Every year when this day rolls around, I reflect on that day, September 11, 2001. I imagine most Americans will never forget that day, and they will remember where they were, what they were doing and who they were with.
That day was different for me from the beginning. I had recently moved to Florida and on the morning of 9/11, I was heading to the county courthouse to serve as a juror for a trial. I remember listening to the radio in my car and hearing a report that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I didn't think much of it as I headed to the courthouse. I was thinking about my day ahead and having to concentrate on the case that would be presented us. I arrived to the courthouse and immediately reported to the jury room where the other jurors had already arrived. We all introduced ourselves and began talking amongst ourselves. There was another juror there that was also from New York so we began telling the other jurors about New York and the different places they should see if they ever went to New York. There was a brief conversation about the new report of the plane that hit the World Trade Center, but none of us had seen any pictures or television footage, so we had no idea what had happened. The trial was to begin on this day and after about an hour of waiting in the jury room, we all became concerned as to why we haven't been brought to the courtroom. The room we were in was on an upper floor with huge windows overlooking the outside of the courthouse and in the far distance you could see a beautiful lake. As we looked out of the windows to pass the time, we noticed a lot of police activity outside of the courthouse. We just assumed it was some minor police emergency. The time crept by and another hour passed. We were now getting restless and anxious to begin this trial so we could go home. A couple hours after arriving, the Sheriff's deputy escorted us to the courtroom. We were relieved that we would finally be getting started, but as we entered the courtroom you immediately knew that something was very wrong. The only people in the courtroom was the two attorneys and the Judge. The courtroom was completely empty, which I found to be very strange. The Judge began to tell us what had happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As the Judge was speaking to us, he had tears rolling down his face. That is when I realized this was really serious and my first thought was to go get my children from school. The Judge dismissed us and I immediately went to pick my children up from school. The schools were sheer panic with parents frantically looking for their children and teachers trying to calm everyone down. I picked up my children and went home. I just wanted my family to be together because we didn't know what else was going to happen.
When I got home and saw the actual television images of what had happened I was horrified. Being from New York and seeing the World Trade Center collapsing was just unbelieveable to me. I thought about all of the times I had been in those towers. My brother and I used to meet sometimes at Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the North Tower for drinks after work. I thought of all the those people that were trapped in that restaurant on this day. I had briefly worked at the trade center at a bank branch. Those buildings were massive. I couldn't imagine who could want to hurt so many people. My sadness quickly turned to anger for the people responsible for this horrific act. I took it personally because this was my city and these sick people took away my many fond memories of working and socializing in those towers. This day was overwhelming for me. I thought about the people I may have known in those towers that have now lost their lives. It turns out I didn't know anyone personally that died in those towers, but at that time it was heart wrenching to think about. I watched television news reports until the wee hours of the morning, praying for those families who lost loved ones.
September 11, 2001, will forever be a day that I will never forget the feeling of being so vulnerable. Not knowing what will happen to our country. It changed all of our lives in so many ways. The airports are now a place where you have to go through so many different security measures. When you go into buildings around this country you are subjected to searches and metal detectors. There are cameras following your every move in this country now. Our lives have changed because of 9/11. I guess all of these new security measures are needed for the safety of our country, but it is sad to think about the freedoms we have had to sacrifice to do that. I hope we all never forget the many police officers, firefighters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who died on that day. This was a very sad day for our country and for the world, and we can only hope that we never have to experience this kind of pain ever again.
What was your 9/11 experience?
Fathers are the most important part of the family unit. They are and should be the strength of the family. Fathers should be the providers of the family, but not just financially. They should be the provider of love, guidance and discipline. We look to our fathers to set positive examples for the family by exhibiting the meaning of hard work and responsibility. We have too many fathers today that lack the skills to be good fathers because they were either never taught how to be good fathers or they just ignored the lessons they were taught.
A father should be giving and showing love for his family because without that the family becomes broken. There are so many broken families today because the fathers do not take responsibility for their families. There are many reason why some fathers don’t stand up and take responsibility for their families, but I hope those fathers realize that it is never too late to be a good father.
For those fathers who have been taking responsibility for their families and leading by example, you should be honored because through all of life’s pitfalls, you stood strong and stood by your families. Continue to be the rock of your family. Continue to raise your children to be respectful, intelligent adults that have empathy for others. As a father sometimes you may feel that you can’t ever show weakness by expressing your emotional side, by shedding that tear or giving that hug to your child, but by doing that it will show them a father that is real, with real emotions and teach them that it is alright to show your emotions sometimes.
To all of the fathers out there, you are our strength and through you we have the strength and motivation to achieve great things. Never stop being the best father you can be, and if you haven’t been a good father, now is the time to realize that you have the power to change the future of your family by being a loving, supportive, responsible father.
The summer is upon us and families will begin planning their vacation destinations. Whether you like visiting beaches, theme parks, hiking, camping or just sightseeing, there are plenty of spectacular places to visit. Here are a few vacation ideas to consider.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Places to Stay:
Paradise Bay Resort http://www.paradisebayresort.com/
The Kahala Hotel and Resort
Siesta Key Beach, Florida
Places to Stay:
The Capri at Siesta
The Sea Spray Resort
Hyatt Siesta Key
Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island, South Carolina
Places to Stay:
City Loft Hotel
The Rhett House Inn
Camping sites available
Walt Disney World
Places to Stay:
Disney Widerness Lodge
Disney World Resorts
Things to Do in and around Orlando:
Grand Canyon National Park
Places to Stay:
El Tovar Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada
Places to Stay:
Wynn Las Vegas http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/
The term “workplace bullying” is one that is pretty new to our society, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening for many years in the workplace. It is just that recently companies and legislators are starting to realize that this is a real serious problem in the workplace that affects not only the workplace, but employees physical and mental well-being. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators.” The mistreatment could consist of:
When you are a victim of workplace bullying, it is often very difficult to do your job efficiently because the perpetrator is likely doing everything in their power to break you down. It is very hard to go to a job everyday knowing that you have to face the same treatment by the perpetrator(s) day in and day out. After long term exposure to workplace bullying, it can begin to affect you physically causing such problems as high blood pressure, strokes, Irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and skin disorders. You also could be affected mentally by this abuse in the form of depression, anxiety, insomnia, low self-esteem, and post- traumatic stress disorder. Workplace bullying can be very hazardous to you overall health. If you are the victim of workplace bullying you first have to recognize that it is happening to you. We sometimes ignore certain behaviors in the workplace because we need to keep our jobs and don’t want to make waves or cause trouble, but if you are experiencing physical and/or mental symptoms due to the abuse you have to do something before the stress and pressure lands you in the hospital or even worse.
So what can you do if you are being bullied at work? It depends on your company culture. Some companies have strict policies regarding workplace bullying and adhere to those polices, but other companies do not have policies against this behavior. Some companies actually enable the perpetrator(s) by not meting out some form of discipline or punishment when they are made aware of the abuse. In those cases it is highly unlikely that your situation will change and you will probably have to consider looking for a new job.
There are politicians in several states across the country that are lobbying to enact workplace bullying laws. At this time, there are not any laws that protect people from workplace bullying. Most employees who are being bullied are going to be very reluctant to start campaigning for such laws in fear of losing their current jobs or fear of future job prospects. The prevalence of workplace bullying is on the rise in this country especially in certain professions. Law firms tend to have a high incidence of workplace bullying because the legal field tends to attract bullying personalities.
This problem affects nearly half of all workers in this country so we can only hope that the legislators find a way to pass new laws making it illegal to bully someone in the workplace. In the meantime, be aware that this a real problem in the workplace and don’t be a party to the bullying of others in the workplace. Take action against it if you can and always exercise your option to change jobs if necessary. Everyone should be able to go to work everyday without the fear of being bullied at work.
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Most people know that they should check their credit reports regularly, but for whatever reason, they don’t. Not checking your credit report can be a huge mistake. These days everybody is checking your credit for reasons such as employment, buying a car or obtaining insurance. Credit is so vital in this society because if you don’t have a good credit score it can limit your buying power. There is also another reason you should check your credit report, and that is to make sure there are not errors on your credit report that may impact you when you need to apply for credit.
Recently, I had a personal experience that confirms the need to check your credit report. A relative of mine got sick several months ago and I had to take him to the emergency room. Because my relative was under so much sedation upon discharge, I signed the discharge paperwork and took him home. A few months later, there was a radiology bill from the emergency room visit that this relative had not paid, and was placed in collection by the hospital. One day I received an alert from my credit reporting company that this radiology bill had been placed on my credit report as a collection account. I could not imagine why the hospital would have put this bill on my credit report because my relative was not a minor and should be responsible for paying his own medical bills. This collection debt lowered my credit score by 77 points. I had to file a dispute with all three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. I also had a statement added to my credit report that explained this bill was not mine and was being disputed. I then contacted the radiology company that put this bill on my credit report and explained the situation to them. They investigated and realized that this should not have gone on my credit report. They apologized and prepared the necessary documentation to have this bill removed from my credit report with all three credit bureaus. I was very thankful that it went as smoothly as it did because I have heard stories of the nightmares some people have when trying to get something removed from their credit report.
The lesson I learned from this experience was that I was glad I had a membership with a credit reporting company that alerts me to any activity on my credit report. If I did not have that membership, the radiology company would have put that bill on my credit report and I would not have known for months or years later when I tried to apply for credit. Being alerted by the credit reporting company allowed me the opportunity to fix the problem promptly. That is why it is so important to check your credit report regularly and if possible, pay for a membership to a credit reporting company so you can keep track of all of the activity on your credit report. The money you will spend on that membership is worth every penny to save you the stress and frustration of having to fix an error months later.
Another lesson I learned is that you have to be careful when you take people to the hospital because you could inadvertently sign paperwork at the hospital which makes you liable for the payment of any unpaid medical bills. When signing hospital paperwork for others, read very carefully what you are signing because you could be signing up to pay their unpaid medical bills.
This is the day we honor all of the beautiful mothers out there who have sacrificed and endured all of the many challenges of being a mother. As a mother you are expected to be strong. You are expected to be loving. You are expected to be compassionate. You are expected to sacrifice for your children and your family. You are expected to kiss and hug the pain away form your children. You are expected to be your child’s number one fan. You are expected to wear so many different hats to make sure your children are happy and healthy. This message is to all of the mothers who do all that is expected of them and always go beyond expectations.
My mother passed away some years ago, but I think of her every mother’s day because she has been my motivation to keep striving to be the best that I can be. She taught me how to be a mother that loves her children unconditionally. My mother exposed her children to the many facets of the world. She wanted us to be well-rounded so she made sure we learned about different cultures, art, music, history. My mother was a single mom with four children to raise, but she managed to raise us while working full-time and attending college full-time. I will never forget the day I saw my mother receive her Master Degree from Yale University. It would have to be the proudest moment of my life. She fought all of the odds and achieved her goal. That is the lesson she left with me. Never give up on your dreams and always be strong in the face of adversity. I miss my mom on this mother’s day, but I think she would want me to share her story with you to give all mothers the strength and courage to realize that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do, but today is a day to honor yourself for all that you do to be the best mother you can be.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there!!!
Update 5/12/14 - A second case of the MERS virus has been confirmed in a patient in Florida. The patient was also a healthcare worker.
There is a new deadly virus that has been spreading in several countries around the world. The MERS Virus - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome first came to the attention of the medical community in 2012, with the first cases being reported in Saudi Arabia. MERS is a viral respiratory illness that has been fatal to approximately 30% of the people who get this virus. The symptoms of this virus are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to the symptoms you would have with a normal respiratory infection, but this particular virus strain has been deadly, mostly in the Arabian Peninsula. The Center for Disease Control has listed the countries that have been affected by the MERS virus thus far.
Countries in the Arabian Peninsula with Cases
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Countries with Travel-associated Cases
United Kingdom (UK)
United States of America (USA)
The United States reported their first case of the MERS virus on May 2, 2014. A man who is a healthcare worker in Indiana was diagnosed with the MERS virus. The man apparently had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, and upon his return to the United States, started exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Medial testing confirmed the diagnosis of the MERS virus. The man is reported to be recovering from the virus and improving every day. The medical staff that came in contact with the man have been placed in full isolation and are being tested to make sure they have not been infected with the virus. It can take up to 14 days for MERS symptoms to surface.
The Center for Disease Control is concerned about this virus spreading because it can be spread by person to person contact such as when people live with and care for people who are infected with the virus. The CDC says you are not considered at risk for the MERS virus unless you have been in close contact with someone infected with the virus.
The CDC has provided testing kits to health departments around the United States to help them prepare for the possibility of additional cases in the future. The best thing we can do is to be aware of the MERS virus and do what we can to protect ourselves from contracting it. According to the CDC, some things you can do to protect yourself are:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
The CDC said they hope to have more information regarding the MERS virus in coming days and months. In the meantime, share this information with friends and family so that they can be aware of the MERS virus and take proper precautions.
As I much as I dread writing yet another blog on racism, I just had to weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling. Sterling allegedly made some very derogatory and racial comments about African-Americans and Latinos. TMZ released a tape of some of the shocking statements made by Sterling. Also, Sterling has a history of being accused of racism in his past.
I am a huge NBA fan, so naturally I was watching the Clippers game on Sunday to see what the Clippers players were going to do to show their displeasure with the statements of their owner, Donald Sterling. The players came out onto the court and shed their warm-up jackets, bearing the Clippers logo, in the middle of the court, and underneath of their warm-up jackets the players had turned their tee shirts inside out to hide the Clippers logo. I thought this was a clear message to everyone that the players are not at all happy with the predicament their owner has put them in because of his utter stupidity.
The question now is, what is the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, going to do about this situation? Silver has recently taken over as Commissioner and this will be Silver’s first real test. Silver said he is waiting to see the authenticity of the tape released by TMZ before they decide what is going to happen to Donald Sterling. I think if the tape does turn out to be authentic, Commissioner Silver should suspend Sterling for a long period of time and access a hefty fine. Many in the media are questioning whether they can make him sell his share of the team and show him the door, but legally I don’t think they will be able to do that. So what should be done and what can be done?
I will tell you what I would like to see happen. I think Commissioner Silver needs to make a decision on this situation as quickly as possible because this train has left the station and it is gathering up a lot of steam. It is not that this story is so shocking as much as it shows the abuse of power. That a billionaire owner believes it is alright to feel this way about African-Americans and Latinos. It is one thing to have those kinds of thoughts in your head, but it is another thing to say those thing out loud, and those words being made public. Sterling has every right to feel anyway he wants to about people, but when you are in a position of power, signing people’s paychecks, that is where there is a problem when you have these kinds of feelings towards your employees. If nothing is done by Commissioner Silver soon, the Clipper players need to make a stand until something is done. I don’t know what that stand should be, but they need to do something to put pressure on the NBA to deal with Sterling, because this kind of thing affects many people across the country. If the allegations are found to be true, it will leave a really bad taste in our mouths if Sterling is allowed to not bear any consequences for his racist rant, while being an owner of an NBA team.
This is a difficult time for the Los Angeles Clippers. They are in the middle of the playoffs, and now have the whole world watching and waiting to see what is going to happen to their organization. I feel for the Clipper players, but sometimes in life there are situations that arise that you have to make difficult decisions that may mean sacrificing something for the greater good. This may be the kind of decision the Clippers players may have to make in the near future. As for Sterling, if the TMZ tape is authentic, I hope he realizes how many people were truly hurt and offended by his remarks.
Cliven Bundy’s name has been all over the media in the last couple of days for some really racist comments he made that were quoted in the New York Times. Cliven Bundy is a 67 year old rancher who has been championed by some Republicans because of the fight he is engaged in with the federal government. For twenty years, Bundy has been using federal land to graze his cattle without paying the grazing fee. Bundy allegedly owes the federal government over a million dollars in fees and penalties for allowing his cattle to gaze on government property for all of these years. The government confiscated 900 of his cattle, and this started a firestorm with supporters of Bundy rallying to his defense. In recent weeks, armed militia supporting Bundy’s cause showed up on Bundy’s estate, threatening federal officials with semi-automatic weapons. For the sake of safety, the federal officials returned the cattle to Bundy. Bundy then began appearing on different media circuits touting his stance that he did not recognize the U.S. Government.
Bundy had much support for his cause including some media personalities and some top Republicans who publicly showed their support for his cause, until Bundy made the following racist comment:
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton, and I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom,"
This statement sent the media in a frenzy, and most people that heard these comments scratching their heads and wondering what on earth is wrong with this man? When I heard these statements, I was not that shocked because I realize that there are going to be racist in this country, and this kind of rhetoric sometimes rears its ugly head causing great embarrassment to white people and black people. I believe that there is no room in our society for this kind of racist rant. Most intelligent people know that Bundy’s statements were ignorant, but we can’t ignore the fact that there are Cliven Bundy’s in this country. These kind of people cause great harm to the strides that have been made regarding race relations in this country. I just hope that Cliven Bundy’s statements don’t erase the gains made by whites and blacks in this country to eradicate this kind of racism. Cliven Bundy has just reminded us all that although we have made a lot of progress with eradicating racism, we still have a very long way to go. I hope we as country can continue to strive for equality in education, housing, and workplaces for all people in this country regardless of their race. We must continue to have the conversation and not ignore the Cliven Bundy’s that live among us.
How many times have you forgotten to take your medications? Forgetting to take your medications may not be something you will have to worry about in the future. Scientist have been developing a microchip that is implanted into your body that will give you your prescribed medication at the proper time, and administer the proper dose. The idea is that your doctor would be able to program the microchip to deliver the proper doses at the proper times. If your doctor wanted to stop the medication, they would be able to do that through the microchip. The microchip would be implanted under your skin under local anesthesia, and can be done as an outpatient procedure.
MicroChips, Inc., is the developer of this new implantable drug delivery device. Components of the original microchip technology was were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A study was conducted in 2012 with eight women who had osteoporosis. These women were implanted with the microchip to deliver their medication over a four month period, instead of the usual injection. The result of the study showed that the implant was safe and effective. According to the article on CNN.com, MicroChip, Inc. is planning to release its first implantable drug delivery device in 2017. The first device that will be released is expected to last about five years, being implanted and releasing medication through the microchip. In the future, Microchip Inc., thinks they can produce a device that can last up to sixteen years.
This kind of device could be a lifesaver for those people who suffer from illnesses such as osteoporosis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and many other chronic diseases requiring regular or daily injections of daily medications or pain medications. This new microchip is still in the developmental stage, but it could be the answer to many people suffering from illnesses that require injections everyday. For those people, it could be life changing.