Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hate Speech In Politics Has Consequences

Like lancing a boil, the vitriol spewed by major political parties and media pundits came to a head in Tucson, Arizona yesterday and exploded in violence. A young man shot and killed 6 people, including a 9 year old girl, wounded a congresswoman from the state gravely and left many others wounded. Imagine going to a shopping center on a lovely, sunny Arizona winter day, perhaps to shop, or to see your representative in the U.S. Congress visit with her constituents. A simple outing...a good way to spend a Saturday! Death and violence wouldn't have even entered your mind, just looking forward to an enjoyable day out and about in the warm sunshine!

I watched a video of the 9 year old girl's mother being questioned by phone by a reporter and she said when they called her to tell her to come to the hospital where her daughter died, she thought that they had been in an auto accident. Her daughter had gone to the shopping center with a neighbor, as she had been elected to the student council at school and wanted to listen to the congresswoman and hoped to learn more about public service. This young girl was killed by a gunshot to the chest, by a young man who decided to get his 15 minutes of fame and make his statement. That just about says it all. They always like to say that guns don't kill people, people kill people, but imagine for a moment that the young man had no gun...he wouldn't have caused so much death, suffering and heartbreak.

Our society as become so negative and hateful over the past few years, there is no tolerance for anyone who is not of the same race or belief. Civility has been replaced by weapons and the media news has been replaced by hate mongers who shout about what "those" people are doing to our country. Mental health care for people who need it is almost non-existent, perhaps the young man needed help and was unable to find it...or maybe he has been filled with hatred and never learned to deal with adversity. We can ponder all of these things, but it doesn't make what happened in Tucson any easier to comprehend. I have been wondering ...and sadly...waiting for something like this to happen, hatred is an awful weight to carry. My firm hope is that this horrible event will open people's eyes and help them realize that tolerance and understanding is needed in our daily lives. Imagine that that sweet little 9 year old girl was your daughter gone for an outing with a neighbor...and then gone, dead by a gunman's hand.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Social Security Reform Well Explained

Yesterday morning, an article in the Daily Rocket-Miner caught my eye. It was an unusually well done explanation of how Social Security benefits are accrued and received. The research was attributed to the Urban Institute. Since I'm always curious about the source of statistics I read, I went to the website for the Institute and was amazed by what I found. It was established during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson so that there would be a non-partisan, non-governmental agency which would study the effects of poverty, along with all the things which effect citizens across the nation.

Here is the website address: http://www.urbaninstitute.org. It is a treasure trove of information not only about Social Security reform, but on just about every subject that a person needs good, valid and non-partisan research for an informed opinion. Videos are available and many articles to browse in each category. I lost track of time while reading and absorbing so much good information. Many of the suggestions that I read about Social Security reform were an eye opener to me. I must admit, it made me rethink some of the ideas I had held about the proposed reform. Since I am a great believer in everyone educating themselves and forming their own opinion, please check out the website and see what you think!

In my opinion, if our government were to implement this blueprint for reforming Social Security, the benefit to citizens would be very beneficial. Again, this is strictly my opinion, so see what you think.

In these days of everyone taking as gospel what every right wing or left wing pundit spews forth in the media, it was enjoyable to find such a good source of non-partisan research. I also like the regular Social Security website, I figure if you want information go right to the source! It surprises me how few of the recipients of these benefits really and truly understand them. I made sure that I researched all the sources of information I could find prior to filing for my Social Security benefits, I always figure forewarned is forearmed! I have had really good visits with my older friends, which were almost like a tutoring session, because they hadn't done a little investigation on their own. Like I said, forewarned is forearmed, especially when it comes to money issues.

I hope this has helped you to decide to educate yourself on retirement benefits. Planning ahead can mean that you have a more secure life when you do retire. I know that young people are very busy with their lives, but believe me, the time to plan your economic situation is when you are young, Don't wait for old age to hit you in the butt, do it now!