Monday, January 21, 2013

These Are the Times That Stir Our Souls

By Daniel J. Perin

Four years ago at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama I was as moved with pride as I had never been before in my life.  Today as we share his second inauguration I am still moved with pride because of the nation of people’s that I have the privilege to be part of.

It has been a tumultuous first term for this President, much more frustrating than it should have been.  But even with these innumerable obstacles it is still the best of the best countries in which anyone could live.  It is still the country where people the world over want to visit and come to live.  There have been times so distracting and upsetting that there were those who wished in those moments that they were living in some other country where passions seemed more reserved and directed to more positive ends, but in the final analysis there is nowhere I would rather live.

I hope for our President and for our country that this final term of office will afford him the support and the courage to lead us all into a greater harmony and sense of togetherness.  May we all gain a greater sense of belonging, belonging to the community of peoples of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.  We are ONE PEOPLE!  We are a country that rose from tyranny to establish “a more perfect union.”  Let us never resort to a new tyranny in the guise of democratic action.  Let us come together and reason with wisdom and love in our hearts that we may bring forth a greater nation, accepting of all who long to make it a better place in which to live.

My soul is once again stirred with pride that I live in a country that mostly seeks to resolve its issues amicably.  Though we sometimes stray from the steady course, we do find our way back to reason because that is the way we do things here.

We are a strong nation, a resilient people, due to our allegiance to an idea:  “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .” We honor that uniqueness that brings the strength of unity as well as the creativity of diversity.

I know that speeches are words, but I also believe those words as spoken by our President today, lay before us the challenge to rise up and face the issues that affect us and may seem to divide us. We are asked to take up the gauntlet and act in unison, respecting one another for the contribution each of us will make to the fabric of our nation’s strength and vitality.

Today I reaffirm my faith in the goodness of this country and my confidence in the leadership of Barack Obama.  My deepest hope is that we all can truly remember the foundations of our great country that welcome new generations, new ideas and new accomplishments that benefit us all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fool Me Once . . .

By Daniel J. Perin
 
We have all heard the saying: Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  No one likes to find out they have been fooled, but twice?  That’s even worse.  I am also sure that everyone who has an email account or a Facebook account has seen, more than once, the information that states the outrageous retirement payments members of Congress get even if they only serve one term.

Time to fess up.  I have been hornswoggled by the same emails and Facebook accounts and I have dutifully copied and forwarded or “shared” them on Facebook.  Darn, I hate to be so wrong!

PolitiFact, (http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2013/jan/11/chain-email/can-members-congress-retire-full-pay-after-just-on/) in this morning’s Oregonian finally made an attempt to set the record straight.  They have tried before giving the retirement information for Congress a “Pants on Fire” rating.  This misinformation has been around at least a decade, denounced as false by Snopes.com, and yet it lingers on.  Personally, I think it is accepted as fact because most of us are totally fed up with the obstructionist, do nothing Congress we have had for at least the last four years.  Whatever the reason, it is time to get the facts straight.

FACT 1 – No member of Congress is eligible for any pension until they have served for five years.  (Senators serve six-year terms, while Representatives serve two-year terms.)

FACT 2 – To collect, a Congressman or Senator must be age 62, or be at least 50 with 20 years of service, or be any age with 25 years of service.

FACT 3 – According to the most recent pension program adopted in 1984, the size of a pension is based on the highest three years of a member’s salary, the number of years of service and a multiplier, which is 1.7 percent for the first 20 years of service and 1.0 percent for subsequent years.

PolitiFact goes on to show various calculations which I won’t repeat here, but the FACT is all this garbage about outlandish retirement programs Congressional members get is just plain WRONG.

We (I am) are reminded again:  If it is so outlandish it MUST be true, it probably IS NOT!  Always check Snopes.com or another Internet hoax site BEFORE forwarding the “hot news.”