It’s not what you get, it’s what you do with it…

My advice for my fellow Boomers who feel quite stuck – written for the Retirement and feeling-stuckGood Living blog:

http://retirementandgoodliving.com/its-not-what-you-get-its-what-you-do-with-it/

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Amazing!?

Amazing!?

It made the pages of many a newspaper back in 2012 when they reported on Lake Superior State University’s annual List of enough-alreadyWords Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness: “Amazing” received the most votes of any on the list.  But as far back as 2010 the Chicago Tribune noted it as an overused, “run of the mill” discriptor, and it has remained on lists of “the most annoying, overused words,” most recently in a 2014 Huffington Post article on “words that are so overused they become meaningless.”

Even the Pulitzer Prize winning Tampa Bay Times has hopped onto this bandwagon with the jingle/tagline “the amazing stories”… To be fair, I’ve copiously tried to find a better word to fit the rhythm of that jingle, and have admittedly come up blank (“the stupendous stories just doesn’t make it…).  So, OK, they get a pass, as does the TV show “The Amazing Race” (first aired 2001), Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” TV series (aired 1985-87), and “The Amazing Spiderman” (first comic book published 1965).  But WordPress does not; I just received an email touting ways I can “make WordPress Sites Look Amazing!” – nor does every talk-show host, news anchor, (professional) writer, and public figure, all of whom use the word more often than they use their Iphones.

So, I put it to you: Listen for it in conversation, in the media, anywhere that talking, writing, or communicating in any format is involved.  If you find it seldom used, let me know…and if, as have I, you get to the point that if one more person finds something “amazing” you’ll smack them upside the head, let me know that as well.

Then, let’s work a bit on our lexicons.  There’s “fabulous,” “extraordinary,” “fascinating (thanks, Mr. Spock!),” and “wonderful”: there’s “marvelous,” “surprising,” “remarkable,”incredible”; but no “awesome” or “excellent” – also tired.

In reality, “amazing” doesn’t adequately describe many things that deserve better.

And, unlike we Boomers, this descriptor is old, tired and ready for permanent retirement.

Boomers Make Poor Legislators…

The 70th anniversary of D-Day got me thinking about our parents’ “Greatest” generation, what they lived through, and how bad Congress has become.

The connection?

bob doleWhen they were in Congress, bi-partisan work got done, taking care of our needs seemed to more often trump taking care of their own careers, they were not quite so easily bought.  Nothing like making it through a great depression and a world war to build character…

In contrast, today’s Congress is made up of mostly Boomers… best at living up to our “me” generation moniker.  Now Congress gets john-boehnernothing of import done from a preference for over-the-top partisanship, takes care of their own careers rather than the country’s needs, and are quite easily bought.  For those of us who like our Social Security and Medicare, be grateful those programs were created during our parents’ tenure.

The conclusion: Boomers make poor national leaders.  In Florida, our children as leaders aren’t faring much better.

I’ve always believed that anyone wanting to run for Congress is most likely not a good candidate because the ego it takes to want such a thing will most likely outpace his/her ability to truly lead.  And the folks I’d like to see in Congress don’t want the job.

Ah for the Founders’ concept of “citizen legislators” – folks who had a life (other than politics), went to Washington for short periods (Jefferson envisioned terms of no more than 9 years, with Representatives rotating out every 3, similar to the current practices of Boards of Directors) to represent their constituents’ needs, then returned home to continue their real lives.  Here’s an example provided by Thomas Jefferson in 1797:

“All [reforms] can be… [achieved] peaceably by the people confining their choice of Representatives and Senators to persons attached to republican government and the principles of 1776; not office-hunters [stressor mine], but farmers [the main vocation of the day…notice he didn’t say lawyers and doctors, who make up most representatives today] whose interests are entirely agricultural [eg of their main profession]. Such men are the true representatives of the great American interest and are alone to be relied on for expressing the proper American sentiments.”

He also envisioned representatives be uncompensated, to ensure their motives were to serve, not to become enriched themselves:

“I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service and of retiring with hands as clean as they are empty.”
Jefferson to Diodati, 1807.

Let’s find a bunch of the latter (true citizen legislators) and convince them to run, so we can eliminate the former (what we have now).

Some of them may even be Boomers.

 

Voter Suppression and the Founding Fathers

These days, the press is full of stories about a number of states’ (including the one in which I reside) using new voter ID requirements aimed at “eliminating voter fraud” as a cover to suppress voter participation by folks who are already disenfranchised (poor, people of color) – actual cases of voter fraud are so minimal, the need for major voter reform seems contrived at best, Machiavellian at worst, they say.

don't believe all you're toldYou must admit, it seems a tad suspect.

To bring that point home in a recent OpEd piece on the subject, Larry Norden of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program was quoted as saying; “Our country was founded on the principle of all men being equal.  We should have equal access to vote.”

The problem with that statement; it’s not true. Continue reading

It’s All About Obama?…

barack obamaWow!  According to pretty much the entire media industry, Obama was given a stern rebuke by we voters, akin to getting his hand slapped by his body-politic mothers for dipping one too many times into the cookie jar.

Wow, are they wrong.

As much as both the “liberal” media and the conservative Republicans want us to believe voting outcomes were about Obama – anti “Obamacare”; anti Obama compromises; anti Obama big government – this mid-term election overhaul was in fact about nothing more than people being unhappy and believing the only power they had to do something about it was to vote out members of the ruling majority.

And the truly unfortunate reality of doing so, is voters kind of did the nose-cutting-off-face thing, having not done their homework on what they got from the major legislation enacted while those folks were in office.  And what they could now lose after “voting out the bums…”  Here’s just a few:

  • The healthcare legislation as it stands will reduce the deficit by an estimated $138 billion over 10 years (according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office), and new healthcare plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients
  • The financial regulatory reform law restricts the ability of banks whose deposits are federally insured, from trading for their own benefit, so never again will we see banks trading on their own financial securities like mortgage-backed assets, the big-bank pocket-stuffing practice that precipitated the credit crisis, thus the Great Recession in 2008
  • The EPA’s power to reduce greenhouse gasses shown conclusively to be harmful to our health (such as high levels of mercury & lead spewed from coal-burning plants) as reinforced by the US Supreme Court

Finally, if that doesn’t convince you, here’s an excerpt from a recently published article about possible changes to the healthcare legislation that will be attempted by many of our newly elected, on favstocks.com:

“Congress might attempt to dismantle the bill piece by piece.  One provision that many people want to remove is the individual mandate, which will require most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty.  This provision also kicks in in 2014, and it’s one that Baby Boomers in particular will want to fight to keep.

Here’s why: Beginning in 2014, private insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to insure someone because of a pre-existing condition.  But without an individual mandate, there will be no incentive for younger and healthier people to purchase health insurance until the time comes when they need it.  This means those left in the insurance “risk pool” will be older, and that drives up the cost of insurance.

By the time we reach 50, nearly all of us have “pre-existing conditions.”  Some of our conditions are common, and some are not – mesothelioma, for example, is rarely diagnosed in patients younger than 50.  And without Medicare or other good insurance, mesothelioma treatment would be financially devastating.

But without the individual mandate requiring that healthier people share in the cost of insuring all of us, the health insurance premium bills for people aged 50 to 65 will be ruinous.”