Friday, September 16, 2011


I just came across a news website called Fascinating stuff if you're into US politics in a big way - and by 'big way' I mean a really, really big way.   Every jot and tittle is covered until your brain is soaked in the stuff.  It's like being in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup; supposedly nothing else goes on in people's minds except the awful game (and of course, I mean 'awful' in the old sense: awe-ful - don't I?)  Talking of which, though I hadn't intended to, the USA beat Russia yesterday; bit ironic, huh?

Anyway, back to  It's the online version of a real newspaper which has a relatively small circulation of 32,000, according to Wikipedia.   However, that's bolstered more than a little by the 6.7 million (unique) visitors the online version gets each month.   It kind of doesn't matter that the paper version is so small, when you add those two together.  

Politico focuses on the backstories, rather than the big headlines - according to its mission statement - and they aim to make their stories just as interesting as talking with the reporter over a sandwich or a beer.   Amongst of heap of stories floating around their site, I found this line: post-Sept. 11 veterans suffer a 23 percent unemployment rate. “After a decade of war, it’s time to focus on nation-building here at home. And our veterans, especially our 9/11 generation veterans, have the skills and the dedication to help lead ... 

There's a great deal about veterans on the site; it's plainly a big issue in the US, but not one that has hit our newspapers here with any great impact.  Our involvement has been so minimal, comparatively speaking, in the so-called war on terror, that we can practically count our lost soldiers on one (maybe two) hands.  Not so in the States, where thousands of men and women have died fighting a war that, IMHO, should never have been.  But it was, and now the US is facing the consequences of that.  There are sites where you can find information on a Military VA Loan for instance (I'm assuming VA stands for something like Veterans' Association, but I could be wrong). and the need to get veterans back on their feet is obviously very high on everyone's priority list, including Obama's.   Veterans can get home loans with no down payment, for instance, and the maximum loan you can go for is a whopping (by NZ standards) $US719,000.   That's some loan, but hopefully the Vets are getting enough in payments to cover that sort of mortgage.  

From where I sit (and I'm not likely to be alone in not understanding the full ins and outs of the current American monetary crises) it's hard to appreciate everything that's going on in the US economy.  (It's always been hard, mind you, not helped by the overly involved system that's evolved over there.)   For me it becomes a big clutter - even seven seasons of West Wing didn't help greatly.  I guess the way to understand it better would be to focus on something like the Vets and their situation.  I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to focus like that, but at least, when you're faced with a major issue, breaking it down in some way helps!

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