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Although, I've been honored with the title of Columnist  here at Fab 40, the medium is really set up as a blog. And, that is a good thing as all journalists do enjoy feedback. I suppose that is why large newspapers have the Op-Ed sections. People in general are interested in what other people think, what's important to them, do they agree or disagree, and where is the workable middle ground?

When I do have the opportunity to just visit and browse around, I notice some of the member blogs asking pertinent questions elicit a large number of responses. I've taken part on occasion myself. Wish I had time to that more often. I've noticed, too, that a select number of my own columns where a discussion was launched are the columns that received the most views and participation. That pleases me because I don't actually 'get off' on the speaker at the podium  roles. happy I don't enjoy the position of 'lecturer' which is what a column tends to become unless there is interaction. In addition, it can lead to labels being assigned based on just the 'speech' and no further expansion of the views expressed.

In fact, I have to share a funny experience that happened here at Fab 40. I recently had a comment posted to one of my older columns. It was polite and there was no mean tone, I must emphasize that. However, I was informed that I was "a Leftist nut". It struck me kind of funny as nothing could be further from the truth and I immediately ascertained that the person had never read one my rants in which I had thrown the entire political bunch under the bus and the media in front of it! So, in equal good humor, I replied back that "I'd never been called THAT before! Usually, I get called a hedonistic heathen." Then, I politely inquired as to which 'label' the commenter chose to go by? Ending on a jolly note, I assumed that would be the end of it.  

Later, a private message appeared in my Fab 40 mail box. The sender will remain nameless, but the gist of the above story is this: The 'unknown label and the leftist nut' had a most amiable back and forth discussion ending with my invitation to read and take part in my columns even if disagreed with vehemently. That a mind is like a parachute, it only functions when open. I also admitted that I loved that quote but couldn't take credit for it. I'd read it somewhere. happy

That incident just solidified my firm belief that as long as three elements remain present in any discussion, ANY issue can be discussed and debated in positive way. Some even with a direction for solution as a result. Those elements include civility, sincerity and a sense of humor.
All that being said, this past week has been over abundant in providing talking points for both the left and the right; as well as those somewhere between known as centrists. (although I’ve also been called a ‘fence-sitter‘). And, also rants for those at far extremes outside of the box of even basic common sense.  

Let's test the theory. I will list four topics. Pick the topic of your choice that you feel is important to solve, or has the biggest effect on the country as a whole. Or, that you find totally irrelevant, if there is one. If you go by the news on television, they were all major issues and sensationalized beyond 'the box' by some. The rhetoric passed into the realm of ridiculous, acidic, and downright slanderous in some cases. No matter if multiple topics are chosen; often discussions branch out.

The nomination of Sonja Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

The killing of Dr. Tiller, a physician who performed certain late term abortions, while serving as an usher in his Lutheran church.

The filing of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy by what was once the backbone corporation that put Americans to work with Union representation and within weeks re-tooled to supply munitions for WWII. There used to be a saying, "So goes General Motors, so goes the country.

And strangely, the Obama's date night in New York City.

I will abandon the podium  and hold my comments on these topics until a discussion develops. Let's see what happens.

Susan

      

**Susan Haley is the published author of two books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, an independent copy editor and book reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego.. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, of which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was awarded in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various E-zines and newsletters and local papers. She has a third book, "Soul Songs" scheduled for release later this year and is currently working on a new novel, "The House is Burning".

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • Well I am going with the killing of Dr Tiller.  It doesn’t matter what my view is on abortion since this awful act eclipes all views.
      However I do think this killing didn’t help endear pro lifers.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • BTW I did post the news article on my blog too.... So sad!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • Vikki, I am in 100% agreement with you. I always find it quite incredible how a ‘conviction’ whether it be pro-life or pro-choice and the plethora of circumstances that involves, can always be altered to accomodate a personal feeling or movement. How can one be pro-life for an unborn yet kill something already born? Where is the line?

      If one is a devout Christian and believes the good book is ALL true, how do they justify interference in the “judge not lest ye be judged” command? Most especially when they take their violence into what they believe is the very sanctuary of God Almighty?
      If God is not the author of confusion, what can a lowly human do when faced with a blatant contradiction found in the ‘Word? Somehow, the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” depends on a circumstance? That simply isn’t logical to me.

      Susan



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kathleen Kathleen wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • I agree with vikki89...the killing of Dr. Tiller.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • I agree wholeheartedly!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kathleen Kathleen wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • Thou shall not kill applies to all mankind...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Jun 2, 2009
    • Many times I have wondered at just how long can prices, production, and consumption just keep going up and up continuously until the day I die? If this were to happen, what would it cost to live? Would I have to be a millionare to provide for my needs? There has to be limits to material things. They can’t expand forever, can they?

      I see the bankruptcy of GM as a hault to the unfathomable question above. Since we have an inteligent president who can see a way to help GM, and yes, most of the rest of us, when they re-tool for a new product and come out at the other end a smaller company, I think it truly will be a new beginning for GM and the production prototype for most every product that might be produced here.

      Sometimes I think companies can get so huge that they can’t hold their own weight.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kathleen Kathleen wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • I am fine with a “date night“...but I do not personally wish for my tax dollars to pay for the event (unless it includes my hubby and me :). If they want to fly off to NY for a night on the town, let their pocket books cover the expenses. We already pay him a salary.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • Re: The Obama date night business: I do agree I don’t see that we should pay for the ‘date‘. I haven’t researhed it fully yet, but I think the furor that was raised wasn’t about the cost of the evening in NYC. Dinner and tickets were paid for by the couple. The sqawk was about the use of Marine One to fly up there. There was no credit given that the president, which was totally out of the norm, decided NOT to use Air Force One which is a much bigger plane to fuel. But the secret service accompaniment is required by law so a plane does have to be used or he is a prisoner in the White House except for business which could evolve into a lot of ‘business’ if you know what I mean. To wit: the Congress and all their jaunts. There was no furor when other presidents flew around in Air Force One for personal getaways.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • That’s true too, Annie. People are sensitive to the economy as they well should be. I was directing that more to the media and the few people in higher places that keep looking for something to raise a ruckus about. I’m always suspicious about that because history shows that is usually a smoke screen to keep the public in the dark about real issues. The air time this kind of stuff gets when there are such serious things to be addressed borders the ridiculous. All the cable news shows are losing more and more credibility all the time. I don’t think anyone can or will disagree with that. I thought all your comments were most appropriate! I’m trying to intelligently address the GM business. That one is a bit stickier as midnightmom pointed out.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • So at the risk of sounding stupid here.... the money that WE gave GM.....where’d it go? Past debt?

      As for the Obama’s date night....go out and blow off some steam. Not really the 1st issue that comes to my mind. Probably not even in my top 10 concerns.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • My sentiments exactly, Vikki. That is why I included the date night in the listed topics. I kind of suspected most people agreed that that wasn’t at the top of their lists of concerns. But the way the airwaves covered it over and over, one would think we had just dropped an atomic bomb on Berlin or something!

      As for GM, it is my understanding that the US taxpayers now own 60% of General Motors. Our dividends will come in the form of payback of the bail out funds. At which time, our ‘stocks’ will go back to the company. There is tons of information to research it but it takes time. I don’t really want to make statements until I’m sure they are accurate.
      As for opinion, it seems Obama had to do something. Last November 700 Billion was turned over to Wall Street with no restrictions, no conditions, nothing. Half of it was distributed immediately. Now they admit they don’t even know how the money was spent.
      When the auto industry needed help, the reasoning was this was the common man’s interest. Sure they screwed up big time, but hundreds of thousands of jobs were at stake considering the ‘trickle down’ effect. So they were given the bail out but WITH restrictions. They failed to meet the restrictions so turned to bankruptcy as a last resort. Personally, I think they should have let it go into bankruptcy back then and we’d be three months into the fixing of it. It is imperative that America has a manufacturing base. We need to ‘build’ things. But, I think these problems run deeper than the populace even imagines. We failed to keep careful watch of our government for too long. Now we have to put up with the time necessary to fix it. I don’t think we’ve even come close to the bottom yet, myself. I hope I’m wrong about that. I fear the gap between the haves and have nots is going to get even wider.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 3, 2009
    • I fear you are right too!!!!! We can’t even begin to know everything that has happened and yes we did fall down on the watching of our gov’t.
      I am just hoping enough people are taking interest now but also an interest that is not self serving. We need to be involved if we want our country to be different.
      We’ll see......



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