Several years ago, one of the items on a self review when I worked at Pyxis Corporation was the self determination of your integrity. In as far as work was concerned, I felt and still do that I have tons of integrity in the workplace. My manager at the time was a back-stabbing little troll of a woman that would just as soon blame you for an issue that she caused while sitting in a meeting with a client – as you learned there was an issue!
During the first self-evaluation I had with her as my new manager, I had marked a five on the scale of 1-5 for integrity – for I felt that I have the most integrity of all my team members. I never took time off while I was supposed to be working. I was incredibly honest with my clients, sometimes to my own detriment. I took all responsibility for the project, despite issues arising from other people or corporate!
In any event, she told me that she changed it to a three because you “either have integrity or you don’t.” To which I commented that it shouldn’t be a gradient scale and asked her how dare she question my integrity, when she knew that I had more integrity in my pinkie than she did in her entire body!
I tell you that to tell you this. As I watch what is happening in our world, the current occupant of the White House constantly tweeting lies, proclaiming actions that never happened, or denying that he has grabbed women by the genitals. The integrity of the office of the president has fallen to a historic low.
The sharp slide downward for the office began years ago. When you start with Nixon and end up with Trump, you have to wonder how we have fallen so far so quickly. We had a Congress that stirred up a load of bull about Obama. His skin color offended them and they did nothing for the greater good of America. So much of their obstructionism brought us the current occupant.
I blame reality TV. That’s what Trump brought to the table, visibility to a set of Americans that only watch Fox News and reality TV. I stopped watching TV almost 10 years ago. I don’t care about Kim Kardashian or any of her ilk. I barely know what’s on TV these days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know what’s going on in the world because I am a news junkie and have been a political news junkie since Mitt Romney made his 47% comments. He awoke in me an anger that had me off the sidelines and into the world of arguing against my friends and relatives that refused to see the truth.
They still don’t and I’ve wasted my breath.
Think about it; we had an election that was more scripted for TV than it was about policy. Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk. I know the type. They sit up at nights reading policy – I know, I’ve done the same thing!
She tried to introduce policy, actions that would help the country. In Trump, we had vague promises to build a wall to keep Mexicans and other North American Latinos from crossing into our country. I’ve read much about the impact that such a wall would have, both environmentally and from a trade agreement perspective. Doing so could have a tremendous impact on existing trade agreements with Mexico, but reality has no place in the scripted horror-comedy that is the current occupant’s administration.
Even with George W. Bush, I never was a scared of my president as I do with the current occupant. Trump has signed executive orders that are unlawful and stopped by judges before they can be implemented. He has stolen a Supreme Court seat, thanks to Mitch McConnell. Of course the Democrats have much to blame in that – they should have insisted that Garland Merrick have a nomination hearing and should NOT have assumed Hillary would win. The arrogance in their lack of action is telling as well.
Now, the current occupant has bombed Afghanistan and launched missiles into Syria. He warned the Russians he was going to launch the missiles and that allowed them to move out of the area and look as if they were never there.
On top of all that, Trump has taken more golfing vacations in the first couple of months here than Obama did in a year. The sad thing about that is Trump constantly berated Obama for taking any vacation. During the campaign, he said he’d prefer to stay in the White House and work. Apparently not.
We have been duped – well, I haven’t because I’ve been screaming about the lack of integrity of this man for a few years now. He’s a liar and a crook. I didn’t vote for him. Now, as he works to defund the programs that actually help the people who elected him, I wonder if they finally see that he is screwing them over and the pain he is inflicting now will be felt for years to come.
It’s been difficult living in South Georgia where the people vote Republican and then get mad when the government takes away their social security checks, their food stamps, or whatever else they may be receiving. No one here seems to do their research and realize that it was their congressman who actually voted to reduce food stamps, voted against a raise in social security and disability checks.
Integrity is dying in America and that is seen in our politics today. Most people recognize that politicians lie to get the vote, but the lies we’ve seen in 2016 and the lack of moral standing in our country has been depleted with the current administration. We have the most corrupt administration ever and people think we are heading on the right path.
If we are to make America great again, we need to start with recalling the current occupant and clean up the swamp he has created.
The following is a non-comprehensive list of published articles from various work endeavors.
SNL Financial – Reporter
While working at SNL Financial, I wrote articles concerning the banking industry, as well as a weekly wrap up of political issues influencing the financial sector. My beat also included Congressional hearings, industry conferences and a daily stock market overview.
Having worked in IT for almost two decades prior, I leveraged my understanding of technology to write articles on the EMV chip-embedded card technology – a much anticipated change to industry standard. Additionally, I penned articled about other technologies of concern to the financial industry – including cybersecurity and Bitcoin.
Financial institutions begin 1-year countdown to EMV compliance – Oct. 17, 2014
Full EMV compliance not expected for several years – Dec. 2, 2014
Cybersecurity is the new black – Oct. 1, 2014
As oil prices dropped, I spotted a concerning trend among analysts and bankers.
Dropping oil prices do not concern bankers — yet – Nov. 25, 2014
Canadian banks eye oil prices for remainder of ’15 – April 06, 2015
The fairly new Dodd-Frank Act had supporters and detractors that often clashed at the mere mention of the act’s name.
Dodd-Frank: Behind schedule and under scrutiny – July 21, 2014
Did the Dodd-Frank Act curtail America’s prosperity? – July 30, 2015
Constantly on the lookout for new angles, I often incorporated data into my articles, as well as trending topics for the financial space.
Conflicts between state, federal law causes headaches for bankers in marijuana-approved states – Nov. 17, 2014
Industry observer cautions on DC’s job market, as commercial loans grow faster than rest of US – Dec. 19, 2014
1- to 4-family residential construction loans continue to bump up in Q2 – September 18, 2014
The “Washington Wrap” was a collection of stories, including those from other news agencies, that highlighted the week’s news – some of which impacted the political landscape of the financial industry.
Washington Wrap: A challenge for Hensarling’s gavel – October 24, 2014
Washington Wrap: Political posturing arrives before new Congress – November 07, 2014
As the Washington Reporter at Credit Union Times, I wrote on issues impacting the credit union community. During this time, I interviewed some of the most influential people in the credit union space which provided me with some of my favorite articles to date. Among them was a three-part introspective on the passage of H.R. 1151, a bill that defined the modern day credit union. Additionally, I wrote much about the marijuana industry and its attempts to gain access to financial services.
The following three articles trace the origins and path to law of H.R. 1151.
How H.R. 1151 Conquered Capitol Hill – December 17, 2015
How H.R. 1151 Transformed Credit Union Grassroots Efforts – December 28, 2015
How H.R. 1151 Influences Credit Unions Today – January 11, 2016
The marijuana industry sought support for financial services, as indicated in the following articles.
Wall Street Banks on Pot – February 07, 2016
Additionally, I often spoke with industry leaders who impacted the credit union space in general or their local communities. These are a few of my favorites.
Credit Unions Feel Dollar’s Influence Decades Later – December 11, 2015
Outstanding Political Action: Redwood CU Shines Light in a Devastated Community – February 21, 2016
Departing NCUA Chairman Matz Reflects on Her Legacy – April 24, 2016
Senators Discuss Effects of Consumer Finance Regulation – April 05, 2016
In this day we are obsessed with all that is beautiful. The glowing tube of electrons project beauty so deep into our minds that all else is little more than a passing glimpse. Our obsession is so entrenched that we no longer can see the inner beauty without first passing judgment on what lies at the surface.
– On the road
I have been doing a lot of thinking. A lot of soul searching. I write thoughts in my head for later fodder. Tonight this is one skimmed from a dream a few days ago.
My story will not be written in the stars
It will be written in my scars
Upon physical inspection
They are not seen with the naked eye.
I am not so arrogant as to think the stars
Hold my story in their ancient grasp
Here, on my wrist, is raised skin from
An accident in high school chemistry
The event changed my life
There are burn marks on my face from that day too
They have faded with time.
This one is from when I jumped off the porch
Onto a broken coke bottle
It was my first set of stitches
Beneath my skin a whole other story unfolds
In my mind I am still the small child
That bore the brunt of a belt-wielding father
Those welts have long since faded
But not the memory of my eight year old self
Dodging as the leather whizzed through the air
In a resounding thwack.
The bite mark on my back has smoothed out
From the bashing I took at the hands of boys bigger than me
High school boys that were older
And I have no reasoning for the attack
Almost thirty years later.
But it has been words that left the deepest cut
Such as, “you are ugly”
“You will never amount to anything”
These serve as a warning to parent
You may forget what you say in anger
To your children
But they never will.
Like a patchwork quilt
Laid deep in my mind
The collection of scars
Are the tapestry that tell my story
The stars are inconsequential
I wrap myself in a blanket not of my own making
But one handed down through the years
Generations before me have woven this story
– On the road
I saw him nearby in the bar. My latest type. Hipster. Fun shirt stretched across ample pecs and a brownish-red beard. My married friend said hi and they chatted. I was talking to a host of other folks and finally made my way to say hello. I introduced myself.
He cocked his head back and spoke with a hint of Spanish accent.
I am Daniel too.
We chatted aimlessly. Asking questions of one another. Where are you from? Are you here for the holiday weekend? Who are you here with?
He pulled me to the bar for a drink and made fun of its pink hue.
It’s not masculine, he said.
I had the bartender splash some grenadine for a redder color.
We chatted some more.
Somehow we became separated after going to the bathroom. The friend who had been speaking with him originally kept insinuating himself back into the conversation even after we’d walked off to grab a drink. We went to the restroom and my friend followed.
Daniel was speaking to other folks when I came out of the bathroom.
My friends wanted to go to dinner.
I said that we were leaving. He barely acknowledged me leaving.
Before dinner I was angry by the friend who kept coming between he and I. I was pissed that someone who has a lover and a child would stop someone else, block a single guy from hanging with this beauty.
He told me later he intentionally cock block me.
I lamented to my best buddy that I was sick of being alone. I was pissed at our friend for behaving in such a way. I was sick of looking at the couples walking by. Fat and ugly couples. Skinny or muscular couples holding hands. When is it my time? It’s been ten years since I’ve dated. Being in DC has been a nightmare. I haven’t dated and have rarely hooked up. The guys that have come over, for the most part, haven’t been my standard hottie. They’ve been fat and while not ugly they were sometimes ugly adjacent.
I’m a snob. Or was. I mean I am still attractive. Granted age has dulled the pink in my cheeks and lips. Some grey hairs have trickled in and started heading south. At least they aren’t below the waist line yet. Granted it’s all trimmed there so who knows?
And yes I have wrinkles. What a horrible word. Laugh lines. That’s better. I can deal with that. It’s character. Not old man-like.
So at dinner I am already mad and have to sit next to the clock blocker.
Then one of the friends I drove to the beach with decided to split the check six ways. I am pissed because I had ordered what was in my budget. Not to split the fucking bill and pay for shit I cannot afford.
After dinner they want to go back out. I join them looking for Daniel.
He’s back at the bar I left him at.
We talk again and grab another drink. He pays again.
We talk and he flirts with other folks and my friend tries to cock block again. I give Daniel my number. Key it into his phone. I send myself a message and we leave. The message doesn’t come through and I wonder if maybe I keyed the wrong number in because I am drunk.
We go back to the house and I end up falling asleep. So did my housemates.
The next day is Monday and we are at the beach. Every bearded boy is Daniel. I chat with everyone we are sitting with. My cock blocking friend is playing with his kid. I feign interest.
We head back to the house and my friends prepare to go out. They leave and I am relaxing at the house. They text me and tell me he’s at the bar. I head to the bar.
I catch him and find out my number was wrong. Sure enough my drunk ass keyed it in wrong.
We leave and I feel better when we head out to dinner.
Daniel and I text a couple of times over the next day or so. We left for the city that night and I am exhausted. My friends never leave at a decent time. I don’t get home until 2 am and my car breaks down in my yard. I took the next day off and should have gotten my car towed but I am so over the goddamned car and cock blocking friends.
I realized that if Daniel wanted me we would have had sex together while at the beach.
I am defeated. He and I text all week while he’s back in Mexico and we flirt. I flirt. He feigns ignorance.
I am defeated. I’ve invited him to an event I am cohosting and he barely pays me attention.
He wasn’t drinking which surprised me because he had been drinking almost every time I’ve texted with him over the last week.
I leave him to the vultures. The older men in the group who fawn over him.
I am defeated because I know the attraction is one sided. I have felt this before but usually bounce back but not this time.
This, combined with my hatred of DC and it’s nasty people makes me filled with rage and depression.
I finally ask him out but he says he just wants to be friends. I tell him that isn’t in the cards for us. Perhaps it’s silly to give up so easily. But I am too old to play any game but ‘beat the clock’
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
I am sitting in the Columbus Room at Union Station in DC waiting for Senator Dodd’s arrival. For those outside the world or finance and regulation, he is one of the authors of the Dodd-Frank Act. One of the most broadly reaching pieces of financial regulation. The room is large and open. White walls are topped with a fresco ceiling, while the windows near the ceiling are lined with painted frescos. The rich opulence reminds me of the wealth that banks have amassed before and after the financial crisis.
– On the road