YES WE DID

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 12:39 PM [General]


     

     

    I share my joy and pride of this moment with each of you.  To see this nation come so far in my lifetime is more than I could ever have thought possible.  From the days of segregation and Jim Crow this nation has finally emerged to a place where all of our citizens are now able to see that what is now important is indeed the content of character rather than the color of skin.  I share my joy with you, my hopes, my gratitude for the part we each played in making this  happen.  With our votes, we spoke as a people, not whites, not blacks, but Americans.  As we face the challenges ahead, we  must remember that it will take the sacrifice of all to make the aspirations of today come to fruition.  

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    Help to obtain full disclosure

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 11:47 AM [General]

    With the coming in of a new administration a movement is again underway to seek full disclosure of the government and military files on UFO's.  There was a million fax campaign that from all accounts was very successful.  Obama has a website Citizen's Briefing Book at change.gov where many are posting this very request.   There is a point system as people vote to have an issue raised in the standings.  The highest issue is around 6000 points and the disclosure issue is nearly at 3000 points.  I am posting a link to the page in hopes that the enlightened people here will take part in this important project.  With John Podesta being very public in his support of disclosure there is real reason to hope this in fact may happen in this already historic administration.  If this is something you are interested in, PLEASE, copy the link and forward it to everyone you know.   red

    http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000004mcH

     

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    A trillion by any other name....

    Sunday, January 11, 2009, 10:23 AM [General]

     

     

    As we listen daily to broadcasters, bankers and politicians talk about the current economic crisis we hear numbers like millions, billions and trillions.  Most of us, myself included have trouble getting our heads around these numbers.   I thought this would be helpful to make sense of these numbers. 

    1,000,000 (1 million) seconds equals ~0.031 years

    1,000,000,000 (1 billion) seconds equals ~31.6 years

    1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) seconds equals ~31,688.8 years


    Lets see, one million seconds ago it was summer!

    Worse yet, one billion seconds ago it was it was May of 1977!

    If you can grasp this, one trillion seconds ago it was......29,679  BC

    Perhaps this will bring the numbers that politicians throw around a bit more realistic for us all to grasp.  Basically, we need to be aware of the debt we are in or that we are leaving our children, grandchildren and likely our great grandchildren!  Happy Deficit Day!  
      

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    Poverty at home

    Thursday, November 20, 2008, 12:30 PM [General]

     

     

    While this article is about my hometown I encourage all of you to look into the poverty situation in your own home town. 

     Poverty seems to have been swept under the rug this during the 08 election.  While the crisis that is befalling the middle class is urgent, so too is the plight of the poor.  With our economy in such dire straights the ranks of the poor will only swell.  It behooves us to take a look at poverty here at home. 

    While many people look upon our fair city and see the glittering new buildings and the prosperity of one segment of our population, the inner city residential neighborhoods go unseen.   Neighborhoods on the North East and North West portion of the city are in ruins.  Abandoned houses are everywhere and all the problems that they draw are making many neighborhoods dangerous and nearly unlivable.

    Rochester NY, the “Flower City” has the 10th highest poverty rate in the nation with  nearly 30% of the population living below the poverty line.  (2007 statistics)  In the US 1 out of 8 people are living in poverty, in NY state the numbers are 1 out of 7, and in the city of Rochester it is a dismal 1 out of 4. (2004 statistics) In a city that brags of being so  modern and prosperous this is a shame. 

    Children in our city fare even worse.  Among children under the age of 18 in our city 2 of every 5 children live in poverty.  We rank as the 11th worst in the nation.  Infant mortality rates in certain areas of the city are as bad as in many third world countries.  While we can boast of a wonderful health care system in our area, it should be apparent that many of our citizens are unable to get proper care. 

    In the current economic climate we see unemployment growing and the trend is sure to continue.  What is a family to do when unemployment benefits run out?  The only option is to turn to the Department of Social Services for help.  The process is difficult and time consuming but help is available to those with no source of income.  What are the circumstances for those who are forced to survive on Public Assistance. 

    A typical family of 3 receives $688 in a cash grant and $463 dollars in Food Stamps.  Here is the breakdown of a cash grant for a family of 3. 

    Rent $343 (for an apartment that does not include heat)
    Heat $54
    Basic needs $291

    Fair market rent for a two bedroom apartment in our area tops $700 a month, you can barely find a studio apartment in Rochester for the amount allocated to rent in the County’s subsidy to families.  The amount considered for basic needs is used to pay rent and to supplement the cost of utilities, leaving little for the necessities of life.  Incidentally, the last raise in the amount of the Public Assistance grant was 19 years ago.  I did the numbers on an inflation calculator, what cost $400 19 years ago now costs $721, imagine if you will, living on the wages you earned in 1997. 

    Any community is only as prosperous as it’s weakest citizens, what does that say about the Rochester area?  It is time for compassionate and caring people to take a stand for the poor.   By bringing this out into the open we can work toward a reasonable solution.  I encourage people to get involved by writing your County Legislator, the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services and Maggie Brooks, our county executive.  If you are interested you are invited to become involved with EMPOWER a local welfare rights group.  Meetings are held on the first and third Monday’s at 7:30 pm at Cameron Community Ministry on Cameron Street.  The contact number for this group is (585) 254-6650.  





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    School for the Obama girls

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 5:04 PM [General]


     

    Really I am very frustrated about all this conversation about where these young ladies will attend school.  Barack and Michelle are parents first, political figures second. In my opinion to use their kids as a political statement is as wrong as the way Sarah used her son as a political tool. 

    People and the press need to mind their own business and allow these parents to educate their children in whatever way they choose.  President Elect Obama is a successful  politician and author and has worked hard for his family.  With education being the door that both he and Michelle walked though to a very successful life I am certain the decision will be made with the girls in mind, not their political face. 


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    A heavy burden, a sad life

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 10:58 AM [General]


    There are times when the weight of my life becomes a burden that is too heavy for me.  I am not unique in this as many people here on beliefnet have huge struggles.  I have fought with myself all morning about whether or not to write this, self disclosure can bite you in the but on line.  Yet, what is the point of having a journal if you cannot share the real you, the good times and the bad. 

    With a husband in prison already and a son on the way I am part of a large group of Americans.  With one million people incarcerated in our nation I certainly am not alone.  We are a hearty group, loving and supporting our loved ones as they pay their debt to society.  Supporting someone in this situation is no easy thing.  While we know the good in our loved ones, others only see them as felons and criminals.  While we have done no wrong, committed no crime we too are seen by society as somehow tarnished.  Treated as less than human by Prison guards, given a  hard time at every turn, searched and made to even remove our bra's, we continue to visit and love our relatives. 

    Every visit is a bittersweet experience.  With great excitement and joy we wait in lines, and are passed through the gates to our awaiting loved ones.  The joy and happiness is evident as the room is filled with joyful voices, kisses and hugs.  The visits are between 6 and 2 hours depending on what facility and how quickly we are processed in.  For those few hours we can forget the separation and the heartbreak, for those few hours the longing is gone.  As the time to leave draws near, the mood of the entire room shifts.  You can literally feel the sadness and the grief growing as the time to leave approaches.  When time is up the guards shout for us to vacate the visiting room and we herd out past gates and bars leaving our loved ones behind once again. 

    With tears in our eyes, and some of us like me, with tears streaming down our faces we return to our world without our loved ones.  All the joy and excitement that was so evident is replaced by a grief and a fear that can be crippling.  It is a roller coaster ride that I would wish on no one.  I am able to see my husband once a month and I cherish those few hours.   Knowing what they must endure our lives are filled with worry, fear, and the never ending feeling of helplessness.   There are times that I think I cannot go on one more minute living this way.

    For those with loved ones in prison the shame can be overwhelming.  Finding compassion for this situation from society at large is nearly impossible, leaving most families very isolated.  One million families live this every day, ONE MILLION!  I want to thank the women that are part of my Beliefnet support group for families and friends of inmates for their love and their support.  We hold each other up when times are bad, and we share each others joy in the good times.  There are times when I am a champ, I can stay positive and enjoy my life, and other times when the grief is too much to bear.  When you are saying your prayers, if you would, please remember the families of the incarcerated.   

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    The weight of the Presidency

    Saturday, November 8, 2008, 11:52 AM [General]


     

    Now that the jubilant day has passed and Senator Obama is now President Elect Obama it is time for a reality check among his supporters.  As we worked, donated, volunteered, shared our thoughts and hopes with each other our idealism was at a fever pitch.  With so many new voters and people taking their first real look at politics, caution needs to be advised.  The rhetoric from those not in support of him is already gearing up and as we all know is not going to end.

    As I saw the demeanor of the President Elect during his acceptance speech, I could see the weight of the office coming down on his shoulders.  A serious and tempered tone was obvious to all.  The ways of a campaign are far different from the ways of effective leadership.  We must remember that a candidate for President is not privy to all the information until the briefings begin.  While I am certain that all the things he hopes to do will be part of the agenda, he now must work within the bounds of our government.  As we all know, government moves at it's own pace.  While he has the majority in the House and the Senate, things will still take time.  President Elect Obama is a wise man and will not rush headlong into anything without thoughtful deliberation and consideration.  And that is as it should be.

    After the vote on FISA supporters ont the Obama website went crazy.  There were hundreds of posts daily crying..... no, screaming foul.  The things those people were saying about the Senator were hard for me to read, and these were supporters!  Even back then I was concerned about these same supporters having temper tantrums when they realized that politics is about compromise.  You have to give to get in Washington, and if we ever want a unified nation this is part and parcel of the process.  

     

    The issue for the nation and the majority that cast their vote for change is patience.  Any change worth having is going to take time.  He made it clear in the acceptance speech that his plans and programs, the change we have all been praying for is not coming easy, nor will it be fast.  I am very concerned that idealism could get in the way for those new on the political scene. 

    We must all do our part to reassure and educate our fellow Obamaites in the workings of government, bi partisan cooperation, and compromise.  President Obama is seeking to unify this nation, that means he will have to embrace all Americans and may make compromises the politically naive may at first see as a betrayal.  We must support him as President even more than we did as candidate.  He has the hardest and most important job in the world and he needs our prayers, support, and understanding if the changes we have prayed for are going to come to pass. We must stand behind this man with our pens in hand (or key pads) and write our representatives to encourage them to get needed legislation through.  The same organization that got him elected must now understand and work within the system of government.  YES WE CAN!

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    Sarah has been thrown under the bus!

    Friday, November 7, 2008, 9:00 AM [General]

     

    It is  no surprise to me that the McCain camp and his campaign advisers are now trashing Sarah Palin, none at all!  Scapegoat-ism is what we see at work right now and a case of sour grapes too. 

    The shocking revelations about her lack of knowledge about the continent of Africa, her lack of geographical competence, her cluelessness about NAFTA and all the rest is not surprising to me, but apparently shocking to many.  While I have said all along she was nothing more than a cheap political trick and not at all qualified for any major public office, this revelation only makes me sad.  I had no idea she has less knowledge of things than even I do!  As the "Wasilla hillbilly's" looted the expensive stores aides quietly stood by and watched.  Her appearance in a towel speaks volumes about her so called "morals" and her professionalism, could you imagine Hillary doing anything like that? 

    Yet this is the least shocking of this tale of woe.  The same people that were attempting to shove her down the throats of the American public are the ones "leaking" all this information.  They should be the ones to hang their heads in shame.  With cries about her qualifications they told us she was well qualified to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency, are you kidding me????  You may sense that I am gloating and you would be absolutely correct, I love to call a game correctly. 

    I must admit that I feel bad for her, she will go down in infamy.  Yet how can I be completely sympathetic?  I cannot find total sympathy for her as she was well aware that she was in no way ready for a  job of such vital importance.  (I can see Russia from my backyard. LOL)  No one twisted her arm nor forced her to accept this ridiculous place on the Republican ticket, she willingly placed herself in this position. 

    What should be of concern to the public, especially the Republicans, is how they were knowingly deceived about her and her qualifications.  After the Bush debacle and the Palin train-wreck can this party ever be trusted again?  Not by me that is for sure.  Yet we are faced with a large number of Republicans that embraced her and flocked to her rallies, loved her venom, and are hoping she will become a force in the Republican party.  If it weren't for bad judgment, they would have no judgment at all.  

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    History and our part in it

    Thursday, November 6, 2008, 7:50 AM [General]


     

    After spending election night with my children and not getting home until very late last night I am finally sitting down to share my thoughts and feelings about this wonderful page in history. 

    Oh what a night!  As I sat in my daughters living room watching the returns on television, my heart was filled with such excitement.  I was truly afraid to get too excited, but when he took PA, I knew the handwriting was on the wall.  The coverage was wonderful and the spirit that gripped the nation was like an electric surge that swept over everyone watching.  

    It was a wonderful opportunity for me to share memories of the "old days" and to help my girls understand just what a historic moment this truly was.  We discussed what a different world I grew up in and the world my parents grew up in as well.  It seemed that every time I would discuss a particular issue with the girls, shortly thereafter a story or blurb would come on with more information on the topic.  It was a night to remember as a family moment, and a moment in time. 

    When the announcement was made that all the networks projected Obama as the winner, tears flooded my eyes.  It was as it some karmic debt had begun to be paid, a huge wrong righted, and all the hopes and dreams of a nation came to fruition one vote at a time.  When they showed Jessie Jackson Sr. with tears streaming down his face all I could think about was the celebration in heaven with Martin leading the way.  So many lives were lost, so many sacrifices made, and the eyes of a nation were fixed on the struggles of the Civil Rights movement.   I thought back to that horrible scene of police dogs, fire hoses and police batons used against peaceful protesters only hoping for a fair and equitable nation.  Their sacrifices opened the door for this new day. 

    As the results came in my heart soared.  There has not been such a decisive victory for a Democrat since the Johnson election in the 60's.  With 63.4 million ballots cast for Obama it is clear that this was far more than an election about race.  This election was about hope, a new day, a moving into the new century as a new nation a place that every child can now say, "I want to be president some day" and it is possible.  This did  not happen in a vacuum, it was not one segment of the populace that voted this man into office.  Americans of every color, gender, age, religion, socio-economic background and regions of the country made this happen.  It is a proud day, a proud time, a proud nation. 

    The acceptance speech was a masterpiece.  With unity as the buzzword, the President elect made it known that the real work is only beginning.  With humility and honor he called out to all of us to be prepared for the struggles ahead, and to do our part in making change happen.  We all must do our part in supporting this president with the same dedication that it took to get him elected.  As he prepares for this most important job, he needs our prayers. 
    The stage is now set, the players are being chosen and we can all be part of this  historic time, this is only the beginning. 

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    Civic Pride shining today!

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 9:09 AM [General]

     

     

    As I took the short 2 block walk to my polling place this morning my heart was full of joy.  I have voted in every election but one, I was desperately ill, since I was old enough to vote.  Yet my walk in the gentle fall breeze this morning was somehow different for me.  There was a pride, a joy that was nearly overwhelming.  It somehow seemed that I noticed all the beauty around me, the potted plants along the street, the birds seemed a bit brighter, their songs a bit sweeter.  There is a hope that I have not had in many years, an appreciation of this powerful right to cast a secret ballot for the candidate of my choice. 

    I was pleased to see so many people at the polling place so early this morning.  I have voted in the city of Rochester for the past 30 years and never seen such a turn out.  In my racially and economically diverse neighborhood there was an excitement and conversation among voters waiting in line.  In all the years I have voted I have never before seen the number of young people at the polls.  On the way to the fire-station I had 3 conversations with people that had just cast their vote and the hope and the pride is so evident in their faces. 

    Once my vote was cast I felt a deep gratitude for this nation for those men and women that have sacrificed so much to insure this right for every American.  I stopped at a local convenience store and got big smiles from every person that saw my "I voted today" sticker proudly displayed on my shirt.  When you think about the unity in purpose today it should give you pause.  Whether voting for the Republican or the Democrat, people in our nation on this day are taking advantage of this right like never before.  I will not be surprised if this is the largest voter turn out in US history. 

    The historic races, a black man and a woman on either side of the aisle has shattered the "old boy's" stranglehold on our political system.  With our nation facing challenges like never before the outcome is equally important to both sides.  As much as I want my candidate to win, as long as the votes are tabulated without fraud and all people are given equal access to the polls I will be satisfied.  History will be made today no matter if we have a Black president or a female vice president, it will forever change the landscape of national politics. 

    I am looking forward to all the coverage of the election tonight and hopefully before I retire for the evening I will hear Barack Obama thank us, the voters, for giving him the presidency.  

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