Friday, April 4, 2008

What Makes Me Cranky

On the day Muslim fanatics flew planes into the world trade center, the pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, I was at home. The dotcom I had been working for was belly up, and while I was looking for a new marketing exec position, I hadn’t found anything. That whole day, and in the days that followed, I was glued to the television, like most of America.

As the days and weeks passed, I did return to a normal life, but with some differences. I volunteered more, started to consider new career choices, and the TV in the kitchen was always on and tuned to a 24 hour news station. Subconsciously I think I felt that if craziness could rain down from the sky at any moment, I needed to be vigilant.

Before long, my husband started to notice that I was often tense and cranky when he came home. I would start in immediately to tell him all the idiotic things I had heard on the news that day. Blatantly biased opinions presented as news; obviously suspect statistical studies presented without the least whiff of skepticism; stories design to make people afraid, to buy things they didn’t need, and give up stuff that wasn’t doing any harm. The list was pretty endless.

After a few months of that, I instituted a new policy. Syndicated reruns are now the only thing on the TV during the day. Since my new career is as a writer and fiber artist, I find I like having the background noise of the TV to keep me (and the dog) company. But reruns of Law & Order and ER do just fine.

The funny thing is I still find things that bug me. So, in order to spare my husband from my rants, here are a couple of things making me cranky lately.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­People were actually booing the President of the United States when he walked out onto the field at the National’s new stadium to throw out the first pitch on opening day (night). This is bugging me on a couple of levels. First off, I was always taught that even if you didn’t respect the person, you had to respect the position. This meant being civil and saving dissent for appropriate times. I still think that’s a good rule. The world needs a whole lot more civility. Second, the president was there to celebrate our national pastime of baseball and a new stadium for our nation’s capital. Why did people have to mar that moment with their political statement?

The Federal Election Commission is now defunct because 100 politicians refuse to do their job. The FEC is supposed to have a total of six commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Currently there are only two serving commissioners, and these both have expired terms. Because they were previously approved by the Senate, the rules allow them to continue to serve until new commissioners have been appointed and confirmed. Three additional individuals have been appointed (more than two years ago) but are not yet confirmed. These three served as recess appointees for two years, but their terms expired at the end of December. One more resigned in February 2007, and a replacement has not been nominated. That’s a real problem since the commission’s own rules require four members be present at any meeting to establish a quorum.

Since the end of 2007, The FEC has been unable to conduct any official business. On the one hand, I am furious to be paying the salary of a bunch of Senators who are unwilling to sit down in a room and do their job – that is give an up or down vote on these nominees. On the other hand, the primary purpose of the FEC is to regulate the financing of federal election campaigns. Since I view a good part of the regulations (especially McCain/Feingold) as unconstitutional, maybe it is OK that these commissioners have their hands tied.

I could go on… and probably will in future posts. But tell me, what’s making you cranky?

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