I Have a Gripe

October 21, 2010

NPR Shows Their True Colors

On Wednesday, 10-year commentator at NPR (National Public Radio), Juan Williams, was terminated from NPR due to comments said on “The O’Reilly Factor” the previous evening.

Now I will say I disagree with close to 90 percent of what Mr. Williams says, however, to me, this shows NPR’s true colors. In my humble opinion, NPR is a left-leaning media outlet. Now I would normally not have a problem with that, however, NPR is funded by our tax dollars. This, is a problem to me.

According to statements from NPR today, his termination had more to do with a history of comments giving his opinion as opposed to reporting on news, which clashes with their focus on hard news and his most recent comments were somewhat like the straw that broke the camel’s back. They are now backtracking slightly regarding how they handled the situation. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller just released this statement: “I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”

Fox News Analysts have come to Mr. Williams’ defense, including former Governor Mike Huckabee who has said he will no longer accept interviews on NPR.

Now we all know that if Fox News fired a pundit that is left-leaning due to comments said on another station, the uproar would be huge. There is a political correctness that has taken over this country that is not only shameful, but dangerous. I, for one, will not be a part of it.

I personally agree with Mr. Williams’ thoughts. I have been on a plane only once since 9-11 and I was so nervous and upset about it, I wrote out a will-like document on a legal pad and needed a tranquilizer from my doctor just to get on the plane. If I see someone who has not really assimilated to the American culture getting on a plane, and yes, this includes Muslims in traditional garb, you are damn right I am going to notice. To me, this is no different from me being more aware when I am getting on an elevator and there are several men and no women. What does that make me? Anti-men? Just like Mr. Williams, I also agree that we need to move past that fear and there are a number of steps that need to happen to get to that point, on both sides.

So I say shame on NPR for their ridiculous decision. I will be personally writing NPR and my Congressman regarding their ongoing support to the radio station. I will also be writing Fox News to applaud them for supporting him and should expand his “Wednesdays with Juan” segment into a full show. I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same.

September 30, 2010

The Extreme in Bullying

In a previous post about bullying I spoke about a father standing up for his daughter with cerebral palsy who was being relentlessly bullied. Well, sometimes bullying can have deadly results.

This week it has been reported that two freshmen students at Rutgers University digitally bullied and humiliated a fellow freshman by streaming live two private sexual encounters online with another male. This proved too much for student Tyler Clementi and he took his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Reports this morning say that his body may have been found. A post on his Facebook page said, “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”

This is simply sickening to many, including me. As I mentioned before, many of us were bullied as children, however, due to the emergence of the Internet, bullying has now gone global.

Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi and  Ravi’s friend Molly Wei, both of New Jersey, were charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy for secretly using a camera to view and transmit a live sex scene, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan. Ravi claims he turned on the camera accidentally, however, his Twitter posts prove otherwise.

In my opinion, these charges hardly go far enough. The law has definitely not kept up with the changes to bullying in the digital age. This story reminds me of another digital-bullying case in Massachusetts where a child committed suicide after relentless bullying online.

I am sickened by this two and weep for Tyler. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Clementi family. I hope law makers work to bring the law up to date and these two are prosecuted to the fullest extent they can.

I implore you, if you know of someone being bullied, or you are being bullied yourself, help them. Stand up for them. Reach out to parents, teachers, administration, police, clergy or whomever else you may feel comfortable with talking.

September 20, 2010

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: Lost in the Ground Zero Religion Debate

There were many souls lost on 9-11 in Shanksville, Washington D.C. and of course New York City. There was another lost, however, that many have forgotten. Or may not have even known existed. Its soul may not have been lost, but it is definitely in purgatory due to no fault of its own.

As of late, the “religion debate” at Ground Zero has centered around a planned, and incredibly controversial, Mosque just steps from where those once great Towers stood. But, even more importantly, nine years later, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has still not been rebuilt and isn’t even close to it.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was founded in 1916 by Greek immigrants, who dedicated the church to the patron saint of sailors. The Church was located at 155 Cedar St. and was completely destroyed when the Twin Towers fell. Now, that location is part of the construction site to rebuild the World Trade Center, the 9-11 Memorial and all the surrounding work. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey promised they would work to rebuild the church. Nine years later? Nothing.

Since that terrible day, there have been multiple changes of the guard in Albany as well as at the Port Authority. Negotiations to move St. Nicholas to nearby location have gone from slow to non-existent. While Governor Paterson has done little to help facilitate the rebuilding of this historic Church, he was willing to quickly step in to “work to resolve” the controversy of the Ground Zero Mosque, even potentially offering up a city-owned location for the Mosque.

There is rightful outrage, in my opinion, about the Ground Zero Mosque, but I ask where is the outrage that this Church has not been rebuilt?

Many in the mainstream press have all but ignored this story. When it has been covered, it has tried to paint those representing the Church in negotiations with the Port Authority as greedy and unreasonable. In all my research and reading, however, I have not found this to be true. If anything, it has been the Port Authority that has all but commandeered the Church’s original location and stalled and stammered at ever turn. In over a year, the Port Authority has not had negotiations with the Church leaders and have even gone as far as reneging on the alternate location.

I ask that you take up the fight of St. Nicholas Church. This should be rebuilt long before any Mosque steps from hallowed ground. St. Nicholas Church needs to be rebuilt. Without it, the open wounds of 9-11 will never begin to heal.

September 9, 2010

Screaming Children Will Not Be Tolerated: Amen!

We’ve all experienced it. You go out to enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks or a nice dinner with your spouse, only to have to deal with a screaming child at the next table. Well, Brenda Armes has heard our cries!

Breanda is the owner of Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach that read “screaming children will not be tolerated.”

Now of course there are parents that will complain, including one mother of an autistic child saying she is discriminating against children with special needs. I completely disagree. I think she is responding to people who have had enough listening to screaming children and parents not handing the issue.

Now whether right or wrong, when I was a child and acted out in public, my mother would say very flatly, “I’ll give you a reason to scream.” That’s all I took, because I knew she was serious. Today, parents are more interested in being their child’s friend and trying to reason with their children. Now, whether my mother’s approach was right or wrong, I knew the behavior that was expected of me. Actually, even my friends that came to my house knew exactly what level of behavior was expected of them as well. In my opinion, teaching manners and good behavior in public is a lost art.

I would like to give you a personal example. My husband and I spent our hard-earned savings a few years ago to go to Cape Cod. I wanted to spend a day on Nantucket. So, we purchased tickets for the ferry and headed out. There was a child screaming bloody murder the entire looooong trip. There was nowhere you could go and not hear this child. What did the parents do? They turned her carriage to the wall and ignored her. I went to the snack bar to see if they sold Tylenol or Advil. The girl apologized but said she was completely sold out and actually gave me two Advils from her purse. Ten minutes before getting off the ferry, the child fell asleep. When we got off the ferry, my husband took me to lunch. When the restaurant employee tried to seat us, they tried to give us a table right next to that family! Well, I flipped out and said there was no way in hell I would sit next to them because they are terrible parents! They looked at me with a dirty look and then employee sat us elsewhere. Once we sat down, he asked me what that was about because he had tried to seat at least five different groups at that table and none of them would sit there. So, I told him the story. He said he completely understood and for the rest of the time that family was sitting there, he sat no one near them.

I have said for years, just like there are “smoking” and “no smoking” sections in restaurants, there should be “children” and “no children” sections as well.

As you can tell, I have a pretty strong opinion on this topic. Nothing makes me more crazy when I go to Starbucks and there are two mothers enjoying their coffee while their children run buck-wild.

Now, do I think all parents are bad parents? Certainly not. I have a friend with an adorable autistic child and every time we have gone out with her children he has always behaved very well. Is that always the case? I’m sure it isn’t, but she is an excellent parent.

So, I ask parents, please stop trying to be your child’s friend and be their parents!

August 3, 2010

It is Just in Poor Taste

Filed under: Manipulation,New York,Security,Terrorism — alvb1227 @ 1:31 pm
Tags: , ,

The entire country has been talking about the proposed Mosque and cultural center developers would like to be built in the shadow of Ground Zero. This has been very controversial and it seems like everyone has an opinion. Well, I think it is time to share mine.

First, let me say that I do not believe all Muslims are terrorists. Far from it, in fact. I also do not believe those who oppose this proposed Mosque are “fear mongers,” “bigots” or whatever other names people in favor of this project have used to describe them.

Do I have a problem with a Mosque and cultural center being built in lower Manhattan? Absolutely not. Do I have a problem with the specific location of this one? You bet I do!

I have heard all the news reports and read online about the questionable funding for this project and I do believe it should be researched fully. If it turns out the funds come from legal sources, then fine. Just please build this in another location.

Maybe this sounds very “Martha Stewart-like,” but this whole project is just in poor taste. Why must this organization build this Mosque steps from Ground Zero? I find this personally offensive. Just like everyone in the United States, I will never forget where I was when I heard about the attack, how the day progressed and the feelings that went through me. I remember driving home from work and seeing and smelling the smoke (I lived in Belleville, NJ at the time) and how it stuck in my throat. Not long after the Towers fell, a friend’s father took me into “the pit” and it just left me speechless.

Can we legally block this? Probably not. I guess this is one of the “down-sides” of living in such a wonderful and free country. This is where you hope common sense kicks in, which is obviously not happening here.

At the end of the day, most reasonable Americans will understand why those affected directly by 9-11 are opposed to this project. Additionally. while I am hoping this development organization will do the right thing and move this project to another location, I doubt this is going to happen. And if people call me a bigot or fear monger because I oppose this project, then so be it.

July 28, 2010

A Local Illegal Immigration Reminder

Filed under: Laws,Manipulation,Security — alvb1227 @ 12:34 am
Tags: ,

Unless the courts interfere in the new illegal immigration law in Arizona, their legal, tax-paying citizens will begin to take back their state. While many oppose this law, I would like to use a local real-world reminder as to what is at stake.

On Aug. 4, 2007, illegal immigrant and MS-13 gang member, Rodolfo Godinez, cut short the lives of three of Newark’s promising youth and sexually assaulted a fourth. Iofemi Hightower, 20, Dashon Harvey, 20, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and of Natasha Aerie, now 22 were simply hanging out in a school yard when this animal cut them down just as they began their adult lives. Godinez was sentenced to 245 years in prison earlier this year. These young individuals represented what Newark needs as Mayor Corey Booker and his team attempts to turn this city around. I weep for them and their families.

These young adults should have never been killed because Godinez should have never been in this country. Period. He is in this country illegally and certainly wasn’t trying to “just earn a living” as many who oppose Arizona’s law claim. He was here to cause mayhem and strike fear in those who are trying to live a decent life.

So I say NO MORE. I saw it is time for we legal, tax-paying, law-abiding American citizens take back our country. Are some illegals here trying to support their families? I am sure they are. However, there are many like Godinez that are just here to commit crimes and intimidate those in their communities. I call on the federal government to not put another family through the horror Godinez put his victims and their families through. If the feds don’t like the idea of individual states protecting themselves, then they should live up to one of the actual responsibilities they have and protect their citizens.

March 19, 2010

Healthcare Coming Down to the Wire

As Speaker Pelosi continues to bully and wrestle members of the House to vote for the proposed healthcare proposal, I want to give an example of the efficiency of the federal government by talking about…the census.

Why the census? I think you’ll understand as I explain…

In an effort to make the 2010 census as efficient as possible, approximately $600 million worth of hand-held computers so information collected can be sent and uploaded nightly for a state-of-the-art count.

Unfortunately, the hand-held units didn’t work properly. So, as a result, the decision has been made to go back to a paper-based system and completely scrap the portable computers. The new cost you ask? Between $2.2 billion and $3 billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) through fiscal year 2013. This will increase the overall cost of the census to $13.7 billion and $14.5 billion.

So, after wasting $600 million, we now have to shell out more tax dollars and revert to an extremely  manual paper-based system.

Now, let’s look at this for a minute, the federal government botched “cash for clunkers,” now they wasted millions on hand-held computers for the census. Does anyone else see the correlation?

Oh yeah, they can handle healthcare…no problem.

March 17, 2010

The “No-Vote” Vote on Healthcare

The latest tactic under discussion is the use of the “self-executing rule” to pass healthcare reform.

Why does this bug me? Well, let’s forget for a moment that this is the biggest vote most of those in Congress will place in their careers. Let’s forget that the majority of tax-paying, legal American citizens do not want it. Let’s also forget for a moment that we will be paying into this for four years before anything really changes regarding “universal” healthcare. What I have a gripe about today is that there is a plan under consideration by Speaker Pelosi to use a little-known rule called the “self-executing rule” to jam this down the throats of America. This allows for more of a procedural vote that means members of Congress will not have an opportunity to amend or vote separately on the self-executed provision. It is automatically agreed upon passage of the related procedural measure. Bottom line, she wants a passing vote and will stop at nothing to get it.

In my opinion, this is nothing more than an end-run around having a real up or down vote on this nightmare of a bill. When I heard about this latest plan, I immediately thought of “I voted for it, before I voted against it.” It is an easy way for those who don’t want their “aye” vote read into record, which will force them to explain why they voted to pass the legislation. I can just hear it now – “I didn’t vote for the bill, I only voted on a procedural process.” Um, does anyone else see a problem with this?

Make no mistake my friends; if this is passed and signed into law, it will allow the federal government to walk right into the front door of our homes and now dictate just about everything in your life.

“Oh, I’m sorry, you’re what we consider overweight, therefore we are going to better track what you eat.”

“Oh, according to your electronic health records (HIPPA will go right out the window), you are at risk for diabetes. When you go food shopping, you aren’t going to be allowed to purchase soda.”

I could go on and on. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this will allow the federal government to have access to every aspect of our lives. Does something need to be done so Americans have better, more affordable, access to healthcare? Absolutely. But this isn’t it.

I know the Dems and other liberals and progressives feel the federal government knows better than we Americans on how to use our tax money and run our lives, but I’m sorry, they are wrong. We are not uninformed people that don’t pay attention to what the government does. If anything, I believe we are more involved than ever.

So what can you do? Call, email or write your Representative and Senators and let them know exactly what you think. I emailed mine and let them know that I am watching and there will be repercussions if they vote against the will of the people (you know, the people? The ones they are supposed to represent.). Do they take me seriously? They better. They will loose my vote in the next election if they vote to pass this so-called “procedural process.”

Let your voice be heard.

January 9, 2010

The Ant and The Grasshopper

Filed under: government,Manipulation,Politics — alvb1227 @ 6:43 pm
Tags: ,

A friend sent me this modern-day variation of the ant and the grasshopper. I thought it conveys a valuable lesson so I wanted to post it here.

This one is a little different…Two Different Versions, Two Different Morals

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.  The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.  CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.  How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’  Meanwhile,  ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s  sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  Be careful how you vote in 2010!

December 7, 2009

The Many Meanings of “Aggressive”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Manipulation — alvb1227 @ 12:32 pm
Tags: ,

What do you think of when you hear the word “aggressive?”

It may sound like a simple question, but it is one that has bugged me for years. Aggressive can mean words like focused, assertive, contentious, bold, dynamic…and my personal favorite…bitchy.

When you look up aggressive on Thesaurus.com, you find such words as cocky, combative, quarrelsome and intruding. The first entry on the site at the time was: “pit bulls can be naturally aggressive.”

Obviously, words can have many meanings. Aggressive, however, is one that really annoys me. I don’t want to sound like I am getting on my femi-nazi soap  box, but I always found it fascinating that when men are aggressive at work, it is expected and even celebrated. Words used synonymously can include assertive, focused, aspiring and go-getter.  However, when a woman is aggressive at work, she is labeled as bitchy, pushy, combative and disruptive. Is it because men still dominate the workplace and don’t like the competition? Or is it that women are still considered an annoyance in the workplace?

I have to be honest…I don’t know the answer to this one, but I’d love to find out.

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