Monday, November 1, 2010

How "Moranic" Can We Get?

I love living here in Alexandria and never thought that there would have been anything to compel me to move out of this area. That was until last year, and even more so recently. As I have been tracking the congressional race in my district, VA-8, I have become increasingly incensed by what I have discovered about the incumbent, Jim Moran.

Let me start by saying, that in a fit of MAJOR ignorance, I did vote for Moran once, simply because I absolutely did not know any better. What a difference a day makes. Living in this area, Northern Virginia, it can be very easy to lose sight of things when you're surrounded by so many wonderful things, at least compared to where I grew up. It's easy to think that things are really going great until you begin to dig beneath the surface to see how we actually got there.

On the surface, it looked like Moran was doing an OK job for the area, but the more I began to pay attention to him, the less impressed I became. It's easy to come off as good when there is no adversity. But in the past few years, Moran has really shown how unworthy he is to continue representing this district.

I am only just reading the latest issue of Alexandria Times, wherein almost the entire periodical is packed with articles regarding the congressional race, as well as op-eds from (heaven help me) clueless constituents. I was beside myself when I read an opinion from one woman who claimed that Moran was ideal for the district because he was endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States. Really, lady? The economy is crumbling and all you care about is that some shops put out doggie treats and water for your pet while you shop? She's probably one of those who carts her pet around in a stroller while her child straggles behind her (yes, you will see that here). Another leftist who most probably cares more about animals than the lives of other humans. I say, it's so much more dignified to chase behind a domesticated animal and clean up their poop than to wipe the bottom of a child could change the world one day, right?

Such contempt has Moran for those who are not part of the political elite, that it was said Republican candidate Patrick Murray was "not a good fit for this district". Really? Not a good fit? How on earth do you mean? Apparently this district is so "enlightened", yet in my observances, most of the sophists that live here can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. They are actually too smart for their own good. Many of them have advanced degrees yet are utterly oblivious and lacking in common sense.

To show how poor a sport Moran is, we have seen him go from at least somewhat smiling to having almost a perpetual scowl of indignation. He does not take kindly to being opposed, questioned or challenged. I know from personal experience as I, a constituent, tried for approximately three months to have an audience with him but was constantly rebuffed. Everytime I called, I was asked "what organization are you with?" After the few contentious town halls that were conducted over the health care debate, his appearances dried up. His House website provided almost no up to date information informing us on any upcoming meetings, until there was a women's forum, which I viewed as a superficial way of pretending he cared about women's issues, and simply a means of how to "deal" with the injured economy and unemployment rather than rail against it.

To add insult to injury, he recently made comments dismissing candidate Murray's 24-year military service as not being any "kind of public service". Tough words coming from someone who has voted with Nancy Pelosi approximately 97% of the time. As a military veteran, I found it hard to contain myself after hearing such haughty remarks, and quite honestly I couldn't imagine any self-respecting service member or veteran, of which there are many in this area, being able to dismiss such disrespectful remarks from a career politician.

So used to being unquestioned and unopposed, Moran becomes pugnacious when challenged by Jason Mattera on the matter of stimulus money going to phantom districts. He has been known to be quite standoffish when he feels threatened. I'm not sure I care to have someone with such a hair trigger.

Jim Moran believes:

  1. It's not government overspending that landed us in this economic mess.
  2. Earmarks are powerful and he has no qualms about using them.
  3. The Joint Forces Command should be reduced in size.
  4. That another stimulus plan would be favorable even if the previous ones didn't work.
  5. Defense spending should be reduced.

Actually, if you take a look at this list compiled at Right Wing News, Jim Moran appears to be a repeat offender.

As of today, a poll conducted by Alexandria Times reflected that 64.3% would vote for Moran, 21.4% would vote for Murray, and 14.3% would vote for Independent Green candidate Ron Fisher. As they say, a fool and his money are soon parted, and people in this area earn a lot of it. I'm not so sure that I want to be one of them anymore.

Ashton and Demi Strike Again!

Yet another testament to the poor judgment and half-witted actions of Hollywood power couple, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, it has come out that they may have violated NCAA rules by meeting with two University of Iowa basketball recruits.

This gaffe is coming from the very same couple who during the 2008 presidential campaign worked up audiences at colleges like Grinnell in favor of Obama. Quite frankly I don't think I want to hear about money matters from someone who gets paid millions to act like a complete jackass and play pranks on unsuspecting people. And let us not forget that creepy creepy pledge to serve a man about which they knew absolutely nothing. The pledge almost sounds like an unsettling rant about Scientology from Tom Cruise.

I feel like America has been punk'd long enough. Do these people care anything about learning the rules before they act? Are they completely clueless without a script? Or is it simply that deep down they're part of the Hollywood elite that believes they transcend all the rules that bind common folk?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The One-Night-Stand that Wasn't

In usual Johnny-come-lately fashion, I'm only just reading the Gawker hit piece on Christine O'Donnell. To me it starts off as a "Dear Penthouse" letter but ends up falling completely flat, literally and figuratively. In an efforts to hurt or insult O'Donnell, this man (can we even call him a man?), decides to describe a one-night-stand that actually didn't happen. Can you say LAME? My goodness, where do I even begin?

  1. If you didn't have sex, it's NOT a one-night-stand.
  2. You're trying to smear O'Donnell but it really makes you look bad. Very bad. You constantly commented on how much she had ahd to drink yet you also say that you had around the same amount. Who's to say that you were performing well under par yourself?
  3. You have LESS respect for her for being a "born again virgin". Is that saying that you would have kept your mouth shut had she actually put out, or would you have put out just as salacious a piece if she had? And if nothing sexual happened, then how would there be any "nitty gritty" to get down to?
  4. She's not a "cougar" if she didn't mess with you on the basis of how much younger you were than her. She probably wasn't even fully aware of the age difference. Get over yourself.
  5. You make it a point to call attention to the fact that she hadn't "landscaped". I'm sorry, buddy, but not every woman feels compelled to have her nether regions resemble that of an adolescent girl. Again, that calls attention to what kind of mindset you most probably have.
  6. You appear to be so disgusted with her that she didn't give in to your advances while under the influence that you decide not to call her after. Quite immature and caddish, don't you think?
  7. Is it really any of your business whether or not O'Donnell and your roommate had sex when they were dating? Let me answer this for you, NO.
  8. Are you so ridiculously immature that somewhere in your mind you would think that because she did not put out for you and because you care little to nothing for her that she should not deserve to win the primary?

I could honestly lose my breath picking apart this joke but I think this about sums it up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is there a such thing as an "Honest Crook"?

This is the email I received from political director John Youngdahl from SEIU today:


Congressman Tom Perriello is a hero who needs your help.

He was a strong advocate for health care reform, even when others wavered. He tirelessly fights for working people, supporting measures to save jobs.

And that's why corporate front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who advocate outsourcing of American jobs and refuse to disclose where their money comes from, are targeting him and spending huge amounts on television for his opponent, Robert Hurt.

We can't allow these corporate front groups to buy this election.

Tom Perriello needs small voluntary contributions of $10, $20, or $50 to combat the influx of anonymous corporate cash flooding the airwaves:

The same corporate sham organizations that supports the outsourcing of American jobs also support candidates like Hurt who oppose unemployment benefits for Virginians looking for work.

As Thomasine Wilson, a a home care worker with SEIU in this district, said: "Times are tough. Dollars aren't stretching as far as they used to. I know so many in my hometown who are unemployed. Robert Hurt voted against helping those who are trying to find work."

Right now Tom Perriello is crisscrossing the state, meeting every voter he can. Every moment he spends fundraising to match these corporate groups is a moment he's not talking to the people who will decide this election.

Making a voluntary contribution not only allows him to spread his message across the state, it also frees up his time to talk to more voters in-person. Contribute now:

Jon Youngdahl, SEIU Political Director

Mr. Youndahl is kindly asking for SEIU supporters to donate to Tom Perriello's campaign. When I saw this, I was reminded of something I saw of Tom Perriello's a while back. Something like this:

Now, would anyone in their right mind donate to him? Or should we just give him credit for being an "honest crook"?

A Piece of the Pie

On the drive home today I had a conversation with my husband on the Domino's Pizza we had eaten last night. We were talking about how the quality of Domino's had improved by leaps and bounds. I admit that I have become a convert myself after years of being emphatically opposed to eating Domino's because the pizza had been so horrid. I'd harbored the belief that Domino's was pizza only good for high school fundraisers, because that's about the only time I'd seen it around. My pizza of choice when I was younger was Pizza Hut and more recently Papa John's and Vocelli's.

My husband and I also discussed how Domino's not only improved the taste of their pizza but had lowered the prices, offered better deals, and had committed themselves to quality to the point where you could actually photograph your pizza and send it in with either positive or negative comments. This led on to a conversation about the free market system.

We heard from the likes of Pelosi about "choice and competition", which was a downright joke coming from her mouth. To get a good idea about how simple the benefits of a free market system are, it doesn't take a 2,500 page bill to be passed in order to "see what's in it". The free market can be summed up in something as simple as showing how a pizza brand that was producing a less than desirable product was getting raked over the coals by other competitors and how in an effort to stay viable decided to make a better product. Domino's managed to do this while increasing their sales AND lowering their prices WITHOUT adversely affecting the majority of consumers. They, like so many other business know, that providing a better product that consumers actually wanted was key. And despite lowering their prices, the exponential increase in sales more than makes up for it. Domino's did all this without having to force anyone to buy their product. How simple is that?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cuba coming to rely on PRIVATE sector to fuel its economy.

Here is a story that should set the lefty Communist Cuba lovers on edge. Cuba has decided that in order to generate revenue to help the struggling nation that they will in fact, you ready?, TAX business owners in the PRIVATE sector! That's right, people who will be working and earning money for personal gain will be the very ones who will keep the island afloat. Read here.

The Cuban government can call it whatever they like, but by doing this, they have completely acknowledged the fact that their system as it has been for the past 50 years HAS NOT worked. You CANNOT stifle entrepreneurship and have the majority of your workers working for the government. So, the remedy to this will be to tax the private business owners, most of whom I'm sure have been terminated from the public sector between 25 and 50% of their income to keep the country going. I can only imagine what that's going to turn into! Give enough people the ability to make it on their own and they WON'T suffer this for long! Once they have the taste of freedom that comes with being able to work and accrue their own personal wealth, they won't be so willing to hand it over. Let's just see how this all pans out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Independent Women

Radical feminism has served just as much to poison our society’s thinking as anything else. It sickens and saddens me to no end to see young girls who boast about how they can’t or won’t cook and clean and who are basically good at nothing but trying to look cute and spreading their legs. They bear this misconceived notion that in order to be “independent” women they must eschew all convention and free themselves from the so-called chains of domestication. That seems to include proper child rearing too. Yet, these are the very same women and girls that religiously consult magazines like Cosmopolitan for tips on how to please a man or keep one. These kinds of articles are right next to articles about how to starve themselves, how to party all night, then how to apply makeup in the right way to hide how much they partied the night before.

If these magazines ever do mention or acknowledge women who are actually married with families, it’s usually in a negative light, about how much the woman wants to go back to being single or how it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and that it’s a life sentence that must be served wherein she’s hoping to be paroled or let off for good behavior. Or, it’s the other side, where the married women with the children is so incredibly fabulous and manages to jet here and there, yet you never quite hear what she does with her kids while she’s busy running all over the place or where her husband is for that matter. If he matters, that is. There never seems to be any happy medium. A regular, REAL woman, who is married with children, and is quite content with the life path she’s chosen, who actually works in CONCERT with her husband to raise their children and handle their household. No, marriage is never all it is cracked up to be. It is never what you imagined it would be, even if you’re highly analytical and maybe even anal retentive enough to crunch numbers to come up with statistics on what marital life will hold. And I feel I must add, married celebrities and the like who have been married maybe like all of nine months or have just popped out a baby and feel some sort of societal obligation to dispense any kind of domestic advice DO NOT count.

I have had many a conversation with my mother and brothers about the state of womankind these days. My brothers openly lament that they are having an extremely difficult time finding a “quality” woman out there. It seems that so many are so damaged, and to make matters worse, have so few qualities to redeem them. They shake their heads at the girls who swear in their minds that they are too cute yet whose hygiene is questionable, who can’t even boil water for an egg, or don’t keep their homes clean. These are not gross exaggerations, these are actual things we discussed. My brothers and I are Southern. They, as well as I, know how to cook, clean, and take care of things in and around the home. I highly doubt my brothers would ever really be happy with a girl who couldn’t do at least what they are able to do if not more.

Another thing about which they lamented was about how uneducated so many young women are. Despite being college students or graduates, they come away knowing next to nothing and are still incapable of having intelligent and in-depth conversations, something we had grown up having with my mother. My brothers, especially my younger, come off as womanizers, but they admit that it’s becoming exhausting and at times depressing to go through so many women yet not find the right one for them. My brothers want good women, they really do, but they are very frustrated that so many out there complain that they get no respect all the while not respecting themselves. What do they expect?

Don’t get me wrong, my brothers are not saying that they want women as pure as the driven snow or completely free of baggage. In my opinion, baggage is actually a sign that you have lived and experienced life and met obstacles that you’ve overcome which helped form you as a person. I’ve always said, it matters not that you have baggage, but it’s all in how you carry it. Now, would you rather have it all in ripping plastic bags carried sloppily on your back, only to ask others to hold some of it for you? Or would you rather work it out to where it fits neatly in a personalized Louis Vuitton or Samsonite with swivel wheels and a handle so you can pick up and keep going?

Ladies, young women, I really hope you alter your way of thinking. Not bothering to learn how to properly cook, clean, and tend to other various domesticities does NOT make you more independent or any more woman. If anything, you are denying a part of yourself that makes you genuinely woman, that makes you more attractive to men. Do you not realize the POWER you have by being able to cook, clean, keep a good home, AND having a good job? There is POWER is being able to be intelligent, creative, loving and being able to make things beautiful and comfortable.

Being independent does not mean giving up traditional roles and assuming the roles of a man thus eliminating the need for one at all save for physical companionship. Being independent is more about being able to do everything for yourself yet also having the ability to let others in your life to share in your gifts and for you to partake of theirs. Like it or not, ladies, we do in fact need men in our lives, and for more than just sex. The sooner we accept and embrace that, the better off we’ll all be.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kids Getting Shafted by Disney and Nickelodeon

Disney and Nickelodeon are pretty much notorious for shortchanging their actors. But looking at the numbers when held up against the amount that Angus T. Jones, the young star of Three and a Half Men, is getting paid, this is almost criminal! Read here:

I know some people will complain that these kids get paid such ridiculous amounts, but hey, it is what it is.

I was just reading yesterday about how the voice of Dora the Explorer was getting paid only $1,500 per episode, and was NOT compensated for the hundreds of thousands of hours it took to correct. Read here:

Mind you, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how much money the Dora the Explorer franchise has made over the years. To think how much Nickelodeon has cheated this actor is really nothing short of criminal.

Really, Miley Cyrus getting paid that little for Hannah Montana? Makes no sense! And Miranda Cosgrove getting paid more than Selena Gomez or the Sprouse Twins? Highway robbery! What I really think happened is that Disney and Nickelodeon have made a business of getting over on children eager to be in show business and parents who are just as frantic that they're willing to sign any contract that comes along lest they miss their golden opportunity. Either way, it's dishonorable that these companies are doing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Trip to the Bank

A few weeks ago I went to open an account for my new business. While I was waiting I decided to peruse a copy of Northern Virginia magazine. In it was an interview with incumbent Representative Jim Moran. It droned on and on about his background, political activity, and his daughter’s past struggle with cancer, and how hard he worked (really?). I set the magazine down, incensed, and entered the branch manager’s, I’ll call him Sam, office.

Sam noticed that I was clearly heated and asked me if anything the matter. I explained to him the article and he said “I take it you don’t particularly care for him.” With clenched fists and teeth I shook my head vigorously. I began to explain the reasons why I could not stand Moran, right down to his voting history, his belligerence towards constituents, the recorded incident involving Jason Mattera where when Mattera asked his opinion on billions of stimulus dollars going towards “phantom” districts Moran looked like he was ready to fight.

Sam began to explain how he had a lot of customers who were also less than pleased with Moran’s performance and how he was beginning to see more “Retire Jim Moran” stickers popping up, to which I replied that I had one as well. We also began to talk about how crucial the upcoming election was. I began to explain how as a new small business owner, I was really concerned about the economy and what that would mean for any aspirations of expansion. I told Sam that I was concerned for more than just myself, that I was concerned about everyone else out there who wanted to take the risk to open their own business and become financially independent. I explained to him how conflicted I was over being employed by the government with which I so vehemently disagreed yet needed to tolerate because I had a family to support. I hated not knowing what the new financial regulations would do to my business’ financial standing. Sam nodded in agreement.

Sam began to try to explain to me the concerns he had as a bank manager. He told me that just by looking around the branch I could see that they were down to bare bones as far as staffing went because they simply could not afford to hire more people. Sam told me that the bank did in fact have billions of dollars they were sitting on but that it they were reluctant to spend it because they didn’t know how things would go. I told him I completely agreed and understood his reservations. I do think that he was quite relieved to know that I did not seek to vilify him because of this. I told him I totally understood that the reason why they were not spending money on hiring new people is because they needed that money to stay afloat for as long as possible and because they didn’t know what the future held.

Sam explained that pretty much the main reason why they were not expanding or taking any risks was because the financial regulation bill passed was so ambiguous that banks didn’t know where they stood. He said there were lawyers and accountants who couldn’t even decipher the regulations. He said that if they had clearly defined rules then they would know what parameters they could work, but that such was not the case. Sam explained to me that with impending Obamacare and the financial regulation rules, it just did not appear to be cost effective to hire new personnel AND pay through the nose for benefits. I told him I couldn’t agree more. I told him that even though my business only consisted of myself at the time that I could not help but think that if my business became truly successful (God willing), that I would be faced with the same conundrum. Either way my business would suffer. Either I would have to hire new people and pay through the nose myself for benefits for them, or I would have to keep the operation limited to myself and maybe my husband, yet not be able to meet the demands of a growing customer base due to limited manpower.

We then began to speak about how the public regarded banks. I told Sam that I found it most unfortunate that more people did not understand what led to the problems we were having and how banks were not as culpable and evil as they thought. I told him that it didn’t take much thinking to figure out that any bank in their right mind would not WILLINGLY loan money to a person they viewed to be high risk and were certain would be unable to repay it. We began to discuss how there were reports that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be forcing banks to absorb some of the debts. He looked as though he could have consumed a half a bottle of Pepto on the spot.

We spoke about other things while we were waiting, like how the political tides seemed to be shifting, how Obama was not living up to campaign promises and how people were really beginning to notice, and how we were before a great precipice where all the things we never could have imagined happening to this country were gearing up to come to fruition if they had not already. However, the financial discussion was predominant. I only wish more people understood what was really going on behind the scenes.

This is just a little something out of my head and on the page. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

While I Slept (My 9/11 Memory)

Much like with almost everything else, I'm a Johnny-Come-Lately. What I was doing on that fateful day 10 years ago was actually nothing compared to what others were doing.

I was serving in the military at the time, and working the swing shift, which meant I worked from about 2 PM to 11 PM at night. I was living in Alexandria City, not more than 15 minutes from Arlington. Anyway, my apartment complex was replacing the balconies, which meant they were jackhammering away at concrete. I had rather gotten used to the sound as I slept, as it had been going on for at least a few months by that time. Well, there I was, fast asleep when at around 9:30 or so, the jackhammering stopped. That actually woke me up. I looked at my clock and looked at my window, couldn't look through it because the blinds were closed, but I wondered, why are they stopping? It's pretty early for lunch. Well, oh well. I actually had trouble going to sleep because it was so quiet.

Around 12 PM I woke up to begin getting ready for work. I felt it peculiar that they had not begun with the jackhammering again. No mind, it was a beautiful day outside. I got ready for work the same as pretty much any other day, getting dressed in my blues. I actually turned on the radio this day to try and hear some music before I left, but instead of music, I was hearing reports of students in DC schools being released early. I looked out the window wondering, why? There's no extreme weather.

I kept trying to get the reason why they were releasing students but it seems that every time they may have reported it, I had my head in the refrigerator or I had gone into the bathroom so I didn't find out.

When I got on the elevator, there were a few people in there with me and they were looking at me funny. I was thinking what? When we reached the bottom floor I noticed that a LOT of military officers were coming in. All I could think was, damn, I really don't feel like saluting all these people on the way to the car! I looked around with a "what's going on here?" look on my face. Finally one of the gentlemen who had been on the elevator with me said, "You don't know what happened? Somebody blew up the Pentagon!" I stood there frozen for a second and said "what the hell?!" The second thought in my mind was I really gotta get to work!

I swear that was one of the easiest drives up to Ft. Meade I'd ever had. Everyone was on the other side trying to leave DC. As I was driving on 295 around Bolling, I looked across the Potomac River to see a HUGE black plume of smoke hovering over where the Pentagon was. It looked like a bomb testing site. I said "oh my God!" to myself. I attempted to call my mother to tell her I was alright but I couldn't get through.

When I arrived on post, the entire parking lot was cleared out save for a few cars. All the civilians and non-essential personnel had been released. When I arrived to my duty section my supervisor was relieved to see me. He said that he'd been trying to call me repeatedly to see if I was alright because he knew I lived down in Alexandria, close to the Pentagon. It was at this time I finally saw what had happened.

The TVs in the shop were pretty much always set to CNN. I watched in utter stupor as they replayed the planes crashing into the Twin Towers over and over again. I think it was for this reason that I became a bit numb to the whole thing. I was like watching instant replay over and over again. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was too stunned to even cry. All I could say is "what do you need me to do?" My boss told me that there was nothing special that we had been ordered to do, just sit rack and see what we picked up. I can't recall how long it was before I was able to get in touch with my mom, but she said she'd been trying to call me too.

In the days that followed I began to see more and more footage of the horrific incidents, the pictures of people leaping from windows rather than perish in flames. I began hearing more stories of people's experiences, and learned that one of my friends had lost many friends in NYC because the were first responders and at the Pentagon. I think being bombarded by it all served to steel me.

For weeks after that, every night on break I would call my mom and tell her that no matter what happened, if anything happened to me not to get mad (like Cindi Sheehan). This was what I had chosen, and if I was to die, that it would have been for my family and country. Since Ft. Meade was so close to BWI Airport, we were all on edge about what appeared to be low lying planes. We were told that facilities like ours may potentially be targets for future strikes.

Soon after they began recruiting troops to deploy overseas. I volunteered to go to Afghanistan but was refused. I guess they didn't need me at that time.

To this day I don't think I've cried still. I think I'm still filled with a bit of rage but at the same time hope that we will rebuild and be strong. People all over the world will know that we are still a great and resilient country.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pictures from the Grand Opening of the Murray for Congress Campaign HQ

Me, Tito "the Builder" Munoz and his wife, Deborah

Me and Republican candidate Patrick Murray

Patrick Murray and former candidate Matthew Berry.

Patrick Murray and Tito

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

But I Kept Silent

A few months before the 2008 elections, I was standing in line at my credit union. CNN was on the TV but the volume was off but all we could see was Obama. I stifled my disgust, but the man who was in front of me in line, who was also black, began telling me about how after he was done there he was planning to go campaigning. I smiled at him while he went on with his story. I knew what he was thinking. Then he ended his speech with "you know we gotta stick together". I looked at him and wanted to say, "what do you mean 'we' and what makes you think I'm supporting Obama?" But I kept silent.

I was in the elevator at work one day when another woman got on, a white woman. She looked at my satin floral dress and string of pearls and complemented me. I thanked her. Then she added, "you look like Michelle Obama." I froze and pursed my lips but managed to stretch out to a half smile. I wanted to tell her "excuse me, but I was wearing pearls, Gap, Banana Republic, classic sweaters and pencil skirts LONG before the campaign stylists slapped it on her to make her look more accessible. And do I really look like I have a sinister 'I'm going to eat your young' look on my face?" But I kept silent.

After the inauguration my office was all atwitter about the new BLACK president we had. Praising every inch of him as if he lost a digit of a finger it'd have been worshipped as a holy relic. I wanted to scream "HE'S A SOCIALIST! And what do you really KNOW about him anyway? He is NOT all that! Michelle is NOT pretty! He will RUIN us!" But I put on my iPod, and kept silent.

I happened to be walking past the office of a higher up and caught wind of a conversation about the health care debate. I overheard two people, who I'd hoped would have been more mature and objective about things, especially considering that they were both former military, speaking about how the white Republicans just wanted to keep blacks from getting anything. I wanted to yell into the office "you know, I'm REALLY disappointed in you all! Boy, if only you really knew about me and what I believe! Would you still have that to say to me? Would you try to find a reason to fire me? Would you too think I was a traitor to my race?" But I kept silent.

Oftentimes I ask myself, why do I have to keep silent? I thought we were supposed to be more open to discourse now? I want to shout at the top of my lungs and be as loud and in your face as so many on the left. But then I remember, sometimes it's better to speak softly, or not at all, and carry a big stick. I remind myself that people that far gone will be disinclined to hear the words I say anyway, so I should be more about action to bring about change. Since I still have to live in this world, avoid potential violence, and keep my job (Lord knows I can't afford to lose that right now!), it's probably best that I do remain silent. But make no mistake about it, I will make my sentiments known through my actions. I will be a part of the silent resistance. I will deal with the temporary inconvenience of having to hold my tongue, so that maybe one day, my son, and others in the future, won't be forced into silence.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My (Brief) Infatuation with Barack Obama

My first encounter with Barack Obama was via Obama Girl. Someone had shown me the YouTube video of her professing her incredible crush on him. I thought the whole thing was cute. I thought he was handsome. He reminded me of a pharaoh with his looks. I admit I was a bit taken. But I wondered, who exactly IS this man?

At first listen, I thought, maybe he was the right man to bring us forward. He was something new, something fresh. But something just wasn't right. My mother always told me I was too trusting, too willing to give people the benefit of the doubt even though they ought not have it. Even when Michelle Antoinette (oops!) Michelle Obama said that for the first time in her adult life she was proud to be an American and I was willing to look a bit past it, my mother said "f*** her".

My mother was always a good judge of character. But I digress.

The more the media (snicker) delved into Obama's background, the more there were gaping holes in the story. The pieces never quite fit. They never came together. I began thinking in terms of my job. If I were reviewing his background investigation for eligibility for employment, would he make the grade? Hate to say, but the answer was "No".

What's more is that the more I listened to him on the campaign trail the more I had a visceral reaction. Every time I he spoke I because anxious, and not in a good way. The kind of anxious I got when being in my ex-boyfriend's presence. Mind you, my ex boyfriend was a sociopath. Call it female intuition, but I felt like I was being fleeced, lied to. I felt like if I fell for this man I'd be in SERIOUS trouble.

I remembered everything I'd learned from speech and debate club and interpersonal communications class. I listened to his words, what he said and how he said it. I observed the imagery he used.

Remember this?

It reminded me of the song from Blues Traveler "Hook". I was getting a Citizen Kane experience. The words were all fluff. Empty promises, impossible goals, no substance. I kept that remember that even Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney guttersnipe she was, could be trained in eloquence despite knowing absolutely nothing.

The reaction people had to him was frightening. The fainting, the wanting to name their son's after him, the wanting to have his baby! Oh dear. None of these people could tell you ONE thing his political platform was built upon, couldn't even tell you who his running mate was, but was willing to trust him with every fiber of their being. Even walking out of the polls they still couldn't.

Remember this?

I will be the first to admit, McCain made a LOT of mistakes. And I mean a lot. But if I had to vote over again, it would still be a million times McCain. Believe me, I wanted Obama to do well. I knew that so much was riding on his performance. I was afraid that if he didn't do well, aside from our country being on the fast track into hell, that he might ruin chances for another minority to run. I don't even know if I was prepared for the kind of division he'd bring, even though I knew there would be some. Once again, just like my ex-boyfriend who managed to separate me from so many of my friends so I would be alone, I feel like so many of us have been separated from friends that we once had. After this we will be broken and it will take a long time to heal, but we will never be the same.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Personal Katrina Experience

I remember the Friday before Katrina. I had only been back in nursing school for five days down in Gulfport. And before that I had just moved back down to Mississippi a week before. I remember being let out of school about 4 hours early. I didn't even know about the hurricane that was growing and getting stronger in the Gulf.

As I was driving home, I lived about 30 miles north from the Coast, I could see the sky beginning to change. A Hurricane Sunset. The sky changes to a palate of colors unlike anything you've ever seen. And what's more is that this change was happening days before the Hurricane even made landfall. Listening to the radio, they were speaking rapidly about it. This was going to be BIG.

I went to my cousin's house and told her about the hurricane. She was incredulous. She didn't believe me when I said that it was going to be big until she turned on the Weather Channel and saw the massive swirling in the Gulf. Category 5. My other cousin came home with a friend at that moment, carrying Chinese food. I suggested to everyone that we head to Walmart to buy provisions because this could be serious. They pretty much dismissed it. I guess when you've been through as many hurricanes as we have you get a bit jaded. I was like, ok...

Back in New Orleans, my mom and brothers, and aunts and uncle and their families had already packed up and were heading to Texas. Good thing, as time progressed, traffic flow out of the area became GHASTLY. I was staying at my grandmother's house in the country, as her primary residence was in New Orleans. I was supposed to have the place pretty much to myself while I was going to school, provided I pay the utilities and deal with occasional droppings in.

My grandmother was already on her way to Mississippi to stay at the house, and eventually my other uncle and his family made their way. Eventually I decided to go stay at my cousin's house a few doors down, because my grandmother, my uncle, and myself frequently clashed due to personalities. And besides, my cousin had a gas stove as opposed to electric. Good thing I did leave, as more people tried to leave Louisiana at the last minute, they had a hard time getting far and made a detour to my grandmother's house and quarters got VERY cramped by that Sunday.

I talked to my mother on the phone that Saturday evening and she said they had already arrived in Austin and had gotten hotel rooms. We all thought that everything would be temporary. Usually the protocol was that if a hurricane looked really bad, we'd batten down the hatches and secure everything we could. Sometimes we'd have hurricane parties, but mainly we'd just go to sleep and wake up after the hurricane because there were pretty much nothing you could do beyond that. If you evacuated, you'd return after a couple days, clean up the mess and deal with the minor flooding and then move on with life.

Flash forward to Monday morning. I awoke at about 9:30 in the morning, although it was so dark outside you'd think it was 9:30 at night. I could hear the violent thrashing outside caused by the rain and wind. Everyone else was already up and we had a few other additions, more cousins (I reckon) that didn't make it out of the area in time. They were listening to updates on the radio, the power had already gone out. I didn't know when. I walked out into the carport to have a cigarette and watch the horizontal sheets of rain pummel everything in sight. The wind had blown down branches everywhere and shingles were flying off houses. The back driver's side window of our visitors' Cadillac had been shattered by a flying tree branch and rain was pouring in. There really was no way to run out and try to temporarily mend the damage because going out that far could prove dangerous and also the attempt would be fruitless anyway. I wondered where all the stray dogs and cows in the field had managed to hide. They weren't in their usual spot. There really wasn't much to do so I went back to sleep. The hurricane raged on all day and all night.

For days after, all that could be done was to sit around in the sweltering heat and humidity and listen to the radio at the events that played out. I remember how everyone cheered when Nagin decided to go all "New Orleans" on everyone. I just sighed and informed everyone that he just shot us all in the foot. In a way I was glad that at the time I didn't have a TV to see everything that had happened. I would have been infuriated and sickened. I was later infuriated to see the images of the RTA and school buses in the bus yard left underwater instead of used to evacuate those who could not get out themselves. That bus depot was no more than a mile to a mile and a half from my mother's house. I felt my heart jump into my throat when I saw the covers of Time magazine with the Treme underwater and homes with the spray paint on them. They looked like tombs in the cemeteries.

Condensing this story a bit:

Power was not restored for about 2 1/2 weeks. Food consisted of whatever was leftover (and edible) in the refrigerator, canned goods, and MREs. Bottled water was cooled with ice supplied by the military and Red Cross, and all melted ice was boiled (thank goodness for my cousin's gas range) for simple bathing and for flushing the toilet. My cousin made regular trips to a local pond to get additional water for toilet flushing. To further add to the indignity, I was suffering from a gastrointestinal disease, which had conveniently come out of remission. I had to conceal this fact from everyone. My other cousin (almost the entire town is my cousin in one way or another), who was a state trooper, got us access to MREs, water and ice. We drove around the neighborhoods dropping off provisions to the more elderly and infirm.

Early attempts to get out of town were unsuccessful as trees and bushes blocked side roads. The main highway, 49, after it had been cleared off, was pretty much restricted to military and emergency vehicles. There was really no power anywhere in town but the Walmart stayed open. People were allowed to shop pretty much one at a time, and the store was monitored by guards with semi-automatic weapons. I guess Walmart had at least auxillary power.

Gas was running low in everyone's cars. I remember waiting in a line at least a half a mile to a mile long for four hours just to get about $40 worth of gas, only to be turned away as soon as I got to the station because it had run out. We eventually managed to siphon about 7 gallons of gas from a non-working vehicle and split it between two cars (2 gallons each) and a generator (1 gallon). I used that gas to travel to Hattiesburg to do loads of laundry, buy the rationed $40 worth of gas, and finally call my mother and a few friends to let them know I was alive. This was two weeks after the storm.

School reopened 3 weeks after the storm, but I came back to half my class. Some couldn't make it back, some were injured, and others simply didn't come back. It was a huge blow to the morale of the class. I decided to move into the dorms because my grandmother's and uncle and his family's stay became permanent, and the conflict became overwhelming. I couldn't get a job because so many businesses were destroyed, so therefore I had no money. My mom and dad would wire me money, a few hundred here and there. I applied for assistance from FEMA, was interviewed, and waited three weeks before being rejected. I sometimes waited on hold for up to 2 and 3 hours to speak with someone regarding the status of my application. I was told that I was rejected because I had not been physically displaced and had sustained no substantial loss of property. The extent of any aid I got was $300 from the Red Cross.

Around November or so I talked to my mom and she said she had been back to our house in New Orleans. She told me to not even bother going back to see it because she knew how I was and that I would freak out. I really couldn't have gone back if I wanted to because the route I'd take to go home, the Twin Span Bridge, was destroyed. I later found out that my grandmother and uncles had gotten 8 feet of water in their homes. My mother and aunt, who lived one street away from each other, got 5 feet on the street, but due to the elevated porches, had only gotten 2 feet in the house, but as we all found out, that's good enough to cause a significant amount of damage.

Initially I was motivated to be a part of the rebuilding, but one day during my clinicals, I looked out the window on the 6th floor of the hospital where I was and saw that the first 3 floors of a condominium on the beach had been completely washed away and all that remained were the wood beams holding the other floors up. I could see straight through to the beach. I also reflected on how I could barely find my way along Highway 90 because all the landmarks, the casinos, souvenir shops, restaurants, and expensive homes, had been all washed and blown away, sometimes leaving nothing more than a concrete slab where a home had been. Biloxi looked like Paris after after Germans had stormed through it. The VA Hospital in Gulfport looked like an urban warfare simulation. Nothing remained but the hollow stone buildings themselves.

My soul began to be eroded more and more with despair. I began to get more and more depressed. I felt as if I was drowning in all the chaos and destruction around me. I knew I had to save myself. I tried my best to complete my semester but ended up withdrawing before finals because the stress became too great. I made the decision to contact the patient care director at the hospital at which I'd interned the previous summer here in Virginia and asked for a regular job. I called a friend and arranged to stay with him while I got back on my feet.

I didn't go back to see my mother's house for 10 months, and it looked like one of the tombs with the spray paint markings and hanging siding panels. I could see the water line on the side of house. The pictures my aunt sent me of the interior of her house, with the 6 feet of mold creeping up the walls, buckled wooden floors and toppled things that were left behind, were horrific.

My city looked like an almost barren ghost town. I still haven't watched When the Levees Broke. It took me months to be able to watch Treme for the first time and even still I cry. I'm still debating on whether or not I want to waste my time to watch New Orleans Rising. I don't consider myself a victim. If I must have any label on me I'd rather it be "survivor".

I know that many, myself included, wish not to have the issue repeatedly rehashed. It's like constantly reopening a wound. I do admit that I have a MAJOR love/hate relationship with my home town, but I could NEVER be on board with some who so foolishly suggest that we should just leave New Orleans to languish. New Orleans has given this entire world so much.

Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way proclaiming that my experience was anything like what those who were in New Orleans proper experienced. This is just MY personal account.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Michelle Antoinette Gets the Anime Treatment

While Michelle Antoinette was out in Spain partying like it was 1999 with 40 friends, Taiwan was busy given her a rather whimsical treatment using CGI. I wonder if some people will find this a little more shameful that a foreign country is regarding our poor choice in leadership in this manner since the sentiments of a majority of Americans seem to mean nothing to them. I think it just goes to show that we are in no way inspiring the unity, respect and understanding that this so-called post-racial "Everyman" president and his down-to-earth (snickering) wife were supposed to be.

I would like to think that a display like this would be the icing on the cake to some people who were still teetering on the fence as to whether they could continue to support this "regime". To put it into perspective, what was spent PER DAY for this excursion, was the equivalent of a year's salary for yours truly. That's quite a way to show your support for a bereft friend, or a your daughter's vacation, or a so-called bridge building visit with Spanish royalty, whatever the excuse du jour may be.

You don't even have to understand what's being said in this clip to know what's going on. The images speak for themselves.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Socialist Party of America list 70 Representatives on their rolls

Ok people, these are the ones you need to train your sights on. Since Joseph McCarthy's no longer around (unfortunately), we need to be the ones to extricate these traitors from power in the Republic.

This Should Just Break Your Heart

Is this really where we're headed it? Is this the America we want?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A journalist with some integrity? Get outta town!

Wow! I really gotta give Campbell Brown props for this! I only wish more of her colleagues would be honest with us and themselves and do the same!

Red Line again. Are you even surprised anymore?

Tea Party Troubadour Sheds His Sunglasses.

It really is such a shame that this is what it has come to.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Car Fire in the Visitor's Parking Lot of my Apartment

What a nice way to be woken up at 4:35 in the morning, right?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's the IKEA of homes!

Now THIS is a "green" invention I actually like!

No Spoonful of Sugar with THIS Medicine!

Everyday I hear about the health care plan and the public option and it makes me want to shout and grind my teeth. The reason I hold these sentiments is because I have had a taste of what socialized medicine has to offer, and let me say, it was a very bitter pill to swallow.

If one wants to get a glimpse of what socialized medicine has to offer, they need look no further than the VA Health System. As a veteran, I have personal and first hand experience with this institution. As much as the system is touted, it leaves MUCH to be desired.

The only time I ever utilized the system was in a pinch, when I was unemployed and had no other option. Believe me, if I had any other option, like private insurance through my employer, I would never set foot in a VA Hospital.

The environment of a VA Hospital is similar to that of a corral, where all the veterans are herded about like cattle. An appointment is almost like a full day field trip. Instead of being able to choose your doctors, you are broken into “teams” according to the last four numbers of your Social Security number. However, if you are a female veteran, like myself, you are lumped into one team, regardless of your number. Getting an appointment seems easy enough, until you realize you will have to wait three weeks to months in order to be seen.

If you want to go in for a physical or a checkup, you may as well clear your schedule, because you’re going to be there ALL DAY. You are actually given a check list of departments to go to and you basically follow lines on the floor through a confusing maze.

The dispensary (pharmacy) is basically like the counter at a crowded deli. You pick a number, and you wait. And you wait. And you wait. Finally your number flashes on the display, and you’re given a bunch of medications for whatever your ailment. It’s not uncommon to see some people come out with grocery bags full of drugs and medical devices.

Another wonderful cost cutting measure is that nice rationing of care. You will damn near have to be on your knees or flat on your back before you get surgery or any kind of corrective procedure. I have a friend who is only 40 years old with herniated disks which are so painful that he can barely function. Instead of giving him the surgery that could correct it all, he’s been furnished with a cane, some pain medication, and a handicap car tag. He was told that his condition wasn’t bad enough to warrant surgery just yet. Forty years old.

Don’t forget that you can be dropped at their discretion, and at times, without your knowledge. Despite having served your country and allowed your body to be battered and bruised in the process, and being promised this wonderful benefit upon separation, you can in fact be dropped from the system based on income. I found that out the hard way. And not only that, but if you do work and you have private insurance but opt to go to the VA for care they will STILL file an insurance claim and send you a bill for the remainder. Learned that the hard way too. But back to being dropped.

Apparently I’d made too much the previous year and didn’t realize that it had any effect on my VA benefits. I was unemployed and had been for about 9 months. I was sick and needed to be seen. Well, I missed my appointment trying to brave DC traffic and it was too late to be squeezed in. Well, I figured while I was there I’d take advantage of the free flu shots. I went to have my information put in the system so I could be put in queue, but lo and behold, I was not there. They asked to see my Vet ID card. I asked, oh, you mean the one I’d requested about 4 years ago and never got? Well, I go into the eligibility office to find out why I had never received it and found out that I’d been dropped from the system. I pleaded my case, saying that what I made last year was irrelevant and that I was unemployed and needed care NOW, but they’d hear none of it.

Let me not forget to tell you about how they can, and most probably will, deny you treatment for anything THEY deem unnecessary. So for someone like me with bad acne and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, really can hope to get no better a course of treatment than a tube of hydroquinone, which actually makes it worse for me. Not even a consideration for an acid peel or anything else new. So just imagine how much they’d try to stiff you on receiving any kind of revolutionary or state of the art surgery which may surely prolong your life or increase your functionality. Not saying it doesn’t happen (sometimes), but not enough to make a difference.

I DREAD the thought of so many war veterans returning home, only for the system to be overwhelmed and ill equipped, or maybe just downright disinclined, to properly treat them. They won’t even acknowledge the validity and prevalence of PTSD, imagine what else they may ignore?

Oh, and the emergency room? Forget it! I went to the emergency room one night in excruciating pain and signed in. There were perhaps 4 people in the waiting room with me. Some came and went. I sat there for THREE HOURS before I got up to tell the receptionist that it doesn’t take 3 hours to triage someone and that I’ve been waiting to give samples that I know they would need. Gotta tell you, it did warm my heart to hear a nurse in the back talking about how she was about to retire and really didn’t give a damn. Needless to say, that after being triaged and providing samples (which weren’t even tested), I was ushered into the back to wait another hour and eventually given medicine. Well, the next day things had worsened dramatically, prompting another visit to the ER, but this time at a private hospital. I was given the proper testing and asked the right questions. Eventually the doctor came in and told me that the pills I was given the night before I may as well throw out because they were useless. I firmly believed that if things had gotten any worse, I would have lost my child, whom I’d just begun to carry. To add insult to injury, I received a bill from the VA!

Be careful what you ask for. The VA so often boasts having some of the best care and state of the art equipment in some of its facilities, but I really have yet to see any of that. Honestly, do you really want any of this?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ivanka Trump bashes Obama

Ivanka Trump is such a class act. I really like her. Only wish more wealthy socialites her age took on a more mature and levelheaded approach. She said what I've been thinking and saying for a long time. You CANNOT attack Wall St. and businesses that hire people and create jobs. It's positively counterproductive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My BRIEF experience with the public assistance system.

I am of the belief that experience is the best teacher, and one of the goals of this blog is to share of my experiences with anyone who is willing to read the words. I feel that things are much easier to articulate to others when you've gone through them yourself and made it out the other side.

It is oftentimes very easy for someone to dismiss your beliefs based on the notion that you have never lived through something and therefore have no right to comment. This is compounded by the fact that on such media as Twitter and Facebook, your thoughts and feelings are reduced to mere characters.

Well, a little bit of background for me here...

A couple years ago, just a few months after I had my son, I decided to move to Texas in order to be closer to my mother and other family members. I was having a hard time adjusting to new motherhood and figured that being close to my family would give me a good support base. A few months prior to moving my husband and I began applying for jobs in Texas, but got no call backs. I was apprehensive about this but decided to move anyway, confident that we would find a job soon after arrival. Well, that did not happen.

About three weeks into living in Texas, I still got no callbacks. By me not working we were losing thousands of dollars and things got hard to manage. My husband managed to land a job but it paid virtually nothing compared to what we had been making before the move. With a 4 month old baby you can imagine the stress. My mother helped as much as possible, but I really didn't want to place that burden on her.

My mother suggested that I apply for assistance. That suggestion left a very bad taste in my mouth, but convinced me to apply by reminding me that I'd been paying into this system since I was about 16 and that it was there for this reason.

One day my husband, my son and myself went to the public assistance office to apply for assistance. There were a few men filling out forms but it was mostly women. In the hour we sat waiting to be seen, I filled out forms. We were sitting next to a Latina who looked like she couldn't be more than 33 years old with about four children around her, the oldest couldn't have been more than about 8. I noticed that just about all of them had silver capped teeth, yet about two of them were running to the vending machine to buy junk. I was willing to bet that she'd get a whole hell of a lot more in assistance than we would despite never having worked nearly as much and contributed to society nearly as much as I had. I looked at my husband, burning with anger and embarrassment, and said, "NEVER AGAIN".

When we were finally seen by the case worker, she reviewed our paperwork and asked us some questions. I explained our prior financial situation and our current issues. I explained to her that I was the primary breadwinner in the family, and that by me not working, we were losing about $60,000 a year. To my surprise, I found that that actually worked against our favor, because we were denied TANF, citing that too much money had been earned. I kept saying, I made that amount BEFORE, but I don't have that NOW. I need help NOW. To add even further insult to injury, I was essentially penalized for being married and having a man in the family. We were only given food stamps and medical coverage for myself and the baby. My husband was left out of EVERYTHING. We were given $435 a month in food stamps, which was barely enough to feed all of us. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I was still breast feeding, which helped stretched the formula and baby food for longer.

Every day I burned with shame, wondering how I'd gotten to this point, and wondering why someone with my military and work history could not find a job. I am convinced that the hiring managers were too lazy to see how my skills could be used to their advantage. I refused to believe that I couldn't even qualify for a secretary position. Perhaps they rejected my resume because they felt I was overqualified and they couldn't afford me. Even if such was the case, it wasn't helping me much at all.

I attended all the ridiculous instructional seminars for public assistance and how to apply for jobs. I was required to apply for so many jobs a week. I attended one job fair when I first got to Texas, but almost ALL of the recruiters asked if I was willing to move to Arizona or BACK to DC. I declined, stating that I had only just moved to Texas and was looking to give it a go here. The only call back I got for a job in Texas for for an insurance company with an office very close to where I lived. However, when they offered the interview, the location was switched from that office to clear across the city, which would have been nearly impossible since we only had one car at the time and my husband needed it to get to work.

Needless to say this arrangement only lasted for about four months, as the lifestyle became unbearable. We had to make the decision to move back to DC so we could have a chance at living again. Our credit had already completely tanked due to being unable to pay all our previous bills due to the huge decrease in income. And ironically enough, around the same time we'd left was the time my son had gotten full medical coverage.

Upon returning to DC, I refused to ever apply for any more benefits. I vowed I'd dance on tables for money before I allowed myself to be in that position again. I felt angry and betrayed. A system I'd paid into for at least a good 12 years couldn't give me more than $435 a month to care for 3 people, yet I see people making a lifestyle of it, and hard working people like myself who want nothing more than to earn their keep and keep what they are not even able to get a miniscule portion of the pot into which we paid.

So, when I speak out about some things, it's not because I'm on the outside looking in and can't even begin to understand what it's like. I may not have lived long on this earth compared to some, but I've had a heck of a lot of experiences in that short period of time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Regime Drops Mother, Sentences Her To Death

Trust me, there's more where this came from too! There is no depths to which this administration will stoop to save a quick buck and rub out as many citizens as possible. It happens all the time with the VA.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Forgiveness? Of course NOT!

"To err is human, to forgive is divine." Alexander Pope

It seems that talk of forgiveness is only limited to the pews on Sunday. In a major political and PR faux pas so soon after his sweeping victory, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, at the behest of the Sons of the Confederacy, declared the month of April Confederate History Month. And what's more is that he failed to acknowledge slavery. Well, you can only imagine the uproar that has created.

Despite his swift apology earlier today, there are many who are not so quick to forgive. One of the unforgiving is Democrat Virginia State Senator Henry Marsh III. During an interview on "John King, USA", Senator Marsh stated that he could not accept the apology because such actions represented a "pattern of this governor". Quite frankly, I'm a little confused. McDonnell has only been governor for a few months. What kind of pattern has he been establishing really? Also, I would love to know what Senator Marsh has to say about President Obama's string of broken promises and inconsistencies.

Like it or not, the Confederacy is a part of American History, and as egregious as some feel that era was, it should not be suppressed or forgotten. It should be something that should be learned from. We have days and months dedicated to commemorate everything under the sun, from breast cancer to left handed people to administrative assistants. We have Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month yet not so much as an eyebrow is raised.

While I will be the first one to admit that I winced when I heard the news this morning, I also thought about how this action was in no way indicative of Governor McDonnell's true sentiments. We really need to practice what we preach, give the stern admonishment, and forgive him (this time anyway). If we cannot move on from this, we will be blinded to all the good things he may do for Virginia during his term. And that, I think, would truly be unforgivable.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Napolitano Lied, Rob Krentz Died

I am beginning to think that the high elevation and aridity are depriving AZ officials of oxygen to the brain. McCain, Napolitano, Hayworth, what is going on in that state?!

I guess he didn't get medical marijuana he was promised!

Earlier this week it was reported that actor Kal Penn, who served in the White House Office of Public Engagement as Assistant Director of Public Engagement, has decided to leave his position and return to Hollywood. The Office of Public Engagement is run by slumlord extraordinaire, Valerie Jarrett. My only question is what took them so long to throw him under the bus? One would have thought he would have been a casualty of the fall out resulting from the National Endowment for the Arts being solicited to produce Obama propaganda.

Maybe Penn is now sober and lucid enough to realize that this ship is sinking and he's jumping overboard with the rest of the rats? Maybe taking such a huge pay cut was cutting into his habit? At the moment, the White House is not specifying the true reason for Penn's departure.

Like Signing a Contract with the Devil

Obamacare kind of reminds me of signing a contract with Bally's Total Fitness. You walk in and are impressed by what you see and you want to know more. You get taken on a tour by this handsome fit male or beautiful trim and athletic female while they tell you all the things the facility has to offer you. You're impressed but you're still not quite sure.

Then you're taken into a small room where the buff male or athletic female sits in front of you and almost takes an aggressive stance as they "ask" how they can get you started and how you're going to pay. They then show you the different tiers of membership, each of them more unjustifiably expensive than the next. You have your reservations and would like to get some literature so you can take it home and think on it. It's then that your tour guide becomes exasperated and calls someone else in who has a smile on their face but is no less aggressive.

Both representatives then proceed to grill you on how this may be the best thing you ever do for yourself, that it needs to get started NOW, that you really don't need any other information because it's just that simple, and how you don't need to go home and sleep on it because if you do, you'll never come back and you'll only get worse and by then it'll be too late. Ok, under all that pressure, you sign the contract...

The money begins to be taken out of your account every month, but you come to find out that you are limited to only one club, or a few. You begin to notice that the facilities are not as impressive as you once thought, and that some of them were downright DISGUSTING, complete with locker room thefts and people who don't do their party by cleaning up after themselves.

Well, now life begins to happen. You have to work late, you have kids to take care of, you get sick, or you're just tired. You begin to go less and less until you're maybe going once a month if at all. But, the money is still coming out. Enough to buy you a tank or two of gas. You decide you want to cancel. You scour your contract to see how you can do it and damn near need a 100x magnifying glass to find the cancellation clause. Sure, you can cancel, but you'll have to provide PROOF that you've moved, been handicapped or incapacitated, or DIED. You try to call corporate but can NEVER contact a human being. They don't even give you the options you're looking for, only if you want to join or renew your contract. You could try to send them correspondence through the mail, but good luck trying to verify that it actually reached a human being and was acknowledged.

Next you decide to just stop paying and you remove your payment information. Now, this is when you hear from a human being! You come to find your account has been turned over to collections and the delinquent item is now on your credit report. You're harrassed relentlessly until you finally pay the account off. So, in the end, you have a delinquency on your credit report, which killed your credit score; you paid over $1,000 for a service you barely ever used and could not cancel when you no longer wanted to use it. You are out about $1,400 and have NOTHING to show for it. And what's more, its negative effects will affect you for at least 7 years.

Friday, April 2, 2010

$6.4 billion "Clerical Error"

Don't you wish you had a congressman like mine? Come on, VA-8, WAKE UP!! Vote this cad OUT in November!

Springtime in DC

Aaahhh, it's spring time in our nation's Capitol. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, heavy coats have been shed, and the sun is shining beautifully. Spring time also brings the throngs of church groups and school field trips.

Given my work location, you can see the MASSES of tweens and chaperones working their way from the hotels to the tour buses waiting in long lines in front of the mall. Distinct luck of working next to a central meeting location. They take their buses across the Potomac to DC to take in their living Civics lessons. Most of them just seem to stand around wholly disinterested in the wonder and living history around them though, with the exception of taking photos, experimenting with camera perspectives so as to produce the biggest "gag" factor. Wonder how many millions have taken pictures of their friends or themselves licking or squashing the Washington Monument?

At lunch time they make their way back to the mall, where they convene RIGHT in front of the entry ways. They stop in the middle of walk ways and have their insipid little conversations while they peruse the store windows for things their travel budgets don't allow. The working lunch crowd, who is trying to make the most of their half hour lunch break, must compete with the glaze-eyed teens in order to get their food. I just want to tell them, look, the McDonald's/Taco Bell/Sbarro/Popeyes/Panda Express/Hagen Daas menus are the EXACT SAME as where you came from! Make a decision or move OUT of the way!

I can't help but stop and shake my head at how much more enthusiastic the kids are at the prospect of buying "FBI" or "You Don't See Me" shirts than they are at the National Archives or the National Gallery of Art. I just keep hoping that some day soon down the road they reflect and appreciate this experience and become aware of all the things that happen here that have and will shape and affect their lives profoundly.

But in the meantime, GET OUT of my way! I've only got 5 more minutes to get back to work!