Japan’s Tragedy and Preparing for the Worst

| Comments (0)

As a veteran of several large earthquakes during my formative years, I have watched with great sorrow the tragedies that have stricken Japan over the past couple of weeks.  While my own thoughts mirror those we have heard from all corners in the aftermath of the trauma, the events and the dignity we have witnessed of the victims dealing with those events have gotten me thinking, as they should, about what we can do when and if we find ourselves in the sites of such unexpected danger.

Believer that I am in preparedness, when I lived in earthquake country I was one of the most prepared individuals ever to populate the San Andreas Fault.  Outfitted with water, food (for dogs, too), light sources, camping gear, first-aid supplies, radios, tools and enough batteries to power an L.A. high rise for a week — from car to office to home — no earthquake was going to leave me and mine helpless. When I then moved from earthquake country to blizzard country some years back, I simply transferred that mindset to accommodate the new type of threat Mother Nature may decide to send my way.  

My long-suffering husband has through the years humored me in my compulsion, and like any decent mother bear, I have schooled my kids in the fine art of preparing for disaster, which has become second nature to them, as well. And indeed my clan has witnessed firsthand the value of my efforts, particularly when we have found ourselves in sub-zero temperatures without heat or light or running water.

I realize that such preparations may be useless in the face of tsunami or nuclear meltdown, and my heart goes out to the thousands of people dealing with such unspeakable tragedy today. But the hard fact of this life is that some catastrophes simply defy preparation or human intervention. Or blame.  Preparing for the worst, however, gives us power, and I have found that that with that power comes peace of mind. When you acknowledge that disaster can strike, and you  gather the supplies and learn what to do if it does, you become less a victim in both mind and body. So wherever you are, wherever you live, be ready ahead of time for whatever special brand of disaster might occur — earthquakes, hurricanes, brush fires, blizzards, tornadoes, the list goes on. By preparing for disaster, we make our own luck, and perhaps even our own survival, as well.

Obama Tries to Be Manly and the Left Goes Gaga

| Comments (0)

Following the advice of his handlers, pollsters and a bunch of celebrities, Barack Obama tried to get tough this week and “show his anger” with the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico by dropping the A-word. Apparently the belatedly scripted shot of him walking along an oil-spattered beach in his spindly designer suit, his dress shirt rolled up at the sleeves, concern emanating from his furrowed brow, just wasn’t enough to suggest that he is powerful and competent.

But once he dropped that A-word, making it clear he would be finding whom to blame (rather than finding solutions), his minions in the lapdog media went wild, cooing that their President had not only exploded in emotion, but had also given the masses a quintessential show of masculinity. To be fair, they really aren’t all that familiar with masculinity, so I suppose they can be forgiven for so blatantly misidentifying it here, yet it’s sad to think that Chris Matthews’ leg is probably still tingling.

Of course, those of us who do admire true masculinity, and still consider real men to be valuable assets to our culture, found Obama’s attempt to show some belated manly behavior in response to this devastating tragedy inappropriate, completely lacking in leadership, and downright embarrassing. We the people would have preferred to see him jump on the disaster at its onset; acknowledge its potential impact; and pass up a few tee-times, fundraisers, teleprompted speeches, and rock concerts in the White House. Oh, and for the record, Mr. President, a real man, a genuine American leader, would have told the aging Beatle that it was not the time, nor certainly the place, to bash the man who occupied the Oval Office before you did. Now that would have made my leg tingle.

When not tingling over their President’s show of manliness, the lapdogs are similarly celebrating the masculinity of Joe McGinniss, the so-called journalist who has courageously moved in next door to Sarah Palin to spy on her and her family and gather dirt. Again: What can you expect from a gaggle of clowns who have only the likes of Keith Olbermann, our tingly friend Chris, and David Letterman (to name only a few) as their masculine role models?

Unfortunately, it’s a lost cause even to imagine the left ever figuring out that stalking, cursing, blaming, avoiding, evading and hand-wringing do not a real man make. Nor are they components of a leader, particularly an American leader. And a leader, man or woman, is what we Americans need right now. We need a fearless American at the helm of our nation who genuinely loves, respects and cherishes this country and her laws. These are qualities that cannot be faked. We know them when we see them, and we look forward to the day when we will see them in the White House, in the halls of Washington, and in the State Houses and City Halls of this great nation once more. We pray that day will come soon.

Seize the Snow Day!

| Comments (0)

February 11, 2010 | Comments

As we all know, the East Coast is being pelted by a series of record-setting blizzards, unlike any the people there have seen since such weather has been recorded (caused, of course, say the true believers, by global warming – but what isn’t?).

As a veteran of this global-warming phenomena myself, I grin as I hear the short sound bites that have punctuated the news coverage of this epic event:

“I just finish shoveling, and then I have to shovel again!”

“Everything is closed, so I stayed home and had a snowball fight with my daughters!”

“I can’t drive anywhere, so I’m going sledding with my son!”

What makes me grin is the common thread of pleasure and excitement running through these speakers’ voices. While we know frigid cold and snow can be violent and destructive, especially for those who are unprepared or unable to withstand its potential wrath, I hear in these exuberant voices their acknowledgement that this is a special, unexpected time in their lives, and they intend to cherish it. Every minute of it. And I say, good for them.

Speaking from experience, I have personally mourned for people stuck in snowbound cars on freeways, cringed at the news of children stuck at school overnight (or longer), assisted friends and neighbors with flooded basements and broken windows, and shuttered at the howls of 60-mile-an-hour winds that seem intent on ripping the roof off my house. But so have some of my most poignant family memories come from those times when Mother Nature blankets us with crippling depths of snow and frigid climes that will chill a bottle of wine in minutes (very romantic, by the way).

I wouldn’t trade for a moment the sweet, warm memory of sitting before a sparkling Christmas tree while that wind battered the windows, or giggling with kids and dogs as we leap through snow as deep as we are tall. Kids don’t forget these moments either. Indeed as many families are learning this week for the first time, there is no sweeter music to a kid’s ears than those golden words: “snow day.”

So to those currently experiencing Mom Nature’s surprise, if you have heat and light and food and find yourself housebound, take this time to enjoy your family, to enjoy your kids, to enjoy what you may someday look back upon as one of your warmest and coziest of your family memories.

Betsy Siino | Comments

I Always Knew God Had a Sense of Humor

| Comments (0)

December 19, 2009 | Comments

Oh those poor climate-concerned diplomats, politicians and dictators. Here they take time out of their busy schedules to make the pilgrimage to Copenhagen to save our lives and the future of our planet from the perils of man-made global warming, and look what happens: record cold and blizzards thwart their noble mission! Our own President and Madam Pelosi had to schedule their carbon-heavy luxury flights to Europe around this pesky snow and wind, only to return stateside to more of the same. Does Mother Nature have no shame?

I sure hope she doesn’t. And God either. Indeed I like to think that God, like so many of us out here in common-sense land, has gotten fed up with the nimrods speaking for him and believing that we mere mortals are somehow more powerful than the beautiful, powerful planet He made. And because I have believed since I was a tiny child that God has a sense of humor, I can’t help but giggle and believe that He has chosen a most eloquent way of expressing his displeasure with those arrogant souls who would deign to use him in this way for their own selfish goals.

Indeed God and Mother Nature have sent you diplomats, politicians and dictators, including the President of the United States and the woman we call the Speaker of the House, an undeniable, unmistakable message. What in record snows in Copenhagen, more of it in DC, January-like temps in the rest of the country and even snow in Australia do they not understand?

Yet still you drone on about the dangers, the melting, the burning, the inequity, the income distribution, the ultimatums –and without a shred of shame in the shrill voices struggling to be heard through the howling blizzard winds that swirl around you.

So, what will it take for our own voices to break through the cones of silence they have erected around themselves? Nothing, I suppose, because they simply are not listening. But we the people are listening. And, despite the rhetoric and propaganda that we can hear with crystalline clarity though the wind and snow, we know this has nothing to do with conservation or rainforests or polar bears. This is about power and control and a dangerous transformation of the fabric and fiber of our great nation. And though their drive to destroy us is downright frightening, we find it hilarious that God has decided to give them a spanking – and such an eloquently vivid spanking, at that. So enjoy the snow and enjoy the frigid climes, oh dense and arrogant ones. I can tell you we certainly are – and without need of embarrassment or manipulation, but always with a clear sense of humor.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Leaks in Time for Copenhagen

| Comments (0)

December 1, 2009 | Comments

Every year, as part of their science classes, my kids are taught the Scientific Method – the basic tenets by which scientific theories are tested to confirm that yes, they are indeed correct, or no, go back to the drawing board and start over.

I guess my kids are lucky still to be learning this, as it seems the Scientific Method has been replaced by a new technique that is much quicker and easier: the Consensus Method.

First, get some willing scientists together, particularly those affiliated with a university — oh, say, Britain’s University of East Anglia, for example. Now, get these scientists to agree to a consensus that fits your agenda (use threats, bribes…whatever it takes). Next, recruit some high-profile political types — a Nobel Peace Prize/Oscar winner, the leader of the free world, the United Nations, socialist-minded legislators – and some Fortune 500s (General Electric perhaps?), the mainstream media, and the nation’s school systems. Using pictures of cuddly polar bears, convince these entities to behave as though your theory is a given, that the science is “settled,” dispose of any pesky evidence that may prove otherwise, and there you have it. Your scientific theory is proven, a done deal, case closed. No Scientific Method necessary. No science at all, actually. Easy.

Of course this is exactly how the whole idea of manmade global warming, a.k.a. climate change, became accepted and “settled science” – touted by such highly trained scientific minds as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, various supermodels, the President of the United States, your kid’s English teacher, and most of Hollywood’s TV and movie stars.

But these folks were faced with a problem a couple of weeks ago when emails were leaked from the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s leading institutions in the proliferation of the global-warming agenda, essentially proving what we heretical non-believers knew all along: There is no evidence that we humans are heating up our planet, and evidence defying the global-warming theory is being destroyed, ignored and disregarded, like the Scientific Method itself.

Unwilling to abandon their efforts to promote global warming, however — and the power grab that comes with it — those who have made it their mission to further the concept, many of them making hefty profits by selling carbon offsets, squiggly light bulbs and tiny, tin-can automobiles, refuse to give up the ghost. The media, GE, various Congresspeople and the White House continue to preach to us huddled masses the accepted science that record cold, record heat, hurricanes, arson-sparked brushfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, record snowfall, record rainfall, ice storms, tsunamis, droughts and floods – all are caused by manmade global warming. The message is embodied in artsy, self-congratulatory commercials, sponsored in part by Coca-Cola and Siemens, celebrating the upcoming Climate Change Conference not in Copenhagen, but “Hopenhagen.”

Despite the mounting evidence, and despite the stupid Hopenhagen ads, I don’t see much shame evident in the global-warming crowd. Nor is there any sign of them changing their travel plans when a week from now they make the pilgrimage in their fleets of private jets and limousines to Copenhagen. The President of the United States among them, there they will gush on about the climactic dangers our world is facing and the income that needs to be redistributed to fix it, glad-handing each other over feasts of Kobe beef and caviar for their mutual heroism in saving the world.

I can’t help but wonder, though, will anyone dare mention during these sumptuous feasts the East Anglia emails? Will there be a moment of conscience among at least a few of the attendees as they ponder their own involvement in what many are calling the greatest scientific hoax in history? Will any dare whisper the word “Climategate?” It doesn’t matter. The secret is out, and all the self-congratulation and avoidance in the world can’t erase that.

So a week from now as the Copenhagen attendees stand before us, their peers, and their teleprompters in their black-tie finery, spouting the now-even-emptier rhetoric of climate change, they will look more and more foolish with every uttered phrase. And I think they know it. We’ll see it in their eyes. We may see fear in those eyes, too, as they start worrying about investigations and mobs with torches at the castle gates.

Indeed outside those gates, we angry mobs are demanding, “Let the investigations begin!” Let’s start with the guys in the tuxes – the ones with the look of worry in their eyes. Time to find out what they knew and when they knew it – and how much money they’ve raked in because of it. Follow the money, and you will find the truth – and the Scientific Method — waiting to be set free. That will be a show worth watching. I can’t wait.

Betsy Siino | Comments