Archive for the ‘Article’ Category

Article: Computer Glasses – Grace Beckett

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Computer Glasses – Lenses Designed for Them

If you are on the computer for hours together every day, a pair of computer glasses used for reading may benefit you. Even if you wear contact lenses or glasses everyday, they probably are not the right ones for you to work on computers. Computer glasses are specially made to reduce the symptoms associated with CVS (computer vision syndrome).

CVS defines the symptoms that occur due to using a computer constantly. Symptoms appear, as your brain and eyes react differently to the words on your computer than with words on printed text. Symptoms are dry eyes, eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches. Many of you try compensating for such vision problems by looking down or by leaning forward to see through the lower portion of your glasses, which often results in shoulder and back pain.

You may be getting symptoms of CVS because of presbyopia which is a disorder in the vision that develops as we grow old. It results in loss of your eye’s ability to look at near objects, and becomes noticeable by the age of 40. If you notice the symptoms of CVS, you may have to buy a pair of computer glasses Mississauga. These glasses are given on prescription and are specially designed to help you comfortably work on computers.

The following are the lenses that are specially designed for computer glasses:

Single vision

These lenses are the simplest kind of computer glasses. The whole lens is made and designed to see the computer screen and provides the largest field of view. Many adults or children enjoy single vision lenses because the screen is clearly visible without any obstructions.

Flat-top bifocal

This type of a lens looks similar to the usual bifocal lens worn by some of you for near and distance vision. They are designed such that the first half of the lens focuses on the screen while bottom half on a closer reading object. These lenses come with a visible line which divides both the focusing segments. Flat-top bifocal lenses provide you with a comfortable viewing of your computer though the objects that are far appear a little blurry.

Variable focus

This lens is also known as a computer progressive lens. Variable focus lens comes with a small segment on its top part to view distant objects, an intermediate wide segment to view the computer screen, and another small segment at the bottom to focus on close objects. No segments or visible lines are present in this kind of lens, so it appears more like a normal vision.

Computer glasses benefit users as long as they are fitted properly and prescribed correctly. Ophthalmologists and optometrists are knowledgeable in issues resulting from CVS and can help you in finding the appropriate glasses.

About the author

Grace is an enthusiastic blogger and likes to write about healthcare. To get world class designer Mississauga glasses, contact an expert optician at Next Optical Store.


Article: April 19th, Redemption Day – Steve O’Brien

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

April 19 has become a date marking horrific violence in this country’s history.

The date is not well known like September 11 or December 7, the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Unlike dates that commemorate great military victories or the end of World Wars, April 19 is about a different kind of violence.

Violence between citizens of this nation and the government itself.

Like most traditions it began as a coincidence, but later transitioned into a date of significance for members of sovereign citizen groups like the Posse Comitatus.

It began in 1985. Jim Ellison was the leader of a sovereign group called CSA (The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord. On April 19, 1985, three hundred federal officers surrounded his compound in northern Arkansas. Ellison surrendered and was later convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges. Aside from traditional firearms, the federal officers rounded up hand grenades, plastic explosives, blasting caps, land mines and even a US Army anti-tank rocket. One of Ellison’s men, Richard Wayne Snell was charged with murder and his execution took place ten years later as fate would have it, on April 19.

April 19, 1993 the FBI stormed the Branch Davidian complex outside Waco Texas, killing seventy six members, including seventeen children. David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidian group was sought for illegal weapons charges, something sovereign groups adamantly believed was not a crime, but a right. This came on the heels of the Ruby Ridge shootings which had enraged members like Tim McVeigh. Terry Nichols and McVeigh saw Waco as yet another illegal intrusion by a corrupt
government.

Following Waco, April 19 became a date of significance for sovereign groups. They would use the date as a symbol and cause to retaliate against the government.

On April 19, 1994 militia leader Linda Thompson issued a call for sovereign citizen groups  to assemble in Washington DC, armed and in uniform. The purpose of the assembly was the forced repeal of the Brady Bill and the arrest of Congressmen and Senators for treason.  She identified herself as the acting adjutant general of the Unorganized Militia of the United States. Although later rescinded, her call to arms became known as the Thompson Ultimatum.

At nine pm April 19, 1995, CSA member, Richard Wayne Snell, was put to death by lethal injection in Arkansas.  Twelve hours earlier, Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols had ignited a truck bomb outside the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people.

For McVeigh and Nichols the date was not a coincidence.

NOTE:

Between now and April 19th, you can get Redemption Day free for Kindle Reading Devices or the Kindle for PC/Ipad App.


Article: Larry D. Rosen – Author: iDisorder

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

It’s Not Only Beeps and Vibrations: Learn How to Focus From
Within

By Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D,
Author of iDisorder: Understanding
Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us

Recently my research team observed nearly 300 middle school, high school and university students studying something important for a mere 15 minutes in their natural environments. We were interested in whether they could maintain focus and, if not, what might be distracting them. Every minute we noted exactly what they were doing, whether they were studying, if they were texting or listening to music or watching television in the background, and if they had a computer screen in front of them and what websites were being visited.

The results were startling. First, these students were only able to focus and stay on task for an average of three minutes at a time and nearly all of their distractions came from technology. [By the way, other researchers have found similar attention spans with computer programmers and medical students.] The major culprit: their smartphone and their laptop were providing constant interruptions. We also looked at whether these distractors might predict who was a better student. Not surprisingly those who stayed on task longer and had study strategies were better students. The worst students were those who consumed more media each day and had a preference for working on several tasks at the same time and switching back and forth between them. One additional result stunned us: If they checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period they were worse students. It didn’t matter how many times they looked at Facebook; once was enough.

So, what was going on with these students? We have asked thousands of students this exact question and what we hear is that when alerted by a beep, a vibration or a flashing image they feel compelled or drawn to attend to that distraction. However, they also tell us that even without the sensory reminder they are constantly thinking internally, “I wonder if anyone commented on my Facebook post” or “I wonder if anyone responded to my text message I sent 5 minutes ago” or even “I wonder what interesting new YouTube videos my friends have liked.”

Neuroscience is just now starting to emerge as a means of studying the impact of technology on the brain. Consider these recent study results:

  • Video game players show more volume in brain areas where risk and reward are processed but also less activity in areas dealing with emotional regulation and aggression PLUS more dopamine, which parallels what happens in an addict’s brain.
  • Distracted brains show specific regions that are activated in the brain and more distractions tends to parallel more activity.
  • Chinese youth who were addicted to the Internet showed more white matter in the areas of emotion, attention and control but also showed disrupted nerve cell connections in other areas of the brain.

I am convinced that learning to live with both internal and external distractions is all about teaching the concept of focus. In psychology we refer to the ability to understand when you need to focus and when it is not necessary to do so as “metacognition” or knowing how your brain functions. In one recent study we found a perfect demonstration of metacognition, albeit totally by accident. In this study we showed a video in several psychology courses, which was followed by a graded test. Students were told that we may be texting them during the videotape and to answer our text messages. In fact, one-third did not get a text message from us, one-third got four texts during the 30-minute video and the other third got eight texts, enough, we guessed, to make them not be able to concentrate on the video. Oh yes, one other wrinkle was that we timed the text messages to occur when important material was being shown on the videotape that was going to be tested later. We were right that the group who got eight texts did worse but the group with four texts did not. HOWEVER, here is where a mistake in our instructions told us more about what was going on inside the students’ heads when the text arrived. Those students who answered our texts immediately did worse than those who opted to wait a minute or two or even three or four to respond. Those students were using their metacognitive skills to decide when was a good time to be distracted.

How do we teach focus in a world that is constantly drawing our focus elsewhere? One idea is to use “technology breaks” where you check your phone, the web, whatever, for a minute or two and then turn the phone to silent, the computer screen off and “focus” on work or conversation or any non-technological activity for, say 15 minutes, and then take a 1-2 minute tech break followed by more focus times and more tech breaks. The trick is to gradually lengthen the focus time to teach yourself (and your kids) how to focus for longer periods of time without being distracted. I have teachers using this in classrooms, parents using it during dinner and bosses using tech breaks during meetings with great success. So far, though, the best we can get is about 30 minutes of focus. Thanks to Steve Jobs (and others) for making such alluring, distracting technologies.

© 2012 Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D, author of iDisorder: Understanding Our
Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us

Author Bio
Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D.,
author of iDisorder:
Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us
, is past Chair and Professor of Psychology at California State University,  Dominguez Hills. He is a research psychologist and computer educator, and is  recognized as an international expert in the “Psychology of Technology.” Over  the past 25 years, Dr. Rosen and his colleagues have examined reactions to  technology among more than 30,000 children, teens, college students, and adults  in the United States and in 23 other countries. He has been quoted in numerous  media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune,  CNN, and Good Morning America and writes a regular blog  for Psychology Today.

For more information please visit http://us.macmillan.com


Article: Solidarity Politics – Ange-Marie Hancock

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Rotary Dial Politics in an iPhone World
By Ange-Marie Hancock,
Author of Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics

So we’ve occupied Wall Street. Millennial generation protesters have joined forces with an unlikely assemblage of the older generation: Nobel laureate Joseph Stieglitz, Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon. The protests united folks concerned about a variety of different issues around the idea that “Wall Street causes inequality.”

Now that the media attention is focused on the Occupy Wall Street protests, how do we fundamentally resolve such inequality?

It has been difficult to resolve inequalities in the United States because our politics has not kept up with the advances that have emerged in the past 20 years. It’s as if the scholars who have developed new models of politics all have iPhones, while the media, average citizens and policy makers are still using politics that works like a rotary dial phone.

Today’s political discourse does not fully consider the linkages between the public needs of multiple generations — whether it’s strong public schools or college affordability on the Millennial side or having sustainable Medicare and Social Security on the Baby Boomer side. There is, in other words, a cultural generation gap that prevents us from connecting the dots to resolve persistent inequality in a comprehensive way.

The cultural generation gap is considered the product of two demographic trends that are causing anxieties in times of economic hardship:

  • the aging of Baby Boomers, who have spent their entire lives in a United States that is a white majority nation, and have no intention of withdrawing from the public arena, and

 

  • the ascent of Millennials (and increasingly their children), who are not simply the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history but also have the largest percentage of foreign-born individuals. By 2015 Millennials will be the second largest adult generation and are transforming the workplace.

Demographic trends are a lot like tectonic plates — they are very difficult to stop once they are set in motion. But the cultural generation gap isn’t a predetermined outcome. It because we have failed to eradicate the persistent overlapping disparities along the axes of race/ethnicity, gender, national status, and economic class.

Now resolving these overlapping layers of inequality would be challenging and complex in times of peace and prosperity. Throw in a global economic recession alongside two wars and the cultural generation gap grows ever bigger.

What are we to make of these compounding trends? Although cross-generational protesting is an important step forward to resolving overlapping patterns of economic inequality, we cannot simply protest in the same 20th century way, which most Americans are socialized to tune out.

First, eradicating inequality must go beyond generational spokesmen stating the talking points of the other generation. 68 year-old Stieglitz linked the slogan, “Wall Street Causes Inequality” to the case of young people who face prospects of spending the next few years underemployed or with no job at all. However, media coverage of the speech and interviews by Stieglitz himself failed to connect the impact of such underemployment and other issues facing Millennials to the needs of his own generation, which would move the conversation in a 21st century direction. Today’s Boomers aren’t going anywhere, but they will increasingly need healthcare and other forms of services that will be provided by Millennials. Who doesn’t want their own healthcare worker to have the proper training, education and employment opportunities in order to receive quality care? Shifting the narrative reveals the interdependence between needs across the generations.

Second, we ignore the racial, ethnic, gender, and national status aspects of college access at our peril. Stieglitz’s comments referred to a specific subset of the Millennial generation who have had access to college, who, most statistics show, are also more likely to be members of the majority class, race and national status groups in the U.S. But the challenges facing young people in terms of employment go beyond not being able to pay off student loans.

It is clear to me that recent college graduates face unemployment rates that are patently unacceptable. But increasing the coverage to all Millennials allows us to talk about the youth Stieglitz missed in his comments: the youth who were tracked away from college and into a host of dead-end opportunities, the youth products of a failed K-12 public education system in many low-income communities of color, and those who lost hope and left us too soon as a result of homophobic bullying. The longer they remain outside the employment sector, the less money is funneled into current benefits for Medicare and Social Security, programs that help keep Boomers and their older counterparts out of poverty in their older years. When AARP only organizes its members to protest government cuts — a rotary dial, defensive approach — they ignore the 21st century reality that support for policies that increase employment for younger folks is one of the best forms of insurance against future cuts — an iPhone approach that puts them back on offense.

Linking intergenerational values and interests helps us leave our rotary dial phones behind in favor of iPhone politics that can enable us to cultivate civic relationships across demographic groups, foster cross-generational dialogues and create 21st century solutions.

© 2011 Ange-Marie Hancock, author of Solidarity Politics for Millenials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics

Author Bio
Ange-Marie Hancock, 
author of Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics, joined the Department of Political Science at USC Dana and David Dornsife College in 2008 after five years as Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Yale University. Prior to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, Hancock worked for the National Basketball Association, where she conducted the preliminary research and wrote the original business plan for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She has served as an international expert in American Politics for the U.S. Department of State and during the 2008 presidential election. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Forbes, on National Public Radio, KNBC, and she regularly supports USC’s Annenberg TV News by serving as an expert. She currently serves as the associate director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) in the Dornsife College and as one of the inaugural Dornsife College Faculty Fellows.

Over the past eight years Professor Hancock has authored two books and 11 articles. She is a globally recognized scholar of the study of intersectionality — the study of the intersections of race, gender, class and sexuality politics and their impact on public policy. Her first book, The Politics of Disgust and the Public Identity of the “Welfare Queen,”(2004, New York University Press) won two national awards.

For more information please visit http://www.ange-mariehancock.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter


Article: From the Authors of Where Does the Money Go?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Would Getting the Economy On Track Give Us A Free Pass Out of the Federal Budget Mess?
By Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson,
Authors of Where Does the Money Go? Rev Ed: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis

It looks like the country might finally be gearing up to tackle our massive federal deficits and growing federal debt. If history is any guide, serious debate about unpleasant things like cutting popular programs and raising taxes will be accompanied by plenty of people hawking miracle cures that will take away our pain.

So it’s no surprise that a lot of commentators, on both the left and the right, say that the real answer to the deficit and national debt is to fire up the economy and “grow our way out of it,” with some even calling economic growth “the miracle deficit cure.”

 

There’s hardly anything more popular than prosperity. Business people thrive when the economy is growing; it creates jobs and rising incomes so workers like it too. If you’re a comic book fan, even super-villains like Lex Luthor and the Penguin enjoy the benefits. With their far-flung business dealings, they pretty much pursued a pro-growth policy. For them, a growing economy meant there’s that much more to steal.

 

The truth is that we do need healthy economic growth to balance the budget. The other truth is that a growing economy simply won’t be enough.

 

If the economy grows, the government takes in more tax revenue, because businesses are more profitable and people are earning more money. Plus, if the overall economy is growing faster than the government is piling up debt, then the national debt keeps becoming a smaller and less troublesome part of the overall economic pie. Think of it like swimming with the tide, rather than against it. This is exactly what happened after World War II, when the national debt was at its historical peak in comparison to the whole economy.

 

The post-war boom played a huge role in getting the debt down.  So why isn’t economic growth enough? The first catch is that all the projections say the national debt is going to grow faster than the economy, not the other way around.

 

Because of the double whammy of rising health care costs and an aging population, spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will grow faster than the overall economy will. Without changes, spending on these programs will grow so fast that there’s no way the economy could keep up.

 

What’s striking is how many analysts agree on this. That’s the assessment of all three of the government’s budget agencies: The White House Office of Management and Budget (under both Bush and Obama), the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and the Government Accountability Office. It’s stated flatly in the Financial Report of the United States Government, the government’s equivalent of a corporate annual report. Independent experts tell exactly the same story: “No reasonably foreseeable rate of economic growth would overcome this structural deficit,” concluded the Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States, a panel set up by the National Research Council and the National Academy of Public Administration. Those projections are the reason why all these groups consider the federal budget “unsustainable.”

 

There’s also the irritating fact of life that experts can’t agree on what we should do to unleash all this growth anyway. In fact, you can easily find an economist or a think tank who will argue that almost anything will expand the economy. Anything.

 

“Cut taxes! Cut regulation! Get government out of the way! It’ll spur growth!” say the conservatives.

 

“Spend more! Crack down on Wall Street! Close the income gap! Invest in education, and infrastructure. It’ll spur growth!” say the liberals.

 

And even with a growing economy, we still need to get spending in line with revenues. You know all those athletes and Hollywood stars who make millions and still wind up in bankruptcy court? Even when the money pours in, you still have to make ends meet.

 

We absolutely need economic growth. We need it to help solve our fiscal problems, and we need it for the jobs and prosperity all of us want. But there’s a big difference between “we can’t solve our budget problems if the economy doesn’t grow” and “if the economy grows everything will be fine.”

 

In the end, we have to make some decisions – - like deciding what we want the government to do for us, and what we’re willing to pay for it.

© 2011 Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson, authors of Where Does the Money Go? Rev Ed: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis.  
 

Scott Bittle, author of Where Does the Money Go? Rev Ed: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis, is the executive editor of PublicAgenda.org, twice nominated for the Webby Award as best political site.  He is also an award-winning journalist.

Author Bios

Jean Johnson, co-author of Where Does the Money Go? Rev Ed: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis, is the Executive Vice President of Public Agenda, has more then 20 years of experience understanding public attitudes on a broad range of issues. She has also written for various publications such as USA Today, Education Week, and the Huffington Post. 

For more information please visit WhereDoesTheMoneyGo.com and follow the authors on Facebook and Twitter


Year End Followup

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I’d like to thank everyone for all their support during my first full year doing book reviews.  It’s been quite a year.  We’ve reviewed 100 books since January 1st 2010.  We’ve given away over 70 books this year, totalling almost $1400.  We’ve also conducted ? interviews with various authors. 

Special thank you’s go out to Anna, Valerie, and Brad at Hachette Book Groups.   Julie and Anna at FSB Associates.  Bonni at Red Wheel Weiser.  Brandi at BK Walker books.  Nikli, Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group, Sarah at Terra Communications.  Also thanks to all the authors who took time out of their schedules to do interviews with us.

I look forward to 2011 and to working and enjoying this love of books with all of you.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hannakuh, Blessed Kwanzaa and joyous holidays to all of you out there.  And may you have a great New Year.

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Article: Infinite Quest Author John Edward

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Five Ways to Create and Manifest Positive Change
By John Edward,
Author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

When I first started doing psychic readings for clients, my grandmother used to get so frustrated when she would hear me say to my clients that they didn’t need to see me, because they could learn to pay attention to the signs and symbols all around them, instead. I often suggested that they study metaphysics, meditate, or just learn to listen to their own intuition. My grandmother would exclaim, “Why are you saying that? You are not going to have any business!” I always laughed because I believed that it was my responsibility to pass this message of self-empowerment on to my clients. I can’t help but smile to think what she would say now [twenty-five years later] about my latest book, Infinite Quest, in which I share how to develop their own intuition. Bearing in mind I am only a teacher, I can’t change your life. You must create and manifest that positive change. How? My guess is that you instinctively already know, but tapping into that knowledge is the key. Here are a few suggestions to get your intuition flowing.

1. Update Your Attitude

I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but even though it sounds so simple, changing your attitude can be tricky for everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, many people never seem to be able to break free from outdated or negative thought patterns. Observe your reactions and pay attention to the messages you give yourself and others. You might be surprised at how often you criticize yourself, or how much energy you waste worrying about what will go wrong. Decide to make a conscious change in attitude. and then practice, practice, practice. Look for the adventure out of every experience and encounter. Live passionately and be a force for the universe to use.

2. Take Back the Remote Control

What are you watching on your mind’s TV? What songs are you singing internally? What old tapes are still playing from your childhood? It’s critical to be aware of the ways you are programming your mind, consciously and unconsciously. Turn off the news if you find yourself getting upset, stop watching violent shows before you go to sleep, and kindly excuse yourself from the office gossip. Start programming in your mind’s eye what you really enjoy and want for your life. You are the writer, director, and star of the show. Program your station with positive affirmations, songs of joy, visions of a fulfilling future, and things that make you laugh.

3. Law of Attraction: The Boomerang Effect

Think of it like this: Like attracts Like. For example you are stuck in a negative thought pattern then [unfortunately] until you change it, more negativity will follow. You will start to find that that there will be people in your life who are willing to confirm or exploit your fears. Raise your energetic vibration and attract more positive energy. Look for the best in the people you meet, your experiences, and maybe most importantly, yourself. Instead of listing all that is wrong with something or someone, name three things that are right. The more effort you put into this lifetime the more you will extrapolate from it. Don’t ever forget, whatever you send out energetically will find its way back to you.

4. Honor What You Feel Not What You Fear

I am not saying to deny the feeling of fear and pretend it is not present; instead I am suggesting that you embrace it and then let the fear go and move forward. Choose to use The Love Principle as much as possible. Keep in mind that Fear paralyzes and Love empowers. You could worry that your spouse might cheat on you and then unintentionally, create an atmosphere of suspicion, or you can focus on building a marriage that is full of honesty and trust, giving the relationship the best possible chances for success. Remember, Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Focus on the love you feel and not the fear.

5. The Power of Meditation and Prayer

Meditation is enormously important in the process of your psychic development and evolution. It is an essential tool to assist you in creating a life that is centered and balanced, which is the key to achieving your spiritual goals.

Practicing daily meditation can help you release stress and negativity on a conscious as well as an unconscious level. It relaxes the physical body and teaches the mind to focus for a specific period of time. When you can focus, then it is much easier to visualize–which is the basis for creating your own reality. Don’t panic, it can be as simple as five minutes in the shower, a ten-minute walk in the woods, or even three minutes before you run out the door; just do it at least once a day. It helps you to build a strong foundation by raising your vibration and enabling you to be in the essence of your spirit. It allows you to quiet the physical body, work from your higher self, and open up to higher planes of energy and consciousness. The power and healing energy of prayer is something I believe in quite strongly and encourage you to include in your meditation time.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to look outside yourself for what you already have within. The ultimate goal is to live a psychic life every day and to use that newfound recognition to take chances and make choices with confidence.

© 2010 John Edward
author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

Author Bio
John Edward
, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, author, and lecturer. On his internationally syndicated talk shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, he captivated audiences worldwide with his unique abilities to connect people with loved ones who have crossed over to the Other Side. John has appeared on many other talk shows, including the Today ShowOprah!, and The View, and has been a frequent guest on CNN’s Larry King Live. He is a regular guest on morning radio, including New York’s WPLJ and Los Angeles’ KROQ. John has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesPeople, and Entertainment Weekly. John is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories and What if God Were the Sun? He conducts workshops and seminars around the world, and is the founder of the metaphysical website InfiniteQuest.com. John lives in New York with his family.  

Please follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.


Article: From Original Sinners author John R. Coats

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

What’s Real About Reconstructionism?
By John R. Coats,
Author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters

Think of it as the New American Dream, a vision carried by an increasing number of our fellow citizens. Followers of “Christian Reconstructionism,” the uber-right Dominionist sect started by Rousas John Rushdoony, author of The Institutes of Biblical Law, they are quietly, though energetically, working toward an American future in which the Constitution of the United States has been replaced by “600 or so Mosaic laws . . . the inflexible guide for the society [envisioned by Rushdoony's disciple Gary] DeMar and other Reconstructionists.” 

Don’t look for them in the news. Too bright a light on their advocacy, say, of public stonings as “community projects” would, no doubt, prove awkward. (Imagine one of those oh-so-reasonable talking-head debates on the evening news: “Community Stonings: Good for America? Yes or No? With us tonight are . . . “) Mostly, though, it’s because they are simply not in a hurry. As with the Nazis, for whom they’ve expressed admiration, whose crimes, their founder said, were overstated, whose 1923 Beer Hall Putsch suggested that winning through the ballot box was the superior strategy to open revolution, Christian Reconstructionism (in sync with others on the Christian Right) has been busy with a bottom up, and quite legal, deconstruction/reconstruction of the American Republic, and at so measured a pace that we hardly notice, beginning with grassroots control at the level of school boards, city councils, and such. 

A case in point is the religious-right dominated Texas Education Commission’s rewriting of the classroom texts for the teaching of Texas and American history. State legislatures, too, with Texas, again, the example. In 2005, the Republican (read “religious right”) dominated legislature gerrymandered the districts in such a way that it is a near impossibility for Democrats to gain a majority. Yes, I know, Democrats have a history of this sort of behavior, as well. Then again, their efforts were driven merely by old-timey greed and power-happy politicians. History suggests that control in the hands of religious fanatics is another matter.

Still, an American theocracy? Seriously? How? You’d be surprised how easy it can be in a culture as distracted as ours. Owning the language is a must – - that is, the steady, purposeful shifting of meaning of the words by which we, as citizens, define ourselves. In his book, American Fascists, The Christian Right And The War On America, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges writes about the control of language, what he calls “‘logocide,’ the killing of words [in which] Code words of the old [secular] belief system [freedom, patriotism, liberty] are deconstructed and assigned diametrically opposed meanings.” He goes on to quote Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister and master of the tactic: “The best propaganda is that which . . . works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.” 

To be sure, Christian Reconstructionists hardly fit the cliché of backwoods religious cult. They are smart, educated, well-funded, and growing in numbers, power, and influence. What they want, and diligently are working toward, is ridding America, then the world, of “the blasphemy of democracy.” Along with replacing the Constitution of the United States with biblical law, their agenda includes the return of “biblical” slavery, the closure of public schools, and the return of women to their proper, biblical place-what Rushdoony calls the man’s “help-meet.” Among those to be stoned as “community projects” (note how the horror is hidden beneath the familiarity of the term) are disrespectful teenagers, young women who lie about their virginity, adulterers, witches, blasphemers, and gay men. 

It couldn’t happen here? In 2008, one of the primary litmus tests for Republican candidates for the Presidency of The United States was a public declaration of belief in the Bible’s literal truth. We can scoff all we like, but while American progressives, disappointed by Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s record, register their protest by not voting, Christian Reconstructionists and the rest of the Christian Right plan to go on electing to local, state, and national office men and women who believe-and intend that our children and grandchildren will believe-that democracy is blasphemy, that the earth and the universe are 6,000 years old, and that human children once rode dinosaurs. 

What we too readily forget is that elections rarely reflect the overall will of the people, but are, instead, the result of which supporters of this or that candidate or cause show up and vote in the greatest numbers. Which is what the advocates of that New American Vision never forget, what they have been doing for most of the past three decades, and are ready to do again, and again . . . and again.

 © 2010 John R. Coats, author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters

Author Bio
John R. Coats, author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters, holds his master’s degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal) and Bennington College Writing Seminars. A former parish priest, he was a principal speaker and seminar leader for the More To Life training program. He lives with his wife, Pamela, in Houston, Texas.

For more information please visit www.JohnRCoats.com and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


Article: Eat Pray Write – Evan Marshall & Martha Jewett

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Eat Pray Write: Writing for the Pure Pleasure of It
By Evan Marshall and Martha Jewett,
Creators of The Marshall Plan ® Novel Writing Software

As literary agents, we earn our living selling books to publishers. However, we are also writers, and know the pleasure and fulfillment writing can bring, regardless of whether anyone else ever reads it. Some people paint or do handicrafts purely for pleasure. It never occurs to them to exploit their activity commercially. Why, then, has writing become a business in which you’re nothing if you’re not “sold”? We think it’s because of media hype: There are riches there – if you can figure out how to hit it big.

This seems a shame to us. Writing is a craft like any other, capable of bringing the same benefits as any other creative endeavor. Psychologist James W. Pennebaker conducted a study in which groups who wrote about traumatic or emotionally meaningful events, as opposed to groups who wrote about superficial topics and omitted emotions, showed improved health, immune function, hormonal activity and other biological markers of stress or disease. For those wishing to seek these same benefits, we offer the following ideas.

Memoirs

A way to bond with family and friends and leave a legacy, memoirs may take any of a number of forms. Martha has created a number of “recipe memoirs” — brief pieces about people in her family, centering on a recipe connected to that person.

You’ll find information and resources at Telling your story, a website maintained by writer, editor and personal historian Pat McNees. See also Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler’s site, Women’s Memoirs.

On our blog WriteYourMemoir.com you’ll finds ideas for capturing your stories, from the abovementioned “recipe memoirs” to “magazine as memoir” and everything in between.

Journals and Diaries

Many diarists and journal writers find that even if they don’t share their work with others, they still find they gain perspective and greater control over their lives.

Writing to Heal by the above mentioned James Pennebaker (mentioned above) is a guide to healing pain with “emotionally expressive writing.” He stresses that the key to understanding and coming to terms with these experiences is storytelling.

In Writing as a Way of Healing, Louise DeSalvo recommends writing completely uncensored, recording every possible detail, which connects loss, pain and grief to an event and hastens healing.

Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write maintains that “All of us have a sex drive. All of us have a drive to write.” Writing, she says is a natural, joyful process that connects us to the divine.

The New Diary by Tristine Rainer goes beyond the familiar calendar-based diary to help readers clarify goals, focus inner energies, free inhibitions and release imagination.

Scrapbooking

Another method of recording memories is scrapbooking — the making of highly creative albums containing not only writing but also memorabilia such as artwork, photographs, printed media and small objects.

The website Memory Makers Magazine provides a wealth of free tips on scrapbooking and ideas for scrapbook page layouts.

For the more technologically oriented, My Memories Suite software helps you create and share “digital scrapbooks.”

Social Network Writing

The Internet makes it possible for writers to instantly share their work with readers around the world and receive their feedback. “User generated” content includes novels, poetry and stories.

Wattpad.com is an online community where writers and readers connect. Pieces may be read not only on a computer but also on mobile devices.

Textnovel.com is all about “cellphone novels.” Authors and readers share novels, poetry, stories, journal entries or whatever they wish by email or text message.

Fictionpress.com is a network of over a million writers and readers sharing more than 1.2 million original works.

Fan Fiction

Fan fiction (also known as FF, fic, fanfic or fanfiction) is a term for social network fiction written by fans using characters from their favorite novels. These works are rarely published for profit and are intended to be read by other fans.

Thanks to the Internet, fans easily share stories in every genre. FanFiction.net, widely considered the largest, most popular fan fiction archive online, hosts millions of stories in dozens of languages.

Have you ever found yourself dreaming up new scenarios for characters in your favorite novels? Try fan fiction; however, bear in mind that attitudes toward FF vary among authors. Some give it their blessing while others oppose it. Still others seem to turn a “blind eye” — not actively approving it yet not discouraging it so long as it is not published commercially.

See this helpful article by actress and journalist Racheline Maltese: How to Write Fanfiction: Tips for Writing, and Making Sure Somebody Reads Your Fanfiction.

The Internet has created new opportunities for pursuing all modes of writing for pleasure. But whether you go online or analog, the benefits of writing purely for yourself, rather than for publication, are limitless.

© 2010 Evan Marshall and Martha Jewett, creators of The Marshall Plan ® Novel Writing Software

Author Bios

Evan Marshall and Martha Jewett are the creators of The Marshall Plan® Novel Writing Software, an adaptation of the bestselling Marshall Plan® series of writing guides. Evan is an internationally recognized expert on fiction writing and author of the Hidden Manhattan and Jane Stuart and Winky mystery series. A former book editor, for 27 years he has been a leading literary agent specializing in fiction. He is the president of The Evan Marshall Agency, a leading literary management firm that represents a number of New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Martha is a former award-winning business book editor at McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, and HarperBusiness. She is currently a literary agent and editorial consultant specializing in business books. An avid memoirist, she blogs at www.writeyourmemoir.com.

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Article – Kristl – The Budget Diet

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

by:  Kristl, http://www.TheBudgetDiet.com

The Budget Diet is a diet for your wallet.not your waistline!  You’ll discover new money saving tips everyday to help you slim down your daily spending!  The Budget Diet girl Is not a financial planner or an accountant.just a mom that knows how to live the good life on a budget!  Follow The Budget Diet on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Budget-Diet/114014985289270 or twitter http://www.twitter.com/thebudgetdiet

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Summer Book Swap For Children

A budget friendly & fun way to kick-off a summer of reading! Here’s how.

  • Invite friends (in the same grade) to bring 3 used paperback books that are at their current reading level.
  • After the children arrive, display the books on a large table or two.
  • Draw numbers for the order in which the children will choose a book. For example, if there are 10 children at the party, put numbers 1 – 10 into the drawing & each child picks a number.
  • Round 1 begins! The child that drew #1 picks a book, then the child that drew #2 picks a book, and so on.
  • Before beginning round 2 & round 3, draw numbers again. This turns the swap into a game, adds to the fun and prevents the same child from always
    having first pick or always having last pick!
  • So each child arrived at the party with 3 books, and they’ll leave with 3 books!
  • After the final round, make bookmarks (using scrap paper, markers & assorted stickers).
  • Have information to give the children on summer reading clubs at your local library or bookstore. Most clubs offer incentives or prizes for reading!
  • Refreshments.let the children make their own ice cream sundaes!

HAPPY SUMMER READING!

P.S. – When my children were in elementary school, I loved hosting a summer book swap! It became an annual tradition! The children enjoyed seeing each other after school was out, they loved getting new books and making bookmarks was a huge hit! If you host a summer book swap. Please let me know how it goes!