What’s the Gov Got to Do With It?

Once upon a time, the GOP found thisclinton so heinous, so horrific, they wanted to impeach the president over it. No families were forced to empty their bank accounts to pay for food and childcare and other daily necessities, hundreds of thousands of workers weren’t effected. America pretty much amused the rest of the world.

Yet now, where are the GOP’s ethics and morals at this?

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 3.15.09 PMYes, I will concede the headlines are colorful and attention grabbing. As well they should be. Some other news sources are acting as though it is not the GOP that is holding this up (and I can’t forget to give credit where credit is due, the Tea-Party has their share of blame in this as well–see below for that).

I wonder if the GOP and the Tea Party understand the ramifications of what they’ve done.

Democracy as we have known it in this country–will it still exist? Did the GOP intend to destroy that on their way to destroying the most hideous of bills, one that supports health care for all Americans. See, they don’t know what it’s like to not have health care. To have to worry about pre-existing, life-threatening conditions that you know you’ll get turned down for by an insurance company for coverage because “they don’t take people with pre-existing conditions.” Medicine, along with politics, is another area in the country that could use some reform. It’s disgusting that a country like ours doesn’t have health care for everyone, regardless of income, full or  part-time status…  Health seems to be a pretty inalienable right as well. President Obama has the right idea, and it’s something that should have been done years and years ago. There’s another section of the Huffington Post devoted to people writing in about how “Obamacare” has saved their lives because they were unable to get the healthcare they needed.

This is what the GOP wants to tear the country apart over? Keeping people healthy? It doesn’t concern them, why should they care? It just concerns their constituents. Oh, right, them… The GOP keeps forgetting the little people that put them into office. I support the Congressional Representative from my district, the 4th, in Oregon, whole-heartedly. He’s a good man. He listens to the people who put him into office, and I follow his voting record. He does what the people want. He thinks. I still emailed his no doubt overflowing office and said I didn’t think they should be getting paid during the shutdown. I think I should also mention that quite a few members of the Republican party, over 20 at last count, have abandoned the jackelope and said they will vote on a clean bill–they just want to get the country moving again. Huzzah on brains that still work.

I don’t think I need to go on and on. The above headlines say a lot. Check out the Huffington Post if you want to read the whole articles. They also have a “Good News” section you can go read after being inundated with all the bad news. I think that’s an awesome idea, and something the news in general forgets–while there are many bad things, things you don’t even want to think about, happening around us, there are still shining spotlights of humanity that break through the haze and show us that average, everyday, people you walk by on the street can be inspiring beacons of hope, and reminders that it doesn’t take a person in a special suit to be a hero. And that it doesn’t even always need to be a person.

A “Tea-Party”

teaparty1

I’m sure there are people coming to fill the empty places.

This is where my lack of keeping up completely with political news (I did at the time of the elections, especially where Sarah Palin was involved, because she’s stark raving mad). I know they hate The Affordable Health Care Act as well.

I’m not entirely sure why anyone hates this. Do they not see how ridiculous it is, when compared with other nations of our “league” (sorry to anyone who takes offense), we look like Victorian England when it comes to health care? In fact, maybe the Tea Party could pick up some pointers from the 19th century. We could institute poorhouses for all the students who have defaulted on their student debts as they’ve been unable to find the jobs they were told waited when they finished their degrees. What would be profitable for the government? They could have a business where undergrad students who hadn’t written their papers yet for particular classes could put in a request a it would be assigned to one of the over-educated but unemployable inhabitants of the poorhouse. That’s too unpleasant a name, though. How about the “Dickens’ Home for Overachieving Underperformers?” They could possibly also house a Think Tank consisting of MBAs, accountants, actuaries (is that the same thing? I like the word) for when time to work on the budget rolls ’round every year–let these people work on it along with congress. Students are used to deadlines. Their GPAs are important to them. They’ll get it done on time. That reminds me of something I wanted to do at the end of the post. Thank me for reminding me. It so rarely happens I have to thank myself in the hopes it happens more often. And less than three days later, because by then it’s considerably too late. There are endless possibilities here.

There are endless jokes as well. Enough said.

There seems to be some confusion about what is closed and what isn’t, as what is closed in each state varies widely. The Tea Party made the grand statement that only a small percentage of the government was shut down. Well, here’s the list of each agency’s shutdown policy (hopefully the links still work

Agency-by-agency shutdown guidance

Monday – 9/30/2013, 1:13pm EDT

The Office of Management and Budget requested agencies provide details about their plans in the event of a government shutdown. Below are links to each agency’s shutdown guidance.

    • Department of Agriculture
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Agricultural Marketing Service PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Management PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Farm Service Agency PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food Safety and Inspection Services PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • U.S. Forest Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Appeals Division PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Natural Resources Conservation Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Budget and Program Analysis PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Economist PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Financial Officer PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Communications PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Ethics | PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the General Counsel PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Research, Education and Economics PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Risk Management Agency PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Rural Development PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Interior
        • Departmental PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Education PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Land Management PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Reclamation PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Fish and Wildlife Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Park Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Insular Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Solicitor PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Special Trustee | PDF (September 27, 2013)
        • Office of Surface Mining PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Policy Management and Budget PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • U.S. Geological Survey PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Treasury — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Offices PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Fiscal Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Internal Revenue Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Special Inspector General, Troubled Asset Relief Program PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0Sometimes the information gleaned from the pages says nothing more than the site is shut down. Others, like the Department for Health and Human Services, have to keep some things in order because they are in charge of so many services and programs so many people use. Even their pages aren’t all that helpful. I would definitely call first. If you happen to be a parent of a child with a disability in one of the Head Start programs that is shut down and don’t have childcare, see if there are any organizations (of course the parents always have this stuff figured out the best) for individuals/children with disabilities who can help you. Also for Head Start parents, as I read one article about concerns about food in one family–check out your local food banks and see what they can do. While the Federal government is shut down, it doesn’t mean your local one is, and organizations like food banks are typically volunteer operated.

You may also be able to find community information at your library. If there is no help from what is open and you really are struggling with rent, you might want to check at a shelter–they don’t want you homeless any more than you want to be, they might have resources as well.

I’m just trying to piece together what I know from what friends have done in the past, just so no one regales me with “what nonsense are you trying to pawn off here?” That was when the government was as functional as it gets. I do know the frustration–I opened the envelope when I received it months ago for my beginning COBRA information, which I needed but had been dreading at the same time, knowing it was going to be an outrageous amount. There was a flyer stuck inside, though, that said something along the lines of, “Can’t afford your payments? We might be able to help” and it gave a web address. I went there, feeling a little more cheerful, only to find a sentence reading: Due to budgetary cutbacks, this program has been discontinued. This shutdown has affected so many things across the board that we don’t even think about–the CDC, food safety under the Dept. of Agriculture, the FDIC, HUD, National Council on Disabilities–the Peace Corps. I don’t know what did happen, but I read in their plan (my parents were volunteers ages ago so I was curious) that in the event of a shutdown they would all have to be evacuated and returned back to the address given in their application packets. At roughly a cost of $3,500 a volunteer. I remember it was a fairly tumultuous time when my parents were in Peace Corps in Costa Rica, and volunteers during that time in Central and South America from both Nicaragua and Chile were evacuated. I don’t know if they were just moved somewhere else or brought back to the US. I didn’t really pay attention. I was probably 11 and I didn’t really understand at the time what was going on, other than volunteers in Costa Rica were moved further from the Nicaraguan border because it was unsafe. I knew some of those people, so that made more sense to me.

Another thing I noticed while going through the names of the departments, given the pressure President Obama is giving the Redskins to change their name, is that it may be time to update the names of a few departments as well. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, perhaps? The Bureau of Indian Education? That’s a bit of an oxymoron, considering it should really be, after all the education we’ve been giving on not just political correctness but for acknowledging people as they would prefer to be known, as the Bureau of Native American Education. Personally, I like the way the Canadians have worked out the whole situation, with the Native Canadians being called the First Nations, comprising all those tribes/people not related to the Inuit or the Métis. Yes, I did have to Wiki that because I didn’t remember it entirely. I’ve only been to Canada once, so please cut me a little slack, here. Interestingly, according to the same source, the Canadians first interactions with the native peoples in Canada were not nearly as combative (although it did happen) as those in the US, which allowed the First Nations and other tribes’ cultures to be assimilated more into the growth of the country. Now, I consider myself ethnocentric now that I’m older, because when I was a child living on the Navajo Reservation, which is a large reservation, I thought the only Native Americans that existed were the Navajo, the Hopi, the Pueblo, the Utes, and the Paiutes. That was it. In a way, it was strangely appropriate. For anyone who has ever watched a John Wayne movie that takes place anywhere looking something like this:

monument-valley-utah_29853_600x450

Monument_Valley_06

Monument Valley 1

I realize that the top and bottom one are practically the same other than the snow. The two formations on the far left and the middle are known as “The Mittens.” All of the formations have names, I just don’t remember all of them. The one on the right might be “Train Rock,” but I’m truly not sure. The one in the middle of the above photo has something to do with a chief, I’m fairly sure. I took all this for granted because I grew up with it. Monument Valley, home to I don’t know how many Westerns and car commercials. Nothing like having an SUV airlifted in and dropped on top of a mesa to show how tough it is. Where I lived was just past Monument Valley. Now there’s a high school along the way, but the Oljato Trading Post, where I spent many hours, is now closed. When I lived there, it was a working Trading Post. Then it was a tourist attraction, selling rugs and jewelry and baskets, as it had always done, then it closed completely. It was a huge part of my childhood. We would “trading post sit” and I remember spending hours in either the store after it was closed reading Tales From the Crypt comic books behind the counter, or sitting in the rug room surrounded by beautiful baskets, jewelry, rugs–literally piles of rugs, and a loom set up to show tourists what they looked like, settled into a comfy chair reading Fate Magazine. I think back on how unusual that was, and how I took it completely for granted, because that’s what children do.

But one of the many great lies of the Westerns is that the Apache, the Cherokee, the Sioux, whoever was the great evil enemy of the day, if the movie was filmed in Monument Valley, it was far more likely they were Navajo.

I spend four more years in Chinle, Arizona (Monument Valley is in southern Utah). Chinle is right next to Canyon de Chelly, which has an unsettling history of its own, but many say is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, it’s just the Grand Canyon is bigger so it gets all the attention. I found a photograph, quite unexpected, by Ansel Adams. It’s not of a huge sweeping vista (I am impressed with their amazing quality and technical detail, but for some reason have never really liked him as a photographer, until I found this photograph).

Navajo_Girl,_1941

It was taken in 1941 in, as the photograph is labeled, Canyon de Chelle.

For this photograph, the National Archives and Records Administration request to be listed as the original source.

http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/

She’s standing in the doorway of a hogan, a traditional Navajo home. She’s not old enough yet to have all the silver jewelry she’ll have when she’s older, although it does look like the buttons on her collar are silver. The necklace looks like it’s made of shell beads, just guessing.

How did I get on this topic? Oh, right. The Bureau of Indian Affairs. And changing names of sports teams. To Westerns.

Do you think John Boehner watched a lot of these growing up? I realized he is emulating, to a degree, someone who isn’t a very good role model, someone whose pride literally led to his fall.

“You ask me if I will not be glad when the last battle is fought, so far as the country is concerned I, of course, must wish for peace, and will be glad when the war is ended, but if I answer for myself alone, I must say that I shall regret to see the war end.”

George Armstrong Custer

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