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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The State of the Union

Yes, I watched the State of the Union last night, because I am a politics nerd. I'll get that out of the way right up front. I get a kick out of the whole affair, especially now that I'm back in DC.

My first thought was that it was so different seeing Boehner behind the President as compared to Pelosi last year. Where she looked like she was swooning over him the whole time, he looked as though he was trying very hard to look like he cared the whole time. Or like something very large was stuck in his rear end. Either one.

I thought the speech was pretty decent, until the President spoke these words:
"The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us."
My first response: How about you go looking for a job for a while, with nothing but $300 in unemployment every week to live on (until it runs out), and come back and let us know how that goes.

Other things I liked: his direct, dead on talk to House Republicans about Health Care reform. I think this might one of the only times I've ever heard the President admit that something he put together and championed could use improvement. I hope that Republicans will take this as an opportunity to work together and fix things, instead of an opportunity to say I told you so and create more vitriol. 

Also, the part where he said that if a bill shows up on his desk with lots of earmarks, he'll veto it. This one, I think, is opening up a can of worms, in that it could be used against him later, but I do agree that the earmark thing has gotten out of control. I just don't want to see people adding earmarks to bills, getting them on there because others think the legislation is too important to risk not getting it passed, and then have the President either go back on his word and allow an earmark, or stick to it and not pass an important piece of legislation solely because there's an earmark.

I also liked the mixing of the parties - I feel like that kept the mood of the room a little more civilized. I also felt as though he did a good job of addressing moderates on both sides of the line, as well as independents. Too much of politics these days focuses on the extremes at either end.

A couple of things I didn't like: There were some specifics lacking - lots of big ideas, but no real HOWs. Granted, this probably wasn't the place for them. But still.

Also, I was a little lost near the end of the speech. I felt like he drifted a bit, and while it seemed like he was trying to make the point that we have things we need to fix, he kinda went into "look how much better other countries are than us right now" territory.

All in all, not terrible. But I'd still love a report back on how the job situation should be a challenge instead of discouraging. What? Not gonna happen? I thought not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy birthday, Capt Freeman

As I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking about my friend Matt, a Naval Academy classmate and company mate who went on to be a Marine, and was killed in Afghanistan a year and a half ago.  Then when I logged on to Facebook this morning I realized it would have been his 31st birthday today.  God really does work in mysterious ways....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My thoughts on Tucson

So I've pretty much been sucking at blogging since the end of Reverb10/ New Year's.

I admit it. Without a prompt about what to write, sometimes I just can't think of anything. Other times, I think of things to write but am just too lazy to put the ideas down in words.  Or I get distracted by work or school or life in general.

Yes, I understand the above are a bunch of excuses, so ignore them all.

This whole business in Tucson has been weighing on me since it happened.  I generally try very hard to do my own research and educate myself about political issues in this country, and I firmly believe that the two parties have moved so far to the extremes of their sides that the general public is being left with nothing to identify with.  Do I think Sarah Palin is an idiot for using crosshairs in her graphics? Absolutely. Do I think that there are plenty of Democrats who have consistently used violent words as well? For sure.

There was absolutely ZERO justification for immediately associating this deranged, disturbed gunman with a political movement of any sort. ESPECIALLY not BEFORE the assertion that he was just a messed up kid.  Why wasn't that the first thing anyone said? Why do we immediately try to blame it on politicians instead of first saying man, this guy must be a seriously messed up individual to open fire on a crowd at a political speech in a grocery store parking lot at 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning?

THAT is the problem. Everything is used against the other side, no matter the legitimacy or the ethics (or lack thereof) involved.  The parties are so desperate to make themselves look better, and what better way than to make the other guy look criminal? Politics in the US are in a sad state right now. What will it take to make it better? The prospects kinda scare me.

But here's the other thing about Tucson that bothers me. Things like this happen ALL THE TIME.  Gun violence and mass shootings are nothing new.  I may be a cynic for saying this, but I have to think that while this still would have made the news, but if it had not been for the fact that a Congressional Representative was involved, it would not have warranted the President or the constant news coverage. Why are flags at half staff for this, but not for the soldiers dying daily overseas? Why not for every child that gets murdered? It doesn't really help with the whole "DC is in a bubble and only cares about its own" idea that I know is out there.

And there are people who want to truly fight reinstating the ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines? Really? And Arizona doesn't think that they should regulate who gets to concealed carry? And nobody thinks any gun control legislation will come out of this event? I'm all about 2nd Amendment rights, but there's a middle ground here, one that makes sense. I wish, for once, Congress would dispel with the politics and actually DO THEIR JOBS, which are to look out for the well being of their constituents.

OK, I'm all done ranting about all this now (and sorry if it doesn't all make sense, but I don't go back and edit posts like this. It's kinda the point, right?). What a damn mess this was. I truly do feel for those who lost loved ones, and wish those recovering, including Rep Giffords, the absolute best. Let's learn from this and make something good come out of it. Please.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

#Reverb10, The Last

The Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

I waited until today to do this final Reverb10 post sort of on purpose. I knew yesterday I needed to think about it, and I just didn't get back to it.  However, even after thinking about it, I just don't think I like this final prompt. The bonus part is easy - I've been talking the whole time about the common threads in the posts that I've been finding, but the central story at the core of me?  I think my tag line on my blog pretty much says it all - I'm a former Sailor, now government employee, and music lover. Sometimes I just need an outlet.