December’s Asset Category: CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME. The pace of everyday life varies depending on the activities young people participate in. These fluctuations are normal, even healthy. As long as young people don’t consistently have too much to do or not enough to do, they’re right on track. Problems arise when the balance begins to tip too far to one side or the other. Too much involvement can lead to stress or anxiety. Too little involvement can be a sign of depression or isolation. Ensure that young people constructively use their time for both fun and learning. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #18 – Youth Program
The movie A Christmas Story about Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun for Christmas and growing up during the early 1940s has become a classic. But we all have our unique Christmas stories and here is mine from growing up in Parma during the 1950s. I grew up near the intersection of Pearl and Ridge Roads in Parma and attended Ridge Brook Elementary School. I walked to and from school because my family lived only two blocks from the school and my mother was usually home then. It was usually on a Friday during December that we had our big Christmas adventure. That was a shopping trip downtown to the big department stores and to see Santa Claus. During the Christmas season downtown Cleveland was a wonderland for a boy. When we went downtown, we dressed up. That meant that after coming home from school, we had to change out of our school clothes into our “church clothes” that were nicer. My mother never wore slacks shopping. She always wore a dress, especially when she went downtown.
Two months ago, I visited the JFK Museum and Library in Boston. There I saw a short movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis which included conversations from the President with his generals and advisors.
A real danger to this country was exposed by the Kavanaugh hearings and it seems to have been completely overlooked. Had Feinstein chosen to act when she originally received Doctor Ford's letter, it could have been investigated privately and Ford's desire for anonymity could have been honored. Instead, at the end of the hearings the letter was leaked, and liberal Democrats demanded to hear Ford's testinony during which she was asked how sure she was about her memory. “100%,” she replied. We were then told that her story was corroborated by other people she had told it to and that a polygraph test also proved she was telling the truth. Or so they said.
When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated recently to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court due to the retirement of Justice Anthony, it appeared that his confirmation by the Senate would be a slam dunk. Now two women have come forward and accused Mr. Kavanaugh when he was in high school at an exclusive prep school of trying to take advantage of them at a party where they were drinking. His supporters are saying that this was long ago and he was a young man doing what young men often do. But really? Should he get a pass on this because that was more than 36 years ago?
October’s Asset Category: SUPPORT Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #2 – Positive Family Communications
In 2017 in the U.S., at least 39 people lost their lives to attacks by dogs. Of those 39 reported cases, pit bulls contributed to 74% (29) of these deaths. This shocking statistic comes from the website dogsbite.org, which has conducted extensive research into media reported fatal attacks from pit bulls in order to advocate for victims of these attacks and to provide a factual counterpoint against pit bull apologists. From extended research into the 13 year period from 2005 to 2017, dogsbite.org has found that pit bulls were involved in 65% of 433 deaths in the U.S. alone. These statistics, as well as my personal experience having to defend my dog from a sudden pit bull attack, are why I support Parma's existing ban on pit bull dogs.
When President Donald Trump recently declared that the some news media is an “enemy of the state”, he was echoing the words of dictators. One of the first things that a dictator does upon assuming power is to shut down any opposition press. Autocrats and dictators cannot tolerate any criticism of their rule.
Anna Widowski came to the United States during the 1880s from what is now Poland with her family as a young woman. They settled on the plains of Kansas as wheat farmers. When she was 16 years old, she went to work as a “Harvey girl” at one of the Fred Harvey shops that were common at railroad stations where she met a young man who worked for the railroad. They got married and in March 1896, at the age of 17 she gave birth to a son who became my grandfather. Her husband’s railroad job took the family to Cleveland where they settled on the west side.
Over the Memorial Day weekend I attended the Jimmy Buffett concert at Blossom Music Center. I have been a big fan of Jimmy Buffett for a long time and have attended many of his concerts and thoroughly enjoy his concerts. I paid good money for a pavilion seat so I could see the show and one of my favorite performers. But my enjoyment of the show was marred by the behavior of the people in front of me who insisted on standing for most of the show. When I politely asked them to sit down, they continued to stand. Then when I asked again for them to sit down, they complained to the usher who did nothing. So where do people think that they are the most important person in the universe and no one else matters?
There has been another school shooting in the United States with more "thoughts and prayers" for the victims of this latest mass shooting. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning, there will be another mass shooting in the United States. Whether it is at another school, or a place of business, a church, a shopping center or just out in public; this is an epidemic that must stop! Most of the time when mass shootings happen in other countries, they are usually isolated incidents or are acts by terrorist groups.
June’s Asset Category: BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATION Boundaries are important to young people because they give clear messages about what’s expected, what is approved and celebrated, and what deserves censure. By the same token, caring adults who expect young people to do their best help them to learn good judgment. Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset 14 Adult Role Models
Earlier this month, I volunteered at the Cleveland International Film Festival and while I was there I saw many movies. The film festival showcases many movies from independent film makers, documentaries and foreign movies. This year’s film festival featured almost 500 full length movies and shorts from 72 different countries. It also attracted more than 105,000 people during its 12 day run at the Tower City Cinemas and several neighborhood screenings, making it one of the largest film festivals in the world.
I am very impressed with the passionate protests and actions by the students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. On Valentine’s Day, a troubled young man entered the school armed with an AR-15 semi automatic assault weapon and killed 17 of their classmates and teachers. Rather than mourn the dead and comfort the families, many students have taken to political action demanding sensible controls on guns so this action is not repeated.
Twelve year-old Parma resident Abdel Bashiti, an innocent bystander, was shot and killed in Cleveland on November 25, 2017. I did not know him or his family, and I saw very little in the news about Abdel himself. It seems he was shot, killed, and largely forgotten. The recent school massacre in Parkland, Florida, has generated a huge amount of national news about in-school safety. What is not being discussed is gun violence outside of schools.
The International Monetary Fund was formed in 1944 to ensure exchange rate stability. Today it consists of 189 member countries “working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.” Each member country has a seat on the Board of Governors which elects a 24 member Executive Board to oversee the organization. The Managing Director since 2011 has been Christine Lagarde who was previously Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment in France.
I decided to take a break from the political issues and write a different kind of column this month. This past week I have been enjoying a much needed break from winter and work along the coast of South Carolina at Hilton Head. I have come here often and this region, the “low country” of coastal South Carolina is rich in history as well as a unique culture. I spent a day in Savannah Georgia, just across the border. Savannah is where the colony of Georgia was founded. The city has preserved its old historic district and it was the setting for the movie Forrest Gump back in the 1990s.
You may be thinking you still have several months of learning ahead of you before your next progress report or report card. You can take it easy for now since most of the projects are due in May. Well, think again…because Spring Fever is right around the corner. The weather will begin to warm up, the birds will chirp again, and the days will become longer.
February’s Asset Category: POSITIVE VALUES.
The shutdown has come and gone. However, we're still hearing a lot of spin, innuendo, half-truths and lies about it. And since the shutdown was ended with temporary funding that expires February 8, it will undoubtedly rear its ugly head again. Consequently, it's time to lock and load some facts about shutdowns in general and this one in particular.
Recently some members of congress suggested requiring “able bodied” adults whose income makes them eligible for Medicaid should either be working, engaged in a full time job search or pursuing education that would lead to gainful employment. Such an idea may have a great appeal; but in practice it would be an administrative nightmare and will not remove many from the Medicaid rolls.
President Donald Trump said that he wanted to “roll back regulations to 1960 levels”. Of course, this would undo most progress that has taken place over the past 58 years. I am old enough to remember what it was like back in 1960. Let’s take a trip in the “way back machine” that was a feature on Sherman and Peabody, a cartoon segment on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show that was popular back in 1960, and return to 1960.
To repay this great nation for all it has given me, I am devoting my golden years to improving the quality of life for everyone in it by exposing the spin, innuendo, half-truths and lies that continuously come from the liberal elite and are blindly repeated by the little liberals who are unable to think for themselves. It's a hot, dirty, never-ending job so I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient.
In December of 1773 a group of Bostonians, upset about the British imposing a higher tax on tea and fueled by whisky and beer dressed as native Americans and boarded several ships in Boston Harbor that were bringing tea to Boston. They then dumped the tea into Boston Harbor in protest of the tea tax in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.
Sometimes liberals have good intentions. At least that's what I tell myself. But they screw it up in the end and then argue to the death that they saved all us little people from ourselves. For example, they decided we needed “comprehensive health care reform” so they gave us the ACA and now they keep arguing how great it is because fewer people are uninsured. But the ACA did not reform healthcare. It made it easier for a minuscule percentage of the population to buy health insurance and penalized everyone else. But having insurance and getting healthcare are two different things and having insurance does not mean you can get healthcare. Just one obvious example is all the people who were required to buy insurance under the ACA but can't use it because they can't afford the deductibles.
In last month’s Parma Observer, Carmen Luna wrote an open letter to me and accused me of selectively lifting selected passages from President Lyndon Johnson’s and Donald Trump’s speeches to the Boy Scout National Jamboree. His “open letter” was in response to my column from September where I compared the speeches of Lyndon Johnson at the 1964 Boy Scout National Jamboree and Donald Trump’s speech from this past summer. To answer Mr. Luna, space limitations prevented me from including more excerpts from those speeches. But I did provide links where any reader with internet access could go and read the entire speech from each President. Even without the links I provided, anyone with internet access could do a search and find the texts of those speeches.
Sometimes I think the NFL protesters are suffering from a bad case of the stupids. But probably not for the reasons you think.
October’s Asset Category: SUPPORT Many studies over the years confirm that caring, supportive relationships with adults are critical for raising young people who are healthy and resilient. Support means freely giving young people love, affirmation, and acceptance; surrounding young people with caring families, guardians, friends, teachers, neighbors, and other adults; and helping young people know they belong, are not alone, and are both loved and lovable. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #5 – Caring School Climate
Dear Mister Kamps:
Last year during the campaign, someone asked me what Donald Trump has done to me to cause me to oppose him so much. My answer was very simple. While he never did anything to me, I believe that his character makes him grossly unfit to be President and that he represents the worst elements of this country.
It has been known for years that spending time in a natural setting is beneficial for your physical and mental health. But in the past few decades the research has been mounting to prove that access to greenspace is very beneficial. Dr. Kathleen Wolff of Cleveland's Natural History Museum stated, "A growing body of research shows the mental and physical benefit of greenspaces including reduced stress and depression, better immunity, and improved work performance." www.GreenCities:GoodHealth
I am a former Boy Scout. I never made Eagle Scout; but came close, reaching the rank of Life Scout. A major part of why I never made Eagle was that there wasn't a scout troop in my neighborhood until I was almost 14 years old. So when I was 16, I joined an Explorer Post which is more attuned to high school age boys. However I did attend the 1964 Boy Scout National Jamboree that was held at Valley Forge Pennsylvania. For me it was exciting to be at Valley Forge PA since my high school was named after that location in history. I graduated from Valley Forge High School in 1966.
One of my daughters married an athlete. They have two sons and a daughter. The boys are also athletes and their games are family affairs with everyone from both sides of her family attending. The girl is is the youngest of the three, just seven years old. After attending the boys' games most of her life, she decided she wanted to play baseball. She wound up as the only girl on her team. Folks, I'm a realist and the reality is that in a sport like baseball girls just don't have the physical attributes to compete with boys. So, on the afternoon of my granddaughter's first game I headed out to the ballpark burdened with low expectations and armed with words of encouragement and consolation.
Recently much has been said and written in the media about Medicaid and who receives Medicaid. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding Medicaid eligibility and who actually receives Medicaid. Much of this information was reported in Cleveland.com, the web site of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and it is information that is readily available to the public. I feel that it is very important to share this information so people can have a better understanding about a very important part of our health care system.
Sometimes it's the drama I find most hilarious. Like Nancy Pelosi saying Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord was tantamount to murder. Sometimes it's the spin. Like, Lee Kamps saying “more than 90% of climate scientists agree that human activity is accelerating the warming of the earth.” The truth about that lies at ProCon.org. The site, in a fairly unbiased manner, provides both sides of whether or not humans are responsible for global warming. The “more than 90%” figure was erroneously taken from studies like the 2013 Cook review of 11,944 peer-reviewed studies on climate change which found that 97% of the studies expressing a position on the issue said that humans are causing global warming. Environmentalists translated that to 97% of all climate scientists. Per ProCon, the Cook study actually said:
We put together some fun points any Parmidian will understand. You know you’re from Parma when…
There is a very dangerous belief in the United States right now that one’s ignorance of something is just as credible as another’s knowledge of that same subject. When more than 90% of climate scientists agree that human activity is accelerating the warming of the earth; as an educated nation, we should take heed of that finding and take steps to reduce the cause of that global warming. But a sizable number of people in the United States including our current President believe that climate change is a hoax. They cite no studies and offer no proof of their belief other than snow in their backyard last winter.
You may find this a little difficult to swallow but we are blessed to live in this area of the Great Lakes. As far as can be seen, we will have enough water to last for so great a time as to not be concerned about going thirsty. There is hope that there will not be some sort of disaster that would alter the situation, perhaps a meteor that would displace the lakes or an invasion from outer space or mass pollution by industry, something along the these lines. Just look at other areas of the United States. California can’t make up its mind if is going to burn, earthquake or mud slide off of the face of the earth. The South has no water then it is deluged with rain, the Plains first are running out of ground water then get flooded, the East Coast has plenty of hurricanes to keep them guessing. There is an outside possibility that we may drink the Lakes dry. It is a rare sight when one is seen without a bottle of water. Sitting at a desk where water is close at hand, wouldn’t want to dehydrate from the stress of working a key pad. Walking outside, one is often seen with a bottle in hand. What would be the consequences of having to go to a water fountain and get hydrated? Although water fountains are becoming less conspicuous with all the water being purchased. Look at the sport venues, not a water fountain to be seen, smart, the venue can sell much more water, you have a captive audience. Whatever happened to grabbing a drink from a water spigot? That used to be a frequent occurrence in by-gone days.
Back in 1972 I was a high school science teacher at a semi rural school district in northwestern Ohio. One of my students, call him Bob, came up to me after class and said to me that he didn’t need to learn “all that boring stuff” because his father was going to get him in at a local Ford plant when he turned 18 years old. Bob was 15 then, in the 9th grade and failing my class as well as his other classes. He also said that his father didn’t even get that far in school and was making more money at the Ford plant than our high school Principal.
At the Cleveland International Film Festival back in April I saw an excellent documentary titled The Age of Consequence. The movie dealt with the subject of climate change, but approached it from a different angle; that of national security. Retired, former and active duty military personnel from the United States gave evidence that many word events and unrest are a direct result of climate change and that this poses a definite threat to our nation’s security. Global warming and the spread of deserts in parts of the world are creating refugees on a massive scale not seen since the end of the Second World War. Many military officials see the resulting displacement of people as well as crop failures leading to failed states and a rise of terrorist organizations looking to exploit this problem.