Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What happened to President Kennedy’s Physical Fitness Program?

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation put out a new report today stating that obesity rates have increased by 28%. It also indicated that 84% of parents felt that their children were at a healthy weight! There are many reasons beyond health problems that contribute to an obese nation: technology, lack of exercise, less time, more stress, less vacations, and an abundance of uncertainty are just a few. In addition, many of the public schools have cut physical fitness programs due to lack of federal and state funding.

We’ve become a physically inactive society, where the only exercise that we get is clicking on a keyboard or the remote control of our TV sets! Think about it, when we go to the supermarket, movies, or shopping, we try desperately to get the closest parking spot to the entrance! Our children don’t get any exercise either. They sit around the house talking on the phone, texting, watching television, or playing computer games, instead of playing outdoors.

During the 60’s when I was in elementary school, President Kennedy took over a federal physical fitness program that was started and failed by Eisenhower, and he reorganized a new council to oversee and market a new physical fitness program for all Americans. During 1961-1962 school years, the president developed a physical fitness pilot project for the schools. A core group of almost a quarter of a million schoolchildren took part in the Council-sponsored pilot projects in six states. The physical fitness program was structured into the daily curriculum of school study.

I was fortunate to be a part of this pilot project. I was in the 6th grade when this program was implemented. I remember feeling pride that I was part of a program that our president designed and was paying close attention to. We were trained to be athletic by running, doing sit-ups, climbing ropes (those were hard), doing push-ups, and strengthening our muscles by doing multiple stretches for all muscle groups.

At the end of the pilot project year, we took a physical fitness test and half again as many students passed a physical fitness test as had a year earlier. Furthermore, there was a general improvement of physical education programs around the country. Students that passed the test were given a badge that had an eagle emblem and the words, “Presidential Physical Fitness Award.” For those of us that received this emblem, we had such pride in being part of the project and being physical fit. It also set a foundation on how to live healthy for our future.

I say bring back the president’s council on physical fitness! Let children have pride being part of something larger than their Wii box, or 40” television sets!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elena Kagen, You Go Girl!

It will be hard to corner Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen, because she is one of the few public officials of ANY party who has literally a perfect and blameless record! In fact she has NO record!

Despite this fact, GOP senators accused her of blocking the Pentagon’s recruiters’ access to Harvard Law School career services offices when she held the position as Dean. Come on fellas, since when has the Pentagon not been able to accomplish any of its missions?

In response to this accusation, Kagen stated that she acted because of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars openly gay men and women from servicing, was a violation of the university’s anti-discrimination rules. Kagen suggested an alternative for military recruitment through the veterans’ office on campus. She also pointed out that “military recruiting went up that year not down,” when Pentagon’s representatives worked through the veterans office.

It’s comical to hear statements such as Democrat, Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, “We have less evidence about what sort of judge you will be than on any nominee in recent memory. Your judicial philosophy is almost invisible to us.”

“There will be 59 Democrats [voting for her] and you can count on at least a few Republicans,” says Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Unless she stumbles badly and makes some terrible mistakes, the odds are she will be confirmed.”

Kagen is the first woman to serve as solicitor general and the first women dean of Harvard Law School; she has drawn positive comment from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.



Of 111 justices since 1789:

• 53 was the average age at appointment

• 36 served in the military

• 11 had no children

• 6 never married

• 4 were divorced

• 3 did not have a private law practice

• 39 were not judges before appointment

• 39 were Episcopalian

• *18 attended and 14 graduated from Harvard Law School

• 26 were from judicial families

• 41 had fathers who held public office

• 39 grew up in urban or small-city settings

• 40 grew up on family farms, family plantations, or rural settings

• 31 grew up in small to

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eulogy for the Gulf Ocean

Not surprisingly, the Federal Judge that overturned Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium owns stock in the offshore oil industry including TransOcean! TransOcean is the owner of the oil well in the gulf that is spewing oil and presently on fire again!

When I first read that Judge Feldman overturned the moratorium, my first thoughts were that he must have investments in TransOcean, and therefore, he didn’t want to lose any more money. Why else would an intelligent and rational man want to start drilling immediately again, as oil spewed into the sea?  Now, a few days later after his overturn, I read that that Judge Feldman owns stock in TransOcean and five other major oil companies that are directly or indirectly involved in the offshore drilling business.

Further reading revealed that 58% of federal trial judges in oil-affected states have a stake in the oil industry. The entire situation is a catch-22. The billion dollar oil companies rule and write their own ticket in these areas, and the entire world for that matter, because they have free reign and full support of federal judges and politicians that have a vested interest in oil.

One of the comments that I recently read stated, “This kind of justice and climate must have led to the fall of the Roman Empire. The difference today is that we face a global cancerous epidemic of greed and we’re out of touch with Mother Nature”!

How much proof do these large corporations and opposing politicians need before they agree that we are killing our planet? The oil slick that is now present on Florida’s shores will continue to travel to other coastal communities, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of fish, mammal, birds and entire ecosystems. Scientist state that there may be irreversible damage, and if we don’t do something immediately there will be no turning back.

I consider myself to be an optimist, but I’m having a hard-time visualizing a multi-billion dollar industry, halting to save the planet. Many of the environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, The Climate Project, and International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE), feel that this is the right time for us to layout our plan on alternative safe energy. All of the images on television of oil coated beaches and wildlife, should help to forge forward with our case already proven: pollutants are killing our oceans and skies.

It is ludicrous to continue relying on fossil fuel, and turn our backs and let these companies continue to drill like nothing has ever happened. Presently, BP is scouting out Alaska for a deep-well drilling project, that will drill down two miles vertically, and then 8 miles horizontally. Evidently, this area is an oil goldmine. This drilling is supposed to start in September.

I understand that the situation with the oil-spill is complicated in that many of the jobs in the gulf rely on this business for income. This industry is all that these people know. This is there livelihood. However, it is clear that some alternative income and jobs along these areas are needed to help in the transition to a clean energy solution.

Even if our president steps up to the plate, and mandates that we are no longer allowing deep-water drilling, and that we are moving forward with a plan for alternative energy; he would have to have global support, and at this point I find it difficult to visualize this type of a miracle.

Climate Project:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Music Genius or Divine Intervention

Last night I attended the STING concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  It was by far one of the best music performances that I have had the pleasure and opportunity to witness. There was no opening or closing acts, only STING along with the accompaniment of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed.  Beautiful!

His music engulfed me and carried me to a another plane where spirit, emotion, nostalgia, love, romance, and delight live and breath for all of humanity. This is why we go to concerts. It’s a form of meditation and a transcendental experience, where thought and knowledge are not necessary to have all of our senses totally engaged!

There are many musicians that have no formal training, and yet they were driven to teach themselves to play an instrument due to a calling from somewhere deep within to make music. It’s almost as if the unknown piece, song, melody, and chords, contacts the person requesting to be born, and will not stop requesting until it's creation!

During an interview with STING, a reporter asked, “Where do the melodies and metaphor’s come from”? STING replied, “I don’t really know where they come from. A melody is always a gift from somewhere else. You just have to learn to be grateful and pray that you will be blessed again some other time."

Of course you can say this for any creative expression or endeavor. When a painting, music, story, or dance wants to be born, it will totally take over the person until it is in full-bloom. Is it truly genius or is it divine intervention?  In my opinion it’s both!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bill Maher Live "I'm Turned-Off"

I've been a big fan of the HBO series, "Bill Maher Live" for the past year.  I've gotten behind the majority of his political rhetoric on daily current events because somehow, I felt that the POV (point-of-view) was coming from him, and that he was in some way helping different causes and getting people motivated to do something other than complain!

I have to report that I'm disappointed and turned-off now, because last Thursday I decided to go to the CBS studios to see the rehearsal of the Bill Maher Live show, and last night I watched the live broadcast which of course contained some of the material that he did at the rehearsal. 

As I watched the final broadcast of the season last night, for the first time I saw someone very different from the Bill Maher image that I thought I knew.  I saw a man that was an artist in presenting Liberal political views, outlandish and crude statements, along with his "New Rules," as it is: a mathematical formula produced by Hollywood. 

When Bill repeated some material from the rehearsal monologue in the live broadcast as if it never rolled-off his lips before, I just saw the whole show in a different light.  For sure, I saw an artist, but one that is so mathematically programmed, smooth, and convincing, and it turned-me off!

His big guests last night were Queen Noor and Oliver Stone.  When interviewing each of them individually, what I may have overlooked prior to the rehearsal show, I clearly saw last night.  A man that insulted his guests and really showed little respect.  He constantly interrupted Oliver Stone and in my opinion he was really out-of-line with Queen Noor.

Unfortunately, I don't think that I will see the Bill Maher Live show the way I saw it before.  Now I see a pawn that is used by big business, politicians, and the Hollywood money moguls, used for mental masturbation in a ploy to control the masses by providing hot-button topics that will get the viewers at home heated, allowing them to "get-off" pent-up anger, fear, and emotion. 

The control mechanism that I see is deliberate response rhetoric, and we the public are like Pavlovian subjects, predictable and therefore, controlled.  Perhaps by letting off-steam by yelling and cursing at the TV set, we don't feel it necessary to take action and go out in the world as a group to stand-up to the things that are upsetting us. 

Bill will be off the air until September, so I have some time to ponder about what I'm saying here, and I'll probably tune-in then, to see if perhaps I can wear my rose-colored glasses again!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lakers Playoff Games 2010!

I love watching the basketball playoff games every year!  Generally speaking, I'm not one who enjoys following or watching sports, however, I make an exception for the playoff games, especially when the Lakers are playing!

This season, the Lakers are playing against the Boston Celtics, and both teams have excellent strategies and plays.  It is very exciting to watch excellence and perfection in the works.  Each year I'm always amazed at the individual and team focus that is occurring each second that they are on the court. 

I'm learning that basketball is kind of like the game of chess.  Each move is predetermined and calculated, however, the thing that makes basketball so exciting is that these strategies are made in less than a second, determining where every player in the game is, distance, guards, basket, play setup, etc.  Genius! 

After each game the losing team uses their loss to put together a better strategy for the following game.  Each game seems to become more intense and focused, and in the case of the Lakers and Celtics they're neck in neck in the point spread!  Truly exciting to watch!

When the playoffs are over, I don't follow any team, including my wonderful Lakers.  Yes, I know, I'm a playoff adrenalin junkie, skimming only the cream from basketball, and leaving when they're not in the limelight.