Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's been a while...

Well it's been several month's since I've lamented on this blog.  What goes without saying is that I've spent this time deeply in thought on a whole range of subjects.  Over the coming days, weeks, and months I hope to share these thoughts with you, and hope to engage you in thought as well.

Over the last several months my world - Our world has gone through drastic changes...the economy, war, natural and man made disaster, vast political discourse, And triumph.  I personally have experienced these all, as I'm sure many of you have as well.  The good part is that if you're reading this; you made it through.

As I look to re-engage with the blogosphere, feel free to drop some ideas for discussion in the comments section.  I look forward to sparking both debate - and critical thought.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Rant: Should Uncle Sam Tax Sugary Drinks?

To answer my own question: HELL YES!!!
Now that we got that out of the way, on to the debate...

In the news recently in the Philadelphia and NYC metro areas has been a growing debate of state and local governments consideration of up to a 1 cent tax per ounce on "sugary" drinks.  That means a can of soda that would normally sell for $1 would now be $1.12.  Officials contend that the revenue from these sugary drinks would be funnelled to programs like road/infrastructure improvements, schools, local civic programs, and healthcare.  On this latter point, the same officials site the growing diabetes and heart disease epidemics as one of the main reasons to impose a tax on sugary drinks. 

Since over indulgence of sugar has long been identified as a key factor in the rise of American's declining health, government officials now want to treat sugary drinks much like they do tobacco when it comes to taxes. 

The NY Times link below helps to highlight some positions on this debate and current events.
To me, the most poignant statement in the article reads: "When an activity imposes costs on society, economists have long said that the activity should be taxed. Doing so accomplishes two goals: it discourages the activity, and it raises money to help pay society’s costs."

I could not agree more.  Some of my conservative friends might consider this "another step towards Socialism."  However, I think a key distinction is that when a behavior, entity, practice, or for that matter food has a real, actual cost and detrimental effect on society, it's effects are akin to Socialism anyway. If gone unchecked and counter balanced by reform or a mechanism like taxes, it is a classic example of a socialistic effect on universal freedom.

Some might say, if you start taxing soda and everything else that is said to be harmful to us, then where does it stop?  Who is the judge of what's good for us and not?
I can't answer that question, but I agree that beginning to tax a common and widely available item will certainly open the door for other consumables.  But I'm not sure that is completely a bad thing.

American society right now thrives off of cheap, sugary foods.  Many would argue that this is the same cause of our epidemic and record decline in health as a nation.  Others would say that if you begin to tax cheap, sugary foods, that those who are less fortunate would not be able to afford common foods, and would be directly impacted by the tax.  I personally think that is a weak argument.  People who are poor eat those foods BECAUSE it is cheap and widely available, and not necessarily because they want to.
Like any other commodity, I believe that the higher the supply, then the higher the demand.  The higher the supply, the lower the cost.

If fresh fruits, vegetables, and other items are in greater supply, then they would be in greater demand, and would ultimately reduce the consumption of "bad foods".
However, as long as sugar is cheap, there is no chance for FRESH to come back into our lives on any substantive level.

So after ranting a bit, I can firmly say that I believe the scientific and health care community when they say that sugar is killing us. 

The question is: are taxes the way to turn the epidemic into an opportunity?

What do you think?  Would you support this tax for your state?  Are you a "slave" to sugar, or are you health conscious?

Leave a comment.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Career Everything? Part 2

In my last post about Career, I began down the path of Passion vs Job.
After taking some more time to think about this subject (and due to recent personal job events) I have come to a conclusion.  This conclusion is not linear, so please bear with me.

In evaluating Career vs Passion vs Job, I think a key distinction exists between demographic or relationship/family status. 

The question of the difference between Passion and Career differs whether you are married with kids, single, or married with no kids.  It differs with age, financial stability, and general economic/political timing.
None of these statuses is exclusive when determining whether you should go after your passion or work a job.  They are all interconnected, and can likely exist for a single person throughout different points in his/her life.
This partially pre-supposes that you are passionate about your career choice, and that a job is just a paycheck and means to sustain oneself financially.
When I look at my personal situation, it is abundantly clear that what I do for a living (for the time being) is merely a job, and a means to help support my family.

To illustrate this point, I was asked a few weeks ago: "What is your passion, and why aren't you making a living from it."  I was totally caught of guard by this question for several reasons, one of which was that I did not know the answer.
After taking some time to think about it, I realized that I never really sat down and truly explored within myself to find out what I'm passionate about.  I suspect that the answer is not one that I can come to immediately, but after many hours of reflective thought and self-realization.

As part of this process however, I have begun to realize that it is possible and reasonable to delay or postpone your quest for your passion or a personally rewarding career if you have a family and children.  I'm not saying that they are mutually exclusive, because many people out there are able to both. 

What I am saying is that a large majority of us has to make the choice at some point of whether we pursue our passion or support our family.

In a way, it is the latter that allows us to be at peace with not relentlessly pursuing that passion of ours.  However, inevitably, if it is true passion, eventually that yearning can eat away at you.

As I continue to hone my perspective, and do some reflecting on this topic, I am curious as to where you are in your process.

Have you figured it out?  Are you a parent and spouse that is doing both?  Are you single and not doing either?
Use this blog as a sounding board...I would love to hear your perspectives.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Rant: Trust in Media or Government?

On this edition I introduce you to my Rants.  On a weekly basis I will Rant about a subject that is bothering me or others that I talk to on a regular basis.

With that, lets Rant!

Since we live in a society that is bombarded with a 24-hour news cycle on television, internet, radio, and print, it is difficult to avoid hearing someone's version of current events.  In fact, this blog is another example of getting information (of some sort).  During the news cycle we hear everything from everyone: pundits, politicians, experts, theologians, intellectuals, and fools.  Particularly with the latter, everyone seems to get an equal opportunity to voice their opinion of what's fact and not fiction. 
So when the President railed against the media in perpetuating falsehoods and exaggerating the truth this weekend at Hampton, he was spot on. However, the President is also part of the spin machine (albeit more legitamately in my opinion). 

Everyone has an agenda these days to influence other people for power, money, or something else that is potentially nefarious or maybe just and good.  The challenging part is deciphering truth and facts from spin and opinion.
I admit to being a CNN Junky and NPR geek.  In my opinion these news organizations are the most balanced in that they expose their audience to a plethora of views.  In the case of NPR, they give you straight up facts - not opinion, and allow you to develop your own perception of reality in this crazy world in which we live.

My question to you is, where do you get your news and information?  What shapes your perception? 

Whether you consider yourself a conservative, a liberal, a lib-con, something in between, or do not choose to brand yourself, I am curious as to how you get your information, and more importantly how it shapes the decisions you make.

On this first Rant of a series of Weekly Rants, I invite you to Rant with me!  Give it to me straight!
And for those of you who get all their news and information from Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, or Fox News, I want to hear from you too. 

At the end of the day...opinion matters.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Career Everything? Part 1

For this post, I want to dive into what makes us tick from a Career perspective.  Many of my friends are college educated and are in all walks of life.  They are doctors, lawyers, educators, nurses, engineers, and more.  You could say my friends careers are as diverse as my thought.
I digress.
Over the years following graduation from FAMU, many have traversed the various fields of professional endeavor.  When I ask," are you happy with what you are doing", many reply with, "its ok...not a career per se."  Many of them are cognizant of the difference between a Job and a Career, and acknowledge that at some point they were/are just working a job.  More recently however, even in the midst of the greatest economic crisis of our generation, many of my friends have taken the leap to go after that career, and be happy with what they call their profession.

My question is: What is IT that enabled them to come to the realization and muster up the courage to follow their passions? Are Career and Passion inextricably linked?

I'm personally going through some Job/Career issues, and I yearn for the secret that is finding ones passion and going after it.  I am a firm believer that God put us on this beautiful Earth for a purpose.  The challenge is identifying that purpose and putting it to constructive work.

So in the first Career installment of this blog, I invite you to share your thoughts on what drives us to our passion...and what keeps us away from it.
If you are one of the blessed ones to be working your passion, feel free to share your journey to attainment.  If you're one of the many like myself who are still in search of your passion or have no mechanism to achieve it, then I invite you to share your challenges.

Speak freely!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What's best for our childrens' health?

For my first post ever, I'm going to focus on what's near and dear to my heart.  Children.  I am the father of two beautiful children, both under the age of 4. 
As the FDA releases details of a probe against the makers of Childrens Tylenol (my former employer Johnson & Johnson), it begs the question of what is truly safe for our children from a health care/maintenance perspective.  Check out the link to this story here: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/04/news/companies/tylenol_recall_fda_inspection_report/index.htm?hpt=Sbin
I have many friends who also have children, and like me, they no doubt care for their children and want the best for them.  However, when news like today regarding serious allegations of defective finished products for children by one of the most trusted healthcare companies in the world comes to light, it begs the question:

What's best for our children?

I also have some friends who question the efficacy and impacts of vaccinations for their children, while others would not fathom bypassing the opportunity to give their children the "typical" battery of vaccinations.
As someone trained in the sciences, I firmly believe that a great deal of due diligence is conducted by drug companies in conjunction with governing bodies to ensure the safety and efficacy of their products.  However, with everything, nothing is perfect, and there are inherant flaws in these formulations.
So my question is, where do you stand on these issues?  Do you "believe" in giving children OTC drugs or vaccinations?
What are the consequences or risks of giving children pharmaceuticals.

I invite your pensive sharing.  Feel free to pass this post for comment to your family and friends.  I'm equally interested in everyone's perspective and dialogue on this issue...