Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Goals For the New Year

2016 is coming. I should plan for the new year, right? Not, like, resolutions or anything, because those are made to be broken, but at the least I should have a few goals in mind for the next 12 month period of time. I've given it some thought and I've decided on the following goals for the new year:

1. Have an adventure. Doesn't have to be a big or expensive adventure, just has to be something exciting. Something that gives me a story to tell while sitting around with a group of friends and family.

2. Save $6,000. An incredibly generous relative has gifted us a sizable amount of money, enough to pay off our credit card debts (about six grand.) What I don't want is to use that money to bring the slate back to zero without having anything else to show for it, so my goal is to use the money to pay off the debt and then put what we would have been paying towards credit cards into savings, along with a bit extra, so that at the end of the year we've saved enough to have been capable of paying off the debt without help. My original goal was to pay off the credit card debt, but then we got a windfall so I had to change it a bit.

3. Run a 5K. I can be the last person across that finish line, but I want to be able to say I did it. I'm less of a runner and more of a chocolate cake sort of gal, so this is a big one for me.

I think this is enough for me to accomplish in 2016. I'll post here occasionally about how I'm doing in my attempts to meet my goals next year and I hope you will comment with your goals and the occasional update on how things are coming along for you too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The News

Sorry I've been gone, but I've been busy and injured and, more importantly, I have been ruminating over the concept of our mass media as of late.

Our government is set up in three branches - executive, judicial, and legislative - to create a system of checks and balances intended to keep people intent on harming America from gaining too much power. Whether or not that system is working is a matter of debate, but that is how the system was designed. I've always thought of the media, whether that be newspapers, broadcast television, etc., as an invisible fourth pillar of the checks and balances system. Reporters and broadcasters are theoretically supposed to ferret out information from the darkest recesses of our political system and make the citizens aware so that we can hold politicians and their ilk accountable for their actions. But it is becoming more and more obvious that the media no longer serves that function. If you have enough money you own the reporters. The head of your channel, paper, website, or station tells you what you can and can't report, and they decide that based on what the person who signs their checks wants the American people to know. The most recent and egregious example of this is with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who by all measures has the support of the majority of the Democratic party, but because he doesn't accept donations from corporations or allow lobbyists in his office he is being ignored by the press. Stories abound about Hillary visiting the sets of various TV shows, Hillary taking a break to go to the bathroom during a commercial at the debate, etc. but when Bernie Sanders does something truly remarkable like surpass the number of donations from individuals to a candidate in any campaign in history or get the backing of two major unions representing a combined group of almost a million people the media is silent. The sabotage of his campaign by the DNC because they are so clearly backing Hillary Clinton has been ignored by everyone but Buzzfeed, which isn't surprising as one of Hillary's biggest donors is Time Warner, owner of CNN. This makes me concerned about what other incredibly important things have happened that have been ignored by the media and how different life would be if they actually functioned as agents of communication instead of spin doctors for whoever gives them the biggest financial boost. Shame on you reporters and broadcasters who are giving the people the news you need, not the news we need.