Archive for September, 2013

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EXONERATION?

September 28, 2013

A couple days ago, David Korn had an “Eureka” moment and speculated that perhaps what the “world” viewed  [READ:  The Press] has thought was bungling and weakness – just MAYBE was exactly what the Obama campaign in  2008 said he would do.  Unfortunately, he was not able to immediately implement what he promised as our economic world had collapsed at the end of the Bush administration, and their two wars had also gone a “bit off track”-to put it mildly!  As a result, Obama was forced to spend his first four years in office cleaning up the messes left by the neo-cons before he could move forward with his own agenda.

Remember that campaign?   “Diplomacy before War?”   Remember why you chose him over McCain who also has not changed his stance –” war first, then think about other options”.  Remember those initial moves Obama made to implement his thinking that did indeed lead him to be named as winner of Nobel Peace Prize?  We probably all remember the brouhaha over that.   But how many of us remember the Obama discussions of a “Just War” that accompanied that recognition – along with the reiteration that diplomacy should always come first?

Let’s not forget that as he entered office, it was very evident that his own agenda had to be put on hold as he mopped up after the Bush campaign.  Do we remember how surprised we were when he reached out to –not a friend- but Hillary Clinton to carry the ball for him as Secretary of State …so that diplomacy still remained the focus even if he, himself, was distracted?

Fast Forward to last week.  As it unfolded, the US proceeded with “caution”:  The Syria situation seemed to be moving forward in the right direction and Iran’s Rowhani seemed to be making positive overtures.

And yesterday, history was made TWICE! 

For the first time since 1979, heads of US and Iran had a conversation!  And for the first time, the UN Security Council approved a resolution on chemical weapon use and stockpiles in Syria.

By yesterday at noon, Andrea Mitchell was backing off her negative leading questions and  comments ; by evening, Rachel  Maddow  joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC for a long discussion that furthered David Korn’s statements earlier in the week.

As they looked back at what has happened leading up to Syria and the stance on sanctions in Iran, they recognized that quietly, without a lot of fanfare, Obama was acting exactly like he did as a Senator-and doing exactly what he said he would do during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.  In fact, they had a “eureka” moment.  It all made sense now that Hillary became Secretary of State and covered a million miles  rebuilding diplomatic relations around the world  for the US! And it made sense that John Kerry was selected to “carry on”.

Why, they even speculated that he had NOT put campaign promises aside after all. Instead, recognizing he had his hands full with the Bush economic disaster, he strategically picked Hilary to keep a strong focus on foreign affairs  while he mopped up the messes at home.

Has he been exonerated?  Probably not yet. 

Has the 20th century perspectives of Press, Congressional leaders and the general American people finally figured it out?  Probably not yet.

No, it will take some time to break the habit of applying 20th century norms to a 21st century thinker…but finally, there is a leak in the dam those angry old birds put up to protect themselves, and soon the dam will fail.

But for all those Americans that did not become disillusioned, discouraged and disappointed, but continued to watch patiently understanding the first to forge a new path often stumbles and falls and is “hit in the face by the brush” as they make it easier for others to follow…I say, YEAH TEAM! Indeed, “it’s working” and I , for one, feel it is almost exoneration time – even though I know that will only totally happen when the naysayers are GONE and Obama is viewed from a less emotional historical perspective.

Nevertheless, it’s been a good week….despite the Repo suicidal bent not only on their own destruction, but that of our country!

 

 

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A POSITIVE START TO THE WEEK

September 23, 2013

LEARNING STUDIOS

“Can you imagine going to a 1913 hospital” asks Jeff Cacel, principal at North Park Elementary as he positions the REAL issue:  “Why do we subject our children to antiquated and outmoded learning environments?

So at North Park, they’ve made some changes and created a learning studio that houses 94 second graders and 6 teachers which was so successful, the concept has now been expanded to the third grade as well.

Work spaces include tables/chairs, genius bars, hokki stools, and carpeted floor space…plus small rooms for quiet space around the periphery.  YES! Twenty-first century spaces to build twenty-first century skills!

But equally important to me was the work done in redefining the curriculum.  The three “Rs” of reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic have been replaced by the four Cs:  Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity!

Add a little small group work, hands-on learning, conversations, technology and flipped instruction and this is dream come true in revolutionizing education!

I wish I were in school now.  Just think what a better job I could do facilitating a revolution in adult learning – which is also sorely needed in order to succeed in our world today and into the future.

 

GOOD THINKING, TARGET

Before they automatically hired temp holiday staff, they asked their existing hourly team members if they’d like additional work over that time period.

But not to worry, they will still need 70,000 new faces…and if there is a repeat of last year, almost 40% of the newbies will be offered year-round positions after the holidays!

 

GOOD THINKING CLAIR MCCASKILL AS WELL

She’s laid it all out on the table:

“I don’t think in America we should throw tantrums when we lose elections and threaten to shut down the government and refuse to pay bills…The American people had a choice last November.  They had a choice between someone who said ‘Repeal Obamacare’ and President Obama”.

AMEN TO THAT!  What about majority rule do these folks NOT understand?  We can only hope they self-destruct in their attempt to destroy our nation.

 

AND, HATS OFF TO JEFF GOLDBERG

Nice to see at least one news commentator (Jeffrey Goldberg-Blomberg) reads Obama’s stance and effectiveness like I do.  He doesn’t necessarily agree with all the steps to this point, but he acknowledges Obama has been both “tough and effective”…with Syria and Iran – a far different stance from poplar media celebs like NBC whiner, Andrea Mitchell!

Of course, we won’t know until sufficient time passes so UNEMOTIONAL judgment can be made, but it sure is comforting to see if one thinks in a context of today’s world rather than the 1935-1941 run-up to WW2 like George Will and Andrea, one can see a different Obama than the one most of my Boomer generation  see. 

Many of the critiquers might be well-served to spend some time in the North Park Elementary Learning Studio…maybe they would learn something about the century in which we now find ourselves!

 

 

 

 

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A NIGHTMARE REVISITED

September 22, 2013

Friday night was a nightmare revisited as MSNBC aired a program entitled “Hubris – Selling the Iraq War”.   It has taken me 40 hours since watching it before I got over being sick about what it confirmed and could finally think through what that special was telling us.

It confirmed everything many of us were following in the lead up to the Iraqi War INCLUDING the search for a reason to start a war that dates back to before 9-11.  And along with that, it confirmed- not that we were right, but that those who disagreed and called us out-making fun of how stupid we were or worse -were the wrong-doers.  For me, in some cases that meant a loss of friendships that dated back to my youth.

The slime was even worse the second time around  because instead of just having “doubts”, watching the marketing campaign for “The Product” unfold, we cannot deny our doubts today; we know for a fact that the country and the world were duped.  And believe me, it does not help to be one of the few who disagreed with that war.  One still feels guilty that we, as intelligent citizens, were not able to stop this evil generated from within our own government.

We are still focusing around the world in finding “Nazi War Criminals” and bringing them to “Justice” over 70 years since the start of World War II.   Why, here in Minnesota , a 90+ year old man was just recently “outted” for being a young soldier in a German Army that committed atrocities in that war.  

And yet dating from 2001, people I consider “American  War Criminals” that planned the devastation in Iraq created by “The Product” still roam this earth as free men.  Can someone tell me why this makes sense?

I know, I am being a little facetious, but really, folks – this was a President, a Vice President, and several other cabinet members and key staff that carefully planned to dupe America and our UN allies into agreeing to go to war with false accusations.

And yes, 13 years later, the American public is saying…not again! 

But who is being punished because of it?  Not those who were responsible; instead  the party at fault has chosen to hold accountable one of the few who disbelieved the marketing campaign and voted NO to  going to war with Iraq.  So for five years, they have waged a publicity campaign against Barak Obama – who has spent five years trying to RIGHT the evil done in the previous Administration.

And yes, some of you are saying- this is not the first time the country has not had the truth, so what’s the big deal.  Indeed, in the back of my mind, a nagging thought keeps telling me that those not strong enough to face their mistakes, do often project the negative outcomes onto others around them.  But knowing that does not help.

So in my mind, we let the crimes continue.  We once were a functioning country whose citizens had faith in their elected leadership.  We once were a country that trusted our Congressional leaders to disagree, discuss, and move forward together.  Today many of us find most of our Congress simply a drain on the economy. 

It’s been hard to see the “Dream” crumble.  So instead of entitling this “A nightmare revisited”, I guess I should have said – “The Nightmare Continues.” 

I am so sorry this has happened to our country and none of us who knew better could stop it.

 

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THE BIRDS

September 22, 2013

Some may remember this very scary movie from the 50s-60s but little did we know those birds would grow up, run for US Congress and become what I refer to as the ANGRY OLD BIRDS…living, judging, and preaching in the past….turning our world into one of horror-just like the movie.

But this past week, that put one of the point men for the flock migrating right into what can only be called a hilarious situation.

Our favorite KBG man and now leader of Russia wrote an Op-Ed for the NY Times where he scolded Americans as though we were misbehaving chicks in the nest.  We read it; some of us were irritated; some of us laughed; and most of us just passed it off as Russian propaganda for the 21st century….you know, reach the audience by using the media source in which they live/use/have a presence.  When we do that, that audience engages, interacts, and is often moved to action.

And boy, did Putin score BIGTIME – as he chattered loudly, scolding the chicks in the US nest and taunting McCain into one-ups-man-ship!

Angry Old Bird # 1 was mad!  He wanted a chance to throw a little sand in that box he perceived Putin had put HIM in…so he figured out how he could retaliate in kind through a responding OP-ED in Pravda.

Unfortunately, our Angry Old Bird from Arizona – still stuck in another era – had missed a key point.  Pravda was the tool of the Cold War , and yes, in the olden days, it was THE instument of propaganda for a US enemy known as the USSR.

However, although some elements of the USSR have survived – like a KGB man becoming the leader of Russia, Pravda was not as lucky as Putin…it fell on bad times.  In fact, in terms of media popularity polls, it now ranks 535th on the list of media read in Russia today.

But we all know McCaim. HIS ideas are the RIGHT ideas.  Agree or you are wrong…so his carefully crafted response is now floating around Russia in a publication much like those “rags” we find at the grocery check out counters.  Remember?  The trash we loaded up on as we headed  up to Wild River for our annual camping trip with the Meetings folks?  It always gave us a few laughs…and certainly a few big flames around the campfire.

So rather than clipping a few wings, the world is chirping about McCain’s mistake…and I’m sure Putin is roaring with laughter as he scored a BIG ”GOTCHA”!

 

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A LETTER TO LUKE HOSFIELD

September 22, 2013

Luke Hosfield is 28 years old.  He wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published today (Sept 21) in the STRIB. It made me sad….not his predicament by any means, but his attitude made me sad.  So I hope he clips that letter and moment of fame and preserves it for posterity.  He needs to read it again in 40 years.  After all, HE did not cause the problems of the world today so why should he pay for Healthcare?

  • ·         His generation is not the one that did not save for  retirement and now has to work past age 65
  • ·         His generation is not the one that took out bad loans they could not afford and crashed the economy
  • ·         His generation did not spend trillions on foreign wars that have yet to yield positive results.
  • ·         He wants to know why his generation has to foot the bill for problems others created
  • ·         He wants to be sure we all understand that no one thinks about his poor generation and the raw deal they got graduating in 2008 during the crash.
  • ·         He thinks since we are not helping him now, why do we want him to help with Healthcare.

 

My immediate reaction was “what a spoiled brat”; then I thought, oh gee, he forgot one thing in his “poor me” tirade – what about his education costs.  But since he did not mention it, I am sure he is not the one worrying about that! He’s just unhappy because four years after he graduated, the world is not HIS.

As I thought about what he said, I could not help but think of a similar time in my own life – 40 years ago.

He graduated 4 years ago and got a raw deal; I graduated in 1967 and got my first REAL job  4 years later in 1971.  At the time, I had a student loan balance that was 20% higher than my annual salary at that first job.  Pretty even, but I think I win this one because he didn’t mention cost of school.

I didn’t take out any loans that I could not afford so I guess we are even on that one.

In 1971 the US was pretty embroiled in war that my generation did not start – I was the first class of boomers, after all…and we were in the cesspool of Viet Nam…my friends were fighting in that war and some were dying.  Pretty even there as well; although we took on the costs of war and paid it in lives and in dollars…so I think maybe I am a little ahead of him again….as I am sure he did not enlist, nor did his friends ….and he certainly does not think he should pay.

No, we did not have the worst recession since the Depression, but then again, I did not buy a home I could not afford.  But I did buy one in the mid -1980s and one year after I made the purchase, it had DEVALUED 30% due to rocky economic times.  I sold that house 10 years later for $1000 more than the original purchase price.  Again, I think I win here.

And then there is one other thing we need to add to the picture here.  He is a boy.  I was a girl in the business world in the 1960s, 70s, 80s…and somehow I overcame all those terrible things he is facing, and did them very successfully despite being a girl – including many “FIRSTS”- 1st woman director at BI; 1st woman director at CMG; 1st woman vice president in CMG.  Add to that- lots of honors along the way.  And then 25 years later, I started my own business. 

So if we add up all the bad times in his life and all the bad times in my early life, why did he get a raw deal and I moved along from one success to the next?

Well, Luke, I think your raw deal originated – not out in the world you are blaming, but right at home in your own household and it’s called pampered and spoiled. 

 You are following my track pretty closely so far…we’ll see if you turn it into success and despite your current bad attitude, I hope you break out of the mold.

Because you see, in spite of all the bad things you think have happened to you already, you could have one more.  I did.  When I was 57 years old in the midst of yet ANOTHER recession, I fell off a platform and broke my back.  I did not work for almost 30 months.  I had insurance-which as an independent, I paid myself- but it was not quite enough to save me from financial difficulties.

But one more time, I figured out a way to make it; and pay back those that helped me; and to continue on.  And you know what?  I did not think I got a “raw deal”; I was glad I was able to make a comeback and overcome a disaster I caused myself.

Yes, I accepted responsibility for myself.  I paid for my own insurance. I accepted the role I played in the difficulties I faced.  But I am not really trying to chastise you for your attitude.  I am sharing a story that could have been much worse had I not accepted it was my responsibility to pay for health insurance. I paid it for 30 years and was not sick.  And then, in a second, I was –because I made a wrong step. And I will be forever grateful that I had it. Today I am 68 years old.  My work since that medical disaster has been recognized internationally; and today it is a model for the “future” of my industry.

MnSURE and the Affordable Health Care Act is not something you are doing for that deadbeat generation that came before you.  You are doing it for yourself. 

And if you cannot accept that, where will you, with your attitude, be in 40 years?  Think about it.

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SUMMER WRAP UP

September 22, 2013

GOVERNMENT SECURITY CLEARANCES

I am with Claire McCaskill on this one – Get RID of USIS/Altegrity….it wouldn’t take much to find a better way.  They definitely have some flaws in their system.   Two strikes just this summer…the third one may put us ALL out!

THE NEW EPA BATTLEGROUND

Of course McConnell is emerging already as the leader in the EPA fight regarding coal mining-what else would we think would happen- it’s Kentucky after all, land of moonshine, horses, McConnell ,and coal.

A responsible person could not look themselves in the mirror after proclaiming “The President is leading a war on coal and what that really means is a war on jobs.”

Kentucky has had years and years to prepare.  Other states have made improvements.  Minnesota banned new coal-fired plants in 2007 and existing coal plants are slowly being retired.  But good old Kentucky was– “CAUGHT by surprise”.

A an appeal to the Press; please do not rationalize McConnell’s behavior  by telling us one more time he is fighting for his seat against the Tea Party.  Neither he nor the Tea Party deserve to win.

GUN CONTROL

I don’t know the answers but I do know how I feel about it.   

It’s pretty simple.  Anyone who owns a gun has a RESPONSIBILITY to this country to become part of the solution, not just the basis of the problem. And that does not mean ”easy-chair commanders in chief” getting their briefings from TV and Fox news.

Perhaps in the short term, we share ideas on how we can best shift responsibility for finding the solution to the gun owners –as well as penalties if they cannot come up with an equitable solution. We may just find a ‘new” perspective in this battle that ultimately rescues our country from this madness.

ARTICLE 32 MILITARY PROCEEDINGS

I read the first paragraph describing tactics used at a Navy rape hearing, and my stomach churned.

This is not only more proof that the military justice system MUST be reviewed and revised; but as I read about the three accused rapists, I could not help but think – not only does this show total disrespect for the woman and victim, but I could not help but think – how much of the situation was allowed because they were also jocks and football players for the naval academy?

 

 

WHAT’S IN THE MIDEAST WATER?

No matter who the leader is, they are all bellicose- this time it is once again Netanyahu playing the bully role.  “The Iranians are engaged in a media spin in order to keep the centrifuges spinning.”   Really, do we need him butting in right now?

Who knows…perhaps this is a part of wide-ranging plan to keep Iran off-kilter but I tend to think it’s not.  I believe that  – like the spoiled child- Netanyahu was not getting enough attention so he had to “act out” so the world does not overlook HIM.

As both Syria and Iran take the spotlight at the UN next week, it doesn’t appear at least on the surface that that comment was warranted.   I know, we are all proceeding with caution, and I would be surprised if we ended up with a MAJOR world peace agreement…but with a little bit of luck, perhaps we could achieve some first small steps.  So my “gut feel” is if there is the least chance at all for that to happen, Israel’s blustering needs to be controlled.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE

As I wrote this, a ceremony was taking place at Como Park Visitors Center.  Former Marine Captain Amdahl returned a Japanese sword he obtained in Nagasaki to the grandson of the owner Tadahiro Matomurz.  Amdahl’s ship was delayed at sea, as Nagasaki was bombed in WWII.  He discovered the sword in a warehouse full of swords…and brought it back to the US as a “souvenir”.  Eventually, he decided it should be returned and after a long search, the grandson was found and is here to accept it.  The keynote speaker at the ceremony is Clifton Truman Daniel – the grandson of Harry Truman.   Almost 70 years after the fact, the sword will go home to Japan.

 

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YEEAAHHH! STARBUCKS

September 19, 2013

I am generally a supporter of local businesses when I have a choice…so I’ll opt for Wilde Roast or another one-of-a-kind, Dunn’s or a Caribou before Starbucks; but I am impressed with Starbuck’s latest move.

“Guns Are No Longer Welcome At Starbucks.”  I listened to CEO Howard Schultz explain the move yesterday, and I was duly impressed.

It’s not a ban; if you’re toting a gun you’ll still be served, but they let it be known guns aren’t going to be welcomed.  Leave it in your car; leave it at home; leave it anywhere…even strapped to your bod – Just know Starbucks does not welcome guns on their premises.

I had to chuckle reading the quote this morning from the president of a gun rights group…he said he respects the rights of a private business to determine their own gun policies…but he thought the message was “confusing.”

“They’re trying to make people like myself feel unwelcome but it’s not an outright ban”…and then he went on to say he won’t patronize a business where he did not feel welcome -As if he is punishing Starbucks for having a confusing message.

Not so fast, cowboy.  You are reacting exactly like Starbucks hoped you would.  Which also proves my point.  These yahoos ain’t too smart!  But then, if you need a gun evermore by your side, I guess we already knew that…before Starbucks cleverly pointed it out!