It’s like I’ve been saying for years, video is mandatory for good SEO and subsequently good marketing. Read this article.
It’s like I’ve been saying for years, video is mandatory for good SEO and subsequently good marketing. Read this article.
Let me start by mentioning that I get it. I get that many people are upset that a young man is dead in a senseless act of violence. I get the need and desire to assert blame and hold someone accountable for a life being taken.
Eighteen year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2014 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. His death sparked massive protests and riots in and around Ferguson at the time, and again last night when the county prosecuting attorney reported a Grand Jury’s verdict that Wilson was justified in the shooting.
I’m angered by the violence and senseless destruction by people who aren’t seeking justice. My guess is most of them are opportunists looking for every chance they can to be destructive and to steal. It takes a senseless violent episode and puts it on steroids. It makes a tragic situation much worse. How did the small business owners and their employees who have no job to return to today bear any responsibility for the shooting or the Grand Jury’s verdict? Explaining away such outrage as mere emotional responses to tough news is outrageous in itself. These people are thugs and criminals, not protesters; and they’re not to be respected. They’re not patriots to be viewed in the same positive light as past Americans who exercised mostly non-violent protests to convey need for change. The American tradition is not molotov cocktails, burning buildings, and assaults on police officers.
What we know about the shooting is this. Michael Brown stole a package of small cigars at a convenience store. He assaulted a store employee who tried to stop him as he left the building. Unlike what had previously been reported we now know through the Grand Jury transcripts that officer Wilson knew of this crime and suspected Brown of being the perpetrator when he came upon him and a friend of Brown, Dorian Johnson, as they walked down the middle of a street that August afternoon. We know that Wilson stopped his patrol car in the middle of the street, confronted Brown and Johnson, and that Brown attacked Wilson and tried to kill him when he tried to take the police officers gun as they wrestled inside the police cruiser. A gun shot was fired during the altercation and Brown’s hand was grazed with the bullet causing considerable bleeding. Blood was found in the car and outside on the street. And gun powder was found on Brown’s wound indicating a shot from very close proximity.
What we also know is that Brown, though only 18, was a fully grown man. He was 6-foot 4-inches and weighed 292 pounds. That’s a huge man! And angry huge men are very intimidating. I’m not as big as Brown, but at 6′ 1″ I know my temper can and has intimidated others in my past. The blood on the street indicates that Brown walked away from the confrontation in the car, but then turned around and came back at Wilson; a span of 21 feet. Wilson says Brown was attacking him again and had a fierce look on his face “as that of a demon”. That’s when Wilson fired the series of fatal shots.
By turning to walk back to the officer we know one thing. Brown was not afraid or concerned that Wilson had a gun; which leads me to ask the protesters what would you do if someone who just attacked you, tried to steal your gun and shoot you, was now coming back at you (21 feet is not just a few steps)? Would you try to talk with him, calm him down, run from him (if you could. Remember Wilson was in or near his car)? Can you seriously say you would do anything different from what Wilson did?
The death was senseless! Of this there is no debate. But it was senseless because this hulking young man committed some senseless acts including attacking a police officer who was trying to talk with or detain a suspect in a crime.
Michael Brown ought to be on Thanksgiving break from college this week, as he was planning on furthering his education. He ought to be hanging with friends and preparing to watch Thursday football and stuff what must have been an enormous appetite with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, candied yams, and whatever else his family puts on the table to celebrate that for which they are grateful. He ought to be. But he’s dead. And he’s dead because of, based on a preponderance of evidence, his own choices.
It sucks. It’s sad. It’s even maddening. It shouldn’t have happened. But until this country solves its race problems it’s going to happen again. Police and others in authority need to completely wipe out and eliminate all people responsible for truly guilty acts of unnecessary violence and discrimination. And African-Americans need to vigorously fight such people and such acts. But they shouldn’t cry wolf every time an African-American is hurt, killed, or jailed because of their own criminal behavior. Such explosive outcries only foment distrust and hatred. And its my belief this distrust and hatred is learned, and was at the forefront of Michael Brown’s mind when he took the steps toward Darren Wilson that ended his young life.
Ken Burns has done it again. The King of PBS documentary programing has produced another historic series worth anyone’s time who value’s United States history. The Roosevelts ranks with Burns other classic creations which include Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks, and others. I’ve enjoyed watching it this week and encourage those who have missed it to look for it on-demand or DVD in the future. It tells the biographical story of America’s 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and FDR’s wife and cousin Eleanor Roosevelt (who had the fortuitous opportunity to maintain her maiden name after marrying). I’ve read several biographies on Theodore Roosevelt and consider him a true American Hero.
A statement in the second episode of the program struck home and I felt was worth sharing for those like me, and like Teddy Roosevelt who have faced great disappointment or tragedy that led them to despair and depression. Unknowingly, in my own experience, I have done as TR did and am repeating the rewards. While my rewards are not on the scale of what he did I can’t help but believe in his and mine own and many others stories there are lessons to be learned.
On Valentine’s Day, February 14th (my birthday), in 1884 Roosevelt’s first wife and his mother died in the same house on the same day. Alice Lee died only two days after giving birth to Roosevelt’s oldest child, Alice. Alice Lee and Theodore had been married four years and a loving couple since their youth. Roosevelt, though only 26 years old, was already making a name for himself in the New York State legislature. His wife’s death devastated him. He wrote that “…the light has gone out of my life.” He was so incapable of dealing with the grief he ordered those around him to never speak Alice Lee’s name ever again. If he ever did himself, its unknown to historians.
Rather than wallow in despair and depression the energetic TR decided to dramatically change his life. He decided to get busy. Roosevelt left the legislature and left the East Coast. He took himself to the Badlands in Dakota Territory and set out to be a Cowboy, Sheriff, rancher, and big game hunter. He did all those things, and mastered them, having never even attempted being such an outdoorsman at any time prior to the death of Alice Lee. Roosevelt was a New Yorker and raised in privilege. and he had been a weak, sickly child. But his depression from losing the love of his life was so impactful that he escaped that life in favor of a hard life in one of the hardest environments in the country.
During the snowiest winter on record in 1886 nearly all of Roosevelt’s cattle herd perished. Shortly thereafter Roosevelt left the Dakota’s and returned to the East Coast politics and considerably more adventures. His frenetic manner continued until his death in January 1919. As was mentioned in the PBS program Roosevelt said “Action” is the road away from despair and depression. And he fearlessly pursued every challenge ever presented to him. He even sought out those challenges. “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”- TR
In all my life I’d never faced serious depression like I did nearly one year ago. I was devastated and found merely getting through each and every day very difficult. But I pushed through it. At the start of 2014 while at the height of my lethargy I made two statements that have carried me to a place I now know is the pinnacle of great things to come. I said my 9 year old company, Total Broadcasting Service, would have its best year ever and that by the end of the year I would be debt free.
For the first time I hired a business coach, knowing I needed the direction and guidance for my business while my personal life was in disarray. He helped steer me into the things I wanted to do. The coach also asked me every week to do something “courageous”. With each passing week I found my focus easier to come by and my ability to do the hard things, ask the tough questions, make sales appointments, close sales and even volunteer my time became easier and easier.
I also became a voracious reader of books, mostly self-help books. I’ve read more books in the first 9 months of 2014 than any year in my life. I always knew reading was important and beneficial, but I never MADE the time for it, outside of my daily viewing of the Sports page. Each day I fill my mind with good ideas and motivational thoughts from authors who are accomplished in one way or another, one field or another. And I’m a better man for it.
I find myself exhausted at the end of most days. But unlike the time of my worst depression my exhaustion is not caused by emotional energies being spent worrying about what has happened or what might happen. My exhaustion is a good exhaustion earned by “action” and exertion. I wake at 5:30am and seldom pull the plug on my day’s efforts before 8pm. And when I pull the plug…I’m done.
The good results of my relentless drive were immediate, but not dramatic. I could chart greater income for my company. And I could definitely know my hurt heart and emotional challenges were easing as I focused more and more on what needs to be done right now at this very moment.
The gradual improvement in all things in my life has recently turned into a tidal wave of good fortune. Not even through September Total Broadcasting Service is exploding past our previous revenue records. My home is neater and in good repair and could be argued in better shape and appearance than at any time in my 11 years of living here. I’ve given considerable volunteer time to a great organization called Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County and even applied to be on the non-profit’s Board of Directors, something I expect to be officially named to in a matter of days. My family is happier and healthier because of my efforts. And I now look forward to a future that once scared me, but that I now know holds great promise and opportunity.
Challenges remain in front of me and my despair returns for short periods now and again, but through action, diligent, non-stop daily effort I have followed the example set by Theodore Roosevelt and made my life better. Time will tell if my achievements can be comparatively similar to the ball of energy that was TR. But I honestly expect great things, and that’s half the battle. I would counsel anyone in despair or depression to dive into your work if its work you love. I would advise them to focus on helping others. When you help others you forget about your own troubles and become a problem solver.
Lastly, I honestly belief God see’s our good work and rewards us. He may not reward us right away. But the rewards are coming. I promise.
When considering those in poverty it is far too common to think of them as perpetually poor and forever on the public dole. This sentiment has long existed and been perpetuated by claims of generational poverty; families that have nothing and leave nothing for their kids, thus creating a cycle that keeps the kids poor as adults and their kids raised in unrelenting poverty as well. These people are forever a burden on society and forever in need of our tax dollars being redistributed to them in the form of low or free rent, food stamps, medical care and more. Or so the myth goes…
While its true that many in poverty can stay poor for a significant portion of their lives, that’s often not the case. A 10+ year old study found that a significant percentage of those who were in the bottom third of income earners in the 1970s at some point over the following 20 years actually attained a level of income putting them in the upper third of income earners. This illustrates the point that those in poverty and receiving assistance are often only in that financially troubling position for a short time in their lives.
This makes sense when you consider that many of those who are poor are young adults or young families who have not yet attained the wisdom, experience, resumes or income to keep them out of poverty. But as they age and gain work experience and the wisdom on how to earn and save money they lift themselves out of poverty and often into financial well-being.
This was certainly true for this author. I have worked in the radio industry for my entire adult life. I began professionally in 1985 as a 21 year old country music DJ and part-time high school sports play-by-play announcer. This auspicious position paid me the awesome sum of $600 per month. A little extra scrambling for more work usually got my check up to $650.00. And that was gross income, paid to me with only one pay check per month. I worked 50-60 hours per week, 6 days per week; thus not allowing me to hold a second job. I was poor. I didn’t qualify for food stamps. At the time I did apply and was told I made exactly $5.00 too much each month to qualify. I lived on Top Ramon, Mac & Cheese, and Cheerios. Oh…and beer. Priorities, right?
Twenty years later my income climbed to a level in 2004 where my earnings put me in the upper 2-3% of income earners. I owned a home, a rental property, and was raising a family. In 2005 I started my own business, Total Broadcasting Service.
And I’m not special. Lots of people can tell the same story.
The myth that poverty is a life sentence has two deleterious effects. If believed by some of those in poverty it helps keep them in need. It also discourages generous giving from many who could dramatically impact the lives of those in poverty. “Why give if these lazy, drug using poor people are only going to use my money to get drunk and high and buy tattoos and other frivolous expenses? I was poor and I lifted myself up. They should do the same.”…or so seems to be the thinking.
When its understood that poverty is more usually a temporary condition Americans can feel more comfortable generously offering a hand up while not seeing it as a hand-out. If someone is too young to have learned and earned you are more likely to see their potential and give them the assistance you probably benefitted from in your own youth. When its plain that a medical condition has prevented a person from working and they lost their income and haven’t yet found a means by which they will eventually support themselves, you can maintain a much higher level of empathy for their plight. Even when someone’s own poor decisions or foolishness have driven them to the poor house, you can feel a greater desire to help them get back to being self sustaining if you have the confidence of knowledge that most people in their positions will use your generosity wisely to change the direction of their lives and improve their situation.
My faith tells me that its my responsibility to help those in need. But if my faith (or yours) didn’t dictate charitable giving, common sense would. Few people, regardless of political persuasion, like the government’s gun to your head (otherwise known as the IRS) approach to monetary redistribution. And frankly its terribly inefficient anyway. But many non-profit charitable and church based organizations provide efficient and meaningful help to the needy.
One of these organizations in my community is Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County. I met it’s Director, Glenn Turner, this year. He carefully explained to me and others how EFP fills the gaps in food distribution for the needy. Food banks typically only provide food enough to last an individual or a family for 2-3 weeks per month. The obvious problem being that every month is at least 4 weeks. Emergency Feeding Program will help those who can’t provide for themselves over each month’s final 1-2 weeks with carefully constructed food bags tailored to the specific dietary and ethnic requirements of the recipient. They provide 15 different types of emergency food bags to match their clients. Emergency Feeding Program has been doing this since 1977, and are Washington State’s third largest food distribution service for the needy. And they do it through the generosity of people. They have many people who volunteer their time. And many generous people and organizations who donate food and money. You can help them too. And this writer hopes that you will.
Isn’t it easier to help knowing you are actually helping. Isn’t it best to look at those in poverty as merely folks who are down on their luck and with the kind and generous assistance you provide they won’t stay where they are; they’ll rise up support themselves and in the natural evolution of their lives help others; maybe even you, should you someday be a victim of misfortune, poor health or unfortunate decisions.
We can’t and shouldn’t rely on government to carry us through. We’re a free nation. And we should be free to help those we want to help. And we should help. It’s in our best interest as well as the recipients of our generous money and efforts.
As an addendum: Emergency Feeding Program is hosting its first ever Summer musical event to raise awareness and donations. Jazz on the Houser will be from 3-9pm Saturday August 23rd. Click here to learn more: http://www.emergencyfeeding.org/events-wedge-details/354217/1408824000
Depression is insidious. It’s a dark tunnel from which seeing the light is difficult. And when depression grabs you and holds you in its clutches its very hard to escape. When you’re a victim of depression you may find time and again reasons to carry on. But usually you’re only saved by the end of the day, or by a phone call from a friend. Getting through the day becomes the top priority, and a considerable challenge for those with depression. But time and again you do it. Time and again you overcome. And then…the next day comes.
Robin Williams couldn’t get through the day, yesterday. The end of the day or that phone call from a friend never came. He was trapped in his despair as he apparently had been many times in his life. But this time he failed to make it out alive. From what we know about this brilliantly talented man he successfully overcame his demons time and time again. But they kept returning. It’s like he gave us all so much; so much of his energy and his joy that when left to himself he had none left, he had no reservoir from which we all tap into in our souls, our minds, our hearts, our faith. From wherever Robin Williams achieved the self-preservation instinct to check himself into substance abuse rehab repeatedly, including last month, he couldn’t find it yesterday.
For those like myself who had stared the blackness of depression in the face it represents a particularly scary event. I found myself asking “If this universally loved man can be taken by depression what’s to happen to me if my despair returns?”. And I asked,”If this man feels unloved, insignificant, or in some way a failure…what about me?”
Prior to eight months ago I didn’t know depression or understand it. I thought it was equivalent to sadness, which like everybody else I have experienced many times in my life. I thought depression might just be sadness x 2. It’s not. It’s sadness x 1000. It’s sadness on steroids with a jet rocket pack strapped to its back. It’s not what I thought. It’s so much worse.
When first depression hits many friends and acquaintances are curious and perhaps caring enough to lend an ear. But usually that’s about it. It’s an ear. After the depression lingers even close friends drift away. They don’t understand and they don’t want to be dragged down by the depressed person’s mood, darkness, troubles. It takes the truly compassionate with a degree of understanding to provide assistance. And it takes professional help. Friends too often think a kick in the butt, or a pep talk should be sufficient to help the victim of depression. And when that proves insufficient they move on. A professional has the education and understanding and hopefully the compassion from which help can be supplied.
As I emerge from the darkest period of my life I can thank some truly helpful people. They include a family counselor from my parish, supplied to me and other church members at no cost. She has been a God send for me. I hired a business coach to keep me on-task with my company knowing my personal troubles might make the business falter or even fail. He has been tremendously effective in exactly what I needed from him. A single individual long time friend who has experienced that which I experienced has never failed to be there for me. Unlike so many others…he never faded away. Lastly, my son. He has seemed to sense my challenges, though I never revealed them to him and did my best to protect him from my shadows. His love and compassion, his hugs, and smiles have been beyond what I would have expected from such a young man. I miss him, since he’s out on his own building his own life, tackling his own challenges. But he pops in and never fails to lift my spirits.
I know Robin Williams felt unloved, unsuccessful, insignificant, and as he grew older perhaps he had a fear of his future, of aging. I don’t know specifically. But I know these are the issues that trouble the depressed. Even someone who is as loved and successful as the comedian and actor who blessed our lives for 40 years. But I have turned away from my initial fear. I can’t accept that his fate is my fate. I’m a different person. Unlike him I don’t have a substance abuse problem. I will overcome and live in the moment, for my future is scary. It’s scary because its unknown. But I will climb on that roller coaster and forgo the merry go round.
You can help those who face depression by making them feel significant, accomplished and loved. That’s what they need. And if they need it more than others…so be it. Give it to them. You are never diminished by holding someone up. Know that you are enhanced. And you too are significant and loved.
The Seattle Times newspaper announced today that it would join the ever-growing list of publications that will ban use of the name Redskins in future paper and online articles. The news comes one day after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled the name Redskins can no longer enjoy trademark protection because “based on the evidence properly before us … these (trademark) registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered.”.
In the Times article it is pointed out that my high school, Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington, is one of many schools and organizations that has a name/mascot derived from Native American culture. Sammamish is “The Totems”. And the article points out that in addition to banning the racial slur Redskins from popular culture, that other sports teams and or schools are being encouraged to ban ALL nicknames derived from Native American culture. This would include Chiefs, Warriors, Braves, Indians and on and on.
I’ll admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I honestly never thought of my high school’s nickname as being Native American. Clearly it is. I just never thought about it. Even though the subject of removing the name Redskins and other less offensive Native American nicknames has been in the news for years, I never made the connection. Interestingly (for me) the Time’s article also points out one of the lone remaining school sports names in Washington that carry’s with it some racial over tones toward Native Americans (or any other ethnic group, I guess) is my Dad’s high school alma mater The Bellingham High School Red Raiders. While keeping the nickname the Bellingham School District years ago removed any logo or symbolism associated with Native Americans from its High School, choosing instead on displaying a Hawk in depicting Red Raiders.
So my questions are these:
1. Should the NFL’s Washington football team change its name from Redskins?
2. Should ALL nicknames with Native American connotations be banned/removed?
3. Am I alone in not giving any thought toward my own school’s nickname…along these lines?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office admits in its report that only 30% of Native Americans surveyed find the term Redskins offensive. And survey’s of the team’s fans throughout the D.C. area strongly approve of owner Daniel Snyder’s stance to “NEVER change the name”.
My position is not unlike my thoughts about my own Totem’s nickname from my high school days. I’m rather indifferent. I see how the term Redskins can be offensive (who can’t?). But I also feel…INTENT has to play a big part in how a word is used. Nobody in their right mind believes Snyder or anyone associated with the Washington Redskins intends to offend anyone. It’s as if simply writing or saying the “n-word” is offensive; which it is…to a lot of people. I respect that. But I’m going to write it here, now. Nigger. Am I a racist? In the context of how I am using it I would openly and strongly call you an idiot for accusing me of being so. And my African-American wife, children, and friends would defend me; I’m sure. Still the word is offensive because of how it has historically been used, and the frequency with which its been used. The same can be said of the word Redskins. Though nobody with any scruples would use the word in any other way but as a reference to the football team. And such has been the case for decades. You can’t say that about the N-word.
Nonetheless, the tide to remove the name Redskins from the NFL football team is certainly unmistakable; and I predict it will be done in the next 2-3 years. Chalk up another one for political correctness. Still, it’s not something I don’t understand or would strongly argue.
However, to the politically correct wimps who would remove all nicknames, like my Totems, from schools and sports teams I would say, GROW UP. As I already pointed out, INTENT, must be taken into consideration when choosing to be offended otherwise you can find offense in way too many things in this world. The nursery level idiom “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, comes to mind. I could point out all the other nicknames of some racial derivation…like a lot of people arguing this point do…but I won’t. Because it’s a waste of time.
If someone offends you and does so intentionally or unthinkingly, do something about it. Say something. But if their Intent is non-offensive keep that in mind. When I was young and going to school studying broadcasting I created an audio character with an English accent named “Bueno Mike”. It was a character I used for product commercials. And it was intended to be funny. Bueno Mike was supposed to be an English explorer in the vein of “Stanley and Livingston”. I decided Bueno Mike needed an assistant and innocently came up with a new character I called “Sambo”. This was in 1985. My then-girlfriend, and future wife, was incensed. I had no ill-intent. I was thinking of the restaurant named Sambo’s, and the young Indian character who spun a tiger around a tree and turned him into butter. But my girlfriend couldn’t believe I would use a name so offensive. I admitted I didn’t know that it was offensive to African-Americans. But after she calmed down and explained it to me I didn’t hesitate to ditch the plan and not use the derogatory name. But I have to admit my girlfriends strong first reaction put me on the defensive and I was a little upset. Only through a calmer approach was my mind changed.
What do you think? I’m really interested in hearing from my fellow Sammamish Alums to my 3 earlier questions.
Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.