Tag Archives: Afghanistan

It’s 9/12

The past week has been heavy. We have been inundated with documentaries, pictures, expert analysis, people’s stories, etc. of 9/11. I didn’t watch any of it. My partner still can’t watch that stuff. Plus, it’s just depressing. 3497 lives lost. Families devastated. I didn’t want to see the twin towers collapsing in a week-long loop on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.

I don’t know. People might have needed this stuff to help them deal with it, so I’d never begrudge them of that. I just had to hang back.

It’s 9/12. It’s no longer the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It’s time to get back to working on the problems that plague us in 2011. We’re still in 2 wars and bankrupt from them. Our economy is in the toilet, and we’re more divided than ever. These are things that we should be working on. Maybe we can shift our focus from 10 years ago to now.

“Closing Time” in Afghanistan

Obama’s Afghanistan Plan Criticized by Dems, GOP

Nobody’s happy with his plan. Does that surprise me? No. The GOP thinks he’s drawing down too fast. The Democrats think it’s too slow. Of course, I’m with the “too slow” crowd. By next summer, the number of troops returning will be about the same number as the surge. So we’ll be going back to roughly the numbers we had before Obama took office? I don’t see that as a real withdrawal. 60K by next summer would have been perfect because it would include the troops added plus the ones that were already there.

Republicans think we risk losing whatever gains we made because we’re withdrawing too fast. Questions. How long are we going to hold their hand? Why are we training them? So we can get them to protect themselves, right? At some point, we’re going to have to let go. And it’s not like every soldier is coming home tomorrow (my dream). They’re leaving in stages.

Since it’s been almost 10 years, it’s really time to move on. Hell, even al-Qaeda moved on…to Yemen. Osama bin Laden moved on to the 7th level of Hades thanks to some Navy Seals. We can get out of the business of rebuilding other countries and start rebuilding ours.

While I’m not too happy with how long this process will take, at least we’re starting it.

The last line in Semisonic’s song Closing Time is…

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Can’t Catch a Break

I was thinking about President Obama this morning. I love the guy, even though there are things he’s done as POTUS that I don’t agree with. After pondering what’s been going on, especially the last few months, I feel bad for him. Dude can’t seem to catch a break. In reverse chronological order (more or less):

  • Japan
  • Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant, devastation

  • Middle East
  • From Egypt to Yemen, the entire region has revolted. A country with an ally-dictator unseated and a country with an enemy-dictator who is hanging on to his until it’s taken from his cold, dead hands.

  • Labor
  • The working class is starting our own revolt

  • Gas Prices
  • See Middle East

  • Tuscon Shooting
  • Memorial and miraculous recovery (Thank God)

  • START Treaty
  • It just had to expire during his presidency

  • Bush Era Tax Cuts
  • They just had to expire during his presidency

  • Midterm Shellacking
  • Congressmen, Senators, and Governors whose sole purpose in office/life is to make sure he doesn’t win in 2012

  • Terrorism
  • Oregon teenager, Fort Hood psychiatrist, Yemeni toner cartridges, Detroit underwear

  • Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Insurgents and Insurgents

  • Gulf Oil Spill
  • BP, compensation, regulation, moratorium

  • Health Care
  • Repeal attempt, lawsuits

  • Haiti
  • Earthquake, homelessness, cholera, devastation

  • Economy
  • He inherited the US’ and the world’s tanked economies

It seems like a larger-than-normal presidential crapload has happened/is happening in his term. I would have been curled up in a ball, in a corner, inconsolably crying by now. No, actually, I would have probably killed myself long before. That’s why I could never be POTUS. And why I wonder why anyone would want to be POTUS.

I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. Good luck Mr. President.

State of the Shellacking

I was embarrassingly late for my dental appointment. “I’m so sorry. I know it’s probably too late to see me, but can I reschedule?” “Sure,” the receptionist said with the half smile/half disappointed school marm look. We were about to set up the appointment when his hygienist came out. They started talking, while I watched the TV in their reception area. The State of the Union address was about to begin. “Dr. Martinez said he can see you – if you’re willing to wait.” “Great! Thank you!” Wow. Sending him and his office those Hickory Farms gift baskets every year always saves my sorry ass. I sit down and get totally engrossed in the address.

The musical chairs of bipartisanship was weird. Well-intentioned, but weird. The strength of the applause shows which statements were supported or rejected. What am I going to do now? Never fear, Speaker of the House Boehner is here. Seated conveniently behind the POTUS, his applause (or lack thereof), can be our gauge.

  • Cleaner, greener energy: No applause
  • Reviewing Government Regulation: Applause
  • Working on the Health Care Law: No applause

Well, quelle surprise. Looks like we didn’t really need a gauge after all.

I really liked his comments on education. One of my favorite lines: “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” Shout out to all of us former high school nerds.

The sound of the ultrasonic cleaner drowned out the talk of the wars. Thank God. Experiencing the occasional pain of the cleaning tool hitting a sensitive spot and the nausea from hearing the “strides” were making? No thanks. There are limits to my masochism. I did catch that in July, we’ll begin to bring the troops back home from Afghanistan. I wasn’t on the laughing gas, and the text of the speech confirmed this statement. Hmmm. We’ll see…

I loved that he didn’t back down on the healthcare law. It was refreshing that he will fight their attempt at repeal. I don’t know if people understand just how important the changes with the pre-existing condition clauses are. A few years ago, I was in between jobs, temping, and was about to lose COBRA. Try getting insurance with asthma. It didn’t matter that I was able to afford it. I could not get it. Thank God I got a full-time job shortly after that had health benefits kick in on day one. Countless others weren’t so lucky. I hope the GOP listened to this: So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

I left the office with my teeth cleaned and the goodie bag of a toothbrush and dental floss samples and a Greater Smiles in 2011 calendar. I was able to reflect on the address. Despite the midterms, he didn’t gravitate as far to the center as I thought he would. He still mentioned ending the tax breaks to the wealthiest and stood his ground on healthcare. Good. The next two years will be very interesting. I am only armed with a 2011 calendar, though. I’ll be checking it around July. Maybe there will be cause for Greater Smiles.