What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 56...Dear Mr. President... Just trying to be 'fair' and 'balanced'... I'm not FOX!

Day 56

Dear Mr. President,

This is the last day of June, the day that I will print out this months LTTP’s and mail them directly to you via snail mail. I do this so you have the opportunity to see the thread of my comments building upon each other, rather than separate topics without relationship to one another.

I also want to tell you about an interesting phenomenon that is happen with my blog where I post each of the letters I write to you. On my dashboard I am able to track my audience, how people are finding me, the number of views per day, week month, etc…The one I find most interesting is my audience. Of course most of my audience come from the US with 557 this month. The next largest numbers come from Denmark (34), Russia (25), Germany (22) and Poland (19). Then we have people from Iran, the UK, Romania, France, Canada, Australia, S. Africa, and the Netherlands with (10).

I know that doesn’t seem a lot of people, but I believe people are interested because they may be afraid to write some of the things I have said in my letters, afraid to criticize the President of the United States. But isn’t that what makes this country great, and isn’t that what our men and women fight long a hard to protect? My audience may be small now, but it is growing and I will continue to speak my mind and be the “Gadfly Granny” that you probably wish would quit with her ‘nagging’ and just go away, but again that’s what makes this country great. I’m not intimidated by your position as President, and you’re not intimidated by my “Gadfly” letters.  

While I have been critical of the wars and the huge number of troops we have deployed around the world, and I don’t agree with the hostilities going on in Libya, I do support you. I support you because I know what a disaster the Bush era was and what a mess you were left with. I support you because I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but I trust that you are making decisions based on the best information available to you, and in the best interests of the people of America. I support you because I believe with all my heart that you are a good and decent man, and if I didn’t believe that then I wouldn’t take the time to write you a letter every day.

I want the readers of my LTTP’s all around the world, to understand that while we may disagree on any number of issues, you are still my President and I have the highest degree of respect for you and the First Family. I voted for you and I will vote for you again. I am by no means a great monetary contributor, but I am a great supporter, even though it doesn’t always come across that way in all of my letters.

So Mr. President, I want to say “thank you” for the job you do and for allowing me to be a pest with my daily letters. I hope that those individuals living in foreign countries and reading my letters, know that this is what makes America great.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 55...Dear Mr. President...Some good news... some really bad news...

Day 55

Dear Mr. President,

First the good news… congratulations on having the three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled in your favor…  that the part of your health care plan that would require almost all Americans to buy health insurance is constitutional. In addition, it marked the first time that a judge has ruled against the party that appointed him, on the law’s constitutionality. However, I’m pretty sure that this dispute will end up in the Supreme Court, and who knows how that bunch will vote.

Now the not-so-good news… but first a question that I hope you can answer. How did China’s largest oil company secure rights to begin operations at the Al-Ahdab oil field in Iraq? The oil field was discovered in 1979 and is believed to hold billions of barrels of crude oil. The China National Petroleum Corp., signed that agreement in November of 2008, and they retain the development rights for 23 years. How can that be?

I know I’m old, and my memory is not as sharp as it used to be, but weren’t we still fighting Bush’s “wrong” war in Iraq in 2008? Weren’t our men and women still dying on Iraqi soil? And wasn’t our country hemorrhaging billions if not trillions of dollars fighting in that war?

Why Mr. President? Just so China could come in and secure the rights to the Al-Ahdab oil field for the next 23 years? Our men and women were losing their lives for the benefit of China’s government, and the Chinese people? And, we still have peace keeping forces, and government contractors over there rebuilding what we destroyed just so the Chinese can cut deals with the Iraqi’s? Isn’t it still costing us billions of dollars a month just to be there?

While our country is struggling to stay afloat after the disastrous war in Iraq and now the war in Afghanistan… China swoops in and starts production of oil in the first major new area in Iraq in over 20 years? Are they waiting until we secure a modicum of peace in Afghanistan before they decide they need their oil too?

I have to ask you Mr. President… what the devil is going on here? Please tell me that our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers didn’t lose their lives in that God forsaken hell-hole just so that China could go in and reap the benefits.

Please enlighten me if I have asked the wrong questions based on wrong assertions, because I have to tell you… I’m a little upset over this.

So please tell me this isn’t true, because if it is, then this is definitely not good news for America or Americans.  I look forward to being corrected.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 54...Dear Mr. President...You tried but..."The Republicans blocked it."

Day 54

Dear President Obama,

In the past few weeks many of my letters have been a bit harsh and critical of issues that I believe are being handled incorrectly. Than being said, I want to acknowledge some of the things you have tried to do for ‘the good of the people’ but that the Republicans have either blocked outright or tried to block.

I find this interesting too… all of the so-called ‘Tea Party’ Republicans, meaning the ‘freshmen,’ voted against all of these bills.  Many of these bills would have benefitted the working ‘middle class’ citizens as well as the poor, and yet people still consider the Tea Partiers to be on their side, when in fact they are on the side of the wealthiest Americans, Big Oil, and the largest corporations. Go figure… I still don’t get it.

#1.  Health Care for the 9/11 Responders… One would think that this would be a no brainer, after all, these were the people that risked their lives to save others. It would have provided billions in health care for these brave men and women, but… “The Republicans blocked it.”

#2.  Benefits for Homeless Veterans… This would have expanded benefits for Veterans with children and the homeless vets. These people have already served their country and many of them in heavy combat areas, but… “The Republicans blocked it.”

#3.  Liability for Oil Spills… This would have raised the liability on what companies could be charged to clean up after an oil spill… seems logical, but… “The Republicans blocked it.”

#4.  Immigration Reform… At first the Republicans called for “comprehensive immigration reform” and when you agreed, they suddenly didn’t like the word ‘comprehensive’ and voted against their own bill. So… “The Republicans blocked it.”

#5.  Affordable Health Care for America Act… Still very controversial, but a darn good start, by preventing insurance companies from discriminating against you based on a pre-existing condition, and requiring .85 of every dollar to be spend on actual health care, etc… etc… Republicans blocked this for months before it finally passed. However, Republican candidates have vowed to repeal it if elected President.

#6.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act… sent billions of dollars to state and local governments, employing hundreds of thousands of people working on various roadwork and other infrastructure projects. Republicans opposed this, but now that it is viewed as a success, they want to take credit for it.

#7.  The Fair Pay Act of 2009… Nothing new here, equal pay for women doing the same job as a man, but… The Republicans “attempted” to block this too.

There are many more I could list but they will have to be in another letter. Suffice to say you’ve done your best, and would have done so much more with just a scintilla of cooperation from the Republicans, but don’t give up… I still support and appreciate all you do, and are trying to do for the American people.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny, 
Marcia Reimers

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 53...Dear Mr. President...Where is the "Shared Sacrifice?"

Day 53
Dear Mr. President,

On Day 7 of my LTTP’s I wrote about ‘shared sacrifice’ and what that really means to the ‘average’ person. I heard you say you wanted to hear what the American people are thinking and feeling, and how this ‘recession’ is affecting them so you can understand how best to help those that have been struggling so hard and for so long.

Sometimes I wonder if you really are listening, because if you are, we’re not getting that impression. The message that we are getting, through your actions, or should I say your inaction… is this. “Business as usual” and a continuation of most, if not all, Bush era policies, and now a staggering 16% unemployment rate, and the medium income has declined by $2,500 per year. When you extended the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we were sold the same old ‘snake oil’ from the GOP that it would create more jobs… Where are those jobs and why aren’t you holding the GOP accountable for this transparent lie? I repeat, where are those jobs?

The Republicans walk out of budget talks with Vice President Biden because they won’t even discuss taxing the wealthiest Americans and corporations. That is unacceptable, disrespectful, and childish behavior, and yet I don’t hear you telling the people about it… you let them get away with it and then you have to enter the ‘negotiations’. I told you before the GOP is a bunch of spoiled thugs and until you start treating them as such, they are going to continue to run roughshod over this administration.  Any you will have allowed it.

You can no longer ignore that the top 1% are doing incredibly well… 400 people at the top verses 150 million at the bottom. Is this how you ‘listen’ to the American people. The middle class is rapid disappearing, and many will never recover what they have already lost. The gap between the richest and poorest Americans is wider than before the Great Depression.

You say your campaign was financed by small contributions from ordinary citizens, and yet those same citizens have lost their jobs, their savings, their homes, their healthcare, and they have used their children’s education funds. Are these same people going to contribute to your re-election, or are you going to be financed by ‘big business’ like the GOP?

I receive repeated requests for donations to your campaign, but I have to tell you that I cannot in good conscience contribute another cent until, and unless, you not only listen to the people, but actually “hear” what they are telling you. So please “hear” this… the average American has sacrificed enough… and now we are ready, and willing, to share that sacrifice with the 400 un-Americans at the top, and the largest corporations that continue to dodge their fair share of taxes.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 52...Dear Mr. President...The time to "evolve" is now!

Day 52                       

Dear Mr. President,

As you know from previous letters to you, I am no fan of Republicans, in fact, I find most of them to be repugnant and offensive in their views.

However, I try to give credit where credit is due, so while your views on same-sex marriage are “evolving”… there are four Republican Senators from New York that have already evolved by voting in the affirmative to legalize same-sex marriage. I congratulate them and thank them for their courage and moral fortitude to vote for what is right, instead of voting in lock step with their party.

To Senator Grisanti I posted this on his FB page: Senator Grisanti… “At 65 and a lifelong "Liberal Democrat" I hardly ever agree with a Republican, but you Sir, deserve the respect and admiration of anyone that truly believes in "Equality." You took the emotion and religion out of your decision and based it on the "Law" and what is right. You Sir are to be commended for your courage, insight and straightforward truthfulness. As a result of your courage I know at least one gay couple that live in NY and are now engaged. This time Love has won over hate, and I thank you for your vote.” And, I would like to say the same to Senators Saland, Alesi, and McDonald.
Each of these Republicans had the courage to go against their own party and a few, against their religious beliefs, and it was the right thing to do. Each understood that they disappointed a large segment of their supporters, but they voted their ‘conscience’ and admitted that they could no longer deny anyone the basic right to marry.
And to the lone Democrat that voted against the bill, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who said this on the floor… “But I am Christian first and then a Democrat, I always vote my conscience.” To him I would say this… “You Sir have let your God interfere with your duty as a law maker, you put your hand on ‘God’s Book’ and swore to uphold the laws the land, not the laws of your church. Two of those laws include the separation of Church and State, and the laws that protect our equality. You Sir are neither a Christian nor a Democrat and should not serve in the political arena. Please confine your “preaching” to your pulpit not on the floor of the NY Senate.”

Now I ask you Mr. President… when are you going to step up and have the same courage as the four Republicans just mentioned? When is your thinking going to “evolve” enough to take a strong stand, and really support the LGBT Community? The same community that supported you in 2008, and that you could possibly lose in 2012. It’s time to stand ‘with’ that community and on the ‘right’ side of history. I would like to add one more thing… God does not make mistakes, nor does he discriminate against any of his children, including his LGBT children.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 51...Dear Mr. President...Make your place in History for "Your Promises Kept"

Day 51 – June 24, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

Let's face it Mr. President, as much as I, the Gadfly Granny, want you to be re-elected and continue to be our President, it isn’t looking good right now. You campaigned on the “Promise of Change” which unfortunately we have not seen yet.  There are too many issues to be solved in this Country, and not enough time before the November election in 2012 to fix all of them.  

Yet there is ONE thing you that you CAN do.   You have the absolute power, as Commander in Chief to go down in history not only as the first African American President, but as the first President to absolutely keep a campaign promise.  The promises you made to curb the war on terrorism.  You’ve got a good start on most of those promises, so this shouldn’t be too hard. First of all the things you have absolutely done… You got Osama bin Laden and you have significantly damaged al- Qaida. You have expanded the tracking of biological weapons, and convened a summit on preventing nuclear terrorism. You have improved port security, and established regulations to secure chemical plants. You have also withdrawn troops from Iraq bringing that war to a close.

What you have NOT done is close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center… and that was one of the first things you promised to do. You must keep this promise.

You need to stop trying to fix other Countries' political matters, and allow inter-national self-determination.  And you need to bring home 100% of our Troops before you leave office.  You will be respected around the world for changing the course of American Foreign Policy in order to fix American Internal Policy.  To enable the next Administration without apology and anymore excuses to focus all efforts going forward - AND (most importantly) - to use all monetary resources and manpower for turning around the economy of this Country, and to solve America's external energy dependency once and for all.  And become independently strong once again!

To do all that, which you CAN… you need to be re-elected.

Your opponents claim that you haven't done your job so far.  But opponents always claim they can do better and more than somebody else.  The Country knows that the GOP has thwarted every single thing you have tried to do, so why argue with them any further without the backing of the Legislature and the total cooperation that's honestly required to enable your ideas.

So now Mr. President is the time to preserve your unique legacy as "The Only President of Real Change". What does that mean? You must follow your conscience and the conscience of every American who believes our best interests lie here at home, on American soil.  For the American people who voted for you and believed you would be the “President that kept his Promises.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 50...Dear Mr. President... It's time to take our thumb out of the dyke.

Day 50 – June 23, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday I expressed my disappointment regarding the withdrawal of only 10,000 of our troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year, and only a total of 33,000 by the end of next year, as not being nearly enough or fast enough. I feel you are on the same slippery slope we experienced in Viet Nam, only we’re spread far thinner and it’s costing us considerably more.

Some people support your decision, and say that we shouldn’t “cut and run” like we did in Viet Nam, and I agree with that. However, this is a much different and much more volatile situation. The Mideast has always been an unstable region, the Governments are either run by Monarchs, autocratic regimes, religious fanatics or as is the case in Afghanistan, different Provinces with different sets of laws and rules.

There is no way we can contain ‘hostilities’ everywhere in the world… even though we have set ourselves up as the ‘Savior’ nation, it is as much a myth as Hans Brinker sticking his thumb in the dyke and preventing the angry waters from inundating his town in Holland. That myth was actually a literary invention by the American writer Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, who was born in New York. In fact, the Dutch children know less about this fable than American children.

So why do I mention this fable and how does it relate to what’s going on in the Mideast? It’s really very simple… we cannot be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and at various borders around the world. We cannot interfere in Yemen, Bahrain, or Syria… we cannot interfere in the dispute between China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam over disputes in the South China Sea… we simply cannot be everywhere at once, protecting everyone that needs protecting.  

We can no longer justify our actions by saying the “United States has a National Interest”… We can no longer justify invading another country for their oil… we need to concentrate our efforts at home, and at becoming ‘independent’ of oil. We will never solve the myriad of problems in the Mideast, not with the people, not with the Government.

The slippery slope we are on is one of our own making, we need to rethink our priorities, apologize for our mistakes, admit our limitations, and take our thumb out of the dyke… and accept the fact that we cannot stop the angry waters all around the world.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 49...Dear Mr. President... Hugely Disappointed... Your Non-Drawdown is totally bogus, and here's why.

Day 49
Dear Mr. President,

My letter is a little late today because I wanted to hear your plan for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. I had been hearing from various news sources that the withdrawal would be anywhere from 5000 by the end of the year to perhaps 30,000 by the end of 2012, and I was desperately hoping that those figures were wrong. That in fact they were disappointing low.

I wanted so badly for you to make a bold move and announce that you would bring home at least half of the existing force, as was championed by Vice President Biden.

To say I was disappointed is a gross understatement. When you came into office there were less than 35,000 troops in Afghanistan, and I wasn’t long after that, that those numbers quickly escalated to over 60,000, and after that you announced that a
“temporary surge” of 30,000 additional troops were needed if we were to stop al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

You have no idea how it saddens me to say that I think your announcement tonight was a non-announcement. Essentially what you are doing is absolutely nothing. This is simply unacceptable. When the 33,000 men and women are finally brought home there will still be twice the number of troops in Afghanistan than when you took office. How is that a drawdown?

I have fiercely defended your ideas, for your policies, your stance on DADT, the DREAM Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the bailout for the Auto Industry, the Unemployment extensions bill HR-4213, and countless others. It wasn’t hard to defend you on these issues even though the GOP fought long and hard against all of them. It wasn’t hard because you were right, and they were the right things to do. But the continuation of this war and your stance on Libya are DEAD WRONG and indefensible, and 72% of Americans agree that we should get out all together. 

You did the right thing by hunting down and eliminating Bin Laden, he was still our biggest threat, but that is no longer the case, and you can no longer justify the continuation of this war. It is now my fervent hope that Congress votes to defund these costly and vicious wars… enough is enough.

I understand that you are resolute in your beliefs, but just today one of your senior officials said that al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is no long a threat to the United States. You can’t have it both ways, and you can’t keep our troops there just ‘in case’ there is some sort of action in Pakistan.

If you plan on winning a second term as our President, and don’t wish to go into the history books being recognized for only being the ‘first African American President,’ then you had better start working on re-building the American Economy, American Jobs, and saving American lives by ENDING these WARS!

Disappointedly, but Respectfully Yours,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 48...Dear Mr. President... Time to "knock their Socks Off"

Day 48                       
Dear Mr. President,

When I made the decision to write my LTTP’s (Letter to the President), one every day for a year, I told myself that the topics were endless, that each day brought a series of new topics to write about. For the most part that’s been true, but today as I’ve been contemplating today’s topics, I must confess that I’m a bit overwhelmed. I try to do as much ‘research’ as possible by reading a variety of articles, or in some cases, Government documents, so that I can articulate my thoughts in a cohesive manner. Quite often the more I read about any given topic, the less sure I am about how I feel or what I believe… the end result is that I am often overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed at the complexity of the problems that you face every day. Problems that you have to make decisions about… I only have to think about them. Quite frankly I don’t know how you do it. I barely scratch the surface of any given topic, but you need to have “all” of the “facts” before you can make a decision that may affect millions of people.

Sometimes I think you get it wrong, not often, but sometimes. I don’t know if the people you rely on to gather the information you need are not doing a thorough job, or if they are simply giving you what they “think” you need to know. Most of the time when one of your decisions has been a bit ‘off’ it is usually because of some “unintended consequence” of a decision… something that was unforeseen.

Tomorrow you are expected to call for a major withdrawal of our troops in Afghanistan. I know that you have been giving this a great deal of thought because this is one of those things you can’t afford to get wrong by not considering the unintended consequences. I also know that you are between a rock and a hard place no matter what you decide.

Poll after poll shows the ‘people’ want these wars to end, they want our troops home and the money spent here at home. The members of the House and the Senate are being pressured by the ‘people’ to end the wars and redirect the huge cost of those wars to cutting the deficit and creating jobs here at home. The ‘Generals’ want a slow controlled withdrawal so as not to undermine the security gains.

This war has been going on for over 10 years, you did not start this war, but there are roughly 100,000 U.S. troops there now… three times as many as when you took office. That is not what you promised, you promised to bring the wars to an end. Although there are already articles about just how many troops you plan to bring home, I hope you ‘knock the socks off ‘of everyone, and actually bring home more than people expect. It’s what the people want, it’s what the country wants, and it’s what the families of those soldiers deserve.

You are the “Commander-in-Chief”… you make the decision… I will be listening.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 47...Dear Mr. President...Voter fraud or another GOP scam?

Day 47

Dear Mr. President,

We are rapidly approaching the 2012 elections, and it’s very disturbing to see so many states making it more and more difficult for people to vote. And once again, the GOP is behind this new approach to bypassing the old Jim Crow voting laws, which outlawed poll taxes with the 24th Amendment.

The new trick, which the GOP tries to disguise by claiming it will be eliminating ‘voter fraud,’ is nothing more than an assault on poor people, young voters, African Americans, and Latinos. By requiring voter I.D. cards, shortening the early voting period, ending same day voter registration, and ending registered voters right to change their address on voting day at the polls. In addition, states are imposing restrictions on voter-registration drives. All of these things will effectively discourage the poor, the young and people of color.

The premise of eliminating ‘voter fraud’ is completely false, there have been in-depth studies conducted on this issue and voter fraud has not been found to be a major problem. In fact, I can’t even imagine an illegal immigrant heading to the polls to cast a vote when all they want to do is fly under the radar as much as possible so they are not deported. So who are the people that are supposedly perpetrating this conspiratorial voter fraud? Are the poor people hitching rides to the polls so they can cast an illegal vote? Are those without an ID flocking to the polls just to see if they can ‘change’ the outcome of the election? All of it is patently absurd.

So what is the real ‘game’ going on here? Since the GOP won back the House in 2010, they have been changing the laws to benefit themselves. One need only look at what’s going on in Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, and South Carolina just to name a few, that have passed laws that would effectively discourage mostly Democratic voters. Why else would Texas pass a law that allows a person to use a handgun license for registration, but will not accept a student ID?

As we all know, a huge number of  ‘new voters’ were registered before your election in 2008, and most of those were Democrats. It was a vastly successful voter drive that energized this country in a profoundly positive way. Unfortunately, much of that work is being systematically dismantled by the GOP, so my question is… what are you doing to expose the real ‘fraud’ by the GOP in its assault on new voters? We don’t see much about it from the main-stream media, and we certainly aren’t hearing about it on the evening news. This needs to be shouted from the rooftops, loudly and clearly.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… the real agenda of the GOP is to elect a Republican President so they will have the next 4 years to pack the courts with conservative and ultra religious judges. This will be a disaster for this country, for women, for the poor, and anyone that may need federal assistance for a variety of reasons. We simply cannot let this happen. We need to expose the ‘fraud’ of the GOP before it’s too late. This is America, and we should not stand for this type of trickery.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 46...Dear Mr. President... Fathers Day and the gift of time...

Day 46                       

Dear Mr. President,

Happy Fathers Day, I hope you are able to take time out of your busy Sunday schedule to spend time with Malia and Sasha, because that’s the best present you can give each other… time.

You never know when you’ll lose your father, so each year is a gift that should be cherished. You realize that more than most people since your father was not present throughout most of your life, and that time is lost forever.

I was just 20 when my father died, and he was only 50… leaving my mom and 3 children still at home. My brother Charlie was just 13 at the time and he tried to resuscitate my dad, but the heart attach was so massive that nothing could be done. Charlie blamed himself for a long time, believing that if he knew more, and had done something differently, that perhaps he could have saved our father. My sister Laurie was 7 and brother Shannon was almost 4 years old. My mother was fortunate enough to remarry 5 years later, providing a wonderful stepfather for my youngest brother and sister. Although I never lived with my stepfather, he took excellent care of my siblings, and my mother until her death 13 years ago. I will be forever grateful to him for providing the stability and the love of a father that they so desperately needed.

The weekend that my dad passed away my parents were taking care of my 2 year old son for a few days while my husband and I went on a short camping trip. I remember when we dropped him off at their house, my mom and dad weren’t home from the train station yet. My husband didn’t want to wait, as he was anxious to leave town. We did pass them on the road and waved, but we did not go back, and for many years I regretted that decision, because I didn’t get a chance to say ‘I love you’ just one more time. And that’s the thing… you never know when you will see your dad for the last time, and you don’t get a ‘do-over’ in life… it keeps moving forward no matter how badly you would like to rewind the clock.

I can’t help but think about all those ‘dads’ that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how much they would love to be home this fathers day too. My heart goes out to their children that may only see them via Skype, but can’t hug and kiss them the way I imagine Malia and Sasha do with you. I know you think of these things too, and wish all of the fathers, husbands, sons and daughters could be home this fathers day. I also know that great strides have been made in the war and there is talk of bringing even more troops home even sooner than expected… I hope with all my heart that, that is the case, and it will happen very soon.

Again, a very Happy Fathers Day to you Mr. President, and I hope that next year all of us will be celebrating with the fathers you bring home from these wars.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 45...Dear Mr. President...It's tough being a parent, but you are doing a great job!

Day 45
Dear President Obama,

I listened to the interview on Good Morning America regarding fatherhood, and you made some very good points. Judging from what we can see, Malia and Sasha are wonderful you women, so you and the First Lady must be doing a very good job.

I have to agree completely on one of the points you made about structure and setting limits, but most of all that ‘your child isn’t your friend, at least when they’re young’.
There are certain things that are not negotiable any more… parents have to make it very clear at an early age that going to college is a ‘must’. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. In order to compete in today’s world, as we know it, kids must go to college if they plan on being successful in the ‘business’ world. I’m not counting the kids that know they want to be a carpenter, contractor, or any of the necessary trades or in the service industry, that keep this country moving forward. But if you plan on being a doctor, lawyer, or Commander and Chief, you need a top-notch education.

Recently, scientists are discovering that a persons brain is not fully developed until their mid-twenties… in particular, the part of the brain that allows us to project long term consequences of our actions. That’s one of the reasons it’s so sad to see “kids” tried as adults at a younger and younger age. Of course we are shocked when a 14 year old murders somebody, and we rationalize that at that age they know the difference between right and wrong. That may be true, but do they know what the long-term consequences of their actions will mean for their entire future? I don’t think that even enters their young minds.

All this brings me to two of my grandchildren… don’t get me wrong, they are great kids, they have never done drugs, or engaged in illegal activities. They have always been well mannered and respectful of their teachers and other adults. They have friends and are generally well adjusted. The real problem is their parents… my son and daughter-in-law are excellent parents in every way except one. They let their ‘kids’ make adult decisions that are not in their best interests. For example: my grand daughter has a boyfriend that used to live in the Boston area, and about a year and a half ago she wanted him to come to stay around Christmas time. Unfortunately this guy is almost 29 (she was 18), he has a 6 year old boy that he does not support because he has no job. He was allowed to come and live at their house, and basically move in to my grand daughters bedroom. The parents didn’t like it but they were afraid she would move to Boston. Then they allowed my grandson to take his GED and drop out of high school because he was bored. The plan was to enroll in college right away so he could become a ‘video game programmer’ or something along those lines. No thoughts as to how much that was going to cost, and of course things are not going according to ‘the plan’.

Long story, short… you are not your kids ‘friend’, you are their parent and it is your responsibility to act in their ‘best interests’… even if they don’t like it. I can only pray that things turn out well for both of them because they are great kids… with not so great parents.

Most Respectfully,
Your Gadfly Granny

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 44...Dear Mr. President...It's the last day of 'Grammy Camp' and life is good.

Day 44

Dear Mr. President,

Today is my 44th letter to my 44th President, so I thought I’d talk about a few things that I’m grateful for having these past 65 years. First of all I’m lucky to be here because after my sister and brother were born in ’42 and ’44, my father had a vasectomy. Imagine my moms surprise when the doctor told her she was expecting #3… me. Of course I was special because I was born on my grandfather’s birthday… December 7th. Since our last name was Fields, they referred to my mom as the fertile fields… and after me there are another 3… making our family a ‘six pack’ of kids.

This past week has been ‘Grammy Camp’ week… it’s when I have some of the nine grandchildren I have, for a week with Grammy. Their parents know that this is a week of treats, sweets, movies, slime making, staying up late, swimming, and just plain being spoiled. We only have a few rules, no whining, no asking for ‘treats’ just take one when you want it, teeth must be brushed, and no fighting or bickering. Each kid gets to pick their own box of ‘sugar cereal’ that their parents won’t let them buy at home. Sodas are restricted to non-caffeine and sugar free, and they have to eat some fruits and veggies of their choice each day. The highlight of the week comes when we go to our local ice cream parlor and have ice cream for dinner and French fries for dessert… that’s always a big hit with all the kids and us ‘big’ kids too.

The kids have a great time, the parents get a break, and I enjoy the time spent doing fun things that I hope the grandkids will remember with fondness. I never knew my grandparents, and my mom was still busy raising her own kids and was not able to enjoy the grandchildren… so no fond memories for them. So I decided that I would be the kind of Grandma that I would have wanted, and I think I’ve pretty much done that.

I am also grateful for my health… being a cancer survivor of 4 years, each day is a gift and having the ability to spend time with my grandkids is extremely important to me.
You may be wondering what this has to do with my daily letter to you… well, it’s this… we live in a country where we are free to enjoy these things. The stores are filled with endless bounty, our cars are safe and we can travel on roads that are safe, our food supply is safe to eat, the water that comes out of the tap is safe to drink, the electricity comes on with the flip of a switch so we can watch movies, and we do all of this without fear from anyone or anything… how great is that?

America is a great place to be born and live, and I don’t take it for granted for even a second. I try to teach the grandkids that if they work hard in life, stay in school and get a good education that they will be able to enjoy these things with their children and then their grandchildren. Stay healthy, obey the law, and help people when you can.

I don’t blame immigrants who come to come to this country and want to stay, even if it is illegally… I know it’s not right and we need to uphold our laws… but I still don’t blame them… we live in a great country, in spite of the problems. Thank you for taking on the horrendous job of being President, I truly do appreciate all your efforts to make this country strong again. 

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 43...Dear President Obama...I'm mad as hell, enough already!

Day 43

Dear Mr. President,

It is a sad day for Democrats with the resignation of Anthony Weiner, and an even sadder day for the people of New York. I have to say that I was disappointed in your response to this ridiculous brouhaha involving Weiner’s admitted indiscretions. Since it wasn’t you that got caught committing such a juvenile act, I really don’t think you should comment about what you would do if you were Weiner… because you’re not.

Did you give an opinion as to whether David Vitter should step down after it was discovered that he solicited a prostitute? No, because it was none of your business, or anyone else’s for that matter.

I have no idea why others think they should weigh in on someone else’s problems. I’m no student of the bible, but I believe there is a passage about those without sin casting the first stone. The only difference between these guys is that Vitter actually broke the law, and so far as I know, Weiner did not. So why didn’t the Republicans call for Vitter’s resignation, and why aren’t the Democrats standing up for Weiner? I’ll tell you why… because the Democrats are a bunch of spineless cowards that wouldn’t stick together if they were dipped in Gorilla Glue and wrapped in duct tape.

It would not surprise me one bit if all of those calling for Rep. Weiner’s head, weren’t guilty of the same or similar juvenile pranks… This whole thing really ticks me off.

The only people that should be “weighing in” on whether Weiner resigns or not are the people that elected him. Everyone else should shut the hell up! As far as I know his constituents are very happy with his representation and don’t want him to leave, and if that’s not good enough for the rest of the country, too damn bad.

This country has so many more important issues that need to be “discussed,” and yet we find ourselves, once again, mired down in yet another sordid, gossip mongering, less than titillating, ridiculous scandal. Grow up, and get on with the business of the people, and the business of the country. Enough already!

Bring our troops home, stop the indiscriminate bombing in Libya, work on getting some jobs going in this country, fix the tax structure so the rich pay their fair share, close Gitmo like you promised, end corporate welfare, and lets see some real campaign finance reform. These are just a few of the “real” problems that need to be addressed … so please get back to being President… discussing this school-boy joke is beneath you, and beneath this country. Didn’t we learn anything after the Clinton scandal? The rest of the world thought we were a “joke”… and yet we’re doing it again.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny