Americans Are Not The Enemy

Spring ColorsIn my previous post, I introduced you to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assessment titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” (PDF).

As you know from reading my first post, our government now considers “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” to be rightwing extremists and possible domestic terrorists.

If you look at the top of page 3 of the assessment, you will read that our government also feels that the proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans would likely attract new members into the ranks of “rightwing extremist groups” and potentially spur some of those people into planning and training for violence against the government.

The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. “

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Standing up for your rights under the Constitution is not extremist. Well, it hasn’t been, and shouldn’t be, but apparently the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security have something else in mind.

It’s unclear exactly how the Department of Homeland Security defines the term “extremist groups”. For all we know, they may consider anyone who refuses to relinquish their right to bear arms an extremist and if they live in the same town as others who have done the same, they may very well be a “group” of extremists.

The assessment places extraordinary emphasis on “proposed firearms restrictions” which is rather vague and left open to interpretation by the reader, but there is no doubt what the assessment is hinting at. There will come a day when all guns will be banned or the government will require you to report (on the federal level) each gun you own and the quantity of ammunition you are stockpiling (aka storing on the shelf for target practice).

Don’t worry though, they won’t stop there. If you’re a veteran who served your country faithfully, you need to watch your back too.

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Just Cancel The Order

valentineflower.jpgFriday the 13th didn’t turn out as nice as it normally does. I usually have a great day while everyone else is cowering in fear of what will happen during the day.

It all started when Gidget got stuck at her mom’s house for an extra three hours because she and my father-in-law were stuck in traffic coming home from her radiation treatment. It turned out there was a very bad accident on I-20 and traffic was at a complete standstill for over 2 and a half hours. When they finally started moving it was already dinner time. She (my mother-in-law) was so exhausted because of her treatment and then sitting in the car all day.

When Gidget got home, we turned around and drove back into town, to pick up an order of fabric that had come in at JoAnn Fabrics. She got a great deal on upholstery fabric, so by summer we should have a “brand new couch” in our living room.

While Gidget was stuck at her mom’s I had to jump through hoops and get paperwork to all of the different agencies where we have applied for assistance. Things were complicated though because I could not find my unemployment benefits later and that monkeyed up everything else I needed to do for the day.

Thank God today is going much better than yesterday.
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World AIDS Day

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day is a day to increase awareness about AIDS and HIV, fight prejudice, improve education, and reflect on how AIDS and HIV have changed our world, and more importantly, our lives.

At the end of 2007, 33 million people were living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. 2.7 million people become infected with HIV, and 2 million die from AIDS, each year.

There is still no cure for AIDS but treatment for people living with HIV has improved dramatically since the discovery of the disease. While antiretroviral drugs are keeping people alive longer, only 31% of people worldwide, who need them, are receiving them,

More than 25 million people worldwide have died from AIDS since 1981. Young people account for half of all HIV infections worldwide, and over 1 million people have been diagnosed with HIV in the United States. In 2006 alone, 4.3 million people were infected, 40,000 of them right here at home.

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Just Wondering

It’s a sad day when a headline like this doesn’t even garner a second glance from most readers.

Food Bank answers school bell

Why is it so easy to ignore this story? Do people see the words “Food Bank” and figure it’s just a story about poor people, so why bother? Are we so insensitive about the well-being of other people that we no longer have time to care about their situation?

But, this story isn’t just about poor people, or the Food Bank. It’s about the teachers that are trying to change the lives of the children in their classrooms.

It’s tough trying to teach a child when his stomach’s growling. Or when she can’t afford notebooks or pens or backpacks.

With school starting as early as next week in the metro area, Griffin and Ross were among 40 metro Atlanta teachers stocking up on hundreds of dollars of free school supplies at the food bank’s downtown Atlanta warehouse.

Teachers were given a clipboard, a shopping cart and 30 minutes in what can only be described as the ultimate teacher’s supply closet. Shelves were stacked with copy paper and lined filler papers – coveted items among teachers. Barrels of pens. Notebooks. Rubber bands. Glue sticks. Bins full of small decorative letters. CD cases.

In the end, most hauled away nearly $800 each in free school supplies from the food bank’s Kids in Need program.

Every year I read stories about teachers spending hundreds of dollars on extra supplies and snacks for the kids in their classrooms. Every year I hear about organizations that step up and try to help bridge some of the gap between the funds the state makes available and the actual cost of running a classroom. Every year I hear about “how generous” our governor is for giving teachers a $100 gift card to help with their expenses. Don’t even get me started on the fact that teachers can only write off $250 in supply costs on their income taxes.

It’s time something was done about this. When the food bank has to step up and dole out almost $800 per teacher, it’s well past time to look at the system and start making these school districts accountable for the money they spend. They sure aren’t spending it on the students.

We all know the public school system is in trouble. The evidence is in the test scores year after year. Just imagine what would happen if school districts were forced to start spending money on educating students, instead of lining the pockets of the very administrators who are responsible for the problem in the first place.

Imagine what they could do if they actually spent the money on making an effort to teach the children.

What would happen if they stopped overlooking the obvious? Just wondering.