Sunday, May 23, 2010

Service to God and Country..Memorial Day Thoughts..

As I write, I am sitting near an Army Reserve location in Indiana. Watching soldiers, come and go from the base like ants who all look alike busy scurrying about doing their busy work. The business of war. The business of defending freedoms that you and I take for granted every day.

As a female those freedoms are as simple as choosing what I want to wear, the right to be single or marry a man of my choosing, the right to vote, the right to bear arms, swear, drink alcohol, and work in a profession that I want. I can go to a store and spend my money on items I want. I can go to school and learn about anything I desire. I can read any material I choose.

Unlike many of my female peers who continue to feel "wronged" in the game of life's fairness; I am grateful for the rights and freedoms that we have as women in America. I am eternally grateful to those who put their lives in the line of danger every day so that I can enjoy my very self serving free choices..

It saddens me to hear about Americans bemoaning their lot in life..I say "Spoiled, entitlement seeking, immature humans..grow up!" grateful...rejoice, and be humble in the gifts you have as an American..!

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday, I ask you to spend time with your families, and share a moment honoring those freedoms, and those who have given their lives so you can eat that steak, wear that bikini and drink that martini...

May God's grace find and keep those safe serving in war zones, and may God give comfort to the families who have lost sons and daughters this year, may you know that there are Americans who honor and are humbled by the dedication and service of your family and loved ones. We share in your sorrow and loss.

To those whom are living with physical reminders of their service to this country, may you find healing and comfort in knowing that we support you and honor you for your service. God has a special place reserved for you, your a living reminder to the rest of us to not take freedom for granted.. So this month I challenge you all; buy a poppy, visit a veteran, buy a service man or woman a coffee or a meal if you see them..Demonstrate your appreciation always as we honor and remember on this very special holiday.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweet Home..

The images of the south, the deep south that we have become indoctrinated with are of rednecks, racism, poverty, ignorance, and a way of life that most in the media would have us believe as "backward".

In fact if I asked you to visualize a small town in Alabama; you would think of those things listed and probably about twenty other things that would be categorized as less then P.C. or intellectual in nature.

The negative visions and images are the frequent display one is given when discussion about southern lifestyles and behaviors is discussed related to politico discussions of what "America" is about; and the life style of the south is often discounted as insignificant..

Interesting that some of those images are indeed accurate; but rather than placing them on the bucket half empty list; I ask you to reconsider your choice of image and think about the following things....

Huntsville and Birmingham are two of the fastest growing economies and job market cities in America. In fact, having spent time here, it is obvious that the recession has not touched this area to the depth it has in Michigan. Job postings are seen at many service areas as we walk through the thriving busy shopping center and downtown areas.

On Easter Sunday, in Michigan few if any major businesses were closed; in Alabama everything was shut down except for a few choice restaurants that opened "post worship". In fact, according to the locals, most Sunday shopping is still frowned upon..commerce on a family focus day is not a norm here..

Southern small towns in Alabama? Oh yes they exist..and they still thrive as their own small micro economic existences..One major commercial enterprise will maintain a community for generations. Think capitalism in it's purest forms..Small family owned businesses that support many other small families..

Politeness..Our 17 year old figured out that people here are just genuinely "nice". We have met so many just kind and polite people, that it gave me reassurance that social graces and rules can still exist. "where y'all from?" is the question that would seem a privacy violation to us northerners and we may respond with our hackles raised. In the south it is genuine kind question that usually follows a discussion of weather, the economy and the great things to do in their fair city or locale..

Customer service? Yeah, thinks truly are a bit slower here..That is a correct stereotype. But truly when was the last time you had your car wash done while they provide you with a glass of tea and a massage chair or bench to sit on outside and visit with other people getting their vehicle washed? Getting a coffee quickly at a starbucks..not quick like at home, but you get a "how ya''ll today?" and a "here's your coffee miss, y'all have a nice day you hear?" Unlike the not so friendly experience and eye roll I have gotten at a local coffee estab.

Perhaps instead of critical analysis of the southern states, we should take a collective look at what we can learn from them. I just hope that as "we" begin to infiltrate these areas in search of a better place to earn, live and raise our families, that we leave behind the worst of what we are; and instead adopt the best of what the south has to give us; character, values and ethics that emulate kindness, honesty and simplicity of living.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family traditions and prophetic conjecture

I have not written in quite awhile. Mostly, due to changes in my life; I have a life outside of work now, and it is a very busy place.. However, the other part of not writing is simply sheer frustration at the lack of logic I keep encountering in this world, and our country.

For some reason, I was born into a family that not only did not allow political ignorance, but actually was conducive to debate and discussion at the family table.

Some families sit down to dinner and it is utter silence; outside the noise of chewing and fork hitting plate. I was married into such a family for 14 years and know that they exist. My family dinner table was a crazy, loud, competitive environment where we each tried to create the most dramatic story or debate.

Perhaps it had to do with having three sisters. Imagine a houseful of adolescent, teen aged, and preteen women. Each of us had our own agenda and issues. My parents, encouraged our debates and discussions. Interesting commentary at our table.

Neither of my parents were college educated. They both went to work after high school. My mom, worked as a telephone operator, my dad went into the navy then worked at a local farm implement dealership before he bought his first farm.

My parents, despite not having a college education; stayed informed. They attended farm bureau meetings, my mom was on township board, and my dad was a school board member for several years. They both shared a deep appreciation for capitalism, family values and a strong work ethic mixed in with a good dose of catholic morals and guilt.

Coming from this upbringing, where political frustration and debate happened on a fairly regular basis, I come to my yearning to be involved and express my thoughts naturally. I have however discovered that my upbringing in this politically charged, debate driven environment was not the norm for most of my peers.

Subsequently, I have also come to appreciate my father for demanding that political choices make logical sense to all involved. Logic to him means that decisions and choices must have a real purpose with a rational being. I also appreciate his business sense; i note this as a gift from his father who had a very smart business sense about him.

My mom, has given me her passion and drive to stop injustice and create change. I often joke that my parents were conservative hippies. My mom, taught me to stand up for what I believe in, using my voice and skill to get my point across; and to not give a rats...(behind?) about what people think of you for doing so.

Coming from this background; is it any wonder that I write about and share my angst with the changes coming to our country and feel helpless to stop the tide of change that will forever change the face of a great democracy? Yes democracy. It is not the dirty word those in Washington want you to think it is..

Another family insight...

My grandfather, told me that America was forever changed for the worse when they introduced income tax at the federal level. He told me that my generation and my son's generation would never be able to find the wealth and success that his generation did due to income tax and the social programs that came with it. He stated he understood charity, and I might add that he and my Grandma were generous donors to the catholic charities. What he did understand was simple economic principles, and these principles were lost on my generation and it would be the end of America as a democracy.

This conversation was the only real conversation I ever had with my Grandfather. Being one of over 25 grand kids, we didn't get a ton of one on one time. His message has stuck with me. I had this conversation with him shortly before he passed away, he was very weak, sitting on his couch. I don't remember how the conversation came up, but we had it, and I keep his message as a mantra and focus in my political work and choices.

Simple economics to my grandfather, and my father, tells me that to keep a country like America great and number one it demands that we place no limits on human ingenuity, success and innovation.

While there are many personal motivators for creativity and innovation, the human motivator and definition of success is wealth and money. Note I did not say greed, I said money. Many of you will argue that the reward is simply knowing that you did it. I will argue with you that having worked as a leader for over 15 years, kudos are great, but financial rewards with success rewarded by public acknowledgement is the best motivator for creativity.

If you are really honest with yourself, how do you get motivated to do your best work? I like the atta girls, but I really like the extra cash incentives for a great job completed. They tell me I am on the right path and I feel successful when they occur.. I think any of you can recall a time when you were given a raise, a bonus or attained a new higher paying job and felt that bit of success and self esteem that came with it coursing through you..You felt like you could take on anything at that moment.. It is that feeling and personal experience of success that the leaders of this country wish to destroy with the social program changes and taxation/shared wealth programs that are going to foisted upon us..

So what happens when successful and innovative, creative people can't keep their financial rewards or have financial success?

If we take away these very human motivators, and crush them with high taxes and forced wealth sharing you create apathy and apathy leads to laziness, and laziness stops creativity and soon we will be France..Or England...Or Germany...Or Canada..

Seriously...outside of good food, what inventive, creative, ingenious things have the socialized European countries created in the last 50 years? Not a hell of a lot...

My Grandfather's wisdom has come full circle. My parents push to remain involved and not allow political or economic ignorance has given me the gift of sight.. some days I curse them, and loudly, for not keeping my childhood ignorant...I so desire to be part of the unknowing...simply blissfully unaware or not caring...It seems so much easier...

Welcome to socialism, communism and the new way of life in America. Who needs to work hard? all it will get you is more forced charity, so others don't have to work quite as hard as you do..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Common Sense...

Funny thing about me.. I am not often thought of as the poster child for rational ideas and strategically aligned and consecutive thought patterns...Yet, I am struggling with the insanity of our world and the total lack of common sense rational use of brain tissue of society....

I just finished reading about a town in California that is now criminalizing banks for the blight of homes that have been foreclosed upon and now sit abandoned in high priced neighborhoods with lawns over grown, and pools filled with breeding ponds of yuck.. The author interviewed a well meaning town spokesperson who stated that by "criminalizing" the situation they are finally getting the banks attention and getting things fixed in these homes..


How incredibly pathetic for all involved...and you and I my friends continue to pay for this lunacy..

I don't care how you feel about home foreclosure and banks..the bottom line is that no one wants to be accountable, and no one again desires to sit down and "Problem Solve" this situation for America..Some of us feel that home owners who got in over their heads or lost their jobs should have some type of accountability for their choices. Others of us feel that the banks shouldn't have loaned the money in the first place..

Irregardless..looking back we are all responsible..and now those of us still working, still paying taxes and living in our own devalued and over priced homes will continue to pay for the attempts to correct the problem..and the attempts thus far have been fruitless bureaucratic tax wrought nightmares of increasing regulation and little result..

Solution that seems so simple yet not given? Let the original home owner live in the home and maintain the home with a monthly check system to verify that the home is being maintained while it is placed on the for sale market. Have the homeowner sign a lease with legal ramifications for damages or disrepair that occurs while they legally "squat" in their homes. Place the criminal action on the home owner but give them a cheap place to live with their family while they try to redefine their lives...

As a neighbor, I keep my neighbors and know that the home will be in the same shape it has always been in. For the home owner, they can allow their children to stay in school, and not panic about loss of home along with loss of job while they start at ground zero and over with their lives. For the banks, the home is maintained, utilities remain on and the devaluation risks diminish from a home being occupied rather then vacant and unkempt..For you and I as tax payers..the entire situation sucks..but at least in this scenario our neighborhoods should cease to look like wastelands and the banks decreased loss should help us or our children in the future financially..

But again..common sense does not exist in the vocabulary of society..I wonder if Webster even has it in the book any longer?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Health Care Reform

Funny times..I am in D.C. doing some "visits" or briefings as they are called in our world regarding the proposed health care reforms and medicare changes. It has been enlightening.

I have met some very interesting individuals and had discussion topics brought up regarding these issues. The most interesting thing for me has been the "silo" effect long term care has in regard to our thinking everyone is aware of our concerns, services and outcomes.

We, that is long term care/nursing homes/skilled nursing homes and assisted livings represent 1% of the total GNP for America, in Michigan it is probably now higher. Yet, we assume our message of services and product is out there for all to know. The sad fact is that very few of the Congressmen we met with truly grasp the entire story of who we are.

There is no easy answer to what needs to happen to health care. Even in our own organization we are all over the page regarding desired outcomes, reform ideas and program changes.

However, there is one thing that must happen; this must be a multi-party idea generation and change thinking process for it to be successful. I am dismayed to hear that the current planning is being done in very quiet secluded meetings excluding many people from the table, including long term care and the conservative thinkers about spending..Two very big mistakes that will doom to failure any program that is brought out.

Funny, the first thing I learned as a leader was the concept of team buy in and consensus. Perhaps it is my naitevity or lack of large ego that gives me cause to seek consensus on major projects..

I guess my first lesson from D.C. is the need to get a bigger ego, and lose some ideals of leadership basics..Intellectuals don't need to be told what the people really need..they simply know what is best because of their higher level of intelligence and superior level of understanding..

Monday, May 11, 2009

Directionally challenged? STOP and ask for directions...

Oh dissatisfaction with the conservatives; mostly those who run the grand old party...I say wake up! It is time to stop, and ask the general populous for some directional correction...

Yes, I am a conservative minded female..shocker..if you have read the blog entries you can figure that out from the first two sentences of any entry...What does shock many, or may shock those who know me best, is that I am not a religious right conservative, nor dare I say are most of my conservative minded friends..In fact, if you asked them and I; we would tell you that abortion, separation of church and state, prayer in school, are not the fundamental issues that our party should be focused on..

In fact, I would vote for a pro choice conservative that had the bigger picture of American rights and liberty as their main platform agenda..This is the discord that is ripping apart the religious conservatives and those of us who believe capitalism, free markets, and personal liberty to make choices and be accountable for those choices are the biggest issues facing not only our country but our society.

It is the loss of personal rights and the force of big government that scares me for my countries future. It is a generation of hands out, expecting everything to be given, but no work or accountability to be expected. It is the charismatic, "trust me" that people are listening too as they are stripped of their rights to individual liberties that generations of Americans fought to gain.

It is big government taking over private organizations...I beg you to find a government agency that works as effectively as well run organizations have or can? I think none...Perhaps it is because those politicians that are/have been in office, are career politicians, and the really intelligent, self motivated and focused individuals go into that ugly they find...(gasp!) success...and they have the audacity to get paid really well for their skill and savvy...

So GOP...start attention to the angst of Americans, all Americans and you can find success..It is a very small percentage that feel socialism is a successful venture. Start thinking about ways to provide services with less tax, yet allow for personal liberties..Focus on the real gut wrenching issues Americans are anxious about..and get a new directional route..If you/we fail..we are doomed...and the GOP will become a historical movement that is not looked or recalled with favor..simply...they lost direction...and instead of moving forward they turned in circles, until they ceased to exist any longer..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Be wary of the hand that feeds may choke you tomorrow..

A lesson to AIG....

When times were good, and you were a private company making significant money, you probably deserved lavish raises and bonuses. As a believer of free markets, it is my belief that as a private owner it is the right of a company and it's board to reward those who make it money.

When times became bad, your ethics and true values became apparent. This behavior, like those of your other large corporate failing brethren have left a sour taste in the mouths of Americans. Especially when the dollars you have so lavishly received from our government are being taken from the pay checks of average hard working Americans, who are struggling to put food on the table and are shopping at salvation army for their family.

The very behavior of such companies during these hard economic times will be the destruction of free market beliefs in this country. Public outcry to destroy and control such companies will lead this country into a socialized government..pathetically sad that business did this to itself..not all business..some very big businesses where greed got in the way of ethics and value based choices..

I have struggled with my belief in free markets because of this uncontrolled behavior. I have struggled with government buyouts..I have been taught that when you screw up, you own your mistake and you fix it on your own..perhaps with some well placed guidance, but always on my own..

We are screaming as a society about this entitlement behavior, but it is the same behavior that we ourselves espouse to our young people, it is our own belief about things at work...we have lost all sense of personal accountability for our actions and taking the lumps with our mistakes.

Well AIG, you are no longer private. You are no longer self controlling..that money you took so willingly is going to come at a price. Each of you who are getting bonuses deserve the public scrutiny, public outcry and anger. I anticipate that your names will be public knowledge in a very short time; I imagine that your neighbors and church members will shun you; you will get hate mail and be publicly called out by strangers for your greed. It will be interesting to watch the non reactions that I assume you will have..only soul less individuals could live a good life knowing that they money they are receiving is not only undeserved but morally wrong to accept.

Yes the price you will pay for taking the tax payer dollar, is the tax payer outrage..let us hope and pray it does not resort to violence...