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A $600 Stimulus Check? Umm, Thank You?

With the news of Congressional leaders agreeing to a $900 billion economic relief package, it is difficult to fathom how a $600 stimulus would benefit Americans.

Let’s talk about this. The people who decide how much money Americans will receive would not even qualify for a stimulus check because they make a lot of money to begin with. So how did they come up with this number? How do they know that $600 is sustainable for those of a low-income class? $600 doesn’t cover rent in most places. Did they interview people in need? Did they ask Americans if this amount would help?

It is time for our leaders to genuinely care about each and every American. We need to put aside political agendas. With the craziness Americans have had to endure this year, $600 in only a second round of stimulus checks seems like a slap in the face to the people who really need the financial assistance. The money Americans receive gets pumped back into the economy – back into our local businesses. The more financial help Americans receive, the quicker we can get our economy in better shape.

There has been opportunity after opportunity to make decisions that can help our people bounce back from the massive hits taken this year only to see it wasted away by selfish efforts. No more vague, empty promises to help our people. We are all paying attention and will remember these decisions when it is time to elect officials.  

– PQ

Twitter: @PublicQuarters

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10 Gift Ideas for under $20

It’s that time of the year again when you need to get a family member, friend, or co-worker a gift and just haven’t had the time. From Secret Santa to cheap and easy, here are our top picks for gift ideas under $20. So before you go out and buy socks for some poor soul, check out this list and get something cool.

10. Funko POP!

These fun collectables are commonly seen in homes and workspaces, and can range from all sorts of interests such as Marvel, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars. At a time where The Mandalorian is the biggest thing on TV, a Funko POP! of a character in this series would certainly satisfy almost anyone.

9. Slippers

Who wouldn’t enjoy nice pair of comfy slippers instead of walking on hardwood floor? You can’t go wrong here. Just make sure you have the right shoe size.

8. Blanket Plush

No explanation needed if you’ve ever had one of these. If you haven’t, screw the gift and get one for yourself.

7. iPhone Case

Well, everyone and their mother has an iPhone. Additionally, everyone and their mother has an iPhone with a basic case or an iPhone without a case. Search through Amazon and you’ll discover the coolest iPhone cases listed at a cheap price.

6. Luggage Scale

How many times have you traveled and wondered if your suitcase weighs too much? You are not the only one. A luggage scale may end up being the coolest gift for a Secret Santa or Yankee swap.

5. Shower Beer Holder

Talk about guilty pleasures. There’s nothing better than taking a beer to shower. Imagine having a beer holder in the shower. Game changer.

4. Cookbook

There is always a foodie in every bunch. Find a cool cookbook and include that in your gifts under 20 bucks.

3. Alcohol

Hard to go wrong here. A cheap bottle of wine or some nips are bound to boost the holiday cheer.

2. Gift Card

Rule of thumb, especially for Secret Santa’s or Yankee swaps at work. When in doubt always get a gift card. That is the one gift the receiver will love. It is basically free money with the option to choose their own gift at the intended retailer.

  1. Face Masks

We are still in 2020, so there is no list without face masks. Fingers crossed this won’t make the list next year.

Hopefully, some of these items help you with your last minute shopping. May the force be with you.


Twitter: @PublicQuarters

You taking the COVID-19 Vaccine? Or nah?

Should you take the COVID-19 vaccine? That is the question dominating the dinner table right now. Not Superbowl predictions or what parties are happening for New Year’s. Will you inject something into your body that may potentially save your life? That is what we’re talking about right now.

Some might take a step back and think of course you should take the vaccine. There’s a virus, and the vaccine is the cure. It is like choosing between life and death, and the obvious choice is that you choose life. This is a logical take, but let’s look at it from a different perspective.

When you buy a new product, let’s use iPhone for example, it is not always going to work the way it should. Let’s be real. There might be issues with it charging, downloading apps, whatever. It comes with first day problems that, at this point, you’re expecting so you don’t even get mad anymore. It’ll be a waste of a day to contact Apple Support or wait in line at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store. You shrug it off and know that likely in a week they’ll be a patch that will get rid of all of the bugs, and your new iPhone will be working just perfectly.

As someone who doesn’t know shit about shit when it comes to vaccines, but has some experience buying new products at launch, the question has to be asked. What if this new vaccine doesn’t work the way it should at launch? What if it works for some people but if you have some weird condition, things may not go well. What if all is well when you take it, and as time goes by you begin to develop symptoms of an illness even more catastrophic? It is one thing to buy a product that still has a lot of bugs that needs to be fixed, it’s another to take a vaccine that may need to get patched after it has been distributed and injected into your body.

It is okay to have fears when you can potentially be making a life altering decision. Having a choice is a privilege not everyone will have. There are frontline workers who will need to take the vaccine because they are exposed to sick people every day. There are people who need to take the vaccine as a precaution to not get anyone around them sick. It is not a fluke when you hear some say, “These are trying times that we’re living in.” It sucks, but hopefully a vaccine can get us back on the right track.

Lastly, do we trust the FDA? They are the specialists, right? Have they approved substances that were harmful to us in the past? Yeah, “living in trying times,” right? My hope is that the drug is safe because I would rather not witness how the I Am Legend movie plays out in real life.

Be safe and make the decision you feel is best for you and your family.

– PQ

Twitter: @PublicQuarters

Let’s End The Two-Party System

As we conclude a disastrous 2020 Election showcasing debate skills worse than a 5th grader, prematurely claiming victory and delirious claims of cheating, many can agree this has been terrible optics for the United States. We look like anything but the greatest country in the world.

We have politicians who state beliefs and suggest policies they will enact if elected only to satisfy the demographic they are hoping will vote for them. While this does not reflect all political leaders, if many are guilty of creating a false image to siphon votes, then it is impossible to identify which candidates wholeheartedly want to help the American people instead of just achieving their own political gain.

I know we do not like change, but it is time to end the two-party system. We should never see a Donald Trump running for presidency on a Democrat or Republican ticket. That goes for Kanye West and even if the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ever decides to run. However, what we learned from the Trump experiment is not only should he just stick to Reality TV, but he actually can appeal to both Democrats and Republicans because he is a celebrity. His blind followers don’t care that he’s a habitual liar or has been accused of things most citizens would go to jail for. You might call these people stupid, but they’re quite comparable to “Swifties” or people like me who smell what The Rock is cooking.

Typical elected officials should be people who come in with prior experience in politics and have shown they are capable of leading everyone in our country, not just the people who may support him or her in an election. The Democratic and Republican Parties should never sell out because a candidate is a billionaire and has a shitload of Twitter followers. However, we are the United States – a country of opportunity. So, there should be a party where people who have not built their career as a Democrat or Republican can enter the fray and fight to become local elected officials and even President of the United States.

A third party means there will no longer be undecided voters who have only two legitimate options choose from. A third party means that Democrats and Republicans no longer have to support candidates they know do not fit their ideal model of candidacy. Most importantly, a third party means that we can have candidates that do not follow Democrat or Republican values. We won’t have candidates who change their belief system to fit in with the political party they feel might give them the best chance of winning an election. 

Imagine millions of voters not liking either a Democrat or Republican candidate, and those same voters gravitate to a third party and that influences the outcome of an election. Imagine not having a right/left wing divide, and politicians are forced to try to sway every American because every vote would matter. 

We have had two parties for so long, and it continues to play a role in the major divide of our country. An additional major party is change, at the very least. Will it help calm our divide? Who knows. Will it steer politicians to be more candid with their campaign strategies? Maybe. What is clear is that it hard to get any worse than it is now.


Twitter: @PublicQuarters

Can dialogue be used as an effective action to create a better society?

In very important moments, many of us tend to forget the power of words. We are taught, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” It’s lies, but I get it. The idea of that phrase is to boost self-esteem and assure children they cannot be bullied by someone else’s words. However, the reality is that words can be catastrophically harmful not only to a person but to a community of people. But, on the other hand, words can also be uplifting and can help bring communities together if used effectively.

Let’s take a look at what is going on right now in our country. After another senseless death of a Black man by the hands of the police, our citizens are fed up and are desperate for change. At a time where we need our leader the most, words like “thugs” and “dominate” are used in retaliation to protesting. Many protestors may wonder, why use words when I have been using them my entire life and still no one is listening? And you can’t get more direct than “I can’t breathe.” Though we may find ourselves declaring, less talk more action, I don’t believe words are useless if said effectively. I think the opposite. I believe words are an action that can lead to change.

I have personally experienced how group dialogues can affect a person and have a positive impact on communities. Many years ago, I was exposed to the teachings of Intergroup Relations (IGR) created at the University of Michigan, which helps students pursue social justice through education engagement, practice, and pedagogy. The program helps one create an atmosphere where people of different backgrounds and beliefs come together, and take part in activities and constructive dialogue to allow both sides to understand each person’s point of view and hopefully walk away more educated on diverse topics.

Imagine if people of color sat in a circle with white people who came from a racist upbringing. How’d you think that conversation would go? From facilitating many dialogues of such, I am aware that a lot of ignorance and tears come from these conversations, and change does not happen over night, but I’ve seen the final result. I’ve seen students and larger community groups change and have wonderful dialogue about their own ignorances, and witness pledges to go out and be a voice to facilitate change in our society.

What if our communities created an atmosphere where these dialogues around social justice can be had with the police and politicians and other groups that play a significant role in our society? What if that was a requirement of their job? I don’t know enough to say why we should defund the police, but I would advocate to adjust their budget to create room for constructive programs that may help result in less dead innocent people. Hey, it may not change shit, but what if we got just one person to understand the injustice that goes on in our society? To me, one person is a win because that person can talk to a friend, and that friend can pass on the message to another person and so on.

In my late teens, I was taught in order to affect change, I must “lean into discomfort.” It’s easy to have conversations about injustice with people who have the same beliefs as you. It’s easy to post on social media in solidarity with everyone that you follow or follows you. But is it easy to have that uncomfortable conversation with your family, coworkers, or strangers if your beliefs deem you the minority of the group? This question is the root of why the cycle of injustice continues to happen over generations. We’re too afraid to have those conversations, behind closed doors, with people that may hold power over us.

Of all the white people posting on social media in solidarity with #blacklivesmatter, how many are going to have conversations with their own family about the George Floyd protests? When will the lone heterosexual call out heterosexuals for homophobic statements? Who is going to be that guy to call out their boys for making misogynist comments?

These are behind closed door conversations that need to happen, and most importantly, it has to continue to happen even when it is not a mainstream topic. That is how you prove you are for real. And that is how we can start educating those around us and then how those people can start educating those around them.

If anything, we all can agree that a united society is a stronger society. Something as basic as everyone having equal rights and equal freedoms shouldn’t be so trivial. If we showed each other that respect, we can be a nation that sets a tone for all nations. We shouldn’t aim to “Make America Great Again.” We should try to figure out how to make “A New Great America.” Let’s learn from our past mistakes, incorporate what we’ve done right, and create a society we all can be proud. And, guess what, something as simple as words can get us there.

Food for thought.


Twitter: @PublicQuarters

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