Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Loss of Person

When someone dies, their body is gone.
They are no longer a presence.
The loss I never expected, though, was the loss of the dead loved ones' persona.
Vanished are their ideas, memories, loves, beliefs.
Their presence in thought and emotion and comfort disappear.
They leave a void of presence, a hole in the fabric of humanity.
What happens to their consciousness, their compassion, their opinions?
They leave a hole in the cosmos.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Mothers Go

A mother is always warmed by your presence.
She remembers when she first held you,
your baby smell,
your soft, supple skin.
She suffers through your pain
and revels in your achievements.
A mother drops whatever she is doing, whenever you come near.
There is nothing you can do to make your mother stop loving you.
There is nothing you can do to make your mother want you to leave.
There is nothing you can do to make your mother turn away.
You are always welcome in her home, because, to her, it's your home, too.

So when she leaves this world, your mother leaves a void that cannot be filled.
You have no one else in your life that can replace her.
All you can do is grieve.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hurray for Women

Those of you who believe that the real victims of discrimination now are white women - well yesterday showed that most of the women of the world, and many of the men of the world, tend to disagree.  There were Women's Marches in every free city, and some not so free cities, in the world. 

How does a movement begin?  It begins when a large group of people are angry and demonstrate their anger. Truth to power!  Anyone who denies white privilege, especially white male privilege, is not living in the real world.  It is easy to blame ones own faults on perceived discrimination, but let's look at the facts:

1.  Women are abused and raped at a much greater rate than men, with the perpetrator almost always a man.  

2.  Men are in charge of almost all significant corporations, countries, government agencies.

3.  Women are paid less than men. 

4.  Women perform most of the least desirable jobs, at much less pay, and especially women of color perform these jobs - cleaning, waiting tables, assisting others.

5.  Women are taught to be "nice" and look "pretty" (which means thin with makeup). Men aren't. 

6.  What do you call a woman that has a lot of sex?  The names are quite different than what men are called, "stud, Lothario, Don Juan, the man."

I could go on and I won't. Yesterday, women and men stood up against sexism.  All of you white men who feel that you have been discriminated against, as a class, race or gender, you are not. That doesn't mean that you didn't get the job/promotion or whatever.  This is bigger than you.  

I hope the worldwide Women's Marches mean we have a movement. While I love men, and some of my best friends are men, and discrimination doesn't apply to most men, the facts are still the facts. Women comprise 52% of the population and have less than 10% of the power.  That needs to change.  Viva la femme!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Get Health Insurance Without Obamacare

Do you need health insurance and you are scared Obamacare will be repealed. Here is what you should do:

1.  Apply to be a "community" or "visiting" student at a college like the University of Missouri-Kansas City. No need for transcripts, etc.  adjust get permission to take a course for credit. (I have taken the History of Rock and Roll, Physics for Non-Majors, and Women's Studies.) This semester I plan on taking Ancient Classic Literature. 

2.  Enroll in the course. Take the class.  An added benefit is learning new things. A three credit hour class costs about $1000 a semester.  

3.  Sign up for domestic student health insurance. At UMKC it is with Aetna. You can sign up per semester, or on August 15, for a year. The annual cost is approximately $2500. The insurance is great, since most people in the group are 18-22 year olds. $4500 per year (a class for 2 semesters, plus the insurance) averages $375 per month, about half of what comparable insurance costs for me, a 64 year old, under Obamacare, assuming no government subsidy. 

The student health insurance for an older non-smoker ineligible for subsidies, like m, is much better than Obamacare, and cheaper, and not subject to political whimsy.  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our Responsibility - Make This World A Better Place

We are living in a time where our country is divided. People vilify those who believe differently. This division is epidemic across the world. Britain wants out of the European Union, fascism is on the rise in places like Hungary, terrorist attacks plague the world.  I have never lived through what my grandparents experienced, with their siblings and nephew perishing in Auschwitz, and I am grateful for that. We don't want to go back to the times of hatred, Hutus killing Tutsis, Sarajevo with snipers in a war zone. But what can we individuals do?

We need to make this world a better place. That sounds like a daunting tasks, but it's not. It does not take much effort to improve our collective lot. Loving one's family members and friends improves their lot, and, in small part, this world. Volunteering at a food pantry improves children's lives. I have a friend who gave me the idea to send books to a prison. One of the books that helped me was Dr. Victor Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning," which I sent to a prisoner.  The book was passed through the prison and I just discovered it had a real impact on an incarcerated young woman. I was so pleased you would have thought I actually wrote the book, instead of just spending $10 and mailing the book to the prison.

We need kindness and empathy to get through the worldwide malaise. Giving acts are contagious. Giving is loving.  When one gives, it is with no expectations in return. We need to speak up and let our voices be heard. We need to object to bullies and we will make a difference. We need to make this place the kind of world we want for our children.

Kindness and giving takes little effort. Charity and kindness are contagious.  We need These acts now more than ever.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Women - Tired of being bossed around? 7 Rules

Women still struggle - while completing the lion's Share of domestic duties, and being relegated to jobs as "assistant" to a man, working to be the boss but stymied by the boys' club, or penalized for being a mother. Women's exploitation in the work environment is the norm. Just look at  How many female bosses rhere are in large corporations, far fewer than is rational.

Women are better doctors than men, at least according to recent studies. My experience with female doctors is excellent. Women are more likely to care about others. Women are good workers. More women obtain bachelors and graduate degrees than men. Yet, women still earn $.76 on the dollar as compared to men.

So how do women get professional power? I will tell you what has worked for me and my law partner. Women - start your own businesses and, not only will you have no boss, your fate is in your own hands.

Self-employment is not right for everyone. Here is what it takes to be successful and self-employed.

1. WORK WITH PASSION - Know what you want to accomplish - be it selling bird seed, cleaning houses, or practicing law. 

2.   ENVISION SUCCESS - Don't give up.  Consult with other successful business owners. Do not accept defeat. Once knocked down, dust yourself off and keep going. 

3.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF - Self confidence is the key. Faking self-confidence Helps, and, strangely, authentic self-confidence oftentimes follows. 

4.  WORK HARDER THAN YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN WORK. Work, Work, Work.  Research, and work, work, work. 

5.  TREAT OTHERS WITH RESPECT (do this even if you don't want to run a business).

6.  TAKE CALCULATED RISKS - If you don't get outside your comfort zone, you will not succeed. 

7.  DO NOT GIVE UP - just like Winston Churchill said. 

Self-employment is not for everyone. You must want to work hard and loathe being at the whim of others, who are oftentimes less competent than you.  And you must hate being subservient to others. 

Whether you become the next Warren Buffett (or Oprah Winfrey) with your own blood, sweat, and tears, women need to be risk takers. For many of us, there can be no greater professional satisfaction than building your dream job and seeing it through. And no one bosses you around.  Building a business is like giving birth to a child, which is uniquely a female act.  You can do it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

IMPLICIT BIAS - IAT: What is it?

Very few people want to be called a racist or a sexist or an ageist. Whenwe hear those insulting terms, we bristle, and for good reason. We all like to think of ourselves as fair people. Most of us are not explicitly biased or, as we call it, racist, sexist, etc. However, it's human nature to have biases, based on our own experiences, teachings, and familiarity with those like and unlike us. Having an implicit bias, a leaning for or against certain groups or characteristics, is normal. If we can identify those biases, we can work on addressing, if not eliminating them.

At the suggestion of an attorney I know, I have taken four of the implicit bias tests developed by researchers as Harvard. IAT tests. And yes, I, am biased. There are several tests. When you take one on a computer, your views are determined in part by the rapidity of responses and, of course, the content of responses.

I took four tests, to determine if I am biased regarding race, age, gender professions an the Muslim religion.  Generally, people are biased toward groups in which they belong. Regarding race, surprisingly, I am slightly biased toward African-Americans, and not Caucasians like me.  Regarding age, I apparently have no bias toward young or old. Likewise, I have no bias regarding gender professions, probably because I am a lawyer. The test that is more troubling to me was the implicit bias test regarding Muslims. I am slightly biased against Muslims. That is valuable information for me, so that I can work on consciously overcoming this bias. I could spend a long time hypothesizing why my results were the way they were. However, I would rather understand that I have biases, on which I can work.

I suggest those of you reading this take the IAT.  "What do you have to lose?"