Thursday, December 22, 2011

Liberal Matt Damon Slams Obama Again

Matt Damon, one of Barack Obama's earliest supporters and once one of his most staunch advocates, slammed the President in the new issue of Elle Magazine.
"I've talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level. One of them said to me, 'Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician,'" Damon tells the magazine. source
There is little that rankles me more than this type of so called friendly fire. First, I remember the 2000 election year friendly fire from Ralph Nadar that contributed to the defeat of Al Gore. His campaign as an Independent split the progressive vote and net result: 8 disastrous years of Bush/Cheney.
Second, my progressive friends on the left seem to want a Messiah. A Messiah, ala Moses, that can split the Red Sea  or change water to wine. On the other side of the aisle, GOP voters have historically been more realistic about how much and how fast change can come. Ronald Reagan did not deliver most of the conservatives' wish list in three years. They understood that Reagan was installing a conservative system that would pay dividends (for his constituents) for decades to come.
We have conservative courts, supply side economics, conservative think tanks, conservative radio and TV news shows and a country that is solidly right centered. The majority of the aforementioned were inspired by the Reagan Revolution.
Were folks on the right upset with Reagan from time to time? Yes!  Because out of political necessity he had to compromise with the Democrats. However, the vastly more disciplined GOP expressed their frustrations behind closed doors (with a few exceptions of course).
Matt Damon is entitled to his own opinion - but to borrow from a cliche - he is not entitled to his own facts (with all due respects for the great works for humanity he does worldwide). In particular, when he says:
"You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."
Obama's Big Accomplishment:
Health Care - many presidents tried but he was the only one that succeeded.
Stimulus Package - many economist believe this (and other rescue efforts) saved our  country world from a Great Depression.
Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - allows openly gays to serve their country in the military
Wall Street Reform Act
Issued an executive order to repeal Bus era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
Significantly expanded Pell Grants, which help low income students to attend college
Signed a new START Treaty - nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
For more info follow link Obama's Achievements

Keep slamming away my friends - how does President Newt Gingrich sound?

Dee Dee Patt: The Highs & Lows of my Journey

Today’s prayer goes out to all the members of the military services  their families.  To all those who gave their life protecting our country and our cities we thank you and keep your love ones in our prayer.

My Journey Valley
As my one year journey continues I am faced with obstacles that can knock you down for the count.  It is during this time I realize the importance of a strong support system.  For without them our journey can see long and lonely and  yes, at times helpless.  But I am thankful to my support system that reaches out to me when I have fallen and reminding me that I am not alone.  

Starting with my Brother who can see my achievements long before I can.  I owe so much to his encouraging words and forcing me to look inwards and seeing what he sees - that not only can I get back up, but I can dust myself off and continue stronger than ever.  I also have two fabulous sisters that I love to no end.  They have always had my back, and every other part of me. I can always count on them.
The next part of my network is my extended family, my family away from home.  One thing I learned is that they love me like I was on their own.  I have a core group of girlfriends that if I want to thank from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for extending a hand (and shoulders) for me to hold and lean on.  One day I will repay all the love and kindness they have shown me. 
I bring up the support system because although you may be of the mind set that you can do it all alone, a support system can give you the encouragement you need at the times you are feeling the lowest of lows:  Before you smoke that cigarette, before you have that drink, before you gamble that dollar and so on and so on.  

Sharing your plan with at least one other person can help you along the road to getting your life back together.  This journey can mean many different things to many different people.  Just decide what you want to turn around in your life - your health, your finances, your addictions, or your well being.
I am in a rough time right now and I think I am at the lowest point since I began my Journey, but two small things pointed me to the light of my path.  One is a old high school classmate who simply sent a note checking on me because she had not heard from me in awhile. I know that seems small to you, but to me these words let me know  that I matter and my journey matters.  I thanked her personally and she probably has no idea how just reaching out to me has lifted me up - but it has.
My issues right now are health issues that I have been afraid of going to the doctor .  I am so afraid that the news may not be good but I am now in so much pain that I can’t ignore it anymore. So first thing tomorrow I am calling the doctor. I will keep you all posted.
Oh, in case your are wondering the main part of my support system are my parents.  My parents have always loved us (my two sisters and my brother) unconditionally.  When I felt like the world was against me, my mother and father have always been standing right along  side of me with support. 
My final prayer for you today is a prayer for your network; and if you feel that you have no network look again or build one.  Invite just one to take the Journey with you.
God Bless you, Dee Dee Patt

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Words of Inspiration by Kenneth Wayne Sandy

Editor's note: I would like to welcome the newest blogger, Kenneth Wayne Sandy. His message is consistent with the theme and mission of HGP: Self-empowerment through education, information and introspection. 
In his words:

"Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places”.
As this is my first attempt to touch an audience that is willing to listen, join in and participate; I am choosing to generalize for we all face different struggles. To be clear, the specifics - at the end of the day are truly irrelevant -  share a commonality, no matter what is your struggle. 
Therefore, if you change your view and outlook, the brightest light can shine through in the darkest place and your break-down can TRULY be your break through.  
From one Ragamuffin to the next, I feel compelled by a much higher authority to blog on how our collective experiences - the highs and lows - can help us better our environments.  
Through honesty and “real” conversation, I am amazed of the amount of emotion that comes to the surface as I look back over my life.  If you are like me, the struggle with the need to be “perfect” in order to please someone or something has ruled me (and maybe you) for an indefinite period.  
In reflection, by opting to see the light - that is always present - in my darkest times (and there have been many), I find that I can begin to inherit acceptance, validation, worthiness and “salvation” and not in spite of my imperfections, but because of them. 
Putting things in perspective that have tugged at me since the beginning of my journey has proven to be instrumental in seeking clarity and the ability to navigate very muddy, shark infested waters.  If you have a less than desirable past, I understand your journey all too well.  
Try this, put a sticky note on your mirror that states it's all about grace.
I remind myself of this every day… is not about what I/you do, it is about our higher power, the larger force, and our purpose in the universe.  
I hear it in my head and one day I know I will believe it in my heart.  We all are to reach out and touch one another to contribute to change.  Let’s do that for one another.  As for me, I no longer have debts, I am just working through this maze one day at a time. I am looking forward to you joining me on the journey.  
In parting words, just remember: If you change the way you look at things, you change the things you look at.
Be encouraged.  Kenneth Wayne Sandy 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The lost art of NFL tackling by Gregory Gee with Bharv

Harrison launching head first

James Harrison was not on the field Monday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers played the San Francisco 49ers after the NFL denied his appeal of a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
The NFL cited Harrison’s history of dangerous hits — one that now includes five helmet-to-helmet hits on quarterbacks — in its decision. Harrison will become the first player suspended under the league’s new crack down on hits to the head, which followed another Steelers-Browns game last season during which Harrison had two helmet-to-helmet hits. source

James Harrison responded by stating:

"17 games, 1000+ snaps, 100+ tackles, 12+sacks and 2 forces fumbles since my last incident and I get a suspension for a football play!"

 No, Mr. Harrison, you did not get suspended for a football play, you got suspended for violating the NFL's helmet-to-helmet policy. This rule was implemented to protect players from concussions and long term cognitive damages. Furthermore, you should be made aware, as a flagrant and frequent repeat violator of this rule, helmet-to-helmet hitting is not only dangerous, it is not sound football tackling technique.

You may have your defenders: Some analyst and former players have defended Harrison’s play by pointing out the speed of game that does not allow for the defender to pull up or adjust to avoid from making helmet to helmet contact.

 Oh really? Show me what football camp, school, team or program that teaches to lead with the helmet? Each of Harrison’s fines has been because of leading with the helmet - not because he lowered his shoulder and he accidently hit the offensive player who ducked into his helmet.

 Mike Golic, of ESPN’s Mike and Mike, accuses the NFL of trying to soften the aggressive mentality that is indoctrinated into players at a young age and penalize players for what they are paid to do: deliver bone crunching, head jarring hits.  Somewhat true on the latter statement, but coaches teach techniques, which are tools for the player to incorporate and unleash aggressiveness.

Are not players taught to tackle by lowering the shoulder, make contact/hit with the pads while keeping the head up?  Player can use their aggression to tackle/hit through the player. That is a nice violent, clean hit. We pay, enjoy and watch for that type of hits, not the dirty play of Harrison. Just remember, Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott consistently delivered some of the most spectacular and brutal hits - all delivered clean and with solid tackling technique.

And Trent Dilfer, who I think is one of ESPN’s best analysts, thought Harrison’s hit was a football hit because the quarterback was ducking on Harrison’s approach. Trent, look at it again: Harrison is leading with the helmet, not shoulder pads. Once again,who teaches leading with helmet?

The irony of this discussion: I have heard many analyst (including Golic) speak of how horrendous tackling has become in the NFL. I agree and cite, hard tackling has been replaced with just trying to deliver a hard hit. Defending this style of play will not restore the art of tackling. But maybe the NFL levying a game suspension against Harrison may lead to some players reincorporating the fundamentals of tackling.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Middle Class Crisis - The Making of the 99%

More often than not, the Main Street Media miserably fails in reporting real news of substantive value.

We are bombarded with Hollywood gossip, sensationalism and political gamesmenship - pitting poor folks on the right against poor folks on the left.

This passes for our evening news.

The biggest story of our generation - What has happened to the American Dream - receives scant and superficial coverage. However, since the 2008 economic collapse, people have been intensely pining for more accurate and investigative news stories.

Folks want to know: how did they lose their house, job, pension, health insurance and middle-class status?

 MSM is safely in the hands of the omnipotent one percent. This is precisely the FOX (yes pun is very much intended) in charge of the hen house.

In efforts to obtain the truth, one must search other sources similar to the following.

Truthdig reports:

The Making of the American 99% and the Collapse of the Middle Class

By Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich

This piece was originally published atTomDispatch and The Nation.

“Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs.”
—E.P. Thompson, “The Making of the English Working Class”

The “other men” (and of course women) in the current American class alignment are those in the top 1% of the wealth distribution—the bankers, hedge-fund managers, and CEOs targeted by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have been around for a long time in one form or another, but they only began to emerge as a distinct and visible group, informally called the “super-rich,” in recent years.

Extravagant levels of consumption helped draw attention to them: private jets, multiple 50,000 square-foot mansions, $25,000 chocolate desserts embellished with gold dust. But as long as the middle class could still muster the credit for college tuition and occasional home improvements, it seemed churlish to complain. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, followed by the Great Recession, and the 1% to whom we had entrusted our pensions, our economy, and our political system stood revealed as a band of feckless, greedy narcissists, and possibly sociopaths.

Still, until a few months ago, the 99% was hardly a group capable of (as Thompson says) articulating “the identity of their interests.” It contained, and still contains, most “ordinary” rich people, along with middle-class professionals, factory workers, truck drivers, and miners, as well as the much poorer people who clean the houses, manicure the fingernails, and maintain the lawns of the affluent.

It was divided not only by these class differences, but most visibly by race and ethnicity—a division that has actually deepened since 2008. African-Americans and Latinos of all income levels disproportionately lost their homes to foreclosure in 2007 and 2008, and then disproportionately lost their jobs in the wave of layoffs that followed.  On the eve of the Occupy movement, the black middle class had been devastated. In fact, the only political movements to have come out of the 99% before Occupy emerged were the Tea Party movement and, on the other side of the political spectrum, the resistance to restrictions on collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

The article goes on to explain how many once affluent Americans discovered they had more in common with the 99% as opposed to the 1% elite:

But Occupy could not have happened if large swaths of the 99% had not begun to discover some common interests, or at least to put aside some of the divisions among themselves. For decades, the most stridently promoted division within the 99% was the one between what the right calls the “liberal elite”—composed of academics, journalists, media figures, etc.—and pretty much everyone else.

Once-affluent people lost their nest eggs as housing prices dropped off cliffs. Laid-off middle-aged managers and professionals were staggered to find that their age made them repulsive to potential employers. Medical debts plunged middle-class households into bankruptcy. The old conservative dictum—that it was unwise to criticize (or tax) the rich because you might yourself be one of them someday—gave way to a new realization that the class you were most likely to migrate into wasn’t the rich, but the poor.

And here was another thing many in the middle class were discovering: the downward plunge into poverty could occur with dizzying speed. One reason the concept of an economic 99% first took root in America rather than, say, Ireland or Spain is that Americans are particularly vulnerable to economic dislocation. We have little in the way of a welfare state to stop a family or an individual in free-fall. Unemployment benefits do not last more than six months or a year, though in a recession they are sometimes extended by Congress. At present, even with such an extension, they reach only about half the jobless. Welfare was all but abolished 15 years ago, and health insurance has traditionally been linked to employment.

To read the entire article follow link - Truthdig