Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday Newspapers, Coffee & Daily Focus
Sunday is my day. It's the only day of the week that I do not work. The day that I can get a few hours extra sleep, leisurely shower etc. and then pop on down to the coffee shop to read and write and occasionally delve into deeper conversations. Sometimes not so deep. My favorite thing to do is to read all the Sunday papers and look for topics that might make for good blogging banter. I also take along all the Daily Meditations, that I print from the Living Life Fully web site, then I read and journal about the topics and themes that they talk about. Usually this all will last about 2 - 3 hours, sometimes longer, if I don't have to go get groceries. This is my time. The time that I look forward to and by the end of the week find that I am anticipating. The time to re-charge myself. To re-adjust my attitude.
Our first topic comes to us courteous of the New York Times. DNA is restoring freedom, but what is the value of lost years? Can you put a price on the best years that someone can lose all the years that they were wrongfully imprisoned? I know that they use formulas and assign monetary value, but is it the right amount? How do you devise a formula, mathematically, that can tell you how valuable those years would have been to that persons life? Stan V. Smith, a forensic economist and an expert on compensation for loss of life, said that in some respects, the wrongly convicted may actually suffer a loss greater than death. " It's not just the years they lost and the mental anguish of being incarcerated wrongfully. Your earnings are going to be impaired forever, your social interactions are going to be impaired forever. It's like being thrown into a time warp." Representative Donald M. Payne, a Representative from New Jersey and a Democrat, has introduced a bill that would set aside $1.25 million a year for programs for exonerated prisoners. He says, " One of the biggest challenges is that once an innocent person comes out of prison, they are not equipped with the tools to reintegrate into society, and that's something that money alone can't solve." One exonerated gentleman said," We may be free physically, but mentally we're still living the nightmare every day." Many have mental health problems and can become addicted to drugs and alcohol. The system may be imperfect, so what can be done to help these people? Fixing the system will take time, but we have to think about what can be done now. How do we help people who may have lost 10 or more years of their life and whose mental health has fallen apart due to being subjected to wrongful imprisonment?
Talk about sticker shock! By Election Day, the two presidential nominees are expected to break the $1 billion mark in combined spending- a 50 percent rise over the outrageously high price of the 2004 campaign. Between the presidential and congressional elections fundings are rocketing towards $5 billion!!! Unreal. How did this get so out of hand? What does spending money like this ever get to the point where it told what type of character the candidate had? How they were going to put a chicken in every pot? Make the streets safer? Now, not only am I disgusted with all the rhetoric, but I am disgusted to hear about their spending excesses. It truly does seem as if politics is only for the wealthy and those who have large family battle chests and can go for the long haul. Disgusting to say the least.
Seems that Bush has gotten a $28 million dollar increase in his abstinence only sex education program. Well, based on things that are coming to light, no pun intended, this program is not working. DUH! Last April a Congressionally mandated evaluation found that students that received this program, in elementary school and middle school, were just as likely to have sex in the following years as students who did not get such instruction. Seems that 14 states have now rejected this federal money and are going with teaching about sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and pregnancy. It encourages abstinence, but also gives the basics and other facts for those that still will have sex. In this day and age when it is a status symbol to have sex, and sometimes get pregnant, in high school kids need to be armed with facts and real information rather than just being told to say no. The amount of money spent on the abstinence program could be put to much better use.
" It's somehow odd that we don't focus more on our capacity for delight, our ability to find joy in our day-to-day lives." That one really hit a nerve with me this weekend. Especially after I had allowed myself to become immersed in all the typical stressors of the holiday season. The idea of mass consumption and the need to be everything to everyone. It only took a few days and I was totally consumed with all kinds of stress and guilt. Not being able to do this and that. Ideals that were set too high. All because of the holiday and the feeling that things have to be perfect for everyone on that one day of the year. So, after I read this meditation I stopped beating myself up and started to think about just enjoying each day for what it is. Dropped the ideas that I thought I had to have and decided to let things comes as they come. Finding the joy in the stuff of everyday life. By looking ahead a few weeks I am just making myself a wreck, but when I am just looking at the day at hand, I can find joy in even the shortest of conversations or a laugh with a customer. I am as successful as I want to be. And that was this Sunday!