Archive for January, 2015

“Gotta Have Some Me Time, But Share What You Learn”

January 11, 2015 Leave a comment

“Gotta have some me time.” Personally, I employ this. I eek out “me time” in the morning before other members of my family wake up. I either exercise or do something else like write, read, or just listen to podcasts; stuff like that. I think this “me time” time has allowed me to reduce my stress, while being able to stay in shape and increase my knowledge.

“Share what you learn.” This is the other part to the “me time” ritual that I encourage because if you are learning something why not share it? I know people may want to do something just for themselves and not for anyone else, but if you have a family, or are in a relationship, or have close friends and acquaintances you deeply care about and value why not share the things in your life that are helping you? Maybe the people you love most can also benefit from what you are doing. When I look deep down inside, within myself, I realize this the true motivation for why I want eek out “me time”; I want to share my personal improvements with those I love and cherish. To me, this is the ultimate reward; when people around me improve their lives through an example that I showed them. Do they have to do the same exact thing? No, but a positive change where I was the catalyst is all I could ever ask for.

I have been somewhat on a health kick, but not to bludgeon others with some self-righteous message of “run and eat healthy like me or you will die”. I basically started refining my diet to get in shape for a marathon; gotta fuel your properly for one of those. That said, I still have my fare share of the junky stuff, but I am just much much much better at regulating my temptations. I eat fairly cleanly, but very satisfyingly. I am cutting down on my added sugar intake, as well as limiting intake of foods that spike my insulin production, which causes my liver to ultimately tell my body to store natural food sugar as fat. I have been doing this process of refining my diet for some time now, and my family is coming on board. I even had the great pleasure of sharing some of what I have been learning during my “me time” with my mother-in-law, who seemed quite interested. Whether or not she adopts what I have been doing was not the purpose of our exchanges, but just the exchange of knowledge was fulfilling, especially as I found out a lot about the way she thinks and documents what she has been learning during her “me time” throughout the years.

Ultimately, “me time” is great for personal refinement and or enhancement, but the next step, in my humble opinion, is sharing the “me time” gains with other loved ones. Our relationships are what make our existence as humans unique and fulfilling. Nurturing and sustaining these relationships in constructive ways leads to great lives for everyone involved in the process. Why not be a part of that richly satisfying process by sharing what makes you better? Be a little selfish so you can concentrate on bettering yourself, but remember to share so you can really see the gains.

Categories: Miscellaneous Debris

“Curtain Rises on US Political Theater”

January 6, 2015 Leave a comment

John Boehner, United States House of Representatives Speaker, and Mitch McConnell, United States Senate Majority Leader, have chosen their teams. Now the rubber meets the road and it is time to legislate and lead the United States branch of government that actually proposes, writes, negotiates, and sends law to the President of the United States to get confirmed. So the big question is, can the two branches of government responsible for making and enforcing laws and leading the government of the United States work together? My answer is, if leaders lead then yes. If leaders do not lead the no. Short and easy answer. Read more for the details.

Some immediate tests of turf:

1) XL-Keystone Pipeline – If you do not know what that is, it is a long metal tube designed to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The oil is particularly difficult to get out of the ground (extract) and comes from central Canada; the tar sands of Alberta. Economically speaking, the United States is looking at about 40,000 contracted jobs and about 30 to 40 full-time salaried jobs. Not a massive job influx considering the private sector of the United States has been generating hundreds of thousands of jobs a month for the past few years. Also, the oil from these tar sands is not going to be used in the United States. The refineries on the Gulf of Mexico will process the stuff and it will be exported to other markets. Most of the profits will go to Canada.

The environmental impact is always there but if the pipeline is built and monitored properly all should be okay (until a break happens and heavy tar oils destroys the U.S. bread basket – basically, central United States). The pipeline is probably no more dangerous than the train oil tankers used to transport oil right now.

President Obama really doesn’t like this project, and the Republicans will use it to test him; will President Obama stand up to the left-wing environmental lobby, or will he throw a bone to the Republican led Congress?

2) The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) – This is pretty simple to understand. The Republicans want to dismantle this policy, but have no real replacement policy. For lack of a better plan Republicans will try to negate various provisions of the law like the medical devices tax, which pays for a lot of the plan. There are other provisions that plague the system, according to dissenters of the law. Will Republicans really work to tweak the program or will they defund and dismantle key provisions? This should be really interesting because truth be told there are Democrats who don’t like various provisions of the law and could be persuaded to vote with Republicans. This is a big test of the political leadership of President Obama within his own party.

3) Immigration Reform – As far as I see it, President Obama didn’t break any laws with his recent executive order to shield particular illegal immigrants from immediate deportation. The shield isn’t indefinite. The shield expires a few years from now, so eventually those illegal immigrants being protected will have to go back into the shadows, if comprehensive immigration is not instituted. The kicker is the Republicans could have squashed this entire situation by approving legislation a year ago. The legislation that died in the House of Representatives had all the goodies – massive border security upgrades, reorganization of VISAs, guest worker permits, increased taxes, fees, and fines, expedited processes, educational provisions, etc. It was a truly comprehensive bill that Republicans put together, without a lot of President Obama’s input (the Republicans, in particular Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, as for that, but could not convince their colleagues in the House of Representatives to vote for the bill).

The President did his deal an acted as best he could; within his authority. So the question is, will the Republicans do something on immigration reform or just continue to complain that the President is a dictator in chief, or some king presiding over an empire?

A few more “small” bits and pieces; hanging chads:

How about comprehensive tax reform? That would be good considering the US tax code is bogging down industry and regular people (ironically the US is still the most productive economic machine in history…but for how long with a tax code bigger than the IRS itself?…just kidding, but it is big).

There are also infrastructure bills to deal with, and jobs programs to institute, and the continuous “project” that is education in the United States. Oh, the government has to pass a budget (a small detail within this big picture).

And the grand finale, there is an election coming…in 2016 (will talk more about this in another post).

What happens in the coming years with the new U.S. Congress, held by Republicans, and the Executive Branch, held by Democrats, will keep political junkies on their drips…Hopefully this kabuki play doesn’t keep the Supreme Court awake at night because that would be really bad.

Categories: Miscellaneous Debris