Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music
Originally uploaded by shainelee.
My daughter decided to learn to play the flute at school. At the beginning, she wasn't very good. Now, after weeks of practice, she is actually getting pretty good. I think that by the end of the year she may be ready to perform for her family.

Playing the flute has been good for her in other ways. She is one of those for whom things come easy, like me. The thing is that music requires practice and doesn't care how smart you are. She has had to practice at this. It will be useful when she takes Calculus.

I am glad she has found something challenging. I am most grateful that she did not choose to play the trumpet, drums, saxophone, or other loud instruments.


Originally uploaded by shainelee.
I'm attending the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority Forum at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. The program for today includes a background on Rio Grande Water Rights by Carlos Rubinstein. We will learn About RGRWA from Sonia Kaniger. Funding Opportunities by J. Kevin Ward. There will be a question and answer session, a short break, and an overview of RGRWA Proposed Legislation, Discussion, and adjournment at around 5:30.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Memory upgrade

Memory upgrade
Originally uploaded by shainelee.
I went shopping for prices on memory card upgrades for my Hipster PDA. I still have not maxed out my current memory, but I wanted to be prepared. Expansion cards go from a couple of dollars for 100 to about $8 for 500. Then there are cards with different formats I'd like to try with my Hipster for compatibility. I like using my Hipster display in portrait mode, but there are some nice expansion cards that work in landscape mode only.

In other news, I recorded another episode of the Davis Rankin show today, but left my recorder at work. I wanted to upload it tonight, but that won't be possible. I'll have it for you tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'll be at UTPA tomorrow with Rep. Pena and Orlando. Afterwards, we will go to another meeting about water. That one will also be interesting.

Today, I got in touch with several knowledgable people about our voter verifiable paper trails, even some who are against. There is value in direct contact versus book and Internet research.

Morning commute.

Morning commute.
Originally uploaded by shainelee.
I pass by the Shary-Shivers estate every day on the way to work. Even with all the construction, it's a nice scene. Some mornings, with the sun shining from behind me, it looks glorious. There are a couple other houses that look nice on the way.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wacky World of Wikis

I just learned about new variants of wikis that have me all excited. The most famous of wikis is the wikipedia. A wiki is basically a website that is updated by its users. There are several wiki sites available. Some are free, others charge a monthly fee. If you have a website, wikis are often available for installation, but require you to know how to set it up on a server and configure settings.

I have great interest in wikis because they make it easier to organize information. You can start a topic and come back to it later if you go off on a tangent. For team collaboration, wikis are a great tool because the pages are editable by anybody on the team as new information becomes available. Therefore, anybody who has access to your wiki has real-time information available. If you have a small team, it's easy to simply call each other. In a large organization, this is very impractical. Emailing everybody is also a time-waster because the person has to sit there and read every single email. Not all emails will be necessary for that person to read; but he or she will have to read it just in case there is something relevant to his or her contribution. A wiki, on the other hand, lets the person read only the information that is relevant.

If a team has individual blogs in addition to a wiki, team leaders are able to get the latest progress reports as they become available. It takes as much effort to type a blog entry as it does to send an email, type of a Word file, or hand write a memo. The main difference is that a blog automatically archives the progress report and eliminates the burden of saving the word file, keeping track of emails, or losing memos. Yes, there is some mirroring between a blog and a wiki. You're wondering where the segue is, I can feel it.

Well, some wikis, like found a way to combine blogging features into their wiki. I use schtuff for the wiki aspect as I already have this blog. I started a wiki for Session80 on schtuff. After having gone through training on the open records act, I learned that anything I use in conducting my job for the state is subject to an open records request. This can get messy and uncomfortable when you combine personal information with work information. Thus, I have my personal wiki as well. I might phase out the Session 80 wiki.

The problem is that I would benefit from the functionality of having a wiki at work. Obviously, installing software on the state servers is out of the question. You can imagine my excitement when I learned that there is a wiki that runs on a thumb drive. That's right, a thumb drive. It's called TiddlyWiki. There is another thumb drive wiki out there, but it doesn't seem as cool. What's awesome about this wiki is that it is basically one file that saves to itself. All the source code is inside the html file. You don't need a server-side backend to run it.

The advantage to such a setup is that it allows you to use any computer with a USB port to update your information. Plug in your drive, do your work, save. and you're done. Another advantage is that you can simply drop the file in a shared folder on the network to have a team wiki without freaking out the network admins. Finally, the greatest advantage is that it facilitates open records requests because you can easily find all the necessary information without opening file after file. Simply use the built-in search function and print all the results. Or, you can simply email the wiki over, copy it to a thumb drive, or burn a CD. It's only 1 text file.

This type of stick wiki makes it so easy to conduct research and organize the information you have gathered. Best of all, your investment is pretty small, the cost of a thumb drive. The alternative would be to have a separate computer dedicated to running a wiki. You don't even need a network connection. Or, you can have your network guys set one up for you. If you're a student, pick up a copy of TiddlyWiki. It will make your life easier for research papers. Oh, and for peace of mind, email yourself a backup on occasion.

** UPDATE **
I found examples of people using TiddlyWiki here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Thanksgiving Computer Job

After dinner, I put in some work on a computer my mom's friend brought me. It was a good experience because it was a slight challenge. I'm just going to go over the case below.

Client complains of: computer will not connect to the Internet.

Initial diagnosis: software problem, probably a driver gone bad.

hardware OK. Computer detects modem and ethernet adapter.
Drivers working alright
Internet explorer has trouble finding Internet connection.
AOL fails to connect via TCP/IP.
Ethernet adapter detects network, fails to obtain network address. Fails over to APIPA (Automatic Private IP Addressing).

Look for any adware/spyware that may cause problems and remove programs. Remnants of Kazaa indicate likelihood malware is the cause of problems.
Tried to change network settings in case it's a matter of bad configuration. Computer still fails over to APIPA.
Set static IP. This prevents APIPA. Able to ping the router. IE still cannot find Internet.
Tried disabling and enabling hardware, no result.
Turned off APIPA via Windows registry, no benefit.
Uninstalled AOL 8.0, no success.
Installed AOL 9.0 to let software install possible solution. No connection, even with TCP/IP. Dial up initiates, but does not get past authentication.

Definitely a software issue. Specifically, Winsock is damaged. I came to this conclusion because the hardware part is functional and all the "client" software has connection problems.

Repair Winsock. Obviously, one of the layers is damaged and blocking communication between the "client" software and hardware. Several free utilities are available online to reinstall Winsock.

Full Internet access restored. AOL can connect via TCP/IP and dial-up. IE is able to connect by both routes as well. Problem fixed.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ready for Thanksgiving

checking out

We went shopping for some of the last minute stuff at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Palmhurst. It was crazy out there. The place was full of people. Like us, many people were doing a lot of last minute shopping. For the most part, we are ready for our Thanksgiving feast. We will probably make it a Thanksgiving Lunch rather than dinner. This way, we can pick at the leftovers for the rest of the day rather than go to bed stuffed.

Later, I went to the HEB on 495 and Conway. That place wasn't any better. Everybody is stocking up. The cashier at Wal-Mart told us that the store would be open all day tomorrow. I think that HEB tends to close early.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

El Rocinante on Blogger!

Forgive me for not having caught this. I really depend on RSS feeds for all my information. I would occasionally visit El Rocinante because the site did not have an RSS feed. Tonight, I visited the site and found that there is a blogger site embedded in a frame. The good news is that this gives me an RSS feed. I'll be better able to keep up with what's going on in Brownsville.

Next Door to A Capitol Blog

We've decided to put Rep. Peña's blog at an adjacent address to where it was. If you want to update your links, we have moved the blog to until we find out what Google can do to restore the original address.

I have started work on a possible future incarnation of A Capitol Blog at temporarily. It's a dummy site until we figure out all the functions and features. Your opinion is welcome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Tonight, I was archiving Rep. Peña's website at A Capitol Blog. Blogger used to let you do this without losing you subdomain. However, while the blog was offline, it got taken over by a spam site and I am unable to get it back. The blog is still viewable at if you want to see his latest posts.

I'm working on getting back his subdomain. If you could, temporarily, disable the link because there is a porn ereaser website that pops up. Obviously, it's not something Mr. P wants associated with his name.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Changes, Hope, and Gratitude

At the beginning of this year, I left my job of three years at Confetti in McAllen. I went back to school, which I had left when I started working at the store. I needed a change. I was starting to get a bit depressed because I was working at the same job after three years. Sure, I was manager of the store and co-managed three restaurants. I worked my tail off, but I was still struggling. Furthermore, I couldn't hope for advancement or a promotion because the top is not that high in small business. It finally got to me and I started the year with those changes.

I started to learn more about local politics and even got involved in the Laura Hinojosa campaign for Hidalgo County District Clerk. I met some interesting people. Things went more or less OK in the semester at the university. I had trouble finding work. My job options were limited during the semester due to my class schedule. My available options meant that I would work fewer hours at lower wages. I wasn't about to leave school to get more hours at low wages.

I had started the year from a low point and things did not get any better. My wife later told me that she no longer saw a spark in me. She saw that I had given up. And I did. I had instigated changes to try to get out of the grip of hopelesness. It worked for a moment, but as the summer approached, I fell right back into its grasp. I really was at the end of hope.

This is part of the reason why I needed to get out of the Rio Grande Valley. I decided that I might as well do something meaningful with my travels, so I sought to bring light to the struggles of migrants. Even at my lowest, I'm willing to help people out. Being broke, I had much in common with migrant families. What motivated me to try was a little bit of hope. I had hope that maybe there was something out there for me. You could say that it was my last hope. I was fortunate that I found work, well-compensated work. It was even more fortunate that I would work with and for the same people I would be writing about.

I wrote about changes in the preceding paragraphs. The more meaningful changes occurred during the season that I spent working up north. All I needed was to win a little bit. Like that one breath after being underwater longer than you care to be, it was such a relief to work at a job where I could earn more than just my family's basic needs. When we first moved into our apartment a couple years ago, I was scared about making enough money to pay the $500 rent. That was a little less than double our previous rent. It was a big change for my psyche to be able to pay that AND pay rent on a second apartment in Wisconsin simultaneously with money left over. On top of that, I had enough to pay the outrageous electric bill here in the RGV (my worst bill in Wisconsin was less than $60) Once again, I had hope for the future.

I was prepared to stay up north after finally being able to see the light at the end of months of darkness. The thing is, I really like living in the Rio Grande Valley. Although I had much better opportunities up north, this is home. Rep. Peña had mentioned, at one time, that he needed somebody with technical skills to join his team, so I decided to try my hand. There are trade-offs that I was willing to accept. I know for a fact that wages and salaries are lower in the Rio Grande Valley. There are other benefits, like family, that factor in as well. So, we came to an agreement and now I work for the State of Texas.

At the moment, I am willing to accept a salary that isn't as great as I could command up north, but is more than I could normally expect in the Rio Grande Valley. This brings me to the third item in this post, gratitude. I started out with all the changes I put in motion to try to have a better life when I had lost hope. As a result of the changes, I regained hope. This is significant; you have to have lost hope to know how meaningful it is to regain it. Now that I have hope and am back home, I can't help feeling gratitude.

I am thankful for findng my way back to the light. I am thankful for the people whom I have met on my journeys. I am thankful for having a wife who stuck with me throughout this dark period in my life. I am thankful that I have a decent job in the Rio Grande Valley. I am thankful for the friendships that blogging has brought me. I am thankful for all the experiences about to come my way. And, I am thankful that my family and friends have been there for me. I also want to thank readers of RGV Life for your interest in the life of an RGV peasant.

There have been many changes in my life this year. I have lost and regained all hope. And my gratitude for the relationships I have formed overwhelm me. As the Holiday season approaches, I wish you the best whether you've had a good year or a rough year. I think you know that we have a series of vacations and half work days ahead of us. Once Thanksgiving hits, the rest of the year flys by.

I'd like to hear what changes, hope, and gratitude you have in your life this year. Leave a long-ass comment if you have to. I would like to hear from you, please.

Shaine Mata

Monday, November 13, 2006

Learning Something New

I like politics. I love business. When I was a Biochemistry major, I really did not have any respect or desire for business. I think this was mostly due to my experience with business people and ignorance of the higher-level business concepts. At its core, business is simple; provide a good or service at a higher price than your cost. It's simple enough that people untrained in business have a good shot at succeeding. As a "civilian", you mostly interact with the underlings of most businesses or deal with simple businesses that don't require advanced business training. How often does a Rio Grande Valley peasant like myself deal with senior level executives of multi-national corporations? Hardly ever.
As I started to learn more about business, I started to enjoy the subject more and more. In any case, as I advance further in my business training and the classes become more challenging, I understand more and I love it more. I am currently not taking any classes, but I can still learn something about business. Thank God that we have book stores here in the RGV that have books on business. Not only that, the Internet provides all kinds of things for one to learn. What has been occupying my attention, recently, is learning some useful software tools for business.
One tool is a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). This kind of software allows you to view and manage multiple parts of your company. Each department has access their own section and is responsible for updating it. For example, marketing can track multiple campaigns to determine which ones yield better sales leads. The Sales department can process leads and develop them into customers. CRMs also allow you to process orders, send out quotes and invoices, and can provide customized reports on the overall health of your organization. One of the more well-known CRMs is NetSuite. They do all that and more. The cost can be pretty steep for the casual user like myself. There are other CRMs that can cost thousands of dollars. If used properly and consistently, a CRM can keep your business humming along smoothly. Even Microsoft has their own version called Dynamics. Well, I can't afford to drop a few grand to learn how to use the software, but I found a free version at After a substantial amount of tinkering, I am beginning to see how the overall structure fits together. I am impressed by what CRMs offer.
Another type of software solution that has caught my attention is Project Management. Zoho makes a project management service too, but I find it lacking, somewhat. Mostly, I've been working with a version I installed on my old 4OddJobz website called phpCollab. There are versions that install directly on your computer, but those are pricey. Furthermore, I like the ability to access from anywhere that there is Internet.
Project management software allows you to break up a large project into pieces and plan everything out to the most minute detail you can imagine. In addition, it allows for collaboration on anything from the overall project down to individual tasks and subtasks. Even more importantly, the software keeps track of milestones, percent completion, and the project timeline. If you are going through a huge project with a million details, a project management program can help you keep it all organized. Of course, it works best if you use it consistently throughout the process. Again, it's a good enough niche that Microsoft also has their own version.
So, that's what's keeping me busy and awake at nights. It's my escape from the world, for the moment. I know that these solutions will be useful sometime in the future. As soon as I am satisfied with what I have learned, I will resume a more regular blogging schedule.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day 2006

Today, Orlando Salinas and I accompanied Rep. Peña to Veteran's Day events. Personally, I was at a ceremony organized by Sylvia Handy at Delta Park, which is north of Elsa, Texas. The ceremony included recognition of the veterans attending. I don't have too many pictures as I was working the video camera. Orlando probably got more shots than I did with the camera he had.
The next event was an unveiling of the new stone memorial for Freddy Gonzalez in Edinburg. The memorial was erected at Freddy Gonzalez Elementary. Dolia Gonzalez, mother of the local hero, was present to see her son honored.
Let us also not forget the veterans who are still amongst us, for this is their day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

RGV Votes to Strengthen and Improve Levees and Drainage

Moments ago, the Hidalgo County Elections Department updated the election results. Voters approved a $100,000,000 bond to strengthen our levee system and make improvements to our drainage systems. The need for flood protection became apparent in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Those residents of the Rio Grande Valley old enough to remember know that we are prone to flooding after being hit by a hurricane many years back.
The votes for the bond totaled 22,302 versus 17,181 against. Suprisingly, 8,434 people did not vote for or against the proposal. Thankfully, enough people voted for the plan to ensure the safety of lives and reduce the damage to property.
I agree that $100,000,000 is a lot of money. In fact, I have no doubt that some of that will be misspent given the susceptibility to corruption and cronyism in the RGV. However, it's way too much money for any small group of people to get away with stealing. I hope that the size of the bond is so huge that even with the misappropriations there will be work done to secure our safety and investments.
We had more to lose in terms of lives and financial well being had we not taken this action. I dare say that the financial losses could have been in the billions. In Mission, where I live, there are plenty of $200,000 homes within a mile or two of the river. In fact, some genius developer decided to make these homes between the levees and the Rio Grande.
Back to my main point, I'm amazed that people would vote against or would abstain from voting on such an important matter. I suppose I should be grateful that those who abstained did so, because if they had joined the against column, our security would not be assured.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Night Madness

I've been sitting at the computer tonight listening to KURV and the AP Radio Network, checking the Texas Secretary of State's election results, Hidalgo County's election results, and I even opened up It's such a high-stakes election, both in Texas and in the nation. I'm wondering how life will change after this election.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

America's Last Patrol Post #3 Day 4 Pics Updated

I have updated pics from today's walk by America's Last Patrol Post #3. You can visit the photos at

I won't be able to make it to tomorrow's walk or event at the VFW. Take plenty of pictures if you can.

Day Four of Veterans March

Veterans of America's Last Patrol Post #3 marched their fourth day in a row on their Brownsville to Roma walk to raise awareness for the need for a Veterans Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. The group started around 8:30 in the morning at the Veterans Memorial on 29th Street in McAllen. Today's walk ended just outside of Rio Grande City. I first joined the group halfway between Bryan Rd and Conway Ave. in Mission.

This was my second day walking with them. Yesterday, I worked at the dedication of the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery and could not participate in the walk. From start to end, Juan Vela was like a machine. He just keeps going and going. The group kept asking him to slow down and wait for them to catch up.

The group had another show of kindness by a local business owner in Mission. Gordhan "Victor" Bharat, owner of the Executive Inn & Suites and Mi Hacienda Restaurant, offered lemonade for all of us. He had read about the group and was quick to offer us refreshment when he saw us walking by. Victor also volunteered use of his parking lot by members of the group who had just joined us.

The walk today was pretty straightforward through Mission, Palview, and La Joya. We stopped for lunch at the Whataburger in La Joya. There was discussion about underestimating the distance between La Joya and Rio Grande City, so we figured out how to cover the distance in a shorter time to allow the group to arrive in Roma by Sunday afternoon. Essentially, we did what they called relays. We split the group into two. Each group would cover two miles and then leapfrog ahead of the other team at their two mile mark. This allowed us to cover four miles in the same time it would have taken to cover two miles by a single group.

I was in the group with Jesus Bocanegra, Mike Escobar, Robert Gomez, Jimmy Krummel, and Eddie Avila driving the chase vehicle. Our group did three relays, I think; which amount to 6 miles. In our last relay, Robert went with the other group because a couple of people in that group had to leave early. Krummel rode on the back of the chase car. He didn't want to overdo it as he has a pacemaker. Bocanegra and Escobar joked that he shouldn't worry, they had jumper cables to bring Jimmy back if the pacemaker gave out. In the last relay, in order to mess with Jimmy's pace timing, we decided to run about a quarter mile. Within a few hundred yards, we realized that it was going to kill us, so we decided to keep going to the top of the hill. This way we could walk downhill while recovering from the run. Once you leave La Joya going west, the terrain starts to get hilly.

At the end of the walk, the whole group got together. We were asked to pose for a group photo by a couple of residents who saw us coming. One of the ladies is related to General Sanchez who we had seen just the day before in Mission.

My family will be celebrating my son's birthday tomorrow, so I won't be able to accompany America's Last Patrol Post #3 tomorrow on their final and important installment of the walk. They start the walk at the Wal-Mart in Rio Grande City and end it at the VFW in Roma. At 4 pm, they will have an open microphone for veterans to speak their grievances for two minutes. Last word is that both Frank Enriquez and Henry Cuellar will be present. I wish the veterans the best for tomorrow.

We have stopped for lunch at the Whataburger in La Joya. We've been joined by the group's CMDR.

Walking with veterans day 4

This message is from a Virgin Mobile user. Enjoy.

We are currently leaving Mission and entering Palmhurst. The group started their walk this morning at the Veterans Memorial on 29th in Mcallen. The group wants to walk as much as possible today so that they can have a shorter distance on their last leg of the walk tomorrow.

As we keep going, we are gaining more and more people in the group. If you need to know our location, contact Jesus Bocanegra at 496-7827. Anybody supporting the cause for bringing a veterans hospital to the RGV is welcome to join.

Despite having been at this the last three days, the group is going at a good, brisk pace.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jesus Bocanegra of America's Last Patrol Post #3

Jesus Bocanegra is a member of America's Last Patrol Post #3. He and other veterans are fighting to bring a VA Hospital to the Rio Grande Valley.

MP3 File

Traffic in Mercedes

Traffic was lined up for a mile in either direction on U.S. Highway 83 this morning as shoppers flooded the opening of the new outlet mall in Mercedes, Tx. On the eastbound lanes, the line started from the stop light on the frontage road and backed up onto the expressway. Westbound traffic had an equally long long at one point, but was mostly on the frontage road until shoppers started driving up on the curb and driving through an open field adjacent to the outlet shops.

You can see more photos here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some Good People I Met

Group Picture of America's Last Patrol Post #3

Today, I had the opportunity to join Mr. Peña on his walk with a good bunch of guys, and a few gals, from America's Last Patrol Post #3 on their walk from Brownsville to Roma. This was Day 2 of their 5 day walk. Just in case you're not up to speed, this group traveled from Edinburg, Tx to San Antonio, Tx on foot one year ago. The distance of the trek was 250 miles. This time, the trek is 125 miles. The purpose of the walk is to highlight the need for a Veterans Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. Currently, veterans who need medical care must travel the 250 miles to San Antonio. For many of our veterans, this journey is a hardship for lack of funding or transportation. Therefore, these veterans got a feasibility study going to determine whether the government should build a VA Hospital here. There is no hospital yet, so they want to remind the public so that we don't forget.

We caught up with the group at La Feria and accompanied them all the way to Weslaco. Along the way, more and more people joined the group. It was inspiring to see so many people dedicated to the cause. During our walk, you could heard a constant series of honking from drivers-by in support of the effort. Some people even stopped by and thanked the group for what they are doing.

Our first stop was to park our vehicles ahead of the group. We were coming into Mercedes where the new Outlet Mall opened. There was a lot of bumper-to-bumber traffic around that area for the Grand Opening. Up ahead, we stopped for an interview with a newspaper reporter. Some of us took advantage of the stop and visited Van Burkleo Ford to use their toilets. I'll take this opportunity to thank Van Burkleo Ford for their kindness.

Texas Taco Mart Around the Donna area, the group received a gift of water bottles to lend their support. We were crossing the street and heard a distant voice calling to us and waving for our attention. The young lady asked if we would like some water, which we gratefully accepted. Thank you to the Texas Taco Mart for their encouragement and water.

America's Last Patrol Post #3 Up ahead, we passed the South Texas ISD schools. We were really close to our lunch stop at the Peter Piper Pizza in Weslaco when we met a couple of World War II veterans, brothers.

World War II Veteran Brothers These men are Filiberto and Jose Zamora. They had been searching for the group all day. They took our pictures and shared their experiences during the war. One of them was stationed in Africa where the allies trounced the enemy; and the other went to France right after D-Day. He was young, and therefore one of the last ones out of Europe.

America's Last Patrol Post #3 We stopped at the Peter Piper Pizza in Weslaco for lunch. I got the chance to properly introduce myself to some of the group and get their names.

Visit from Maria Luisa Alvarado We also had the good fortune to meet Maria Luisa Alvarado, who stopped by to lend her support. She is running for Lt. Governor of Texas. Ms. Alvarado is former Air Force.

You can see many more photos about the walk here.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I'm a bit sad that I won't be able to join these fine soldiers tomorrow. I'll be at the opening of the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetary in Mission.

Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetary Entrance If you are interested in attending, take Expressway 83 west past Mission. Get off at the Inspiration Rd Exit and take a left. As you cross under the bridge, you'll take another left and then drive straight for a couple miles or so. It's big enough you won't miss it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry's How to Make Enemies and Stop Influencing People

Backup in case video gets deleted from YouTube

You won't believe the timing of this. Today I got the ball rolling to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserve. The recruiter was not too pleased with this clown's remark. The recruiter has a degree in Criminal Justice. He quit his job and went full-time with the Army. I am 21 hours away from graduating with a degree in Finance. With my pending job, what need would I have to risk deployment?

Does the recruiter need the Army to get educated? No. He already is. I've got this far without the Army; I'm pretty sure I don't need it. Some other things I've learned today. The Army is seeing an increase in 41.5 year old enlistments. They are even seeing father/son and mother/daughter enlistments. Can you imagine going through basic training and AIT with your child beside you?

Despite what some would have you believe, some of us want to serve our country because it's the right thing to do. I want to do more than just pay our veterans lip service. I admire them enough to want to become one of them. I would be honored if my son or daughter one day made the same choice. Some people have that sense of duty and honor. Others, like the clown in the video who used the military as a stepping stone, think everybody else does the same. There is no nuance here, he said it.


To his credit. Senator Kerry apologized. It seems as though it may not have been enough to some soldiers in Irak.
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