New Year’s Day 2011 has arrived. New Year is always such an interesting time of the year. No matter what the previous year may have brought, many people start the new year with fresh hope and optimism. The slate gets wiped clean and it is almost as if the previous 12 months were just a dream.
2010 was a difficult year for many people. The economic woes have continued for large swaths of the American people. Jobs are harder and harder to find. I have nearly a dozen friends all over the country that are now unemployed. Some of them have been unemployed for 1 or even 2 years. Yet even for them, 2011 holds new promise and new potential.
2010 started on a particularly bad note for me as my relationship of 16 years all but dissolved. Fortunately, my partner and I have been able to make up and are heading towards our 17th year together.
In March of 2010, I took over the post of Democratic Chair for my voting Precinct (Travis County Precinct 208). That has been an interesting endeavor. I worked along with the rest of the party to get Bill White elected as governor of Texas, as well as on a number of races for the state House of Representatives. Unfortunately, it was a bad year for Democrats everywhere, with Texas being no exception. Rick Perry won a third full term as governor and all but 2 of the Democratic State Reps from Central Texas were defeated in the November election. The result is that the State House is almost 2 to 1 in favor of the Republican Party. Being a Democrat in Texas is an uphill battle. Thank G-d I live in Austin where there are more liberals than conservatives.
Of course, I traveled a lot this past year. Starting with Hawaii in January, and ending with Florida in December. In between, there were trips to San Francisco, Kansas City and New Orleans, among others. Didn’t get to Europe this year, but I am hoping to in 2011. Also hope to get to Montreal and Cabo San Lucas in 2011. We’ll see how that goes.
My dogs are doing well, though Rex (our 13 year old Westie) is definitely showing signs of getting old [aren’t we all??]. He is still doing great overall, though. I think his younger brother and sister help him in that regard.
In December, I turned 44. It is hard to believe that I am in my mid 40’s. I still want to think of myself as a young man. Oh well. Time – you cruel thing.
I have been fortunate to be fairly healthy this year with no major setbacks. That is always a good thing. My partner John has not been so lucky. He is in the process of recovering from bilateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in both lungs). Fortunately the medicines are doing their work and he seems to be improving every day.
So here we are in 2011 now. 2010 is in the history books. And as I said at the top of this post, it always amazes me how people get a new outlook on life at this time of year. I am hopeful that the new optimism will stay with me well into the new year. Here’s to a year of good health, good friends and good times.
This was just too cute not to share.
via Go Figure…
I will say up front that I am Jewish. That being said, I do not automatically agree with everything Israel does. While I understood the reasoning, the war against Hamas in Gaza in 2008 was, in my opinion, run poorly and probably not the best option for Israel. The incursion into Lebanon against Hezbollah was even more poorly conducted.
This weekend, there was a humanitarian aid flotilla heading to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli Navy. I don’t think anyone knows the whole story yet, but it appears that Israel warned the flotilla of 6 ships that it was going to stop them, and board and inspect them before they would be allowed to continue. 5 of the 6 ships allowed this. On the sixth ship, however, the people on the ship apparently attacked the Israeli Navy as they boarded the ship. We will certainly be buried under the spin and hyperbole of all sides in this incident. However, I have been reading articles online and the comments that accompany them and have seen a frightening amount of extreme anti-Semitism being expressed. It is downright scary to think that there are so many people in America and Europe that still hold such views.
I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist as well as its right to protect itself. The US asserts similar rights all the time. We attacked Iraq unprovoked because the people in power decided that it was necessary for the protection of America. (I disagreed with this conclusion and with the war and would like to see us completely out of Iraq sooner rather than later). No one would dare question the US’s resolve to protect itself or the actions it takes to do so. And if they do, the powers that be in this country probably would not care. We stop ships and board them all the time when we suspect gun or drug running. And if our Coast Guard or Navy were attacked during such endeavors, rest assured that we would respond with force.
The same should go for Israel. Hamas has used Gaza as a staging ground for ongoing terrorist attacks on Israel (lobbing rockets into southern Israel). They have kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Their hands are as full of blood as anyone else and Israel is in a fight for its survival. Make no mistake. Hamas IS a terrorist organization and its goal is the complete destruction of Israel. Meanwhile, almost everyone around the world condemns Israel for defending itself. We weren’t complaining when the Israelis knocked out Saddam’s nuclear program.
It’s high time that the United States and President Obama step up and show that it is a real friend to Israel. And not just in photo ops. Israel’s needs our help and we need Israel’s help. It is the only democracy in the Middle East (the jury is still out on Iraq). If we are really as interested in spreading Democracy in that region, why do we hammer Israel time and time again for every little thing?
I liked this post so much, I wanted to share it with my readers as well.
via Go Figure…
This will be my soapbox. I will periodically talk about subjects important to me.