Do YOU listen to Non-parents giving parenting advice?

The Seattle Times Editorial offered a printed hand slap to Washington State Senator Mike Baumgartner that I didn’t feel was appropriate, but got me thinking about parenting and non-parents. See what YOU think.

Official portrait of Senator (D-WA).

Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

In the Editorial “Cantwell challenger makes rookie mistake in commenting on marital status” it is written: In a fundraising letter (attacking Senator Maria Cantwell‘s position on availability of “Plan B” contraceptive pills to teens without parental consent), Baumgartner mentioned that Cantwell is unmarried and “has frequently voted to undermine the role of parents in child rearing.”

Baumgartner is a declared Republican candidate to challenge Cantwell for her Senate seat in 2012. Good luck with that, Mike. :-\

The Times goes on to ask what Cantwell’s marital status has to do with her views on the Plan B contraceptive and its availability to teens without that teens parental consent. To which I respond, it has a whole lot to do with her views. If you don’t have children you can’t possibly imagine the responsibilities, the weight of each and every day decisions, and the day-to-day challenges a parent faces.

I have had several friends over the course of the years who have chosen to go through life without kids. A couple of them come to mind on this subject. My old friend Deborah, (really a co-worker more than a friend) would never hesitate counseling my wife and I on what SHE thought should be done with any of my three kids. My kids range in age by a full 12 years youngest to oldest. So the unsolicited advice ranged from what to do about a crying baby, to how to deal with a rebellious teen. Now Deborah is a smart person but completely full of herself. And the fact that she had a college degree in “Early childhood development” was something she never failed to mention. But when Deborah or anyone else offered parenting advice I would listen, because you never know when you might luckily stumble upon a gem of a good idea. But usually I would be a little offended that a non-parent felt knowledgable enough to offer such thoughts, and I would take the advice with a grain of salt, or with the knowledge that it came from a person without a clue.

I’m a sports fan. I played football in high school. I believe myself very knowledgable about the game. But despite the fact that I had my “bell” rung a few times and had the wind knocked out of me by 150-180 pound high school opponents I can’t relate in any way to what Tom Brady goes through. Did you see the hit he took in the Denver game last week? He got blasted by Broncos D-lineman Elvis Dumervil.

English: Elvis Dumervil, a player on the Natio...

Elvis Dumervil

Dumervil is 6-foot and 260 pounds. And he runs a 4.5 second 40 yard dash. I’m almost as big as he is but if he hit me I might not get up. I can’t possibly imagine.

Most non-parents are smart enough not to offer parenting advice. It’s quite arrogant to do so and to think you can relate. Trust me, you absolutely have no idea. So I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Baumgartner to question Cantwell’s marital status and childless status when Cantwell takes political positions that take away the rights of parents.

What do you think?

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Unmarried and Low Income becoming far too common!

Two remarkable statistics reported in the past two days by the U.S. Census Bureau caught my attention. Today it was reported that 48% of Americans are now in poverty or are qualified as low-income. Yesterday the same Commerce Department bureau reported that the percentage of married adult Americans has fallen to a record low of only 51%. If you turn the number around that means 49% remain unmarried. Then it struck me how close the two numbers were. 49% unmarried…48% low income or poor. Is there a relationship?

Marriage DayAs you digest these numbers remember the old saying about examining percentages too closely, “Beat a statistic to death and it will tell you anything”. But having offered that disclaimer we have to acknowledge that these two startling statistics are connected.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines an income of $45k a year as low-income for a family of four. Since the average American individual income is only $40,584, in my state of Washington it’s $43,564, the average American needs two incomes to avoid being low-income. The average household income in 2010 in the U.S. was $63k. It’s certainly lower in 2011.

What the two reports also include are the fact that minorities make up more of the poor and more of the unmarried. Only 31% of African-American adults are married, Hispanics were just above 50% and whites were around 70%.  Not surprisingly the poverty rates for each ethnic group roughly correspond. The 2010 Census says the percentage of white kids under 18 in poverty at 12%; for Hispanics its 35%, for blacks it’s nearly 39%.

This is not intended to be a lamentation of the decline of American values, but merely an examination of what may be smart to do, and what may be detrimental. It seems finding a partner and making a commitment to them and them to you to help you through the tough times and help you better enjoy the good times is not only a reflection of good moral values as some would say, but also good financial judgement.

As one who has been married for 25 years I can tell you honestly that it’s not easy. I can tell you staying together this long and helping each other makes things better. At various times in the previous 25 years I’ve been unemployed or without significant income a couple of times. My wife has been in the same position too on a couple of occasions. There is no doubt without the other’s income to lean on each of us would have been in a much worse position then and now.

The Washington Post reports that the marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits. In 1960, for example, when most baby boomers were children, 72 percent of all adults were married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a couple of years older.

“In the 1950s, if you weren’t married, people thought you were mentally ill,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who studies families. “Marriage was mandatory. Now it’s culturally optional.” One has to wonder, why? Why has it become culturally optional, especially when this evidence and other factors show how marriage is a net-plus for society?

Now in the area of poverty there are certainly other factors to consider, education for one. During this extended recession while unemployment has remained above 9% for nearly the entire Obama Administration; unemployment for those with at least a College Bachelors Degree has consistently remained well below 5% (otherwise known as full employment). But here again there is a tie-in. More than 70% of those with a college education are married. It’s WELL below 50% for those with only High School or less.

I favor a change in attitude about marriage. Let our kids know that living with a partner outside of marriage is not only contrary to our values, our religion (if applicable), but also to their self-interest. It should be OK NOT to be married. But it should be recognized that we all benefit from the values too many have derisively called “old-fashioned” for far too many years.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Caution: Government Makes Everything Worse – Stossels Take Blog – Fox Business

john Stossel on FOX Business Channel

As usual John Stossel blows up conventional theory. In his blog he points out that a ban on cell phone use in cars won’t help save lives. The National Transportation Safety Board’s call to ban cell phone use while driving is more nanny state nonsense that will do little to make us safer.

Caution: Government Makes Everything Worse – Stossels Take Blog – Fox Business.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Paper Is More Forever – Rasmussen Reports™

This commentary appeared in today’s Seattle Times. It’s a fun thought on the idea of paper versus e-communications. I hope you find it interesting. Click below:

Paper Is More Forever – Rasmussen Reports™.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Did they die for more government or more Liberty?

English: U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosev...

Franklin Roosevelt address a joint session of Congress, December 8, 1941.

“A date which will live in infamy.” That’s what President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 as he addressed Congress asking for a Declaration of War against the imperial nation of Japan. He made this call for war following the “surprise” attack on the

The U.S. Navy battleship USS California (BB-44...

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today.

U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that left over 2300 dead; nearly half of which were entombed on the battleship U.S.S. Arizona.

It’s worth noting that today’s 70th Anniversary of that infamous day follows by one day President Barrack Obama‘s biggest, latest speech in Osawatomie (pronounced oh-suh-WAHT-ah-mee) Kansas. The symbolism of Obama’s speech is supposed to be found in the location in which he chose to make it and how it was nearly 100 years from when former

English: Orotone of Theodore Roosevelt as Pres...

T.R.

President Theodore Roosevelt made his famous “New Nationalism” speech. The speech was in August 1910, more than 101 years ago; and it was nearly 50 miles away in Kansas City, Kansas. Nonetheless the current day White House nearly pulled a hamstring stretching to connect the two speeches.

In his speech Obama again made the call for more government and more regulation of business. He referred to the need to level the playing field for the great middle class of Americans. And he tried to make the connection with TR and the turn of the 20th century when he said: “At the turn of the last century, when a nation of farmers was transitioning to become the world’s industrial giant, we had to decide: Would we settle for a country where most of the new railroads and factories were being controlled by a few giant monopolies that kept prices high and wages low?” The statement is patently false. The tycoon industrialists of the late 1800s and early 1900s made their money by providing products at low prices, thus serving the masses instead of catering to the rich. Same as today.

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller founded the University of ...

Image via Wikipedia

became at one time the richest man on earth by building Standard oil into not only an oil production business, but into an oil refining and distribution business. As written in the Wikipedia biography of Rockefeller Standard Oil replaced the old distribution system with its own vertical system. It supplied kerosene by tank cars that brought the fuel to local markets and tank wagons then delivered to retail customers, thus bypassing the existing network of wholesale jobbers. He made the price of gasoline low so that more people could buy it. And in so doing he saved the whales. Prior to Rockefeller’s success whale oil was the primary means by which people burned oil. The whaling industry couldn’t compete and very quickly died.

Henry Ford

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Henry Ford paid his workers sufficient wages to be able to buy his product.

didn’t become fabulously wealthy by making the most expensive car on the market. Just the opposite. He created the assembly line; a much faster and more financially efficient way to build an automobile. Thus we had the Model T a car that was affordable to the average worker. And Ford famously said his success was predicated on building a product that his employees could afford to buy.

Andrew Carnegie, American businessman and phil...

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and others all had riches and power. But those riches and power were bestowed upon them by the American people buying their products because they made there products affordably.

How is that different from today’s tycoons? Bill Gates built computer software that was easy and compatible with multiple hardware manufacturers thus bringing the personal computer to a size and affordability of most Americans and business. Steve Jobs also built computers; but his greatest success began with his company’s invention of the Ipod; an easier and more affordable way to buy and listen to music. In doing so he turned the music industry upside down and changed it forever.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook. Did he achieve his billionaire status by “keeping prices high”? Absolutely not. He took the idea of a social “facebook” (small f), distributed it more widely and made it  FREE to everyone.

Obama said yesterday about Republicans: “And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” If only it were true. The fact is GOP politicians are nearly as guilty as Democrats in forcing government intrusion onto the lives of increasingly more Americans. The President went on to say we’re all better off when “we’re together than when we’re on our own”. On this we agree. But who made him Community Organizer in chief for my life? Who says government needs to force us together in order to benefit the most people. Rockefeller, Ford, Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg and countless others have repeatedly demonstrated that the philosophy of 18th economist Adam Smith was right.

Smith is the author of the seminal economic book “The Wealth of Nations” which correctly pointed out that the less government interferes with a free-market system the more people will prosper. Smith pointed out that when left on their own people had a selfish interest in serving people, community, the masses. Failing to do so meant a failure of a business. Doesn’t that make sense?

Official photographic portrait of US President...

President Barrack Obama

Obama’s repeated stated resistance to leave us to our own devices demonstrates a clear lack of faith in the Capitalist system and in the moral fiber of Americans. As we remember the brave souls who lost their lives 70 years ago today its incumbent upon us to ask ourselves why they died and why so many other Americans have fought and died in the name of our country through the past 2 1/4 centuries. Did they die in defense of a bigger Government controlling more and more of our lives; helping us along as Obama would want me to say. Or…did they die for our own individual liberty? Isn’t it obvious? And to properly honor their memory don’t we owe it to them and our own ancestors to struggle and succeed. For one always precedes the other.

Thanks for visiting. Your comments are welcome.

Poor People Shouldn’t be so Comfortable.

English: Poverty Rates by Age: 1959 to 2008. U...

Here I go again. Where is my compassion? This is what my Democratic friends and non-friends will say.

But as I wrote in an earlier blog called “Get Mad! Defend yourself. Conservative Values are Worth Defending”  I won’t take it. When I say “those in poverty in the U.S. live too comfortably and need to find it a little bit more challenging”; I’m the one with compassion. I’m the one who cares for their well-being. Democrats who want to keep them down by giving them JUST enough to continue their meek existence are the inhumane, the uncaring. Believe it. They’ve been dominating the poor in this country for far too long by keeping them fat and happy…and poor.

A recent study reported by The Heritage Foundation demonstrates dramatically that being poor in the United States doesn’t leave you much worse off than the average American. “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?” by Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield points out that 97.7% of poor households have televisions. That compares to 98.7% of average Americans.

Additionally the study finds:

  • Over 78% of poor have air conditioning; compared to just 36% of all Americans in 1970.
  • 63.7% have cable TV
  • 65.1% have more than 1 TV
  • 38.2% have a personal computer; compared to 68% of the general populace.
  • 29.3% of poor families have a video game system, compared to 31.3% of average American households.
English: Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1...

The list is extensive and alarming. As the article points out the overwhelming majority of the 50-million who are classified as “in poverty” live relatively well with all kinds of modern amenities. The majority of them have air-conditioning, tv’s, cars, microwaves, adequate housing and ample access to food. The home of the average poor family was NOT over crowded and was in good repair. The average American poor family had more living space in their home than the average (overall average, not just poor) European.

There is no doubt that the poor in our country are struggling; but when they are struggling to pay for cable tv, the latest video game, and the comfort of air conditioning we have to ask why tax payer funds should go toward helping that struggle. The overwhelming budget deficits run by the current administration make it an even more important question.

MORE IMPORTANTLY there are people without adequate shelter or food who are hurt by the exaggerated deprivation of those classified as “in poverty”. But according to the study those who are homeless and at times without adequate food only represent 0.5% of the population; not 15-16% as Census reports in September 2011 indicated.

Of course its in the interest of certain demographic groups and organizations to exaggerate the numbers on poverty. In doing so more government money can flow to your demographic group through Federal programs designed to ease your burden and/or deprivation. But when a poor family’s amenities are nearly equal to the average household where is the deprivation. The study asked survey respondents if their home included a list of 30 household items they would have classified as amenities. The median average American household had 19 of these 30 items. The median poor household had 14.

Its worth noting that the average poor person does not represent all poor people. Like everything in life there is a range. But in order to come up with effective and efficient public policy to help care for those who are truly in-need we should be able to have a clearer definition of who is in need. And those who receive public assistance shouldn’t be so comfortable, and if they are, they shouldn’t receive public assistance.

The good news from this seemingly harsh stance is that those who live comfortably with lots of household amenities will be forced to make wiser choices for how they spend and save their money. They’ll certainly have greater motivation to work harder and smarter for the amenities they covet. And our nation’s deteriorating work ethic will get a necessary kick in the butt. And could it be that we all, even the poor, will learn to be more grateful for the things we have and the great nation in which we live.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

( Here is the link to the article in which the majority of this blog is based:  http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/07/What-is-Poverty )

The Top 5 Regrets In Life By Those About to Die

Nurse log, Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail

This article was written by a hospice nurse who tended to countless numbers of dying people. Their voices speak to us in a way no others can. Perhaps you will find it inspiring, even life changing. While some may find this dark. I think it’s illuminating.

http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2011/05/31/the-top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbeds/

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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