Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Introducing Rachel




Rachel is a very special friend for me, as I've mentioned her in a few previous posts.

For starters, I didn't find her, she found me.  I was collecting trash on the Temple Grounds in Mesa (during the Christmas lights season), and she came running up to me outside the Baptistry.  She wanted food, but was content with playing with a wrapper on the ground as a toy that I was picking up.  No kidding, she ran right up to me.  I wrapped her in my jacket and she purred and fell right to sleep in my arms.

Now, three years later, she loves/tolerates me, but still enjoys it when I pet her, particularly around 1 am when she can wake me up to pet her.  She is affectionate around adults, but is frightened of small children.  And while others can pet her, I am the only person she purrs for.

She also loves the smell of the clothes fresh from the dryer, and will jump in while I'm trying to get a load of laundry out.  As she was so kind to oblige a pose for me, I took the opportunity to take a picture of her.





Blog Update!!!

Yes, I've finally broken down and updated my blog. :o) Now I just need to find a fun picture of Rachel to use for my account...

As far as colors go, I was trying to go with something like calm waters, tranquility. I've also added the Astronomy Photo of the Day at the bottom, I love astronomy, do you?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Year Resolution - Of Sorts

With this last illness over Christmas I finished The Shame of The Nation by Jonathan Kozol. This is a book I had heard about, in fact it was a book Oprah Winfrey mentioned in one of her shows on the shameful state of our K-12 education system. This is a book about what is broken in our school systems, from the point of view of someone who has worked as a teacher. Personally, this is a book that every voter (whether you are parents or not) should read.

I'd like to give you a quote from the book, The Shame of The Nation, from Chapter 10, page 262:

"As things stand today, the children in the schools we have examined in this book are not protected by their nation. Yet they are expected in school to perform at national standards, are graded on what are, in fact, no less than national exams that measure their success or failure according to nationally determined norms, are expected to vote someday in national elections, compete for earnings in a national job market and, because of their race and poverty, are far more likely than most other citizens to imperil their lives by serving in our nation's wars. The illegitimacy of the uneven social contract by which they are bound invites a more aggressive scrutiny than it can be accorded in the courts of separate states. These children are not citizens of Illinois, New York, or California. They are (most of them are, at least) the citizens of the United States; yet the flag that hangs above their classrooms and their schools does not defend their interest where it comes to preparation for adulthood in their nation, and the words of the pledge we ask them to recite can only mock their actual experience."

The reason for the title is this: In the last election we voted on an amendment to our State Constitution defining Marriage. Those of us who wanted this passed got it passed. As of yet, there is no State nor Federal guarantee by the Constitutions of both to provide equality in education. Public schools cannot discriminate entry due to color (Brown vs. Board of Education), but they are discriminating against the poor. Schools of the affluent get better funding (and are able to better fundraise for the students) than the less affluent. This is true even in our own backyard:

Tempe-Kyrene Differences May Have Been Unification's Undoing

Shouldn't we be doing something for the kids?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

You've Got Mail

I'm watching You've Got Mail right now and am totally empathizing with Cathleen Kelly, only without the online mail friend. :o) There is so much going on in my personal life right now, so many changes within my life and my heart. We'll see how well 2009 will be as opposed to 2008.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

Just a brief note to wish everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas, along with a joyful and prosperous New Year!

If You Live Around Knoxville Tenn., Don't Drink The Water

If you've not heard about this yet, there's a new argument against "clean coal". If you live around Harriman Tennessee, hopefully you have flood coverage for your home.

On Monday there was a massive spill of toxic coal ash, the leftovers from using coal to produce electricity. It gets dumped into a nearby pond, but the dikes keeping the dumping site from spilling over failed and now the entire area is flooded with coal ash. With rains will come the flow of the ash into rivers that provide water for Knoxville and other areas of Tennessee.

Here is some YouTube video on this:





And the link for a more in depth look at what has happened:

Democracy Now!

It looks like some families will not have a very merry Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Crooks You've Probably Never Heard Of

There are crooks and then there are the savvy crooks. The savvy ones don't leave paper trails, but because of SEC regulations, this one did.

Have you ever heard of Cerberus Capital Management? I hadn't until I heard about them on the news the other night. Cerberus used to own Mervyn's Department Stores. Yes, that Mervyn's, the ones who are now bankrupt and putting people out of work. The buyout deal "allegedly" stripped the most profitable part of Mervyn's, it's real estate, and left the stores to go under (this is still in the courts right now).

Source: Making a Bundle on Mervyn's by the Wall Street Journal.

Now, Cerberus owns parts of Chrysler and parts of GMAC. Where do you think some of that bailout money is going to go to? The employees? Only time will tell on this one.

Sources:

How Hedge Funds and Private Equity Hurt Us by The Nation

Cerberus: Auto Bailout's Other Beneficiary by The Street.com

Sock And Awe

I don't know if you've heard about it, but here's a new online game based on the real incident.

www.sockandawe.com

New Web Sites Posted

I've posted a few new web sites to provide some information in a variety of areas.

AzStRUT is the Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology site. This is the group Data Doctors uses to handle recycling of used computers and peripherals. When you upgrade your technology this is the best way of getting the old technology out of your home.

Be Red Cross Ready is from the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross (the chapter that handles all of Arizona). This is one of the spots to start from when you are looking to get your emergency preparedness in order. The other is the Emergency Preparedness & Response site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Enterprising Ideas is from the NOW on PBS show. This is a feature of episodes of the show highlighting how people are creating new and innovative ways to solve some of the problems in our country and our world.

Along with that comes the sites Just Price Solutions and R-Homeownership. These are both from the same non profit organization. Just Price Solutions is for institutions and organizations looking to assist the housing situation here in the U.S. R-Homeownership is the web site for individuals and families who need help with buying or re-financing their homes.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board is the official board for rating the video games. If you are purchasing video games for children and have a question about the content of a particular game, you can go to this web site and read the findings in more detail concerning the content of the video game you have in mind.

Iraq Star Foundation and Community of Veterans are non profit sites devoted to help meet the needs of veterans and to provide civilians the opportunity to provide help for the veterans in ways that will produce the most impact on their lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Tin Soldier

My, how history repeats itself. This song could very appropriately work for today, it was made in the 1960's, this recording is from the 1970's.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dave Walker on 60 Minutes

Here is a 7 - 8 minute interview on Dave Walker from 60 Minutes posted on You Tube. You don't know who Dave Walker is? Watch the video.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Health Updates

My Mother is doing great. She's not had any falls lately, and got her new glasses this past week, so hopefully things will be a lot better for her. The optometrist said she had cataracts in both of her eyes, and they will need to get removed, although they are not that bad yet.

My health has been on the mend. I went to the doctor a week ago today, and was tested for valley fever, pneumonia and broken ribs. The valley fever results were negative, the x-rays showed my lungs were clear and I had no breakage of my ribs. The doctor had already indicated to me she thought that it was the cartilage that has been messed up from my coughing which would explain the pain. There were signs in my blood work of an infection, so I'm on antibiotics. On the whole I am feeling much better now.

This past Sunday my two wonderful home teachers came and gave me a beautiful blessing. Rachel, my cat who was found at the Temple as a kitten, began running between my legs during the blessing, as if to say that not only does Heavenly Father love me, so does she. I know she has been worried at my wheezing because I've awoken in bed to find her face over my mouth to see if I was still breathing. She is a real blessing to have, she also comes and checks on me when I'm having a bad time emotionally.

My thanks and love to everyone who has called and sent me written messages, hopefully I will see you soon. I have Bushman cousin who is giving her Relief Society lesson on Sunday, and her Ward meets at the same time as mine, so I will probably be there this Sunday.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A New Twist On The Elections

For those of you who would like to have seen a different outcome in the elections, click here to see how the election turned out in one high school. It's too bad we can't have the same rules apply to the real elections.

The REAL Financial Crisis

Now that the euphoria (or crying depending upon where you stood) from the elections are over, here's a little video to give you an idea of what the new U.S. Presidency will be facing.





Here is the link Dave Walker gives at the end of this video:

http://www.pgpf.org/

Here is a link to the movie's web site:

http://www.iousathemovie.com/

Now, you might be asking yourself, "why haven't I seen this movie in the theaters?" Perhaps it's because this is a movie about saving your money, instead of spending it in a movie theater?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Holiday Music

Yes, I finally changed the music playing on the blog. I started with some October/ Halloween fun (including Sally's Song from Nightmare Before Christmas), then moved onto Christmas. I can't think of any Thanksgiving songs, maybe some of you know of some that I could add. At any rate, these are some of my favorites, although there is a song called "Because It's Christmas" from Barry Manilow that wasn't available to add. That's one of the favorites I'm sad I couldn't put on the list.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thursday, October 9th

For those of my friends who live and vote in Arizona, be sure to watch Horizon this Thursday evening from 7pm to 8pm on Channel 8 PBS.

It will be a special 1 hour program covering the pro and cons of all of the propositions on our upcoming ballot on November 4th.

For more information, please check out their web site: http://www.azpbs.org/vote2008/

Friday, October 3, 2008

Who Sponsors The Debates?

Here is a little history lesson.

Do you know who sponsors the debates?

It used to be sponsored by the League of Women Voters. It's not anymore, it's sponsored by a committee made up between the Republican and Democratic parties.

To get a better idea of how this has impacted the debates, please read the following press release from the League of Women Voters:

http://www.lwv.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7778

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cassandra, The Prophetess

I'm normally not prone to saying "I told you so", but in between my asthmatic coughs (yes, I'm sick), I'll try to get through this.

Do you remember this post?

Here is another one, regarding the lobbyists who work as "bundlers" for our elected officials.

Then there is this one, which talks more specifically about the greed in corporations, namely at the top, and why the checks and balances you would expect between shareholders and the corporate executives isn't working.

Then there is this one, which gives an idea of how to fix the minimum wage to provide real solutions to fixing the corporate greed, as well as giving employees world wide the living wages they should be earning.

This one, giving the link for the Ross Perot site, gives a vivid example of why the economic plans for both major candidates for President will not pan out.

The reason I give these to you is because a revolution of a new sort is happening here in America, and the press is actually acting like they are in shock over it. I say it's about time. People have had enough of the bailouts of companies while the executives leave with nice, cushy financial arrangements. They might have to cut back on the caviar just a little bit, but they will still be throwing parties in the Hamptons, while the rest of America suffers.

Please read this story from Fortune Magazine on how Main Street is turning against Wall Street.

I would love to say the worst part is over, but, as history teaches us, the Declaration of Independence was only the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ralph & Cardozo

Poor Ralph. He's been trying everything to get media coverage.

After all, he did give a list of actions the government will need to take to fix the issues within the U.S. financial system back in July, only after he was bringing it to light SIX YEARS AGO. Please click here to read more about the list. Click here for the original letter Ralph sent regarding the safety of the FDIC.

And now... it has come to this.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Family Home Evenings

In my Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is a program called Family Home Evening where families reserve one night per week to spend together. Sometimes unstructured, these evenings can also include a lesson and some sort of dessert. These usually occur on Monday nights. The last two Monday nights, however, have been spent in the emergency room at Tempe St. Luke Hospital, where I have had to take my Mother.

Last week it was a cat bite that had gotten infected on her left hand, earlier today she fell (twice) and landed on her face. This has produced a swollen left cheekbone and a nice, swollen shiner on her left eye.

She is doing okay, but these little emergencies have been rattling me somewhat. I've gone back to wearing my wedding rings, just simply because I need to know that Decker is going to be near me in spirit as things progress with my Mother's health, hopefully in years rather than months.

The good news is the bite has healed, she didn't break anything in her face, and the broken foot she got from falling back in June healed a few weeks ago. She still needs help around the house, and given this last incident, it looks like there will be no relief in sight as far as my being able to take time away from her.

I know in retrospect I will look back on this and be thankful for the increased time I've spent with my Mother. It's just that right now, when I need to get my washing machine repaired, my air conditioning repaired, and the air conditioner in my car repaired, it would be nice to be able to get some things done without having my time tied up.

The hospital asked me if I was her caregiver, I told them "no, I'm her daughter". Hopefully I can keep that perspective down the road.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Put Thine House In Order

Last night, on Bill Moyers Journal, there was an interview with author Andrew Bacevich. Haven't heard of him? Neither had I, but I'm glad I heard what he had to say. The only problem: the mainstream media will never promote his book, or have him interview on the air. Perhaps we could share this information with our friends?

Here's the link: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08152008/profile.html

This is the tough talk we need in Washington, D.C., unfortunately it will rattle too many feathers so the only place you will hear about it is on public television.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eight Years And Counting

It's hard for me to believe, but it's been 8 years since Decker died. I spent my day today between working and taking Mom shopping, but there were still a few moments of tears. I do wish Decker was back, I can honestly say those days were the best of my life.





Fast forward to today, August 30, 2008:

This is what I wrote on August 14, 2008. It was the anniversary of Decker's death, and it's usually a rough time for me.

In the course of preparing for Decker's funeral, I had wanted to get a bunch of small packages of Kleenex. It's a Bushman family joke, to provide these to the family at funerals, ever since the funeral for Decker's father. My best friend, Nan, drove me during a rain storm to the local store to get some, but we were getting soaked out in the rain just walking into the store. It was out in that parking lot that Nan taught me not to fear the storm (she told me Decker was getting in some practice on how to make a storm happen from Heaven), but rather to dance in it. She was trying to teach me how to live again, despite the pain I was going through, pain that still hits even today 8 years later when the anniversary rolls around.

A good friend and coworker, Jane, told me about a video, this past Thursday, to look up on youtube that night. It happened to be the night of a really big storm here. I did and found the sponsor's web site to download a good quality of this video. This video reminded me of that experience, and found myself wanting to go and dance in the rain, however given the intensity of the storm, I'm glad I stayed inside this time. :o)

Enjoy.



Saturday, August 9, 2008

Open Up The Debates

Don't you think it's time the debates for the presidential election also included third party candidates? I do.



News, News And A Little Politics

There was all kinds of news this week, did you hear? I'm not referring to Paris Hilton's energy plan.

First, our government has done some fact checking and found that Iraq, at year's end, will have a budget surplus of $79 billion. Our Congress has just given $48 billion to the military for rebuilding Iraq and Iraq has contributed $4 billion of their own money towards rebuilding the country. If this angers you, think about this: it would cost $50 billion to pay full tuition for any American wanting to go to a public college or university. Where are our priorities here?

Now, I do believe we have a responsibility to assist Iraq in rebuilding, after all we did invade their country. I also feel, though, that Iraq should be doing more than they are. From what I've heard and read in the media, part of the problem is this surplus money is located here in the U.S. and the Iraq officials cannot get their hands on it.

This was brought up, along with a fantastic story on the Bill Moyers Journal last night on the new booming industries making money by targeting the poor. Here is the link, I suggest you watch it before making any kind of a large purchase: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08082008/profile.html

Along with these predatory practices, one that has caused a lot of problems has been the sub-prime mortgages. These are mortgages for people who normally would not qualify for mortgages and because there have been record numbers of these defaulting, people are losing their homes while the financial executives who allowed, and in some cases caused, this mess have gone unpunished.

Here is a video from a singer/songwriter who has obviously been affected by all of this, and uses audio of what Ralph Nader would like to do as President of the U.S.:





The good news for the citizens is that there is hope on the horizon. I'm not referring to Congress bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nor the mortgage relief bills being passed through Congress. I'm talking about a non-profit organization that is helping those hurt by this by finding legitimate ways of qualifying for homes they can afford, as well as helping those who would still like a piece of the American dream. This was profiled a little while ago on NOW on PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/426/index.html

And here is the link to Just Price Solutions.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Ice Cream Flavor





The funny part is, I don't like coffee. I don't like the smell of coffee nor the taste. Yes, I've tasted coffee. Please keep in mind I was 14 when I started attending the LDS Church, 18 when I was baptized. My mother tried me on coffee when I was a kid and it tasted like mud to me. I've never liked it since.

As it seems that coffee is the flavor for control freaks, though, I guess that's what I am. ;o)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Business Geek

I'm going to put my business geek hat on for a few minutes.

Many of you know I have been reading "The Age of Turbulence" by Alan Greenspan. While I agree on a lot of things he talks about (he's less political and more economical than a lot of people realize, which is why he is considered to be "controversial" in Washington, D.C.), I have found, on occasion, some things were my opinions differ.

Yesterday I finished the chapter on Corporate Governance and found a serious flaw in his thinking. Corporate Governance isn't only about making sure their corporation doesn't become the next poster child for Enron. It's also about who determines which people will hold which jobs at the top level, and how much they will get paid.

Let me give you one example: many of us shop at Wal-Mart. Their workers make a little over minimum wage, about $7 - 10 per hour on an hourly basis. Consider this: the CEO of Wal-Mart makes between $11,000 - 12,000 per hour. The other executives at Wal-Mart are also making top dollar. So while the average employee has to work 2 jobs before they can break even on their expenses and afford food, the executives are eating steak while dining at their country clubs.

Alan Greenspan tells people in his book that the role of corporate governance lies with the shareholders, not with the government. While this is would be true in the pure form of capitalism, it is not true in the real world. There does need to be more accountability of who works and where and how much they make with corporate executive positions.

There are officers the shareholders do vote on in the basic structure of the corporation, however these are people the CEO has already hand picked. Their wages are currently not voted on by shareholders. I agree with Alan Greenspan that some of these practices need to be changed with more involvement of the shareholders.

However there is one thing Greenspan is not understanding, and that is who the shareholders casting these votes are. Those who are wealthy enough to own actual shares of stock do not care much about those making minimum wages at their jobs. Those who are in the shrinking "middle class" invest using mutual funds and/or pension trusts, with managers calling the shots and casting the votes. These are also made up of wealthy managers who do not see nor care much about the plight of people making minimum wages. They own nice homes and send their children to private schools, the best money can buy.

The one thing Greenspan and I agree on the most, however, is how this will all play out in the end. There are a lot of the wealthy who will be retiring within the next 10 years. These are the baby boomers. When they retire, there will not be the numbers of workers able to replace these people. According to numbers and charts I've seen, the actual numbers of people in the workforce contributing to Social Security and Medicare is actually going to decrease in the coming years. Add to this the problem of better paying jobs being outsourced to other countries, so those left contributing to the retirement of these baby boomers will be earning less money. These two items, coupled with the added draw on both of these programs and you have a recipe for trouble.

The wealthy people, who for years thumbed their noses at the working poor in America, will soon find themselves at their mercy. Their undercutting the wages and education of America's future workforce is going to come back to haunt them. It will be interesting to see how this works out and what these wealthy people will do when (not if) this happens.

Monday, July 28, 2008

PBS 1, CNN 0

I was watching CNN at my Mother's home (I can't afford that level of cable television right now), and one of the shows was advertising the "truth" in all of the talk about the presidential candidates and their ties to lobbyists.

I've spoken before about how bad the situation is in Washington, D.C. regarding the lobbyists, but CNN went to an all-time low this evening. They started off with a report about ties to lobbyists for the two major candidates. It was concluded that McCain still has ties with federal lobbyists and Obama only has ties to state lobbyists, not federal lobbyists. What they failed to mention is that Obama does have a few ties (AIPAC being one of them) and a lot of the "small donations" are being "bundled" by lobbyists, and many of his large donors are hedge fund managers. These are facts documented in printed news media.

CNN did this weak and brief description of what bundling is, obviously the reporter getting their facts doesn't watch PBS. I do. On June 1, 2007 there was a story on Congressional Ethics that does a much better job exposing what is really going on by PBS, specifically The Bill Moyers Journal.

Here's the link to the story if you would like to see it for yourself: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06012007/profile.html. Click on Watch Video to see the segment.

The low point(s) came when the "political analysts" on CNN began defending the lobbyists, claiming they are doing their work on behalf of the American people. For the truth to this, I'll refer back to the Bill Moyers segment.

Why would CNN defend lobbyists and not give the full story of their influence on Washington? Because even CNN (as well as other major networks) has lobbyists to make sure the airwaves (owned by the public) continue to be theirs, free of charge.

Don't believe me? Watch another Bill Moyers Journal on the media and how major networks make a killing during election seasons: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01252008/profile2.html. This one is from January 25, 2008.

Enjoy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Memory of Dr. Randy Pausch

For those of you who have never heard about The Last Lecture given by Dr. Randy Pausch of Carnegie-Mellon University, you've missed out on a real treat.

Here is the lecture on YouTube:





Some of you who watch Oprah, he was also on and gave an abbreviated version of the lecture on her show on 10/22/2007. He was later asked to publish it in book form, and is now out in bookstores.

Randy passed away earlier today, but he has left a legacy that his children will grow up with and appreciate for their lifetimes.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/last-lecture-professor-randy-pausch-dies-at-47/?hp

My condolences go to his wife Jai and their 3 children, this man was (and will always be) a treasure to everyone touched by his message.

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Laurie

I thought of my favorite Razzzberry, Laurie, when I saw this:





allposters.com has all of their superhero posters for 25% off.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie Trailers

Hi There,

This post is for the movie buff out there (like me). I know some of you like watching the movie trailers. In some cases, the trailer is about the only part of the movie that's fit to see. ;o)

Did you know you can download some of these trailers? For Free? If you have iTunes, Apple has some of these trailers available for you to download and keep to your heart's content. Click here to see a list of trailers available for download. If you use a Windows machine, you'll want to open iTunes. Then look at the titles on the link I've given you. When you find a title you like, click on the link for that title and click on the link for the iPod. This will push the trailer to your iTunes. From there, you can watch it on iTunes on your computer, or synch it to your iPod (if you have video on your iPod).

I've already downloaded a few for the new Batman movie, the new 007 movie, as well as for Twilight, for those fans of the novels. I even found the trailer for An Unreasonable Man in the Documentary section.

Here's the catch: since I know many of you have your own taste in movies, could you please spread the word to those who might be interested?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knowledge Vs. Wisdom





This is a provocative speech given by Google with their guest Ralph Nader.

There is a question he is asking these people, whom are the amongst the best and brightest in the world.

With Google, you have at your fingertips more knowledge than you could fit in the Library of Congress. Yet, here we are, in a campaign season, and this country is facing some serious problems. With all of this information available, why are we not able to fix the problems we have in this country, alone? Why is it, in schools we teach students to learn facts, but what are they doing with those facts?

This is why we have this disconnect between knowledge vs. wisdom.

What can be done to help resolve this problem, not only in our schools, but in our homes?

Your thoughts?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blackout!

Hi there, folks.

As I am writing to you, my home is completely dark. My neighborhood is blacked out due to the monsoon storms we get in Arizona. I'm using the battery power on my laptop for this, I'll have to wait for the power to come back so I can publish this on the internet. Yes, folks, no electricity, no internet.

There are some do's and don'ts to surviving a blackout. After the power has gone off:
1. turn off and unplug your electronics.
2. turn off your air conditioner
3. turn off the light switches around the home.

The reason for this is a simple one: once the power comes back on, you don't want to have another blackout because of how many things you have on pulling amps out of the circuits. The other reason is that a lot of times with the return of electricity, can come power surges through the wires which can fry the internal wiring for anything plugged in. This is where surge protectors and battery back-ups for computers come in handy.

Also, please keep in mind that when the electricity is out, so are the cordless phones. Cell phones may or may not work, dependent upon whether the cause of the blackout didn't also take out the cell phone towers. Having a land line phone with at least 1 corded telephone hooked up is also a must in blackout situations. Any kind of an emergency could happen during the blackout, this should be a part of every person's preparation.

That said, there is a "reason for my success" in a blackout. With preparation and maintenance, you can get through a blackout with relative ease.

One secret: the flashlights. Not only having flashlights in your home is a must, making sure the batteries are charged and ready to go is another must. Also, there are different types of flashlights, but there is a type, made by Coleman (there may be other brands like this, but this is the brand I have) that have a dual function. Yes, it's a flashlight, however if you pull on the handle, a clear plastic tube appears that transforms your flashlight into a lantern. Coleman no longer carries the exact model I have, however they do have a newer model that can be found here.

Another secret: candles. Having a supply of candles and matches is also a must. Using candles that are scented might be great, but please consider the fact you will not have airflow in your home, so the smell might be a bit overpowering. It's better to stick with regular candles.

Another secret: if you have a long-term blackout, you may want move your mind set from temporary to more permanent. Yes, the blackout is inconvenient, however there are people who live just fine without electricity. Think Amish. The Amish communities shun the more modern conveniences, but yet live rather well. How do Amish people handle long periods of no sunlight? Oil lamps. One tip with oil lamps, as well as candles, make sure to keep the room you use them in is ventilated.

There are also a number of other appliances and items the Amish people use that are non-electric. Decker did some research on this when we were first married, and we found a store that has an online catalog as well. This store caters to the Amish, as well as non-Amish who are looking for alternatives when supplying their homes. This includes solar panels as well. The store is called Lehman's, and is a great place to find oil lamps as well as other items to supply your home for emergency situations. Lehman's can be found at http://www.lehmans.com/.

One more thought: If your entire community has lost power, that can also mean the water treatment plant supplying your water could have lost power as well. Keeping 10 - 15 gallons of water per person in your home will give you potable water to use in emergency situations.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What People Will Do To Win A Public Office

Grand Jury indictments came on Thursday in Pennsylvania from the state's Attorney General's office. Those being charged with crimes are from the Democratic House caucus. It didn't stay local for long, though, as the alleged crimes spread out into other counties and also led to the removal of the signatures and forms for Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2004. All of this using taxpayer funds to go after anyone these people didn't want in the race, or to help elect others into public office, all the while using tax payer funds, state employees while on the clock and bonuses for state employees who produced the most during an election season.

The first I heard about it was from Ralph Nader's web site, click here.

It references a web site page giving some details of the grand jury findings: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=3771

If you would like a verbal explanation of what happened and what led to these findings, be sure to watch the video. For a full list of what 2 grand juries have found, check out the links for the findings.

This was going on nationwide in 2004 as the Republican and Democratic parties were both afraid Ralph Nader would cost the Democrats the election as they have erroneous claimed 4 years before. This time they were using every trick in the book, and then some, to make sure Ralph Nader was not on the ballot. Many of the court battles ensuing during the election and judged after the election was over found that Ralph was within his rights to campaign and collect signatures for these states, however by the time the judgements came down, the election was over and Ralph had already been removed from the ballots.

For all of their efforts in 2004, not just in Pennsylvania, but also in other states conducting similar fights against Ralph Nader, their candidate, John Kerry, still lost. The candidate who should have landslided one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history, and the Democrats still lost.

This is just one of many reasons why our founding fathers (including George Washington) did not want a party system in getting candidates, because it creates a system where people vote for the party and not for the candidate. The U.S. citizens will lose the most in the election.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

MormonTube

No, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not created it's own YouTube, this is just an expression I came up with to mention the participation of members of my faith on You Tube. It's funny, my friend, Shellee, was the one who showed one of the videos from You Tube that has been submitted, and once I checked out that video, I couldn't stop!





URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BfXLlrTzV0

That one is great, but I like this the most!





URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTmft6wkNa4&feature=related

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ralph Nader - Minus The Suit




Would you believe that Ralph Nader does occasionally wear something other than a suit? This picture looks like it was taken in the fall (the trees with leaves changing in the photo are beautiful), but this is a rare occasion. And yes, he is into sports.

This photo is courtesy of VoteNader.org.

Those Old "Outdated" Laws

Because of a law passed in 1893, a college student has been charged with a felony. He has been charged with the same crime members of our U.S. Congress do everyday. The difference? He made his "crime" public on ebay. What was his crime? As a prank, he posted on ebay that his vote in the U.S. Presidential election was available to the highest bidder.

Here's the article in CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/04/ebay.vote.ap/index.html

What do you think?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day, America

Just a quick note to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.

Two hundred thrity two (232) years ago, a document was signed and published throughout the colonies. This document was signed by men committing high treason, and began a war on our own shores. That document, The Declaration of Independence, stated our intent to become a nation of our own and depose King George III of England as our king.

Could you imagine signing something that would place a death sentence on you for doing so? Would you sign it, or would you conform to the "royalists" who didn't want change to occur?

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yes, I Do Love Jane Austen


I am Elinor Dashwood!


Take the Quiz here!




I love Jane Austen books. I'm probably the worst anglophile you've ever met, but I love Jane Austen books. And I've just found out that I resemble the closest to Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.

To quote the site:

"You Are...Elinor Dashwood!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see."

I knew I liked Emma Thompson!

Many thanks to my Razzzberries friend Laurie for hooking me up with the quiz!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fixing The Minimum Wage

Here's an idea McCain nor Obama will never go for: creation of a law attaching the annual compensation of company/corporate executives to the annual pay of their lowest paid employees.

The executives can get no more than, perhaps, 20 X more than the annual pay (to be taxed at 35%) of their lowest paid employees, anything above that amount in compensation (including stock options, etc.) will be taxed 100%. You do need a little bit of a spread (hence the 20X vs. 5X) because of all of the skilled levels of jobs within a company.

This would also include employees outside of the U.S., as well as employees of companies for whom work has been outsourced to, namely those displacing American employees. Executives cannot receive an increase in their compensation package until their employee's pay has first been increased.

If this were to happen, there would be no need for a minimum wage, being boardroom greed as it is, because you would begin to see all of the company employees getting pay raises really quickly.

In addition, this would assist in improving the standard of living for employees on a world wide basis, as well as level the playing field between applicants for jobs in America vs. applicants in other countries.

This could also provide a real boost for the economy (not the sorry excuse for a rebate we got this year), as these pay increases would be permanent, not a one time shot in the wallet.

What are your thoughts?

New Test, New Description of Me

This one is fun, it is to find out which Muppet you most resemble:





You Are Scooter



Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"




Now you know the real me ha ha ha ha ha....

Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yes, I'm A Geek!

In case any of you were in any doubt about me, I am 70% geek according to the Geek Quiz:


70% Geek


And yes, like my good friend Shellee, I too married a geek, although I was already somewhat of a geek and his geekiness only made me much, much worse.

Thank you, Shellee, you've set my mind at ease.

Friday Evenings With PBS

For many years I've watched different shows on PBS, but I particularly enjoy Friday evenings on PBS. My Mother is discovering she likes it as well. :o)

I enjoy Horizon, Washington Week and the McLaughlin Group, mostly because it's the news behind the news that you hear, to get an idea of what's really going on beneath the surface.

The other show I really enjoy is called NOW on PBS. The latest show was on India and their new economy with the new jobs being shipped from the U.S., as well as those being created as a result of their economy. Be sure to check out India Rising, as well as a previous show, Taxing The Poor. You will find these to be very enlightening.

Click on the Archive button to find more shows.

Immigration Reform, Part 4

There is a new article in Time Magazine called "The Great Wall of America". This is worth reading, as it talks about the wall that has been built on our southern border and how effective it is in keeping people out.

While I agree we need something to protect us from drug smugglers and terrorists, we could make it a lot easier for them to be caught if they were the only people crossing our border illegally.

Helping the people of Mexico fix Mexico is going to be a tall order, because in many ways they are facing the same problems we are facing:

- Problems securing the southern border (see the National Geographic article I mentioned earlier)
- Inadequate health care system
- Jobs with low wages, or no jobs at all
- Inadequate educational system
- Invasion and confrontations with drug smugglers and dealers

The major difference is cultural in nature which influences their politics. They, along with a number of other Latin American countries have a populist view of politics. The populist view is basically the good of the people over the good of business, finance or government. The problem is, as we see with our Social Security and Medicare "populist" programs, the populist view only works as long as the government can afford it.

This is discussed in Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence".

This does not mean that all populist-type programs are bad, however they need to be carefully managed so that the costs do not exceed the benefits.

With a few modifications, however, Mexico could have some of the benefits of populist-type programs, but only if they fix their border problems, labor problems and education problems. They could have them and make them work for the Mexican people, however it may require some changes in the government, dependent upon how much resistance to change the people of Mexico receive from government leaders. If what I have read is correct, there is a lot of corruption in the government of Mexico that will need to be removed before positive change can actually begin.

This does not mean, however, that the Mexican people could not, nor should not, be educated on how to make this type of change to occur. I'm not talking specifically about a college education, but I can tell you that change begins with an educated people.

Consider this: how many of our Founding Fathers of the U.S. had college degrees? Some did, however there were some who did not. Those who were not, educated themselves to improve their employment chances, as well as to improve our nation. James Madison was not an expert on foreign governments and constitutions when he drafted our Constitution, however he did educate himself on how the governments of other nations worldwide worked, and tried to use the best out of many examples to frame how our country should work, and still works - to some degree - today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Video From Ralph Nader

Here's a new video from VoteNader08:





The link for the video: www.votepact.org

The blog explaining this: http://www.votenader.org/blog/2008/06/18/votepact/

A New (Older) Video

This is one that's been out for a few months now, based on a DVD combining Ralph Nader at a rally and the music of Patti Smith. The message is to protest the war in Iraq while honoring the troops serving there.





This can be found at: http://blip.tv/file/667973

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon!

In one of my previous posts, I talked about Earmarks and how they affect our National Budget and ultimately our National Debt (or the Deficit). I guess I spoke too soon! My Mother told me today about an article she read in the paper about H. Ross Perot and a web site he has put together with a series of charts that actually give the facts of what I was referring to when I spoke about the debt we have as a nation, and how much of it is being financed by other countries.

Here is the article in The Washington Post.

Here is the link to the web site H. Ross Perot put together: PerotCharts.com.

If H. Ross Perot sounds familiar to you, he ran for President of the U.S. as an Independent in 1992. Now, he is not seeking any public office, but he has put this out as something for everyone to have access to.

If you look at the presentation at the bottom left of the screen, it takes you to a series of slides to explain some of the graphics you will see. A lot of it contained items I had read about in Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence", however the slides starting from #23 and forward should be more alarming to the average household.

Be sure to check this out!

Ralph Nader Videos

There are a few videos from YouTube I'd like to share.

The first is a brief video with music by Patti Smith.





The second is somewhat humorous about a student asking him not to run for office.





The third video is actually part 5 of 5 on YouTube, of an extra feature on the DVD of An Unreasonable Man, a documentary about Ralph Nader. This was a documentary I first saw on PBS and purchased the DVD. This segment has a few great points to it, namely of a political consultant who worked for the Democratic Party for years. He points out that to vote for someone you don't believe in makes you a politician, not a voter.





All of these videos and more can be found at the VoteNader08 page on the YouTube web site.

Meeting Ralph Nader

Back on May 9th, I had the opportunity to hear Ralph Nader speak and meet him personally. He is and has been an attorney looking out for the interests of everyone, whether it be seat belts, air bags, clean air, clean water, food safety, even pushing for the Freedom of Information Act. It would be an understatement to call him a legend. If you're really curious, click here to see more about him in a documentary entitled "An Unreasonable Man". There's even a spot you can click on to see how his work (and the results of those who work with him) affect your daily life.

Ralph, himself, is actually a really nice and funny man when you meet him. I was immediately at ease when talking to him, and he found some of what I said to be funny. He's very passionate about what he is doing, but then again he was raised to be passionate about this country. He doesn't want to see it go down the toilet.

To get to know his personal side, he wrote a fantastic book last year (a copy of which he was very nice to autograph for me) called The 17 Traditions. It's a book about the 17 traditions his parents instilled in him and his siblings. Click here to see the web site he created for his book, and you can even post the traditions from your own family on the web site.

Earmarks

You've heard me mention earmarks in a few posts, this is just a brief review in case you do not know what earmarks are. If you are not concerned about them, you should be, because a lot of our federal deficit has risen because of earmarks.

Earmarks are little projects that Representatives and Senators tack onto the end of other bills, usually bills that are completely unrelated to the earmark. These are little projects such as libraries for retiring members of Congress, grants to businesses for a local project and so on.

While these may seem harmless "little" projects (some are multi-million dollar projects so I would hardly call them "little"), the problem is that there is no money for them in the budget, which is why they have been earmarked.

What I'm getting at: do you have a budget in your home? What would be the purpose of having a budget (and how could you keep that budget) if someone were constantly spending money from that budget for items not in the budget. What would happen if someone used your food money to buy a nice, shiny new car for themselves? Do you have a credit card? Does your credit card have a limit? Our Federal Budget has a limit, but unfortunately that limit is not obeyed, and our country is in debt. Don't believe me? Click here for a peek at how much we owe.

How does our government still pay it's bills given the amount of our Federal Deficit? Other governments, who have a surplus (from the exports we buy), are loaning us money for our debt. At some point in time, though, the piggy banks of other countries are going to run dry. Then what will our Congress do? You guessed it, raise our taxes to pay for their projects and pay off our debt.

There are some good guys in our Congress who are trying to stop them. One of them is one of our own Representatives, Jeff Flake. Click here to see Representative Flake's web page, where he spotlights the Egregious Earmark of the week. Unfortunately, his efforts have not only fell on a lot of deaf ears in Washington, he has been reprimanded by his peers and removed from one of the subcommittees he served in on Washington, D.C.

Political Conventions

Many thanks go to an email I received from VoteNader.org. It has, among other blogs, this blog called, "Obama's Right Turn".

If you have ever wondered who pays for all of those political conventions Republicans and Democrats have every four years, there is an article referenced in the blog from The New York Times from June 7th 2008. It is called "Candidates Forgo Soft Money, But Conventions Rake It In".

This is definitely a story to read, as your tax money goes into these conventions.

Earmarks, anyone?

The Plague And Price of Lowered Expectations

We've all heard the story of the "little engine that could" haven't we? The story of a train's engine saying "I think I can, I think I can" as it makes it's way slowly up a steep hill? What do you think would have happened in that story if the little engine had been told, or at least led to believe, that it couldn't? What do you think would have happened in that story if the little engine had been previously taught that engines don't go up hills like that?

This is the plague and the consequences of lowered expectations. We deal with this a lot in the public school system, of students who walk in our doors who have been told or taught by someone that they can't amount to anything because they were born poor, they have a family member (or parent) who is incarcerated, born with a disability, or simply because of their gender. Yes, this happened when my grandmother was a young girl and it still happens today.

My maternal grandmother was born in 1911. Back in the 1920's, when she grew up, it was customary for women to be secretaries, nurses, teachers, and sometimes bookkeepers (but never a CPA), or their only other alternative in life was to get married and have babies. Once a woman got married, it was expected of them to leave their jobs and stay home to raise the children that would come along. It was taboo for a woman to work after she was married, and pregnant women were not allowed in the workplace.

When my mother had us kids in the 1960's, women were allowed to work once married, but not allowed to work pregnant. A lot of times women, including my mother, waited until they actually started to show a baby bump before telling the boss of the impending arrival. This gave the mother-to-be a little extra earning money before leaving to take care of the baby.

As a result of this, the expectations of women were lower, and so were the results. I'm not against getting married and having children, I consider motherhood to be the noblest calling on earth. I even had the joy of marital bliss myself when I married Decker. However there are some women who will never marry during their lifetimes, does that mean they should choose a vocation they don't want, simply because it is expected of them?

Once my maternal grandmother had her 4 children, my grandfather left her. This was during the Great Depression in the 1930's, and because my grandmother was in a poor neighborhood in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as because of the gender discrimination in the workplace, she and her children lived off of the welfare system, rather than her being able to work. My mother, the oldest of the 4 children, remembers fainting from hunger walking home from school.

My parents, both from poor families, decided they were not raising their children this way and did everything they could to make sure we were both educated and inspired to become what we wanted to become.

I guess this is why I got a degree in business management. This is what interested me, this is where I saw myself as working. In some respects, even though I work in primary education, my talents in business have paid off as a Computer Lab Assistant. I did, however, refuse to accept ideas I saw around me while I grew up that you only go to college to get some sort of an education until you get your MRS. degree. I worked jobs in fast food, retail and banking to pay my own way through college because I didn't want my future to be dependent upon someone else's money. It took longer, but it was much more worth it. Not only did I have a degree, but I was also able to take additional classes on the side that I wouldn't have been allowed to under a scholarship plan. I also graduated with no student loans, and a resume filled with valuable work experience.

One of the best educational experiences I actually got was while working in banking. I worked in consumer loans and saw the mistakes made by people who didn't know how to manage money, but I also saw a few good examples of people investing in real estate, who did know how to handle money. Then I moved banks and moved to the commercial loan department that handles multi-million dollar and billion dollar accounts. I saw how people who have money used it to their benefit - something most people never get to see. As a result my home and car are both paid for, I only have a few credit cards with only one with a small balance to be paid off at the end of the summer, and a nice little nest egg of retirement money set aside from the many years I worked to support myself. I live frugally and don't go out very much, so I don't need a lot of money to live on. I can truly consider myself blessed.

I can also consider myself to be truly blessed, because of my college degree, and my work experiences, helped prepare me to take care of myself after my husband died unexpectedly.

I know of others, however, who were raised with lowered expectations. One of them, a dear friend of mine, has the capacity and curiosity to be an engineer. When I asked this friend why she (yes, this is a woman) didn't get an engineering degree, her response was that she wanted to, she wanted to work for Motorola as a secretary, but things didn't work out that way. I could have slapped her for telling me this, instead I just kept my mouth shut. This dear friend is very capable in the job she now has, but was raised with this attitude of "a degree, and possibly a job afterwards, are something you get while you are waiting to meet Mr. Right and get married."

Marriage didn't happen for my dear friend and the result of the lowered expectation she had for herself is that she is still in this vocation that doesn't pay nearly as well as an engineering job would have, and she and the rest of her family are struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. The biggest consequence though, to me, is that she didn't fulfill her own dreams of becoming an engineer, designing computer systems.

Her story is not the only one, nor will it be the last one until society begins to have higher expectations for our children, and backs it up with their emotional support, as well as tutoring or some other type of support.

Instead of giving a child a fish, let's not only teach them to fish, but, like the little engine, also teach them, "I think I can, I think I can...I know I can, I know I can!"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Parable of The First Responder

I have to give a little bit of back-story to this post. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When I was born, my family lived in a rural area outside of Cincinnati called Batavia, Ohio.

As with most rural areas of our country, the first responders (police, fire department and life squad - now called ambulance) were all volunteer. In some areas they still are today. These are people who hold regular jobs, but during their time off they are on call and/or stationed at their respective buildings in order to quickly respond to an emergency. My father served, for a period of some years, as a volunteer at one time or another for all three in Batavia.

All photos are Copyright Cassandra Dawn Bushman

His Police Badge:





His Fire Fighter Badge:



Dad's Life Squad certification:




This parable is about the true nature of service. We have so many people who serve, but even more who only claim to serve but don't really walk the walk. The term "public servant" comes to mind with some of our elected officials. I was raised with an atmosphere of service in the home I grew up in. This started with my parents.

Let's think of the amount of hours my father spent getting trained for each of the 3 volunteer positions he held in Batavia. Did it take him away from his family? Yes. Was it time consuming? Yes. Was it worth it to the people he rescued? Absolutely yes.

Let's think about the calls he got to rescue someone or help someone in distress. Did these come at inconvenient times for my family? Yes. Was it worth it to the people he helped? Absolutely yes.

Some of these emergencies were flooded river banks, fires, medical emergencies in the home, bad vehicle accidents as well as robberies and disputes. How much do you think people valued Dad's willingness to drop everything and come to a rescue? The word priceless comes to mind, but Mastercard might have issues with that.

Dad always had to be prepared for any emergency, even if we were out for a family car ride here in Arizona and Dad was no longer the "official" first responder he had been in the past. I witnessed many times both of my parents administering emergency aid to someone at a rest stop, including one man who had been severely burned from his car's radiator cap exploding on him.

This was in the days before cell phones, when making a simple phone call was not an option.

Now let's think about what we call "service" today. Yes, there are some fantastic examples of service, including the first responders we have today (paid and unpaid), those in the military and their families, and anyone working in a public school. This includes not only the teachers, but also the staff who are the unsung heroes in public education.

There are also, I'm sorry to say, those whose "service" leaves something to be desired.

Those who abuse the word not only set a bad example, but they will, I believe, ultimately be exposed to the rest of the world for what they really are.

Ultimately, the questions we should be asking are: a) What kind of service do we give (this includes me as well ;o); and b) What kind of people should we be really looking up to? Celebrities, sports stars, politicians, or to those who provide the service most people never see?

I can be grateful that although my Dad was not perfect (he passed away on Dec. 13, 2006), he and Mom did set examples for me to rely on, even today.

I love you Dad, Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tenth Anniversary

Thursday, June 12th, was my tenth wedding anniversary with my beloved Decker. There are two anniversaries I can pretty much count on being a basket case on, one is my wedding anniversary, the other is the anniversary of Decker's death (August 14th). The really sad part is, I've been too busy taking care of Mom to be a basket case this week over our anniversary. I know Decker is busy on the other side, doing the things God called him to his heavenly home for, so hopefully he isn't upset with my lacking in feelings for it.

It's been a crazy ten years, though. We were only married for two years when he died unexpectedly. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that marriages are eternal. I know that mine is, so long as I live worthy of it. In the Temples of my church we are married for time and eternity. Mine has moved from the time portion, but a lot of the time I feel I'm still waiting for the eternity portion to kick in, simply because I don't have him physically with me yet. I know he watches over me, and there are some days I know that can be a full time job.

I don't know that I'll ever find love again during my lifetime, but I can promise you that Decker was definitely worth waiting for.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mom has left... the hospital!

If you saw my previous post, then you saw that Mom had to go into the hospital. The good news is she is now out of the hospital. The bad news is this means any kind of plans I had for the rest of my summer are pretty much shot.

The first time mom passed out and fell she broke her right foot. She now has a boot on it, and is using the walker Dad used until his death. This means I will need to be with her on a daily basis to help out, as well as driving her around for appointments. The boot will be on for 3 months, so until the first part of September Mom will be living like this. Not much fun for either one of us.

The really good news, though, is that she is home where she can be comfortable, and it seems like what caused it was her electrolytes were skewed out of balance. Namely her magnesium and potassium. If you have too much of both it will cause problems, but if you have too little of either one it will cause an irregular heart beat. This was what got Mom so sick and passing out on Tuesday. The hospital was really great, wanting to make sure they had checked every nook and cranny on her to try to determine what the cause of all of this was. She can now honestly say she's had her head examined. :o)

In the meantime, people needing to reach me can leave an email, a phone message at my home, call my cell number or call directly to Mom's house, as I will be there a majority of my time now.

Prayers are still welcome and appreciated, including a huge prayer of thanks to God on my part that this was not something more serious.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Ticking Time Bombs In Washington

There are two ticking time bombs in Washington D.C. They are called the Democratic and Republican parties and they will either blow themselves up or impale themselves on their own swords.

With the events surrounding the presidential elections the last few days, a lot of light has been shed to the U.S. as to how corrupt our nation's capitol has become. The "secret combinations", as they would be called in the Book of Mormon, have been brought out of the light. What is also interesting is to see how people have responded. We are truly becoming a country (and even a world) of "ites".

There are some who say they are loyal to Hillary Clinton but now back Barack Obama "for the good of the party". There are others who say they are "Americans first" and continue to back Hillary Clinton. There is one thing Hillary probably knows better than Barack, however, and that is when all is said and done with the election and if Barack is elected President of the U.S., he will have to hold his allegiance to the Democratic party who got him there.

These are people with big pockets and an agenda that has nothing to do with the needs of the U.S. For all of Barack's speech making, these people will simply tell him to "shut up". If you don't believe me, then why did Hillary Clinton, as First Lady during Bill Clinton's presidency, suddenly "shut up" with regards to her work on health care? It's because she and the President were told to "shut up" by those who got them into the White House. Don't believe me? How do you think they were able to purchase a nice, multi-million dollar home in New York and "gave" her a Senate seat after her work as First Lady? Do you think they could afford the home on the $200,000 per year a sitting President of the U.S. makes?

And now Hillary wants to become President, so look how the Democratic party has treated her, by choosing their new little "darling" family to be the ones in the White House (if Barack Obama wins). When Bill was President, and even after his Presidency, the Clintons were the "darling" family of the Democratic party. Now that they aren't, even Bill has spoken publicly about how the party and the media have come out against them, despite the fact that Hillary actually won the majority of the votes in the Primaries.

Then there is John McCain who doesn't seem to know which side of the fence he's on when it comes to being either a maverick who thinks for himself, or a Republican party politician who does what he's told. He's another one who will have to hold his allegiance to his backers in the Republican party if he is elected President.

The Clintons, as well as many Americans, are now finding out what the independent candidates have known all along: the system now in place for electing the President of the United States is a fraud. It has been so altered since the days of our founding fathers of this country even they would be leading a revolt against it. Do you think I'm wrong here? Let's take a look:

One of the reasons for the American Revolution to become the United States of America was the concept of taxation without representation. The American colonies were subject to British taxes, but King George III could care less about the needs of the colonists. This was one of the compelling reasons the founding fathers of our country used to unite the colonists enough to kick out the British. Now here's the question of the day: do you think we are truly represented in Washington D.C. when the agendas (and votes) of those with the power in the U.S. conflict with the needs of the majority of U.S. citizens?

- We have spiraling health care costs
- We have low wages
- We have an educational system that is deficient and broken
- We have environmental issues affecting the lives of citizens
- We have corporations whose executives are stealing the money of investors and employees (with little recourse by the law)
- We have municipalities taking the homes and properties by eminent domain for commercial development (allowed by U.S. Supreme Court)
- We have corporations who are getting financial incentives (tax breaks) to layoff workers here and send the jobs to other countries
- Those who are paid to represent companies and organizations (lobbyists) are double-dipping by working or volunteering as staff for members of Congress (both House and Senate)

With this type of an atmosphere, who is really being represented in Washington, the people or those with the most money? If you think it is the latter, then we have an atmosphere of taxation without representation.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Now It's Mom's Turn

While I was typing the mammogram post, I got the strangest call. It was the plumber at my Mother's house, apparently she was vomiting and passing out on him, and I needed to get over there right away. Thankfully I had not yet left for the grocery shopping I was planning on doing, so I was able to save what I had typed, closed out and put my computer in sleep mode.

Thankfully I fed Rachel before I left, I left about 11:30 am, I got home at 9:30pm this evening. As of this writing I still have not eaten dinner, but Rachel has been fed and is very happily camped out on her latest perch, which is on top of the CPU of my PC.

Mom is going to be okay, but she is still at the hospital overnight, we'll find out if they've figured out what happened tomorrow. After all of the trips to the hospital we made with my Father, now it's Mom's turn.

Any prayers will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Dawn

Got Mammograms?

This post is on a less political side, and more personal.

This morning I went and had my mammograms done. I'm 41 years old, typically at my age you start to get them every other year, but because of lumps found 5 years ago, I have to get them every year. As bad as they are, they are nothing compared to waiting until cancer is found and having to go through tests, biopsies, and surgeries.

Back in 2003 I had my first ever mammograms done. Lumps were found in both breasts and the alarms went off with my doctor. Within days I was told I needed to talk to a breast surgeon they referred me to. I did so, and she was wonderful. I had to go through more mammograms, then again for ultra sound testing. This eliminated all but two lumps, one in each breast. Needle biopsies were done on each one. This eliminated one of the lumps, but the other, I was told, would need to be surgically removed.

I learned this morning that a lumpectomy is when the lump is malignant, but my attitude is, if you have to go under the knife for this, it's a lumpectomy. Thankfully, mine was benign. With Decker only being deceased for a couple of years at this point in time, it was a bit scary for me, but thankfully I had my parents to see me through the whole thing, including the surgery.

My point here is, it's important to get these things taken care of and anything caught early, the stakes on your life are just too high.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Obama's Earlier Campaigns

In fairness to Republicans, here is a CNN article on how Barack Obama got elected for the State Legislature out of Chicago, and then for the Senate seat he now holds for Illinois.

Obama's First Campaign

Apparently he has an army of people who contest every signature on the ballots to disqualify his opponents and run unopposed. Even if the signatures were valid, by the time it was worked out in the courts the election would have been over.

By the way, this was a tactic used by the Democratic party in 2004 in an effort to keep Ralph Nader off of the ballot in several states. If you think Obama's the only one who would stoop to this kind of campaigning, think again.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Who Would Be Left?

Given what I've said about McCain, also know my thoughts concerning Obama and Clinton are not that great either, as I've mentioned in previous posts.

So, the question I have is, if God decided to "clean house" in Washington D.C. as He did in Sodom and Gomorrah, who would be left?

McCain, Part 3

I've seen some articles on McCain recently that are not too flattering:

Newsweek

and

US News And World Report

and

The Arizona Republic

You would think that there would be laws in the Constitution stating staff members of elected officials cannot work as lobbyists. It breaches conflict of interest rules, to say the least.

At least I now know why McCain's staff had no interest in pursuing a better plan for FEMA - mine or other plans people have to fix that train wreck - their staff members are either too busy getting paid by their lobbying sponsors for other work to be done, or perhaps they were (presumably) getting lobbied directly by those profiting from the mess FEMA made.

Either way, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina were the ones who lost the most.

I wonder how many of the survivors have lost the homes they are getting back as a result of the sub-prime mortgage mess?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My New Blogging Toy

Yes, folks, I have finally arrived into the 21st century. I have finally purchased an mp3 player (my first ever). It is an iPod Touch and I am typing this blog entry on it - wirelessly! If my students could see me now!

That's all for now, I have so much more to talk about, like the opportunity I had to meet Ralph Nader earlier this month. It was an honor to meet him and he is a very nice man. More on that the in my next post.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some Illegal Immigrants Do Pay U.S. Taxes

For those of you who are under the misguided impression that all illegal immigrants "sponge" off of the U.S. Welfare system, please read some of the following reports:

The Reason Foundation

The Washington Post

The New York Times

The truth is, many illegal immigrants do pay taxes, but are not entitled to many of the benefits those taxes pay for. As for free college tuition, that would only be possible through scholarships payed for by private donors, illegal immigrants are not entitled to receive public money for a college education.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

John McCain Part 2

An answer to a posted comment: The ideas I sent to McCain were sent in Feb. 2006, not now. He wasn't running for President then (at least not announced), but was rather feathering his own cap on a book tour.

Also keep in mind it took 3 months to get a response when his staff said his normal response time is 1 month. The problem was that his staff couldn't find a pre-formatted letter to respond to what I had sent in. Instead of actually coming up with something original, his staff instead provided a pre-formatted letter based on 2 - 3 lines out of the entire document, only dealing with people's pets instead of the people themselves.

At least I'm assuming it was a very, very stupid staffer who did this. which only begs the question: how much of the mail to the Senator actually reaches his eyes? This is part of the problem of our current President and Vice-President, they are so insulated within their own group the American people (namely the voters) are left out in the cold.

John McCain has also tried to change his image from being the "Maverick" Senator from Arizona to being the conservative who kisses the Republican bottoms. I'm sorry to put it that way, but there it is.

I'm not saying Obama or Clinton are the ideal choice, the Republicans and the Democrats both have their own set of agendas they want to meet, regardless of what the American people actually need. This is why I'm actually voting Independent this time. Canada has a 5 party system, why not the U.S.?

I will also add one more experience with this: in June 2007 I got a call from McCain's staff asking for a campaign donation. When I informed this staffer of what had transpired and how disappointed I was in the response I got and I would not be making any kind of donation, I was informed by the staffer "but that is how you get the Senator's "ear", by making a campaign donation". I'm not joking, they actually told me this. Apparently my votes for him all these years didn't count for anything.

For those who are new to the political arena, this is how it works: pay some money to the candidate, get exclusive access to that elected official once they are in office. It's called lobbying, and trust me, elected officials get paid a lot more than what they make in their "official" salaries by doing this.

This is also how earmarks come into play, but perhaps I should save that for another post...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Why I Will Never Vote For McCain Again

With election time rolling around, I wanted to share with my friends a little something that happened to me a few years ago when I tried to contact Senator John McCain.

If you haven't guessed yet, I live in Arizona, so Senator John McCain is one of the elected officials who is supposed to be representing my interests.

I saw the CNN news reports on what happened in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. An idea came to mind as to what FEMA could be doing to better prepare themselves and the U.S. citizens in handling a natural disaster such as what happened in Hurricane Katrina.

Given that this was also the time when reports were coming out (namely on Oprah) showing all of the unused trailers that had been purchased by FEMA to house those affected. These trailers, numbering in the thousands, were sitting vacant on land that FEMA was paying thousands of dollars to lease. It was a complete waste of the taxpayers money. The idea I had at that time encompassed a way to utilize the trailers and cut the burden on the taxpayer at the same time.

This is what I sent (repeatedly) to Senator McCain:

http://members.cox.net/dawnbushman1/fema.html

This was the process of getting this idea to Senator McCain, and a scanned copy of the letter I received from his office in response:

http://members.cox.net/dawnbushman1/mccain.html

Hopefully you've now read both of these. I would now change the housing to more permanent housing (either barracks or apartment type housing).

I can only say I hope the Senator didn't actually read what I sent and what his staff sent in response, or I would be asking for him to be removed from office right now. As it stands, it appears he is so isolated from his own constituents in Arizona, think about what kind of President of the U.S. he will make?

This is why I will never vote for Senator John McCain again, in any election.

Immigration Reform, Part 3

My very good friend, Shellee, brought up a great point that I would like to briefly discuss. She asked how can we tell who is coming across the border to work vs. crossing our borders to harm U.S. citizens?

This is going to involve a little bit of math, so I hope you guys can bear with me for just a moment.

Let's take a look at the current scenario that is playing out with border crossings. Right now we have some people legally crossing our borders to work in the U.S. These are people who have already passed background checks in order to receive permission to enter the U.S. and work.

We have others crossing illegally, at the risk of their own lives, in order to work. There are also others crossing our borders to either attack Americans or smuggle drugs into the U.S.

If we could better educate the people of Mexico on how to incite change within their country, do you think they will do it? I think the answer is yes. These are people who have left their homes and family to work and send money back to Mexico. They would much rather be at home, working for a decent wage to pay for their necessities in Mexico. If this need were filled, with good jobs, good wages and educational opportunities for their children, do you think they will be motivated to put their lives at risk trying to cross our borders? No.

If these people are no longer crossing our borders illegally, then who will be? Those who are smuggling drugs or have plans to attack Americans. Those who still wish to work in the U.S. can do so with a background check, and an employment verification, to receive a guest worker permit.

It's supply and demand. If the demand for jobs in the U.S. is no longer there, than the supply of illegal immigrants will drop.

In the meantime, the citizens of the U.S. can work on bring up their own living wages to match the cost of living...and on improving our own educational system.

Let's continue this conversation, shall we?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Education & Income Inequality, Or Vice Versa?

Here's another topic I've touched on in previous posts: education. We definitely need education reform in this country, however you cannot have a conversation about education reform without a conversation in income inequality. The reason is because they feed off of one another, and at this point in time, they are spiraling downward.

How can you afford to support yourself and your family with no education? How can you afford to go to college - and graduate - without money?

How much should we spend per child to get them to their grade level for reading, writing and math?

Should we ditch those subjects in favor of teaching technology?

These are some of the issues being thrown around in education circles. I hear both sides of the last question given that I run the computer lab at a K-8 school. I recently attended a conference over Spring Break for technology in education, and I left feeling somewhat frustrated. One of the last classes I attended was about the Technology Assessment that is now mandated by the Arizona Dept. of Education (ADE). This is a great start to show the importance of teaching technology, internet safety and copyright issues, however there is this bandwagon that people are jumping on with the idea that we should ditch the traditional education standards for something more "modern". There are some who feel that books are dead.

There is one problem I see with that logic: what good is a users manual for computer software to be electronic, if you need to use it because the computer will not start? There is a reason why software manuals are still written as books. You can get digital copies, however there are instances where you will want the bound copies at your fingertips.

The English language is also not dead, in place of the "shorthand" used for text-messaging and instant messaging, because there is still a need to communicate world-wide with others who may not understand these fad languages.

Personally, my opinion is we would do better to teach children how to read (and eventually be able to read the software manuals themselves) than just simply which buttons to push. If you have ever used Microsoft Office, think of the difference between versions 2000, 2003 and 2007 for Windows and you'll understand what I'm talking about. The 2007 version is almost so completely different from the previous versions, you need to read the manual on it to understand it.

The next item within education is the quality of education based upon the income of the child's family. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that there is a difference in the quality of education received in schools based upon the income levels of the families attending public schools. There are exceptions to the rule on this, where schools in the low income neighborhoods are making a difference. Unfortunately it is because these schools do not have the financial support of wealthy parents they cannot offer more opportunities to the students than what the financially strapped school districts can provide.

Now, to talk about income inequality. This basically means, to use an old phrase, "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". There is a larger gap between those who are considered to be successful in their lives and those who are not. The recession issues now occurring in the U.S. are driving the point home to more people, as those who have not felt the pinch at the pump, or the rising cost of food, feel it more acutely than they are now.

The reason for this is because those who are more successful, and actually have the cash to back up their lifestyle, are more insulated from downturns in the economy than those who are living paycheck to paycheck. I did make one caveat in this: they must have the cash to keep their lifestyle. This is where the term "big hat, no cattle" plays an important role. This is a phrase I learned in the book, "The Millionaire Next Door". It means they have a lot of expensive toys, but are cash poor and are putting a fake front on their lifestyle. Those who live this way are walking a tightrope and the number of foreclosures on expensive homes is a good indicator as to whom these people are.

For those who do have the cash, this downturn in the economy is only a small dent in their pocketbooks.

I'll post more on this conversation later...