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India vs. China: Economic growth and national security

In Economy, history, National News, Opinion, sociology, Uncategorized on June 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

DIH LOGOOn June 4, 1989, after three weeks of civil rights protests by nearly a million Chinese, many of them students, Chinese troops stormed a packed square in Beijing, killing and arresting thousands. The Tiananmen Square Massacre shocked the world and confirmed the belief, not that there was any doubt, that China’s political system is completely incompatible with that of the United States and pretty much any other democratic nation.

A quarter of a century later, it’s still largely incomprehensible why America is so tied to a country with no decency with regard to human rights. It’s about two things that shouldn’t surprise anyone, money and political power. There’s a little fear thrown into the mix as well associated with China’s massive military might and a government with no reservations about using it.

Labor costs are incredibly also low in China, with the average factory worker earning just one-tenth of what their American counterparts bring home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cheap labor is an attractive prospect to American companies looking to expand production with fewer tax and employment expenses. It seems there is no end to U.S. manufacturers relocating in China; producing cheaper goods to be shipped back America and sold at a premium profit.

Contrary to popular belief, however, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, only 15-percent of U.S. imports come from China. That comes out to something like $29 billion of a $1 trillion monthly output. There are more than 1.3 billion people in China, many of whom, like their American counterparts, want, more than ever, the latest technology, fashions, entertainment and so on. Although it is generally exaggerated, a definite trade deficit exists between the two nations, which is unlikely to change anytime soon.

China or India? Which makes more sense for the US?

China or India? Which makes more sense for the US?

It’s entirely possible the United States should be looking a little further southwest for political and economic growth in Asia – India. After all, which would seem a much more stable and amiable political and economic ally? With more than 1.2 billion people living in 29 states, India is the world’s second-largest country and second-largest democracy, English speaking and primed for growth.

If India is a more lucrative and stable prospect, what’s holding America back from a greater fueling of the fire of partnership, economically and socially? Unfortunately, recent years have seen the U.S./India relationship strained over trade and intellectual property disputes. Plus, the Indian economy has had some rocky spots recently.

In 2013, the average median income per capita in India was around $1,200 (Compared to China at $2,100). Add to that, India’s economy has fallen off nearly 5-percent with 8-percent inflation and the country’s fiscal health is a major barrier. However, the election of a new prime minister, Narendra Modi has encouraged investors and the economy has reflected that confidence.

According to CNN Money, “The prospect of a government led by Modi has boosted Indian stocks by 15 percent so far this year. The rupee has responded too, gaining six percent against the dollar after a dismal performance in 2013.”

There are other more politically charged issues slowing down a more aggressive relationship with India, but most U.S. officials see the country as a thriving democracy and a strategic gold mine. Close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, a more advanced partnership between America and India would benefit both countries in terms of economic growth and national security.

America imposed sanctions against India in 1998 because of nuclear testing. But, thanks to former presidents Clinton and Bush, relations improved greatly and the two nations even signed a ground-breaking defense and civil nuclear (power) agreement.

With the possible exception of the political unknowns surrounding a new prime minister, previously a Hindu Nationalist, there is little reason to spend so much time courting the stagnant communist regime in China instead of nurturing a reasonably stable democracy, and growing economy, in India. In the end, it certainly seems that it would be much wiser for Washington to advance trade and economic partnerships with India.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

 

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Reward yourself for a job well done.

In Business, Economy, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 8:28 am

DIH LOGODo you hate your job? You might be surprised how many people despise their work. Even those making upwards of six figures can find the grind most tedious and would do nearly anything to change it. So why don’t they? Chances are, especially at the high end, people have locked themselves into a lifestyle that requires a certain level of money and position that becomes inescapable, or so they think.

If you were one of the millions of folks displaced from a job during the recession, you’re just counting your blessings and dealing with whatever unpleasantness comes along at work. Whatever the reason for staying, there are many reasons why people hate their jobs.

Much of what causes people to dislike their jobs has to do with a lack of obvious appreciation or recognition for your efforts. It takes more than a paycheck to feel fulfilled in your profession and most people don’t get the recognition they feel they deserve for hard work and dedicated service.

Recognition can also come from promotion and a change in responsibilities which can offer more challenges to your day, as well as a better paycheck. If you don’t have opportunities to grow within an organization, you’re likely to feel stifled and unproductive. That will eat away at you over time.

Another reason for someone might feel badly in their job is when they feel they’re meant to do something else or went to school for something entirely different. We all have had moments when we thought we should be something else. I grew up thinking I was going to be a doctor. When I finally enrolled in a pre-med program, I found I really didn’t like it and transferred into an engineering track.

girl_bookDespite what the academics would like us to believe, very few people really know what they want to do at the age of 18 when society is telling us to choose a lifelong career. The fact is we’re just not that grown up yet and, if we think we are and choose a direction, it often change with age and experience.

So what do you do if you are one of those who is just plain unhappy at work? First, it might be a good idea to try to find another job. Don’t wait until you lose the one you have to be looking for something better. Knee-jerk reactions to an employment crisis rarely bring about good change in life, instead just leading to more of the same mediocrity. Get out there and start looking and interviewing for the kind of work you really feel like you want to do, provided it meets your financial and professional qualifications.

Secondly, if changing jobs isn’t a practical option right now, try to provide yourself with some self-rewards and do things throughout the week to make your situation more enjoyable. As an independent worker and small business owner, I don’t get “rewards” for what I do all day. There is no employee of the month or chance for promotion. I’m as high up as I get and, unless the cat learns to use the printer, it’s doubtful I’m going to receive a certificate for outstanding performance anytime soon.

I still need to stay motivated, though, and so do you. So set up rewards for yourself throughout the week. For example, say you have a big project coming up that may test your patience and tolerance of others. Instead of going home stressed every night, establish yourself some rewards for hanging in there. Schedule a special lunch with a friend or ice cream after work. Go to a movie with your significant other in the middle of the week or even plan for a day off if possible.

These observations merely brush the surface of why people might hate their job, but it’s a start. Having a plan to help yourself better enjoy your work will reduce your stress level and increase your productivity. It will also make you less dependent on others for personal growth and self-worth. More importantly, developing a system of self-reward is something you can take with you.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, OH. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

Campaign educates drivers about distracted driving

In Children and Family, Education, Environment, Health, Local News, Technology, Uncategorized on April 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm

DDXENIA, OH – In an effort to make our roads safer, the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition announced today that it has joined the “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” campaign to stop distracted driving.  April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Coalition has pledged its support to help spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.

“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop most people from continuing to do it,” said Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator.  “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving.  We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 421,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, eleven percent of fatal crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive.

The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have curbed drunk driving and increased seat belt use.

“Every driver in Greene County has a role in this effort,” said Fox.  “However, we especially want to reach out to parents with teen drivers because we know that statistically, the under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.”

The Coalition’s goal is simple – save lives by getting drivers to remember that “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.”  All drivers are encouraged to put down the phone and arrive alive.

For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov, or you can contact Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or lfox@gcchd.org.  

GCCOA upcoming events for seniors; Artisans and Workshops

In Charities, Education, Health, Local News, News Media, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on March 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Greene County Senior Artisan Show

March 2 through March 19, 2014
Grand Opening: Sunday, March 2nd ~ 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Sundays, March 9th and March 16th ~ 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Wednesday, March 19th ~ 11:00am to 2:00pm

gcsasFairborn Art Association Rear of Fairborn Senior Housing 221 North Central Avenue Fairborn, Ohio

Age is not a factor for artists, especially those in Greene County! Please bring a friend and enjoy the amazing work of senior citizens ~ from 60 to 90 something. This event showcases some of this talent and reinforces the importance of promoting our own creativity and activity as we age.

The show will include a variety of mediums, including oil and acrylic, watercolor, pastel, charcoal,
pencil, pen and ink, woodcarvings, hand-thrown pottery and ceramics, and photography.

Refreshments provided by the Fairborn Senior Center

The Senior Artisan Show is co-sponsored by the Fairborn Art Association and the Greene County Council on Aging.

HEALTHY U WORKSHOPS 

healthyuHealthy U is a free, six week, community-based workshop offered by the Area Agency on Aging and the Greene County Council on Aging that helps participants learn proven strategies to manage chronic
conditions.
 Live with long-term health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and more;
 Feel limited in your daily activities
 Feel tired, alone, or fearful because of your health; or
 Are looking for better ways to manage your symptoms.

Healthy U workshops are conducted in your community by two trained facilitators who have learned to take control of their health and want to help others do the same. They are held in six weekly, interactive, small-group sessions that focus on ways to better manage your own conditions.

 Strategies to deal with stress, fatigue, pain, weight management, and depression
 Using physical activity to maintain and improve strength,flexibility, and endurance
 How to use medications safely and appropriately
 Better ways to talk with your doctor and family about your health
 Using good nutrition to improve health and control symptoms
 Setting and achieving personal health goals

For more information, please call 376-5486 or 1-888-795-8600 or e-mail carol@gccoa.org

Not without honor, except at home

In Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

DIH LOGOIn the Bible, the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 4, Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” The quote refers to the question of Jesus’s work being rejected in his own hometown. That was a couple of thousand years ago but, sadly, this same lack of local support and recognition is still rampant today.

We are constantly barraged by the pleadings by civic and business organizations encouraging us to “buy local.” But, when push comes to shove, even these organizations utilize outside resources more often than not.

The best examples of this kind of behavior are evident in the entertainment industry. I know dozens of performing artists, from musicians to specialty acts, who never seem to get work in their own home areas.

Most make a good living but will always have to travel, which is, of course, somewhat of a necessity for securing regular pay in that kind of business. At the same time, most of them offer much lower fees to work closer to home and yet are rarely taken up on the option in favor of “outside” help.

Someone out there is probably saying, “Well, maybe they’re just not very good.” There is an ignorance surrounding the concept that if someone chooses to remain in their home region, they must be less than expert at their particular job. If not, they’d have been moved to relocate due to excessive demand – untrue.

If these folks are as untalented as that statement implies, why would they have the opportunity to do so much elsewhere? An entertainer or other professional tends to earn far more money on jobs where travel and extended booking time is necessary than if they do a single project in their own community. So why would they be paid more and requested so often out of the region if their talents are less than ideal? The logic there makes no sense.

Take the country singing group, The Statler Brothers, for example. From the 1960s through the early 2000’s, these Staunton, Virginia boys sold millions of records, performed all over the world and yet never relocated from their home town. For more than 25 years, they even did an annual 4th of July concert there to raise money for local charities. And they’re not the only story like this.

Ignorance of local talent is not limited to the entertainment world, however. Other professionals are frequently dismissed in their own communities as well; that is unless they achieve some wider attention and suddenly discover people stacked like cordwood on their coattails.

The point here is that, regardless of the product or service needed, if civic and business organizations are going to practice what they preach, they need to utilize more local talent, and not just the big players on the block. Sadly, with so much “good-old-boy” nepotism at play, without some folks stepping outside the proverbial clique, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. When people do make the effort to connect with local providers, they tend to expect a lot of freebies or slashed pricing. That’s not only unfair, it’s downright disrespectful.

For example, say a chamber of commerce wants to hire a local printer to help with event materials for a charity fundraiser. Often, the organizers want to exchange the work for advertising or sponsorship credits rather than paying the printer’s quoted rates.

In most cases, local business will offer some kind of discount or even an exchange if given the opportunity, but it is disrespectful for the organizers to expect it. Your cause is not the reason the business owner opened his doors. Be prepared to pay for their services.

It would be great if small businesses, local entertainers and other professionals were more appreciated and supported in their home regions. The long term rewards to the community could be unimaginable.

Greene County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition To Hold 10th Annual Family Fitness Challenge

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on June 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

Xenia, OH – The Greene County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition is hosting its 10th Annual Family Fitness
Challenge on Thursday, June 20th at Shawnee Park in Xenia from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. The event is FREE and
open to the public. Families and groups are encouraged to attend.

The Fitness Challenge is designed to motivate youth and families to adopt healthier lifestyles—specifically in
the areas of fitness and nutrition. Participants can visit fitness stations and health information booths, complete
a fitness passport and receive a free prize (while supplies last). Healthy snacks will be available.

Partners for the Challenge include the Greene County Combined Health District, the Greene County Healthy
Lifestyles Coalition, Women’s Recovery Center, TCN Behavioral Health Services, Community Action
Partnership, Greene County Parks & Trails, the Greene County Public Library, ZumbAtomic and Fairborn
Kids’ Learning Place. For more information, call Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669.

Greene County Safe Communities Traffic Fatalities Update

In Children and Family, Education, Health, State News, Travel, Uncategorized on November 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

The Greene County Safe Communities program reports that as of November 27, 2012, there have been a total of sixteen (16) traffic fatalities in Greene County.  This compares with a total of eleven (11) traffic deaths for the entire year of 2011.  Five of the sixteen fatalities were teenagers.  Car crashes continue to be the number one cause of injury and death for U.S. teens 15-20 years of age, accounting for more than one in three fatalities for this age group (CDC, 2010).

The top five (5) causes for the majority of these crashes that have resulted in death and/or injury in Greene County are unsafe speeds, improper lane change/passing/off road, failure to control, following too closely, and distractions (i.e. cell phone use/texting).  The Coalition reminds everyone to put down the phone, avoid all distractions, drive sober and obey all traffic signs and signals.  Members of the Safe Communities coalition will continue to work with schools, businesses and the general public to provide educational materials and information to keep Greene County citizens safe on the roadways.  The coalition also reminds parents to talk openly with their new teen drivers about rules for safe driving including the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle, the dangers of speeding and distractions.  For every teenage passenger in a vehicle driven by a 16 – 17 year old, the chances for a teen driver fatality increase (AAATeen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers).

The safety of our Greene County residents while they are traveling on the roads is our biggest concern. As we are now heading into the winter months, Safe Communities would like to remind all drivers – new and seasoned – to buckle up, park the phone and drive responsibly or secure a designated driver.    

The Safe Communities program was developed to help communities decrease traffic injuries and deaths, increase safety awareness, decrease the amount of money spent on traffic-related injuries, and increase the number of people involved in keeping communities safe. 

 The next meeting of the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition is Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 at 9 a.m. at the Greene County Combined Health District in Xenia.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, contact Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email lfox@gcchd.org. 

 

Notice: The Jamestown Comet.com posts local health and safety information as a public service to our readers.

Thanksgiving Travelers Encouraged to Buckle Up.

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Media, psychology, Science, sociology, State News, Travel, Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Every Trip. Every Time.

Xenia, Ohio – The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition wants to remind all travelers, whether they’re traveling across the country or just across town, that one of the best ways to ensure a safe arrival is to buckle up, every trip, every time. 

“During the long Thanksgiving travel weekend, many more people than usual are on the roads visiting family and friends,” says Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator.  “And we want to alert everyone that perhaps the single best thing they can do to save lives and protect themselves and their passengers on our roadways is to insist on the regular and proper use of their seat belts.”  

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives nationwide during 2010 alone. In fact, research shows that the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45-percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50-percent, when seat beats are worn correctly. 

Yet, too many people are still not getting the message.  Fifty-one percent of the 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2010 were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.

“It’s a simple step that each of us can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  Yet, too many people are still not buckling up — especially in the hustle and bustle of holiday travel,” says Fox. 

During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday (which ran from 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 24, to 5:59 a.m., Monday, November 29) 337 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 55-percent of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. 

“Unfortunately, the overnight hours prove to be the most dangerous on our nation’s roadways, not only during the Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year,” says Fox. 

Nationally in 2010, 61-percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the overnight hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42-percent during the daytime hours.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64-percent of nighttime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants, while only 41-percent of daytime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants.

“Every day of the year, but especially during more dangerous travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday and at nighttime, we are working hard to remind everyone to always buckle up,” says Fox.  “Seat belts save lives, so please buckle up, every trip, every time, and so you can give thanks this holiday season and enjoy the time with your loved ones.”

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.  For more information on Greene County Safe Communities, please call 937-374-5669 or email lfox@gcchd.org.  The Greene County Combined Health District is a grantee of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Ohio Criminal Justice Services, Traffic Safety Division.

There Is Life After Bullying

In Children and Family, Education, Health, National News, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 10:12 am

dih-logo-SEA recent survey indicated that 77 percent of elementary and middle school students reported that they had been the victims of a bully at some time. The information also revealed that more than half of bullying incidents go unreported.

The recent suicides of several teens that had been tortured by bullies because of their sexuality have prompted a flood of media attention to the problem. I am concerned, however, that the public and the media are forgetting about other groups who have always been the targets of bullying including those with physical and mental disabilities, the impoverished and various ethnicities. I can relate to these issues – I know how they feel.

I was born with a serious congenital birth defect that had me in and out of the hospital for the first 20 years of my life. A multitude of medical issues combined with just being physically smaller than other kids my age made me the perfect target for bullies.

Rustin-Kluge-Anti-Bullying

Rustin-Kluge-Anti-Bullying

Oddly, none of my health problems were openly visible to anyone around me. Virtually everything people knew about me was total conjecture and inaccurate rumors with no factual basis. Unfortunately, facts and reason rarely work with people who are terrified of anyone who is different – whether the differences are obvious or not.

As if I didn’t have enough to contend with at the hospital, at school I was pushed, called names, kicked, hit, had my book bags ransacked, my lockers vandalized and my musical instruments thrown around on the school bus – all to the complete oblivion of school officials. In fact, some stood right there while it all happened, literally choosing to ignore it.

While the majority of the adults around me were supportive and helpful, there were a few who were downright cruel. Teachers, coaches and bus drivers are in a unique position to bully under the guise of maintaining order and discipline. *Despite what the party line might be, each teacher or administrator has his or her favorites – athletes, star students, and so on – who will always get preferential treatment. After all, these adults want (and desperately need due to a horribly low level of self esteem) to be liked by the students as much as the other kids.

A perfect example of this kind of ignorance came in my sixth grade year. I was out of school with a simple case of chicken pox. Noting my absence during roll call, the teacher told the rest of the class they shouldn’t get too attached to me because I had a serious disease and wouldn’t live to see my 15th birthday. With that thoroughly incorrect announcement, the rumors went viral.

So why don’t parents get more involved? Most of the time, parents have no idea what is going on. I never talked about it much. I doubt my parents ever knew how bad it really was.

In the end, I won. Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t my fault that people couldn’t deal with me. At the ripe old age of 43, my health is good, I’m a successful writer and entrepreneur and, despite my sixth grade teacher’s prediction, I am still here.

I carry no anger or malice towards the kids who spent so much of their time trying to better themselves by humiliating me. Oddly enough, a couple of them have already preceded me in death. As for those who are still with us, I actually feel sorry for them and genuinely hope they grew up to succeed in life. The adults, on the other hand, were the true villains.

It was nearly impossible to keep my personal issues private in a tiny farm town where everyone gossiped about things they didn’t even understand. I can’t imagine what kids today are going through as every detail of their lives are posted online for all to see – especially those struggling with personal identity issues.

Sadly, bullies are not just in school and, as I pointed out, adults can be just as bad as kids. A bully can be someone who abuses or oversteps her authority as a supervisor at work, a civic official or a teacher who ignores the academic struggles of a student in class because he or she is not one of the star athletes. Bullies are everywhere but you don’t have to take their abuse.

If you have been the victim of a bully, try to forgive them. They are small, sad and hopeless people who have nothing but pain inside. Forget trying to reason with them, it never works.

Whatever you do, don’t lower yourself to their level. Walk away. Turn off the computer. Seek out help and surround yourself with people who care and who will support you. None of these pathetically insecure people is worth your dignity … or your life.