Thursday, October 3, 2013

#capitol #dc #lockdown

#capitol #dc #lockdown

#capitol #dc #lockdown

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 12:41 PM PDT

Photo by Instagram user @beba_black_pepper

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#dc #shooting #capitolhill

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 12:34 PM PDT

Capitol Hill shooting #dc #shooting #capitolhill

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In love with Santa Barbara

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 08:03 AM PDT

Every year I head to Santa Barbara, CA for a huge convention called Commission Junction University (CJU). It takes place at the Bacara Resort and Spa, a spectacular five-star, beachfront property tucked away in Goleta.


Every single year I think to myself, "this can't possibly be work!" Sure I have meetings all day, but our evening events have a backdrop that looks like this.


One of my clients hosted a party that included a ride on the Santa Barbara Land Shark (Land & Sea Tours) that took us around the city and into the ocean. To top it all off, (my team) won Advertiser of the Year at the CJ|You Awards.

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Posted: 03 Oct 2013 07:51 AM PDT

even a toddler knows what's right

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Furloughed Feds Give Back

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 06:48 AM PDT

I'm a federal employee, and have been for 10 years. I'm also the Co-President of the Boston chapter of Young Government Leaders, an organization for aspiring young government leaders. I feel that sometimes people forget that we are an educated, passionate, and committed workforce. We went to college, and many of us graduated with advanced degrees. We didn't get into government for the money. We didn't end up in government because of a lack of other opportunities, we chose it. We decided to be part of something bigger than we are, fostered with a dedication to public service; a passion to improve the world in which we live.
This latest debate stirs is the old, and in my opinion ignorant, argument that we're lazy and overpaid. I mean the words "non-essential" explicitly depict us as useless. For those of us who love what we do, and believe in our agency missions, this is extremely frustrating. Working for the government we have to fight against the stereotypes associated with that work; a daily battle against the viewpoint "good enough for government work."

We are contributing members of society; many of us are first time homeowners, starting families, beginning our careers. Like the rest of Americans, we have bills to pay, rents, mortgages, car payments, student loan debt, etc. For the majority of young federal employees, this shutdown is crippling financially, the ripple effects of which will be felt for a long time. We are proud, and the idea of applying for government assistance now feels a little like a failure.

I know we will survive this. In the meantime, yesterday some of us decided to put our unwarranted time off to good use. A group of furloughed young government employees, working for different agencies, volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank. With other volunteers we spent hours sorting meats which will feed thousands of families in the Greater Boston area. We are public servants, and we will continue to improve the world around us.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

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Not just federal employees affected

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 05:37 AM PDT

This is what visitors from all over the world who travel to our national treasure Yellowstone Park see upon arriving.  How much did that trip cost them?  What you also don't hear about on the news is the collateral damage to all the small local businesses surrounding the parks.  We have encountered empty shops and restaurants, and small town folks wondering how they will survive with no income from tourists.  I am sick of the republican house pretending to help 'the people' - that's a bunch of nonsense. They are hurting millions with this shutdown, the fed employees are only part of the story. 

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Tragedy of a Federal Employee

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 04:42 AM PDT

I work for a federal agency in Washington, DC, and was proud of my job until today when I realize that I am not an essential part of the federal government. I have served my country with every respect whenever it was needed. I was one of the first civilian responder doing the air quality monitoring for months in and around "Ground Zero" after the horrific tragedy on September 11, 2001. I was involved doing the environmental monitoring and reporting after most the recent environmental disaster like Deep Water Horizon BP Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Sandy etc. I never did realize that my job does not have any value for the country and I am not an essential part of the government until today. Everybody is talking about military families. With all the due respect to the military families my question to congress and White House "What about my family?" Like most of the american families I live pay-check to pay-check. My first pay-check of the month goes for my daughter college expenses and second one goes for my mortgage payment. The option I have right now is, either stop paying my daughter's college dues or my mortgage. I do not know when congress and White House will behave like a grown up, and take care of the country raising above their own interest and political agenda of their own party. If I do not do my job with satisfaction I will loose my job. When approval rating of the congress is less than 10% is not it time for them to get fire? Tragedy is, still they are getting paid, but poor guy like me who did more than 100% in his job is not getting paid.

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This is NOT a vacation!

Posted: 03 Oct 2013 04:23 AM PDT

I am a Federal employee and am absolutely terrified about what this shutdown means for me and my family. People who suggest that we're somehow on a vacation are delusional. With no idea how long the shutdown will last or when a next full paycheck will come, I am holed up in my house afraid to spend a penny. But I want to be clear that I support the Affordable Care Act and taking away my family's income, no matter how long, is not going to make me stop believing that everyone deserves the dignity of access to quality health insurance they can afford. What it will do, is make me stop believing in Congress. What is most galling is that members of Congress have access to wonderful health insurance and are getting paid to squabble while the Federal employees and other American workers who depend on Federal funding and programs suffer. I want to go back to work and I want to do so without the ACA being betrayed. Members of Congress, get your act together and figure this out!

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'Why Would We Want to Do That?'

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 09:55 PM PDT

Anyone  being objective knows that the Republican Party has had a problem with  messaging for the past few years. It is not necessarily the message  which the GOP is trying to present, but rather it is that the party's  candidates, spokespersons and elected officials seem to be ignorant of  how to communicate that message in a winning way.

This  has been evident in the past couple of national elections. But even in  local elections within Congressional Districts and Senate races,  Republicans have had a habit of saying the wrong thing, the wrong way.  It has cost the party greatly.

Today the shoe is on the other foot.

Senate  Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat and Senior Senator from Nevada,  stepped in it. Actually he didn't just step in it, but ground his boots  into it and swirled it around for good measure.

It  all happened when CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash  questioned Reid earlier in the afternoon before the unexpected meeting  between President Barack Obama and leadership of both parties in  Congress at the White House. Dash was asking questions about how  Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives were going about a  strategy of getting the government back to working by passing piecemeal  legislation to fund individual agencies and functions. Dash wanted to  know if Reid would allow a Senate vote and vote himself for such  legislation.

It  became testy when Dash became specific and asked Reid if the Senate  would follow the lead of the House and vote to fund the NIH (National  Institute of Health). At issue in particular was opening the doors to  allow children with cancer to receive treatment and participate in test  trials.

Reid  lost it and the messaging war when he angrily answered a follow-up by  Dash when she asked him if he would vote for the NIH funding if it meant  one child might be helped.

Reid's response?

"Why, why, why would we want to do that?"

Yes,  I know the Senator didn't mean it to come across the way it did. Yes, I  know that Reid cares about the lives of American children. Yes, I know  Reid had more to say than that. But it is those nine words which will  haunt the Majority Leader.

Reid is one of the three most powerful persons in the US of A along with President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

For Reid to lose his temper, as the exchange and video clearly shows (,  ranks right up there with those OOPs! moments and dumb speak that one  usually associates with GOP candidates when talking about women's issues  and rape.

Reid,  as the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate and able to decide  what legislation comes up for a vote by his fellow Senators or languish  in the in-box, came across as living up to the moniker which I have  given him over the last three years - Obstructor-in-Chief.

Reid sets the tone and is, next to the President and Vice President Joe Biden, the voice of the Democratic Party.

This  was not his finest hour and one which may cost him and his fellow  Democrats dearly as this standoff over a continuing resolution to fully  fund the government wears on. Reid's outburst and tone, indicating a  lack of sympathy and an unwillingness to save the life of a child with  cancer, will be used by Republicans to deny Reid the higher ground as  the budget war continues.

From  the Cornfield, we expect more from our senior elected officials. A man  in the position Reid is in should know better than to engage his mouth  before his brain is in gear.

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Birthday Salute to Lt. Lawrence

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 06:27 PM PDT

Hi Robin, I want to send a special salute to my brother Lt. Adam Lawrence in time for his birthday on October 5th!

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Non-Essential Daddy

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 05:29 PM PDT

Daddy was told by the government that he was non-essential

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We've done this before!

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 02:59 PM PDT

My husband is a civilian employee for the army & he will not be getting paid during this shutdown. I just went through working overtime all summer after the sequester had his paycheck cut but 20%. Enough is enough--- this sign will be hanging in front of my house as soon as it dries!

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Affect of Shutdown on my Family

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 02:44 PM PDT

I am a USAF employee and the father of a child who is blind, autistic and epileptic. First I am furloughed for one day a week for 6 weeks. We had to spend 2 weeks in Ohio getting her a service dog. I get back to work now I am out of work because of you Republicans. How am I supposed to pay for my daughter's medications? How am I supposed to pay my bills while I sit here at home? We live PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. I have not had a cost of living raise in years. How am I supposed to make ends meet? How am I supposed to pay my bills? How can your Republicans cause a shutdown and do this to my family? Then to top things off one of your fellow Republican congresswomen has the nerve to say she deserves to get paid during this because she is working!!??? How dare you. You have no clue what you are doing to us Federal workers and our families. You are so out of touch with us it is pathetic. Shame on you. Shame on you all. You Republicans need to stop acting like a bunch of spoiled children and get over it...Obamacare is here to stay. I will remember this next election. I will NEVER vote Republican AGAIN. When my daughter has a seizure because we can't afford her pills or I have a diabetic episode and either one of us have to go to the hospital are you going to pay for it? This is a photo of my daughter your stupidity and lack of compassion for the Federal workforce is affecting her.

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Dear lawmakers fighting Obamacare - video

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 01:35 PM PDT

After writing my letter to lawmakers currently battling Obamacare and causing a shutdown, I wanted to share my thoughts in a video.

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Republican Tantrum!

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 01:20 PM PDT

Is it time to put the minority few republicans holding our country hostage into time out? They lost the election, no alt plan, holding US Hostage, and there getting paid to do it!! Logic and Politics do not mix!

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National Park Tour Interruptis!!!

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 12:09 PM PDT

Mom and I have planned this trip for a year and half only to have it come to a dead stop midstream due to the government shutdown.

We have been traveling in a van with my 2 dogs having a ball and then couldn't gain access to Arches National park.

Now... see attached photo!!! Enjoy!

~ Susan and Barbara Laurenzi

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8th Grades Stage Peaceful Protest

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 11:57 AM PDT

My daughter's 8th grade class trip to Washington DC was cancelled for this morning, so the students, along with their Principal Mr. Wise, staged a peaceful March up to the town square to exercise their freedom of speech. Their message to Capitol Hill was simple: FIX THIS! My daughter Victoria Nowak's sign said: Rule number one, play well with others! Local News News Channel 5 covered the story and it's already on their web-site! As a Mom, I'm just very glad they learned something powerful about their fundamental right as a US Citizen: speaking their peace. Despite their dissapointment, they learned about how powerful it is to be a citizen of this great country. Now I just hope the politicians find common ground, for all of our sakes.

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Test Driving the ACA Marketplace Exchange for the Cornfield

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 11:40 AM PDT

My  life partner Iohn and I decided to test drive the marketplace exchange  to check out the health insurance plans being offered and the options  available here in the Cornfield.

While  I'm on Medicare, Iohn is one of those young, uninsured workers which  are necessary to be enrolled in order to ensure the solubility of the  Affordable Care Act's provision for expanding availability of healthcare  insurance to millions of uninsured.

Here is what happened when I went to and selected the State of Indiana from the drop down box.

I  am on the site now for Indiana, which chose not to participate, but  allow the federal government to handle the marketplace exchange. So far  all I am seeing is a screen asking me to wait because too many people  are on the site. I logged onto the site at 1:20 p.m. (ET).

As I  said, I am assisting my life partner, Iohn, check out the plans and  sign-up as required by the law or be taxed for healthcare insurance.  Iohn at 26, nearly 27, is one of those low income, young workers the ACA  must enroll to make the program soluble. Without young people like  Iohn, the ACA fails and fails miserably.

I am wondering how  long I will sit here and be waiting. Young people, who the ACA depends  on signing up to pay for the government program, have very, very short  attention spans and want immediate gratification.

How many younger Americans are going to be willing to leave a browser tab open and wait for the site to respond?

It has been right at 10 minutes now and I am supposedly being connected. is the result after an additional two minutes:

The system is down at the moment. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later.

Of course there is a toll-free number to call and a reference ID number.

So much for trying to check out the plans and options and making a choice of healthcare insurance.

From the Cornfield, stories are being reported across the nation that people are having the same difficulty.

It is apparent that the Department of Health and Human Services was not prepared for the roll out of the exchanges.

Earlier  I did report, based on HHS figures released on healthcare plan costs,  the affordability of the ACA using real dollars and sense of typical  low-income workers in the Hoosier State:

The Unaffordable Care Act - In Dollars and Cents

What  was apparent then is the insurance are anything, but affordable. Sadly  there is no way at the moment as the web site continues to glitch to  confirm or deny this.

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Posted: 02 Oct 2013 11:20 AM PDT

I'm proud of the GOP, they are finally listening to us the hard working blue collar people of the nation, they will still have my vote and everyone i know.
Our government is to big spend way to much money, example: "not too long ago they messed up in printing money, had to throw it all away. what a waste"
thank god the government is feeling the pinch the rest of us normal Americans are feeling. let the whole empire close, cut obama's income to nothing, make him pay the airfare we the Americans have to pay, let him pay for the high gas prices we pay. if the government is broke then they know how we feel every day since obama took office. im a small business owner no help from government, where was my bail out where is my help with employing people.. no where . so i dont feel sorry for all the tax leeches out of a job now they can search for work like the rest of us.. they can enjoy how they are going to pay for obamacare just like the rest of us.
GOP keep it up! if anything please remove the mandated health care part of the law it is nonsense. to force me to buy health insurance if i dont want to buy it. the only thing i like about the health care act is make heath care more accessible and that is a buying pool if i wanted to join... but i dont want to be forced to buy something i cant afford to start with.. i dont go to the doctor very much a year, maybe 3times if that, why would i want to pay for something i dont use very much..


ITS TIME FOR CHANGE, and this shutdown is the best thing for the country.. time for the next civil war, instead of raising arms, just shut things down and take away the government from them, let us the people be free of them. no more taxes. everyone fend for themselves. or restart it from scratch. make it so politicians only get to be in office 1 term each never to be reelected back to the same office after their one term.

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A Little House in Maine Remains Empty

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 10:34 AM PDT

The house has been empty since it was foreclosed on, went to auction and was purchased by a local real estate prospector to flip. It remains empty because Alison Morin and her husband applied for a first time home buyer's mortgage through the Maine Rural Development program. The loan was uploaded to RD on Friday for review. The Morins were scheduled to close on their loan today, October 2nd 2013. Now, because of the shutdown the owner/flipper is refusing to complete the work on the house until the mortgage is guaranteed. There is no end in site at this point.

While this certainly isn't the most severe impact cause by the shutdown but it is one small, real example of how hard working people are being held hostage by their government.

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Political interest

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 09:24 AM PDT


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U.S. Military Members Don't Receive Full Pay During Shutdown?

Posted: 02 Oct 2013 09:20 AM PDT

With the government shutdown in full swing, many Americans are feeling the effects. Tourists can no longer visit many of the country's national parks. Federal workers are being furloughed. Fortunately, our military members and their families are being cared for courtesy of a bill passed and signed late Monday night before the government shutdown went into effect. At least, that's what we've been told.

The Pay Our Military Act was unanimously passed by Congress late Monday night in an effort to protect pay and allowances for members of the Armed Forces, ensuring military members will receive pay checks; however, that funding only covers basic pay, such as base pay and subsistence and housing allowance.


Contrary to a memo released Tuesday by Vice Adm. Bill Moran, U.S. Navy sailors are not receiving special duty incentive pays, which include hazardous duty or sea duty incentive pay – pays that many military families depend upon and factor in as part of their monthly household budgets.


This morning, when sailors called Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS), they were informed they would not receive any special duty pays or bonuses until the government shutdown has ended. The effect isn't limited only to members of the U.S. Navy. More than 2.3 million U.S. servicemen and women and their families are being affected by this shutdown.


Ultimately, as Congress continues to take its time arguing partisan politics, our military families – who have already sacrificed so much – are being asked to sacrifice even more, not for reasons of war or natural disasters, but solely for political infighting. It's a disheartening realization and a slap in the face to the members of America's Armed Forces.

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