The Promise of Summer

Out of the 4 seasons of the year, summer is the one that seems to be the most anticipated. Families plan memorable vacations to unknown or familiar territories. Those working within the construction, landscaping, or any of the outdoor-related occupations are sure to have big smiles throughout the entire duration of the season as favorable weather permits them to line their pockets with extra cash. Many teachers look forward to taking that long paid break from the classroom, while students from all educational levels have a chance to either get ahead on their studies or catch up on what they’ve already missed throughout the previous school year.

There’s a psychological transformation that takes place with the anticipation of the upcoming summer months each year, usually right after the winter holidays. Most of us begin an exercise regimen that puts us in a frame of mind to achieve a desired physique by the time we want to wear our favorite summer outfits. Financial preparation for our vacation expenses normally begins anywhere from weeks to months after the previous summer season is over or prior to the new one beginning. This could mean anywhere from picking up a second job or to adhering to a tighter budget plan. Students spend more time studying during the final semester before summer begins in order to eliminate having to use a majority of their time off in summer school. Depending on one’s occupation, refresher courses help with the transition back into the workforce or courses are completed with the sole purpose of qualifying for a promotion.

So what about the lessons learned from summers of the past? Those annoying flight layovers at the airport on the way to a vacation destination can be used to one’s advantage with just a little imagination and careful scheduling coordination. While speaking of imagination, exploring various indoor facilities for entertainment and enjoyment ahead of time can offset disappointment when the summer weather does not always turn as favorable as expected to enjoy the outdoors. Deciding which goals are most important can help free up a lot more time in order to get the most out of summer fun, such as deciding whether or not catching each and every episode of your favorite nighttime drama television series at the moment it airs is more important than spending that time taking a much needed night class at your local community college instead of having to take it over the summer months.

No matter how we choose to spend our time, our money, or utilize our resources, there’s nothing like entering the summer months psychologically prepared to enjoy it to its fullest.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

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Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

There’s a difference between knowing the truth, telling the truth, and knowing when to tell the truth. Apparently for Snowden, there was a fine line between all those differences. His intention to inform those of what he felt they needed to know verses his pledge of secrecy to the U.S. government for what he wished he didn’t know has taken a drastic turn for the worse on his behalf and the behalf of the whole world; all because he told the truth. While Snowden had something very important to say, the government had something very important to hide.

The United States is going to hold Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, accountable for espionage whether he likes it or not. Running halfway around the world, being detained at Moscow’s Sheremedevo International Airport because his passport has been cancelled, and desperately pleading to 27 countries to be granted political asylum does not change the fact that he is guilty of leaking classified documentation about U.S. surveillance programs; a huge no-no as far as the U.S. officials are concerned.

So what’s the hold up on getting this guy granted his asylum? The problem with every country that Snowden has applied for asylum to has to consider whether or not taking in a fugitive will jeopardize the economic relationship each one has with the United States. Venezuela made $56 billion last year off of exports and imports between the United States and is the country’s fourth largest supplier of imported crude oil. Bolivia made close to $2.4 billion last year in exports and imports with the United States. Not only did Nicaragua earned more than $3.8 billion last year in exports and imports between the United States, but the United States also gives Nicaragua special trade preferences.

Would Snowden be considered a hero or a traitor? No matter where the guy seeks his safe haven, there’s going to be a “cause and effect” with the way that nation does business with the United States, which will eventually have another domino effect on our economy that we’ll have to deal with. On the other hand, what he did actually opened the eyes of a lot of Americans still wondering why hasn’t anyone done anything about the sex-trafficking issue if all means of telecommunications are supposedly being “watched”. However, in the words of Edward Snowden himself: “I am neither a traitor nor a hero. I’m an American.”

©2013 Learus Ohnine