Did I Watch the 2016 State of the Union?

Yes.  Yes I did.

And the irony is that I would not consider myself politically obsessed.  I have friends that are.  Friends that are married to people that are.  Friends that have no idea I have voted for a Democrat, or they’d disown me.  Friends that have no idea members of my family have been elected to office to hold a Republican seat, or they’d never speak to me again.

Case in point:  My first thought watching the preamble mumbo jumbo tonight was that they had yet to show a man wearing something other than a red tie.  So then of course I became obsessed in trying to find one.

And then of course the President himself appears and was not, and the red tie obsession came to an end.

So here are my thoughts as they came to me watching the SotU: Continue reading

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Snapshot of Americana

I have been gone all day.  I was at church, home long enough to change clothes, at a church function, then at a revised Sunday dinner before discovering a missed phone call and spending an hour on the phone with an old friend.  When I finally got in the house, I checked Facebook and email to catch up.  Upon which, I discovered, the new health care package was passed.

If I were to take this at face value among my Facebook friends, there is an interesting conundrum.  Evidently 2/3 of my vocal (i.e., post all opinions on Facebook) friends think this country is now going straight to hell in a handbasket.  Then there are the few vocals ones that say thank god for finally doing something about health care.

What I find interesting about this ratio is that the majority of my Facebook friends are staunch supporters of health care reform.  They have just remained silent compared to those that are die-hard Republicans and think that supporting health care reform or President Barack Obama is akin to aligning oneself with the devil.  The decry the desecration of the Constitution in the past day, that the national decision makers have forgotten the principles upon which the country was founded, and that we are now, essentially Europe.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t read the news all day.  I just find this humorous.  I disagree with much of those opinions, and the one thing that keeps coming back to me is this:

Founding Fathers never had to deal with HMOs or insurance companies.  They could trade a side of beef or a wheel of cheese for decent medical care.  If you can find a doctor that will work for such wages in today’s economy then please, by all means, let me know.  I’m moving to your town.

Interesting nighttime reading!  Time to check on the news reports and see what all the hooplah is about!

When health care gets personal

Two things have happened in the last week that make me wonder how we got here.  I’m sitting here, typing away, and retyping every few keystrokes as my persistent, hacking cough overwhelms me and causes me to type on the wrong keys while I quickly try and cover my mouth.  Sounds attractive, right? Yet I can’t go to the doctor.  I am unemployed, and while I have health insurance it’s not the greatest plan in the world.  I only get to go to the doctor three times a year before I start paying out the wazoo for my visits.  I’ve already been to the dentist, have to have an annual checkup later in the year, which leaves me exactly one doctor’s visit to use at my discretion–in the next 48 weeks.

So is my hacking cough bad enough to go to the doctor now?  What if I get appendicitis? What if I break my wrist?  Then I’m up a creek later in the year because I don’t have the finances to cover a visit.  Sure, I could go to someplace like the Fan Free Clinic, which is a cause I support financially when I am able.  Or I could go to a Doc-in-a-Box where they are required to give you a prescription regardless of condition when you walk in, thereby incurring additional costs that I can’t cover.  It’s a vicious circle.

How did we get here?  Continue reading

President Obama’s Schoolkids speech, part two

This from a post in USAToday entitled What if President Obama comes over like Mr. Rogers.  (It’s the last few lines that I am quoting here.):

What if Obama, no matter how innocuous his text, conveys Rogers'”Be my friend” aura?

What if he delivers a vaguely positive empowerment message like mega-church pastor Rev. Joel “never-say-sin” Osteen?

WHAT IF … your kids just like their president?

And that, my friends, is the real problem.  Heaven help you if you are one of them.

I don’t understand what the uproar was about

President Obama and Secretary Duncan talk with 9th graders at Wakefield High School. White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/8/09

President Obama and Secretary Duncan talk with 9th graders at Wakefield High School. White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/8/09

For weeks people have been going nuts about President Obama’s speech to all schoolchildren on September 8.  For many, they had been in school for a few weeks.  Where I live, it was the first day.  I don’t understand the uproar.  Carter did it, Clinton did it, Reagan did it . . . now Obama is doing it.  Big deal.  When I was a kid if the President came on the TV, you listened.  The teachers were annoyed that they had to stop teaching and interrupt their curriculum, but they did so because it was the President of the United States.  You respect the President of the United States, and gosh darn it you would shut up and pay attention in class and listen to what he says.  Those sadistic teachers would even give you a quiz on it at the end of the week.

The county in which I live chose not to air the speech on Tuesday but instead aired it today, Friday.  Still the first week of school.  The President made the text of his speech available ahead of time because of the parental uproar, which personally I think is absurd but hey it actually changed the mind of a few people in favor of letting their children watch the speech.  I love this quote from Steve Benen, a journalist for the Washington MonthlyHe said, quoting Michelle Cottle, “Obama is the leader of this entire nation. It doesn’t matter if you voted for him — or even if your head threatens to explode every time you think about him. He is the president, and, as such, it’s a big deal that he’s speaking directly to students about the importance of education.”  That, in a nutshell, cracked me up.  So appropriate to the truth of what is going on.

When the speech aired on Tuesday, my local stations only carried the first few minutes of it.  During those first few minutes I was impressed.  The president talked about his schooling, how he didn’t like it much either and his mom made him get up early for extra lessons because the education where he lived was sub-par.  Encouraged people to stay in school because they might discover they have a talent for writing or for science which could lead to a Pulitzer Prize or a cure for AIDS.

Honestly, people, what is the problem with such a statement??? Continue reading

Observations from Today’s Presidential Inauguration

Today was the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.  This year, more than any in my memory, people have very passionate feelings over what is to come for the next four years.  My mother alone is driving me crazy with her cracks on the now-President and the disaster that his administration is going to bring.  Others in places all over the world are crying with joy at how far this country has come.

My feeling (which I have expressed numerous times) on the matter is this: I don’t care who you voted for, as long as you voted.  If you didn’t vote, then shut your yap.  This afternoon summed it up perfectly: V called me and said “doesn’t today just make you proud to be an American and to be able to witness today?” then there was my mother who called me five minutes after and said “well we’re screwed for the next four years, today is just the beginning of the end.”  Look, if you did vote, and you voted for the other party, then I’m sorry you lost.  Even though you didn’t vote for him, however, Barack Obama is now the leader of this country.  For no other reason than the fact that it is what the founders of this country demanded, the man deserves your respect and your support now that he is in office.  I not saying I voted for him, I’m not saying I voted against him–in fact, my friend V and I made sure we each cancelled out the vote of the other as there were things about both candidates that we did/did not like.  I wasn’t a big fan of George W., but he was my President and for that reason I respected him.  I’ve been fairly careful to not come out with a soapbox and preach my political standings to the masses.  Or the smaller crowds either, for that matter.  Well, okay, maybe to just the dog.  Truth of the matter is I think that Ronald McDonald could have won this as long as he was on the Democratic ticket, since the Republicans have been in the lead for the last eight years.

Enough of me blabbering about semantics.  There were a few things thought that I thought were a riot, some thing that I thought were memorable (well, okay, all was memorable, but certain points), and I wanted to write about them so I didn’t forget them all. Continue reading

Thoughts on this election day

I have already expressed my opinion of people that don’t vote.  (I think that it is stupid, and you have no right to complain about your country or the politics if you don’t vote.)  However here are two things regarding the candidates/campaign that cracked me up today:

Paula Poundstone, on the NPR Quiz Show Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! on the topic of the  $150,000 clothing expenditures by John McCain’s campaign for Sarah Palin (I’m paraphrasing here): From the day that she was announced as the candidate to the day that elections are held, November 4, 2008, is less than 150 days.  Anyone that needs more than $1000/day as a clothing budget obviously has some very expensive clothing tastes!

From the Waiter over at Waiterrant, and my apologies as I am copying word for word here because he expresses this so very very well:

Vote. I don’t care who you vote for. Just vote.

Americans have suffered lynching and torture so we can vote.  Americans have faced down fire hoses and dogs, been bombed, murdered, and maimed so we can vote. Americans have labored in unpaid obscurity and have been ridiculed and ostracized so we can vote. Americans have gone to prison so we could vote. Americans have had their reputations ruined so we could vote. American servicemen and women have returned home with grievous wounds and psychological scars so we can vote. Americans have fought and died so we can vote.

It doesn’t matter if the lines at the voting booth are long or we think we don’t have enough time to cast a ballot. We have time. Countless unsung heroes made the time for us.

Vote.