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The never ending cycle of re-gifting

In Children and Family, Economy, Holiday, Opinion, Uncategorized on December 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOAll right, admit it. At one time or another, you’ve re-gifted something you received during the holidays – maybe even the same year! We’ve all done it, as distasteful and classless as it sounds.

Don’t pretend you don’t know what it means to re-gift something. You know, when you take something you got as a Christmas present but you find it either so useless or terrible you pass it along to someone else – often because either you dislike the person or forgot to include them on your gift list. Usually, it gets passed off as something new, rather than the holiday gift version of the hand-me-down.

Probably the most re-gifted items are fruitcakes or some type of pre-boxed gift sets. You know the type, a mix of cologne and after shave, or perfume and powder. They line the center aisle or end caps near the checkout waiting to catch the attention of the last-minute shopper who forgot Aunt Sallie or the coworker in the next cubicle.

fruitcakeAs I was thinking about this piece, I decided to around for suggestions about what kinds of things were frequently re-gifted by friends and co-workers and I got quite an array. The list included mashed potato-scented candles, gargoyle-encrusted picture frames, pine cone nightlight, super-cheap fleece throw blankets, and weird Christmas decorations made of rustic-looking wood featuring a Santa face where a reindeer’s belly should be. Other frequently re-gifted items include a tackle box-style makeup “gift set” items that could be terrible if you don’t know the individual.

One thing you have to be pretty careful about is keeping track of who gave you the gift in the fist place so as not to re-gift it back to the original giver. Oh, the shear embarrassment that would ensue when Uncle Bob opens the multi-colored, faux satin, polyester sequence shirt you just gave him for Christmas, only to have him remark how he gave you one just like it the year before. Oops!

Yeah, it happens – a lot actually. My research also turned up that there are apparently rules of etiquette involved with re-gifting and not passing it back to the original giver is close to the top of the list. You should also avoid actually opening the original packaging or using the item before re-gifting. In addition, it’s probably best not to try to reuse the original wrapping paper, as the first giver is certain to recognize it, even a year later, if they’re in your close circle of recipients.

I admit I have re-gifted a few DVDs, small art pieces, some home decor and similar items, not because they were odd or unwelcome, but more that they didn’t fit my home or interests. And I always tried to only give it to someone I thought was a good fit, not just random re-gifting. Of course, I always saved the truly hideous stuff for the occasional white elephant exchange for work.

It would seem there is no limit to what people will pass along the gift chain, and how much would you have to dislike someone to give of this stuff? It’s also entirely possible that some of these things could have been circulating around for years and years, person-to-person, Christmas tree-to-Christmas tree, until someone finally throws it away.

A review of the aforementioned list (of which I’ve only included a few examples), I have to wonder – from where and whom did the gifts originate? I mean, would someone actually purchase any of these items as a genuine gift? I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be nauseated at artificially created food scents wafting out of a candle.

But, somewhere down the line, someone made the conscious choice to buy these things and most likely with a recipient in mind. So there they are, sitting in a closet or cabinet or storage bin, waiting to be re-wrapped and given to a new recipient.

This Christmas, consider that stack of re-giftable items and think about where it might end up. Remember if that ceramic, frog-shaped toilet paper holder in your closet makes its way back into circulation, it might very well end up under your tree once more. Have a Merry Christmas!

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

 

Tech’s next logical step

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Opinion, psychology, Science, Technology on September 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOAs Apple releases details on the next iPhone (number 7), some changes in the product have met with mixed reviews. The main point of contention is Apple’s decision to do away with the headphone jack, partly in an effort to waterproof the device, a fault that users have complained about for years. But another obvious reason was to force consumers to purchase expensive Bluetooth, wireless ear buds.

Whatever the purpose, major changes in technology have always given pause. As consumers, we hate change. We like what we like and it needs to remain as we remember it. The white, wired headphones have been a symbol of the Apple device culture since the iPod burst on the scene in 2001.

A natural progression from the success Sony experienced in the 1980s with the Walkman, the iPod kept Apple from bankruptcy and ushered in a new era of personal technology. The times change and technology changes with it.

Just to make the point, let’s not forget that earlier this year, the last VCR rolled off the assembly line and into the history books.

Technological innovation is driven by a host of influencers, from government research to the demands of the consumer. A company like Apple has great pressure on it to be innovative but can’t always hit the mark. The Apple Watch is a good example of this kind of fluid change in consumer following.

When it debuted, the wearable tech was going to revolutionize how we use smart phones, monitor our health and more. But even now, it has underperformed in almost every way, especially in sales. Either the public wasn’t ready for it, or the device wasn’t robust enough for the consumer.

Of course, Apple has tried to respond to complaints regarding the watch, issuing updates and several changes to the next model, but it may be too little too late. Or, it’s entirely possible, the gadget just isn’t going to fly, and that happens sometimes.

vm700_manualIn the 80s, the Commodore 64 and the Apple II were the pinnacle of home technology, offering games, word processing and the first glimpses into what we now know as social media. Today, a smarter phone and thinner tablet seem to be the highest demand consumer technology, with better Internet connection and more apps being the selling points.

So where are things headed next? That’s a good question and every major tech company in the world would pay big bucks to whoever could tell them. But, barring a psychic hotline with a beam into the future of the next iPhone or Kindle Fire, it’s a coin toss.

While innovation is the goal, the consumer is a fickle mistress. Developers always proceed with a best guess combination of “this is what would be great tech,” “since they like this, they should like that,” and “let’s just build it and see what happens.” There’s really no way to tell.

During my days in tech, I worked in the programming side, watching companies like CompuServe and AOL amass the fortunes of Midas and then sliding down the hill of obsolescence in a relatively short period of time. But, here’s my educated guess, in case you’re wondering.

Television is still king of advertising and, to capitalize more on that, it will become more mobile soon as well, allowing you to watch live TV over your cell phone with a digital receiver transmitted via your wireless carrier. Wireless cellular companies are going to have to step up their game, in both speed and bandwidth.

I work with a lot of Apple products in my career, but I think that the iPhone is about to be dethroned as the hippest, coolest thing on the market. Partly because the iPhone 7 really has no major innovations and the cost seems to keep going up. That said, every device manufacturer must stay ahead of the game with better operating systems and app availability.

My forecasts here could be totally off the mark. But, whatever happens, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep up with the times. There are endless possibilities, but you need to have patience and be open-minded about change.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com.

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Media doesn’t control anyone

In Economy, Education, finances, Media, News Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on August 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIf you do a Google search for, “how the media controls what we think,”you’ll find dozens of articles, videos and feature stories on the subject. Each claims that news programs, TV commercials and even movies are so powerful they can actually control your mind.

To say that I find fault in these kinds of reports would be an understatement, but what exactly are they talking about? Let’s briefly examine these as separate concepts. First, there’s the advertiser. How is it that advertisers create commercials that convince people to buy things they didn’t even want in the first place?

Well there are countless components to creating an effective advertisement, but the primary way to get customers to buy is through media saturation. This is where you see and hear an ad for a product or service over and over again, on every medium – radio, TV, online, everywhere. Eventually, the message is so engrained into your mind you can’t help but remember it.

If you’re a commercial radio and television consumer, the best example of this kind of advertising is from auto dealers. Car dealerships flood the media with the same, nauseating advertisements, chock full of shouting announcers or gimmicky slogans.

Actually, when advertisers saturate the airwaves like this, the ads don’t event have to be particularly good, just slightly memorable with the name and product repeated over and over again. It’s the frequency that causes you to remember them.

There is no question that the media gets in our heads. Today we are so connected by the Internet and on every manner of device that some people struggle to be away from the constant flow of information even for a brief period of time. All of this has led to the idea of what is sometimes called “media mind control.”

You're probably far more likely to be "brainwashed" by a company like Apple that convinces you how "cool" something is and play on your own vanity. You're still making the choice.

You’re probably far more likely to be “brainwashed” by a company like Apple that convinces you how “cool” something is and plays on your own vanity. You’re still making the choice.

But, in my opinion, as a working part of the media in question, all of this is nonsense… sort of. If you really believe an ad can “make” you buy something or that the news can force you to vote for a particular candidate for office, then that’s pretty sad. Where is your own free will? Why follow the lemmings?

Media can “influence” the decision making process by presenting information tooled towards a certain message or ideology. But the decision to buy into any of that is all on you. The people writing the mind control articles I mentioned earlier have forgotten one, basic idea – we all have a freedom of choice and will.

Even though it might not seem like it sometimes, people choose what they’re going to believe. Advertisers and politicians are hoping you don’t exercise that free thought component of your brain and just follow blindly where their media leads.

Yes, they will play your heartstrings like a cheap fiddle and go at your sense of need and desire until you feel like you can’t live without … whatever they’re selling. But if you are so brain dead that you actually fall for their nonsense, then that’s your fault, not theirs.

We must stop blaming the media for everything and take some personal responsibility for our own bad judgment. News outlets reporting on a shooting did not cause the next mass murder, the guy on the trigger chose his actions. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t “manipulate” anyone into following them, the choice was made by each individual. Period. Any other conclusion is a bit delusional and conspiracy-minded.

Again, influence is the key word here. You can be influenced easily enough, but full on “manipulation” by the media, or anything else, is based on a level of control that we, as individuals, have to give up in order to be affected by it. If you choose to hand over your independent thought and free will then the problem rests with you, not the media you consume.

This, no doubt, will be an unpopular statement considering the “my bad behavior is someone else’s fault” society we live in today. But it’s true, nonetheless. Without threat of harm or other level of duress from an outside source, the only person who can make you do anything – is you.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com

DMS ink celebrates new facility with ribbon cutting

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Local News, Media, State News, Technology, Uncategorized on July 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Yellow Springs, OH – July 12, 2016 – The management and staff of DMS ink celebrated the grand opening of their new headquarters in Yellow Springs this week with an exclusive, invitation-only ribbon cutting and reception. Guests were treated to a tour of the new facility and the opportunity to network and enjoy refreshments in the building’s architecturally stunning atrium.

DMS ink (formerly Dayton Mailing Services) has thrived in the direct mail, digital print, and data management industries for more than 30 years. The company purchased the facility at 888 Dayton St. earlier this year and began moving corporate operations and subsidiaries from the original Dayton, Keowee St. location in April.

In her remarks, owner and president, Christine Soward noted, “It is my sincere hope that our expansion into this new facility will continue to inspire our creativity and innovation to benefit not only our financial security, but also contribute to fulfilling the lives of our employees, customers, vendors and anyone else affected by what we do here.”

DMS ink provides innovative, cutting edge solutions using the latest technology to increase capabilities, improve efficiency and reduce costs, while maximizing consumer response and meeting the needs of the client. DMS ink is a minority and woman owned certified business serving clients nationally. In order to demonstrate the speed of production at DMS, each visitor received a personalized memo book and a mock newspaper featuring a photo of the actual ribbon cutting ceremony that was printed during their tour.

While some production operations will remain in the downtown Dayton facility, most have been relocated and expanded in Yellow Springs. This includes The Bricks Agency, the company’s creative strategy firm and Barrett Brothers Legal Publishing. More information is available online at dmsink.us.

Here is a photo gallery from the event. Photos by Kris WellsThe Bricks Agency  www.thebricksagencyohio.com

Yellow Springs company, DMS ink, elevates inkjet capabilities

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, finances, National News, Technology, Uncategorized on June 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

 

One-stop print shop opens the doors to new business opportunities

MELVILLE, N.Y., June 15, 2016 – Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., today announced an advancement in its ongoing strategic relationship with DMS ink, a full-service direct mail marketing company located in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The installation of the Océ VarioPrint i300 and Océ ColorStream 3900 color digital presses in the DMS ink facility serves to expand their services to their customer base, and illustrates Canon Solutions America’s ongoing commitment to advancing customers’ print output through cutting-edge inkjet technologies.

DMS ink, formerly Dayton Mailing Services, recently moved its headquarters and most of its production to Yellow Springs, Ohio from Dayton.

DMS ink, formerly Dayton Mailing Services, recently moved its headquarters and most of its production to Yellow Springs, Ohio from Dayton.

DMS ink, originally known as Dayton Mailing Services, was founded in 1983. The company has thrived in the direct mail space for more than 30 years through its ability to adapt, staying at the forefront of the industry with cutting-edge concepts and solutions while serving a dynamic customer-base. Since its inception, DMS ink has been known throughout the region for providing best-in-class mailing services and handling its customer projects from design to distribution. With a team of dedicated professionals, the direct mail marketing leader helps a wide range of businesses including healthcare, financial, retail, insurance, and many others, to reduce their costs by offering unique capabilities that go beyond industry benchmarks.

As successful and reliable as DMS ink is within the mail marketing business landscape, to put an emphasis solely on those capabilities would be a disservice to a company that has recently expanded its operations to include leading data services and digital print offerings. Over the last five years, the Ohio-based full printing and fulfillment center has grown into a prosperous digital print provider that now boasts some of the most game-changing technologies that are redefining the industry. This transition began in early 2005 when DMS ink began its shift from a traditional letter shop to a variable data printing provider, and is most recently represented by the company’s acquisition of the Océ VarioPrint i300 sheet-fed inkjet press and the Océ ColorStream 3900 inkjet press. Since the arrival of these advanced presses, the early adopter of inkjet has opened the doors to even broader business opportunities.

“I cannot stress enough the level of activity and excitement within DMS ink as we continue our migration to a critical document company with state-of-the-art digital print capabilities,” said Christine Soward, president and owner of DMS ink, whose commitment to innovation and emerging technologies has grown the company’s revenue by double digits over the last several years. “The enthusiasm around our company is perhaps best highlighted by our purchase of what we feel is the product that will lead the charge in the industry-wide inkjet movement, the Océ VarioPrint i300.”

When DMS ink went to market for an answer to its crucial digital print needs, it specifically searched for improvements in print quality and a press that could provide commercial-type color at transactional-type costs. With a commitment to innovation, Soward and her team put an equal focus on finding a digital press that could help diversify their client roster and overall offerings while handling new and more diverse applications with an eye toward profitability. Additionally, DMS ink knew that with the emergence of new inkjet technologies, there was an answer to its ongoing quest to break down the barriers it was finding that pertained to offset printing, short-run jobs, postal optimization, one-on-one personalized communications, and the ability to maximize uptime.

“The new Océ products have allowed us to run jobs at an unbelievable rate and with incredible quality,” added Jim Hoffman, vice president of Business Development at DMS ink. “Of course you always want to get the most out of your investment, and with the Océ VarioPrint i300 and Océ ColorStream 3900 we can now fully leverage our finishing capabilities, which has resulted in heightened efficiency and automated workflows. Our core goal of becoming less of a mail house and more of a strategic partner has been greatly enhanced with the print functionality we now have with our newest acquisitions.”

Built to allow its users the ability to grow within a market that is evolving rapidly, the Océ VarioPrint i300 bridges the gap between the application flexibility and efficiency of sheet-fed presses and the economy and productivity of web-fed systems, without compromising quality. As witnessed by DMS ink, the digital press was designed to offer premium quality output with proven inkjet productivity and flexibility. Operating as the ideal complement to this leading press is the Océ ColorStream 3900 full color inkjet printer. Recognized as one of the fastest growing inkjet presses in the industry, its production and media flexibility enables a simplified transition of applications and business models to more sophisticated documents with variable personalization and smarter communication in color.

“With the confluence of new technologies and the ever-apparent shift to inkjet, we have dedicated ourselves to finding the best way for our customers to accelerate the offset-to-digital print migration with products that will set the bar for the inkjet movement,” said Francis A. McMahon, senior vice president, Marketing, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America. “However, none of that is possible without feedback from our valued customers like DMS ink, which allows us to modify the technology to best fit their business goals and prepare them for expansive growth.”

The collaboration between Canon Solutions America and DMS ink did not end with the installation of the Océ VarioPrint. With the intention to migrate the rest of its inkjet products and to further enhance its workflow, DMS ink additionally implemented the Océ PRISMAproduction print workflow and output management system. This addition is set to provide DMS ink with the ability to create a unified platform for mid to high volume, high speed printing for its entire production print fleet.

“This is very much a time of change and growth here at DMS ink, and we could not be more excited to experience that growth alongside Canon Solutions America,” added Soward. “The future looks bright for DMS ink and our customers!”

 

About DMS ink
DMS ink (formerly Dayton Mailing Services) has thrived in the direct mail, digital print, and data management industries for more than 30 years. Their goal is to become a true partner to their customers and an extension of their business through trust and dedication. DMS ink provides innovative, cutting edge solutions using the latest technology to increase capabilities, improve efficiency and reduce costs, while maximizing consumer response and meeting the needs of the client. DMS is a minority and woman owned certified business serving clients nationally. Their unique capabilities are sought by a wide range of businesses from healthcare, financial, retail, political, energy, automotive, non-profits, and many others that require full project management of design, material acquisitions, complex data programming, variable content, printing, fulfillment and mailing services.

About Canon Solutions America, Inc.

Canon Solutions America provides industry leading enterprise, production, and large format printing solutions, supported by exceptional professional service offerings. With the technology offerings of the Canon and Océ brands, Canon Solutions America helps companies of all sizes improve sustainability, increase efficiency, and control costs through high volume, continuous feed, digital and traditional printing, and document management solutions. A wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., Canon Solutions America is headquartered in Melville, N.Y. and has sales and service locations across the U.S. For more information on Canon Solutions America, please visit csa.canon.com.

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Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. Océ is a registered trademark of Océ-Technologies B.V. in the United States and elsewhere. All other referenced product names and marks are trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.

© 2016 Canon Solutions America, Inc. All rights reserved.

McAfee scholarship award recipients announced

In Business, Charities, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on May 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

Dayton, OH – Greg McAfee, owner of McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, has announced the winners of the inaugural “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program for the 2016 school year. Focusing on more than just academic performance, McAfee, along with other area sponsors, funded the scholarship to also reward students for their overall contributions and commitment to family and community.

The “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program awarded $2,500 to ten high-school seniors set to graduate in the 2016 academic year. Funds can be used for any accredited post-secondary course of study including: two or four-year colleges, trade or technical schools, or programs resulting in the award of a professional licensure issued by the state.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Each applicant’s personal narrative weighed heavily in the selection process, as did recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders influential in the student’s life.

Qualified students were residents of Montgomery, Warren or Greene counties in Ohio, or attend Miami Valley Career Technology Center or the Greene County Career Center. Applicants also submitted three letters of recommendation and attained a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or greater, both at the time of application and upon graduation.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Therefore, each applicant’s personal narrative weighs heavily in the selection process, as will recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders.

“Some students may not necessarily have the grades to qualify for many of the scholarships out there today,” McAfee says. “But, in my opinion, hard work, dependability, and commitment to family and community is equally important, if not more so.” Additional consideration will be given to applicants with a significant financial need that would otherwise limit post-secondary opportunities. McAfee noted that he was not part of the judging committee.

The 2016 recipients of the “You Can Count On Me” scholarships, and their respective schools, are as follows: Jayden Lee, Carlisle High School; Hanna Midtlien, Bellbrook High School; Kaitlin Dunn, Fairborn City Schools; Karina Brady, Dayton Christian High School; Adam Gallatin, Oakwood High School; Brian Petachi, Wayne High School; Timothy (Devon) Cook, Brookville Local Schools; and from Beavercreek High School, Andrew Rice, Madison Fecher and Kayleigh Brown.

Influential teachers are also being honored. “We realize that there are people within our lives who are instrumental in helping us to achieve our true potential,” McAfee says. “We asked students to identify a teacher at their school they would like to recognize as being a positive role model and contributor to their scholastic and extracurricular achievement.”

In recognition, a $250 donation will be made in honor of each of the following teachers to their respective schools: Sam Lee, Carlisle High School; Paulette Hensley, Bellbrook High School; Mrs. Halloway, Fairborn High School; Mr. Gail Gnagey, Dayton Christian High School; Kim Hobby, Oakwood City Schools; Mrs. Knepp, Huber Heights High School; Ann Stammen, Brookville High School; and Jami Russ, Kevin Tritschler, and Mrs. Mindy Burcham, all from Beavercreek High School.

According to McAfee, “This being the first year of the program, we are very pleased with the results. Our partners, sponsors and educators did a tremendous job getting the word out…we had over 450 applications submitted, and look forward to many more next school year,” says McAfee. “The character and passion demonstrated by these students not only is refreshing, but also solidified the decision to offer the program and should provide us all with the sense that our future is in good hands.”

Sponsors of this year’s scholarship include McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Omnispear, Soin Medical Center, Media Explosion, Guardian Financial, Net-X Computers, and Cedarville University. An official awards banquet will be held at Cedarville University at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. More information on the scholarship is available on the official website, YouCanCountOnMe.org.

Gallery of recipients …

Dayton creative agency relocated to Yellow Springs

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Media, Uncategorized on March 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm

The Bricks Logo_V2Yellow Springs, OH – Dayton creative advertising services company, The Bricks Agency, has relocated to the village Yellow Springs as of Monday, March 21st. As the creative strategy division of DMS ink (formerly Dayton Mailing Services, Inc.), the firm has moved from the parent company’s original location on Keowee St. in Dayton to suite 102, west, of 888 Dayton Street in Yellow Springs.

Established in early 2015, The Bricks Agency provides advertising, graphic design, copywriting, print and

888 Dayton St. Yellow Springs, OH

888 Dayton St. Yellow Springs, OH

digital market strategies, as well as corporate identity and public relations services. The fledgling company’s inaugural year proved highly successful, landing its first international client and achieving two, bronze Hermes awards from the American Advertising Federation Dayton.

Gery Deer is the agency’s Managing and Communications Director. He says the move to Yellow Springs is in line with the expansion of the parent company, DMS ink, which just purchased the Dayton Street facility and will be moving its headquarters and production lines there in the coming months.

“We’re excited to be in our new, creative space and a part of such a naturally nurturing community,” Deer says. “It’s the ideal environment in which our agency can prosper and grow.”

Any questions about the agency or its relocation should be directed to Gery L. Deer, by calling 937-222-5056 Ext. 134, or email gery.deer@thebricksagency.com. Online at bestdaytonadagency.com.

 

 

If Trump gets nomination, I’m done with GOP

In Business, Economy, history, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, State News, Uncategorized, World News on February 25, 2016 at 9:37 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOBecause I’ve always tried to get people to think about my subjects from more than one perspective, I’ve rarely shown my personal political leanings within the wording of my columns. In fact, I so often take opposing views in any given article, after any given Deer In Headlines column is published, I could be called, in the same day, a “bleeding heart liberal,” and a “right wing conservative.”

But, here it is, for the record and publicized for the first time anywhere – I am a registered Republican. (If there was a pool going somewhere, I’d like a cut please.) I am certainly not, however, what you might think of as a typical modern conservative. In truth, my considerations often demonstrate a far more liberal position but I’m also frequently sickened by the level of hypocrisy in both parties.

So, I should explain, “why Republican?” Well, I didn’t go with the GOP from any ideological position. Many years ago, during the first presidential election for which I was old enough to vote, I had to choose a party in order to participate in the primary election. At the time, I knew more about the Republican candidates, so I picked that one. Really scientific, wouldn’t you say?

No, it wasn’t the best way to choose, but I was 18 and had to make a fast decision. As the years went on, I always avoided just blindly voting the party line and chose whichever candidate I thought was best based on the facts at hand. So, my party affiliation really didn’t make much difference. But today I think that affiliation does matter, possibly more so than any other time during my life.

Trump rise indicates hateful path of GOP. Photo courtesy NYTimes.

Trump rise indicates hateful path of GOP. Photo courtesy NYTimes.

Donald Trump has managed to do exactly what he set out to since the day he announced his candidacy for president. However caustic and cartoonish his campaign, The Donald has ripped through the fabric of the Republican Party and scattered the conservative base.

My problem here is that any group that would allow and encourage a self-aggrandizing buffoon like Trump to climb to the top of the party has obviously lost its way. Poking around in the dark for the lesser of who cares, people have desperately searched for a non-politician. Sadly, they think Trump is that person. Still, Americans need a good leader and someone who understands the complexities of the world stage on which America is just one player.

To be an effective president, Trump would have to work on a team, listen to more knowledgeable advisors and make decisions based on the best interests of the people, not just to get his own way. I believe, as do others, that Trump is totally incapable of this behavior.

As Trump plowed through the rest of the party making his way to the top, he has repeatedly shown he is not ready or personally equipped to be that kind of leader. As a businessman, he comes across more like a dictator. In other words, it’s his way or nothing. Ironically, Republicans have repeatedly criticized President Obama for the very same behavior citing executive orders.

At this point, I need to be clear about something else regarding my political leanings. I don’t like Hillary Clinton either. She’s a proven liar from a deceptive family and a political insider. Bernie Sanders isn’t much better. His blathering on about so-called democratic socialism is idealistic nonsense lacking even the most basic economic foundation.

So why come out about my party affiliations now? Well, there are a couple of reasons. Over the years I’ve watched in disgust as this party that revels in moral values seems hypocritically more bigoted, angry and hateful than ever. A fact made more clear every time Trump opens his mouth to denigrate Muslims, minorities, women or whomever he’s attacking that day and is met with unbridled cheering from ignorant followers.

The party of Lincoln would certainly cringe if he were here today. In recent times, the GOP has argued harder for the right of someone to own an AR-15 assault weapon than for women and minorities to be treated equally. Honestly? It’s just embarrassing.

Trump’s shocking rise from joke to frontrunner proves that the Grand Old Party is nothing of the kind. It has become, instead, little more than another corporate sell-out run by rich, old white guys with followers who seem to thrive on hate, bigotry and fear.

A Trump nomination will be the last straw for me. When it happens, although I disagree with a great many liberal policies and ideals, I will march myself to the board of elections and change my party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

Since, I tend to think for myself rather than be a political lemming, I’d obviously rather go “independent” but I wouldn’t, for two reasons. First, the idea of an “independent party,” is an oxymoron. You can’t be independent about something if you’re just going to follow a group. Secondly, I still want to have an effect in the primaries.

Many people are angry about the direction of the current administration and the country and I sympathize. I have many friends, family and business associates who are Trump supporters for those very reasons. And for them, I am simultaneously surprised and disappointed, but I still support them and their right to choose the candidate that best reflects their views.

So, I certainly hope these revelations have not put you off of reading my work, but I felt this was important enough to make a stand and let you, my readers, know where my head is in this election. In the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing more about what happens next in my political participation, so stay tuned to Deer In Headlines.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at deerinheadlines.com.

Saving the mythical middle class

In Economy, history, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics on February 1, 2016 at 9:38 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGODuring the post-war euphoria of the 1950s, Americans were convinced of a concept that has carried through into the next century. The “middle class” was a figment of someone’s imagination – probably a politician – and sold to the public as the ideal life. But the idea of a middle class has become as mythological as the Leave It To Beaver universe that created it.

As the presidential election year kicks into high gear, saving the dying middle class will be the subject of countless speeches. But how do you preserve something that no longer exists, if it ever did at all? The truth is, you can’t.

But who is the middle class? As it turns out, there is no consistent definition of this mythical group. Depending on the source, the middle class can be defined in a number of ways, from economical status to age and race demographics. So when you hear a politician spout off the words, “middle class,” the context is vital, otherwise it’s meaningless.

According to CNNMoney.com, one definition by the Pew Research Center is based on income. It lists the middle class as those Americans who earn between $46,900 and $140,900. Another marker has to do with aspirations.

Most people who consider themselves middle class want to own a home, send their kids to college, have proper healthcare and investment savings, a car, vacations, and so on. Obviously, that means that the money has to exist to make any of that a possibility so we’re back to financial definitions once again.

Photo courtesy NBC News

Photo courtesy NBC News

The simple fact of it is the concept of the middle class is a myth; a myth we have all been trapped into believing to the point of mass hysteria. The American dream does exist, but it’s far less detailed than we’ve been taught over the last 70 years or so, and it’s not as tied to the middle class as once thought.

Between the American dream and the middle class, I’d much rather focus on the former; at least I know it’s ambiguous and depends on my own efforts, choices and aspirations. The American dream is different for each person.

Yours might be to own a bookstore while your neighbor’s may simply be to be healthy and happy in his or her own way. But trying to be part of the middle class has done countless families harm over the years, struggling to “keep up with the Joneses,” and fighting the never ending war to amass “stuff” so as to appear successful.

As a political hot button, the idea that the middle class is suffering provides unlimited opportunity to yank at the heartstrings of conservatives. Liberals don’t seem to care as much about it. It all goes back to that subliminal mental tie-in between the middle class and the American dream.

The question remains, how do politicians evoke emotion over a group that doesn’t actually exist? Or, stated more correctly, a group that encompasses so many different kinds of people as to eliminate any particular demographic. Actually, it’s easier than you might think.

If politicians can keep that apple pie imagery flowing and preach doom and gloom over its demise, people will flock to the polls to protect it by voting for them. It’ll have the same effect as the anti-communist films of the 1950s and 60s depicting a family on a nice summer picnic when suddenly the nuclear bombs start dropping. Destroy the middle class and America dies.

But, once again, it’s impossible to destroy what doesn’t exist. The middle class is defined by whoever wants to use it to their benefit, to push their agenda. Oddly, I’d say the middle class is more about a state of mind of the individual than actual numbers.

We all just want to be normal, average Americans in similar status to our neighbors so we can relate to each other. In the end, I think we all just want to be financially stable and happy with our lives.

Community colleges are vital to economy

In Business, Economy, Education, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on October 26, 2015 at 9:42 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOAs college tuition continues to climb, more students are going into debt from loans or even dropping out because of the expense and the cycle is getting worse, not better. According to a 2013 estimate by Forbes magazine, students in the U.S. owed a whopping $1.2 trillion in tuition loans and that number is climbing.

Upon graduation, the average student will need to work enough to live while trying to pay off nearly $25,000 in loan debt. This is one reason community colleges are gaining ground as the first, best option for people who want a solid education that leads to gainful employment – and for less money.

Not too long ago the Obama administration announced the importance of community college and an effort to make them tuition-free for low-income families. While there is merit to the sentiment, the idea that an Ivy Leaguer, like the president, speaks as if he just discovered the value of these institutions always comes across as elitist and insulting.

When highbrow critics slam community college curriculum as easier, less valuable, or someplace only the low-performers go, it only serves to make those ivory-towered onlookers appear less intelligent. For some people, the community college serves to fill in educational gaps left by their high school experience.

College_graduate_students (1)The department of education reports that 40-percent of students who set out to earn a four-year degree still have not completed it by year six. Even so, many guidance counselors don’t suggest community college to lower-income or poorly performing students out of a sense of political correctness.

If the counselor sincerely suggests to a low-income individual, particularly a minority, that community college might be their best option, he or she could very well appear racist or the like. As a result, many students head for universities who may either not be ready for it academically or who simply cannot afford it.

Of course, not all community colleges are created equal. There are certainly those institutions that need curriculum improvement, which is why these schools must make every effort to attract talented faculty.

The Dayton, Ohio area has about a half-dozen, highly rated community colleges including Edison Community College, ITT Technical Institute, and, the fastest growing and largest, Sinclair Community College. Established in the basement of the Dayton YMCA in 1887, Sinclair is the oldest and often rated as most popular in the region and a leader in healthcare and high tech education.

Sinclair established university parallel programs more than 25 years ago, providing students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in engineering and other programs that transfer directly into four-year schools like University of Dayton and Ohio University, Athens. Many community colleges today offer this type of continuing program to allow students to build momentum in their college careers and nail down the academic path that most suits their goals.

Community college is an amazing opportunity for many students, allowing for more hands-on training that is generally possible at the university level and from people who have worked in the field. Most community college instructors and professors have spent years in real-life work situations, not just in academia and theory.

As it has been since their inception, community colleges also tailor programs for adult and continuing education students. From evening courses to satellite classes, adult students can earn their associate’s degree or work toward a certificate required to advance in their current job. Some larger employers even collaborate with the colleges to offer the course work on site.

Whatever the reason, lower tuition, work advancement or kick starting a longer academic career, community colleges offer a great many options for students and are not merely the “last resort.” Education and knowledge are what grow an economy, not political rhetoric and empty promises.

The university experience is simply not for everyone, regardless of academic prowess and financial means. Americans must relieve the stigma associated with community college programs and present instead a unified front for educational options in the 21st Century. Everyone benefits from education, workers, employers, the community and the country.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines syndicated by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.