Executive Branch

July2022

The Earth’s distance from the sun, its composition, size, and temperate regions are factors that have allowed life forms to thrive in a way not yet observed anyplace else in the universe.

Heart Health

April2022

The heart starts to beat practically at conception and continues it’s life-sustaining role for a hundred years or longer.

Electricity

April2022

Electricity

Electricity is the activity of electrons. They’re found orbiting the nucleus of an atom and they’re one of the smallest particles in the known universe.

Executive Branch

April2022

Since 1789, when George Washington became our first president, Americans have been electing or re-electing the president and vice president every four years

Executive Branch

InstrideOnline Blog Post Dec2019

The preamble of the North Atlantic Treaty reiterates the ideals of the United Nations Charter, that members seek to live in peace with each other and to safeguard the principles of “democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.”

Executive Branch

July2022

The cities, lakes, and ancient shrines on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea are sacred to the Jewish people as well as to the followers of Islam and Christianity.

Executive Branch

InstrideOnline Blog Post March2018

"… But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract …"

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Inward Journey

Deep in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the modern day region of Nepal, the philosophies of Buddhism were established by the warrior-prince Siddhartha Gautama who set out on a spiritual quest in the fifth century BCE that took him from the heights of luxury to the depths of near-starvation in his attempt to understand the nature of reality.

After trying to calm his earthly hungers with both indulgence and then deprivation, he began to teach the “middle way,” a philosophy that encouraged a person to find health and happiness despite the pain that is inevitable in our human lives

Siddhartha had become “enlightened” and was known from that time on as Buddha. The cornerstone of his teachings are the Four Noble Truths, explaining the nature of human suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to conquer suffering with mindful thinking and living.

The Four Noble Truths

  • Pain, anxiety, and suffering are part of being human 
  •  Suffering results from the craving of sensual pleasures, status, or control  
  • There is a way to conquer pain and end worldly cravings
  • The pathway to end suffering is the Noble Eight-fold Path:

The Noble Eightfold Path

(1) GOOD INTENTION
The willingness to confront suffering with kindness, non-violence, and compassion. Refraining from the intent to harm others in thought or action

 

(2) NOBLE VISION
Understanding the reality of the Four Noble Truths, that human lives have suffering caused by desires that can be conquered by following the Noble Eightfold Path

 

(3) PROPER WORDS
The practice of speaking in uplifting, truthful ways. Never using lies or slander to hurt others or cause conflict

 

(4) HONEST ACTIONS
Actions that won’t cause harm to self or others. Shouldn’t kill, steal, lie, or exploit others in any way

 

(5) NOBLE LIVELIHOOD
Having an occupation that is consistent with the values of the Buddhist philosophy

 

(6) GOOD EFFORT
Conscious thought, directing energy in a positive way to work with good intention on wholesome endeavors

 

(7) RIGHT MINDFULNESS
An awareness of the surrounding environment and the way it influences peace of mind

 

(8) FOCUSED CONCENTRATION
Focusing the mind on positive, wholesome thoughts. Meditation that eventually leads to enlightenment

buddhism squirrel cartoon
Fourth of July decorations

What to Watch for in 2024

Politics = Controversy!

This year, Americans will register to vote and then show up at the polls on November 5 to either re-elect President Biden to a second term or choose a new President.

Whether you actively take part in politics, or you prefer to observe it from the sidelines, this is an overview of what to watch for during the 2024 election cycle.

Choosing a Nominee

First, each political party has to choose their candidate for president.

From January 15 to June 8, each of the 50 states, the District of Colombia, and the 14 US territories will each hold either a caucus or primary election.   

A caucus is a gathering of individuals of a specific political party where the qualifications of each of the nominees are talked about in-depth prior to a vote being taken. 

A primary is a more straight-forward process where party members simply vote for a particular candidate without as much discussion or debate. In a closed primary, only members of the political party are allowed to participate, whereas in an open primary, any registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, could cast a vote.

National Conventions

Once the caucus and primary votes are tallied, each candidate wins a specific number of delegates.

The contest continues as these state delegates attend the party’s national convention to rally votes for both their candidate as well as his/her choice for vice president. 

This year, the RNC is from July 15-18 in Milwaukee, and the DNC is from August 19-22 in Chicago.

 Election Day is on November 5 – or, the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November

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Guidelines of the Electoral Process

Article 3 of the Constitution established the Electoral College and these legal guidelines are in effect today to elect a President and a Vice President to office.

When votes from the general election are counted in each state, the candidate with the most votes wins all of that state’s electoral votes.

The number of electors, or the number of electoral votes, allotted to each state is equal to that state’s representation in Congress; two plus their number of representatives in the House.

There are a total of 538 electors (100 + 435 + 3 in DC) so the candidate with a majority of 270+ votes wins the election.   

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co-workers sneezing and spreading germs

Patient Survivor

The immune system is our body’s way of protecting itself from dangers that exist naturally in the environment – dangerous pathogens found in the air we breathe, in the food and water we consume, and from the people we come in contact with.

Our bodies are continually on guard, adapting to an ever-changing environment and developing clever and innovative ways to keep us healthy.

Working closely with the skeletal, lymphatic, and circulatory systems, the immune system confronts dangerous pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, that could invade the cells of the body and cause infection or disease.

microscope showing germs clip art

Before a pathogen can invade healthy body cells, it first has to find a way into the bloodstream … and that’s not an easy task. We have strong defenses that protect vulnerable parts of our body such as our eyes, nose, throat, and reproductive tract from infection.

  • The sneezing and coughing reflex ejects harmful germs that are in the air we breathe
  • Tears clear away dust while protecting the eyes with antibacterial enzymes
  • The respiratory, digestive, and reproductive tract are lined with epithelial cells that secrete a protective layer of anti-microbial mucosa that traps and kills off any dangerous “bugs” that enter the body
  • The most effective first line of defense, though, is the epidermis, composed of skin cells that defend against dangers in the environment and UV radiation from the sun

Born To Be Alive

The innate immune system is the immunity we’re born with. White blood cells known as leukocytes are produced in the red marrow of our bones and then differentiate into a variety of components that each have different abilities and functions.

Strengthening Immunity

When the cells of the innate immune system are overpowered by the numerous strains of bacteria and virus we come in contact with – over the course of our entire lifespan – then the adaptive immune system is activated.

Adaptive immunity continually changes and strengthens to protect our bodies, especially during middle age.

B-cells and T-cells start to proliferate and have a much more specialized strategy; when they encounter a disease-causing microbe, they can modify their function to eliminate that specific pathogen, and then stay on-task in the bloodstream for years. 

Immune system image of a person getting an injection of a vaccine.

An antigen is a substance that prompts the body to produce the antibodies that fight disease.  Antibodies are a type of protein manufactured by white blood cells to either kill a specific type of pathogen or “tag” it for destruction by other parts of the immune system

Other parts of the body that play a support role in immunity are the tonsils, which trap contaminants from the air we breathe, the thymus gland where T-cells grow and mature, and the spleen that clears away destroyed pathogens from the bloodstream.