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25 Years…A March to Sanity Begins

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment
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My father, Steven Jones, shortly before his death.

25 years ago…I think it was yesterday or today, my father lost his battle with cancer. I never remember the date of his death. I remember the date we buried him on Hilton Head Island, August 27th.

I didn’t know it then, but my passion for wellness was born on the day my father died. He was 53 years young when he died. I get my salty mouth, love of jokes and politics, and big, audacious, opinionated nature from him. I miss him every day.

25 years…

His death used to make me sad. Now it makes me angry. I am angry because I view his passing as preventable.

You see, I fully believe that if my father had made different choices, he would still be here. But he didn’t, so he is not. He does not get a second chance, and each day that I wake up, I have the opportunity to live out my life’s purpose. Each day that I write about wellness, I have a chance to encourage someone to choose differently.

I cajole, push, pull, encourage…take a deep breath and do it all over again for the people in my wellness group, March to Sanity™, because I remember.

I remember how my mother struggled with and against my father’s sickness. The creeping sadness that slid into our family as hope was pushed out. The battle my mother waged within herself…faith versus reality. She did it all while being the anchor that kept us all grounded, yet the angel who gave us all wings. I don’t want to know that I could have helped the spouse of anyone avoid what my mother went through, and I didn’t do my very best to prevent it.

I remember how I felt standing over my father’s coffin. The man who was so full of life, even as he knew cancer was eating his life away…who taught me about politics, mental toughness, friendship, baseball…and who loved my mother so sweetly…he was lifeless, still, and grey – dead in that damn box. He would never fuss with me about the phone bill or tell me to listen to my mother or anything ever again because he was gone.

As I stood over him in that damn box, I was mad at him for every cigarette he smoked. I was mad for every day he didn’t exercise and eat properly…for every day that he allowed the stress of his life to eat away at him. Eventually, all of it turned into cancer, and the cancer killed him. So he was in that damn box, not talking to me about the Mets or politics or Bid Whist. I don’t want any child to feel the agony of grief mixed with rage I felt about my dad’s poor choices. Because trust me, if they are old enough, they will feel it.

Here I am 25 years later, and I choose to use the feelings and memories as a catalyst for something productive. The March to Sanity™, a wellness initiative, was born out my desire to make sure that no one would ever have to feel alone in their journey toward a better, healthier life. As we strive to eat better, move more, enrich our emotional and spiritual lives, and build more empowered and informed relationships and interactions with medical professionals, we also have to remember why we are doing this. The March to Sanity™ is about wellness, yes. But the goal of wellness is not just to be healthy so you can admire yourself in the mirror. Wellness is so that you can enjoy your life and the people in it more fully and for a longer period of time.

25 years is a profoundly long period of time. It is a lifetime. My father didn’t live to see me graduate from college, law school or graduate school, get admitted to the NY and CA bars, get engaged twice or get to threaten the two ex-fiancés who broke my heart, see me start a successful legal practice, see me win awards as a businesswoman or writer. He is missing the chance to write comments to each one of my blog posts, which he would have done in a heartbeat.

He is in Heaven kicking himself because he is missing all the good stuff. Don’t miss all the good stuff in the lives of your loved ones.

Choose wellness.

Choose life.

Onward always. Keep going.

Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

All Rights Reserved

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The Nerd Prom, also known as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, this past Saturday confirmed it. “BARACK OBAMA: President of Cool”

Categories: Uncategorized

BARACK OBAMA: President of Cool

The media could be full of REAL NEWS. The War on Women is being waged openly in votes taken on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The Secret Service evidently haggled with hoes in other countries, so the entire culture of the agency needs to be reexamined. Student loan interest is being politicized, and if nothing constructive is done, interest rates will double on July 1st. Most forgettable of all was news that Newt Gingrich realized what all of us knew months ago, he has no chance of becoming president, and will therefore drop out of the race.

But none of that mattered because this was the Week of Cool, which will conclude with the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, April 28th.

Cool… If President Obama is Cool personified, and this week was the Week of Cool, then he had a great week, right?

Cool is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “marked by steady dispassionate calmness and self-control; lacking ardor or friendliness,” or “SLANG- a) very good: excellent; b) fashionable, hip.”  Why I find this subject so intriguing is that the President’s opponents want to have it both ways. They want to have us believe that President Obama is TOO cool in every sense of the word.  But after the Week of Cool, so it became impossible to believe that Willard Mitt Romney could ever be president of the country that gave birth to Cool.

After Candidate “No Drama” Obama became President Obama, we began to hear that he was aloof and too intellectual in his approach to his responsibilities in the Oval Office. I understand that we had to adjust after eight years of George W. Bush, whose style was less…scholarly. If the President was logical and methodical, then he was called “Spock-like.” If the President’s excellent educational credentials and background as a Constitutional Law professor caused him to seek information through rigorous questioning, also known as the Socratic Method (the bane of any First Year law student’s existence), then it was further affirmation that he was from the Planet Vulcan.

The GOP should remember that this President has been forged in the fires of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, crushing Health Care and Wall Street Reform debates that he won, ending the War in Iraq, and the longest war in American history in Afghanistan. All while the country and world is undergoing tremendous social, economic and political upheaval. Barack Obama is a fighter. I thought of cool fighters: Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee were the first ones to come to mind. Both were charming opponents who were amazing, smart, devastating fighters…and cool. That is Barack Obama as well.

But what the President’s opponents really wanted, was the stretch him out of his character, into a caricature. They wanted to see him in the stereotypical posture they could sell to America’s fears, the “Angry Black Man.” But he would never oblige them. His cultural competence was too great, the job he has is too significant to give into such self-indulgence. Barack Obama is a political Jackie Robinson. But don’t let the Cool taste fool you.  Barack Obama must be “marked by steady dispassionate calmness and self-control.” When he gave the order to kill Osama Bin Laden in his compound in Pakistan, President Obama “lacked ardor or friendliness.” A dangerous world demands a president who so cool that he has more to offer than “no apologies.”

But in the Week of Cool, the GOP doesn’t want us to remember the President’s intellectual gifts or his icy decision making capability. No, they want us to remember him as the President of Cool America, as in fashionable, hip, and exclusive. In Cool America, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest could have Cabinet-level positions. The GOP, the chronically unhip kids, want to take us all back to high school. They are trying to make Barack Obama a cliché, the popular kid who was too cool to notice the average kids and their problems. The first 1% that we all experienced. They keep pointing to the President’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon as an indication of how lightly his takes his responsibilities, but this is fictious as fairness in the Ryan Budget.

I say the President’s Slow Jam of the News was a stroke of genius. He brought a rush of attention to an issue that was getting swept under the rug by Congress. Now college students realize what is about to happen to them. More importantly, they understand that they have a say. President Obama may have created the newest generation of activists by that late night appearance. The President made it “fashionable” and “hip” to discuss student loans this week. I say “Bravo!”

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Coolhunt,” there are  three rules of Cool: 1) the quicker the chase of Cool , the faster the its flight ; 2) you can’t just manufacture Cool out of thin air; and 3) you have to be Cool to know Cool. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will be held on Saturday. One of the best things about Cool is its ability to create the inside joke because it “knows Cool.” When President Obama and Jimmy Fallon Slow Jammed the News, President was making a serious policy point and most of America got the cool, inside joke. If you didn’t, now you know why.

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Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

DON’T HAGGLE WITH HOES: An Open Letter to the Secret Service

April 20, 2012 8 comments

Dear Secret Service Director, Mark Sullivan:

What a mess! I started off making jokes about the situation just like everyone else, “Secret Service doesn’t mean that you get serviced in secret.” The “wheels up, rings off” concept was ready-made for the late night comedians, and they pounced. The other pundits were still brewing last week’s tempest in their teapots (see “Mommy Cage Match: Romney vs. Reality”), so there was a lag time. Comedians like Jon Stewart saw comedy gold in the Madonna/Ho Transition the media was undertaking.

The politicians in Washington tend to move with the pundits, so you had a brief reprieve, which is over now. They have descended on the Secret Service like a pack of hungry wolves. Unfortunately, I have no sympathy for you or the agents under your command.

The Secret Service agents in Cartegena, Columbia forgot several important things. They forget something I heard is a key maxim, and it led to their downfall: DON’T HAGGLE WITH HOES. She earned her money in a manner that most of us would agree is…unorthodox, yet demanding work. As a result, she was not going to leave the Hotel Caribe without the money that was due to her.

I find this situation troubling for a variety of reasons. It raises several issues and concerns: the way this woman was treated and the way the President is protected.

The agent who caused the whole sordid affair to be exposed wanted to pay a professional $28 for $800 worth of services. The law has a concept called “quantum meruit” or unjust enrichment, which is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “An equitable doctrine, based on the concept that no one who benefits by the LABOR and materials of another should be unjustly enriched thereby…the law implies a PROMISE to pay a reasonable amount for the labor and materials furnished, even absent a specific contract therefor.” Prostitution is legal in Columbia. So the woman who was cheated out of $772 for engaging in lawful business has every right to demand payment. She had every right to go to the police. But the Secret Service agents who procured her services did not have ANY RIGHT to do so. They simply shouldn’t have been doing that. They were in Columbia on official business of the highest order – protecting the President of the United States.

You would think that these Secret Service agents would remember the Parable of Former Governor Eliot Spitzer. Also known as “Client-9,” Eliot Spitzer was tripped up because he wanted to have a credit of $1,100 on record with the agency, despite paying for the “escort services” of Ashley Dupree with $4400 in cash. The scandal, as you are aware, ended the very promising political career of Eliot Spitzer. But I guess since it was “wheels up, rings off,“ that meant that common sense also took a holiday in Columbia..

Here is my greatest concern.  Haggling with Hoes could have put the President’s life in jeopardy. The hoes with whom your agents were haggling could have decided that rather than wasting their time waiting for payment from the cheap Americans, they could simply steal some valuable, classified information that could have been left lying around and sell it to the highest bidder. In a country that was known for narco-terrorists like the late Pablo Escobar and Medellin drug cartel, this lapse in judgment was especially troubling. Renegade, the Secret Service Code Name for President Obama, came to Columbia not knowing how vulnerable he was. At the same time, Renaissance, the First Lady, and Radiance and Rosebud, Sasha and Melia, could also have been compromised. We don’t know. The Secret Service has a reputation of being the only thing between a lunatic and these individuals. We have operated through the years with the assumption that they would always do the right thing. Now we have reason to doubt that these men and women are capable of operating with the judgment needed for the task.

Director Sullivan, we forgave you for the security breach when the fame hungry, reality show star wannabes, Tareq and Michaele Salahi scammed their way into a state dinner. That was an alarming, yet low-stakes, breach. But this was on foreign soil. The Secret Service has not only embarrassed itself, it has embarrassed President Obama, and the United States.

The fact that two supervisors, Greg Stokes and David Chaney, and an agent have left the Secret Service as a result of this scandal is small comfort. Reports three agents resigned today and that more firings are imminent are also inadequate. The rhetoric directed at this president is especially violent. Remember that Candidate Barack Obama received protection from the Secret Service at a historically early point in his campaign due to the threats he received. As President, those threats have increased in number and intensity. The responsibility of the Secret Service is heightened.

Director Sullivan, if a single hair on the head of Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance or Rosebud is harmed, I will hold you and every man and woman in your command PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE.

Maybe your agents need to re-read the Vision Statement of the Secret Service: The vision of the United States Secret Service is to uphold the tradition of excellence in its investigative and protective mission through a dedicated, highly-trained, diverse, partner-oriented workforce that employs progressive technology and promotes professionalism. Agents Hiring Hoes while on a security detail for the President is not professional. Agents Haggling with hoes while on a security detail for the President is not excellent.

The Congressional wolves are barking and scratching at your door. Your agents need to stop haggling with hoes. Protect the President.

Sincerely yours,

Pundit On Point

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Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

Who’s the Fairest of Them All? The Fight Against Prop 8

August 5, 2010 3 comments

In another aspect of my very opinionated life, I also “Balance the Scales” in the Long Island Pulse magazine where I take on legal issues.  Although I promised to leave the legal musings in the Pulse, today’s ruling on Prop. 8 is too important to go without remark.  In January 2010, I knew that as a matter of legal and personal principle, I had to take a public stand on gay marriage. Because the topic is so relevant today, I am going to share that Pulse column with you now.

Mirror, Mirror…

Love. It’s one of life’s most difficult endeavors. To find love with someone who loves you back in a healthy and committed manner is one of life’s cruel pursuits. But it’s February, so we are all obsessed with participating in or ignoring Valentine’s Day. As heterosexual couples get married on February 14th, we should remember that a segment of our society can’t enjoy the same rights. This discussion isn’t about religion or romantic sentiment. Instead, we’ll examine this unfocused subject through a different lens—the law. It could be that the law is a high resolution mirror that clarifies the issues. What’s often too easily dismissed in the gay marriage debate is that marriage is a secular legal contract. It’s all of the religious and romantic stuff also, but every marriage is, at its core and from its inception, a legal construct.

There are a host of legal reasons why gay marriage should be included in the law of the land. The Declaration of Independence talks about “inalienable rights” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But since the Declaration of Independence isn’t a binding document, we’ll look further. How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution? Government must treat us all equally under the law. I won’t spend many words on a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, such an amendment does us all a disservice. Even the Supreme Court has evolved away from its previous bigoted, intrusive perspectives on the legal rights of gays in America.

American history is filled with times when we begin to change society’s reflection—how we look at ourselves—with the law. The law led the way for it to be less acceptable to discriminate against African-Americans, women and the disabled, among others.

But marriage is a lagging indicator of social progress in America. Just 42 years ago, the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the United States in the Loving v. Virginia decision. If we continue to deny any citizen the right to civil marriage, then we’ll shatter justice in America. We must examine ourselves in the mirror we hold up to our society. Let’s make sure that our treatment of gay marriage reflects the ideal America.

It is wonderful when the law gets it right.  We all should be glad that the law decided to protect every American citizen in the same way.  We all have some skin in the game with this issue whether gay or straight, because it’s not about sexuality, it’s about freedom and equality.  Neither freedom nor equality should come with an asterisk in our legal system or our society.  Don’t fool yourself that only the marginalized group suffers.  Today it is the LGBT and Immigrant communities whose rights are limited or eliminated, but tomorrow – it may be you.  That’s the funny thing about stripping folks of their rights, you never know what the future holds for any of the categories that describe you.  We must all speak out against injustice whenever we see, as soon as we see it – always.

While we are celebrating the fact that one judge produced the right decision based upon the facts presented and argued by two extremely talented attorneys, there is one sobering fact – this isn’t over.  Today’s decision will be appealed almost immediately.  And there is a stay of execution of this decision pending the appeal by those who favor the ban on gay marriage.  And this case is going forward – all the way forward to the US Supreme Court.  The outcome is uncertain if the case is heard by the Roberts Court, the most conservative Supreme Court in decades.  This fight is going to take years.  We should be realistic about the fight for gay marriage, no less determined, but realistic. 

But I was lucky to have two people who taught me about fairness and inclusion, even in the face of hardship and hatred – my mother and father.  My parents also taught me that if it’s worth having, it’s worth working for it…and if it’s worth believing in, then it’s worth fighting for it.  So on August 4, 2010, as we hold up the mirror and ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Tonight, the answer is California.  But if we truly believe in equality and fairness, we are going to have to fight Prop. 8 to keep it that way.

Hello world!

Every week, I will examine an issue that the media is focused on.  And I will also highlight issues that the mainstream media is choosing to ignore.  The subject matter can range from financial reform to Tiger Woods to the war in Afghanistan.  No matter what the topic, I will always try to educate and motivate you, and I am sure that you will do the same for me.  So I will share my perspective, that’s what pundits do.  But as you keep reading this blog, you will hear a POP when things start to make sense. You hear a POP when the truth is told.  You will hear the Pundit on Point.

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