Monday, November 5, 2018

One Nation Indivisible?

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." ~ Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of United States of America

 Mr Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall
Subject: Mr Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall | Date: 08/19/2015 | Photographer: Michael Vadon |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

When I was growing up I was proud to be an American.  I was as much of a flag waving soldier saluting gung-ho son of a bitch as any 12 year old wheelchair bound boy could be.  Songs like, "I Am A Real American," (Hulk Hogan's theme song) got my blood pumping, man!

I never thought that my pride would fade.  It has.  Of course, I never thought we'd have so divisive a president.

Yes, a portion of the populace will always disagree with the occupant of the Oval Office.  Thus is the nature of partisan politics.  Yet, I've always felt that the president had the people's best interest at heart, even the ones I thought were wrong on the issues.

I was NEVER a fan of President George W. Bush, and I still blame his fiscal policies for the economic crisis of the mid two thousands.  Nevertheless, after the 9/11 attacks. He visited a masque to show the country that Muslims were not the enemy.  Like him, or not, there's no denying that he was enough of a statesman to value being a unifying leader.

Fast Forward to today, and we have a president who seems to relish keeping Americans divided among themselves.  This is a president who has

  • tried to ban Muslims from entering the country,
  • Pardoned a sheriff who had been convicted for defying a court order against racial profiling,
  • Canceled the DACA program, thereby disenfranchising thousands of tax paying dreamers,
  • Praised the assault on a member of the press,
  • And said there were good NAZIs in a white supremacist demonstration, turned riot, in Ferguson.

  • Just this summer, he had thousands of immigrant children torn from their families and interned in make-shift Gulags.  As I write these words, our president is deploying 5,200 troops along our southern border to repel a group of asylum seekers fleeing violence.  On top of that, he's threatening to repeal 14th Amendment via executive order. 

    When I was young, it was easy to take pride in my country.  Although I was too young to articulate the details, I knew on a visceral level what it meant to be an American.  The recognized a set of shared values which defined what a good American was.  In a day when our leader shows public disdain for minorities and treats the Constitution as a suggestion, I find it hard to know what it means to be a good American anymore. 

    Tomorrow, November 6th, we have a chance to define American values once again.  By helping the Democratic Party take control of the House and Senate, citizens of good conscience can make it clear that Americans still value tolerance, equality, and compassion.  We have the power, and responsibility, to make America one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. 

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    Who's Really To Blame?

    According to The Washington Post, on Friday, authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc Jr, alleging in a criminal complaint that he was responsible for sending at least 15 potential explosive devices to prominent Democratic and media figures across the country in recent days.   Among the recipients of defunct bombs were George Soros, Barack Obama, the Clintons, Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former national intelligence chief James Clapper, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Maxine Waters, and Robert De Niro.

    Just as the dust began to settle on the country wide bombing scare, Robert Bowers, age 46, stormed into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the affluent Squirrel Hill neighborhood shouting hate for Jews and killing eleven worshipers in a 20-minute attack.

    Society has has always had its share of disturbed citizens who, for one reason or another, were willing to hurt and kill other people.  However, I can't remember a time when such actions were sanctioned with a wink and a nod from the powers that be.

    Granted, our president never published a hit list for Sayoc to follow.  And yes, he has read public statements condemning these crimes.  Yet, when the president reads something off a teleprompter, then makes fun of the fact that that he's supposed to "tone down the rhetoric," it becomes clear where his sympathies lay.

    Publicly commanding a US Representative for body slamming a reporter, saying that there are "good people" in a pro-Nazi demonstration, and promising to pay the legal fees for anyone who assaults demonstrators are all ways of condoning violence, bigotry, and intolerance.

    It's perfectly possible, even likely, that Cesar Sayoc Jr. and Robert Bowers had emotional problems long before Donald Trump moved into the White House.  Yet, it's a fact that these men acted within a divisive atmosphere created by the president.

    It's true that there will always be a portion of the population that doesn't like the president, no matter who holds the office.  Nevertheless I can't think of another president who worked hard to pit citizens against each other.

    When Sgt James Crowley mistakenly arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr for burglary outside Gates' own Cambridge home, President Obama invited both parties to the White House for a beer in order to ease racial tensions.  When you compare such an act of diplomacy to a president tweeting a video of himself tackling a man with a CNN logo superimposed across his face,  the difference in leadership styles becomes apparent.

    He didn't make Cesar Sayoc Jr and Robert Bowers commit their crimes, but his example didn't discourage them either.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2018

    Hazards Facing Employees: Asbestos and Exposure Concerns - Guest Post


    While "Healthy Lung Month" is almost over, the information below is immensely valuable any time of year. For more information is a great resource for information on mesothelioma and asbestos.
    Hazards Facing Employees: Asbestos and Exposure Concerns

    Subject: The Centre for Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has a guideline that all Asbestos Scrap like Broken Cement Sheets, Cement Pipes, Gaskets, Ropes, Packings, Cloth, Insulation, Millboards etc be highlighted as Hazardous and disposed under Hazardous Waste with permits provided. | Date: 02/02/2017 | Photographer: Darshap82 |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encourage everyone to celebrate Healthy Lung Month this October. Until the end of the 1970s, many workers in various industries didn't realize that they were endangering their lung health by just showing up to the factory, ship or other structure. Asbestos hidden within these structures was slowly breaking down and entering the breathable air. This fibrous material has been removed from most workplaces, but safety concerns still abound. Get to know more about asbestos, its link to mesothelioma and what employees can do to avoid exposure.

    Diving Into the Details:

    After 1971, the government passed a law stating that every worker should have the right to a healthy workplace, reports the Communication Workers of America. Obvious sources of asbestos were removed from the workplace. Employees across the nation were elated.

    However, it's impossible to remove every gram of asbestos from these workplaces. There are still dangers involving asbestos, such as structural items with embedded fibers.

    The government couldn't go back and change the past either. People who were exposed to asbestos were forced to deal with the consequences, including the development of mesothelioma or lung-lining cancer. This cancer is rare and serious at the same time. Prognoses aren't always encouraging for any patient.

    Professions of Note:

    Although structures cannot be constructed of asbestos-based materials anymore, certain professions near older designs can be at risk. These particular professionals are at risk, such as:

  • First responders 
  • Power-plant and oil-refinery employees 
  • Miners 
  • Textile workers 
  • Boiler employees 
  • Shipyard workers 
  • Factory employees 
  • Construction crews 

  • All of these professions either touch or work around materials that may have residual asbestos. First responders who run into older buildings with the potential for damages are a good example of people who're at risk of being exposed.

    Considering Other Occupations:

    Teachers and mechanics have something in common: they have the potential for asbestos exposure. All Business reports that these professions involve people who may be close to asbestos materials. This fact is true for 2018 where schools might have asbestos built into certain structural items.

    Mechanics have a different exposure type. The parts that they deal with, such as brake pads, might use asbestos as an ingredient. If the material breaks apart on the job, exposure is immediate.

    Protecting the Worker:

    If a worker worries about exposure risks, questioning the supervisor is a must. Safety and Health Magazine suggests that workers who're concerned about exposure should wear protective gear.

    Gloves, masks and other products can block asbestos fibers from being inhaled. A worker has a right to know if he or she is being put in a dangerous predicament. Err on the side of caution by wearing protective gear all the time.

    Be vocal about workplace safety as it pertains to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma development. Employees have every right to know if they've been exposed to hazardous materials. By being educated about asbestos and mesothelioma, avoiding them is much easier. Every worker should feel confident about the workplace regardless of the industry.

    Saturday, October 20, 2018

    Put Up or Shut Up

    According to NPR, Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who studies voter turnout, estimates that 45% to 50% of eligible voters will cast a ballot this fall. Such a level has not been reported since 1970, when 47 percent of voters turned out for Nixon's second midterm election.

     A voter returns his vote-by-mail ballot in the 2006 General elections in Lane County, Oregon.
    Subject: A voter returns his vote-by-mail ballot in the 2006 General elections in Lane County, Oregon. | Date: 10/22/2006 | Photographer: Chris Phan | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
    Newscasters and pundits are hailing 50% as a great turn out. I on the other hand am appalled by the numbers.  Half of our population are throwing away their right to vote.

    Meanwhile, in Georgia a bus load of the elderly African Americans were on their way to vote early when city officials stopped the bus and made them go home.

    If that's not bad enough, North Dakota has a new law requiring an ID card with a street address in order to vote.  The problem is Native Americans who live on the reservation don't have street addresses.  The law was designed to keep Native Americans, who usually vote democrat, away from the poles.

    While the African Americans in Georgia and the Native Americans in North Dakota are doing battle in the courts for their right to vote half of us, who are able to vote, are choosing not to.  While it's their right not to vote, as long as they don't I don't want to hear any of them complain that they don't like the way things are.

    Voting is not only a right it's a responsibility.  It's a way for a citizen to add their voice to millions of other voices.  Those voices, act together to shape our country into what we want it to be.  Those who vote contribute to the greater whole.  Thus, they have a right to speak up afterwards.  Those who choose not to participate give up the right to belly-ache afterwards.

    A little over two weeks democrats will have an opportunity to take control of congress.  If they succeed it will be a big step towards holding our President accountable for his actions.  This can only happen if people of good conscience choose to exercise their right to be heard.

    On the flip side those who like the way our country is going have the right to make themselves heard through the vote as well.  I can respect a person I disagree with who votes much more than the person who cannot be bothered to vote.