Saturday, November 28, 2015

Preconceived Ideas & Ignorance

"Something on the order of more than 80% of our decision-making is irrational. When we encounter anything, a question, a new person, an old friend... we think, act, and make a decision, based upon subprograms which our subconscious automatically runs, entirely beyond the control of our rational thought process." Dr. Robert F. Slattery, MD, Ann Arbor, MI.

Dr. Hans Rosling give you an outstanding visual representation of how our preconceived ideas, our ignorance, "drives" our lives and what you can do to try to bring process under rational control. He is professor of global health at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Please go here for the video.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness.8 Making A Difference

Charles Hart, Albernelle Hart, Myron Hills and other neighbors have made a big difference in David Lynn's life. Recently, Lynn found himself pinned under a car. Seeing that he was seriously injured, and not hesitating for EMTs to arrive, his neighbors moved the overturned car off of him and pulled him to safety.

Myron Hills, Ypsilanti Township, MI, put it this way,"If you see somebody in trouble, you know, you try to help them out. That's pretty much how I look at it. On a daily basis, whatever I do. It don't make no difference what it is. If I see somebody in trouble. If I can help 'em, I help 'em."

"Neighbors lift car off man after crash in West Willow", Darcie Moran,,
22 Nov 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Something We've Never Had... Peace

Today, could We Please do something we've never done?
Give Peace a chance.

A Brief History of Peace
There has never been a time in the history of mankind in which we have had no wars, that is … violence, rape, pillaging, killing, slavery, economic subjugation, rebellions, crusades, and multiple holocausts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Right-Side Up

So, your little grandson asks a simple question. Overcoming your concerns about jobs, college debt, the economy, foreclosures… you answer, ”Yes”. 

You remember. You probably asked your Dad the same question. But times were very different then. When you were a kid, you did have a chance at a decent job and an education, too. In fact, you were probably covered by your parent’s health insurance plan.

Things are upside down now. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Patriot's Pen

The Patriot's Pen
by David L. Dyer

What is it?  It is a nationwide youth essay competition sponsored by the VFW. It gives middle grade students the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. This is open to all registered students in grades six through eight.

There are four levels of competition in this contest with the ultimate national award being $5,000 and an all expense paid trip to Washington, for the winner and a parent or guardian. It begins at the local post level and that is where I come in.  I was honored to be chosen post chairman for this event.

Our local winner advances to the district level and that winner goes on to the state and ultimately the national finals. There are monetary awards at each level.  Those who enter must write in their own words a 300 – 400 word essay on an annual patriotic theme which this year is “What Freedom Means to me.” I am happy to announce we will be sending six winners to compete at the district level. How is this possible? Enter Mrs Susan Dusute.

Susan, an English teacher has been with the Grosse Ile Schools for eighteen years with the past nine at the Middle School. When she first heard of this VFW project she thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for her students to learn about patriotism. She volunteered to head this program.

For the past three years I have noticed the increase in the number of essays submitted by the Middle School.  It couldn’t possibly get any better than this year. I asked Susan for a listing of the first and last names of all the participants to prepare the certificates. Each student who submitted an essay will receive a certificate that is well worth framing.

She handed me a list of each of her three classes. I took a moment to count them. The three of them added together totaled ninety two which is exactly the number of essays received. Yes, 100% of her students entered the contest. She must have a very special way of getting the message across.

When I discovered we could send one winner for each fifteen entrants and with the support of our VFW Post we decided to send six winners forward. During the first week of 2016 there will be a very special banquet for all the post winners. That is when the district winner will be announced.

I now take great pride in presenting our six winners. Each of them will receive a $100 first place award along with a participation certificate.

1. Jessica Schutt – Jessica is a repeat winner.  She won 1st place a year ago as a 7th grader.
2. Abigail Long
3. Grace Tylutki
4. Jane Ottenbreit
5. Carly Zimmerman
6. Mitchell Lewis

I will close with these words:  “Thank you Susan Dusute for your dedication and on behalf of our VFW Post 7310, I salute you.”

*Ed Note: We chose to post David's article following the Patriot's Pen winners announcement in order to honor these outstanding young people and their outstanding educational professions, true mentors in education, English Teacher Susan Dusute and Principal David Tucker. - RB

Son, Please Don't Put Me in a Nursing Home

Friday, November 20, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness.7 Gov. Mallory & the American Way

The other day Gov. Mallory reminded me why I'm proud of my country. It's when heroes like him display the courage to walk the path which our ancestors walked. That is ... the American Way... because it is the right way... the humanitarian way.

Toward the end of Gov. Dannel Malloy's press conference, when he announced that Connecticut would take a Syrian refugee family that was rejected from Indiana, he said:

"The attackers in Paris were from two countries. This is my own observation. They were from France and from Belgium. No governor, no member of Congress, no member of the Senate, no leader of Congress has said we should stop allowing people France or Belgium from coming into our country. Nobody."

To see video, go here.

Below is the editorial which appeared in the Hartford Courant.

Malloy Right To Welcome Syrian Refugees To CT
Hartford Courant, Editorial, Peter Casolino / Special To The Courant, 19 Nov 2015.

"France — despite everything — still plans to take in 30,000 Syrian refugees in the next two years. The least the Home of the Brave can do is take the 10,000 that President Barack Obama proposes, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is absolutely right to welcome them to Connecticut."

"Thus Connecticut became home Wednesday to a family of three from Syria who were turned away from Indiana after waiting for years in a refugee camp to settle in the U.S."

"The Paris attacks have evoked a mean-spirited and politically motivated reaction among some governors and presidential candidates against allowing any Syrian refugees into the country. Three dozen governors have said they don't want the refugees in their states, though the governors appear to have no legal authority to stop them from coming."

"The U.S. has a humanitarian obligation to help the millions fleeing death and destruction in a conflict this country was complicit in causing. We cannot wash our hands of the failed policies that gave rise to the Islamic State. And the vetting process is extremely rigorous; much more so than for, say, tourist visas. Of 23,000 refugees who applied to come to this country in 2014, only about 2,000 are here, Mr. Malloy said this week. Some of them fought with the U.S. against the Islamic State. How do you turn them away?"

"When this country succumbs to xenophobia, it does things it later regrets. Some Jewish refugees were turned away in the early 1940s, and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were sent to internment camps, decisions that did not reflect our better nature."

"It is a dangerous world, beyond question, and we all must be vigilant. But rejecting refugees based on their country of origin is not American. If the get-tough governors are serious about reducing violence in this country, there's always sensible gun laws."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sleeping Through YOUR Revolution

"I am sure that most of you have read that arresting little story from the pen of Washington Irving entitled "Rip Van Winkle." The one thing that we usually remember about the story is that Rip Van Winkle slept twenty years. But there is another point in that little story that is almost completely overlooked. It was the sign in the end, from which Rip went up in the mountain for his long sleep."

"When Rip Van Winkle went up into the mountain, the sign had a picture of King George the Third of England. When he came down twenty years later the sign had a picture of George Washington, the first president of the United States. When Rip Van Winkle looked up at the picture of George Washington—and looking at the picture he was amazed—he was completely lost. He knew not who he was."

"And this reveals to us that the most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain a revolution was taking place that at points would change the course of history—and Rip knew nothing about it. He was asleep. Yes, he slept through a revolution. And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution."

"For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured." Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take part in YOUR Revolution.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We Are Winning… To The Victor Go the Refugees

Listening to a couple of mainstream news shows yesterday and today I was struck by how quickly Republican governors displayed their xenophobia with regard to settling already "vetted" Syrian refugees. The politicians wore their fear on their chests like a badge of honor all the while touting their newly discovered concern for their citizens' welfare.

It seems again predictable that on this issue, one which they have no constitutional authority and risk nothing politically, they have discovered their voice of concern.

Putting those observations aside for a moment, it is obvious that keeping war refugees out of the U.S. is simply stupid.


Well, in addition to the humanitarian reason, the first and most important reason, to settle refugees in the USA, it also is Realpolitik to bring as many as possible “vetted” refugees into the U.S. because they want a better life than they have had and they believe they will find it in America.

They have risked their lives for a chance to live as Americans.

Assuming we are “fighting” for the American Way of Life, then we have won these people over to it. Have we not?

That fact alone is the weapon the ISIS people can not overcome.

We should be welcoming these refugees with open arms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Forgotten? Never.

As I raised our flag this morning in honor of Veteran's Day, I was once again reminded of my dad’s anguish that fall day in 1971.

Just home for a few days after becoming an officially minted “medic” at Fort Sam in San Antonio, I remember my dad talking with me. I was taken back... shocked... by his question because he had never mentioned his combat experience to me.

He had tears in his eyes when he asked me, a kid of 21 with no combat experience and no real medical training, if it could have been possible for him to have saved his best friend who had been shot in the chest while they manned a machine gun against a German Army attack. He propped his friend up in the back of their foxhole and kept firing the gun as they were nearly overrun. When he looked back a few minutes later his friend had died.

Overcome with empathy and love for my hero father, I knew he was suffering a traumatic loss he would never forget. He believed he could have done something more to have saved his friend.

To this day I cry for my father.

(I believe this incident occurred during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Dad's unit, the 80th Infantry Div., was one of the units fighting to relieve the 101st Airborne Div., which was surrounded and besieged in the City of Bastogne.)

(This article was originally published, 4 Sept 2012, following the Republican National Convention, when Gov. Romney claimed his "success" was totally his own doing.  - RB)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness.6

It’s Friday!

Today’s random act of kindness is a little different from those I’ve posted in the past. This one is about bravery under fire and extraordinary courage.

Forty-eight years ago a helicopter pilot and his crew put their lives on the line at Song Tra Cau, Vietnam to bring 44 U.S. Army comrades out of harm's way.

“Under heavy enemy fire, Major Kettles selflessly put his life on the line to save his fellow service members,” said Peters, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. “(His) actions exemplified the valor, grit, and honor that makes our military the best in the world.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that while Kettles’ actions entitled him to the Medal of Honor, by law, the medal can only be awarded within five years of the valorous act for which it is being awarded, unless Congress waives the time limit.

Michigan Representative Debbie Dingle and Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow introduced legislation to waive the time limit today.

Go here for the whole story by Todd Spangler in the Detroit Free Press.

Being There

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Celebrate a Life-Affirming Choice

Today we offer a special treat...
A chance for you to celebrate your life...
with those who made their life-affirming choice to serve for you and your loved ones so you could have your turn with life, liberty and happiness. RB

16th Annual Meridian Veteran's Ceremony
Meridian School, Grosse Ile, MI
9am, 11 Nov 2015
By David L. Dyer

As a member of our local VFW Post 7310 I take great pleasure in announcing something that has become a tradition at Meridian Elementary School. That of course is what is now known as the 16th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration.

A couple of years ago I traced this back to it’s roots. Here is what I learned:  With Veteran’s Day approaching in the year of 2000, a woman named Judy Ventro wanted to do something to honor all veterans which would include her father Robert Wilson who is a veteran of World War II. Many years had passed and Veteran’s Day would come and go and be checked off the calendar as just any other day. Not realizing she was planting a seed that would grow to what it is today, Judy, who worked as a secretary at Meridian teamed with a colleague, Jo-Anne Gronlund and together they came up with a plan that honored not only Robert Wilson but all Veterans as well.

The next year came 9/11 and with the support of the entire community, a very moving event came about. This has continued every year since. I visited the school in September shortly after school began and the first person I saw was Denise Sertage sitting at her desk. When she saw me, her first words were “It is time for Veteran’s Day.”

Yes, a lot of time and extra effort are put into the preparation. I must cite the musical talent of Barbara Conroy. A very special thank you to the principal, Linda Solano and all the new personnel that have replaced the old throughout the years and have kept this tradition going forward. I would venture to say: “If they reach out to just one more person than the previous year, all of their efforts would be well worth it.”
I get goosebumps just walking with all the veterans through the center of that room surrounded by hundreds of children applauding our every movement.  It is heartwarming to know that these children at such a tender age are learning what Veteran’s Day is all about and how they must remember all those whose lives were taken to the horrors of war so we can live ours in ways of our own choosing.

I will close with these words:  So come out Grosse Ile, MI you are all invited to this production that brings not only the veterans but the entire community together.  It will be held at Meridian School on Wednesday, November 11, at 9am.

Following this will be our annual VFW Ceremony at 1PM at VFW Post 7310 on Macomb Street, Grosse Ile, MI. You are invited. Refreshments will be provided. Contact Dave:

Monday, November 2, 2015

One-Winged Hawk

Early one morning before sun appeared to light the darkness, I walked a path into a beautiful glen.

I heard the mocking cries of crows as I approached closer. Then, out of the darkness, I saw a group of cages, each protecting wounded birds.

The occupant of one cage, the last one, was the subject of the crows’ vengeance. Several were standing atop the cage while others were flying near by — all screaming mocking calls.

As I grew closer the crows flew off.

In the sudden quite I approached the cage, at first seeing nothing inside. Then something moved and I caught a glimpse of white and brown as hawk slowly moved toward me.

I spoke to hawk and asked her why the crows were harassing her — crows outside — hawk defenseless and imprisoned.

She gave me no answer as we stood together in the early morning quiet… me, a defender and her, a prisoner.

I asked her again for the crows’ ire. Again she gave no response; but then she slowly turned on her perch, revealing that she had but one wing.

Some time later I emerged from a Native American Sweat Lodge. In near exhaustion I made my way home, collapsing into a deep sleep next to my bed.

I dreamed I was walking a path high in the mountains in the southwest desert. I was fearful that I would make a misstep and plunge into the deep abyss below.

Hawk came to me, there in my moment of doubt. She had grown her wing back and landed next to me. Looking deep into my soul she told me not to fear, take my next step and stay my path.

All will be right.

To this day hawk is with me. At times she comes to me in my dreams, filling me with her wisdom and strength. At times of decision making I look for her, knowing she will be there, somewhere close by – her, a defender and me, no longer a prisoner of my fears.