Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rebel Without a Clue!!

Does it make you a rebel?  Are you “getting one over on the man?” Or, are you simply an ass?  These questions and several others cross my mind every time I fly.  The issue is around turning off your electronic devices for take off and landing.  Have we become so dependent to our electronics that the thought of it being completely off as asked is so hard to comprehend? 

The reason that the FAA wants passengers to turn off their electronic devices is because there is a chance that certain devices could interfere with the communications of the airplane.  These communications are most important at take off and landing.  The vast majority of problems occur during these two events with very few incidents once at cruising altitudes.  People against this will argue that there is no scientific proof.  Really?  You will risk an entire plane full of people because there is no “proof” insurance guy!!  My son Tyler has a puzzle that makes animal sounds.  It goes off every time we turn off the lights!    I would guess that certain devices could interfere, so turn your dang phone off!

So if it’s certain devices why to do all devices need to be turned off?  Maybe because flight attendants don’t need to try to figure out what device is what when they are preparing the cabin for take off or landing.  Quit giving them a hard time by not following the rules.  They do make exceptions for issues that involve health concerns but they do not need you giving them a hard time so you can get in one more round of Angry Birds!  READ something…look at the Skye Mall catalogue…do something but quit trying to get one over on people who do not make the rules.

I understand that human beings do not like to be told what to do…I get it. From a very early age kids say “no” and “don’t tell me what to do”.  But have we gotten to the point as a people that we are so above all rules that we decide which ones are right for us.  Even if people do not agree they should follow what is in place…in place for the safety of others.  Do you really think that the FAA is making up rules to “control you”?  In 2000, congress could not fully come to a definitive answer to whether electronic devices could interfere with take off or landing so they chose to regulate on the side of safety.  People, turn off your device and chat with a human being sitting next to you.  Maybe you will meet a new friend, meet someone famous, or simply make somebody’s day with a kind word.  If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.  (Omar N. Bradley)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not the Right..Not the Left...Who am I?

Okay, blog number one and I’m starting with politics.  So many options…Tyler’s success, Andrew’s growth into manhood, Austin’s new words and skills…and I chose politics.  I think it is simply because nothing frustrates me more these days than the division of our country.  Can an American still be in the middle?  Is there a middle to even stand on?  Sometimes I feel like both sides of the isle are tossing the ball over my head and I don’t get to play.  A ball called liberty.  Am I free to disagree with either side?  How about both?

Let me first tell you how I am rejected by the Left.  I believe in a strong military. I feel private business will always provide better services than the government.  I believe that too many taxes stifle the economy.  I believe in gun ownership. I believe that coming into a country illegally is illegal and puts undue stress on the economy. I believe in a woman’s choice to choose sex or no sex; Birth control or not.  But once life is conceived it goes from choice to responsibility.  I love meat.

I am rejected by the Right also!  At one point I was a literal “card carrying” republican but have given up.  I believe that the upper one percent of individual wealth should contribute more.  I have failed in marriage.  I have inhaled.  I have very good friends whom are gay and lesbian.  I believe that there should be a separation between church and state where religious choices are not legislated.  I believe that the government is responsible to ensure the rights and lives of those with special needs and mental health issues are given safety and quality.  I call the President, “President Obama” not Mr. Obama, out of respect for the office.  Come on Fox News…knock it off!

I do not hold ill feelings toward those who do not hold to the same beliefs.  I am tired of the attacks from both sides and the outrages accusations.  Does the Left really feel that the right only cares about fetuses and forgets the baby once its born?  Does the Right really believe that the left is void of all morality?  To the extremes I think the answer is yes.  Unfortunately, it is those extremes that seem to be running our country…running it right off a cliff. 

Tune to MSNBC and one would think that all Republicans want to take poor kids out of school and put them into work programs to earn more money for the wealthy.  Turn to Fox News and you would think that all Democrats want to give kids weed and condoms.  The extreme arguments cloud the issue and close the door to healthy debate.  Let me give an example, which was sparked by a post on Facebook yesterday.  On the Tea Party sight they posted “The average price of a gallon of gas was $ 1.79 when President Obama took office. The current average now is $ 3.51 per gallon. Is it any wonder the economy is so bad?”  This extreme statement is not a logical argument!  
Let me explain why.  They give the following link:  Going to that chart shows that at one point gas prices were $4.09 under Bush in June of 2007.  It makes their argument now look stupid.  The argument should be that during the Bush administration the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.16 verses President Obama’s, which has averaged $2.88.  Do the math…I did.  The average over time is a better argument than random extreme numbers thrown out.  The argument could be continued by showing that the $.73 difference equates into major money for the average American.  The average American household uses 1,100 gallons of gas a year.  That $.73 equates to $803 a year more we are spending on average under President Obama on gas alone.  
Now, for those on the left who argue Republicans are the reason for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.  Look at the facts.  Lets start with going to and clicking on chart H-3 which will give you the Mean (Shared average) income for the 5 classes the census bureau looks at for wealth.  It goes from 1967 through 2010.  I looked at increase in average wealth and the percentage increase in wealth.  I highlighted Republic presidential years and Democrat presidential years.  Looking at the top 5 percent, middle income and lowest incomes, here is what I found:

                                                Top 5%                      Middle 5%                    Lowest 5%
Nixon/Ford                $21,239.00 or 42%         $5,011.00 or 39%              $1,346.00 or 42%

Carter                        $19,784.00 or 28%          $5,010.00  or  28%            $1,158.00  or 26%  

Reagan/Bush SR.    $75,124.00 or 52%          $12,930.00 or 42%            $2,946.00 or 41%

Clinton                   $107,792.00 or 43%          $11,602.00  or 27%          $2,901.00 or 27%

Bush JR.                 $42,309.00 or 14%           $7,899.00  or 16%             $1,499.00 or 13%

Obama                        $-7,023.00                       $-823.00                           $-622.00

In the two years represented by President Obama wealth has actually been lost in all the classes!  The largest discrepancy in wealth disparity actually occurred during the Clinton administration.  During President Clinton's time in office the wealthy increased their wealth $107,792.00 or 42% while the lowest 5% only increased by 27%.  The classes gap increased!  It increased by 16% while Reagan and Bush Sr. combined increased it by 11%.  The least amount of increase in the class gaps occurred with Bush Jr. but all anyone heard is how he was making the rich, richer and poor, poorer.  According to our governments data that is not true.  If you like I can send you my highlighted and noted spreadsheet?

Maybe the saddest story presented that all classes have decreased in wealth  since President Obama has taken office...ALL.  The only other time that happened is in the beginning of President Bush Jr's presidency which included 9/11.   He also was the first Republic president to increase government.  Increasing government does not help the poor!  The greatest increase to the average income for the lowest 5% in this country have been with Republican not Democrat presidents.  The greatest gap between the rich and the poor happened with President Clinton...a Democrat.  People just need to stop relying on what they hear from their party and the media and get out a dang calculator.  I know the United States has fallen in their math scores but you can use a calculator for this assignment.

Where are the free thinking Americans?  I really need someone to lead who can unite and understand what most Americans understand...stop spending and increase income.  IT'S the ONLY way to not fall on economic hard times.  Will there be a leader who recreates the middle or are my sons destined to take sides...maybe even against one another.  We have been there before.  History does have a way of repeating itself and that more than anything scares me!  Thanks for letting me vent!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Introductions to Get Things Going!

I have decided to jump in and enter the world of blogging.  I am not a writer!  I have no idea how much I will actually write and how often I will be moved to post.  I do feel that this will be a more appropriate place to share some of my thoughts and feelings about my life, politics, beliefs, etc. than simply posting random thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

So, a little about myself!  I am 43, married to Jammie, and father to Andrew (Andy), Tyler (TJ), and Austin (still waiting on a nickname).  Andrew is my oldest son (19) and a freshman at George Mason in Fairfax, VA.  He is an incredible song writer and musician.   He is also gifted at acting and has an amazing sense of humor.  After my ex-wife remarried she and Andrew moved out to Virginia Beach, VA and I followed a year later.  Eight years ago I remarried Jammie.  Jammie and I were blessed with Tyler 5 years ago.  After missing some of his developmental markers we brought him to a developmental pediatrician.  Three years ago we found out Tyler has Fragile X Syndrome.  I am sure I will have many posts in the months to come about that journey.  He is such a great kid and a huge blessing in the lives of all he meets.  Though he comes with some special needs he makes up for it and than some with such a special ability to make people smile.  He is pure joy!  Austin was born 19 months ago and is a neuro-typical child.  NO delays there!!  He forces Tyler to be a big brother.  He also forces mom and dad to have to work out simply so we can keep up with him.  We recently moved back to the mid-west where Jammie and I both were born and raised.  We live in Dakota Dunes, SD.

A tad on my work history.  I started working with individuals impacted by Traumatic Brain Injury in 1987.   I served adults with Traumatic Brain Injury for 14 years in the capacities of direct care, manager, and administrator.  Since 2001 I have worked for The Mandt System, Inc. and serve as Director of Operational Sustainability.  I am a sought after conference speaker, trainer, keynote presenter, and behavior consultant. As a parent of a child with special needs, as well as a professional in the field, I am able to  bring a unique blend of personal and professional insights into my presentations.  Over the past decade I have traveled the United States and Canada with the main goal of helping to create and sustain safe working environments.  When it comes to the history of caring for individuals with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, mental health concerns, and overall challenging behaviors, environments have been non-inclusive, coercive, and inhumane in many ways.  Though in recent decades things have improved, they still have a long way to go.  Little did I know when I started this journey so many years ago that it would become personal in a very real way.  My goal is to make the world a better place for all people but my focus is on those who often lack their own voice to make that world a possibility.  It's no longer about a professional is a personal calling.

Okay, that is about it for now.  I am sure that I will be adding things in the days, weeks, and months to come!  Please check back and see what I have to say.  Did I mention I am not a writer?