Archive for August 30, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: Charlie Brown Wisdom

Republicans Take Blame?

Republicans have been making some unfortunate verbal gaffs, but I think they really blew it in their daily themes, all of which were to work toward the main theme of “A Better Future.”

First (day 1) they shouted “We can do better!”  Without adding “…than,” they sound like a child facing scowling parents with his less-than-stellar report card.  On Tuesday the battle cry was “We built it,” a take-off on something said by President Obama (not his best speech).  Now, that sounds pretty positive—unless we hook it up in our minds to what everyone agrees is a major election issue, the poor economy.  Do they really want to admit they had any hand in putting us into this dismal position?  I doubt it.  Tomorrow is worse.  After bragging that they “built it” (surely they weren’t calling attention to the fact that the venue they’re in was built with public money), they show a lack of confidence by proclaiming, “We can change it.”  I wonder, if they built it right to begin with, why jump in immediately to change it?  Finally, on Thursday, they’ll announce the one thing all people can understand and grab hold of: “We believe in America.”  Yes!

I just wish they’d started and ended with that.  I myself believe in America…and the fact that, God willing, we’ll all live through another set of conventions, series of disingenuous campaigns,  and nail-biter elections, then come out the other side having only slightly-damaged souls and a renewed determination to work together, as a family of Americans, toward a mutually beneficial, honorable future.

Mangroves? Who Cares?!

Who cares about plants on another continent? What the heck is a “mangrove,” anyway? Truth is, mangroves support people, wildlife, and the Earth itself–what’s happening to the mangroves in E. Africa is affecting life throughout this interconnected globe we live on.  Read an interesting story of one man who realizes this and rolls up his sleeves to do something about it.

Earth-Friendly Tip: New Appliances

Need a new appliance?  Upgrade, save money, and give the Earth a break.  Ex: an already Eco-friendly dishwasher upgraded to one with an Energy Factor of 0.65-0.67 yields a $30 rebate from PG&E, and a 0.68 or greater gives you $50 back—the typical difference in cost.  That’s a good price for you, and priceless for the Earth.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

Fly, Swim, Live

Thoughtful Thursday Quote #9

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. “– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Blowing in Harm

Earth-Friendly Tip #9

Shun those gas-powered leaf blowers.  They create both noise and atmospheric pollution while costing you money to operate.  Besides, sweeping and raking can help build a more physically fit you.


[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device.]

GREEN RICHES Breaks the 1000 Mark

I noticed today that my ebook, Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget has 1001 downloads at  The book is on other ebook sites, but this is the only one that gives me a download count.  I’m pleased, of course, but would be more pleased to learn that the book has prompted a whole bunch of people to try some of the Eco-friendly, money-saving ideas it describes.

If you’re interested in this FREE book, go to most online e-tailers (not Apple–they don’t like to take free ebooks) or use this link to get to it on Smashwords: Click on the book title, choose a download format, and go for it.  Let me know if you try any of the suggestions–and what happened.

Live the Day in Preparation for Sleep

Thoughtful Thursday Quote #8

“Never, if possible, lie down at night without being able to say: I have made one human being, at least, a little  wiser, a little happier, or a little better this day.”  —  Charles Kingsley

Put “Anchor Babies” to Work

Politicians snarl and call them “anchor babies.”  They’re kids who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.  They didn’t sneak into the country, and they grew up knowing no other life but that of an American kid. If they were rounded up and sent back to the place they were born, be it Mexico or Canada, or Ireland, or wherever, we may as well be sending them to Mars, into a life and culture where they are strangers.

How have they spent their lives here? Even if their families lived on welfare awhile, many of these kids have graduated and gone on to college and even served in our military. They’re trying to be productive members of society.  They see ads for jobs, many of which no one is applying for, but they can’t apply because they aren’t “legal.”  The new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals changes that.

Not everyone can get this 2-year work permit–and that’s all it is, not a green card or instant citizenship. To be eligible, the person must prove he or she came to the U.S. before age 16, was actually here this past June 15,  and has lived here continuously for five years.  PLUS, there must be evidence of being enrolled in or graduated from school or having been honorably discharged from the U.S. military. In other words, these applicants must prove that they’re working on making a life for themselves.

The argument, of course, is that these people will take “our” jobs–that’s an argument used against immigrants almost from the start of our country. On the other hand, there are many jobs that are going begging, because they’re not what people choose or unemployed people don’t have the training or background needed. Our economy depends not just on jobs being filled but on their being filled by people who will work hard, think hard, be creative and inventive. If immigrant kids who have proven their ambition and have been schooled in skills to fill these jobs, why deny them. Aren’t those unfilled jobs also slowing our economy?

I think this program is the right thing to do, for moral reasons and for the practical reason that these “babies” will help “anchor” our struggling economy.

Bullying: Government or Family Responsibility?

California anti-bullying laws are NOT working! Each year more than 200,000 kids are harassed because they’re gay or perceived as gay, leading to suicide, physical or verbal abuse, and even murder.  And that’s just one target group.  Others are bullied because of their size (big or little), ethnic background, what they wear, their economic status, how they talk (accent or speech impediment)…any number of excuses.

Our bullying and harassment laws are not protecting our children.  One of the reasons is that they are not enforced in our schools.  Principals and teachers often turn a blind eye to bullying, partly because of possible legal action against themselves if a parent wants to fight the charge.  The result: the danger to our children is growing.

The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee is looking into the situation.  They’re looking at all California schools to see which ones are failing to meet their legal responsibility and to evaluate the effectiveness of the laws.

Some argue that there shouldn’t even be such laws, that parents have the right to monitor their children and teach them not to bully.  I agree.  Except that not all parents will do so, leaving the most vulnerable kids unprotected. Usually it’s the parent of the bully who doesn’t admit that his child does violence on others, and the bully is good at hiding his proclivities from his parents. Often, too, the bully sees abuse between his parents and thinks it’s a natural thing to do. Therefore, the ones who need to be taught respect and consideration for all those around him don’t learn that lesson.  Later, they pass on this negative learning to their own kids.

I agree that we sometimes go too far with “Nanny Laws.”  However, in this case, because the adults are not taking charge, I’d rather have a law than see more children physically and emotionally damaged–or dead.