Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, keynote plenary presenter at the Guest House Leadership Conference

A Guest House Alumnus reflects on how alcoholism affects priestly life, ministry and the efficacy of pastoral care. His thoughts on the occupational hazards of priests and what is the return on investment if one seeks treatment for addiction are very thought provoking. Many anecdotes are shared throughout. He addresses the Guest House raised cup icon which represents the grace of God that made it possible for him to continue to celebrate the Eucharist, while at the same time can be interpreted as two hands supporting a head of a person in despair. Why bother treating an alcoholic priest? He offers an answer that reflects the true spirit of Christianity.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Obama on Trayvon Martin - July 19, 2013 Word for Word

Trayvon Martin
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week — the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling.  I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday.  But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.
First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation.  I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case — I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.  The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner.  The prosecution and the defense made their arguments.  The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict.  And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works.  But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.  And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me.  There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.  That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.  There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.  That happens often.
And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.  And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.  The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws.  And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Now, this isn’t to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.  It’s not to make excuses for that fact — although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.  They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration.  And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.
I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.  So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys.  But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this?  How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?  I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent.  If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.  But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.
I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here.  Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code.  And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive.  So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.
When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things.  One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped.  But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.
And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law.  And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.
So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive.  And I think a lot of them would be.  And let’s figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “stand your ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.  On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?  And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened?  And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
Number three — and this is a long-term project — we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys.  And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about.  There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.  And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
I’m not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program.  I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I’ve got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front.  And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed — I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation.  And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.
And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching.  There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race.  I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations.  They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.  On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?  Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?  That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.
And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better.  Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race.  It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society.  It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.  But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are — they’re better than we were — on these issues.  And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.
And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues.  And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions.  But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

Friday 5: SEO Tips to Help Clients Find Your Website

friday seo

If you have a company website or blog, three little letters can make a huge difference: SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential tool to help your online content get noticed by search engines, which means higher rankings in search results, which means more visits to your website — and, ultimately, more business for you. Sound good? Let’s look at five simple ways to improve your site’s SEO ranking.

1. Write original, high-quality content.
This may seem obvious, but useful, relevant information is what both readers and search engines are looking for. Write your content first, then refine it for SEO — not the other way around. The goal isn’t just to lure visitors to your site, it’s to keep them there and get them thinking of you as a credible authority offering good information. Do some online research to find topics that people haven’t written much about, or ones where you can offer a unique angle.

2. Make every page unique.
Every page should have its own title (the text that appears in your browser’s header and in search results), heading, and keywords that are specific to that page. We’ll talk more about harnessing the power of keywords in a minute. Search engines pay more attention to the words in your title and headings, and users will be scanning those titles in search results to decide which page best answers their question, so make sure they accurately reflect your page’s content!

3. Use keywords strategically.
Tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Soovle (both free) will show you the most popular — and therefore, most competitive — search terms. You’re probably never going to be the #1 result when someone searches for “lawyer,” but you can become one of the top results for, say, “Seattle estate planning attorney,” if you choose your keywords wisely. Type in a word or phrase and you’ll see similar, associated keywords, as well as a keyword difficulty ranking (how hard it would be for you to rank high in search results).

4. Think like a search engine (or a text-to-speech reader).
Search engines can’t see text in images, so if you save text as an image, it might as well be invisible. Text-to-speech readers and search engines use “alt-tags” (the caption that pops up when you mouse over an image) to identify images. Every image on your site should have an alt-tag, both for accessibility and SEO reasons. FeedTheBot’s free image SEO tool will scan your webpage and show you how well search engines are “reading” the images on your site.

5. Link to other sites, and get other sites to link to you.
Your content is online, and now you want people to see it! Search engines measure your website’s value and relevance by analyzing other sites’ links to your site. The words that make up a link also help search engines categorize your website, which is why it’s better to have a link that reads “Seattle Estate Planning Attorney” than “Click Here.” Writing a guest post for someone else’s blog is a great way to get your name out there; do some research to find blogs that are similar in size, theme, and audience. If you have a Twitter account, use hashtags and mentions that can get your article noticed and retweeted. Sponsored Facebook posts can also be a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience. Linking to other pages on your site is useful, too.

Recommended reading: The Yahoo! Style Guide. Sure, they’re not Google, but this online style guide is a wonderful resource for learning to write for the web. It covers everything from defining your audience and choosing your voice to writing clearly and concisely for the biggest audience. And it has an informative chapter on SEO, including a step-by-step guide to keyword research and analysis, so you can get started on optimizing your site.

Stephanie Perry. Stephanie is the WSBA communications specialist/publications editor. She edits the “Literary Lawyer” column in NWLawyer. Find more of her reviews and reading lists at www.readerslane.com.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keyword Placement

Keywords and Keyword Placement is the mac daddy force behind your substance abuse treatment website, article or blog to increase your page rank. Effective Keyword Research and Placement takes time but is well worth the effort as an important part of your search engine optimization process. We employ a variety of tools to analyze keywords and select the perfect keyword combinations that can be used for your content.
Source: Diligent Management
After we identify your keywords and keyword phrases through research we then need to consider optimum keyword placement on your site. We place the chosen keywords at locations where they are noticed by the robots in titles, domain name, headings, meta keywords, meta titles and descriptions, content, and text link.

Using keywords intelligently and creating content that is relevant to the search query combined with information that the viewer is looking for is the optimal keyword on-page strategy goal.  Keyword density will help your website achieve desired placement.  We respect limitations as to how many keywords are optimized and how often they are used on your page.  A successful SEO process largely depends on the keyword density.

At Diligent Management and Consulting Services we understand the drug addiction treatment target audience. We know the correct balance necessary for keyword phrase combinations and density.  The most appropriate keyword search phrase may not be the most obvious one. Often the obvious keywords increase your competition for that search phrase, and that decreases your chances of a top spot on the search engines.  DMCS offers the correct balance.

Please contact a DMCS keyword specialist by calling (248) 962-3627 or email us HERE.

Sober Advertising builds your social authority by way of social network conversation participation, forums, blogs, microblogging, wikis, social networks, video, bookmarking, photographs, podcasts, and text messaging. Sober Advertising markets media for social interaction, using highly accessible online technology and social media marketing tools.