Cara's Blog

November 1, 2010

Can Money Buy a Senate Seat?

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 8:34 pm

After longtime Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd announced he would not be running for another term Democrats were hopeful that they could retain his seat. Connecticut’s longest-serving Senator has played an important role in the party since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. Over the years, Dodd served in a few powerful positions for his party including Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. After several controversies with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Countrywide Financial loans I was thankful that Dodd decided to retire. Those who remembered the Senator’s father Thomas J. Dodd, who also served in the United States Senate, worried that his son would leave behind a similar legacy. While Thomas Dodd was a long-time respected politician, but a campaign financing scandal severely hurt his reputation. The Senator attempted to run for office for the final time in 1970 as an Independent, but lost to the Republican candidate.

Dodd’s open seat has received national attention when Linda McMahon announced her candidacy for Senate September 16, 2009. Concerns raised over McMahon’s utter lack of political experience seem to be the least of the issues with her candidacy. The former CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment made it clear that she was willing to buy her seat by spending up $50 million of her own money. With a plethora of television ads, pamphlets, and “robo” calls it appeared early on that McMahon would be able win the election against the popular attorney general Richard Blumenthal. Anyone involved in political campaigns could tell you that funds play a crucial role in the success or failure of a candidate. However, McMahon’s campaign has proved that it takes more than money to win over voters. Connecticut residents have expressed annoyance with the literature arriving in their mailboxes daily and the frequent automated calls. We should be reassured that voters don’t necessarily chose the candidate with the most money, but November 2nd will be the real test. It will be interesting to see the outcome of other heavily funded races and the impact that money truly has on our democracy.

August 28, 2010

TEST RUN

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 3:01 pm

test

December 6, 2007

Last reading… *tear

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 10:29 am

As I read the epilogue of Wages Of War, I thought about our own research papers.  It took hours to complete research and write an eight page paper.  All the sources we read in class took provided a semester’s worth of research for our final essay.  I glanced at the page number which read 422 and I wondered how long it must have taken Severo and Lewis to complete their book.  The two historians must have spent years and years, doing thorough research on all American Wars and years and years constructing and editing their findings.  It must have been gratifying and rewarding to see their book after it had been finished.  The same goes for Gambone’s book.

I thought it was interesting that The Greatest Generation Comes Home discussed the men from wars such as the Revolutionary War.  I’ve come to discover from this class that each generation of soldiers had significant effects on each other.  They set presidents on expectable treatment, medical services, and war tactics.  History was truly relevant and important to them.  When it was ignored, the same mistakes were made.  For example, the men of the Revolutionary War  made it clear that pensions were vital to keep the peace of the veterans.  A few wars down the line the government started to honor their services with money, but progress was slow.

November 29, 2007

Nurses

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 10:19 am

I listened to the interview of Rhonda Marie Knox Prescott. She had a lot of similarities to the other two women I listened to and also the ones we heard in class. Prescott, like the others was interested in the medical field before she joined the Army. She became a captain in the Army Nurse Corps and spent her first year in the service in nursing school. I was surprised to yet again by this women’s bravery. Many people tried desperately to avoid service in Vietnam but this woman sent a request for service every chance she got.
I was surprised that they did so much brain surgery. Surgery in itself is risky but when you’re messing with the brain, I can imagine it has to get nerve racking. Her bravery extended further, as she wished to become a field nurse. This was where the casualties were the “freshest,” in her words.

November 27, 2007

Women

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 9:43 am

The interviews of women veterans were a nice change of pace from the Wages of War book. I was impressed with, not only the dedication of the women I listened to, but the differences that separated them from soldiers we read about. Many of the veterans we read about, from Watkins to Kovic didn’t have any higher education. Paul Fussell was enrolled in college when he enlisted in the army, but none of these men had the exceptional schooling that Rhonda Cornum and Regina H. Schiffman had previous to their involvement in the armed forces. Rhonda Cornum had her PHD. She attended medical school to study urology and studied biochemistry during her undergrad at Cornell. She was, in fact, recruited into the army at a Biology Lecture. Regina Schiffman joined the Army Nurse Corps after working in neurosurgical nursing at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. To attain the jobs that both these women had, serious education is required.

I was impressed by the bravery these women had. Even though they were in different wars and had different duties in those wars, they carried the same courage. As Rhonda Cornum described her capture and imprisonment in a POW camp she told her interviewer, matter-of-factly, that her plane had been shot down, and only two others onboard survived. She was only the second woman POW in the Persian Gulf War, yet she didn’t blink an eye as she described the lack of medical attention her broken limbs were given and the food they were given. Regina H. Schiffman was an army nurse, not a combat soldier, but like Ms. Cornum, she was an officer. While Cornum fought in the front lines, Schiffman cared for the heavy casualties that were brought in. Not only did this army nurse help soldiers in Korea, but she also was sent to Vietnam. This was dedication I did not see from the men we read about.

November 20, 2007

Wages of War/Greatest Generation Comes Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 10:13 am

One thing I found interestin about the reading in Gambone’s book was the divide Americans were starting to feel towards war. During World War II, the country seemed so united and supportive of their soldiers. Gambone cited that in 1950, a poll said that 55% of resondents “believed the United States was ready involved in WWIII. The previous war had cost many American lives and people were uncertain that they wanted to be invovled in something to this escaladed. My father served during part of the cold war, which was what was taking place in America during this time. The army was 7,000 men short of their wartime strength and tense about the possibility of communist attack.

I think the cold war is one of the most interesting of American conflicts because it is so different from others. People who lived during this time feared for nuclear war. Their fears were fueled by politicians and the media. It must have been a uncertain era to grow up in. The thought of Nuclear War is certianly scary. In a way we still face the same fears today with countries in the middle east and Asia having weapons of mass destruction.

November 14, 2007

Korean and Vietnam memorials

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 12:09 pm

Kennedy’s belief that culture was a crucial weapon against communism made me ponder a hypothetical scenario. What if our country participated in a culture war instead of the cold war? There would be a few obvious advantages to this occurrence. First and foremost, there would be no threat of nuclear detonation. Paintings, sculptures, and music could not produce the destruction of human race. Another advantage would be the great enlightenment that would come out of such a competition. Some European countries, have scoffed at Americans lack of refinement in the area of the arts. We were one of the few developed democracies, until recently not to have a poet laureate. Communism, by nature, restricts the freedom of creativity and individuality. Therefore, a culture race would, at least in part, defeat communism. Whether or not this would work is questionable, but I digress from the reading.

I found an interesting irony with the Korean and Vietnam wars. I wonder if it is a conscience that we aren’t taught about the wars were didn’t win. It was frustrating to me in middle and high school that my history classes taught me nothing about these two conflicts even though they were important to American history. I also wonder if there is a correlation between the tombstones of fallen Korean War soldiers reading “Korean Conflict” and the fact that we never won this war. I’ve noticed also that tombstones of soldiers of fought in Vietnam read “Vietnam Conflict” rather than Vietnam War. I think that “conflict” is too light of word for what the Vietnam and Korean conflicts were, which were wars.

November 11, 2007

Wow that was a lot of reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 9:10 pm

The ignorance of America came at a high cost to its people. President Lyndon Johnson was so enthralled with his quest for a “great society” escalated the U.S. presence in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, according to Wages of War, admired Americans and was a loyal ally during World War II. Presidents prior had ignored him as he showed determination to making Vietnam a democracy. Unable to get aid, he turned to communism. Johnson’s misunderstanding of Vietnamese culture further thwarted the situation and led to a greater push to prevent a “domino effect” of communism in Asia.

More knowledge about Agent Orange would have prevented many deaths and defects to American Veterans and Vietnamese. The fact that the government used clearly bias sources for their research of Agent Orange and tried to deny for years any negative effects would have outraged me as an effected veteran. I can better understand now why veterans felt so isolated. They were not given a warm homecoming, denied proper medical care, and later stood by and watched the American government welcome home prisoners from Iran years later with the compassion they should have received.

November 7, 2007

The Fourth 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 9:05 pm

Kovic really surprised me with his audacious descriptions of his life after the war. I think that this was an effective, not vulgar, tool because the readers can truly understanding how the character is feeling. For example, the author repeatedly talks about how he lost use of his penis. As he dwells on this, he becomes very cynical about the rest of his life and his religion that had been so important to him before the war. In his anger Kovic writes “ The Church says if you play with it, it is a sin. Now… it is gone for America…I have given my numb young dick for democracy.” He escapes American democracy and his disability for a time in Mexico. As Kovic went each night from prostitute to prostitute, was relieved of some of his frustrations but realized he felt numb in more than one place.

I gasped out loud as I read the atrocities of the Veterans Administration hospital. Kovic wrote that his nurse told him he was crazy, his doctor always called him by the wrong name, and he was left lying in his own excrement for hours. “I asked for a bath. I asked for vomit to be wiped up from the floor. I asked to be treated like a human being.” The hostility that Kovic and his fellow veterans faced from the police sickened me. To be beaten and have his metals ripped from his chest my the force that is supposed to protect and serve him is simply atrocious.

November 3, 2007

Born on the 4th Part one

Filed under: Uncategorized — caramac @ 1:14 pm

I found Born On the Fourth of July to be fascinating and powerful. The first thing that struck me about the reading was Kovic’s use of literary techniques. For most of the reading, the author writes in 1st person, but for selected passages Kovic switches to 2nd person. He writes in 2nd person first in chapter two where he discusses the hospital in New York where he was sent and when he first sees his parents. The second time he uses this devise is when he enters boot camp. I believe that the author might have chosen to change person here because these were times where he felt like his life was in the hands of someone else such as the nurses or his drill sergeant.

I noticed that there were a number of religious references that might be useful to examine. The opening scene in the book is the chaos of a battle. The men are crying for Jesus and their mothers. On pages 39 Kovic says that he stayed in the hospital in Vietnam for “seven days and seven nights,” a common length of time repeatedly used in the bible. The author also describes his Catholic upbringing and how influences his childhood. He said that when he was a kid that he “loved God more than anything else in the world and [that he] prayed to Him and the Virgin Mary and Jesus and all the saints to be a good boy and a good American.”

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