Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
So I am resorting to the worst type of blog post - a survey.
THE ABC'S OF ME:
The Letter A
Are you available? Not in a romantic way, unless - of course - you are Johnny Depp, Jude Law, or JFK Jr.-come-back-to-life.
What is your age? 3-6. Not even one I can reverse.
What annoys you? My emotions.
The Letter B
Do you live in a big house? No - but a nice sized one bedroom.
When is your birthday? February 16th. There are still plenty of shopping days left. I want an omlette maker.
Who is your best friend? My laptop.
The Letter C
What's your favorite candy? Reeses Pieces is what I mainly go for.
Who's your crush? The man in the dining room.
When was the last time you cried? A few minutes ago. Don't ask.
The Letter D
Do you daydream? Not anymore. :-( Sounds like something I need to work on.
What's your favorite kind of dog? Nanook - aka, my late/wonderful Siberian Husky
What day of the week is it? Monday.
The Letter E
How do you like your eggs? Scrambled with cheese
Have you ever been in the emergency room? Yes - broken wrists, broken thumbs, and menengitus (twice.)
What's the easiest thing ever to do? Offer me coffee. You get a guranteed yes!
The Letter F
Have you ever flown in a plane? Many, Many, Many times.
Do you use fly swatters? Nope. I do not live in such a place where I would have fly swarming my home.
Have you ever used a foghorn? Hell No.
The Letter G
Do you chew gum? Recently I did take up chewing. I hope this urge will pass.
Are you a giver or a taker? Neither these days. Got nothing to give - and no one is offering.
Do you like gummy candies? Just those round peach things.
The Letter H
How are you? S-h-i-t-t-y
What color is your hair? In need of color.
The Letter I
What's your favorite ice cream? Right now - it all sounds good.
Have you ever ice skated? No.
Do you play an instrument? No
The Letter J
What's your favorite jelly bean brand? Jelly Belly
Do you wear jewelry? Yes
The Letter K
Who do you want to kill? Yes. Would I? No.
Do you want kids? No
Where did you go for kindergarten? Macon, GA
The Letter L
Are you laid back? Sort of
Do you lie? sometimes. Only when it is necessary - but i am a horrible liar.
The Letter M
Whats your favorite movie? Under The Tuscan Sun
Do you still watch Disney movies? No
Do you like mangos? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO
The Letter N
Do you have a nickname? Yes
What is your real name? Nicole
Whats your favorite number? 5
Do you prefer night over day? equally are appreciated
The Letter O
What's your one wish? I am all out of wishes
Are you an only child? No
The Letter P
What one fear are you most paranoid about? Death
What are your pet peeves? Too many to list.
What's a personality trait you look for in people? Kindness
The Letter Q
What's your favorite quote? Today? F- Off. But in general - Life is a journey, not a destination
Are you quick to judge people? Yep
The Letter R
Do you think you're always right? Usually
Are you one to cry? Lately, yes. So emotional with these crazy hormones.
The Letter S
Do you prefer sun or rain? Rain
Do you like snow? Nope
What's your favorite season? Autumn & Spring
The Letter T
What time is it? 10:48pm
What time did you wake up? 6:05am
When was the last time you slept in a tent? About 5 years ago
The Letter U
Are you wearing underwear? Yes
Underwear or boxers? Undies
The Letter V
What's the worst veggie? Beets
Where do you want to go on vacation? Anywhere out of here - with a soft bed
The Letter W
What's your worst habit? Eating
Where do you live? In an apartment
What's your worst fear? I have already answered this one
The Letter X
Have you ever had an x-ray? yes
Have you seen the x-games? only on t v
Do you own a xylophone? not since i was little
The Letter Y
Do you like the color yellow? more and more
What's one thing you yearn for? peace
The Letter Z
Whats your zodiac sign? Aquarius
Do you believe in the zodiac? it's pretty spot on most of the times
Favorite zoo animal? tigers.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I am sliding into home base. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The *shitty* month known as September is existing stage left, and it could not happen at a better time!
Granted, there are a few days left, and I know all too well, this can mean catastrophe, but I have HOPE. I will get thru this cursed month.
October has always been one of my more favorite months. I love that it is officially fall. I love that one of my favorite genre's of entertainment is pushed to the forefront - Horror. I love that all three of my favorite Holidays are representing in local department stores (Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas.) I love that the days are shorter.. the nights are longer. I can break out my boots. I can pull out my sweaters. I can surround myself in the colors that make me happy - plum, burnt orange, black, gold, crimson, deep greens and teals... Life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Ahhh.. sweet, sweet October.
This October I am celebrating in style. I am completely booked weekend after weekend. Work will be busy (if I am still there.) My last month of the recession. I will start the month off with seeing the musical Rent at Red Mountain Theater Company. Nothing like theater to bring your spirits up.
Next weekend Yasser, Crystal and I plan to go to Destin/Fort Walton. If you have never seen the absolute beauty of the Gulf of Mexico from these beaches in particular - then you have not seen heaven on earth. We plan to make a stop in Seaside, Florida also.
I need to feel the sand between my toes, the sea breeze to wash the old nasty September away. I even asked my egyptian - just teasing - "Could we take a romantic walk by the sea?" He replies - "Nicole, everything by the sea is romantic. Don't you understand?" Ahhh.. truer words have never been spoken.
The second weekend in October we will celebrate at the Middle Eastern Festival in Birmingham. Here is an opportunity to be surrounded by the colors and rhythms of my absolute favorite culture in the world. I am SOLD. I used to be such a euro-phile. Now, that seems so cliche'. I am going Mid-East all the way. NOTHING is compared to this mysterious part of the world. Nothing. There is an arabic band playing Friday and Saturday night. I am very excited about this. Amin Sultan is performing and apparently he is from Lebanon.
The following weekend I will be participating with the Islamic Center's Health Fair. I am excited to help support my egyptian's community with heart healthy advice.
Then on the 24th - Heading down to Montgomery for the Start! Heart Walk there. That will be a day completely devoted to the media (work wise.) But I enjoy working in smaller communities. It makes the whole media aspect exciting. Smaller towns eat that stuff up. ;-)
Finally I am topping of the entire month with a fabulous Halloween party - Web of Terror. I will be the Black Widow spider!!
Speaking of Halloween - there will be several events we will be participating in also:
Pumpkin Carving at Melissa & Jay's house
Phantom of the Opera @ the Alabama Theater on Halloween Night. This will be the actual 1925 silent film. However, there will be an organ playing!!
I think October will be full of art and excitement - and I should be able to get my zest for life back!!!
It has been strange, good, exhausting, and down right dirty.
Let me begin -
Miracle upon miracles - I woke up on time to get to the church by 7:15am. I am still shocked I was able to pull it off, but I did. Today was the Prince of Peace youth group's service project - Habitat for Humanity. If you are not familiar with Habitat, please check out the link. Collen, Christiana and I led 6 other youth to a neighborhood known as Avondale in Birmingham. We met the Grimmet family and began working on a "home" for them. I thought - okay, I will spend the day painting, or even hammering a few nails.
We drove up and lo and behold there was hardly a foundation for the home. I am not sure what you call it when all you have a bricks in one complete square - and that's all. (Looks like a crawl space, etc.) But that is exactly what we had.
We were told by the leader - Jack - to make the work site safe. This was literally day one of construction. *sigh*
As a very small - female dominate group - we proceeded to lift and remove cinder blocks from the property. These things weigh - at least 20 pounds, are filthy and caked with mud. Let's not forget we are slipping and sliding through the mud (apparently it rained the night before.
Next job - stack bricks. We found bricks all over the property, and we began to form another little wall.
Then the bottom fell out of the sky.
We proceed to the "crawl space" and begin to level the dirt - or red clay. This was next to impossible - but we tried. Literally, in a torrential down pour, in mud up to our knees, we dug and dug and tossed the dirt.
5 hours later - we head home.
I walked in my house and I think Yass thought I was learning how to mud wrestle - covered in mud from head to toe.
After a warm shower, power nap and cup of coffee - Yass and I went to see Surrogates. I have to say I would give it an 8.5. It was interesting, entertaining and a okay story line.
I guess all in all - it's been a pretty decent day. I have tried to keep to myself most of the day. Enjoying the egyptian's improved state of mind.
I've got a hard week ahead of me, and I am hoping to savor this weekend and all of it's small blessings.
Even if it involved me sludging through someone else's mud pit.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Marketing & Communications Director
October 2006 - Present
State of Alabama - I handle all external communications/cause marketing, media relations.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~ Charles R Swindoll
Monday, September 21, 2009
I have to admit- this is the one time driving a VW bug can get annoying. I have this visual of me actually floating away.
God willing I will make through the week. If necessary, I can stop by Dick's Sporting Goods and purchase a pair of oars.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Then last night - another. My special someone is ready roll. Not so much in the USA - but elsewhere. That means, there maybe an international move.
I don't necessarily think this will come to pass. But it is up for discussion. I agree, everyone needs to feel needed and have a purpose. When all of the doors are shut in your face, it is hard to make that happen.
I think we are back where we were a year ago. The "hurry up and wait" game. This time, I am happy - I have my egyptian and I have my job (at least for now) and I have my home and my cute little car. I have my friends and family nearby. But my "love" has no purpose. That can effect so many things.
This is where I have to be strong and encourage him. I swear, I wish I knew of some small little job where someone could pay him a few bucks a week to just do a service for them. But I don't. If I were back home - I am sure we could find some small work. I am not talking illegal stuff - I mean something like assisting with some project and making a few $$.
I have encouraged volunteering. But that seems to be a foreign concept. I thought - well - you would at least get out of the house, and feel like you are contributing to society. But the idea of work without pay is preposterous to him.
I am glad there are some "fun" activities coming up. I hope these things bring inspiration and a sense of "something" to do. We will go to see one of the traveling Broadway series shows - "Grease" next week. "Rent" is also next week at the Red Mountain Theater. Then the first weekend in October we are traveling to Fort Walton Beach/Destin for a quick get-away. Then the Greek Festival is next weekend, Fiesta is soon after that with the Middle Eastern Festival the following week. Lots of good stuff. Not to mention all of the haunted houses will be open soon.
I pray God will bless us with a sense of contentment for him. I need him to feel stable and wanted and ... oh.. this is where men fall apart. They have to have a job. They have to feel like they can provide. Let me tell you, after having a ex who was the exact opposite - it is so nice to be with a man who really cares and intends to take care of our home. He is such a good man. He has a heart of gold. But he has been thrown some obstacles in his life. I hope he can hold on to get to the next part.
I am not sure what else I can say.
I need your prayers peeps. Also- if there are any "side jobs" of something small (raking leaves, sitting with the elderly, running errands, etc.) please share with us. Just something. Anything.
Friday, September 18, 2009
These are conditions and risk factors I deal with on a daily basis.
It's not pretty. And it's not uncommon. More importantly - these conditions have been apart of my life since I was in my early teens: fit, young, and relatively healthy. Some were brewing just below the surface - others were full-fledged apart of my life.
Now let's factor in age and weight, and we just might have ourselves a little problem.
I admit - I am the worst about being completely healthy. My main issue is sticking with a heart healthy/low carb diet and exercising more often. As for following my meds and staying away from certain things that could aggravate my conditions - I follow the rules to a T. But there are a few other items that are not my strong point.
So - before we go any further... I think I want to just lay it all out on the line. This is what I have to do. This is going to be a part of my wellness. This is going to HAVE to happen - and honestly, my dear friends, I need your help and encouragement.
I will document my journey, as I always do, but I need constructive feedback. I need you to call me out when I am slacking. No one is holding me accountable. I realize ultimately it is my game to call. But I KNOW me - and I am a slacker.
Let's start at the beginning of this little saga. At 13 (and according to my mom - years before that) my pediatrician said I suffered from a "white coat" syndrome. Meaning my blood pressure would elevate at the doctor's office. I was petite, healthy, and exercised (ballet several days a week) - and yet my blood pressure was high. The doctor would make me lay in a room with a book and try to relax. Then they would come in and take my blood pressure several times for one hour. Eventually it would drop to a normal level.
At 16, there were more issues with my blood pressure. The docs thought maybe it was a sensitivity to sodium, so they sent me to a nutritionist at a hospital. I was put on a heart-disease prevention diet. I weight 110 pounds and exercised often. In two month, I weighed 105.
At 18 I ended up gaining a few pounds - made it a whole 130. Went to college and lost a few - then gained a few more. I was eating whatever I wanted, not exercising and drinking large quantities of beer. I continued this behavior up through 24. By the time I left college I had added about another 20 pounds. Blood pressure at mild hypertension. Docs said - just control it with diet and exercise. Yes, that would have worked - but I did not see the big issue.
At 24, I started working at a television station and ended up taking a beta blocker for an accelerated heart rate and mild hypertension. (my dosage was low.) By 27, my cholesterol was 2 points over the recommended level. By 30, I had a hysterectomy (during the attack of the cancerous cells) and they discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (cause metabolism to bottom out.) By 32, my doc added a diurectic. It was too strong - so he took me off. At 33, we tried a different diuretic that would help with PCOS symptoms & blood pressure. By 35, my beta blocker was increased and by 36 my diuretic was increased. My cholesterol is 50 some odd points over the level, my triglycerides were 3 points off and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (a common side effect of PCOS.)
Different meds - blood pressure still not good - cholesterol was not checked this quarter, nor my triglycerides. I feel like crap most days. I am sure stress does not help. I ended up leaving my exercise routine due to a chronically sprained ankle.
Today - I decided that is ENOUGH. I called one of the top cardiologist in town. (note: officially I cannot say who the top cardiologist is - but I have to say I have a very good idea.) October 16th is the day. I want someone who specializes in this. I want to fix this blood pressure situation. I want the cholesterol down. I want the trig.s in a safe range. I figure with whatever he and I talk about - and the official lifestyle plan he puts me on (with all of my risk factors) - I am sure it will help with the PCOS/Insulin Resistance.
Yes - I know what I should do. I write about it everyday for work. I work for the American Heart Association. But that does not mean I will follow it. Obviously!
I need this d-o-c to scare me a little. I need him to be soooo honest with me. I am going to tell him this. (PS - we have met several times, he is a spokesperson for me for various scientific releases thru AHA.) I need him to spell it out for me - for my way of living, and develop a plan to help me reach my goals.
When I asked my internist if she thought the extra weight was causing my blood pressure to be high and my ankle to swell - she crinkled up her face and said.. maybe...
I knew then and there - I have got to take control of this. I have got to seek someone who can really help me - once and for all. Before this gets out of control.
Now I know this may seem dramatic. But it is serious. High Blood Pressure is no joke. With the meds I am on - I feel drugged up all of the time. I am tired, unmotivated, and sluggish. I want to eat better, and I make small strides. But with the PCOS - it's not enough. I need a specific diet (and I realize my next appointment will be with a dietitian) to handle the sodium, fat, and sugar issues. (Please note - my blood sugar is normal. It is the insulin that goes off the charts.)
With all of this being said, I feel like I am taking a really important step. One that will drastically effect the way I live my life. I know I need to reduce stress. With that - I am going to seek holistic options. I know I need an extra push for eating right - and with a "prescribed diet" I can do that. I also want the proper meds in my system - if that is what is needed. I also need to take it easy and slowly and enter back into the world of movement. I am still having ankle issues - so I think a water aerobics class may just be the ticket until the issue is fixed.
It is a start. I am a little freaked. But I want to be around in 10 to 20 years.
Today I took the first step.
Now... let's see what else I can do with what I obviously already know.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
I want to share with you a handful of songs that always bring a BIG smile to my face. Because after experiencing a day like today - music is my only relief!
In no particular order - here is a taste of the songs that make me smile, sing along - or get me fired up! Enjoy!!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I have YET to find my perfect cupcake.
Well.. until I find my perfect cupcake - here's to hoping!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Or rather - a lack there of.
Now that is not the only thing that makes me different, but it one that definitely stands out.
Now do not think this is going to be one of those sappy "woe is me" posts. No, on the contrary. I am actually THRILLED to not have children. Yes, I am that rare bird you find once in a blue moon. I never really cared to ever give birth. Nor did I ever really care if I got married.
But I am married, mainly because that was necessary in Yasser's world. But other than that - I would have happily shared a home with him. Yes, I realize it is a sacrament of the catholic church to marry. Yes, you should not live with someone before marriage. Yes... Yes.. Yes. I would tell anyone that. But if I had a choice - a true choice, I just don't care.
When it comes to kids- again - I feel completely WHOLE without them. It makes me stark raving mad when a female "friend" will tell me they feel sorry for me because I will never experience the pleasure it is to be a mom. Guess what? I think it would drive me crazy.
I am a bit selfish. Yes, I will admit it. Giving up time and money for someone else is a hard road for me. Judge it if you like, but I am being completely honest.
Now feelings aside - this also puts me in an interesting corner with conversation with "said" friends. I am 36 years old. Most people in their thirties have kids (if they are married.) This obviously becomes their topic of discussion. So be it. I am happy for them. If it makes you happy - then please, by all means, talk about your children. Though there then becomes a great divide in life expectations. The person with child lives for that child. I, on the other hand - live for.. well.. me. So obviously our needs and wants and dreams become completely different.
Imagine also trying to make friends in your age group. I noticed recently that in Birmingham, a majority of my "new friends" are all younger than me. Single, career-oriented, world traveling, visions of upward mobility in larger metropolitan areas - and happily child free. Most of the people I meet in my age range are married with kids. Homeowners, vacationing on the gulf, SUV driving breeders. (I say that with love. :-) ) Meaning - they want a big, loving family. Which is a good thing.
You see the problem here?
I realize if I lived in say.. New York.. or somewhere a bit more progressive, I would seem quite normal. But alas, I was born in the south - made it to a much larger city, but still - it is the south. As all southerners know - somethings never change. FAMILY is THE most important item for most people here.
Please note - I am not knocking the "family" idea. Hell - it is necessary for the continuation of our species. But it is not my quest, nor my raison d'etre.
I do have a friend or two who genuinely have not lost their "identity" to mommyhood. Note - it is never the man who loses their identity. I do have a few - my friend Telisa for example - who truly try to balance both the development of their character, as well as that of the child. She still travels, she still makes time for friends, she still learns and tries to stay "interesting - however, make no mistake - her main concern is her child. But it does not DEFINE HER. Another person I can think of is my friend Tere in Miami. Amazing person, has a beautiful boy - and her son, Max, is the center of her life - but she is still a complex woman redefining herself and standing strong.
That is my point.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to not realize all of the amazing things the world has to offer. Just sit - find a husband... and well.. everything that goes with that. Be the mom, be the wife, go to church, visit family at Christmas - and visit the time share in Florida.
NO NO NO.
I start to shake when I even think about that. There are temples in Bangkok I have to visit. I must walk a small portion of the Great Wall in China. I have to tilt my head and almost hang upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland. I must stand in awe of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. I have to dance the Samba on the streets in Rio. I must get dizzy and vomit on the summit at Machu Pichu. I must write a great novel one day, even if it never gets published. I must learn to tango. I must go to every not-kid-friendly restaurant and try the waaay over-priced food, but smile as it melts in my mouth. I must proudly purchase white or tan carpet, and realize yes - it will NEVER have kool-aid stains. I could go on.. and on.. and on...
It is important to know - I LOVE MY NIECE. I do. I love spending time with her. But it is that - spending time. Not all my time. I get to truly enjoy her. Savor her giggles, watch her grow. I love my friends' children - small little spurts of laughing and playing.
I could NOT handle it 24/7.
So in the end - I guess it is good that I never had a desire to have children - since after sickness, that probability was taken away.
It is good.
But still.. I am different.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
So mom and dad entered me in dance lessons. I took ballet, tap and jazz. It started out simple enough. Once a week - turned into twice a week - sometimes Saturdays.
The classes even went from one hour to two to two & 1/2. I was hooked! I danced my entire childhood and teenage years. Up until I was about 12 I wanted to be a ballerina. Then I wanted to be a teacher. There is no denying the fact that I was addicted to movement.
I want to invite all of my friends to support the arts in Birmingham. In particular - the latest performance from my dance instructor's school. Don't miss El Amor Brujo on Sat. and Sun., September 26th at 8PM and 27th at 2PM!!! Tickets on sale via paypal to email@example.com or at Dance Essentials - call 205-873-5377. When you get a chance - please check out their website - http://www.danceir.com/.
Flamenco embodies a complex musical and cultural tradition. Although considered part of the culture of Spain, flamenco actually originates from one of Spain's regions: Andalusia.
"Flamencologists" or "Pro Dancers" have usually been flamenco connoisseurs of no specific academic training in the fields of history or musicology. They have tended to rely on a limited number of sources (mainly the writings of 19th century folklorist Demófilo, and notes by foreign travellers.
Blas Infante, in his book Orígenes de los Flamencos y Secreto del Cante Jondo, controversially argued that the word flamenco comes from Hispano-Arabic word fellahmengu, which would mean "expelled peasant" after the end of the Moorish reign, term to the ethnic Andalusians of Muslim faith, the Moriscos, who would have mixed with the Gypsy newcomers in order to avoid religious persecution.
However, in the 1990s works of scholars, such as the above mentioned Rios Ruiz and Álvarez Caballero demonstrated that there is much historical data available on early flamenco.
I want each of you to explore this. Enjoy this. Feel it. Take a class in it.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I suppose the truth is always the way to go.
I recently read a dear friend's status update asking a simple question. A simple - loaded question. 49 or 50 comments later, I have to respond.
There is a word or idea that is being tossed around like a football on a saturday afternoon - that word is "SOCIALISM."
I think many people I know clearly understand what it means for someone to consider themselves a "socialist." However, I think there are many, many more who are not clear on these basic terms.
I think I would like to try my very best to define these very important labels -and dispell any misconceptions.
Opinion is fine. Definitions are clear. Labels can be untrue.
Let's start with what IS socialism?
Contrary to popular belief, socialism is not a political system; it is an economic system distinct from capitalism.
Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society. That small segment controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, which in turn creates an unequal society.
This also does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potentialities. In other words - is not in the interest of the public.
That's a general definition.
Although socialist models and ideas espousing common ownership have existed since antiquity with the classical Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, the modern concept of socialism evolved in response to the development of industrial capitalism.
Marxist and non-Marxist social theorists agree that socialism developed in reaction to modern industrial capitalism, but disagree on the nature of their relationship.
Émile Durkheim posits that socialism is rooted in the desire to bring the state closer to the realm of individual activity, in countering the anomie of a capitalist society.
In socialism, Max Weber saw acceleration of the rationalization started in capitalism. As a critic of socialism, he warned that placing the economy entirely in the state's bureaucratic control would result in an "iron cage of future bondage".
Breaking it down: (Source: World Socialist Movement)
Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.
But does it really make sense for everybody to own everything in common? Of course, some goods tend to be for personal consumption, rather than to share—clothes, for example. People 'owning' certain personal possessions does not contradict the principle of a society based upon common ownership.
In practice, common ownership will mean everybody having the right to participate in decisions on how global resources will be used. It means nobody being able to take personal control of resources, beyond their own personal possessions.
Democratic control is therefore also essential to the meaning of socialism. Socialism will be a society in which everybody will have the right to participate in the social decisions that affect them.
These decisions could be on a wide range of issues—one of the most important kinds of decision, for example, would be how to organise the production of goods and services.
Production under socialism would be directly and solely for use. With the natural and technical resources of the world held in common and controlled democratically, the sole object of production would be to meet human needs.
This would entail an end to buying, selling and money.
Instead, we would take freely what we had communally produced. The old slogan of "from each according to ability, to each according to needs" would apply.
So how would we decide what human needs are? This question takes us back to the concept of democracy, for the choices of society will reflect their needs. These needs will, of course, vary among different cultures and with individual preferences—but the democratic system could easily be designed to provide for this variety.
We cannot, of course, predict the exact form that would be taken by this future global democracy. The democratic system will itself be the outcome of future democratic decisions. We can however say that it is likely that decisions will need to be taken at a number of different levels—from local to global. This would help to streamline the democratic participation of every individual towards the issues that concern them.
In socialism, everybody would have free access to the goods and services designed to directly meet their needs and there need be no system of payment for the work that each individual contributes to producing them. All work would be on a voluntary basis. Producing for needs means that people would engage in work that has a direct usefulness.
Now what about capitalism? Many people use this word. What does it mean to be a capitalist?
Capitalism is a socio-economic system in which private ownership means profit to the owner. The owner controls the means of production, so the profit belongs to the private business owner. In capitalism, the free market determines the production, distribution and price of goods and services.
A free market is unregulated supply and demand with little government interference in matters of trade. Price agreements are made by buyers and sellers and the market dictates supply and demand. Competition policies may exist in a free market capitalist system.
Capitalistic competition policies are usually based on the efficiency of economic feasibility, while socialistic competition policies are often concerned with unity in a single competitive market. The opposite of a free market is a controlled market. The government controls supply and the price of goods and services.
The labor in a capitalist system is called wage labor as wages must be paid to the laborers. The means of production means everything else required to produce goods including land and the property rights to it. Businesses run on capital and capital is what capitalists have. Capital is items of value that can produce more wealth.
Capitalism is considered a socio-economic system as it is not just a way of earning money and making a living, but is also a way of thinking about social organization.
Capitalism is based on the idea of individualism and that individuals have the right to economic freedom. Communism is considered the opposite of capitalism as it is based on collectivism and shared wealth rather than individualism and individual wealth.
It's important to note the existence of laissez-faire capitalism and its later replacement by the Keynesian system. Laissez-faire means 'letting go' in French and laissez-faire capitalism occurs when the government lets all of its control over trade and economic concerns go and lets the market take over in all aspects.
A crucial theory behind laissez-faire capitalism is that unemployment is voluntary because of the individual choice to pursue economic gain.
Now what is a democracy??
Democracy is a system of government in which either the actual governing is carried out by the people governed (direct democracy), or the power to do so is granted by them (as in representative democracy).
Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. If the head of state is also democratically elected is also called a democratic republic. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes.
Parliamentary democracy is where government is appointed by parliamentary representatives as opposed to a 'presidential rule' wherein the President is both head of state and the head of government and is elected by the voters. Under a parliamentary democracy, government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people.
A Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities.
The term "liberal" in "liberal democracy" refers to adherence to the ideology of political liberalism. Liberal democracies feature constitutional protections of individual rights from government power. At present, there are numerous countries ruled by non-liberal political parties - for example parties that uphold conservatism, Christian democracy, social democracy, or some forms of socialism - which are considered to have liberal democracy as their form of government.
How about what does it mean to follow the democratic party??
A Democrat may identify himself or herself as politically or socially conservative, moderate or liberal. Historically, the Democratic party has appealed to academics and professionals with progressive to liberal leanings, although there is a faction of so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats who espouse political conservatism while endorsing socially progressive programs. Many of these conservative Democrats are from southern states which have recently moved to the political right.
The Democratic party has also aligned itself with the plight of minority populations and the economically challenged. A Democrat generally believes the federal and state governments have an obligation to provide essential services for citizens in need, as well as legal recognition and protection for oppressed or poorly represented minority groups. Social Security, public welfare and food stamp programs are the direct result of Democratic presidencies.
A Democrat may also strongly support the needs and rights of workers over the demands of management. Establishing a federal minimum wage was accomplished during Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, for example. Many labor unions gained strength during Democratic administrations as well. The Civil Right Act of 1965 was enacted during Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson's time in office. Democratic president Bill Clinton also signed a law allowing workers to take unpaid leaves of absence during times of family need.
Many Democrats also support the idea of universal health care for all citizens, a concept which led to the development of Medicaid and Medicare. A woman's right to choices about her own reproductive health is also a platform for the Democratic party, which was tested most notably during the Supreme Court case Roe vs Wade. The controversial right to seek out a legal abortion continues to be a source of strong disagreement between the Democratic and Republican parties. Another divisive issue is the use of capital punishment, with many Democrats believe should be abolished entirely, or at least severely restricted.
A member of the Democratic party is free to form his or her own opinion on the party's general political stances or candidates, as is a member of the Republican party. The national parties, however, do hold primaries and caucuses to determine the political candidates who best represent the ideals of the parties as a whole. A registered Democrat votes for the candidate who best represent his or her own political viewpoint, and the winners become the official candidates of the Democratic party.
What does it mean to be a Republican?
The Republican Party in the United States was established in 1854 by a group of anti-slavery activists, rising to power only six years later with the election of President Abraham Lincoln.
The party quickly emerged as a powerhouse, becoming the major opposition to the Democratic party, the center-left political party in the United States. In fact, the Republicans and Democrats so thoroughly dominate the American political system that the United States can sometimes feel like a two party nation, instead of the multiparty democracy that it is.
Around one third of the American electorate identifies as Republican at any given time.
Republicans tend to be white, although the party has made some inroads into Asian and Latino communities, and people who identify as Republican usually have conservative economic and social values. Many members of the party also also Christian, with numerous sects including evangelical Christians being represented in large numbers among the Republicans.
The Republican Party is often viewed as the pro-business political party, and as an upholder of values which many Americans think of as traditional, such as family life.
Like members of other political parties in the United States, Republicans adopt new party platforms periodically. Each platform is designed to reflect the core values of the party while also adapting to changes in American society, and addressing emerging issues so that members of the public know how Republicans feel about hot topics in American culture. The Republicans also routinely nominate a candidate for the Presidency at their National Conventions in Presidential election years.
Many Republicans try to adhere to values from the early days of America. The name of the party is itself an homage to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, and the party is sometimes referred to as the Grand Old Party (GOP), reflecting its value system. Many Republicans support strict interpretations of the Constitution, and they agitate for smaller government, less regulation in industry, and an upholding of Christian values in the United States.
I want all of my friends to be so careful when you use labels. Educate yourself and know where you stand.
Personally - I am an independent. I fall somewhere in the middle - sometimes considered a moderate.
Think. Understand. Seek. Vote.
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