The Bad News is that One of Them Becomes President

capture-20161014-175943The good news is we’re now down to days before we can finally come out of this disturbing and disgusting and surreal state of reality we’ve all been forced to endure in various stages for the past year. The bad news is we have days left before we can finally come out of this surreal state of reality. Typically, election season gives Americans an opportunity to explore their options. Who supports the issues that matter to a family? Which candidate will keep us out of war? Which candidate is going to be remembered for the good he or she did for Americans and humanity in general? Each national election brings with it a certain degree of embarrassing revelations, silly bickering and promises that if one candidate is elected over another, the country’s going to hell. That’s not the case with the current season – not by a long shot.

Imagine the worst kind of criminal; one who is the epitome of pure evil with his dark and brutal ways. Imagine the trial and the truly tragic details of his victims’ final moments that emerge each day. You know these details because the trial in its entirety is being broadcast live. Now think about the divide the trial causes between supporters and those who hate the accused. Can you imagine it being any worse than what we’re witnessing in this election? Yeah…me either.

These candidates have made history, no doubt. They’ve divided a nation. They have created the same weaknesses and fears that are usually reserved for a category 5 hurricane headed straight for our hometown.

When you take a step back, and I’m sure many will begin to see this once the election is behind us, there are common denominators in that trial, the hurricane and the election. Pride and money and notoriety and a place in history are those ribbons woven through each. The politicians warning of the hurricane walk a fine line in how they tell people to evacuate (or not), where the storm makes landfall and when to declare states of emergency for the “imminent landfall”. If that hurricane doesn’t make landfall, there goes the credibility.  If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, there goes the perfect conviction record the DA loves to brag about on a daily basis. It all comes down to being right and winning and no shortage of taunts directed to the loser. Losing, to them, is like a death.

These candidates have spewed so much hate in an effort to win that they don’t realize they’ve burned beyond recognition the entire election process and everything our founding fathers intended. Each time a “game changer” breaks into our daily routine, via breaking news emails, Twitter trends and “exclusive interviews with the victim tonight”, we’re forced to factor it into our decision-making process. If we believe everything each side swears is true, we can decide between a rapist and a rapist’s wife. We can choose a murderer if we’d like or maybe a serial sexual harasser. We can choose the candidate whose daughter bought her education or we can opt for the candidate whose children are “destined to turn out like their predatory father”.

There’s no shortage of information from which to make that decision, either. We can believe an Australian computer programmer and journalist who’s hiding out in an embassy to avoid facing his own sexual assault charges. We can also take our pick of an ever-increasing number of women who say they were victims of sexual harassment by their former boss, who’s now wanting your vote. And let’s not forget the women who have, for years (unlike the other candidate’s accusers), insisted a former president and husband to the current candidate raped, molested or otherwise assaulted them. We can believe a “kill list” or we can believe a group of people whose egos convinced them to try out for a reality show years ago because they wanted to be in the spotlight. We have countless audio tapes and no shortage of teary-eyed victims who turn it on as soon as they cameras whir to life.

So successful are their efforts that they have managed to annihilate bonds that were previously stronger than any super-duper new must-have product being shown on Shark Tank. Families are divided. Best friends are now at one another’s throats and are being closely monitored by terrorists everywhere for tips on how to wreak the most damage to the human psyche. Facebook and Twitter are the new battlegrounds and that amazing actor many were convinced should star in every TV show, major film and documentary has now become dirt under a fan’s feet because of his “insults to the fans”.

How in God’s name did we get to the point that no recognizable shred of human compassion and intelligence and goodness and sense of fairness can be found in our political candidates? When did we, as a society, decide it’s OK to treat people in a disrespectful way? It used to be that Facebook was filled with those ridiculous messages of inspiration for humanity: “Tread lightly, you don’t know what challenges he’s had” or “Be kind to everyone. God may be testing you”? No, these days it’s “If you vote for candidate B, you’re white trash” or “Unfriend/unfollow me if you support candidate A”. I admit, there were times when those sugary-sweet memes hit my timeline that I’ve wanted to add a touch of sarcasm, but after this election, I’ll take a timeline FILLED with those cheesy sentiments over the darkness of political memes.

We’ve all hit new lows, not just these candidates and campaign workers. We all have responsibility to the monstrosity this has become. It’s bigger than any of us. If there’s anything at all we can all collectively agree on, it’s that we’re about to emerge from this 10th ring of hell we’ve endured. That’s the good news. The bad news is one of these candidates will win.

This Crazy Week: Choose Carefully What Matters

I’d decided earlier this week to steer clear of some of the events that were really heating up on many political, legal and societal fronts. I’m still taking heat from a few of my previous posts, which is OK, but trust me – I stand by everything I say and write. The beauty of that is I live in a country that allows me to do that.

I had a couple of emails this morning, including one from a client, asking me when I intended to write about the evils of same sex marriage. It’s difficult to give the one sentence statement I want to give.

For me, it’s simple: live and let live. I don’t give a rat’s ass who’s cracking whom, who’s marrying whom or who’s getting a divorce. If you know me, you already know I’ve had two failed marriages. I’m hardly the one to take a stand either way on the beauties of marriage. But, there are a few things I can take a stand on because they do affect me.

Facebook is loaded with twisted scripture from the Bible, accusations that same sex marriage was allowed because Christians did not stand up and demand it not pass and promises that the world’s coming to an end any second now. I don’t know who’s going to burn in hell for their choices made in this life, but we’re all going to have to answer for all of our sins. I’ve said it before: I’ll do me, and you do you. I know I won’t have to answer for passing judgment and spreading hate regarding someone else’s sexual identification. If I believe that everything happens for a reason and what’s meant to be will be (and I do believe this), and that everything passes in God’s time, then how can anyone claim to know God’s reasons?

My point is: we’re divided enough in this nation. What’s dividing us are opinions. Nothing more. I’ve got a newsflash for you – we don’t get a say, not really, with the decisions being made on our behalf in this country. If our opinions mattered, we’d have a unified Congress. We hear the politicians griping about the illegal actions of this Administration, yet the most they do is threaten their political enemies…on social media, no less. How many times have we heard different politicians demanding impeachment procedures against someone outside their party? Daily, right? Yet nothing is ever done. They’re griping and listening to their constituents, yet they are also the ones who can make it happen. But what do we hear as their response? Crickets. We hear crickets.

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Rusty Weiss, Political Insider

We are divided in ways we shouldn’t. Why are we turning on each other when the ones making the wrong decisions are behind closed doors and on tables piled with cash? When did we decide it’s better to do war on Twitter and Facebook with each other than look to the root of the real problem? It’s not us against us; it should be us united and demanding answers. Instead, we show our fear with ridiculous posts on social media. Ask any psychologist: anger is often nothing more than fear. Once we realize that, things become clearer.

mississippiSo, back to my point: I won’t be posting on the evils or benefits of same sex marriage. I do not care. What I do care about, however, is the possibility of being told I can’t fly my state’s flag in Mississippi. I do care about being forced to buy insurance I cannot afford and I do care that there are actually people out there who want me to surrender my guns. I do care about Russia and Greece partnering on the Turkish pipeline (that’s happened, but we’ve not felt the repercussions of that yet. Oh, and by the way, pay attention to BRICS angle in the coming weeks and months). I do care about overhearing an oil man in a conference say, “Hell, a terrorist attack might not be so damn bad. At least it’ll drive oil prices up.” And I do care about the fact that we’ve already seen a shooting of a co-worker from an employee who’d just been laid off from a job in the oil sector in Houston. I care because it’s just beginning and it will affect me and you and anyone else in this nation. Who you get in bed with each night matters none to me. The last time I cared about someone getting in bed with someone else, I realized my then-husband was cheating. So no, I don’t care.

It’s all about priorities.

Just When I Thought I Was Finished

I admit – the political goings-on over the past year had grown tiresome even to me. I’d decided that the upcoming election would bear no winners with the exception of the actual candidates. We – as in the American taxpayer – have nothing to celebrate in terms of the outcome. I swear, I think both parties are counting on folks to just throw up their hands and say, “Do what you’re going to do – you’re going to anyway.” Remember how, as a kid, you’d end up getting your way sometimes simply by exhausting your mom? She’d throw up her hands and give in, but you’d always hear her say, “OK – now get outta here and let me catch my breath.”

The DNC, as we all know, is wrapping up today – and not a moment too soon – and believe me, I say that because BOTH conventions are over with.

This week could not have been a more nightmarish week for the Obama Administration. It was day after day of bad news on top of more bad news. Here are a few of my ledes from this week:

  • As the Democratic National Convention roars on, news broke that a record 46.7 million Americans — or roughly one in five adults — used food stamps during the month of June.
  • It just wouldn’t be a holiday weekend if gas prices didn’t jump higher. This time, though, a new record’s been set. Gas prices, up by 9.4% in August, are higher than they’ve ever been in U.S. history, beating the record set in 2008.
  • On Thursday, economists were expecting 150,000 new jobs to be added to the employment rolls. Admitting it wouldn’t really affect the unemployment rate, those economists were hopeful that at least the number wouldn’t be any lower. On Friday, we’re wondering what the economists are saying with the paltry 96,000 jobs that were added in August.
  • The national debt hit the $16 trillion mark today. When Obama took office four years ago, it was $10 trillion and Congress continues to spend as though nothing is at stake. Unfortunately, each American’s share of the federal debt now rests at $37,437 – there’s definitely a lot at stake.

The worse part of all of this is knowing Obama has still managed to keep pace with Romney – the polls still show them at an even split. The only thing thing that makes sense to me is that everyone is voting for their candidate not because they necessarily support him but rather, they dislike the other candidate even more. Somehow, that just doesn’t sit right. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Our nation wasn’t built on the premise of choosing presidents based who we dislike less. And yet – there it is. Which leads me to…

There has been a shift, I’ve noticed, on all of the social networking sites. Folks threatening to “shut down” their Facebook pages and close their Twitter accounts. They say they’re tired of the political rhetoric. I get that – I got burned out too before this week got me fired up again. Here’s the thing, though – for the first time in our history, Americans are able to come together in an unprecedented and rather casual way. Even the last presidential race didn’t include as many Facebook and Twitter users. I don’t even think I had even considered any kind of social networking presence four years ago. At any rate, some of the nonsense is just that – nonsense. I’ve had a lot of “tags” of ridiculous photos and images that trash talked one candidate or another. I eventually had to change my settings so that I could control what was being posted to my wall (I’ll do my own trash talking, thank you very much). My point is it would be a shame that anyone would choose something like politics as the reason for bowing out. Every now and then, something comes along that absolutely goes against everything we believe – and then we actually take a minute to consider it and it’s in those moments change happens. It’s rare – but weeding through the nonsense becomes worth it when it does happen.

Maybe a Shift is Occurring Anyway

For two years, I’ve climbed my soap box and hollered from the rooftops that if the entire American financial sector wasn’t overhauled, it would crash hard. The massive hits our economy has taken simply cannot include a Band Aid and hope for a better day as the cure. It’s like getting flood damage in your home – just because your ceiling doesn’t get wet doesn’t mean it’s not ruined. It all has to be replaced, right?

Now, though, there’s an interesting new platform that just might shift the scales ever so slightly. This is one of those things that if it does well, it will soar to the heavens. If it fails, though, it’s going to crash hard.

Many people don’t know, but 80% of Americans don’t have access to the stock market for one reason or another. Usually, it’s just too intimidating. Most have no idea where to find the answers and there are those who feel the stock market is just too big a gamble. But – what if you could buy stock from a company via its Facebook Fan Page? That’s exactly what’s happening right now.

It’s really very interesting. Loyal3, the company that’s making this possible, is now allowing any business to sell its stocks to any of its Facebook fans under a new model, “Customer Stock Ownership Plan” or CSOP. And you don’t have to know all the frustrating ins and outs of stock trading. There are no fees to do this, either – which is good since broker fees can be as high as 60% of what’s being bought through a trader. All you have to do is find a company you want to invest in and with three clicks, you’re now a part owner of that company. You can invest as little as $10, too. Buy one share or a million shares. Actually, I wouldn’t suggest buying a million shares of anything off of Facebook, but I’m telling you, this could be the start of something quite impressive. Imagine the little entrepreneurs we could raise if we could get young folks to spend just five minutes of their time on Facebook looking for stocks to buy.

Loyal3’s CSOP is in its infancy and currently only has one company on board, but September promises to bring many new companies and all signs indicate this is a sure thing. Since I’m having to stay on top of this for a client, I’ll post anything new I come across, but in the meantime, go see for yourself – y’all know I’m all about due diligence when it comes to money. Visit the Loyal3 website here. And in the meantime, just because I’m not listed with the Dow doesn’t mean you can’t like my Facebook page. So go like it!

I Have the Answers – They’re Just Not Politically Correct

Ever have one of those weeks when you just know you’re the one with the answers, but no one’s listening? Yeah, me too. There’s so much – I don’t even know where to start.

First up – if you haven’t seen our president’s latest fundraising efforts, fair warning – it’s a doozy. Take a look –

That’s right – he wants all our birthday bling. And apparently he’s willing to take on Bridezilla too because he’s more than happy to raid bridal showers across the nation. Here’s the kicker though – earlier this month, he’d made two stops in two days – one in Chicago and the other in Minneapolis. The trips were fundraising efforts for his campaign. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is also Obama’s former chief of staff, introduced him to close to four hundred people who gained entry by shelling over at least $2,500 per person. From there, he attended two more events where folks forked over $35,000 each to be in his presence. Yes – that figure is right – $35,000 and here’s the link. It’s estimated he brought in a whopping $5 million between Chicago and his quick layover in Minneapolis. And he wants my birthday present too? Not in this lifetime.

Now, in all fairness, by the time I saw the latest on his blog, I’d already had a bellyful of his antics this week. Take a look at a few of his tweets. It seems like every time he finds himself in front of a camera or in front his computer, he’s telling us what we need to do. I mean, seriously, Obama wants us to tell Congress this or that? Why? Congress isn’t listening to us (as in the American voter) no more than Obama’s listening to us.

So then, today, I’m plundering around Facebook and saw this picture that a friend had tagged. Those photos are tough to see. But the very next picture on my newsfeed is what had my blood boiling.

Am I the only one who gets the irony? Romney is as unplugged as Obama is. I am absolutely confident that if folks took that $5 Romney wants and gave it to the veteran to either reclaim his house or find another one, it would be money well-invested.

Moodys downgraded fifteen banks around the world yesterday – and the top five are based in the United States. Here’s where it gets good though. Immediately – as in within hours – the whining began. The banks were bellyaching that the passage of the Dodd-Frank reform is why they’re struggling. Uhm…if I remember correctly, it was the irresponsible actions, greed and non-compliance with the laws that were already in place that led to Dodd-Frank to start with. Had the accounting scandals, mortgage inconsistencies and downright illegal behaviors of some bank executives not been discovered, these folks would still be moving forward, playing by their own rules. They got caught, then got hit with the repercussions – and now they have the audacity to blame it on new regulations?

Alright – Eric Holder and the Fast & Furious scandal. This is just one more thing that’s had my interest all week. OK, so I know this isn’t even realistic – but it should be: charge Holder with manslaughter or accessory after the fact or something besides contempt. He – and the Obama Administration – are once again writing the rules as they go. And don’t even get me started on the Dream Act and Obama’s sudden announcement last week.

All of these current events – and it seems like the only folks who have no say in how any of it plays out are the American taxpayers. Yes, I know we go to the polls in November, but I’ve said it before – I would be surprised if there wasn’t a record set for low voter turnout. Frankly, I don’t think either of the candidates are capable of running this country.

Finally, and speaking of having no say in something – my son announced – on Facebook, no less – that he’s ready to start skydiving lessons. Just when my nerves settle down after he earns his diving certs, he announces he’s now ready for something even more dangerous. Where he got the idea that once he hit 21 he could play by his own rules is beyond me.

The Hokey OpGlobalBlackout

Doesn’t this whole Anonymous drive seem sort of…George Orwell-ish? If you’re not familiar with Anonymous, this is the group that’s taking matters into its own hands – however many hands that might be. It’s a group that, unlike the Occupy movement, isn’t walking up to the line, pointing it out and saying, “Keep on…I’ll cross it. I swear I will”, but instead, isn’t even bothering with the fair warnings; not really. It’s chosen the internet as its vehicle and its threats are being backed up with action. The crazy thing is most folks are egging it on.

Last week, a new message was delivered, courtesy of its typical vehicle of choice, YouTube. The video is titled “Anonymous Message to Congress” and in it, the group warns U.S. Congress that it shouldn’t have shutdown MegaUpload, the controversial file sharing site. As a result, Anonymous’ largest coordinated attack was put into place. 5,000 people took down more than ten federal and and other industry sites last week. And isn’t it interesting this hasn’t hit mainstream media?

Here’s the thing. Anonymous agreed that much of the content on the MegaUpload site is copyrighted, but says the government’s decision had nothing to do with copyrighted material. It’s now demanding the site be reinstated. Immediately. Or else.

Anonymous insists it has penetrated servers of some impressive organizations, including the United Nations, US Bank, Capital One, Twitter and Facebook (and others). If the site isn’t reinstated, it says it’ll take these – and other – servers down.

So now what? Is this what’s it’s come down to? The government, the group and the information highway? Yes, indeed. And with the support Anonymous is gaining, the smart money’s on the group. Check out the video below. By the way – how inadequate are we all going to feel if Anonymous is a group of 12 year olds somewhere in Minnesota whose collective IQs hover around 180?

 

Whipped Shortbread

Anyone who’s kept up with this blog over the past couple of years knows I’m more prone to raise a little southern hell about politics, silly celebrities and their latest scandals and other “life in general” moments.  While that’s always a lot of fun and definite break from meeting deadlines and securing new contracts, what I love – what I really love – is hanging out in the kitchen. Seriously – my mom had me in a cake decorating class, of all things, when I was ten. I can remember cooking when I was a kid and more than a few interesting conversations that drove Mom mad (like this one).

One year for Christmas, my mom made my sister and me cookbooks – they’re handwritten with stories from each of our childhoods, along with the recipes she’s always made for us. I cherish that as much as I cherish the pictures of my Jacob and all of his sweet drawings and notes he’s made for me over the years. I’ve said it before: when a hurricane threatens, those are the things I gather. The rest of it? I could care less – I’m just sentimental like that I reckon.

From making sure eggs are cooked without the lace (another lesson I learned early on from another woman who is very important to me) to learning the difference between parchment paper and wax paper (a pretty important thing to know – and the sooner the better), I love cooking.

Today, I came across a recipe for whipped shortbread. Just the sound of it sounds amazing, right? Everyone loves shortbread – and unfortunately, everyone can relate to the possibility of a broken tooth with those store-bought cookies that are a health hazard (or as the Kitchen Magpie calls it, “hockey puck” shortbread). Ah…but then her recipe appears on my Facebook wall – and it was calling my name!

I clicked over to her site and sure enough – there was this amazingly easy recipe that calls for…wait for it…wait for it….THREE ingredients! So off to the kitchen I go and the recipe turned out exactly the way she said. Bit came by not long after I pulled them out of the oven and trust me – we made fools out of ourselves – me and that baby sister of mine. They are so good! Jacob’s getting ready to head for the Delta for some duck hunting and I already have some ready for him to take with him.

So, instead of me attempting to tell a story she told so well, here’s the link to the easy recipe, complete with pictures. It’s definitely worth your time. Keep in mind she stresses two things: make sure you whip your butter and sugar combo until it gets really light and don’t overbake them. Your goal is to “dry” them out and not so much “baking”. No eggs, no oil, no vanilla extract – just butter (or margarine), sugar and flour. Fair warning: I won’t be responsible for the need to buy new britches when you eat an entire batch by yourself. Y’all be sure and go “like” her Facebook page too. Oh – and by the way – if you haven’t visited my Facebook page, be sure and “like” it too!