Loons in the Moonlight

commonloonMy friend celticmusiclover has a forum thread we have been contributing to on birdsong and it’s connection to music.

Today he posted a link to a remarkable video that immediately brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my childhood evenings spent on Loon Lake. I know the legend that follows very well and want to share it with you. Continue reading “Loons in the Moonlight”

Brain science

Most famous for his work with Palm where he took part in creating the first handheld computers, Jeff Hawkins has recently got himself into neuroscience.

In a TEDTalks video urges us to take a new look at the brain — to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.

  • Why we don’t have a good brain theory.
  • What it’s important.
  • What we can do about it.

Hawkins argues that what’s lacking is a theoretical framework. We have lots of data, but little in the way of theory. This is where Hawkins seeks to contribute, most famously with his hierarchical temporal model of memory. Memoirs of a Postgrad has a far better summary of the theory here. The theory is that the brain is basically a big memory system that uses past experiences to make predictions about the future – this is Hawkins’ definition of intelligence. So in this view, we literally learn from experience.

Coaxing computers to perform basic acts of perception and robotics, let alone high-level thought, has been difficult. No existing computer can recognize pictures, understand language, or navigate through a cluttered room with anywhere near the facility of a child. Hawkins and his colleagues have developed a model of how the neocortex performs these and other tasks.

The theory, call Hierarchical Temporal Memory, explains how the hierarchical structure of the neocortex builds a model of its world and uses this model for inference and prediction. To turn this theory into a useful technology, Hawkins has created a company called Numenta. Hawkins describes the theory, its biological basis, and a software platform created by Numenta that allows anyone to apply this theory to a variety of problems. Part of this theory was described in a book he co-authored in 2004 called “On Intelligence”.

22 minutes

Being yourself: The stillness of pure consciousness

The following is a partial excerpt of an interview with Eckhart Tolle from a book called Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W. Parker.

I also started reading on Buddhism and immediately understood the essence of Buddhism. I saw the simplicity of the original teaching of the Buddha compared to the complexity of subsequent additions, philosophy, all the baggage that over the centuries accumulated around Buddhism, and saw the essence of the original teaching. I have a great love for the teaching of the Buddha, a teaching of such power and sublime simplicity. I even spent time in Buddhist monasteries. During my time in England there were already several Buddhist monasteries.

I met and listened to some teachers that helped me understand my own state. In the beginning there was a Buddhist monk, Achan Sumedo, abbot of two or three monasteries in England. He’s a Western-born Buddhist. — Eckhart Tolle

Constructive approaches to conquering fear of rejection

On one hand, all humans strongly want to be considered by others to be capable, competent and lovable. On the other hand, the greatest fears we humans have are the fear of abandonment (rejection) and fear of the unknown. Continue reading “Constructive approaches to conquering fear of rejection”

Mindreading No: Thought Pattern Recognition Yes

In 2007 there were reports that a team of world-leading neuroscientists developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person’s brain and read their intentions before they act. I decided to track down the media reports and discovered an excellent video as well.

This research broke controversial new ground in scientists’ ability to probe people’s thoughts, and raises serious ethical issues over how brain-reading technology may be used in the future.

The team used high-resolution brain scans to identify patterns of activity before translating them into meaningful thoughts, revealing what a person planned to do in the near future. It is the first time scientists have succeeded in reading intentions in this way.

In the experiment, the brain activity of two subjects (two of Gallant’s team members, Kendrick Kay and Thomas Naselaris) was monitored while they were shown 1,750 different pictures. The team then selected 120 novel images that the subjects hadn’t seen before, and used the previous results to predict their brain responses. When the test subjects were shown one of the images, the team could match the actual brain response to their predictions to accurately pick out which of the pictures they had been shown. With one of the participants they were correct 72% of the time, and with the other 92% of the time; on chance alone they would have been right only 0.8% of the time. —  Neuroscience: How far has “mind reading” got?

Watch the January 7, 2009 video

Openminded or Closedminded?

About this video – Talks – Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives.

It is difficult to compare the merits of conservatism and liberalism because value judgments are divisive by nature. Jonathan Haidt argues that we can avoid this argument because these seemingly conflicting values actually compliment each other (yin and yang). This is another way of saying that we ought to avoid extremes and strive to find balance. Continue reading “Openminded or Closedminded?”

Life Eternal: The Great Cosmic Joke

This post was inspired by and includes the words of my friend

Tony Hogan, The Acoustic Guitarist

Men have argued about the nature of God and life after death since the beginning of time. The next time someone asks you if you believe in life after death please consider this:

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

The Dream, is the underlying element in Jnana Yoga or Advaitism. The Universe is a dream in the mind of God and, God plays all parts and pretends that God is not God.

The One becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, and throughout out time ( I use that term loosely) puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

The journey from self to SELF, is the journey, where God gradually shakes off the ignorance and reclaims the Divinity, or basically is conscious of his/her/its Divine Reality – LOVE.

Thus, the smile on the Buddha’s face.

God is also a process. The mind is not the tool to analyze God, never was, never will be, it has limitations. God has to be experienced, not dissected by the limited human mind. So really, God hasn’t gone anywhere, done anything, but is still seated in the same spot and has dreamed him/her/itself as ignorance.

Why?

The ONE becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, throughout out time (I use that term loosely), the ONE puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

I don’t cogitate,  I meditate and when all the things associated with my “self” like greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve there is no self; there is no distinct being that is separate from God – LOVE.

Neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is  God – LOVE.  Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on experiencing LOVE.

We have only one life in this body at this point in time, but again and again, we return to live in a new body with no recollection of previous lives, until we stop clanging like cymbals, and actually become  ONE – LOVE.

I have twice been declared dead but have come back to life. I no longer fear death and no longer question what my life purpose is. I know that I am meant to LIVE,  LOVE  and LEARN and that’s why I’m here.

I know the lesson before me is to conquer  egocentricity and  experience freedom from attachments and aversions in meditation.

I know in my heart of hearts — I am meant to teach as well as to learn.

Death is a transition; it’s a new beginning. After my life in this body is over, I will return again to this earthly plane, with no knowledge of any past lives, and I will be faced with more lessons to learn and more to teach. Until I have learned all my lessons perfectly and taught them all perfectly, and I have become ONE – LOVE, I will return again and again.

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

Not everyone has loved me in my past lives. Not everyone will love me in this life or in my future lives either. I have I not loved nor will I love everyone either but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.

Stand by Me: A Musical Message for Iran

On June 24, Iranian Superstar Andy Madadian went into an LA recording studio with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and American record producers Don Was and John Shanks to record a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran. This version of the old Ben E. King classic is not for sale – it was not meant to be on the Billboard charts or even manufactured as a CD…..it’s intended to be downloaded and shared by the Iranian people…to give voice to the sentiment that all people of the world stand together….the handwritten Farsi sign in the video translates to “we are one”. If you know someone in Iran – or someone who knows someone in Iran – please share the video after the jump.

Continue reading “Stand by Me: A Musical Message for Iran”

Bloggers Unite: Freedom for Iranians

As I view and read what’s happening in Iran my heart sinks to the bottom of my feet.  Iran has around 21 million internet users from a population of 70 million people. Persian bloggers are frequent participants on online social media sites, and are  well represented on sites such as FriendFeed.

Iran has blocked access to more than five million Internet sites, including Facebook and YouTube as part of a crackdown on content perceived to be immoral and anti-social.

Continue reading “Bloggers Unite: Freedom for Iranians”

Detecting Egocentricity

This blog is focused on personal growth, personal development,  self improvement, and relationships. I believe very strongly that we are our own healers so I seek out information focused on self help.

Our human historical records make it clear that people who attempt to rationalize and/or justify egocentric thoughts and behaviors as being requirements of their religion and/or political ideology are the most dangerous people on the planet. Continue reading “Detecting Egocentricity”

Notice: Readers and Subscribers

Please forgive me for being behind in publishing new posts, answering comments and leaving comments this week. I have spent most of my blogging time this week arguing with blog scraping content thieves (who have stolen entire posts from both of my blogs),  and sending DMCA complaints to their web hosts to get my content removed from the splog sites. I have now set my RSS feeds to summary so I can get back to blogging. I apologize for the inconvenience but I can see no other alternative.

First Drug for Fibromyalgia pain in Canada

Relief in sight for Canadians suffering from a common chronic
widespread pain condition

KIRKLAND, QC, May 12 /CNW/ – Pfizer Canada Inc. announced today that LYRICA(R) (pregabalin) is now indicated for the management of pain associated with fibromyalgia, giving the approximately one million Canadians who suffer from this debilitating condition a key component towards managing their disease.

This new indication announcement, made on International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, represents positive news for fibromyalgia sufferers since pain associated with the condition previously had no approved treatment options in Canada. Read full article

Can food shortages bring down civilization?

Third World countries are often described as “developing” while the First World, industrialized nations are often “developed”. What does it mean to describe a nation as “developing”? A lack of material wealth does not necessarily mean that one is deprived. A strong economy in a developed nation doesn’t mean much when a significant percentage (even a majority) of the population is struggling to survive.

Continue reading “Can food shortages bring down civilization?”

Pass on the gift

poverty
pass on the gift

Bloggers Unite is  partnering with Heifers International, a worldwide movement that aims to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock and agricultural training to improve lives.

Unite For Hunger And Hope
April 29, 2009 – All you have to do to help end world hunger is to join thousands of others bloggers on April 29 and write a post about world hunger.

Continue reading “Pass on the gift”

Internet relationships: When the walls fall down

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about friends and foes and what it means to me to have so many internet relationships.  I’m into conscious living, personal development and self improvement. I’m striving to become more forthright and effective  in my  communications and to become a better listener too.

Continue reading “Internet relationships: When the walls fall down”

Earth Day 2009

Earth Day 2009, April 22, will mark the beginning of the Green Generation Campaign!

This two-year initiative will culminate with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. With negotiations for a new global climate agreement coming up in December, Earth Day 2009 must be a day of action and civic participation, to defend the Green Generation’s core principles: Family with windmills: Renewable energy for future generations. Continue reading “Earth Day 2009″

Blog readers are the best!

love letter
love letter

It’s past my bedtime and my husband is annoyed that I’m still banging away on this keyboard. It seems like I have been a day late and a dollar short all week. Here we are on Blog Reader Appreciation Day and I did not prepare ahead and schedule a post for publication.

What I want to say to each and every one of the readers of this blog is a heartfelt  thank you. Thank you for  the kindness and consideration you showed me by valuing what I wrote enough to read and comment on my posts.  Thank you also for inspiring me to blog on despite my head injury and health problems.

I love you all and I want to express my gratitude for you taking the time out of your busy schedule to support me in my blogging.  It’s also my  hope that you will continue to extend your friendship to me for another year.

I salute you – readers rock!

Men and depression

The depressive brain

The depressive brain is structurally different compared to a non-depresssive brain. And it seems to run in the family. This is reported by scientists at Columbia University. Those with a family history of depression have brains which are, on average, 28% thinner in the area of the right cortex compared to those with out familial history of depression.

Continue reading “Men and depression”

Unite For Hunger And Hope

hunger & hope
hunger & hope

Since world hunger was the prominent social awareness campaign suggedte by Blog Catalog members  Bloggers Unite is  partnering with Heifers International, a worldwide movement that aims to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock and agricultural training to improve lives. Continue reading “Unite For Hunger And Hope”

Easter and Spring Equinox Greetings

marbled tea eggs
marbled tea eggs

I’m celebrating spring and wishing all my online friends the very best for the wide variety of joyful celebrations that take place around the world, at this time of the year.

My friend and I made some marvelous marbled tea eggs and I encourage you to try your hand at this creative endeavor because the products are beautiful and the process is easy.

Continue reading “Easter and Spring Equinox Greetings”

No Competence – No Success

No Competence – No Success by Guest Author Windroot

Every Man A Giant
Every Man A Giant

Letʼs begin with a caveat. No matter how many tips for success you read, nothing replaces competence.  Assuming a minimal aptitude for the work, what follows are some practical lessons learned over a 35 year career working in a large organization as a middle manager.

Continue reading “No Competence – No Success”

Online or offline: Ears hear and hearts listen

heart and handsFaith of Chaotically Calm posed this question in a discussion on the Blog Catalog forum:

Is There a Difference Between Hearing & Listening? Just randomly is there a difference between listening to someone and hearing him/her. I notice that people use the words interchangeably but the other night while in a discussion someone told me that I was hearing him but I wasn’t listening. Thoughts … Continue reading “Online or offline: Ears hear and hearts listen”

Failures: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

steppingstones
steppingstones

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something. — Morihei Ueshiba

The kind of self- protective mindset that dictates that we only undertake things that we know we won’t fail at is a barrier to moving forward. Holding onto that  prevents us from taking risks and failing.  That’s unfortunate because failing is a lesson in learning how to succeed. Continue reading “Failures: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?”

What excess in your life will you prune in 2009?

pruning
pruning

Everyone’s answer will be different; no one is exactly the same. Our habits generate or drain our power and energy. Removing a dead leaf from a plant or a dead branch from a tree or suckers that grow shoots from the base of a plant and rob the parent plant of strength gives it life and vitality. Likewise, pruning excesses from our lives creates space allowing us to progress and prosper. Source. Continue reading “What excess in your life will you prune in 2009?”

I can leave my body, can you?

greenspin

I have found that I’m absorbing a great deal of what I read and I also frequently experience episodes of deja vu. For example, although I know I have never done any reading on a specific topic I can find a book and as I begin reading it my mind races ahead of my eyes supplying me with information and past life  “memories”. Continue reading “I can leave my body, can you?”

Compass Rose

resolve-mod-copy

by guest author Teresa Silverthorn

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you, hopefully, to a helpful perspective on nurturing your own seeds of mysticism. In my opinion, if approached with an open mind, it is possible to make a positive change in the direction of your life. In that regard, it can be considered dusting off your compass and using yourself, and your experiences as your new point of origin.

And, begin again. Continue reading “Compass Rose”

Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays! Whichever ones apply:
Jewish, Christian, Pagan, secular!
People of goodwill are not particular,
Perhaps because all people yearn for friends.
Year’s end’s a time of darkness, true, but when
Has darkness ever darkened one small light?
Our pleasures are like candles in the night,
Lighting lamps that burn beyond our ken.
In celebration there is more than joy:
Days of feasting bind our friendships fast,
A fat and full embrace of things that last,
Yet holy in what sense one might employ,
Savoring sweet songs that spirits buoy. Continue reading “Happy Holidays”

Five Steps to Success

by guest blogger buddhaofhollywood

success

There is this old story about a very pious, religious man that every day of his life prayed to God to win the lottery – which never happened.

Finally the man dies and goes to heaven. There he meets God and asks him “God have I ever done anything to upset you?” “No – said God – You have lived the life of a saint, I’m very pleased with you.” “So how come – said the man – you never granted my wish of wining the lottery?” And God replied “Because you never bought a freakin’ ticket.”

So you see, success is not an accident. Even winning the lottery requires some action.

Now that the New Year is around the corner, and New Year resolutions are on order, I thought I’ll share with you my 5 steps to success recipe. It goes like this:

(1)      Stop dreaming

It is hilarious how many self help gurus proclaim the virtues of wishful thinking:

“If you want it badly or hard enough you will get it.”

Stop dreaming! You will not get it.

How many people do you know that want to be broke and miserable and sick? None. We all want to be happy, wealthy and healthy, but the ones that will get there are the people that have stopped dreaming and turned their dreams into goals.

(2)      Set your goals

The difference between dreams and goals is specificity.

Goals are well defined targets of your life. They are part of a global strategy that should encompass all aspects of your life material and spiritual.

You should look at money, career, business, relationships, health, spirituality, love, family and all the other aspects of your life as a whole interacting and interdependent of each other. Here is some help in setting your goals: Are you enlightened ?

(3)      Visualize your success

“Wait a minute I thought you said – stop dreaming!”

Visualization should be a mental rehearsal of the steps you will have to take on the journey to success. Visualization is a disciplined technique not day dreaming.

There are two parts  to visualization:

The constructive visualization – Where you start from where you are today and see yourself taking the necessary steps towards accomplishing your goal.

The deconstructive visualization – Where you see yourself at the point of success and you are tracing your steps backwards towards where you are today.

This less known and used technique is very useful when you get stuck and can’t figure your way over an obstacle. You pick a point past the obstacle and work your way backwards. It is also very good in checking out for omitted steps and flaws.

If your visualization runs smooth both ways you are ready for:

(4)      Planning

I know, I know. “Isn’t planning the same thing?” No it is not.

Planning is done on a piece of paper or a computer. Planning is taking your visualization to the next level.

In planning everything becomes concrete. If you are planning to contact an editor, or a sales person or the president of a company, in planning you should put the name of the person, all the contact information as well as the time when you will contact the person.

Your plan should have a time table with dead lines and concrete measurable results of your progress.

Planning is the essential step between visualization and actualization. Without a plan you’re your goals and your actions are disconnected and you most likely are facing frustration and failure or at least make things much harder and complicate.

(5)      Do it!

Everything must end in action. Without action nothing will be accomplished.

Here is my personal recipe for getting things done: How to accomplish more

Footnotes:

Handling rejection

There is no rejection! It is all in your mind.

Unless the person you are dealing with is your friend or a relative, there is no rejection.

When I started blogging nobody would come to my blog and read my posts. I felt pretty bad and I had to remind myself that there was no rejection. The rejection was only in my head. The people did not read my blog because they did not like me. Simply nobody knew I was writing a blog.

When someone tells you “No” or ignores you, it is not because they have something against you. It is just the way things are, it is part of the business and it doesn’t have anything to do with you.

So don’t make it personal. It is up to you.

Handling failure

You know the saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman”?

Well behind every failure there is a good excuse.

There is a story about Edison working on the bulb invention. He tried about 500 different materials for the filament but none worked. A journalist visiting him asked: “Don’t you think after 500 failures you should give up?” Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 500 times. I eliminated 500 bad choices and now I’m 500 steps close to success.”

The problem with intelligent, smart, educated people is that they are very good at finding the best excuses. Some time the dumb people succeed simply because they don’t see any reason for failure.

There is no failure unless you accept your excuse.

Go back to step 1!

Do you love yourself?

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s alright. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. Continue reading “Do you love yourself?”

World AIDS Day 2008: Bloggers Unite

It’s easy to think that AIDS is something for other people to worry about – gay people, drug users, people who sleep around. This is wrong – all teens, whoever they are, wherever they live need to take the threat of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, seriously. To be able to protect yourself, you need to know the facts, and know how to avoid becoming infected. The truth is that HIV is a big problem for young people, as well as adults. In 2007, it is estimated that there were 2 million people under 15 living with HIV. Continue reading “World AIDS Day 2008: Bloggers Unite”

Open your mind

Benny Greenberg at Ya-ttitude wrote a post called Open those Flood Gates and as I wrote my comment there I could feel a blog post coming on.

A closed mind is simply a sign of a static personality.  It allows for all progress to simply pass you by!  And as progress passes you by, so does opportunities and the ability for you to attain those goals and achievements you have set forth for yourself.  The only way you can achieve all of your dreams and goals is for you to maintain an open mind; grasping this concept is another key to your overall success.

buddha
buddha

Faith isn’t religion
A religion is a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. And, at the top of the pyramid of the greatest barriers to making open minded decisions is the religious beliefs that we cling to.

Provided that you understand that I don’t have religion and I don’t mean religion, when I say “faith” then I do have faith. I have a great deal of faith in myself,  in my own ability to make good decisions, and in the ability of my fellow beings to do likewise, and that’s all the faith I need.

Core beliefs
It’s a quirk of human nature that we maintain our beliefs by selectively exposing ourselves to information that we already know is likely to support those beliefs. Yet, when we remove the emotional elements and take the time to gather information on the opposite side of any issue we are more likely to come to different conclusions. This is why it’s not surprising that gut responses based on deeply held core beliefs are not always the most accurate.

Assess the emotional urgency factor
When faced with any decision I assess the “emotional urgency” factor first. I frequently find that urgency is artificially created by others, because they are relying on a specific outcome and desiring the instant gratification, if and when it’s confirmed. So whenever possible, I choose not to make hurried decisions prompted by artificial urgency to please or satisfy others.

Another dynamic that I have become aware of is the “important decision” categorization. I’m more likely to conduct a broad based and open minded investigation of all possibilities if I assign high importance to the decision in terms of outcomes and impacts.

In cases of “important decision making” I seek out more information, I consult others and listen to their points of view, and I make lists of pros and cons, as well as possible outcomes and impacts. Whenever possible I choose to assign high importance to issues where the outcome of the decision made is likely to have a major impact on finances and /or relationships.

A mind opening process

(1)   I benefit from trying to see the situation as and an inquisitive child might view it. I try to see everything as if it’s the first time, and try to think about it in new ways.

(2)   I  benefit from writing down my goals and doing some planning for each of them.

(3)   I sometimes focus too much on details and not enough on the big picture.  By reviewing my dreams I can monitor where I’m at and notice opportunities that I have overlooked.

(4)   I’m aware that every decision I make is based on my core beliefs. To open my mind I review my core beliefs and quiz myself about each one by asking myself  why I believe it. Next I imagine that I don’t exactly believe it any more, but instead believe something marginally different, and then marginally different again.

(6)   My  core beliefs are unique to me and my friend’s core beliefs are unique to them.  An open mind is comfortable with  the differences, and also capable of using a variety of lenses to view any issue from many angles.   So I ask close friends to share their core beliefs with me and how they acquired them.

(7)    I need to make sure I take enough time to enjoy the decision making journey so I don’t reach my destination only to find that the outcome  I was hoping for has eluded me yet again. That means  I need to be sure my  dreams and goals for various parts of my life are recorded in mission and vision statements, and I need to review them regularly to verify that they are in alignment.

Dedications

This post is dedicated to the following bloggers:

buddhaofhollwood
everyoneneedstherapy
geoffreysplace.net
guidetolifeblog
lifeasiknowit22.blogspot.com
melindaville.com
pentads
Pricilla Palmer Personal Development Blog List
the happiness project
thinksimplenow.com
writetosurvive
zen habits

Bloggers Unite for World AIDS Day 2008

aids2008
aids2008

A virus has been sweeping the world for the past two decades, causing a disease which has killed millions of people and which looks likely to kill millions more. The virus is called HIV, which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Continue reading “Bloggers Unite for World AIDS Day 2008″

Self-Care for Mild to Moderate PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)  A large number of women (30 to 70 per cent) experience premenstrual symptoms even though they do not have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or what most people refer to as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome). Approximately four to nine per cent experience Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Even though premenstrual women may be quite uncomfortable with headaches, cramps, tender breasts, or other symptoms, this is not PMDD. PMDD is only diagnosed when there are cyclical mood and behavioural changes which affect relationships and day-to-day functioning. Continue reading “Self-Care for Mild to Moderate PMS”

No tolerance for trolls

Although it’s true that we all ought to be prepared to expect some negative feedback to any post we make to an online community forum, it’s also true that we ought to be able to cry “foul” and have something done about it when we experience an internet troll. Continue reading “No tolerance for trolls”

Bloggers Unite for Refugees

refugeesunite_7
refugees reunite

Blogger’s Unite
Bloggers Unite is an attempt to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place. By asking bloggers to write about a particular subject on 1 day of the month, a single voice can be joined with thousands to help make a difference; from raising awareness for cancer, to an effort to better education systems or supporting 3rd world countries. Continue reading “Bloggers Unite for Refugees”

America: Change begins within

The last barrier to African Americans actually achieving the American dream has been broken. Barrack Obama has been elected president of the United States of America in a landslide win.

Obama’s decisive political sweep indicates it’s time for citizens to unify, to celebrate their similarities and to look forward to a future marked by changes. Healing will NOT take place overnight and change will meet resistance. The dog in the manager right wingers are bound to bark and howl and whine as the move forward is made. They were not able to top this tsunami of support for Obama.  Barrack Obama has won the hearts of the American people and now it’s up to them to open their hearts to one another and work together to make the changes happen.

This historical election means it’s time for the American people to actualize, and to initiate the changes at the individual and local level, and work together from the bottom up.

364 electoral votes is the likely final count. Barack Obama not only got a clear majority of the votes, he won with a coalition that dramatically redrew the Electoral College map. Commonly red states – Indiana, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia – have gone blue.

How Obama Rewrote the Book

Blacks, Postgrads, Young Adults Help Obama Prevail

The smear campaigns and divisive politics did not work and the Republican Party now faces a long list of problems with no clear national leader and an identity crisis.

GOP in dire straits

GOP faces identity crisis

The GOP Fallout: Cue the Circular Firing Squad

GOP rebuild the party

Poverty: America's Best Kept Secret

I think Americans are capable of addressing and solving the poverty created by the class structure, self-interest, individual and corporate greed, conquests and wars and, the inappropriate distribution of resources including water, food and medical assistance that lead to poverty, starvation and death.

IMO it’s shameful that earth’s most wealthy nations continue to destroy other cultures and peoples simply to fuel unsustainable lifestyles and to feed the greed of individuals and corporate shareholders. More shameful still is willingness to praise pursuit of “the  American dream”, while ignoring the poverty of their own citizens and diverting funding away from addressing their needs, to fuel huge military budgets that result in witnessing their own sons and daughters being sacrificed on battlefields for oil and brought home in body bags. This is hard-heartedness.

Measuring Poverty in the United States
The United States defines poverty in absolute terms. This is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living: insufficient income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health. The European Union, on the other hand, measures poverty in relative terms. This is defined as having significantly compromised access to income and wealth than other members of society: an income below 60% of the national median equalized disposable income after social transfers for a comparable household. If poverty in the United States were to be defined in relative terms as determined by the European Union, the level would be much higher. Source

Poverty in the United States is measured in two ways. The first, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, measures the poverty thresholds. Poverty thresholds classify households by type of residence, race, and other social, economic, and demographic characteristics. This data generally used for statistical purposes in order to to estimate the number of people in poverty nationwide. The second measure is the poverty guideline. Used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it determines whether a person or family is eligible for assistance through various federal programs.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005, nearly 12.6% of the United States’ population, or thirty-seven million people live in poverty. Minorities face higher levels of poverty, with 24.9% of African-Americans living in poverty and 21.8% of Hispanics. Furthermore, poverty rates for children under the age of eighteen remained higher than those between the age of eighteen and sixty four, at 17.6%. Read the full report on poverty in the USA by the U.S. Census Bureau

IMO whatever Americans may master in the areas of technology and science, etc. is not necessarily a measure of “achievement” in terms of the advancement of their citizens or the human species. It seems the governments they elect are hard-hearted when it comes to human suffering and all too accommodating when it comes to assisting corporations to prosper. Continuing this pattern is not likely to result in advancement but only in more conquest and hoarding, until all of their unsustainable structures fall and the survivors become “tribal” once more.

Poverty – Healthcare – American Women & their Children
In 2005, over 14 percent of American women lived in poverty. Among single mothers, this number rose to over 31 percent. This is clearly unacceptable, both for the women and families immediately affected and for society as a whole.

  • Nearly 1 in 4 girls does not graduate from high school
  • Female dropouts earn on average 7 percent below the Federal Poverty Line for a family of three ($15,520 vs. $16,600) while women with high school diplomas earn on average 32 percent above that level ($21, 936 vs. $16,600)
  • Girls make up 87 percent of students in traditionally female fields such as cosmetology and childcare and only 15 percent of those in traditionally male fields. Those who enter traditionally female occupations can generally expect to earn half—or less—of what they would earn in a traditionally male field
  • Women still earn on average 78 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Women and the Individual Health Insurance Market: It’s No Shopper’s Paradise
Many Americans are unfamiliar with the harsh realities of the individual health insurance market because they receive health insurance through an employer. However, as a number of prominent health care reform proposals consider expanding the role of the individual market, it is important to understand how this system fails women. Download NWLC’s report, Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women.

Homelessness
Homelessness became a visible issue during the eighties. From 1984 to 1987, according to HUD statistics, the number of homeless doubled. From 1987 to 1997, the demand for emergency food and shelter indicate that despite the booming economy and the new prosperity, the number of homeless and those living in extreme poverty in the United States has increased. According to a recent White House press release, the number of homeless at any given time has now reached 750,000. The homeless are not necessarily penniless, or without four walls. While anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the homeless have jobs – depending on the city — many have no access to affordable housing.

  • During the Great Depression, the number of able bodied men forced into homeless due to unemployment rates approached 25 percent.
  • In 1987, a Urban Institute study found that while only 12 percent of the U.S. population is black, they make up about 40 percent of the homeless.
  • While the 1994 federal plan acknowledged the central role of poverty in homelessness, the 1996 welfare proposal was passed despite research indicating that it would push one million children into poverty. Bush’s latest pronouncements have focused on “individual responsibility” for poverty.
  • A 1995 evaluation found that approximately 86% of the homeless children and youth attended school regularly. A majority of the service providers and shelter operators felt that homeless children faced difficulties in being evaluated for special education programs and services, and in obtaining counseling and psychological services.
  • In a 1996 study of evening news programs in 1989: Under Bush there were 44 stories on homelessness in 1989, 54 in 1991, and 43 in 1992. The average was 52.5. Under Clinton there were 35 in 1993, 32 in 1994, and just nine in 1995, for an average of 25.3.
  • On any given night in America, anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless, according to estimates of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
  • According to a December, 2000 report of the US Conference of Mayors:single men comprise 44 percent of the homeless, single women 13 percent, families with children 36 percent, and unaccompanied minors seven percent.
  • The homeless population is about 50 percent African-American, 35 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Native American and 1 percent Asian.  Source

Election 08
This Presidential election is a critical time for Americans to make a quantum leap forward when it comes to voting change. That leap forward can begin by thinking what the candidates have put forward in terms of meeting health care needs and addressing poverty.

John McCain on the issues – welfare and poverty

“A study from scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan.”

  • The centerpiece of McCain’s plan would eliminate the special tax treatment of employer-provided health care and instead offer tax credits to everybody who pays premiums.
  • McCain favors an approach, endorsed by President Bush and championed by McCain’s Arizona colleague John Shadegg.
  • If enacted, his proposal would cause a shift along the lines seen in the credit-card industry.
  • Insurance companies can make bigger profits by offering different policies to different people based on separate assessments of risk rather than charging everyone the same.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions—cancer, asthma, diabetes, and the like—would need to pay even more than they do today. Through no fault of their own, more of them would end up without insurance.
  • McCain intends to tax workers for the value of health insurance that they receive from their employers.
  • McCain health plan would treat employer-paid health benefits as income that employees would have to pay taxes on.
  • The net effect of the plan will be to increase family costs for medical care.
  • A monumental change in the way health coverage would be provided to scores of millions of Americans.
  • Will cost the average American worker an additional $110 a month in taxes
  • New tax would affect the 158 million Americans who are insured through their employer.
  • This will encourage more and more employers to give up on the idea of providing coverage at all. Read the full story here: NYT: McCain’s Radical Agenda and related stories here  McCain Secretly Plans New Tax on Middle Class and here Why John McCain is Wrong on Health Care

Barack Obama on the issues – welfare and poverty
Barack Obama on Health Care
The Case for Obama: Healthcare

Those who are capable of solving the poverty problem are without doubt determined to pursue their own agendas. As the Republican administration under Bush has worked hand in glove with greedy individuals and corporations, I assume the American electorate will understand that they have created a monster. Hopefully, the  voters have learned from those past eight years of “monster creating” mistakes, and will not elect a government that is corrupt and abusive of their women and children. As voters prepare to head towards the polls on Tuesday, I hope they will demonstrate their altruistic and compassionate drive to achieve lasting and meaningful change that benefits them, the generations to come and our planet.

America change is going to do you good

Given the conduct of Bush and his Administration these past 8 years in office, I wonder how clear thinking, intelligent and rational it would be not to stand for change and to vote accordingly? It doesn’t seem to me that voting for more of the same Republican antics would be a wise thing to do. Continue reading “America change is going to do you good”

Falling, falling, falling

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post but the time has come to do so. To make a long story short I have injured myself quite seriously. I’m suffering from a head injury and from severe muscle tearing in both legs. The symptoms of the concussion related injuries include blurry vision, foggy thinking, short attention span, inability to focus long on tasks, migraine headaches, irritability  and short term memory loss. Therefore, I am not capable of researching and writing in depth blog posts and Richard (bless him) has been writing posts for onecoolsite.

I’ve never been a lay about and do nothing kind of person but now that’s what I’m doing. I’m coping with a minimal amount of work re: our small business and I’m chatting on forums but aside from that I’m non-productive. Doctor’s orders are to avoid all stress, stop doing research for blogging articles, rest and take good care of myself while I heal.

Hopefully, if I follow orders I will soon be restored to health soon.

Thank you and a big HUG to all my readers.

Related post: Battered and Bruised

The Crystal Gazer

crystalballThe Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into my self again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.
I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I Shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.
Watching the future come and the present go -
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In tiny self-importance to and fro.

- Sara Teasdale