Opinion

Opinion and commentary on politics, the economy, social and personal issues

Ten Top Tips For A Happy Christmas

posted 25 Nov 2013, 13:10 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 25 Nov 2013, 13:11 ]


January is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year
for Family Lawyers.  The volume of new clients seeking advice
on divorce is higher than at any other time of the year.
There are no doubt many reasons for this marital strife but
the prolonged holiday period, stuck in the house in bad
weather together, constant pressure to have a jolly time and
the arrival of the first heavy Credit Card bills of the New
Year due to the extravagant Christmas spend all conspire to
widen existing fault lines in relationships into an
unbridgeable crevasse.    Here we take a (semi) serious look
at the problems which divorce lawyers often hear about in
January, and offer our top ten tips to avoid marital
catastrophe.

1.    DO NOT believe your wife when she says that she
doesn't want anything this year.  This might be a commentary
on your total failure to select anything to her taste in
previous years but is definitely a test of your
thoughtfulness, imagination and attention to what she has
been hinting at for months. Of course what she is really
saying is that she doesn't want any (old) thing this year.
Fail this test and you are toast.

2.    DO ask your wife in plenty of time what she would
actually like as a present, carefully write it down, and
then buy it and give it to her.    Don't quibble with the
cost, just give thanks for clear concise risk free
instructions.   Flowers and a box of chocs purchased just
before midnight on Xmas Eve at your all night Tesco on the
way home from a few drinks with the lads will not cut it.

3.    DO NOT settle down in front of the telly on Christmas
Eve and not move until New Year's Day.   A husband once made
that mistake and was astonished when his wife appeared in
front of him with her bags packed.   She was also carrying a
pair of garden shears, which she used to cut the plug off the
TV he was watching, taking it with her (along with every
other plug in the house) as she walked out the door.

4.    DO NOT buy your husband socks and handkerchiefs for
Christmas under any circumstances.   He may well need them
however, although useful, they are no fun at all.  The
supplies he already has will do for another couple of weeks
until you can get to the January Sales.   Golf equipment is
also a no no.   Wandering round the Golf Discount Store for
hours on end is the only time that he derives pleasure from
shopping and he does not wish to be deprived of this.

5.    DO Sky plus everything that you would want to see on
the telly.  You can then give your wife exclusive control of
the TV remote over the period without any sense of
frustration or irritation.   This goes down very well and
you never know she may put something on which is to your
taste.   Alternatively you can have a snooze or play with
your new socks and hankies instead.

6.    DO NOT tell your wife that you have arranged an
increase in the overdraft to ease financial pressures over
the festive period.  Overdrafts are not free as once had to
be explained to one lady after she immediately wrote a
cheque up to the new limit and paid it straight into her
Personal Savings Account.

7.    DO make your wife breakfast in bed on Christmas
morning.  This must be scrambled eggs* with smoked salmon
and a decent bottle of champagne.  * (Consult the unwanted,
and from her point of view, offensive book, Delia's "How to
Cook" that you gave her last year.   In our experience Delia
is nowhere near as highly regarded by women as she is by
men.)

8.    DO take the animals out for a walk on Christmas Day to
get them out from under your wife's feet.  You will also get
extra brownie points if you take the dogs with you as well.


9.    DO NOT, in a mellow moment, and in the spirit of a
clean start to the New Year confess to the innocuous
flirtation you had with the attractive girl in typing at the
office party.  This will never go down well and is liable to
be cast at you for the next 20 years.   Further she may feel
obliged to make similar confessions to you.   All in all not
a good idea.

10.    DO have a very Merry Christmas, but if not, your
divorce lawyer looks forward to seeing you in the New Year.

About the Author:

McKay Norwell are Edinburgh Lawyers serving individual and
business clients across Scotland:
http://www.mckaynorwell.co.uk/home .

Laughter Is Cheap Medicine

posted 21 Jul 2013, 14:48 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 21 Jul 2013, 14:49 ]

By Steve Goodier

I know a couple who works in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a sales

representative and she is a pharmacist. When asked what they do for a
living, he is quick to reply, "She makes drugs and I sell ‘em."

I believe it was Lord Byron who said, "Always laugh when you can. It is

cheap medicine." And researchers are finding that to be true – quite
literally.

A woman diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis wrote to me and talked about
how painful the disease had become. Debra said that no drugs would touch
the devastating pain. "At times I prayed to die because I did not think I
could go on this way," she said. But in two and a half years she weaned
herself from most of her medication, which had reached a high of 21 pills a
day. This is how she did it.

"I began seeing a doctor who gave me the most important prescription that I
ever could have received," she said. "He excused himself from the room. I
watched him walking back and forth in the hall; he seemed to be in deep
thought."

The doctor came back in with this prescription: he told Debra to get some
funny movies and to begin laughing (the doc was a Norman Cousins fan, no
doubt). If she didn't feel like laughing, then she should smile. If she
didn't feel like smiling, she should smile anyway. He said that it would
increase endorphins in her brain and help with her pain. In other words,
fake it until you make it, like they say.

She did just as he suggested. She laughed when she could. She smiled when
she couldn’t laugh. She smiled whether she felt like it or not. Her
children teased her about her fake smile, but she told them that it was
going to get rid of her pain.

And here’s the amazing thing: it did. Of course, not all of it, but a great
deal of her pain eventually dissipated and in time, what was left became
manageable – without all of the drugs.

Today, Debra laughs easily and is never seen without her smile. She says
that she would not even feel normal without it.

It’s true that laughter really is cheap medicine. It’s a prescription
anyone can afford. And best of all, you can fill it right now.

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.
Newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.
"LIKE US" on FaceBook and get a powerful quote every day on your
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Your Invisible Compass

posted 1 Jul 2013, 10:01 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 1 Jul 2013, 10:03 ]

-- (Steve Goodier) - Two friends went out to play golf and were about to tee off, when one
noticed that his partner had only one golf ball. "Don't you have at least
one other ball in case yours gets lost?” he asked.

The man replied, "This is a very special golf ball. I won't lose it so I

don't need another one."

His friend looked skeptical. “Really? Well, what happens if you miss your
shot and the ball goes in the lake?"

"That's okay," he replied, "this special golf ball floats. I'll get it
back."

"Then what happens if you hit it into the trees and it gets lost among the
bushes and shrubs?"

The other replied, "That's okay too. You see, this special golf ball has a
homing beacon. I'll find it – no problem."

"Okay. Let's say our game goes late, the sun goes down, and you slice it
off the fairway. What are you going to do then?"

"No problem, this ball is florescent. I'll be able to see it in the dark."

His friend seemed convinced. “Wow, where did you get a golf ball like that
anyway?"

"I found it."

Have you ever wished you had a guidance system like that golf ball? Who
among us doesn’t know how it feels to be lost? And there are many different
we ways can get lost. One of my sons, now a young man, spoke with some
sadness about his teen-age years. He made some poor choices for a while.
That day, while looking back at those difficult years, he commented, “I
lost my way.” At one time or another we’ve all lost our way.

Have you ever wished you had a guidance system so that, when you lose your
way, you know you won’t be lost for long? And the truth is – we do. We each
have an inner guidance system, an invisible compass, hidden deep inside. We
each have the ability to find the answers we need, to find our way in life
when we’re lost – to find our way back home.

Life coaches remind us that we are naturally creative, resourceful and
whole. Therefore, the best coaches don’t give answers. They stimulate our
creativity and remind us that we are already resourceful and whole and can
come up with solutions ourselves.

Similarly, we may pay a lot of money for psychological counseling, but, as
any good counselor knows, it's not advice most of us require. So a skilled
therapist will help us to find the way…by ourselves…back to ourselves. They
help us look inside where we will find what guidance we need.

Call it an inner voice. Call it spiritual guidance. Call it a gift.

When I’ve lost my way or when I am confused about a path to take, I
remember that most answers I need I already possess – deep inside. I am
naturally creative, resourceful and whole. If I consult my invisible
compass, I’ll know what to do. I think that is what author Vernon Howard
meant when he said, “Inner guidance is heard like soft music in the night
by those who have learned to listen.”

Can you hear the music? Are you learning to listen?

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.

It's MY Point of View

posted 24 Jun 2013, 18:03 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 24 Jun 2013, 18:07 ]

Steve Goodier -  Two men fell on hard times. Try as they might, they couldn’t find work.
They heard that a museum was willing to pay $50 apiece for live
rattlesnakes so, in desperation, they decided to catch snakes.

Outfitted with a net and basket, they hiked to a remote area renowned for
its large snake population. But as they scaled a steep ledge, rock gave way
and they tumbled down a slippery bank – into a deep pit crawling with
rattlesnakes.

One of the men quickly sized up the situation and shouted to his friend,
“Look! We’re rich! We’re rich!”

Okay, maybe he didn’t fully appreciate his predicament. But in most
situations, I believe there is a sunny side. Take aging, for instance. As
we grow older, our skin turns from satin to cotton to seersucker to
corduroy. And though we might be encouraged that at least wrinkles don’t
hurt, valuable experience, deep understanding and hard-won wisdom can also
come with years of living. Some people are merely aging -- others are
“sageing.” The difference is in outlook.

It has to do with how we consider our situation. Like a sign spotted
outside a quaint shop: “We buy junk. Antiques for sale.” I wonder, is my
attic full of junk or antiques? What about my life? I’m learning it’s a
matter of perspective; it’s a matter of how I want look at what comes my
way. And it’s also a matter of choice, because perspective is something I
choose more often than I realize.

I’ve learned that my greatest power may well be my power to choose my
outlook. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “Most people are about as happy as
they make up their minds to be.” The truth is, I can choose to view tough
times as growing times, I can choose to see aging as seasoning and I can
choose to focus on whatever good there is to be found in living.

I choose. After all, it’s MY point of view.

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.

Friends Rekindle Youthful Dream

posted 22 Mar 2013, 08:17 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 22 Mar 2013, 08:17 ]

by The Augusta Chronicle (Jan 28, 2006)

An original story, with apologies to Aesop and the story of the golden goose.


Once upon a time Willy, Wally, Tommy, Timmy, Lenny and Lee all were
friends and lived together in a small American town. The boys had
known each other forever; they could not remember a time when they had
not been friends.

The boys went to school together, naturally, but most important, they

played together, and that is what they loved most of all. They played
basketball and baseball, road hockey and ice hockey, tennis and
pingpong and every other kind of sport imaginable. They loved the
daylight, and they dreaded the time when the sun began to set, because
that was when their parents called them in for the night. They lay in
bed at night, too excited to sleep, anticipating the next day's games.

As they grew older, some of their games changed.

When they were little boys, they also played hide-and-seek, but they
gave that up as they grew; and when they were grade-school boys, they
didn't much care who won which game.

But odd things happened as they grew older.

Winning became more important, but always, Willy and Wally and Tommy
and Timmy and Lenny and Lee wished for each other to win as well. That
tells you how fond they were of one another.

When they were a little older, they began to notice girls, and
sometimes they even allowed their girlfriends to play on their teams.
Naturally Wanda and Wendy and Tammy and Terry and Laurie and Leila
loved sports, too. Those were the girls the boys liked.

They talked about what they would do when they grew older. They
planned that they would stay forever together in their little town
because they didn't ever want to be separated.

But time passed, and the boys went off in different directions, and
they married different girls, and they started businesses and began
raising boys of their own.

All of them did, that is, but Tommy.

Tommy had a grand and remarkable plan. He wanted to build the biggest
and best baseball diamond in the world. At first his dreams included
only Willy and Wally and Timmy and Lenny and Lee. He wanted his
friends to visit him to play on his beautiful field.

But Tommy's plans changed over time. Plans often do. One day Tommy met
a girl named Tina, and she had grand plans, too - but they were not
the same as his.

"I want to build a beautiful baseball diamond," Tommy told Tina, but
Tina said that baseball diamonds were the stuff of kids' dreams, and
that Tommy ought to be a grown-up now.

Tommy thought Tina was probably right, and so he began to work hard.
He took a job he liked a little bit, and he began to save lots of
money.

Time passed, and Tommy earned a great deal of money, so Tina said,
"Let's build a big house," and they built a mansion on a mountaintop,
and then they built a swimming pool because everyone said that
mansions needed swimming pools. And after that they bought splendid
furnishings for their mansion, and soon Tommy forgot about his
baseball diamond.

None of the other boys forgot about Tommy's baseball diamond, though.
They all remembered his dream, and they all planned to join him one
day. They lived in cities spread across the land, but they never
forgot. That baseball diamond was the best dream of all, they thought.

Then one day, after many years had passed, Tommy was sitting at home
when Willy knocked on his door. "Hi, my friend," Willy said. "I've
come back to tell you how I'm going to help you with your dream. I'm a
tailor, and I figure I'll make all our baseball uniforms."

Tommy smiled and said that would be nice.

The next day, as it happened, Timmy phoned to tell Tommy about his
shoemaking shop. "I'm making cleats for all our games," Timmy said,
and Tommy said that sounded nice.

And the next day, it happened the way things happen sometimes that
Lenny and Lee called to tell Tommy all about their hot dog and hot
pretzel company. "We're making food for the fans," the men said, "and
at the biggest baseball diamond in the world, everyone will love T&T's
Hot Stuff." That's what they called their business.

But as time passed, Tommy forgot all about his old friends. He was so
very busy making money to buy more things, and Tommy and Tina had new
friends - friends with houses just as big as their own, friends who
didn't dream of baseball and boyhood games. Tommy's and Tina's new
friends dreamed of bigger houses and bigger pools, and as time passed
Tommy thought more about real diamonds than he did about baseball
diamonds.

Soon his friends began to understand that Tommy would never build the
biggest baseball diamond in the world.

They didn't mind. Instead they decided to gather together to play on
an old baseball field in their hometown. This was early - before the
real season - so the fields were empty, and the men met and dressed in
Wally's uniforms. On their feet they wore Timmy's cleats, and before
the game they chowed down on Lenny's and Lee's hot dogs and pretzels.

The day was beautiful, sunny, with a brisk early spring wind. No one
else was dreaming of baseball. No one but these friends, who always
did.

They began to play, and as they were playing, Tommy passed by - the
way magical things sometimes happen. And when he saw his friends out
on that sandy lot, playing just the way they did when they were boys,
if a little bit slower, he felt a deep pang of regret that he had
forgotten his dream. And in that moment he vowed to himself, and
silently promised his friends, that nothing more would come between
him and the building of his childhood dream.

Wherever You Are, Be There

posted 19 Mar 2013, 10:03 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 19 Mar 2013, 10:03 ]

An old story comes from pre-telephone days when a young man applied for a
job as a telegraph operator. He answered an ad in the newspaper and went to
the telegraph office to await an interview. Though he knew Morse code and
was qualified in every other way, seven other applicants were also waiting
in the large, noisy office, who were no doubt equally qualified.

He saw customers coming and going and heard a telegraph clacking away in

the background. He also noticed a sign on the receptionist's counter
instructing applicants to fill out a form and wait to be summoned to an
inner office for an interview. He filled out the form and sat down to wait.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door
of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants
perked up, wondering why he had been so bold. They talked among themselves
and finally determined that, since nobody had been summoned to interview
yet, the man would likely be reprimanded for not following instructions and
possibly disqualified for the job.

Shortly, however, he emerged from the office escorted by the interviewer,
who announced to the other applicants, "Thank you all very much for coming,
but the job has just been filled."

They were all confused and one man spoke up: "Wait a minute – I don't
understand. We've been waiting longer than he and we never even got a
chance to come in."
The employer responded, “Were you listening to the telegraph? All the time
you've been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out a message,
‘Come in now for your interview.’”

Kevin Kelly said, “The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance
is human attention.” I wish I could say that I relate to the man who got
the job, but the truth is that I often identify more with everyone else in
the waiting room. When I have a moment to wait, I pull out my phone or
listen to an audio-book on my mp3 player. I am too often more engrossed in
my interior world than in paying attention to what is happening around me.

Yet the man in the story practiced a valuable habit – the habit of living
in the present. His motto could have been, “Wherever you are, be there.” If
you’re there in person, bring your mind along, too. If you're there
physically, also be there emotionally. Give your full attention to others
(is there really a better gift?).

Wherever you are, be there. Be there as fully as you can. Don’t be fooled
by multi-tasking. You are only halfway there when you’re doing something
else at the same time. Your mind can fully focus on only one thing at a
time.

It's about being present and fully alive in the moment. Some people try to
live in the past while existing in the present. Too often they find
themselves filled with guilt or regrets and missing the now moment. Others
find themselves living in the future, only to discover that anxiety and
worry are cheating them out of joy today.

Don’t live in the past – you’ve already been there. And don’t live in the
future, either. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Live in this moment now
– it is sacred and unrepeatable. This moment alone holds valuable gifts
that should not be missed.

Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know
what it means to live.

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/
Newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com
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A BETTER PRAYER

posted 12 Oct 2012, 12:47 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 12 Oct 2012, 12:47 ]


One man, too inebriated to drive, was walking home along railroad tracks
when his foot suddenly became stuck. He pulled and tugged, but could not
free it from the tracks.

Then he heard a noise and turned around to see an oncoming train. In a
panic, he prayed. "Dear God, please get my foot out of these tracks and
I'll stop drinking."

Nothing happened.

With the speeding train closer, he tried again. "Oh, Lord, get my foot out
of these tracks and I'll stop drinking AND I'll quit cheating on my wife!"

Still nothing, and now the train was just seconds away.

He tried one last time. "Lord, if you get my foot out of the tracks, I'll
quit drinking, cheating, AND ... I'll become a minister!"
Suddenly his foot shot out of the tracks and he dove out of the way of the
passing train. Dusting himself off, he looked toward Heaven and said,
"Never mind, Lord, I got it out myself."

Does that kind of prayer sound familiar? How often are prayers, even when
one is not in a state of emergency, concerned only about physical needs --
health and safety?
Mahatma Gandhi claimed to have never made even a minor decision without
prayer. Gandhi was known best as an Indian nationalist and spiritual
leader, but he was also a man of rare courage. He developed the practice of
nonviolent disobedience that eventually forced Great Britain to grant
India's independence.

He spoke often about spirituality and prayer. He told about traveling to
South Africa to oppose a law there directed expressly against Indians. His
ship was met by a hostile mob and he was advised to stay on board. They had
come, he was told, with the express intention of lynching him. Gandhi said
of the incident: "I went ashore nevertheless. I was stoned and kicked and
beaten a good deal; but I had not prayed for safety, but for the courage to
face the mob, and that courage came and did not fail me."

Gandhi preferred courage over safety. If accomplishing his goals put him in
the way of danger, then he wanted to face that danger bravely. His prayer
was to receive enough courage to do what needed to be done, not to live his
life free from harm.

Rabbi Harold Kushner speaks about such prayer. He reminds us that "people
who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to
remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often
find their prayers answered. Their prayers helped them tap hidden reserves
of faith and courage that were not available to them before."

Like you, I know what it is to be afraid. I'm afraid of accidental injury,
dismemberment or death. I've been afraid of a pending medical diagnosis.
There must be a million different faces to the fears of life.

I'm tempted at these times to hope for, and pray for, a way to avoid the
danger ahead. I want to be safe, secure and healthy. But none of us is
always safe, secure or healthy. So, I, too, have come to see that the
better prayer is for courage to face whatever life may bring. And in some
place deep inside me, I am not only convinced that the courage will come
and not fail me, but that it will be enough. Always enough.

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.
Newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.

No Hopeless Situations

posted 20 Apr 2012, 22:38 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 20 Apr 2012, 22:39 ]


There is a wonderful urban legend circulating about a man who is
trying to land a job as an assistant professor in a university. His
application was rejected and he writes the following response:

*"Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412 A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109*
*
Dear Professor Millington,*
*
Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful
consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept
your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your
department.*
*
This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an
unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied
and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to
accept all refusals.*
*
Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous
experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection
does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the
position of assistant professor in your department this August. I
look forward to seeing you then.*
*
Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.*
*
Sincerely,*
*
Chris L. Jensen"*

If it is true that you can tell how big someone is by what it takes
to discourage that person, then this is a man who must be massive. I
might say the same thing about a boy who, in real life, was not so
big. But he was difficult to discourage and so he showed himself to
be a giant on the inside.

Some 40 years ago, when he was only 11 years old, Morgan Rowe lost
his left arm and much of the use of his right arm. It happened when
he fell off a tractor at his father's fence company in Valdosta,

Georgia, and was dragged beneath the machine. Morgan's left arm was
destroyed and his right, mangled.

Young Morgan was released from the hospital after three-and-a-half
months. The first thing he set out to do was to help pay the
bills -- $30,000 worth. That was a lot of money back then as it is
now. For a boy of 11 to accomplish such a task, the situation seemed
hopeless.

For five years Morgan scoured roadsides picking up cans and bottles.
He collected thousands of cans and collected and sold newspapers. He
never gave up hope. First, he paid off the $455 ambulance bill. Then
he put $2,500 down on the hospital bill.

He was still a long way off though his parents raised another $9,000
toward the debt.

People began to hear about the injured boy and eventually some 2,000
donations poured in, totaling $25,000. The bill was paid in full!
Morgan set aside the additional money for future education.

What then? Though the bill was paid up, Morgan kept his projects
going to collect money for the hospital so he could help others.

Someone forgot to tell the boy he was too injured for that kind of
work. Someone forgot to tell him that the situation was hopeless.
Somehow young Morgan didn't realize that an 11-year-old boy could
never pay off a hospital bill so large.

Church reformer Martin Luther once said, "Everything that is done in
the world is done by the hopeful." And entertainer Dinah Shore
observed, "There are no hopeless situations - only people who are
hopeless about them." Morgan Rowe should know.

I will not always be young and strong. My life circumstances can
change in an instant. My health may leave me and I may lose people
who are important in my life. But there are no hopeless situations.
So I won't easily turn loose of my hopeful outlook, even when things
seem bleak. Without hope, I'm lost. But with it, I suspect that any
situation can be creatively redeemed.

-- Steve Goodier
__________

Find Steve Goodier here: http://stevegoodier.blogspot.com/.
Newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com <http://lifesupportsystem.com/>

A Peace of my mind: Respect my agency 2012!

posted 11 Mar 2012, 14:15 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 18 Mar 2012, 10:13 ]

by Project Diaspora on Sunday, 11 March 2012 at 20:15 ·



This article in response to the Invisible Children "Kony 2012" was origninally posted here: http://projectdiaspora.org/2012/03/08/respect-my-agency-2012/ The website was recently hacked. There's been a request for me to republish it elsewhere so I am posting here. Contextual links have been removed unfortunately as there's no way to embed them here.. 

 I have had roughly 24 hours to gather my thoughts about the latest fund-raising stunt undertaken by the long-in-the-tooth Invisible Children (IC) organization. In that time, I have had an opportunity to think and ruminate over exactly what to say, what the right order of the words should be coming out of my soul to address yet another travesty in shepherd’s clothing befalling my country and my continent.  

Usually I would fly off the handle and let passion fly, but I have grown a little since thisand this and this. Addressing the complexity that is Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)’s reign of terror in northern Uganda; what with the sheer volume of victims, the survivors, the horrific examples of humanity at its worst, and the lingering ghosts of family members behind the survivors’ eyes begs a momentary pause, if but to respect the gravity of it all. I do that. I pause. I reflect and I toil with the thought that something is not right in the world that IC is still grasping at relevancy all these years after their “night walkers” campaign.

 
There is no easy way of saying what I feel right now, except a deep hurt and gnawing urgency to bang my head against my desk as a prescriptive to make the dumb-assery stop.  Sure, Joseph Kony and his counterpart of yesteryear, Idi Amin, have largely been responsible for the single story of Uganda. I have a hard time shaking it from the lips of strangers I meet. That’s all they know or seem to want to listen to. 

They dismissively glaze over my breathless exultations of the great promise in our youth, our technology, our agriculture, and our women. It is a slap in the face to so many of us who want to rise from the ashes of our tumultuous past and the noose of benevolent, paternalistic, aid-driven development memes. We, Africans, are sandwiched between our historically factual imperfections and well-intentioned, road-to-hell-building-do-gooders. It is a suffocating state of existence. To be properly heard, we must ride the coattails of self-righteous idiocy train. Even then, we have to fight for our voices to be respected. 

 The latest IC fund-raising cum “awareness-raising” is an insult to my identity and my intellectual capacity to reasonably defend its existence as beneficial to any Ugandan. The video project is so devoid of nuance, utility and respect for agency that it is appallingly hard to contextualize. I won’t even try. Katrin Skaya said all that could have been said, “rarely seen something this stunningly, insidiously, clever crazy. Amazing case study.”

@tmsruge @texasinafrica @lksriv. Have rarely seen something this stunningly, insidiously, clever crazy. Amazing case study. #Kony2012

— Elasti Girl (@Katrinskaya) March 7, 2012


Indeed it is. But not for the reasons you would think. This IC campaign is a perfect example of how fund-sucking NGO’s survive. “Raising awareness” (as vapid an exercise as it is) on the level that IC does, costs money. Loads and loads of money. Someone has to pay for the executive staff, fancy offices, and well, that 30-minute grand-savior, self-crowning exercise in ego stroking—in HD—wasn’t free. In all this kerfuffle, I am afraid everyone is missing the true aim of IC’s brilliant marketing strategy. They are not selling justice, democracy, or restoration of anyone’s dignity. This is a self-aware machine that must continually find a reason to be relevant. They are, in actuality, selling themselves as the issue, as the subject, as the panacea for everything that ails me as the agency-devoid African. All I have to do is show up in my broken English, look pathetic and wanting. You, my dear social media savvy click-activist, will shed a tear, exhaust Facebook’s like button, mobilize your cadre of equally ill-uninformed netizens to throw money at the problem.

Cause, you know, that works so well in the first world.

 

I would love nothing more than to be telling you the small victories we experience working with the very scarred survivors of Kony’s atrocities. The Women of Kireka are the most resilient group of individuals that I know. Spend a day with them and you will wonder how they manage to so calmly describe to you watching their entire families burned alive, their husbands and children hacked to death, in front of them. They do it so calmly, methodically, with such articulate prose that it leaves your soul victimized for it’s privilege. Yet they don’t pause from rolling a perfectly crafted paper bead for a beautiful necklace. They don’t waste their time lamenting the lack of justice for the fallen or the abducted. Why? Because it doesn’t bring back the dead, it doesn’t dissolve the horrific images of their huts burning, or ease the scars borne of running scared into the night.

 

Instead, they want work and respect and business to be able to make decisions that move their lives along. They want desperately to forget and rebuild anew; thankful for their lives. They want radios and cell phones and grasp at any semblance of normalcy. They cuddle and nurse their newborns like delicate, cherished gifts. What they don’t talk about is justice. They talk about how to forgive and move on.

 

But I can’t tell you their story. Why? Someone else has taken over their part in this complex saga, simplified it, branded it, packaged it and is reselling it as an Action Kit. For as little as $30 and up to $500, you get your very own pimplicious t-shirt (that was made somewhere other than Uganda or Africa) and various assortments of SWEDOW you won’t care about in a month. But hey! At least you did something!

 

The academics have weighed in on this debate here, and here, and here and will continue to do elsewhere in the coming days. The click-activists, denied context and nuance, have spewed their ignorance all over the comments section in self-righteous indignation for all the world to see. They have whipped out their wallets and bought their very own Super Hero activist action kits. They have bombarded their friend’s Facebook wall with ignominious updates.

 

“You must watch this! I already ordered my action kit!”

 

If we all start from the premise that Kony’s actions over the last 25 years in East and Central Africa are atrocious and he should be stopped, we would be cut of the same moral cloth. Evil is something that is easy to point out from afar. But if we conclude that any one individual/organization/group has the right to hijack the voice of so many in the name of good, then I have a common sense pill to sell you.

Let me be honest. Africa is not short of problems, epidemics and atrocities. But it is also true that it is not short of miracles, ingenuity, and a proclivity to surprise. We as Africans, especially the Diaspora, are waking to the idea that our agency has been hijacked for far too long by well-meaning Western do-gooders with a guilty conscious, sold on the idea that Africa’s ills are their responsibility. This particular affliction is called “white man’s burden” in some circles. Please don’t buy into this. Africa’s problems are our own. I asserted as much almost 5 years ago when I started Project Diaspora.

And so to you we send this solemn pledge. No longer are we satisfied with the status quo. No longer will we look to the West and the East for a saviour to come. We here claim our political struggles as our own; our short comings as our own; our unrest as our own; our dissidence as our own; our broken infrastructure as our own; our diseases as our own; our uneducated as our own; our corruption as our own; our unfed children as our own.

We have to be given due courtesy to at least try to develop capacities adequate enough to address our issues. We will never develop that capacity to do so if IC and others think selling Action Kits delivers utopia. It didn’t change our way of life when IC started, and it certainly isn’t going to change our reality when the clock expires on December 31st.

I am coherent enough to realize when someone is trying to genuinely do good. At the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with assuming that the people who you are trying to help 1) need help, 2) want your help, or 3) can’t help themselves. IC and this video assumes all the above. Before anyone says ‘why haven’t you done anything to stop Kony?’, may I point out that it took the world’s most sophisticated army over a decade and billions of dollars to catch Osama bin Laden. Kony has been on the run for 25+ years. On a continent 3 times the size of America. Catching & stopping him is not a priority of immediate concern. You know what is? Finding a bed net so that millions of kids don’t die every day from malaria. How many of you know that more Ugandans died in road accidents last year (2838) than have died in the past 3 years from LRA attacks in whole of central Africa(2400)? We’ve picked our battles and we chose to simply try to live. And the world should be helping us live on our own terms, by respecting our agency to choose which battles to put capacity towards.

 

I’ve never heard of Germans running NGOs in [the United States of] America to try and fix the economy or Swedish NGOs in America trying to fix the declining standard of living. Africa is our problem, we hereby respectfully request you let us handle our own matters. We will make mistakes here and there, sure. That is expected. But the trade-off of writing our own destiny far outweighs the self-assigned guilt the world assigned to us. If you really want to help, keep the guilt and charity in your backyard. Bring instead, respect, and the humility to let us determine our destiny.


Herman Cain Rises to the Top among Republicans for the GOP Primary Win

posted 23 Oct 2011, 14:02 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 23 Oct 2011, 14:03 ]


Mitt Romney is in second among Republicans, but makes it the tightest general election race

NEW YORKOct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The debates continue and the calendar is quickly moving towards January when the first voting of the 2012 primary will take place. Each month, the story line seems to take a new shift and this month is no exception. Among Republicans, one in five (20%) would vote for Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain in the GOP primary while 18% would vote for formerMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and 11% would vote for Texas Governor Rick Perry. Other candidates are all under 10% including Newt Gingrich (7%), Michele Bachman (4%), Ron Paul (4%), Jon Huntsman (1%), and Rick Santorum (1%). One-third of Republicans (32%), however, are still not at all sure who they would vote for in the Republican primary.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Among Independents, 17% would vote for Herman Cain, 16% for Mitt Romney and 13% for Ron Paulwith 5% voting for Rick Perry. Two in five Independents (40%) are not at all sure who they would vote for in the primary. Herman Cain jumps out to a larger lead among Conservatives, with one-quarter (26%) saying they would vote for the businessman; 14% would vote for Mitt Romney and 10% for Rick Perry. Over one-quarter of Tea Party supporters (27%) would vote for Herman Cain in the Republican primary, 17% would vote for Mitt Romney and 11% would vote for Rick Perry.

Head to head match-ups

Looking at some specific candidates versus President Obama, Mitt Romney is the closest competitor. If the presidential election were held today, 41% of Americans would vote for President Obama, 40% would vote for Mitt Romney and 18% are not at all sure. Looking at the probable swing states for 2012, 42% of people from those states would vote for Mitt Romney and 39% would vote for President Obama while 19% are not at all sure.

If Ron Paul is the eventual Republican nominee, 41% of Americans would vote for President Obama and 36% would vote for Ron Raul with one-quarter (23%) not at all sure. Among the swing states for next year it's a tie with 38% voting for President Obama and 38% voting for Ron Paul, with 23% not at all sure.

Between Rick Perry and President Obama, 45% of U.S. adults would vote for the President while 36% would vote for the Texas Governor and one in five Americans (19%) say they are not at all sure. Among Independents, more than two in five (43%) would vote for President Obama and 35% would vote for Rick Perry.

Herman Cain has made a push to the top among the Republican nominees, but in a head to head match-up, 43% of Americans would vote for President Obama and 35% would vote for Herman Cain with 22% saying they are not at all sure.  Among the 2012 swing states, two in five (40%) would vote for the President while 36% would vote for Herman Cain.

So What?

For most people the months of November and December will be spent getting ready for the holidays and enjoying time with family. Not so for the Republican candidates who have a date with the Iowa caucus in very early January and a still to be determined date with the New Hampshire primary shortly thereafter. These are the weeks that will set the stage for the first contests and determine who moves on to Super Tuesday in March. Possibly by then, the general election field will be set.

TABLE 1

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION

"If you were voting in the Republican primary election and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?"

Base: All adults



Total Oct 2011

Political Party

Political Philosophy

Tea Party Support

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Mitt Romney

16

18

17

16

14

18

11

17

Herman Cain

13

20

7

17

26

9

5

27

Ron Paul

8

4

6

13

6

9

10

7

Rick Perry

6

11

3

5

10

4

4

11

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

4

1

7

4

*

4

10

1

Michele Bachmann

3

4

4

2

4

3

2

5

Newt Gingrich

3

7

2

1

5

2

2

6

Rick Santorum

1

1

1

1

2

*

1

2

Gary Johnson

*

-

1

1

*

1

1

*

Not at all sure

46

32

53

40

34

50

54

25

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than .05




TABLE 2A

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Mitt Romney

40

83

9

42

71

34

9

Barack Obama

41

7

79

34

15

43

78

Not at all sure

18

10

13

23

14

23

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 2B

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Partisan

Swing States

Mod./

Ind.

Cons./ Tea Party

2012

5% in 2008

%

%

%

%

%

Mitt Romney

40

39

90

42

43

Barack Obama

41

34

5

39

38

Not at all sure

18

26

5

19

19

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio




TABLE 3A

PERRY VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Rick Perry

36

76

7

35

68

28

8

Barack Obama

45

9

81

43

15

49

80

Not at all sure

19

15

12

22

17

24

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 3B

PERRY VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Partisan

Swing States

Mod./

Ind.

Cons./ Tea Party

2012

5% in 2008

%

%

%

%

%

Rick Perry

36

27

94

37

39

Barack Obama

45

48

2

42

40

Not at all sure

19

25

4

21

22

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 4A

PAUL VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Ron Paul

36

71

8

37

61

32

10

Barack Obama

41

7

79

37

14

45

75

Not at all sure

23

22

13

25

25

24

15

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 4B

PAUL VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Partisan

Swing States

Mod./

Ind.

Cons./ Tea Party

2012

5% in 2008

%

%

%

%

%

Ron Paul

36

33

83

38

42

Barack Obama

41

41

3

38

37

Not at all sure

23

26

14

23

21

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 5A

CAIN VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Herman Cain

35

71

7

38

65

28

7

Barack Obama

43

9

79

38

15

45

79

Not at all sure

22

20

14

24

20

26

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 5B

CAIN VS. OBAMA

"If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?"

Base: All adults



Total

Partisan

Swing States

Mod./

Ind.

Cons./ Tea Party

2012

5% in 2008

%

%

%

%

%

Herman Cain

35

33

92

36

38

Barack Obama

43

40

3

40

39

Not at all sure

22

26

5

24

23

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011among 2,463 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J40806
Q1230, 1235, 1245, 1246, 1247

The Harris Poll ® #111, October 21, 2011 
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact: 
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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