Tag Archives: 60 minutes

Obama’s interview with Oprah

Oprah interviews President Obama and his wife Michelle for a Christmas special on ABC.

Previously, you would have never caught me sitting down of an evening to care about Christmas at the White House. For eight years I tried to close my eyes and ears to anything remotely related to a certain President who shall remain nameless. Unfortunately, that was futile, he had a knack for infiltrating our news and lives despite our best intentions to filter him out.

60 Minutes also aired an interview with President Obama this weekend, though there were glaring differences in the style of our interviewers. In both situations Obama spoke succinctly, eloquently and was strong in his approach to different topics. Topics that he has to answer time and time again, which I would find annoying, hence why being a politician should not be on my potential career list. He is the most real person I have seen in office and I don’t envy his position right now. As a person who plainly reflects on the gravity of his decision making, there is no doubt that his intelligence and compassion is balanced with the resolve to do the right thing.

Sending more troops to Afghanistan is one of those “right things” though you could tell that weighs heavy on the minds of both the President and citizens. War is not something I agree with but it is difficult for some Governments to reconcile with the change necessary for a better country, respect their world neighbours or relinquish their strangle hold on their citizens. Our Canadian soldiers and other allies who have been in Afghanistan since 2002 would most likely welcome more troops. We (Canada) have paid mightily with the largest number of fatal casualties for a Canadian mission since the Korean War. Mourning the loss of 133 soldiers to date, Canada has the largest per capita death rate among the foreign armies in Afghanistan. Since 2006 alone over 360 soldiers have been wounded. We can well understand hesitancy to continue but support is what we do and further collaboration with the US is needed. (Please take a moment at the end of this post to see the faces and names of our Canadian Soldiers killed in action)

Health care, another topic the President navigates through. Very complicated to reform, and I am by no means an expert,  but from a human standpoint I fail to understand why anyone would not want health care for all of their family, friends, neighbours and country men/women. Bad timing to broach the topic in the middle of a financial crisis perhaps, but when was a good time? Even in good times it appeared it was struck off the “must have” list. If people are healthy they don’t use the social safety nets as much, they can work, educate themselves and otherwise be productive in the building of the state or country. If people can lose their life savings, home or plunge into debt in order to treat an illness or recover from an accident, how is that helping the economy? Infant mortality should be a cause for better care as the US ranks near the bottom in infant survival. Access to health care is important, we don’t have a perfect system here in Canada but I have never had to think twice before going to my doctor, clinic or hospital, I just walk in.

When asked by Oprah what grade he would give himself for this year, President Obama said “a B+.” I’m sure he was aware that his critics would give him less and he acknowledges that people are entitled to feel the way they do as many are suffering with job loss, financial difficulties and are unable to send their children to college. I get that, people have a right to hurt and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, survival is a daily mission. I am far less empathetic with some of the critics; those that are doing just fine with their jobs, finances, healthcare and other perks still intact. I say, stop whining and trying to sabotage forward momentum! This President inherited a mess! He hasn’t been a full year in office and already people are expecting miracles. Get a grip!

You try and turn over a company in mere months that has fallen into the depths of near ruin. It takes a long time to assess the priorities, whatever you thought was the problem quickly mounts into a whole lot more. With a mission in mind you often must fire those that aren’t in line with the goals, others leave because they are unable to handle change and transitions and the focus is in hiring the right people who see the vision. You are consulting with others who bring unique perspectives and testing the market to see the validity of the ideas coming forth. There is spending in order to re-brand and resell to consumers an improved version of the old business. This takes longer than months or even years. Now,imagine having to walk in to the Presidents office with all the bright ideas flowing and multiple problems to sift through. It is a massive company, beyond all others and it needs an overhaul in key areas.

In watching President Obama and his wife Michelle, I was still hopeful. Hopeful that their citizens can stay strong, to believe and assist in the restructuring that is needed individually as well as collectively. Observing the First Lady is always a pleasure as she is poised, authentic, articulate, intelligent and witty.Watching the two of them, I was delighted that their marriage remains rooted in the great love and respect that carried them this far. How they support each other and their family is what will aid in his ability to carry on in the face of uncertainty.

I could have wrote about anyone or anything today. In fact upon sitting here I didn’t know what might rise from thought to type, but for some reason acknowledging a man and woman of influence seemed appropriate and saying “Yes, you can.” Here’s to 2010! May we see our way to a greater understanding of our world, accept our role in making it better, move quicker on the path to peace and respect all people and creatures that share this fragile but beautiful planet.

Canadian Soldiers Remembered

Complaint Department is Open

The complaint department is now open! Those who are sensitive to people who are advocates for complaining need not read on.


Have you ever recognized how much we all complain? Recently, I read an article that was touching on the very topic of complaining it was entitled The Kvetch Klatch by Amy Baskin in the November issue of Canada’s More Magazine. It explored the possibility that as we get older we may complain more and want to gather with others to commiserate.

There was some good news about our getting together to air our complaints, apparently it can be good for you to complain with people of like age and life situations according to Robin Kowalski, a psychologist who studies complaining (who knew you could study it and be paid?). “We feel validated, get good advice” and socially it brings people together. (Providing, I guess, you have something better to talk about from time to time otherwise you may just clear a room) There is more to this but I’m not going to rehash everything this woman wrote, I suggest you read the article for yourself.

Last night, again watching my Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes, he addressed viewers that accused him of being negative, complaining too much, that is part of his job isn’t it? He proceeded with a great little piece in which he positively enhanced negatives. Maybe that helped all those that felt he complains too much sleep a little easier, though I doubt it. After watching I’m sure they were complaining about his negativity.

I come from a long line of complainers, it is guaranteed that a conversation with my family will get bogged down in complaints and negativity. At times I interject when it is getting too much with something lighter, a humorous quip or just simply tune out the bulk of what is being said. That is not always good when you are to respond, and well…I kinda wasn’t listening. A good laugh eventually is had but still the negativity and complaints are really some of my family members claim to fame. Maybe they should have their own show, but make it 30 Minutes, less commercials which really makes it the 10 Minute show. (but, whose complaining, certainly not me)

When I complain I don’t expect anyone to fix it, it’s not necessary to fix my problem just to air it. Being truthful in the moment, complaining to my hearts content is therapeutic. It is true that going to people of like mind or understanding is far more helpful. My friends and I have the ability to complain for over an hour on the phone or in person and think nothing of it by the time we are finished. A few laughs, compassion, understanding, thoughtful suggestions, no overpowering judgement and good advice usually lightens the load.

I liken complaints, when discussed with others, as something that needs gentle pressure. Kind of like when you have a knot in the muscle and you just hold your fingers on that tension, pushing with just a little firmness makes it back off. You are released! I see this all the time in my work, people who for the most part have legitimate reasons to complain but just being heard opens the space for movement in the right direction.

It is good to complain, not all the time, but just enough to make forward progress on an issue. Some people are great at it and their complaining can be quite entertaining, providing real food for thought. If someone is an energy drainer than take in as much as you can with your ears and don’t expect to fix it with your mouth. Go to someone in your life or a group of people that can truly see it for what it is, and don’t think you are above this because there is always a reason to complain…just ask Andy Rooney.

Andy Rooney Not Negative

Andy Rooney’s Reflections

Last night, I sat down as always to watch 60 Minutes, I love that show. In particular is the brief time I get to spend with Andy Rooney. His reflections on life, stated in a very sure and straight forward manner, keep my attention from start to finish.

This is how I see him – His topics are varied but not in the flavour of the day/week but varied in that life is full so pick from the bounty. He can find the irony and the humour in a situation without even cracking a smile or needing to laugh at his own brilliance. His observance of life is so deep sometimes I need to sift through what he said just to reap more of a good thing. Mr. Rooney doesn’t appear to feel the need to conform to anything or anyone, but he is respectful and classy in his nonconformity. He doesn’t need to beat me over the head with his viewpoint like many on TV today, he sets it out there and I can take it or leave it. 99% of the time I gladly take it, as if I have just been to fabulous class on culture, human ethics or something of the like.

His topic this Sunday, was on the US Mail Service dwindling in size despite the rapid growth of America. Operating like any business with cut-backs and restructuring it has and will go through changes. Overall, there are more people who don’t much like change than there are those that can roll with it. I hadn’t much thought about mail and the importance of a letter showing up at your home. Increasingly the email culture has taken over, most of which is similar to junk mail. Mr. Rooney tied in the story with the experience of seeing the mail man/woman coming to your door and how well a handwritten letter makes you feel over an email. He stated, ” He would rather receive a letter any day than an email.” I agree.

I have a very large decorative bag full with cards and letters I have received over the years. The special ones from people who have great meaning in my life. Once in awhile I have pulled them out to see my friends and family from long ago; a pen pal from Australia I had forgotten until seeing the letter, my Grandmother’s letters/cards from England, Aunt’s and Uncles that have long since left my world. What is beautiful in the handwritten letter is not just the words, but I can see their unique hand writing. For those that have past away this becomes particularly meaningful to me, when I touch the page I can almost feel them. How their pen flowed, how they crossed their T’s or signed their name. The time it took to sit and transcribe their thoughts to paper or describe a vision in front of them at that moment, so I could be there.

If I can’t be physically with someone or hearing their voice, their writing is how I connect. The email is rarely a source of that for me. I save very little of them as I can’t feel what I can feel in the written word. It comes off the computer with foreign energy nothing recognizable to the heart despite the well meaning efforts of the one who wrote it. The beauty is missing, no card with a scene or bonded paper they picked out to send, the script has no resemblance to their hand writing, their touch never made it to the page, finger prints non-existent.

I’m with Andy Rooney on this: I would rather a letter in the mail than an email any day….though I know sadly things have changed.

The Spirit of Giving

As some of you may know I like to volunteer my time and give to various charities. Since I was first out on my own, earning my own dollars, I have done both of these things. I believe in the power of volunteerism to enhance the skills of an individual, develop a connection to others and to build a better community. I have met incredible people through volunteering and essentially began my career as a volunteer. I had a wonderful mentor, a woman named “Pat” who gave generously of her time, expertise and wisdom to my development.

I also have supported many different charities over the years, especially those benefiting women, children and our precious animals.

Adoption has become very rewarding for me but not in the way you would think, over two years ago I adopted a baby elephant named “Lempaute”. I had watched 60 Minutes in which they featured an incredible woman whose name is Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick. In Kenya, she and her team head up The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity started in memory of her late husband David Sheldrick MBE. I have loved the opportunity to participate in the saving and care of these magnificent animals and greatly appreciate the people who work tirelessly along side them. I really look forward to the pictures and updates I receive. www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

The SPCA has received in the past, my time for dog walking which subsequently precipitated me becoming a dog parent for 15 years. The society has also received multiple financial and food donations over the years. It is a job I could never do, as I know my emotions would get in the way, but giving helps.

Supporting women’s organizations is important to me too. Giving to the programs and shelters for abused women, preparing gifts for women in need, providing career coaching services, investing in the Girls Growth Fund and much more. I am always looking for more charities related to women, children and animals to focus my attention on, for information as well as to help.

Worldwide there are programs that need our time, energy and money and I believe it is in service to others that we gain the most. I encourage all women out there to see if in 2009 they can spare a dime or the time for one charity.

Maybe consider a career in the not for profit sector, there are plenty of organizations out there that may need your expertise. A good website in Canada for charities and employment is www.charityvillage.com. Become informed if nothing else, because when you are informed it allows you to pass on a message to others who may be in a better position to help.

Women who have influenced us through their service, started only with a thought to do something about an issue that was important to them. What grew from that affected their immediate family, then affected their community and with great vision went on to affect our world. Whatever you decide as your contribution it will be appreciated, great or small.

Future posts will help us all to become better informed of worldwide issues, feature women of influence and hopefully spark your interest in the spirit of giving.

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