Thursday, November 26, 2009

Banana Republic Outsourcing Local Retail Jobs

The unemployment rate in California is 12.5%, yet the San Francisco Banana Republic store hired outside the U.S. for Christmas help. Banana Republic is owned by The Gap Inc., who tells us they did not have enough applications from locals to staff the store during the Christmas season. 39 graduate students from all over the world were hired through an agency, that supplies international students with jobs in the United States, to work through the holidays at the SF Banana Republic store. If The Gap Inc. would rather hire foreign help than people from this country who are in need of work, I for one will not be shopping at any of The Gap stores including Old Navy and the Banana Republic. At the end of the day The Gap Inc should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Overwhelmed by the Spanish Language in the U.S.

I resent having the Spanish language pushed down my throat. It is on billboards, television commercials, political forms, product packaging on grocery shelves, business promotional materials, ads on the side of buses, in fast food restaurants, bank windows, and government offices such as the DMV and courthouses, and much, much more. English may not be the "official" national language of the United States, but it is and always has been the language that is spoken by the majority of the people who live here. All of a sudden, everything is written in English and Spanish. I resent having to bear the extra cost for this marketing, repackaging and rebranding. A countrys language is an important element in bringing about political and cultural unity among it's citizens. Historically, the American government has operated in English, I think it is time that English is officially declared our National Language. At the end of the day, I believe that a shared language would create a common bond among all the people of the United States of America.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize - Honor or Folly

I have always held a great deal of respect for the idea behind the Nobel Peace Prize, until today. What in the world was the Nobel Peace Prize Committee thinking? To present this prestigious, meaningful award to President Barack Obama trivializes this honor. Past recipients include Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and the 14th Dalai Lama, recipients who not only "talked the talk," but "walked the walk," a concept, that so far, has eluded Mr. Obama. Nobel Peace Prize winners are held to a higher standard. Individuals who have established themselves with their performance, not just with their promises. According to Alfred Nobel, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." At the end of the day, where does Mr. Obama fit within this criteria?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catholic Church - Insular or Open-Minded

I am a Catholic. I love the Catholic church. I love the sense of peace and reverence when I walk into a Catholic church. I love the ageless grace and tradition of the mass. I even love the smell of a Catholic church, so it understandably causes me a great sadness when I experience the unbending, narrow minded, stilted, old-fashioned attitude of the church.
The Sacrament of Marriage is a good example of the inflexibility of the church. If a couple wants to marry in the Catholic church, they have to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop. If you are both Catholic and you want to marry in your home parish, you have to make an appointment at least 6 months in advance, meet with the priest or coordinator, gather all your documents such as Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation records and attend an approved marriage preparation program, and that's just for a start. If you are Catholic, but your fiancee is not, or if you want to be married in a Catholic church outside of your parish, it is a confusing, timely and frustrating process. If you are marrying someone who is outside of the Catholic faith, you will need a dispensation from the bishop. If you are marrying an unbaptized person, you will have to obtain a "disparity of cult" dispensation. Also, your marriage will be considered a natural marriage, not a sacramental marriage. If a couple thinks they might want to be married somewhere other than in a church, think again. A Catholic wedding, with few exceptions, has to be performed in a Catholic church. The church teaches that marriage is not just a social or family event, but a church event as well. I don't understand that mentality. What could be more spiritually thought provoking than a grove of thousand year old redwood trees, or a bluff overlooking the sea, or the sun shining on a quiet lake. Those are settings that inspire the glory of God.
At the end of the day the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a gift from the hands of God, but if that is truly their belief, then their man-made church laws should not be so restrictive and unforgiving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Difference Between the Octomom and the Gosselins

There is none. Exploiting their children is the common thread with both of these families. Reality television should be off limits for children. Jon and Kate's children suffer the embarrassment of having parents who parade their unparent-like behavior in front of millions of people. The eight children of Nadia Suleman are too young to understand their public humiliation, but that does not make it right? There was a time when children were cherished and protected. Not since the Dionne quintuplets have we been so rigorous in our public devaluing of some of our most precious commodities. At the end of the day, children are not a product to be used, sold and exploited. Children should be allowed to be children.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye, Serena and Joe Wilson - Shame On You

Have we lost all sense of decorum? Have good manners gone by the wayside? Is it due to ignorance, is it a generational gaffe, or is it a class difference? It could be any or all of this, but I think we not only allow, but encourage celebrities and people in power to have such a hugely inflated sense of themselves, that their ill-manners and rude behavior do not seem inappropriate to them. It is all about them and you better not forget it.
Who does Kanye West think he is, to get up on stage, interrupt and embarrass 19 year old Taylor Swift in the middle of her MTV acceptance speech? Does he honestly think his celebrity gives him the green light to to impose his unwarranted opinion on others in a boorish manner?
Is it okay for Serena Williams to threaten a referee because she doesn't agree with a call? Does she think it is appropriate to use such foul language at a public event?
Probably the saddest demonstration of ill manners and self-gratifying behavior is Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to the Congress.
Are these the people we want to hold up to future generations as role models? Is their bad behavior something to be celebrated? Are apologies that are only made because outside pressures have come to bear really apologies?
Kanye West should have been escorted out of the MTV Awards, Serena Williams should be penalized from playing the next game and Joe Williams should be sanctioned by Congress and the people of South Carolina.
At the end of the day maybe we need to let these people know how we feel about their rude, uncouth and ill mannered behavior. Stop buying Kanye West Cd's. Stop watching Serena's matches; and think twice before you step into that voting booth.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Castro Valley Hwy 580 Fiasco

Whoever designed the new Highway 580, Center Street, Crow Canyon, Grove Way exit in Castro Valley, CA must have had his head up his gluteus maximus. I don't profess to be a highway expert, but I am a highway traveler and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:55 a.m. I am on that exit. There is a traffic back up coming down Grove Way, a traffic back up on the exit turning onto Grove Way, due to cars blocking the intersection. In general it is a misguided, snarled traffic mess.
I am willing to listen to an explanation of why the old, Crow Canyon exit was closed, but for now, I cannot find one redeeming feature in the new plan. At the end of the day, traffic is worse, fender benders are causing blocked traffic, which in turn breeds angry, late commuters.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Personal Responsibility - What's That?

The other day I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Accept responsibility for one's own actions. It's not that complicated." Unfortunately, in today's society, the idea of personal responsibility has been put on a back shelf. Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, we like to play the blame game. It's not my fault I gained ten pounds, it is the fault of the company that makes the cream cheese that I slather all over my morning bagel. Yes, officer, my drivers license is expired, but it's not my fault, the lines at the DMV are so long and I don't have time to wait. Or, I know that smoking can cause cancer, but I only smoke a couple of cigarettes a day and it's not my fault I can't quit, I am addicted.

General Motors made poor decisions, mismanaged funds, and spent money it didn't have, but is it their fault they were falling into bankruptcy? Of course not. You bought a home with no money down and no back ups in case your status changed and now your home is going in to foreclosure. A sad story, but is it the bank's fault who loaned you the money? No, it's your fault for buying something you could not afford. Michael Jackson was a self-proclaimed drug addict, but it couldn't possibly be his fault that he died from an overdose. Surely, it is the fault of someone else, the doctors who provided the drugs, his family who didn't provide support or maybe the moon wasn't in proper alignment with Jupiter that July afternoon. If we keep playing the blame game, keep pointing fingers at someone or something else for our problems, nothing will change. Take responsibility for the choices you make in life. Take responsibility and move forward, because at the end of the day, the only way you can make your life better is to accept responsibility for your actions and be careful to make better choices the next time around.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Racism at the Valley Swim Club

I am not only appalled and shocked at the discriminatory attitude of the Valley Swim Club in Philadelphia, but I am saddened by the racist attitude that persists in this country. I am not so naive that I don't recognize that discrimination is alive and well, but to be so blatantly ignorant as to discriminate against children who were on a recreational outing is unforgivably outrageous. To turn them away and ban them from the club is discrimination at it's worst and at the end of the day, the Valley Swim Club and it's members should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Misplaced Hero Worship

I have a hard time understanding why we insist on putting sports heroes, entertainment personalities and so-called celebrities up on a pedestal. What have these people done that they deserve to be idolized? I agree that Michael Jackson was a great talent, a great entertainer. I don't agree that the United States House of Representatives should have a moment of silence for him. To me it trivializes the deaths of all the men and women who have given their lives for this country and did not get a moment of silence dedicated to them.

I will always be grateful to Michael Jackson for his music, but at the end of the day does that make him worthy of our adoration? I think not.