No matter how you color it, a lie is still a lie.

By now, just about everyone has heard of Spokane’s latest infamous person, Rachel Dolezal.  I am surprised no one has commented on the irony of an area once known for proximity to a white supremacist compound now is known for a white person masquerading as a person of African descent.

The two faces of Rachel Dolezal

Many have made suggestions as to why Dolezal did what she did. Frankly, I am of the opinion that she saw herself as a mediocre person who wanted to be something more than what she felt she was. Maybe she decided that she could get better job offers as a black woman than a white woman. Really, it does not matter why. What matters is she used a lie to get some very desirable jobs passing herself off as a black woman, jobs that an actual person of African descent more likely deserved.

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Why bother flying at all?

It was reported recently that airlines across the world are planning an even smaller standard for carry on luggage.  The International Air Transportation Association  (IATA) claim this move will ensure that everyone can fit their carry on luggage into the overhead bins.  This claim is pretty ridiculous, as the main reasons the overhead bins are crammed are charging for checked bags and cutting the size of overhead bins.  Additionally, the seats that are used on planes are usually not the ones called for by the original manufacturer, and those seats have more room underneath.  The airlines prefer to use smaller seats so they can jam them closer together and herd more passengers on per flight. Continue reading

When will we take cyber security seriously?

4 million US government employees records across several agencies have recently been hacked, and China is being blamed for the attack.  Regardless of who is responsible, it points to a larger issue. This country is woefully under protected in cyberspace.

While it may not seem like a large threat to most people’s lives, looming technology improvements make cybersecurity. Google is daily trumpeting its efforts to bring us driverless cars Many people are excited about the convenience, but no one seems to want to talk about the massive loss of life if the network maneuvering were to be breeched.  If US government databases can be breached, Google’s certainly could.

Robot doctors are also on the horizon, with many people touting the benefits as well.  What would happen if someone hacked the robot’s operating system and sent it on a rampage through the hostpital?  While this seems farfetched, a motivated hacker could easily make this nightmare scenario a reality.

One of the most dangerous scenarios would obviously be a hack into military drones, unleashing a wave of destruction on friendly forces.

Technology is a boon to our lives, and open networks are a boon to communication around the world. Vigilance at all levels must be greatly enhanced at all levels, however.  If security does not keep pace in advancement, it could be the thing that ends us.


What do you say to someone who knows everything?

Since it is the season of graduation, I thought I would leave a few words of wisdom to pass on to all the young, successful people out there ready to take on the world.

I Wish For You A Failure

I wish for you a failure so you appreciate when you succeed.

I wish for you a heartache so you hold on tight when you find real love.

I wish for you a betrayal so you see the importance of loyalty.

I wish for you a lie so you value integrity.

I wish for you sleepless night of worry so you are glad for proper rest.

I wish for you a deep loss so you cherish the blessings in your life.

I wish for you an unkindness so you cultivate empathy.

I wish for you unanswerable questions so you accept wisdom when given.

I wish for you fear so you place worth in safety.

I wish for you an illness so you more properly manage your health.

I wish for you money problems so you figure out how to budget.

I wish for you an unfulfilled need so you extend your hand to others.

I wish for you to outlive a friend so you treasure those you still have.

I wish for you to miss a great opportunity so you never let it happen twice.

I wish for you an intolerable job so you strive to never have another you hate.

And finally, I wish, after all the ups and downs, you remember a life well lived, and not the difficulty of living.

Shane Dean

Why should we let people commit suicide?

The most recent cover of People® magazine has a full cover photo of Brittany Maynard, who has chosen to end her life rather than suffer through the end stages of cancer and just take pain medication until things end “naturally”.  Blogger Ashley E. McGuire attacks both Brittany and People in this post.

I don’t like going after someone personally, and I don’t intend to try to shame or attack Ms. McGuire.  I do hope to give some perspective on a more compassionate view, as I take exception to her proselytizing to someone else over something I gather from her article she has not personally experienced.

I have lost five very dear people to cancer, and know many more still fighting with it.  Cancer destroys in a huge swath, hurting not just the person with the disease, but family, friends and community as well.  The disease itself can affect motor and brain function, and the treatments themselves can sometimes speed a patient’s demise.  Even if they don’t, the medicines used seriously weaken a person, and can cause all manner of mental issues like strange mood swings and even hallucinations.  There are also the emotional impact of disfiguring issues such as losing hair and, in the case of breast and cervical cancers, parts of the body that a person feels makes them who they are.  Sometimes a person has to chose between getting treatment and losing an unborn child or refusing treatment and not living to see the child born.  In short, cancer is not a life event to be taken lightly, and it is unfairly judgmental to preach to someone afflicted with this about how they chose to deal with it.  Especially in Mrs. Maynard’s case, where the doctors have told her her only option left is administering pain medication until her body shuts down. Continue reading

Why can’t we learn to be good losers?

People worry about how they want to raise their children.  Their babies should be smart, strong, well-mannered, industrious, confident, and many other good qualities.  Basically, we all wish for our kids to be winners.  No one would dream of teaching to lose or to fail.

Teaching kids how to lose is as important as teaching for success.

Unfortunately, we are pushing so hard to make sure our special snowflake never has to feel the sting of coming up short at something, they are ill-equipped to handle adversity when it sneaks through our hovering.  That may not happen until we turn them loose on the world, and then they are in emotional crisis because they never had to figure out how to bounce back from anything. If everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, they get no value out of their effort.  Additionally, without a little adversity and struggle, winning seems empty as well if everyone gets the same reward.  So in our battle to make every kid a champion, they never learn how to be good losers or winners.

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Why Couldn’t We See The Tears Of The Clown?

Every Thursday starting in the fall of 1978, I had one thing on my mind: Mork and Mindy was on tonight!  I often used television as an escape from a not very happy childhood, and the wild and unpredictable humor of Robin Williams was cathartic.  When he started making movies, I did everything I could to see them all.

Robin Williams soon became one of the most-recognized comedians in the world, on par with the likes of Bill Cosby and George Carlin.  He brought joy to millions with movies like Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs. Doubtfire.  He also sought to raise morale for the military with dozens of USO excursions.  What none of us knew was that Robin Williams’s ability to make us laugh was fueled by hiding behind humor to avoid his inner demons.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, over 170 million people in the world suffer from some form of depression.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates one in four adults in the US suffer from some form of mental illness.  Mood disorders such as depression are the third-most-common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both children and 18-44 year old adults.  One in 17 Americans live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Robin Williams had been fighting bi-polar disorder for years.  He masked his pain with the laughter of others.  Many people who are bi-polar find ways to hide their suffering because they don’t want others to know they are hurting.  Attitudes toward mental illness are getting better around the world, but we are a long way from removing the fear and stigma it carries.  Continue reading

Why Should People On Welfare Be Allowed To Vote?

I saw something on Facebook a while back that got me thinking.  At first I was completely behind it, as it was talking about ways to reform public assistance.  It talked about taking most everything but basic staples off of food stamp programs.  If you wanted things like “steak and frozen pizza” you had to get a job.  It also talked about mandatory birth control and drug testing if you wanted to stay on public assistance.  Not sure I fully agree with the birth control thing, but it would keep from putting new kids on welfare rolls, and I definitely agree with the drug testing.  If you want to have children or do drugs, then you should be getting a job.  Next was public housing, which would be expected to be maintained in good working order and inspections would be possible at any time.  Again, if you wanted housing you could destroy as you saw fit or wanted things like an Xbox, you had to get a job.

But then things started to get a little questionable to me.  The next part talked about either presenting a pay stub from a job or you would be assigned a government job, such as cleaning highways or government housing.  Unemployment insurance exists so that if someone loses their job, like many Americans have lately, you can get by until you find work similar to what you had and for which you have the skills.  Forcing someone to take whatever job the government sees fit to give you sounds a lot like Communism to me and I will not get behind that.

The part that really got me came next.  The post asserted that while on public assistance, you would relinquish your right to vote as it would be a conflict of interests.  Regardless of your employment situation in this country, or lack thereof, everyone over the age of 18 in this country has the right to vote.  That right is only dependent on citizenship and not having committed a felony.  Taking the right to vote from people just because of no employment would lead to huge amounts of disenfranchisement throughout the populace. Continue reading

Losing Weight Is A Heavy Burden

More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese.  Additionally, almost twice as many women as men who are not overweight think that they are. 25.3% of men and 47.9% of women defined as within their normal weight range think they weigh too much.  Whether it’s actually needed or not, that equals a whole lot of people with weight concerns.

Sadly, even when we know better, changing for the better is hard.  While millions of people run out each January determined that this will be the year they lose weight and get in better shape, most people quit the gym after 6 weeks.

Hard to break the obesity cycle






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Incorrectly Politically Correct…Again.

Recently, a long standing philanthropic event at Dartmouth College was cancelled because one student chose to portray it as “the Americanization of Cinco de Mayo and its construction as a drinking holiday in the United States”.  It doesn’t matter that Cinco de Mayo was not mentioned anywhere in the event.  Or that it wasn’t even happening in May.  Or that no alcohol was actually being served at this event.  Or even that it was a charitable function for cardiac care and a worthy cause.

The event in question was to be called Phiesta (pronounced like the traditional Spanish word “fiesta”) as it has been for years.  It was to feature Mexican inspired cuisine such as burritos, and virgin margaritas and daiquiris.  The proceeds would have gone to aid people undergoing cardiac care.

Apparently, only people of Mexican heritage are allowed to use this kind of “Spanglish”.

The blowup was caused by a single email from Class of ’15 student Daniela Hernandez, who also railed against “cultural appropriation and the inappropriate usage of cultural clothing, and the exploitation of groups of people and cultures for the sake of business opportunities.”

Phi Delt president Taylor Catchcart explained why the Greek organizations folded.  “We felt that the possibility of offending even one member of the Dartmouth community was not worth the potential benefits of having the fundraiser,” he said.

While she may be personally offended, there is no law protecting one from offense.  Other things people seem to think they have a right to but don’t are detailed in The Bill of No Rights by Lewis Napper.  I would be willing to bet she has also not read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury about a futuristic dystopia where all books are banned because any of them could offend someone.

I won’t go into the hypocrisy of the fact that most of the people seeking the “business opportunities” Hernandez spoke of are Mexican owners of Mexican restaurants.  I have decided instead to play her game by her rules, and lay out some things from other cultural backgrounds she should avoid to prevent the offense to others she feels entitled to herself.

I am predominantly Irish by descent, so I have decided she is no longer allowed to drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.  Up until the 1970’s, this day was considered a Holy Feast day and pubs were closed in Ireland.  Also, she clearly does not consider herself Irish.  I must admit, it really bugs me that people who have no attachment to Irish culture go out and use this as a day to drink themselves stupid.  However, I would never impede another’s choice of evening, regardless of how boorish they intend to act.

There is a long list of other things, to prevent Miss Hernandez from offending others, that should cease immediately.  They are listed below.

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