Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Here's a wrap-up of what I said: Tony Snow - gracious and dignified. Helen Thomas - bitter old hag.
House Judicial Committee hearing yesterday - faux on the serious side. They are all loons, on both sides. Calling FBI Director and Attorney General to testify? Impeach Attorney General option? The Republicans are eating their own. Good luck in November.
Former Senator and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen was laid to rest yesterday. The memorial service here was conducted at the First Presbyterian Church in the museum district. It was a lovely service and all very familar to me, as I was raised in the Presbyterian Church. Bill Clinton did a eulogy, raised a bit of political slurring, but just as you'd expect him to do. Still so little class from a former President. Hillary was there, too, as was John Kerry and all the Texas politicans. Kerry got a seat in the back, I should add. Even Tom DeLay had a better seat. The music and the solo vocalists were excellent.
Rest in peace, Senator.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Houston got a lot of rain in some places yesterday. We have lived here for 8 years now and it still amazes me that part of the city can be drenched and another part stays dry. Our part yesterday got a little but not very much. Suppose to rain again today so I am getting out this morning before it starts to get my errands done. Hubby is back to the office and son is asleep.
Son and hubby saw the new X-Men movie Saturday. They like that stuff.
I see the group of singers known as Il Divo has a new cd out. I love them. If you haven't checked them out, I highly recommend it. They are 4 young men, very easy on the eyes, from 4 different countries. One from the USA, one from Italy, one from Spain and one from Switzerland. They sing standard pop songs with an operaic bent to them. They move me to tears, the sound is so beautiful from these young men. It is perfect background music when you are having a little quiet time.
I have to finish the Da Vinci Code before I go to the movie. That is the word from my son. It's a bit of payback from him, I think. I wouldn't let him see any of the Tolkien "Ring" movies until the books were finished! I just need to focus and get it done.
My guys may or may not be going to summer scout camp after all. The high adventure experience in west Texas has been cancelled due to not enough adults being able to go so the troop is going to the same camp in East Texas they have gone to for 3 summers. Son doesn't really need any of the merit badges offered there and is pretty bored with the place. Also hubby will more than likely be out on assignment by then so they'll probably sit this one out. That's too bad. Son needs to focus on developing an Eagle Scout project this summer and finishing up whatever badge work he needs.
Enough babbling for now. I need more coffee.
"The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work." - Richard Bach
Monday, May 29, 2006
I would love to go to New York during Fleet Week some year and see all the ships in port. I will never forget the first time I saw a freighter docked in the Port of New Orleans when I was 9 years old. It was a Greek freighter and I was amazed at the sheer size of that vessel. I felt like I was the size of an ant. I was in New Orleans with my family and my father took us for a walk along the river after dinner one night. This was way before the area was sanitized and the Riverwalk idea was conceived. It was exciting for a 9 year old, to be sure.
In anticipation of an extended assignment this summer, husband has purchased an IPod. His excuse is to use it for his books on tape he downloads from the internet. He is a member of Audible.com and it provides him with the taped books downloads. He listens to the books as he travels and during down time. He had been using his PDA that has the ability to play the books but it bit the big one the other day. Son has a Shuffle so now he and I both are wanting our own IPods! Monkey see, monkey do. We'll let hubby figure out his first.
Just puttering around today. Nothing much going on. Laundry. Keeping the cooking simple.
Have a good one.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I switched over to see what was going on with the Indy 500 coverage today. My husband is a native Hoosier and has of course attended the event. I see Lance Armstrong is driving the pace car this year.
I read that the aquarium in New Orleans is open again. The penguins are back! We loved that aquarium. Of the 16 Mother's Days I have enjoyed so far, the one we spent in New Orleans is about my favorite, I think. We went for a long weekend when our son was 3 years old. We stayed at the Hilton Riverside, right on the Riverwalk, so we were where the family kind of action was.
We enjoyed the Aquarium upon arrival. We walked along the river and pointed out the paddleboats and cargo boats to our son. The aquarium has a glass enclosure for visitors to look over head and see the creatures swimming above. At first it is a strange feeling.
We took the John James Audubon Riverboat to the Audubon Zoo and enjoyed an afternoon there among the animals. On Sunday morning we went for Brunch at Brennan's. Classic. I love the Eggs Benedict there. Son, being a little guy unimpressed with the adult dishes, enjoyed bananas and cream.
While staying there, we noticed an auction for the local public tv station as we were watching Saturday night before lights out. We picked up our Blue Dog there by George Rodrigue. It still hangs in the front entrance of our house. This was a limited edition specifically for the fundraiser so I haven't seen it in any of the books published containing Rodrigue's work.
It was a trip we took on short notice, as most of our trips have been with husband's working schedule so unpredictable, and it is one we still remember fondly.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I guess I have truly arrived now with this blog as I am proud to say I have a somewhat hostile comment on yesterday's entry from a reader. Don't know how he got to this blog but it's ok. The funny part is that his comment again makes the very point I was trying to make in the entry. It is so silly to accuse those in favor of the military action as cowards if that person is not in the military herself and also that only veterans truly know what they are talking about when it comes to said action. Well, the Vietnam veteran I am married to provides a sound perspective for me from his firsthand knowledge and I'll take that perspective over one from the commentor any day.
I watched the speech Tony Blair gave to an audience at Georgetown University yesterday. He is truly a new hero of mine. The man is so eloquent (love the British accent!) and logical. He gets it. He is calling for more international involvement in Iraq. He asks how can we not support the Iraqi people when they continue to vote and stand for their freedom?
Maybe if the hostile commentor from yesterday's entry had been to Iraq himself, as my husband was pre-war, and met ordinary working people living as they were under Saddam, then he might get it, too.
Ah, I do love good blog fodder.
Someone else I saw on the tv box yesterday was Sherron Watkins, the "whistle blower" former Enron VP. Thursday the verdict from the Enron trials of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were read and so reporters have been interviewing former employees for reactions. Sherron Watkins wrote a book on her experience, along with MiMi Schwartz, a contributor for Texas Monthly magazine, and I went to a speech and book signing for her. A friend of mine invited me to a luncheon where Sherron was the speaker and then the book signing was after the luncheon. She was very articulate and pleasant. During the book signing she spoke to each person and answered questions while she signed the books. Very relaxed. She is now on the speaking circuit giving advice on leadership. Her husband is a stay at home dad for their little girl so she can travel and do her own business.
The same day Howard Dean, chairman of the Democrat National Committee, spouts off that the convictions of Lay and Skilling prove his idea of the "culture of corruption" around Republicans. Really, the man is in serious need of regulation of his meds. Yes, Ken Lay was a contributor to the Bush campaign but he was also a big contributor to Clinton. He was a regular on Hazel O'Leary's trips around the world with business leaders. Hazel O'Leary was the Secretary of Labor for the Clinton administration. It was during the go-go, feel good 90's that the corporations that have now been exposed for corruption truly flourished. Enron was the same. It's a part of the dark side of the feel-good presidency of Clinton that as long as the stock market was humming along, then character didn't matter. Enron, Tyco, World Com, Adelphia, and Martha Stewart have all been prosecuted under the Bush administration.
Howard Dean, playing politics with every possible issue, once again proves inept. Idiot. I hope he remains in his position for a very long time.
"Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do." - Gerry Sikorski
Friday, May 26, 2006
The Fool of the Week is Rep. John Murtha, D-PA.
Once again, John Murtha performs for the camera during a press conference appealing to the lowest common dominator. Rather than waiting for the investigation into a story about U.S. Marines alleged war crimes against 15 Iraqi civilans in Haditha, Iraq, Murtha ran to the cameras and said that our soldiers were so overwhelmed in Iraq that to murder civilans in cold blood, his description not mine, was a natural reaction. Murtha claimed to have advance knowledge as to what the report would say. Another leak from a career civil servant with an agenda?
The investigation report is set to be concluded and released next week. It is acknowledged that some of the Marines will be up on murder charges. Nothing is crystal clear yet but if need be, charges and punishment will follow, as it should.
Murtha implies the military is under undue pressure and all of this is to blame the administration for the execution of the war. Don't forget, Murtha voted in favor of going into Iraq. Murtha is a military veteran. We acknowledge with gratitude his service for our country. However, this does not exempt him from criticism. His continued campaign in the media to call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq harms our troops and the morale of the American people. Shame on him, he knows better.
What is said when someone criticizes Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld? Nothing, usually. Secretary Rumsfeld is a veteran, too. He served in the Navy and then in the Reserves for more than 20 years. He has devoted most of his adult life to his passion of streamlining the military and improving technology for the troops.
Murtha's brother, Kit, is a lobbyist in Washington, DC for the defense industry. Murtha is one of the most contributed to politicans from the defense contractors. So his practice is to reap financial benefit from the military complex and then publicly condemn its leadership. Nice.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, did a follow up response to Murtha's press conference the day after. Hunter is a former Marine and has a son in the Marines and serving in Iraq. He went through a timeline which shows that the coverup by the administration Murtha was claiming was simply not happening. The incident happened on 11/19/05. Time Magazine reporters asked a multinational forces commander about the circumstances of the incident. It was being looked into and contined with the investigation completed 3/3/06. Then a second investigation began for possible criminal charges. The military leadership here and abroad has agreed with all the recommendations of the investigating panel. They have committed to punishing any wrong behavior. These reports will be handed over to the Pentagon next week. Murtha is claiming coverup to a report which wasn't completely finished or even been delivered.
All Marine squads can't be painted with such a broad brush. The military sacrificing all over there is not cracking under pressure and behaving in dishonorable behavior. How insulting to them. These are brave and strong Americans who have volunteered to serve us all and keep our freedoms alive. This behavior on Murtha's part does not honor them.
We are approaching Memorial Day. Over 50,000 Bronze Stars have been awarded to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Where are the politicans running to the microphones to talk about heroism? Let's show our thanks and support when an opportunity presents itself.
"One incident, one squad, one day last November." - Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA
Thursday, May 25, 2006
What the hell is going on with Speaker Dennis Hastert? Did a cold front move through and the firey place froze over? He is in agreement, to the extent of a jointly issued statement, with Nancy Pelosi as far as the search of Rep. Jefferson's office. Are you kidding me? Overextension of executive power? Two of the three branches of government worked together to get the search warrant in place after Jefferson ignored subpeonas for 8 months - 8 months - and this is an overreaction?
But then the plot thickens. Turns out Hastert is being investigated in relation to the Abramoff lobbying scandal. Hastert has demanded ABC News retract their story of his investigation by the FBI, but ABC News is sticking to the story and citing high level Justice Department sources. Other Justice Department sources deny Hastert is a target of an investigation. So, we are left confused again from leakers blabbing stories to the news media.
No wonder, though, Hastert doesn't want to acknowledge the authority the FBI had to go into Jefferson's office.
On to another subject: Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is having a difficult re-election campaign this time around. Lieberman is being challenged by Ned Lamont, a Greenwich cable executive. Lamont is aligned with NOW PAC, the political wing of the feminist organization. This challenge is based on the way organizations rate a politican's voting record. Apparently the 95% voting record of Lieberman isn'tgood enough for NOW PAC now that they have a contender. The nation's largest abortion rights organization, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America, has always supported Lieberman.
NOW once again underscores why the feminist movement has died a slow death in this country. Girls today are raised by women who identify as feminists. However girls today don't necessarily want the title for themselves. The term feminist has an ugly connotation and is often misunderstood. Even by feminists themselves as was recently shown by comments from Nora Ephron written in her article at Huffington Post.
The old line feminist movement has drifted off into oblivion because now it is all about abortion rights. No other issue seems to matter anymore. That's a shame, too. Ephron claims to be stunned to discover that Laura Bush has the highest approval rating among national figures in America. Ephron claims she never approved of Laura Bush but then she watched the Sunday morning show done by George Stephanopoulos with Laura Bush as a guest. Stephanopoulos asked if Mrs. Bush considered herself a feminist. She replied in the affirmative. This just blew old Nora away. Solidarity, sister.
Ephron figures since Laura is married to George Bush, a pro-lifer, then she must be one herself and therefore could not possibly be a feminist. So much for that liberal open mind thing, once again.
Laura Bush is considered by most to be pro-choice, just as her mother in law, Barbara Bush, is. No big secrets there. I would argue both are feminists. I though being a feminist was all about supporting women in choices made and in opportunities offered. I was raised the oldest of 3 daughters and my father and mother always drilled into our mush brains that there was a whole big world out there and we could each do anything we set our minds to. No such thing that a male was superior simply by the fact of his gender.
I came of age during the height of the feminist movement of the late 60's and early 70's. I had the subscription to Ms. Magazine and witnessed burnings of bras. Heady stuff for a teenage girl. I went to college and studied political science and history and English. I went to work and dealt with the idiot men and often idiot women, too. It's all a part of real life. Then I got married. I continued to work and put off having a child until I thought I was ready to handle such a drastic step. I loved working. I married a man who travels a lot for his work so we agreed when we began our family I would be a stay at home mom. Imagine my surprise when this decision brought snide remarks and condescention from working women. So much for liberl open minds.
I have always been a feminist. I have always been pro-choice. I have always been Republican.
Where are the "feminists" when we need them? Not just at election time but when just having principles matter. Why did the liberal sisters support sleazy Clinton who publicly claimed to support and promote women but privately had no respect for women at all, most of all his wife? Where were the liberal feminists concerning Afghan women and Iraqi women and Sudanese women and all the others needing a voice in the world? Liberal does not necessarily equate to feminist.
And where are the liberal feminists concerning bloggers? Even conservative bloggers? How about the treatment Michelle Malkin gets from liberals who don't agree with her point of view? Malkin is Phillipine/American, first generation, and quite accomplished. On a daily basis she is the receipient of truly vile e-mails containing racial slurs. Now she has been publicly ethnically slurred in the blog known as Wonkette who commented on Malkin's new internet video venture. The slur referred to Malkin in relationship to the ping-pong ball and Asian women. If you or the man in your life has been to Thailand, you know what I am talking about. Enough said.
Here's a feminist for you. Her name is Malalai Joya. She is a young Afghan lawmaker who called tribal leaders "criminals" and complained the warlords were among parliament members. Now this 28 year old woman is going to a different house each night to sleep. She commits to continue to speak out despite death threats and threats of rape as her punishment. She first spoke out in 2003 at the constitutional council. She says, "They know very well I will never be silent. I will never be afraid. We will all die someday."
"Service is the rent you pay for room on this planet." - Shirley Chisholm
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen lost that Presidential race in a landslide to George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle. The only state they carried was Massachusetts, Mr. Dukakis' state.
Lloyd Bentsen should be remembered as the youngest House member when he took office at the age of 27 in the nation's capitol, he was one of the few Southern congressmen to vote against the poll tax that was a tool to keep minority voting down, he was a U.S. senator, and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He pushed through tax legislation and trade policies. He was secretary of treasury for President Clinton and a big supporter of NAFTA.
He will be eulogized by former President Clinton. The memorial service is next week at the First Presbyterian Church here in Houston.
Lloyd Bentsen was a veteran of World War II, earning a Distinguised Flying Cross commendation. He was a B-24 squadron commander. He flew 50 combat missions in Europe. I wonder what Mr. Bentsen would think of the action taken by the School Board of Stamford, Ct. The School Board has decided to eliminate the school holiday that honors Veteran's Day during the upcoming school year. Rather than school closing Friday, Nov. 10 to celebrate the holiday that falls on the next day, Saturday, the School Board would like to cancel that idea so that school may be dismissed for the year a day earlier in June. Needless to say, local vets are furious at the insult this action throws in their faces.
Justification for this elimination of school holiday is made by the board and teachers claiming that the students can learn more about history and service to country from them at school than at home where they may just be playing and watching tv. Oh, ok. Yeah, we all know how much we can rely on teachers to actually teach children about military history and the respect some hold for this history.
I liked the question presented by a parent of two young sons in the school system, a member of the local Marine Corps League, proposed when he asked about the idea of also cancelling Martin Luther King Day holiday, Labor Day holiday, and Columbus Day holiday. Couldn't teachers educate children about civil disobedience, workers and labor unions and explorers? There I go with the common sense again.
A nation at war should not gloss over the service of veterans of military service. That is no way to say thank you.
"Don't worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you." - Robert Fulghum
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
But, you know, Condoleezza Rice was not good enough for about 50 Boston University grads yesterday during the commencement ceremony. They felt entitled to stand and turn their backs on her speech and to hang a banner to show disrespect. So much for open minds in academia. I think once these self-indulgent children enter the real working world, something called manners and decorum will enter into their lives.
Madeleine Albright, the woman holding the position currently held by Dr. Rice during the Clinton administration could take a page from an etiquette book, too. Albright, speaking in England, decided to voice her opinion of President Bush's religious beliefs. She is pushing her book, of course, so a few obnoxious comments were certain to make the wires.
Did you know Albright's father was a respected professor at the University of Denver when Dr. Rice was an undergrad and became her mentor in her Russian studies and political philosophy? Small world. I prefer the way Dr. Rice turned out, but that's just me.
Congressman William Jefferson, D-LA, has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Finally. He is caught on tape by the FBI taking $100,000 in cash and $90,000 of it was found in his home's freezer. Talk about hard, cold cash.
This is no surprise, the shadiness of Rep. Jefferson. His wife was relieved of her duties from Dillard University in New Orleans after "misappropriating funds". Yeah, like into her bank account. The FBI searched his office, an action by them not previously used on a sitting member of Congress, and they had a search warrant signed by a Federal judge to justify their action. An aide to Jefferson has already confessed and there is more to come.
Congressman Jefferson, you may remember, was the politican immediately after Hurricane Katrina who used the National Guard to take him to his home for inspection and retrieving what he could from it. While others were stuck on their roofs and at the Convention Center and Superdome. Let's get our priorities straight.
Jefferson gave a little press statement Monday afternoon and whined about the "9 months he and his family have had to endure the hell of a Federal investigation". Hmm. OK. Poor guy. Does the name Tom DeLay ring a bell?
And we're in countdown mode for hurricane season.
"We have a choice: to plow new ground or let the weeds grow." - Jonathan Westover
Monday, May 22, 2006
Do you know the name Ayaan Hirsi Ali? If not you probably will in the not too distant future. Ms. Hirsi Ali is a native Somali who immigrated to the Netherlands. She rose to the rank of member of the Dutch parliment and she is an outspoken critic of Islam, particularly of the Islamic attitudes toward women. She became an international person of interest when Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch film maker was murdred on the streets of Amsterdam in 2004. Van Gogh's film "Submission" was written by Ms. Hirsi Ali and the subject of this movie is the mistreatment of Muslim women. On Van Gogh's dead body was found a note, a five page note, titled "Open Letter to Hirsi Ali."
The thugs who murdered Mr. Van Gogh, a descendant of an acclaimed artist, declared that Ms. Hirsi Ali would be tortured and condemned to a life of agony. And the usual threats were made to the U.S. and Europe. She was already under police protection for publicly rejecting her Islamic faith and now she had to go into hiding for her participation in the film project. Her neighbors in the apartment building in which she lived mounted a campaign to get her removed from the building, mostly by stating that now their lives were in jeopardy as her neighbors and that she was lowering property value. They cited their "human rights" and the judge sided with them. He evicted her from the apartment building.
What happened to her human rights?
Ms. Hirsi Ali was under a cloud as to her original immigration into the Netherlands. She claimed on her application an incorrect date of birth and name. She came clean about this some years ago without any prompting from anyone. Last Monday, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, on the liberal VVD party, stripped Ms. Hirsi Ali of her Dutch citizenship. Last Thursday she announced she would be moving to America. She has been offered a position as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
America will welcome Ms. Hirsi Ali and it is Europe's loss. Courage should be rewarded not penalized. This further highlights the difference in attitudes between Americans and Europeans. After the initial cries of outrage from Europe about the attacks of 9/ll in this country, the idea that somehow Americans were responsible for the attacks became the popular opinion. By the same token, the initial support of Ms. Hirsi Ali in her community turned into an attack on her for being too provocative. The liberal Dutch government accuses her of "Islam bashing".
The Wall Street Journal makes this statement: "Where the defenders of democracy have to flee while the enemies of free society roam the streets, not only real estate is bound to become very cheap. So will be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
Were not the London subway bombings and the train bombing in Madrid a wake up call for Europe?
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? - Luke 9:25
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I hope the job will be a short one, as he thinks it will be, as he is tentatively scheduled to go to California later next week for a customer he has been guiding over the phone and computer for over a month now.
Well, just as I feared, Ray Nagin is re-elected to be mayor of New Orleans. It's a shame, I'll tell you. I read that the new book by Douglas Brinkley that chronicles the first few days of the Hurricane Katrina story on New Orleans is quite devastatingly critical of Nagin's "leadership" as the crisis unfolded. Brinkley is a history professor and author who re-located with his family over here in Houston as the city was preparing for the hurricane. The name may be familiar from the glowing account he wrote in book form of John Kerry's Vietnam service during the last presidential election, which spurred the Swift Boat Vets to come out with their side of the story.
Today's front page of the Houston Chronicle shows the coastline at Biloxi, MS and then next to it the story of Nagin's re-election. I was born in Biloxi and also lived in New Orleans, and my husband lived in New Orleans. I feel quite protective towards that area of our country. Mostly now I just feel sad.
If you had a baby in the middle to late 1980's, you are probably familar with the name Dr. Richard Farber. He published a book with a guide for parents to help their baby learn to go to sleep. My son was born during Labor Day weekend in 1989 so I read the book. (No, the irony of having a Labor Day baby does not escape me). His premise is if you follow his guideline steps, your baby will learn to put himself to sleep at bedtime. It involves letting a crying baby cry for a certain amount of time before the parent goes in, etc.
Our son was not a sleeper. He was wide awake and ready to party all night long for the first 18 months of his life. The longest that baby would sleep was 2 hours during any given night. And afternoon naps? No way, Jose. I don't remember getting a good night's sleep until the boy was almost 2 years old.
Anyway, now I hear on the news chat show that Dr. Farber has decided each baby is different and parents should just deal with the baby using whatever works. Duh. Now that after all these years of being referred to as a guru for new parents and selling those books, suddenly he has had a light go off in his head. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Last night I was browsing on the QVC channel during the hour of selling Dooney and Bourke. I love the brand and sometimes splurge on one of the handbags. My first one was about 17 years ago and the bags last forever. Last night I made a decision and stuck with it. The carry-on overnighter bag that I have been lusting after for 2 years now was on the easy pay plan. That means my credit card will spread the purchase out for 4 months without interest charges. So, I bought myself the piece. I consider it an early birthday present. Well, my birthday is in the middle of next month, so close enough.
For the last several years I have been sharing husband's vast array of luggage and duffle bags and have been telling myself a woman my age needs her own luggage. I'm going with red. The Dooney and Bourke is the first step towards that goal. The kicker? I got to speak to the hostess and Dooney and Bourke representative on air! I yelled at son to listen to me on tv. Hubby was asleep throughout it all.
Here's hoping Monday gets off to a smoother start. Son will begin finals tomorrow and then he will be out for the summer Thursday at noon. This year flew by, for the most part.
I'm going to rest for a while now.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The Fool of the Week is the U.S. Senate.
The Senate pulled two particularly stupid stunts this past week that I thought I would lend comment to today.
First, during the grilling of Gen. Hayden for CIA Director, some questions posed to him were not able to be answered in open forum. So, he said he would be available for however long of a session in private that the committee needed to have questions answered. Those on the left who object to him mostly because he is the President' nominee were adamant about their misgivings concerning his nomination. Senator Feingold, hoping to run for President himself, went so far as to say Gen. Hayden didn't warrant credibility as a nominee. But how many senators showed up for the private briefing? Only six or 7. Was Feingold one of them? No. Feingold was the one who said they may require as much as 6 or so more hours in private session to get answered to questions. The session lasted about 1 1/2 hours.
On Thursday, two amendments were up for vote in conjunction with the Immigrant Reform bill. The first was brought up by Sen. Inhofe, R-OK, making English the official national language and requiring new citizens to pass an English proficiency test. The vote on this amendment was 63 to 34 in the affirmative.
The second amendment brought forward by Sen. Salazar, D-CO, would make English the "unifying and national language" but those who don't speak English would not be penalized. How is it unifying if it is not spoken? This was just a touchy-feely statement. The vote on this amendment was 58-39 in the affirmative.
Do you notice what happened? Both received support from the other side of the aisle and both passed. In effect, the amendments will both be sent to committee when the Senate and House hash out their legislation.
The legislation was a waste of time and all about posturing for votes in an election year. Of course English is our national language. Do we really need an amendment to say so? It is clear that to succeed in this country you must speak English. The same is true if an American goes to another country. The common language dominates.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Today I am monitoring the confirmation hearing for Gen. Hayden to head up the CIA. It may or may not be interesting. All the members of the committee in the Senate and in the House have now been brief fully so that canard is gone. No one, not even Nancy Pelosi, wants to discontinue the program so now it is all just posturing for votes in November. Sad but true.
A large portion of the USA Today story about the telecommunication data collecting is now discredited so once again it is the "journalists" making news, not reporting it.
Professor Ward Churchill from the University of Colorado in Boulder has been officially reprimanded by the committee reviewing his academic research methods and they have decided to suspend him without pay. Finally. Get him out of that school and let the kids get an education. Telling his students that this country, the country under attack, is responsible for the attack of 9/ll because of our system of capitalism and our freedom, is a huge disservice to young minds. He is a small-minded basher of America not deserving of the title Professor. You notice he doesn't have a doctorate.
A quote from Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Chris Bain, Reconnaissance and chemical weapons specialist, January - April 2004: "You know what was really amazing? The people who said, "Chris, you know, I don't support the cause, but no matter what the cause, I'm always going to support the troops." I was just dumbfounded by that. I asked this one guy why you don't support the cause. He said, "I've been watching the news." "Well,"I said, "that's your problem". As I continue to say, you are just not being honest when you say you don't support the war, the mission, but you support the troops.
I am starting "The DaVinci Code" since the movie is coming out and I still haven't gotten around to it. Apparently I am the last human remaining on earth who hasn't read this book. My son loved it and is looking forward to the movie.
During the summer of 2002 my son and I traveled to Portland Maine to visit hubby. He was working on a long term assignment at the shipyard there in Portland, doing his engineering magic on two oil drilling rigs being built. He had been there since March and it was at the end of June that we were able to head up there for a visit. We flew to Boston, spent the night there, then took the Amtrak train to Portland. Son hadn't ridden a train for any distance and I wanted him to experience it. The countryside was so pretty and it was a nice trip. We saw The Blue Man Group at the historic St. Charles Theatre in Boston when we spent the first night there. It was awesome. So, on the way back home after a couple of weeks in Maine, we took the train back to Boston, spent another night there - this time visiting the New England Aquarium and the site of the Boston Tea Party - then headed to Logan Airport to fly home the next morning. While waiting for our flight, we were wandering around looking in the little shops in the airport and spent a little time in a bookstore. Son is as avid reader as I am.
Son purchased a paperback to read on the flight and the title was "Angels and Demons". The author was Dan Brown. I had not heard of the book and he hadn't either but he thought the story sounded interesting. He read it non-stop on the plane. Couldn't put it down. Brown's upcoming book was advertised at the back of "Angels and Demons" and it was called "The DaVinci Code". Son mentioned he would keep an eye out for it since he liked the first book so much. Little did we know what would happen with the new book. Son took "Angels and Demons" to school for all his friends to pass around and read as they all loved "The DaVinci Code", too.
So, anyway, now is the time for me to take it out of the to-read stack of books I maintain and tackle it. I know the movie is not getting good reviews from the critics but I don't necessarily pay attention to them. I also know some groups are protesting the showing of the movie, especially Catholic groups. I don't necessarily pay attention to them, either. The book is fiction.
"It's not how much you have that makes people look up to you, it's who you are." - Elvis Presley
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I just spilled coffee down the front of my shirt so it is one of those kind of mornings.
Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is in hot water with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. While pandering to the 700 Club and the conservative audience of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Dean stated, "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is that we believe in inclusion, that everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect, and that equal rights under the law are important."
The truth is the DNC 2004 platform states, "We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a 'Federal Marriage Amendment". Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart." This platform was approved by 4,000 elected and at-large Democratic delegates who met in Boston in 2004. There have been no official revisions of the platform since 2004. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has returned a recent contribution of $5,000 to them to protest what they consider the pandering and insulting interview Dean gave to the 700 Club.
Remember during the 2004 campaigning season and the debates? First John Edwards brought up Mary Cheney's sexuality during the debate with VP Cheney, then Kerry brought it up during the debate with President Bush. They were employing the sleaziest of political tricks to alert any conservatives that might be interested that Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter. You know, the Democrats being so open minded and inclusive and all.
Mary Cheney has a book out now that goes into her thoughts about the character of people who are so lacking in respect for others that they will say absolutely anything to win an election. They forget the American people are a little smarter than that and most are not single issue voters.
They never apologized to Mary Cheney. What do you think might have been the response if VP Cheney or President Bush had pulled that stunt?
Speaking of no moral compass or convictions, Senator Hillary Clinton had to issue an apology to the up and coming generation of young people after a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. She said young people have a sense of entitlement after growing up in a cluture that has "a premium on instant gratification". She remarked recent grads expect to enter into the workforce and receive a large salary and benefits package. She forgot, however, her own daughter. Chelsea Clinton began her working career in Manhattan in 2003 as a consultant to McKinsey & Co. for a six-figure salary. She called her mother to let her know she is working hard and so are her friends. Oops.
The newspaper USA Today has come out in support of Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi and his application to continue studying at Yale University. Hashemi is currently in a non-degree program and wants to enroll in the program to earn a degree. He is the former spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanstan. USA Today claims the alumni and other US citizens expressing outrage that this man is studying at Yale at all is all about bullying the university into a diminished way of thinking. The newspaper claims Yale can be reasonable and admit Hashemi who they call a "remarkable" student who is a leading argument for the value of cultural exchange. The newspaper doesn't, however, refresh the readers memories that Hashemi only has a 4th grade education and most assuredly took the spot an American not hell-bent on the destruction of the USA could have used.
Don't you just hate those pesky details?
"Worry is a misuse of the imagination." - Dan Zadra
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Securing the borders is the first step. This should have happened after the 9/11 attack. Actually the president did have a plan that was working through the system but it was sidetracked by 9/11. Ironic. The very act that made everyone aware of the shortcomings in our national security policy moved the tightening of our borders on the back burner.
I am in favor of the National Guard on the border but 6,000 on a temporary basis is nonsense. Triple that number and give them a real reason to be there other than chaperoning the Border Patrol and then we are on the right track.
I am happy to hear the president admit the catch and release policy is outdated and ineffective. Why wouldn't they just try again? Why wouldn't they skip out on a court date?
I think I'm ok with the temporary worker plan but I am not convinced it will work in the long term. I don't believe the worker will leave this country and return to his country when the visa expires. Isn't that how we got into this mess generations ago by a portion of the people coming in?
I am all over the part about holding employers accountable. This is a common sense approach that is easy to understand. If the low paying jobs are not available from those who would exploit the workers, then the workers will not come. I remember in the mid eighties when President Reagan gave amnesty to illegals and all the businesses really cracked down on their policies for hiring new personnel. I worked for a Fortune 500 company in Dallas and part of my job was in Human Resources. We had to check green cards and social security cards on everyone and ran copies of the documents for personnel files should a question arise. Too bad the system is no longer enforced.
I agree with the face reality aspect of the president's speech, too. There is no easy path to citizenship. Nor should there be, for heavens sake. No amnesty. That policy obviously doesn't work. No mass round up for deportation. The path to citizenship is paved by paying a penalty, learning English, paying taxes and holding a job for a certain amount of time. Then the illegal immigrant is entitled to get into line, at the back of the line, for a chance at citizenship.
A tamper resistant identity card? Sounds good. It's nonsense.
I think ending the "anchor baby" loophole would really be effective, too. If parents were not automatically allowed to remain here by the fact of birthing a baby in this country, then that incentive would go far in relieving the overload to our health care system and the education strain, too.
We are a melting pot. In earlier times immigrants to this country assimilated and became part of the life in this country. They came here for the sole reason of partaking in our freedoms and opportunities. The illegal immigrants have chosen to not assimilate for the most part. They haven't learned the language of this country and do not adhere to customs and laws here. This does not enrich our country. This is a burden.
The Border Patrol are working hard every day to do the best they can. They daily withstand personal danger on patrol. They are attacked with baseball sized rocks, crudely made bombs, and other physical attacks. They deserve better support.
Immediately following the president's speech, on local news, a member of a local Hispanic activist group was complaining that he didn't like the tightening up the border aspect of the president's plans. He doesn't like the use of technology finally being utilized on the border. Yeah, I'm sure he doesn't. Another exploiter taking advantage of human beings under the guise of human rights. Open borders keep this activist in his position of power in the community, at the expense of the legal citizens here and those who are following the rules.
Finally, the technology aspect of the president's proposal is encouraging. Unmanned drones and sensors will go a long way to assist the Border Patrol.
"Every human being has dignity and value." - President George W. Bush
Monday, May 15, 2006
So, tonight we will hear the President's plan to curb illegal immigration. I'm quite skeptical but I'll keep an open mind. Something has to be done. I'm discouraged to hear Vincente Fox, president of Mexico, and his bragging of the phone call he placed to President Bush yesterday. He claims Bush reassured him that he was not going to "militarize" the border. Fox needs to butt out and fix his own country instead of meddling in our security issues. The single biggest source of income to Mexico is the money sent home by illegals and legal immigrants from our country. The single biggest source. Think about that for a moment. It boggles my mind.
And, President Bush better not break out into Spanish in his speech!
Last week I watched a documentary on PBS called "Homecoming - The Forgotten World of America's Orphanages". It was the story of 15 men and women who grew up in public and private institutions and they were averaging in their mid 70's in age now. The point I came away with is that the larger orphanages that were operating in the days of my parents worked for the children. It wasn't perfect, to be sure, and some felt a lack of warm feelings from the adult supervisors. There wasn't much time to do hugs and kisses with so many children to care for and nurture at any given time. I couldn't help but think maybe orphanages should make a comeback and put an end to the Foster Care Program. The foster parent system is broken and so many children are moved from place to place consistently, especially during the formative years when the children are most vulnerable. I don't mean government run orphanage but private facilities run by trained and loving people with the children's best interests in mind.
Just a thought I had while the show was on.
Also tonight is the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy". It's a two hour episode and I'm excited. The writing is so good on that show and it is consistent.
I finally wrote my book review last night and hope to get it up on "Dew on the Kudzu" later today. I haven't done one is so long I hope it is readable!
"True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else." - Clarence Darrow
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Yesterday, after picking son up from school, I took him for a haircut. He likes going to my stylist so he goes there now. She is so sweet. She is young and friendly, engaging clients in conversation as she works her magic. She is Vietnamese and her husband is Romanian. Their children are beautiful.
Then we got ready for dinner out and a play. We met up with hubby after work and we went to a favorite Thai restaurant. The food is so yummy there, and it is right in the neighborhood. Hubby and I enjoy having lunch there on his Fridays off from work but it was son's first trip there. He loved it, too.
Then time for the play at The Country Playhouse. Son's acting teacher was a lead in the play. It was opening night so we were treated to champagne in the lobby as we arrived (no, not son!). The play was good but did get a little draggy in dialogue in a couple of spots. It was based on a local theatre, nationally known in theatre circles, and its beginning. A behind the scenes kind of drama/comedy.
This morning hubby and son have taken Max, the dog, to the vet's office for a blood draw. It's a heartworm check so I drugged him earlier. Max is 54 pounds of attitude if he gets nervous with poking or prodding. Frankly, I would like some happy pills before my annual exams, too, if such a thing was an accepted practice!
Today is to be an all day into the night kind of event with the JROTC program for all high schools throughout the school district. It is the year end review. Parading, reviews, speakers, honors bestowed, all that stuff at a local sports field. Last year the featured speaker was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. I am repulsed by her but I wasn't surprised she was the speaker.
Anyway, it is to be 90 degrees again this year, as it was last year. Kids were dropping like flies on the field. It doesn't begin until 6 PM but they practice before. Son didn't pass out but did have to "fall out" and sit to drink water for a bit. This year he has decided, as of late last night, to do the 5 page paper alternative to participating in the review. I can't say as I blame him. He isn't an officer and will not be missed. His dad and I talked about it and agreed he can make the decision. This is his last year for JROTC anyway. He did JROTC instead of the PE requirement.
Son has another end of the year project due Monday so he'll be working on school work all weekend. That time of year. He only has a couple of weeks left now in classes. They are out before the end of the month.
Tomorrow we have plans to head to Outback Steakhouse for Mother's Day lunch. They are not normally open for lunch so that works out well. We are going to the one not far from our house and we haven't been there before after all this time. Looking forward to checking it out, not to mention a break from cooking!
The guys are finishing up on pool preparation for the season and I hope we can have the season's first dip tomorrow. I would like to get in and float around for a while and relax.
I'm making ribs for dinner tonight so I had better get the marinade ready.
I wish all Moms a very Happy Mother's Day weekend.
"If I had my life to live over...I'd dare to make more mistakes next time." - Nadine Stair
Friday, May 12, 2006
As you know, the Kennedy family enjoy quite the priviledged life here in America. Old man Kennedy, a rum runner in the time of Prohibition, aquired a fortune and bought land on Cape Cod to built a family compound. In present times, many families of wealth have homes on Cape Cod. The area is beautiful and water sport recreation is a big draw.
In an effort to develop alternative sources of energy, environmentalists and others are proponents of wind energy. America's first offshore wind farm in not to be, thanks to Senator Kennedy's leadership in blocking the development. Senator Kennedy, Senator John Kerry, and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are all working to stop the project dead in its tracks. Why? The view from the local mansions would be altered by those pesky wind mills.
Senator Kennedy has actually told others that Nantucket Sound is sacred due to past President Kennedy sailing so joyfully in the Sound.
This offshore grid of 130 wind turbines would supply 3/4 of the energy needs of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. So, let's be an environmentalist and tie the hands of Big Oil at every possible opportunity but when it comes to alternatives, well, not in my backyard.
So, as is the normal state of events, the states of Louisiana and Texas have stepped up to provide energy for this country. Two projects are being developed off the coast of Louisiana and the largest project so far is being developed off Padre Island, Texas. This will be a 49,999 acre span of turbines able to generate energy to power 125,000 homes.
The next time you hear one of these hypocrites bellowing about the price of gas in this country or the environmental problems of the oil industry and drilling in this country, remember who is working for solutions, not self interests.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I watched a most interesting character on tv this morning and so today he is my new hero. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has begun deploying patrols in desert areas and major roadways southwest of Phoenix in search of illegal immigrants. His group of deputies and trained volunteers have orders to arrest any illegal immigrants caught smuggling themselves into his county.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly - illegal immigrants smuggling themselves into his county. A new anti-human-smuggling stature took effect in Arizona in August and a it is a tool for prosecutors to go after "coyotes" who smuggle illegal immigrants into this country. Of course, his interpretation of the statute is being challenged by the usual groups but in the meantime Sheriff Arpaio forges on.
This guy is one tough cookie. He has been re-elected 4 times, on the way to 5 times, and he suffers no fools. The prisoners in his jail were stealing the white underwear issued to them so he puts them into pink underwear now. They don't want to steal those. He feeds the prisoners bologna sandwiches and insists they wear black and white striped jail uniforms. Old fashioned prisoner treatment, not the politically correct version of incarceration.
Rock on, Sheriff Arpaio. His area is the busiest entry point among illegal immigrants and he is strong enough to make a difference.
Moving on to another subject now. Today in another leak from politically motivated staffers putting politics above the security of this country, we learn of every telecommunication company,except Quest, supplying the NSA with phone records of ordinary citizens to establish a data base. This data base is to monitor patterns in telephone communication, it is NOT easedropping. No one is listening to you phoning your mother or sibling, unless you are suspected of terrorist activity and your mother or sibling lives in another part of the world.
Gosh, do you think the fact that the coordinator of the NSA intelligence gathering policy is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings next week to be the new CIA director has anything to do with this leak?
And what do you think happens with your personal purchasing information each and every time you use a credit card?
"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Each week my son's high school e-mails a newsletter to parents who sign up for the newsletter to keep current of what's going on weekly and for the month. Yesterday's newsletter had some fun news about son's high school's standing nationally. According to Newsweek magazine, son's high school ranks 193 in the nation.
Newsweek measured how committed the schools are to helping kids take college level courses. These schools give the students an edge, regardless of economic background. They divided the number of AP and IB tests taken at a school by the number of graduating seniors.
Son's high school is still considered new. The school opened in 2000 and had its first graduating class in 2004. My son is in the magnet program with strong emphasis on technology, science and liberal arts. The leap to the top 200 is a considerable achievement as last year the ranking was 470. The school tests a higher percentage of students than most area schools, giving over 1300 tests to 700 students, about 25% of the student body. My son, a sophomore, took his first AP exam this year. All the rest of his courses are pre-AP level. His AP exam was in World History and we will know this summer if he scored high enough to receive college credit.
Five Houston schools made the top 200. I take comfort in the study's results as this high school is son's first public school experience. He was in private schools until 9th grade. I've had my frustrations with the system but son is enjoying the experience, for the most part. He wanted to go to a big school (his has almost 3,000 students) and learn to be more independent than smaller private schools let the kids live. This idea began to make sense as he became more and more interested in large universities like Texas A&M for college. We'll see how it all plays out.
"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't." - Henry Ward Beecher
Monday, May 08, 2006
When our son was born I purchased many Pooh books. I read to our son since he was in the womb about to be born so Pooh was been in our house for years. Remember when the wise folks were having parents give "passwords" to their children so that if someone approached them on the pretext that the child's parents wanted this person to give the child a ride home, then the password was to be given to the child to let the child know the person was o.k.? Well, the password my child had was the name of a Pooh character.
Pooh represents the best in children's literature. I was never really a fan of fairy tales and that sort of children's stories as I thought they were scary or mean or violent. Pooh stories were always just so sweet.
Pooh is celebrating his 80th birthday the same year the Queen of England celebrates hers. Like the Queen, Pooh will have an official portrait done to mark the passage. They even share the same photographer, an octogenarian herself. Previously she had photographed Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Muhammad Ali, to name a few.
The Queen will have a big birthday bash on June 25 at Buckingham Palace and Pooh is invited. The Children's Party is honoring British children's literature.
Silly old bear!
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I have a confession to make. I read the obituaries in the newspaper every day. It isn't a morbid thing with me, it is my fascination of the lives of people and what people do with their lives. My favorite genre for leisure reading has always been a biography. From the days of elementary school I have chosen to read about the lives of people that strike me as interesting.
On Book TV (C-Span) this weekend was a woman, Marilyn Johnson, who has written a book about obits. The book, "The Dead Beat", speaks of newspaper writers who have the responsibility of writing obits and the different styles of composing them.
She writes of how obits have changed through out the decades. It used to be that the word "cancer" wasn't written into an obit and only the most recent of wives and children were acknowledged. Past wives were not mentioned. They were almost like a 1950's sitcom.
I have put the book on my to-read list.
I am now going to research which restaurants are offering yummy sounding Mother's Day Brunch. Hubby asked what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and I said I'll be quite content with a good brunch and not having to cook dinner later in the evening. So now I just need to figure out where I will make reservations. I'll expect the traditional chocolate and flowers but that is his end of the preparations. Hangin' with my guys is what counts.
Tomorrow is Monday.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Now son and hubby have gone off to the nearest REI by our house to shop for new hiking boots and stuff for the summer camping trip with the scout troop. Son will need time to break the new boots in before he has to wear them for camp.
The guys are going to a really cool sounding camp with the scouts this summer. Next month they are off to Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch and High Adventure Camp. It is a Mountain Man experience for the older scouts to experience the life of Mountain Men in the fur trade era of the 1840's. Think Kit Carson and Daniel Boone. The rugged terrain requires sturdy hiking boots. Lots of fun activities like knife throwing, black powder shooting, archery, making soap and rope from plants, flint knapping and tanning deer hides. Woo hoo. Not my cup of tea but the guys will love it.
Did you read about that woman who had her second set of triplets? Holy mackeral. She and her husband live in New Jersey. The first set are 2 years old so this woman will now have 6 children in diapers! The two year olds are Danielle, David and Dylan. The new babies are Elyssa, Evan and Eric. Cute.
I'm waiting to watch the Kentucky Derby. I didn't have a margarita for Cinco de Mayo yesterday, I enjoyed a couple of beers, but today will require a little of bourbon for the Derby. Some things you just don't mess around with.
"Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use." - Charles M. Schultz
Friday, May 05, 2006
If you pull the curtain back, the terrorist at the top of the most wanted list turns out to be not the Wizard, but a bumbling man who can't operate his own weapon and is wearing American New Balance sneakers with his black-I'm-a-bad-ass outfit. Now that's entertainment.
Last week we saw a video released by al-Zarqawi showing off by firing a machine gun. But the U.S. military released a clip of the captured outtakes of the same video yesterday showing a different kind of terrorist leader.
Al-Zarqawi couldn't handle discharging the machine gun in fully automatic mode. An aide ordered another aide to go help him. The man walks over and fools around with the weapon so the clueless al-Zarqawi can fire it in bursts. Later an insurgent grabs the machine gun by the burning hot barrel and drops it.
Important documents were found along with the edited video. The info was captured last month in Yusufiya, just south of Baghdad where the insurgents have sympathy. Al-Zarqawi was thought to be in western or northern Iraq so the new info is helpful.
So, this big bad warrior doesn't understand how to operate his weapon of choice and has to order his entourage to clear the weapon when he jams it. And is nice and comfy in New Balance sneakers while he enjoys the show.
And speaking of idiots, a lesson can be learned from U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, (D-RI), son of Teddy, from his accident in the wee hours yesterday morning. Ambien and Phenergan are not just for breakfast anymore! When taken together and said taker gets behind the wheel of his Ford Mustang, no good can come of it. Seems young Kennedy has learned lessons well at the knee of his daddy, the senior senator from Massachusetts.
Like his daddy before him, an intoxicated Patrick Kennedy was driving under the influence, of which he is now claiming were the aforementioned perscription drugs, and drove on over to the captiol building at 2:45 in the morning Thursday. He narrowly avoided taking out a police cruiser before crashing into a security barrier at the entrance to the grounds. He did not have the headlights on and upon crashing staggered out of the car. The police on guard at the entrance nabbed him and he told them he was a congressman on the way to a vote. Only problem with that alibi is that the House of Representatives had adjourned some three hours earlier. Kennedy was not given a breathalyser test as police higher up than the regular guards were on the scene by then and they told the beat patrol to stand down. The higher ups then simply put Kennedy into their car and drove him home.
From a page out of his daddy's playbook, young Kennedy kept the lid on this story until late Thursday afternoon. The news broke and he admitted he was in an accident, claimed not to have been drinking, and says he did not receive any preferential treatment. Then that statement was followed a while later into the evening with a statement from Kennedy that he was under the influence of Ambien and Phenergan.
Kennedy has a long and troubled history with substance abuse. He has been in and out of rehab. He has recently had incidents with hitting an airport security guard when she told him his carry on bag was too large, he trashed a rented luxury boat last summer, and he had a less dramatic traffic accident last month.
The guy needs some help. Had you or I been involved in his current dilemma, we would have not be driven home by a couple of sargents on the capitol police force. We would have been taken off for a different kind of ride.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I was thinking of news stories lately and the lack of good news. It's easy to get bogged down with all the troubles in the world, isn't it. Some days you really have to search to feel good.
I was raised with the spirit of volunteerism in our home. Both of my parents found groups to support in our community and leading by example, gave my two sisters and me the gift of awareness. Awareness that it is not all about us. Awareness that to whom much is given, much is expected. Awareness that by the grace of God we are American citizens and free.
Today it is good to find stories of high profile volunteers. Not the faux feel good celebs after a crisis or those expecting platitudes for their good deeds. I have read stories about three celebrities lately that have restored my faith in the gilded lilly that is Hollywood.
Gary Sinise, you may remember him for the character Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump", is a spokesman for the U.S. Disabled Veterans Life Memorial Foundation. He is a member of a rock band, a bass guitar player, called the Lt. Dan Band that performs for the troops in USO tours. He has also been active in starting a program to supply school supplies and sports equipment, like soccer balls, for children in Afghanistan and Iraq. The events of 9/ll affected his life profoundly, as it did many of us, and he has poured his energy into making a difference.
Gary Sinise was interviewed by an embedded reporter in Iraq. They were discussing the portrayal of the military in the media after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The journalist said he had no problem with running the pictures all around the world every day for as long as possible. Sinise agreed the alleged abuse was a scandal and not action worthy of our military defending our country. Then he told the journalist that the military is deserving of as many stories dealing with their good actions as their bad. Tell the other side of the story. The journalist's response? Well, bad news sells.
Denzel Washington has made a substantial donation to the Fisher House Foundation. After a visit to Brooke Army Medical Center he was moved by the heroism of injured soldiers and wanted to find a way to honor their sacrifices. When injured soldiers are evacuated from Germany they are brought to the States, especially burn victims. The Fisher House is a hotel where soldiers' families stay for little or no charge to be with their soldier. Brooke Army Medical Center has many of these houses on base and they are routinely full.
Denzel Washington also is a big supporter of Boys and Girls Clubs. As a child he used the facility closest to his home and he hasn't forgotten the positive effect it had on his life.
Bruce Willis is fed up with negative portrayals of the war in Iraq and is set to make a pro-war film where American soldiers are depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy. The story is based on heavily decorated members of Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry which has spent the past year battling insurgents in Mosul, Iraq, according to the Washington Times Online. Willis attended Deuce Four's homecoming ball in Seattle, Washington, where the soldiers are home on leave. "These guys who do what they are asked to for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedom", said Willis. Stephen Eads, the producer of Armageddon and The Sixth Sense accompanied Willis to the homecoming ball.
With Mother's Day around the corner, the moms of these three men must be beaming. Job well done, ladies.
"I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body." - Ayn Rand
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Late yesterday afternoon, a disaster was averted at Bush Intercontinental Airport. A Continental Expressjet, Flight 3161, lost the rubber from the two left tires on the landing gear at takeoff. Expressjet is the regional airline provider for Continental. The jet, en route to Minneapolis, was fully fueled for the trip. After reporting the problem, the pilot circled in the sky for two hours to burn up the fuel. This particular jet was not equipped to dump fuel, so that option was out.
Alert 2 was issued at the airport and the emergency personnel began preparing for the worst case scenerio. Alert 3 is the highest level which happens when there is fire or a crash already. A very looong line of emergency vehicles were put into place at runway 15 Left, the longest runway at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The runway was watered and foamed. At the time of landing, there were 100 firefighters and paramedics waiting for whatever might happen.
The time to land arrived. I held my breath and offered up another prayer for the 3 crew members and 45 passengers onboard. The landing was picture perfect. There were no injuries. No fire. I want that pilot the next time I fly.
There are miracles.
"Heroism consists in hanging on one minute longer." - Norwegian proverb
Monday, May 01, 2006
Colin Powell said he completely agreed that the President and the administration should listen to the military generals on the ground for the decision making process. The military is under civilian rule with advice from the military. Recently Rumsfeld has been under fire from 6 or 7 retired generals and called upon to resign. This is quite a break from custom. Anthony Zinni started the ball rolling. He has a book to sell (surprise!) and since he retired before Bush took office, he needed a little help from his friends in justifying his whining in the book. Boo hoo, no one would do things his way. Again, he left before Bush was even in office.
Zinni e-mailed a few who he knew would join the parade and go on tv interviews and the like to call upon Rumsfeld to resign. They so far have stated the reasons are Rumsfeld is arrogant, stubborn and not easy to work for. Sounds like a boss to me. Generals calling a civilian arrogant. Don't you love the irony.
The Powell Doctrine is to go in with overwhelming force and get it done quickly. Works great in bombing campaigns from the air like the first Gulf War was but not so much in this one. In the current war the mission was to remove Saddam.
The Rumsfeld Doctrine is to move fast by travelling lighter. He wants to streamline the military to make it mean and lean. This has caused major problems with him and the Army in particular. The Marines aren't too happy either. They don't like change. The Pentagon operates in a post Cold War world with a pre-Cold War system. Notice those calling for the resignation are not from the Air Force or Navy. Coincidence?
Rumsfeld is not warm and cuddly. Neither are generals. Rumsfeld is a former Navy pilot. He has also been a Congressional staffer, Member of Congress (elected 4 times), Assistant and then Counselor to President Nixon, Ambassador to NATO, Chief of Staff for President Ford, Secretary of Defense - youngest ever-, CEO of G.D. Searle, CEO of General Instruments, and then to his current position as the oldest ever Secretary of Defense. During the time he was not officially active in government he served on numerous military commissions for the Pentagon under both Republican and Democrat presidents. Streamlining the Pentagon and making it more efficient in the new century has been his passion for many years.
Mistakes are made. Intelligence was wrong. Judgements were off due to circumstances. I think history will show that following up on national policy put into place in 1998 calling for the removal of Saddam was the right call.
My husband is a Vietnam veteran. Iraq is not Vietnam. We aren't fighting Cold War communism in Iraq. LBJ is not ratcheting up the amount of troops in theatre. The exit policy is still to leave as soon as the Iraqi people step up and can take care of themselves.
Hey, where was George Clooney and his daddy when Saddam was performing genocide and starving his people? Oh yeah, I think he was in Hollywood making millions so he could buy the villa in Italy to move into international playboy status. Nice he finally got a little awareness.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas A. Edison
So, we went to a movie Saturday afternoon and then for burgers at Red Robin. We saw the new "Ice Age" sequel. Son and I thought we had all agreed to see "RV" with Robin Williams after son said he wasn't up to seeing "United 93" that hubby and I wanted to see. We get into line to purchase tickets and hubby has a change of mind. The movie was ok, but I would have preferred to see something else than animated if we are paying for it out in public. Animated is suppose to be behind us now that son is a 16 year old! I paid my dues all those years he was younger!
And how are you celebrating May Day today? Joining in on any marches giving the finger to our country and supporting illegal immigration? I'm going shopping later to support the economy and businesses open. '
To think you are intitled to be here simply because you want to be here and feeling emboldened to do so without abiding by our laws and going through the legal process, well, forget it. And now to repay this country for not enforcing our laws by not going to work and encouraging children to not go to school is hardly going to create sympathy for your plight with American taxpayers.
We are a nation of immigrants, yes. However, we are not obliged to turn a blind eye to undocumented residents. Our social services are strained to bursting now. Our school system can not continue to absorb more and more crowded conditions. Demanding to be allowed to be a citizen with in your face rallies will not accomplish much more than anger from the taxpayer footing the bills in this country.
The National Athem in Spanish is a slap in the face. The lyrics were changed. The Athem is to be sung in English and show respect by doing the song correctly, as it was written. What in the world has happened to common sense?
You know, I saw some of the LA Book Festival on C-Span yesterday. (I watch C-Span so you don't have to). I saw a really interesting interview with a Vietnamese man who has written a book about his experience as a boy born in South Vietnam and fleeing the country, eventually making it here. Legally. His father was a pilot in the Vietnamese Air Force and this man shined a lot of wisdom on the war in Iraq in contrast to the war in Vietnam. He is adamanent that they are different in mission and desired outcome. He very much supports the war effort and even joined the Marines and was involved in the first Gulf War. He loves this country while continuing to love his native country. He came here to live the American dream in America and assimilate. He is a very proud man now married and a father, considering a run for Congress to make this country a better place. He'll run as an Independent if he chooses to do it. I look forward to reading his book.
Playing by the rules, assimilation, honoring the country providing you with a job and freedom are what get respect among Americans. To support anything less is not worthy of this nation.
Many Hispanic groups are calling for people to not rally today and to keep the children in school. They are going to work because they get it. The first of the rallies backfired with public opinion. I tend to support the proposal that requires the illegal workers to pay back taxes - yes, they pay sales taxes locally but they don't pay federal tax (duh), learn English, and get at the end of the line to become citizens after they have met the other requirements.
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"Heroism consists in hanging on one minute longer". - Norwegian proverb