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Archive for the ‘responsibility’ Category

Where are you going?

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

Imagine you’re sitting in an airplane. The captain gets on the intercom and says: “Folks, we’re 2nd in line for takeoff. Where would you like to go?”

If your perfect life is the destination, don’t you want to get there as quickly, easily and cheaply as possible? Maybe you can do so without creating a business plan, but I can’t imagine how.  A plan will help you make better and faster decisions, decide how you spend your money or time and track your progress.

Start now.

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“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” General George S. Patton

Complete your annual plan by November so that you can relax and sit on your plan for a month or so before executing it.  Review (and revise if needed) your progress quarterly.  This is not a New Year’s resolution to be enacted in January and discarded by February.  This is an action plan that will get you to your biggest life goals.

It’s time to focus your energy onto your goals and dreams. Find a place with trees and fresh air where you can concentrate on your future.

There are myriad ways to create your plan and they all start with a vision.

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“I love it when a plan comes together.” Hannibal Smith-The A-Team

What do you want to do, be or have in 2-5 years?

What motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning, or work late into the night?

Your vision must be:

Specific- What will it look like once you’ve reached your goal? Where will you live? What will you do each day? Who will your friends, neighbors or co-workers be?

Vivid- Realism is the key to visualization so use all of your senses when describing your goal.  The goal is to make your mind believe your future outcome is happening now.  With consistent visualization, your mind accepts the image of success and suddenly you’re seeing inspiration and opportunity everywhere.

Compelling-How will your life (or the lives of your family members) improve once you’ve achieved your goal?

Desirable-Is this your dream or only something you think you should want?  The more you want the outcome, the more likely it is you’ll achieve it. If your goal isn’t compelling, you’ll quit at the first sign of trouble.

Realistic-Do you have enough time, energy and support to reach your goal? Have others done it before? If it’s been done, there’s a proven strategy to do it, you just have to find it.

Focused- Instead of creating a to-do list, concentrate your energy on accomplishing up to 3 bigger goals.

Flexible-There are lots of ways to get to your outcome.  If your goal is to provide your son with an Ivy League education instead of concentrating on just one way to get there (saving lots of money), brainstorm all the ways you could make it happen (scholarships, part-time work, etc.)

Easy to communicate- Can you describe your end result concisely in terms anyone can understand?

Close your eyes and imagine your future.

Having trouble visualizing?

Look for someone who’s already achieved your goal.  What does that person’s life look like?  Draw, paint a picture, or write a story as if you’re reporting on your future self.  Then distill that scene, picture or story into your vision statement.

Once you’ve articulated your vision, make it real.

Step 1:  Writing your goal down makes it tangible and on those days when you’re frustrated or unfocused, you can look at what you’ve written and get back on track.

The more accountable you are, the more likely it is you’ll achieve your goal. Find an accountability partner who’s committed to her own goals. Better yet, find someone who already attained your goal.  Tell that person your goals and ask for help in keeping your commitments.

Step 2: Determine what it will take to get there. What skills, knowledge and resources will you need?

If you want to live in France, you’ll need to learn French (skill), find a place to live (knowledge) and save money (resources.)

Step 3: Break each task down into short-term goals you can accomplish in 1,2 or 3 months.

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“Set your goals high and don't stop until you get there” Bo Jackson

Write down your top 5 values in order. If your goal conflicts with your values, you’ll never achieve it.

If you’re not sure what constitutes a value, this list can help. When you commit to your values and have written goals, choosing between competing demands gets easier. As does making decisions.

Sally’s top value is family, followed by financial independence.  A single mother with 2 kids, she’s been offered a job that doubles her salary but requires her to leave town every weekend. She has to either decline the job, or rerank her values.

Acknowledging your values, prioritize your short-term goals.  Your goals should have a deadline as well as a tangible, measurable end-result.  Set goals that are tough but realistic to achieve.

In On Writing, Stephen King compares writing to telepathy. Even though he writes every novel, short story, and magazine article in a certain place and at a certain time, you can be miles and decades away and still receive his communication clearly.

If writing is telepathy, planning and envisioning are clairvoyance. Planning your tomorrow today will bring your vision of the future to fruition.

What to learn more?

Join me on Wednesday, November 3rd at The New Orleans Marriott.

Get details and register here.

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comfessions_of_shopaholic

“They used to call me valued customer, now they are sending me hate mail.”

Becky Bloomwood Confessions of a Shopaholic

Every year, 1½ million Americans file for bankruptcy.

Imagine a widow with infant triplets who renews her health insurance policy the minute her old policy expires. She can’t get an internet connection, and she doesn’t want to risk being uninsured, so she gets up from the chair, only to trip over the power cord and fall headfirst onto a hardwood floor. She breaks 8 teeth and dislodges her lower vertebrae, requiring tens of thousands of dollars of dental work, surgery and rehab. She works as a model, so now she can’t draw a paycheck for the year. Two years ago, her husband died when he happened to be driving along a faultline as an 8.0 earthquake hit, so his life insurance didn’t pay out because it was an Act of God. The triplets’ grandparents all live in the Czech Republic, and the woman lives on a ranch in southern Oregon, miles from any neighbor who could help her get back on her feet. So she declares bankruptcy.

How many of last year’s bankruptcy claimants have similar stories, and how many bought too much junk on credit and never bothered to budget?

This might not sound kind, but most people in bad financial straits are there because they chose to be. Not in the sense that they said “I can’t wait to be broke,” but in that when they were buying cars with 8.9% financing and spending $100 a week on cigarettes, they didn’t think about where it would inevitably lead.

No one wants to die in a car accident, but if you drive through enough stop signs while talking on the phone, you can’t be surprised if it happens. (Of course you can’t be surprised, the part of your brain that senses surprise[1] is now on the asphalt next to your cerebrum and your hippocampus.)

Personal responsibility is neither quaint nor outmoded. When enough people fail to exercise it, it leads to macroeconomic calamity. Of all the financial disasters of the last few years – the subprime mortgage crisis, the monster budget deficit, the stock market losing half its value, centuries-old investment banks going out of business – every last one happened because people who could have taken responsibility for their money chose to do something else instead.

“People tell you life is short. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions.”

-Chris Rock

Come check out Control Your Cash for one reason: your relationship with money is almost certainly dysfunctional. You don’t know what you don’t know, probably because nobody ever taught you.

Join, read, comment, share ideas. You can stop letting money act on you – and actually take charge of it.


[1] The amygdala, if you care.

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wedding planning guides

**UPDATE #2**

Is this a good idea?

**UPDATE #1**

Economist Brad DeLong did the math calculating that the author and his wife saved spent $90,000 in equity, unpaid rent and tax benefits.  A comment in this same post reveals that a $30,000 advance was paid for the book which I’m sure the author immediately sent to his mortgage company.

Boy meets girl.
Boy marries girl.
Boy and girl buy a house they can’t afford.
Boy writes a book about the evil mortgage company that made him buy a house he couldn’t afford.

I’m leaving out a few pesky details (two divorces, two bankruptcies, four kids, the inability to either control their spending or tell the truth), but so did he.  The author doesn’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story or an advance that will pay his delinquent mortgage payments.

Seriously, DON’T buy this book.  Rewarding the author’s stupidity is like giving your money to a failing auto company. (Well, you’re doing the latter whether you want to or not. With the former, at least you have a choice.)

Instead, let’s learn from this reprehensible person’s mistakes:

#1: He got married. Twice.
If you charge your wedding expenses, you’ll be in the hole from day one of your marriage. Even if you don’t, you can still screw yourself over financially.

Divorce, long–term health problems and job loss are the top 3 underlying reasons cited in bankruptcy cases.  The author feel in love with a woman who: 1) he wasn’t married to; and 2) didn’t work , which led to alimony & child support payments.  This didn’t leave much money for the second wife, who was unwilling to forgo a dream house, Starbucks habit and name-brand clothes.

#2: He didn’t talk about money with the second wife.
He knew his wife had declared bankruptcy during her previous marriage, because her ex-husband (allegedly) failed to file (or pay) taxes.  Did the author read the bankruptcy filing?  If he did, did he have absolutely no questions about it?  Here’s one he could have asked: why were so many consumer loans included in the bankruptcy if it was only to clear tax liens?

Forget about which table to sit your ex-felon uncle at or whether to serve fish or chicken; the conversation you and your betrothed need to have is the one about money.  Who has what, who owes whom and what goals you’re going to pursue.
If one partner is profligate and the other a spendthrift, that’s a far bigger discrepancy than any black/white or Christian/Jew marriage.  If your fiancé has current money problems, think with your brain instead of your heart and don’t marry him/her.  If the thought of such irresponsibility hasn’t turned you off, you can still date the person. Just don’t set a wedding date until the debts are paid off and the credit cleaned up.  If you’re a man, she’ll either get it together or find another sucker.  Either way, you’re now free to build a future with someone responsible.

Mistake #3: He didn’t pay attention to his fiancée’s spending and saving habits.
He either didn’t know or didn’t care that his wife was carrying debt that she either couldn’t pay or didn’t feel like paying.

I have a friend who peeks at the signed check at the end of a first dinner date. She swears she can tell everything about a man by how much he tips. Our relationship with money is often wrapped up in our self-worth, which can lead to overspending or stinginess.  People with money issues often lie, too: about how much they spend, what they owe on their credit cards and what they buy.

Mistake #4:  He treated his wife like a child.
Other than to request or demand things, she wasn’t involved in the financial decisions.  He made the money and paid the bills.  His wife isn’t even on the loan documents for the house, which might mean she’s not on the title either.  When money got tight, he didn’t tell her she had to stop spending. When he finally let her in on the stress he was feeling, she didn’t care – probably because he’d always taken care of things and she expected him to continue.

Do you want an equal partner?  Why would you think about marrying someone who isn’t willing and able to handle his or her own finances?  Your partner to be should be self-sufficient in every way, but especially financially.  A marriage should be between equals who create something greater than the sum of its parts.  If you’re a dependent partner, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Not only do half of marriages end in divorce, the average woman’s net worth declines 27%* after one.

Mistake #5, the most annoying one of all: He presented himself as a victim.

The primary determinants of everything you are and everything you have are your daily actions. Until you claim responsibility for creating your own destiny, you’ll always feel victimized.  Own your life, and demand that the people you love own theirs.

*National Marriage Project, Rutgers University 2001

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“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” General George S. Patton

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USS New York built with steel from the World Trade Center

A few Veterans Day thoughts:

3 verified veterans are left from the Big Red One.   All allies.  We win.

2,000 veterans of WWII die everyday. Go here to thank them (along with Korea & Vietnam vets) for their service.

Meet 5 Purdue students who put their lives and education on hold to serve their country.

Video for the neocom in all of us:

And one to make you cry:

“You called me strong, you called me weak,
But still your secrets I will keep
You took for granted all the times I
Never let you down
You stumbled in and bumped your head, if
Not for me then you would be dead
I picked you up and put you back
On solid ground
If I go crazy then will you still
Call me Superman
If I’m alive and well, will you be
There holding my hand
I’ll keep you by my side with my
Superhuman might
Kryptonite”

Kryptonite – 4 Doors Down

Show your thanks:

“Homes for our Troops assists severely injured Servicemen and Servicewomen and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor then coordinates the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently.

The homes provided by Homes for Our Troops are given at NO COST to the Veterans we serve.”

Project Valour-IT raises funds for special laptops and other IT equipment for wounded warriors.

Taking Chance is a moving tribute to the men and women who serve, sacrifice and die to protect our great country.

To all veterans…thank you.

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Update:

Now the 1st amendment is under attack as the battle for health insurance reform heats up.  Hey, Washington…free speech means we can lie, hurt your feelings and communicate with our fellow Americans in any way we choose.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson created a manifesto that transcends temporality and continues to inspire each generation to greatness.

Among the three famous inalienable Rights of Man, Life is self-evident.  We have the right to be born and the right to defend our children as well as ourselves from harm.

This basic right is at the locus of the two most debated policies of recent history; abortion & gun control.

Do you have an inalienable right to life?

The question is obviously rhetorical, but how does the answer reconcile a federal government that condones abortion?

Recent polls show most Americans oppose abortion, meaning that 2 generations removed from Roe v. Wade, maybe people are becoming aware of what an inalienable right to life means.  Even Americans who support abortion in the first trimester lose their enthusiasm for killing after the 3rd month, once an unborn baby starts to look “real”.

15 years after Jefferson wrote about the cardinality of life, his fellow Virginian James Madison introduced the concept of the Bill of Rights and its then-uncontroversial 2nd amendment.  Madison (inspired by his mentor George Mason) knew that any right to life is worthless if it can’t be defended nor preserved.

Unless each member of your family has his own 24-hour bodyguard detail, or you can somehow persuade an assailant to do whatever you tell him, you need to learn how to use a firearm.  Failing to do so is an abdication of your duty as a human. This nation would be exponentially safer if everyone took responsibility for their own safety, and developed the skill to protect themselves and their families.

Every right implies a responsibility.  (Which, according to George Bernard Shaw, is why so many people dread freedom.)

Don’t let yourself be scared into becoming a disarmed ward of the state.

Here are some excuses for not owning a firearm, all of which are easily dismissed:

Guns are dangerous

Yes.  They kill people.  That’s what they were created for, which is sort of the point when a bad guy is trying to hurt you or your family.

In the hands of a responsible (there’s that word again) person, a gun is a tool, just like a car.   If you use a car improperly, you can easily kill. But we take it for granted that the overwhelming majority of the tens of millions of car owners in this country are responsible enough not to.

Guns are illegal

No, but some states have made it difficult to buy, carry & store them. Every state allows you to keep a weapon for your home.  Why? Because it’s a constitutional right, and this isn’t the United Kingdom yet.

If you live in one of the 48 states that issue concealed carry permits*, get one once you’ve determined you know how to use a gun. It takes a few hours of ridiculously simply classroom work, along with a shooting test.

With a concealed weapons permit, you can carry a gun inconspicuously (except in those few places where it’s expressly prohibited.) Or just hope you won’t be a victim. Because that works, sometimes.

Most states’ permits are honored in multiple states. (They should be honored in all 50, like driver’s licenses are, but that’s a topic for a different post.)

My gun will be used against me

No, unless you’re an idiot. If you want to take full advantage of your God-given freedom (and the responsibility that entails), take a defensive weapon class and practice a lot.

According to GunFacts.org , “For every accidental death, suicide, or homicide with a firearm, 10 lives are saved.” Even with most Americans walking around unarmed and unaware, “the rate of defensive gun use is 6 times that of criminal gun use.” (Again, according to GunFacts.org.) The criminals are there, but fortunately, the rest of us still outnumber them.

If a preponderance of weapons leads to violence, why not disarm the cops along with the rest of the citizens?

That was supposed to be sarcasm, but sometimes the more cloistered among us have a tough time with that. Let’s hear from an academic on this issue. Val Moeller, president of Columbia State Community College**, says “…when someone comes on campus and sees armed public safety officers, it indicates that the campus is not safe.”

Which, of course, is why bloody massacres occur daily on every army base throughout the country. Ms. Moeller is not alone in her ludicrous beliefs. According to ArmedCampus.com, lots of campus police departments are unarmed.

Here’s CSCC Chief of Police Mike Stritenberg, who manages to give a lucid argument despite being hog-tied:

“Of course there are risks inherent to being an armed police officer, including attacks that result in your weapon being used against you and armed encounters that result in legally challenged shootings but that’s part of police work.  To say that because there are risks associated with being armed, police officers shouldn’t carry guns seems mind-boggling,”

You can substitute “citizens” for “police officers” in that last sentence.

Guns are loud and look scary.

Yes. This paragraph is for the ladies:

Remember the first time you went to the gym?  It’s loud, sweaty, smelly and filled with men who clearly know what they’re doing, leaving you to stand around feeling out of place.

Your first time at the range will be the same.  And, because you’ve been bombarded with messages telling you how dangerous and bad guns are, you’ll be nervous.  The first time you shoot, your hands will shake.

You’ll then notice that it takes some applied force to pull a trigger.  Guns don’t just “go off.”

Keep going to the range.  Keep practicing.  You’ll eventually get used to the noise, the gun & the feeling of shooting.  Don’t let fear stop you.

I don’t need a gun because the police will keep me safe

No. Whether you live in the city or the country, there aren’t enough cops to prevent crimes in progress.  95% of the time, an officer arrives on the scene too late.  Response times in some cities are over 45 minutes.

Freedom means you can live where you want, speak your mind without fear of reprisal, attend the church (or not) of our choice, write critical articles about your government (or anyone else) and know your home is our castle.

If you think these rights are common throughout the world, you’ve obviously never written about Muslims in Canada, tried to Google “Tiananmen Square” in China or attempted to attend Sunday mass in Saudi Arabia.

Why do so many Americans gladly relinquish their freedoms?

They become prisoners of dependency and fear because freedom comes at a price, a cost paid both by your nation and yourself.   You’ll make bad decisions on occasion. If they’re bad enough, you might go to jail, declare bankruptcy or lose your home.

When James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights, Americans who made bad decisions had not choice but to live with the consequences of their actions.  Today, everyone wants to be free to make poor choices detached from consequences.

If you’re truly free, then you’re free to succeed or fail.  Failure is the mechanism through which we grow & learn.  For every bad decision made, you learn and correct course.

If you allow someone (e.g. the government) to control your failures, that caretaker will also limit your successes.

Are we guaranteed happiness?

Jefferson would never have imagined today’s Americans who expect society (government) to make them happy.  Many believe that they have a right to own a house, work at a high paying job, obtain a college education and receive health care.

And you do.

You have the right to an equal opportunity to earn those things for yourself.

Equal access to the system of capitalism (get a job, live within your means, invest the difference) is sufficient.  The rest is up to you.

Equal access is not the same as equal outcome.

According to the Department of Labor these are the 3 jobs in which the highest proportion of people doing it are women: 1) secretarial; 2) nursing and 3) teaching (elementary school level).

For men: 1) Construction (including steelworkers & electricians); 2) logging and 3) heavy equipment operator.

Male secretaries, nurses or teachers (and female electricians, loggers and heavy equipment operators) prove we have the freedom to work wherever we fit best.

Why are most secretaries and nurses female?  Those careers require levels of education and experience that fit with a working mother’s lifestyle.

Teaching is the ultimate mother’s job: you work when (and sometimes where) your children are in school.

Salaries in these professions are low because a lot of people can (and want) to do them.

Why don’t more women become electricians, loggers or heavy equipment operators?

Becoming an electrician requires a 4 years of apprenticeship, consisting of 144 hours of classroom training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training.  The apprenticeships are hard to get and if you drop out in the middle, you won’t get another chance. Also, seniority dictates that you need a consistent work history to become an electrician.  Mothers are more likely to start and stop their education, call in sick and miss work.

You don’t need a lot of education to become a logger, but you might have to move, live onsite or drive long distances to get to the logging site.  The weather can be awful, and the job is physically demanding, in addition to being about the most dangerous one in existence.

Most heavy equipment operators are high school graduates with a farming, commercial vehicle or military background. In some parts of the country (e.g. Alaska), work might be seasonal.

Most women won’t make the sacrifices to go after these well-paying jobs, but that’s hardly a failure of opportunity.  Women choose a less-demanding way, and the compromise is in the compensation.

Don’t expect anyone to hand you your future.  It’s your responsibility to fight for your happiness. Thousands have died to give you the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  In return, the least you can do is not surrender it.

*Illinois and Wisconsin don’t allow concealed weapons. Which works beautifully, because both states reported exactly 0 violent crimes last year.

**Last year sanity & common sense prevailed and the CSCC trustees voted to arm the campus police.

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statue-of-liberty-ny

In 1988 Ronald Reagan spoke to students via C-Span.  His words of wisdom are worth repeating:

“By renewing our commitment to the original values of the American Revolution and to the principles of  “We the People,” we can best preserve our liberty and expand the progress of freedom in the world, which is the purpose for which America was founded. Here, on a continent nestled between two oceans, our country is unique in the world. We have drawn our people from virtually every other nation on Earth, and what we’ve created here as Americans has touched every corner of the globe.

Here in the White House there’s a famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And it shows many of the great men of that time assembled in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. But when you look closely at the painting, you see that some of the figures in the hall are just outlines, waiting to be filled in, the faces have not yet been drawn. You see, this great painting isn’t finished. But what the people who gathered in Philadelphia two centuries ago set out to do is not yet finished, either. And that, I suppose, is why the painting is the way it is. America is not yet complete, and it’s up to each one of us to help complete it. And each one of you can place yourself in that painting. You can become one of the those immortal figures by helping to build and renew America.

And we’re entering one of the most exciting times in history, a time of unlimited possibilities, bounded only by the size of your imagination, the depth of your heart, and the character of your courage. More than two centuries of American history — the contributions of the millions of people who have come before us have been given to us as our birthright. All we can do to earn what we’ve received is to dream large dreams, to live lives of kindness, and to keep faith with the unfinished vision of the greatness and wonder of America.

Now it’s time for me to ask you for your questions, but first I’d like to ask you one: What are some of the things that you’re proudest of and some of the things that are best about America?”

Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday also touched on a similar theme:

“No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country? “

America.  The land of opportunity.

How will you take advantage of all that she offers?

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“The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice – their choice

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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The week began with chatter about the need to provide health insurance to uninsured Americans.  Few mentioned the 17 million people* who earn enough money to pay for health insurance but don’t.  Many of those uninsured chose to buy a bigger car, house, TV, or vacation.

Many of these people are making an informed choice based on their age and health risks.  If they get sick, they’ll have to pay the cost and might end up financially devastated.  Others game the system, knowing that if they show up at the emergency room, they’ll be treated.  This is not a crisis; it’s a lack of sound decision-making.

On Wednesday convicted felon Michael Vick announced that he’ll be paid $1.5 million to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. While he quarterbacked for the Atlanta Falcons, he ran a dog fighting enterprise.  Dating hot chicks, driving fast cars & being the envy of most men is hardly enough, when there are innocent dogs to be killed, raped & maimed.

After filming a few public service announcements for the SPCA, Vick is a new man.  Rehabilitated & ready to play while his victims live under court-ordered detention.

The British government has announced the impending release of the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie. Abdel al-Megrahi and his co-conspirators murdered the 201 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 747 in December 1988 but, thanks to Libya’s protection, he wasn’t convicted until 2001.  al-Megrahi has incurable cancer and apparently has a few months to live.  The British government believes letting al-Megrahi return to Libya in time for Ramadan  is the compassionate thing to do.

Letting those passengers on Pan Am 103 tumble out of the sky to die alone & afraid shows how compassionate al-Megrahi is. And, let’s not forget that fact that he evaded capture for 13 years.

On Friday Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was released from prison after serving over 30 years for attempted to kill Gerald Ford.  She was serving a “life” sentence and had previously walked out of prison.

Fromme has never expressed sorrow, and continues to admire and correspond with her guru, Charles Manson.  Fromme didn’t even request parole; it was automatically granted after 30 years.

All of these stories were front-page news.  Shouldn’t we save our energy, money & compassion for those who deserve it?

What about the diabetic who lost his job and can’t get insurance because of his pre-existing condition?

The student who’s working 2 jobs to pay her tuition?

Or the family next door that gave up a car to make the mortgage payment?

Why aren’t there ever any front-page stories about these people?  They’re the people that make America strong.

Let’s stop rewarding poor decisions and start recognizing the good ones.

*If the government doesn’t have to admit that its “49 million insured” number is a flat-out guess, neither do I.

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