Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

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See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

What Happened at Crystal City? (Part IV)

August 12, 2016

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The Monkees: Last Train to Clarksville

Saying Goodbye to Crystal City

On February 27, 1948, the Crystal City Internment Camp officially closed. I’m writing this 68 years later in August 2016. I’m not by nature a history buff, never was when I was in school, and I’m only a bit more of a history buff now. However, the whole story about Crystal City got under my skin and made me want to try to understand why it happened.

Stuff Happens, but All Lives Matter

Try this, to put it in perspective for you, to make it personal. Think about something that happened in your life, perhaps a turning point, a wrong decision, a happenstance that sent you down a whole different path. Maybe it was temporary and your life later returned to “normal”. I can think of several episodes in my life – serving a year in Vietnam as a sailor, moving my family cross-country not once but twice. Give it some thought, and you’ll probably come up with at least one episode. How would it have affected your life if you had been one of the thousands of Germans, Italians, or Japanese who were interned (confined) in a camp during WWII?

The answer is “dramatically” of course. Read the following quotes from the book.

More Quotes from Jan Russell’s Book

“Eb Fuhr, who was 17 when he was interned and 22 when he was released said, ‘No one can appreciate the intense terror of government power and the despair of hopelessness that we felt behind that barbed-wire fence’. Then he said, ‘By the same token, no one can appreciate the thrilling sense of freedom I felt when it was over.'”

“Carmen Higa Mochizuki was eleven years old when her father, a poor farmer in Peru who made his living selling milk from his cows was arrested. The government seized her father’s assets. They lost everything in an instant. Her mother, father, and nine siblings were transported to the United States, under American military guard, from Callao, Peru to New Orleans. Their passports and visa were confiscated.”

“At the port in New Orleans, the women, and children were marched to a warehouse, forced to strip, and made to stand in line naked. ‘Then we were all sprayed with insecticide that stung our skin,’ remembered Carmen. ‘Since we had no passports or proof of identity we were arrested as illegal aliens and put on a train to Crystal City. During the train ride, the sister thought we might be killed there.'”

“Politics” Defined: Merriam-Webster
  • “Activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government
  • The work or job of people (such as elected officials) who are part of a government
  • The opinions that someone has about what should be done by governments : a person’s political thoughts and opinions”

Does politics enter into any of this? Was Executive Order 9066, the order that allowed FDR to set up Crystal City even legal. I decided to do some research to answer that question.

Some Wikipedia Stuff

“United States presidents issue executive orders to help officers and agencies of the executive branch manage the operations within the federal government itself.”

By the way, don’t feel obligated to use the links, but you might find the information edifying.

Use this link to see a list of the number of executive orders issued by past presidents and the current president. By far the most, FDR issued over 3,000 executive orders. You might note that the Federal Register, especially if you’re a “research hound” like me, makes for some very interesting reading about what has been published by various agencies.

There is no constitutional provision nor statute that explicitly permits executive orders. The term executive power in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution refers to the office of President as the executive. He (or she) is instructed therein by the declaration “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” made in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5 or face impeachment.

From ThisNation.com (August 8, 2016)

“Executive Orders are controversial because they allow the President to make major decisions, even law, without the consent of Congress. This, of course, runs against the general logic of the Constitution — that no one should have power to act unilaterally. Nevertheless, Congress often gives the President considerable leeway in implementing and administering federal law and programs. Sometimes, Congress cannot agree exactly how to implement a law or program. In effect, this leaves the decision to the federal agencies involved and the President that stands at their head. When Congress fails to spell out in detail how a law is to be executed, it leaves the door open for the President to provide those details in the form of Executive Orders.”

Wrapping it Up

Remember Howard Beale in Network. See my earlier blog, America, Part 2, August 1, 2013. Are you madder than hell and not willing to take it anymore?

I told myself I’d let this piece about Crystal City speak for itself and not politicize over it. But I felt compelled to add a bit of political content to educate and make sure the issues were clear.

For me, the bottom line question is, if in fact the U.S. government was instituted (from day 1) to serve the needs of the American people, are the American people’s needs being served?

That’s it, I hope Crystal City was a good read for you!

Blogger’s Note

I  am admittedly a “train freak”, something about the sounds, the vibrations as it passes, etc. If you happen to be in Sacramento, I highly recommend you go to the California State Railroad Museum. I was there in 2008 and was very impressed with the exhibits (several full-size engines) and a well-presented history of the transcontinental railroad. The museum sits on the site where it ended.

Blind Faith: Can’t Find My Way Home

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What Happened at Crystal City (Part III)

May 30, 2016

First Things First

In Part I, there is a picture with the caption, “What is It?”. Maybe you weren’t fooled ..

It was merely a garden ornament masquerading as a miniature planet (somewhat earth-like).

The Power of Love (from the Back to the Future soundtrack)

What’s the Big Deal?

OK, so what, the federal government decided to imprison a lot of people against their will because they might be a threat to America. That seems reasonable and justifiable, right? Obviously, not the power of love.

I had to think about what all of it meant to me after I started reading Jan Russell’s book, which as I said before, is really quite interesting and revealing. Note the following passage from her book. Go to Amazon if you want to snag a copy.

“By August 1945, the machinery of internment implemented during the run-up to the war in December 1941, was already being taken apart. Already many of the fifty-four internment camps  operated by the US military and the thirty camps operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service had shut down. The camp at Crystal City, the only family camp, was still open, but with a reduced population That summer 2,548 Japanese, 756 Germans, and 12 Italian internees were left.”

The author estimated that there were approximately 6,000 internees incarcerated at Crystal City during its six years of operation. It was officially closed on February 27, 1948. I had just turned three at the time and was living in Texas.

In her preface to the book, the author talks about the 120,000 Japanese (62% of them American-born) who were forcibly evacuated from the Pacific coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She also talks about the executive order signed by President Roosevelt, which permitted the secretary of war to arrest and incarcerate Japanese, Germans, and Italians who had been declared “enemy aliens”.

Just an aside, as you mull over the previous two paragraphs, I want to comment on the effort and methods used to write the book, which author Russell describes in detail in the sources and notes. As a writer, I thoroughly appreciate the effort it took to compile the information. Interestingly, another book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, also involved internment during World War II and was very well-researched and written and also relied heavily on personal interviews.

It Is a Big Deal!

The answer of course is yes, it is a big deal. I may do more Crystal City installments, after going through the book in more detail and gaining more insights into how I feel about what happened and how I should respond. OK, it was just plain wrong, all of it – there, I’ve said it. Am I going to recommend to others how they should respond? No, it’s up to each individual to make up their mind how to respond.

Back to the Future Main Theme (City of Prague Philharmonic)
A Quick Tour of Washington and Yamhill Counties in Oregon

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What Happened at Crystal City? (Part II)

May 9, 2016
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Gospodor Monument

Note about the pictures and the music: One of the structures in the monument represents the Holocaust, which seemed to be an appropriate photo for this blog. Please Google Gospodor Monument for more information. The picture in Part I, if you’re still curious about it, will eventually be explained. I guess I’ve always had The Police song on my favorites list, and one day while I was swimming laps I decided it was a good choice for this blog. Did I hear someone say “what an understatement”!
The Police: Every Breath You Take

Introduction to Part II

Giving the appropriate credits and attributions is always a necessary part of what I write about in my blog. Without good sources for information and inspiration, the creation process would be much harder if not impossible. One of my sources is a book by Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City, published in 2015 by Scribners, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. I will annotate any direct quotes with her name in this and any succeeding installments. Other credits will be included as needed.

The Five W’s and the H

I highly recommend Jan Russell’s book. The following synopsis comes from Amazon where I bought my copy.

“During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called ‘quiet passage’. Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.”

Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and above all, ‘is about identity, allegiance, and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts’ (Texas Observer).”

Most of us older types and others, perhaps younger history buffs, know about the internment camps that existed during the war, on the west coast and other locations. Manzanar in California is the one that I remember. However, Crystal City was the only family internment camp during World War II. I’m including a Wikipedia link. Be sure to check it out. Wikipedia has included a very interesting map and photos. The number of locations is kind of mind-blowing.

Also, the following caption from a photo in the Wikipedia piece is interesting and ironic.

“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction in the European Theatre of World War II. Many of the U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in concentration camp in the United States while they fought abroad.”

More to come in Part III. Read the book if you get a chance.

Two parting quotes

The first quote is off-topic but appropriate for the holiday (May 8), and the other quote is on-topic and also very good.

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. Lyndon B. Johnson

 

Priorities – Are They Important?

April 16, 2016

In this blog I’ll be sharing some photos from recent memorable runs and hopefully some thought-provoking ideas about priorities.

First the runs – actually, let me rephrase that, first I’ll tell you about two of my recent runs with words and pictures.

You may have seen my piece about What is Serendipity? a while back.

Run 1 – Big Bird Lives

Interestingly enough, referring to one of the two run/walks I’ll tell you about in this blog and speaking of Great Blue Herons, a couple of my Tuesday running/walking group buddies and I saw one at Commonwealth Lake this week. Commonwealth Lake is in a local neighborhood near where I live. “It was amazing” to see this magnificent creature standing on the shore line of the lake not more than a dozen feet from the path where we were walking. The bird didn’t flinch, just stood there looking around. They’re actually very large birds. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera.

By the way (just a quick note) about my walking/running – sometimes, due to various and sundry aches and pains, I walk rather than run. I enjoy both running and walking, the main thing is getting off the couch and going out to get some exercise.

The Allman Brothers – No One Left to Run With

Run 2 – Another Run in the Sun

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Mike & Jim along the Columbia River

On the second run on a Wednesday with a couple of other running buddies – be patient, I’ll get to the part about “priorities” eventually. Someone had suggested we run in a location where we hadn’t run in a while. We met in Vancouver across the river from Portland. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of a breeze, and we took off east toward Mount Hood and ended up on a paved trail that follows the river. I’m including pictures that I took. Afterwards we had a late lunch and drinks sitting in the sun. Everybody was out enjoying the weather. Eat your hearts out Californians, you take your sunny weather for granted, we Oregonians relish those wonderful sun-filled days.

The “Priorities” Part

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What would your ribbon say?

The topic presented in my church one Sunday this year was about priorities, mainly how to focus on worshipping God, loving people, and using things in that order. I guess the first two priorities are pretty obvious, although you can substitute another word for “God” if you prefer. On “using things”, that covers a broad area – spending time texting, etc. – I guess the point is that “using things” should be the lowest rung on the priority ladder. I think the pictures illustrate that choosing your priorities carefully is what’s important. If it’s a choice between going for a run or spending time with my family, which one do I choose? For me for years, running took priority over everything. One day I realized that there were other things that should have a higher priority.

Take a look at the pictures. I was walking along the trail in Vancouver when I saw “The Soul Tree”. At first I didn’t know what all the ribbons were about until I stopped and read the sign. I decided to add my own ribbon (“My Family”), and I took pictures with my phone.

I’ll end on that note, but hopefully your priorities are well chosen.

Just a few quotes to end with . . . check out Brainy Quotes for a lot more.

Tony Blair
It is not an arrogant government that chooses priorities, it’s an irresponsible government that fails to choose.
Whitney Houston
I have priorities. Maintaining my daughter is my first.
Myles Munroe
Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.

 

Celebrate Veterans Day – November 11, 2015

November 11, 2015

Is it an important holiday and how should we celebrate it?

I think most, if not all of us, would answer “yes” to the first part of  the question. It’s the second part that I want to focus on. I’ll explain what prompted me to do this blog today. Don’t miss the important web link at the bottom.

Supertramp – Take the Long Road Home
United States of America

United States of America

I was not shuffling around my house (doctor’s post-surgical instructions) but sitting in my lounger with my legs elevated and my cryo cuff with ice cold water firmly attached to my right knee joint, and I looked at my crutches that were propped up on the couch. Obviously, this being November 11, Veterans Day, I had been thinking about stuff – for example, my crutches are temporary (hopefully), but how about the vets who are permanently disabled.

Let me briefly interject a thought here. I’m hoping that my readers will be open-minded about war. Whether you are pro-war or anti-war is none of my business. All I’m asking of you in this modest, non-political piece is to respect and honor what others have done on our behalf.

How about some word pictures? A double amputee in a wheel chair rolls up the ramp and into the airport waiting area. He has a family there to greet him, which is a good thing. His young daughter bends down to give him a big hug. They both have tears in their eyes. On the same flight a young woman walks off the plane. One side of her face is disfigured. No one is there to greet her, and she is disappointed, but she manages a smile. She’s back in America and so glad to be here.

I’m a vet and proud of it. Ironically, I wasn’t always patriotic. However, I received my draft notice from the “BBQ King” (that’s what we called LBJ in those days). I’ll skip the details about how I failed my induction physical and ended up in the Navy Reserves. Those details are in another section of this blog.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

And your point is?

It’s time to get to the point. Here’s what I would like to suggest. Make it your mission to honor a vet, any vet, not just today but often. It could be something as simple as saying hello, shaking their hand, or patting them on the back to acknowledge what they did. If you have time, buy them a cup of coffee or just spend a few minutes talking to them. Ask them about their service. If they don’t want to talk about, don’t push it. For some the memories are too painful. Remember, you’re recognizing the fact that they gave of themselves in serving this great country.

Ending Notes

I would like to end with music and a web link. The music is an old piece that brings back memories from my shipboard life in Vietnam. One of the pasttimes of the sailors on my ship was to record music (reel-to-reel tape in those days) to send back home. It was a nice diversion.

Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home

Here is a link to a local charity that works with vets. I’ve done volunteer work for them and can vouch for their mission, which is to help our vets to survive (literally) and to be able to reassimilate into society after their service. Consider donating in whatever way you can to their very worthy cause.

Returning Veterans Project

Rufous-sided Towhee

Rufous-sided Towhee

Birthday Blog: February 23, 2015

February 24, 2015

I think I can blame my birthday and various media for inspiring this blog.

  • A broadcast news item about raising the flag at Iwo Jima (see the Wikipedia piece).
  • Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Taking Care of Business coming out of my PC speakers.

OK, get over it, I’m old school, it’s a Dell desktop, and the music is coming out of external speakers my son was nice enough to install, small but with an impressive bass response. Thanks, son!

I won’t name all the songs I was listening to, but there were 3 BTO, 3 Canned Heat, and 3 Chicago tracks, obviously music I like. One of the Canned Heat tracks was Let’s Work Together (Let’s Stick Together). I believe it’s on Disc 2 of Uncanned: The Best of Canned Heat album if you’re interested. Music and images (Iwo Jima) is a segue . . . possibly.

Today was a pretty darn good birthday. Even work was kind of fun – go figure, eh! I got happy birthdays from my Facebook friends, which I was checking out on my lunch break of course. I liked it and got a little buzzed about having 34 people wish me a happy birthday! I should try to move along in this modest literary exercise, tomorrow is another workday. Perhaps you glanced at my 2015 Preview – here are a few snippets to wet your curiosity.

“Who is Peter Finch?” – The title of this upcoming post should be, “Who is Howard Beale?” because he is the character that Peter Finch played. You should at least google it or read the imdb.com summary of the film. Better yet, buy a copy or rent it on Amazon. The movie was highly acclaimed, winning several academy awards that year. But why was he shouting “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Remember it was a “satire”, but you should look up the definition if you aren’t familiar with that word.

An even better question is, “why aren’t we mad as hell and shouting I’m not going to take it anymore”? For now, I will mention just this one more thing, which is a carryover from my college days at a military school. People used to say things like, “Your head is so far up your _ _ _ that you need a glass belt buckle to see where you’re going.” Now as I recall more clearly, that was often what an upperclassman (usually a sophomore) would say to an underclassman (a freshman) when the cadet couldn’t answer a question about some obscure fact related to the college. Do we as Americans have our heads up our _ _ _ _ _ about what’s going on?

Remember my blog post on December 21, 2014, about mindfulness – try this just for fun. The next time you’re in a serious conversation with someone, really listen to what they’re saying and try to respond, rather than, while they’re talking, thinking about your own ideas and what you want to say. More in my next installment about mindfulness.

I’m about done. Two more items to complete the segue from the two bullets above. The Canned Heat songs (titles and music) speak for themselves, as does the Iwo Jima photograph. Think about it. There are six people raising the flag in the famous photograph, five Marines and a Navy Corpsman. Three of the Marines were killed in action over the next few days. Any flag raisers out there? God I hope so!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima

America – I Like the Old America, What about You?

July 29, 2013

I was working on my thoughts for this post Sunday night (7/28/13), and I realized I needed to sleep so I could get up and go to work tomorrow . . . but stay tuned for the rest of the story in a day or so. It will be worth the wait, trust me!

America, Part 2: August 1, 2013

Something on Facebook, a post from an old acquaintance from my high school days, literally old (about my age), inspired me to write this blog post. I forget exactly what his post said, you know how we blitz through things on our computers – actually, I was on my Kindle. Anyway, I had this strong desire to post a blog about America.

Do you remember the movie “Network” with Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway (released in 1976)? Here’s the tweet-length synopsis:

“A TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit.”

The scene that sticks in my mind and the reason why I’m even mentioning it is the scene where Howard Beale (Peter Finch) opens a window in his office building and says “I’m madder than hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Are you madder than hell and not willing to take it anymore?

Stay tuned for the next installment!

America, Part 3: August 3, 2013

I have to pause to answer a question posed by a friend – think of this as an interactive blog. The question is: so what part(s) of Old America do you like better than now?

The short answer is that I like the traditional values and sense of community that I experienced when I was growing up. A neighbor was someone you talked to often and invited over to your house or someone you helped when they needed a hand.

I’m thinking about this a lot. I haven’t written us (America) off and there are many examples of caring communities who demonstrate these values, who volunteer themselves to help when help is needed. I just read an article in the August 2013 Reader’s Digest by Phillip Caputo titled “What Unites These States?” He and his wife traveled across country to find out the answer to that question. You’ll have to read it to find out the answer, but I was encouraged by the article.

Maybe the government, the media, the doomsayers, and the conspiracy theorists have colored my perception of the current state of good ole USA. And maybe we’re not so bad off in terms of our grass roots values as a people, but I’m thinking that our values need to be looked at, thought about, and evaluated. What is truly important to us and where are we going as a nation, as Americans?

More to come.

America, Part 4, For the Record: August 12, 2013

Whew! What a summer, actually, what a year! You ever have one of those periods in your life when it seems like it’s all happening at once without a break? No matter, here’s my entry for today.

In our current political climate, there are many forms of dissent and some very prolific dissent – left, right, peaceful, and radical. Just surf the Web or turn on your TV. I’m not advocating dissent, at least not in an extreme form. What I am suggesting is that people speak their minds about what America means to them. Jeffersonian democracy or Hamiltonian democracy, what is your preference (please excuse the rhetorical question)? Remember, Thomas Jefferson’s belief that the government that governs best governs least and Hamilton’s belief in centralized power. Too much of one leads to anarchy and too much of the other leads to tyranny. Oops, I’m politicizing and I told I myself wouldn’t do that, so I need to get back on track now. For the record, I’m not advocating liberalism, conservatism, or any other “ism”. I’m just trying to take America’s pulse on how its people feel about grass roots values and our future.

Next: A Journalistic Approach

Prosperity & Responsibility

February 24, 2013

“Look up toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” (Anonymous)

When you first look up on a clear night, you may see only dark, but the longer you look the more starts and constellations you see.

Similarly, if you look for or seek prosperity even if you’re really focused on it, you may not always find it, perhaps not ever. But if you look for the good in your life, the more you will see. In a sense, you become heir to health, wisdom, and other blessings that can fill your life, things that are truly “priceless” unlike the MasterCard commercial.

When you take responsibility for your life, you participate in life and contribute to it and (importantly) you contribute to the lives of others. By doing so, you accept the gift of life, give thanks for it, and live it in fullness.


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