I have yet to read all of the contents, but one thing I did notice is that the proposal for federal employees to “contribute” more to their pensions is really a giveback of salary (because of the operation of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund). I guess “Third Way” got its way in part (1.2% rather than 5.8%). But knowing how this town works another time that the media whips up the public about federal employees, watch for the so-called contribution to increase. [With all of the givebacks and pay freezes, federal salaries may never keep up with the cost of living in this expensive country.]
Will the plan get a majority vote and get a expedited vote in Congress? I do not know. Maybe some of the very bitter provisions can be tolerated if (very big “if”) every income class participates in addressing the lack of revenue problem.
The Obama Administration provides a statement to Congress, section-by-section analysis, and text of the bill at the White House website.(http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/12/message-president-congress-sectional-analysis-and-text-american-jobs-act)
A decade ago, September 11, 2001, the day was at first a very beautiful late-summer day. I was downtown in an office. As I started to work (about 8:45), I noticed that I could not get on the Internet. The management of the business did not inform the employees of any external problems, and so I figured something was wrong with the company’s Internet connection. It was not until mid-morning that a colleague had said planes had hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I later found out that the Pentagon was struck by an airplane as well. There were rumors that another plane was in the air heading for another target, rumors of other places that were hit, and other confusing rumors.
It was an unusual feeling; the workday was over. I was able to get in touch with family (some of whom lived in the New York City metropolitan area), and I e-mailed friends who had just moved to the New York City area (they were fine).
Later in the morning, I was able to get on the Internet and was able to see the terrible extent of the damage done by the airplane hijackers that day—people jumping out of the top floors of the burning World Trade Center towers to certain death, damage to the Pentagon, a plane crash in Pennsylvania, workers at the Capitol running out of its buildings. Rumors lessened and facts increased. I was dismissed from work at about 1:00 p.m.
When I left the office, the roads were tranquil. (I had missed the earlier traffic jams as people sought to leave the city at the same time.) As I took the subway (basically empty), I was able to see the smoke from the Pentagon from the windows of the subway car.
Ten years on, many things have happened, yet I still remember the events of that day relatively clearly.
Deficit Committee: Sunlight Foundation, Half in Ten Publish Information about Members of Deficit Panel
I think that it is beneficial to get as much information about the politicians elected to represent the citizens of the United States. I have used information from the Open Secrets website to see the net worth of the members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (JCDR) and other members of Congressional leadership.
Now the Sunlight Foundation has added another piece of information on fundraisers; the website, www.halfinten.org, has published demographic information about the congressional districts of the individual members of the JCDR.
In an attempt to become comfortable speaking in Spanish, I watch several programs on Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network. I have found that it is difficult to learn a new language without hearing it spoken regularly. Also, I would like to develop the ability to think in a second language. Right now, I think and speak English primarily, But I would like to become more proficient in Spanish. As I speak very beginner Spanish right now, my thinking in English hinders me in speaking Spanish. However, I can write Spanish with a little more ease (though with more of an English sentence order).
As I am in the mode of learning a second language, I think it is a great idea that Telemundo has placed English translations of its evening shows during the week on CC3. Some of the programs I enjoy most are “Caso Cerrado”, “Decisiones Extremas”, and a fair number of the telenovelas (previously “La Reina del Sur” and now “La Casa de al Lado”).
After watching the network for several months, I can pick up on the high points of the dialogue without having to look at the screen sometimes. Sometimes I understand the spoken words better with my own literal translation than the English translation. Other times I learn something (for example, there’s a saying in Spanish “poner sus pantalones”, which literally means “to put on your pants”, but it really means something like “take responsibility” or “man up” (this CC3 translation made me chuckle as I read it.)).
But overall, as a learner of Spanish as a second language, I am still very much a novice because if asked something in Spanish my immediate reaction would be something in English. If I had time to think about it, I would be able to respond. I want to learn the Spanish verb conjugations and more vocabulary, but I am realizing that there may be no substitute for just speaking Spanish more often. I have found that people who speak Spanish have been very patient (and pleased) with my beginning, heavily American-accented Spanish (which encourages me to keep learning)).
I would hope that at some time in the future I would be able to travel to a Spanish-speaking country (just for the experience); the thought is intriguing.