Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

5 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Over Time

May 11, 2013

I opened up yahoo awhile ago to check my e-mails. I found this wonderful piece about mothers and our perceived value through modern times. However, it says, I cannot use it.  Go into yahoo and do a search for this title:  5 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Over TimeI  I hope you enjoy it; I found it immensely interesting and informative.  HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all of you…moms, dads and kids alike!



April 22, 2013

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the tragedy in Boston. One of my readers has written:

Thanks to JV for sharing …

Here is a blog entry of a very smart, very wise person I know who came from overseas, so he has seen what a police state can look like and act like, and how a society can protect itself effectively.

He makes his points that the whole operation was a failure.

And I like the ACLU question the wisdom of restricting Miranda rights to a US citizen on US soil. There is little to be gained by twisting our sacrosant laws for “iffy” reasons. Also, on Le Show Harry Shearer pokedfun at congress talking about a 3 day waiting period and background check before purchasing stovetop cooking utensils.

Bombing in Boston-sadness

April 21, 2013
 The article below gave me some information…unfortunately, it isn’t enough…the tragedy at The Boston Marathon has been all over the news since it happened…we are all puzzled and saddened. Some people get angry, others, devastated and confused, others want THE FACTS…as if facts are easy to come by. No matter how much or how little you have listened, watched or read, what we are really seeking is for something to make sense. As Americans with our seemingly ADHD short attention span, we accept the nonsensical speed and misinformation from all media because we seek easy answers and conclusions that “make sense” and make us feel a little better.
Why would two seemingly intelligent young brothers who have everything to look forward to decide to destroy their own lives and those of others? How could this possibly make sense? Who could possiblly wish to harm positive, hard-training athletes (of all levels and ages) as they participate in such an impressive display of their spirits? as they offer the world a gift of optimism, faith and true personal power?
I have tried not to watch, listen or read much of the coverage offered this past week. I get tired of the emotion that comes to me if I allow all of this to enter my body and my spirit.
The frenzy about finding suspects and then capturing or killing them (and it does seem that we went after this with a ferocity that makes one question whether accuracy was essential) makes all of the chase and the government officials suspect in my head. Of course, I am a pacifist, so you can take what I say keeping that in mind.
For me, the tragedy of people passing unnecessarily, whether they were killed at the marathon or after, and the injured and their families and their ongoing saga -FOREVER-this is really all too much to keep in my heart every moment.
I am saddened by the silent and not-so-silent cheering when a man is killed by police (yes, I know he allegedly killed people for no good reason). My overwhelming feeling about all of this is the sadness of our spirit as a people…I can never celebrate a death, no matter how seemingly necessary or just. My sadness is about the conversation that is out there about these men being Muslims…I am so very sick over our need to put people in little categories, stereotyping…and I wonder how many people are surprised that there are Muslims in Chechnya!  I digress.
I believe in love and I pray that we Americans will change the conversation and learn to not cheer for anyone’s demise.  Lives shortened for no good reason..parents, friends, loved ones who mourn…for their own personal losses in addition to their guilt and sadness over what havoc their loved one may have caused…
Peace is the answer-be a peacemaker…

For bombing suspects, question may be who led whom


  • This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)

BOSTON (AP) — Tamerlan Tsarnaev ranted at a neighbor about Islam and the United States. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, relished debating people on religion, “then crushing their beliefs with facts.”

The older brother sought individual glory in the boxing ring, while the younger excelled as part of a team. Tamerlan “swaggered” through the family home like a “man-of-the-house type,” one visitor recalls, while Dzhokhar seemed “very respectful and very obedient” to his mother.

The brothers, now forever linked in the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy, in some ways seemed as different as siblings could be. But whatever drove them to allegedly set off two pressure-cooker bombs, their uncle is certain Dzhokhar was not the one pulling the strings.

“He’s not been understanding anything. He’s a 19-year-old boy,” Ruslan Tsarni said of his brother’s youngest child, who is clinging to life in a Boston hospital after a gunbattle with police. “He’s been absolutely wasted by his older brother. I mean, he used him. He used him for whatever he’s done. For what we see they’ve done. OK?”

Criminologist James Alan Fox says the uncle’s intuition is justified. In cases like this, he says, it is highly unusual for the younger participant — in this case, a sibling — to be the leader.

“I would be surprised,” says Fox, a professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Boston’s Northeastern University. “Very surprised.”

Whatever their fraternal pecking order, when the bullets began flying in Watertown on Thursday night and 26-year-old Tamerlan went down, his younger brother ran him over — dragging him for about 30 feet — before ditching the car and fleeing on foot. After a 24-hour manhunt that shut down most of the Boston metropolitan area, police cornered the gravely wounded Dzhokhar hiding in a boat in a backyard, only blocks from where his brother bled out.

Officials said Dzhokhar was in serious condition Saturday, unable to communicate. So, at least for now, investigators and the public are left with only enigma.

The ethnic Chechen family came to this country in 2002, after fleeing troubles in Kyrgyzstan and then Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. They settled in a working-class part of Cambridge, where the father, Anzor Tsarnaev, opened an auto shop.

He returned to Dagestan about a year ago.

Luis Vasquez went to high school with Tamerlan and later helped coach Dzhokhar’s soccer team at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. With the father gone, Vasquez said, the older brother assumed a kind of paternal role, at least where the girls in the family were concerned.

“He was very protective of his (younger) sister, Bella,” Vasquez said. “He would keep an eye out, making sure she’s good, making sure she’s not having a hard time.”

Vasquez chalked it up to “his culture” and “what his family expected out of him.”

David Mijares, who trained in boxing with Tamerlan in high school and later coached the younger brother in soccer, agreed that his friend felt pressure to take his father’s place.

“He had to be a man at a very early age,” says Mijares. “That would be, in my opinion, a huge reason for who he was, all serious and no nonsense.”

John Pinto said the pair were frequent patrons at his Midwest Grill, just a couple of blocks from their house. When they walked in, he said, Tamerlan was always in the lead.

“I think the big brother is more the command guy, boss,” Pinto said, puffing out his chest for emphasis.

That said, Dzhokhar was very much his own man. While he would tag along to Tamerlan’s boxing practices, the younger brother was into wrestling.

In one of his tweets, he complained that his mother was trying to arrange a marriage for him, as she’d done for his sisters.

“she needs to (hash)chillout,” he tweeted on July 12. “i’ll find my own honey.”

Tamerlan preceded his brother at the prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, which counts celebrities Matt Damon and Ben Affleck among its alumni. But he does not appear to have been a standout student and athlete whose reputation Dzhokhar would have felt pressure to live up to.

“To be perfectly honest, I did not know he HAD an older brother from the start,” said classmate Alexandros Stefanakis, who played pickup basketball games and hung out with Dzhokhar outside school.

Anne Kilzer of Belmont would go to the Tsarnaev home for regular facials from the boys’ mother, Zubeidat. She said the older brother was a “macho guy,” whereas Dzhokhar seemed more cerebral.

The few times that Tamerlan was there, he would wave his mother off when she tried to introduce him. “He sort of swaggered through,” she said. “Sort of a man-of-the-house type.”

In a blog entry, Kilzer’s daughter, Alyssa, suggested that the mother became increasingly religious as their acquaintance progressed. For instance, she began wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf.

“She started to refuse to see boys that had gone through puberty, as she had consulted a religious figure and he had told her it was sacrilegious,” Alyssa Kilzer wrote. “She was often fasting. She told me that she had cried for days when her oldest son, Tamerlan, told her that he wanted to move out, going against her culture’s tradition of the son staying in the house with the mother until marriage.”

She said the mother also expressed some rather strident views about the U.S. government. But it was difficult to know who was influencing whom in the household.

“During this facial session she started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me that she thought 9-11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate Muslims,” Alyssa Kilzer wrote. “‘It’s real,’ she said. ‘My son knows all about it. You can read on the internet.'”

Kilzer didn’t say to which son the mother was referring. Kilzer, who is studying in Scotland, could not immediately be reached.

Tsarni told The Associated Press from his home in Maryland that a deep rift opened between him and his sister-in-law, but that he tried to maintain a relationship with the boys. However, that effort began to fall apart several years ago, he said, when Tamerlan “started carrying all this nonsense associated with religion, with Islamic religion.”

When he asked his older nephew why he wasn’t in school, he said Tamerlan gave an enigmatic answer. “Oh, I’m in God’s business,” the young man replied.

Tamerlan would throw out foreign words like “jihad” and “Inshallah” — Arabic for “God willing” — without really understanding their meaning, he said. Though Tsarni is himself Muslim, he said he does not worship at a mosque.

The uncle was surprised when he learned that Tamerlan had gotten married to an American woman — a “good Christian family girl,” who his nephew said was about to convert to Islam.

In February, Alexander Podobryaev, who lives a couple of houses from the Tsarnaevs, exchanged pleasantries with Tamerlan as they shoveled snow. He says the man pointed to a woman in a black Muslim headscarf and identified her as his wife.

Others began noticing signs of Tamerlan’s increasing agitation.

One of the brothers’ neighbors, Albrecht Ammon, said he had a bizarre encounter with Tamerlan in a pizza shop about three months ago. The older brother argued with him about U.S. foreign policy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and religion.

He said Tamerlan referred to the Bible as a “cheap copy” of the Quran, and that many of this country’s wars “are based upon the Bible — how it’s an excuse to invade other countries.”

“He had nothing against the American people,” Ammon said. “He had something against the American government.”

Dzhokhar, on the other hand, was “real cool,” Ammon said. “A chill guy.”

An elder at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in New England, said Tamerlan occasionally attended Friday prayer services at the mosque in the past year and a half.

About three months ago, around Martin Luther King Day, Tamerlan stood up and interrupted the imam during the sermon, said Anwar Kazmi, a board member of the Islamic Society. The imam compared the slain civil rights leads to the Prophet Muhammed, drawing objections from Tamerlan, Kazmi said.

Mosque leaders later sat down with Tamerlan and discussed his rant, said Kazmi, who said Tamerlan returned to future services and had no further outbursts.

While his older brother was railing about religion and world politics, Dzhokhar seemed more interested in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and other television shows.

“Breaking Bad taught me how to dispose of a corpse,” he tweeted on Jan. 16, referring to the popular AMC series about a dying chemistry teacher who turns to cooking methamphetamine to leave a nest egg for his family.

He did tweet about religion, but they were hardly the words of a hard-core zealot.

“This night deserves Hennessy a bad b—- and an o of weed,” he wrote on Nov. 17. “the holy trinity”

On Nov. 29, he wrote: “I kind of like religious debates, just hearing what other people believe is interesting and then crushing their beliefs with facts is fun.” And on Jan. 15: “I don’t argue with fools who say Islam is terrorism it’s not worth a thing, let an idiot remain an idiot.”

However, he acknowledged in another message around Christmas that the “Brothers at the mosque either think I’m a convert or that I’m from Algeria or Syria.”

Fox said it’s not unheard of for the younger person in a crime team to be the dominant personality. But he said it’s rare.

“In this case, the older brother is the one that seems to have become religious and drawn to Islam,” Fox said. “The older brother dropped out of school … whereas the younger brother, it was all positives.”

But, he said, “the age factor is critical here.”

Tamerlan was a fairly gifted boxer, but he preened about fighting prowess that often fell far short. His younger brother seemed content to be part of a team.

Marvin Salazar was two years older than Dzhokhar when they attended Community Charter Schools of Cambridge, where they played intramural soccer together. He was impressed by the younger boy’s smarts and drive, but noted that while Dzhokhar was very fast, he wasn’t the kind of kid who needed to showboat and score goals.

“I remember he told me he liked to play midfield,” the 21-year-old said. “He’s the guy who sets everybody up for the plays. He’s one of the most important people.”

He was also on his high school wrestling team.

Tamerlan once said he had no American friends. His brother had lots of them, but fellow students at UMass-Dartmouth say he also hung out with some Russian speakers.

On March 14, 2012, Dzhokhar tweeted: “a decade in america already, i want out” That same day, he added, “im trying to grow a beard”

Dzhokhar became naturalized last September, federal officials told the AP. His older brother had a green card but may have been thwarted in his quest for U.S. citizenship by an assault charge, his father told The New York Times.

If Tamerlan recorded his thoughts, they have not yet surfaced — at least publicly. His brother left a trail on the Internet, although in an Aug. 7, 2012 tweet, he called himself a “heavy sleeper and a great liar”

In March, Dzhokhar tweeted: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” A week and a half earlier, he reminded his followers, “Never underestimate the rebel with a cause.”

The day of the bombing, he wrote: “There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority”

Tsarni is confident authorities will find that Tamerlan was his younger brother’s “mentor.”

“Dzhokhar, of course, was looking up at him,” he said.

But their body language the day of the bombings seems to suggest at least a partnership of equals.

In one of the now infamous photos the FBI released to the public in hopes of tips, the older brother has his head down, the visor pulled low over his face as if he’s trying to hide. Dzhokhar, by contrast, has his white baseball cap turned backward, revealing his entire face, his chin is thrust confidently into the air.

Associated Press videojournalist Joseph Frederick contributed to this report.

How To Protect Your Social Security Number

March 31, 2013

I read this today on yahoo…hope it is helpful to you

5 Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security Number

By Adam Levin | – Fri, Mar 29, 2013 3:29 PM EDT

Every time you go to a new doctor or dentist and they give you a clipboard brimming with documents to fill out and sign, notice how they always ask for your Social Security number? Do you dutifully give it up? Did you ever wonder if they really need it?

I once asked a doctor why he wanted it. His response: “I don’t really know. I guess it’s because we’ve always asked for it.” (In actuality, most doctors ask in case your insurance doesn’t pay the entire invoice and/or to fill out a death certificate if you die. Offer a next of kin who knows the number instead, and your phone number for billing issues.)

Almost every day somebody asks for your Social Security Number and, like the Grand Marshal of a parade throwing rose petals or candy to the crowd, you probably give it up without giving it a second thought — because that’s what you’ve always done.

So, the next time someone asks you for your Social Security number, reflect on this: In December, the Army announced that hackers stole the Social Security numbers of 36,000 visitors to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, including intelligence officers. Cyber activists took control of the CIA’s website. The private information, including some Social Security numbers, of celebrities and political leaders including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were exposed.

The sensitive data of First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, recently were posted on a website for the world to see.

Hackers even listened in on a phone call in which the FBI and Scotland Yard were discussing the criminal investigation against those very same hackers!

And, these incidents are only the crumbs on top of the coffee cake when you consider that hackers and thieves have improperly accessed more than 600 million consumer files since 2004.

Monty Python had it right

The moral to these horror stories is that if your Social Security number is stored on any computer anywhere, hackers will find a way to access it, or a compromised or disgruntled employee may well walk out the door with it. If your doctor, gym, or child’s grade school claims otherwise, that their security systems can protect your private data better than the CIA, FBI and Scotland Yard, to quote Monty Python: “Run away!”

Your identity is your biggest asset, and your Social Security number is the key to your personal kingdom. With it an identity thief can wreak havoc, hijacking your old credit accounts, establishing new ones, buying cars and houses, committing crimes, even obtaining medical products and services while pretending to be you, endangering not just your credit and your reputation, but also your life.

Consumers whose Social Security numbers are exposed in a data breach are five times more likely to become fraud victims than those who aren’t, according to the latest identity fraud report by Javelin Strategy & Research.

Just say no

For better or worse, you are the gatekeeper. The person most responsible for shielding your Social Security Number is you. Therefore, your mission is to limit, as best you can, the universe of those who gain access to it.

Here’s a short list of companies and organizations that have absolutely no business requesting your Social Security number:

1. Anyone who calls or sends you an official-looking email, who texts you a link to any site or designates a number to call where you are asked to confirm your SSN. If they call, check the credit or debit card that is the subject of the communication, call the customer service number listed on the back, and ask for the security department. If they email or text, do the same, or go directly to the institution’s website (provided you know who they are). Make sure you type the correct URL, and make sure that the page where you are asked to enter your information is secure. Only provide personal information if you’re the one who controls the interaction.

2. Public schools: Your utility bill confirms your address. Your email and phone number give them channels to contact you in an emergency. Asking for your Social Security number is overkill.

3. Little League, summer camp and the like: For the same reasons as school, a Social Security number should never be required by these groups. If they ask for your child’s birth certificate, show it to them, don’t leave it with them unless they can prove they will protect it. And even then, can you really believe them?  If you use credit to pay for the activity, the organization may need your Social Security number. If you pay for it upfront or with a direct debit to your bank account or credit card, they don’t. Period.

4. Supermarkets: A frequent shopper card is neither a loan, nor a bank account. It’s merely a tool grocery stores use to track your purchases, primarily for marketing purposes. Regardless, many supermarket chains request customers’ Social Security numbers on their application forms. Refuse.

5. Anybody who approaches you on the street, whether it’s a cell phone company salesman offering a free T-shirt or someone running a voter registration campaign: Never, ever give your SSN. If you want an ill-fitting T-shirt festooned with corporate logos, buy one. If you want to register to vote, go to your county board of elections in person.

This is the short list. There are plenty of other organizations that should never get your Social Security number, and if you know one that I’ve left out, please leave it in the comments.

Don’t just hand it over

Once you realize how often you are asked for your Social Security number, you may be surprised. It happens literally all the time. So, the next time someone does, as they inevitably will, here’s how to handle it:

1. Take a minute and think. Maybe they ask for SSNs blindly, because everyone else does, or because that’s how they’ve always done it. Maybe they actually need it. See if their reason sounds legitimate.  (Update: For example,’s Credit Report Card does ask for your SSN in order to generate your credit score and credit report summary — an industry standard – but the information is fully encrypted with a bank level authentication process.)

2. Negotiate. There are many different ways to identify you without a Social Security number, including your driver’s license or account number. Fight to use those instead.

3. If you must share your Social Security number, do so, but make sure the people taking it down have strong security measures in place to protect it. That said, you only have their assurance and frankly, in light of the mistakes people make and the sophistication level of hackers, who really knows if they can protect it?

Overcoming the addiction

If all this sounds like a giant pain in the neck, you’re right. It is. In the midst of our busy lives, we shouldn’t be the only ones concerned with protecting our most valuable identity asset, but it is what it is. Until somebody creates a Silver Bullet for identity theft, we are forced to take matters into our own hands.

Don’t be passive; ask the companies and nonprofit groups with which you do business how they plan to protect you. Do they password protect and encrypt all the personal information they collect? Do they have strict controls on who has access to computers containing your Social Security number, and do they keep this sensitive data off laptops, tablets and hard drives that are easy to steal or lose?

Like the doctor I met, many companies collect Social Security numbers they don’t need because they’re operating on autopilot. They’ve always done it, and their colleagues at other companies do it, so the practice continues and spreads on the strength of simple, dumb inertia. I believe that we are smarter than that. By demanding that companies do a better job protecting our personal information, and refusing to hand out our Social Security numbers like candy at a parade, we can force them to get smarter, too. And if they don’t think we’re serious about this and the government doesn’t finally force them off their Social Security number addiction, it is highly likely that the ultimate regulator of the American economic system, class action attorneys, will be knocking on their doors.

Any time you call an 800 number – Bring jobs back to the USA

July 22, 2012

This was sent to me by a friend…it is a wonderful thing to know…we can help more Americans be employed:

Any time you call an 800 number …I know it is the LAW – I will do it for sure..
Any time you call an 800 number-(for a credit card, banking, charter communications, health and other
insurance, computer help desk, etc), and you find that you’re talking to a foreign customer service
representative, please consider doing the following:

After you connect and you realize that the customer service representative is not from the USA, (you can always ask if you are not sure about the accent), please, very politely (this is not about trashing other cultures) say, “I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States of America ..”

The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, “Thank you, but I’d like to speak to a
customer service representative in the USA ..”
That’s the rule and the LAW.
It takes less than one minute to have your call re-directed to the USA .

Tonight when I got redirected to a USA rep, I asked again to make sure – and yes, she was from Fort Lauderdale .
Imagine what would happen if every US citizen insisted on talking to only US phone reps from this day on.

Imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of US jobs that would need to be created ASAP.

Here is a link with a couple of other perspectives on this:

and another:

If I tell 10 people to consider this and you tell 10 people to consider doing this – see what I mean…it becomes an exercise in viral marketing 101.

Remember – the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home – not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep .

If you agree, please tell 10 people you know, and ask them to tell 10 people they know….etc…etc..

This is MeddlingMom…please forward this to everyone you know…let’s get Americans back to work!

July 16, 1945-a serious day to remember

July 17, 2012
Please take a few moments to look at this very important food for thought. Share it…it’s important to all of us.
Today, sixty-seven years ago, on July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb test, code-named “Trinity”, took place in an area of desert in New Mexico called Jornada del Muerto – Journey of Death or Dead Man’s Trail. A few years later, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bombs, recollected his thoughts upon witnessing the world’s first atomic blast.
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now, I am become death, the destroyers of worlds’. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
– J.Robert Oppenheimer
The code-name given to the first atomic bomb was “the gadget”. The code name for the atomic test – “Trinity” (the Christian doctrine of faith in which God is made of three divine persons – the father, the son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit – distinct yet one, co-equal, co-eternal ) – was chosen by Oppenheimer from a sonnett,, by the 17th Century English poet, lawyer, and Protestant priest, John Donne. How often before the “Trinity” test and since has religious imagery and the language of eternity been used to make moral, and even spiritual, the greatest exercises of violence and crime by militarists and war makers?
On this day sixty-seven years ago, from a place named for death, Oppenheimer remembered a story from Hindu scripture which speaks of the power of death to take hold and cower people, societies, the world, with ever greater threats and examples of violence.
And why? The will and willingness by the social elite to maintain their boundless markets and profit, their resource control and ownership, their “way of life” at all costs. Empire!
From the “Trinity” atomic test and just three weeks later, the atomic destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with hundreds of thousands killed and irradiated, to a continuing commitment to an arsenal of thousands of nuclear bombs and missiles, a for-corporate-profit permanent war economy and national security state, wars of foreign occupation, to the current phenomenon of drone warfare and remote-controlled killing, the empire’s continuing refrain is: ‘Now, I am become death, the destroyers of worlds’.
Our refrain must be…Remember “Trinity” and Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Power. Stop the Wars. Resist Lockheed Martin. Reclaim the future for justice and peace, for our children, the world, and our communities.
For those of you in the greater Philadelphia area, here are several local events:
Read the Journey of Death (1995, Brandywine Peace Community), an historical narrative of humanity’s first steps into the nuclear age. Read it here:
Fri., August 3, 7p.m.Attend Area Showing of THE FORGOTTEN BOMB at the Peace Center of Delaware County (1001 Old Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA) First-Friday Free Large Screen Film Series, co-sponsored by the Brandywine Peace Community. The documentary film (2010, 135 mins.) is, at its core, a globe-trotting search to find out, two decades after the Cold War, what nuclear weapons still mean to us today, and why we need to re-think their very existence so as to do away with them for good. Film features former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, authors Gar Alperovitz and Jonathan Schell, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Father John Dear, Japanese bomb survivors, and many others.
More information and directions, or call (610) 544-1818.
Brandywine Peace Community Area Observances of the 67th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6 – 9, 1945. Join the Demand for Peace, a Just Economy, a Nuclear Free Future!
Monday, August 6, Noon
Remember and Resist...Hiroshima Day Demonstration & Nonviolent Resistance at Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, PA (230 Mall Boulevard 19406, Mall & Goddard Blvds., behind the King of Prussia Mall). Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer, is the U.S.’s chief nuclear weapons contractor and among the top manufacturer’s of drone warfare technology
Call the Brandywine Peace Community NOW to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience, facing arrest for resisting the injustice and criminality of Lockheed Martin.
Nonviolence discipline for all participants here:

Thursday, August 9, 7:30p.m.
Nagasaki Day Ceremony – Lights of Hope Over Waters of Memory: Candlelight Vigil for Peace and A Nuclear Free Future
, Market Street Bridge, 2955 Market Street, across from 30th Street Train Station (east side), Phila., PA 19103 for more information or call (610) 544-1818.
Brandywine Peace Community
P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA 19081
This is MeddlingMom…what kind of world do we want?

Desiderata-a thought for the weekend and your life…

February 25, 2012


(things desired)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.


If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, 1927

This is MeddlingMom….you have everything you need…

Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have A Bright Future

January 8, 2012

This is from NPR. I thought it was a most enlightening piece.

Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have A Bright Future

by Patti Neighmond

January 3, 2012

Good arguments can provide lessons that last a lifetime. But psychologist Joseph P. Allen’s research shows that yelling isn’t the answer. “The teens who learned to be calm and confident and persuasive with their parents acted the same way when they were with their peers,” he says.

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you likely find yourself routinely embroiled in disputes with your child. Those disputes are the symbol of teen developmental separation from parents.

It’s a vital part of growing up, but it can be extraordinarily wearing on parents. Now researchers suggest that those spats can be tamed and, in the process, provide a lifelong benefit to children.

Researchers from the University of Virginia recently published their findings in the journal Child Development. Psychologist Joseph P. Allen headed the study.

Allen says almost all parents and teenagers argue. But it’s the quality of the arguments that makes all the difference.

“We tell parents to think of those arguments not as nuisance but as a critical training ground,” he says. Such arguments, he says, are actually mini life lessons in how to disagree — a necessary skill later on in life with partners, friends and colleagues on the job.

Teens should be rewarded when arguing calmly and persuasively and not when they indulge in yelling, whining, threats or insults, he says.

In Allen’s study, 157 13-year-olds were videotaped describing their biggest disagreement with their parents. The most common arguments were over grades, chores, money and friends. The tape was then played for both parent and teen.

“Parents reacted in a whole variety of ways. Some of them laughed uncomfortably; some rolled their eyes; and a number of them dove right in and said, ‘OK, let’s talk about this,'” he says.

It was the parents who said wanted to talk who were on the right track, says Allen. “We found that what a teen learned in handling these kinds of disagreements with their parents was exactly what they took into their peer world,” with all its pressures to conform to risky behavior like drugs and alcohol.

Allen interviewed the teens again at ages 15 and 16. “The teens who learned to be calm and confident and persuasive with their parents acted the same way when they were with their peers,” he says. They were able to confidently disagree, saying ‘no’ when offered alcohol or drugs. In fact, they were 40 percent more likely to say ‘no’ than kids who didn’t argue with their parents.

For other kids, it was an entirely different story. “They would back down right away,” says Allen, saying they felt it pointless to argue with their parents. This kind of passivity was taken directly into peer groups, where these teens were more likely to acquiesce when offered drugs or alcohol. “These were the teens we worried about,” he says.

Bottom line: Effective arguing acted as something of an inoculation against negative peer pressure. Kids who felt confident to express themselves to their parents also felt confident being honest with their friends.

So, ironically the best thing parents can do is help their teenager argue more effectively. For this, Allen offers one word: listen.

In the study, when parents listened to their kids, their kids listened back. They didn’t necessarily always agree, he says. But if one or the other made a good point, they would acknowledge that point. “They weren’t just trying to fight each other at every step and wear each other down. They were really trying to persuade the other person.”

Acceptable argument might go something like this: ‘How about if my curfew’s a half hour later but I agree that I’ll text you or I’ll agree that I’ll stay in certain places and you’ll know where I’ll be; or how about I prove to you I can handle it for three weeks before we make a final decision about it.”

Again, parents won’t necessarily agree. But “they’ll get across the message that they take their kids point of view seriously and honestly consider what they have to say,” Allen says.

Child psychologist Richard Weissbourd says the findings bolster earlier research that finds that “parents who really respect their kids’ thinking and their kids’ input are much more likely to have kids who end up being independent thinkers and who are able to resist peer groups.”

Weissbourd points to one dramatic study that analyzed parental relationships of Dutch citizens who ended up protecting Jews during World War II. They were parents who encouraged independent thinking, even if it differed from their own.

So the next time your teenager huffs and puffs and starts to argue, you might just step back for a minute, take a breath yourself, and try to listen. It may be one of the best lessons you teach your child.

This is MeddlingMom…have a wonderful week!

Christmas gotten the best of you? Was it worth it?

December 27, 2011

I wrote this last week several days before Christmas. Now that the day has passed and my partner and I attended a wonderful family party and church on Christmas Eve and then my partner ended up as sick as a dog for the next 2 and a half days, I definitely stand by what I wrote last week.

Here’s what seems crazy to me…

I am not really even celebrating Christmas this year. I have pretty much decided for a number of reasons to do just about nothing about this holiday this year. Having said that, things do then start to creep in. I DO need to send SOME cards, right? Of course, how much effort can that take? Hrumpf…really? for me it meant going into 4 or 5 stores before I could even find a box of cards…that’s right. Do you know how much time that took? Parking, schlepping through the store to find cards, assessing what it is you DO find, making the decision whether to go with these ordinary cards or to keep looking which probably means going to at least 2 or 3 more stores. Now that is just the piece to find the cards, then there is going to the post office to buy stamps, addressing the cards, writing a note in each card. That is only one aspect of the holiday!

Add to that every step of the process for :

Baking cookies and breads, making family specialties, figuring out what to buy for all of those people who don’t need anything, doing the actual gift shopping, buying food for the holiday and the days around it when someone might stop in, buying clothes to wear for the holiday and to various parties in the next few weeks, making donations to charities and local groups to help the needy, getting a pedicure, manicure, hair cut, brow wax-all the things we MUST do to look “GOOD”! Even those of us who say we are not going to be a part of all of this GET SUCKED IN!

I ask you, what does any of this have to do with Jesus being born and celebrating that birth?  I think it all needs to stop..You see usually rational people fighting over this year’s coolest whatever to make sure that Biff or Buffy has absolutely everything! I mean how could they even entertain the idea of not having EVERYTHING?  I know it’s fun and the little kids get mega toys that they play with for a long time, it’s the fervor, the pitch that is enough to make a person ralph all over.

So here’s my suggestion on how to get it all done. Look at your lifestyle and your value system and JUST SAY “NO”. to what doesn’t make sense to you, to all of the add-ons and last-minutes purchases. If you didn’t purchase one more thing between now and Sunday, exactly what terrible disaster would befall you and your loved ones? Adjust your thinking and use your time to be with your loved ones, not out shopping alone for them (they don’t need one more thing…really…you know it’s true!)

It isn’t too late to pull the plug on this…I can tell you right now that the amount of food in this house is sufficient to take us through until the New Year, at least, except for perhaps, bread and milk! I wonder how much money we’d save if we didn’t spend one thin dime on any food item between now and then…it would be sizable. Here’s an example: Oh, I need to buy a gallon of iced tea for the party…response…MAKE IT…you have tea bags on hand, right?

Turn off the TV, get away from that computer, have silence and enjoy the serenity of it. Put away the check book and the cash. You’ll be surprised at the results. the best bonus is that you will be calm, feel rested and peaceful, your bank account will be healthier and your charges will be lower.

Yes, we did do some of these things, like buy last minute add-ons and from what I can see…none of this makes much sense…parties are lovely (or they can be), but I have enjoyed being sequestered in my house for the past few days and NOT celebrating anything!. It’s been very relaxing…maybe I am just too old to enjoy this holiday and all that it requires..Bah! Humbug!

One last thing…I learned yesterday that 50% of all clothing purchased as Christmas presents…HALF!!!  are returned! That was time well-spent, wasn’t it?

This is MeddlingMom…Happy New Year!

Staff at Indian hospital flees as fire kills 89-just terrible!

December 11, 2011

This is so shocking! I couldn’t believe this when I read it…

APBy MANIK BANERJEE | AP – Fri, Dec 9, 2011

Related Content

  People help carry a patient out of a hospital after it caught fire in Kolkata, India, …

KOLKATA, India (AP) — Fleeing medical staff abandoned patients to a raging fire that killed 89 people Friday as smoke and flames poured through the seven-story building in eastern India, officials said.

Police arrested six hospital officials on charges of culpable homicide in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the state of West Bengal, ordered the hospital’s license withdrawn. The hospital denied any violations of safety measures.

“It was horrifying that the hospital authorities did not make any effort to rescue trapped patients,” said Subrata Mukherjee, West Bengal state minister for public health engineering. “Senior hospital authorities ran away after the fire broke out.”

As the fire spread from the hospital’s basement, rescue workers on long ladders smashed windows in the upper floors of the AMRI Hospital to pull surviving patients out before they suffocated from smoke inhalation, while sobbing relatives waited on the street below. Rescue workers took patients on stretchers and in wheelchairs to a nearby hospital.

Moon Moon Chakraborty, who was in the hospital with a broken ankle, called her husband S. Chakraborty at home to tell him a fire had broken out.

“She had died by the time I reached the hospital,” her husband said.

One survivor told Indian television she was sitting by the bedside of her mother, who was on a ventilator, when smoke came into the room.

“My mother was continuously telling me that she was feeling suffocated and uneasy,” she said. “I kept ringing the bell for the nurse, but no one came.”

Rescue workers managed to evacuate her mother more than two hours after the fire started, she said.

Emergency workers pulled 73 bodies from the building, and another 16 succumbed to their injuries later, said Danayati Sen, a top Kolkata police official.

Hospital officials said four of the bodies pulled from the building were those of staff members. The remainder were presumably patients and relatives who were aiding in their care. Rescue officials said many of the dead suffered from smoke inhalation.

At the time of the blaze, there were 160 patients in the 190-bed hospital annex, said Satyabrata Upadhyay, a senior vice president of the AMRI hospital company.

The loss of life was “extremely unfortunate and painful,” but the facility followed strict fire safety measures, he said. He promised to give 200,000 rupees (about $4,000) to the relatives of the dead.

“We deeply sympathize and share the pain and agony of the family members of the patients admitted here,” he said.

The expensive AMRI private hospital was recently rated one of the best hospitals in the city by an Indian magazine.

However, safety regulations are routinely ignored at hospitals throughout India, where it is not uncommon for fire extinguishers, if they are present at all, to be several years old and never serviced. Few buildings have fire stairs, and fire drills are virtually unheard of.

The blaze erupted about 3:30 a.m. in the building’s basement, and heavy smoke quickly engulfed the hospital. The area was used for storage, but the cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The fire and the smoke were first noticed by residents of a massive slum close to the hospital, according to witnesses. Some of them rushed to the hospital and raised an alarm, but security guards stopped them, saying there was a small fire in the kitchen and no cause for worry. As the smoke enveloped the building, the slum dwellers joined in the rescue effort.

It took firefighters more than an hour to arrive after the blaze started, said Pradeep Sarkar, a witness. His uncle was in the hospital after having a heart attack and was moved to another hospital after the fire.

Narrow streets apparently made it difficult for fire trucks to get close to the building and for firefighters to bring in the big hydraulic ladders needed to evacuate those trapped inside. Eventually, they smashed the main gate to make way for the ladders.

Banerjee, the chief minister, said that while the fire brigade was delayed, police arrived quickly to help with the rescue effort.

Patients and relatives complained that hospital staff did little to help and that smoke detectors failed to go off.

Sudipta Nundy said his brother-in-law Amitabha Das was being treated for an infection at the hospital. He died by the time rescuers arrived at his smoke-filled ward.

“He would have survived had hospital authorities allowed outsiders in early to evacuate the patients,” he said.

Dozens of fire engines eventually arrived at the hospital. By midmorning, the fire was under control and most of the patients had been moved to other hospitals, said Javed Khan, the state fire services minister.

But state officials said the hospital staff did nothing to aid in the rescue operations.

“It’s a very serious offense, and we will take the strongest action,” said Banerjee.

Not all patients said they were abandoned.

Jyoti Chaudhary, a patient in his late 60s, was lucky to survive. “With the help of a hospital worker, I came down the staircase and later was moved to a nearby hospital.”

Associated Press photographer Bikas Das contributed to this report.

Can you believe that they said the deceaseds’ relatives would receive $4000?  That’s what their loss is worth. There aren’t any words I can think of to express my devastating feelings about this.  I will attempt to figure out what $4000 in India would equal in this country in terms of buying power.
This is MeddlingMom…have a good week.

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