Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We Are A Secular Federation!

Dear Obnoxious Politicians~ Understand We Were Formed As A SECULAR Nation~

James Madison on the need for the “separation of powers” because “men are not angels,” Federalist 51 (1788)

As the numerous candidates for both major political parties juggle for position all too prematurely for the primary / caucus season that will be all too soon upon us, I’ve already become weary of the onslaught of hyperbole and propaganda spewed by those pandering to evangelicals.

"Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." --- Thomas Jefferson, from "Notes on Virginia"

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

Despite the fact that the Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state, many candidates are targeting their campaigns to those of religious faith and attempting to rally the conservative agenda again around issues that should best be left to the individual.

Any true student of American History knows full well that our founding fathers advocated a secular government that was not beholden to any particular sect or faith – including Christianity. The collective genius of Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and John Adams knew that to mix government and religion was folly. These men were scholars of the classics and of history and were well aware that the people that came to this continent were escaping religious persecution, long-term prison sentences or death, or seeking wealth. None of these reasons meant tying the government to the beliefs of either the many or the few.  Indeed, the words “ In God We Trust” we not engraved on our money until the time of the American Civil War in 1861.

It is my argument that any attempt by politicians to foist the moral or religious views of any faith group on the general public is adverse to the text and spirit of our Constitution.

“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”

As such I will support politicians that:

1)            do not discuss any religion;
2)            do not try to impose his/her moral core on me or my brethren;
3)            support my right to bear (or bare as the case may be ) arms;
4)            do not invade any decisions that I make with my physician;
5)            do not try to tell me how to behave in my home;
6)            support the rights of all people no matter their race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, faith, country of origin, color of their hair, number of tattoos, or socio-economic level;
7)            believe in equal opportunity for education for all;
8)            accept that the 14th amendment gives citizenship by birthright;
9)            appreciate that people who marry those from other countries should be able to bring their spouses to the USA and that those persons should not be treated unfairly by immigration officials;
10)         allow all citizens to use alcohol, narcotics, street drugs or whatever as long as they do not drive or operate heavy machinery that puts others in danger;
11)         allow scientists to conduct studies for the greater good even if some believe the techniques are immoral;
12)         will support the position that it is the duty of all citizens to contribute to their communities rather than the duty of the government;
13)         support investment in infrastructure such as our failing bridges, railways, interstates, and roads;
14)         rather than attack planned parenthood, encourage the community to distribute free contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies;
15)         insist that community service and charitable organizations develop ways to see that children that are actually born are given a chance to thrive rather than argue that abortion should be barred.  Really, this has been a problem for centuries!!
16)         Eliminate income tax on individuals – impose a VAT
17)         Corporations/ states/individuals should ensure that all state institutions of higher learning are free to qualified students for undergraduate degrees. If an elementary & secondary education is provided to all, a university education should be available to all in-state students as well. The only cost should be room and board.
18)         Unfair competition must be discouraged;
19)         The rule of law must apply equally to all;
20)         Tort reform, tort reform, tort reform, tort reform, tort reform,

Okay – I’ll climb off my soapbox for tonight. But I am discouraged by the dearth of qualified honest candidates that have tossed hats in the ring thus far. No wonder a great majority of the American electorate stays home to watch Entertainment Tonight.


Monday, August 10, 2015

The Death of Customer Service and Why Sears is Failing~

At one time the consumer could rely upon Sear & Roebuck for reliable appliances and tools. The Kenmore and Craftsman brands were legendary for providing high quality products at reasonable prices that would last. And Sears stood behind those brands. But that is a time that has passed. Sears Holding Company is NOT Sears & Roebuck. The once stellar customer service has been replaced with excuses, rudeness, a lack of accountability, the need to call numerous 800 numbers to speak with representatives that are not interested in problem solving, buck passing, and most concerning – an acknowledgement of a design defect that numerous consumers have identified but a refusal to accept responsibility.

My most recent frustration began with my Kenmore Elite clothes dryer model 79681728010 (wrongfully identified on the sticker affixed to the actual dryer as model 79681728000, which, I have been told does not exist), Serial Number 108KWWZ07233 ruining yet another item from my wardrobe. The lint screen has never fit flush. From the outset the right corner has protruded, catching unsuspecting delicate items by the strap, armhole, drawstring, waistband, neckline or hem and causing said item to become twisted, stretched out, torn, or otherwise not wearable. We cleaned out the lint box the screen slides into. We replaced the lint screen.  But the problem continued. As a work around I generally secure delicate items into a lingerie bag or hang to dry. But I shouldn’t have to do so. This dryer has a delicate cycle.

On prior occasions I called the 800 number to complain, but was told I would have to pay for a service call. So I declined until today when the very expensive dryer with steam refresh ate my favorite tunic. That was a new top and I loved it.

This is not my top - but another customer posted this photo:

I called the Sears Customer Service numbers and received the typical run-around.  I was transferred and / or disconnected 8 times. Two “customer service” reps hung up on me.  One woman told me I could call the CEO Edward S. Lampert, and he would also tell me that despite the fact that numerous websites, including “ShopYourWay”, upon which numerous customers complained of the exact same problem, would tell me that I had no recourse because I did not buy an “extended warranty”.

From one “Google” search this morning I found the above links. The Customer Service reps kept telling me that they had to send a “technician” out to confirm the problem – even though they ACKNOWLEDGE THIS IS A PROBLEM. And they insist on charging me $79 for the visit.

So I will post this blog and plan to call Sears Holdings Corporate Office tomorrow.  For anybody else with similar problems, the phone number for HQ is (847) 286-2500. 

For sending a certified letter, which I plan to do, you can mail your complaints to:

            Edward S. Lampert
            Chairman & CEO
            Sears Holding Corp
            333 Beverly Road
            Hoffman Estates, IL  60179

I plan to send a separate letter to:
            Mr. Arun Arora
            Sr.VP & President of Appliances & Home Services

According to Yahoo Finance, these are the key executives:

Mr. Edward Scott Lampert , 53
Chief Exec. Officer, Chairman, Director, and Chairman of Fin. Committee
Mr. Robert A. Schriesheim , 54
Chief Financial Officer and Exec. VP
Mr. Jeffrey A. Balagna , 54
Chief Information Officer and Exec. VP
Mr. Arun D. Arora , 44
Sr. VP and Pres of Home Appliances & Home Services
Mr. James P. Mixon , 70
Sr. VP of Supply Chain & Operations

Perhaps if all customers that have received substandard customer service contact these key executives, they will understand why the company is losing money.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Are Bamboo Sheets the Answer for Phase 2 of Life?

Cotton may have been KING in the mid-19th Century, but cotton is not a friendly fiber for a woman of a certain age experiencing personal heat waves. While high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets may be the perceived Holy Grail for general sleeping comfort, this fabric has not brought me nights of peaceful slumber for the last 10 years.  Nope, cotton retains moisture, which requires me to stumble into the linen closet in the midst of the night to retrieve a lofty cotton terry towel to provide a layer of dry warmth between my body and said sheets until the sheets recovered from my midlife challenges. I needed a solution!

After much research I decided to buy linen sheets. They are expensive but repel moisture and provided me with a luxuriously delightful sleep. However, my husband hated the linen. While I celebrate the texture of the linen and roll around in bed linen heaven, my husband constantly complains of the texture, which he equates to sleeping on a bed of nails.  Apparently these linens that I equate to sheet Nirvana cause my husband angst.

I insisted that he adapt and for the most part he has conceded the linen has softened with use. But he still requests cotton pillowcases.

My mom offered a solution – bamboo. She read that bamboo offers the same sleep solutions of moisture wicking as linen for half the cost. Plus, bamboo is soft. I looked for bamboo sheets online and wasn’t tempted. But Friday as I was shopping for barstools, a step stool, trash receptacles and lamb chops I happened upon a Bamboo Sheet Road Show at Costco. I was intrigued. The sales representative told me that the Road Show was held over by a day unexpectedly. I saw this as a sign. So, I decided to give bamboo a try. Tonight will be the test. The bamboo is much softer than linen (although I will always luxuriate in the glory of linen because I LOVE the fell of this fabric).  I am hoping that his provides both my husband and me a night of unencumbered sleep. We shall see.

Friday, August 7, 2015

An Advocate For Garnet Hill

I must admit I’m torn. I love Garnethill.com. (http://www.garnethill.com).  Every morning I check the sale of the day. Truly, I do not want others to beat me to the punch for a sale of the day that appeals to me. But, I also want Garnet Hill to be successful and thrive. This is my conundrum. I want to save the deals for me; but I want the site to be successful enough to continue offering the sale of the day.

For anybody that appreciates cashmere, I must report that Garnet Hill’s cashmere is exquisite. I do not like cheap cashmere. It pills; it itches; it acts like cheap wool.  Fine quality cashmere is soft; resist pilling. Will last for decades, and breathes for any season. Nice cashmere thrives with wear. I’ve ordered several sweaters, wraps and accessories in cashmere from Garnet Hill and truly recommend their products.

As I’ve said I do not want to miss a particular color or style because I’ve sung the praises of Garnet Hill. But I would rather advocate for a quality vendor and be too late to purchase a particular item than not have the option of Garnet Hill because too few people shop the site.  So, against my better judgment I much insist that you check our the wonderful products that Garnet Hill has to offer so this site will continue to offer affordable, classic with a twist clothing that I not just appreciate but crave.