I was talking to a friend the other day; she had called on me to “vent.” This friend has a daughter with Down's Syndrome who had recently turned 18 years of age. The girl is an absolute delight who we have been blessed to know.
Her mother was frustrated because since her daughter turned 18, she's had to apply to the courts to be her guardian - something she has been since her daughter's birth. Think about that: she had to apply to be her own child’s guardian. Now, while this may make sense since the girl is now of legal age, my friend had to pay a lawyer to do this. She and her husband had to pay $800 to continue to be their own daughter's guardians. Additionally, she is required to take an eight-hour $129 class to learn how to be a guardian for her own daughter - the same thing she and her husband have done for 18 years. They tell you in class that they understand how much money it costs to take care of a person with disabilities, and then they tell you it’s going to cost more. Her response: "if I wasn’t already a good guardian (parent), my child would be dead. All the hospital visits, the numerous medical conditions she has, and the social care she has needed for 18 years have always been cared for."
What do you get when you combine a New York Democrat Congressional candidate, a pardoned formerly convicted child molester, a party and an autographed “Puff the Magic Dragon” pop-up book as the party favor for sponsors and hosts?
Why, a Democrat fundraiser, of course. Not just any ordinary Democrat fundraiser, though.
Martha Robertson, Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature and Congressional candidate for New York’s hotly contested 23rd District, is rolling out her campaign later this month with a headliner that’s sure to raise some eyebrows. Peter Yarrow - better known to most as Peter, member of the 1960‘s trio Peter, Paul and Mary - is scheduled to join Robertson for the private September 29th event.
Poor Dana Milbank!
In “The weakest generation?” Dana laments that his generation remains untested in the cauldron of sacrifice. His parents', “the greatest generation,” fought great battles - the Great Depression, the fascism of Germany, the imperialism of Japan, and the civil rights movement of the 60s. Meanwhile, “Generation X” had only nominal threats - “the fight against apartheid, for gay rights and for environmentalism.” For this, he concludes, we are “soft: unthreatened, unchallenged and uninspired.”
As I went looking for the world’s smallest violin, I noticed the real reason for this handwringing – a hit piece; a summary dismissal of the integrity, character, courage, and patriotism of conservatives and independents, specifically “Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin: Without a transcendent social struggle calling us to seek justice as Americans, they substitute factional causes — Repeal Obamacare! Taxed Enough Already! — or manufactured crises over debt limits and government shutdowns."
I love politics. I love the Constitution. I can tell you EXACTLY when and where my love of politics and our country came from. Since the time I was in 4th grade I remember being well aware of what was going on in the world. I remember watching ABC nightly news with Peter Jennings every night as a family. I remember having discussions at the dinner table about what was going on in our city, state, country and the world. As a family we discussed it all at the dinner table.
Countless articles and studies have been written about how the lost family dinner has had an effect on our country. For a while I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Until I had my own family, I didn't realize the importance of sitting down every night at the table and eating and talking together. Whether it is about the events of the day, or what is happening in Syria, that time to talk about “things” is so very important.
Today, our busy lifestyles make it very difficult to do this. We have multiple kids in multiple activities that go on until 8, 9 or even 10 o’clock at night, followed by hours of homework. There is no time to sit and just be together. The times of dad home at 5:30 for dinner is a distant memory. Now, it’s mom and dad often working till 6, 6:30 or often even later. Even on the weekends, the family day is gone. It’s a rush to do errands that couldn’t be done during the week, or working extra hours at the office or the kids all have games on Saturdays or Sundays. Sunday used to be a day when there were no extracurriculars. Stores were closed. It was a quiet day. The days of a quiet Sunday are gone.
Many Americans may not even remember that the so called Arab Spring began in a little talked about country called Tunisia. What sparked the regional revolutions, or civil wars, was quite literally a spark. A man lit himself on fire in Tunisia and started a fire that soon engulfed the entire region. Here we are some two and a half years later, and so it’s time to check in around the Middle East. Let’s see how the wonderful Arab Spring that our President and Secretary of State both championed as a great thing, has turned out. Since it began in Tunisia, let’s first stop in and see how they are doing with their new Democratic nation.
On September 10, 2013, a story out of Reuters reported that “Divisions between Islamist and major secular parties widened with opposition leaders accusing the government of trying to impose an Islamist agenda, mismanaging the economy, and failing to curb radical Islamist groups.” The article also stated that the Islamist government was being accused of assassinating two of the leaders of the secular opposition party. In response, the secular members decided to launch mass protests in hopes that they could replicate the results in Egypt, and once again overthrow their government. So, I think it’s fair to say things in Tunisia are not going well at all, and the only grasp they have of democracy is how it’s spelled in the dictionary.