Change in the Air

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In addition to considering myself to be nearer to the political center (which I know the partisans on both sides hate to hear – hehe), though perhaps leaning left, I’ve also developed into something of a cynic.

I’ve written before about my draining faith in the abilities of either party to lead effectively, especially on the federal level. However, I also know that due to the dumb way our system is setup, I’ve got to support somebody who’s going to have a chance of winning, even if there’s someone else I might like to support.

I also know that having one party in power for too long is never a good thing. That is why I wasn’t all too surprised to see that the Republicans had taken over in my hometown, after the Democrats have had control for 20 years. Really, I wasn’t too surprised because the writing was on the wall. For the last one or two elections, the new Republican mayor has had the highest amount of votes, but the Dems got to elect the mayor, because they had the majority of members on the Board of Directors.

I think this is a good thing. Now, I’m unsure of what direction the town will take with the new administration, could be better or worse. What I do know is that having one “dynasty,” so to speak, can only lead to complacency and corruption. Consider, if you will, the administration of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland. He effectively disgraced his office by his actions (steering contracts in turn for favors). Now, the Republicans might have taken a hard hit for the office if the new Governor Jodi Rell hadn’t been willing to make reforms in ethics. So, they kept the office at the last election, and she even got a large vote from Democrats.

Likewise, change is needed from time to time in the federal government. I feel that almost anybody would be better than the current President, no matter which party they come from. I think the country needs a new kind of leadership plan, whether is be a Democrat or a “traditional” conservative, who will work to get respect back for this country, which will probably take years to get back.

The Republicans got a wake up call last year when the Dems took over, who…well, aren’t quite living up to it. They’ve got some work to do if they want to keep the Congress. We’ll see how that goes over.

Anyway, my point is, change is good, and necessary in politics. Having one party (or one bi-family dynasty – *ahem*) in power for two long is not good. So, from time to time, fresh blood should come in to shake things up.

Anyway, I guess I consider this my precursor post to the full start of my Election 2008 coverage, which I’ll start somewheres about halfway through December.


Our Veterans Deserve Better

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Now, I know that not every case is like this, but the fact remains that no veteran coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan should have to fight the Veterans Administration to care for injuries received during their service.

Like this man, Ty Ziegel.  He was very badly injured when a suicide bomber attacked the place where he was in Iraq.  When Ziegel got home, he had to fight the VA to get his “head trauma” coverage changed to traumatic brain injury.  That covers 100%, compared to head trauma’s 10%.  The point is, he should not have had to do this, they should have automatically done it.

Now, I’m not saying the VA has to cover everything that ever happens to a veteran off duty, but they should be covering injuries (physical and psychological) that happen to them during the course of their service.  They are putting their lives on the line to defend this country, and we owe them that.

The story has quotes from people who say the injury ratings system is antiquated, and I believe it is.  But, the VA has other problems.  State to state departments simply do not communicate.  I know this from personal (second hand) experience, because my mother had to handle my grandfather’s medical things for awhile.  She had to deal with getting medical data transferred from Massachusetts to my state when he came to live with us for a while.  I think the problem becomes increasingly exasperated after a several years out of active service.  The older veterans are pushed back to make way for the new, and may fall through the cracks.

My point is, this should not be happening.  It would seem to me, that until I hear of any more problems, the way forward is clear for the VA.  There are 3 steps that can be taken to clean things up a bit:

1) Fix the injury rating system.  The article says it dates back to WWII.  Hello!  This is 2007, and we know a lot more about what real injuries are now then we did.  Maybe this is the reason people who fought in Vietnam are having trouble getting psychological injuries covered.  Since back then you probably would have known about it!

2) Improve your communication, VA offices!  Maybe it’s time for some kind of national database of veterans, so that all offices can know their details, and what service-related medical problems they have.  It’d certainly help when a veteran moves to a new state, or has a VA-covered problem in a state other than their home.

Yea, I know, privacy issues.  I am normally against things like this, but I think it’s clear something needs to be done.

3) Make sure your hospitals are ran properly!  After the whole Walter Reed scandal last year (though I know it’s not in your jurisdiction), the VA should make sure its hospitals are keeping clean, and giving the utmost proper care to our veterans.

I think it’s a simple issue, though the solutions may be a little more complex.  We owe it to our veterans to make sure they are cared for after serving their country.


Dymersion Video: WGA Strike

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Coming to you once again in quasi-professional style from my school’s TV studio, in this week’s episode of Dymersion Video, I discuss the WGA strike, what might ultimately bring both sides back to negotiations, and what both sides might get out of it all.

P.S. Two days after I presented this editorial live on the air of the campus station, the writers announced they’re going back to the negotiating table. The last time I gave an editorial, about Congress and the President, the President vetoed the water projects bill a day afterward. I don’t know if it’s intuition that these things are going to happen soon that makes me write editorials about them, or what, haha.


Video Delay

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I kind of cheated last week by uploading the previous week’s video for Dymersion Video, and then never making a new one last week.  Hopefully the same problem won’t occur this week, but I do have good news.  This week’s Dymersion Video, on the subject of the WGA strike, will again be coming to you in quasi-professional form from my school’s TV studio!

In other news, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to put up entries this week because I’ve been so involved in other video work.  I’ve also been sick, so that’s a contributing factor to the lack of entries.  It kind of sucks, since there is much I want to talk about, but am having trouble finding the time to do it.

I would also like to get at least two more new questions uploaded for the CNN/YouTube Republican debate happening in two weeks, and only have like a week left to do it.  So, hopefully sometime this weekend I can get to that.  Who knows, you all may be in for two episodes of Dymersion Video this week.  Aren’t you all just so lucky?

Now time for a nap before I have to get back to work.


Tweeting Through My Day

Posted by Mike Merritt in Personal Life, Websites on | No Comments

Because I often have the problem of what is going on with myself during the day so that I can’t remember it to talk about later, and because I know people on the Internets love nosing into people’s lives, I have followed the lead of many others and signed up for Twitter.

For those who don’t know what it is: Twitter basically allows you to make updates on what’s happening in your life. It’s made for people who may not be around their computers to blog about it at a given time, thus it has a mobile post feature. It’s also useful since many things that happen in one’s day are not worth blogging about, but someone may want to leave a short statement about that thing or event.

Twitter is not a blog service. Clearly made for the era of text messages, they only allow you to leave statements up to 140 characters (SMS only allows up to 160), which should be enough to briefly describe something that’s happened to you, or the mood you’re in. I liken it most to Facebook’s status feature, which works similarly, and (at least recently) is also updatable by cell phone.

In addition to signing up for an account, I’ve found a plug-in over at WordPress that allows me to share recent Twitter updates.  Just look over to your right, in the new “Up to the Minute” section of the sidebar.  Though my first update was via web, if there’s anything I really want to talk about while I’m around my computer, I’ll probably do it via my blog. So, most, if not almost all my Twitter updates will be made via my cell phone.  Should be interesting to see what I come up with.

Happy nosing!


A New Way to YouTube

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I’m glad that YouTube has finally decided to let people upload multiple videos at once.  That way, you just fill out all the information and go away for a while.  No more coming back to check if one video is done, so you can go on to another.  It works for someone like me, since for the club I’m in, we upload the news packages that we create for the newscast to YouTube, so people can see them when we’re not airing the newscasts.

We always have several packages per week, so it helps to be able to do it all at once, since I have a tendency to forgot about them if a good show is on or something.  So, an hour will pass, in which I could probably have gotten them done, and I’ll only be on the second.

I’m also happy that YouTube has raised the file size limit to 1gb.  Not happy they haven’t changed this for single file uploads, but hopefully they will soon.  Now people will be able to upload videos that come out with better quality in the end.  Still not quite as good as the original, but it’ll be a start.

Overall, I’m happy with the changes.  I, like other people, wished they’d up the file limit, in case I ever attempt to put on a full show again.  Frankly, Google Video makes things a little too anonymous for my liking – nothing is linked to a certain uploader like with YouTube’s channels.  Plus, I don’t want to have to go through two places, though I understand the differences between the two, or at least the perceptions.  Google Video is maybe construed as their more “professional” service, while YouTube is more of a “home video” upload place.  I don’t say they’re right, but maybe that’s Google’s thinking.

Anyway, happy with the changes, but more are needed.


Bush is All Watered Down

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As I mentioned in the editorial I posted on Tuesday, President Bush recently vetoed a water projects bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress.  Here’s his reasoning:

<blockquote>In his veto message, Bush complained that Congress added about $8 billion in projects to the bill in conference committee after each house had passed its own version. </blockquote>

For those who don’t follow legislative politics, a conference committee is a group of Senators from each chamber (usually equal in number of members from each party) who work out differences in the bill, since a single version has to go to the President.  Now, while it may be true they could have added money to the bill, the fact is, the new version of the bill had to get passed again.

That’s right, it had to go back to each chamber and get passed again.  And it did, still with a massive veto-proof majority.  And the President still vetoed it.  He’s grasping at straws here, trying to look strong, while the veto of this bill only makes him look foolish.

You know, by the time I got done saying my editorial last Thursday, I was beginning to wonder if my description of Bush as the “playground bully” was too harsh of a description.  I thought then I should have made it less harsh, or have made my description of Congress as focusing on non-passable legislation as “only serving their electoral agenda” more harsh.  However, since the bill got vetoed, I’ve begun rethinking it, and now mostly stand by it.

Is he now really a lame duck?  You decide.


O’Reilly Showing True Colors?

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society, Television on | No Comments

Not that, according to some, he hasn’t already.

On his show tonight, he’s talking with who I believe is a psychologist (came in late, so not sure). His gripe this time is that two girls being chosen as cutest couple in some high school yearbook is inappropriate. The two girls are shown in a picture together, although the picture isn’t inappropriate in any way. They’re just facing the camera, with a one-armed hug.

The psychologist I think called him out on his true thoughts when she asked him whether he’d have a problem with a heterosexual couple doing the same thing. O’Reilly says that he have no problem with it, but does with this because it isn’t “socially accepted behavior.” Yet, O’Reilly also keeps saying that he thinks people should be keeping their sexual life behind closed doors. These two statements don’t match up. If he really thinks the latter thing, he should be saying that the school should abolish the cutest couple section altogether.

So, O’Reilly thinks that people should keep their sexual life private, but also has no problem with a heterosexual couple being picked as cutest couple, since it’s “socially accepted.” These statements, made within minutes of each other, don’t add up, O’Reilly!

Now, on the other hand, I have no problem with cutest couple sections, or who gets picked for them. It’s a non-issue, really. So, I don’t know why “Mr. I Don’t Have Problems with Homosexuals but Make Conflicting Statements” does.


Dymersion Video: From the Studio

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In this week’s episode of Dymersion Video, I go quasi-professional. Coming to you from my school’s TV studio, I present an editorial on the inability of Congress and the President to make this country better.

By the way, sorry for sounding so monotone and kind of boring.  Consider that it’s like my second time on camera in a TV studio, having to read from a teleprompter.  I plan on doing this again, and hopefully next time I’ll be better.


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