For What?

Happy Monday!

The cycle continues of lives being taken suddenly and violently for seemingly no reason.  In August, we shared our sentiments regarding the 346 Chicagoans who’d been killed in the first 9 months of this year.  That number, which excludes the many shooting victim survivors, now surpasses 400.  On Friday morning as I reached to turn the television off from having watched extended morning news coverage, a report came through about a school shooting in Connecticut.  As a former educator, my thoughts went to what had always been my worst fear as a teacher – something for which we as educators unfortunately had to prepare – and thus my prayers immediately went to the students and educators at the school not yet knowing the full extent of what was transpiring at the school at that very moment.  I put the remote control down and listened while working for the next few hours as the number of victims jumped to unimaginable numbers.

Admittedly, the thought crossed my mind, “for what do we do all of this?”  Though no longer in the classroom, my work remains in education and ensuring academic success for students that they are prepared to lead great lives.  But why, if at a moment’s notice a life we as a community have worked so hard to ensure will go on to do great things is taken from us?  As tears rolled, the answer was revealed – we do it for the survivors.  And we do it to honor the victims.  And we do it in the face of the perpetrator – that we persevere and survive despite their attempts at the contrary.

So let our kindness, good deeds and warmth surround those who unconditionally loved the victims of violent acts that plague our world that they too, in due time, survive their incomprehensible loss.


We do this in memory of the young people whose lives were refused longevity in Newtown, Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, Sanford, Jacksonville, Afghanistan, Sudan and countless other locales – that their peers who mourn their lives will be equipped to lead our nation and world into a new era where incidents of violence are only a matter of history.


Why I Don’t Shop At Walmart

More than 112 people lost their lives this past weekend while working in a clothing factory in Bangladesh. It’s indeterminable how many lives could have been saved had it not been for nonexistent fire escape, inoperable fire extinguishers and piss poor government regulation. One corporation benefiting from this factory’s production is the world’s largest retailer – Walmart.

Walmart is a corporation owned by the Walton family whose members place #s 6, 7, 8 and 9 on the Forbes list with a combined wealth of more than $100 billion. *let that resonant* And I know that on Monday Walmart claimed they had no knowledge that some of their clothing was still being produced at this particular factory. It may be true; however it’s unacceptable when you are one of the largest corporations in the world and have the resources to understand exactly what is occurring at each link in the chain. In fact, since Bangladesh has and continues to have great safety issues in its nearly 4,000 garment factories it’s unacceptable that Walmart continues to partner with any factory in that country. Given the current economic state of our country, it’s unspeakable that they haven’t opened factories here, in the United States, to not only employ the very people whose money they desire to be spent in their stores, but whose regulation would ensure the safety of its employees.

Truth be told, I didn’t need an additional reason to not shop at Walmart. I haven’t purchased an item from its stores in years because its employees earn a minimum of $8 an hour forcing those very workers to require federal assistance to survive all while its corporation continually produces record profits and its owners are among the richest in the world; Walmart employees have filed numerous charges of unfair labor practices; and healthcare remains unaffordable for many of its employees. It disgusts me and I cannot allow our hard-earned dollars to continue to increase the wealth of a few at the expense of far too many.

Are there any companies you refuse to financial support?

P.S. – I know Walmart isn’t the only corporation with despicable practices.  IKEA, we know you also benefit from Bangladesh factories as well.

Say It Ain’t So

Did you hear that the first Presidential debate was last night?  I know, it was pretty top secret.  A part of me didn’t want to watch because my tolerance for bull ish is minimal.  Dang near non-existent.  Husband insisted we watch so I chose to do so with his support and that of social media.  Everyone’s ears, or rather tweets and statuses, surely perked up around minute 30 when moderator Jim Lehrer, a PBS employee, asked each candidate to share specifics about their plans for reducing the deficit.  Former Governor Mitt Romney responded, “I’m sorry Jim. I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things.  I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too.”   Gosh, in a Presidential debate focused on our economy and getting folks back to work, I’m not sure it makes sense to prematurely pink-slip the moderator as well as the entire Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Yep, that includes the cast of our nation’s beloved children’s show Sesame Street.  Especially when that subsidy to which Romney referenced comprises a whopping .01% of the federal budget.  That should be a full drop sprinkle mist in the bucket to create a ripple in improving our economy.

Few things still unite our increasingly divisive society.  We witnessed one last week with Replacement-ref-mageddon.  Sesame Street is another.  We ALL grew up watching Sesame Street, learning number order with Count Dracula – ah, ah, ah -, how not to behave from the Grouch, the power of questioning from Big Bird and the deliciousness of cookies from Cookie Monster.  Its characters, muppet and human, come in an array of colors and sizes teaching us all tolerance without preaching.  And if one person began singing “sunny days” right now, the rest of us would chime in “sweepin’ the clouds away” as the first theme song we all learned encouraged us to ask for directions to Sesame Street.  It is a part of our united culture.  It’s a unifying show that is inherently good, innocent and educational.  The mere mention of abolishing it is criminal.  Ugh.  *checks PBS television schedule* Gotta get in all my Dr. Gates documentaries and news, not infotainment, from Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifill while I can.

This rant was brought to you by the letter Rrrr and the number 5 trillion.

Who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?


We’re Up In Arms About What?

I don’t even think it’s necessary to qualify this story as the entire country is only talking about one thing.  Still. Since Monday.  It’s Thursday.  Indeed, I’m throwing my two cents into the Replacement-ref-mageddon.  This crisis must be met with strong social media activity, swift criticism from non-football players and the intelligence that typically surrounds any sporting event after much beer has been consumed.  And I understand why we’re still angered and engaging in such vitriolic conversation.  It’s not like the housing market is doing anything newsworthy.  *checks smartphone for CNN breaking news* Oh, prices rose sharply in the housing market.  Hmm.  Ok, but that’s all.  I mean, nothing else is going on in the world and we’re all healthy and safe.  *checks*  New Sars-like virus emerges in Middle East.  Oh.  I mean, there’s no need to pay attention to this story because it’s waaayyyy overseas.  A virus like that can’t travel west and eventually jump across the pond.  So yeah, really that one referee thought Tate was in full possession of the football and didn’t see him push off his defender?!?  *reads news crawl* The General Assembly of the United Nations is convening.  Topics to be discussed included countering nuclear terrorism.  Well that deserves my attention.  But y’all carry on right after I present the best award for caring far too much about sh*t concerning folks who make millions; I have a newspaper to read. *reads front page* The NFL and its locked-out referees have reached agreement on a contract that will return the officials to the field.  Welp… *turns page*


America Runs On What?

Dunkin’ Donuts

Really? Runs?  Hmpf. Now that’s a bit of a stretch bound to cause a snap.  However, you’d have to have a strength not fueled by ANYTHING coming out of a Dunkin’ Donuts to do so.  Runs?  RUNS?  Who have you ever seen run while holding a donut?  Or just after eating a donut?  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.  Runs?!?  How far?  Oh, from the car in the closest parking space to the door?   Hmmm, that may even prove challenging.  RUN?!?!?  Wow.  Who first fixed their lips to utter such a phrase?  I imagine when the advertising genius who pulled an all-nighter fueled by the deliciousness of Dunkin’ Donuts presented this slogan to the Board he was coming off of a sugar high on the morning of April first.  However, the Board, also running on Dunkin’, neglected to note the date and didn’t have the brain fuel to support the brain synapsis necessary to connect April first to April Fool’s Day.  Still running off the same Dunkin’, the Board unanimously decided that this was spectacular and gave the green light to proceed.  Is this really how we want to present ourselves?   In our highly litigious society, I think it’s only fair for America to sue Dunkin’ Donuts for defamation of character unless we are in fact “running” on Dunkin’.

Do you believe America is running on Dunkin’?  What are some slogans that make you chuckle or cringe each time you see them?