Friday, January 30, 2009
American Use of Propaganda
I look at these posters that appeal to the Soldier's sense of patriotism to help him avoid situations in which he could contract VD and am reminded that our society has evolved somewhat since the 40's. "You can't beat the Axis if you get VD" is a little over the top, don't you think?
I have to wonder how successful this poster was. I doubt it would be very effective today.
Chairman Mao. When I think of propaganda posters, the very first thing that comes to mind is The Chairman. I think I've seen far too many movies - propaganda in and of themselves - that depict China in a not so favorable light. I consider my perspective to be rather distorted but I picture posters like these plastered all over the enormous country that is China.
Of course, there are certainly other posters that have come from that country. I commented on Yao Ming's appointment as the Country's "model worker" for the 2005 May Day Celebration and included a little thought about Iron Man Wang. That was a propaganda poster of exceptional quality. It was certainly a feel good poster that would boost the average Chinese citizen's spirits.
I don't want to suggest that all propaganda relies wholly on falsehoods and exaggerations. Simply put, there is a tendency to do just that.
When a group or individual forces its way into power, there is a limited time in which it has to enforce an acceptance of the new regime. The Soviets were masters at manipulation it seems.
A very common theme has to be the Anti-American propaganda that seems to be rather pervasive throughout many countries since at least World War II.
It is interesting how well designed these posters can be. They impart a feeling of solidarity, a feeling that change must happen and that you have to be part of this change. Climb on board the bus is leaving. You don't want to be left behind. You want to be on the right side of this issue or else.
Through posters like these, the artists are proclaiming the government policies, asking for support, and demanding greater efforts - all with the goal of building up a communist party or intensifying Soviet power.
US Presidential Propaganda
I am embarrassed at my initial response upon viewing the Barack Obama Presidential posters, brochures and stickers. Seriously. I felt terrible that my first reaction to these were to compare them to the Communist propaganda posters. The feeling I get, however, is certain. I am not confused and I do not feel like I am stretching to make the association.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"When you've got 800-plus billion dollars to spend, you'll have an equal number of opinions on how it should be spent," said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, the dairy industry's main lobbying group.Yesterday, the house passed President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. All 825 Billion Dollars and not a single Republican voted for its passing. Some how, I have started getting MoveOn.org emails. Boy, they were quick to point this out! I am not going to think it is best for everyone to jump on board with this plan just because the most liberal organization in the United States is all over it.
It will be interesting to see if the Senate responds in similar fashion. You see, they can't pass it with the mandatory 60% without at least a couple Republicans to climb onto the bandwagon. As always I worry about the longer term impacts - the unintended consequences. According to the Congressional Budget Office, government borrowing prompted by the enactment of the plan would add another 347 billion dollars. This increases the estimated cost of the stimulus plan to an excess of one trillion dollars.
I seem to remember talking about the Financial exceeding the Astronomical... It is true. The costs are exceptionally greater than just Astronomical.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Quoting the first president, the rallying cry from forty-fourth is a strong call to arms and a call for hope. Will America hear this call and respond? So far the common thread has been more about what the government can do for me rather than what I can do for our country.
At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.Barack Obama, January 20, 2009, Inaugural Address
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Mr. President, our prayers go with you. Truth is our strength. The path forward is not going to be easy but let us not burden our decendants with undue cost because we're too selfish to bear them ourselves. In all that we do, remember we should be building a foundation upon which those generations can continue to build a greater country, a greater world.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.
These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.
- Barack Obama, January 20, 2009, Inaugural Address.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, Crushed
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Stir it all together into your marinating container of choice. My tupperware works for me so very well but a large zip lock bag will work well if your London Broil will fit. Place the meat into the marinade and let it bathe for 3-4 hours in the refridgerator (up to 24 is ok). Turn it over a couple times to make sure the marinade gets all the sides. Remove from the 'fridge about 30 minutes before you're going to start cooking it. Prepare your grill. You want a medium-high heat. Depending on thickness, you cook for 4-6 minutes per side.
This goes well with Asparagas or Brocoli. A nice baked potato is a good complement as well.
The Bad Story
I bought a thick cut (about 3 1/2 inches) London Broil this past week. When I went to cook it, I didn't allow for the thicker cut and it didn't get cooked long enough. Luckily, the family enjoys a rarer slice of beef. Still, there is nothing like feeding a family of five for less than $10.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So, history has been made. What now? Can the new President rise above his race? Barack Obama was born into his situation. By reason of his parents' union, not by something Barack Obama did. Can his administration create a legacy that supercedes what has become an historic event? President Barack Obama is coming to office at a very difficult point in our nation’s history. We’re fighting wars on two fronts, the economy is faltering, and the national debt is rising at a historic pace and many other problems...
What does the new President propose in answer to these pressing concerns? In mid-December, President Barack Obama called on congress to pass a stimulus package with a price tag between 650-750 billion dollars – he admitted he would accept up to 850 billion. Whoa! That’s a lot of dough! Is this what we’re getting as an answer to these problems? Is this spending programs marketed as stimulus?
Much of Barack Obama’s “middle-class tax cut” goes to people with no federal tax liability. It provides a $500 per worker tax credit. Is $20 a week in welfare going to stimulate the economy? That’s not even enough to feed my family pizza on Friday night!
He suggests his plans will save jobs. Boy, I hope so. The number of jobs he’s saving, however, seems to be rising. On November 22, Mr Obama claimed his plans would save 2.5 million jobs. On December 20, it was up to three million. Then, it was over 3.5 million. By the middle of last week, the claim exceeded 4 million jobs. It doesn’t matter how impossible it will be to verify how many jobs he really “saved.”
I’m pretty interested in what Barack Obama has promised as far as job creation is concerned. Since there are so many people already out of work, there needs to be something we can do for those people. The President’s plans include creation of more than 450,000 jobs in the “green” sectors and an additional 244,000 government jobs. You know there are less than 7,000 people working for companies the manufacture solar cells in America? The largest wind equipment maker employs just over 2,000. This will be very easy to track and a lot of people are watching. Expanding the government by 244,000 jobs will be the largest expansion of the government since LBJ’s Great Society.
I am honestly very hopeful for our future. I hope the hyperinflation that could happen from the rapid influx of new money into the market doesn’t hurt too badly. I hope some of the claims people who know more than I do are absolutely wrong. I hope our country gets stronger. I hope we will be victorious against that band of “gadianton robbers” we call Al’Queda. I hope. See, I am not hopeless.
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Savior’s call for repentance expressed certain urgency and others throughout the scriptures echo the Savior’s call.
While on a mission with Alma to the Zoramites, Amulek taught we should not “procrastinate the day of [our] repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.”
The Bible Dictionary suggests the term from which repentance was translated is Greek describing the process as a change of mind or a fresh view about God, oneself and the world. This is a change from the carnal to an adoption of a higher state, suggesting repentance to be a positive experience from the very beginning of the process.
Interestingly, searching the internet for definitions of repentance returns a stark contrast to this, in most cases describing repentance as almost synonymous with guilt. Although the foundation of change for some, these references suggest guilt or sorrow are an integral part of repentance.
Does the Savior’s call for repentance require a sense of guilt? Although a motivator for some, is guilt compulsory for everyone to truly repent? Is it an integral part of the process?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
She's 15. She's anxious. She's growing too fast. Yeppers.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Today, many tout the health benefits of salmon due to the high protein, high Omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D content. According to reports in the journal Science, farmed salmon may contain high levels of dioxins. PCB levels may be up to eight time higher in farmed salmon than what is found in wild salmon. Additionally, farmed salmon may contain lower Omega-3 levels. Of the Omega-3’s present, farmed salmon contains higher levels of the ALA type. Although the body can convert ALA Omega-3 into the more beneficial DHA and EPA types, it is very inefficient converting only about 2-15%. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the benefits of eating salmon – even the farmed Atlantic salmon – outweigh any risks imposed. They suggest these benefits will help us live longer, healthier lives.
Salmon is good. That's what I think. I'm not looking to get the world's knowledge and I am not so much concerned about the health benefits or dangers of eating the salmon. I like salmon baked, poached and pan seared. I even consider salmon to be one of the best things you will find on the menu in a sushi restaurant. It's just plain good stuff. My favorite way to prepare Salmon, though, has to be the grill!
Fire Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Sour Cream Sauce
Salmon is definitely one of our family's top choices. This marinade and the accompanying sauce makes for a delicious, flavorful and moist salmon dinner. This recipe is often requested for special birthday meals. Even many who claim they don’t like seafood find they like this.
1/3 cup white grape juice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
Mix grape juice, orange juice, and soy sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place salmon, flesh side down, in dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat grill to about 450° - medium heat, you’ll not be able to hold your hand over the heat for more than a few seconds. If you have a mesh cooker for fish, this is a good time to use it. Be sure to use a non-stick spray. Otherwise, line your grill with foil. This will help keep all the Salmon goodness from falling through the grate. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook until the fish is opaque in the center, about 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with dollops of Cucumber Sour Cream sauce.
Cucumber Sour Cream sauce
I do not care for arugula so I replace it with an equal amount of spinach. This is the original recipe. I like this sauce almost enough to eat it without the Salmon. A food processor makes preparation a snap and very quick. I prefer to make this at least an hour before we eat but it can be made up to six hours ahead.
1 cup (packed) baby spinach leaves
1 cup (packed) arugula leaves
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
Finely chop spinach, arugula, and shallot in processor. Add sour cream and mustard; process just until blended. Transfer to medium bowl. (Cover and refrigerate.) Stir cucumber into sour cream mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simply Grilled Salmon
A simple soy sauce and brown sugar marinade, with hints of lemon and garlic, are the perfect salty-sweet complement to rich salmon fillets.
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder. 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish flesh side down in the soy sauce mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat grill to about 450° - medium heat, you’ll not be able to hold your hand over the heat for more than a few seconds. Again, if you have a mesh cooker for fish, this is a good time to use it. Be sure to use a non-stick spray. Otherwise, line your grill with foil. This will help keep all the Salmon goodness from falling through the grate. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook until the fish is opaque in the center, about 8 – 10 minutes.
If you are not inclined to grill your salmon, you can cook it in a 450° oven. Make a foil packet for each fillet large enough to tent and allow air to circulate. Cook for about 12 minutes.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A recent study suggests men whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers tend to have greater earning power. I guess scientists at Cambridge University have been looking at this relationship for a while.
They tie the amount of testosterone exposure in the womb to the ratio of the ring and index fingers. There is evidence to support the theory that more testosterone exposure may improve rapid decision-making skills and it might be linked with aggression.
The length of your digits might have something to do with how many digits make up your salary? Maybe I should be seeking a meeting with my boss?
Monday, January 12, 2009
Appropriately, this is not simply about food. Ah, but most of those things I need to have a certain way are centered around food. I don't consider myself particularly picky. I like most food but only if it is prepared properly. I like cheese and I like hamburgers but you'll hardly ever find me eating a cheeseburger. You'll never see me willingly eat a piece of that plastic most restaurants try to pass as cheese, that is certain.
I'm very particular about how my books are handled. Being an avid reader I have a hard time waiting for books to be released in paperback. However, when I have a paperback book, I will not open the book up far enough to break the spine. When I loan the book to others, I explain to them very carefully how to hold the book so as to not break the spine or leave any kind of crease. Yes, I am extremely particular about this.
Just a few things that strike my fancy. I have other things. I don't like my flatware to touch the tables at restaurants. I won't touch the door handle of a public bathroom. The little bowl of candy that sometimes sits at the maitre d' station - I won't eat those.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Anyway, I have been thinking about the whole situation in Gaza/Israel. The protesters are calling on Israel to stop their campaign against Hamas. They aren't suggesting Hamas do anything in return.
I am not too terribly sympathetic to either side of this mess. However, it seems to me that if the geography were slightly different, some of these people might have a different tune to sing. You see, Israel responded to missles being fired into Israel from Gaza. These attacks are definitely indescriminate. I wonder how people would respond if Mexico decided to start shelling San Deigo. Would the world be calling on the U.S. to stop defending herself?
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Are we falling behind? Are we overwhelmed with life and pursuit of happiness? Are we ready to throw in the towel? Is it true that looming on the horizon is a devastating world that would make the Great Depression seem like a cake walk rather than the soup line it was?
If we allow the media to guide us, we should be bracing for something terrible. Interestingly, Gallup released the results of a recent poll in which 84% of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life at this time, while 14% are dissatisfied. Something even more interesting . . . These results have remained pretty consistent since Gallup started tracking personal life satisfaction in 1979. Honestly, on average, year in and year out, the nearly 30 years of Americans who say they are satisfied with their personal life remains at 82%. The lowest point was 73% in July 1979 (Jimmy Carter was struggling and Americans were too). Interestingly, the highest point was during George W. Bush's presidency, 88% in December 2004.
I'm left wondering this. If we're all so happy with our personal lives, why is the national press organizations leading us to believe everything is so off kilter? Americans are overwhelming happy with those things they can see personally. However, in the same survey, we understand that only 27% are happy with the way things are going in the United States. Why is there such a dichotomy? We're happy with those things directly in our face but unhappy with those things for which we must rely on others to understand.
The media. I blame them.
Something else Gallup has recently uncovered: Republicans are more likely than independents or Democrats to say they are very satisfied with their personal lives and that they are very happy.
Maybe this is why many of the media talking heads sound so glum and unhappy. Some of them even sound angry all the time.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Interesting how much effort must be exerted just to look past the negative to see the great things in life. Positive attitudes are harder to foster than the onslaught of negativity. Spiro Agnew commented about the press as "nattering nabobs of negativity." This pervasive nature of negativity, however, is not relegated solely to the press. Human nature seems to insist on the unfavorable and disadvantaged.
One of my favorite end-of-the-year lists is the 50 best inventions. Not overly simple, not a negative spin and not artificially positive either. This is a nice list of mostly scientific breakthroughs that have the potential of improving our lives in some way. Not everything will improve everyone's life. For instance, the Speedo LZR Racer. That is not going to improve my life. In fact, it will be a cold day in a very hot place before I decide to even try one of these things on. It did help Mr. Phelps in his golden persuit.
The world called for change. I opposed much of what the majority has embraced. I don't think the changes they seek are for the better. I am willing to admit that I'll gain personally from some of these things if they are fully implemented. Everyone will feel the benefits of some of these programs. I will refrain from commenting further.
So, 2008 is over and 2009 is looming over us like a great promise. Will some of the difficulties we've faced in 2008 persist? They certainly will. Will some of the exceptional persist as well. Yes. I think we'd benefit grandly from a stronger focus on those things that are most beneficial to everyone rather than centering our thoughts on the negative.
A couple days ago, I suggested I am going to be smiling more. I haven't done as well as I had hoped. I'm going to continue my efforts toward the positive. SMILE!
Friday, January 02, 2009
Benefits of smiling:
- Smiling makes us attractive.
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.
- Smiling Changes Our Mood
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.
- Smiling is Contagious
When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.
- Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action.
- Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.
- Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?
- Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.
- Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.
- Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.
- Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is Good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.