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Monday, July 2, 2012

Mormons: A Conservative block, very different than mainstream America

With a Mormon as the frontrunner in the Republican field for presidential nomination, this is a good time to look at the political beliefs of the members of the Latter Day Saints. The Washington Post did just that. (story also appears in the Las Vegas Review Journal).

What did they find?

74% of Mormons lean Republican while only 45% of Americans say they could vote Republican and fewer than 1 in 3 Americans say they will vote Republican.

66% identify as conservative, compared to 37% of the overall US population.

17% of Mormons say they may vote Democrat compared to 54% of the American public. 43% of Americans say they will vote Democrat, with 46% saying they will vote to reelect Obama. Fewer than 5% of Mormons say they may vote to reelect President Obama.

79% of Mormons say that sex between unmarried adults is wrong compared to 35% of the public.

58% of Mormons say that a home should have one husband providing for a wife and family, who remain at home. In contrast 62% of the general population say it is preferable for both spouses to have jobs and share in household duties.

Shown: Las Vegas Sunrise Mountain Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 

First Posted February 8, 2012


No Unions, No Middle Class


By Caitlin Vega

When I look around, I see families struggling harder than ever just to get by. Foreclosed homes with "For Sale" signs up, thousands of workers standing in line to apply for a handful of jobs at McDonalds, those who lost jobs realizing there are none to be found. I see it in my family, among my friends, throughout my neighbourhood. The working people of California who once enjoyed a degree of economic security have seen it washed away in a tidal wave of hard times. This is not just anecdotal. The recent census numbers show the highest level of inequality on record.  That means not only are working families suffering, but they are suffering alone. The wealthy, the banks, and the CEOs are all making record profits, while jobs disappear and aid to the poorest elderly and disabled is slashed.

Is this the world we want to live in?

If you are saying, "There’s gotta be a better way," you are right. There is one. It’s called the Labor Movement. A new study by the Center for American Progress confirms the cornerstone of our philosophy: unions are essential to creating a fair economy and rebuilding the middle class.

What the researchers found is that unions give workers a voice on the job and in the democratic process. This translates into wage and benefit gains, but also into policy changes that promote a fair economy.

As a result, the study found that every increase in the rate of unionization actually puts more money into the pockets of working people. Not surprisingly, inequality was at its lowest when union membership peaked. As unionization has declined over the past four decades, income inequality has skyrocketed.

As the researchers note, unions provide a counterpoint to corporate power, and when union influence is diminished, the path is clear for the Big Businesses to get their way every time.  That’s why, in the midst of this fiscal crisis, there is bipartisan support for reducing the corporate tax rate, even while most large corporations pay NO federal taxes!

That’s why Republican Governors in a dozen states are going all-out in assaults against unions, backing bills to strip collective bargaining rights, eliminate secure pensions, strip away prevailing wage protections, and blame workers for the economic meltdown.

What they understand is that the Labor Movement is not an island, advocating just for our own members or our narrow self-interest. Instead, the Labor Movement is a force for social equality and democratic participation that benefits all workers. 

Rather than watching thousands of laid off workers compete for a few hundred minimum wage jobs, we want to build a vibrant middle class. We want jobs that bring economic security so that the next generation can have greater opportunities and a better future.

That’s what we fight for and that’s why this fight should matter to everyone.

(Caitlin Vega is legislative advocate for the California Labor Federation.) 

STOP! You're Killing Me With PowerPoint!

Body Language at Work by Peter Clayton

Body Language in Skilful Presentations

From the Skilled Presenter (click here)

This next quality of skillful presenting is a ‘biggie’. Its’ all about


Body language speaks volumes.

Just have a look at these 2 pictures and see what you read in to the body language there.
It’s quite easy isn't it?

So if it’s easy for you to see here, how easy it for your audience to interpret your body language during a presentation?

And I use the word “interpret” deliberately, because here’s a truism:

What the audience sees is what the audience believes!

I don’t care if you are saying “that’s not the way I feel” – what matters is how your audience interprets what your body is saying.

For example, out of habit you may be fiddling with a ring on your finger during a presentation. To the audience that means “he’s nervous” – whether you are not doesn’t matter, it’s how the audience sees it. Get the point?

So you’ve got to be very aware of what message you are (unconsciously) sending out – is it positive, is it friendly, is it persuasive?

The most common negative habits are:

  • Presenting with your arms folded in front of you (=”What I say goes!)
  • Putting your hands in your pockets (=I’m nervous but don’t want to show it)
  • Fiddling with coins in the pocket/playing with a pen /playing with the whiteboard marker (=” I’m really nervous”)
  • Pointing at the audience with a pointer or pen (=”now just to listen to me”).
So what’s a good stance to adopt?

I recommend you start with your feet very slightly apart, square on to the audience, with your hands loosely at your side, or, if that feels uncomfortable, clasped lightly in front of you.

In all cases you want to make it easy for you to gesture (and we’ll deal with gestures in the next blog post).

But this matter of boy language is a two-way street!
What do I mean by that?

Well, while the audience will interpret your body language, you can also interpret theirs!

  • So if you see a sleepy look coming over people – then liven up the presentation or take a break.
  • If you see a puzzled look coming over people’s faces – then explain the point again, they haven’t understood it.
  • If they look bored – well you know what to do then – throw something surprising into the presentation to wake them up!
So please don’t take this matter of body language as just a ‘classroom’ subject – it’s an essential element when it comes to right brain presentations.

Now I mentioned earlier that gestures are part of body language, so in my next post I’m going to talk about that subject all by itself.

From the Skilled Presenter (click here)

Word Spy: new words and obscure phrases

From wordspy:

n. A temporary loss of inhibition while online. Also: cyber-disinhibition.

According to the study, their world is expanding and narrowing at the same time because of social media's hyperlocalization quotient. And "cyberdisinhibition" — being more willing to behave online in ways they wouldn't in person — has both emboldened users and led them to inappropriate behavior.
—"Americans redefining their lives online and offline with social media tools," RISMedia, November 23, 2009
n. The strong and irrational fear that in the near future the earth will be destroyed by some cosmic event.

There are 19 million 2012-related Google hits, and a vast number of those are concerned with a real world's [sic] and not the Roland Emmerich film that cashes in on rampant fear and on the tastes of those who enjoyed the way he destroyed the world in "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow."...This latest bit of cosmophobia is based on the Maya or Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which, set up to run for 5,125 years, appears to terminate on or about Dec. 21, 2012, thus wrecking the key holiday shopping season.
—John Bogert, "Here comes the end of the world — again," Daily Breeze, October 22, 2009

Status Quo...and resistance to change


The stress of underemployment is changing America

The New York Times reports that stress may be killing Americans, particurally those who are unemployed or underemployed. In other words this recession could be deadly. In a related story they report on the emotional impact of joblessness; the loss of income was just the beginning of the trauma. Large portions of the unemployed talked about feeling ashamed and depressed, and full of fear that they won't be able to hold their place on the economic ladder. NPR features the author of both stories, Micael Luo, about his experiences and his observations on today's "Tell Me More."

First published December 16, 2009