Archive for June, 2011
It is usually not constructive to look backwards in time. However, with the death of Bin Laden, it is tempting to look back and imagine what could have happened if the United States government and the political class that operates it had actually put together and implemented a realistic, coherent, and comprehensive energy policy back in the late 1970s as a result of the Arab oil embargoes. This is a major failure of both political parties since over the past three decades, both parties have been in control of Congress and the White House and each party has always failed to address the need for energy independence.
Consider a short article from the May 8, 2011 edition of the Tampa Bay area St. Petersburg Times. It takes a number-intensive look at what Bin Laden and the 9-11 attacks have cost the country over the past ten years:
•The United States has spent at least $1.28 TRILLION on the war on terror.
•The U.S. defense budget has grown so much over the past ten years that it now consumes 19% of the total Federal government budget.
And if we had become energy independent several decades ago, what might we be looking at today from a budget, military, freedom and quality of life perspective:
•From a freedom perspective, we probably do not have the repressive and repulsive Patriot Act that has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of liberty in this country.
•Theoretically, we could have taken the $1.28 TRILLION we have spent and used it to make the country more energy independent. For example, the Nova television show did a story a few years ago where they completely solar retrofitted a middle class, middle size California home so that it was energy independent. The costs of the retrofit was about $60,000. If that $1.28 TRILLION had been directed to solar retrofitting U.S. homes, based on the Nova experience, than every single family home in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii (over 20 million homes) would now be energy self-sufficient, significantly reducing the need for foreign energy sources.
•From a military perspective, one can only imagine how much smaller our military budget would be if we did not have 50,000 troops in Iraq and about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, year in and year out.
•From a quality of life perspective, the St. Pete Times article reports that the U.S. has spent an estimated $150 million to build a hospital in Basra, Iraq. However, hospitals in the four county area in the Tampa Bay region that are served by the St. Petersburg Times will lose an estimated $63.5 million in Medicaid funds this year.
•In Afghanistan, the U.S. has spent $58 million to rebuild or refurbish schools. However, schools in the Tampa Bay counties will receive $216 million less this year in state aid.
•Also in Afghanistan, we are spending $176 million to fix an Afghan highway which is turning out to be one of the most expensive construction projects, on a cost per mile basis, ever undertaken anywhere. Meanwhile, the state of New Jersey cancelled plans to build a vitally needed Hudson River tunnel because of a shortage of funds.
•From a quality of life perspective, we would not be taking our shoes off at airport check in points, we would not be spending billions of dollars for largely ineffective airport screening technology, and we would hopefully not be paying a larger and larger portion of our disposable income on energy related expenses (e.g. $4.00 per gallon of gas.)
Yes, it is pretty easy to draw a line straight from our politicians’ inability to solve the energy crisis decades ago to the current economic, military, and state-of-mind troubles we have in this country today.
However, rather than dwell on what could have happened, we need to get started on fixing what they have not fixed so that we can reverse some of the damage. We need to implement some strategies that will finally put together a compressive, domestically focused energy program that is environmentally friendly and economically friendly.
At the same time, we need to bring home the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops that are needlessly stationed around the world in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, South Korea, and Japan in a quick but orderly manner. We need to start training ourselves and our politicians to not be so anxious to meddle in other countries’ affairs and be so quick to commit U.S. military forces anywhere where there is not a direct threat to U.S. security. We need to realize that we cannot fix the world so why bother trying. Part of the process is the need to streamline and refocus our military on real threats, hopefully reducing the outrageous defense budget in the process.
We need to implement steps as they relate to the Patriot Act in order to restore the freedom that it has deprived us of since the 9-11 attacks while still being vigilant against terrorist attacks in the future. If stopping terrorist attacks includes the complete elimination of freedom in the process, then the terrorists have already won.
We need to fix our political processes to get rid of the type of politicians we are constantly stuck with, politicians that have done nothing over the past three or four decades. We need to get people into office that can solve complex, interrelated problems. These political process changes include instituting term limits, reforming campaign financing laws (e.g. to take military contractors out of the election processes) and making our elected officials more accountable for failure to implement their responsibilities.
The last thing we want to happen is a repeat of the past three plus decades where the political class has done nothing to address our ever growing energy needs while endangering the safety of U.S. citizens all over the world. We do not want to be looking back at 2011 thirty years from now and wistfully think how much better things would be in the year 2041 if only we had implemented an energy strategy and program back in 2011. We have already tried that strategy of nothing and it has brought us to where we are today.
World News US
One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is that they run out of air in public speaking. This may be a problem for you as well. Do you know why this is happening? Many who teach public speaking will tell you it is because you are nervous. Certainly nervousness exacerbates the problem but it is not the cause.
The reasons you are breathless in public speaking are because:
1. you do not allow yourself to breathe;
2. you do not think to breathe; and,
3. you wait until you are totally spent before gasping for your next breath.
Let me ask you a question. In your day to day conversation with family, friends, and/or colleagues, do you experience breathlessness? Most people, in fact 99%, will answer No.
So why, then, is breathlessness a problem at the lectern or the head of the boardroom table?
The first thing you should do before beginning your speech or presentation is to take a breath and then supplement your air supply all the while you are speaking. Forget the elementary school rule that says you are not allowed to breathe until you come to some form of punctuation. You were taught that in 3rd grade so that you could learn to read out loud without being choppy when you spoke. And, in the 3rd grade there were only 6 words in your sentences!
You have what is known as a speaker’s license. You can breathe practically anywhere in a sentence. In fact, you do it in normal conversation and never think twice about it. There are only two times I have found where a breath is not warranted:
1. when saying your first and last name; (my name is Nancy – breath – Daniels) and,
2.when saying the name of your company if it is more than one word. (My business is Voice – breath – Dynamic).
Those are truly the only times you should not interrupt yourself to breathe. As you can see from those two examples, interrupting your name or your business name to take a breath is most awkward.
However in the following sentence I don’t know how to do it, you can take a breath after any one of those words and it will work if you speak with some form of expression. (Admittedly, it is much more difficult to accomplish this if you speak in a monotone.)
Breathlessness should never be a problem if you remember to breathe, allow yourself to breathe, and supplement your air supply as you speak.
Contributing author: NANCY DANIELS
World News US
Interview by cj World News US; interviewing waitress Jacki who works at the Rig in Fort Worth.
cj: Thank you Jacki for agreeing to talk to me.
cj: Jacki how long have you worked at the Rig and tell me a little about your work?
jacki: I’ve been working at the Rig for almost 5 years. Its hard work; your on your feet all day and you have to carry heavy loads. Most of the time I enjoy the work, staying busy and the people you meet. I like working with the girls and some of the customers are great and become friends. I like the work most of the time; she smiled
cj; Why not all of the time?
jacki: Sometimes you work your butt off and you get a small tip or no tip. those are the worst times. I’m a good waitress and on average I do real well; but I do feel sorry for many of the young girls who don’t have the skills or experience.
cj: Would you tell me how much you made today and how long you worked?
jacki: I worked 6 1/2 hours and made $64, but you see the girl over there; that’s Jean and she only made $28; she worked the same hours I did. She’s not married but she is trying to raise a baby, pay for an apartment along with all the expenses and then there is the babysitting; she misses days some time because she can’t afford or doesn’t have a sitter and because of that these young girls often lose their job and then things even get worse for them.
cj: you made almost $10 an hour but Jean made only $4 an hour are you aware of that?
jacki: Doesn’t seem fair, many of these girls are like daughters to me. So many of them make only $4-5 dollars an hour; how can they be expected to survive on that. I try to help them with work and personal problems. Abuse, drugs, sick baby etc; I’m like a mother to many of them. It’s one of the things I love about the work, I get to help these girls but sometimes there is nothing I can do and it gets a bit over-whelming.
cj: jacki what do you want the world to know?
jacki: We get paid $2.25 an hour, it’s not fair that these young girls aren’t paid a minimum wage just like any other America. If they made a minimum wage; they would make $43,50 for a 6 hour shift. On the days they only make $20 in tips; they would make a total of $63.50 for a 6 hour shift. Does anyone believe that a young girl trying to raise a baby alone is getting paid too much if she makes $63.50 for 6 hours? The way it is right now there are thousands of waitresses accross the country; who often make only $4 an hour. just not fair something needs to be done.
cj: Again I want to thank you Jacki for talking to me and bringing this to people’s attention; if I needed another interview; would you have a problem with talking to me again?
jacki: No; I will be happy to help in anyway I can.
End of interview…
How can a nation that proclaims to be fair and just; allow this condition to exist. These are women that are not sitting back and collecting welfare, they are working and want to work.
In 1933 during the depression the US instituted a law, excluding Waitresses from being paid a minimum wage.
In 1968, the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, equivalent to $9.86 per hour in 2010 dollars.
World News US
Where were the hard hittting questions by the Media?
The only remark that Palin made that had any substance was her referencing that the US is Bankrupt.
No Sara; going back to the constitution is’t going to help us out of this mess; a mess that was created by greed and immoral politicians, the rich and corporations…certainly you have something more substitutive; tell us that your not risking the future of this nation on a history lesson.
Certainly anyone with an ounce of honesty, integrity, fairness or compassion would conclude that before we cut any social programs to the poorest and neediest Americans, we should repeal the Bush tax break to the rich. We would see approx a trillion dollars additional revenue in the next 10 years. Palin blames the poor for the condition of the country. Sure Sara lets continue the 30 year practice of trickle down economics…just look around you can see how well that’s worked.
The income for the rich has climbed far more rapidly, and the gap between rich and poor has widened significantly in the past 30 years. (source; Wall St Journal)
Lets stop pandering to groups and state the facts; for 50% of Americans their are no “good jobs”, the inner cities have massive unemployment of all races, the working poor don’t earn a fair minimum wage, for example 1,000’s of waitresses in this country don’t even make a minimum wage (because of an old antiquated law established in 1933) many make only $4 an hour in 2011. If your the new kind of politician that’s come to save the country Sara; then why not address these substitutive issues and others; why isn’t the press asking these questions?
The New York Times reported recently that the average family in America with an income of $10 million or more received a half-million-dollar tax cut from the Bush tax break to the rich, while the middle class got less than $100 off their tax bill. (source; The American)
Both parties are now proposing a long term trillion dollar cut of many social programs. The same programs that benefit the neediest and poorest Americans; the children, the sick, the elderly, poor and the working poor. The amount they propose taking from the most disadvantaged Americans is Approximately the same amount of revenue that repealing the Bush “Tax Bill “would bring into the national treasury. We pass laws that allow loopholes for a corporation like GE to make 10′s of billions of dollars and pay no taxes; we rob the poor; cut social programs so that GE and the rich can get richer. How sick is this, don’t we have even a tiny bit of decency or morality left? Sara lets talk about this, lets talk about what is really destroying this country.
Notice the patriotic wrist band on Sara? Real patriotism would be for all the Politicians to start doing what’s right for the county and it’s citizen’s. Today’s politicians would more accurately fit the definition of traitor, rather then patriot.
Democracy implies that you have a choice; if neither party is willing to act on behave of the interests of its citizens; there is no real democracy.
The truth is, neither party is addressing the real issues or the needs of the people.
We want to thank Fox News for this hard hitting Palin video interview; Gretta; stop asking such hard hitting questions…you could break a finger nail if you’re not careful.
World News US – Ask the World; then tell it the way it really is