Remember the Titans

I was recently browsing the internet for inspirational quotes on teamwork from movies.  I sometimes use these at work.  I ran onto a movie that had not seen in years but rank it as one of my favorite films. “Remember the Titans.”

Now I never look for movies with a message.  I look to movies as an escape from reality.  I don’t want to be “lectured” or “taught”.  I look to be taken to a different time in a different place and escape.  I just want to be entertained.  Some of my favorites are “Star Wars” (the original ones), “Airplane”, “The Untouchables”, and “Tombstone“. No messages, no lessons, just entertainment. “Remember the Titans” is an exception.

“Remember the Titan” has a strong message.  Taking place in 1971, in Alexandra Virginia, “Remember the Titans” looks at the racial divide in the newly integrated T.C. Williams high school.  I’m not saying the movie is not entertaining.  It is one of my favorites.

The most impressive aspect of the movie is that it is based on a true story.  “Remember the Titans” is based on coach Herman Boone and the T.C. Williams Titans football team in 1971. Watching the journey of the players and coaches is inspiring.  The Titans ended the 1971 season with 13 wins, no losses and ranked second in the nation.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time breaking the film down  and offering my interpretation of the film.  The movie is right up front with its message.  They took some liberties with the true story, but the basic facts are represented accurately.  If you have never seen the film I strongly suggest you watch it.  If you have seen it, I’m confident you will want to watch it again.

 

I’ve pasted the movie trailer below.

The music in the film ain’t bad either.

Just saying…….

TODD

 

 

A Digital Hand Shake

I’m offering a digital hand shake to raulconde001.  Raul is one of the newest followers of this Blog.  I do not know Raul.  I have no idea where he lives or what he does.  I only know that he decided to follow the meandering thought I put forth from my keyboard onto this blog.  What opinions, emotions and thoughts have I shared that makes this blog interesting to Raul and the other followers.  I actually don’t find myself interesting enough to follow so why should they?  Do we have something in common?  Are our thoughts completely opposed making me of interest to Raul?  WHY?

I’ve written before on how all of the digital mediums are so impersonal.  I’m sitting alone (my wife and son taking a nap) at the kitchen table, solitary in m thoughts pecking at my keyboard. There is a sense of security about it.  No one to comment on what I am saying.  Others are not around me interjecting their two cents into the discussion.  I see no faces portraying their reactions to what I say.  It’s rather freeing.

Maybe that’s the lure of digital communication.  No feedback.  No judgement.  I am free to say anything I want without judgement.  I am allowed to present thoughts and emotions of my choosing with no immediate response.  They might be my deepest innermost emotions, ones I have not shared with anyone for fear of judgement, free to pour forth without interruption  They may also be a tapestry of my imagination.  A web spun of great detail bearing no place in reality.  There is no one to question their validity.  I can combine my words and sentences in a manner that hurts or inflame others.  They are not here for me to see the pain on their face or face the wrath of their reprisal.  I’m here safe and secure to peck away at my keyboard.

Is this an indictment of digital media?  YES and NO.  I’ve experienced the hurt experienced by words carelessly, or purposely placed on Facebook. It’s easy to sit home alone, as angry thought churn through your mind letting them release onto the keyboard, to be posted on the internet without thought or consideration.  “YEA!  I got them.”  It is not so easy when you face them, look into their face and see a real person with faults and emotions. So the emotions fly and people hurt.  Does the author have regrets later?  I hope so.  I often call Facebook evil.

There is another side, the uplifting stories, the communication.  Our child has Autism.  I can’t begin to express how much the words from a blog called Autism Daddy has helped me.  I’m not alone!  Others face the same things I do in my everyday life.  My wife connects with other Autism parents and shares thoughts and ideas.  We are not alone.  This wouldn’t be possible without digital media.

I met my wife online.  We were both on an online dating site.  We began communicating through the site, not yet to have met.  I am sure I was much funnier and witty without the pressure of meeting in person.  I was probably more charming also.  I found myself racing to my computer when arriving home in hopes of a few words from her.  This went on for a time.  When it came time to finally meet we were both hesitant.  What if we don’t like each other after we meet?  What if I’m not the person she thought I was?  Neither of us wanted our online relationship to end but knew if it didn’t work in the real world, the online world would also end for us both.  We were fortunate.  Things were only better in person and that was over 12 years ago, so I guess everything worked out.

I guess my only conclusion is that digital media is no different from anything else.  It’s not the thing, it’s how we use it.  It is still relatively new so we, as humans are still learning.  It is less personal but if used not in place of human contact but in addition to, it offers much.  If we understand that those on the other side of our posts are people with feelings and emotions the same as us, it has hope.

So for those of you following my blogs, thank you.  Thank You for validating that I have something to say, agree or not.  Thank you for giving me a reason to share my thoughts and hope.  Thank you for finding something I say interesting.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and post these words on digital media for anyone that cares to share them.

JUST SAYING…..

TODD

 

 

I’m Taking my Ball and Going Home!

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This seems to be the new National Slogan.  America has developed to the point of absolute immaturity and childishness.  My only questions is; “Is this on our way up to adulthood, or on our way down to our demise?”

America has become a nation of entitlement and intolerance.  Americans expect everything their way without putting forth the time and energy to truly understand the consequences of their actions.  We seem to have no time to consider alternative courses presented by others, quickly dismissing them and resorting to name calling.  We have become spoiled teenagers.

We celebrate our right to free speech as celebrities stand up proclaim they have thought about blowing up the White House?  Our President, who I support many of his ideas, sends texts, calling judges names that do not support his efforts.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?  

The strength of America is rooted in a democracy that is inclusive and through that inclusiveness brings the best ideas from all of us together.  It requires compromise.  Individually we are no better than ourselves but together we are more than the sum of our parts.  Competing ideas are melded into new concepts that drive the American spirit.  It is this cooperative, competitive spirit that has allowed America to stand out among nations.  It is the force that drove America to victory in WWI and WWII.  It is the source of our innovation and invention.  It is the essence of who we have become. America found a way to tap the creativity of the  individual and still harness the resources of the masses.

America has melded the creativity of the individual spirit and the raw power of the masses.  This “Great Experiment” will not survive entitlement and intolerance.  Entitlement drains the need for individual excellence and intolerance takes away any power offered by the masses.

Americans need a time out.

We need to reflect on what has brought this country to its greatness.  I have little faith this will come from our elected leaders.  They seem to be leading the charge toward our current path.  Americas course correction will need to come at the individual level.  It must come from each one of us.

My solution is simply as follows.

  1. Stop whining!  Life isn’t fair.  It was never intended to be.  We each play with the hand we are dealt to the best of our OWN abilities.  Don’t wait for someone else to solve your problems.  They AREN”T GOING TO.  You have a mind.  USE IT.
  2. Stop enabling others to whine.  They don’t need you telling them it isn’t fair. See answer one.  Encourage them to use their abilities to solve their own problems and THEN offer to help them in a spirit of competitiveness.
  3. LISTEN.  Other people actually have ideas too.  Sometimes they might actually be better than yours.  Don’t immediately dismiss someone who disagrees with you.  If they agree with you then they aren’t going to give you any solutions you don’t already have.  It’s those with other ideas that may have the answers you need.  More importantly, they may have a piece of the solution, that when combined with a piece of yours, is the answer you both are seeking.
  4. Accept others.  I can assure you that if everyone was just like you, thought just like you and acted just like you this was being a VERY boring world, regardless of who you are.  It is our differences that make us interesting.
  5. Stop Categorizing Others.  Not one person fits perfectly into any one group except ALL of us into the group called humans.  Each one of us is a complex mixture of chemistry and culture that make us a unique individual.  I am not my color, my religion, or any of my affiliations.  I am a very unique combination of all of these put together.  See others for who THEY are, not what they are.

So I offer this in all of my wisdom of 55 years.  I take no credit for any of these solutions as most of us would probably put together a list fairly similar to this one.  The challenge is in the application.  The challenge is stopping the mouth from running ahead of the mind.  The challenge is in becoming the person we know we should be.

I am an American Citizen and I approve this message.

Just Saying…..

TODD

Todd

 

 

 

 

A Legacy To Be Written

When a President leaves office, there is always talk about their “Legacy”.  What will historians write as their “Legacy”.  I’m not sure if the Presidents care but the media does.  I would like to add my two cents regarding President Obama’s legacy.  In full disclosure I did not vote for him and personally differ on several issues.

With that understanding…..

President Obama was MY President.  I believe he did care about me and did his best to represent all Americans.  Regardless of right-wing media, I do believe he is an honest man with great character.  He is incredibly intelligent.  I was proud to call him my President.

Barack Obama was the first African-American President.  It was the center of all discussions when he was elected.  The wonderful thing is that he soon stopped being the first African-American President and became the President.  Even his critics stopped seeing an African-American and saw a MAN.  The nation recognized him as the President, NOT the African-American President.  Isn’t that the heart of Dr. King’s dream.  We stop seeing skin color and see the individual.  It’s okay if you do not agree with them, the disagreement is not about race.  America stopped focusing on race and focused on the man.  President Obama was able to take us beyond race and focus on him, the person.  Like or dislike it was about the person and not the skin color.  I believe history will not focus on America’s first African-America President (which is a major leap forward) but on the fact he moved the country beyond race.

There is much talk how the country has become more divided, including race relations.  Relations between white and black America has declined.  The appearance is it has declined but I believe that is only about appearances.  Before Dr. King, Malcolm X and their contemporaries, America lived with blinders.  White America ignorant or unwilling to see the two separate Americas and Black America reluctant to push matters in fear of a return to previous days. Everything appeared to be fine.  With the onset of Dr King and the civil rights movement, America erupted.  Things got “worse”.  In reality nothing got worse.  American prejudice was a deep wound covered by a bandage.  It was infected and killing the country.  Dr. King ripped off the bandage.  The wound was ugly and festering, but now it was open.  Open to air and the light so it had a chance to heal.  Many Americans came together and doctored the wound.  They fought back the infection and America began to heal.

As time passed the wound was re-covered.  It was much better but by no means healed.  We kept it covered for over 50 years.  America was still wounded and healing had stopped.  I believe that President Obama helped rip the bandage off the wound again.  It is there for all of us to see.  He brought America out of its age of apathy and forced us to see the wound had not healed.  He forced us to take off the blinders and deal with our injury.  We now have just accepted that there is an injury.  Now it is time to start treating the wound and healing.  President Obama started that process.  He made all Americans look.  I have faith that we will heal the wound.  We will accept that there is still problems in America and it is up to us to fix them.  I believe that history will credit President Obama with starting the second civil rights movement in America and we will ALL benefit from our advances.

President Obama was a man of action. He wanted to get things done for the American people.  Take Health Care.  Our Health Care system was in trouble.  President Obama was the first with the leadership and vision to take the health care system on and pass Obama Care.  Maybe it doesn’t work.  It would be impossible to correct something as complex as American Health Care without some problems.  It will probably be years before we find a system the works for all Americans.  They can repeal Obama Care but they are forced to deal with the health care system and keep many of the things that did work.  The point is, President Obama was the first with courage to make that huge first step.  History will see him as the father of our modern health care system that is the envy of the world.

President Obama served much of his two terms in an environment of grid lock. Dealing with a legislature locked in battle and accomplishing nothing.  The American people wanted solutions and congress gave them speeches and no action.  The two parties fought and accomplished nothing.  President Obama felt an obligation to serve and provide solutions.  President Obama used executive orders to force action on some of America’s biggest problems.  He dared and pleaded with congress that if they didn’t like his executive orders to pass laws that addressed these issues.  He did not stand back and accept doing nothing.  His opponents railed.  They called the orders unconstitutional and demanded they be rescinded.  I too did not agree with all of them but I respect President Obama for taking some action.  I respect him for attempting to force congress to do their job.  I respect him for caring enough to force solutions to our problems.  History will see his legacy as a man of action.

As I mentioned throughout the blog I did not agree with much of President Obama’s political opinions.  As a man he rose beyond our differences to be a President that I was proud of and have great respect for.  It is a true measure of a president when those that oppose their views can still be proud to call them our president.  I would love to have the opportunity to hang out with President Obama.  I hope President Obama turns to teaching in some form.  His intelligence, wit and passion make him the perfect person to teach.  I would proudly take a class from the President.  I have no doubt I would leave them with some new perspectives and insights into the world and probably new beliefs.

Thank You President Obama.  Your legacy will be among the great Presidents that have served our Nation.

 

Just Saying…..

TODD

 

 

The Death of Innocence

I’ve recently been playing with my new toy from Christmas, a MIG welder.  I suit up in my gloves, jacket and welding hood with a glee in my eye.  As I strike the arc with the gun I’m lost in another place as two pieces of steel melt and fuse together as one.  It’s amazing! Two pieces of STEEL,  METING!  The heat created by the arc is near the temperature of the Sun.  In my youthful jubilation I try to share my wonder with others as they shrug and move on.  “The heat of the Sun!”.  “Steel Melting!”  They shake their head, pat me on mine and move on to important things like the next text message.

I’ve been following stories about self-driving cars.  The car accelerates, brakes and turns all by itself.  IT IS DRIVING!  This has been coming for a while.  We already have cars that parallel park themselves.  This was inevitable.  Now I can’t say I’m looking forward to this as I love to drive, BUT THE CARS DRIVE THEMSELVES!  You know they will be safer than humans.  They don’t text or talk on the phone.  They don’t care what the next song is on the radio and they didn’t just break up with their boyfriends.  It’s coming.  This is absolutely amazing.  Your car driving itself.  Yet people talk about self driving cars with the same enthusiasm as they talk about the weather.

The next bold leap for man is artificial intelligence.  I don’t know how far it will progress in my lifetime but it’s coming fast.  I already talk to SIRI while driving my car.  “Hey SIRI, Send a test message to my wife”. Siri promptly answers, repeats the message back to me and sends it.  I spent a couple of hours the other night talking to a Google.  “Hey Google, Did you have a nice Christmas?.”  She answered me and we  continued on with our conversation for thirty minutes. People seem to enjoy Siri, Google and Alexis but I hear little amazement in their voice when they talk about them.  I carried on a conversation with artificial intelligence.

Last week I sat outside my office watching planes on their final approach to the airport.  We are located directly in their path.  I saw an airliner slowly descending as it passed over and was caught up in the fact that this huge aircraft filled with people and luggage was floating overhead. I know the science of flight, with Bernoulli’s Theorem, air pressure, lift drag, blah blah blah.  But what I saw was this beautiful aircraft hanging in the sky.  WOW!

My wife often tells me I am immature.  It’s not an insult.  It’s one of the traits she loves about me.  Is immaturity a bad thing?  I still see the wonder in the world and of man’s accomplishment.  I look at the world with the same opened-eye wonder as those that sought to go to the moon in 1961. The world is an amazing place. My concern is fewer and fewer of us do.  We come to expect everything and are amazed at nothing.

Man has inhabited the earth for about 200,000 years.  They matured to what we think of as humans about 50,000 years ago and have been civilized for only about 6,000 years.  Mankind is moving into maturity.  We are loosing our innocence.  That scares me.  It is our innocence and immaturity that has driven us to such amazing accomplishments.  It is those who see things with amazement that have the immaturity to dream “What If?”.  If we stop looking at the world with wonder we will no longer have the inspiration to ask “WHY?” or “WHY NOT?”.

If mankind continues to mature and loses its sense of wonder we will no longer advance.  When everyone takes man’s accomplishments for granted then there will no longer be dreamers to take us to the next level.  When we lose our innocence, real progress will end.  The NEW ideas and NEW dreams will stop.

I hope this never happens.  I hope that there will always be a few that will still be amazed by their surroundings and have the courage to be immature and ask “What If”.  I hope that there will always be those that dream of going to the moon even though the technology doesn’t exist.  I pray that there will always be two brothers that look to the birds and wonder “What if I could fly?”.

The world is an amazing place.  We have not scratched the surface of what we can accomplish, as long as there are those that see the world with amazement and ask “What If”.  The dreamers.  The immature that never lose their innocence when looking around them.  You can become one of them.  Stop right now.  Think of what you are reading.  Imagine me sitting in front of my lap top computer, at my dining room table, in a different place, at a different time pecking these words on a key board.  They were spell check (hopefully) and formatted into this text.  When I hit send they magically floated up onto a cloud to be stored for all time.  As you look at your phone, tablet or computer today, you summon these words from the past.  They float down from that cloud and appeared before your eyes.  My rambling thoughts, shared with you across space and time, Magically.  Don’t think about the science.  Don’t just take it for granted.  Allow your self to be amazed. The world is a wonderful place.

Just saying…..

TODD

Lear

Yes Virginia, There is More.

 

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

My name is Virginia.  My mother wrote to you in 1947 with a question regarding Christmas.  You really helped her.  I also have a question regarding Christmas.  I hope you can also help me.

It’s early afternoon Christmas Day.  The Christmas Feast has been devoured and presents have been ripped opened and flung around the room.  The kitchen is piled with dirty dishes, the only remnants of the Holiday Meal .  The trash is overflowing.  Wrapping and boxes are strewn about the family room and my wonderful family that I love is lying around in a food coma.

I have spent over a month preparing for this.  Worked over-time to get Christmas cash.  Dug my toes in to keep from sliding off the roof as I hung over the gutter stringing lights.  I fought with the dogs to leave the tree alone that I tramped out in the cold to get and spent an afternoon decorating.  I got up early last week to go to the supermarket before the crowds and purchase all the ingredients for the meal.  I mixed, baked, thawed and cook for the last three days.  Dragged piles of bags and packages like a homeless person from store to store on a quest to find the perfect gifts.  Stayed up late at night and trolled Amazon hoping to find those last few gifts with two-day  shipping. Too sum it up, I’m exhausted!

And now here I am.  The credit card bills haven’t even arrived and in a couple of hours it’s done? The meal was eaten, the presents opened and it’s over?  It’s over other than climbing back on the roof to take the lights down in the January cold and spending a weekend un-decorating and cleaning the house.  Over except the next three hours cleaning dishes and picking up the house as my family snoozes.

IT’S OVER????

THAT’S IT?????

IS THIS ALL??????

IS THIS THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS???????

PLEASE TELL ME THERE IS MORE.

Best Regards,

Virginia

 

REPLY FROM THE EDITOR:

 

Dear Virginia,

I want to refer to two experts in this field to answer your question.

 

linus

Linus

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, tis Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Dr Seuss

The Grinch stole all the presents. He stole all the decorations.  He took the Christmas feast including the roast beast.  He even took the last can of Who Hash. He took the Christmas tree from every Who house.  He even grabbed the stockings from the hearth and the candy from the children’s very hands. He stripped away everything the Who had prepared for the big day.  And as the sun rose on Christmas morning what did the Grinch see?  He saw all the Whos in Whosville, in the town square.  They held hands and sang and rejoiced, It was Christmas morning. Every Who in Whosville singing without any presents at all.  He hadn’t stopped Christmas form coming.  It came.  It came without ribbons, It came without tags, It came without packages, boxes and bags.  Then the Grinch thought. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  And with that realization the Whos in Whosville say that Grinch’s tiny heart grew three times that day.

The Grinch

None of those other things are what Christmas is all about.  The lights and garland, presents and meals are nothing more than a side-show, a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas is about love and caring.  It’s about family and friends.  It’s about accepting others for who they are. It’s about the Whos in Whosville on that Christmas morning, in the town square. It’s about hope. It’s about belief, belief that miracles really do happen.  Hope that a little bit of the love, and caring for others of the season will follow us through the new year.  Hope that we can keep the laughter and excitement for life without the lights and trees in the days to come.

It’s about hope that things really can be a little better than they are, if it starts with me..

So to answer your question Virginia, NO, This is not ALL, these things are NOT the true meaning of Christmas.  Look beyond what is in front of your face to what CAN BE, if you want it to be. That’s the true magic of Christmas.

The Editor.

MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN

Just Saying………..

Todd

Todd

Something to Live For

leaves

For those of you as old as I, you will probably remember the Heinz Ketchup commercial that used Carly Simon’s song Anticipation in the background.

Anticipation.

I am sitting here, looking out my window at a light mist and the leaves falling from the trees. That’s a picture out my window above.

My mind wanders. They are predicting snow tomorrow.  I’m so excited for snow to come.  It’s a week before Christmas and I look forward to our visit from Santa Claus for my son Daven.  The economy seems to be turning, oil prices are rising and it looks like business is going to turn around after a two- year drought. That’s really exciting.

Anticipation.

Anticipation motivates and gives us something to work toward.  It drives us and gives us a reason to get up each day.  Anticipation is a good thing?

As all of these things run through my mind, I pause and look back out the window. The tress are brown and yellow, orange and red.  They really are beautiful.  Those leaves, float down in an almost dancing motion, swaying left and ride as they ride the invisible wind down.  It really is am amazing view.  I almost missed it.  It is a moment I will never get back.  As I began moving ahead in my mind, anticipating the future, I almost missed the present.  I didn’t see the colors and the beauty of right now.  I was becoming so wrapped up in what MIGHT BE that I almost missed the wonder of what IS.

It is often said, “Do not live in the past”.  We should learn form the past but not dwell on it.  We should take the lessons from the past and apply them to our lives today, but not get wrapped up in them.

The future and anticipation are no different.  It’s good to have hope. It’s important to plan.  It’s invigorating to anticipate the future, BUT not at the cost of today.  Today might be all we have. If you knew today was your last day on earth, would you spend it thinking about tomorrow.  Unless your thinking of the here after, I really doubt it.  Today is the gift your given.  This minute in life is the only thing you have, it is and will never be again.

Take the lessons from the past, plan for the future but LIVE TODAY.

If you will excuse me, I’m going to go outside and enjoy my back yard.

Just Saying….

TODD

Beau 1 - Copy

 

The Double Edged Sword

The internet.  A world-wide sensation.  It has intertwined itself in our lives both personal and professional.  It has allowed corporations to work in real-time from across the globe.  The internet has changed the way we shop, listen to music, the way we work and the way we communicate.  The greatest thing ever?

My first answer would be yes.  I couldn’t do this blog without it.  I can operate my computer at work from home.  I do my shopping on it. I use email and text messaging.  I am an avid fan of the internet. I even met my wife on the internet.

But there is another side that emerges from this technology.  A darker side.  A different form of communication that brings out the worst in people.

Facebook

Facebook appears to be a wonderful communication tool.  You can post pictures and movies.  Your able to find and stay in touch with long-lost friends.  You can find others with common interest and share your passion.  These and much more is the possibilities you find with Facebook.  The reality is what you usually find is the worst o fhuman nature.

Political discussions on Facebook are common. It starts with someone posting their views.  It ends with vile comments and personal slanders among many that jump on to crucify the author.  It is rarely a spirited debate using facts and figures to defend ones views. It is mostly an on-line hate fest with each side vying for the gotcha comment. Very few of these people would ever voice their opinions in person, but in the security of their own home they spew their “expert” opinions, usually displaying their IQ at the same time.

And then there are the little people.  I mean people of little spine and backbone.  People of little integrity and character.  They sit in the corner of their darkened room with a little smile typing away.  It could be a scene from the Grinch seated behind their keyboard or tablet.  They spread lies and hate.  They broadcast insults and hurtful post.  They are there to tear everyone else down.  They have not the spine to say any of it in person but in the security of their dark little corner they tap away.  They will show everyone.  They have little sense of self-worth and only derive pleasure from tearing others down.  They are the dark edge of the technology sword.  They use this incredible tool to hate and destroy.  I see it over and over again.  You see it in the news with the high school student that commits suicide over what was posted on Facebook.  You see it as often in adults.  I have seen those I love furious and in tears over Facebook posts.  My daughter suffered an attack just last week.  These weasalie pathetic excuses for humans tap tap tap in their darkened room.  They will get them.  They tap tap tap in delight spreading pain and sorrow.

As with everything the internet is only a tool.  It is up to us as to how to use it.  Regretfully, human nature shows itself again utilizing this amazing tool for their selfish evil purposes.  I for one say if you can’t ignore it, delete Facebook and take their power away.  they are only as strong as we let them be.

Just saying.

TODD…..

The Few

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It’s Sunday evening following Thanksgiving.  I’ve heard so many talk about what they are they thankful for.  I’ve heard about families and good health.  I’ve heard about friends and success.  The one thing I didn’t hear people giving thanks for are the “FEW”.

The “FEW” are those individuals that give up being home with families giving thanks so they can be out there providing us all the things we take for granted we should be thankful for.  This is a Thanksgiving tribute to the few.  To the few that sacrifice so much for the many.

To the 19 year old, feeling a chill while standing guard in a tower in South Korea with his rifle every vigilant. To the father skyping his family while sitting in closet sized room on aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.  They stand guard so we may celebrate in peace at home.

To B Shift at the firehouse.  They just got interrupted from the turkey dinner they were trying to share to race out on a call.  They have no idea what they will face when they get there but they know someone needs help and that’s all that matters.

To the ten year veteran police office sitting in her cruiser waiting for a call for help.  She knows the bad guys don’t take off Holidays so neither does she. When the call comes she responds.  She has a whole city to protect.

To the two paramedics on their way to the chest pain call.  They hope it’s indigestion from too much turkey but they respond as it’s life or death because they know it might be.

To the nurse and aid catching a turkey sandwich in between patients buzzing for help.  They know none of their patients want to be at the hospital on Thanksgiving and that’s why they have to be at their best.  They try to offer much more than medical care, they offer a friendly ear and warm smile to help make this day a little easier.

To the lineman, cold in his bucket trying to fix the broken transformer.  Everyone depends on him for light and heat and so much more.  It doesn’t matter it is Thanksgiving, he will keep the power flowing because that’s his job.

To the backhoe operator digging up the broken water line.  There is never enough light to see what he’s doing at night but he works on.  People need water.  He and the crew will get it back on in a couple of hours.

To the swimmer and flight crew aboard the rescue helo in Alaska. As a Coast Guard diver he knows he may need to jump in those icy waters but it’s what he trained for.  He’ll be there if he’s needed, Thanksgiving and every other day.

There are many others out there. The FEW.  They are the ones we often don’t see or think about that quietly do their jobs, serving the rest of us.  They will be there on Thanksgiving and on Christmas and every other day.  It’s what they do.  They ask very little in return yet offer us all so much.

So what am I thankful for?  I’m thankful for the few that protect and provide so much that makes my life so much better.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Just Saying…

TODD

Todd

 

Made in the USA

Ford’s Executive Chairman of the Board, Bill Ford recently contacted President Elect Donald Trump to inform him Ford will NOT move it’s Lincoln MKC luxury SUV plant from Louisville, Kentucky to Mexico.  YEA!!!  Won one.

At the same time, Audi is finishing up construction on its $1.3 billion factory in Mexico that was considered for Chattanooga Tennessee.  BOOO!  Lost one.

This is the day-to-day battle to retain and attract auto manufacturing jobs to the United States.  The problem is two-part, the two-edged sword of trade agreements and lower cost workers in other countries.

Mexico have been masters at creating free trade agreements across the globe.  They currently subscribe to forty different agreements that give Mexican exporters duty-free access to markets that contain 60% of the worlds economic output. Ten of these agreements give their exports duty free export to 45 different countries including Europe, Latin America, the Asian Pacific and the U.S. and Canada.  In contrast the U.S. has free trade agreements with only 20 countries, mostly smaller such as Chili, Jordan and Panama.  It costs BMW’s U.S. plant a 10% tariff to ship cars to Europe.  On a luxury SUV that costs $50k that is $5,000 in export tariff.

So the easy answer would be for the U.S. to strike similar agreements across the globe, Right?  It’s not that simple.  The free trade agreements allow all signed nations to ship to one other without tariffs.  Good Deal!  Not so fast.  Many of these countries have government subsidized manufacturing and offer lower labor costs.  This is an incentive for U.S. manufacturers to take advantage of the cost savings in those countries, bringing the cars back to the states tariff free.  That means lost jobs!  U.S., Mexico and the U.S. are currently members of a free trade agreement called NAFTA.  Many site that as the reason for all of the lost jobs to Mexico.  Due to NAFTA, Canada has seen most of its auto manufacturing disappear.

The United States is currently negotiating a similar agreement with Asian Pacific countries called the Pacific Partnership.  No tariffs on trade between the nations.  Lost Jobs for the U.S.?  Opponents say yes.  President Elect Trump has vowed to kill the agreement when getting to office.

Every Audi Q5 SUV that is exported from Mexico will be $6,000 cheaper than it would have been if manufactured in Tennessee.

Mexico has nothing to lose and everything to gain by these free trade agreements.  They are the nation of less expensive labor.  Most Mexican auto workers make in a day what U.S. auto workers make in an hour. On average, Mexican auto workers make $8 per hour, including benefits.  G.M. UAW auto workers make $58 per hour on average and Non UAW U.S. automakers, like the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee make $38 per hour.  Even at these wages, the Mexican jobs are highly sought after with Mexico’s minimum wage of $4.50 per DAY.

As you can see it is complicated issue.  Free trade agreements would work fine if their were level playing fields but they are not.  The reality is that America has a great deal to lose with fair trade agreements.  President Elect Trump has promised to negotiate better trade agreements with other countries to bring jobs back to America.  I wish him the best.  He has seen early signs of success with the Ford announcement and Mexico’s announcement that they would be willing to re-negotiate the term of NAFTA.  Made in America still means something.  Put our workers back to work.

 

Just Saying…..

TODD

 

 

Todd