Goodbye 2014!! Hello 2015!

posted in: Life, Rants & Raves | 0

2014, no offense – but I’m glad you’re gone.  Since your reading this (I hope) I can assume your still sucking oxygen and pushing carbon dioxide (breathing).  Glad you’re still here.

For me personally; 2014 was a year of “restructuring” if you will.  My family consolidated some positions – got rid of others, and attempted to live my life a bit better than I did in 2013.  As I get older, the relationships I have forged over the years have become even more important to me.  Not just the obvious ones including my family and close friends, but also those friends that I got back in touch with over the last year that I hadn’t spoken too for several years (thank you Facebook), shipmates from ships we had served on together, and my childhood friends.  A merging of priorities between family and work and truly enjoying my co-workers.  Striving for, and achieving that ever elusive balance between work life and home life.

According to Yahoo! news, the top stories of 2014 (and my take away) were:

10. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare.  DD takeaway – I like the idea behind ACA.  I disapprove of the implementation of it, and the mandatory requirements. There are too many loose ends with it. I don’t think regulating the insurance companies via the “exchange” was the correct path.  My opinion is that there are two programs already in place that work well (Medicaid & Medicare), and with a bit of tweaking – at a fraction of the cost, the goal of ensuring medical coverage (vice the “insuring”) for all citizens would be met.

9. Domestic Violence.  DD takeaway – There is no excuse for domestic violence, if you hit a woman – except in the case of self-defense, you should spend the night courtesy of the county Sheriff.  Between 2001 and 2012 – 6,488 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.  During this period 11,766 women were killed in cases of domestic violence.  3 women a day are murdered in the US due to domestic violence – that is unacceptable in our country!  If I see it, I’ll call the cops, you can tell your story to them.  While it is necessary to default to a woman’s safety (85% of cases are against women), it’s not always as it seems, which makes for some very light treading by law enforcement.

On the other side of this coin.  I know a couple of men personally who have been accused of domestic violence and have had their reputations dragged through the mud.  Both were cleared of any wrong doing by the Police.  But the damage had already been done to their reputation, and the shadow cast among their acquaintances. Those women should be charged and prosecuted accordingly, in my opinion.

8. Islamic State. DD takeaway – If you’ve been reading my Blog, you’ll see a couple of stories on ISIS and I won’t rehash my position on ISIS here.  To me, they are a bunch of thugs attempting to legitimize their “gang’s” territorial ambitions through barbaric treatment of others.  I’m not a fan of religious states, I believe the government should be for all of a country citizens, no matter their affiliation – but I don’t live in their county, so how they run their country is not my concern.  However, it is also for these reasons that I abhor the attempts at putting religious type laws, specifically Shariah law in place.  Why Shariah law, because it spans personal and the collectives (the citizenry as I read it) daily life, thought to be divine, Shariah law is inflexible.  There are three components to Shariah law: belief, character and actions.   Should Muslims in the US be permitted their own “religious courts?”  My answer is no.  Currently Muslims throughout the USA use their clerics to resolve marital disputes and other disagreements with other Muslims.  Using the built in structure of their religion is the same way that the Christians (yes, that includes those silly Catholics) and Jews solve their moderation.

When US citizens visit other nations, or for that matter go offshore and live overseas.  They are not under the protection of the US Constitution, they are under the laws of the land they are in.  If there is a US Embassy some assistance may be able to be obtained, but it isn’t much.  Why should we allow another nations laws to take precedence over ours in a general context?  There are always exceptions, and that is why we have the Supreme Court.

7. Jody Arias.  DD takeaway – I could care less as a national news item.  To me this falls under “gossip” TV which I am not a fan of.  If she is guilty, I hope she is found guilty and rots in jail, if she is innocent, I hope she can get on with her life. Why this is a bigger story than ISIS I don’t know.  This story wouldn’t even make my top 50.

6. Ferguson.  Racial tensions erupted this year in Ferguson, Mo., after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson.  Protesters clashed with police for weeks after the shooting.  The violence escalated again after a grand jury voted not to indict Wilson.  DD takeaway – Oh, where do I start?  In my opinion (I know I’m going to be dragged through the mud for saying this), it wasn’t as much about race as it was about character.  It sucks that this kid got himself killed.  He wasn’t murdered in cold blood, he was a thug, common thief and turned on a police officer.  I think racial sensitivity has become an excuse for people having bad character.  Choices have consequences.

5. Malaysia Airlines.  In March, Flight 370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, vanished during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A months-long air and sea search has so far failed to turn up any sign of the missing aircraft. In July, another Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 17, carrying 298 people, was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all on board.  DD takeaway – Now they had a crappy year.  Between the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Air Asia’s Flight 8501 crashes, I think we’ll see improved aircraft tracking technology take on a higher priority.  The technology is available, it is merely a business decision at this point, what is the risk of losing an airliner vs. the cost of implementing a tracking/streaming solution?  In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the costs, especially for flights over water.

4. Leaked photos of celebrities.  DD takeaway – Much like the Jody Arias story, why is this news?  You don’t put things online that you don’t want in the public domain.  As the Sony hack proves, if it’s electronic, it can be hacked. I think we are going to see increased calls for server security in 2015.  It is said that over 50% of the country has had their personal information stolen at one point or another.  If you work in cyber security, I think you’ll do very well.

3. Midterm elections.  2014 was a referendum on President Obama’s performance.  DD takeaway – Children in diapers and politicians have one thing in common.  They are both full of crap and need to be changed often!  Libertarians Unite!

2. Robin Williams suicide.  DD takeaway – Once again proving that our culture is sucked into gossip TV and concentrate on things that really don’t matter.  I’m not belittling his death by any means, he was a great actor.  He made a decision to end his life – period.  Let’s remember him for the good things he gave us and not tarnish his legacy.

1. Ebola epidemic.  The “Ebola” killed more than 5000 people in a matter of months.  DD takeaway – Ebola sucks.  A Google search on Ebola – lessons learned returns a plethora of information. This story is justifiably the most important story coming out of 2014.  I think it is somehow appropriate that as the Ebola epidemic lessons (it is not over) the year closes out.

Goodby 2014.  My goals for 2015:  I have just one – to be a better person than I was last year.

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