Month: June 2009

The Best Present You Can Get for Your Child

Maybe it’s just me…

But the best present you can get your children isn’t made by Nintendo, Sony, Dell or Apple.

It isn’t a phone.  It isn’t an IPOD.  It doesn’t come with a keyboard, game console or a remote control.

It is impossible to argue with the fact that our children are constantly targeted and bombarded by every commercial telling them they have to have this phone or laptop.  It seems as if every other commercial is trying to convince our children that they need to look like some celebrity seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

Now, I know how hard it is to shop for your children.  Just try and go out shopping and look for a pair of modestly cut, non-dorky jeans for your teenage daughter.  Mission….impossible.

A close friend of mine took his daughter out for her birthday.  He promised her a new pair of jeans.  He thought that a quick trip to the Mall would be just the ticket.

After the clerk with the nose ring lead them around the store peddling every “new” style,  his daughter modeled the 30th pair for him…. he finally gave in…and he bought her the pair that she saw on the “half-naked” billboard that was strategically place in front of the Mall.  He laid down his $105.00 for the jeans.   And his  job was completed. Right?…WRONG!!!!  What he didn’t realize is that his daughter would home from her first time wearing them and throw them in the corner of her room.  She would  say something about not “ever” wearing them again because they are out of style.

The lesson learned is this… we learn that the style that was in the front of the store a few minutes before when you entered the store is now “out” of style and the girl with the nose ring is frantically putting up the latest and greatest style for you to purchase before you leave the store.

It is no different with the IPODS, cell phones and lap top computers.  They are constantly bombarding our children to have the newest gadget.  Before you walk out of the store it too is out of outdated and “not cool”.

It seems to me that we have forgotten the difference between “needs” and “wants”.

Are you not bothered that Lady GA GA ( if you have a teenage daughter (or son) and you don’t know who this is…stop here and do a search and Google her)  and others are setting the standard for which your daughter dresses and behaves?

We have become a society that completely revolves around sex.  Sex sells magazines;  sex gets ratings;  sex sells products on billboards, on the internet, and on television.  If fact, you probably re-read the last sentence twice because I used the word “sex” multiple times.  Make no mistake about it…we are in a battle for our family and our children.  The innocence of your young child will be taken away  much too early if you are not on the watch for the influences that they are exposed to.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions?  Does your child REALLY need a cell phone?  Do they REALLY need a computer in their room? I have personally watched children as young as 8 have their own phone.  Where in the world could an eight year old girl be alone that she would need a phone to get a hold of her parents?  I actually asked a parent why they felt the need to need to give their 12 year old daughter a phone.  The response was, “So I know where she is at?”  My response…”As a parent, you better know where your 12 year daughter is, cell phone or not!”

Cell phones have become almost as important to American teens as the clothes they wear, according to a nationwide survey of teenagers released last week.

The wireless trade association CTIA and Harris Interactive surveyed some 2,000 teens across the country and learned that teens feel that cell phones have become a vital part of their identities. They also believe that they can gauge a peer’s popularity or status by the phone he or she uses.

Adolescents represent an important demographic for cell phone makers and mobile operators as cell phones have become an integral part of teens’ lives. About four out of every five teens carry a cell phone. This is up from 40 percent of teens owning a cell phone in 2004. And almost half of the teens surveyed today say that having a cell phone is “key” to their social lives.

Seriously!!  Have we as parents completely lost our minds?  Are we so self consumed that we allow the cell phone,  the TV, game system or computer to babysit our children?  Do we really need a cell phone to keep tabs on “where” our children are?

Maybe it just me… but how about thinking about the following…

  • Take the time to create an environment for our children where they aren’t influenced negatively by every thing they see.
  • How about spending time with your child watching the programs they watch.  Have you done that?  Don’t be fooled into thinking that everything that plays on Nickelodeon, Disney or ABC Family is OK for your child to watch.
  • What time is “family time” in your home?  If you don’t have one…maybe it’s time.
  • How about moving the computer into the family room where everyone sees what is on the screen.
  • Limit the time they are on the computer and TV each day.
  • Buy a good “Net Nanny” (a program that tracks where your child goes on the internet).  I will bet you will be shocked.
  • Get rid of the Cell Phone.  Have one for your child to use once they are driving (only to be used in case of an emergency) or for special circumstances.
  • If they have a cell phone when is the last time you checked both the photo album and video storage on the phone for inappropriate content.
  • Ensure that teens are not using the phone while they drive by checking their phone log to see if they used the phone during the driving period.
  • Limit the number of outgoing text messages for the teen’s phone.
  • Create ground rules to the cell phone usage. Include parameters for the video, text, and camera components.
  • Contact the cell phone provider to find out about current parental features to monitor and track cell phone usage.

Now… before you say I am out of touch or just too strict about these issues.  All I can say is that I am speaking from personal experience and I have learned the hard way.   I have raised three children and another is still at home.  They have brought me great joy and they have also disappointed me as well.  And I am sure, I have disappointed them at times in their life.  But I have learned from some of my mistakes in raising children, I only hope to help them raise their children (my grandchildren) in a better way.

The last stronghold is the home…isn’t it time that we as parents take time to protect it? Our homes and more importantly our families are under siege…take it back and keep your children innocent and protected as long as you can.  The cold, harsh reality of this world will taint them soon enough.

What I have learned is that the best present you can get your child isn’t very expensive at all.

It isn’t a cell phone, computer, game system or Ipod.


Obama, Broadway and the Bada Bing

Maybe it’s just me… but I don’t think Obama gets it.

I think our President made a mistake by having date night in New York.   After knowing that additional employees were laid-off indefinitely by GM and other companies earlier in the week, our President decides that keeping his promise to his wife was more important than the economic crisis that faces America.  He promised the Queen that after the campaign, they’d take in a Broadway show, and darn it, he meant to keep that promise.  No matter what the sacrifice or the cost to the American people.

Taking a look at this whole fiasco, I feel like I am watching a new episode of the Sopranos.  No…the series did not end in that diner…here is proof.  A whole new cast is set for this new season…

President Obama  lives by his own self interests…he does not have to live to any standard other than his own.  He just dictates how everyone else will live their lives. (bada bing)

How much did it cost?  He is not telling… nor is his staff.  With the help from the Washington Times…let’s take a look at this a little closer…

In an odd twist left unexamined by the media (no surprise here), the White House on Monday said it simply would not release the cost of President Obama’s weekend jaunt to New York City, where the First Couple had dinner and caught a Broadway show.   Spokesman Robert Gibbs, keeping the White House press corps in stitches, as he always does, said the Obamas would have preferred using a commercial airline shuttle to New York and back, but the Secret Service would not allow such unprotected travel.  (bada bing)

And that was that.  No further probing; asked and answered; time to move on.  And move on he did…right into this little video release of Obama telling us that the sacrifices already made would be for the better life for our children.  I find it hard to accept that Mr. Obama is  really concerned for their future considering the 10 trillion dollar debt  he has placed on the heads of our children and grandchildren. (bada bing)

Who exactly is the “we” he refers to?  Surely he isn’t referring to himself.  Where is the sacrifice that “he”  made?  Maybe he and Michelle did not get an extra bag of peanuts on the flight.  (bada bing)

That was, of course, an ironic element of the trip.   In February, Obama scolded corporate executives (while also costing Las Vegas some $130 million) when he said: “You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas, or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.” (bada bing)

Did he not take the trip to New York on the tax payers dime?   Is there any thing different about this than our criticism  for the excesses of corporate America?  Why are we not upset about this?  Union and Non-Union employees are being laid off by the thousands and yet they will continue to blindly “vote” for the democrats…the same democrats that are telling you now to sacrifice…but remember that sacrifice only applies to you. (bada bing)

The media response of the trip has been tempered, with the exception of village idiot Chris Mathews of Hardball on MSNBC.   He rants and raves about the “disdain” and “lack of thought and culture” of George Bush.  That in itself was the reason that the trip was acceptable for the tax payers to foot the bill.   Mathhews claims of “cheap shots” of the Republican party for being angry of a President that has “Interests”.  I agree he has “interests”…  his own selfish interests. (bada bing)

Wake up people this is all happening under our noses.  Is this really the change you wanted?  Are we really better off?

One early estimate (from the New York Post) put the cost at $24,000. Absurdly low. The Daily Mail in London threw out another number — $75,000. Sure, three times as much as the first estimate, but still probably spectacularly low. Remember, joyriding Air Force One around for a few hours over Manhattan a couple months ago cost $250,000, so the cost of the weekend trip was likely not likely that low.

While the White House is simply refusing to say how much taxpayer money it spent, here’s a helpful way to calculate the cost of the trip:

First, the First Couple (and entourage) flew from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base — three choppers (two decoys), if the Marines stuck to standard operating procedure (and they are sticklers for SOP). That means dozens of men and women — radar, communications, mechanics, crews, everyone, perhaps 100, who knows? — were involved. (A batch of tagalongs must’ve taken a taxpayer pool of vehicles out from the White House to AAFB, since it took three jets to get the gang to NYC).

Second, the president moving on a Saturday takes a full operation at and around the White House, dozens and dozens of people. Maybe they’re all on salary, so that didn’t likely cost much. But all the cops involved — D.C. police, uniformed Secret Service officers, Capitol police — were probably paid overtime, even double time. Probably, again, 100 personnel or so.

Then there were the jets — at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used to ferry the Obamas, aides and reporters to New York. The Obamas’ jet, a Gulfstream 500, served as Air Force One.

Third, a C-17 had to fly to NYC to put in place a full motorcade (at least a dozen vehicles, maybe more). The military cargo plane may have taken up at least two, but maybe three, more choppers to fly the whole party from JFK to a Wall Street landing zone, where the motorcade was waiting. If not, the choppers flew there solo (White House veteran reporter Mark Knoller of CBS Radio wrote recently that “The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1,200 pounds of fuel per hour.” Ouch. (bada bing)

Fourth, driving through Manhattan is an expensive exercise. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of NYPD have to be stationed all along the way, shutting down roads, holding back pedestrians. There were police cars involved, dozens of motorcycles, and the ever-present NYC ambulance (oh, don’t forget that the White House doctor also probably went — with all his gear). The city likely gets reimbursed by the White House for the cost (they usually do). And they were all probably getting time and a half (the NYPD overtime budget is extraordinary).

Fifth, the United States Secret Service (USSS) had to scope out the whole thing, then station agents all over — sharpshooters, undercover agents, etc. — at a huge cost. Who knows if they were on overtime. And if you think they went up Saturday morning, think again. They were likely in NYC upwards of a week before, planning the whole evening, every second of every movement. They had to map out five movements — from JFK to the Wall Street LZ, then a motorcade to the restaurant, then another motorcade to the play, then a final motorcade back to the LZ, then a chopper flight to JFK, before the First Couple and crew jetted back to AAFB for another chopper to the White House.

One thing is known — The Obamas picked up the cost of dinner costs and their orchestra seat tickets, which cost $96.50 a piece. So if the whole thing cost $250,000, the Obamas offset that by at least a few hundred bucks.  Phew.

Thank you Mr. President for your sacrifice…(bada bing)

I don’t know about you…but I think our President just doesn’t get it…or maybe he does…

Either way, I believe we are in more trouble than we have ever could have imagined.

But then again, maybe it’s just me.