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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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The Story of the Year

By on February 12, 2014 in See It Here, The Way I See It, Writing

The year comes to an end so every channel, radio station, magazine gives us a year in review with a list of the people we lost and some even try to tell us The Top 10 Most Important Stories (yes, the caps are mine) and it’s all done to maybe teach a lesson but more to quietly say, “a lot of stuff happened.”

The story of 2013 is the lack of trust in government and there’s good reason for this being Number One (number one-number one-number one….)–OK, if you didn’t listen to jingles on Top 40 radio stations, you have no idea what I was doing there.

Congress has an approval rating in the single digits and I’d be curious to see a few interviews with 277 people in the country who say they did a good job. For those making lists, it only passed 65 laws and that includes renaming a few post offices. The previous Congress (the 112th if you like numbers) passed 63 pieces of legislation (and no, I can’t tell you the number of post offices that were renamed that year).

Think about it: Harry Truman looked at the 80th Congress at the end of 1947 and called it the “do nothing Congress” and those guys passed 395 rules. Now House Speaker John Boehner may have a point defending his work in the House saying don’t judge a Congress by how many laws it makes but, rather, how few laws it makes. That goes along the lines of the “government -can’t-do-anything-or-shouldn’t-do-anything” logic. My problem with this is only that ideas for laws should at least get the chance for a vote, instead of sitting in a committee someplace because a few don’t want it to see the light of day—or any of the rest of us to see it. Yes, those horrible Democrats do the same thing. Heck, they wouldn’t allow a vote on the 46 measures to repeal Obamacare. The shame.

So by doing nothing, and having a government shutdown, it’s pretty easy to see why America thinks Congress is filled with a bunch of clowns who still call their political enemies “my good friend from (fill in the blank where their good friend is from). That’s complete theater–they aren’t friends. They’re playing games and do it extremely well. The result is distrust from the rest of us.

Yep that’s the story of the year. I think it beats out the fact Justin Bieber wants to retire (though I dont trust him to really do that….)
December 17, 2013

Some years back, my wife and I attended a concert at Wolf Trap outside Washington D.C. to see Joe Walsh—the guitar player, not the tea party clown from Illinois.

While he was in the instrumental of the classic “Life’s Been Good,” a much younger girl in front of me handed me her camera and said “take a photo of me with Joe playing.” Let’s just say that’s not the moment to ask a favor of a Joe Walsh aficionado. I handed it back and said, “enjoy the moment.” She started in with a few “Well, F’you’s” though it was hard to hear among everyone singing—and with Joe’s amp turned up.

I thought about this when all the hoopla started about President Obama getting a “selfie” with British Prime Minister Cameron and his wife at the Mandela funeral. To his credit, he wasn’t the one who wanted it (Cameron’s wife did) but that wasn’t a moment for stuff like that.

I have long wondered if there’s anything worthwhile in this “it’s all about me” society being seen every day? Vanity plates have long been thought of as showing one’s need to say “look at me” though shrinks have said it shows a high degree of feeling inferior. Social media lets us tell eachother that we’re standing in line at Starbucks on a Tuesday in Norfolk waiting to get a latte which—allow me to be a critic here—means absolutely nothing to anyone in the world, besides the guy standing in line. I may be missing something here but just because one can send a tweet or an email doesn’t mean there’s any reason to do so….unless it’s about you, of course.

I don’t get it and if there’s something to get, I hope I never do. Oh my…three “I”s in one sentence.

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