Life Lessons – A Glance in the Rear View Mirror of Life

How often have you heard someone say “if I could go back“, or “if I could do it all over again, I would….“. Maybe you have said or thought this before as well. This thought came to mind recently and I got to thinking, if I really could go back and change things in my life, would I?

It's A Wonderful LifeOf course, when contemplating this scenario you have to give thought to the old Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. George Bailey was a man who had given up his dreams and ambitions in order to help others. His choice to commit suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence. Wishing that he had never been born, Clarence shows George all the lives he had touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

As I glance in the rear view mirror of my life, I can see clearly that life truly is about choices. Big choices. Little choices. Good choices. Bad choices. Easy choices. Hard choices. Choices we make without even knowing we are making a choice.

Choices lead to a chain of events. What we are today is the outcome of choices we have made in the past.  These choices have been the foundation for how we have chosen to live our life.

We make life-long choices that shape our character, our morality, our ethics, and our spirituality.  We make high impact choices that determine our careers, our finances, and our lifestyles.  We make sentimental choices on who we fall in love with and who we choose to share our life with together.

Reflection:  Forty-two years ago I broke a date with a woman to go on a date with another woman I had just met. Why? I could have kept the original date and ask the other out for another day. But I made a choice to go out with the woman I had just met.  That woman has been my wife now for over 41 years and the mother of our three wonderful children. Good choice. Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!

Some choices are influenced by others. Some of our choices were ingrained in us by choices our parents made when raising us. Learning right from wrong, moral from immoral. We make choices on having children. We make choices on parenting.

ReflectionAfter our second son was born, my wife and I made a choice for her to stay home with the kids and not work.  We didn’t want to put them in day care every day while we worked, so she stayed home and raised all three of our boys until they were out of school. To this day we believe this helped mold our boys into the good men they are and the close-knit family that we have today. Hard choice, but a good choice. Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!

We make choices on our health. We choose whether we eat or drink healthy. We choose whether to put our bodies at risk by doing something unsafe or insane. We choose whether we take care of ourselves and go to the doctor for checkups.

Reflection:  I made a choice three years ago, with a little push from my spouse, to make an appointment with my family doctor to have a physical after not having one the last few years. That physical started me on the path to discovering that I had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer and a large mass in one of my kidney’s. If I had not made this choice, I may not have been alive today. Good choice.  Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!

Are there some choices I would like to change, sure there are. Maybe I wouldn’t have bought that Pinto car; maybe I should have bought stock in that little start-up company called MicroSoft; etc. But when it comes to the significant choices I have made in my life, would I change them? Absolutely not!

Choices are part of our everyday life. We don’t have the luxury of foresight to know the long-term impact of choices we make everyday. However, we do have the luxury of hindsight.  I hope that when you decide to Glance in the Rear View Mirror of Your Life, at the choices you made during your life time, you may be surprised at the importance and impact of them. When you do, I believe that you will find that you also made some great choices, and just maybe, you wouldn’t change a thing, even if you could go back…

So, go forth and understand that choices you make today will have an impact on your life in the future. This is what the journey of life is all about!!

As a wise old Chinese priest once said:   Choose wisely, Grasshopper…

Rep. Michael Grimm to plead guilty to felony count of tax evasion, sources say

A prime example of another “do as I say, not as I do” Republican. Despite being indicted for tax evasion (hiding over $1 million income) and hiring illegal aliens, he still won re-election.

Re-Posted from New York Daily News | by John Marzulli, Dan Friedman

<snip>

The Staten Island Republican was charged in a 20-count indictment with hiding more than $1 million in income and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he co-owned. If he can escape prison time, he’s expected to try to keep his seat, according to a source.

Michael Grimm

Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

After vowing to fight his criminal indictment “tooth and nail,” Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island has agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of tax evasion, the Daily News has learned.

Grimm’s admission of guilt will place his congressional career in danger, exactly seven weeks after he won reelection by an overwhelming margin.

Grimm was scheduled to enter the plea Tuesday before Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn Federal Court.

A Republican who served in the Marines and worked as an FBI agent, Grimm was charged in a 20-count federal indictment in April with hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages at an Upper East Side restaurant he co-owned, and with hiring undocumented immigrants.

He pleaded not guilty, and his trial was to begin in February.

Despite the indictment, Grimm trounced Democrat Domenic Recchia 55% to 42% on Nov. 4 to win a third term

Read more –> http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/grimm-plead-guilty-felony-count-tax-evasion-article-1.2053630

President Obama’s Accomplishments are Damn Impressive

This is What a Successful Presidency Looks LikeLooking back through some of my notes and ideas for future blogs I came across this from a couple of months ago. I had the same thought as I did when I saved it: That’s damn impressive!

We all tend to rate the President on the latest problems or decisions, or lack of. I can remember getting annual reviews at work and it being obvious that my boss could only rate me, and discuss, my most recent performance, accomplishments, or short-comings in some cases. It was up to me to remind him of what happened throughout the whole year and not just the last few months. This was usually followed by the typical “I didn’t realize that was during the past year” or something similar.

When musicians, artists, inventors, scientists, etc. receive recognition and acclaim, it is typically based on their overall “body of work”. They didn’t have a hit song, book, product or discovery every time.

Looking at the graph above on President Obama’s “body of work” and accomplishments while in office, considering he has to fight a “do nothing” Congress that is intent on making him a failure, this is damn impressive. And this doesn’t include the impact of ObamaCare.

Like him or not, he is due kudos for a job well done.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas Special Interests and Big Money Donors

Money out of politicsOnce again our elected politicians in Washington prove the Peter Principle is spot on.

Peter Principle (my version for politicians): Employees stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “politicians rise to the level of their incompetence (Congress).

The House and the Senate have negotiated and passed a colossal $1.1 trillion  spending bill. Now this should be a good thing, considering the blood-letting involved with the last government funding bill.

Since the Republicans are still a minority in the Senate, they needed to pass a spending bill to prevent another government shutdown. Somehow, they were able to control their more belligerent and confrontational factions that were pressing for a government shutdown over Obama’s immigration plan (last time it was over ObamaCare) and passed a spending bill that did no major damage to them. Of course, they did load it up with special interest demands from their big money donors and everything else they haven’t been able to get passed. What better way to get a bunch of bad legislation passed than to attach it to a critical government funding bill that has to be approved at the last minute. After all, how many of our hard-working politicians do you think are going to read through a 1600+ page bill.  Fortunately some did and the Republicans had to negotiate a few of their bad bills away, but don’t be fooled, the Republicans will be sharpening their scissors while they wait to take over as the majority next year. I think this bill is just a glimpse of the future to come.

Here’s just a few examples of special interest legislation that was passed as part of the government funding bill:

Wall Street

Once again Congress shows their loyalty to the big money at Wall Street. They included (and passed) a provision that rolls back financial regulations and will allow the biggest banks in the country (Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan, etc.) to continue to gamble FDIC-insured money in the high-risk derivatives market. This means that if we have another economic and/or financial collapse, like the last one which they caused, we taxpayers will once again bail them out for all their greedy and bad business dealings. Even worse, Congress didn’t even write the bill, lobbyists for Citigroup did.  And Congress submitted the bill almost verbatim as it was written by Citigroup (aka Wall Street). Merry Christmas Wall Street.

Big Money

Neatly packed into the bill was a provision that will increase tenfold the amount the super-wealthy (1%) can make in campaign contributions to their favorite political party committees.  Merry Christmas Koch Brothers.

Military-Industrial Complex

Our politicians continue to support the Military-industrial Complex by awarding them over 50% of the $1.1 trillion spending bill ($585 billion). This will give the war hawks in Congress (John McCain) the tools necessary for waging perpetual war (while also furthering their political interests) and giving the defense contractors lucrative multi-million or multi-billion dollar contracts. Merry Christmas Military-Industrial Complex.

Special Interests

The Republicans, led by John McCain, used the defense bill to shelter a massive public lands swap which gives sacred Native American lands to a foreign company that owns a uranium mine with Iran. In this case, the addition of the Arizona swap and the other land measures were never discussed in public, and were added during secret negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. Even worse, after the swap, this land will be private property and not subject to federal environmental reviews.  Merry Christmas John McCain and Special Interest Donors.

Now seriously, are all these provisions critical to the government funding bill? With the exception of a reasonable defense bill, NO.

This is politics at it’s best. They can’t do their jobs over the course of the past year so they pack everything into a last minute, must-pass, critical bill and the country as a whole suffers when it’s passed.

Closing thought.  Not that they belong in this bill, but I haven’t seen any special interest provisions in this bill that addresses the jobs problem, the economy, clean energy, climate change, inequality, etc. I guess lobbyists for these issues just don’t donate enough to our politicians to warrant sneaking in a bill that would fund a cause that would actually be in the best interest of the other 99% of the American people and the country.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/elizabeth-warren-citigroup-bill_n_6318446.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-borosage/the-budget-deal-this-is-w_b_6315846.html

Santa And Guns Come Together For Photo Event At Georgia Firing Range

Santa with gunTHIS IS SOOOO WRONG… It doesn’t matter if they are doing it for a good cause.

<snip>

Santa Claus is comin’ to town — and he’s packing some serious firepower.

A Georgia firing range is offering free photos with Santa this weekend, with an ad showing what can only be described as a nontraditional Kriss Kringle. But it’s probably not the sunglasses or the Santa hoodie that most stand out. It’s the fact that this Santa is armed to the holly:

It seems Santa won’t actually be the one exercising his Second Amendment rights at the Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range in Sandy Springs on Saturday. It’s the guests, who will be able to hold either an AK-47, AR-15 or FN-SCAR-17 while posing with Father Christmas, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Click below to read more.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/santa-gun-photo_n_6313144.html

Elizabeth Warren: People Feel Like the System is Rigged Against Them

Warren - System is RiggedWhy can’t we not elect more people like Elizabeth Warren to political office.  Most politicians talk big during election season, but once elected just become sheep and cater to their party’s agenda.

Warren is a highly intelligent and passionate Senator that’s not afraid to stand her ground and ask the hard questions of those that are unlucky enough to appear at any of her committee hearings. Here’s a list of her committees:

Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs

Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development
Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment

Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP)

Subcommittee on Children and Families
Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging

Special Committee on Aging

During her campaign in 2011 she made the following statement:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own, nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You used other people’s money. You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea—God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Now that is a powerful statement that is direct and to the point.

I don’t think she will run for President against Hillary, but I think she may be able to accomplish more where she is.

Now we need to do our part and elect more politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to help them change things in Washington for the betterment of the 99% versus the 1%.