Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday January 31st 2010
Today i would like to begin my entry by speaking a little about a hero of mine who passed away wednesday.Howard Zinn was 87 when he passed away,and he lived a very productive and meaningful life.He was a retired Professor emiritus at Boston University,leaving the faculty two decades ago.Author of one of my favorite and often referanced books"A People's History of the United States." The book is a historically accurate narrative that includes many of the shortcomings of important historical figures like Christopher Columbus,Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.The book has been critcized and many of the mainstream media begin with statements like"He concentrates on what he see's as the genocidal depravations"of reveerd hero's of american history.Pointing out things that other historians either discount or completely ignore brought controversy as well as fame and the book has sold almost two million copies since its first printing in 1980.
Professor Zinn was as tough as nails,having worked in a shipyard and being a bombadier in W.W.II.He was an avid civil rights activist,and used his skills in history to bring attention to important and relevant past events and connect them to current problems in government and society.He would always offer intelligent commentary that usually included his practical solutions to whatever topic he was addressing at the time.I loved to hear him lecture or read from one of his extensive works,and the world will seem a little quieter without Professor Zinn.I hope his family will take solice in the fact that his was a gifted and important life,and many including myself are smarter and better citizens of this great nation as a direct result of his wisdom and knowledge he happily shared with us all.If you have never read any of his work,i highly recommend you to borrow a copy from your library or buy a copy for your book collection.This man was a genius and teacher extrordinare and i thank my sister Tina for introducing me to his work.
Things have been quite hectic at my house for the last few days due to alot of things going on with the family.As i have mentioned before we have alot of pets,and that takes alot of time to keep them healthy and happy.So along with our usual daily walks and playtime we like our animals clean,and this weekend was cage and tank cleaning.This is something we do routinely and it is kind of fun for the kids.They enjoy keeping the dogs busy while i clean and helping sanitize the cages and dishes means getting messy in the sink which my younger son especially enjoys.Some of these tasks are very difficult for me due to my medical issues,but the wife and kids always step up when they see me struggling.
When people ask me questions about my condition,sometimes it is very hard to respond in a polite manner.Even though i realize they are speaking out of genuine concern,i sometimes have to restrain myself from a snappy impolite response.The unrelenting pain leads me to want to yell at them"I am AWFUL,my back NEVER STOPS HURTING now STOP ASKING ME!!!!"but most of the time i just say i am alright how about you?"To understand the level of frustration involved is hard to explain,but when you love someone the natural tendancy is to want that person healthy and happy.So knowing someone you love has pain problems of course you want to know how you can help.Large groups of inner circle family and friends become affected by this because it disrupts relationships at an intimate level.People stop calling to extend social invitations because of the way the gloom of pain becomes palpable and brings down the overall mood of celebrations and gatherings.
The extended family and folks that are only around occasionally may not realize the extent that the immediate family takes alot of the burden along with me.Pain related mood swings can make me be curt or just plain grumpy and difficult to be around.Social engagements are broken at the last minute leading to hurt feelings and sometimes anger due to the explanations needed why you missed the event.Young children who miss a playdate or older children who miss practice or a date,embarrassment feels the same at any age.Personally i strive everyday to mitigate this to the best of my ability but i still do lose the struggle more than i win.
Te news from the last few days has been fairly intense,with the press reviewing the state of the union speech and new developments in the venue for trying the mastermind of 9/11,Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.The president also spoke at a republican conferance he was invited to by the House minority leader.This was an effort to show the american people that he willing to reach across party lines to try to win votes and pass some of the legislation in his agenda.My opinion on this is that the poison partisen atmosphere will continue and the country will suffer as a result.With the Global economy still fragile our leaders need to look strong and united to show stability and strength to the rest of the world.Instead they look like they would rather argue about positions instead of creating policy.
The congress has threatened to withhold the $200 million appropriation requested by the white house to fund the trials of KSM and other high profile terrorism suspects.Just the fact i am calling them terrorism suspects reveals my tendancy to agree these trials belong in civilian courts.Our federal court system and high security correctional facilities have a track record of successfully prosecuting terrorists,and my opinion is that they are very capable of doing it again.The fact that NYC may not be the best venue can be argued,but not used to score political points against The President or his Attorney General.Alot of the suspects that were captured at the beginning of the "War on Terror" have no evidence against them other than battlefield heresay given by unreliable sources.The rush to have suspects in custody for interrogations to prevent another 9/11 led to a dragnet type sweep that mostly gathered foot soldiers that were and still are of little value to our security.The inmates at Guantanamo Bay are used as an example,to show our military and intelligence agencies can be successful and they are something for the enemies of our nation to fear.If you take up arms with our enemies we will treat you to a lifetime of misery without any chance to see your family and friends ever again.This is is my humble opinion a theory that just does'nt pass legal muster,and only works as a tool for extremeists to recruit new misguided people to their ranks.
As i look on and listen to the factors weighing down economic growth and causing unemployment to rise,one factor continually gets mentioned.Regulation of the finacial markets is the only way to reign in out of control wall street companies that brought us to the brink of a second depression.There has been a few half baked efforts to tinker on the edges to satisfy the public and the "populist uprising"that seems to be gripping the country,but absolutly nothing is being done to change the excessive risk taking for short term gains on the part of companies that just one year ago needed billions of taxpayers money to stay afloat.Now these same companies are doing well enough to give out large bonuses to the very same people who pushed us to the brink of disaster.The term"moral hazzard"has lost all meaning as these firms are now confident in the knowlege that if they do well they will benefit finacially,and if they fail the government will step in and rescue them with our tax dollars.Credit default swaps,complex financial dirivatives,and other complicated new financial innovations that are risky but profitable continue.Many commercial real estate morgages are going to create another problem in the market very soon as well,say some finacial analysts.To top it all off alot of the "bad paper"or worthless bundled morgages and finacial contracts are still sitting out there with no set value and no market of interested investors.Was'nt TARP or the troubled asset relocation program created to purchase and hold this worthless bunch of paper that all these large institutions were almost bankrupt over?This is a question someone in government needs to explain to the taxpayers of this great nation.
As we continue on with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,our men and woman in uniform continue to inspire me tremendously.I cannot thank them enough for their bravery and service to our nation.They are all brave warriors with my full support and i appreciate their and their families sacrifices on behalf of our great nation.Each time i awake in the morning i have a routine that includes saying a small private thank you to our military for the freedom my family enjoys.When the struggle with pain becomes unbearable i can think of the soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital,and at home,who are struggling with injuries that are far worse than mine,with horrible ptsd on top of their physical struggles.My respect and gratitude for these hero's seems to grow with every new story i hear.Today i am including a pic of a cute little kitty rescued off the street in the freezing cold with a broken leg to boot.As you can see in the picture we got her a cast and i am happy to report her cast is off and her leg is comming along nicely.Her name is Nya.The other kitty in the picture in my last post is baby,she is also a rescue and a welcomed new member of our family.I am going to end here so until next time,thank you for reading. Spacewalker