Posted in Politics

Is Adam Putnam Governor Material?

In May 2017, Putnam announced he was running for Florida governor in the 2018 election. Does Adam Putnam share your values and views?Putnam

Republican Adam Putnam served in the U.S. House of Representatives for ten years, representing the Central Florida-based 12th congressional district from 2001 to 2011. He has been Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture since 2011. Putnam’s family is in citrus business.

On October 10, 2002, Putnam voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Adam is full of contradictions- he is pro-war and pro-life. Let’s take a look at Adam’s voting history.

Adam Putnam on Jobs:

Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks. (Oct 2008)

Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill. (Jun 2008)

Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)

Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)

Voted YES on end offshore tax havens and promote small business. (Oct 2004)

Voted YES on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports. (Oct 2001)

Adam Putnam on Budget & Economy:

Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)

Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)

Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Jan 2009)

Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)

Voted NO on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)

Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)

Voted NO on revitalizing severely distressed public housing. (Jan 2008)

Voted NO on regulating the subprime mortgage industry. (Nov 2007)

Voted YES on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)

Adam Putnam on Crime:

Voted NO on expanding services for offenders’ re-entry into society. (Nov 2007)

Adam Putnam on Education:

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)

Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)

Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on “God” in Pledge of Allegiance. (Jul 2006)

Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. (Mar 2006)

Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (Nov 2001)

Voted YES on requiring states to test students. (May 2001)

Adam Putnam on Energy & Oil:

Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)

Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)

Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)

Adam Putnam on Tax Reform:

Voted NO on paying for AMT relief by closing offshore business loopholes. (Dec 2007)

Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Dec 2005)

Voted YES on providing tax relief and simplification. (Sep 2004)

Voted YES on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. (May 2004)

Voted YES on permanently eliminating the marriage penalty. (Apr 2004)

Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)

Voted YES on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts. (Oct 2001)

Voted YES on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years. (May 2001)

Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax (“death tax”). (Apr 2001)

Posted in Self- improvement

Is Institution of Marriage Obsolete?

A new study came out to challenge our deep-seated belief that marriage will make us healthier and happier. In the article, “The Ambiguous Link Between Marriage and Health”, published online in the journal Social Forces, sociologist Matthijs Kalmijn cites a 16-year survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 11,000 Swiss adults to make a point that there are no significant health benefits to being married. Many enthusiasts and promoters of single lifestyle ran wild with the idea that the institution of marriage is obsolete. Gays and lesbians seem to miss the memo and still cannot wait to tie the knot!

You are not alone. Love is all you need! We all agree it is important to have quality relationships. Good relationships affect positively our health and well being. Marriage is the ultimate quality relationship. You may be useless to the society, but you will always be important to your family. Good relationship and marriage inspires us to be a better person. Our government realizes the importance of marriage and a family unit. Married people enjoy many legal and financial benefits.

According to Pew Research Center marriage rates have declined since 1970. Overall, married adults have made greater economic gains over the past four decades than unmarried adults. The decline in marriage rates has been steepest for the least educated adults. Thus, college educated Americans who already have the largest incomes and who have had the largest gains in earnings since 1970 have fortified their financial advantage over less educated Americans because of their tendency to be married.

Posted in Health

If You Want a Tattoo… Think First

Who is in favor of self-mutilation and disfigurement? There is nothing like puncturing and perforating your skin in dozen or so places to show high self-esteem! When I see a young man decorating his neck or arms by having a mechanized needle puncture his skin injecting toxic ink in weird patterns, I think to myself – here is a happy guy.

Tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years, in ancient Egyptian civilization tattoos were used to differentiate peasants from slaves. Today, it is a social branding; we all judge each other:

“She’s probably easy.”

“He is a loser; he’ll never get a corporate job.”

Of course, there are variables. Johnny Depp is covered with tattoo. Perhaps it is fashionable/cool to have a tattoo now, but fashion and trends change so quickly. Tattoo is forever. Besides, who thinks Johnny Depp is cool anyway? Weird.

I totally understand tattoos when you are a part of a gang and tattoo is branding showing your affiliation. Good thinking guys, you make it so much easier for the police!

Some people mark themselves for life to remind themselves of a family member, or ancient sayings, or religious scriptures. The problem here is we change and our outlook on life matures. What we believe in at 18 may not be what we believe when we are 35 or 50 years old. Our bodies have become the refrigerator magnets of quotes, sayings and reminders.

Posted in Self- improvement

Healthy lifestyle and Spirituality

A good comedian once said: “Our fight today is not against Islam, it is against religion. No one’s head has ever been cut off in the name of atheism.” For me, spirituality is just another tool to take advantage of to enhance the quality of life. Like any tool, it can be misused.

Spiritual life should always reflect the progress of the society, advances in science and technology, in the same time it should help people to get in touch with the universal goodness and inner divine self. Spiritual life helps person to be a part of the community, a part of the family.

Spiritualism is a search for something sacred. People approach spirituality through religion, meditation, yoga, or personal reflection. Atheist is a person who does not believe in God. Agnostic is a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. A religious person is someone who believes in God and follows the rules of the particular religion. There are estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide. Here are few reasons why throughout the centuries we embraced spirituality:

Spiritual people are kind. Many studies demonstrated that expressing gratitude is associated with positive emotions like optimism, generosity and compassion.

Spiritual people flourish. Spiritual people have positive relationships, high self-esteem and generally have meaningful lives. Spiritual people consider personal growth and fulfillment as a central goal; they focus on the internal values and work on becoming a better person.

Spirituality can provide clarity, gives you the ability to see and understand the bigger picture.

Spiritual practices help to focus attention and center yourself. Emotional storms, unpredictable circumstance and fears about the future will have less influence on you.

Spiritual practices improve the mood and fill you with joy.

Spiritual practice will help you live in the moment, enjoy the blessings you have right now. It will help to establish a much deeper relationship with the internal, divine you.

Posted in Community

My Conversation with Commissioner Bill McDaniel

Bill McDaniel was very kind to meet with me and answer few questions, below is a brief recap of our conversation.

MCDANIEL 1. Does collier county “live within its budget”? How important is it to have a balanced budget?

It is important that we live within our means. I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The apathy of the voters allowed special interests to take control and government became “not for the people” as much. Local government has responsibilities: keep the community safe, provide infrastructure/roads, provide quality of life/recreation. Collier County lives within its means, but perhaps we overspend on extraneous priorities. 

2. What is your position on the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?

From the standpoint of global economics, we are a petroleum based industrial society. In the future, perhaps in the next 50 years, the informational age will take over with its clean energy and new technology.  However, it is not sustainable today.  Oil, natural gas, and coal are important resources now. That said, I’d rather not see the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, it is harder to fix problems when we extract oil from under the water.  We can manage these regulations in favor of more onshore oil and gas extraction. 

3. How important to you is to protect our environment? There are more harmful chemicals allowed in the drinking water.

Humans are the dominant species of the planet.  It is our duty and obligation to protect the environment, but not at all costs. How important is it to protect the environment – very important! Water is the substance of all life. We are doing a good job; collier county residents have clean and up-to-standards water. 

4. What is your position on the big farm polluters and the ensuing red tide problem?

We had a noticeable red tide problem last year due to few months of unprecedented rainfall (19 inches).  It caused the fertilizer from the land to drain into the water. The problem was not so much the farms; although, we do need to take care of the quality of water up north that drains into the Kissimmee River which feeds into Lake Okeechobee. We also need to build the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb discharges in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.

5. What do you do to create more jobs in Collier County?

We make Immokalee the economic epicenter, expand the airport in Immokalee  and build the necessary infrastructure. We also need to connect SR 29 with SR 80.  We want to move away from relying on natural resources to relying on our greatest resources – our people. With a good education our people can manufacture goods and services right here in Collier County and with good infrastructure we can ship our products everywhere else. We must stimulate non-construction related industry.

6. If the small businesses are the largest job creators how do we protect and encourage small business growth?

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Lately, the government hasn’t been for the people. We need to reduce regulations to help small businesses.

7. The rent keeps getting higher, the salaries are not keeping up. How do we insure affordable housing for the workers in Collier County?

There is always affordable housing available, but a lot of times people just don’t want to live in that location. We want quality wine on a beer budget. It just doesn’t work that way. Government should not be in the business of subsidizing the affordable housing. What we can do is to reduce regulations and the expenses to the developers and builders so they can make housing less expensive  and more affordable to the residents.

8.  How do we keep our taxes low?

We will be able to maintain our very low tax rate, if we adjust our priorities to those outlined in #1.

9.  How do we reduce crime in Collier County?

The sheriff is doing a good job. The crime rate in collier county is down.

Bill McDaniel was very helpful and he definitely has my vote!

Posted in Health

Love or Substance…Break That Addiction

I keep falling in love. It is always this dangerous kind of love, addictive love. It is as if I turn off my brain, and fall prey to the tornado of feelings. Evolution endowed us with many gifts, one is our large prefrontal cortex, which gives us better ability to control ourselves compared to our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom. We can think, we can choose not to react, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions. Just like we train our body to be physically strong, we must train our mind to be strong as well.

Here are few things we can do to take advantage of the fact that we got a brain and improve our self-control:

  1. Have a balanced life. Reduce stress by planning activities giving ourselves plenty of time for rest and play. Set up time to have relaxing healthy meals, set up time for exercise, set up time for work and friendships.
  2. Stay focused on your goals. “Plan your work, then work your plan.” Margaret Thatcher. We must have a plan, and we must stick with it. By planning we reduce the chaos and unpredictability around us. We become secure in our environment.
  3. Never overestimate our willpower, never assume. We may think we conquered our weakness, but the smartest thing to do is to stay clear of temptation. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking you must avoid the company of smokers, avoid stores that sell cigarettes…. And be prepared to do this forever!
  4. Change our thinking and behavioral patterns. We must develop healthy habits. It takes time and repetition to overwrite the bad habit with a good habit. Keep reinforcing (repeating) the good habit. Postpone the reaction, postpone the decision. Fight the impulsiveness by taking a deep breath and walking away without reacting.
  5. Get rid of automatic “bad” thoughts. A lot of times we become negative without even realizing it, a negative thought arises and we go with it. Do not suppress bad thoughts about indulging in unwanted behavior, instead replace those thoughts with the good thoughts of your goals and success. Think always positive.
  6. No redemption for bad behavior. If you indulge and overeat today, the trip to the gym next day will not redeem you.
  7. Notice things/situations that prompt you to indulge your weakness. Resolve the situation before you relapse. For example, after a stressful day you crave a cigarette, which helps you to relax. Take control, as soon as you start feeling stressed take a break, go to the gym, watch a movie, just stop. Find a substitution healthy activity to fight stress.
  8. Do not allow for loser mentality. Train yourself not to give up. The more you quit the easier it gets to quit again and again.
  9. Believe in your ability to achieve the goal.


Posted in Community

Meet the Neighbors: Dr. Tony Barringer

tbarringMy friend, Dr. Tony A. Barringer, was kind enough to grant me the interview for my blog.

Question:  Tony, is formal education important to succeed in life?

I would say that it definitely increases the likelihood for success especially if we’re referencing monetary success. The formal education allows one to get into the game when certain qualifying credentials are needed. It definitely allowed me an opportunity to escape the woes of the Southside of Chicago.

Question: What is your educational background?

I have a BS in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Criminology.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

My biggest challenge is continuing to do the right thing when that might not be the most popular decision. I have vowed to not let any job cause me to compromise the core principle by which I live. To me, at the end of the day, all you have is your name and what you stand/stood for.

Question: What advice would you give to young people trying to decide in what area to specialize professionally?

I would always advise a person to follow his/her passion. Choose a career that excites you about doing it every day. The ideal job would be something that you would do even if you were not compensated/paid. I’m more driven by the passion to assist and help than I am about great fortune and wealth. Having said this, I feel that no one should be afraid to achieve and sell him or herself short out of fear of failing.

Question: Is it important to follow one’s dream even if financially it may not be feasible, or if there was no income potential?

This reply would be very similar to my response to previous question.   Enjoying what you do is invaluable. As long as you are honest with yourself about why you chose a certain career and you can live with that decision, it’s all good.

Question: Are you following local politics? Do you vote in the local elections?

To a point. I realize that local politics are the same issues that are on the national scene; just a smaller scale. For numerous reasons, I do not vote in local elections. That being the case, I am careful not to complain about the results. To me, that would be hypocritical.

Question: Can you think of one important issue Lee County is facing right now?

Law enforcement and Community relations. There appears to be a major issue with the minority community not trusting the “system”. This is heavily tied into the second major issue of racism and race relations. We definitely need dialogue in this arena.