Friday, November 30, 2012

Dr. Phil on Lindsay Lohan’s Arrest

I am not a big fan of Dr. Phil or Lindsay Lohan, but I am peeved and decided to say something.

I happened to be watching The Talk, when they had their guest Dr. Phil come out to promote his new book “Life Codes.” The first thing they asked him was his opinion on Lindsay Lohan’s recent arrest. First he gives a quick resume of his legal background with the court system and then offers up his two cents. He explains that Lindsay is on probation, or as he likes to call it “sweet poison,” because if she does anything wrong she just bounces back to jail without a trial. He goes on to say that when on probation you have to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or you can get in trouble. That doesn’t seem to apply to Lindsay, as far as I have seen. However, Dr. Phil says, you don’t take a high risk individual (Lindsay) and put them in a high risk situation (Bar at 4 am) and then act surprised when something bad happens. Now here is the part that irritates me: He says it may have been her parents who got her into this situation, but she is an adult now (at 26) and she makes her own decisions and must take responsibility. He adds, “when you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences [she’ll go to jail] and then we will spend about $25,000 a year of taxpayer money for her to look at a wall, I guess.” Very compassionate, wouldn’t you say? Well that’s if nothing worse happens, Dr. Phil.

I’ll explain why all this bothers me. I have heard Dr. Phil say many times that teenagers do not understand the consequences of their behavior. The frontal cortex of the brain, where this understanding takes place, is not fully developed until a person is 25. Now back to Lindsay. It’s true that Lindsay is now 26 years old, however how many years ago did she start “partying,” drinking and doing drugs? There were many reports of her out with her mother, Dina, who we have recently seen on Dr. Phil. The woman is a mess and I would go so far as to say she was an unfit mother. Never mind Lindsay’s loser father who speaks matter of factly about his daughter’s recent arrest and blames it on the city and people, not Lindsay or her parents. Dina has always loved being in the limelight and I get the impression she was living her dream for fame vicariously through her daughter. It’s no surprise that she went partying with her young daughter and that Lindsay was introduced very early to the “partying” lifestyle by dear old mom. This was during her teenage years. I could not find out exactly when it all started because there are thousands of hits for “Lindsay partying” on Google. 

So when Dr. Phil says Lindsay is an adult now, that is technically true, but her brain is fried. We don’t know if her frontal cortex had a chance of developing normally while she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Obviously she hasn’t been thinking clearly and making good choices for a very long time. Dr. Phil, with his impressive resume, should know all this and place much more blame on her parents and getting Lindsay proper help. Where are his resources and offers of help? Lindsay may not have the mental capacity or even be sober enough to decide she needs to go to rehab. Her parents are hopeless. The poor girl has had no parental guidance, instead she was exploited by both parents for the money she was making. So who is going to step in and save this girl’s life before she ends it with an overdose? Before she mixes too much alcohol and too many pills? Before she gets behind the wheel of a car and kills herself or others? Who? Dr. Phil? Dr. Drew? Her lawyers? The legal system who lets her out of jail in 15 minutes every time she is arrested? 

When she kills herself will everyone be crying and saying she was so young? Will they be wringing their hands saying if only we had done something? When will those closest to her wake the hell up!  It’s as predictable as Michael Jackson’s early death.

I just read this morning that Lindsay is out of jail again. Great. And everyone is failing her again. She is just a hot topic of conversation for all the talk shows and tabloids. But when the hell is someone going to step in and actually do something before her story ends in tragedy? Maybe I should send this blog off to Dr. Phil. Maybe he can do a show with Lindsay during February sweeps, if she lasts that long. 

I think it’s so sad that this once very talented 26 year old girl is being left to her own devices when it’s clear she is headed for a tragic end. Maybe all these incidents are a cry for help and no one is answering. I just can’t be the only one who sees this, and my resume is not close to being as impressive as Dr. Phil’s.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Elmo’s Voice Cracks…

Sesame Street characters have been in the news a lot lately. First there was much ado from Mitt Romney wanting to get rid of funding Big Bird and PBS. Of course, Sesame Street doesn’t need any funding, it supports itself, but the rest of PBS still does. There were no end to the jokes that the budget would be balanced and the deficit reduced if we only would get rid of PBS funding and Big Bird.

Now a new issue has hit the media regarding the voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash. Clash was recently accuse of sexual abuse by a victim who shortly thereafter recanted and said the sex was consensual and between two adults. I am always skeptical and so I thought that perhaps the matter may have been settled by Clash offering the victim money to make the matter go away. And that may have been the end of it. No one was going to investigate further to see if maybe where there is smoke, there is fire…or more alleged victims.

But yesterday, while watching the news, I see that a second 22 year old victim has come forward accusing Clash of allegedly having sex with him while he was 15. Clash and Sesame Street and deeply sadden by this personal “distraction,” and that it is taking the focus of Sesame Street away from it’s education of children. Clash has therefore done what is in the best interest of the show and resigned. I can’t be sure, but I would bet Sesame Street suggested he leave too. After all, how do we know how many more victims might come forth and accuse him of abuse. Yesterday’s victim stated that Clash allegedly made a practice of seeking out young boys and buying them expensive gifts and giving them money. If it’s not true I can’t understand why he would resign so quickly. Maybe it is in an attempt on the part of the show to quickly disassociate from the bigger scandal that is about to erupt?

Elmo is a much beloved character on Sesame Street. My kids grew up watching Sesame Street and had several Elmo toys. If these allegations are true it would be quite upsetting. Clash worked for Sesame Street for 28 years. He is well aware of their pristine reputation and how highly regarded and successful the show is in educating preschool children. He knew what he was doing. He had to also know that a scandal of this nature could be extremely detrimental and cast a dark cloud over a beloved show that has taught millions of children basic fundamental skills and given them a head start in school. Children whose parents cannot afford to send them to pre-school have gotten their first lessons from Sesame Street. Who hasn’t seen or heard of Sesame Street? It’s known world wide.

Yet, both Clash and Sesame Street are trying to downplay the seriousness of these allegations. They are referring to it as a distracting controversy. I don’t know about you, but it disturbs me that they are calling it a distraction…like an annoying mosquito that you want to shoo away. I guess at this stage of the game, before the whole truth comes out, they can afford to brush it off. But, if it should happen that Clash has a history of abuse, I wonder if they will come out with a stronger statement of disapproval and disgust? If this is true, there is something seriously wrong about a man who helps educate children, gains their confidence and love and abuses them too.  Stay tuned. Scandals like this don’t just go away.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Psychic Experience...

I had a friend who happened to see a psychic perform at some venue. She was young and naïve and quite impressed with his abilities. She convinced me that we should make an appointment with him and each have our futures revealed. I have always been a skeptic but, in my mid twenties, I had lots of questions I wanted answered. In any case, whether he was legit or not, I figured it would be an interesting experience and fun too, so we went.

We were welcomed to his expensive home by his wife/assistant/secretary who took us to a small waiting room. I’ll admit we were excited to hear what he had to say. After a few minutes the assistant returns to the room with two pads and pens in her hand. She tells us to write down our questions on the pad and to “press hard” and that somehow this would facilitate his picking up on our thoughts. She assured us we would be keeping the paper when we were done. It wasn’t until a very long time later that it dawned on me that they would just pass a pencil over the page underneath and read what we had written. 

My friend was called in first and when she was done she seemed very content with everything he had to say. I wasn’t surprised. Then it was my turn. The skeptical side of me went in to be entertained. It was going to take a lot to convince me he was for real. Of course he knew my questions and used them to guide the session. He asked me a couple of things like was there anyone close to me whose name started with the letter “J.” I said no, even though my father’s name is Joseph and my mother went by the name Jennie. So then he said how about “G”? I said no again, but then it hit me that both my parents names started with the letter “J” and they were translated from Italian names that started with “G.” Still, I was mildly amused. He told me I would get married one day, which was really all I wanted to know. What did he have to lose to make me happy? Then he asked a peculiar question…”Do you have plumbing problems?” I was taken aback. I know I didn’t write that down and why would he ask such a ridiculous question? In any event, I didn’t have any plumbing problems. On the whole I would say I wasted my time and money. At least I got a good story out of it.

I went to work on Monday prepared to tell my adventure to my coworkers. As we took our morning break together we would discuss what we did on the weekend. Once I told them I went to see a psychic all the attention was on me. I told them about the session, the pad, the letter “J” question. My friend Janet, also a skeptic, tells me that is a popular letter for names so it’s not such a great guess on his part. Suddenly I had an idea. I wanted to try the plumbing question out to see what reaction I would get from any of them. As Janet was sipping her coffee, I asked her out of the blue, “Do you have any plumbing problems?” She almost spit put her coffee and exclaimed, “Did my husband call you this morning?” “No,” I answered, surprised at her dramatic reaction. “He had to have called you or how else would you know?” I assured her he didn’t call and how would I know what? She answered that her toilet had overflowed that very morning and he was going to work late to take care of it. She seemed pretty shaken and wanted to know why I asked her that if he hadn’t called and put me wise to it. I told her that the psychic had asked me that question out of the blue and I wanted to see what reaction I would get if I asked it. I guess many people must have plumbing problems all the time, that’s the only reason why he would blurt out a question like that. I think it freaked her out because we were talking about psychics, she was skeptical and then I managed to hit on the one thing that was weighing on her mind that morning. It was very funny to see her so stunned for those few minutes and trying to convince her that her husband hadn’t called.

I never went for another reading with any psychic. I do believe we all have some degree of psychic ability. I know my mother had some, it was a little stronger than intuition. I have had instances of it from time to time. But, I also think there are a lot of quacks out there who are good at making people think they can read minds or tell the future when it’s all about reading body language, reactions and using vague language so you can’t really be wrong. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Military "Affairs" Part 2

I just knew this story was going to be the one that keeps on giving! I think I will update the chapters are they unfold in the news. First I am going to start with something that actually had me tossing and turning last night…20,000 to 30,000 emails in two years were exchanged between General John Allen and Jill Kelley. I had to do the math. In two years there are about 730 days. If they exchanged 20,000 emails that would be 27 emails PER DAY! If they exchanged closer to 30,000 emails it would be 41 emails PER DAY. Does anyone even write that many emails a day? I know I don’t and never did. That alone would give one pause to think.

(Side bar: I read that Petraeus, CIA Director, created a fake email account to carry on his discussions with Paula Broadwell. This irks me because everyone I know, even the least of the computer savvy people, knows that all emails addresses can be traced back to the source from the IP address. Why doesn't the Director of the CIA know this? Or if he does know it, why put himself at such risk? That's why they were able to determine Paula wrote the anonymous, threatening emails to Jill!)

Now this Jill Kelley is married to cancer surgeon Scott Kelley. Scott has been reportedly sued at least nine times. That’s good to know for those looking for a surgeon! I get the impression that this is the reason the couple is deeply in debt to the tune of about 2 million dollars and their Tampa waterfront mansion, worth 1.5 million dollars, is in foreclosure. Their office building in downtown Tampa is also close to foreclosure. It’s been speculated that perhaps Jill created this buzz over emails so she would get a book and movie deal. I don’t know about that, but it sounds plausible. Meanwhile, Paula Broadwell probably killed any chance of her book deal on the authorized biography of Petraeus. Maybe these two broads will get together and pool their knowledge for Hollywood one of these days. 

Guess what else? A new character has been added to the cast! Jill has a twin sister, Natalie Khawam. Like all twins, Jill and Natalie share many things, including being in debt. Natalie has some juicy stories in her past. It seems she sued a former employer for sexual harassment and their lawyer showed she made up a series of lies and lost her case. She is now being sued for $100,000 for their legal fees! She also lost custody of her four year old daughter after a nasty divorce. The judge found her to be extremely lacking in honesty and integrity. Both sisters seem to be well connected to military personnel, however Jill has now lost her VIP privileges to MacDill Air Force Base and must sign is like all other visitors. What a crushing blow for this military socialite.

And now for the mystery man, FBI Agent “X” has now been identified as Frederick W. Humphries II.  You remember he was the guy who had been sending Jill shirtless pictures of himself in the past and the one she went to with Paula’s threatening emails. Apparently Humphries had other agents investigate the emails and then he was “dismissed” from the case himself because he was “obsessed with it.”  I say “dismissed” because he was never really on the case. Intriguing. 

What do you suppose will be uncovered next? One email leads to another and another. There has to be something of interest in all those emails. More names? More details? I’m glad to have something to fill the void of my cherished soap operas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Long Island Power Authority aka LIPA

I have been too angry to write a blog about LIPA, but it has to be done. LIPA is the power company who serves the people of Long Island, N.Y. or rather doesn’t serve them. They charge some of the highest rates in the country to people who pay some of the highest property taxes. Every time there is a storm, the people on Long Island lose power. So when a storm of the magnitude of hurricane Sandy hit their shores, LIPA was in no way prepared to deal with the situation. 

Today I heard that the Chief Operating Officer, Michael Hervey, resigned, effective at the end of this year. What a surprise! And why wait? Amid criticism from practically everyone he decided to take the cowardly way out. I wonder if he is getting a severance package paid for by the very people who are now without power? Many are STILL without power and I wouldn’t be surprised. 

LIPA has never really done a good job when it comes to power outages and they have been warned to beef up their operation. The haven’t and I can only guess it’s because they want to make huge profits at the expense and neglect of their customers. LIPA is virtually a monopoly. I thought there were laws against monopolies? Anyway, the people who live on Long Island are at their mercy. I heard that LIPA would be reimbursed 75% of their additional expenses in restoring power to their customers by the Federal government AND that they intend to raise rates to make up the additional 25%. In other words, for all their incompetence and negligence they intend not to lose one thin dime! And that’s not all, LIPA bills all went out on time to it’s customers. People still without power must pay if they are on the “budget plan,” which spreads out payments over a 12 month period. If they don’t pay their bills they will get disconnect notices…when the power is restored. LIPA intends to credit them with the days they are “out of power” at the end of their 12 month period. By that time they will have raised rates and their customers will end up owing them money. Pretty neat operation they have going for them?

My cousin was one of the lucky people on Long Island. She was out power only 11 days. She had to go out and get a generator, gas cans and gas on a daily basis to run the generator. There was no gas to be had, so she had to run her generator two hours on and two hours off to conserve. She runs a day care in her home, it’s her business. She is the sole provider of her family. She also cares for her husband, who has late stage multiple sclerosis. They are on a LIPA medical priority list for power. He has medical equipment that she could not run as often as necessary. She did her best to take care of him and run her business in those 11 days. On the 11th day her husband couldn’t breathe and had to go to the hospital. She had to assume a lot of additional expenses thanks to LIPA, but she still has to pay her bill? What the hell is wrong with this picture?

A friend of mine told me about her sister, who after delivering a baby by C-Section right before the storm, had to go to a hotel to be safe, with her children and mother, while her husband watched their house get flooded. The hotel lost power and she had to change the baby with the light from her cell phone. When she went back home, her basement was totally destroyed and there was no heat for the new baby. Like my cousin, they also had to get a generator to heat their home and a lot of additional gas, because they had a new born and couldn’t allow the house to get cold. Hours on gas lines, extra expense, worry, loss of possessions, and guess what? Their LIPA bill came right on time…the FEMA check was no where to be found. 

Those are just two first hand stories that I personally know about, there are tons more that are worse that I heard on the news ever since the storm hit. LIPA doesn’t inform it’s customers what is going on, no one answers their phones. I tried calling on behalf of my cousin, who had her hands full. She was really a trooper throughout and is used to dealing with life’s catastrophes, but me not so much. Just hearing how these two families suffered was bothering the hell out of me.

And guess what else? I found a facebook page that LIPA has to inform residents as to what is going on. They have a website too. Believe me when I say, they only post what they want people to know on there, not the truth. Many more were out of power than they reported. And for the life of me I don’t understand how they expect people without power to access this information? Computers need ELECTRICITY to run and recharge. I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with this company. I think they should get two or three new companies to come in and charge LIPA for all the inconvenience and expense that everyone on Long Island has had to endure because of their negligence. It may come to that too. I hear that the residents have gotten a lawyer to begin a class action lawsuit against LIPA. I can’t wait till it gets started. I hope they found someone who is ruthless and relentless. They don’t even deserve to be in business!

So if the CEO is resigning and running scared, he should be. He should be sued in civil court for his part in this chaotic fiasco that left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark literally and figuratively. It’s an outrage what this company has been allowed to do. The money they make for the service they provide is sickening!

Let’s hope justice will be swift and fair. Let’s hope the people of Long Island fight this to the bitter end and not settled out of court! Let’s hope other companies will come in and take over LIPA customers as soon as possible! 

If you have a personal story about LIPA I urge you to post it here in the comments. Maybe this blog will fall into the hands of someone who can actually use it to go after LIPA? Who knows?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Military “Affairs”…

Military “Affairs”…

or Generals who think with their Privates!

I don’t know why we bother to watch television when real life has so much more real drama than writers could ever come up with. I am speaking of the new revelation and resignation of David Petraeus, CIA Director. The FBI investigation of his affair with biographer, Paula Broadwell, led to the discovery of another affair. You know once they get into computers and start digging, there was going to be trouble. Computers and cell phones will be the death of everyone and anyone who has a secret. Secrets are conveniently stored away just waiting to be discovered by investigators. I have been trying to piece together all the players in this “pentagon” affair…pentagon, because it’s the military AND there are five suspects…so far.

First we have General David Petraeus, head of the CIA, who despite being 60 years old and married for 38 years to his wife Holly, decided to have an affair with 40 year old Paula Broadwell. She was working on a dissertation for her Ph. D. and decided to expand her thesis into a biography of Petraeus. The book made it convenient for them to get together and “chat.” I wonder if tax payer money was paying for the time they spent in private? Paula has some pretty impressive credentials herself. She is a West Point graduate, also married and has two children. Their affair began in September, 2011.

During the course of their affair, Paula apparently sent anonymous, threatening, jealous emails to a female friend of the Petraeus, Jill Kelley. The emails warned Kelley to stay away from Petraeus. Jill, 37, lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, Scott. The cyber bullying complaint led investigators to Kelley’s computer where they discovered 20,000 to 30,000 private emails, during 2010 and 2012, between her and General John Allen, 58. Allen is Petraeus successor in Afghanistan. Some of the emails were flirtatious in nature and certainly inappropriate. General John Allen denies any wrong doing. It was the harassing anonymous emails from Paula to Jill that led to the discovery of both “affairs.” Petraeus had no clue that Paula saw Jill as a “rival” for his affections.

The fifth side of this pentagon affair concerns an unnamed FBI agent “X” , who Jill Kelley knew and complained to about the threatening emails from Broadwell. Agent “X”  had apparently sent Kelley pictures of himself without his shirt on, previous to these investigations, hmmmmm. He was the one who got the investigation started that led to Paula Broadwell and her affair with Petraeus.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a best seller to me. I would love to read those 20,000+ emails for myself. My heart goes out to those poor FBI agents have to read all these documents when surely they have better things to do. I am willing to do my part and offer to put my own committee together to read and write a report for them. Maybe they will come across my blog and contact me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Simplistic View of Republican Losses

I will be the first at admit that I don’t have much political savvy or knowledge. Even when I read about the issues I don’t look into every detail. It’s like I am on the outside looking at everything from a distance, while others are on the inside paying attention to all the minutia. And from where I was standing in 2008 and 2012, I have a few personal ideas of why the Republican party lost the Presidential election, or at least why they lost my vote. Of course this is a simplistic and personal outlook of what was going through my head during the elections. 

I know more than a few republicans who were interested in my stand in 2008, that Obama would be my choice for president. At the time I had never taken an interest in politics before and relied on my husband’s judgment. But, 2008 was going to be a historic election. Everyone was passionate about it on both sides. So, I decided to do my own kind of research. I did like what Obama had to say, but I was also paying attention to John McCain.

John McCain, a respected, admired, true war hero, was running. He was certainly qualified to be President. He had the experience, background, leadership ability necessary for office. But, issues aside, I found myself concerned with his age and his health. I even expressed my concern to my Republican husband, who told me not to worry, he has good genes. McCain inherited longevity from his parents. Great. What about his health? He had cancer and it had reoccurred in the past. Again he tells me not to worry, he was given a thorough checkup and received a clean bill of health. Fine. And then, on September 15th, 2008, John McCain declared the economy was fine. That same day we suffered a huge financial crisis when the stock market plunged nearly sending us into a depression. That did not inspire confidence in me that he knew enough about the economy to handle the job as President. After all, how was he going to fix the economy when he had no clue it was about to crash? I read someplace that President Obama was warning Congress about this possibility two years earlier, asking them to take action, and his concerns were documented. So, considering the economy became an urgent issue, I felt President Obama was more in touch with what was going on. 

Now, let’s assume, or argument’s sake, that someone could convince me that John McCain was in good health for his age and misspoke about the economy being strong just before the bottom fell out. How in the world can anyone overlook the fact that he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate? Granted, she looked great that first night, giving her prepared speech on national television. I’ll be the first to say I was excited about having a woman in the race, which hadn’t happened since Geraldine Ferraro ran with Mondale. However, in the ensuing days, Palin left a lot to be desired. Her lack of experience and knowledge was evident. She couldn’t answer simple questions and coined the term “gottcha moment” for all questions. She appeared incompetent and turned into a laughing stock, so much so, that her word for word quotes were being used on Saturday Night Live and none of her lines had to be changed. Tina Fey actually sounded better and made more sense to me using Sarah’s own words. So then I thought, why did John McCain pick someone for Vice President as ill prepared as Sarah Palin? This is his first major decision and he chose her?   I asked myself what if his health fails for whatever reason, and she was put in charge of our country? No republican seemed concerned with that issue. I even asked my husband about it. His answer was nothing was going to happen to McCain so Palin is not an issue. Ok, well, it was and remained an issue for me. That is was sealed the deal for me. The republicans sank their own ship with Alaskan missile, Palin.

Now we get to the 2012 election. The economy could be a lot better, no question about that. What are Obama and Romney going to do about it? Romney never said what his plan was and I suppose now we will never know. But forget about that, that’s not why he lost. Everyone was willing to take him at his word that he had a plan. But, I wanted to hear it. If he mentioned his plan, I didn’t hear it. I did hear about a Medicare voucher plan which scared me and doing away with PBS to save money. That’s about it. But Romney’s biggest problem is that he could not relate to anyone except the richest people in this country. He kept insulting everyone. He called them victims and moochers. The 47% comment included the elderly on Medicare, disabled veterans, college students, people living below poverty level, people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, and he insulted his own father and my father. He insulted all the women in all the binders in all America. He made ridiculous remarks that showed he was out of touch with the middle class time and time again. Who tells college students to work 3 or 4 jobs to pay tuition when there are no jobs? Or tells graduates, who need a job, to ask their parents for $20,000 to start a business in a depressed economy? Who wants to make a friendly wager of $10,000? Who wants to cut Pell grants for thousands of students to pay for a millionaire’s tax cut? And if he can’t understand the middle class, who he thinks makes $200-250,000 a year, how is he going to reach the poorest of this country? He flip-flopped on the issues over and over again. He said it would take him 8-10 years to fix the economy and he agreed with a lot of the things President Obama was already doing…so what did we need Romney for? 

Romney was a poor candidate, in my opinion. The truth is I could never connect with Romney. He didn’t inspire trust or confidence in me. I felt he was wishy washy. He underestimated many citizens of this country. People came out to vote in droves last Tuesday. They came out not just to vote for President Obama, but to vote against Mitt Romney. My daughter’s friend flew to North Carolina to vote for Obama because her vote in New York would have been wasted. I’ve heard it said that Obama scares republicans.Well guess what? Mitt Romney scared me. Maybe if 51% of us were rich, Romney would have had a better shot. 

And that’s what I was thinking, in a nutshell. I tried to be respectful of the opinions of others as much as humanly possible and ended many a comment with “may the best man win.” America has spoken, and he has!

P.S. Here is a peeve I just have to get out. The other day I saw a map of the United States shaded in red and blue, representing the republican and democratic states. As we know, the RED predominates the map and the caption read something to the effect that Obama won even though so much of the country (in area) voted for Romney. Now I wanted to post under that map “TOO BAD DIRT DOESN’T VOTE, people do!”

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath...In My Neighborhood

It’s been about two weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. Luckily, we were spared any real devastation because we are inland. But, it’s been two weeks later and we still aren’t getting the gas we need for our cars. Only one quarter of the stations are open in my neighborhood at any one time…most times not even that many. We have 30,000 people who live in my little 16 square mile area and they all need gas. Only one station was open this morning and my husband got on line at 6:45 am. We have power, so it’s not because people need it for their generators. The lines are at least an hour to two hours long most of the time. If you get gas in an hour you are lucky. My husband just got back after a two hour wait this morning, but our gas gauge was on empty and we had no choice. And we are the lucky ones!

Now how about those who are taking advantage of this crisis? There are plenty of them price gouging because people are desperate. There are many filling up 5 gallon cans and then reselling the gas for twice or triple the price they paid. The lines for gas cans move faster, so they can go back and refill and make a killing. Did I mention there are no gas cans in the area for sale? They are sold out everywhere you call. We were just caught unprepared for this catastrophic event. No one could have imagined that a “super storm” could have done so much damage and destruction. No one thought it would affect the supply of gas for so long. Our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, didn’t think so. He said the problem would clear up in a couple of days. It didn’t. If anything it got worse. So yesterday, Governor Cuomo did what Chris Christie did two weeks ago and passed an odd/even rule for gas stations. That should cut down on the lines. It worked in New Jersey and hopefully it will work here. It was a no brainer, and many of us are wondering why it took so long to use common sense.

Well, now we have gas to get to work. That’s all we use it for. I hope by next weekend we will have much shorter lines to deal with. It’s stressful enough. I cannot even begin to imagine how those who experienced flooding of their houses or the entire loss of their homes and possessions are coping. I do know that out in Long Island, after 13 days of no power, the people are going crazy. They can’t heat their homes. Some have no generators and the temperature in their houses dropped to 45 degrees. Some are sick and wearing coats inside their homes. The power company, LIPA, gives them no answers. I saw on the news that people were yelling at each other on the street, I don’t even know why. Many went over to the empty LIPA offices to protest. The Governor spoke harsh words to the power company, but 160,000 plus house are still without power today.

My cousin was one of those without power. Her husband has MS and is in the later stages. His health is fragile. He has special medical equipment he needs, which runs on electricity. She borrowed a generator from her brother to help keep her food from spoiling and to run his equipment. She runs a daycare in her home and takes care of her husband. She was cooking and boiling water to keep the temperature in her house above 60 degrees. The generator was great for a while, but then they weren’t able to get the gas they needed to run it all the time. How’s that for adding insult to injury? She could only run it on and off for two hours at a time to conserve gas. After 11 days without power, and she is on the LIPA medical priority list, her husband had to go to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. I don’t know how she managed that long. I really don’t. She has always been a trooper. Her life has been difficult. But this would have sent me over the deep end and yet she managed to cope and deal with it the best she could.

Today, my daughter and her boyfriend, along with some friends, are using some of the last quarter of a tank of gas they have to go help victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Far Rockaways. They will be handing out emergency supplies to those in need. I imagine they will have a lot to say after seeing the devastation first hand and speaking with the people there. It’s one thing to see it on the news and another to be right there. I’m sure it will be heartbreaking. I’m proud of my daughter and her friends for being so compassionate and giving. If anything good has come out of all this at all, it’s seeing people, good people, come together to help those in need doing whatever they can.

The holidays are already upon us. It’s the season of giving. I don’t know any better way to celebrate the spirit of the season than by helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy. We can’t changed what happened, or replace their losses, but we can show them people care and give them a little kindness and compassion to be thankful for. There, but for the grace of God, go we.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Governor Chris Christie, His Mother’s Son

Governor Chris Christi, His Mother’s Son

One day, while talking about Hurricane Sandy, a reporter asked Governor Christie if he would consider running for President in 2016. He answered, he didn’t know what the future would bring, but right now he was focused on the job the people elected him to do in New Jersey. Then he said something that struck a cord with me. He spoke of the best advice his mother ever gave him, which was “Do the job you have in front of you as well as you can and the future will take care of itself and it’s been great advice that she’s given my through the ups and downs of my professional career.” I cannot tell you how many times I have said that to my own girls throughout their academic studies. It’s good advice for anyone, and I was happy to hear those words spoken by the governor of New Jersey.

If you look beyond all the political rhetoric, you can tell a lot about a politician, as with many people, about how they speak of their family members. This is especially true when listening to how they speak of their parents, the people who undeniably had the biggest influence in shaping who there are today. Chris Christie lost his mother eight years ago, but you can tell, by the way he speaks about her, that she is still with him, guiding him with her sage words and her love. I did a little research to see what I could learn about Christie’s family. It turns out he speaks of them a lot. He gave a speech at the Republican National Convention and it is only now that I have read the transcript. I can so relate to so many of the things he had to say, especially about his family. I have decided to post a large portion of it here so I can refresh my mind in four years, when he will undoubtedly be running for President of the United States. I want to remember why I like him so much.

Now I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. My dad, who I'm blessed to have here with me tonight, is gregarious, outgoing, and lovable.  My mom, who I lost eight years ago, was the enforcer. Now she made sure we all knew who set the rules.  I'll tell it to you this way, in the automobile of life, dad was just a passenger. Mom was the driver. Now they both lived hard lives.  Dad grew up in poverty. And after returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s.  Now with that job and the G.I. bill, he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.

 And our first family picture, our first family picture was on his graduation day with my mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.  Now mom also came from nothing.  She was raised by a single mother who took three different buses every day to get to work. And mom spent the time that she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children, her younger brother and younger sister.  She was tough as nails and did not suffer fools at all. And the truth was she could not afford to.  She spoke the truth, bluntly, directly, and without much varnish.  I am her son.

I was her son as I listened to ``Darkness on the Edge of Town'' with my high school friends on the Jersey Shore.  I was her son when I moved into that studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that's now 26 years old. I was her son as I coached our sons, Andrew and Patrick, on the fields of Mendham, and as I watched with pride as our daughters Sarah and Bridget, marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade. And I am still her son today as governor, following the rules she taught me, to speak from the heart, and to fight for your principles. You see, mom never thought you would get extra credit just for speaking the truth. And the greatest lesson that mom ever taught me though was this one.  She told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. Now she said to always pick being respected.  She told me that love without respect was always fleeting, but that respect could grow into real and lasting love.  Now, of course, she was talking about women. But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership.  In fact, I think that advice applies to America more than ever today…You see, we are the United States of America. Now -- now -- now it is up to us.  We must lead the way our citizens live, to lead as my mother insisted I live, not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being better for it.

Chris Christie’s words resonate with me. In the course of this exercise, I learned that Christie’s mom was of Sicilian descent and a strong influence in his life. It hits me that he and I share something much greater than politics. I can relate to his upbringing, his mother’s words, his bold, outspoken truths, his uncaring attitude about what others think about his truths. It’s how he grew up, his family values, how he still talks about his mom today though she passed on eight years ago. I get choked up as a realize she wasn’t here to see him elected governor and she won’t be here to see him elected president one day. But just as sure as I know my mom is looking down on me, guiding and protecting me, I am sure his mother is too. His mother is always on his mind and in his heart and she taught him well. He really is her son.

“I’m going to do the job I have now as best I can,” explains the Governor. “Do first things first and my future, whatever it is will take care of itself. I’m honored to be the Governor of New Jersey. That’s all I’m worried about right now.”

Link to entire speech, well worth reading: Transcript Of Chris Christie's Speech

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Obama Wins Second Term…

President Obama wins second term and I congratulate him. Some people will be greatly upset over the election results today and others ecstatic. I have no doubt that those who voted against Obama truly believe that Mitt Romney was the better candidate and leader for our country. I am just as sure that Obama supporters feel just as strongly about him. We have all voted and had our say. But now what? 

I wonder if there is going to be another four years of disrespect and disdain for our President? Will our citizens pray for him to fail when his failure means the country’s failure? I wonder if anyone stopped to think that maybe things would have progressed more smoothly and more rapidly in the last four years if our President had had the respect and support of all 100% of our citizens? I think that it may have made a big difference if everyone pulled together instead of some only looking for 2012 to make things “right.” The election may not have gone your way, but shouldn’t we honor the wishes of the majority of the country this time? Shouldn’t we show some regard for President Obama, which he deserves as the leader of our country, and pray for his success?

It seems to me that all of us working together, with a positive attitude, would be a much more effective and productive use of our time and energy. When has a negative attitude and complaining ever gotten us anywhere? We can blame previous administrations for what they have done, hindsight is 20/20. We can say that President Obama should have been able to make more progress than he has, but even Mitt Romney said it would take eight to ten years. We can expect more from the President and we should expect more of ourselves and our representatives. The houses of Congress are not in a competition, the democrats are not enemies of the republicans. Get rid of the labels and put our country first.

I would hope that we would urge our congressmen and senators to work with the President in accomplishing the goals he has set. If they don’t agree with parts of the legislation, they should voice their opinions and make a concerted effort to suggest workable alternatives that everyone can live with. There is more than one way to accomplish our goals and there is room for everyone’s educated opinion and ideas. That’s how things get done, and done well. 

For me, I am going to do my part today. I could gloat and praise the heavens for President Obama’s victory. It would irritate a lot of people. But I won’t. I’m happy he won, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to make others feel worse than they do today, even though I’m not sure, if things were reversed, that they wouldn’t do it to me. I am going to pray for President Obama to succeed, for republicans to make an effort to support him, and for the well being and better life for all those in our country who are suffering from a multitude of problems through no fault of their own. 

Hopefully this time around we will see a more united country working towards the same goals, hopes and dreams. May God Bless us all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tomorrow Is Election Day...

I will probably get 12 hours of phone calls or people doing surveys and polls wanting to know who I am going to vote for tomorrow. It’s an easy question to answer. I will be voting for Barack Obama. The majority of New York State will be voting for him, so my vote may not technically matter, but it’s a matter of principle, it’s a matter of the issues, it’s a matter of faith and confidence in his leadership. 

I know many, most of whom are republicans, were never happy with Obama winning in 2008. I don’t think they gave him half a chance to succeed. They weren’t pulling for him and supporting him as president of our country. They were expecting and even hoping for him to fail. Every accomplishment of his administration was criticized. He never got an ounce of credit even when the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden succeeded. He has had an uphill losing battle from day one. 

Every president will be criticized for one thing or another because mistakes are invariably made. But to criticize a president for everything, to foully disrespect him and show him utter distain from the moment he took office and throughout his fours years is unprecedented in American history. It would be one thing if these criticisms were warranted and there were no accomplishments to be praised, but that isn’t the case. Some will say he has not only done nothing to improve things, but he has made them worse. Really? I guess it depends what side of the political fence you are on. From where I stand, President Obama has worked hard to bring his promises to fruition. Yes the economy still leaves a lot to be desired, but we know the dire situation he walked into and I’m not sure anyone believes another president would have done better. We were headed for a serious depression and President Obama did what he needed to do to prevent that disaster from happening and succeeded. Even Republican economist, Kenneth Rogoff, stated that no one could have solved our economic problems in four years, and it’s his business to know what he is talking about.

President Obama has been working for our country and 100% of our people. He is not out of touch with the majority of Americans. He understands the financial struggles and burdens and has tried to lighten them for everyone. He doesn’t make jokes about unemployment; he doesn’t open foreign accounts for his money to avoid paying American taxes and then refuse to release his tax returns; he doesn’t tell young people to go borrow thousands from their unemployed, already in debt parents; he doesn’t tell students to get four jobs to pay for college when there are no jobs; he doesn’t add insult to injury by telling hard working people they consider themselves victims when they accept entitlements (some of which they paid into) like unemployment benefits, disability, FEMA, Medicare, Social Security etc.; he doesn’t impose his beliefs on women who are pro choice; he isn’t against equal pay for equal work; he doesn’t have to ask for binders full of qualified women; he doesn’t say “corporations are people;” he isn’t against same sex marriage; he is not unconcerned about the very poor because they have a safety net; he doesn’t not go out an insult our primary ally in the world while visiting the Olympics; he doesn’t compare the clean up of hurricane Sandy with cleaning up a football field; he doesn’t think middle income is $200,000 to $250,000; he doesn’t get a $75,000 deduction for his horses; he doesn’t strap his dog to the roof of his car to drive a few hundred miles for 12 hours; he doesn’t want to get rid of Planned Parenthood… and so on and so on. 

I think President Obama understands and is in touch with the American people and what we need. He has done the best job he could have under the circumstances, but who cares what I think? That’s why I am posting a website that lists 200 things that President Obama has done in his four years in office and links to corroborate are provided. Not that it will change anyone’s mind at this point and not that I am trying to. I just want to state for the record, since my vote carries little weight, that I think President Obama has succeeded in making progress and deserves another four years to serve this country.

Link to MORE than 200 Things Obama has done: 200+ Things Obama has done

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Romney, Sandy, FEMA Handouts...

Romney compares Sandy to FOOTBALL GAME (VIDEO)

I have been curious about something for the past several days. Why isn’t Romney going around to check out the devastation on the east coast in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy? I mean, it’s not a small matter and it is a huge problem he might inherit if he should win the election. So where he is? Is he campaigning? Has he mentioned Sandy, it’s victims and what he plans to do for them if elected? I’m just curious. I mean he shouldn’t step on anyone’s toes, but shouldn’t he have a first hand look at the damages himself?

Just yesterday a friend of mine, in a very hard hit area in Pennsylvania, told me Romney was there campaigning in a nearby, untouched, wealthy neighborhood. I guess it’s a matter of first things first. And I did some research and found that he did indeed talk about hurricane Sandy and compared it to cleaning up a field after a football game...seriously, the video link is under the picture above. Is this guy kidding or so out of touch with reality he doesn't connect with the vast number of Americans in this country?

Yes, I heard that he very generously asked people in Ohio to give any money they planned on donating to his campaign to the relief funds being raised. That’s quite admirable seven days before the election. What more money can he need anyway? The media is only interested in the relief efforts and what measures are being taken to help destroyed areas. No one is covering the election. But it would be nice to see Romney take an active interest in what is going on, don’t you think? But then again he would be touring the areas of the 47% , the people who are victims and will be accepting handouts, and really, who cares about them anyway?

Meanwhile, I wonder, if he were president, would he be so generous with FEMA funds? It’s going to take billions of dollars and years of work to rebuild the east coast. Is FEMA considered a handout? Will that 47% of victims who accept handouts increase to 53%? Maybe the tides of hurricane Sandy have turned that number too. I read this morning about a Connecticut republican, James Winkler, who lost everything he owned in the hurricane. He is dead set against people going to the government for help…well until now. Now he says he will reluctantly accept FEMA handouts because he has 1.7 million dollars of damage. He still believes people in dire need should not accept any handouts from the government, but he is doing it just this one time. I want to scream at the hypocrisy. It’s okay for him to break his own rules and to back track on his firm position that government should not help it’s people with financial relief, but it’s not okay for others who have faced dire situations? Isn’t it convenient to accept entitlements when he needs them…just this once? And, with 1.7 million in damages, I am quite sure that James had homeowners insurance and a few bucks stashed away for a rainy day, don’t you think? But he still needs government help. Imagine how people, who have a tiny fraction of what he has had, have had to manage day to day to pay their bills and put food on the table?

I’m sure there are many republicans who have faced devastating losses. A storm doesn’t check your voter registration card before hitting your home or neighborhood. How many of them will be looking to President Obama and FEMA to assist them now? Will it be okay just this one time? I don’t know, you tell me.