www.eileenslovak.com

Leave the Kids Alone!

Has the paparazzi gone too far?  Well of course, they have, but isn’t that their job?

I am not sure if you have seen the recent coverage of celebrities in California trying to get stricter laws passed to keep paparazzi from photographing their children.  Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee in California: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/nightline-fix-abc-news/jennifer-garner-halle-berry-emotional-testimony-paparazzi-stalking-144106078.html

The bill includes fines, jail time and civil suits for paparazzi.  Here is the thing, does this fall under free speech for photographers who are just doing their job and pose a violation to the 1st Amendment?

On the other hand, does stalking and waiting outside private homes of celebrities constitute an invasion of privacy?  Alternatively, once you become a public figure who depends on paparazzi to keep your face, or your brand public do you give up your right to privacy?  For what is normally a symbiotic relationship, in this case becomes a moral dilemma.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8208885_symbiotic-between-animals-marine-biome.html

As a mother, I am sympathetic to the celebrity plight.  Protection of the children should come above all else.  I love the movies as much as the next woman does and do not begrudge film stars their status.  However, they are willing to sacrifice something that I would never give up, privacy.  You will not see pictures of my children in the public domain if I can help it.

As writers, we have an advantage here, for the most part no one really cares what we look like and most of the time no one even remembers our names.  Try asking a friend the name of the author who wrote the last book he/she just read.  Most likely, they will remember the title of the book or novel but not who wrote it unless that person is among the one percent of famous named writers.  This is why we work so hard to come up with cute, pithy and catchy titles.

Furthermore, as a writer, I have to protect and defend the first amendment!

So what can celebrities do?  Can they blame the paparazzi for doing their job?  Should the paparazzi develop a moral compass that guides them to leave the kids alone?  Not likely, they are well paid for the pictures they take.  Besides, they surely have children of their own for whom they need to provide.

Here is what it comes down to:  you and I all have the power to impact this issue if we so choose.  All of us have stood at the supermarket checkout stands and picked up or purchased the ‘rag mags’ or some more ‘reputable’ publication with these sorts of photos on the cover.  As consumers, we can remove the demand for pictures of celebrity children by not purchasing the magazines and media that exploit minors and print these photographs, because it really is a moral issue.  The magazines will come up with something else to photograph that will sell just as many copies.  What would you do if they were your children?  Think about it.

www.eileenslovak.com

So, You Want to be the Next President

How the DEMS are better at playing politics than the GOP

The 2016 Presidential election has already begun, if you haven’t noticed. Cover-ups are at all time high and backbiting and infighting has already started, which makes me think, Republicans in particular, have not learned anything new since the last election.

For Republican supporters, the reason it’s difficult to back a candidate is that the candidates do not support or back their own party or have a true agenda. They are too busy fighting within the party to put forth a solid candidate. Take the most recent bickering between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. I am a fan of both men, but it irks me to see this childish behavior and to know what Republicans stand to lose again.

The DEMS seem to get this and work very well at publically hugging their enemies and making nice when they begin to lose support over their bad behavior. They are not afraid to run for office ‘post scandal’, such as, Anthony Weiner’s New York Mayoral campaign. They get that if you are the number two choice of supporters there’s always a new prestigious post within the administration and a promise of future support should America decide she loves you again later. They get that the one who gives the speeches is less important than who runs things from behind the scenes. They stick together.

DEMS stay true to their agenda: get the vote, no matter the cost. They are always thinking about the best political move in any given circumstance. For example, take the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed. Aid requested of the State Department far in advance due to ongoing threats was denied. Of course, threats do not always lead to action and finger-pointing does not bring back those lost. Of course, you can’t blame everything that goes wrong within an organization on the person in charge since there are so many other layers in between, right? The State Department managed to duck and cover any responsibility thanks to party and media support.

It was true brilliance how well the DEMS sidestepped any responsibility, by labeling any unpleasantness that crops up as a ‘phony scandal’. How odd then that just last week, in response to terror threats, the State Department closed 18 US Embassies, all over the world. Maybe there was something to learn then. I wonder if the families of the Benghazi victims will ever learn what really happened especially since survivors have signed non-disclosure agreements.

The question I would ask a potential candidate on either side is, if a person is immoral or fails at leadership in a lower office, how can we expect them to be competent in a higher office and particularly as President of the United States?

As for Republican candidates going the way of the RHINO, shame on you!  Just switch sides already.  Why does this continue to happen? Because they are afraid to take a stand and believe they can get away with straddling the fence. Well they can’t, because eventually, that’s going to hurt. The party lines have a clear division; voters get it, so why don’t the candidates?

For true Republicans, it is not a matter of making nice with Democratic supporters in hopes they will switch sides, because DEMS have their agenda and it is not anything like the GOP one. Whether or not you agree with it, you have to respect that they stick to it.

My theory on Independents is they know which way they lean and just do not want to go public about it; I’m sure you will correct me if I am wrong.

Republican supporters have lost faith in ever finding a true leader again and have chosen not to vote out of sheer exasperation. Why else would the Tea Party and the Libertarian Parties be gaining support? In addition, why would the IRS be trying to silence those organizations? Fear. Because among these might emerge a true candidate for the new Republican party, which is really the same party but led by someone who is not afraid. Right now, DEMS are not worried, because they know they can rely on positive media coverage, the apathy of the average voter and for Republications to destroy their own chances.

What do true Republican supporters want? I am willing to take a stab at what a good candidate might look like:
• One who works at keeping government spending down and lowers our debt to China
• One who fights for American jobs instead of just talking about doing it
• One who respects the Constitution and does not treat it like an outdated document
• One who has some idea of how to run the military and preferably someone who has served
• One who understands we have borders for a reason and if people want to become American citizens they are welcome, provided they do so legitimately, don’t break the law, PAY TAXES and get a photo id to vote
• One who loves America and does not want to turn it into a European nation; no offense to Europe, which is a lovely place to visit, but if we still wanted to be British, we never would have left to begin our own country, which once upon a time was a success

Yes, the right to life is a major issue and you have to pick a side and be true to it. This always becomes the DEM go to as a way of pulling support, yet 73-76% of Americans consider themselves Christians, so how does the GOP lose on this issue every time?

Healthcare No Care! Oh, and by the way, is there anyone who believes the new Healthcare law will be a success? It sounds like it needs an overhaul before we all become the administration’s healthcare guinea pigs. Why all the secrecy? Why all the tweaks and special addendums? Why should we continue to pay and pay for bad legislation? How about getting it right first? If the plan is so great, why do members of Congress get a free pass and get to pay the rate of the uninsured when they make much more than the average American?

Does anyone else feel like the one of plebs outside the walled city, begging for scraps?

The Tower of London

Sadly, the days are gone when there was a candidate Americans could really believe in. We might settle for one who at least stuck by what they claim to stand for. However, because of the current state of politics, that person must be a millionaire many times over or have a platform with which to garner support. This is true for both parties, even though the DEMS somehow get away with pretending they care about the ‘common man’, none of them have ever been common or have any idea what we go through trying to keep our families fed.

So, what will it be America? I have noticed President Obama has changed his favorite speech mentor from President Lincoln to FDR. It is interesting to note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was fond of social programs and was the only President who held office for three consecutive terms…very interesting in fact. Of course, the 22nd Amendment prevents this from occurring again, as long as it remains intact. Anyway, I am sure the number two choice will get a nice cabinet post.

Break’s Over; Let’s Get Back To Work, America!

Can good old-fashioned hard work, adapting to the changing marketplace and holding Government accountable for how they spend our taxes, save America?

Is anyone buying the Government is going to create jobs story, waiting around for that to happen?  Because here is some home truth about semantics:  the Government does not create jobs.

The US Government is this country’s largest employer and according to:  www.census.gov, in 2011, employed 16.4 million full time employees.  Yes, we pay people to collect this data, so someone should read it.  There is wasteful spending, which our elected officials will hopefully find and cut, over for the next several months, in order to develop a budget plan.

What Government can do for the private sector job market, that’s Joe’s Hardware store or Nancy’s Restaurant or Lou’s Construction company, you get the picture, is decrease tax rates and change regulations to encourage employers of companies and businesses owners to hire more people and in turn, positively affect the jobless rate and stop companies from sending our jobs overseas.

Here’s another interesting statistic, about three quarters of businesses have no employees, they are simply self-employed.  Stats about business from the US Census Bureau

Feel free to e-mail your favorite Senator or Congressperson to ask what they plan to do about the unemployment rate, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov, is still 7.9% and translates to 12.3 million unemployed:  Press Release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Meanwhile, I don’t know about you, but I get impatient waiting for someone else to fix things.  I believe Americans want to work right now.  So, how can we fix the problem for ourselves?

I’ve been job searching for several months, but despite having a college degree and ten plus years of business experience, I took a part time job in retail for pathetic pay.  Why?  Because it makes me feel better to be part of the solution, not part the problem, because a paycheck validates worth.  Because giving up is not the American way.

Retailers, who make the bulk of their revenue during the months of November and December, are hiring.  Many people take these positions as second jobs.  Some are working two part time jobs, because for employers, the benefit of part time is not paying benefits, which means they can hire more people.  Still, the hope for employees is that hard work will lead to full-time status or a better job somewhere else.

For example:  last night after work, while buying groceries, I was talking to grocery store employee, W, who has the biggest smile I have ever seen while working two jobs, seven days a week.  W’s wife, is getting her nursing degree and they have two children.  This is how it’s done in tough times, America!  As bad as things are, this is still the land of opportunity.

Aside from retailers, here’s what else I found in Maryland, many employers, some nationwide, are hiring Salespeople, Engineers, Teachers, service people, drivers and healthcare workers.  For unskilled labor, there are several jobs in the service industry.  Healthcare and hospitals are hiring at various levels, even at the non-degree level.   Restaurants are hiring skilled and unskilled labor.

If you have some talent with computers like surfing the internet, companies are hiring people to manage and maintain websites and blogs.  Finding a job might require re-training, adapting, learning some new skills.  It might require working a lesser job to figure out a way to pay for re-training.  This is nothing new.  Our Grandparents did it; our parents did it; we can do it.

Also hiring, the US Government and Government contracting companies, until budget cuts begin.  Proposed cuts, slated to come from primarily from defense, include cutting retirement and medical benefits for Veterans, you know, the people who risked their lives fighting wars, protecting us from harm and keeping America safe from terrorism, which exists regardless of what you call it, semantics again, like the attack on our American Consulate in Benghazi.  If you disagree with defense cuts, feel free to e-mail your favorite Senator or Congressperson to suggest they cut something else.

Then, what do I know, I write for free.  But, at least I’m paying taxes.

Can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

The philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans

I was talking to one of my very best friends today, KC, whom I have known all of my life, who knows me better than my relatives do.  Sisters by choice, we can talk about anything, even politics and she suggested I write about this:  can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

I would say a resounding yes, with one exception, those on the extreme left and the extreme right who might somehow find a middle ground, but only with a gap the size of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

I am not overly fond of labels, like Democrat and Republican, liberal, racist or Neo-Nazi.  However, we do like to label one another.  It seems our minds want to organize people into simple labeled boxes like tax receipts, but does anyone really fit neatly into one of those boxes or are the boxes bulging at the seams?  When we slap a quick label on someone do we hurt the person we are labeling or ourselves, for the missed opportunity brought on by judgment?

A few years ago, I gave up being judgmental.  It started as an exercise but turned into a lifestyle change.    I suddenly realized what judgment does to the judge.  It causes one to miss the hidden beauty in humanity, to believe the lie of the masks we all parade, to give credence to rumor and speculation and to forget our mission here on earth, which is to leave this world a better place than it was when we entered it.

So, can Democrats and Republicans be friends?  Bill O’Reilly asked this question on his program.  Stop right there, if you think Bill O’Reilly is a right-wing guy, then you obviously have not watched his program.  Watch first, then judge if you want.

I give Bill credit for attempting to cross the journalistic aisle and appear on programs such as The View, The David Letterman Show and to spar with John Stewart.  This gives me hope for American broadcast journalism, there might be a middle ground, eventually.

Watch o’Reilly on Letterman

I like to think of myself as an independent.  I even like the word; it has so many beautiful connotations.  I have in the past, voted for both Republicans and Democrats, making my decision based on the issues at hand, although on the books, in the box, I am ‘labeled’ a Republican.  Currently, that platform is the most appealing to me.

Oh, and yes I do have friends who are both Democrats and Republicans.  So why is it taboo to talk about politics?  What’s the big deal?  I’ve had friends become enraged over political comments made in jest, whose political viewpoints were so fragile, so easily offended, that they were unable to allow casual comments to pass.  If they were true friends we got past it, if not, we didn’t.  So if you’re squeamish, maybe avoid the topic with acquaintances, but not with good friends.

My friend KC admits to being a Democrat.  She is a single mother, who lost her husband to cancer, very suddenly, at the age of thirty-four.  Not long after that, during the foreclosure crisis, she and her daughter lost their home.   A few years later, after rebuilding their lives, a house fire took everything they owned, clothing, photographs, mementos, but thankfully, no one was hurt.

KC is a college graduate actively seeking employment but says, for her daughter, she is willing to wait tables or clean houses, whatever it takes.  “At least,” she says, “I can be home when my daughter gets home from school.”  She cannot afford daycare.  She cannot afford healthcare, but she says, “I’m lucky.  I went through a horrible time, but I have my health, I have my daughter and I’ve learned to appreciate what really matters in life.”

Forget the labels; they only lead to divisive thinking.  Fighting among ourselves will never make our country stronger.  There is one label we can all wear proudly and that is American.

Voting Rights

Suffrage March 1913

Distracted by the coverage of the upcoming Presidential election, I cannot write about anything else.  It is unfathomable to me that there are people who are either apathetic or uninformed when it comes to politics.

Maybe my fixation is a result of living in close proximity to where all the action happens, near our Nations Capitol.   Every time I enter the city, I feel a swell of American pride, awe and patriotism.  Ironically, the population in this area is somewhat sheltered from the problems of the rest of the Country.  The struggle is not as magnified here, where house prices and employment levels remain high.

I was not engaged at one time and am unsure of when I changed my mind and decided to start paying attention.  I remember feeling about politics the way I felt about golf.  How boring!  Then I started to play golf, not so much by choice but to participate in client tournaments and began to understand the fascination of wanting to get that little ball into that little hole in fewer strokes than the other guy or gal.  My competitive nature took over.

By that same token, there is nothing boring about politics.  If that is what you think, you are merely uninformed.  If that is what you think, you have not been watching the debates. 

Could politics be an interest that develops with age?

Now, being at an age and in an income bracket where so many decisions made by politicians, directly affect me, have I simply just woken up?

Is it because I have Veterans in my family?

Perhaps it is due, in part, to my friends and family members in the military or due to my personal experience of military life.

Maybe, my interest magnified after living in Europe and witnessing their economic and Healthcare issues.

Or, simply put, maybe I feel I am caught in the middle, as a member of the middle class, the knot in the tug of war between the political parties and a member of the gender they are currently squabbling over?

The only problem with this theory is that “we the people” are all affected by the decisions politicians make, whether they tell us what they are doing with our money or not, whether we realize what is happening in the world and how our country is tied to it or not, whether we are aware or not.

As an informed voter, I seek information via multiple television news sources, newspapers, magazines, the radio, the internet and in discussions with others.  It is not hard.  I absorb information while exercising, cooking, checking e-mail and driving, all with minimal effort.  I do not take much stock in celebrity endorsements.  Why trust a professional actor to be truthful?  Rather, I make my own decisions based on my values.  I have the advantage of knowing what those beliefs are and where the candidates stand on issues that are important to me.  Finally, I abhor desperate attempts by the candidates to smear one another or to placate me.

I may be a candidate’s worst nightmare.

For women in America, voting rights began in 1920, less than 100 years ago.  Respecting this right means that I know how fortunate I am to be an American woman.  Respecting this, means that I take my rights seriously.  Whichever candidate for whom you cast your vote, please, respect the right enough to make an informed decision.