Saturday, April 1, 2023

An Assault on Our Nation

I don't hate guns. As a kid my Dad let us shoot bb-guns and even his 22-shotgun. So I get the rush. I get the fun of shooting a can off a fence and for those into hunting I get that it can be a family tradition and a bonding experience. I know several humane and decent people who eat what they shoot and though not my thing I understand the primordial urge to hunt for prey.  

What I don't get is how we went from the NRA and gun owners wanting to encourage firearm education and responsibility to a free-for-all of anyone under any circumstance owning weapons of war? 

I loved lawn jarts but we don't sell those anymore because they caused a lot of injuries and took out many an eye. Three children died from lawn jarts so they were banned, can't be resold and also can't be used in public spaces. So for fucks sake, how are we allowing our kids to be slaughtered and terrorized at school and not at least agreeing on the basics of gun safety? How can anyone look at this girl on a school bus fleeing horror and not think we have a problem?

Firearms are the #1 cause of death for children and teens. It used to be auto accidents but we made cars safer, enacted seatbelt laws and did other things to focus on the issue. In contrast, we have put more guns out in the country and have numbed ourselves into accepting that school shootings are a way of life. That active shooter drills aren't causing anxiety in our kids. That politics is us against them when it should be all hands on deck to save lives. Children's lives!

This is not even touching on the suicide and homicide and violence that more guns have brought to our streets. Those stats might be overlook-able to gun lovers since they think it won't affect them. But how can we sit by and let someone's hobby and fun become the number one killer of our kids?

And for those who like to cite the 2nd Amendment I ask if they have indeed read it:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

WELL-REGULATED!! That's how it starts. And the right is tied to being part of the militia to secure the state you reside in. Not to mention this was ratified in musket times. It in no way implies that anyone can own weapons of war for their own fun and pleasure. As a matter of fact it reads to me as this right comes with the responsibility to protect your own state and the citizens within it. 

So here is my solution: anyone who wants to own an automatic/semi-automatic/war-like gun needs to be trained, licensed (the regulated part) and on call for state emergencies (the security of the State part). 
I think this is not only grammatically aligned with the Constitution but is in the spirit of what our Founders had in mind.
Our military and police are not just handed weapons- they are trained in their use, when to use them, how to store them and the consequences of firing them. There is a reverence for what they can do and the responsibility for caring one on your person. They pledge to protect the public/country from harm. That is what we need from gun owners now. 

If you won't defend your State and the children that reside in it, you have forfeited this right. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Creating YOUR Year ... 🎊 πŸ–Œ️

2021 πŸ˜³ ... amiright?!!

I have much much higher hopes for 2022, but as always I need to map it out to really see and live into it. So join me 😊

Happy Mapping & Cheers to a Happy Happy 22

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Prove Me Wrong: Civil Debate Not Hate

Royalty clashed all over TV and social media last week. It started with Meghan and Harry and our queen of TV, Oprah. Then it bounced back over the pond and exploded with Piers Morgan (often considered a royal PITA πŸ‘‘).

This exchange led to Piers leaving the show:

The attempt for Alex (GMB's weatherman) to try to explain things from Harry and Meghan's perspective could have led into a fruitful dialogue- but it didn't. When asked about Piers' departure from the show Alex said he hadn't wanted him to leave just to listen.

I disagree with Piers' take on many many things but it does no good to have him go off and echo to his supporters when it just divides us more and nothing gets accomplished. He's a powerful voice and I've appreciated it when used to support gun control, which he strongly advocates for, or when he's called on politicians to be open to the urgency of the climate crisis

Ignorance needs to be called out, people do need to be held accountable for their words and actions and I'm all for ostracizing truly evil people so they can do less harm if necessary. This is not that. 

Of course we all love to think we're right (myself, very much included) but if we're not simply open to being proven wrong that doesn't make us smart and superior it makes us uninformed and ideologically stuck. 

And, if we keep dividing ourselves into pools of only people we agree with we will have a hard time uniting to fight real battles to come. If we can't civilly discuss royalty and race how are we ever going to get to the even touchier topic of religion and our environmental crisis

Truly strong people and ideas do not fear scrutiny and challenges- that's how things can be proven solid and correct. We need to be able to talk about politics, princesses and problem solving without righteousness but instead a resolve to listen and consider what others are saying. If not, things will get even more tribal and more toxic and we'll be in real trouble. 

So above is my attempt to come up with a solution πŸ’‘

Because what our world needs now is less bullying and bravado and more honest debate without all the hate 
πŸ€“... 🧐

[btw: I'm pro-Queen, pro-Meghan & Harry and think the main problem is Rupert Murdoch (and the likes) and money-grubbing tabloids that use race as a way to stir things up and make profits. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong 😬]

Monday, March 1, 2021

911Cam: See the Emergency

The Jetsons lead us -at least me and my generation- to believe that we'd have flying cars and robot housekeepers by now. Even as far as technology has come much of it has yet to be developed; not because it's not ready but because we haven't harnessed and deployed it with the urgency it warrants. 
If I have to wait on mobile-modernization, can we at least take on the currently solvable problem of accurate emergency information getting to our first responders?!

At a time when we can amazingly see NASA's Perseverance actually land on Mars, and have millions of Zoom meetings a day, we are still way behind in utilizing these technologies to protect and save our own citizens.

The solution is to have 911Cam data-transfer (updated E911 / NG911) available to anyone who calls for help. The technology is already available. The stumbling block is federal funding and the leadership to shepherd a big endeavor from an old territory hot-potato to an innovation success. In the past, states/counties have had to fight for extra funding and support to role out any upgrades to their 911 system. There is no reason why we as a nation shouldn't support this as both a homeland security step and at a minimum as a public service provided to keep our citizens safe and alive. 

Since we are in the middle of handling one of our nation's biggest challenges with COVID-19 we should take this as a prescient warning that we have failed at adequately building infrastructure to deal with national emergencies. The good news is we are now ripe for taking on big challenges. 

911Cam is a perfect test project to unite many government agencies (federal, state and local) in bringing together resources, innovation and leadership. There are other natural disasters,  defense challenges and domestic threats to our safety, security and wellbeing ahead. Now is the time to show what our government, technologists and leaders can do. 

We spend billions on fighter jets that never fly a mission- we can spend some of that on infrastructure for our emergency services. And if we are to thrive as a nation and reclaim our status as the clear global technology leader we need to take on big projects and not just on Mars... but on Main Street. 

So here is me, just Joy-Citizen imploring our government to rally the resources and resolve to build a 911 system that allows every citizen who needs help to be seen.

I refuse to believe that Hanna-Barbera has more imagination and vision then our leaders (at least in the "real world"). 
We might not be ready for flying cars but if we can send video from Mars and communicate with colleagues around the world we can certainly get a 911 Operator our identifying information, our location and video of our emergency. 

911Cam life-saving technology is coming and the leaders who move to make it happen will be seen as national Heroes who will be ready to solve even greater challenges to come. 

Who will answer this call? 

Full disclosure: Jetsons was supposedly set in 2062 but no one told us that, and you get my point πŸ˜‰

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Nobel Question: Will You Be Remembered for.. Destruction 🧨 or Peace? ✌️


We are in surreal times... the Trump administration, the pandemic, half the nation upset with the other half over their denial regarding what's true (or not) about both.

You need not be American to partake in the battle over what's going on in the US, as is captured in above Q&A clip with former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, getting into it with The Australian's editor, Paul Kelly. News Corp & Rupert Murdoch's influence in Australia is as hot a topic down under as is Fox News' here. 

Which reminded me of one of my favorite stories of all time.. how there came to be The Nobel Peace Prize

When Alfred Nobel's brother, Ludvig, died the obituary accidentally named Alfred and stated  Le marchand de la mort est mort 
("The merchant of death is dead"). 
It went on, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." An inventor with 355 patents he was most well known as the creator of dynamite. 

Appalled that this is how he would be remembered, his last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. 
119 years later a Nobel Prize is known as an honor and as a contribution to humanity.

I bring this up as a reminder to us all, but especially the Murdochs, Trumps and all GOP leaders, and any (D) & (I)s as well, who are sowing discourse for the sake of money and power. 

Are you bringing our country together or dividing it? Are you taking a principled stand or just riding a populist wave that is built on people's pain and fear

If this COVID has taught us anything, it is how lucky we are to be alive in a time where science and available advancements bring us hope. But also, that today's technology paired with some of our fellow-citizens' lack of belief in this science and willingness to cooperate as a nation can also have disastrous consequences as well (hello, climate crisis!)

Even with the fantastic recent news of vaccines on the way, none of us knows what the upcoming year will bring. Or the year after or after that or for the rest of the years of our lives. We only have what we stand for. What we foster. Sure it's great to be rich and powerful, but it might also be the time to ponder what our obituary will say? What legacy we will leave behind for our kids and our country?

As relevant as it was those many years ago is the question: 

Are we looking to blow things up and cause more destruction 
or bring our nation and our world together and create peace?  

 What do we Prize? 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Go Ahead Apple, Make my ... iDay!


I know there are way more important things going on in the world so forgive me for this frivolous request, but thinking of ways to make things even a little bit better has eased my nerves in all this chaos.

As an Apple enthusiast I love my iPhone and enjoy having all my info accessible but I would love it even more if it was all in sync with my calendar. What would make me happy is if I pulled up a day in my iCal on my iPhone/MacBook and I could see all my activity of the day: 
photos, who I call & texted, what I spent and my health stats...

Every day in this pandemic-pause has seemed to blend together so I would really like a little organization to help me keep track of what happened today, yesterday and last month. The data is all there so my request is that Apple make my day an iDay snapshot.

Thanks, Apple!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pro-Life Christians' Best Bet Is Biden

As if the 2020 Election wasn't already divisive enough we now have a Supreme Court vacancy in the mix. Yikes!!

Though I am clearly not a theological scholar, nor even a person of faith, I have none the less thought a lot about religion and specifically Jesus over the years and think that now is the time to put every argument on the table and discuss it because we all have a stake in this election. 

Let's put aside the fact that while President Trump claims to be a man a faith he spends his weekends golfing (Com 4), rarely goes to church nor seems able to coherently discuss his beliefs when asked about them. 

Instead we might as well get right to the heart of the argument that pro-life politicians and judges are better for Christian values.  

Normally the fact Trump has had three wives, all of whom he's broken his vows to and cheated on (Com 7), would be enough to turn away devout folks. But the argument is it's worth the sacrifice of holding their noses to get judges that are anti-Roe-v-Wade. I say the devil is in the details.

If we as a society want fewer abortions, and I believe we all do, there are things that we can do to aid that. First let's clarify what we really believe is pro-life:
  • Birth Control: Jesus said nothing about birth control. Even the be fruitful instructions God had given to Adam and Eve were from the Old Testament and with a population of nearly 8 BILLION people from TWO... I think we can check that box ✅ ! 
    • More birth control, especially if it was free to all, would dramatically reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, abortions and deaths from poverty in the world.  
  • Sex: Mary was 12 when God impregnated her and she had Jesus. This has historically been an age that would have been acceptable to marry off daughters. This also corresponds with when females begin to menstruate. So if God (and Mother Nature) think 12 is when females are ready to procreate is that what we want for our daughters? 
    • Of course not! When times change we do as well. And as a society we don't want young girls having sex and babies so we modify what we now know is a more healthy range for the times we are living in.   
    • Pre-martial sex is also considered a sin and yet most of us have partaken so which is worse: not multiplying or having sex? 
  • Freedom: Attorney General Bill Barr as well as several governors and the whole anti-mask movement are decrying how horrible, only second to slavery, stay-at-home and masks orders are in our country. Covid protections enacted to save lives are tyranny and yet they want to restrict what a woman can do with her own body when it comes to reproduction. 
  • Healthcare: Pro-life includes the born as well and Biden/Harris and Democrats want more healthcare, especially for children and seniors. Feeding kids that are here, caring for the sick among us and supporting the poor will save more lives and bring about a better world and are far more Christian than tax cuts for billionaires.   
The thought of an abortion is sad to me, I hate the idea of the physical act itself and fortunately it is not something I have had to personally contemplate... but then I've never been raped, or a victim on incest or been forced to choose between bringing an un-planned child into the world. Not everyone has been so privileged or lucky.

The other big politically charged issue is the second amendment but here the Democrats/Biden are also a better bet: 

Gun Control helps with Commandment 6: thou shalt not kill

Caring for the poor, social justice, making peace, service, generosity, forgiveness, turning one's cheek, philanthropy, kindness... pick a topic and there is not one Christian value I can fathom that Trump embodies more than Biden. 

So take some time to really think (or pray) on WWJD? πŸ˜ŒπŸ™ 
I can't say for sure I would know but I think we can take an educated guess. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

White Fright

My sister once said something that has defined my thinking on compassion; she could imagine there might be a heaven but knows for sure there is no hell because no one, even a murder, deserves to go there. Her reasoning: if someone did something awful there is clearly something wrong with them and their defect is not something anyone would willingly choose. Hard to swallow but it is actually more reassuring to believe this than that someone sane would choose evil willingly. 

So I try and remember that when I see hateful bad things. Even when someone is mean to me or others I think that must be a really hard way to go through life. 
What a huge weight that hate and anger is to carry. So much so some can't help but to fling it at others. 

No happy, confident, secure person wants to make another person suffer- there is no joy in that. To willingly inflict hurt/hate you are either in pain or broken inside. 

I can't stand Donald Trump but hating him, or anyone, is a waste of time. More productive is to try and understand why some are drawn to him even after all his demonstrated racism. Not necessarily so we can change their minds but you need to understand someone's argument before you can debate/advocate for the other side. 

White men (historically) are not use to having to explain themselves to their wives or children and have enjoyed a long stretch of rule. But nowadays they are expected to see women as equals, their children want them to be woke, and everywhere from the boardroom to the bedroom they are suppose to self-correct the way they were raised and what was the norm for... well, all time. 
It's hard. Jarring!

Of course it's way past time this happened but it's truly difficult to change for anyone and when you're not shown good role-models you can relate to you're afraid -even if you're willing- to do it wrong and be emasculated or look stupid. Men's top fear after all is humiliation. 

Brene Brown had an amazing conversation with Russell Brand about how things are changing in the world and how some of the unrest in politics and in general comes down to a white male -power over- last stand (and I include the white women who stand for this as well). We've come from a male-dominated culture that valued conformity, whiteness, straightness, heterosexuality, structure, order, falling in line. 

(begins at 13:00)

When Tom Brokaw said some folks he speaks to don't want brown grandbabies he was sharing what he had heard. I have no doubt many folks still feel that way. And why wouldn't they when whiteness has been what has been prized in our society. If they don't have friends and family members who are people of color they see no reason to open their minds to an evolved way of thinking.

When corporate America started shipping jobs out of the US there was backlash but instead of blaming the folks that were doing it they blamed the easiest target those who were thought to be stealing their jobs: brown people. 

Farmers, steal workers, factory workers, coal miners all took a hit in the Information Age with our changing new economy and instead of working together we divided ourselves more. We blamed immigrants, foreign workers or anyone that was different when it was actually industrial farming, automation and technologies that shifted. 

The white middle-class blue-collar worker was hurting and mad so politicians and corporations began to shift blame to the easy target. But in fact it is all our doings. Walmart started by Sam Walton with the motto Buy American but because his heirs (and investors) wanted to make more money they started forcing suppliers to lower their costs. This lead to the producers of products cutting cost which often lead to cheaper labor either in a neighboring country or overseas. Which then lead to good middle-class jobs being cut which lead to more people shopping at discount stores which made the Waltons even richer. Instead of blaming brown folks or foreigners those that are suffering need to look deeper and follow the money. Walmart is the largest private employer in the US and the Waltons have now hoarded billions instead of fairly sharing it with the ones who got them there. This is not socialism this is conscious capitalism. You help us make the fortune you get a little slice yourself. 

Anyway, the point is that the otherism is a scapegoat for changing times and fear of what will be our place in the new millennium. Globalism is scary. Evolving is uncomfortable. 

Trump is a fantastic showman and like him or not there is no doubt he is clearly one of the most successful salesmen of all time. I did not say businessman because his businesses have filed bankruptcy 6 times and to date we have no idea if he has any of his own money left at all. But regarding sales and marketing he is a genius!

The trouble with that is that if he was only selling snake oil or steaks who cares? But he is now the most powerful man in the world and instead of making our nation and the world a better place he is using his charm to sell something else: FEAR! 

And who is buying it? White folks that have seen their way of life change. 

The fear of changing times are not make-believe there is a real growing pain that happens. And if we keep up this dividedness many folks will not end up with a happy comfortable life. The missing piece though is this isn't due to others, it's due to how things have always worked. Ask Blockbuster owners how brutal it was to lose their livelihoods. But do we hate Netflix? Nope. 

White folks can now choose to hold on to the 1950's past and reject the American Melting Pot or they can grapple with how to make change work for them. It doesn't mean accepting open borders or everything that the far left is proposing- I don't- 
but it does mean not letting some showman make us hate each other for the color of our skin. Especially when the majority of the ones he's trying to scare worship Jesus: a brown man

And as for Trump's current boogeyman, he is trying to use Black Lives Matter protesters as a scare tactic to lure white suburban women into voting for him. Granted no one wants rioting in the streets but it looks as though many of these troublemakers are just trying to stir up unrest and are not even from the area/cause. Trying to make a stance for racial justice and equality radical is what political operatives often tried in the past and with gay-marriage in 2004. You'd think every single American that has seen the George Floyd murder by cops (including all the good cops) would be able to take a stand for honoring all humans with their constitutional rights. And I get it protests are annoying but imagine having to be Black in America in 2020 and still having to stick up for your basic rights to not be shot let alone be discriminated against. Talk about fucking ridiculous?!!

So folks, let's not let Trump or anyone else scare us into being afraid of others because the color of their skin. We are all members of the human race, some just more pasty than the rest πŸ˜‰. We are all scared of not being healthy, happy and able to provide for our families. There will always be challenges in our country and the world but no problem is ever solved when we fight each other, only when we come together and put country over party and look out for all of our citizens. 

United We Stand, Divided We Fall πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ