Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eid Break

Went on a cabin camping trip with the family to Ajloun Forest Reserve.  Just one night, but with a group from the Embassy, a billion kids (though ours were the oldest overall), and a gorgeous sunset.

At the marshmallow roasting.

Pictionary!  Girls rule!

Katherine, Ian, and I played.  The board
got a bit messed up before I snapped the photo.

Jonathon and Katherine actually did sleep out in a tent.  Real camping!  They came in at 5 a.m. due to cold.

On our way to Ajloun Castle we passed a Christian cemetery.  It stood out.

 And then I tried to get a photo of the kids.  Ancient ruins, cute kids, how easy.  Until dad starts throwing ancient rocks at the kids sitting on the ancient ruins.

I guess we didn't really need to go all the way to Ajloun Castle for ruins though... as the excavation/construction continues at the bottom of our wadi more access doorways reveal themselves.  I really wish they weren't putting up an apartment building.

With that... Eid Mubarak :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Furloughed, laid off...

I still have a job that I'm working and getting paid for.  Ian does as well.  Our Embassy, like many others is running fumes, but fumes we still have.  So many in our government are not so lucky.

There's a brilliant blog post written by one of our own in the FS, Life After Jerusalem titled "Stop Saying We're Furloughed."

Because once our money runs out we'll be joining the ranks of the government employees our Congress deems, basically, unnecessary.

Like the fact the federal parks and monuments are closed.  A lot of people have commented on that because it has interrupted their vacations.  That's sad, but to say I don't care is putting it lightly.  I don't care that the monuments are closed and folks are annoyed.  I care that the folks who run those places aren't working.

My biggest beef is that this isn't a government shutdown.  If it was, I wouldn't be working and neither would Ian.  On October 3rd both he and I, and every other person at our Embassy would have stayed home.  The Consular section would be shut and no visas or passports processed.  No child abduction cases or abuse of Americans would be managed, no transport home for the Americans who have died. ICE and DHS would close their doors. There would be no morale building activities, no reports submitted, no more transfers to post.  There would be no more interactions with our Jordanian host leaders.  Funding for every USAID program would freeze and kids would no longer see progress on the schools getting built, and the water programs would cease.  Our military presence would no longer support the Jordanian forces.

If this was a government shutdown, this would happen in all our 290+ Embassies and Consulates around the world.

If this was a government shutdown, the airports would close as the TSA would be off-line, as would the FTA and the Federal Marshals.

If this was a government shutdown, federally run power suppliers would shut down.  Oil subsidies would end.  Farm subsidies would stop.

If this was a government shut down, the Congress and President and every senior and junior official would no longer receive a paycheck.  Every VA paycheck recipient would get nothing.

If this was a real government shut down, the Economy would crumble, our security would evaporate, our borders would be Swiss cheese.

But this isn't a real government shutdown.  This is a stand by a minority to make a point that is even unclear to them anymore.   This is a push by a minority to make those who do not matter to them (they think) suffer, while they themselves feel nothing with their continued paychecks and healthcare and security.

Maybe a day of a REAL government shutdown would ensure that this choice of activity never happened again.