Ambidextrous Thoughts

This site is intended to offer research and commentary on current events covering a wide scope of topics. Over and over again, I see social media offering quick access to the latest news or trend, but often with very little thought or fact-checking put into it, which lends itself to misleading half-truths. The intent here is not to take a political side, but to discuss the differences expressed by many who use social media as their source of news and information. My aim is to look at both extremes of a topic, and try to find a way to come together. I welcome input and suggestions on subjects that you’d like to know more about. Some conversations may have a political theme, but I hope to discuss issues that affect our everyday life, whether it be what kind of education our children are really getting, why are medication prices spiraling out of control, are unions a help or a hindrance to our workers today, or what “entitlement” really means. Bookmark this spot and see how we do as we try to make a fair place to open discussions on the subjects that interest you most. By – JRBecker


Posted by on Jun 30, 2018 | 0 comments




Why you haven’t heard from me lately

Easy answer: I’ve been busy entering election information into a database.

Real answer: People, even educated people, don’t seem to know how to put together a profile or resume anymore.

While I’m taking a break from data input, I’ll explain what I mean, just in case one of my readers,

a. is running for office somewhere, or

b. knows or supports someone running for office, or

c. is trying to find information about potential senators, representatives, governors, mayors, councilpersons or dog catchers.

Putting together a profile for a campaign is somewhat like writing a resume. The same basic information is needed, but not in so much detail. It’s okay to start out with a little description of why you’re interested in the job, and what makes you think you’re the right person for the job. However, five or six paragraphs about what your parents did, how you learned to shoe your first horse, and your opinion on Kool-aide stands compared to Kiosks will probably lose you the vote (or job).

Some of your background is important to who you are… maybe you were raised by a single father, or your parents were non-English speaking immigrants, or you had 14 brothers and sisters. Most of this can be used after you get the pertinent details of your history down.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

Military Service

Education and degree

Previous and current employment, including dates of employment, job description or position, and any civic services in particular that would prepare you for the position you now seek.

If you have experience as an elected official, a short list of your most important votes, projects completed, or committees you served on is good information.

Birthdate and age are helpful, but not required. (I do sort of hate to think I voted for a 30-something – see picture options – and got a 70-something, though.) Religion is also optional.

Picture options: Some people put in a good picture from shoulders up, and others like to be seen standing or maybe even a family shot. Those are pretty much the limits. Pictures should be from a decade reasonably near this one. Anything else is inappropriate for a basic profile.

What I’m telling you are the guidelines for submitting information to a profile site for a campaign – Ballotpedia, for example. If you’ve also set up your own campaign page, you can be more liberal with your information and images. Many candidates choose to use Face Book as a campaign site. If you do, make sure your page name is easy to find. “Why I decided to run for office” is not a good page name. “Bob Jones for Congress NY” is great. (I didn’t make that up… “Why I decided to run for office” was actually the name of a candidate’s Face Book page!) In the last few weeks I’ve lowered my expectations. If I search Face Book for Bob Jones, Robert Jones, Jones for Congress, Jones for NY and Jones for 2018, (with and without Bob or Robert) I give up.

I’ve literally spent hours searching for any single thing to put in as biographical information. I sometimes get lucky and find a one or two word job description in a news article about the candidates. I’ve put in as little as “US Veteran” or “Teacher”. If I can’t find some basic information, I put in a statement as follows – No education or employment on record.

About education information… what, exactly, does “studied at UCLA” mean? Did you use their library? Did you take a class? Wait… your campaign page refers to you as Dr. Jones. MD? DVM? PhD? DDS? Did you graduate across the board from UCLA, or did you get your doctorate at Harvard?

Jobs…It’s not necessary to list every job you’ve ever held, but I need something more detailed than “I’ve been everything from a trucker to CEO of two different companies.” I’m inclined, at that point to put in – Truck Driver.

Ideally, every candidate should have their own website. By putting one together, you show your organizational skills and make yourself more ‘available’ to you voters. There are as many formats to use as your imagination can handle. Just keep in mind that readers often have limited time, so make sure you give them the things they really need to know about you early on. Those that are really interested in you will keep reading to learn the details. One way to decide how to layout your web page is to look at some of your opponents. Look at the pages of some experienced politicians and see how they set their profile.

Other pieces of information you should include on your web page, or make available to go along with your profiles are: Face Book name, Twitter name, link to your webpage, link to other well-known social media such as Linked In, You Tube, and Instagram. A separate contact page is always a good idea. Include your email address and a phone number for your campaign office. Some people put in P.O. Box numbers, too.

I Hope you find these suggestions useful. There is still time to spruce up your profile before November 6th. – END


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Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 | 0 comments




Apathy (lack of concern) about voting has allowed us to become embroiled in an unimagined state of chaos within our government. Congress is no longer representing any of us. Our protections for water and air quality are being stripped. Regulations are being cut without regard to secondary effects. For instance, bankers and financial managers are no longer required to give you advice that will be helpful to you!!! How crazy is that? We can still correct this, but only if we vote. It isn’t always easy to know who to vote for, or how to go about it. I can’t tell you who or what to vote for, but I can help make it easier for you. Let me explain.

For more than 200 years, Americans have been fighting for the right to vote, in one sense or another. Our forefathers tried to build a Constitution to protect us all. They did a very good job, but, of course, they couldn’t foresee everything.

The Constitution is in some respects a work in progress. Ratified 6/21/1788, amendments have been added continually, the last time being 5/7/1992 for the Twenty-seventh Amendment. There are 5 amendments about voting (so far).

The Fifteenth Amendment: Ratified 2/3/1870

  1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
  2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Nineteenth Amendment: Ratified 8/18/1920

  1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
  2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-fourth Amendment: Ratified 1/23/1964

  1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors of President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or any other tax.
  2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified 12/6/1868 was the first attempt of setting voting rights, but it also included other citizens’ rights, direction on giving aid and comfort to our enemies, rules of insurrection and rebellion as it pertained to government officials, and references to slave ownership, U.S. public debt not to mention that the right to vote was given only to males in this amendment. If you’re interested to reading it in its entirety, the following link will take you to a site where you can click on separate links to the articles or amendments of the full Constitution.

The Twenty-sixth Amendment changed the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age ratified 7/1/1971.

In addition. there was the Voting Rights Act, signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson, partly in response to the well-known violence that took place earlier that year between police and peaceful protesters in Selma. Alabama. It was written as a reinforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment.

One would think this should more than cover the whole proposition of voting. The Fifteenth Amendment even covers incarceration, in that it includes “…shall not be denied or abridged…previous condition of servitude.” This means once sentence and parole or probation have been concluded, voting rights must be restored.

One would think… Yet, states and organizations continually find ways to inhibit voting rights. Despite the clause about servitude, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia ban convicted felons from voting for life, while Maine and Vermont allow even prisoners to vote1. Some states don’t provide enough polling places to accommodate the population of certain districts, while other states restrict voter registration to county seats or Federal buildings. People who can’t drive are often deprived of the ability to register and vote. Usually these types of restrictions target the poorer, black/Hispanic or immigrant districts which commonly contain higher concentrations of Democrats, putting them at a disadvantage.

Sometimes political groups or agitators send out misleading or false mailers saying your polling place is now at a different address, or the election date has been changed. One pastor in Mississippi pinned a creative flyer to his notification board stating that because of unexpectedly large voter turnouts, if you were voting YES on the [Life Begins at the Moment of Fertilization] you should vote on Tues. Nov. 8th, (the correct date) and if you were voting NO to vote on Wed. Nov. 9th.2 Robocalls have been used in many states, giving out false dates and other information.

With the Internet, social media is full of misdirection and deceit. Of course you can find legitimate information online, but you have to search in the right places. We can no longer accept what we’re told just because it sounds good. We need to verify things better, and go to official sites to get important information. MEMEs can be funny, thought provoking, or outright lies, so check them out before accepting their message. Republicans hate Democrats and Democrats hate Republicans, or so they say. Even news stories can be misleading.

So here’s the point. With all these attempts to misinform and stop you from voting, it becomes obvious that your vote counts even more – otherwise, why would they bother? I’m going to give you a few tips to help you navigate the world of voting.

March 20, 2018 brings the first Primary Election and it’s for Illinois. Each state sets their own date, so you need to be sure you know when the primary is for your state. You also need to know where your polling place is located. If you go to the wrong one in most cases you will be turned away. More importantly, you need to make sure you’re registered. Even if you believe you are, it’s best to check. There have been reports of tampering with electronic data, and some states have had errors occur where the wrong political party has been assigned or data has accidentally been purged. You can check your registration status and polling information online at , or at which will also provide you with a voter history report that will look similar to this:

C:\Users\JulieB\Documents\Writing-Blogs and Articles\Pictures\Voting History.JPG

Below is a list showing state options. Early voting at your polling place or the county recorder’s office is helpful if you know you aren’t able to make it on the date of the election. Mail-in is the easiest and most failsafe way to vote if your state offers it. Some states have a combination of early/mail-in and absentee voting. A few states only allow absentee voting. Colorado, Oregon and Washington are the only states that have mail-in only voting. Most states allow absentee voting (military, bed-ridden, business out of state, etc.) but some require proof of need.

Here’s one last thing. An open state seat in the Georgia House of Representatives – no incumbent. 7% of registered voters voted.

Quote from a friend’s post:

Georgia State House of Representatives, District 175, special election on 2-13-18:
Only 7 % of the registered voters in three South Georgia counties cast their ballot in the special election to fill the vacant House District 175 seat. Republican John LaHood of Brooks County won the seat with 2,337 votes, receiving 70 percent of the vote. Democrat Treva Gear finished second with 24 percent with 778 votes. Coy Reaves received 4 percent of the vote, and Bruce Phelps received 2 percent. All of Brooks County and parts of Lowndes and Thomas counties make up the 175 House of Representatives District.

7%? Really? Now, THAT is the epitome of apathy.

So why should you vote? To protect your rights; to protect the rights of your children and their children. To preserve our democracy. To take back what is ours!


It’s your duty – your responsibility!




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