A brighter future?

As a working single mother I have struggled in this life to earn the things I have. It isn’t easy to put yourself out there, to risk failure but you do it. You do it for yourself and your child. And when they are grown you try to still be there for your children as a mentor. Though it’s difficult, (trust me) to simply sit on the sidelines and only give advice….and you want them to succeed. You want them to do better than yourself…and this country needs to be there for our children, for us….we Americans work hard for the things we have, to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. To try and live out that American dream….. I am one of the many faceless middle class; and, I pray our country is able to rise above this petty bi-partianship…to put US(A) first. We are a nation of many political, religious, and various ethical views. What binds us should be our passion for this country, to do what’s right for our families. And by accomplishing this, is finding a way for all of us to work together. Sounds like Utopia but we canNOT continue on this path of discord for much longer.

Operation Bootstrap

I mentioned on Facebook that after watching the biography of Steve Jobs makes me wonder if more Americans had some of his zeal, passion for their jobs, community, whatever…we could lift this country by its bootstraps and move forward in a positive light. I know this country became what it was due to the pioneer spirit and the hard work of our forefathers. Sometimes I think we become to complacent with our lives, material things that we forget how lucky we actually are to live in this great country.

One of my friends made the stark comment if we had the same zeal as we did when Russia was our political enemy perhaps Americans could find motivation to move this country forward. Seems to me with all the political hoopla we are stagnating as a industrialized nation…and it pains me to see this.

Operation Bootstrap was an economic incentive that created very ambitious projects to move Puerto Rico out of a primarily sugar can plantation based society to a more industrialized one.  This concept has also been used in other areas such as Africa which is trying to educate their children by partnering with non-profit agencies to improve literacy and education in general in this continent.  They become the future. And hopefully a bright one.

Though the United States is not floundering it does have some ongoing chronic issues which need to be addressed. Talking these problems out to death isn’t resolving anything. I keep seeing fast food restaurants popping out everywhere in rural America…(and makes me wonder where exactly is this country headed?) Our manufacturing jobs are sent overseas…the cost of living is outrageous which creates a vicious cycle of paying out high wages for blue-collar jobs and white-collar seems to be stagnating.  If not why so many unemployed college graduates?

We need to work together as Americans to bring this country back on its feet. Irregardless of what the politicians are saying this American is a doubting Thomas.

PROVE IT!

Create change!!

The Economics of it all

Received the following notice from Federal Retirement article regarding our continuing pay freeze:

The plan, released this morning by Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), gave the following specifics that are of particular interest to federal employees:

The federal government has added 147,000 new workers since the President took office. It is no coincidence that private-­-sector employment continues to grow only sluggishly while the government expands: To pay for the public-­- sector’s growth, Washington must immediately tax the private sector or else borrow and impose taxes later to pay down the debt.

The federal government’s responsibilities require a strong federal workforce. Federal workers deserve to be compensated equitably for their important work, but their pay levels, pay increases and fringe benefits should be reformed to better align with those of their private-­-sector counterparts.

Compensation for federal workers continues to outpace pay for their private-­-sector counterparts. The non-­-partisan CBO recently released a study saying that federal workers are, on average, compensated 16 percent higher than comparable private-­-sector employees.21 Immune from the effects of the recession, federal workers have received regular salary bumps regardless of productivity or economic realities.

The reforms called for in this budget aim to slow the federal government’s unsustainable growth and reflect the growing frustration of workers across the country at the privileged rules enjoyed by government employees. They reduce the public-­-sector bureaucracy, not through layoffs, but via a gradual, sensible attrition policy. By 2015, this reform would result in a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce.

Additionally, this budget freezes federal pay through 2015 and asks federal employees to make a more equitable contribution to their retirement plans. When combined, these proposals will save taxpayers approximately $368 billion over ten years.

Unfortunate news but at the same time simply grateful to have this job and overtime is offered. Not everyone is so lucky, especially those who earn minimum wage which is currently set at:  Federal set at:  $7.25/hour. Some states  may have higher or lower rates you can check the $ amount here:  US Minimum Wages

We Americans are finding ourselves in unfortunate circumstances however we are known to be resilient. 

It’s time to cut back on the “extras” and focus on spending our money more wisely.  I really wish the US Fedearl Government would put a cap on this gouging. Though Europeans state we Americans complain too much regarding these oil prices one thing an individual needs to factor in is the great expanse of this nations. Are urban areas tend to be sprawled out and coupled with a lackluster public transportation system in many cities, it’s difficult to get around.  I know personally here in Saint Louis to get to one point from another which may typically take 20 minutes by car can easily be stretched into 2 hours due to the Metro.

For myself I plan on buying a fuel efficient car and have already cut back on much unnecessary spending and am still looking for ways to cut back even more to build up my nest egg and also my retirement fund, known as the Thrift Spending Plan (TSP). Also can be viewed as a 401k.

Let’s see what this election will bring. Will promises be kept? At times I think the current political system (both city up to federal) is quite cumbersome when it comes to quickly getting things done.

Potential Government Shutdown

I find it sad yet laughable Congress will still be sitting pretty knowing their paycheck is safe while thousands of US Federal employees wait to hear whether or not we report to work this coming Monday….and quite appalling thinking that our servicemen and women overseas at the front are fighting while their families back home wonder if a paycheck will be coming in so that bills can be paid and food bought.

What I find disgusting are comments made by fellow Americans who feel that we federal workers are overpaid and I quote….”lazy.”

Really?

How about coming to the National Archives and seeing what we do.  I have discussed time and time again on this blog how busy my job keeps me. There is NO downtime unless our server goes down and even then we are expected to find something to do. Many technicians churn our 6,000 cases or more a year.  Such casework benefits a veteran in some way or provides genealogical information to a family member or interested member of the public.

So, before anyone sits and judges us for what we do remember that a lot of government agencies were established for a reason. Yes there is quite a bit of pork barreling going on, special interest groups who have louder voices than others (and which need to be tempered…hmmmm Mr. Oil Man?)

Keeping an eye on Korea

Keeping an eye on Korea.  Was stationed there back in the 80’s. The residents of Yeonpyeong are evacuating due to am impending military drill tomorrow.

Sometimes I wonder if God is watching us and what He is thinking.  War in the Middle East, unrest in Korea, Iran with its hate.  I wonder about what to think sometimes of the human race, what we are doing to ourselves, our planet.  Disgusting in some aspects then I try to see the beauty in ourselves (because I have a habit of looking at both sides of the coin) and know there are good people out there and the surmization of the human existence isn’t a vacuum of self-destruction.

America the beautiful…

 Some of us find purpose in a cause greater than ourselves whether it be for charity, for our children, family, job, our country. Mine is for my country. This past Labor Day weekend when I was traversing across this grand nation and checking out the people passing me by (I know I was going at least 80mph and people were even passing me at that!) anyway, I was thinking about how diverse America is. How special. I feel truly blessed to have been born and raised in this nation of flavors.

 

With all the America bashing on the news regarding the media, the wars (now war), oil spills, our vast consumption of fossil fuels I still find it an honor to be living here. I always felt America was the grandest experiment of cultures/religions and creeds this world has to offer.

 Do I get angry at how bipartisan our government is?

Of course….

And do I want change?

Indeed….but in order for the government to change we the people need to find that fire within us to instigate such change. Of course in a peaceful manner, that is what separates us from other countries who use force to usurp their governments. I believe Senators and Congressman should have set term limits, I think it is important for all parties involved to find a consensus in dealing with today’s issues. I digress but all in all I have to say that I am proud to be an American and am grateful for all the opportunities that were made available to me and one of them was to serve this grand nation.

Fundraiser in Saint Louis

Received this in my email today:

Tommy Sowers

Iraq Veteran & Democratic Candidate for Congress
*One of the DCCC’s Top 26 races-to-watch for 2010*

Invites you to a Breakfast Fundraiser with

General Wesley Clark (Ret.)

to benefit Sowers for Congress

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
8:30-9:30 am
Pi in the Central West End
400 N. Euclid @ McPherson

RSVP online at:
www.sowersforcongress.com/wesclark
or by email to margaret@sowersforcongress.com
(RSVP required)

Suggested contributions:
Friend $250 | Supporter $500 | Host $1000 | Young Dem $50 | Young Professional $100

TS and WC

In the district that Rush Limbaugh calls home, Tommy Sowers has Republicans running for cover (and money).

He outraised incumbent Jo Ann Emerson for the last 2 of 3 quarters, rose to the DCCC’s top 26 races this cycle, and recently grabbed headlines on CNN, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

This is a race to watch, and the other side knows it.

Tommy Sowers is a fourth generation native of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, attended Duke University on an ROTC scholarship, and spent eleven years in the Army as a Ranger and Green Beret.  Tommy completed two deployments to Iraq and was awarded two Bronze Stars.  He has a master’s from the London School of Economics and taught political science at West Point for three years before returning home to run for Congress.  In his first quarter alone, Tommy raised more than the last ten years of Democratic challengers to the current incumbent combined.  He has received the endorsements of Sen. Bob Kerrey, Sen. Bill Bradley, Gen. Wesley Clark, Col. Jack Jacobs, and VoteVets.

Wesley K. Clark is a businessman, educator, writer and commentator. Clark retired a four star general after 38 years in the United States Army. He graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded and evacuated home on a stretcher. He later commanded at the battalion, brigade and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions, including service as the Director Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5). In his last assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.

Afghan Election

…through the eyes of a woman:

Though right now I think there are more pressing issues than simply getting out to vote in Afghanistan this definitely is a positive stride forward for these women who were severely oppressed by the Taliban but allot still needs to be done for these survivors of such a traumatic regime.

As Country Director Sweeta Noori states:

Sweeta said she has very little hope that Afghan women’s political participation will improve in the next few years. Although there may be changes to election procedures for the September 2010 parliamentary elections, it is likely that women will remain voting “puppets” whose ballots are stolen by male relatives and community members.

Until women are viewed as being equal in voice as a man’s there will still be long strides in giving women a better standard of living there and finding real representation.  It is no surprise that over 40% of Afghan women polled for the 2009 Stronger Women, Stronger Nations Afghanistan report feel that there is political corruption in their country.  If it’s apparent to us imagine how it is for the people who are forced to live in it????

I pray that the women of Afghanistan will have the safety and reassurance to freely go to women’s rights groups, and be heard, as is their God-given right.

When does freedom of speech…

…go too far?

Most of us have heard by now the outrageous teachings of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.  This “church” is currently led by Fred Phelps.  What angers me as a veteran and as a human being is that this man and his so-called Christian perspective on homosexuality and soldiers have been given leniency by the courts.   The Wesboro Baptist Church has made the news these past few years with their taunts and disgrace at military funerals.  What irks me even more is that the grieving father of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder has to pay this church $16,000 in restitution.  I am thinking…where is the true justice in this?  Why should this man have to pay for such hatred?

Let these families grieve for their dead sons and daughters in peace, as is their right as parents, as brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles….friends….these soldiers gave up their lives for something greater than themselves.  Why should this church be left without some kind of civil punishment for their outrageous accusations against men and women who are unable to defend themselves?  I find this a travesty of justice.

Please visit this site and do what you can to help this father and his family move forward

Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder

Senator Evan Bayh to retire?

I remember this influential Senator most of my life when it came to Indiana and American politics in general.  Many Centrist Democrats are finding their voice being pushed to the side.

According to the Senator on CNN:

“Congress is not operating as it should,” Bayh said at a news conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, adding there’s too much partisanship and “the people’s business is not getting done.”

What bothers me about politics is the inability for parties to work together for the common good.  Americans are accustomed to quick change.  People want jobs, to pay their bills, to send their kids to college….the wars have really drained us not to mention poor choices made regarding the housing market and financial institutions……

I wish there was someone on the Hill who would take the bull by the horns and put us first for a change.