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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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About four months ago, the hubs and I went on a date.  OK, we went on a date to a comfortable meal and then both Home Depot and Lowe’s.  We are in the middle of remodeling our house, when we get a chance to go to either of those stores without two small children, we jump at that chance.  Trust me, I can write a book on schlepping young children to home improvement stores successfully, but I will embrace a solo trip any day.

As we were leaving Home Depot, the hubs started shaking his head and said, “I just saw something that I just don’t understand!”  I got out of the truck and followed him.  There was this Harley Davidson with Disable Person plates on it.  At first I did not get what the big deal was until he pointed out how difficult riding a motorcycle is.  He has been an avid rider of some sort of motorcycle since he was 13 years of age.  He finally sold his “crouch rocket” right before we had kids, which I was secretly thrilled about.  He went on to say that a Harley could easily weigh 800 lbs. and it takes a good amount of body strength, coordination, timing, and personal balance  in general to maneuver and balance one of those beasts of the road. Operating that while being classified diable seems to be a major foley on the part of the DMV.

As we were climbing back into the truck, the owner hops on the Harley and proceeds to leave the parking lot.  I then realize that this could be a golden blogging opportunity and instruct the hubs to follow him so I can get a picture of this “anomaly of the road”.  Here I am hanging out the window with my cell phone trying to get a picture, the motorcycle is now clocking at about 60 miles per hour on the surface streets with us hot on his tail. It was like we were Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane shouting, “OOOOOOH! I’m in “Hot Pursuit!”  and he was the good ol’ Duke boys. 

He finally turns into a strip mall and we slink in behind him and wait for him to head into the liquor store before I jump out and get the prized evidence of such an amazing sight. I jumped in and we speed off like we robbed the joint before anyone knew the difference.    Now may I need to preference, that we are far from the profile types to try to tangle with a patch -wearing- biker, but seriously it was all for love of journalism… who am I kidding, blogging. 

After the adrenalin faded and the hubs and I chatted about this on a more serious note, we wondered how this could happen. We started checking off things that classify people “disabled”.  I, being a specialist in the workman’s  compensation arena for employers and have full knowledge and understanding of the ADA (American Disabilities Act) gave me an edge to dissect this issue. I understand that when you are classified disabled you are given certain work and daily life restrictions depending on the injury (most of the restrictions are involving lifting, pulling and pushing heavy objects and that restriction is usually under 50  lbs. Also sitting or standing for long periods of time can be a strong factor).  Driving a car vs. riding a motorcycle are two very different operations, while both need alertness, fast reflexes and good vision, the motorcycle carries a whole physical aspect a car could never compete with.  Trying to keep a 800 lb motorcycle balanced and off the ground is a challenge and if it indeed falls over on you, you are essentially screwed.   

In my professional experience, most major injuries that place people at a disability status is a back injury, then neck,  shoulder, knees  carpal tunnel syndrome, some head trauma, and in the geriatric/diabetic population is feet. There is a small population that has seizures controlled by meds, heart  and lung issues that can be classified as disabled.  There is an even smaller population that is deemed “psychologically disabled” (I don’t know why they call that a “small population”, we meet someone who fits in that category at least daily). 

First off the guy seemed to be fine, he drove like a bat out of hell and had the wits about him to be shopping for home improvement stuff as well as having good priorities of stopping off at the liquor store for his night-cap.  He maneuver that 800 lb piece of vibrating metal through traffic at high speeds with ease.  There was no evidence of being disabled, no limp in his walk, no weird tick with his head.  He had strength, wits, and a taste for fine liquor.  I can tell you of at lest two worker’s comp cases I had shut down and closed due to a joy ride on a motorcycle while out on disability, so me being a bit suspect to this guy came a little more nature than expected.  His disability may be legit, but we will never know. 

 I did search out the guidelines of what classifies you “disabled enough” to obtain those plates and the guidelines seem to cover areas that do not pertain to being able to operate a motorcycle and it appears you can get any ambulance chaser chiropractor to sign off on some of the listed disability status, which is somewhat disturbing.  I know of a couple of shady chiropractor, the hubs has scoliosis and I am going to need good parking spots for the holiday season. Hmmm…

The bottom line is I find it very disturbing to know that someone who is deemed disabled is operation a piece of machinery that requires an “all hands on deck” approach and the Department of Motor Vehicle seems to be fine with that. 

I have friends and family, within my inner circle, that are deemed 100% disabled due to many different and very ligament reasons.   They are good people, that have to face pain and daily adversity to deal with that disability.  Most of them battle depression, because they can’t do the things they used to enjoy (riding mortorcycles, horses, surfing, hiking, etc) and find other means and ways to cope with that reality.  None of them are hopping on a Harley and jet setting about the town at 60 miles an hour with the stamp of approval from the DMV.    To me it was a “riding” contradiction of what it means to be disabled and the DMV should have someone re-assessing their approval process for disability plates in the regards to motorcycles.

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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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 The other night I went in to check on the hubs while he was working on the laundry room he is adding to the house.  He was in the stage of mudding and taping the drywall he just hung and he was slinging that mud around.  As I stepped in and just dodged the slinging mud he smiled and said to me, ” Hey there is more mud-slinging going on than the November election season!”  

I live in California and as long as you have not been living under a rock, you will know we are a state that is BROKE and BROKEN.  We have cities literally robbing their citizens blind, we have an education system and state budget that is far from reflecting the fact we are the eighth largest economy in the world. We have lost thousands of manufacturers due to over regulations of environmental policy to states like Texas, Colorado, and Florida, not to mention Mexico and China.  We have the highest welfare stats in the nation and we have politicians that literally starved a whole community and compromised the whole farming community of the San Joaquin Valley for the protected delta smelt fish that was discovered in the man-made delta that feeds the water to 1/3 of the nation’s food supply.  There is very serious speculation that the only way that the water was turned temporarily back on was for a vote for the Health Care Bill*.

With that, it is beyond me why anyone would ever want to be governor, senator, or any public official of this state, but when you try to watch a simple Seinfeld episode you are bombarded with smear adds, breaking news of this candidate doing this and that candidate saying that.  If I see Gloria Allred’s overly bright red suit one more time my retinas are going to burn!  If I hear that Jerry Brown called Meg Whitman a “w” one more time I am going to throw the stupid TV out the second story window. 

 What I want to hear is not the slosh and then splat of a massive mud-slinging party.  I want to hear what you are going to do ensure the future for me, my fellow neighbors, and my children.  I want to know how you are going to try  to get us out of this mess we are in.  I want a candidate to once rise above all the mud and junk and just focus on the issues at hand. 

Honestly, all politicians are crooked and shady. You don’t get to that level without skeletons, bad choices and having to pay off someone.  Some are worse than others, but has anyone ever seen a politician ever come out of a campaign without a million skeletons falling out of their closets?  I don’t care about the he said, she said, the he did and she did thing.  The million dollar question is can they do the job and convince me they can. That is how you are going to get my vote no matter the party affiliation.

No matter what side of the fence you vote on, every person should feel the same way.  We pay these people to manage our taxes, communities, and even our livelihoods.  It is our fiduciary responsibility to hold them accountable to not act like children in a mud pit, but to focus on what matters and that is us,  the tax paying citizens. 

*Buying Votes for Water –  http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=527775

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TLC, "Sister Wives" photo taken from People.comNo On Prop 8 taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/kahscho/2968696488/No On Prop 8 taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/kahscho/2968696488/

  Last Sunday night a show hit the air ways of America via TLC called “Sister Wives”.  The trailers struck my interest long before airing since I have  a huge fascination with polygamy. Do not misunderstand my fascination for anything other than I am a theology major and religion in general fascinates me. I have read almost anything out there regarding the FLDS and am an avid fan of “Big Love”.  Also the thought of having the support and help that “sister wives” bring sounds like a dream, if I could only come to terms of sharing my husband, which I could never do.   

The show embraces the reality of the “life style” of this family of four wives and sixteen children.  They are self-supporting and have quite the set up of how they run the daily goings on of the family.  I did some digging and there are many families that are in the same exact set up as these folks.  They are not living on compounds, not abusing their children, they are not raping the welfare system, and their children are raised with a huge work ethic, a sence of love and security which makes them able to be kind and loving to the outside world. They are just good, hard-working Americans that believe in plural marriage as one of the major foundations of their faith.  Not that I agree with it, but it is their faith. They are not impacting anyone but themselves.  

The thing is polygamy is illegal and this family has now found themselves under investigation and may be prosecuted at a felony level.  If this happens this family will be torn apart, thrown in prison,  the kids will be shipped off to an already over crowded and poor functioning foster care system and no one really wins.  The kids lose their family, they are no longer paying their share of taxes, and the tax payers are now picking up the dime to now support all twenty-one  people who were not really doing anything but be strange and “immoral” to many Americans that can’t even organize their own life.  Essentially these twenty-one lives are now a drain on society and we put them there by legislation that is none of our business.  

If Americans would take that energy of fighting for these kinds of legislations and put it towards regulating the welfare system, fighting to keep manufacturing here within the states, and hold the heads of education accountable, maybe we would have people willing to really go to work and be responsible for themselves.  We would have jobs and would not depend on nor worry about other countries.  Finally, we would have well-educated kids. 

In researching this, I found out that the Libertarian Party is trying to decriminalize polygamy in the same manner they are fighting for same-sex marriages. They believe that government should not regulate marriages.   That made me think long and hard about my fundamental beliefs and I have to say I concur.  The older I become, the more of a Libertarian I am developing into.  I asked myself  the question, “Do the choices of the polygamist or same-sex partners impact me in any way?”  No, as long as they are not a drain on society or intentionally hurting someone, it is none of my business on the choices they make for themselves.  Those choices that they make are between them and their maker.  There are plenty of heterosexual single marriages that do more damage to the welfare system, their children, themselves and others to argue this point for polygamists and gays. 

Yes, both cross many “moral” belief systems but it is not our right nor place to police that.  We are not to judge or throw stones at other’s choices as long as they are not hurting others in any physical or financial way.  I feel that we do things very backwards in this country and look at the condition we are in! On one hand we want separation of church and state, yet on the other hand we want the state to rule with a church perspective and yet not allow anyone to be accountable for themselves and their choices. 

Some would think I am contradicting myself when it comes to me saying I don’t want a lot of government imput, yet I feel it is the government’s responsibility to hold those on welfare accountable and to make home birth’s illegal (I will address home births in a later post).  

I have huge issue with people intentionally having kids on welfare or even being on welfare when they are deemed able to get out and work and function on a normal cognitive and physical level.  I feel that if the parties that choose to be on welfare willing place themselves as wards of the state and the state should have the right to regulated funds and choices they make since it costs the tax payers.  I feel that if you have a kid on welfare you must be on birth control in order to get the funds.  Also, welfare is just a bridge to a better life, not a way of life for years and years.  There should be a max and when it is done and you face the consequences of taking responsiblity for yourself and your family. If you can’t , you lose them and the state is not going to bail you out; homelessness and losing your kids is your rock bottom.   The thought to loss to most motivates and kicks people into gear more than anything. Again, I stress these scenarios are for those that are deemed able to truly take care of themselves. 

My grandmother, a woman who survived the Great Depression, always told me that the biggest help I could find is at the end of my arms.  She had no hand outs, she had to work at a very young age to contribute to her neighbors and her family so they would not starve and guess what, she died a very wealthy woman. She knew what it took to survive and work hard and applied that her whole life and it passed down onto three generations (my kids being the third).   

The bottom line is, if you are not putting anyone innocent at risk, you are not physically causing harm to others or their resources it is none of our business.  Let the gays marry, leave the polygamists alone and take care of and be accountable of yourself and those within your four walls.

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(The beginning piece to “Top Ten Tuesdays” by the Pie Hole)

10.  He calls for a date, but asks you to pick him up since his car was just repoed.

  9.  You find that the reason he gave you 42 – inch flat screen was because it was hot and he needed to unload the merchandise.

  8.  They live next door to “The Hills”,  Heidi Montage and Spencer Pratt – who needs that drama next to them 24/7?

  7.  You find out that his “roommates” are his parents.

  6.   You are taken to their house for the first time by a film crew tapping a new episode of “Hoarders, Buried Alive”.

  5.     You find out that they were just let of rehab five days ago and their last name is “Lohan”.

  4.    Their best friend is celebrity blogger turned annoying, “I- don’t – know – why – he – is – such – a – pop – culture – sensation”, Perez Hilton.

  3.  They are a Trekkie.

  2.  You accidentally see an ankle bracelet and it is not jewelry.

And the #1 reason  you know your relationship with the opposite sex is the makings of disaster and the idea for this post . . . Your house sitter finds out that the successful doctor you have been dating is stalking you to the point they are now stuck in your chimney needing a coroner.

(160 – back in the game!  I knew it was water retention!)

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