Wednesday, June 29

A lifelong politician to consider

This man spent his life in politics and academics. He studied the ways of man and of science. He wrote. He served in political positions most of his life. He always studied science, making contributions that made real differences in the fields of electricity and meteorology. 
His personal life was colorful. He had a common law wife. He had a illegitimate son. He was known for sitting with the windows open in the nude to take an air bath. His religious views were never known, but he was known to ridicule those who were self righteous.

Was this some great liberal that today’s Tea Party folks would hang in effigy? Is it Al Gore or someone like that?

Nope. It is Ben Franklin, one the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was intelligent and irreverent. He spent his life in public service. He actually liked the idea of things like public schools. Indeed, he founded the first volunteer fire department in the United States. His estate actually left small sums of money in trust for the cities of Boston and Philidelphia.

Franklin, like other Founding Fathers, was a champion of freedom, but also a champion of people having good sense and studying and having knowledge when they spoke out. Franklin demanded people know what they were talking about. He loathed those who spoke out just to speak out of emotion.

Other Founding Fathers were like him. Franklin paid the price in his time. Sure, we honor him now in so many ways. But, during his life, especially his earlier life, he was viciously attacked by people who saw him as immoral or eccentric for telling the truth as he saw it.

It is little different today. Suppose a guy with some good ideas came along and presented himself to the current Tea Party or even the Republican Party. What would people say about him when they found out he loved scientific reasoning, was not really married to his wife, had an illegitimate child, and did not go to church on a regular basis?

The irony is those who cry out the most for the values of the Founding Fathers are the least like them. Founding Father John Adams once wrote that “Facts are stubborn things…and those who ignore them do so at their own peril.” That is true of the new GOP. They claim to embrace the Founding Fathers, but are ignorant of them and their histories. They want to lead, but only want leaders who pass litmus tests. Even Ronald Reagan would be a RINO now.

As we prepare to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, VUI will take a look at the Founding Fathers, that group of crazy men who actually gave up their fortunes and lives to create this nation. They did not have lobbyists to steer them to consulting fees like our Governor did in the State House and so many legislators do. They did not look for big pay checks after government service. They lost their homes, their fortunes and some their lives.   They did not have some billionaire giving millions of dollars to political groups and consultants.

Yet, we have these politicians who tell us public service is something bad. They run campaigns boasting about their lack of experience serving people. They ridicule folks who work for the government.    But, when they hold office, they feather their nests, just as Jefferson and Franklin warned us against. Something to ponder.

Parisian Postcards: Snapshots of Life in Paris






Available at "Amazon.com"

We met Loui and her husband Stan about a year ago. We immediately found a  kinship and an immediate friendship developed.  She began writing "snapshots" about their lives in Paris as ex-pats.  Friends requested, or demanded, that she should compile her "journal" and publish a book, et voila.  

Recently, I interviewed her about their lifes, her husband Stan, and how the book came about. 
 

When did you come to Paris for the first time? And why?
The first trip was about 30 years ago. I was in Europe for the first time and it was first on my list of places to visit.



Do you now live in Paris? If not, how regularly do you visit? 
I am here most of the year and I would be here exclusively if my husband did not love Miami and a hot climate. However, to be honest it is not bad going back for a couple of months when it is freezing here in the middle of winter. 

The story on how we came to be in Paris may be of interest. Stanley and I met in 2002, and we have been married only 3 years. At the time we met, I was living in Key West and Stanley in Miami. Shortly after our relationship started I discussed my goals of retiring early and in Europe. At that point, he said that if our relationship continued it had to be Paris since that was his second home and where he had had friends for about 40 years since going to the university with them. Such a hardship! So about 7 years ago we started visiting Paris together and I began looking at apartments. As it turned out, his friends were very excited to assist me in this quest and I bought our apartment about 6 years ago. Our visits than consisted of a month here or there for renovating; more adventure than pleasure and at that time I still had work commitments in Key West. About 4 years ago we actually started to enjoy being here with visits that have increased as loose ends were taken care of in the States. We are finally at the point that we can spend the majority of our time here.


What inspired you to write Parisian Postcards – Snapshots of life in Paris?
I initially would write stories and email them to friends which transitioned into a blog with photos. I have two friends who had been in publishing and they were very motivational in making the transition from blog to book. I followed their advise and the book was born.


Do you speak French and if so how did you learn the language?
My french is improving and the more that I learn the more I realize I don’t know. My husband is of course fluent and a majority of people believe that he is french. I could not find anyone to give lessons in Key West and so I did not start taking lessons until about 5 years ago when I moved to Miami. I, of course, continue with my lessons. The progress has been slow but each year I can see improvement.


Did you find language was a barrier at any time during your stay in Paris?
That is in interesting question since there are many interpretations. I have met Americans who have lived in Paris for 10 or 20 years and speak less French than I do. So one can certainly live here with no language barriers. However, learning a language opens doors to understanding a culture and a people. That is the real motivation in learning. By opening doors to understanding someone else is really the optimum goal to eliminating barriers on all levels. Practically, it makes dinner parties much more enjoyable so that you are no longer just a fly on the wall!


What advice would you give to a first time visitor to Paris?
When I finally had the opportunity to travel I was running from one must see to the next thinking that I had to catch up for those years that I was working my way through school and there was no time or money for travel. However, after a few of these trips I realized that I was not experiencing the culture, the place, the real essence of a city or country. For a first time visitor to Paris, I encourage a few days to visit the things that are on the must see list. However, always take a few days with no program so as to wander the streets, sit in cafes, people watch and to try to talk to people. The other piece of advise is to always add a few extra days to your trip. I do not understand coming to Europe for only a week. If you can afford the flight you can afford a few extra days.



Name one you place in Paris that inspires you.
This is a difficult question. For me, my love affair with Paris is how it makes me feel when I am here and not about a specific place. It is not so important where I am but just being here; walking the streets, walking along the Seine, sitting in cafes, going to museums, visiting with friends. There is a state of mind that I fall into that I can not get anywhere else.



Name one thing you don't like about Paris.
I’ll have to ponder that one!


What is your favourite French food and your least favourite?
favourite? - steak frites and foie gras!
least favourite? - I don’t think so!


Do you have a favourite restaurant in Paris?
This is an easy question and in my book I have a chapter on a restaurant called Variations which is on rue Wallon in the 5th and I call it ‘ma cantine’. This is my favorite.



What is your favourite day trip away from Paris?
In the book I write about Grez-sur-Loing which was my favorite day adventure. Another wonderful day trip is to Chantilly and then stop in Senlis for picturesque cafes, shops, etc. If you are lucky enough to be invited to someone’s country home outside of Paris, that is the biggest treat of all.


Why do you think so many people are fascinated by Paris? 
It is beautiful, a fascinating history, the setting of so many films and novels and the food is amazing. And, did I mention the wine?



Have you got any plans to write any more books? 
This was more work than I expected and keeping up with PR, twitter and facebook has been time consuming. While I was working on the Galley during the winter, I was thinking about interviewing the artisans in specific Ateliers and documenting their stories. However, I guess one should never disclose one’s next project.



Any other comments or advice?
If you have not been to Paris, it is time to go.


 
In summary: It's a great, great book to read if you're considering moving to Paris part-time or full-time, or just simply for the reading enjoyment.  

Tuesday, June 28

Gamecocks do it again

When the South Carolina Gamecocks won the national championship in baseball last year, the staff of VUI thought we saw a once in a lifetime event.  Winning a national championship in any college sport is difficult.  When it happens for your school, it is something to savor.  Winning back to back titles, well that is incredible.  The only other South Carolina college or university to pull off such a feat in any college sport is Lander University.  At Lander , the men's tennis team had a string of national championships at the NAIA and NCAA division II levels.  

What South Carolina did in baseball this year was simply incredible.  They overcame injuries to key players, had key players play hurt, made outstanding plays in the toughest of situations, and defended their national championship with heart and class.  Other teams had more talent.  But, those others teams did not play like champions like the Gamecocks did. 

Congratulations to Coach Ray Tanner, his staff, and his players.  We also say " thank you" to them for showing the world what Palmetto State champions are made of.  


Sunday, June 26

another guest contributed cartoon...this about Governor Haley


Cartoon Disclaimer: All cartoons submitted are strictly the opinion of the artist, are not copyrighted and may be used freely as seen fit by the receiver. Jamie W. Walton

Thursday, June 16

Top 9 things a Governor does not want to hear from staff

9) “I know Governor, but Glenn McConnell has pictures.”

8) “No Governor, we can not make the call sign of a plane you are on Air National Guard One.”

7) “Sorry, Governor, Donald Trump says next years Celebrity Apprentice is already booked up.”

6) “Governor, you got an urgent email from Ex Congressman Weiner.  He says he wants you to forget you ever got the pictures he sent.”

5) “ Governor, Jakie Knotts is in pretty good health and is running for re-election”

4) “Sorry Governor but the agents protecting you do not have to serve as wait staff for you and your friends.”

3) “Calm down, Governor, sure, the approval ratings are low, but they are a couple of points above your age, so we got something there.”

2) “No, Governor, you cannot fire members of the State Supreme Court.”

1) “Ah, come on Governor, another blogger?  Geeez!”

Atheists and others need to get over it

 We at VUI believe in freedom of religion and freedom from religion.  What goes on in Utah, with the Mormans knowing house by house who is a member of their church and not is apalling.  That said, equally appalling is the minority religious beliefs that think they can dictate culture. 

In the South, even the town drunk pays respect to God at the ball game when prayer is offered. He is not worried about the dollar or so spent of his tax money to allow the prayer.  But, the yankee athesist is.  Such folks get all bent out of shape, threaten to sue already suffering public schools, all in the name of their No God. 

Fair enough, I suppose.  But, it does make us at VUI wonder at the arrogance of those who claim to not believe in God or be so offended by the Christian religion.  Here is why.  Say you are at a high school football game.  A prayer before the game is offered.  You do not have to join.  Frankly no one really notices if you do not join.  The vast majority in this democracy of ours embrace such.  If you do not, frankly no one cares.  We at VUI have been at hundreds of high school football games over the years, and searched the internet.  We can not find anything legitmitate about someone being harassed for not praying.

But, you self righteous types come along and you believe the freedom of the vast majority of people to say a prayer is not near as important as you not having to hear it.  Further, some of you think that your religious beliefs entitle you to skirt common sense laws like pictures for drivers licenses.  It is pure arrogance and a sense of self importance.  We do have religious freedom in this country,and freedom from religion, and that also means freedom from religion, including atheism, that a minority would put on the rest of us.  Your freedom ends where others liberty begins. Life is not Burger King, where you can get it your way everytime.

Think a bit on it.  If you believe that my religious beliefs are so wrong you have to punch me in the nose, your freedom to believe that ends where my liberty to have my nose left alone begins.  Such a theory expands.  If the vast majority want to acknowledge some prayer at a football game or the like, what right, and what arrogance, do you have to tell folks in a free democracy they cannot?  Further, we live in a land in which you can sit silent, not go to church, etc.  That is the freedom.  If you doubt that, try the ideals of some of those on the left taking over the places like Egypt.  They would execute you for not agreeing with them on religion.  And, the same folks who worry about prayers at ball games here think those folks are for freedom.  It would be laughable if it were not so real.

Wednesday, June 15

Another guest cartoon....about Weiner

 The Weiner problem is really getting big for House Democrats, so we enjoyed this guess sumbitted cartoon and hope the readers get a laugh.  Thanks again.

Cartoon Disclaimer: All cartoons submitted are strictly the opinion of the artist, are not copyrighted and may be used freely as seen fit by the receiver. Jamie W. Walton

Tuesday, June 14

Peking Duck -- a ma façon

Pekin Duck


Lately I've been been going to Chinatown alot, not only to eat, but also to shop. Plus there's a familiarity and sort of like "comfort food" welcoming me.  As I was walking around Chinatown in the 13 arrondissement,  (see my post on Chinatown), I noticed the familiar images of duck roasted to a golden brown hanging in the windows. By the way, there's a big difference between roasted duck hanging in the windows and Peking duck. Chinese roasted duck commonly hung in the windows, otherwise known as Cantonese style is prepared just that, simply roasted, whereas Peking duck preparation is distinct in that the skin is separated from the carcass and the duck is allowed to dry making the meat more dense and the skin crispier, almost like "crackling"

Lately, there's been a great deal of discussion among my friends about buying Peking duck and bringing it home and reheating it. I find buying duck somewhat tenuous, maybe it's just me, but unless you know the shop, and they know you, I always feel that I'm getting the duck that's been sitting around awhile. And, while Peking duck can be sold and served beautifully at restaurants, it is quite expensive.

Anyway, I thought, wow I used to do demos and teach how to make "Peking duck" back in the U.S., in fact it was one of my most requested classes.  So, why have I stopped making one of my favorite dishes and at a fraction of the cost. It's not difficult, all you really need is patience. So, the following is my recipe, a sort of hybrid of several recipes that I adapted for the American and French kitchen.


CANARD LAQUÉ À MA FAÇON (Peking duck my way)

  •  Preheat oven to 350F or 190C
  • 1 small to medium sized duck 
  • Electric Air pump or manual bike pump. If you don't have a bike pump, try a hair dryer, but set it on just plain "air" with no heat. (Note: in China they blow in air via their mouth, don’t recommend it unless you have very strong lungs)
  • 1 1/2 gallons water
  • 1 cup Dark vinegar (e.g., Asian Black vinegar, or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses or ¾ cup dark brown sugar. In France, "sucre de canne semoule foncé" works well
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce--"pearl river bridge" superior dark soy sauce works well and can also be found in France
  • 2 star anise or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt or coarse salt (Sel de Mer) found throughout France
  •  2 large "hand" ginger, washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick (skin, pieces and all--for the bath mixture)
  • 2 duck hooks or string
  • 1 tablespoon 5-spice powder (known as cinq parfum in France, can be found in most Asian markets)
  • Approximately 4-small oranges, washed and quartered, skin on
  • 1 inch peeled ginger (to be inserted into the cavity)
  • 6-12 scallions to be inserted into the cavity (ends and all)
  • 1 or 2 wooden skewers
  • 12 scallions brushes 
  • Steamed pancake or buns
  • Hoisin, plum sauce, even Tonkatsu sauce works well

Dipping duck in hot bath


In a tall stock pot (tall/big enough to submerge a duck completely), mix the water, hand ginger, vinegar, molasses or brown sugar, soy and star anise and bring to a brisk boil. Make a slit at the base of the neck of the duck to insert the air pump. While holding the rear of the duck tightly, turn on the pump to separate the skin from the meat. The air must travel all the way down the legs. Set blown up ducks aside. Mix the salt and 5-spice together and season the duck inside and out. Hook or tie the ducks by the neck and dip 3-5 times in the boiling glaze. Hang duck over sink, until most of the liquid has been drained. As it's draining, it helps to put an electric fan aimed at the duck to facilitate drying and cooling down (approximately an hour or two). I recall once at our Lake Tahoe home, since it was winter, I hung the duck on our balcony, needless to say our neighbors feared that I took up voodoo. After the duck has cooled sufficiently, then transfer to a rack over a pan and put in the refrigerator uncovered [24-hours (overnight)]. The idea is to get the skin very dry and taut which helps in getting the skin nice and crisp.


After duck has been allowed to dry efficiently, in a large bowl mix the oranges, scallions and peeled ginger. Stuff the ducks full of the mixture. Using the excess skin, take the skewers and close shut the cavity opening. Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C) degrees and place directly on the oven rack with a sheet tray of water below the rack to catch the fat. Roast approximately 1 hour, breast side up.  If you have a convention setting, use it, reduce temperature to 350F or 176C and cooking time by 10-15 minutes. A lot of fat will render off so be careful when removing. Carve up duck and serve.

The skin is the most sought after delicacy

Serve with Asian style pancakes or steamed buns (can be purchased frozen in the Asian market, and in Paris Tang Frères or PariSgelé). Although the frozen pancakes and steam buns can be micro-waved, it does dry out fast. So, if you want to micro-wave them, wet a paper towel, cover the steam buns and just "nuke" for a few seconds each.  Otherwise, use a "steamer baskets." If using a basket steamer,  place wax paper at the bottom of the steamer to prevent the pancakes/steam buns from sticking.

Place a scallion with some hoisin, plum or tonkatsu sauce on steamed bun with a piece of duck skin, and eat it like a burrito. I've also recently discovered, some dip the skin in sugar. DELICIOUS!!!

Sunday, June 12

The other side of life and how state government deals with it

Most of us do the right things, even if we fail at business, are unemployed, have bad credit, drink too much, whatever, we tend to mostly be a people that have a sense of honor and respect for kids and old folks and to some point, each other.  Plainly put, most of us want to take care of the kids and mama and them, despite whatever faults we have.

Perhaps that is why it is hard for folks to understand the value of things like public education and the Department of Social Services.  But, the folks in law enforcement, the DSS, and yes even in public education, see firsthand the other side of life.  The side that does not care about kids or mama or them. They see the folks that in this world deal real harm to others.

As the legendary Hank Williams once wrote, “in the world’s mighty gallery of pictures…the saddest of all are the pictures from life’s other side.”  Those pictures are all around us, if we only dare to see them.  There are the kids who live in a home filled with abuse.  They could be next door.  There is the old widow who has adult children who more worry about who gets her pension check and her car than her care.  The stories of abuse of our most vulnerable that law enforcement, social workers and public educators can tell would curl most folks blood.    It is out there.  It is real.  And, our lack of doing something about it defines us a people.

For, we are only as a good of  a people as we treat and respect the most vulnerable among us.  Christ told us that.  But, we do not listen to that any more.  State and local governments formed entities to take care of our most vulnerable.  Today, we are told such things are not important.  Such things cannot be afforded.

Fair enough.  But, VUI believes our leaders tell us such because the vulnerable do not have lobbyists who give contributions and throw big parties for them.  Public service is about serving all the public, not just those who pay your bar tab.

And for those out there who say, “I take care of mine you take care of yours,”  think on this.  We all live here together.  When you shut an abused kid out of a chance, you create someone who we have to pay for in the criminal system later.  And, when you let someone abuse an old person, you just flat go against God, which so many politicians in this state claim to embrace.  Is that worth the money spent for some guy in the Department of Commerce to dine like a king?

Let’s be brutally honest.  There is no limited government champions anymore.  The Republicans, even in SC ,seem to be for who pays them to act and write bills that suit their business interests.  So, if there is to be no limited government anymore, then lets have a government that pays for the law enforcement, the social workers, the public educators, and even the health care workers to care for the kids and mama and them. After all, taking care of the kids and mama and them is as important to us as our guns.  Read the budget of South Carolina and make your own decisions.  We seem bought and paid for and the folks don’t have a chance.  Do not get VUI started on legislators and consulting fees that they take from big business.  Too bad some abused kids can not hire them to consult.  Those kids could really use some help getting funding for programs to help them.

Thursday, June 9

Top 9 things not to do this summer

We at VUI want you to have a safe and happy summer.  But, summer is a time in which the heat, alcohol and lack of common sense seem to  join forces to ruin the day.  The staff of VUI has seen and heard things that well, defy logic in the summer.  So, as a public service, we offer:

Top 9 things to avoid doing this summer.

9) Tie sparklers to a roman candle, hold them in your hand and light the fuse.

8) Anything that makes you say, “hey ya’ll, watch this.”

7) Drink to the point in which you go, “who needs tongs?” as you reach to turn over something on the grill with your hand.

6) Walk around the back yard with nothing on but your Depends underwear.

5) Drink to the point you tell your wife, “That gal down the street can really fill out a bikini.”

4) Shove a cop at a summer  festival just to see what he will do.

3) Put on sweat clothes to go running in 100 degree heat to prove how tough you are.

2) Drink to the point you actually walk down the street, in your Depends, and ask that gal in the bikini, “are those real?”

1) Get naked around fishing lures.

Want real reform? Reform state and local government retirement

Thousands of South Carolina workers work for either the state government or the various local governments.  They do sometimes thankless jobs for us all.  They also work beside friends and neighbors in the private sector who do just as important jobs.

The difference is the good folks who work for government can retire at a relatively early age with a benefits based retirement plan that pays them nicely, while folks in the private sector must work to the SSI retirement age and have SSI checks and their own contributions to things like a 401{k} get them through the retirement years.  State employees rely on us to keep paying taxes.

Perhaps there was a time in which state employees needed such benefits to draw talent to work for the state.  That time has passed.  We now live in hard economic times, times in which state government struggles to make its way.

So, with the growing number of retirees versus folks who are working and paying taxes, perhaps it is time to reexamine state retirement. Forget who answers what role call in the State House, going  after this perk is real reform.

Lets be clear.  South Carolina will keep its commitment to all those retired or about to retire.  We made a deal with those folks, we have to keep it.  But, for others, we can change things.

First, let’s just eliminate the state retirement benefit for members of the House and Senate.  Their jobs are part time, and it is absurd that they can make more retired than in office.  Again, we keep our commitment to those retired, but we say from this point forward no more of that.

And, we have to go after state and local workers at lower levels.  Sorry.  It has to be done.  South Carolina should phase out the retirement system it has.  Even if we raised taxes on the so called wealthy, we cannot afford a benefits based retirement system that pays folks so much for not working.  We have to phase South Carolina government workers into the SSI program, offering them a contributions based retirement plan like a 401{k} and leave it at that.

Perhaps there could be some exception for fire fighters and police to retire earlier than most.  Their jobs have understandable physical demands.  But, for the vast majority of government workers, teachers included, it is time they worked and lived like the private sector.  Retiring with a benefits based pension at 50 or so no longer cuts it.  Let them participate in SSI and have a contributions based retirement like the rest of us.

I know some will cry foul about such an idea.  But, before you do, just think of the mechanic, the construction worker, the manufacturing worker, all of which pay taxes and have to work until the SSI retirement age and all they have is that SSI check and what they contributed to their own savings accounts.  Folks like that are the ones that actually help to pay the cushy retirements of state workers.  They cannot afford to do so any longer, and we have to see that and take on the state retirement issue.

Putting younger state workers in a contribution based retirement program helps them.  It is something that they can count on.  Tax revenues for benefit based retirements might be there and they might not be.  A contribution based retirement account is solid.

Reforming state retirement is the 500 pound gorilla in the political room. Not even Governor Haley wants to touch it. But, if we want to put this state on sound financial footing, we have to.  Let the vast majority of state and local workers live like the rest of us in the private sector.  Let them retire at the SSI age, get SSI benefits and  supplement their retirements with various contribution based savings.  We just cannot pay for what is going on now any longer.

Wednesday, June 8

guest cartoon

We at VUI welcome guest submissions of remarks and cartoons.  We got this cartoon about the costs of the Pee Dee Interstate and offer it to the readers.  Enjoy.  Hopefully there will be more to come. 




Cartoon Disclaimer:  All cartoons submitted are strictly the opinion of the artist, are not copyrighted and may be used freely as seen fit by the receiver.  Jamie W. Walton
 
 
Bio:  Walton, who lives in Rock Hill with his wife Josette, is a retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army.  A native of Lexington, SC, he graduated from the Citadel with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and holds a Master's degree in Journalism from USC.  He served as the Managing Editor for the Military Review Magazine.  In the Army, he served as Public Affairs Officer for the United States V Corps, Europe and in Washington, DC, where he oversaw media communications related to the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery affairs.  He was also a speechwriter for President Ronald Regan for military events.  He is a combat veteran of Vietnam and Korea.

Tuesday, June 7

Watch out! Haley and hers will hit the SC Supreme Court

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley got schooled on South Carolina Constitutional law when the South Carolina State Supreme Court ruled against her call to bring back the South Carolina General Assembly in recess to deal with some pet issues of hers that did not get passed this session.

It was a great day for the rule of law in the land and declared that South Carolina was not some third world state that the executive could haul the legislative body back into session to give the executive more power.  Of course the Court did not say that, but end the end that is what they accomplished.

Think on it.  Governor Haley and those who support her claim to be conservative.  But, Haley tried to use her power as Governor to call the General Assembly to do her bidding to centralize power in the executive branch.  We at VUI are not kidding around.  That sort of thing happens in third world countries, not South Carolina.

The South Carolina Supreme Court said “No.”  That has left Haley and her folks in a downright tizzy fit.  Haley issued a statement, misleading as it was, rambling on about courts around the country disagree.  Wrong answer, Governor.  Conservatives believe that each state has its right to rule its own state government.  True conservatives do not cry out that South Carolina should do as other states.  Further, the courts around the country offer no decisions in the Governor’s defense.  She and her people are just flat going nuts, as one old political hand puts it.   Perhaps we ought to be thankful Haley can not call out the National Guard to surround the SC Supreme Court.

But, that statement does give us an indication of what is going to happen next.  Haley and her well funded operation from out of state money is going to go after the South Carolina Supreme Court.  Bank on it.  In the coming weeks, VUI predicts Haley and her minions saying all sorts of things unsavory about the South Carolina Supreme Court.  How dare they! They opposed Darling Nikki and they must pay!  All sorts of things will come out.  Regardless, the fact we are state of laws, and not personalities is at stake.

Let’s look at the issue the Supreme Court dodged.  The Supreme Court ruled that since the General Assembly was still in session, Governor Haley could not dictate their meetings, essentially.  Good ruling on solid grounds without question.  But, there is a larger issue.  Should South Carolina end up the Venezuela of the United States and have a Governor who keeps calling back the General Assembly in session until her pet issues, especially the ones that give her more power, are carried out?

Is that  type behavior really conservative?  Or is megalomania?  Again think on it.  For decades conservatives have championed the idea of the people having a voice in every decision and decentralizing power.  Along comes Governor Haley, and she tries to use her powers to call back the General Assembly to centralize more government power under her.  The sad thing is, many so called conservatives lap up at the chance to serve her ego and cry out against those who want to check government power.

That is why we at VUI say watch out.  The SC Supreme Court, often a voice of reason in the state beyond normal politics, is about to be taken into the political world via Haley and her minions.  You do not tell Her Majesty “No” and not pay a cost.  Watch the next few weeks and months unfold and remember we told you so. 

Sunday, June 5

D-Day

Sixty-sevn years ago, thousands of Allied forces died during the greatest invasion the world has ever known.  Led by Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, thousands of Americans, British, Canadian and free French soldiers took on the German fortress that was occupied Normandy in France.  

Though it seems hard to believe, the issue was in doubt for much of the day.  German forces were extraordinarily well fortified and casualty rates for the first waves of attackers were larger than expected.  Indeed, the issue was in such doubt that General Eisenhower walked around that day with a statement in his pocket about how the invasion had failed and forces were withdrawing back to England.  

Of course, the note was not needed. The drive and intensity of the men fighting that day carried that day.  Frankly, we often think of our grandfather when it comes to anything from World War II.  Too often people  see it as old and slow.  


Well, it wasn't.  Looking for some way to honor the men of D-Day, the staff came across a tribute video set to Iron Maiden's "Longest Day," which was about D-Day.  It shows the intensity and speed of events.  Enjoy and look at that old guys a different way.  God Bless those Men.  They saved the world from tyranny. 




Thursday, June 2

WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY ?

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior.Its immediate goal is to understand behavior and mental processes by researching and establishing both general principles and specific cases.For many practitioners, one goal of applied psychology is to benefit society.In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist, and can be classified as a social scientist, behavioral scientist, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie certain functions and behaviors. Psychologists explore such concepts as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind.a Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods,some especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology incorporates research from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, such as philosophy.
While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in many different spheres of human activity. Although the majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role (clinical, counseling, and school positions); many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior (typically in university psychology departments) and teach such knowledge in academic settings; and some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, and in other areas.such as human development and aging, sports, health, the media, law, and forensics.

PSYCHOLOGY OF ABNORMAL


Abnormal psychology is devoted to the study of mental, emotional, and behavioural aberrations. It is the branch of psychology concerned with research into the classification, causation, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of psychological disorders or psychopathology. Its purview covers a broad spectrum of afflictions and includes neuroses, psychoses, personality disorders, psychophysiological disorders, organic mental syndromes, and mental retardation.
Abnormal psychology is not synonymous with clinical psychology, which is mainly concerned with professional practice and focuses primarily on diagnostic tests and the application of different treatment approaches. The essence of abnormal psychology is its emphasis on research into abnormal behaviour and its endeavour to classify the wide range of mental and emotional aberrations into coherent categories and to understand them. Abnormal psychology serves as a backdrop or guide to clinical practice.Program Descriptions
1. Looking at Abnormal Behavior
The program visits the Jackson Memorial Hospital Crisis Center in Miami, where suicidal, depressed, and schizophrenic patients meet with psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to assess the nature and seriousness of their problems. It also introduces the various theories used to explain and treat abnormal behavior.
2. The Nature of Stress
We see that stress affects many people — from the overworked and out-of-work, to survivors of suicide and homicide, to Vietnam War veterans who continually re-experience the stress of the battlefield. The program explores the long-term effects of stress and what is known about how to reduce them.
3. The Anxiety Disorders
Even in the best of times, we all experience some anxiety. But millions of Americans suffer from major anxiety disorders. This program examines two of the most common, panic with agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder, and shows how psychologists are making headway in treating them.
4. Psychological Factors and Physical Illness
This program examines the relationship between emotions and health to explore how psychological treatment can improve well-being. It focuses on a teenager with migraine headaches, a dentist trying to decrease his risk for developing heart disease, and a woman with breast cancer, along with those who are treating them.
5. Personality Disorders
One in ten Americans has a personality disorder. Some are mildly annoying; others are exceedingly dangerous. Viewers will meet individuals with narcissistic, anti-social, borderline, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, including a murderer and a group of women who mutilate themselves, and will learn about the challenges involved in both diagnosis and treatment.
6. Substance Abuse Disorders
Millions of Americans abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and cocaine. Health professionals know a great deal about these dangerous and costly disorders, including how to treat them. This program examines how the concept of treatment matching is used to help individuals overcome a variety of addictions.
7. Sexual Disorders
A man exhibits himself in public. A woman feels guilty about not desiring sex. An otherwise happy couple finds themselves at odds over sex. These people share their private problems and demonstrate how the assessment and treatment of sexual disorders has advanced in the past 25 years.
8. Mood Disorders
Depression is one of the most common psychological problems. In this program, psychologists and biologists look at the causes and treatment of both depression and bipolar disorder and show the progress that has been made in helping people return to productive and satisfying lives.
9. The Schizophrenias
In emotionally moving interviews, this program visits people who suffer from the hallucinations, paranoia, and psychological disarray of these disabling illnesses. In addition to examining symptoms and treatments, the program helps debunk some of the myths associated with the disorder and shows its human side and the strength of those who fight to overcome it.
10. Organic Mental Disorders
A teenager must relearn all the basic skills following a head injury. After years of alcohol abuse, a man loses his short-term memory. A woman sees her husband struggle against the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. Science and technology's role in treating these debilitating disorders is also examined in this program.
11. Behavior Disorders of Childhood
Almost all parents worry whether or not their child's behavior is normal. This program visits families of youngsters with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and autism. In addition, experts in child development and psychology discuss how to differentiate abnormal behavior from developmental stages.
12. Psychotherapies
This program allows viewers to "sit-in" on five distinctly different kinds of psychotherapy: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, Gestalt, couples, and group. Theory and practice are intertwined as these patients progress through therapy, sometimes trying alternative models for the same problem.
13. An Ounce of Prevention
Imagine a society whose citizens are protected from psychological disorders. This final episode visits several programs that are attempting to eliminate known risk factors — including social isolation and inadequate parenting skills — that often lead to serious disorders. The stories are touching; the results are promising.
THESE NOTES ARE ACCORDING TO ALL GREAT PSYCHOLOGIST

PSYCHOLOGY OF BIOLOGICAL



Dr. James W. Kalat tells us that "Biological psychology is the study of behavior and experience in terms of genetics, evolution, and physiology, especially the physiology of the nervous system".
When you study biological psychology, it's likely that you will come across a number of related terms and specializations. These include:

  • Physiological Psychology

  • *  Psychobiology

  • Biopsychology


  • Neuropsychology



  • There is also a good chance that you will also be introduced to the field of comparative psychology, which put simply is the study of animal behaviour.biological psychology, also called physiological psychology or behavioral neuroscience, the study of the physiological bases of behaviour. Biological psychology is concerned primarily with the relationship between psychological processes and the underlying physiological events or in other words, the mind-body phenomenon.Its focus is the function of the brain and the rest of the nervous system in activities (e.g., thinking, learning, feeling, sensing, and perceiving) recognized as characteristic of humans and other animals. Biological psychology has continually been involved in studying the physical basis for the reception of internal and external stimuli by the nervous system.
    THESE NOTES ARE ACCORDING TO ALL GREAT PSYCHOLOGIST

    PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY



    Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:
    Constructing a coherent picture of a person and his or her major psychological processes
    Investigating individual differences, that is, how people can differ from one another
    Investigating human nature, that is, how all people's behavior is similar
    "Personality"can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations.The word "personality"originates from the Latin persona, which means mask. Significantly, in the theatre of the ancient Latin-speaking world, the mask was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, but rather was a convention employed to represent or typify that character.
    The pioneering American psychologist Gordon Allport (1937) described two major ways to study personality: the nomothetic and the idiographic. Nomothetic psychology seeks general laws that can be applied to many different people, such as the principle of self-actualization, or the trait of extraversion. Idiographic psychology is an attempt to understand the unique aspects of a particular individual.
    The study of personality has a broad and varied history in psychology, with an abundance of theoretical traditions. The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist and social learning perspective. There is no consensus on the definition of "personality" in psychology. Most researchers and psychologists do not explicitly identify themselves with a certain perspective and often take an eclectic approach.

    Wednesday, June 1

    PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIAL


    According to the Social Psychology Network, social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Common topic areas within social psychology include:

  • Prejudice & Discrimination

  • Aggression

  • Leadership

  • Attitudes

  • Stereotypes

  • Group Dynamics

  • Interpersonal Attraction & Perception


  • Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all of the psychological variables that are measurable in a human being. The statement that others may be imagined or implied suggests that we are prone to social influence even when no other people are present, such as when watching television, or following internalized cultural norms.

    Social psychology is an interdisciplinary domain that bridges the gap between psychology and sociology. During the years immediately following World War II,there was frequent collaboration between psychologists and sociologists.However, the two disciplines have become increasingly specialized and isolated from each other in recent years,with sociologists focusing on "macro variables" (e.g. social structure) to a much greater extent.Nevertheless, sociological approaches to social psychology remain an important counterpart to psychological research in this area.

    PSYCHOLOGY OF HEALTH



    The American Psychological Association states that health psychology is concerned with understanding how biology, behavior, and social context influence health and illness.
    Within this framework, the division of health psychology within the British Psychological Society notes that psychological research and methods are applied to inform such issues as:

  • The Promotion & Maintenance of Health

  • The Identification of Factors Contributing to Physical Illness;

  • The Improvement of The Health Care System

  • The Formulation of Health Policy


  •  Health psychologists work alongside other medical professionals in clinical settings, work on behavior change in public health promotion, teach at universities, and conduct research.Although its early beginnings can be traced to the kindred field of clinical psychology, four different divisions within health psychology and one allied field have developed over time.The four divisions include clinical health psychology, public health psychology,community health psychology,and critical health psychology.The allied field is occupational health psychology.Psychologists who strive to understand how biological, behavioral, and social factors influence health and illness are called health psychologists.The term "health psychology" is often used synonymously with the terms "behavioral medicine" and "medical psychology".Health psychologists work with many different health care professionals (e.g., physicians, dentists, nurses, physician's assistants, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and chaplains) to conduct research and provide clinical assessments and treatment services.Many health psychologists focus on prevention research and interventions designed to promote health and reduce the risk of disease.While more than half of health psychologists provide clinical services as part of their duties, many health psychologists function in non-clinical roles, primarily involving teaching and research. Leading journals include Health Psychology.
    THESE NOTES ARE ACCORDING TO ALL GREAT PSYCHOLOGIST

    PSYCHOLOGY OF COUNSELING



    According to The Society of Counseling Psychology, a division of The American Psychological Association, counseling psychology is:
    A general practice and health service provider specialty in professional psychology. Counseling psychology focuses upon personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span and on emotional, social. vocational, educational, health-related, developmental and organizational concerns. It centers on typical or normal developmental issues as well as atypical or disordered development as it applies to human experience from individual, family, group, systems and organizational perspectives.
    The Society of Counseling Psychology also note that counseling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental disorders improve well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, and resolve crises. Practitioners in the professional specialty also provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology.Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes among counseling psychologists include a focus on assets and strengths, person–environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and a focus on intact personalities.In the United States, the premier scholarly journals of the profession are the Journal of Counseling Psychology and The Counseling Psychologist.
    In Europe, the scholarly journals of the profession include the European Journal of Counselling Psychology (under the auspices of the European Association of Counselling Psychology) and the Counselling Psychology Review (under the auspices of the British Psychological Society).Counselling Psychology Quarterly is an international interdisciplinary publication of Routledge (part of the Taylor & Francis Group).
    In the U.S., counseling psychology programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), while counseling programs are accredited through the Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In all 50 states, counselors can be licensed at the masters degree level, once meeting the state and national criteria. To become licensed as a counseling psychologist, one must meet the criteria for licensure as a psychologist. Both doctoral level counseling psychologists and doctoral level counselors can perform both applied work, as well as research and teaching.
    These notes are according to all great Psychologist.
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