Archive for category History

Repression is Alive and Doing Well

cropped-dsc03417.jpg   In Michigan you now have to work to receive Food Stamps. I agree with that, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”. But even if someone on Food Stamps gets a job, good luck finding a way to work.

We have a poor excuse for mass transportation, and they can’t afford a car because insurance rates are the highest in the United States. What we have here is a perfect example of repressing disenfranchised populations.


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The Haunted White House


Rumor has it there’s more than one President that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But only one is alive.

It may seem like a ghost in the White House would be fictional nonsense, especially at such a serious place. But it’s difficult to disregard these ghost stories as folk lore or myths, when they came from some very reputable sources that include former and present White House staff, former First Ladies, visiting Heads of State, and former Presidents.

The White House is owned by the National Park Service. Technically the White House is one of America’s National Parks; the second most popular National Park with Yellowstone being the first. Construction began in October of 1792, and a lot of renovating took place to make the White House the modern structure it is today. Indoor plumbing and central heating were added in 1835, the East Wing was added in 1866, and the West Wing was added in 1902. White House renovations are actually a continuing process. The style of the interior is still pretty much the same since the White House was rebuilt after British Forces set it, and almost all of Washington DC, on fire on August 24, 1814.

Most of the people who visit the White House are amazed by how much smaller it is in person than it appears on TV. Almost every room has been the setting for many significant events that shaped American History. A visit to the White House is an inspiration for any American or foreign diplomat, as walk through the stark white finely appointed rooms that reflect a period when America was a developing country. Whether it’s for a tour, a legislative visit with White House staff, or even a meeting with the President, any American can’t help but amazed to be in the same place where so much history has taken place.


In the East Room of the White House the crown molding designed by Dolly Madison remains the same till this day

While walking through the White House it seems like those scenes in that history book you studied in school come alive each time you enter a room. It’s as if you can almost imagine with vivid detail historical events happening right in front of you. Being in the same setting makes ir easy to picture in your mind what it was like when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, when President Nixon paced the White House halls with torment during Watergate, or when Jackie Kennedy mourned beside the casket of her husband as he lied in repose in the East Room. Could that same vivid recall of prior influences, combined with being in the actual place where many events occurred be a logical explanation for these ghost stories? Maybe the mind playing tricks? That certainly could be an explanation if there were no consistency to the stories. But may of these claims of ghost came from different people who never met. And each account had the same vivid detail

Hearing unexplained noises and feeling the presence of ghost are a common occurrence in the White House. Seeing actual apparitions have also happened on several occasions. There have been several reports of hearing President Andrew Jackson stomping and swearing throughout the presidential residence. In a letter to his wife Bess, President Truman made reference to ghost residing with him in the White House ghost; “I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches, all the while listening to the ghost walk up and down the hallway and even right here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth.”

At one time there were plans to move the Rose garden that was created by Dolly Madison. That was until gardeners claim they were chased off by Dolly, who was very upset and vehemently opposed the idea. The Rose Garden remains where it’s at with no future plans to move it. There have also been several reports of a demon cat that haunts the White House basement. It is alleged this cat will first appear as an adorable kitten, but will immediately glow in size and increase a demon like appearance. It appeared during two very sad times in American history; just before the stock market crash in 1929, and before the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.

According to her blog featured on the website Huff Post 50 in October of 2013, Journalist Joan Gage chronicled a conversation with President Reagan during a state dinner at the White house in 1986. Reagan claimed one time their dog pointed his nose up in the air and stood on his hind legs, then began barking at the ceiling and continued to do this while walking around the room. On another occasion Reagan’s daughter Maureen and her husband were sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom during their visit her husband woke up and saw a transparent figure standing at the window looking out. His wife didn’t believe him, until she saw the same thing on a different night.


The North Portico entrance to the White House where sightings of a British Soldier with a flame lit torch have taken place on several occasions

There have been several sightings of a British soldier wearing a red coat and carrying a flame lit torch while standing just outside of the North Portico. The East Room is where Abigail Adams has been seen hanging laundry to dry just as she did when she was alive. Its also alleged the ghost and a child in their preteens can be heard running up and down the central hallway on the State level. There have also been several reports of ushers and doormen who passed away several decades ago and still tending to their duties today. According to all accounts the most haunted room in the White House would be the Rose Room in the third floor Presidential Residence. The Ghost of both Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln were both seen there.

The most popular ghost of all is that of Abraham Lincoln. Several of the people who once lived in the White House including First Ladies Grace Coolidge, Lady Bird Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and President Ford’s daughter Susan have sensed or literally seen Lincoln’s Ghost. Lincoln has been seen in the Presidential Residence, the East Room, and the Oval Office. On one occasion Roosevelt’s valet ran screaming from the White House after seeing Lincoln’s ghost.

wh 2The most famous Lincoln sighting of all came from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill while he visited the White House during World War II. After taking a bath Churchill came from the bathroom and saw Lincoln sitting by the fireplace in his room. On subsequent visits Churchill refused to step foot in the Lincoln Bedroom. According to psychics, Lincoln hangs around the White House to help current Presidents when they’re facing difficult situations.

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Look Before You Share; some websites are not what they seem.

Social media has emerged as one of the most important tools of communication. What you communicate on social media says a lot about you. The things you share, your post, and even comments you make come together to create your digital personality. Any and all information posted or shared by you gives others a glimpse into who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and what you react to.

OuoteIf you think nobody’s looking at your profile, you better think again. In addition to your friends and family, others may also be reading your profile. Sometimes privacy settings aren’t that private, some agencies have authority to override them. You can also give access to your social media profile without even realizing it. When you sign on to a site using your profile; you also give that organization full access to everything about you. If you’ve applied for a job there may be a chance the employer you’ve applied to reviewed your profile during the employment screening process. Police can also access social media profiles. Evidence from social media has been used in court to prosecute criminal and civil cases. The internet in general does provide certain anonymity but social media does not.

What ever you say says a lot about you and where you get your information you share is key. This tells people what type of media outlets you go to for news, facts, and how you get the facts that help you form opinions about what is important to you. There are some questions you need to ask yourself when you see something you’re thinking about sharing. Is this information accurate? Who is saying this and are they a credible source? You have to do some filtering. This step can clarify information for you and possibly spare you embarrassment.

POST“Things are not always what they seem” is an old adage that has more meaning now than ever before. These words describe about 70 percent of content on the internet. You may see some slick websites or post that look legit, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. Anybody can say anything on the internet and look believable doing it; especially if they package themselves as an objective and reputable news organization. Often you will see zealous organizations that make false and outrageous claims, but they market that information as a news story and it looks creditable. All it takes are flashy headlines, some slick pictures, and information presented in a news format. The picture in the left margin is a perfect example; a ridiculous claim but packaged in a professional format.

While browsing websites we see things we laugh at, things we’re concerned about, and things that are important. You owe it to yourself to check that website for authenticity because once you gather facts they will become your knowledge. Closely examine who is giving you these facts. Who are the sources they cite? Are they good sources? Look at other articles or claims the website makes. Is this news or propaganda? Before you share from that website, especially if you’re a first time visitor, make sure what you share is true. When you do share, you’re telling people this is what you believe.

If you notice on most social media websites any article posted or shared has a website address in the lower left hand corner. This is where the filtering starts. That website address tells who is publishing this information. Before you share what they’re saying, go to that website and check it out to make sure what their saying is correct. Is this a place you want to get your information and how true is it? Keep in mind by and posting sharing information, you are giving information to others that will also have an opinion. You can spare some yourself some criticism if the information is the truth.

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Most Californians Don’t Know What a Water District is; as the drought gets worse they soon will.

Winter months are when California gets the majority of rainfall it needs to replenish the state’s water supply. That hasn’t happened this year. Both the State Water Project Resources and Colorado River Resources are reporting record low numbers of water for this current rain season. And there’s little hope of catching up as this rain season is coming to an end. The Northern Sierra Snowpack is at 4.30 inches, only 19 percent of what it should be.

State statsIt would be hard to find a climatologist or research scientist who would claim this drought is going away any time soon. According to recent studies published by Scientist at Stanford University, this drought will be around for a while and will get worse.

It’s not just a matter of no rain. Something else is happening in California that is not causing the drought, but will certainly contribute to it, and that’s the state’s increasing population.  The State of California already has the highest population of all western states and it’s increasing at a steady rate. According to California’s State Department of Finance the state’s population will increase in fifteen years by 14 percent to an estimated 44 million people. This increase in population will mean an even higher demand on an already dwindling water supply.

garden GraphicIf you did a poll and asked Californians what a water district is most wouldn’t know. But that’s about to change real fast. These agencies will soon be featured on evening news reports and documentaries. Many Californians will soon begin contacting or even protesting water districts.

A simple definition of a water district is a municipal organization that provides water to customers in a service area. With the exception of rain, water districts supply all water used in cities, on farms, in manufacturing, and water for residential use. This is why water districts may not have much significance to Californians now but they soon will; these are the agencies that control water and as that water becomes scarcer, these agencies will become more important to Californians.

car wash graphicAs the current drought situation worsens, and that’s inevitable, Californians are sure to be faced with things like statewide mandatory water conservation. If mandatory conservation doesn’t work these water districts, the municipal organizations that have jurisdiction over all water use, will have no choice but to start rationing water. This could mean that when Californians uses their rationed amount of water; they’ll turn on a facet and see nothing. Once this happens many will be forced to purchase bottled water for personal consumption, cooking, personal hygiene, even flushing a toilet. They’ll also be paying a premium price for that bottled water.

This scenario may sound like a script from a movie but the truth is; it could start happening very soon. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is already considering water rationing by the summer unless conditions improve. A recent Op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times calls for state wide water rationing because Californians have about one year of water left.


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A Matter of Circumstances; giving spare change may not help the homeless

defAccording to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the federal definition homelessness is a person who sleeps in a place not meant for human habitation. This includes people who sleep on the streets, in a car, in a park, and also includes people sleeping in emergency shelters and transitional housing. In an effort to identify the severity of homelessness and determine the amount of federal funds needed to address this issue, HUD compiles statistics each year to prepare a report for Congress. The latest report determined in January 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on a given night. Most (69 percent) were staying in residential programs for homeless people, and the rest (31 percent) were found in unsheltered locations. Nearly one-quarter of all homeless people were children under the age of 18 (23 percent or 135,701). These statistics also include 49,933 homeless veterans who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Homelessness in the United States is a complex problem with a wide range of causes. These causes include mental health issues, loss of employment, fleeing from domestic abuse, addiction, returning military veterans, and victims of natural disasters. Regardless of cause, those who are homeless suffer one of two different situations: chronically homeless and temporary homelessness.
faceChronically homeless is defined by HUD as a person who has been homeless for twelve consecutive months or has had four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. The majority of these people have become chronically homeless because of a disabling condition. HUD defines a disabling condition as a diagnosable substance abuse disorder, a serious mental illness, developmental disability, or chronic physical illness or disability, including the co-occurrence of two or more of these conditions. In addition, a disabling condition limits an individual’s ability to work or perform one or more activities of daily living. Many chronically homeless individuals either don’t have the resources to bath, or because of a mental health issue, are not concerned about hygiene. Due to their appearance the chronically homeless have become the face of homelessness in the United States.
graphicTemporary homelessness is an episode of homelessness that doesn’t last more than twelve consecutive months. HUD defines an episode of homelessness as a separate, distinct, and sustained stay on the streets and/or in a homeless emergency shelter. These are people who have suffered some type of setback or tragic event like loss of employment, foreclosure, loss of a loved one, or a medical condition that has depleted all their funds and could no longer pay rent or buy food. One of the toughest challenges for this homeless population is making every attempt to not look homeless. They must make extra efforts to do laundry, practice good hygiene, and maintain a presentable appearance. This includes bathing in a restroom sink at a library or gas station to prepare for job interviews or other important appointments. If they are successful in these attempts individuals experiencing temporary homelessness to do appear to be homeless.

Current statistics published by HUD indicate some progress has been made in America’s attempt to address homeless causes and issues. Chronic homelessness among individuals declined by 3 percent (or 2,164) over the past year, and by 30 percent (or 36,197) between 2007 and 2014. Homelessness among veterans declined by 33 percent (or 24,117) between 2009 and 2014
subThere is something you can do to help the homeless in your area and it may sound strange; do not give money to homeless people who are panhandling. If you want to help you might be doing more good by volunteering or making a contribution to an organization in your city that serves homeless populations.

Not giving money to homeless individuals may seem like a lack of compassion, but addiction is a leading cause of homelessness. Giving money, even spare change, could actually be causing more harm than good. If that individual you gave money to is suffering with addiction issues chances are the money you gave could go toward the purchase of drugs or alcohol and not food. Also if you engaged in dialogue with an individual suffering from a mental health issue, there is a possibility their behavior could be unpredictable and could put you at risk.
childrenYou may think charitable acts of giving money to homeless individuals are good intentions that help reduce the problems that confront them, but this may not be the case. Assisting an organization that serves homeless populations is a much more effective and safer way you can help. People who work at social service agencies are case managers, social workers, nurses, and doctors who deal with homelessness on a daily basis. They’re aware of the causes, issues, and challenges of homeless individuals and families. They know what issues are the most acute, and know how to deal with unpredictable behavior that might be the result of a mental health issue.

When you volunteer or make a contribution to a social service agency you’re getting more bang for your buck. This will accomplish more than just giving money to homeless who solicit in public places.  Your efforts will increase the resources trained professionals need to effectively identify causes and help homeless individuals and families with food, programs, and resources.

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In Plain Sight

ht3Victims of human trafficking are not always easy to identify. It is very possible you may have seen one cleaning tables in a restaurant, on a subway, or at a stop light. This is an issue that doesn’t get as much media attention as other topics, but human trafficking involves 800,000 victims worldwide each year. This includes many victims here in the United States, most are women and children.

Trafficking generates a profit of 32 billion dollars each year and is defined by an exploitation which comes in many forms. Only 19% of all trafficking involves labor exploitation. The most common form of exploitation is sexual.

The most common form of exploitation is sexual. Some runaway children will become sex workers at early as 12 years old.

The most common form of exploitation is sexual. Some runaway children will become sex workers at early as 12 years old.

According to the U S State Department, 80% of all trafficking involves sexual exploitation. This includes forcing victims into prostitution, sexual slavery, and forcing victims to commit sex acts to create pornography. Over 70% of trafficking victims in the United States are women and half are children.

In the United States the average teen will enter the sex trade industry between the ages of 12 to 14 years old. Many of these victims are runaway girls who have fled from sexual abuse. According to UNICEF the United States is considered a top destination for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.

There are ways to identify a trafficking victim. If you encounter a child or adult that is not sure of their whereabouts, exhibits fear or anxious behavior, or has inconsistencies in their story, these are conditions consistent with a trafficking victim. This person may also have unexplained injuries. If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888

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Change your thoughts; change your life

Attitude and behaviors are two things that can determine success or failure, both are influenced by memories.    


According to Dr Norman Doidge, “The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.”

According to Dr Norman Doidge, “The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.”

We’re going to be hearing a lot more about rewiring your brain in the near future. Research done by neuroscientist has yielded some very interesting findings. According to a recent article in New Yorker magazine, attitude and behaviors are two things that make you successful in whatever you set out to do. It turns out attitude and behaviors are formed by your memories, both good and bad.

In a similar article on the website, your memory is not like to video playback which is most commonly presumed, but more like a video editing process. We have the ability to diminish bad memories by changing details if we remember them to be small and insignificant. For good memories we do the same thing in reverse; exaggerate good memories by focusing on the good outcomes from that incident.

Harvard University researchers conducted studies at Massachusetts General Hospital to see what effect meditation had on the brain. Results from using magnet-imaging have shown individuals who mediated for an eight-week period dramatically strengthen the brain structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. This supports the theory that you can modify your brain.

The term “thoughts are things” may have more credence that just an old adage. Negative and positive thoughts and memories directly affect how we perceive our world and how we react to situations but they are not equal. Unfortunately the negative is three times stronger that the positive. This is called the negative bias. As a result of a survival instinct left over from our hunter gatherer days, we are wired to focus more on the negative. But in our modern-day world, the negative can hold us back and limit us from achieving real success and potential.


The brain produces electrical signals, which, together with chemical reactions, let the parts of the body communicate. Nerves send these signals throughout the body.

The brain produces electrical signals, which, together with chemical reactions, let the parts of the body communicate. Nerves send these signals throughout the body.

Selective memory and just recalling good memories is not going to help remedy the situation, it is important to get to the source and modify the bad memories so they will have less of an impact. When you recall these bad memories, imagine them smaller and change the details of the incident so that memory no longer gives you bad feelings. If you learned or gained something from a bad experience focus on what you took away and not how bad the incident was. When we recall good memories relive them attentively by paying attention to every detail. Go to that place in your mind during that incident by recalling the great feelings you felt during that time. Nothing worth having is easy to come by. This is going to involve some effort to change your thinking so don’t get discouraged and keep trying.

Can you climb a mountain? What was your first thought after reading this question? Was it a list of reasons why you can’t climb a mountain? If so, you really need to change your thinking about yourself and your abilities. Now if I repeated that same question instead of thinking why you can’t, try thinking about how you can. And also try removing these two words from your vocabulary; “should have”.

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Water; our new liquid gold


According to the United States Geological Survey a bathroom faucet that drips one drop of water per minute will waste 104 gallons of water per year

According to the United States Geological Survey a bathroom faucet that drips one drop of water per minute will waste 104 gallons of water per year

Water conservation is our new reality and we have no choice. Prior to California’s drought saving H2O was a green thing. It’s still a green thing but that green now stands for money. Here is a sobering fact that may bring things into perspective; according to the website, on a global scale only 1% of this planet’s water is drinkable. Of course we can clean and filter water through technology and nature, but we cannot replenish water at the rate we are consuming it.

Now to bring this closer to home, we here in California are facing a serious situation when it comes to water and this is something we must come to terms with soon. When you conserve water you do your part to respect the environment. That’s all very nice but the hardcore truth is you can either start to conserve water or start paying even more of your hard-earned money. Money is a great motivator so keep in mind, when you conserve water

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American Family consumes over 300 gallons of water a day. And that’s just for indoor use. About 30% of water consumed in America is for outdoor use. To break it down on an individual basis, the average person in America uses about 70 gallons a day. Here are some tips that could help you to cut down on an amount of water you consume in the course of a day that just might help you to save money:

  • Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Just get the toothbrush wet then shut the water off. Then put it back on to rinse.
  • When shaving, fill the sink with water and swirl the razor in the water to rinse it.
  • Take a military shower, the water runs no longer than three minutes and that’s it. Yes this is possible; ask anyone who has served in the military.
  • When taking a bath do not let the water run until it reaches the desired temperature and then close the drain. Close the drain off first then get to the correct temperature while the water is running. And unless you’re a hippopotamus, you can use less water to take a bath.
  • Wait until you have a full load until you do the laundry.
  • Be diligent about looking for dripping faucets or leaks in the bathroom
  • When doing dishes, soak pots and pans in hot soapy water before washing them. This will also make it a lot easier to clean the stuck on food residue.

We have just scratched the surface of this issue. Unless California sees a lot of rain, enough to get Noah scrambling for wood, this problem is not gonna go away anytime soon. This is now a part of our new reality and we have no choice but to conform. Here is the best way to conserve water; every time you hear water running, just imagine your bank balance decreasing at an accelerated rate, because that is exactly what is happening.


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Homeless in America; we can fix this

The National Alliance to End Homelessness claims on any night in the United States 640,000 people experience homelessness. To better understand “Homeless” we must first define the term. That is not an easy task because homelessness is a complicated issue. Certain criteria must be met for a person to be considered homeless. To best define the term in simple words, homelessness means an individual or family must sleep in a structure not suitable for human habitation, such as cars, sidewalks, parks or abandoned buildings. This also includes individuals who are scheduled to be released from an intuition, treatment program, or hospital within 30 days and no plan for housing in place. This definition is brief at best. For a more information you can go to the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

Do these people look homeless? Actually some of them may be. A segment of America's homeless population are facing the challenge of not looking homeless

Do these people look homeless? Actually some of them may be. A growing segment of America’s homeless population are must face the challenge of not looking homeless while searching for employment.

We can’t talk about the topic of homelessness without first mentioning the Homeless American Veteran. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development reports close to 60,000 veterans are homeless. Nearly half of them served in Vietnam. Many other homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. At this point in time, younger homeless veterans make up about eight per cent of the homeless veteran population, but that number is increasing.

There are several circumstances that cause homelessness, but those who become homeless fall into one of two categories; transitional and chronic. It’s estimated that the chronically homeless make up the largest portion of America’s homeless population. The majority of these individuals surfer from some type of mental health issue. Mental health also includes addiction.

Those who are transitional homeless are currently experiencing homelessness for the first time and make up smaller number of America’s homeless. On average, they can regain some type of suitable housing within 12 to 18 months. One of their biggest challenges is trying to not look homeless. It is typical for them to bathe in public restrooms to prepare for appointments and job interviews. This segment of America’s homeless population has the ability to be retrained and acquire marketable skills.

Homeless graphWhile those who are transitional homeless make every attempt to not look homeless, those who are chronically homeless are highly visible on American streets and present with the biggest challenge in attempting to overcome homelessness. These individuals need additional resources that would include some form of treatment to address issues that made them homeless. It is important that our society address the issue of the chronically homeless, but if we also turn attention to the transitional homeless with a different goal in mind, we could reduce homeless statistics and better improve America’s standing in the world in manufacturing and technology.

Children homelessThere is no doubt the United States needs to retrain its workforce. Once a world leader in manufacturing, America now trails behind several other countries. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that America imports more than it exports. America needs to develop and manufacture products the world needs and we have the potential to do that.

Here is just one example of an opportunity the United States has to increase manufacturing and technology within its own borders; Rare Earth Metals are used for making anything electronic from cell phones to TVs. The continental United States has about 14 rare earth mines, some of the largest deposits of rare earth metals in the world are right here. Once we mine rare earth metals, the United States has to ship them to China to be manufactured because we don’t know how. Yet we have so many people who have the ability and desperately want to be retrained and gain long-term employment.

Shelter useAddressing the Homeless issue in America will require more than a quick fix because it is a complicated issue. However, it is possible to significantly reduce homeless statistics in general if we create resources for those who have the ability to be retained. We can’t expect the government to do all of the work; we must also look to American corporations to institute programs, maybe even with tax incentives, which will hire and re-train the American worker. “Investing in America” is not just a cliché. It appears we have not been doing that lately and look where we are.

This proposal of identifying the employable segment of our population and retraining them with marketable skills is not a new concept; America has done this before with a high degree of success. We must look at our history and examine those programs that did work to re-employ people, update them and make them adoptable to the needs of a modern-day economy, and reinstitute them. When we Americans reduce our homeless population, we will strengthen our middle class and enhance our own sustainably.

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Its ok, you won’t offend them; never avoid someone who is disabled

Often people who have no prior experience dealing with a disabled person will feel awkward or even afraid to communicate with them for fear of saying or doing something that could be offensive. Rather than risk offending someone who is disabled, they may avoid or ignore that person. This is very understandable, but when you have a fear of communicating with those who are disabled, you could be closing the door to what could be a wonderful and beneficial friendship.

Here is something you need to keep in mind; just because a disabled person may have limited physical ability, that doesn’t limit their outlook, sense of humor, potential contribution, and level of intelligence. Friendships enhance the quality of our lives. Think of how you could be missing out by closing the door to someone who, even though they may not be able to run a marathon, could inspire and motivate you. Here are some simple guidelines to follow that will help you to overcome that fear and not be afraid to communicate who those who are disabled.

When you are speaking to someone who is hearing impaired and is using a sign language interpreter, speak directly to the person and not the interpreter. In fact, it is better to pretend the sign language interpreter is not even there. If you need to get the attention of someone with a hearing disability, it is ok to tap them on the shoulder or wave your hand to get their attention. Make sure that person can see your lips move, speak clearly, slowly and expressively. Remember, this person has to read your lips. Keep objects like food, silverware, or cigarettes away from your mouth when speaking to them.

Never shout or speak really loud to someone who is hearing impaired. If they are wearing a hearing aid, do not assume they can hear you clearly, still make sure they can see your lips. Even though they may be wearing a hearing aid, they may also depend on reading lips.

If you’re in a conversation with someone who has difficulty speaking or may shudder, you should patiently listen and do not interrupt to finish a sentence for them. You may want to ask short questions that require short answers. Even nodding your head is acceptable. Do not pretend that you understood what was said when you’re speaking with someone who has a speech impediment. It is preferred that you repeat what you understood and give the person a chance to clarify.

People with artificial limbs or limited hand use will not be offended if you offer to shake hands, so go ahead and offer when you are introduced. It is ok to shake the left hand if you have to. If you offer to give that person assistance, wait until they accept the offer. Then ask how you can help and wait for them to instruct you.

If the person is an adult, treat them like one. Nothing is more offensive than treating a disabled person like a child. Address a disabled person by their first names only when the situation is acceptable. If they introduce themselves by their first name, then you have the green light.

Do not under any circumstances patronize someone in a wheel chair by patting them on the head or shoulder. Never lead against, place your hand, or an item on someone’s wheel chair. Keep in mind that wheel chair should be treated like part of their body, because to them, it is. It is ok to place yourself at eye level when speaking to them.

When you meet someone who is visually impaired or blind, always identify yourself and anyone else in the group. When in a conversation with someone who is visually impaired it is important to identify who you are speaking to, but do that in a causal manner by saying the person’s name at some point in the sentence.

When speaking with someone who is disabled, it is natural to feel awkward, and guess what, so do they. Consider the dynamics of the encounter; you’re trying to be sure to not offend someone who is disabled, and they are trying to trying to cope in a non disabled world as best as they can. Keep in mind, by avoiding a disabled person for fear of offending them is far worse than not giving them a chance to function in a non disabled world. Go ahead, talk to them, any mistake you make will not offend them. Also, you will be surprised how quickly you get comfortable with the situation.


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