horse’s – A . . .  with a gender specification!  Now it is Jack, Jenny and  Hinny!

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