Monday, February 12, 2018

LETTER FROM SENATOR BOB CASEY TO RICHARD ROSSI

Thank you Senator Casey for allowing me to share my heart about our cause "Families Fighting Fentanyl," our seeking justice on behalf of my deceased brother Pete Rossi, and for your gracious follow-up letter:
LETTER FROM SENATOR BOB CASEY, PA.
Dear Reverend Rossi:

Thank you for taking the time to share the story of your brother Peter and inquire about drug policies. I am sorry for your loss and appreciate your interest in improving outcomes for those who struggle with substance abuse.

Pennsylvania laws relating to homicide charges for drug dealers are primarily in the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As your United States Senator I am unable to take any direct action in this area, though I encourage you to reach out to your state senator and representative. At the federal level, I have taken steps to address the issue of substance abuse during my time in the Senate. I am a proud supporter of the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant program, which encourages local citizens to get directly involved in solving their community's drug issues through grassroots community organizing and data driven planning and implementation. Research shows that effective prevention hinges on the extent to which the entire community works comprehensively and collaboratively to implement education, prevention, enforcement, treatment and recovery initiatives. Funding for this grant program is crucial in promoting drug free communities.

Heroin and prescription opioid abuse has become a crisis that is engulfing families and straining the capacity of public health professionals and law enforcement across our state and throughout our Nation. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, there was evidence of opioid use in 3,945 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016. This is a 37 percent increase since 2015. It is clear that we must do more to address this significant public health threat.

On October 25, 2017, I introduced S. 2004, the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act. This legislation will allocate a total of $45 billion over ten years to addressing the opioid crisis. The funding through S. 2004 includes $44,748,000,000 over ten years for state efforts to address the crisis, and $252,000,000 over five years for research on pain and addiction. Ultimately, $45 billion is not enough, but it is a reasonable start and a foundation that Congress and the administration can build upon in the future. S. 2004 has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), of which I am a member. I look forward to working with my colleagues on HELP to move this legislation forward.

During the 114th Congress, I voted for S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015. This legislation passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2016. Upon its passage, CARA created evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention programs, reinforced prescription drug monitoring programs and expanded prevention and educational endeavors to prevent opioid abuse. It also increased the availability of naloxone, which can help prevent overdose deaths, for first responders and law enforcement agencies to use, expanded the resources that are available to identify and treat inmates suffering from addiction and increased the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications.

During consideration of CARA, I was proud to cosponsor and vote for S.A. 3345, an amendment that would have added $600 million in emergency funding to aid the public health professionals and law enforcement personnel who deal with the challenge of addiction daily. When this amendment did not pass, I signed a letter to the appropriators calling for them to provide the necessary funding to address the opioid abuse epidemic in a comprehensive manner, along the lines of the initiatives called for under CARA. I later signed a second letter, this time to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling on the Senate to reconsider legislation to provide $600 million in emergency funding to help communities tackle the opioid abuse epidemic. Following these efforts, H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, allocated $1 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis when it was signed into law in December 2016.

Sadly, the national increase in the abuse of opioids, including heroin, has led to an increase in the number of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). This condition occurs when infants are exposed to opioids during pregnancy, and can include seizures, fever, tremors and dehydration, all of which are extremely painful and can require months of hospitalization. In response to the dramatic increase in NAS, I worked with Majority Leader McConnell to introduce S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act. This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and develop consensus recommendations for preventing and treating prenatal opioid abuse and NAS. I am pleased that S. 799 passed the Senate and the House and was signed into law by President Obama on November 25, 2015.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey

United States Senator

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

OUR FAMILY IS OFFERING $$ REWARD TO SOLVE DEATH OF MY YOUNGEST BROTHER PETE, A GREAT GUITARIST

$$$$ We're offering financial reward for any tips that lead to an arrest of the individual(s) that gave my youngest brother Pete Rossi a fatal dose of fentanyl. Please direct questions/info to our friends at the police, specifically Detective Eric Egli (412) 369-7992 Ext. 137, email: eegli@townofmccandless.org

All information collected will be reviewed for validity, and if the submitted information leads to an arrest/conviction in Pete’s case, the submitter(s) will receive the total reward amount in the form of a cashiers check.* For reward tracking purposes, information must only be submitted through this manner.

Confidentiality: The identities of those who submit information, will be kept in strictest confidence, never being released at any time, except to appropriate authorities for further investigation, or as directed by the submitter at the time of the submission.

Pete’s Cause of Death: Pete, like many of us, had his struggles and experienced difficult circumstances within the last year of his life, including his telling some of us he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While the family will never know for sure, we believe the physical and emotional pain he suffered, led him to illegal street drugs for pain management. In Pete’s case these drugs were laced with Fentanyl and caused an accidental overdose, which is punishable by law. His death serves as unfortunate reminder that it only takes just one dose to be lethal. Pete was a great musician, and we are sad to have his presence and music taken from us.

Help Is Available: If you personally suffer from addiction or would like to help combat the opioid crisis, please join the free Facebook group “Families Fighting Fentanyl”. This group which was started by the Rossi family, hopes to enact positive social change worldwide through political advocation, while providing emotional support and helpful information to those who battle with addiction and their loved ones. https://www.facebook.com/groups/familiesfightingfentanyl/

Rossi Family Message: The family respectfully asks for privacy at this time, and cannot answer any questions regarding the investigation as all case details are confidential, and we do not want to jeopardize the case in any way. We’d also like to thank our family and friends, and are ever grateful for the continued love and support shown to us.

*Notes: The submitter is responsible for any and all applicable taxes/fees. If more than one submitter is eligible for the reward, then the reward may be divided among all eligible submitters.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

SM0KE AND MIRR0RS: FAKE DEGREES FOR FAKES EXPOSED

Recently, a Christian "college" offered to give me an "honorary doctorate" and wanted me to mention it publicly and they would use my name publicly for receiving this degree. Upon doing 10 minutes of due diligent research, I discovered they weren't legitimately accredited. Their "accreditation" is from World-Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WWAC) a fake accreditation agency that accredits fake religious diploma mills. I worked and studied hard to receive the four college degrees I earned from accredited colleges, and I hold a strong personal ethic that we should back up our claims with substance. Here in Hollywood, I've seen people promote projects with red carpets and spotlights that are tasteless crap, and the religious world has its share of fakes and smoke and mirrors. Andy Warhol said anyone can get their 15 minutes of fame but you have to have talent and hard work for it to last. NO I don't want a FAKE DEGREE from a diploma mill. If I get another degree, I will earn it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

IS DEVOLUTION EVOLUTION IN ART?

IS DEVOLUTION EVOLUTION IN ART?
by Richard Rossi
The evolution of art, on the surface, is a movement towards greater complexity, but a closer look at art history reveals sometimes the devolution full circle back to simplicity and primitive styles.

I am looking at the human body and how it is treated differently in three Works of Art (Aegean, Greek and Roman). My Aegean example is a harpist aka "Kero's Harpist" made from white marble, circa 2500 BC from the early cycladic period. It was based on geometric shapes and it is simplistic and abstract. The artist used large flat planes. The harpist's head is tilted back.

He appears to be holding the harp, but not playing it. This is a remarkable piece to view, over 5,000 years old. The lack of specific detail makes the gender of the subject not readily apparent, but is probably male because of the lack of breasts and the way the head is tilted back and has more movement. Also, what we have now is probably a copy of the original. Picasso loved the primitivism of this piece.

For my Greek example, I chose a bronze statue of Eros sleeping.
There are a number of copies and versions of the archetypal Greek god of love. Unlike the English language, the Greeks have a more precise description of love. We have one word for love so we speak of "I love pizza," with the same word as "I love baseball," "I love my wife," "I love my son," etc.... The Greek language has multiple words for love. "Agape" is the Greek word for divine unconditional love. The Apostle John uses this in his writings when he says "God is love." "Storge" is the word for family love. "Philo" is the Greek term for brotherly love, the city of Philadelphia gets its name from this. "Eros" is passionate love, our word "erotic" comes from eros. In this sculpture, Eros is a sleeping baby, showing the purity of the Cupidlike image in Hellenistic Greek style, in contrast to the idea of a capricious Cupid wounding us with love's arrows. It probably was used in a religious sanctuary. We see the human form more developed than the simple earlier Aegean style. The statue is made in seven pieces with incredible dimensionality and naturalism, the baby's doughy folds of skin like a real baby.

Our discussion on style and subject or substance comes to bear here. Art professors and historians postulate great questions about the difference between style and substance. Subject is what the art is about. Style is the way the art is done. Hypothetically, we could have a nude model sit before all of us in a classroom and we are assigned to draw the nude woman. We would all draw the same subject but do it in thirty different drawings with thirty different styles. These stylistic differences would be based on us as individuals, even though we are are drawing the same subject. Sometimes styles are also reflective of a period in time or a culture.

Such is the case with Greek art. Theology's shifting winds influenced the style in which the human body was treated. Greek church bishops decided based on the Ten Commandments that it is a sin to draw an exact replication or representation of anyone in Heaven or Earth. This, they believed, was the sin of idolatry. Therefore, the sacred paintings now housed in museums and Greek Orthodox churches treat the same subjects as Catholic Renaissance art like Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, but in a different style. Michelangelo and Da Vinci paint them in three-dimensional fleshed out work in Roman Catholic churches, such as the Sistine Chapel. The Greek art is two-dimensional and flat with exaggerated facial features so as not to make an exact representation of a three-dimensional human face.

For my Roman example, I chose Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, focusing on the image of the finger of God creating Adam, often referred to as the "Creation of Adam."
The image is a good example of anthropomorphism of God, that is, the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to Diety. What scripture states as a metaphor or allegory, according to Saint Augustine, "the finger of God," Michelangelo paints in his fresco panels quite literally. The purpose of his work is to show the history of the Bible to an illiterate congregational audience in pictures, retelling the story from Genesis to Revelation. I had the opportunity to visit the Vatican Museum when a movie I wrote and directed was up for an award in Milan. I remembered that security rebuked those trying to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel. There was a real reverence for this work. We see the evolutionary advancement in figures that take our breath way in their three-dimensionality of the human form. This image of God and man's fingers almost touching has become an iconic symbol of humanity, and along with DaVinci's Last Supper is one of the most known and replicated works of art.

The Greek and even moreso Roman art is obviously more fleshed out and three dimensional. The Romans learned sculpture and painting from the Greeks and facilitated the transmission of Greek art to later ages. The early Greek statues were stiff, almost one-dimensional and flat, but in about the 6th century BC the sculptors began to study the human body and work out its proportions, using human models. Ancient Greek art stands out among that of other ancient cultures for its eventual evolution of naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, in which largely nude male figures were usually the focus of stylistic innovation. The pace of stylistic development between approximately 750 and 300 BC was remarkable by primitive measurements.

We can see the evolution of art to be more realistic, whereas the Aegean harpist is simple, like Picasso in his later period. Picasso, interestingly enough, chose to de-evolve and draw and paint more in the style of a child or primitive art at the end of his life, as seen below.
The films consistently up for Oscars and revered as artistic zenith, are often not the evolved technological advancements with CG computer effects, but the indie films that have the simplicity of strong characters and human dramas like the films of old.

Even though early in his career, Picasso could draw as a young man an almost exact photographic license like the Greeks and Romans, to him reverting to the primitivistic style of the Aegean harpist was a step forward, not a step backward. Is evolving in art possibly not always the most complex step forward but sometimes a step backward for impact?

Or as T.S. Eliot put it the journey of art is going through a cycle and returning to the simple beginning and knowing it as if for the first time.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

TOXIC RELIGION BLAMES VICTIMS

Since shootings and hurricanes, I've heard some Christian preachers say these events are "God's wrath punishing the people out of His anger" because they're bad sinners. Then, I heard a New Agey Eastern religion guy say the people who died in Vegas and in hurricanes "chose to die that way and it was karmic and they were having to pay the karma for their misdeeds in a prior life." WHAT DO BOTH OF THESE HAVE IN COMMON? (Besides being idiotic crap). They both use religion to further abuse those who have suffered trauma. Toxic faith hurts and blames and shames. Healthy faith heals and helps.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

IS TEXTING HURTING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND IS IT A TOXIC KILLER OF SOCIETAL HEALTH?

(The following article was written by Richard Rossi after surveying his thousands of friends from social media, and doing extensive research. Richard is indebted to his friends and relationship experts for their thoughts which are woven into this article on texting)
Is texting a harmless habit that helps us stay in touch?  Or is it a killer of real relationships and communication? By real relationships, I mean relationships that are communicative in the full range of paralanguage, or in other words, good, quality, caring, communicative, relationships. (Marteney,  Arguing Using Critical Thinking).

Excessive texting diminishes relationships by retarding language, therefore, we should use texting for minimal information.
Let's look at the decline of communication because of texting, examine the origins of texting, the negative effects, then the research and findings of experts, and lastly, state and refute opposing pro-texting arguments.

Texting has hurt communication and relationships by limiting us to short messages of 160 characters (Pine, SMS Character Limit). Now we have people who talk like cavemen in a few words and literate expression has been replaced with acronyms like lol, omg, etc...These preset emojis and acronyms discouragement personal uniqueness, creativity, and originality. The communication is not only shortened and truncated, but is often misinterpreted. Most experience another person getting upset with them over a text message that they took the wrong way. (Sheikh, Communication and Miscommunication)

When you text, you lose so much in translation, largely because there's no tone of voice, an important component, according to the text Arguing Using Critical Thinking. Then you wonder, "Were they kidding? Were they mad, Were they being rude?"  A big cover-all to potential misunderstandings is the ubiquitous "LOL", but that doesn't make the communication more eloquent. People should really just T-A-L-K if they want to communicate anything meaningful other than addresses, dates and times. (Russell, Stop Texting So Much)

Without facial expressions or vocal intonations, emotion and intent can be grossly misread by the recipient.  Technology has done a lot of good for us in making communication easier and instantaneous. But it has also spoiled a good lot of us.

Texting is one-dimensional. You can't hear the tone, you can't look into the eyes or see the body language and you certainly can't see the love.  Relationship experts refer to this as "paralanguage."  

"The exchange of messages through non-linguistic means, including: kinesics (body language), facial expressions, eye contact, clothing and physical appearance, tactile communication, space, and territory, culture and social system, paralanguage (tone, pitch, rate, inflection), and the use of silence and time."(Marteney, pg. 31)  Paralanguage is crucial to real, good, quality, caring relationships. Communication therefore has de-evolved.

Paralanguage is even evident in a handwritten letter that has nonverbal elements such as the handwriting style. In texting, paralanguage, an important aspect of communication is nonexistent. An emoticon, such as a smiley face, could arguably be paralanguage in a crude symbolic form, like caveman drawings, but this underscores our point about the de-evolving of societal communication through texting.

Our society has made great strides in evolving in many ways, however, to de-evolve and go backwards in communication, essential to our species, is of paramount concern.

Now that we see the effect of no paralanguage let’s look at how communication de-evolved and the origin of texting.

Wireless communication began as TDD (Telecommunication Device for Deaf), a way for deaf people to communicate. (Commonwealth of Virginia. Text to 911 Information Guide) Over half a million Californians are using phones for deaf and disabled. (Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, Public Utilities Commission)

Just because texting has its origins in a good intent doesn’t mean its indiscriminate use is healthy. Pain killers when used properly under medical supervision help prepare patients to endure surgery. However, an unethical doctor dispensing opioids beyond what was legal hooks patients and they overdose.

An opposing view is that texting is a new form of communication developed for deaf, yes, but the issue for non-deaf users is not the tool but how it is used. They would argue our claim does not reflect modern day reality. Technology will always change. Adaptation is a wonderful human characteristic.  We are not arguing against technology in its proper place, however our claim is that over-reliance on texting diminishes the quality of communication and relationships if it replaces face-to-face and deeper connection.
Now, we've all seen people in restaurants texting on phones and ignoring the people right in front of them, unaware of being present with their five senses to who is there with them.  In the case of the deaf, it was a godsend.  But like all technology, it has been distorted and now misused.  The rise of cellphones and texting in the last twenty-five years has retarded communication from literate expression to what can be said in less than 160 characters.

If text is replacing verbal conversation with other people, then we need to be aware and get ahold of ourselves before we lose ourselves completely to technology and social media. The lack of vocal, face to face, sincere communication is not conducive to relationships.
Keep texting for basic communication, like location, notes, reminders, but look the person in the eyes, talk to them if you have something important to discuss. Human contact is what we thrive on as a species and texting isn't going to bring us any closer. It only isolates us IF that's what we rely on solely to communicate.

In addition, it has become a serial killer on our roads. Granted, this is a side note, unrelated directly to our thesis. However, the rising death toll of people killed by texting obviously eliminates people from communicative relationships by killing them. Texting while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. One out of every four accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. (National Safety Council, Texting and Driving Accident Statistics)
Now that we've covered the retarding of communication and texting dangers, let's look at the effects of the decline of literate writing.  
There has been a decline in eloquent communication such as well written letters or extensive phone or face-to-face conversations due to the negative effects of texting on both communication ability and relationships.  Most students can no longer write cursive. Common Core education no longer includes cursive writing and letter writing. (Heitin, Liana, PBS)

Often, texting does not allow for intent.  The messages are often misinterpreted or read while the listener is doing several things at once.

This multi-tasking while texting leads to less attention, care, work on communicating, and love. Parents sit texting while their children are trying to talk to them. What is this showing our children? That's it's totally okay to ignore the person in the same room as you.

Texting relationships are cheating a whole generation out of real relationships and eloquent communication, according to sociologist Andrea Lawrence, and some millennials are unable to converse on a real date if and when they ever meet face to face. (Lawrence, Are You In a Texting Relationship?)  In part, this is because a real relationship must transition from mystery and sexual chemistry to real conversations about real life, like cohabiting, chores, and bills. (Koman, Stages of Texting in a Relationship)
It could be argued that verbal speech is no different. Word choice is important in both for clarity.  However, tone, volume, vocal intonations, facial expressions, and body language cannot be communicated via text. You can use the same words and have them interpreted completely differently based on these characteristics. 

The devil's advocate defending texting could answer that our concern about intent/seeing the face and body expression, is what emojis are for. You and your texting partner just have to be on the same page about what each means, which happens naturally within a group of peers.  Emojis may help, but a small smiley or Japanese ideogram is no substitute for the vast range of expression in the human face and body. The human face alone has over twenty-one major ranges of expression according to Time magazine. (Park, Time) 

In texting, human laughter is reduced to the acronym "lol."  Acronyms, preset emoji options, limits choices and paralanguage, thus stifling imagination and creativity in communication. The decline in taking cues, verbal and nonverbal is astronomical. The interaction is robbed of the personal uniqueness and care of individual paralanguage. (Martenye)
Now that we've explained the communication and relationship decline, what do doctors and experts say are the psychological effects based on facts?  

Leading psychologists and statistics confirm this case with facts, reasons, statistics, testimony, examples, reasoning, and analogies.  
Texting is growing like a virus.  The number of monthly texts sent increased more than 7,700% over the last decade. Over 560 billion texts are sent every month worldwide.  18.7 billion texts are sent worldwide every day (not including app to app).  WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger combine for more than 60 billion messages sent every day.  4.2 billion+ people text worldwide.  Text messaging is the most used data service in the world. (Statistics from Burke, Text Statistics) Adults spend a total of 23 hours a week texting, sending 67 text messages per day on average in the United States, according to Michael Tardiff. Tardiff cites research at Brigham Young University that heavy texting increases relationship dissatisfaction. (Tardiff, The Effects of Texting On Relationships)

Counselor Kimberly Keys addresses the alarming tendency of some in dating relationships confining interactions to texts in Psychology Today. She advises "Don’t rely on texting as your main communication vehicle in your relationship. Let it augment and support your relationship, but don’t let it be the main form." (Keys, Psychology Today)  

Psychology Today also reports a decline in people showing up for in-person meetings because they think they can cancel at the last minute by text.  Before texting, people made the vast majority of their in-person meeting commitments.  That number has dropped to 50%. This has been referred to by helping professionals as "Last Minute-itis, the behavior plague of our time." (Colier)

The extreme texters, (those who communicate almost exclusively by texting), justify bailing at the last minute because they don’t look at an in-person meeting as confirmed, according to Psychology Today, unless it is confirmed by several last minute texts. And they assume everyone is like them, and has a cellphone on and will receive their last minute cancellation text.

People break up over text, and break life changing news over text too, and if that's the new form of communication, I fear for our future. Perhaps there are situations where not breaking up in person is advisable, such as an abusive relationship, but this is the exception. “Now entire relationships begin, and end, via text. This is not only unhealthy, but abnormal,” relationship expert Nicole Russell states. (Russell, Stop Texting So Much) 

A growing number of cellphone users use text to communicate to each other in the same house, the same room, the same table; they look down at their phones instead of at each other. Nearly half of all British families text each other while in the same house rather than speaking face-to-face, according to research conducted by Aviva insurance. (Crouch, UK Sun)

Some argue in opposition that texting increases connection. The argument is: "It's actually enhanced the ways we communicate. I talk to more people now than I ever did on the phone, or face to face (other than when I hung out with people or was at a party)."  Technology does create quick communication and quantity, but again our argument is not against quantity, but quality.  We cannot help but eavesdrop on the loud cellphone talkers or see people texting and it is often shallow communication about where someone is located. "I'm at the bank, now where are you?"

Now that we've seen the data supporting the harm of texting, what are the arguments for technology?

The opposing view that texting advances communication is easily refuted as untrue, illogical, self-contradictory, and uses faulty analogies.

One of the first opposing viewpoints is that younger relatives would never communicate with some parent or adults if texting isn't utilized.

The argument is "I'd rather have that small bit of relationship with them than none at all." We do not disagree that technology does facilitate easier contact in some long distance situations and with younger generations using texting almost exclusively.  Our argument is that excessive texting is robbing people of face-to-face healthier communication and relationships.

A second opposing view is an ad hominem attack that to resist texting as communication is being a "Luddite," (one who resists technology), an "old fart," without the sense to fully understand that technology moves forward and has many uses. It argues that we are resisting texting because it is new.  

This approach employs straw men arguments like "Back in the year 1239 some old fart complained that no one can see your face with a letter that was written."  The argument is invalid because it resorts to an ad hominem attack that a person who agrees with our thesis statement sounds "old." Does being older negate the point, even if its true? Also, it equates writing a letter, which in a bygone age was a very literate communication, with someone texting LOL, SMH, OMG limited to 160 characters. This invalid inference is comparing apples to oranges.

This argument also relies on what our text calls the “Bandwagon Fallacy” because it argues that texting is popular, and therefore it is good. “The name ‘bandwagon fallacy” comes from the phrase ‘jump on the bandwagon’ or ‘climb on the bandwagon,’ a bandwagon being a wagon big enough to hold a band of musicians. In past political campaigns, candidates would ride a bandwagon through town, and people would show support for the candidate by climbing aboard the wagon. The phrase has come to refer to joining a cause because of its popularity. For example, one could claim that smoking is a healthy pastime, since millions of people do it. However, knowing the dangers of smoking, we instead say that smoking is not a healthy pastime despite the fact that millions do it.” (Marteney, 206)
This argument presupposes that texting is good and should be embraced because it is a trend.  However, not all trends are good, like global warming.  Global warming or pollution may be a trend, but some trends are hazardous to our species and should be curtailed.  To say this is the new form of communication as if it's a good thing as a whole is denying an emerging problem. We can't ignore that it's affecting a lot of people in a negative way that goes beyond just limiting communication to blocks of texts, acronyms and emojis.

Things like that are convenient, yes, but it's removing the necessity for the human aspect and people are forgetting how to engage in real life. It's happening all around us and it's getting worse. We need to be aware of the pros, but also the cons of texting and frankly need to wean off of what isn't necessary. I think most of us can safely say that our lives aren't improved in a meaningful way by snapchat, or a block of text. Our happiest memories with a person aren't spent in a chat window; it's with them, experiencing something face to face. Recent studies confirm face-to-face still trumps texts for social closeness. (Salamon, U.S. News & World Report)

Health Day reporter Maureen Salamon confirms our claim through extensive research. “While technology use among young people offers some social advantages, face-to-face interaction does a better job of conveying emotional support and helping to read unspoken cues, new research contends.” (Salamon)

Texting is a privilege that can be misused. For example, we earn our licenses and the privilege to drive, but people constantly show through reckless driving and carelessness that maybe it's not the best for the greater good for a certain demographic of people to even have the privilege, those who abuse their privilege. The masses abuse the technology that allows them to instantly communicate to other people, without having to see them, without having to leave their house, without having to respond to their body language, let alone respond at all.

A third opposing view is to make texting amoral. Dysfunctional people and their dysfunctional communication are dysfunctional without technology, is the claim. And then they are dysfunctional with it.  People are the problem, not technology, in other words.  A similar argument is used by pro-gun advocates that say “Guns don't kill, people kill.”  There is a kernel of truth in this view because a disorganized person who can't get back to callers in the old days probably will be the type of person who has a cellphone no one can leave a message on because it is full.  However, texting not only empowers the dysfunction of people, by encouraging dysfunction and making it easier, it enables those with a fear of intimacy to hide behind a text wall, to resist deeper communication.  It has desensitized a generation to the need for actual human contact, according to Psychology Today (Colier, Key).

Many emotionally stunted men avoid intimacy now by only texting women they date. “The problem with texting is it allows intimacy-phobic people to fool themselves into thinking they’re trying to develop or maintain an intimate relationship. So what do you do if you’re dating a guy whose main way of connecting with you is by texting? Don’t answer him, except to tell him you’d like to talk when he has a chance,” counselor Carol Chanel said, reflecting on the damage texting does to her clients romantic relationships. (Chanel, “Is He Avoiding Intimacy?”)

If a guy isn't man enough to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, why even date him? It cannot replace the romance of talking hours on the phone.  An arrested adolescent hiding behind a text wall cannot have a real relationship on an adult level. Dr. Jed Diamond says "In the area of dating, mating, sex, and love, too much texting and too little direct contact can undermine our deepest desires." (Diamond, 7 Reasons Calling is Better Than Texting)

A fourth opposing view is that texting aids the socially retarded.  For the shy and/or serious introverts among us, things like email, texting, online messaging are like a godsend, it could be argued. For those who wish to, but lack social skills to connect face-to-face, and are limited in emotional intelligence, let them text.  But why contribute and aid the retarding of communication?  Why empower social dysfunction?
Texting diminishes relationships by retarding language, therefore, we should use texting for minimal information.

Texting has hurt communication and relationships by limiting us to short messages of 160 characters. Wireless communication began as TDD (Telecommunication Device for Deaf), a way for deaf people to communicate. Now, people text and ignore the people right in front of them.  In the case of the deaf, it was a godsend.  But like all technology, it has been distorted and now misused.  There has been a decline in eloquent communication due to the negative effects of texting on both communication ability and relationships. Leading psychologists and statistics confirm this case with facts, reasons, statistics, testimony, examples, reasoning, and analogies. The opposing view that texting advances communication is easily refuted as untrue, illogical, self-contradictory, and uses faulty analogies Texting is not merely a harmless habit that helps us stay in touch. It is a killer of real relationships and communication.
In summary, we saw the decline of communication because of texting, examined the origins of texting, the negative effects, the research and findings of experts, and stated and refuted opposing pro-texting arguments.

We can still wake up as long as we can realize that texting can and will not replace real, human conversation and experience (which I'm arguing is already attempting to replace that for a LOT of people). Also, these bad habits are contagious the more they become the commonplace, and the more people who use text to replace important conversation, the more likely others will succumb to that mode.    


Works Cited:

Burke, Kenneth. Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions. May, 2017

Chanel, Carol. Is He Avoiding Intimacy? September, 2016

Colier, Rev. Nancy.  Last Minute Itis: The Behavior Plague of Our Time. Psychology Today, November, 2017

Commonwealth of Virginia. Text to 911 Information Guide. 2017

Crouch, Hannah. SIGN OF THE TIMES Nearly half of all British families text each other while in the same house rather than speaking face-to-face. The Sun. February 17, 2017

Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, California Public Utilities Commission

Diamond, Dr. Jed. 7 Reasons Calling is Better Than Texting in Relationships. August, 2016

Heitin, Liana Why don't common-core standards include cursive writing? PBS October, 2016

Key, Kimberly. The 7 Rules for Texting in Relationships. March, 2016

Koman, Tess. 13 Stages of Texting in a Relationship. March, 2016

Lawrence, Andrea. Are You in a Texting Relationship? November, 2016

Marteney, Jim.  Arguing Using Critical Thinking.  2017

National Safety Council. Texting and Driving Accident Statistics, 2017

Park, Alice. Human Emotions Shown in 21 Different Facial Expressions, Time. March, 2017

Pine, Justin. SMS Character Limit. June, 2017

Russell, Nicole. Stop Texting Men So Much. February, 2016

Salamon, Maureen. Face-to-Face Still Trumps Texts for Social Closeness, Studies Find. U.S. News & World Report. January 29, 2016

Sheikh, Saadia. Communication and Miscommunication: Text Messaging. June, 2017

Tardiff, Michael S. The Effects of Texting On Relationships. June, 2016












Sunday, July 09, 2017

HOW TO DETECT FACEBOOK B.S., FAKE NEWS, ETC.. AKA CRITICAL THINKING 101:

We have gone from the Information Age to the Misinformation Age. Thanks to the Internet and social media, anyone can post a story or claim without being vetted. I am amazed at how many people I know believe stories that are false and then spread them on social media. I thought I'd share a few basic principles of critical thinking that will help tune up our B.S. detectors. Here are a couple critical thinking questions: What is the evidence for this claim? If someone is telling you, ask how do they know? If it is an author, ask how do they know? Also, if the site is selling something or is an extremist partisan site, be very careful and skeptical. Those on the extremist right posted a story that Hillary was running a pedophile ring out of a pizza shop. Some of my Religious Right friends spread it like it was gospel. A crackpot believed it and went to the pizza shop with a gun. On the other side of the aisle, my left wing friends spread a supposed interview with Donald Trump in which he told People magazine he would run for president as a Republican because Republicans are so stupid they believe anything. It went viral, even though the interview never took place with People. Google the story and quotes and see if it is existent in other credible media sources, or exclusive to the propagandist site. Be honest about your own confirmation bias. In other words, if you are Republican, your tendency to believe a false story about Obama or Hillary, and if you are Democrat, your tendency to believe a false story about Trump. A biased source can occasionally be correct, but be extra careful to spread gossip without evidence. Also, be aware that anecdotal evidence can be used for anything, in other words, someone sharing an anecdote or story. Put everything through the C.R.A.P. test. CRAP is an acronym for C - Current information, Confirmed by multiple Credible sources, R -relevant, real authority, researched A- Author is credible and qualified, Accuracy, site is credible, Authoritative source, P - Purpose is objective news, not selling products or a partisan agenda like Fox News,or even more extreme Hannity, Limbaugh, Breitbart on the right-wing side. Or does the publication lean more liberal like the Washington Post? Follow these suggestions and fine-tune your Bulls&*t detector.