Falling On The Sword

Fall On Sword.jpeg

Sometimes things happen that we don’t agree with or like. 


We may even get blamed for them when we didn’t do anything wrong. 


At times like these, there comes up inside of us a strong visceral feeling to speak up and out–to right the wrongs!


There are times when we can, but there are also times when it may be better to hold our tongue for another day. 


In the olden times, people that spoke out, often had their tongue cut right out in front of them–no questions asked.


These days, thank G-d, most people may not be that cruel, but still people get punished for speaking truth to power–when the power is tone deaf or possibly even behaving more as brutal dictators than as benevolent leaders. 


The problem for the average Joe is that there is no point in losing your tongue or even your head by acting rashly or imprudently.


Better to wait and plan for the right moment to be effective and stand with integrity for your ideals and what you know in your heart is right. 


Maybe even at times, we have to fall on our swords until we can make a strong and convincing case and change both hearts and minds to betterment. 


The point is not only to do what’s right, but to make things right in the world around us.


Swords too often can come out swinging wildly, unless we carefully sharpen them and practice our lunges and cuts, and work to repair the wrongs in the world as soldiers of righteousness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Left and Right Unite

Eagle.jpeg

So I saw on Facebook, an image of an old, wise, Native American Indian.


And over the image, it reads:

“The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.”


That is pretty darn smart–and one of the best things I heard all week!


To many extremist people out there, they seem to have been forgetting this lately.


Also, the agitators don’t seem to let up–does it matter if it’s conspiracy theories or fake news–if it gets the bird in the net for clip-clip.


In an effort to “resist”–or perhaps utterly destroy the opposition–we have put politics above the National interest. 


Yes, politics matter–issues matter–people matter. 


But can the bird fly with only one wing?


Sure, we need to speak up when we see something wrong or that we don’t agree with.

But we also need to discuss, negotiate, and compromise–for Pete’s sake, work together to make the bird stronger and fly further and faster–rather than kill the bird itself. 


Our competitors and enemies have arrows pointed at and are shooting them at our American Eagle.


Will we give them the advantage as we self-destruct with loathing for one another? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Find Your Government Representatives, EASY

My Reps.jpeg

Wanted to share this useful tool…it’s call My Reps


And you can find out YOUR county, state, and federal government elected officials.


All you do is type in your zip code. 


Get the names, address, telephone numbers, and even some emails for contacting your representatives about the issues you care about. 


This is what democracy is all about. 


Your officials represent you and they need to hear from you–let your voice be heard!


Great little app from the Center for Technology and Civic Life…thank you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via My Reps website)

Guillotine, Other Options Plz

Revolution

I took this photo of a bumper sticker on a pickup truck in Washington, D.C.


“Stop Bitching. Start A Revolution.”


So I’m thinking this is not the type of message you like to see in the capital of the country. 


But looking beyond the call by whomever for a forcible overthrow of the government (yeah, hopefully they don’t mean it)…


Perhaps what they do mean for people to do something more than just complain about the things they see that are wrong or broken, and instead to do something positive. 


Not a real revolution, but an evolution of change–incremental change, even baby steps, but leading to positive and constructive betterment! 


Stop just huffing and puffing about this and that.


Consider speaking up, coming up with new and better ideas, advocating for something more, and actually helping to build it. 


The guillotine is normally not the solution (French Revolution aside)–but that doesn’t mean you can’t do squat. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

# Bring Back Our Girls

# Bring Back Our Girls

A fundamentalist Muslim terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 276 schoolgirls this week in Nigeria.

After torching their village market, killing more than 300 people, razing 100 houses, destroying 500 vehicles, and attacking their boarding school, Boko Haram is threatening to sell these innocent children.

Please speak up for those who can’t!

We need to defend human rights and support women’s and children’s rights.

No more abuse, no more discrimination, no more hurt. 😉

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Exposing Rape

Exposing Rape

On the Metro in Washington, D.C. there is a sign that warns people about sexual harassment.

In the crowded rush hour trains, people can take advantage and try something.

But the advertisement reminds people that if they do the wrong thing, they are the ones who will be exposed–and punished.

This is in contrast to a story today in the Wall Street Journal about a gang rape of a 16 year-old girl in Kenya.

She was attacked in June–while walking home from her grandfather’s funeral!

Six men ambushed her, took turns raping her, and then threw her unconscious body in a toilet pit–as if to say that she was just a thing for their sexual satisfaction and nothing but a proverbial piece of sh*t herself (excuse the directness here).

But to make matters worse, the horrific act was not punished, but mocked.

The rapists were “told to pay for some pain medicine for the girl and mow the grass at the police station”–I am feeling sick again!

I write this blog for this victim and for women everywhere to try to do my little part to expose the continued injustices against them–from inequality and unsafe conditions in the workplace to sexual harassment and rape in society.

Perhaps, if we all expose the injustices, we can finally make it unacceptable and rub it out of existence evermore.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Think B4 U Speak

Think B4 U Speak

This was a sign hung in a local high school.

And thought this was pretty good.

Think before you speak…

THINK = True + Helpful + Inspiring + Necessary + Kind

If it doesn’t meet those criteria…shush, or in plain language–keep a lid on it!

Remember, two ears and one mouth–so speak half as much as you listen. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Panera Bread and The Disabled Man

Panera_bread
So how many of you have seen the ABC show “What Would You Do?” hosted by John Quinones.
The show is a little like “Candid Camera,” which ran for over 5 decades, in which a practical joke was played out on people with a hidden camera capturing their reactions. Then when the joke was over, the people would be told “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.”The new show “What Would You Do?” is similar in that a scenario is played out with a hidden camera, but rather than a joke, people are tested with illegal or unjust situations to see what they would do and whether they would speak up for the victim? It is a test of character and conviction. And at the end of the scenario, Quinones and the cameras are revealed.

I was reminded of this show yesterday, when I was in at Panera Bread and at the table next to me was a disabled man in a scooter–hunched over and not looking too well.

At one point, the disabled man leaves the table for a moment to get something to eat or go to the bathroom, perhaps.

In the meantime, another man comes over and takes his table. When the disabled man in the scooter returns and asks for his table back, the other man simply ignores him (intentionally) and keeps eating as if the diasabled man wasn’t even there.

The kicker here was that the disabled man could not really sit anymore else as this particular table had the extra room around it that he needed to get his scooter in at.

The disabled man put his head down and just shook his head in disbelief that the other man wouldn’t let him sit back at the table.
The man eating his sandwich finally says, “No one was here–this is my table!”

At this point, I couldn’t stand seeing this poor man suffer anymore, and I said “He was sitting there, the whole time, and just left for a moment.” To which, I thought this whole “misunderstanding” between the men would be resolved.

But I was wrong!

The man eating his sandwich at the table then shakes his head and nods his shoulders indicating that he just didn’t care and too bad on the disabled man.

In turn, I offered the disabled man our table and that we would move instead, but he refused and just waited for the other man to do the right thing.

At this point both myself and my wife and the people sitting on the other side of the man try to intervene and ask that he please give the disabled man his table back, where he had been sitting, so he could finish his meal.

Then, the man at the table slams his fist down and starts cursing us all out, loudly.

My wife got up to get the store manager, and while she does this the man finally moves to another table pushing an empty chair at us.

I couldn’t help thinking how this was like the show “What Would You Do?”–but this was real life and this horrible man was no actor!

And John Quinones did not appear to interview everyone after and have a few laughs. Instead, we were saddened by how some people can be so cruel to others and I was reminded by something I had read from Voltaire that stated that “every person is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.”

My hope is that whatever hurt this person had in their life that would cause them to treat others this way is healed and that they can find in their heart to have mercy on others and help them rather than get angry and spiteful–there are more tables to eat at and the food is just as good over there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rape Outrage!

Rape

On the Night of December 16–coming home from watching a movie at the New Delhi Mall, a 23-year old woman was savagely gang-raped and her male companion, who tried to defend her, was beaten while on a bus being driven around the Indian capital for 45 minutes!


I iust want to stand with those protesting against the barbarism of the people who brutally gang-raped, tortured, and grotesquely inserted a metal rod inside her, causing her such bodily damage that even a team of eight specialists at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore that specializes in multi-organ transplants, could not save her. 


The woman had such severe internal injuries that most of her intestines had to be removed, and according to CBC News, she suffered from organ failure, a lung infection, as well as brain damage. 


After the rape, torture, and beatings, the victims were stripped and thrown off the moving bus.


It is sick and evil that the driver not only stood idly by and did nothing to help her, but has been charged as well in the actual rape!


I am deeply saddened not only by the gang rape, but also according to the Daily Times that they happen with such frequency that they are “rarely [even] reported in the Indian press.” 


This is another wake up call for people of good conscience to stand against those that commit evil and to not be silent in the face of such atrocities.


The cries of this woman, and other victims of violence like her, can be heard throughout the world. 


She will not be forgotten, and to those savages may justice be done–in this world or the next by the all-mighty G-d who hears our prayers.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniel Crompton)

Pets, But Not People

Pampered_pooch

I remember learning how the Nazi’s in the Holocaust and WWII would take great care of their dogs, while at the same time exterminating Jews, Gypsies, gays, the disabled, as well as political opponents and prisoners of war. 

While I fully respect people who are pet owners and love their pets, it is odd how even today the love of animals and their treatment can be elevated above how we treat each other.

Some recent articles about our pets that stood out:

– An article in the Wall Street Journal (2 December 2012) compares helicopter parents to now helicopter pet owners. One example given, from a pet-rescue site states: “All dogs must be constantly supervised in their yards for their safety…animals such as bats, bees, and snakes can gain access to yards” and threaten your dog. Another example provided was about a couple who wante dto adopt a dog, but had to complete an 50 question application. 

– Two days later, another article in the Wall Street Journal (4 December 2012) about people memorializing their pets by turning their ashes into diamonds. “Producing a one-carat diamond requires less than a cup of ashes or unpacked hair.” And “some gems start at about $250, while pet diamonds cost about $1,400.” No really!

In contrast, here were some recent articles about how we memorialize those who were gruesomely murdered and tortured by Nazis (may their name be obliterated):

– The Wall Street Journal (1 December 2012) presented an article on how “every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association (SMA) has [disgracefully] given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in space medicine” even though, “Dr. Strughold, a former scientist for the Third Reich, was listed as one of 13 ‘persons, firms, or organizations implicated’ in some notorious Dachau concentration camp experiments.” In particular, Dr. Strughold was implicated in the “infamous hypothermia, or ‘cold experiments,’ in which inmates were used, and typically died as subjects [brutally] exposed to freezing conditions” such as immersion in freezing water or in vacuum chambers that simulated altitudes of nearly 20,000 feet. Yes, the concentration camp prisoners exposed to these experiments at Dr. Strughold’s own instuitute, included “children 11 to 13 old [who] were taken from a nearby psychiatric facility” and subjected to oxygen deprivation experiments,” yet the SMA continues to use Dr. Strughold name as worthy of an annual award–yes, beyond belief and sick indeed. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (6 December 2012) describes how in India, a clothing store in Ahmedabad is named Hitler with a swastika used as the dot over the “i” in Hitler, and Mein Kampf is a bestseller. Similarly, in 2006 a cafe opened in Mumbai called Hitler’s cross and a pool hall named Hitler’s Den opened in Nagpur. Last year, a comedy was released called Hero Hitler in Love and there is a hit soap opera called Hitler Didi (or “Big Sister Hitler”). While the article states the “Hitler’s popularity in India is not a result of anti-Semitism” but rather that Hitler weakened the British in WWII, thereby freeing their country. Nevertheless, the hero treatment for Hitler stands out in stark contrast to his life as a notorious murder of millions.

So while many admirably love their pets and seek to treat them kindly and with care, there are those who still love for the likes of Hitler, the Nazis and the murder, cruelty, and chaos they inflicted on the world. 

What is commentary on and future of a world, when people love and respect their pets more than their fellow human beings? 

As the English Statesman, Edmund Burke, said, “The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Glenda Wiburn)