Archive for January, 2012


L.L. Plante January 20, 2012

You have seen all the ads on TV, in emails directed to you, and through phone calls that you receive urging you to consider going back to school.  Each school will explain to you that you probably would qualify for a student loan and most will help you complete the necessary forms.  Most schools also offer some type of help towards finding employment once you have graduated.

Stop and think before you sign up.  What are your personal goals for going back to school?  Are you thinking of taking up a new profession?  If so, there are a few things that you seriously need to consider before taking that initial step.  There is a saying that most individuals will have had at least three different career paths during their life time; however what they do not tell you is how difficult it is to obtain a position within that new career field.  For example, if you are thinking of becoming a paralegal, you should be aware that most paralegal jobs listed require two years’ experience.  If you have no previous experience in this field, obtaining your bachelor’s degree in the Paralegal field will not get your foot in the door to a successful new career at what you expect as an annual salary.  However, if you are already working within a law firm in some type of legal position, say perhaps, a legal secretary, then by all means go for it and increase your education!

For those who may be thinking of going back to school to enter a new profession, there are a few things that you need to contemplate first.  The first issue you need to consider is that without experience in your new field the education that you have just completed is almost useless.  The only way around this is to start off working in a lower position within a firm and work your way up the ladder at less income or to offer a firm your free services for the privilege of hands on learning. While this may be something younger adults who still live at home can accomplish, older adults cannot.

The second thing that you should be aware of is that the educational cost of that new profession starts very soon after you have graduated and this cost alone will require that you bring home a good salary (something you cannot accomplish at a low level paying position).  Paying back student loans are a large expense and do not ever go away until fully paid.  The only way that you can get out of paying back student loans is to die; the student loans are forgiven when an individual is deceased.

You really need to strategize and think before being tempted by the big push on today to go back to school.  Look at all your angles and think strongly about what you will be able to accomplish with that new degree; do not take the word of schools or ads who are pushing you to go back to school.

False advertising, or the way things are worded can be confusing.  You must remember that the employees who are trying to convince you to return to school are performing their duties in obtaining as many students as they can; some receive bonuses for how many new students they can attract.   Ads that tell you how much a person can make in a certain profession do not tell you how much experience, besides education, is required before you make those big bucks!

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

L. L. Plante – January 10, 2012

After listening to Mitt Romney’s Victory Speech tonight, I have to wonder how gullible Americans really are.  First of all, his victory speech was presumable and delivered a little too early to be considered politically polite.  His attacks against President Obama make me believe that he cannot stand on his own merit.  Taking a look at some of his comments, I find it really difficult to believe that this nation would not have a hard time swallowing these statements.  Then again, I believe myself to be intelligent enough to see through the bull.

For example, his comment that President Obama takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe instead of looking to the cities and small town of American is a play on words.  What is wrong with taking a look how other nations are conducting the business of their nations?  Can we not learn from observing others?  Mr. Romney goes on to say that the President puts his faith in government and he, Mitt Romney, puts his faith in the American people.  Well, think about that one, but not too long!  Is it not our people, such as the likes of himself, who comprise our government?  Thus one has to ask, is Mitt Romney putting down his faith in the American people with this comment?

I particularly took offense to Mitt Romney’s comment that President Obama is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated and that he will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter.  Again, think about what this means.  Bureaucracy is always burdensome and never more aggravating until you have to deal with it.  For example, take a look at the unemployment offices across the nation and how difficult it is to reach someone regarding your unemployment; time is measured in hours just trying to get through to start an unemployment claim.  Can you imagine what would happen with just this one agency if there were cutbacks?  And what about the jobs lost through downsizing?  Again, a contradictory comment if I ever saw one.  If you don’t believe me, then research how many government jobs would be lost due to downsizing and then look at Mitt Romney’s comment regarding assuring more jobs to Americans.

Next let’s look at Mitt Romney’s statement that the President raised the national debt and that he will cut, cap, and balance the budget.  Good luck!  It has taken years to reach the current plateau that we have had over the last few years in the national debt; it will take several more years to correct this debt.  These things do not happen overnight as much of us would like to believe.   As far as restoring our AAA credit rating that can only be achieved through decreasing the national debt; again something that does not occur overnight or in just a few years. A related statement from Mitt Romney is very contradictory to decreasing our national debt; Mitt Romney insists on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.  This is an expense that would be measured in millions of dollars and is also a contradictory statement to Mitt Romney decreasing national debt!  In addition, Mitt Romney’s statement may be perceived by the rest of the world as a challenge.  This is something that we do not want to occur; yet, it has been stated publicly now for the world to decipher.  Will this increase more terrorist attacks against our country?

There are numerous statements made by Mitt Romney in his “victory speech” tonight that should be carefully considered by Americans before believing in what this Republican is offering America.  Listen carefully, research, and make up your own mind on what Mitt Romney stated tonight in his speech; don’t take lightly what he said but use your intelligence to decipher what this man stands for.

Seal of the United States Department of Education

L. L. Plante – January 10, 2012

      There is a big push on these days to either go back to school to learn a new profession or to brush up or increase your current profession.  This push towards higher education takes on numerous forms such as ads, emails, and phone calls; all trying to compete for your admission to their online school.  I am an avid believer in continuous education but there are steps that you should be aware of before choosing what you may think is the perfect online school for you.

      One would assume that the curriculum offered would be most important in choosing your school.  And it certainly is.  Other considerations would include how one school over other schools shows its importance to your personal needs.  And this is also very important as it can be a very personal judgment on your part.  What most perspective students do not consider is the school’s accreditation.  This is more important than most people think.

      Accreditation of a school can be either regional or national.  Now you’re asking, what is the difference?  Most schools will go into a discussion on the relevance or non-relevance of being national or regional and this information, at the time, will go over your head as they try to convince you that it really does not matter.  Remember, you are being bombarded by many different educational institutions and trying to make up your mind which ones to consider.  Stop, and take notes because whether a school is nationally or regionally accredited can affect your continued education and sometimes even what types of jobs you may qualify once you graduate.

     Here is a short definition of what accreditation means and the two different types of accreditation. Accreditation means that a school has been evaluated by education authorities; evaluation ensures that a particular school is offering high quality learning opportunities.   However, accreditation is a process and a very expensive process for the school which colleges and universities voluntarily apply to receive.  In the United States there are six regional accrediting agencies covering different sections of the country.  Therefore, if an online college chooses to apply for a regional accreditation it will be evaluated by a regional agency governing over its home state.  These accrediting agencies are all recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.  On the other hand, national accreditation is not based on geography and was designed to evaluate specific types of schools and colleges; for example, the Distance Education and Training Council accredits colleges that offer distance education.  Colleges and schools often apply for national accreditation when their model of instruction or their course content is different from most traditional degree programs.  How does this affect your decision?  Well, regional accrediting agencies may not be able to compare a career school with a liberal arts college, for example, because the methods of study are so dissimilar.

      At this point, you are asking yourself, so how does this affect me?  The answer is quite simple.  If you attend a nationally accredited online school and decide either part way through your studies or even after you have graduated to attend another school, you may not be able to attend the school of your choice because the school you attended was nationally accredited and not regionally accredited.  This can be disheartening after spending some time advancing your education to find out that it may have been for nothing.  Now, if you are certain, that say for example, all you want is your bachelor’s degree, then it may not be of much concern to you.  Just remember, as time goes by, choices you make can affect future choices you have not even considered today.  Have a good understanding of the different classifications and how a school’s accreditation may limit future choices before making a wise choice to which school you want to attend today.

Person using cell phone while driving.
January 2, 2012
Author:  L. L. Plante
      Today, driving comes with new technology.  This new technology and other distractions can be a temporary diversion to a driver, and can prevent a driver from concentrating on the complex task of driving.  For example, distractions such as changing a radio or a CD, talking to passengers, or observing an event outside the vehicle, can temporarily sidetrack the driver.  In addition, the new technological devices available in new vehicles, such as navigational and other interactive devices, can also be distracting to a driver.  One such device is the cell phone.  More than 100 million people use cell phones while driving.  This is a new danger that all drivers have to include in their daily defensive driving techniques; being aware of other drivers around you who are driving and “celling”.

     With all the news reports about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, many businesses understand this risk and are already taking action.  In my opinion, all employers’ policies should discourage the use of cell phones while driving.   In addition, more and more states are banning specific distractions, such as cell phone use while driving.    Another example is that state legislatures are responding to this growing concern over cell phone use and texting while driving, by passing a variety of new laws, including banning handheld cell phone use or texting by all drivers, or restricting cell phone use or texting for a specific demographic, such as teens, or school bus drivers.  Because of this growing concern, many states have been passing texting bans for all drivers at a frenzied speed.  For myself, I make it a part of my new daily defensive driving techniques to watch the drivers of the other vehicles on the road, and notice if they are talking on their cell phones.  Even so, I have found that more than half the drivers I come across daily on the road, are on their cell phones.  And, when I notice a driver on their cell phone around my vehicle, I make sure to watch that driver’s reactions and stay as far away as possible from that vehicle.  As a result, it has become a part of my new defensive driving skills today. But more importantly, I do not use my cell phone or my hands-free device while I am driving.

     There needs to more awareness and changes made in how and where this new technology is used by individuals, by the producers of, and providers of cell phones.  In addition, major educational campaigns are needed to inform the public about the proper use of these devices.  Furthermore, employers’ policies should discourage the use of cell phones while driving.  Moreover, state’s graduated licensing laws for new drivers should prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.  Besides this, the federal government should fund research to develop effective methods for enforcing texting and cell phone bans while driving.  Most importantly, the federal government should fund a media campaign to alert and educate the public to the dangers of distracted driving, and in particular, the use of cell phones while driving.  And finally, all state legislation should ban both cell phone use and text messaging while driving.  If a driver must use his/her cell phone, the driver should first stop and pull off the road.

     Until laws are more uniform across all of the states and ban the use of cell phones, while driving, each and every one of us must take precautions to be aware of other drivers who are driving and using their cell phones.  Take note of this new danger and include new defensive driving techniques in your daily driving.  Be defensive and do not use your cell phone while driving; be aware of the other drivers who are driving and “celling”.

Bellucci Monica at Cannes in 2002.
Daily photo for 365 days and for FGR's partici...

Author:  L. L. Plante  Posted:  January 1, 2012

Today’s society has been very accommodating in many ways to women; however someone forgot to tell us that as time goes by we become a “senior citizen”.  Sure, we have become independent and can do things for ourselves instead of relying on a male counterpart.  We are in the workforce, opinionated, and fashion savvy.   We own homes, have purchased our own vehicles, traveled the world, and faced situations that in the past, we as women, would never have accomplished on our own.  We have learned to be “street smart” and as women we have more common sense than most men!  Furthermore, we are educated; some of us have degrees, others have learned on their own through experience.   We have inserted ourselves into professions that years ago were labeled “for men only”.   Our global society and the Internet has certainly provided us guidance in becoming who we are today.   Through the Internet, we have access and knowledge that can be used to our advantage.  We have come a long way!  Through our twenty’s, thirty’s, and even our 40’s we have developed who we want to be and who we ultimately became.  We are not afraid to go out by ourselves, enjoy a good meal alone, travel alone, make major purchases with information that we can gather ourselves, and make life changing decisions.  Yes, women of today are certainly different from fifty years ago.  As a result of ever-changing advances in “youth fountains” such as plastic surgery or even the now common anti-face aging creams readily available on the market, we can look younger than what we really are.  As a result, we look young, feel young, and dress young.  Now, here is where the dilemma arises!  At what “real age” do we have to start dressing different?   Years ago, a married woman of say, thirty, was expected to dress according to her “age”.  Today, women of all ages dress how they want to dress.  This means short shorts, bikinis, halter dresses, etc.  Now, myself, up until just a few years ago I had the short skirts and the halter dresses and wore them often.  Today, I have given my short skirts away to younger women; although, I still have and wear the halter dresses and short shorts.  My question is, when and why do I have to give up the wardrobe that I have been wearing for many years?  Does society dictate what I should wear or label me if I wear what society believes to be inappropriate for my age?  Or do I go ahead and wear what I want?  As a people watcher, I see that some women wear what is considered appropriate for their age and I also see some women who are older than I am wear what younger women today are wearing.  So do I follow my sense of fashion and have society gawk and whisper or do I bow to what is considered appropriate to wear at my age?  Here I am considered a senior citizen and wondering what happened to time, how time has gone by so quickly, and wondering . . . what happened?

Street Intersection Lights

English: Traffic light in Spain Español: Semáforo

Image via Wikipedia

Traffic Lights

Posted January 1, 2012

Author:  L.L. Plante

This is one of those questions that invariably irritates you as you come upon a traffic light that changes much too quickly. No matter what you do or your timing you inevitably will either stop too quickly because of the quick change or run a red light. Try to time your delivery; it never works. I have even tried to anticipate that although the light has just turned green should I go or stop? I found it best to stop as it always seems that the light will change as soon as I try to drive across the intersection. My question is why are there traffic lights with such bad timing? Are they set up to provide the local law enforcement an excuse to stop and ticket you? Or is it just poor administration? What are your comments?

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