Tuesday, December 20, 2011

People choose: Ignorance or Information

As I write this, a friend is on Facebook making a strong plea for people to be more open minded regarding the plight of immigrants. The so-called facts offered by conservatives are skewed, and my friend is trying to set the record straight.
He comments: "
They are being exploited and having their basic human rights denied as we speak. ... 3,000 US CITIZENS have been detained by ICE because of the assumption they are illegal -based mostly on the color of their skin. Once in ICE's system, undocumented immigrants do not have a right to an attorney or trial, they are imprisoned indefinitely and abused while in custody (Raped and beaten) until released into countries many have never known. Now the government plans to extend the same treatment to US citizens accused of being terrorists, turning us over to the US military for indefinite detention, without trial."
He also explains: "
Facts prove that undocumented labor is the backbone of our economy in the state. Farmers are pushing for immigration reform so they can get enough labor for the fields and hog farms. (The cause of America's problems:) NAFTA, BIG Bank speculation, the greed of the 1 %, the world wide labor force that will work for dimes on the dollar. ICE predicted they would go after 400,000 undocumented criminals a year for capture and deportation- they couldn't find enough so roughly half are non-criminals; mothers caring for kids who are simply stopped for a traffic violation."
Of course, his conservative "friends" are retorting with comments like, "Immigrants are taking American jobs," and "They should all be deported." Unfortunately, it's comments like these that breed racism. I know people who are Americans by birth, speak with a southern accent, work hard, and yet are still called "wet-backs" because they are of Latino descent.
Everyone has a right to an opinion, but when the mind is closed, the person will never get accurate facts to make a choice for an intelligent and informed opinion. I get frustrated with people who regurgitate the same rhetoric without trying to find out if their comments are accurate. Chances are, if the statement is short and repetitious, they are coming from a closed, robotic mind.
The uninformed are perpetuating lies and propaganda while spitting in the face of our ancestors who invaded (yes - invaded and brutally took over) an occupied nation. Our civilization merely deteriorates with the destruction of humanity at the hands of bigots.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Robocops - UC-Davis to Kent State

As I read the stories and watched footage of the UC Davis Campus Police’s actions against peaceful protestors, I couldn’t help but think about the history of protests in our country, and more specifically, the slayings at Kent State.
One UC Davis officer held a canister of pepper spray, aimed at a line of students sitting on the ground, and began coating them as though they were a brick wall being spray painted. He walked down the line and back again, methodically disbursing a thick mist at point blank range. With 50 armed officers standing up to 200 protestors, the odds were well in favor of the police. Yet, the officers supposedly felt justified in their fears of losing crowd control.
History is coming dangerously close to being repeated. Only the choice of weapon stood between this incident being a blatant abuse of power and becoming a massacre that would have eclipsed the Ohio four. Perhaps “Freedom of Speech” is a misnomer because anyone exerting that freedom seems to do so at some cost.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Plane crash story fails to fly

I have just about reached my limit on hearing or seeing negative comments about Muslims. If the American population who show as much hatred towards this group of people, showed the same amount of hatred towards gangs, our cities would be much safer.

Today's article on AOL news about newly emerged video of an Iranian plane crash caught my attention. While AOL is not my choice of news sources, I do glean news from the headlines and then look for indepth information elsewhere. In looking elsewhere, I discovered that the video is actually a military aircraft with 7 people on board. Regardless of who and how many are on board, the crash is horrifying.

The comments made by people in regards to this story on the crash are evidence that some people only have brains to maintain their organs for bodily viability. Using any thought processes are beyond their capacity.

My response to those comments pretty much sum up my opinion, even though my statement was made on the assumption the article and someone referencing an airline crash was correct. That is my mistake, but doesn't change my basic message. I'm sure it is about as useful as the article that preceded, but it helped me let off some steam.

As a former news editor, I agree - the reporting here is terrible... this is
not "new footage."
New footage of a crash that happened two years ago is
impossible. A new discovery of footage, or newly-released footage IS possible.
The video is NOT new.

As for the idiots that are hoping a bunch of Muslims died and wondering why Americans should care 1) It is immoral to watch 168 people spiral and crash to the ground regardless of who they are. 2) Just because the plane is from a country that Americans distrust does not mean that all the people on board are from that same country; 3) Muslims are not bad people - terrorists are bad people. Terrorists who claim to be Muslim but do not practice the laws of the Muslim religion have given an entire population a bad name. If you believe terrorists represent the Muslim community, then you must believe that Westboro Baptist Church is representative of ALL Christians.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inverted bobs put on the dog

Inverted bobs are the coifs that have sparked a new wave of wedge haircuts, popularized by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Rihanna. From the front, these sassy, crisp hair-dos can be attractive. The longer strands in front frame the face with a linear look, elongating the chin.
From the back, the hairstyle tells a different story. When I first saw this hairstyle emerge, I immediately stifled a laugh because my only thought was, "That looks like a dog's butt."
Women - stop it - please. Because, dare I say, you look like an ass (albeit a canine one).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Crowd mentality over Bin Laden's death

The hour is late, and with the rest of the world, I am watching President Obama's announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death. As the news cameras focus on growing crowds in the street, cheering and singing, I cringe a bit. I am hesitant to rejoice in anyone's death because of my profound spiritual belief that there is a higher justice. Karma is a bitch, and as soon as I bleat with the sheep over Bin Laden's death, justice may turn the shears on me.
I also stop myself from joining the pep rally because Bin Laden may have been the mastermind behind Al Qaida and terrorist acts, but he did not act alone. When Dorothy killed the witch, the guards looked upset, but quickly hailed her actions. I have a feeling members of Bin Laden's clique' will not be so quick to jump the fence into greener pastures. They are trained; they know how to retaliate. Americans cheering on worldwide television is merely going to piss off the terrorists. The crowd mentality is merely cementing the misconception of Americans being evil and self-absorbed.
Yes, Bin Laden was evil; yes, he issued an attack against the US; yes, the world is better off without him. Shouldn't we recognize these points without deteriorating to the same level of the terrorists that cheered when Americans died on 9/11?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sleeping on the Job

According to a recent study, napping on the job is a good thing because it increases productivity. Perhaps the fired air traffic controllers should be reinstated, compensated for undue stress, and given raises for actually doing a good job.
Personally, I often wish I could take a nap, but the situation is not conducive for plunking down my head and dozing. I realize that the average five-hour-a-night rest that I get is not sufficient. I also heard about a study that says lack of sleep can cause weight gain. So, for my sanity, and in hopes of repairing my metabolism, I have made an effort to wedge out more time for a good night's rest. The result: I wake up after five hours, and when I go back to sleep, the remaining time is fitful with odd dreams, multiple awakenings, and a lot of movement. Maybe I can concentrate my efforts to have dreams about fitness classes and channel my movement to a workout in order to gain physical benefit to combat the effects of sleep loss.
Anything beats counting sheep .... one, two, three, four, fi... baaaaaa.

Nabih's Sleepless Night from Patricia Perkins on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ted Williams Update

I wrote an earlier blog about Ted Williams and his fast lane to popularity followed by the plummet to rehab. As a guest on The Today Show, Williams provided a positive update. (video is not available for embedding yet - click the link provided).
Time will tell if Williams is indeed on the road to recovery. Addicts are great manipulators and will say what they believe people want to hear. Sometimes, they want their tales to be true, and believe voicing the words will create the reality they want. They also try to minimize their problems and are trying to control the negativity of the situation.
Certainly we can hope Ted is doing well and will stick with his recovery program. His road has become difficult and steep. Hopefully those around him will let him traverse at his own pace, provide support, and avoid enabling him.

(Photo by Brian/NCReedplayer)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

License plates and watermelons

Just like the Japanese came up with an idea for square watermelons, the North Carolina Watermelon Association has their own creative juices brewing. Specialized plates with a watermelon can be purchased for an extra fee that is far less than Japan's $82 food price tag.
Obviously, the message is working because I was compelled to come home and look up our local growers. Watermelon is my favorite vegetable - yes veggie, not fruit. The summer delicacy is part of the cucumber and gourd family. (I looked that info up, too!).
Like any other produce association, watermeloners have a queen. Queen Madelyn hails from Denton and is a student at High Point University. The public is invited to Make a Melon Memory at the annual Watermelon Festival which will be held July 22-24, 2011 in Fair Bluff.
I would be amiss if I did not give a nod to the watermelon's cousin - the pickle. Mount Olive in Wayne County hosts the Pickle Festival in April. Pickle puns and tongue twisters abound whether one is sweet, sour, or earns their bread and butter in the industry.
With gas prices escalating, shipping costs for produce will be passed on to the consumer. Homegrown produce is better for our local economy, and after knowing a bit about the local growers, the urge to buy locally is even greater. To explore more about local growers and farmers' markets, check out NC Farm Fresh.
I never would have believed a license plate could be so educational.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ted Wiilliams Debacle

I am constantly astounded by the ease of which the general public will display their baaaaad tendency to follow the herd. Ted Williams' rise to fame was fueled by the same frenzy. He was panhandling, using his smooth voice to bait a soliciting trap when he was discovered by an Ohio news reporter.
The story unfolded like a fairytale, and everyone wanted to see Williams take his rightful place in society. Like the young boy who drew the sword from the stone to become King Arthur, the public was eager for the derelict to sit on the throne with everyone singing his praises. Perhaps this is fueled by each person's secret desire to be rescued in some way.
Living vicariously through Williams, each of us can imagine what it's like to be plucked off the streets, to have executives clamoring for our talent, to be propelled into the spotlight. Everyone wants to win the lottery, hit the jackpot, get a piece of the proverbial pie. When someone like Williams does it, the average person sees hope. If a bum on a street corner can reach success, certainly the hard-working, honest, family man has an even better chance of grabbing the gold ring - right?
Instead of being enamored with his rise and disappointed by his plummet, the public should recognize Williams for serving another purpose: he is an example. People are looking for an easy solution to these tough economic times. Williams reminds us that nothing comes easily or without strings attached. Instead of giving up or escaping with drugs, people should stay strong. Being fortitudinous as the economy recovers will be more beneficial.
Williams also serves as a reminder that each individual controls his own life. When that control is turned over to other people, to drugs, or to any other element, life falters. Any situation provides choices, but by letting other people, influences, and chemicals make those choices, a person is not controlling his life. When those influences disappear, no one is in control; no one is steering, causing life to spin out of control.
Homelessness has spread beyond the victims of insanity and addiction, and now engulfs those who have lost homes to foreclosure, lost jobs to overseas manufacturers, and lost hope in themselves. While it is important to recognize not every homeless person is archetypal, Williams is a reminder that each should be judged on his own merits.
Blaming Williams for betraying trust, disappointing followers and supporters, and for destroying ideological plans, is much like blaming an actor for portraying a fictitious character in a realistic manner; it is up to an individual to discern fact from fiction, and to separate what might be from what actually is.
People should also remember that panhandling is illegal in most (if not all) areas; give money to the homeless by giving money to shelters and services - not individuals; and don't blame anyone else for a personal lapse in judgment. No one is infallible.

Related article: "Blinded by Ted Williams' surprisingly silky voice"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Telemarketers beware

In spite of listing with the Do Not Call registry, I still get a few annoying solicitations. I've read the funny lines that can be delivered to telemarketers and often wish I could think on my feet fast enough to deliver them smoothly. One of the funniest was delivered by my own mother. A number of years ago, MCI and AT&T were competing for customers. An MCI representative called and delivered his opening line. Mom said, "I'm sorry, but we don't have a phone." The flustered caller said, "Oh, okay," and hung up.
My latest calls have been from the local newspaper. I used to subscribe, so I suppose I'm in their database, and once in a while they decide to call.
"I'm calling from the News & Record, and we wanted to be sure you received your paper today."
I used to fall for the line, responding that I don't receive it, to which the caller then wanted me to subscribe. They have called often enough that I now have a pat response which I deliver eloquently: "No, I did not receive a paper this morning because I don't subscribe. But you already know that since you are calling to coerce me into subscribing. I'm not interested, thank you." Then, I hang up. Sometimes, I have to add, "And I told this to a representative last week." After two or three calls, I'll remind them they are harassing me, they remove my number, and I won't hear anything for six months or so.
I can't bring myself to be too aggressive because they are trying to earn a living. Yet, I have reconditioned my early childhood lessons when I was taught to be polite and never hang up on anyone. My mother, like many older adults, has become more tolerant with age. This woman who used to keep a police whistle by the phone to discourage obscene callers by blowing out their eardrums, will now complain that a telemarketer kept her on the line, and "I couldn't just hang up on him."
Instead of being a slave to the phone, it's much easier to remember:
  • When the phone rings, I do not have to stop what I am doing and run.
  • Walk, do not run, to the phone because Murphy's Law guarantees the call is not that important, I will trip, or I will stub my toe.
  • If I don't get to the phone in time, the caller can leave a message.
  • I have caller ID, so I have the option to not answer at all.
  • If I do answer, and I do not want to hear what the person has to say, I can say "No thank you," and hang up.
The caller chooses to dial my number which makes him the risk-taker. If a voice enters my home without permission, I can blow out the person's ears without remorse.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Loughner, Clarke make perfect pair

Even though Jared Lee Loughner was caught with gun in hand by witnesses to his shooting rampage in Arizona, he has the same rights and privileges as anyone else arrested for crime in the United States: He is innocent until proven guilty, and he has the right to legal representation.
The attorney is court appointed, thousands of tax dollars will go to his food and shelter, and even more will be spent on increased courtroom security, importing an out-of-state judge, and various other costs involved in a high-profile case.
The entire situation is a double-edged sword - the world knows he is guilty, but the laws can't be changed for this situation. Maintaining a free society with blind justice requires the judicial system to follow specific protocols.
However, in this case, I wonder if there was some backroom justice in the works when the court appointed Asheville native Judy Clarke as Loughner's attorney. Now practicing in San Diego, she has defended some very famous criminals:
  • Theodore Kaczynski - Unabomer who killed three and injured 23 others, sentenced to life in prison without parole.
  • Susan Smith - South Carolina mother that killed her sons, aged 3 and 14 months, by pushing her car into a lake and drowning them. She is sentenced to life in prison with first chance of parole in 2024.
  • Eric Rudolph- Olympic Park Bomber that was a fugitive for five years, spending much of that time in North Carolina mountains is now serving multiple life sentences.
  • Zacarias Moussaoui - 9/11 conspirator now serving life in a maximum security prison.
  • Timothy McVeigh - Oklahoma City Bomber killed 168 and wounded 450, was executed in 2001.
  • O.J. Simpson - Accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman hired "Dream Team" of lawyers including F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, and Johnnie Cochran. Oh, wait ... Clarke wasn't on this team, and O.J. was found not guilty.
Thankfully, Loughner confirmed in court that he does want Clarke as his attorney, so perhaps, with her ineffectual track record, justice will be served.