Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lawmakers questions salaries at nonprofits

I was shocked to read this story in the NY Times online today.

Apparently even during these times of dwindling profits and services rendered, chiefs at Boys and Girls Clubs and the American Heart Association are making close to a million dollars a year in salaries and bonuses.

This is an outrage when one considers that many of these organizations receive tax dollars to sustain and support them - yes - that's yours and mine - cold hard-earned cash - given to agencies with a propensity to overpay their chiefs in this economic downturn.

Lawmakers are thankfully looking into these issues and are doing what they are supposed to do - look out for the best interests of the American taxpayers.

I want non profits to have the best and the brightest - don't misunderstand what I am saying - I just think we need to do this the right way and with appropriate renumeration.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The ADA celebrates 20 years

For most of my life, I lived as a "normal" person. I empathized with people with disabilities, seen and unseen - I am that kind of person.

I suppose it is no wonder that when I became a person with a disability, I was surprised at how many "friends" quickly disappeared.

On reflection, they might have been friends with me because I had a high profile job and wanted the "ins" that came with such a position. I was naive enough to think that my "friends" would stand by me during my times of trials.

I remember in particular a remarkable couple of friends who came with my son, Tye to visit me in the hospital after one very serious Bipolar episode - Peter and his husband, Peter. They came with toiletries, treats and even came to my home after I returned from the hospital, complete with wine and pasta for dinner - they called themselves the "visiting creatures" - we laughed and I was grateful that when others had forsaken me, the few in my inner circle had not.

I am thankful for my disability and what it brings to my life. While I would not choose to be Bipolar, I am grateful for my perception, sensibilities, ability to write and make music, my outreach and community work - all of which I would not be able to do were I a "normal" person - my sensibilities are simply heightened and I embrace them.

It is a blessing that the ADA was passed, and while I was forced from my beloved job with the Salt Lake City Mayor some three years ago, I am grateful for the safety net that was in place here in New York.

I am in school full time, work part time, subsidized by SSI and living a full and joyful life thanks to the benefits in place by law and the passage of the ADA.

I hope that those who merit it, receive the benefit of SSI assistance as they transition to work.

If you know of someone with a disability, seen or unseen, please reach out to them so that they know they are not alone.

Happy disability week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surrogate parents

I am the proud mother of 4 wonderful sons. They have been a joy, a blessing, a challenge and my greatest achievement.

I was married to their father for some 15 years. My regular readers know that my former husband and I divorced because he was/is gay - long story.

That stated, I have often spoken with gay couples who cannot have children themselves - those in my close circle were mostly divorced and LDS so they had children from their heterosexual marriages. For those in gay relationships and marriages, there are few choices open to them when they want to have children.

In Utah, for example, it is against the law for gays to adopt. Such limited vision is one of the many reasons I left the state.

I heard two stories recently that I found encouraging: Two associates of mine, one male and one female became surrogate parents for two different gay couples so that their families could be complete - one is Christine Johnson - a Utah State Legislator - someone whom I know and love and the other is a close friend who shall remain nameless.

To think of the unselfishness of these two individuals is quite overwhelming and tends to boggle one's mind. I have thought of these purposeful acts of kindness a great deal since being apprised of the situation and wonder whether I could have, or would have done same in my younger years.

I came to the conclusion that I would have. With all the hatred and venom being spewed against gays these days, it is refreshing to know that their are gay and straight allies who are willing to help couples become families.

In a recent report, the children of lesbian couples are outscoring their peers in standardized tests in schools - one wonders then, why is the state taking the position that gay couples are less stable and do not deserve the basic right to a family?

Just curious.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A mosque at Ground Zero

I have been watching this story unfold.

Some wealthy investors who happen to be of the Muslim faith are proposing before the NYC Landmark Commission that a mosque be allowed to be built at Ground Zero.

I have conflicting thoughts on this issue. On the one hand, I completely respect that people should be able to worship how and where they may. Be that a Jewish temple or synagogue, a Mormon temple, a Catholic or Protestant house of worship or not to worship at all.

That stated, to build a Moslem mosque at Ground Zero is raising voices on both sides of the issue in this town that I love. This town that experienced the horrors and ravages of 911 and lost thousands of police officers, firefighters - life will never be the same in the greatest city of the world - security officers are all over - police and soldiers patrol subway and rail stations and bus depots. It is a small price to pay - vigilance comes at a price that we should all be willing to pay.

To be against the building of the mosque does not necessarily a bigot make, but some sensitivity on this issue is needed. This is time for a candid discussion on interfaith issues and how we treat each other based on religious beliefs.

There will be a special meeting of the Planning Commission in NYC later on today - I hope that wisdom and cool heads will prevail in this instance.

LeBron makes his decision - now let him live with it

LeBron James is one of the most gifted basketball players of our time. When his contract was up, he became a free agent and was thus able to decide where he wants to spend the next stretch of his pro basketball career.

I was sad to read that he was recently booed here in NYC by Knicks fans who were outside a wedding he was attending. Not only was this in poor taste, but it reflects badly on what we know New Yorkers to be - good and decent people - a wedding is a time for celebration and joy - not a time to protest, no matter the reason - some things are just sacred, after all. Come on, did we really think he would choose the lackluster Knicks purely for money when he can do better elsewhere?

He has chosen his path and we should respect his decision.

Mel is ranting again

I was not impressed with Mr. Gibson's rant against Jews a while back. It was no surprise to me that he tripped over himself to apologize to his Jewish "friends" - what an idiot!

Fast forward, Mr. Gibson left his longtime wife and took up with a beautiful and much younger Eastern European woman. His recent rants against blacks, women and others add further fuel to the fire that would indicate that Mr. Gibson is noting more than a bigot.

I stopped having any respect for this former upstanding actor and father of many, devout Catholic after he spewed forth such hatred for Jews.

Let's see how this plays out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Is Mayor Bloomberg talking out of both sides of his mouth?

As the NYC budget was unveiled this week, gasps of horror and dismay rippled through the walls of nonprofits and social service organizations across New York City. Social workers and other advocates for the elderly, homeless and mentally challenged residents of the city struggled to make sense of what this would mean to their programs that they had so carefully worked tirelessly to build up over the years.

Mayor Bloomberg has been at the forefront of the immigration debate - indicating his support for immigrants and saying that their skills and vibrancy are a vital part of New York's economy and yet in his budget he eliminated most funding for ESL programming - we all know how frustrating it is to try to communicate with someone who does not share our common language, be that a restaurant server in this country, or when traveling abroad - what is his honor thinking exactly?

Mayor Bloomberg claims to be a catalyst for social change and yet his decisions continue to reflect those of the Republican party and favors the ueber wealthy.

I exhort all who have been or will be impacted by his cuts to clog his switchboard and email box and snail mail box so that he will hear our voices loud and clear: it is not ok to marginalize the already disenfranchised and marginalized in this great state of New York - yes, budgets must be balanced, but we also recall the huge pay raises he has bestowed on his inner circle. Yes, it is long and hard work to be a political appointee - I speak on a personal level as a former political appointee to one of Mayor Bloomberg's associates - the amazing Ross Anderson former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah - the pay was not great and certainly did not match the hours that I put in during my 5 and one half year tenure. I laud the Mayor for recognizing that too often public servants are over worker and underpaid and not appreciated.

May he not forget the "little people" and certainly not those who live on the fringes of society, barely eking out an existence, working in subsistence jobs - who can live on $7.25 an hour - the prevailing minimum wage in New York, after all?

Please friends - call or write to the Mayor and ask him to restore funds to aging programs, homeless programs and those that serve the disabled - if not from the budget proper, then perhaps his honor can look into his own personal finances in the billions and award monies in the forms of grants to aid in this stop gap measure.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A serene and serendipitous Sunday at St. Andrews

After 23 years of living a very different spiritual and religious life as a Latter Day Saint - Mormon - I made a recommitment to the religion of my childhood and returned to the Episcopal Church two years ago. The decision to leave the Mormon faith did not come lightly - indeed it came at a great personal and spiritual cost to me as my regular readers know. Suffice it to say, as a woman of color and great equality and social justice conviction, I could not bear to see the LDS Church treat gays as though they were second class citizens, in much the same way they had treated my people prior to the ACLU threatening to bring a massive lawsuit against the church in the late 1970's unless they extended a hand of fellowship to all people, including blacks.

If I had my druthers, I would often rather spend Sunday mornings in bed with a significant other, reading the Times and eating a leisurely breakfast. For my own good and spiritual wellbeing, I attend worship services whenever possible. My home of late is St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Hartsdale, New York - I love Father Joe Campo - the former Catholic priest who left the priesthood and ultimately the Catholic church and subsequently married what I believe is the love of his life - Mother JoAnne Campo.

Yesterday was a particularly wonderful Sunday and I wanted to share a couple of experiences with my readers: Devereaux is a God-fearing man - he serves as a treasurer and keeps the meagre finances of the church in order. It was his duty and blessing, yesterday, to present a small scholarship to one of our graduating seniors who desires to become an architect. He began to tell a story which I could really relate to - one day, his alarm clock sounded and he struggled to get out of bed - he was exhausted and depressed and did not know how he would make it through the day - try as he might, he could not get up. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his son, Andrew who was up for the day and getting ready for school. He was singing the R. Kelly song, "I believe I can fly". That was just the push Devereaux needed - he got up and went about his day renewed from hearing his young son's innocent admonitions - unbeknownst to the on - he had inspired his father. Devereaux then sang the song, with the congregation joining in, many in tears, myself included and exhorted the young graduate to listen to that song as she becomes discourages through the course of her college career.

I needed to hear that story for myself - I had such a difficult week - struggling to maintain my equilibrium with my bi-polar and to complete a large amount of work for the final portion of my religion class at Concordia - I wondered why I was incurring such debt at my age, working so very hard and given the challenges of bi-polar disorder and how that affects my mood and learning capabilities - I struggled to comprehend whether I had truly made the correct decision.
After listening to Devereaux speak, i knew that God had indeed spoken to me and led me to Concordia College, a small private Lutheran college, where I could learn in small groups and learn more about him and his teachings.

After the service, I was once more blessed to meet new friends from Riverdale, Caroline and her partner, a former CUNY English professor - a gay couple at St. Andrews! They have been together some 20 years and are clearly deeply in love. I joked with them that if only gays could marry (in New York it is still not allowed but we are hopeful it will pass the legislature next year - third time is, after all a charm) - they wouldn't marry straight. I shared that I wish I had had Eunice as a professor and she indicated that she has mellowed with age and I probably wouldn't have liked her when she was teaching - she was evidently hard on her students in those days and admitted as much. Eunice is now reviewing off-Broadway plays and loves it! In fact, I was at Trader Joe's and saw a tee shirt advertising the Public theatre that came highly recommended by Eunice.

I love Sundays - it makes for a great start to the week! Thanks to Father Joe, Devereaux and most of all to my new friends, Caroline and Eunice.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meg Whitman and Nikki Haley - how remarkable women lead

I have been watching with great interest the Republican primaries in California and South Carolina. While I am a lifelong adult supporter of the Democrat party, since the days when I lived in England and watched my mother practically in tears when Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid, I have identified with the party's beliefs and strategies to help average Americans live better lives.

I believe that we are going to experience a tremendous sea change this fall, as I indicated on the radio show that I recently began co-hosting, Shared Sacrifice, where this blog is linked. It will not necessarily matter what party affiliation one has, if one is an incumbent, one is going to have a difficult time getting re-elected in this present environment.

While we do not yet know who Meg Whitman will face, it will likely be Arnold Schwarzenegger - Ms. Whitman has shown grace, intelligence and incredible fortitude, while spending millions of dollars of her own fortune that she amassed whilst working as the former CEO of eBay. My California sources indicate that Ms. Whitman has not voted for over 20 years - I am sure she has her reasons for same - not that I am excusing such un-American behavior. I still applaud her for what she has managed to pull off.

Ms. Haley has already been the subject of racist jokes from one of her own Republican party - she has been called a rag head - a most derogatory term for individuals from India and other nations who wear head coverings. She is going to be the first female to run for Governor of South Carolina - add to that, the fact that she is a woman of color and we all have great cause to rejoice.

They have not let their sex stand in the way of shattering the glass ceiling.

Last evening, I posted on my Facebook page that I was having President's remorse - I believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton might have been, in retrospect, the best candidate for the job. Given the vast and sweeping challenges that are facing our nation, Obama came to the job ill-prepared for the public outrage at a black man being our Commander in Chief - his record of public service, long though it was, makes him a neophyte when compared side-by-side with that of Mrs. Clinton.

Remarkable women are truly leading the way and thankfully making our country a better place for men, women and children. I have been watching reports from a group which coined the phrase: "How remarkable women lead" - they spotlight women throughout the world who are creating change where men have failed to do so.

I for one welcome the changes that are coming to politics - thanks Hillary. I love Girl Power!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crisis in the Gulf - the President steps in

On a remarkable and progressive Internet radio show (Shared Sacrifice) which I just started co-hosting on Saturday, after our two guests had left the air, Matt, the co-host and producer and I were talking about stories in the news. I spoke of my frustration over the BP oil spill and felt that the fox was guarding the proverbial hen house vis-a-vis the claims processing that is taking place for victims seeking restitution. I shared my thought that an independent entity should be tasked with ensuring that these claims are processed in a timely fashion and that field workers be sent to find those who might not be aware of their right to file claim for lost wages, damage to properties and so forth.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the administration shares my sentiments. They are insisting that BP get an independent oversight group to oversee the claims being processed - this is a good start - I believe that BP should go further - instead of this media blitz of misinformation and dishonesty, they should take those advertising dollars and set up a fund for those who have become displaced as a result of their not taking adequate safety measures to ensure the safety and security of the livelihoods of fishermen and other coastal employees. Some tea party folks have said it is not for the president, rather for the judicial branch of government to see that this cleanup takes place - well, apparently the judicial branch was not pulling its weight in this instance - perhaps they are too busy running for office and taking lunches with lobbyists for their numerous and sundry causes.

Does this seem harsh? Perhaps it does, but BP has proven that they feel above the law when it comes to corporate responsibility and we must compel them to do the right thing.

When I first came to the New York area, I was fortunate to get a temporary gig with another large international company - ITT Corporation - they took corporate governance and responsibility very seriously - so much so that it was in most of their literature, for visitors, shareholders and employees alike to see. I recall being so impressed with same that I even sent an email to the CEO expressing my admiration and this comes from someone who is not easily impressed, particularly with large corporations making billions of dollars - this company had an amazing sense of responsibility and continues to impress me with their outreach efforts into the various communities where they live and work.

BP would do well to get off their high horse and stop with the corporate whining and fix this mess and do the right thing for the Gulf coast residents. They need to share the sacrifice.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ebony and Ivory - hot, hot, hot New York men

I had a great treat today.

I was taking a break from my consulting job and was engaging in enjoying a relaxing cigarette - yes, I know it is a disgusting habit, but I indulge in a cancer stick or two during stressful times - it calms me down, what can I say?

I noticed a handsome and I mean handsome enough to be on the cover of Details magazine - man by the name of William. We struck up a conversation. His striking green eyes smiled as we talked. I asked if I might introduce him to a coworker - a beautiful Russian woman and he indicated that he is happy in a relationship with a beautiful Polish woman. I had to ask William his parentage as he had very unusually attractive and striking looks - he is 1/2 Korean and 1/2 Irish and one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen. He works in sales and we sruck up a conversation about the optical store where I consult part time. I encouraged him to come inside and check out our specials - he is going to get some new contacts and glasses - maybe I am in the wrong career.

I digress - standing immediately behind William was an African American man who looked like he had stepped off the cover of Ebony magazine, were that magazine to feature blue-collar workers. I told him as much and he flashed an amazingly gorgeous smile. I think he was happy to have run into me today. I don't think men get complimented nearly as often as they should be.

To my left is my new "friend" - the man from Mauritania who sells perfume and eyeglasses from a table on the street. He is happily married with 3 girls and a boy and a very, very lucky wife. We are going to speak French together daily so I can practice - quelle chance! (what luck!)

Down the block a ways is another African man who sells me purses, headphones for my iPhone (which I lose on a regular basis) and treats me with African lotions and soaps in exchange for my purchases.

This exchange all took place in a space of a few minutes and I remembered why I love New York so much as a single woman - HOT MEN!

Enough said.

Come out and check them out yourself - some of the hottest men on the planet are right here in New York City.

Now, please excuse me while I fan the beads of sweat from my face.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Estranged and fractured families - the toll of alcoholism

My oldest son is visiting with his grandfather for a few days. The two have not seen each other in some 13 years or so. Why the estrangement? Quite simply stated, my father is an alcoholic and hence has estranged relationships with most of his children and some of his grandchildren.

My son and I have a lengthy conversation last evening where we spoke candidly of my father's imperfections, his growing older and mellower with age - all good things. My father and mother divorced many years ago and my father has since remarried and is very happy with his sweet wife. I was fortunate to meet her and spend time with the two of them last year. It was for all intents and purposes a reunion of sorts and should have been a lovely trip.

Unfortunately, I had not planned on my father drinking a little too much one night and becoming teary and nostalgic, asking the same questions he has asked aloud for years - namely, he wonders why no-one in the family speaks to him.

It is simple - we have all suffered beatings at his hands, one of my sisters was even taken out of the home in adolescence after having been molested repeatedly by my father. It was a tempestuous time and we, that is, the remaining 4 sisters, were mortified when we realized that we would no longer be living with our beloved sister - instead, we were relegated to weekend visitation at Cumberlowe Lodge - a girls' home. Years later, we realized that she had been molested (we did not know this at the time) and for the most part, severed ties with our father.

I have a fair relationship with my father, mostly due to having learned the miracle of forgiveness and having spent many years in therapy. It has been a very long road - no, it is not a done deal, but we are certainly making headway.

I thank God for my oldest son, his vision, wisdom and insight that help me to keep my eyes on the prize and stay focused on what is important in life - thanks Ry - you are an amazing young man.

Parental alienation - the toll on children

I just saw a report on the CBS early morning news. A therapist who was interviewed indicated that it will take years for children to recover from same - years, even their whole lives.

My regular readers are well aware of the loss I suffered of my youngest son in custody battle with my former husband. 12 years later, parental alienation is the order of the day with my former spouse. Missed holidays, birthdays, other special occasions - all gone - simply because his father, 15 years after our divorce - refuses to have a relationship with me. Indeed, our last email exchange was filled with venom, and ended with his telling me he was essentially counting the years until my youngest son is 18 and we won't have to speak any more.

This exchange came simply because I asked to have the opportunity to claim my son on my taxes every other years - not an unusual request and one that I could enforce through the courts were I so inclined, but I continue to take the moral high ground, knowing that at some point my son will figure it out and begin to question me regarding my absence from his life.

It is a sad story and one that is told far too often. It is unfortunate that so many children continue to be casualties of divorce. There will be hours spent in therapy and untold thousands of dollars in copays for these poor children.

Let's try to make it stop already!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The case for sanctions against Israel

Israel is one of America's staunchest allies. Her long history of suffering has made us empathetic, almost to the point of continually turning the other cheek even when she is clearly making poor choices.

Last week's massacre at sea with the Turkish flotilla should give us all cause to pause. It was uncalled for and is at minimum questionable. This was a ship bringing supplies for heaven's sake, not a war ship. How can we know that the accounts we are reading as reported by the perpetrators of this horrendous crime are even true? Are we to believe that the Turkish people aboard that ship really opened fire on Israeli soldiers, knowing of their fire power and military prowess? It certainly does not add up to me.

Israel is now conducting an investigation into the massacre - what is needed is an independent, UN sanctioned inquiry - or at least an International one. The Israelis have stated that they don't want an International inquiry lest it be biased, but otherwise, how shall we get to the bottom of what really transpired?

Additionally, until such time as the truth can be ascertained as to exactly what happened and when, we, as the US should take a stance and bring sanctions against Israel so that they understand unequivocally that such behavior is not to be tolerated.

We have been wondering what to do about the North/South Korea conflict and their submarine incident - if we can address that, then surely we should follow suit in this case.

One person's opinion.

Helen Thomas' improptu resignation from the media

I have long admired Helen Thomas and her ability to ask the tough questions as White House press conferences. One could always count on her intelligent and thought provoking questions while other younger and less bold reporters would ask simple and not so pointed questions during the regular conferences held in the Oval Office.

Not so, this past week. Ms. Thomas showed that she is, in fact, nothing more than a bigot. We have all certainly had opinions regarding the horrendous massacre at sea by the Israeli army recently and some sanctions should be surely forthcoming. This behavior is not to be tolerated from any army, and in this case, where it is being reported that many of the crew members of the ship were shot in the head, almost execution style, one has cause to pause.

Ms. Thomas let forth a tirade indicating that Jews should "go back" to Germany, Poland or other parts of the world. How sad an unfortunate that she chose such incendiary and inflammatory language when she is clearly a master of words.

I wish she had not resigned - on the contrary, she should have been fired on the spot - I am sure that behind the scenes, she was told to resign or else, but I really don't understand why her dignity was spared, particularly when she is clearly, as previously stated, nothing more than a bigot.

It is all to easy to let forth a tirade of racist slurs - those Jews, blacks, gays, fill in the blank with whichever group one happens to deem lesser than, and you get the picture.

Yes, she will be missed, but I am glad that we were able to see her true colors shining under the glare of the media spotlight - scrutinized for what they were.

Good riddance to bad rubbish and to my Jewish friends and associates - Shalom and may there be peace in Israel one day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Co-Op City sanitation workers on strike

It is absolutely incredulous to me that in the midst of this, the worst financial crisis and economic downturn we have seen in decades, a group of employees at Co-Op City has the nerve to be on strike.

I recall President Reagan and his dismissal of hundreds of air traffic controllers years ago - they, too went on strike, thinking that they were invincible and that their jobs would always be there - he did not allow himself to be blackmailed and fired the lot of them.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg took matters in his own hands last week and shocked unions all over the state when he said that there would be no pay raises forthcoming to NYC teachers, thereby sparing some 4,000 jobs of other teachers in the district.

I hope that he will step into the fray of the Co-Op city strike and fire them - there are many people who would gladly take union jobs with union wages and making significantly more monies than minimum wage, particularly given that many of the Co-Op City workers come from housing projects. This is a time for sacrifice - we all need to do our part - shared sacrifice is what we need at this time, not selfishness.

Should this be the last generation?

I just read this eye-opening and provocative piece in the NY Times Opinionator.

The piece asks about choices to bring children into the world, not reducing our carbon footprint and having them live in a world sans enough resources to adequately address their needs.

Years ago - almost 15, to be exact, I found myself pregnant with my 4th child unexpectedly. My family was complete, my marriage in shambles and my husband at the time had just come out of the closet. I wrestled long and hard with the decision over whether to terminate the pregnancy, knowing that this child would not have the traditional family in which my other three sons had been blessed to live in. I knew that this child would be raised by a single parent. What I could not anticipate was that I would ultimately lose custody of that child after taking a job out of state - long story - another post.

While I love my 4 children unconditionally and equally, I feel empathy for the youngest son - my 12 year old son at the time, who was the eldest, said - "this baby is going to be so lucky - they will never know what it was like to live in a home with two parents".

This is not a question of reducing a carbon footprint, but the deficit and loss that this youngest child has suffered is heartbreaking to me - yes, he is growing into a fine young man, but I know that he will likely suffer in his relationships and will have to seek therapy down the road as he grapples with being essentially raised as an only chid, sans two loving parents and the security and comfort that would have provided.

Sure, he has food to eat and clothing, but he is missing the basics - he is blessed beyond measure, but I often wonder if I had taken the step to terminate the pregnancy what might have been - some food for thought.

Interestingly enough, I was tasked to write a paper on abortion in college some years ago before this last pregnancy. At the time, I was pro life and still am - after doing all the research and seeing the eye-opening statistics - I realized that in many cases, it is kinder to terminate a pregnancy rather than bring a child into the world with a single parent or without the love and financial support of a family.

I am now both pro life and pro choice - women need choices and as we continue to overpopulate the earth, perhaps it is time to take a long hard look at ourselves and our choices before we bring more - or any - children into the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Detroit TIgers game - the perfect pitch that wasn't


So my regular readers know that I love most sports, am crazy about NCAA basketball and then there is the exception of baseball. Two of my children played, but not having grown up in the US, I simply don't comprehend the game. I find it tedious, boring and with the exception of watching an occasional glimpse of the hot Derek Jeter from my one time former hometown of Kalamazoo Michigan, I really don't get into the game.

I was so happy to hear the story of the pitcher who took the moral high ground when he received an imperfect call from an umpire - he could have railed and raged and thrown the typical tantrum that we are used to seeing all too often in professional sports, but he chose instead to simply smile and take it in his stride.

What a teaching moment - parents, be sure to let your children be exposed to this moment.

Seton Hall University and a course on gay marriage

In a story reported on the New York CBS early morning news local edition, they spoke of an effort to bring gay marriage to the curriculum at this famous Catholic University.

The Catholic church is well-known for their stance on gay marriage and gays in general, even to the point of having a specific personality test designed for potential priests to weed out those with gay tendencies as reported in the NY Times earlier this week.

It is right and fitting that a university of the caliber of Seton Hall step up and move into the 21st century with their curriculum.

The controversy surrounding this conversation is already heating up with proponents and opponents. The course would be taught by an openly gay faculty member if approved.

I am hoping that they will carefully weigh this important and timely issue.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No pay hikes for NYC teachers - go Mike Bloomberg!

I was thrilled to see that some 4,000 teachers in NYC will have their jobs spared. Yesterday a late story online in the Times reported that Mayor Bloomberg has decided not to give pay raises across the board - and with union approval to boot - to NYC teachers.

My regular readers know that I was a political appointee for over 5 years whilst living in Utah. My boss, Rocky Anderson who is one of my most-admired politicians - was known for doing the right thing for the right reasons most of the time.

Mayor Bloomberg now gives me reason to applaud - finally - a politician in New York. I have been frustrated with the lack of leadership since Governor Paterson took office after Eliot Spitzer's stepping down. There is no political will to get our finances in order - we continue to spend beyond our means with no end in sight and it will only get worse.

We must all do our share in this economy for the good of our respective states and country - many of us are underemployed, unemployed or working part time in order to make ends meet these days - those in unions should recognize that they are not exempt from making much-needed sacrifices.

Thanks Mayor Bloomberg - I see why you won a third term. I am encouraged by your actions - may those in Albany take note - there are things we can do to win this war on the economy after all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

David Laws - his resignation and the story behind the story

It appeared to be just one more story about the poor choices of yet another British cabinet official. The stories have been playing out in recent months, mostly over monies spent on second homes which entitles ministers to subsidies and/or reimbursements from the government.

David Laws received some $40,000 to pay to his landlord who also happened to be his gay lover. Unfortunately we will never know how brilliant this man might have been - he seemed to have the world at his feet and could have potentially been an amazing public servant.

Due to the ignorance that permeates our society regarding gay relationships and gays in general, he felt obligated to keep hidden the fact that he has a partner - were the roles reversed and this were a heterosexual couple renting a place together that would likely have been a moot point.

I wonder if anyone in the GLBT community in England is up in arms about this. I would be curious if any of my readers know. I have people from Europe who occasionally check in to my blog - perhaps one of them can enlighten me.

In the meantime, I am glad I live in America where GLBT rights are becoming more and more prevalent - in this day of the repeal of DADT and passing of anti discrimination laws and protections for gays in many states of the nation, I am encouraged.

Farewell David - you will be missed. Don't ever feel that you need to live your life in the shadows.

Al and Tipper - the end of a love story

I was shocked - truly shocked when I read the news of their separation and impending divorce yesterday.

After 40 years of marriage, they are calling it quits. I have long admired this power couple. From Tipper's work to have CD's labeled with explicit lyrics for parental guidance to Al's work on environmental issues. As one who struggles with Bipolar and depression, Tipper's candid opening up about her struggle with depression after the near death of their son was a source of strength to me as I worked through my depressive episodes.

Watching that amazing infamous kiss on the night of the Democratic national convention a few years ago - that is not a love that can be faked. I watched as Al saw the Presidency slip from his fingers due to the shenanigans in Florida thanks to Jeb Bush and his cohorts who were determined to see his brother George Jr. re-elected. I watched as they graciously admitted defeat and worked to rebuild their lives post Washington.

I am sure that they thought long and hard before calling it quits. I hope that they will forge ahead and create new lives separate from each other.

They have asked for privacy for themselves and their family at this difficult time. I hope that we will be as gracious to them as they have been to us, allowing us to see so much of their private lives these past few years.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The new Immigration law/debacle in Arizona

My readers know that my parents are immigrants - first generation to England after the emancipation of Jamaica, a former British colony. Many great countries are built on the backs of their hardworking immigrants - taking jobs that most Americans or even Europeans, for that matter - don't want to do.

Years ago, whilst working in preparation for the Olympics of 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah - I recall vividly a raid on airport workers - they rounded up nursing mothers - separating them from their not-yet-weaned babies - I watched them put them all into paddy wagons or vans designated to harbor the disenfranchised.

I fielded many phone calls from disgruntled residents - many of whom wanted to know how they could apply for those jobs that had been "taken from them" by these undocumented workers. Turns out they didn't really want to work for barely over minimum wage - turns out they mostly wanted to vent and have some innocent bystander listen to their rantings about undocumented aliens.

The ACLU is poised to address this issue and I know they are working overtime to make sure that they are ready to meet any challenge.

I hope to be able to attend a rally supporting immigrants in New York - how thankful I am for the leadership of Mayor Mike Bloomberg who supports immigrants and recognizes the vibrancy that they bring to our lives - this is not about who cleans your hotel room or who busses your table - this is about giving opportunities to all who desire to come to America.

There has to be a humane and orderly way to do this - in the meantime - "Ihre Papiere bitte" - to which I would be tempted to reply: "Do I look illegal?"

Gordon Brown's "misstep"

It seemed like any other innocuous walkabout or knock and talk/greet the voters earlier this week. Alas, after Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown had an impromptu, albeit scheduled by his staffers, meeting with the woman who expressed her outrage about "those Eastern Europeans" wanting to move to England.......he went back to his car with his entourage and spoke candidly, mike still live - about the woman's obvious bigotry.

Later that day, the comments aired on a radio show where the Prime Minister of England was being interviewed. He was clearly not prepared for the playback on live radio.

He hurried back to the constituent's house to do some spin and damage control. He apologized profusely to the woman and seemed to make things smooth, though the woman has indicated that she will not be changing her vote back to vote for him.

His numbers are slipping in the polls - indeed, they were prior to this debacle, and now he is fighting for his political life.

Frankly speaking, I would have had more respect for him had he not apologized - the woman is clearly bigoted and does not appreciate the many immigrants who helped make Britain what it was after they emancipated the colonies - my own parents are first generation Jamaicans who came to England in the 60's and tried to make a new life.

I wish he had not apologized - it was not necessary - I believe in calling a spade a spade and even though I worked for several years as a political appointee to an elected official, I heard plenty of spin, I can only recall one occasion where I personally heard the mayor speak disparagingly of a constituent - she never knew - there was no live hidden mike.

Lessons learned....

Sandra Bullock - or how to succeed in spite of one's spouse's shenanigans in Hollywood

We were all thrilled to see Sandra receive the Best Actress Oscar for Blind Side - an amazing story of resilience, love and faith.

It would appear that Sandra was not just acting - she is either one hell of an astute women or has some handlers and PR staffers who are guiding her moves these days.

We have not seen any inappropriate tweets vis-a-vis her departing soon-to-be-former spouse, Jesse and his infidelities and other shenanigans.

Others in Hollywood would do well to watch how she is handling her grace under incredible fire - take note - Elin Woods and others.......

Governor Paterson draws a line in the sand

David Paterson is understandably fraught with worry over the state's impending deepening financial crisis - so much so, he has suggested furloughs for some 100,000 state employees. Either that, or the state will be forced to shut down, causing we New Yorkers to lose some valuable municipal and state services that we have come to take for granted.

I have lived in New York for just over 2 years and frankly have been unimpressed and inspired by many leaders and politicians. There just does not appear to be the political will to get done what needs to get done in Albany to keep the people of New York moving.

I shall be watching this closely, reporting on developments as they occur and watching along with other New Yorkers to see where this will lead us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mississippi school is canceling the high school prom to prevent a gay couple from attending

I heard about this on the CBS Early Show today. I read about on AOL's gay blog.

It seems that every year about this time, we hear of teens not being allowed to participate in proms due to their being gay. At one time it was blacks, then it was interracial couples and now the gays are the target of school administrators.

It seems that a Mississippi high school is canceling their annual prom in order to prevent the gay couple's attendance. The student is suing the school district, and well she should. Schools have to accept the fact that heterosexual students are not the only students who are served in schools. Gay students have parents who pay taxes and have the fundamental right, via freedom of expression, to attend proms.

I do not know what the outcome will be - perhaps a compromise - that is, two proms, one for gays and one for others - hmmmmm - can you say segregation?????

Cruel and unusual punishment - 8th amendment does not apply for prisoners - according to Judge Clarence Thomas

I was disturbed to read in the NY Times today, a report regarding the 8th amendment. According to the report, Judge Thomas believes that the 8th amendment is not designed to protect prisoners. I read of one prisoner who was chained to a post for 7 hours without sustenance or bathroom breaks. Another was thrown to the floor and beaten by a guard after requesting a form to file a complaint, yet another was beaten while shackled and lost teeth and was bruised and bloodied.

Judge Thomas does not feel that prisoners have rights vis-a-vis the 8th amendment - "Cruel and unusual punishment" do not apply to them in terms of their rights. Why is it that we conveniently forget that prisoners are human being and deserve the same civil rights granted to others under the Constitution and Amendments?

I have a couple of close family members who are currently incarcerated and to think that they could be subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment" at the hands of an overbearing zealot of a prison guard, without room for recourse makes me sad and frustrated - even downright mad!

Let's flood the office of Clarence Thomas with emails and phone calls and let him know of our displeasure. After all, Mr. Thomas claimed to have empathy for prisoners in the article and even stated "There but for the grace of God go I" - how quickly we forget the laws of statistics.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Depression and suicide

Depression is a very real illness. Often, the illness is treated with antidepressants - in teens, an unfortunate side effect is that they sometimes become suicidal.

I was saddened to hear last evening of the passing of Marie Osmond's 18 year old son. As a former Mormon, and even in my youth, I have followed the family of the Osmonds with curiosity and pride at their success and ability to remain grounded in times of trouble - indeed, Marie has been married twice and is now a single parent, raising a large family without a helpmeet.

Preliminary reports indicate that her son jumped/fell from the apartment in California where he was living. We may never know whether he fell or jumped. What we do know is that he had struggled with depression his entire life.

I encourage all of you - parents, aunts, uncles, godparents, grandparents and concerned friends - to please intervene when you see someone close to you in crisis - there are often warning signs with suicide - an individual might talk about a specific plan to harm themselves - they might give away belongings - they might become withdrawn and cease to work or attend school or other social functions - in this case, there might have been no signs, but we need to be diligent in looking for them in those around us.

Suicide is real, as is depression - Marie Osmond has seen much heartache in her life - this is likely the saddest and biggest challenge she will face - let us pray for her and her family that their grief might be lessened and that their family will gather together and sustain one another as they have done in times past.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MTA finally gets serious about cost cutting

I have lived in the New York area for just over two years.

In that time, I have seen my transit fares increased twice, with a third time now under consideration. It is time to look at cutting jobs and the MTA is going to cut administrative staffers as well as booth attendants - it is high time that the powers that be at MTA realize that the public is frustrated and is not going to take it anymore.

They would do well to take away the free lifetime transit passes given to staffers and board members alike (who are we kidding here - have any of those board members ever relied on MTA to get to work on a regular basis?) - do they fully comprehend the magnitude of yet another price increase? Are they cognizant of what the increase will do to those already burdened with lower wages, less hours at work and a fixed income

Can they not look at the compensation packets of their senior management? Can they cut back there? It would make sense and riders might be more likely to swallow the bitter pill of yet another fare increase.

I will hopefully get to the public hearing on this issue later in March and shall report on it on these pages - I hope to get some concrete and acceptable reasons for why they are increasing fares yet again - it is hard enough for the unemployed and underemployed to make ends meet, without burdening them with fare increases in these difficult times.

Mismanagement seems to be the order of the day at MTA - it is high time for it to stop.

Congress FINALLY does something bipartisan and good for the country

I have been watching, with disgust, how the Congress has been acting in recent months - from the healthcare debacle - read - congresspersons not wanting to vote for the measure lest they lose their hefty contributions - to their stymying of other efforts by the Obama administration to turn the country around.

Dick Cheney recently indicated that he felt Obama is going to be a one-term president - that is likely going to be the case, save for some miraculous, even herculean turnaround in the deficit, jobs creation and the economy.

It is good that these "public servants" - aka - congresspersons have come together to vote on a jobs bill - Michigan has some 15.9% unemployed, according to Governor Jennifer Granholm as she reported on MSNBC yesterday from the Governor's meeting. Job creation has to be the focus of the Congress, given the unprecedented number of people without jobs.

Governor Paterson of New York is still running - Please, Cuomo, step into the ring and give us something to believe in. Paterson has been marginal at best, sans leadership and vision - his personal foibles clouding his ability to lead the great state of New York out of this quagmire of deficits, unemployment and union stranglehold - we need to start over with our elected officials and remind them that we are outraged at their inability to see beyond their own special interests and needs.

I hope that Eliot Spitzer will reconsider running - I think he could potentially beat Cuomo, his personal foibles notwithstanding - he has he finesse, intellect and wisdom and great vision to turn this state around.

Let the games begin......

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods to break his silence

I have not written about the debacle surrounding the serious sex addiction and subsequent media frenzy that followed the great golfer earlier this year.

As someone who suffers from a brain disorder and has spent her share of time in and out of treatment facilities in order to be stable, I know what it is like to have the "public" and "friends" turn on you.

I break my silence today, because Tiger is going to finally speak about his addiction and possible return to golf. I find golf to be quite tedious and boring in general, but when Tiger plays, something happens to me - I feel transformed into another place and find myself rooting for him to make it to yet another championship.

Tiger has lost his center - I do not wish to speculate on how long he has struggled with addiction, but venture to say that had his father not passed away, he would not have found himself in quite the predicament. Earl had a grounding effect on his son - Tiger and he were very close - he would not have seen his son destroy his sponsorship deals, family and potentially his career - over a scandal such as this. He would have taken charge and seen to it that Tiger got the help he needed and likely sans the public spectacle that we have seen with women coming from all over to claim dalliances with the famous golfer.

I wish Tiger and his family well - I hope they make it - it is a good sign that he is still in treatment and will return after his public announcement today.

Let us give him time and space and allow him the time he needs to reconnect with his wife, family, and most of all, himself.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A day in the city

I spent the day in the city yesterday - I work in the city every day but Wednesdays, so to spend a day to myself in the city is rare.

I started at the Guggenheim museum where I met a lovely couple from Paris - they exhorted me to visit their amazing city at some point in my life - Ironic that as much traveling as I have done, the city of Paris has yet eluded me. I plan to start traveling in Europe again this year, beginning with a trip to London for Christmas. I had a lovely conversation with a newly wed from Alabama - she had a charming Southern drawl and the most beautiful engagement/wedding ring that she had chosen for herself - she was thrilled to be in NYC and wants to come again.

I then stopped on the street outside the museum and picked up an amazing piece of art that depicted New York's museums - I met Sam, a street vendor - 25 years old and from the Ukraine - his father is a surgeon and for one year, he went to college in the Ukraine and worked alongside his father in the hospital. He then decided that medicine is not for him and came to NYC to be a student. He loved it so much, he stayed - it has been two years, his English is phenomenal. We talked about how much we both love this country, America, and most of all, NYC - our adopted "homes" - he lives in Brooklyn and you may recall that I live in Westchester - the city life is a little too frenetic for a person with Bipolar disorder - I cannot live at that pace constantly - certainly not in the areas that I could afford - perhaps if I were to live on the UES or UWS, that would be different - let's see if I become a famous writer and make it in NYC - then I would consider moving into the city. Sam reminded me of Ryan - my oldest son - he is a snowboarder and surfer - they have that in common - and he loves art and reading. He shared that he goes to a local Catholic church and borrows books from their lending collection and reads voraciously, just like Ryan - we exchanged contact information and he will meet Ryan when he comes to live in New York in the summer.

I met a man who was with the remarkable group "Ready, Willing and Able" - he was keeping the streets of New York clean and shared with me that he was moving to Orlando in March - having secured a job and an apartment - what a miracle and a result of hard work - I love when people create their own miracles!

Finally, I had lunch at Demarchellier - an amazing French restaurant and was fortunate to sit next to an amazing couple - Jim and Laurie - they are from Alaska and were visiting the city for the day while on a trip to New Jersey to stay with a cousin. Jim and Laurie are very much in love and the kind of couple that makes one want to be in a relationship - I wish Kevin had been there to meet them. Then again, we might not have had such an in depth conversation had he been there - we tend to talk to other people when out, but spend most of our time deep in conversation with one another.

I learned that not all Alaskans like Ms. Palin, and while Jim is a hunting guide, he is not an NRA fanatic, nor is he a Republican - he is pretty liberal. They have been together for 14 years or so and are clearly a great match. I could see it in the way they spoke and looked at one another - I felt almost like an intruder. We talked about divorce and relationships - all of us had experienced the ravages of being divorced and neither of us was particularly interested in remarrying - Jim and Laurie have the yin and yang that makes relationships work - he is busy with his business, Laurie works as a nurse - she might even be retired now - they spend time together as often as they can, which is rare, given his schedule. They love to travel and spend time..........

It was a wonderful day in the city - I feel happy whenever I have a day when I meet great people and yesterday was one of those days.

I took the train back up to Westchester and started in on my literature class at Concordia - there is lots of reading and writing to do, so my blog will likely take back seat this month - we shall see.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Michael Steele and Governor Patterson - some thoughts on Governors and the head of the Republican party

What do these two men have in common, besides being politicians and African American?

Michael Steele commented in a statement this week that for someone earning one million dollars, after taxes are taken out, there is not much left. Is this man so out of touch with reality that he fails to be aware of the fact that the average salary in the county is a mere 40 thousand dollars - why is he so oblivious to the realities that face Americans - yes, those of us who do the "working and paying, the living and dying" to quote George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life.

Governor Patterson actually had the audacity to pull the proverbial race card - and to add insult to injury - the disability card - this week when questioned about sexual impropriety in the New York Governor's mansion and his alleged numerous illicit affairs - and we thought we were done with that when Spitzer left office.

Frankly speaking I have no respect for either of these men - that they are black and embarass me as a fellow black person is just par for the course and rubs salt in the proverbial wound.

I have maintained on this blog previously, that Spitzer should run again and certainly if Cuomo decides not to run after all. Eliot Spitzer is a brilliant and dedicated man with weaknesses - if he can work it out with his wife - note how this is done, John Edwards - then I say let the man run again and let the people of the great state of New York decide whom they would choose to lead them out of this financial crisis - maybe Mayor Bloomberg will have to run......After all, we cannot have a Republican Governor in the bluest of blue states - that would not be good after all.

Speaking of Governors - while I am sad to see NJ Governor Corzine go, a fiscally responsible Christie is mandating balanced budgets, as well as refusing to give subsidies to the railroad, insisting instead that they become - yes - imagine this - self-sustaining. He is doing well in my book.

And finally - the amazing friend and associate of mine from Utah - Peter Corroon - has put his hat in the ring to run against Governor Herbert who ascended to the Governorship when Obama neutralized Governor Huntsman by appointing him to his cabinet as trade ambassador to China. Peter will go far in politics - not just because he is Howard Dean's cousin and it is in his blood, but because he is fiscally responsible, moderate and could be the first Democrat elected to the Governorship in Utah in some two decades - go Peter!

New York politics - something new every day.

Les Jeux Olympics - The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games

I was fortunate and incredibly blessed to be able to participate in the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

Specifically, I was working in the Mayor's office in Salt Lake City, Utah at the time. My son, Tye attended the opening ceremonies and even got to carry the torch - I watched as John Stockton of the Utah Jazz basketball team carried the torch through the crowds to the City and County building.

Later on, I became a "benovole" - a volunteer on the 2010 Vancouver Games bid - we worked the phones, met athletes, attended soirees and generally contributed to the good name of Canada - what a time that was!

As I watched last evening's opening ceremonies, I was reminded of our amazing Child of Light portion of the ceremony. There were some definite similarities with that program and last evening's.

I mourn for the young Georgian who lost his life while desperately trying to maintain his balance and control during a luge run - I recall the one Olympic event I attended with my two sons who were living with me at the time. Ryan and Tye were thrilled to see the bobsled event, and even more - to see the Jamaican bobsled team whooshing past us as we stood in the crowd, hoping for a glimpse.

It was truly an extended party where Salt Lake welcomed the world, under the leadership of the remarkable and capable Mitt Romney, after the scandals and debacles that had plagued the games prior to his taking the helm. We partied well and mingled with the delightful Canadian ice dancing pair who were wronged in the medal competition - later also mired in its own scandal - we met dignitaries and leaders from many countries - it was one of the only times during my seven year tenure in Utah where I felt like I truly belonged to a part of something. I digress. I dutifully wore my buttons, indicating that I spoke both French and German and was only too happy to provide directions, explanations and help to visitors from countries speaking those languages.

Life takes ironic turns - I had been invited to Vancouver to volunteer or work at the Games this year as I had worked so hard on the bid, but my health did not allow me to work the hours required to pull off what I had done in Salt Lake City.

There is always London 2012.

God bless the athletes - may there be comraderie, friendships formed, and above all, no more illegal substance abuse and death or injury.

Happy Olympics everyone - coverage can be found all the time on NBC.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rahm Emmanuel must go!

Frankly I have had enough of him as have many Americans. His foul mouth, irreverent sense of humor and latest attack on liberals, using "f&%&#g retards" to describe this group of people with whom he does not agree.

Mr. Emmanuel, we do not expect you to agree with every political fringe group, but you are the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States - decorum is a must at all costs. You no longer have the luxury of uttering expletives in a fit of rage and certainly not when a minority and highly vulnerable group in the population is the target - i.e. mentally or physically challenged individuals. One has to wonder how he feels about the son of Ms. Sarah Palin who suffers from Downs Syndrome - has this innocent child and offspring of the White House's most vocal critic of late (see her performance at recent tea parties as reported in the NY Times) also been the brunt of Mr. Emmanuel's jokes?

There is no room for bigotry at any level in the Oval Office, and certainly not at your most senior of levels, particularly when your direct report happens to be African American and white as well. I wonder how the President feels when he hears you foaming at the mouth and shooting constantly from the hip as the mood strikes you.

Does he have the nerve to tell you to can it and even more to the point - does he have the nerve to fire you? You do serve, after all, at the pleasure and will of your friend, the President.

I am watching this one closely. More later as the story unfolds.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't ask, don't tell

I am thrilled to read of reports that indicate that the Pentagon is close to making some sweeping recommendations for change to this ridiculous policy.

My regular readers will know that for 15 years I was married to a gay man - for five of those years, he also served in the US Army and was deeply closeted for reasons only known to him, though I suspect that much of his conflict and secrecy was due to being married to me.

In order to put this issue into perspective, let's imagine for a moment that your partner/husband/wife/or significant other is serving in a combat zone. They are killed in the line of duty and the Pentagon does not know that you exist (due to Don't ask, Don't tell), and as a result, nor do they tell you of said partner's demise. This is a very real situation for all too many of our servicemembers who are currently in combat zones and living in closeted relationships.

If gays are openly accepted into the military, they can come out of the shadows and live sans fear of reprisals. They can openly love their partners, write letters and call home using real names, not pseudonyms as was reported in a recent 60 minutes story I watched with sorrow.

I am hoping and praying for a speedy and cohesive resolution to this Clinton-era debacle.

Let us all do the same if we consider ourselves to be fair-minded Americans.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A new stamp honoring Mother Theresa

There is much ado about nothing these days at the United States Postal Service. It seems that there is a plan underway to produce a stamp honoring the aforementioned.

Mother Theresa, while a saint and a religious person - is along the likes of Gandhi and Dr. King - a humanitarian and philanthropist - one who spent her life ensuring that others were uplifted and did not suffer needlessly whenever she was able to.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that I am a staunch advocate of the ACLU, but this case is a no-brainer.

This is not a case of separation of church and state and we are not sliding down a slippery slope - there are many religious people, atheists and non believers who admire Mother Theresa for the life she lived and her efforts to end suffering.

Methinks that sometimes, groups protest too loudly - just for the sake of protesting - this is one of those times.

Miranda rights for all?

I was saddened to read lately of the December 25th Northwest flight alleged terrorist and the subsequent events surrounding his arrest and questioning. It seems his Miranda rights were violated. He had initially been "cooperating" with authorities, but the Obama administration has stepped in according to reports to ensure that his rights have not been violated.

Terrorists are a despicable sort and I do not support or advocate terrorism in any way, shape or form. I could not condone same, based on having lived under the IRA and RAF and their terrorism attacks during the 80's in Europe. I know firsthand of the fear that comes from living under the cloud of waiting for the next bomb blast.

I am, however deeply concerned that there are those who believe that terrorists do not deserve the same fundamental rights that we Americans are entitled to. If they are being held to our legal code, then it follows that the same rights be afforded them as well.

We should never assume to think that even the most cowardly act of terrorism is a justification for abusing or denying a person their basic civil rights as guaranteed by our constitution. In the America I know and love, we give equal rights to all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hardball's Chris Matthews opens mouth and inserts both feet

Chris Matthews has been a long-admired news reporter of mine. His ability to distill important and complex political issues are among the reasons I so like him.

Unfortunately, Mr. Matthews recently committed a faux pas - apparently while reporting on the President's first State of the Union address, Mr. Matthews maintains that he "forgot that the President is black.....for one hour." - I recall having the parents of a former beau saying that about me - he recounted the story and was proud of his parents for "accepting" me - I remember being mortified, even at the tender age of seventeen.

Chris has some learning to do - this could become - as well it should - a PR debacle for the host of the remarkable "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC. He should definitely apologize - I would like to think that he was not willfully intending to offend millions of black Americans - I would like to think that he merely misspoke, but there is something deeper afoot here. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he - Chris is a master of the English language - he commands it so very well each weekday evening whilst interviewing all types of people from Presidents, heads of state to the average American - all in the hopes of sharing his left-leaning point of view with the American people.

It is my hope that Chris Matthews and others who think like him vis a vis the race issue - he should know better and I hope for a speedy remedy to this PR debacle.

Think before you speak, Chris - Just a word to the wise - or not so wise, in this case.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy New Year - albeit a titch late - and Happy State of the Union

Folks, we are in dire straits. One in ten Americans is unemployed. That figure does not count those such as myself who have given up seeking full time employment and are cobbling together with savings, other income sources and part time employment sans benefits.

We are spending billions on wars that we can not afford to wage, either spiritually, financially or emotionally - our military veterans are worn out - plain and simple.

The American people are frustrated - angry even - at the state of their Union. They want their jobs back, they are tired of losing their homes - the President spoke of the letters that tug at his heartstrings last evening during the State of the Union - they come from children who don't understand why they have to leave their homes, or why their parents can't go to work anymore. Harsh realities for children to face. In another blog, I shared earlier that I have a son who is unemployed. He is depressed, understandably so - he lives in the state of Michigan - one of the highest rates of unemployment in the nation - he is only 21 and does not understand the cruelties of life, but he is getting a crash course. I call him daily to pep him up and give him ideas and solutions for getting more financial aid to go to school full time instead of trying to work and go to school full time - maybe that is his silver lining. Unlike his father and I, he won't have to work and support a family and go to school - his lot is somewhat easier.

The President has some grand plans for small businesses - the lifeblood of the country - he wants to reign in banks and their exhorbitant powers. He ought to reign (read - fire)in Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson while he is at it - I do not trust these men who were brought in to help their "friends and associates" at AIG and Sachs - to do what is in the best interest of the American People.

The same is true of the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi who recently took a delegation to Denmark: at a cost of some 170,000 for three military jets, not to mention the hotel costs and meals provided to not just senators but their families as well - is this prudent spending in the times in which we live? Was this excess the sort of thing that Democrats used to rail against and shun as if it were the plague?