Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

-I decided to look back at all my Thanksgiving posts that I've done since I started blogging.  I did one every year from 2006 until 2011.

-The past 3 years were a time of great transition and change for me.  My heart wasn't into blogging.  I had high hopes that this year was going to be "easier".  It wasn't, BUT, I realized I have A LOT to be thankful for.

-I have learned A LOT over the past 3 years, and I wouldn't trade any of it, even though it has been incredibly hard.

-My list below isn't necessarily in order of importance, and it is by no means exhaustive.

What I'm Thankful For:
-God's Unconditional Love for me through thick and thin
-My 4 incredible kids (I can't imagine my life without them)
-My amazing boyfriend (who has taught me how deeply you can really love someone)
-My friends (who have stood with me during my deep valleys)
-My brother (who has been a source of strength and comfort to me these past 3 years)
-My Mom (who is a great listener and a woman of compassion)
-God providing for my needs
-Blogging (it has been a very therapeutic outlet for me and is something that I thoroughly love doing)
-Reading (I met my goal of 60 for this year and am still going strong)
-My health
-Books, Movies and Music (they take me to other places and times)
-How God has been opening my eyes over the past 3 years
-God teaching me perseverance through my job struggles
-God giving me a chance to start over
-How God is going to give me the right job at the right time
Happy Thanksgiving 2006
Happy Thanksgiving 2007
Happy Thanksgiving 2008
Happy Thanksgiving 2009
Happy Thanksgiving 2010
Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Take on Ferguson

-I purposely have waited to voice any opinion on the shooting of Michael Brown and the riots that took place in the aftermath.
The most credible eyewitnesses to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., said he had charged toward Police Officer Darren Wilson just before the final, fatal shots, the St. Louis County prosecutor said Monday night as he sought to explain why a grand jury had not found probable cause to indict the officer.
-But now that more of the facts have come out, and we learn what the actual witnesses did say, it enables one to have a more objective look at what happened.

-I think that the riots afterwards were made worse by the media

-I also think that both Governor Nixon and President Obama handled the whole situation very badly.

-I am reading about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's and 60's right now.  During that time, real and horrific injustices took place that were worth rioting over.  Yet, most of them did it peacefully.

-The rioting in St. Louis and Ferguson makes no sense to me.  Being upset about a perceived injustice shouldn't lead to destroying innocent people's lives and businesses

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 3)

3-The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
He (Teddy Roosevelt) could never live happily on the periphery of anything.  He had to be in the arena.  He left power too soon.--The Roosevelts
Teddy Roosevelt:
-Teddy visited the White House 1 1/2 years after he left and he remembered every servant and gardener by name and asked them about their lives.
-He was still young, and felt personally and politically betrayed by Taft.  He didn't think Taft was making the right decisions.  To be fair, he probably wouldn't have been happy with anyone, because he still had the energy and the desire to be president.
-Taft was devastated to lose Teddy's friendship when Teddy decided to run for president the next term.  Even though he was still popular, the Republican machine wanted to stick with Taft.  So, Teddy ran as a 3rd party candidate, the party was called The Progressives but became more well known as The Bull Moose Party.
True to Roosevelt's progressive beliefs, the platform of the party called for major reforms including women's suffrage, social welfare assistance for women and children, farm relief, revisions in banking, health insurance in industries, and worker's compensation. The party also wanted an easier method to amend the constitution.--The Bull Moose Party Platform
-Many of Teddy's closest friends urged him not to run.
-He was shot by John Schrank while on the campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  This didn't stop him from finishing his speech.
-Just like Ross Perot ensured that Bill Clinton won the presidency, Teddy Roosevelt ensured that Woodrow Wilson won.  When you split the Republican vote, the Democrat wins.
-Teddy took it very hard, and was shocked that he lost, and that he lost by so much.
-He went on an expedition into the Amazon with his son Kermit and almost died from Malaria and other illnesses.
-He thought we should get into World War I right away and wasn't quiet about it.  He said, "For to be neutral between right and wrong, is to serve wrong."
-When the U.S. finally did enter World War I, he visited the White House to ask Wilson if he could help raise up a division of volunteers and lead them into battle.  He was not in good health, and for other reasons too Wilson had to turn him down.  He was devastated that he couldn't play a part.  He then gets very old, very quickly.  David McCullough says, "Its as if he was a high intensity light bulb that burned out quickly."
-Yet, all 4 of his sons did get to fight.  And his youngest, Quentin, died in the war.
-He died on January 6, 1919 at the age of 60.

Franklin Roosevelt:
-The election of 1912 divided the Roosevelt family because Franklin was supporting Woodrow Wilson.  However, Eleanor supported her Uncle Teddy.
-He won re-election to the State Senate that same year, and then was appointed to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he now held the same job that his cousin Teddy once had.
-All of the Roosevelts sided with our allies during World War I and thought we should be joining them right from the start.  Franklin didn't say anything in public because he worked for the Wilson administration.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
-People who didn't like Franklin, often liked Eleanor, so she helped her husband succeed politically.
-She found that she knew how to excel in the political arena.  She had finally found something that she could do better than her Mother-in-law.
-She had her 6th and last child by the time she turned 31.
-The war liberated all of her executive ability.
"The war was my emancipation and education."--Eleanor Roosevelt
-Instead of having to make social calls, she could now invest her time in helping those affected by the war.
-During this time, Eleanor came across a bundle of letters.  They were love letters from Lucy Mercer to her husband, who had once been her social secretary.  Eleanor was devastated.  Franklin always wanted someone to adore him like his mother had, and Lucy did that.
-Eleanor said he could have a divorce if he wanted one.  But Franklin's mother said she would cut him off and never give him another penny if he did, and a political advisor told him that it would end his political career, so he stayed.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)
Episode 2-In the Arena (1901-1910)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

First Lady Profile #7--Dolley Madison

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Few First Ladies had more influence on the social and political life of early America than Dolley Payne Todd Madison.  As the wife of the fourth president of the United States, she played a key role in the development of the new nation's character and the quality of its public image.

Dolley Madison knew all of the presidents from George Washington to Zachary Taylor.  She served as the White House hostess for President Thomas Jefferson.  She was the official hostess during her husband's two terms in office.  Until she died in 1849, Dolley was involved in the social life of Washington, D.C.--Alice K. Flanagan

-Dolley was born on May 20, 1768 in Guilford, North Carolina, but the family soon moved to Virginia.
-Her parents were Quakers (they are against war and believe in the equality of all people)
-Dolley attended a Quaker common school
-She had to dress in plain clothes, because Quakers didn't believe in jewelry or colorful clothes, etc...  This was hard for Dolley because she loved pretty things.
-When she was 14, the Virginia Legislature passed a law which enabled slaveholders to free their slaves.  Dolley's family were one of the first families to do this, and they then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
-In 1789, her father's business failed, and he ended up declaring bankruptcy.

-Dolley had many men pursuing her, but she finally accepted John Todd's proposal, so she wouldn't be an additional financial drain on her parents.
-She was 22 and John Todd was 27 when they got married on January 7, 1790.
-On February 29, 1792 she gave birth to a boy and they named him John Payne.
-In 1793, Dolley gave birth to another boy but both him and her husband died in on the same day in October from yellow fever.
-The next year she met James Madison and they were married on September 15, 1794.  He was 17 years older than her and wasn't a Quaker, as a result the Quakers disowned her, but Dolley felt she was making the right decision.

Photo Credit: First Lady Biography for Kids
-James was in Congress, so even though the Quaker society disowned Dolley, she flourished in the political society in Philadelphia.  Also, now that she was no longer a Quaker, she could take advantage of the latest fashions.
-When Thomas Jefferson was elected President, he appointed James Madison to be the Secretary of State.  Since, Jefferson was widowed, he asked Dolley to serve as the official White House Hostess.
-She developed her own style in Washington D.C. as hostess, and was the "undisputed fashion leader" there, ordering all of her gowns from France.
-After Jefferson's two terms in office, James Madison was elected President and he and Dolley moved into the White House on March 4, 1809.
-Congress provided the funds so Dolley could furnish the White House with the help of a decorator.

Photo Credit: War of 1812 Archaeology
-On June 18, 1812 the War of 1812 began and the United States of America was again at war with the British.
-On August 24th, Dolley was alone at the White House with some servants.  She fled before the British came and rescued many important documents and a painting of George Washington.  This ended up being crucial since the British set the White House and the city of Washington on fire.
-After they left the White House, they retired to Montpelier.  They continued to entertain and often gave dinner parties for political friends.

-When James Madison died on June 28, 1836, she experienced a great loss.
-He had been working on his historical papers detailing the discussions that led to developing the U.S. Constitution.  Dolley had been helping him and after his death, she finally found a publisher, the U.S. Congress.
-She moved back to Washington in 1837 with her niece, Anna, leaving the care of Montpelier to her son.  Her son Payne was constantly drinking and gambling and racking up debts as a result.  Because of this, Dolley eventually had to sell the Montpelier estate to pay off his debts.
-She died on July 12, 1849 and was given a funeral fit for a president.
-There is a collection of Dolley Madison memorabilia on display at the Greensboro Historical Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

My Dolley Madison Books:
-Dolley Payne Todd Madison--Alice K. Flanagan
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas
Previous Profiles:
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant
-Louisa Adams
-Frances Cleveland 
-Lucretia Garfield 
-Edith Roosevelt

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prophet's Prey--A Review

It was important for me to let the CPS know that I had never met nor spoken with any FLDS woman who had not been abused in some form.  Not one.--pg. 271
-Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower is my 8th and final book (for now) in my study of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

-Brower was the private investigator who spent countless hours looking into all the abuse committed by Warren Jeffs and others in the leadership of the FLDS.  He accurately labeled Warren Jeffs with the title, "pedophile prophet".
With the FLDS, the Feds are facing one of the largest organized-crime syndicates in the history of this country.  Some ten to fifteen thousand members support a religion that participates in child abuse, interstate and international sex trafficking, and other crimes in support of their religious dogma.  It is a much bigger gang than Don Corleone ever had in the Godfather movies. 
I have often pondered how the public would react if the same sort of ritualistic crimes that I have investigated within the FLDS had instead centered on a congregation of Satan worshippers.  The only difference is is that Satan worshippers know without a doubt that they are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if they get caught raping a virgin.  If the FLDS crimes had been put in proper perspective, outraged citizens and lawmakers would have demanded action years ago.--pgs. 300-301
-After reading books by many of the victims, it was good to get a comprehensive, overall look at the FLDS.  Brower also put into perspective how outrageous all of the crimes of the FLDS are, but because of the mob mentality of the cult, they have gotten away with things for way too long.

-What I find most reprehensible is that Jeffs and other men raped young children, and did so in the name of God.  I can't think of a more horrific thing to do to another person and then claim that God sanctions it.  The Bible says:
If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.--Matthew 18:6
-God will hold Jeffs and all the other men accountable for the abuse they have committed.  I couldn't agree more with Brower's conclusion to his book.
We live in a country in which the practice of illegal, arranged incestuous marriage, the sexual exploitation of women and children as part of religious rituals, the trafficking of children across interstate and international boundaries, and the tyranny of breaking families apart has never been tolerated.  

There is no question that great strides have been made in this worthwhile cause, and I have faith in the ultimate outcome; but the lasting changes needed to provide for the safety and security of thousands of children have yet to be achieved.  Until the FLDS hierarchy, whoever that may eventually be, finds the human decency to stand before the world and accept responsibility for their criminal actions, and sincerely apologize to their many victims with a commitment to never again abuse or neglect another child, it will never truly be over.  Until that day, I will remain vigilant.--pg. 311
 Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods
The Witness Wore Red
Stolen Innocence 
Lost Boy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sexiest Men Alive

Taylor Kitsch: What I love him in--Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor

-People always leaves out a couple of gems in their Sexiest Man Alive Issue.  I decided I would post the ones that I agree with, and then add some great ones that they missed.

Matt Czuchry: What I love him in--Gilmore Girls and The Good Wife

Mark Wahlberg: What I love him in--Lone Survivor and Invincible

Charlie Hunnam: What I love him in--Sons of Anarchy

Who They Missed--

Timothy Olyphant: What I love him in--Justified

Anson Mount: What I love him in--Hell on Wheels

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone Pipeline

-60% of the American people support the Keystone Pipeline

-14 Senate Democrats joined all 45 Republican Senators in voting for it

-Labor Unions are mad at the Democrats who didn't vote for it

-It would provide jobs and have economic benefits
The project would move oil from Canada into the United States and eventually to the Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would create jobs and ease American dependence on Middle East oil. A government environmental impact statement also predicts that a pipeline would result in less damage to the climate than moving the same oil by rail.
-Yet, it failed to pass a veto proof majority by only one vote, and the President plans on vetoing it.

-However, even CNN admits that Obama will unlikely lose this battle in the end.

-Meanwhile, since Democrat Mary Landrieu (who was a big supporter since her constituents support it) wasn't able to convince enough of her fellow Democrats to pass it, she may lose in her run-off election coming up soon.

The Good News:
-Even though the bill failed the veto proof majority by only one vote, it will be back next year and likely pass.

-This will be good news for everyone, except environmental extremists.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Elise Stefanik--Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

For all you middle-school presidents, secretaries and treasurers that aspire to lead the country some day, here is some encouraging news - Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever to be elected to the US Congress started the same way. The 30-year-old who defeated Democratic incumbent Aaron Woolf in New York's 21st Congressional District in the November 4th midterm elections, began her political career in sixth grade, as student council secretary.--Meera Dolasia
-She was born on July 2, 1984 in Albany, New York
-She went to the Albany Academy of Girls when she was elected the student council secretary.  She was actually able to fulfill her campaign promise with the help of a fellow leader.
-She graduated from Harvard's Institute of Politics in 2006 and was awarded the Women's Leadership Award while there.
-Immediately after graduation, she went to work for George W. Bush's Domestic Policy Council.
-A year later, she joined the office of the White House Chief of Staff.
-After Obama was elected she became the Policy Director for Governor Pawlenty’s Presidential campaign.
-She then worked as Director of Communications for the Foreign Policy Initiative.
-It was there that she helped co-found a group of think tanks called Defending Defense.

-During 2012, she worked for the Republican Party, most notably as the leader of debate preparations for Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
-After the election, she returned home to work for her parents' plywood business.
-In 2013, she decided to run for Congress.
-She defeated her Republican primary opponent, and then went on to defeat her Democrat opponent, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

-She is a young, rising star in the Republican Party.  I am excited to see what she will do when she gets to D.C.

Elise for Congress
Meet Elise Stefanik

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 2)

Teddy Roosevelt was a brand new type of president, a hyperactive adult, and a steam engine in trousers.--The Roosevelts
Episode 2-In the Arena (1901-1910)

Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to:
-Leave the country during the course of his time in office
-Have been born in the city
-Be known by his initials, T.R.
-Go down in a submarine
-Send a transatlantic cable for purposes of diplomacy
-Own an automobile
-Win the Nobel Peace Prize
-Invite an African-American (Booker T. Washington) to dine with him in the White House
Descriptions of T.R.:
-Youngest president in history at age 42
-Brilliant, possibly a genius
-Bird Watcher
-Big Game Hunter
-Author and Naturalist
-Historian and Expansionist
-Moral Crusader and Shrewd Politician
-Proud Husband and Father
Teddy's Accomplishments While President:
-The break-up of Northern Securities
-The Coal Strike Settlement
-The Panama Canal
-The Pure Food & Drug Act
-The Hepburn Act
-An end to the Russo-Japanese War
-Millions of Wild Acres preserved for future generations to enjoy
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.--Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt:
-He saw himself as a defender of right, a moralist.
-His presidency was the first one where the American people were excited about the White House.
-He had an unbelievable amount of energy.  He raced through the day drinking lots of coffee.  He read a book a day, sometimes 3 if he had time.  He personally answered 150,000 letters that were sent to the White House.
-During the coal strike, he became the first president to mediate a labor dispute
-He bought the rights from the French to build the Panama Canal.  The Canal is one of the greatest human achievements.
-During his run for re-election in 1904, he and Edith entertained writers, artists and musicians.  The public loved reading about the Roosevelt White House.  Huge crowds appeared wherever he went.
-"He was the first American president who had the look and the sound and the education of a Harvard man and there had never been anything like that in American politics."--David McCullough
-Through all of his presidency, he was resolutely himself.  (Which is probably one of the main reasons I have always loved him.)
-He came up with the Square Deal.  The essence being that rich men and poor men should be treated equally.

-He won re-election in 1904 by a landslide.  He then made the huge mistake of promising that under no circumstances would he run again in 1908.  He later said, "I would cut my hand off if I could take back that statement."
-It was difficult to be one of Teddy's children, since living up to their father's standards was almost impossible.  Alice especially had a hard time, since she never felt like she had a real home after living with her Aunt Bamie, her grandparents and now her Dad and Step-Mom.  As a young woman coming of age in the White House, she did almost everything that a girl her age back then wasn't supposed to do.
-Teddy pushed through bills that began to rewrite the role of the government in American's lives.
-While in office, he created 18 national monuments, the National Parks went from 5 to 10 and he created the National Forest Service.
-Yet, after all his accomplishments, he didn't think he was a great president because he had faced no great crisis while in office.
-He handpicked his successor, Taft and helped him win election.
-He then went to Africa and abroad for over a year so he wouldn't be tempted to comment on decisions that Taft would make.  He hunted big game in Africa.
-He was just as popular as when he was president, when he returned home, millions of New Yorkers came out to greet him.

Franklin Roosevelt:
-He asks Eleanor to marry him when he is 21 and she is 19.  His mother had always been overprotective of him, and with his father having passed away she was concerned about being alone.
-He was fascinated with Eleanor, she was Teddy's favorite niece, but more than that he was fascinated with her substance.
-He was one of the first people to realize how intelligent she was and very substantive, there was a lot there.  He truly did love her.  When he asked her to marry him, he said he could make something of himself with her by his side.
-He and Eleanor attended Teddy's Inauguration.  13 days later on November 17th, Teddy led a parade and then made time to give Eleanor away at her and Franklin's wedding.  They took a 3 month honeymoon
-Franklin decided to run for the legislature as a Democrat, without bothering to consult Eleanor about it.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
-Eleanor had a rough childhood.  Her mother was very beautiful and was disappointed that Eleanor wasn't.  Her mother's nickname for her was Granny.
-Her father, (Teddy's brother) was an alcoholic and was absent for most of her life.  Yet, she romanticized him and her relationship with him, even after she became an adult.
-By the age of 10, both of her parents were dead.
-She went to live with her pious grandmother.  Also in the house with them was an abusive nurse, an unstable aunt and two drunken uncles.
-Eleanor was lonely and struggled with a lot of fears.  Her Aunt Bamie came to her rescue.  She recommended that Eleanor be sent away to a school called Allenswood.  She was there for 3 years and she described them as the happiest of her life, where all her fears disappeared.
-Her instructor at Allenswood insisted her students be independent minded, intellectually alive and socially conscious.  Her education made a huge impact on her and brought out her great intellect.  She was the most admired girl at her school.
-To her dismay, her grandmother made her come back from school at the age of 17.
-Her and Franklin got engaged on November 22, 1903, but weren't allowed to announce their engagement until a year later, on December 1, 1904 because of Franklin's mother.
-She volunteered to work with immigrant children in a settlement house, and took it very seriously.
-Because of this, she helped Franklin see beyond his "privileged" world.
-Her marriage to Franklin was "a bargain she would often regret."
-They each wanted something from a relationship that the other in the end couldn't give.
-Eleanor wanted an intimate, someone she could confide in.  A husband who would always be supportive and there for her.  He could not provide that.
-Franklin wanted someone who had all the devotion to him that his mother had had, but not the admonitory part.  But sadly, Eleanor could not be worshipful and had to be admonitory.
-Eleanor had hoped that Franklin's mother Sara would become the mother she never had, but it was not to be.  Sara had a 6 story town home built for Franklin and Eleanor, and Eleanor was not consulted about anything.  Sara hired all of the staff herself and Franklin and Sara oversaw the construction and furnishing of the house.  So, Eleanor had no say in anything at all, not even in hiring the nannies that would watch her children.  She resented this immensely (who wouldn't?) and Franklin didn't understand why this was such a problem for her.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)