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Just Getting Out My Frustration

27 Oct

I wish I was the editor of a newspaper so that I could put my views out to the public more efficiently. I have written letters to the editor of the Star, but I think I have sent in too many. One got published, but three others did not. Here is my last one that was not accepted for publication. However, due to the vote in the Senate yesterday, and the despair I am seeing, I will publish it here with a few additions.

In last Sunday’s KC Star a letter writer said he was voting for Trump because he was pro-life based on his Supreme Court nominees, specifically Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and now Barrett.  The writer is wrong. The president is not pro-life, he is anti-life.

If he was pro-life, he would insist that everyone wear a mask.  That would save over 100,000 lives according to all scientific estimates.

If he was pro-life, he would leave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) alone, as it provides health care for young adults up to 26 under their parent’s insurance, no lifetime cap on health care payments, no pre-existing conditions clause, and better medical care for our seniors.

 If he was pro-life, he would make sure that all children in our country had access to food, not trying to cut SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food assistance funds to families.

If he was pro-life he would be working toward a safer environment instead of loosening rules about the air, the water and the environment and work for renewable energy.

If he was pro-life he would reject the behavior of the alt-right and the militias who are attacking minorities, but he does not, instead he encourages them.

If he was pro-life he would work to keep guns away from the mentally ill and ban semi-automatic weapons instead of kowtowing to the NRA.

This administration is not pro-life, it is pro getting votes by playing to a one-topic audience who sees abortion as the only evil in the world. 

This country has passed HIPAA laws to keep the medical records private, including the private discussions between a woman and her physician. That is the law that should be followed!

The Senate should have stayed out of women’s medical health, instead focus on helping the many suffering due to the President’s horrendous response to COVID-19.

Barrett appears to be anti-choice and anti-gay rights. This is discouraging and flashes back to the 1950s. However, we do have laws and precedent for the good. What we really need is a President and Congress who believe in all rights. Who like Pope Francis has endorsed Same-sex civil unions.

We need a truly good person who follows the moral and ethical rules that we should care for the needy, help to heal the sick, welcome the stranger.Unlike these Philistines who mouth words but do not walk the walk and do good deeds.

I am tired of hearing that this President and his evil cohort in the Senate save innocent lives all because they seem to support anti-abortion decisions. But stopping abortion is not really about saving lives, instead it is about controlling women.

They have sinned by trying to cut SNAP. They have sinned by separating children from their parents at the borders, leaving over 500 children without their parents. They have sinned by ignoring the universal laws of dealing with refugees. They have sinned by not helping the sick and dealing nationally with the COVID-19 Pandemic. They have sinned by rejecting science on health care and the environment.

While they need to seek forgiveness, atonement and redemption for the evil deeds they have brought to our country, we need to keep working toward a healthier, safer and better world.

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Civility would make me happy

24 Oct

I recently watched TV commercial made by the candidates running for Governor of Utah:  Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson. The candidates worked together to produce an ad saying that although they had different opinions, they did not hate each other and would work together after the election to do what’s best for Utah.

Wow.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful if our president would say the same thing.  Wouldn’t it be uplifting if he said he is the President of all Americans; that he would treat Republicans and Democrats alike; that he cares about everyone in the United States? Wouldn’t it be great if no matter if who win, he would form a team with the other side to work for our county?

Instead he continues to spew divisive words and hate filled speech. He continues to make threats to treat states with Democratic governors differently than ones with Republican governors. He continues to claim if he does not win, it will be due to fraud. He continues to empower the alt right and militias to do violence. He refused to condemn the Michigan Wolverine Watchmen Militia that attempted to kidnap the duly elected governor. Instead he responded with his familiar rant, “Lock her up!” Are these truly the actions we want from the President of the United States?

He has lied about the pandemic.  While he benefited from state-of-the-art medical care and received experimental drugs before he became deathly ill, he later said contracting the disease was nothing. The first thing he did at the White House was to remove his mask.  Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was contrite after getting COVID-19 and admitted, after spending a week in an ICU, he made a mistake and that everyone should wear masks.

The President has politicized mask wearing, one of the most valuable ways to inhibit the virus’ spread.  He has demeaned highly-respected immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci calling him a disaster and an idiot because the doctor continues to tell the truth about COVID-19 and tries to repair the damage the President has done through his dismissive behavior.  Now the pandemic is moving into the rural areas of Kansas and Missouri and throughout the Midwest, where medical care is limited.  It is a disaster growing daily.

In Kansas and Missouri we are seeing similar hate-filled ads spewing similar lies. When Kansas candidates were supposed to show up at a Shawnee Mission Post forum, those from the Republican Party failed to attend. They did not try to engage with the citizens, perhaps because spreading false information in ads is so much easier than having to answer to a moderator and other candidates.

I want elected officers who will stop the hate speech.  In the first debate, I liked when Former Vice President Biden turned to the audience, saying “Just VOTE.”  I admit he said shut up to the president, but to be honest that was going through my head with all the nasty interruptions.  I like Congresswomen Sharice Davids who does not use scare tactics.  I like Kansas State Senator Barbara Bollier, a doctor who cares and doesn’t turn her back on the poor in Kansas like her opponent has done.  I like former Kansas House Representative Joy Koesten who understands the heartbreak of dealing with a child battling with mental illness and has a record of helping Kansans in need.

I have already turned in my ballot.  Even so, I wish those running for office here and around the country would do what the candidates for Utah governor have done: promise civility.  Perhaps then we can return to the United States of America that I’m so proud to call my home.

Having my Identity Stolen to File False Claims Invigorates My Political Drive

16 Oct

Having my social security number used for fraudulent activity really made me angry.  When I got the first letter on Monday, September 28, from the Kansas Department of Labor telling me that I had filed for unemployment benefits, I was shocked. I had not done that. I was still working. But it listed my employer and had my information.

I spent the next day dealing with the fallout.  Luckily for me, I had frozen my credit accounts five years ago, when someone filed a fraudulent tax return.  My credit was safe, but my sense of security was now stolen.  I contacted the Kansas Department of Labor (who filed a police report), the Social Security Administration through www.theft.gov., my bank, my credit card companies, the credit agencies just to add a one year fraud alert, my job, my accountant and my brother because I had a joint bank account with him.

I began to realize that I was not the only one, when my accountant admitted that he too had received such a letter, and his Social Security number was being used fraudulently!  Several other people I knew also had it happen.

I could not understand what a person would gain from this filing, the department of labor had all my information.  But then came the stunner. The next day I got a second letter showing a filing for (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) PUA, of $22,000.  There was a claim that I as a ‘gig’ working earning close to $100,000 a year.  WOW.    I filed and updated my stolen identity reports.

Later that evening I got a phone call from my boss, someone else at work had received a letter from the Kansas Department of Labor for an Unemployment claim. Could I help her? Yes. I could.  I had an email from my husband from his place of employment outlining exactly what to do if you had your identity stolen. It seems many at his place of employment also had also had employees with unemployment claims filed.   I passed the email on.  The next day I reviewed a revised edition of this email that my boss had edited for our staff.

I will say I began to feel better knowing I was not the only one!  It was not schadenfreude, it was relief. First the Department of Labor had a note on their website letting me know that this was not my fault, and that I was not in trouble.  In fact, over 45,000 fraudulent claims have been made by crooks during the pandemic just in Kansas alone.  I, at least, found out because I am still working.  Many don’t find out till they file a claim and find out someone has already received unemployment benefits in their name!

But it shook my world in a time when the world keeps shaking.   We have COVID.  We have false information about masks. We have rampant unemployment.  We have gun violence.  We have an increase in young adults and teens dying by suicide.  We have increasing racism and anti-Semitism. We have fires burning down communities resulting from climate change that is causing other issues as well.  We have politicians who seem to be more concerned about their own political careers than about the people they SERVE!

That is why I am voting to return sanity to public service.  I am putting my voice behind candidates who still care about the people of the United States and Kansas. People who I know care about our children, our education system and our health care. Barbara Bollier, Sharice Davids, Ethan Corson, and Joy Koesten are all Kansas people I believe Kansans can trust in a time when we all have so many reasons to be distrustful! 

As for the United States, Biden and Harris have such a more positive outlook for our country.  I am tired of lies, misinformation, misdirection and conspiracy theories being supported.  I am tired of the lack of support for health issues and the wearing of masks to help our country and our people.  I am tired of an administration that does not care about all the peoples of the United States and only wants to help some of the population.   It is time that we were all united once again.

WE need cyber security.  WE need to help our environment.  WE need to put the racists back into a box and seal the lead.  WE need health care for all especially in a pandemic.  WE need women’s rights to be protected. 

Everyone needs to vote. 

The Heavens Opened for RBG

19 Sep

I believe that the heavens opened on Friday night.

As we entered the holiday of Rosh Hashannah, the start of the new year, the days of Awe; and entered the holy day of Shabbat, the Sabbath, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed into the cosmos.  She left this world a better place for all women.  She fought the battles of women’s rights at a time when most women were treated as second class citizens.  She was a warrior for women.

In Judaism there is the belief that someone who dies on the Sabbath is a Tzadik, a righteous person.  Another belief says that a person who dies just as Rosh Hashannah begins is also a Tzadik, because the Lord waits for the very last minute of the year to take this person.  They are so needed on Earth, that their very time is counted to the minute.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died erev Shabbat and Rosh Hashannah.  The moments before these two holidays connverged.  But more so, she died on the 18 of the month.  For those who are Jewish, the number 18 has its own significance, as the two letters, Het and Yod together spell the word, Chai, which means life. Her life had such meaning to so many women and men who she helped.

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg had such a life.  She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  She spent her life battling for women’s rights and gender equality.  She never backed down.  She was a warrior.  She dissented.  Her great legal intelligence helped her seal many decisions as she could interpret the laws, which make her interpretation valid. She did not back down.

Earlier this year I joined a group of women from the Kansas City area to go on a virtual tour of the Notorious RBG Exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.  It was a wonderful experience learning about what this extraordinary woman had accomplished. I had to have both a I dissent pin and a t-shirt.  A t-shirt that I am proudly wearing now.

Earlier today, I went to services for Rosh Hashannah. Our shul has been having services for a few months now.  There are rules in place to keep us safe. We all wore masks.  The service was shorterned.  The doors were opened for air circulation.   We sat phsycially distanced. We were not to sing, only the hazzan. No children under 12 were to be present.  But still the soul of prayer was there.

When the Unetanneh Tokef was chanted by the Hazzan, I thought of Justice Ginsburg, as these words were ingrained in my being:

“Let us now relate the power of this day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seals, Who counts and Who calculates. You will remember all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Remembrances — it will read itself – and each person’s signature is there. And the great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin voice will be heard. Angels will be frenzied, a trembling and terror will seize them — and they will say, ‘Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!’ — for even they are not guiltless in Your eyes in judgment.”

The Holy One knows the goodness of Justice Ginsburg.  Her death comes at the end of a horrible year.  But the Jewish New Year started after her death.  A new year is here.  I have faith.

As I said the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, which I say every Rosh Hashannah for my family who perished in the Shoah, I also said Kaddish for Justice Ginsburg.

May her name and memory be for a blessing. May her soul be bound up in the bond of Eternal Life. May her family be comforted with the mourners of Zion. Her memory will not end. We will all remember and work to continue the example of the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Yes, I believe the heavens opened last night to claim the astounding, amazing soul– neshumah –of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Tzadik, a good and righteous woman, Yita Ruchel.

Now we among the living must continue her work. Vote for women, vote in memory of a women’s warrior. Vote in the name of Justice Ginsburg.

Dealing With A Speech Impediment is Not Easy!I Get Joe Biden And Brayden H.

22 Aug

In the last few months, I have had people ask me about Joe Biden.  Does he have cognitive issue?  Are you sure?  He seems to hesitate when he speaks sometimes.

My response is always, Joe Biden has a stutter.  People who stutter often have to stop to think about what they say before they say it.  It helps with the flow.

Why am I an expert?  Because it is an action I know well.  From the time I was 4 until I finished eighth grade, I had a weekly session with a speech pathologist. The year before kindergarten and in kindergarten, she came to our home and worked with me.

I was fortunate.  My Mom had a degree in elementary education and had worked as a teacher before she had children.  She knew that the way I spoke was not going to fix itself, and so she made the necessary and important calls get me the help I needed as soon as possible.

Once I got into first grade, the sessions continued. But now I left my classroom for a half hour, once a week to meet privately with the speech pathologist at the school.  I had tons of exercises to do.  And tongue twisters to say.  For me, “Sally Sells Seashells at the Sea Shore,” was not just a saying. It was a difficult and painful exercise, which I said over and over again in mirror.  W’s and Rs were so hard to enunciate.  I would look at myself in the mirror saying, “Ring, Wing, Ring, Wing.” I had to watch as my face moved. The speech teacher had me hold her face and she moved the muscles around her mouth, so that I also could move my muscles the same way.

I still do these exercises sometimes when I am alone, especially if I have to do public speaking.

People made fun of me.  A friend of my grandmother’s once told me that I should go on “Laugh In” because I spoke so funny.  At eight years old, I was mortified. And I did not want to go out of our house for a while.  My grandmother was furious. But that did not help. It was said and it hurt.

I hated going to restaurants because I had to say my order out loud.  I always wanted my Mom or Dad to do it for me. But at a certain point Mom insisted that I do it.  So I fought with my might NOT to go to a restaurant. There were many battles, where my anger and desire to stay home wrecked family events.  But the fear and shame of how I spoke made me defiant and added to my desire to stay home. 

I hated talking on the phone, for fear the person on the other end would laugh.  But my Mom would make me answer and practice phone skills with me.  My Mom never backed down.  I was going to learn to talk!

There were people who helped.  The Good Humor man in the Catskills was my buddy.   He always listened to me and knew what I wanted to order.  When he retired, the new ice cream man had a chocolate sundae waiting for me, ordered by our old ice cream man.  I called it a “yorchlet undae.” But the Good Humor men had compassionate, and always waited while I ordered.

My cousins and my good friends who knew me from early childhood, never made fun of me.  They waited and let me talk.  They understood what I said. But even if they didn’t, they helped me find the words.

But it was my father’s first cousin, David, who stuttered, who made the biggest difference.  I will never, ever forget.  We did not see him often. But at every big family event, he was there.  And it was at one of my cousin’s bar mitzvah that David decided that it was time.  Perhaps my Dad spoke to him.  All I know, is that he helped as only he could. 

I was so shy. I was standing up against a wall, not speaking, when David came over to me.  I don’t remember everything he said, but his message was clear.  IF he could do it, I could do it.  He still stuttered sometimes, but I needed to know that I was a good person. And that the speech impediment did not define, SHOULD not define, who I was and impact my life anymore.  We spoke for a long time.  He told me his story. He told me how he got through with his speech impediment, went to college, got married and had a great job. He expected me to do the same. He gave me the confidence my parents could not give me as they did not understand. 

I remember my father came up and asked if everything was ok.  David say, “More than okay.” He hugged and told me if I ever wanted to talk again, that my Dad would call him. That he would always speak to me. And he did!

As a child, the show and movie, “The Music Man,” was my favorite because I understood Winthrop and I appreciated the Music Man, Harold Hill, who helped Harold, just as my cousin helped me!

So when I saw Brayden Harrington speak at the Democratic Presidential Convention.  When I heard his story of how Joe Biden helped him.   I had tears, but more, I nodded in understanding and support.   It was my first cousin once removed, David, who was my helper.  Who change the path of my life.  Who helped me out of my shell and helped me find my voice.

From a girl who was afraid to order at a restaurant, or speak on the phone or talk to strangers, I ended up with master’s degree in journalism.  I speak to strangers all the time.  I speak on the phone, to groups and even taught high school.  No one in my adult life knew about my issues. All that work in elementary and middle school paid off!  By high school I sounded like everyone else, because I learned to compensate!

Joe Biden; the king of England George VI, so finely illustrated by Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”; Winthrop, in “The Music Man,” my cousin, David:  all overcame a speech impediment by learning skills to compensate, as I do. I know when a word is coming that I cannot say that day.  Yesterday, or even a minute ago, it would come out. But at that moment I need to quickly find another to use.  But I am slick and quick and I learned over the years to avoid multisyllabic words in my spoken language.

So NO Joe Biden is not slow, or demented.  He, in fact, is amazing to me.  That he has gone so far and learned to speak out.  But more, he has become a role model of good to young people who also suffer from speech issues.

If you need help with stuttering: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/

Check Your Posts, Don’t Spread MisInformation!

26 Jul

When my daughter started high school in the year 2000, just 20 years ago. The internet was still new enough that some teachers were concerned about information that the students would get online using websites and not just books and magazines.  Would it be real? Would it be fake?  The librarian put together a group of parents who volunteered to check websites to make sure the information the students would find was accurate.

 I volunteered to be one of these parents.  I did this for two years. Every week or so, I would be sent a list of websites to check out. Which I did immediately.  To be honest, after being a research assistant for a professor in college, then getting a master’s degree in journalism, searching for the truth was something that I loved doing. This was the perfect volunteer position.

My search or need for truth reverberated in my family as well.  When my children got in trouble, they knew the rule. Tell me truthfully what happened. You will face consequences, but it will not be too bad as long as you tell the truth.  Tell a lie and the consequences doubled.  I hate lies.

That is my biggest problem with social media: the lies; the misinformation; the harmful memes that express false information.  I especially hate when a photo from 2, or 3, or7 years ago is used to say this happened now.  Like a photo of a vandalized replica of the Vietnam War Memorial which inferred that Black Life Matters protestors vandalized the memorial in Washington DC.  Sorry that photo was four years old; Had nothing to do with Black Life Matters; and was a replica of the wall, not the real.  So, of course, I had to post the truth in the comments.

The number of misinformed posts disheartens me.  I have to do something!!

I decided that my new calling was to rout out these lies and the false information on Facebook.  It offends me that the powers that be allow these lies to rotate through again and again. It horrifies me that sometimes people leave the false post up even when multitude of people tell them it is fake or false.  I feel much better when people take the fake meme or photo or article down!  It is a disservice to humanity.

There are people out there whose main purpose in life seems to be to sow discord and distrust among us.  But I also know there are governments who do that as well.  On Fareed Zackaria GPS today, he had two experts on who spoke about the misinformation campaigns currently being waged by China, Russia and Iran against the US and the 2020 election.  They play on people’s emotions to polarize us. And people keep falling for the lies.

Look we are polarized enough. We need to find compromise and learn to speak to each other again.  STOP believing all you see on Facebook. Many of the memes are made by people telling lies.  I have seen this coming from both sides of the political world as well as outside sources.

If you post something that is not true and I see it.  I will find the articles that refute.  Please take the fake post down and report it. 

Do not let social media be your only news source.  Try the Flip Side. This daily news email takes one topic a day and provides content from the conservative and liberal sides.  You see all the comments.  And you see what people are really say.   Here is a link to sign up for it:  https://theflipside.io?rh_ref=4a061f4d 

Do not just mindlessly repost something without first reading it or checking it or making sure it is the truth.  I don’t care if you are way right or way left, both sides are driving me crazy with ridiculous memes and posts.

Some of my friends might begin to get annoyed with me.  I am not sorry.  If you are posting misinformation, I am going to comment with the truth and with another article to support my claim.  If we all started doing this. If we all checked what we posted before we posted it, maybe the world can be a bit happier.   It is obvious to me that there are people who want to spread strife and discord.

Please do not become part of the problem.  Check your sources.  I do not care what political side you are on. Just post articles and memes that are true!

My Personal Rules for Dealing with the Storm

18 Jul

For the past four months I have found it difficult to get back to my genealogy research.  I just was overwhelmed by moving and the pandemic and working from home and watching the craziness of the politicalizing health care and wearing masks. 

I touched a bit of my passion when I discovered my husband’s parent’s wedding album and was able to write about it and put a photo up for his family.  We were supposed to have a family reunion of all the first cousins in June, but that was called off due to the pandemic.  The blog about the wedding album was a way to remember.

But as for my research on my family, I hit a mental block.  I am beginning to think that the worldwide rise in antisemitism part of the problem.  When I research my family, I often end up back in concentration camps, ghettos, death and destruction due to the Shoah.

 I just cannot bear to deal with that now.  I see history repeating as horrible political cartoons and national figures make horrendous statements about Jewish people.   It disgusts me.  And even people who I consider friends, sometimes do not see the antisemitism in the comments or cartoons.  And that frightens and sickens me.

I have a high level of anxiety about baseless hatred.  The same hatred I see rising in the USA.  But not only the hatred, the use of the military to attack US citizens.  The use of unidentified soldiers in Portland illegally arresting people in a militia like the SS. It is against the law in the USA to arrest someone without identifying yourself and with no due cause.

The use of the military to attack peaceful protesters at a church so the administration could have a photo op.  The use of the military in non-identified uniforms at the Lincoln Memorial.


These soldiers and members of the military need to say a resounding NO!  They should not be brainless lambs like the Nazi/German soldiers whose response after the war was, “I just did what I was ordered to do.”

I am beginning to see some light.  The pentagon said No to the Confederate Flag.  The general who was at the church apologized for being at the church in uniform and giving what seemed to be military approval of this behavior.  The mayor of Portland saying get these federal agents out.

Sane people have to behave in a sane way.  Right now fear and lies are ruling our country. So my rules:

  1.  Do not be a lie spreader.  Please check your sources before you post anything.  Misinformation on either side increases the divisiveness. 
  2. Don’t stop talking to others who do not believe what you believe. If we stop talking to each other, we add to the polarization of this country.   We can agree to disagree, but we should not end conversation.
  3. Believe the science of disease.  Wearing a mask will not hurt you. You will not get sick from carbon dioxide. This is a cruel lie.  Wearing a mask does stop the spread of the disease. This is the truth.  And honestly, doctors and nurses have been wearing masks for a long time. And they are alive.  Except those who have recently died because of their constant exposure to the Covid virus.  Even masks and PPE cannot always save you from infection. But it does help.
  4. So wear a mask out of kindness for others.  Keep physical distance inside out of kindness to others.  This will eventually pass, but to save the most people as possible we need to be responsible.
  5. United we stand, divided we fall.  We are one country which includes people of all races, religions and creeds.  When one group is made the scapegoat or the outcast, we all suffer.  It is time for racism to stop.  It is time for anti-Semitism to stop.  It is time for rants against the other to just stop.  We have to learn to live together again.
  6. Finally, just be kind. The administration has taken kindness out of the vocabulary.  Follow the words that we are supposed to follow:  Isaiah 58:7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Ezekiel 18:7  Does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, Matthew 25:34-46: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? “Feed the hungry, visit the sick and set free the captives.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, volume 7, Hadith 552) “(The righteous are those) who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.” –  Quran, 76:8-9. “One should not behave towards other in a way that is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish nature.” Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8. My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.” The Dalai Lama

Do NOT remain silent when you see evil taking place. The silent bystander, who does nothing, is just as bad as the ones who commit the evil. We have learned this from history. We all need to say a resounding NO to the cruelty that that is being spread.

Winning A Law Day Essay Contest In 1972; The First of Many Times I State My Views

9 Oct

On May 1, 1972, I read an essay at the Crystal Room at Schuetzen Park, North Bergen, which I wrote for my English class taught by Mrs. Whitehouse at North Bergen High School.  In fact, three of us read our essays that evening.  We had swept the Soroptimist Club of North Hudson’s 1972 Law Day USA Law Day Essay Contest.  I presented my first-place essay; then came two boys in my class: Phil Templeton’s essay was second, Donald Kienz came in third.

I have to be honest, Mrs. Whitehouse gave me an A- for my paper, while the boys each got an A, I believe.  All I know is that after I won, I brought my paper back to Mrs. Whitehouse and she gave me an A+, which I believed was deserved.

I recently rediscovered my essay, the newspaper articles and the letters from the mayor and the superintendent of the board of education in with papers I took after my parents died and we cleaned out the house.  My parents were quite proud of my award, and they saved everything.  The program, the letters, the speech and the newspaper articles were all together in a bundle.

The event itself was a big deal in our family!  My mother took me to Corduroy Village to get a new dress.  Usually my sister and I went to Little Marcy’s for our clothes.  Corduroy Village was for only special occasions.  My Mom and Mrs. Shore had me try on multiple dresses.  We ended up with a light pink suit.  My Mom loved pink and with my black hair, it looked good. But to be honest I hated the color pink. But I could not fight both Mom and Mrs. Shore.   I wore the pink suit!

Although I could not stand up to the combined efforts of my Mom and Mrs. Shore, I did learn something important from that event.  I learned to stick up for what I believe in and say what I mean.

What amazes me is that I feel the same way now about politics, as I felt then, when Richard Nixon was president.  I also have to say I lived in North Bergen, New Jersey, and there was quite a bit of avarice and issues with local politicians.  Hence my strong comments about stealing public money!  I also have to say, that if my memory serves me right, my essay was extremely different than all the others.  I was on a roll against bad government, while the other essays had more mellow topics. My parents were actually in fear for me to read this out loud. But it started me on my lifelong commitment to speaking out when I believe it is important.

Below I present a portion of my high school junior point of view which won the Soroptimist Club of North Hudson’s May 1, 1972, Law Day USA Essay Contest.

“In this age of discontent, pollution and governmental corruption, something must be done to recapture the American spirit.  If it is not, soon our country will decay.  Holders of public office should be screened before they are allowed even to be a candidate. Their background should be carefully checked…  One who holds a responsible office should be well-educated, intelligent and of good character. Once elected, if a person begins to cheat the public during his term in office, he should be impeached immediately and be forbidden to run for office again. There is too much crime in government; too many office holders have been known to steal public funds.  Too much of the funds intended for hospitals, old age homes, education and institutions for the mentally ill finds its way into the pockets of unscrupulous politicians.

In order that our government once again rise in the esteem of the population, a give-and-take relationship must be developed.  Actually, a country that is well-run can be compared to a well-adjusted marriage, with the population and the government representing the partners. To maintain a lasting relationship, they must demand mutual respect and understanding that comes from an appreciation of the others’ principles and ideals.”

 

https://zicharonot.com/2014/01/19/my-days-in-the-english-department-office-at-nbhs/

 

https://zicharonot.com/2014/03/10/shopping-on-the-avenue-i-dont-mean-fifth-i-mean-bergenline/

Manipulating the News

9 Nov

I have always been intrigued with the news. That is why I studied for and completed my master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  I think if I hadn’t met my husband, I might have gone on for a PhD and taught journalism on the college level.  Although I never did that, I did teach high school journalism for a number of years.

One aspect always fascinated me, how people in power, who were trying to take control, would twist and torture the news to make it fit their reality, even so far as to remove people from photographs, even though there were other copies of the same photos.  They would think their copy would be the one in control.

img_0553

My personal copy of David King’s book.

In 1997 a book was published called, The Commissar Vanishes.  Written by David King, it discussed in text and photos how Stalin and his cronies distorted history by doctoring photos.  They removed from sight those people who had been removed from power, who had been eliminated, who had been murdered.  It is quite the book.  Almost 200 pages of photos showing the demented attempts of Stalin and his peers to eliminate people by removing them from the archives.

But it did not work.  Stalin fell.  The photos and art were uncovered. The truth came out.

Thus when a doctored video was presented by the White House, one that we can see step by step with the original, I thought immediately of the book about Stalin era Russia/Soviet Union.  It is not a big change, just enough to make one think, “What really happened?”  But when you play them side by side, you can see that the doctored one shows a much more aggressive encounter, and it eliminates the sound, “Pardon me.”

Part of me wanted to laugh.  But the other part of me wanted to cry.  I never expected in my United States I would see the day that such a video would be released by someone in the White House.  It is enough that the White House claims that all news is fake news; trying to discredit the media/press, which is given freedom to discover the truth of what is happening in the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Condemning all the media as fake alone is obviously against all that our Constitution holds dear.  But to then blatantly change the facts with a faked video, amazes me. Would they believe no one would notice?

It really has to stop.  Our Congress needs to act to keep America great and not to destroy the office of the president, the trust of the people in the Congress, and to allow our people to mend their differences.

Sharing a link from a source known for producing truly faked videos and news is beyond contempt. Trying to justify taking someone’s press credentials and slandering that person because they do not like the questions he asks, is inappropriate.

I love my country. I also believe a free and independent media is one of the major checks and balances that keeps us a democratic nation.  We have seen countries where the media is decimated, which leads to the rise of dictators and the end of freedoms.  See what is happening in Turkey, what happened in the Soviet Union, what happened in Venezuela.

Protect the media.  Protect the First Amendment. Keep the First Amendment rights of Free Press/Media, Free Speech, Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Religion.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/08/white-house-shares-doctored-video-support-punishment-journalist-jim-acosta/?fbclid=IwAR0CkATCaC9jPLeB_wW7x8eUyh2ymLf9APVrbKhBQTXoNgKn73mhBljs-Ug&utm_term=.a45280132e3a

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Commissar_Vanishes

 

In Honor of Our Children: Working For Safer Gun Laws Is My Personal Plan For Respecting Life

24 Feb

February 27 would have been my Mom’s birthday.  I have thinking about her so much since the latest school shooting. My Mom taught school for 30 years. Most of the time she taught fourth grade. There are some families for whom she taught multiple generations of children.

I also work in a school. It focuses on helping students who do not learn well in a traditional school setting. We have children who have anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, extremely brilliant children, bullied children, those on the autism spectrum, gay children, transgender children, depressed children, all special, all worthy and all needing an extra boost.  And I wonder how we will continue to keep all children safe from the outrageous behavior coming from the adults in our country.

I have been wondering what my Mom would think of all this gun violence and what she would do if she was still alive. Our family nickname for my Mom was ‘Norma Rae.’ This was based on the Sally Field character in the movie of the same name. Norma Rae had enough at her job and becomes a labor activist. She makes a difference.

My Mom might not have been a labor activist, but she never stayed quiet if she saw a wrong. She also made a difference. She taught me to speak up and speak out!  Maybe it is because she knew the tragedy of mass murder, since two of her grandparents and many family members were murdered in the Shoah. Or maybe it was because she learned from example. Her parents were strong willed people who came to the USA on their own in the 1920s with nothing, and built a business, a life and a family.

I believe my Mom would not have remained silent right now. So to those who have asked me who I am working for politically. I am not working for anyone. Rather I am working for every child who goes to school. I will keep calling my legislators. I will keep supporting organizations that combat gun violence. I will keep posting about topics that upset me, that I think are wrong. And I will not remain silent.

Dante wrote in his famous poem, “The Infernal,” that the hottest place in hell is for those who remain silent in times of moral crisis.  I will not remain silent. I feel my Mom with me and I feel her fire and passion for her students.

We really need to keep our children safe and let them know they are loved, special, unique and worthy.  How do we do that?

First there are about 5,000,000 members of the NRA. But there are over 325,000,000 citizens of the USA! Easy to see that 320,000,000 Do Not belong to the NRA. The NRA uses its money to buy our legislators by lobbying and giving them so much money for their campaigns.

We, the people, need to STOP this NOW!

1. Do not buy from companies that support the NRA. A boycott has started, and I will support it.

2. Give money to legislators who promise to fight for safe gun laws and the banning of assault weapons and items that boost these weapons to more dangerous levels.  I plan to continue to do this.

3. Let us work to get a ban on ammunition used in these killing guns.

4. Do Not vote for elected officials on any level of government who is financially indebted to the NRA.

5. Reject the NRA’s messages of hatred and divisiveness. I do not dislike people who own guns. I just dislike certain types of guns.

6. We have to put our money where our heart is and use it effectively. I am for a buy back of all assault weapons. I understand they cost about $600. I will give $1800 to buy back three. This amount calls out to me because 18 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word chai, life. I would give a hundred times life to save one life.

7. Let us insist they tighten the laws surrounding gun sales and the raffling off of guns as fundraisers. People should not be allowed to buy guns at gun shows and privately without background checks.

8. Tighten the laws surrounding background checks. We see they are failing us right now.

9. Increase funding for mental health care. Our government is supporting a cut to health care for all. The only industrialized nation that dies not provide health care for its citizens!  Let us work to change this.

10.  Keep calling and writing my elected officials to express my views on gun control laws and health care laws.

11. Support an organization that works to counter gun violence, like Grandparents Against Gun Violence, https://moksgagv.org, Gabby Giffords group Americans For Responsible Solutions https://giffords.org, Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence http://www.bradycampaign.org.

12. Be KIND!  There is too much divisiveness and hateful speech right now.  Use your words for good.

I will be wearing this pin that says Chai to remind myself to work for life.

Working for safer gun laws is my personal plan to respect life.