In the News

My COVID-19 Experience and Thoughts

“In the face of a novel virus threat, China clamped down on its citizens. Academics used faulty information to build faulty models. Leaders relied on these faulty models. Dissenting views were suppressed. The media flamed fears and the world panicked.

The current coronavirus disease has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.”

Two questions: how did we let it go so far? And what can we do to ensure it doesn’t happen again?

How are you, really? This whole Coronavirus experience has been a bit of a shit storm, wouldn’t you agree? I feel like I’m stuck in a Draconian nightmare and I can’t seem to wake up. There is light at the end of the tunnel, so we’ve been told, but I wonder how getting back to normal is going to actually work. Our government has dug us into a hole, I’m not sure I trust them enough to get us out of it. And the longer we put off opening our country, the harder it’s going to be to dig ourselves out.

My head is spinning with so much data and thoughts about things I’ve heard and watched that I truly don’t know where to start, so I guess I’ll just start at the beginning. Please note, these are my thoughts and opinions. These thoughts in no way reflect how the hospital I work for, nor the people I work with, think or feel. This is my experience, it’s unique to me, everyone has their own unique experiences. You are free to disagree, it’s okay. We can agree to disagree. In return, I will work hard to remain fair and objective about this whole situation as the goal of this post is to record my thoughts and experience and to hopefully give you another perspective, or, to perhaps confirm thoughts you have but are too scared to admit out loud.

And isn’t that a sad state of affairs when you are afraid to voice your thoughts for fear of being attacked and ostracized?

Here’s how it began for me: This nightmare for me began the week the doctor I normally work with was on vacation with his family. He was out-of-the country. Two days into his vacation, shit hit the fan. The COVID-19 scare began and since none of us knew what it was or how severe it would be, we all freaked out, myself included. But still, I’m the sort of person who tends to downplay something, to not panic, until facts present themselves and the situation truly turns dire. THEN I would panic. But I would lying if other people’s fears didn’t affect me. What exactly are we dealing with? How serious was this virus? The fact that no one had ever seen anything like this before, and it was HIGHLY contagious, was … concerning.

The hospital responded the moment it became a pandemic. Most of the entrances were shut down leaving two main entrances and the ER open. We had to stop and have our temperatures taken and elective surgeries were shut down. The hospital also published travel restrictions stating that if you had traveled outside the country you had to be quarantined for 14 days either using ETO (which is estimated time off) or unpaid time, regardless of whether you tested positive for the virus.

When the cases exploded in New York, the hospital put up a tent outside of the ER and patients had to be screened for the virus in the tent first before they were allowed into the tent. (That tent is still up, by the way). A local business donated money to the hospital and they built a COVID wing in preparation of COVID patients. To my knowledge, they’ve only had a few patients use the wing, thank God.

(Update: that wing is about half full now and has been consistently half full for a few weeks now).

We all started worrying that the hospital wouldn’t allow our doctor back to work since he traveled out of the country. We were super worried when the hospital starting furloughing employees – they gave us the option of either working from home, if we could, or staying home using ETO or unpaid time. The hospital’s response to all of this was to try and protect the employees, which was actually pretty great – they worked very hard to put employees in other departments in order to try and avoid sending anyone home because let’s face it, who can afford to stay home without pay?

Oh right, millions of non-essential workers, that’s who.

I don’t know how, and it’s really none of my business on the details, but the hospital allowed my doctor to come back to work. Never one to be idle, he and his mid-level started coming up with a plan B because when he returned, we were essentially shut down and not seeing patients – at all. God bless my team because they come up with a plan to keep people working: They suggested Telemedicine.

I have worked for this clinic for almost nine years and we have never, not once, ever considered offering Telemedicine visits. It couldn’t be done, we were told. Our doctors needed to examine the patients to determine if surgery was a viable option for them. But now, given the option of either trying it or doing nothing, my team started really breaking down the details and asking questions on how we could make it happen. We were willing to try anything at this point, anything to keep the lights on.

We were especially motivated because we were hearing stories of entire departments being shut down simply because we weren’t seeing patients outside an emergent situation and we were scared we would be the next department to get the ax. We hurriedly came up with a plan and started using a program that worked, but was sort of clunky. But again, at least we were moving forward and not sitting idle. We then quickly shifted to using Microsoft Teams since it was a program that the hospital had purchased a license for and if it wasn’t for my lovely nurse and an administrator figuring out the details, how it worked and how it should all come together, we probably would have been told to stay home sooner.

Patients were reluctant at first. And setting up the visits was pretty stressful at first, but we have since figured it out and have come up with enough troubleshooting solutions that we have a pretty good handle on it now. However, it was slow going and instead of seeing 40 patients a week, we were seeing about twelve. And not all of the doctors were on board with this option at first. A few of them fought the option and refused to participate which ultimately led to management calling an emergency meeting letting us know that they were going to have to ask all of us to stay home at least one day of the week – we could use ETO or just not be paid.

It was a sobering meeting and one I will not soon forget. We all gathered in the main lobby, all standing six feet apart, of course, looking serious and crestfallen knowing what was coming but not sure how it would logistically pan out. Our director had tears in her eyes when she told us and though it was shocking to hear it was happening, none of us were surprised. We all saw it coming, and honestly, we were more surprised it hadn’t happened sooner.

When this was asked of us, the providers that weren’t on board with Telemedicine were suddenly on board. I think they felt bad for us, quite frankly. Even though it was in no way their fault, I think they felt a bit responsible for us because let’s face it, our jobs are solely dependent on how many patients and surgeries they do.

Fortunately, this new “normal” only lasted two weeks. Since we were one of the last departments to make any staff changes, it happened shortly before the hospital started allowing elective surgeries again, which was the first part of May. In the meantime, patients started being more receptive to the whole Telemedicine thing and we were “seeing” more patients at one time. In fact, in some ways, it’s been working out better than actually seeing patients in the office because it’s allowed us to really focus on the patients that truly need to be seen for various problems. I know my doctor has been getting quite a few surgeries and he’s been very happy with the process so far. And to be fair, I think the patients have been happy with it as well. My doctor has the ability to share his screen with his patients and he’s able to pull up their images and go over them with the patients so the patients can see what is going on with their spines. Our mid-level has thought of creative ways to do exams over web cam and except for being able to do vitals on the patients, honestly, our process hasn’t changed all that much. I mean, it has, but we have just found a new way to treat patients.

As of this post, the tent is still out in front of ER, we are still only seeing patients via Telemedicine but the city and the hospital are getting ready to implement phase 2 of this process starting June 1st, which means we can see a handful of patients in our clinic but everyone has to wear a mask and we have to space the patients out in the waiting rooms and/or put them in an exam room as soon as possible.

Though we’ve been given the green light to do so, my doctor doesn’t want to see patients in the office yet. He would prefer to only still do Telemedicine which … is fine with me, it means I have a job and it keeps the lights on, but it is a lot of extra work on my part to get it set up because it’s not a quick get them on the schedule and be done with it, a two minute phone call turns into ten minutes, then I have to put them on the Teams schedule, then the normal schedule. Then I’m on the phone with them on the day of their appointment for 15 minutes updating their chart and talking them through establishing a connection. Our doctor doesn’t want to start seeing patients in the office until we have a vaccine, but let’s be honest, that could be 18 months from now, or never, quite frankly. I’m sure he’ll cave once he sees his partners allowing patients back in the office. But who knows, I’ve gotten so good going with the flow lately that I’m sure I’ll deal with whatever new challenge is thrown at me next.

Now on to my thoughts about this mess …

Continue reading “My COVID-19 Experience and Thoughts”

In the News

Don’t Trust the Media

Gah. It’s raining here. I’m ready for warm weather and sunshine, 1. because I’m sick of the doom/gloom as I’m sure you all are, and 2. so that the warmer weather will start burning off this virus.

Just a quick word out there about the news media; DON’T TRUST THEM. Assume that whatever you’re being told, on whatever network you’re watching, that it’s cut and edited to push their own agenda.

I’ve been watching President Trump’s DAILY news conferences. He’s answering media questions for HOURS just to prove to us that he’s being transparent. He doesn’t have to do this, but he’s doing this to effectively communicate with the American people what is being done and what the future holds. He’s doing this because he CAN’T trust the media to accurately report anything because Trump does not represent their agenda – chaos and control.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

What part of Trump’s narrative was bad? He was talking about potential drugs that are looking promising for combating this virus. What part of that is bad? It shows the administration is making strides toward a solution and that can’t be anything BUT hopeful. And hope is EXACTLY what we need right now.

This reporter is disgusting in that he’s trying very hard to hang on to the fear. He’s trying very hard to inject another dose of fear into people when quite honestly, fear is exactly why we’re in the state we’re in now. The media has worked the people up into such a frenzy reason and critical thinking have gone out the window. It’s evil and wrong.

I watched this particular news conference and the reporter deserved what he got. Stop being an asshole. We don’t need politics right now, we need to pull together and combat this thing. And I really hope we learn some valuable lessons and prepare for the next virus – because there will be another one, it’s just a question of when it happens. (Hopefully, not for a very long time).

Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you to pick and choose your “news” sources carefully. Go to the source. Watch President Trump’s conferences. Check the CDC website. Forget these news outlets and “opinions” because let’s face it, these “news” outlets are reporting very little “news”, it’s all about sensationalizing what’s going on and continuing to scare people. How is that helping? Do you think organizations with that agenda exist to HELP you?

Seriously, think about that.

Stay healthy, friends.

In the News, Work Stuff

Be Alert, Not Anxious – COVID-19 Update

Hi.

How are you doing?

I think this might have been the longest week of my life. I’m sure you can relate.

The world has gone crazy, are you keeping up?

On second thought, don’t keep up. Ignore the news. Or at the very least, tune in one or twice a day – no more than that.

I strongly believe we are where we are today BECAUSE of the media. They have taken great lengths to thoroughly and completely stir people up into a panic. Well done, media. You have induced mass hysteria.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t take the Coronavirus seriously, but again, when compared to the common influenza numbers, I don’t think it warrants the reaction that it has gotten.

Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the US. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000.

The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the virus.

So how do these numbers compare to flu deaths in previous years? So far, it looks like the 2019-2020 death toll won’t be as high as it was in the 2017-2018 season, when 61,000 deaths were linked to the virus. However, it could equal or surpass the 2018-2019 season’s 34,200 flu-related deaths.

Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year. Source

So, why the mind-numbing fear? The unknown, I guess. It’s something new and different and since the media have done such a good job of scaring the shit out of people, and fear is one of the, if not the most, powerful emotions humans can experience and only breeds and feeds off itself, people have completely lost sight of reality.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t treat the Coronavirus seriously, but seriously, get a grip.

This too shall pass. Take precautions, be proactive without being irrational.

You can’t control what is happening but you CAN control how you react to it.

What tightens my sphincter is how everyone is reacting to this latest crisis. Wow man, get a grip. It only takes a handful of people to freak out and buy all the toilet paper before human instinct kicks in and other people follow suit.

“Wow. The selves are empty. What do other people know that I don’t? I should stock up, too. It doesn’t matter that I already have two giant rolls of toilet paper at home, I need MORE. I need to protect ME and MY FAMILY. What if we’re sequestered for weeks? Months? Years??”

This is a natural progression of thought and I would by lying if I told you that I didn’t feel the pinch of fear as Kevin and I were doing our normal weekly shopping as well. It’s tempting, very tempting, to give in to this emotion and lose touch with reality for a bit.

We’re human. It’s how we’re programmed.

But the selfish tendencies of people during times like this really shine. Stop. Breathe. Think. What about the people who have nothing?? What about the people with bare shelves and no options? Buy what you need and leave some for other people.

I realize that some people do this because they are grasping for control over a situation they have no control over. I get it, I’m the same way. But I force myself to stop, breathe and think before simply succumbing to that dark monster of fear that likes to whisper in my ear from time-to-time.

And I would get the mass hysteria when it comes to groceries if there were no other options. THERE. CONTINUE. TO. BE. OPTIONS. Restaurants are still in business, you just have to use the drive-thru or the take out option. I honestly don’t think people are remembering that option. And these poor restaurants are just trying to keep their heads above the water so that they can provide a little work for their employees, let’s help them out, shall we?

Which brings me to the biggest part of this crisis that worries the most: the financial fallout.

Businesses are being shut down and people are losing their jobs. Jobs they depend on for money so they can pay bills and buy food. I think part of the hysteria is the fact that people are scared of that either happening, or happening, to them. It’s already  happened to my nephew. He works at a restaurant and he’s been laid off. I have no idea if they are giving him an option of coming in to help with take out orders, but I sure hope there is some option available to him until this virus burns off and we can get back to normal.

Some businesses may never recover – what happens to the poor people that worked there?

I predict it takes MONTHS for our economy to recover. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also predict we’re heading toward another recession. Think of the travel industry, they have shut down entirely. Disney has shut down and announced they are going to continue paying their 750,000 employees. Though admirable, where does THAT money come from? Employers are trying to do the right thing for their employees, and that’s certainly admirable, but at some point, the money will dry up if they’re not allowed to open back up for business. And even then, it will take them some time to play catch up.

People like to snarl and point out, “but it’s not about the bottom line, Karen, it’s about the people.”

Precisely my point. Who does the bottom line ultimately affect? THE PEOPLE.

And if we’re reacting this way to something that is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, (remember the influenza numbers? And that happens EVERY YEAR), how are we going to react if something like the black plague happens?

It will truly be a Mad Max scenario, I fear. I pray I’m wrong but judging by what is happening now? I think it’s a distinct possibility.

So, how is this affecting me personally? I work at the hospital, remember?

This past Tuesday, our hospital went into lock-down mode. Meaning, only employees and patients can pass the doors. And any other people who want in have to be screened and have their temperatures taken. And most entrances to the hospital are closed, you can only enter/leave by certain entrances.

It’s spooky, but I totally understand the precautions and I appreciate them. We had the added advantage of being on Spring Break at work, meaning most of the doctors were out any way to spend time with their families but what about next week? Are we going to cancel clinics? And if the clinic closes down, what about the rest of us? What does that mean for our jobs?

I’ll be honest, and a bit selfish, but that is my biggest concern.

The nurses will be reallocated to other areas of the hospital, that’s a given. But what about the rest of us non-licensed saps? The hospital has done a great job of communicating with us and letting us know how they will respond if that happens. And it’s already happened to quite a few departments – those people have been reallocated to other areas. Human resources is keeping a running tally of places that people can go to help out. But what happens when there are no more places to put people? Because we’re talking about A LOT of departments have been affected by this outbreak.

We can use our ETO (Earned time off), but what if we don’t want to use ETO? Then unpaid leave it is. But what about our bills? Money to live off of? Because let’s be real, most people live from paycheck to paycheck – I’m saying that’s wise, but it is real.

Kevin and I have talked, at length, about what we will do if I’m laid off. Because if there aren’t very many jobs and it comes to me or someone I work with who is not as financially secure as we are, I’m going home, hands down. That other person needs the work more than I do. And Kevin is self-employed and still working, so at least we have one income. And we have savings, etc.

But I really hope it doesn’t come to that. Some of our doctors have canceled clinics for next week but not all of them. Some doctors have proposed a telemedicine sort of compromise and we might end up doing that for my team, but at this point, we’re just taking it day by day. All elective surgeries have been canceled, probably for the next month, but our doctors need something to do, I guess.

In the meantime, one of the ways I cope with stressful situations like this is to gather information – facts. I don’t give a shit about a pundit’s opinion or prediction, give me the facts then shut up.

I stumbled across this Ted Talk on YouTube and thought I would share it. It’s worth a watch:

I found myself rolling my eyes at the part where she talks about climate change because I’m coming to this conversation with a pre-conceived notion, thoughts and opinions about climate change – i.e. I don’t believe it’s man made but I can’t dispute that our climate is changing – it’s circular in nature so of course it changes – where do you think we get our average temperatures from? However, I’m forcing myself to be fair and to listen, really listen, to what she’s saying because I think it’s important that we ALL start to retrain our brains to listen and stop jumping to conclusions, because when we do that, we stop listening.

It was interesting what she said about the structure of the Coronavirus and how it originates from animals and that we will continue to see outbreaks in the years ahead simply because we will continue to meet and encounter animals in various ways through societal ways. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this, I guess I was hoping that once the Coronavirus expends itself we would never see something like this again but I guess I’m being too optimistic. I do hope, though, that it’s several years before it happens again.

And it WILL happen again, on some level. I just pray we learn something from this experience and take proactive steps in the future so that we are better prepared and emotionally equipped to handle the stress of it all.

I also really liked what she said about better and honest communication so that we can talk about these sorts of things WHEN they happen to avoid misinformation, panic and agendas that do nothing but destroy and further alienate people from one another. I wish people would critically think before they react – the news media IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. They could give a rats ass about you, or about society: they are all about getting clicks, selling ads and generating enough buzz that you will choose them instead of their competitor the next time you need “news.” Fear is a powerful, POWERFUL emotion and it doesn’t take much to ignite that match. Fear muddies the water toward a rational, workable solution and I don’t know about you, but the faster we can educate ourselves and make wise choices, the faster we can move on to happier times.

Be CONSCIOUS of your surroundings. Be CONSCIOUS of things you touch throughout the day. Avoid opening doors with your hands, carry a tissue, or a rag, or something to use instead. Don’t push elevator buttons with your finger, use your elbow, or the back of your hand. Don’t touch  your face. Wash your hands after leaving someplace public.  Sneeze and cough into your elbow -NOT YOUR HANDS!!!!!! These precautions should be part of your every day life, not just when there’s an outbreak.

I’ll stop talking now, I just wanted to document what is going on right now and to hopefully give you, dear reader, some hope moving forward. Be alert, not anxious.

If you take nothing away from this post, then take this: The precautions in place now should ALWAYS be implemented. Every day. No matter the season. Watch this video of how germs spread if you don’t believe me.

Stay healthy, friends.

Camp NaNoWriMo, In the News

Daring to Read the News

Do ya’ll watch/read the news?

When I was a stay-at-home mom / working from home mom, I would listen to the conservative talk radio shows every day. I also used to look/read Drudge every day.

Though I felt informed, I was miserable. Because the news is depressing, ya’ll. I guess it has to be. Who wants to read about cute puppy antics, rainbows and unicorns? That’s not exciting. It’s not something that gets people worked up, it’s not a money maker.  I get it, but damn.

When I started my job at the hospital, I neither had the time, nor the inclination, to keep track of the news. Putting some distance between me and the ugly that exists outside my four walls was actually healthy for me. I believe one should be informed but know when to step back and take a breath.

Moderation is key.

It is important to keep on top of what is happening in our world. Too many uninformed / uninterested people already exist and as a result, we have ended up with a society like we have now. However, I have found that if you read the news maybe three times a week, you’re as informed as you’re going to be. Because if you notice, the news recycles itself every day. You can listen to one radio show host and he will talk about the same topics for DAYS, ad nauseam. Dude. I got it the first time you talked about it. Let’s stick to the facts and give me a minute to make up my own damn mind, mmkay?

We don’t watch TV. Not in the traditional sense. We’ve had cable, satellite, Netflix but got rid of them when prices started going up. I’m all for entertainment but not when it costs me a 1/4 of my paycheck.

I will admit, getting rid of NetFlix was hard: I haven’t watched a movie in … six months? I’m completely out of the movie loop. But the primary reason we did it was because it’s just a time suck. Too many movies and too little time. And honestly? I often ended up feeling disappointed when I finished a movie anyway so why would I spend my time and money on something that I don’t ultimately enjoy?

Now I read books and watch WAY too much YouTube videos. I’m currently hooked this, this and this channel. (Notice a patter here? Also, this girl is WICKED creative).

I may have to ban myself from YouTube. I’ve already banned myself from Facebook. (Yep, I deactivated my account. Another time suck. Haven’t missed it – at all).

I’ve trimmed the time suck fat from my day in an attempt to write on this blog more, build our podcast, write short stories and maybe even a novel to two. I’m slowly retraining my brain to focus on more brain-friendly activities.

With all of that being said, I do try and dip a toe into real-world events now and again which leads me to the point of this blog post.

News. Here are a few of the headlines that caught my attention today.

Europe’s biggest sex festival

Um. wow. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. To promote an event that solely exists to provide an atmosphere where depraved people can go and have orgies with whomever and whatever they want is a page ripped straight from Sodom and Gomorrah. Not to sound too Christian-y, but God have mercy on their souls. Nothing like wallowing in sin to be trendy and disgusting. But hey, it’s not called free will for nothing. Good luck explaining that behavior at the judgement.

Starbucks customer ‘did not feel safe’ with officers around

Some police officers in Tempe, Ariz., say they were asked to leave a Starbucks coffee shop on the Fourth of July because a customer complained they “did not feel safe” with the cops present, according to reports.

Five officers were drinking coffee at the Starbucks location prior to their shift beginning when a barista asked them to move out of the complaining customer’s line of sight or else leave, the Tempe Officers Association wrote in a series of Twitter messages.

You know Starbucks, for a company that prides itself on “inclusion” you’re doing a rather smashing job of excluding a large demographic here. I, for one, love your coffees but won’t buy coffee  because your prices are way, WAY too high for a cup of coffee. In addition, I’m really not inclined to buy anything from you because you continue to support and condone behavior that is directly counter intuitive to what is decent and right.

Why are people so hell bent on making the police the bad guys and yet the bad guys are given free reign to act like asses and/or break the law? Why is the media trying so hard to defend people, or groups, that continually work to break laws that are in place to PROTECT society at large? It seems so ass backwards to me. So, let’s continue to demonize the very people who swear to protect us. Yeah, that makes complete sense.

Let me ask you this – if the police go away. Then what? What happens if something bad happens and you need help? Who are you going to call then? If we didn’t have laws and society rules, our world would turn into Mad Max. Have you seen that movie? People are animals. Because it’s human nature to try and get something for nothing and some people do not possess the self-control gene.

Do you really want to live in a society without a police force? Well, keep demonizing them, it might happen.

Walmart bans woman who ate half a cake in store — and then refused pay full price

Here’s proof that people have lost their every-loving minds. (I think this one might end up a short story).

In case you’re too stupid to realize this, grocery stores are where you go to replenish your stock, to BUY things you need for your home. It is NOT a place specifically designed for you to go and eat for free. The wares you see placed neatly around the store? Was not placed specifically for you. I know, I know, this may come as a shock to you but take a breath and consider, for just a moment, that a company that builds a store and then offers things for people to buy did not specifically offer this service so that you could go, at your leisure, and start eating whatever you feel like eating, you dumb ass. Get over yourself.

For the love of God, what is wrong with people.

Okay. I need to walk away.

Now I remember why I stopped reading the news.

People are stupid, self absorbed and evil.

Post Twelve
In the News

It’s Time to Make People Accountable for Their Snarky Attitudes – Deny Them Services

I saw this on Twitter the other day and thought it was really interesting – both in principal and in how people responded to it. I was also impressed and encouraged.

I came across a page on facebook that was created (by someone under a ficticious name) thats purpose is to bully, ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page.

Source

This photographer had a few shoots scheduled with some teenage girls. (I’m assuming they were senior pictures, though I suppose the girls could have been in college. Being mean doesn’t have an age limit). Apparently, the photographer ran across a page that her clients had set up for the sole purpose of ridiculing, and bullying (because let’s call it what it is), other people. She was so disturbed by the sheer meanness that she made an executive decision to cancel the sessions with them. Her rationale being, how could she possibly photograph them and make them as beautiful as possible when they were such ugly people on the inside.

I say – BRAVO.

If more people would take a stand whenever other people do stupid things, like be mean to each other on a public forum, or open their mouths before thinking, or do something completely asinine, then perhaps the world would be a nicer place to live.

Just sayin’.

As a small business owner myself, I understand the risk this woman is taking and the risks involved in refusing to provide a service based on our self-imposed moral guidelines. But at some point, and I believe that point is here and now, we need to stand up and say ENOUGH with the bitchy, it’s all about me and puffing up my self-worth attitudes. It’s time to get over ourselves and bring back COURTESY and RESPECT for our fellow human beings.

I’m so tired of people thinking they can act however they want to act and not have to worry about consequences. WRONG. We need to start making sure there are consequences for stupid choices. Whether that’s jail time for stealing, driving school for reckless driving, school suspension for disrupting class, or deliberately posting something cruel on the Internet behind the cover of “anonymity” – there are, or SHOULD BE, consequences for our stupidity. (And just in case you were not aware of it, the ONLY way to stay completely anonymous on the Internet is to never post anything. I can assure you, people are becoming more savvy when it comes to finding faces behind the fake names – so if you don’t want something that you posted online to come back and bite you in the butt later in life – don’t post it).

I realize that people makes mistakes – we’re all human, we have all weak moments. But the more we overlook these moments, the more we try and excuse them away (well, she comes from a broken home, or well, she’s under a lot of stress right now), the more we condition ourselves to just endure it and eventually accept it. And the more we accept or overlook, the worse it gets because being human, we push the envelope, we take it to the next level, we see how much we can get away with before we’re forced to pay the piper.

When do we say enough is enough? We all talk about how we wish things were different, how we wish people would be more considerate and then when an opportunity presents itself and we have a chance to take a stand, we either chicken out for fear of public ridicule or we excuse it away, thereby giving the person who is acting like an ass a free pass.

So yeah. I say kudos to this photographer for taking a stand, as well as a risk, and sticking to her morals. We ALL need to start sticking up for our morals.

Political correctness be damned.

IMG_0949

In the News

Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients, Parents Blamed for Failing Kids, Dept of Education is Armed?

What should America be focused on — sex scandals or the sorry state of our country right now?

Do I really need to answer that?

While the rest of America has been transfixed on Wiener Gate …

(Seriously people — he’s a sick man who has proven he can’t exercise self-control in his personal life, let alone his professional life and by the way, I listened to a debate on Hannity’s radio show yesterday where the guy was actually trying to convince America that what Wiener did was normal by today’s standards. Now granted, there is a lot of sick stuff that goes on via the Internet but I would HOPE it’s not considered NORMAL behavior. WOW. JUST WOW).

… other, more important, things have been happening.

I spent WAY too much time yesterday and this morning looking up interesting news stories. Stories much more interesting than yet another sex scandal by our sleazy politicians. (I blame reality TV for America’s obsession with distasteful sex stunts).

I’m going to post my tweets here (the links are clickable) and my thoughts on each.

Ready? Brace yourselves. A lot has been happening:

http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78154531497705472

From Biblical Conservatism:

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into a law a bill that requires drug tests for welfare recipients.

As you can imagine, Democrats are going nuts over this.

Their [Democrats’] only reasonable claim is that this law is unconstitutional because it is forcing people to take a drug test without probable cause (a supposed violation of the 4th Amendment). This may sound plausible at first, until you understand the Constitution better. First and foremost, the Constitution provided against unlawful search and seizure in terms of accusing someone of a crime, not as it pertains to receipt of public money in benefits (considering the Founders never intended the government to handle those situations anyway). Secondly, many, many jobs require a person to pass a drug test as a condition of hire.

Here’s the point: Those who are employed are receiving other people’s money in exchange for performing some sort of physical or intellectual labor (that is the simple definition of a job) and THEY are frequently asked to take a drug test as a condition of employment. Those receiving public assistance are receiving other people’s money WITHOUT performing some sort of physical or intellectual labor (aka free money) so why shouldn’t they be required to prove that they are not using drugs?

I completely agree. These programs exist to assist people who truly need help. The food stamp program does not exist in order for people to purchase lobster and steaks and then resell them later. If we assign/enforce restrictions on government assisted programs, then perhaps more of these programs would go to people who TRULY need the help and not to people who choose to make a living mooching off the taxpayers.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78484784921313280

To an extent, yes. Parents are responsible for making sure their kids get to school, stay in school, do the work they are required to do, and dole out punishment for not following through. (Which translated into us taking away the boys’ entertainment for us – video games, computer games, TV – until they focused their energies back onto their studies).

Parents are also responsible for teaching their children personal responsibility and the value of education. Parents need to teach children the importance of taking it seriously and doing well. It’s also crucial for parents to stay involved with their children’s scholastic life. I think too many parents view school as a make-shift babysitter. Just because our children are away from us for six hours doesn’t mean our responsibility ends for six hours.

If you have a few minutes, the comments on the article are definitely worth reading.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78485404944310272

After the Department of Education raided the home of a Stockton man Tuesday morning, officials said the search was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The search warrant is part of a criminal investigation and not because of unpaid student financial aid loans.

However, the official would not say why the department is investigating the Wrights.

Source

Question: why does the Department of Education even have the AUTHORITY to raid your home to begin with? Why does the Department of Education, as an agency, even allowed to have guns?

The Department of Education?!?

The couple is separated and the wife, who this whole ordeal is about, wasn’t even living with him. Could they not have investigated that before breaking this man’s door down and scaring his children half to death?

From Mark Levine’s radio show on June 8, 2011:

“Did you know that the Department of Education has agents that are armed? Did you know that most of our federal departments do?

Which departments have the power to send local police to send in SWAT teams?

What’s next, debtor’s prisons?

Someone in the House of Representatives needs to look into the power behind these agencies. And how many of them actually have armed agents? Because most of them shouldn’t and don’t need them. The Secretary of Education has some answering to do.

Can you say “nanny state,” ladies and gentlemen? This is just a preview of how our country will be run, how we won’t have the freedom to make our own decisions before long, if we don’t put a stop to our power-hungry government.

This stuff is real, folks. It’s happening right now, all around us. It’s time we said STOP.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78567748128616448

I find it incredibly sad that parents have to be taught how to play with their youngsters nowadays.

Kids are resilient. And playing around with them teaches them limits, what to do, what not to do, and how to respond if they get hurt. It also teaches them about their bodies and shows them their physical limitations.

Have we coddled our children so much that we now have to be taught how to physically interact with them?

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I find this bizarre.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78861239777886208

Our president is poison to our economy, people. It’s time for a POSITIVE change.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78863836576362496

This seems a little “out there” for me, but the underlying message is legitimate: we have become a sedentary nation. As I tell Dude, day after day after day, (after day), our bodies are not designed to sit around all day long. We need to get up, move, exercise, etc.

“You’re tired because you haven’t done anything all day.” (A common sentence in our household).

Just a friendly reminder to leave your computer once in a while and LIVE your life.



http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/78934623949815809

Once again, Obama proves that he thinks himself above the law.

This man has GOT to go.

More from Write From Karen