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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Partying with American Political Parties

The western (front) side of the United States ...Image via Wikipedia Today's post is dedicated to the political parties of the United States of America, and voting.

The Directory of American Political Parties offers a listing of the political parties in the USA along with a brief description of each.

The Political Philosophy Quiz is by far the most accurate I have seen lately at revealing where a person stands in political philosophy. The quiz assesses responses to determine leanings in the conservative/liberal, pacifist/militarist, libertarian/authoritarian and capitalist/socialist spectrums. With the results comes a recommendation for political party based upon the results.

Now that you know about the various parties and which most closely fits your beliefs, it is time to register to vote.

Not sure how to register to vote? The Rock the Vote website can guide you through the process. Also, the Register to Vote site offers information related to registering to vote and how to make an informed decision before you vote.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

I love her, with all my heart, and if ever I k...Image via Wikipedia I was commenting elsewhere about my mom being killed by a drunk driver, and it got me thinking about various aspects of the case. One of the things that struck me was how on the one hand I was given total access to the police reports, witness accounts, coroner's report, photos, etc. (An off-duty officer witnessed the incident). On the other hand, I was told multiple times by multiple people, unsolicited, that my mother 'died instantly' and 'didn't suffer'.

The truth is, she died a horrific death and did NOT die instantly.

So, the question becomes, is it better to create a lie or to tell the truth? It ticked me off to no end that I was lied to. I never asked if my mom suffered, or if she died instantly, yet others decided to tell me that 'pretty little lie' despite some of them knowing I had copies of all the reports and photos. Maybe they thought I wouldn't look at any of it, or maybe it was just 'habit' for them to say those empty words to people who have lost a loved one.

I compartmentalize, so for me, lies upset me far more than truth. I can deal with truth - I can review it and work with it and get past it. Lies are another story. Trying to work past the lies frustrates me - I am a person who prefers to deal in truth - even when it hurts. I think lies do far more damage than the truth ever could, anyway.

So, let's supposed I was not the type to compartmentalize. I get told (unsolicited) that my mother didn't suffer, and died instantly. I feel relief and peace that she went quickly and peacefully. Then I go to court or read the reports - WHAM! Suddenly I am hit in the face with the harsh cold reality that she died horribly and not immediately. I would be shattered!

I now give the floor to you: where are you in the truth/lie issue? This isn't about right or wrong - this is just about how other people view it and handle it.

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Successes and Failures

le James Caird près de la Géorgie du sudImage via Wikipedia I have discovered that I might very well define success and failure differently from others.

I set major goals for myself and a lot of minor goals that lead up to the major one. I always allow for flexibility because sometimes life has other plans for us. ;-)

To me, every time I accomplish a goal, even a minor one, it is a success. To me, every time I adapt quickly and well to one of life's curve balls it is a success. To me, every time I take another step forward in progress, learning, or growth it is a success.

I don't view 'failures' as 'failures'. I have learned that from these challenges and setbacks can come some of our greatest successes. In looking back through history, we can see that there were many 'setbacks' before there were 'successes' in inventions, for example. In fact, some inventions came about by accident - the inventor was trying to make something else - so technically that could be classed as a 'failure' since they didn't create what they were aiming for. However, they made something wonderful - so how could that be anything other than a 'success'?

I have learned to view my life as a journey. Every time I have a 'success' it is like coming upon a sign along the way that reads, "You're on the right path - keep going!", and every time I have a 'setback' it is like coming upon a sign that reads, "Wrong way - please take another path" or "Ooops! You're trying to run before you can walk. Please practice walking some more and then come back this way again."

I wasn't always like this. My dysfunctional upbringing taught me to set myself up for 'failure' and to look at 'failure' as end-of-the-world-shameful-humiliation'. I now shake my head in wonder that I ever bought into such nonsense.

Mistakes and setbacks are part of the human condition and part of the life experience. As we learn to put them into their proper perspective, it becomes easier to learn to love and accept ourselves - and others.

Life is a lot sweeter when you set yourself up to succeed.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Put Down the Gun and Call Someone

Photo © Chance Agrella

I read something in the news today that has really been bothering me.

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Dead After Shooting Inside Party Headquarters

I will never understand what goes haywire in a person's head that leads them to the conclusion that their troubles will somehow be made better by shooting or killing someone else - and/or themselves.

No, it will not make YOUR life better - and it will in fact spread your misery around to others. Put down the gun and pick up the phone. Call a suicide hotline - a trusted friend - any member of the clergy. CALL SOMEONE. Cry, rant, rage, vent - get it all out.

Then, when you are drained and more clear headed, they can comfort you and help you find ANSWERS and SOLUTIONS that WILL make your life better. Don't YOU and those around you DESERVE that much? Seriously.

National Suicide Hotline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Free Service 24/7

Monday, August 4, 2008

Government 101: Types of Government Rule - Democracy, Republic, and more

A White photo of President Bush, VP Cheney, an...Image via WikipediaDue to this year being an election year as well as the year the Olympics are in China, many aspects of government, freedom, and laws have been on my mind.

Like many, I have mistakenly referred to our government as a 'democracy', when in fact we are a 'republic'. I have also observed that many Americans do not understand the basics of our governmental structure - or what the President really does (i.e. his role, responsibilities, and limits in power).

Over the course of several posts, I will be covering these basic concepts for your benefit as well as my own. Educated and informed citizens are responsible citizens who know not only how to elect the best people, but know how to 'demand' the best from those in office.

Types of Government by Alverno College (Wisconsin)

Types of Government by Country

If there is any particular aspect of how our government is set up or how our electoral process works that you would like me to cover, please contact me.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer Olympics 2008: Learning Chinese is Fun

NTD_TV.Image via WikipediaI recently discovered New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) on Youtube, and I am really enjoying it. With the upcoming Olympics in China, I found some videos by NTDTV to be especially timely.

Learning Chinese is Fun

Episode 1 - 10:10

Episode 2 - 12:14

A friend who regularly does business in China told me once that when you learn Chinese it is crucial to pay careful attention to pronunciation as one word can mean many different things based solely upon its pronunciation. He gave an example with a word that had, I think, 6 different meanings based upon pronunciation. One was 'horse' and one was something he wouldn't define but said it was something bad.

Though the show is geared towards children from grades K-2, I think even adults can benefit from the repetition and easy pace. If you need it for business or something important I would suggest a different method of learning - but for casual knowledge and interest, this show is a great fit.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Outrageous Behavior in the Senate

Work of the United States Senate, Credited to ...Image via WikipediaSummer is here, and the time came for the Senate to take a summer break. The nation is in crisis with high fuel prices crippling the country. So what did the public servants we elected and we pay with our tax dollars do?

Shut down the senate and went on a five-week vacation - starting at 2:49 in the afternoon. Guess they wanted an early start for the weekend on their trips - while many Americans struggle to afford to go to work and eat.

According to a Fox News article, the Democrats left but the Republicans had a pizza party with those walking by on the street. Republicans urged the senate to continue in session until something is done to give Americans fuel cost relief NOW. The Democrats apparently think we can afford to not have enough money to buy food, pay the mortgage, and get to work.

I find it outrageous that with the current state of affairs in this country and given the fact that they work FOR us - were elected BY us - and are paid BY us, any member of congress would feel they have the right to take a vacation while we suffer rather than put in the time to get us the help we need right now.

Working into the summer break would be incentive to reach an agreement on immediate relief so they could enjoy a break before they start the next session - in which they could address the long term fuel relief issue.

Read more about it HERE

Want to know who voted to break for summer and who voted to stay (and who didn't vote at all)?

46 Democratic yes to vacation votes, 1 Republican, and 1 Independent. Who voted no - stay and work? 40 Republicans. Who didn't vote (not present or didn't have the backbone)? 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats. But, don't take my word for it, read the votes HERE.

Had those non-voters voted against the break, it would have kept the Senate in session, hopefully long enough to get immediate relief for us. As it is, the vacationers won and we get to endure at least 5 more weeks of high prices and mounting financial stresses.

Want to see how many days the senate was actually in session this last time? View the calendar HERE.

Want to know what they did during this last session? Read a summary HERE.

UPDATE (8/4/08): One of my favorite writers offers his perspective on the situation.
Nancy Pelosi's Innovative Solution to Save Energy and Find New Oil

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