Oh, Thank Goodness!

Thank Goodness, Thank Goodness the House approved a spending bill just before deadline. Could you imagine? How disastrous! I really did not want to have to start blogging daily again about it!

I know for certain I would not have been able to keep my tone civil. Up to this point, I have argued that somebody somewhere must provide a match light’s flare of reasoned discourse, and better yet if multiple people (dare I wish for “many” people?) strike a tone of civility. Some consider this a trifling exercise, but as the current modus operandi of unyielding non-compromise has proved unsuccessful, why not try a different tack?

Thank Goodness I don’t have to spend hours editing a post that, in a vain attempt to be “family-reader friendly,” would never be so. My anger would spill. It wouldn’t be pretty. And I doubt I would apologize for my curt and unceremonious missives.

At what point do I completely “lose it” and succumb to the very tactics I abhor? One of the most telling moments of my life came when I shouted at a mother carrying her child out of a line. This mother carried her young daughter past the hundreds and hundreds of us holding official purple tickets as we stood in a freezing tunnel in Washington, D.C. waiting to be let into the VIP section to witness the first inauguration of President Obama. The mood inside the “Purple Tunnel of Doom” changed as time passed, from joyful anticipation to a speculation that the sheer numbers of ticket holders could never proceed through the line and security in time, then to the stark realization that we were not going to get into the inauguration at all, and finally to a controlled but palpable near-panic that we would not be let out of the tunnel. I believe I was overcome by an initial sense of injustice. We had all waited so patiently, and here was this woman, leaving the line, just walking and pushing her way through the crowd, going on ahead of us. This was a wrongdoing.  And so I shouted at a mother carrying her daughter. It was only after this moment passed that I realized that this mother was securing her own, and her daughter’s safety.  I will forever remember my deep frustration, my anger, my fear for my own safety, and my almost immediate embarrassment, remorse and shame.  When pushed to the brink, I blew it.

Talk about your life lessons. This is not a surprising finding; there is often the threat of violence in large demonstrations. Reasoned and reasonable people, passionate over a cause, fervent, find themselves engaged in escalating arguments. Right now people are convening throughout the U.S. and abroad, raising their voices every night in response to Grand Jury findings related to the death of black men by the hands of police officers. Scary things can happen when people are angry. This country has a proud history, and this history includes stories where members of the highest political office engaged in debate that went beyond charged rhetoric. There was a wild floor brawl in the House that progressed from insults to blows to general melee.  I’m not talking about the House and Senate now, this happened in 1858.* And this continues to happen around the globe today.

I had figured the Congress would strike a budget deal. Everybody seemed to be fairly certain of it. But the fact that our elected leaders waited so long, with what appears to me, anyway, to be a “thumb your nose” attitude, once again not seeming to care that peoples’ lives are on the line, that our country’s image is reaching new lows, and that folks are getting sick and tired of business as usual, is disturbing. So knowing that I once yelled at a mother holding a child while she tried to escape a tense and dangerous situation, I’m not sure I can keep my goal of “showing the leaders how it’s done” in line.

I’m not condoning violence – far from it. I was scared in that Purple Tunnel of Doom. But I don’t know how to “attack” this situation. I’m getting really tired of business as usual. My efforts to model proper behavior to legislators might be a useless exercise. My pen may have to drop the “Miss Manners” approach. The question is, how do I ensure that I don’t sink to lows that rival elected legislators’ tactics?

* U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives

http://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-most-infamous-floor-brawl-in-the-history-of-the-U-S–House-of-Representatives/

Kathy Galgano

December 12, 2014

Advertisements

KEEP IT OPEN!

I love Lick Observatory. It was built well over a hundred years ago on a peak that is 4,200 feet high in the Diablo Range to the east in San Jose. There are a number of domes at the observatory, and you can see them on the ridge from downtown San Jose and from around Silicon Valley.

Recently, the newly-hired President of the University of California, Ms. Janet Napolitano, announced that the facility will be closing for financial reasons. Since 1888, the University of California has operated Lick Observatory. Citizens, scientists, students, business leaders and political lawmakers have drafted letters and begun campaigns to save the observatory. Today, my U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren was one of 35 members of California’s Democratic Congressional delegation that urged the U.C. President to keep the observatory open. The text of the press release can be found at this address: http://lofgren.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=377280.

I, too, have written to Ms. Napolitano, and explained to her the positive impact this institution has had, and continues to have, on San Jose, greater Silicon Valley, the UC System, and the larger, global community. As a San Jose resident, I have felt a swelling of pride every time I have read an announcement, such as a discovery of a planet, hailing from the local observatory. I have driven up there many times over the years, for daytime tours of the facility and for evening summer programs. Years ago, in 1986 to be precise, I and many, many others drove the long and winding road built in the 1870s at a seven per-cent grade because that was the maximum for horses pulling large loads. Independently, people all over Santa Clara County chose the one viewing area they knew to be the best. The good people working at Lick Observatory did not sanction this event; it just happened. While most of us that night may have been unsophisticated in the night sky, two points were a given: First, Halley’s Comet was worth seeing, and second, Lick Observatory was the best place to view it unobscured, since it was soon to leave our field of view and not return for another 75 years. I am certain that no one drove down the mountain that night disappointed. Mars was gorgeous, too, if memory serves me correctly.

When touring the Lick facility, with its beautiful observatory buildings, the guide will probably tell you there are 365 curves in the road, one for every day of the year. True, it’s not the easiest road to drive, but can you imagine doing it on horseback or in a wagon? Once there, it’s an amazing sight. I remember looking east from atop this vantage point some years ago, clearly seeing the snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada range, about 130 miles away. Instantly, that image was indelibly captured in my mind’s eye. And while there is an old photograph that was taken from Mt. Hamilton of the Sierra Nevada range on display inside the visitors’ center, it’s the night-time work that goes on there that is, well, stellar. Just a very few of the discoveries at Lick are moons of Jupiter, asteroids, and planet systems, and now Lick scientists are using the first ever robotic telescope to find planets near stars close to earth. (http://news.ucsc.edu/2014/03/apf-telescope.html)

Lick Observatory is a jewel, physically, and metaphorically. It is the vista I seek every time I am a few blocks away from my home in my urban neighborhood in San Jose, and can look out to see the Diablo Range, and specifically, the highest point capped with white domes. The history of the observatory is fascinating. The science is top-notch. What I find inspirational is that as Silicon Valley is home to thinkers and scientists working on the most minute of scales, with computer designs smaller and operations faster, thinkers and scientists at Lick Observatory use the same precision to make discoveries in the largest of fields, our solar system and universe. It is fitting that San Jose, and Santa Clara Valley, be called “home” to the industry of science representing both scales of exploration.

I know that other sources of funding are being explored and ascertained by business and government leaders, and as a citizen, I urge you to keep this monument to history, science, and our future, fully operational. There are ways we can all help. Below I’ve added a few links so you can see for yourself this historic, remarkable facility that continues to do fabulous work.

If you’re a history buff, or if you just like a good tale, you’ll enjoy reading about the man, James Lick. There’s intrigue in this bio; he survived a storm at sea in South America only to be taken prisoner, and then made his escape. There’s a lot of talk of gold, and some of heartbreak, and idiosyncrasies (Lick had trees planted upside-down!), and chocolate, Domingo Ghiradelli’s chocolate, to be exact. James Lick figures prominently in the gorgeous Conservatory of Flowers open today in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. He almost had a giant pyramid built, but thankfully, science won that argument and the observatory came into being. Go to:
http://collections.ucolick.org/archives_on_line/James_Lick.html

Click on the following link for fabulous photos: http://collections.ucolick.org/archives_on_line/bldg_the_obs.html

If you live in the area or are planning a trip, you can hear some great music this summer at 4,200 feet. The “Music of the Spheres” Concert series, held annually each summer, gives you two great reasons to visit Lick Observatory. Not only do you get to enjoy a concert, you will also observe through the Great Lick Refractor and the Nickel Reflector. Go to : http://www.ucolick.org/public/music.html

Lick Observatory offers another wonderful program each summer. You can observe through both the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and the Nickel 40-inch Reflecting Telescope. Also, you will hear two speakers who will present programs even if the clouds or fog prohibit viewing. Check the web site for further information and to buy tickets, which are very reasonably priced. The Summer Visitors Program information is found at: http://www.ucolick.org/public/sumvispro.html

Whether you can get to Lick Observatory or not, you can help save it. Click on the link below to join “Friends of Lick Observatory.” http://www.ucolick.org/public/friends/index.html

Or, you can go to this page to: Make a donation; Get the address of UC President Janet Napolitano so you, too, can write to her; and Get the address of the UC Regents to send them some mail. But here’s what I really love — Lick Observatory wants to hear from you. Do you have any ideas to save this treasure? Click on: http://www.ucolick.org/SaveLick/help_save_lick.html

Thanks, folks.

Kathy Galgano
April 24, 2014

 

 

 

Slow Cookin’ Turkey Lurkey Blues

My dinner guests are hungry
They’ve come from near ‘n far
but If I don’t platter this birdie soon
They just might leave me in scars

I’ve got the slow cookin’ turkey
Slow-cookin’ turkey-lurkey blues.

The mashed potata’s are wow
Desserts are sweet and fine
But without that bird and gravy now
I’m apt to just hear whines

I’ve got the slow cookin’ turkey
Slow-cookin’ turkey-lurkey blues

The coals’ so hot they’re white
Please throw your firey heat
And cook my little turkey bird
So everyone can eat!

I’ve got the slow cookin’ turkey
Slow-cookin’ turkey-lurkey blues

Well two and two are four
And four and four are eight
But I have twenty guests who are
A knockin’ at my gate

I’ve got the slow cookin’ turkey
Slow-cookin’ turkey-lurkey blues

The sun’s behind the clouds
Oh man! It’s gonna rain
Looks like I’ll have to use
My neighbor’s oven once again

I’ve got the slow cookin’ turkey
Slow-cookin’ turkey-lurkey blues

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Kathy Galgano

November 28, 2013

Honoring Our Vets

When Dad and my uncles and aunts sat around a table or in yard chairs on summer days when we were kids, they talked about family and growing up in the “good old days” and Italian food and friends. Memories of the “good old days” usually did not include recollections of World War II, even though the youngest three brothers in a family of five boys and three girls served abroad at the same time. If one of the three youngest brothers did share a war-time story, it was a humorous anecdote.

Sometimes after supper, Dad would sit in front of a shortwave radio in the living room with a pad of paper and a pen in his hand, and transcribe the audible beeps that he heard into dots and dashes on the paper. After a while, Dad would look up and show us his work, and read aloud the code that sounded like musical gibberish to me. What always amazed me was the next part, when he read the message out loud, in actual words. Sometimes he would interrupt his own retelling of the message and say, “I didn’t get that word,” but most of the message was repeated, dot and dash, letter for letter, word for word. My lasting impression wasn’t that the messages were very interesting, but that these rapid tones actually meant something.

Dad served as a radioman on the USS Endicott, a Naval destroyer, and that’s why, two decades later, he could transcribe these messages at home. I know he sailed into a lot of ports around the world, and on one occasion he just missed meeting cousins in Italy when family members he had never seen received word that one of their own was on leave on their soil. His ship pulled anchor before they could reach him, though.

I know, too, that Dad bought a large bunch of bananas back to the ship while on one of his shore leaves, and his compatriots desperately tried to coax a piece of fruit off him. Dad refused. “Get your own bananas,” he told them. How he enjoyed this fresh treat. I also know that he learned how to shoot craps and even explained the game to us kids, though I never quite got the hang of it other than the part when you exclaim, “Baby needs a new pair of shoes!” as you let the dice fly out of your hand. And I know a few other stories, but not many.

One time, when I was all grown up, married and living across country, my parents flew out to see us and spend time with their young grandchildren. Dad and I were staining the deck in the backyard, and we talked about his Navy days a little bit. I remember saying that he never really told us what it was like; I knew that his ship escorted the fleet for the Invasion of Southern France. He stopped and looked at me, the paint brush in the air, and grew quiet. He was silent for several long moments. Then he said to me, “The sea was red.”

That should have been enough, but I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. The kids were calling me from inside the house. I repeated what I thought he had said on that summer’s morning. “The sea was red?”

The paintbrush that he had dipped in stain moments before still hung in his hand, though none of the stain was dripping onto the wood. He was an expert painter. Dad looked at me and said one word more. “Blood.”

And then he turned his head back to the deck and continued on with his work.

Kathy Galgano

Veterans Day – November 11, 2013

Bruised By Shutdown, But Still Chuckling

I’ve been having a little trouble jumping into thoughts of whimsy these past few days; the shutdown has left me tired and bruised. Yesterday I nursed a headache, and today I tried to write something humorous, but it wasn’t forthcoming. This isn’t to say there hasn’t been humor – on the contrary, there have been many a smile generated by this mess. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief that political pundits barraged my Inbox with requests for contributions, for instance, while each passing day, things just worsened. Was this a joke? I was supposed to hand over money to a cause supporting a politician when the politicians got us into this mess in the first place?* It’s a sad commentary, I grant you, but there’s humor in it. Nope, nice try! My purse strings stayed closed. You have to give ‘em points for shameless spunk, though, right?

Here’s another one. On the morning after the shutdown ended, I read a request by an organization under President Obama’s name to petition Congress to get to work on the immigration bill because, the request said, “my voice counted.” Naturally, the request was followed by the customary appeal for money. Now I had just heard the President on the news, twice!, say: “… all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict.…”** Had somebody not turned on the news that day? The irony of it continues to make me shake my head in disbelief. No problem. Sure, I’ll support an important issue through an organization where people are paid to stir-up reaction and create action under the President’s name right now! Oh, and I’ll send you money, too! I’m so happy the President wants you to do this, even though he just said that nobody is to listen to this kind of thing. The image conjured to mind was the scene from The Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Here’s the person who is really going to laugh – the one who is hired by political groups to write memos to tell them what’s in the news!

 

*NOTE: Yea, I know what you’re thinking. It wasn’t all the politicians who drove us into this, right? Well, the fact remains that the 113th Congress is comprised of two full chambers of elected representatives and so, ultimately, it’s the 113th Congress’ combined fault.

**Read the President’s remarks here: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/10/obama-hits-bloggers-radio-talking-heads-who-profit-175330.html  “Obama hits bloggers, radio ‘talking heads’ who ‘profit from conflict’” By Dylan Byers, October 17, 2013

Kathy Galgano

October 19, 2013

WELL, THEY’RE BACK. DO YOU WANT AN APOLOGY, TOO? – DAY AFTER SHUTDOWN ENDS

We’ve been locked in a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told a Cincinnati radio station. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.*

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, you not only “just didn’t win.” Your sixteen day experiment caused great damage. Your sixteen day experiment caused us to lose, and to say, “We fought the good fight” is disrespectful, patronizing and the poorest choice of words possible. How about an apology to the citizens of the United States for starters? It’s as though now that this “inconvenience” is over, there’s an “Oh, well…” attitude, with perhaps a moment to let the end of the shutdown sink in, and then it’s on to business as usual.

And in the meantime, the rest of the country is looking at the new date just after the holidays, and one can’t help but wonder if a shutdown is going to happen again, right when the holiday bills are due. So, do we spend generously this Christmas, or worry that another shutdown looms?  From the same Washington Post article quoted above, we have this recap of the bill that was passed last night:

“Meanwhile, federal agencies are funded through Jan. 15, when they might shut down again unless lawmakers resolve a continuing dispute over deep automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.”*

And then there’s the default issue again. From the same article:

“Enforcement of the debt limit is suspended until Feb. 7, setting up another confrontation over the national debt sometime in March, independent analysts estimated.”*

The thought remains in the forefront of our collective mind, “Is the United States of America going to partake in these shenanigans again?”

While I write, and all this swirls in my mind, I hear President Obama on the radio.

 “Now that the government is reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do — and that’s grow this economy.”**

“Need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers….” I’m a blogger. Hey, the President is talking about me! At first, I was incredulous. Do I understand this statement correctly? President Obama does not believe that my concerns are legitimate because I represent them in a blog? It’s okay for me to write a letter, but just not publish my thoughts?

Then I had an amusing thought; I had no idea that my individual campaign to draw attention to the ramifications of the government shutdown, including my pleas to elected representatives to tell me what I can do to help, is in a class of activism that precludes anyone from focusing on growing the economy. And just for the record, the only profit I’ve taken is a bit of personal satisfaction that I have done something, but clearly not enough, to bring attention to this shutdown and to end it, to contact my government representatives, to talk about the problems and the positive points, and yes, the negative ones, too, to attempt to remain civil in tone, and to try not to lose too much sleep with worry. Oh, and I also derived satisfaction when my “Stats” page indicated that somebody else, somewhere, read my posts. It’s strange, of course, but I had no idea the President believes I wield so much power.

My point is that ramifications to the shutdown continue; there are large economic issues at stake, and personal ones. Plus, I don’t think the government can expect everybody to forget what they’ve been subjected to because Congress members got to work and struck a deal. Frankly, I feel that collectively, we’ve been put through the wringer. I feel that way, anyway.

But you may not want to pay attention to anything I write, because, well, I’m a blogger and the President says you should stop focusing on me.

*The Washington Post, “Obama Signs Bill To Raise Debt Limit, Reopen Government,” by Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, Published: October 16, 2013  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-effort-to-end-fiscal-crisis-collapses-leaving-senate-to-forge-last-minute-solution/2013/10/16/1e8bb150-364d-11e3-be86-6aeaa439845b_story.html?hpid=z1?wpisrc=al_special

**Here’s a link to the President’s quote, (although I heard it on National Public Radio news): http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/10/obama-hits-bloggers-radio-talking-heads-who-profit-175330.html  “Obama hits bloggers, radio ‘talking heads’ who ‘profit from conflict’” By Dylan Byers, October 17, 2013

Kathy Galgano

October 17, 2013

To Hell In A Hand Basket – Day Sixteen of Shutdown

“So, the mortgage [or rent] is due, but for sixteen days, nobody’s worked. Hmmm. What happens if I can’t pay?

You really don’t want to be the doc telling your patient the devastating news that he or she has cancer. There is a bit of a bright spot, however, because at least there’s an appropriate clinical drug trial that just might help. But oh yeah, even though the cells are multiplying like crazy, the treatment’s off limits because the government says so.

Federal courts have enough funds to continue until the end of this week. Then each Federal court will have to decide what’s essential; most likely, “essential” doesn’t cover civil cases at all. And, if you’re in the jury pool and actually serve, don’t expect to be compensated until this mess is over.

If you have been waiting for your green card, you better dig in your heels because the wait just got longer.

It’s Okay, Kids. Mommy’s not worried that our WIC money to buy food will go away in a few weeks. Everything’s going to be fine. Just fine.

Oh well, most of the people who inspect the food aren’t working anyway. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the government has stopped U.S. food inspections overseas.

But the little one may not be able to go to her Head Start school.

Here’s some more non-essential stuff “With two-thirds of personnel sent home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East. The FDA has halted the review and approval of new medical products and drugs. Nearly all staff at the National Science Foundation has been furloughed, and new scientific research grants are not being issued.” (NY Daily News, October 14, 2013*)

In case you like to get ready for Christmas and Hanukkah a little early, here’s an uplifting bit: “The Consumer Product Safety Commission is no longer screening products at ports of entry to prevent potentially dangerous ones from reaching store shelves, such as children’s products containing excessive levels of lead.” (New York Daily News, October 13, 2013*. Merry Christmas.

Just in case there’s a problem with the car, auto recalls are on hold. You can still file a complaint, of course, but don’t expect anybody to look at it.

Here’s something that really instills a lot of confidence. The Guardian** reports: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission closed most of its operations on Thursday, though on-site inspectors will remain on the job and the government says it will handle any immediate safety or security issues.” Are they kidding? We’re expected to trust that the NRC will be able to handle problems while employing a skeleton crew, and that the government is going to keep us safe? Has the government been paying any attention at all to what it is doing? I’m speechless.

Oh, but here’s something that’s still working: “The more than 12 million people who requested automatic extensions on their spring tax return must still file their returns, which are due on Tuesday.” (The Guardian, Monday, October 14, 2013.)**

I can’t make this stuff up. You know what they say, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Here are my sources:

*New York Daily News, AP, October 13, 2013, SHUTDOWN IMPACT: 13 Days after the federal government closed, affects are felt across many agencies: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/shutdown-impact-13-days-federal-government-closed-affects-felt-man-article-1.1484061

**The Guardian, October 14, 2013 by Amanda Holpuch, “US Government Shutdown: which agencies are next to run out of money?” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/14/government-shutdown-closures-money

Kathy Galgano

October 16, 2013

Letters to Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer – Day Fifteen of Shutdown

(NOTE: I emailed this letter to both Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer representing California, and I also emailed a similar letter to Representative Lofgren.)

Dear Senator:

I realize I have written numerous letters to you. As long as this shutdown continues, I will continue to work from my vantage point in my kitchen to end it.

Is my kitchen grassroots campaign having an impact? To a few readers, perhaps it is, but to the country and our elected representatives, probably not. However, I must do what I can because this shutdown is utter madness. And in a broader perspective, I am trying to prove to young people that one person makes a difference, that one vote matters, and that there is still respect in the world (though I admit that yesterday’s blog posting was much stronger in tone.)

Here is a letter I just sent to Vice President Biden. It contains my message to Congress, and a plea from me.

Kathy Galgano

Dear Mr. Vice President:

I have been posting a daily blog about the shutdown. Yesterday I implored my readers to send invoices to Congress for reimbursement of money Congress has denied them, such as salaries and lost business revenues.

What causes me the most angst, however, is the collective attitude of Congress. (I have stopped calling congressional members “leaders” or “officials,” as I do not believe they are embodying the qualities inherent in leaders representing constituents in a democratic republic. I invite you to read my post.

https://kathygalgano.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/there-is-no-distinctly-american-criminal-class-except-congress-mark-twain-day-fourteen-of-shutdown/

Mr. Vice President, I urge you to relay to this body that I, as a voter, am most ashamed of their behavior and their collective attitude, because not only is the 113th Congress failing to do the business of the United States, it is failing to responsibly represent the United States in a global economy.

Thank you, Sir.

Kathleen Galgano

Letter to Vice President Biden – Day Fifteen of Shutdown

Dear Mr. Vice President:

I have been posting a daily blog about the shutdown. Yesterday I implored my readers to send invoices to Congress for reimbursement of money Congress has denied them, such as salaries and lost business revenues.

What causes me the most angst, however, is the collective attitude of Congress. (I have stopped calling congressional members “leaders” or “officials,” as I do not believe they are embodying the qualities inherent in leaders representing constituents in a democratic republic. I invite you to read my post.

https://kathygalgano.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/there-is-no-distinctly-american-criminal-class-except-congress-mark-twain-day-fourteen-of-shutdown/

Mr. Vice President, I urge you to relay to this body that I, as a voter, am most ashamed of their behavior and their collective attitude, because not only is the 113th Congress failing to do the business of the United States, it is failing to responsibly represent the United States in a global economy.

Thank you, Sir.

Kathleen Galgano

Kathy Galgano

October 15, 2013

“There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.” Mark Twain – Day Fourteen of Shutdown

After Fourteen Days of pondering this mess, what comes back to me time and again is not just that Congress has shut down business, and killed the paychecks of tens of thousands of employees, and hurt families as well as local economies, and put the kibosh on scientific research, and turned its collective back on people who need help the most, and even gotten the head of the IMF to say that if we don’t do something right now, the world could slide into another recession.* At least I can wrap my head around that part of this mess because I can see the damage the shutdown is causing. Just this weekend a friend told me of a conversation he had with a disgruntled TSA agent at an airport; this security employee was supposed to have received a paycheck. And I shake my head in deep sadness and shame when I read that someone can’t start a cancer trial right now. This whole mess is one long nightmare and gets worse with every ticking second.

What comes to me is that every time I hear a Congress member** interviewed on the news, I get this unnerving fleeting twinge of something in my gut. I think it’s just that I can’t expect the news to get worse, and yet it does, but I know deep down that’s not it. What unsettles me is that I’m fed up with the attitudes of our congressional members.

Every time I hear somebody say something like, “I don’t know how much we can do,” or “It’s all about the other side,” or “We’ll see what happens,” or, “I need them to…,” or even something like, “I think we can get around to something by Thursday,” I cringe. These people, these men and women elected to Congress, are the only people who can do something about this mess. If they were in school, the teachers would be sending emails home and making phone calls because of destructive, non-caring attitudes. I would never hire a person who can’t put his or her best foot forward and articulate an outcome and then work to achieve it, in a positive fashion. No professor or high school teacher would be satisfied with the work of the current 113th Congress if the job at hand were to be graded as a class group project. They’d fail miserably.

When I hear these sound bites, it’s like people have all the time in the world and it doesn’t matter if congressional members negotiate and solve the issue today or tomorrow or ever. Heck, Congress is getting paid; that’s the law. (There’s an online petition circulating which I have signed; it demands that congress members be stricken of their pay during the shutdown. It’s a great show of force for the public and I urge you to sign it, but know that congressional salaries will remain.)

What also gets to me is that congressional members (as a body, not necessarily individually) not only feel like they are under no critical deadline, they just don’t care, again, as a body, and that is what’s causing most of my angst.

Well I care. And I think the public should start sending invoices to Congress for lost wages and for lost business and for all the economic resources lost to citizens because of this stupid business. Yes, my language is getting stronger. I still caution my readers to maintain respect to the institution of the United States and to use verbiage that gets to the point without dropping to the level of disrespect. As I always say, somebody has to take the high road here and be a role model to kids. It might as well be us.

* I watched NBC’s Meet The Press yesterday, October 13, 2013. Here’s what the Washington Post wrote:

 “IMF Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a failure by the United States to make scheduled payments to investors “would mean massive disruption the world over. And we would be at risk of tipping yet again into a recession.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-leaders-begin-to-negotiate-as-other-efforts-to-end-impasse-crumble/2013/10/13/498f4202-341a-11e3-8a0e-4e2cf80831fc_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop

** (I refuse to call Congress members “leaders” or “officials” right now.)

Kathy Galgano

October 14, 2013