Is it possible????

Fox Business had an article last week about 9 countries where everyone has a job (unemployment under 5%). Interestingly, most of these countries are in Asia or are former members of the USSR and many of them are agriculturally based, or in the case of Austria, have a large manufacturing base.

What does that mean for the US? It is possible to have a fully employed workforce.

What else does it mean? We need to take another look at business in this country and bring ourselves back from the brink of disaster. We need to do something to encourage manufacturing jobs to stay in, or return to, the US. Obviously, with the highest business taxes in the world at 21 or 22%, the first goal is to lower taxes and penalties on companies that choose to stay here in the US. That just makes sense. No large corporation is going to stay here in the US when they can pay fewer taxes and make more profit by moving to Asia or former Eastern Bloc countries and exporting those items back into the US. Another thing we should do is examine our import and export taxes, again if its going to cost more to ship goods out of the US than it is to bring them in, why should any self-respecting corporation stay here in the US?

I’m not an economist or a business major, but some things make sense. If I’m going to open a multinational manufacturing company, I’m going to look for the cheapest place to build that company. If the business taxes are 21% in the US, 15% in Russia, and 12% in Taiwan, Taiwan appears to be the logical choice as the base of my operations. A smart business person is then going to reinvest the profit from their company back into the economy that is treating them so well. The economies of Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Chicago, and other former manufacturing hubs in the US could really use some reinvestment, but if there are no businesses, who’s left to reinvest? The federal government? 26% of GM is owned by the federal government (thank you bail-outs!) and they just cut their research and development sections so that they could show more of a profit during this fiscal year. (Which just happens to end in October-just before a huge national election. Must be a coincidence). Where is GM’s reinvestment in Lansing? Sure, bringing in the Lugnuts minor league baseball team in the mid-1990s was a good idea, but what about housing, cleaning up the streets, and assisting with the things no one wants to see? Like poverty…

Which brings me to another part of the Fox Business article-Belarus. Interesting country, I don’t know much about it, but one thing in this article caught my eye and gave me an “Ah-HA!!!!” moment. In Belarus, in order to receive unemployment benefits, one must register with a public works project. If one stops their public works commitment, then their benefits stop as well. Can you imagine! Let’s imagine that the US instituted something like this-in order to receive welfare benefits, unemployment, or any other public assistance (aside from accurate, DOCUMENTED, social security disability-and I don’t mean because alcoholism is a “disease” or your drug abuse keeps you from working) you are required to perform X hours a week of community service with the local public works department. WOW! You want to see the number of assistance dependent people drop, just require them to work for benefits!

I like this idea for a number of reasons. 1)The potential workforce is HUGE! 2)There is a never ending list of public works projects that these people can choose from: cleaning toilets at the local ballpark (because they are always nasty), picking up trash on the side of the road, mowing lawns for elderly people, cleaning up abandoned property, scrubbing graffiti, fixing fences, mentoring at the local Boys and Girls Club or YMCA, the list goes on and on. 3)The entire nation would look better. 4)These individuals would feel a sense of accomplishment and MAYBE they would use this work experience to segue into a career or more permanent job. Its a win-win-win for everyone. Those individuals who feel that the government should assist those who cannot help themselves win because this is a public assistance program and these individuals are receiving benefits. Those individuals who feel that the government gives assistance to people to easily and there is not monitoring of government assistance win because in order to receive the benefits, individuals need to work and may, GASP, learn a trade that allows them to get off public assistance. And the individual communities win because there are fewer people at home doing “nothing” or very little because they are living off the government, you should see a drop in crime and drug use because people are out doing something and idleness breeds crime, and the unemployment rate theoretically should drop because people are learning trades that can be translated into jobs. Not to mention the benefits everyone gets from having well taken care of communities.

Where is the problem? Implementation. How do you transform our current system into one that is beneficial to all? Who’s going to run it? Is it going to be a federal or state run program? Cost. Who pays for it? What is this going to cost? Is there a cost-savings in the end? Benefit. Who benefits from this program? Limitations. Do you allow those with criminal records to participate? Do you drug test participants? How does an individual get placed on a project? Is there going to be mandatory training for certain jobs or do previously held jobs play a part in the decision of who goes where?

I think that if someone took this seriously, they could come up with the answers to those questions. But, will anyone with the authority take a suggestion like this seriously? Probably not, after all, the running theory is that “if something is broke, let’s throw money at it instead of fixing it.”

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Are we on the brink of another Civil War?

…And is that “war” going to be based on race?

Before I get into this topic, I’m going to clarify the racial terms I’m going to use so as not to offend anyone. For ease of typing I’m going to use “white,” “black,” and “Hispanic.”

It appears that racial tensions in the US are hitting an all time high right now, mostly because of the killing of a teenager in Sanford, Florida, I’m sure everyone has heard about it, the Treyvon Martin case. I’m not going to say that this was the start of the new racial tensions in the US, but it seems to be a major catalyst. One could argue that racial tensions started increasing with the campaign and election of President Obama, especially since the Black Panthers were out intimidating voters in Pennsylvania, and he has become the most divisive president in my lifetime. Agree with the President’s policies or not, I think most people would agree that the divisions between races and along socioeconomic lines have not been this clearly defined since the 1960s, if ever. But I digress.

Back to Treyvon Martin.

I think most of us know the story by now, a black teenager was walking home through an apartment complex and was stopped by George Zimmerman a white Hispanic man who had elected himself neighborhood watch captain. Martin was armed with a tea and bag of skittles, Zimmerman was armed with a pistol, something happened between the two of them and Martin ended up shot and killed. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and the media went wild with the story of the white Hispanic man who killed the black kid who didn’t do anything wrong.

The facts:

The “Villain”

George Zimmerman is not white, he is half-white, half-Hispanic but claims his Hispanic heritage. A fact that the press took weeks to get correct, long after they had sensationalized this into a white-on-black murder and a hate crime.

Zimmerman was not a member of an organized neighborhood watch due to his application never having been approved because he would not follow the regulations set forth by the neighborhood watch organization (#1 rule-do not carry weapons, #2-follow the directions of law enforcement personnel). His title of “Neighborhood Watch Captain” was self-appointed and he had no more authority to stop and question Martin than any other neighbor in the apartment complex did. Martin did not have to answer any questions posed by Zimmerman, nor did he even have the obligation to stop when/if Zimmerman asked/ordered him to.

Zimmerman has a long history of violent tendencies while in authority positions, there are reports of his use of violence while working as a security guard for private parties, domestic violence accusations, and while in this role of Neighborhood Watch Captain he had called the Sanford police department numerous times to report such crimes as children playing in the road, suspicious vehicles parked in neighbors driveways, and garage doors being left open.

On the particular night in question, Zimmerman was told by the Sanford police dispatch to stop following Martin and to let the police handle it, Zimmerman ignored this request.

The “Hero”

Treyvon Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager painted by the press as an innocent victim with no criminal history. He was painted as everything except a church choir member. His only crime was being black, wearing a hoodie, and going to the local mini-mart to get his brother a bag of skittles. Good student, considerate, funny, got along with everyone, pictures of him at the age of 12 or 13 were posted on every newscast and website.

Actually, he had been transfered to another school where he had started hanging around with “the wrong crowd,” he had been suspended from that school for a drug offense, which is why he was back in Sanford to begin with.

Other interesting facts

This neighborhood/apartment complex had been the sight of a number of burglaries perpetrated at night by black teenagers over the months leading up to the murder.

What does it all mean?

The media had a field day with this story, a white man killed a black teenager and the story got so twisted that it was obvious that the media was playing it as a race-based hate crime between whites and blacks. Neglected was the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic, neglected was the fact that Martin was not the perfect little angel that the media presented. Called into question was the fact that Zimmerman claimed that the shooting was self-defense, which I have a hard time believing that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when it is obvious that he instigated the incident by ignoring the police dispatcher who had told Zimmerman to stop pursuit and wait for the police. My question is if Zimmerman started the pursuit, didn’t Martin have just as much right to defend himself from being followed and accosted by Zimmerman by any means necessary as Zimmerman had in shooting Martin once Martin started beating him? I think this is why the DA chose to bring 2nd degree murder charges against Zimmerman, because if Zimmerman had not willfully ignored the police dispatcher, Martin would probably still be alive.

How does this lead to a Civil War or Race War?

Or, at the very least, increased racial tension? Let’s take a look at the press, first of all. They were the ones who presented this as a hate crime to begin with. What had been a complex case of a person shooting another person who he thought was suspicious then claiming self-defense, the press turned it into a white man killing a black man after uttering a possible racial slur. It didn’t help that the Sanford police did not look into the crime past the self-defense plea, and did not notify Martin’s parents until the next day when they called the police department looking for him. The ball was dropped during this case, is it because Treyvon Martin is black? Probably not, it probably has more to do with Zimmerman claiming self-defense and the police treating it as an open-and-shut case rather than looking at it in a suspicious, “maybe he’s covering something up” manner and collecting evidence, “just in case” the evidence was needed later on.

Then you have the President of the United States weighing in on the situation making remarks like, “Treyvon Martin could have been my child.” Because the President is also black (or, like Zimmerman, half-white and half-black but identifying more with his black heritage). Saying something like this rallies the troops faster than any news cast ever would. You have ignorant people looking to the highest authority figure in the US, and saying “Treyvon Martin could have been the President’s son! We have to take action against the white people who killed Treyvon.” Now the Black Panthers have put a bounty on Zimmerman since he has been released from prison, people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are leading rallies for “the memory of Treyvon Martin,” and everyday people are taking the law into their own hands.

Because of Treyvon?

Two black teenagers in Chicago, one 18 and one 15, accosted a 19-year-old white man, grabbed him from behind, robbed him then hit him repeatedly in the head and on the back with a large branch. When found the suspects stated that their attack was “racially motivated.” They have been charged with aggravated assault and a hate crime. (http://www.thegrio.com/specials/trayvon-martin/trayvon-martin-cited-in-case-of-black-man-beating-white-man.php)

A 78-year-old white man was assaulted by 6 black teenagers in east Toledo, Ohio. The police are not treating it as a hate crime, as the victim has been determined to have “exaggerated the facts.” (toledoblade.com)

A white man in Mobile, Alabama with a history of using racial slurs against his black neighbors and children in the neighborhood, was beaten by 20 black individuals including children using bats, paint cans, bricks, and pipes. This man was admitted to the ICU at a hospital in Mobile with “bleeding in the brain” and multiple other injuries. One of his attackers was heard to have said, something to the effect of “now that’s justice for Treyvon Martin.” Police are investigating this incident as an assault, not bringing hate crime charges to any of those participating in the mob, pending further investigation. (http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/apr/23/59/man-beaten-mob-critical-condition-ar-3659891/)

Is it going to stop with these incidents, of which there are many more examples out there? Are all crimes going to be racially charged from now on? Is the next “Treyvon Martin” case going to be even bigger and incite even more hostilities?

My husband and I were discussing this the other night. Neither one of us wants our kids to grow up in a world where they have to be suspicious of someone just because of their skin color. But we have a sad suspicion that this country is becoming more and more divided along race lines. Every crime, every thought, every word taken out of context appears to be “because I’m _____ and you’re _____” (insert race preference here). We see it here, we saw it in Georgia. Shoot it even happened in Maine (there it was Americans vs Canadians and most every one was white-but still). Black on Hispanic, Hispanic on black, black on white, white on Hispanic, white on black, does it even matter anymore? I think the only time race should be mentioned in a news story is when it has to do with the police looking for a suspect. No one really cares if the woman who was apprehended by the police after dancing around naked in a cemetery is white, black, pink, purple, or neon green after she is in police custody. Now, when race becomes important is when the local mini-mart is robbed and the police need public assistance looking for suspects, then it’s helpful to know that the police are looking for a 6’1″ tall Hispanic male with a mustache wearing a red shirt.

Is this all coming to a war? Who knows. It is easy to see however, that violence in this country is escalating and that much of it is becoming race based.

Here are a couple of quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who I think would be appalled at the fact that race is even an issue in 2012:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools”

Right now, it seems like the fools are winning…

 

What’s the big deal Berkeley??

If you are a college looking for the best students with the best GPAs and the most diverse extracurricular activities, should you be worried about the race of those students? If you are University of California Berkeley, the answer is yes.

Fifteen years ago, the voters in California did something that I actually agree with (its a rare thing), they determined that colleges should not factor race into their admission criteria. This initiative was led by a businessman named Ward Connerly back in 1996, Connerly happens to be African-American. He felt that college admission should not be dictated by race but by merit and that California’s colleges would benefit from this initiative. I agree with this idea, I LOVE the fact that California voters wanted everyone to be counted the same and that every student entering their public universities has the same opportunity to get in without so-and-so getting bonus points because s/he is “….. race” or “…… socioeconomic status”.

So where’s the problem?

I guess the problem is that UC Berkeley is seeing that the demographics of their college is not quite the same as the demographics of the state of California. For example, the population of Asian students is 47%, 4 times higher than the percentage of Asian students currently attending grades K-12 in California. The percentage of white students is 30%. On the flip side, over 50% of the K-12 population is Hispanic, and only 15% of the UC Berkeley population is Hispanic. California is 7% African American, while only 4% of UC Berkely is African American.

Supposedly, many minority (African American and Hispanic) students leave Berkeley during their college careers in favor of schools that have more “diversity” among the student population. I can see Berkeley’s concern with this, if these populations are already small, you don’t want those students to leave, making fewer members of those populations because then how do you entice more minority students to attend your school? Is the solution to then start factoring in race into admissions so that Hispanic students see more Hispanics at your school?

NO! Emphatically NO!

I’ll bet that if the administrators and recruiters from UC Berkeley took a field trip to the local jail and prison they would find the missing members of the entering freshmen’s demographics. California prisons are 37% Hispanic/Latino, 27% African American, 27% white, and 8% “other” (Wikipedia). A majority of prisoners are members of gangs before they enter prison, and if not before, then definitely by the time they leave they are a member of a gang because gangs offer protection during incarceration.

My question to Berkeley is, what are you doing to influence these kids to enter college rather than enter prison? Obviously, the choice is not quite as cut-and-dry as this, but what are Berkeley and other college facing this same dilemma doing to influence kids to choose college (the harder road) over a life of crime and mediocrity (the easy choice)? Are they sponsoring mentors to go out into the communities and show kids what hard work can do? Are they inviting at-risk kids to their college(s) to demonstrate what is “out there” beyond drive by shootings, drugs, and violence? Are they reaching out to the kids in areas that are predominantly black or Hispanic and introducing the idea of college at an impressionable age, then following these students throughout their K-12 academic careers and grooming them to become incoming college freshmen? If they are doing outreach, are they taking the white and Asian kids or are they taking the kids from the neighborhoods that grew up with Auntie and Uncle and big brother/sister and who can relate to the kids that the colleges are targeting?

Or, are these administrators sitting back in their cushy offices going, “why can’t we get the right percentage of _______-kind of student to come to our college?” and expect students who fit into the correct empty boxes to just fall out of the sky?

Reference article:

(2012). “Campus diversity suffers under race-blind policies.” Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/21/campus-diversity-suffers-under-race-blind-policies-2081929089 on April 24, 2012.

Introducing myself

This blog is designed as a place for all of my random thoughts on various subjects to be organized. From parenting to politics to healthcare, you will find my thoughts on just about everything. As I start gaining more followers and as the randomness gets out of control, I will organize the thoughts into broad subject categories, if only for ease of navigation.

I am the tired, worn out mother of soon to be 6 children, I am also a full time pediatric nurse, and in my spare time, I follow politics. I have some common sense approaches to fixing the government, which I will share in my politics section. I follow the changes in healthcare out of necessity, and will be sharing how those changes affect healthcare organizations, patients, and those at the bedside (physicians, nurses, techs, ect) in my healthcare section. The other sections will be decided as we progress.

Come join me on this journey and feel free to comment.