Did Americans Forget How to March?

This opinion piece is the first for misticcafe.com’s new category feature. With so much happening in the world, the time has come to voice my opinion on such matters. I know what you are thinking: “great another opinion piece, just what the world needs.”

Perhaps you read Napoleon Hill who is famous for saying “opinions are the cheapest commodities.” This may be true, but sometimes reading or listening to the opinion of others will encourage or inspire you the reader to further disseminate information that is being thrown at you by the media each day!

The following piece was going to be sent to Arizona lawmakers via KPHO.com. The news station was asking Arizonians the following: What do you want to tell Arizona’s congressional delegation about the economic crisis? Share your feelings on the economy here; we will be putting a packet together and passing your stories on to the representatives.

Here’s my response to KPHO.com’s question….

I would like to know what the hell happened to all of those “baby boomers” and “not-so-baby-boomers” who marched to Washington D.C. back in the 60s! Where the hell are you now? You marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but where is the outraged American citizen now? Oh, that’s right, their probably utilizing their degree from UCLA Berkley and sitting pretty in Washington, D.C. and on Wall Street! Now, it’s up to us GenXers and Millennials to clean up the mess for our future. As Peg Bundy from that 1990s television program Married With Children would say “kids, thank your father!”

Furthermore, I moved to AZ from another state due to the research that this state was so “progressive.” Really? I saw the light rail system today. Are you kidding me? The state of Arizona spent how much money on the “light rail system?” Believe me, they are not kidding when it is referred to as light!

Did anyone call the governors of the states of NY, IL, and MA? Do you know what the subway system in New York is like or the L-Train in Chicago? Do you know what The Tube is in London, England? Have you been to Japan?

All I’ve heard since I moved to AZ is people bragging how Phoenix has 5 million people and now “we are fifth in the nation” for the most people. And…that means what? From what I understand the “light rail” does not go to the airport. If this is true, what is the reason it does not go to the airport? How is a “mediocre” rail system for a city that has approximately 5 million people progressive? Yes, I understand that AZ develops “outward,” but that’s no excuse. Are you familiar with innovation, ingenuity, and 21st century technology?

If you assume that I am an American citizen who is a bit perturbed, you would be correct. I wonder if France still has the guillotine. It was not officially “laid to rest” until 1981. That would be one way to solve the Wall Street crisis. We could have an American Revolution II with a French twist. Maybe it’s not such a good idea; it would be another mess for us to cleanup. I know some of you may think it’s a bit melodramatic. But it grabs your attention!

Do you think Americans are too complacent in this time of economic crisis? What do you think the men who signed the Constitution would say today about America?

How Perverse is America’s Healthcare System?

The United States of America is touted as one of the best developed western countries. Yet, the USA is still a little “backwoods” when it comes to its healthcare system. The “captains and kings of industry” are still pulling the strings. Many people go year after year without healthcare in The United States of America. With the November 2008 presidential election on the horizon, healthcare will be a “hot topic” for debate.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA is at the center of controversy right now. “The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.” “Employees participating in retirement and health benefit plans are granted several important rights by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Among them are the right to: disclosure of important plan information, a timely and fair process for benefit claims, elect to temporarily continue group health coverage after losing coverage, a certificate evidencing health coverage under a plan, and recover benefits due under the plan.” Proceed with caution when choosing a healthcare plan.

According to the AP article “Employers use federal law to deny benefits” found on Yahoo! ERISA, which is supposed to protect employee benefits, is providing benefits to employers by shielding them against lawsuits. That’s a shocker. What is that old saying “money talks and bullsh** walks!” It’s walking all the way to the bank with the hard earned money of the American people.

Wake up Americans and take a stand. We the people put time, tears, and hard work into our careers. It’s no wonder that Americans suffer from heart disease, stress can do a lot to the human body. Recently, Denmark was named the “happiest” place in the world. For those Americans who would love to have a plethora of vacation time, peace, and happiness, perhaps Denmark is the place to live. To learn more about the happiest places in the world, read this study by LiveScience on Yahoo! Also, view this video from CBS’ 60 Minutes. College students, you may want to pay close attention to this video.

Stop! Misplaced American Prejudice and Oil Dependency

Isn’t it ironic that after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York, the prejudice that most Americans had towards people of Middle Eastern descent skyrocketed. Here’s the irony. Americans use gasoline in their vehicles to run their cars. The oil comes from the Middle East. It can be deduced that the very people most Americans loath they support. Isn’t that an ironic twist of fate? But what do American people do about the dependency the USA has on the Middle East for oil? They do nothing except complain about the increase in the price of gasoline.

The next time Americans gripe about the high cost of gasoline, it would behoove them to think about the supplier. Furthermore, if the majority of Americans cannot stand paying high gasoline prices, they should put pressure on its government to stop purchasing oil from the Middle East. America could supply her own oil. Here is a list of oil fields (not a complete list) from around the world. The article How much oil is there really? articulates the “right price” for oil. From CBS News, Oil, Gas Hit New Highs tells a compelling tale of how the price of oil has risen since the beginning of 2008.

With the Fourth of July aka Independence Day in a few days, think about the men and woman who fought for the freedom for The United States of America. Was their fight in vain? Another irony is that the 13 colonies fought for independence from a sovereign country which held colonials under its yoke. Yet, today the USA swears its allegiance to another.

Visit Barnes and Noble to read more about the history of The United States of American and its fight for independence.

Want to learn more about the Middle East or another country? Here are three options: Book with confidence thanks to the Best Price Guarantee from Expedia.com, Priceline.com – no one deals like we do!, and Book your Travel with Confidence. Check out the Travelocity Guarantee. Don’t just read about a country, travel and experience the trip of a lifetime. Get the facts first before judging someone!

Unraveling the Murder Mystery of the Virunga Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas are one of three subspecies of the Eastern Gorillas. Currently there are 700 individuals which are broken into two groups. One of those groups are the Virunga Gorillas. These gorillas are found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa within four national parks. Those parks are Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda, and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biéga, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The plight of the Virunga Gorillas began last July when photographer Brent Stirton took a photograph of a dead 500-pound male gorilla named Senkwekwe who was murdered execution style. Senkwekwe was strapped on his back to a litter made out of saplings. That photograph was published in Newsweek for the entire world to see.

Who would do such a thing? The answer to that question is a complicated one. Stirton and writer Mark Jenkins were fortunate enough to be allowed into the part of Virunga where the mountain gorillas live. The area is now controlled by a militia. Brutal militias, corruption, and an environmental terror are part of the answer. Combine these with the war in the Congo and the repercussions of the Rwanda genocide and a horrific scene unfolds.

Stirton’s theory about the Virunga Gorilla murders is this: “It is part of an ongoing struggle over illegal charcoal production in the park’s ancient hardwood forests – a struggle that involves corrupt Congolese army factions and more than one Hutu militia.”

Visit National Geographic to watch a video on the Virunga gorillas and to read the article by Mark Jenkins with photograph by Brent Stirton. For further reading about the Virunga Gorillas, visit NPR and read the article “Chronicling the Virunga Gorillas.”

To protect these beautiful creatures, visit African Wildlife Foundation and make a donation today. To support the local artists and mountain gorillas of Virunga, visit Virunga Artistians.

Don’t Read This If You Do Not Believe in Equal Rights!

On May 22 Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain was a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’ show. Of course, Ellen mentioned the story heard around the world which is “California’s-top-court-legalizes-gay marriage.”

Senator John McCain believes that marriage is an institution between a “man and a woman.” Senator McCain wished Ellen well and the best. Ellen joked that maybe “he could walk her down the aisle.” It’s the year 2008, and we the people of The United States of America are still “old school.”

What happened to equal rights for everyone? What happened to “The Preamble and the Constitution of The United States of America? Ellen, a woman is allowed to vote thanks to the Woman’s Suffrage. However, Ellen cannot marry whom she would like to and receive the same benefits from a “recognized” institution of marriage. This makes a lot of sense.

Ellen said to Senator McCain, “so what you are saying is, you can sit over here, but you cannot sit over there”? Meaning, we will allow you to vote and enjoy other rights, but you cannot marry a “person of the same sex.” Furthermore, Ellen can pay taxes to the government of The United States of America, but she is on a “totally different plan” because she happens to be gay. Certain rights for certain people.

The Civil Rights Movement was an important part of The United States of America’s history. Was it all in vain? This is the 21st century, and we still have issues with accepting others who are different from us. If we were all the same, planet Earth would be a bore. What would be the point of being here?

Anyone who is against the marriage of “gays and lesbians” should thank God they did not live in “ancient” Rome. Do you know what went on in the Roman Bathhouses? One can only imagine; perhaps political intrigue and sabotage or something more scandalous!

Live and let live! Visit Barnes and Noble to learn more about Civil Rights, The Constitution of The United States of America, or Woman’s Rights. To learn more about the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, please visit their websites.

Equality for everyone,
~ Rebecca

Breaking News! Harbor Baby Seal Trapped Then Set Free!

Apparently you can be arrested for helping an animal in distress. Who knew! According to San Diego News at least two people helped to free a baby harbor seal on the night of May 6, 2008. The baby seal had a net wrapped around its neck. Poor thing! Wildlife rescuers worried that the baby seal would die if the net was not removed.

Good news! SeaWorld has permission to save marine creatures. Bad news! They could not get onto the beach without disturbing the other seals. Boo! This is why SeaWorld was unable to help the baby seal.

The seal was born at the small beach known as the “children’s pool” in La Jolla, CA, which was one reason people were reluctant to try to help. The children’s pool in La Jolla is quite controversial. Some people would like to destroy the harbor sea colony while others prefer to preserve it. The original creation was to protect a fully protected swimming area. However, sand has filled in most of the area inside the wall and a colony of harbor seals now lives there. [Read more…]