Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Lame Excuses

No, not from the lame duck administration; from me.
I've been busy splitting time between work and the Red Cross and for the next few days I'm going to be exclusive to the Red Cross doing mobile mass feeding (and such other duties as may be assigned).
I'll read your blogs when I get a link-up but won't try to write (which hasn't been working very well for me in the first place).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm Not a Particularly Good Person

Here it is Veteran's Day and I came across this article talking about OEF/OIF veterans connecting online instead of at the more traditional watering holes of previous generations. I'm a huge fan of vets forming their own support systems around them according to their needs, and - for all of my empathy - I have never humped in a climate or terrain like they've experienced and somewhat doubt that I could have. Good for them leaning on each other just as they did throughout their active service.

Eventually I got down to the part where they write about the American Legion and the VFW losing membership, and I confess to a teensy moment of satisfaction because they weren't there for me when I could have used the help. I've written before that I left the Navy earlier than I might have because the VietNam GI Bill was set to expire at the end of 1989. I wrote to everyone I could think of and spoke to everyone I could reach, but except for the Fleet Reserve Association (which at the time still represented career and retired military members of the sea services) the veterans organizations turned a deaf ear to me.

There was a small degree of altruism to my arguments. I finished my 20 years in time to get my four years, and I was unlikely to be promoted beyond Chief if I'd stayed in for 40 years (I had some issues); however, it bugged me that a guy who came in before January, 1966, in time for seven more years of the VietNam War couldn't do his 20 and get the GI Bill. The Legion and the VFW both pointed out to me that their primary concerns were for the WW II veterans and that their membership was predominantly one-term enlistees anyway, and that was it.

So now they can't attract younger vets... imagine that. I wish them well and, in particular, I wish their members well; but you folks coming out of OEF/OIF are on the right track relying on one another for answers and support for your unique issues. At some point every organization I can think of turns its focus away from its membership and toward perpetuating itself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not a Good Week for Blogging

This is not going to be a great week for blogging. Thursday is California's statewide earthquake drill, and I've spent quite a bit of time so far prepping for it and have a lot more to spend participating in it.

All day Thursday I participate with the local Red Cross chapter assessing our readiness to quickly set up a shelter in the immediate aftermath of the simulated 'quake. (There are millions of residents in the LA basin and perhaps a few thousand shelter beds.)

Saturday the Red Cross has an information booth at the county fire expo.

Sunday the county is having an all-day field exercise for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) up in Sherman Oaks.

Getting involved in earthquake recovery is one of those things I've been meaning to do, but never made time for until this year. There's supposed to be a 90-something percent probability of a major earthquake here within the next thirty years. If you sign up on, you can get notified of earthquakes as they occur, and it's sobering to watch them first up in the Aleutians and then down off Mexico and then back up in the Aleutians. There was a good-sized one just off the coast above San Francisco a couple of weeks ago.

California isn't supposed to "fall off into the ocean" but it is supposed to wind up several feet north which will sever power lines, pipe lines (water and fuel), and surface transportation across the San Andreas fault. It's going to be quite a ride.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How about if Obama named Colin Powell as his Secretary of State?

I know; no one was more disappointed watching him shill for George W. Bush (when he must have known better) than I was. I'm thinking he must have lost a lot of sleep over the past five years thinking about the all of the lives he had a hand in destroying, and his best shot at any redemption is a chance to be the Secretary of State we were expecting in 2001, a chance to be the George Marshall of the post-Cold War era.

I had a lot of respect for General Powell when he was in uniform. I think he's better than he ever had a chance to be in the present administration. I think he's just exactly what the Obama administration needs at State, and (coincidentally) it would give him an opportunity to clean up his karma. Richardson would be okay, but I think Powell is ideally suited for 2009.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

My connectivity issue resurfaced (Joared, the jury is out on Verizon as well as on your provider.) so I didn't run through all of the California propositions. Today is about keeping good thoughts that America will use wisdom in choosing our government and our future.

I wish I felt more confident in the outcome. It has been frustrating speaking with people I care about and generally find to be agreeable who, at the end of the conversation, turn toward the darkness of the neo-fascists. How on earth can we agree on universal healthcare and then you vote for those who oppose it?

Today is about keeping good thoughts that - this time - enough Americans in the right states will use wisdom in choosing our future.