Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year's End

Here we are, at the end of 2006. I expect when I fall asleep, it will be the early beginnings of 2007. The sun is out today and the air is cooling again. We will enjoy the leg of lamb marinating for dinner and a celebratory toast welcoming the fresh beginning.

A common thought is that events run in threes, particularly deaths of the well-known. This thought would be proven true by this year's recent events. Winding down the calendar we are witness of the passing of three prominent names: former President Gerald R. Ford; the godfather of soul, James Brown; and in contrast, the very face of evil on earth, Saddam Hussein.

Gerald Ford. The accidental president. President Bush said,"Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most." So true. Ford was a loyal friend and public servant to the American people. He was a politician sorely needed today: one who puts the country's best interests above his own personal interests. By pardoning President Nixon, he virtually assured his failure of being elected to the office of president two years later. He saved our nation from itself, from the self destructive ways of raw partisanship and cynicism running rampant as the behavior of President Nixon was being exposed to the country. Careers were launched by the acts of Nixon, such as journalists tracking down the scoops for newspapers and for politicians bellowing condemnations. Those bellowing loudest over the pardon of Richard Nixon now claim the pardon was the right thing to do. Ted "Swimmer" Kennedy the loudest of all. Not wanting to be left out, Kennedy issued a statement upon Ford's death about the pardon.

At the time, from what I remember, Ford was mocked, heckled, and shown the littlest of respect by the press or the Democrats. I was a student in college, in Atlanta, and was witnessing up close the run for president by our governor, Jimmy Carter. Ford was arguably the last of the truly "bi-partisan" Presidents, yet his reward for reaching out was only truly appreciated publicly upon his death.

The passage of time has a way of clearing the smoke and focusing fresh eyes on events. This is evident throughout history - opinions change of people. Ford was a decent, honorable, truthful man. He was called stupid, bumbling, someone not up to the task. The reality was he was accomplished from achievements like Eagle Scout, star football player for Michigan, elected official, then Vice President and President. He was the last living member of the Warren Commission.

Quite a lot for a man abandoned by this father and adopted by his stepfather at a very young age. He worked for everything he ever achieved and was proud to be a common man. Shame on those given everything on a platter from birth, never working a day, and yet the first to criticize others.

Vice President Cheney, a member of Ford's administration, moved me to tears with his touching eulogy last night at the service in the Rotunda.

I am happy to say I was running around too much yesterday, driving here and there for errands and taking our son to meet friends for the afternoon, that I missed the funeral show for James Brown. He's one of my all time favorites and I sure didn't want to see people like Michael Jackson and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Dick Gregory using the funeral service in Harlem for their own egos. Yuck. He deserved much better than a public spectacle to celebrate his life. He was booked to perform tonight in NYC. He'll be missed.

And lastly, Saddam Hussein. His hanging will not be proper justice for the estimated million Muslims he killed in his reign of terror. There is no way for proper justice to be carried out against one man. The lawyers all caught up in international law complaining about the trial and swift punishment further prove to me that international trials in the Hague are not the way to go. They end up taking up to four years by the recent example of Milosovich and he ended up dying during it. It was a farce. The Iraqis were entitled to conduct the trial their way and administer their punishment as they saw fit. It was not so much a victory of the U.S. as it was a victory for the Iraqi people. Period.

"Our 38th President will always have a special place in our nation's memory". - President George W. Bush, in a statement issued on the passing of President Ford.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Showing Results

The Polar Bear will be added to the Endangered Species List on orders of President Bush. Their population is dwindling and it would be a shame for such a magnificent creature to vanish from earth.

My favorite animal? The Siberian Tiger. It is a huge, fierce creature in a beautiful fur coat.

Last weekend I watched Michael Crichton deliver a speech to an audience at the National Press Club. He is the author of books such as Jurassic Park, State of Fear, and most recently, Lost, as well as the creator of the wildly popular tv show, E.R. He is first and foremost a scientist. His topic was loosely directed at the views concerning global warming in the scientific community and in the mind of the American public. He advocates mandatory publishing online of all taxpayer funded research results. No more rush to publish without proper verification and online publishing would make results available for people in the field to do verification themselves. If results are concocted, the scientist should be condemned by other scientists. If a scientist doesn't agree to publish online, taxpayer monies would be denied and private funding would finance the research.

"Let's cut the crap", he said. "Failure to show your data indicates fraud". If a scientist doesn't want to publish online, that person is free to seek private funding. "You can't pass the third grade without showing your work".

Science Magazine last week claimed that the pronouncements of major global warming trends on the planet are false. Many of the studies and research projects are not verified within the scientific community before they are published as facts. Crichton claims many just assume no one will check.

Crichton uses the example of scientific facts commonly thought to be true that are now revised:
48 chromosomes in the human body, continents don't move, life on Mars exists it just hasn't been discovered yet, and the planet is growing colder. Now, 50 years later the opposite of these statements are thought to be true. The human body has 46 chromosomes. Hmm.

Crichton thinks it is impossible to know very much for certain. Even predicting what will happen in the next 24 hours is usually no more than a guess.

Most agree that some degree of global warming exists today. Even the scientific community cannot agree to what extent this is on our planet. The planet has gotten roughly 1/2 degree warmer over the years. There is no way to be certain as the research standards were not in effect and measuring techniques were not recorded in years gone past. Carbon dioxide is increasing from man and the greenhouse gases leave a real effect.

I think we should leave the science in science. Let's leave the politics out of science. I would be much more comfortable believing a reasoned thinker like Michael Crichton rather than a political hack like Al Gore who is exploiting the issue with, at best, pseudo-intellectual thought. His movie, adored by liberals everywhere, seems more in line with fantasy than fact. Did you know it is being shown in science classes across the country as fact now?

Republicans have gotten a bad rap over the environment for decades. The popular screed that Republicans are bad stewards of the environment in nonsense. President Bush has enacted declarations of natural preserves around the country and most notably the largest marine preserve ever. It is off the coast of Hawaii. And why wouldn't he? He is a landowner and values the land. He has called on the development of alternative fuel sources since his first year in office. He tried for years to have his recommended energy policy passed in congress. They weren't able to get it done until last year but the opposition continued to argue that the country had no energy policy. Don't like the price of gas? Don't like being beholden to Arab nations and others who wish us harm? Let your lawmakers know.

Get the politics out of science.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dead Man Hangin'

The verdict and punishment stands. Saddam lost the appeal of his sentence to be put to death by hanging in the next 30 days. I heard on the radio today that the hanging will be taped and may or may not be shown to the people of Iraq.

I think the hanging should be a public event. Were it not for the fact that former Baathists would have the opportunity to lob bombs into the crowd and bring a smile to the face of the convicted dictator, it would be appropriate.

Some will deny the fact that Saddam is dead, when the punishment is carried out. It will be the same people who thought the deaths of Saddam's sons was a hoax and the photos of the dead men doctored to suit the story. If the hanging was seen with thousands of eyes it would be useful.

If it is not to be a public event, I say show it on television. The explosion of homes with satellite dishes is affirmation of the freedoms enjoyed today in Iraq by the population - a free act that would have brought severe punishment in the reign of terror under Saddam.

Saddam wrote a farewell letter and it was released on the internet Wednesday. He calls on Iraqis to refrain from hating the coalition forces. "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking". The letter was on a website known as one of the Baath Party.

It's a shame all those thoughts about not hating didn't enter into his mental process as he killed off villages of Kurds and all the innocent men, women and children in Iraq. I don't for a minute think he suddenly has been enlightened or feels guilt for his actions. I think those reading it in his country will feel nothing but contempt and disgust. As it should be.

It should be noted that the same day Saddam's farewell letter was published a statement from the Baath Party, on the same website, called for retaliation against the U.S. if the death sentence is carried out. This group of former Saddam men now live and operate out of Yemen, it is believed.

Saddam boasted in his letter that "You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defense of prisoners", including himself. Nice of him to think to give a final shout-out to his buddy, Ramsay Clark.

An abundance of volunteers have come forward to do the hanging honors.

Have you seen the photos of John Kerry's trip to Iraq, among the military there? Seems no one wanted to sit with him for meals or work out with him, either. A press conference he called one afternoon drew absolutely no one but the reporter required to be there from the military so when Kerry showed up in his flight jacket, it is reported he simply turned around and left the spot.

What kind of reception did he expect? He just continues to reaffirm his beliefs of the ignorance of the people in uniform and his superiority. Why, it was just a botched joke, all you stupid people. The fact that he even attempted that type of joke using military personnel to attack the President speaks volumes.

Who's the stupid one, John Kerry? He should ask Teresa to buy him a clue.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Deadlines All Around

Saturday, December 30 is the date for the last daily comic strip of a favorite of my family's, Fox Trot. Creator Bill Amend is taking a break from the daily comic strip grind he began in April, 1988 and will only create a Sunday cartoon strip. With over 30 comic collections published, no doubt he is in need of a break. Amend was nominated as a finalist for the 2006 Cartoonist of the Year. That would be an honor long overdue, if you ask me. Our bookshelves hold many of his books and our son has been entertained by them since he was a little guy.

Have you heard of a program created with money from Congress to build a Katrina cottage program on the Gulf Coast? A competition was held with the mission for the five Gulf Coast states to propose a plan to spend federal recovery money on quick-assemble housing. The great state of Mississippi won the largest share of the money by producing a winning proposal .

The reaction from the Governor and senior Senator of the great state of Louisiana upon learning they had missed the top award? Well, Governor Blanco blamed the disbursement on a "cruel Republican agenda" and said they expect a whole new attitude out of congress now that the Dems will head the committees. She wants $1.2 billion for her state to build the cottages. $1.2 billion.

This alternative housing pilot program was established as an alternative to the federal law limiting temporary housing to mobile homes and travel trailers. The disbursement of funds was not based on need, but on inventiveness and "ways to improve FEMA housing in future disasters", according to Gil Jamieson, FEMA Deputy Director for Gulf Coast Recovery. Mississippi had the most competitive housing proposal, he said.

The deadline for public sympathy for New Orleans seems to have passed. As long as the people of the state continue to live under the same old ways of the Dems playing the victim card and not electing responsible leadership, nothing will change. This is a state with a Democrat in the position of Governor, sr. Senator, Mayor of New Orleans, and a Congressman from New Orleans that hid cash bribes in his freezer yet remains in office, in fact just recently re-elected.

Yes, a cruel Republican agenda. That's what is keeping those poor folks down in the projects. Did you hear? George W. Bush hates black people.

As long as minorities and others looking for government assistance buy into the old lines from the Democrats, their lot in life will remain the same. As long as they are told it's because they are victims of Republicans or whatever bogeyman offered up, nothing will change. Generation after generation living in public housing and government programs begets the same. What is the incentive to get an education or a job if you know nothing else? What is the incentive to make responsible decisions with your life if you think the check's in the mail?

What is the incentive to evacuate if you think it'll all be taken care of for you when things get bad?

Mississippi was devastated. New Orleans was flooded. It was all terrible. The people of Mississippi have been overlooked for far too long. They didn't sit around in shelters and wait for buses to take them somewhere else. The mayors of the towns in Mississippi didn't have a penthouse in a tall hotel to hide out in as the storm hit and the aftermath took over. Then have the nerve to scream obscenities at the President and his team.

Nothing is perfect in this world. Sometimes harsh reminders must be made. The government is large and lumbering. A federal emergency agency is not set up to take on people for extended periods of time.

Many of the Katrina evacuees are still here in Houston. The rent and utilities vouchers are still being extended to them. Is it a surprise that every time a deadline is set for the subsidies to end that all of a sudden we have people on the local newscasts crying that no one told them and what are they going to do now?

I rarely hear anything of helping the communities in east Texas devastated by Hurricane Rita. They will receive about $16 million for alternative housing plans now. So will Alabama, also mostly overlooked.

Louisiana has been allotted millions upon millions. The 9th ward still looks like a war zone. Is that George Bush's fault? Those evil Republicans.

I understand John Edwards was there in the 9th ward today, helping clean up a destroyed home. He brought along a camera crew so you can see how he can handle a shovel. What a guy. He'll be making his announcement that he's running for President again from there. Wow. That's original. Don't worry. A Democrat will save the day. It's all politics all the time.

Symbolism over substance.

Edwards is ready for another chance to tell us all about his two Americas. And how his father was a factory worker. And how he was a lawyer representing sick children against those bad medical people. Never seems to mention all those millions of dollars he made, though. Enough that he can run for President.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford 1913-2006

President Ford was not a great president. He was a good, honest, ethical American. He served in the House of Representatives for many years, representing the great state of Michigan.

He is best known as the man who healed a nation. He was both vice-president and then president but never elected to either position. He was named vice-president after Spiro Agnew resigned his post in the Nixon administration. Then, when President Nixon resigned, he was elevated to the presidency. He pardoned President Nixon, thus Nixon was not impeached.

Rest in Peace.

Searching for Ernie Pyle

I'm searching for a modern day Ernie Pyle.

Ernie Pyle was a small town Hoosier who became a world renowned, Pulitzer prize winning war correspondent during World War II.

Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, Indiana. The current population of Dana is around 662, give or take. From humble beginnings, he went on to attend Indiana University in Bloomington in the 1920's. A semester shy of graduation, Pyle accepted a job as a reporter for the LaPorte, Indiana newspaper. Rumor had it he was suffering from a failed romance and ready to move on with his life. As a student of the School of Journalism he wrote for the Indiana Daily Student.

Ernie Pyle wrote an aviation column, one of the first to do so. He developed quite a readership during the Great Depression. He later would win a Pulitzer Prize for his wartime reporting on World War II. Ernie Pyle was never one to be a reporter from behind a desk. He believed in going to the site of the story and, in the case of war coverage, developing a relationship with the soldiers on which he reported. His respect for the soldiers and their stories of bravery in the line of duty was felt by his readers.

He was eager to see the world and understand it.

He was as famous in his day as Edward R. Murrow.

Time Magazine made him a cover story. Word was that Ernie Pyle was not comfortable with celebrity status. The Time Magazine story portrayed him as a naive, country bumpkin and that insulted him. Even then the elitists of the east coast didn't understand the rest of the country.

He was honored with a Purple Heart for his service.

Ernie Pyle died from machine gun fire on the Czech border in April, 1945. The same year brought the deaths of FDR, Hitler and Mussolini. A year of transformation.

When Pyle died, just days after FDR, Harry Truman commented on the loss of another American hero.

Not bad for a country bumpkin from Dana, Indiana.

Today there is a memorial to Ernie Pyle in Dana, called the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site. It is a museum telling the story of his life. Indiana University, presenting Pyle with an honorary degree in his later life, named the building for the School of Journalism for him. There is the Ernie Pyle Lounge which holds many possessions from his life. A typewriter, his jacket worn on the battlefields, small mementos like cigarette lighters, his Purple Heart, his Pulitzer Prize certificate, etc.

A large photograph was on display of Pyle, his ever present cigarette in hand. He was a heavy smoker. This was not an uncommon habit back in the day. The University czars of political correctness demanded the photo be replaced with a photo that features the burning cigarette discreetly in the bottom corner. They were concerned about students perceiving the photo as an endorsement for smoking.

The czars are idiots.

As a student on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University, I walked past the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism building more times than I can recall. I wonder what Ernie Pyle, a journalist of such integrity and a tough guy image, would think of the silliness that has virtually put common sense off the table in today's world of higher education.

What would Ernie Pyle think of journalists of today? As a print journalist I can't help but think he would be appalled with the constant editorializing of today's reporters. It is so common place that we, the readers, have been numbed to the prevalence. Journalism and commentary have married together with no divorce in sight. It is a time when organizations like AP and Reuters refuse to use the word 'terrorist' and instead look for less offensive, in their minds, terms. Don't want to offend a killer. Especially if the killer is killing Americans.

He would not be one of those content to report from the Green Zone in Baghdad, that is a fact. He would be out and about the country reporting on the good as well as the bad. He would report on the majority of the provinces at peace and building new lives in freedom from the former dictator. He would report on the schools being built, the children going to school, the economy that is booming from all the small businesses starting up. He would report on the heroes in uniform and the record number of commendations being awarded to them.

The stories of the war we are not reading in our newspapers leaves me feeling cheated. I know that the bad news sells newspapers. If it bleeds, it leads. The modern day press feels entitled to pushing their agenda which includes the opinion that the war is unjust and the President of the U.S. must be humiliated. At any cost. They are busy now doing victory laps for the victory of the liberals and the takeover of both the House and the Senate. You may have noticed, however, that the very military veterans they besmirch are the ones recruited by the Dems to run this past cycle.

The world is a dangerous place now. Unserious people, short sighted people, isolationist people do more harm than good. The lessons of history tell us this.

The whole picture tells the story.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

"Many of those who have answered the call of duty will spend this Christmas season far from home and separated from family. We honor their sacrifice. We will keep them close in our hearts and in our prayers."
- President Bush at the Christmas Pageant of Peace 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

While Mary and Joseph were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

- Luke 2:6-7

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Star Power

We heard the sonic boom produced by the shuttle Discovery yesterday as it prepared to land in Florida. It zipped across the sky overhead and the folks at Johnson Space Center went outside to check on seeing it in the sky. Don't worry, those in the command center stayed at their stations! The others couldn't see it, though. The husband arrived home from the office in time to watch the Discovery land with me and it was picture perfect even with somewhat dicey weather conditions. It never ceases to leave me with a sense of awe.

Besides being an astronaut in a perfect world, the husband would also be a scientist discovering the wonders of the world. The sighting and photos taken of the giant squid off the coast of Japan delighted him to no end. This is the stuff that really excites him.

Politics for me, science for him.

The unincorporated community of Etoile in east Texas has a double digit populaton and 140 students at the school serving grades K-8. Etoile is the French word for star.

Last May, a bus loaded with U.S. Army troops from Fort Hood broke down in the Angelina National Forest, according to a recent Houston Chronicle article. About 40 soldiers from the "Warhorse Battalion" were heading to Iraq after some grueling training at Fort Polk. While waiting for a bus dispatched from Houston, the soldiers were treated to a spaghetti dinner, courtesy of the volunteer fire department and a pleasant visit with the students at the school. The students were excited to talk to the soldiers, ask questions of them and get an up close look at their gear. The school superintendent said the soldiers were great with the kids and must have answered a thousand questions from them. He sent school buses to pick them up and bring them to the school's air-conditioned cafeteria to be comfortable while they waited for replacement transportation.

In June, the soldiers' commanders returned to the community to present certificates of appreciation, one to the school and one to the Fire Department.

Feeling they had been properly thanked by the soldiers, the community was surprised to learn of another gesture from them. The 1st Cavalry Division soldiers honored the town with "Operation Etoile", converting an enemy-infested area in Iraq into open space. The mission cleaned out the anti-coalition elements who were planting roadside bombs and launching attacks on passing U.S. and Iraqi troops.

The "Warhorse" soldiers, with the help of engineers with 9 bulldozers, removed dirt mounds and brush being used as cover for the attackers. A lookout tower was destroyed. In the name of the people of Etoile, a soccer field was made and villagers were given clothes and toys by U.S. troops as the work was being completed.

"The community's help was not forgotten," said the dispatch from Capt. Gregory Stopyra in Baqouba, Iraq. "The Warhorse leadership decided upon the name of 'Etoile' for this operation. This French word for 'star' now represents a tremendous success for the Warhorse Battalion."

"We had a ball, " said Etoile Superintendent Andy Trekell.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thank You Kuwait

In December of 1985, the husband and I were beginning a move back to my beloved Deep South. Finally. We were living in south/central Indiana and I was more than ready for him to find a position that would bring him back into the oil drilling biz and, thanks to an old friend in New Orleans, he did. The friend sent a classified ad from the Times-picayune to him with a note that it looked to fit his experience.

The husband set up an interview with the HR woman of the drilling company at the office in Lafayette, LA. We were excited and drove down to check things out. He signed on the dotted line and we were moving to Cajun country and into our first house at the end of the month. We decided to move to Lafayette and not back to New Orleans as Lafayette we deemed to be better to raise a future family.

I drove from Indiana to Cameron, LA to send the husband off to his first hitch offshore for this company. Then I went back up to Indiana to finish moving preparations while he was gone.

Cameron was a tiny, rural community in the very southwestern tip of the coast of Louisiana. It is almost to the Texas border. The community was able to enjoy the financial rewards of oilfield workers going in and out of the town, back and forth to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a community of enthusiastic hunters. All along a two lane stretch of highway that ended at the Gulf were handmade signs advertising services of cleaning and dressing the rewards of hunting trips, as well as taxidermy services.

The people were friendly and we spent the night upon our arrival at a small motel. Nothing fancy by any stretch of the imagination but comfortable. We enjoyed a wonderful, fresh seafood dinner that night at a restaurant along a pier right on the water. It was very romantic after dark as it lit up in the darkness and the sound of the waves breaking on the beach.

Hurricane Rita, making landfall at the southwestern Louisiana coast, including the upper southeastern coast of Texas, just two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, destroyed Cameron. Wiped it out. Very little remained standing.

Most of the towns and communities devastated by Hurricane Rita are still struggling to re-build, just like those affected by Hurricane Katrina on the east coast of Louisiana and the Mississippi coast. It is a shame the victims of Hurricane Rita never got the publicity that the others did. Devastated communities are a tragedy whether it is a city like New Orleans or a rural community. At least New Orleans had most of it's city still standing except for parts directly hit. Even the homes completely underwater are still standing after the water left.

Fast forward to two days ago. As part of the monetary outreach of the Bush/Clinton Katrina Fund, the one former Presidents Bush and Clinton have raised millions to support, a hospital is on it's way to being re-built for the people in the area of Cameron. Since the hurricane hit, the people have been driving an hour for medical emergencies. The tiny, 25 bed South Cameron Memorial Hospital served as a first stop for injured offshore workers as well as community members. The donation made recently will be used along with other donations and FEMA money to re-open the hospital this spring.

Karen, why is Kuwait in the heading of this post, you might be thinking? Well, the Bush/Clinton Fund made its first contribution to victims of Hurricane Rita with this expenditure. Cameron's story was weighing on the heart of the former President Bush, as he had fond memories of the area from his days in the oilpatch. Bush cleared it with Clinton and the IRS, then asked one benefactor to the fund for permission to direct $2 million to Cameron. Who's the benefactor? The government of Kuwait, that's who. You may remember former President Bush has a bit to do with the fact they are free from Iraqi rule today.

And this leads me to George Clooney. Just stay with me here. George Clooney was invited by Bush to come along to Cameron and present the people with the check. Why George Clooney? "For the record, inviting Clooney was my idea, who better to help than arguably the best-known ER doctor in America.", Bush said. People came from as far away as Arkansas upon hearing rumors of the donation.

Clooney seems to be learning to use his celebrity for good purposes in his middle age. Instead of being known as just another liberal celebrity throwing word bombs and showing disrespect to the President overseas, he is finally getting a clue. Maybe. His father asked for his notoriety to get the word out about the genocide in Darfur and now a former president, named Bush, I might add, has given him the opportunity to be a good guy again. It was reported Clooney was generous with autographs and pictures among the crowd gathered to witness the check presentation.

Cameron received a much needed Christmas gift. The reason for the season. Neighbors helping neighbors.

It is finally feeling like the Christmas season when I hear an especially moving rendition of "O Holy Night". That happened this morning, warming my heart.

The new title for the upcoming 7th and final Harry Potter book? "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Son was not impressed with that title. He'll look forward to it as he has all the others though.

"I'd rather pop popcorn than look at George Clooney," said Lloyd Woodcock, 33. "I came here for Bush."
Woodcock was among the crowd in Cameron.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who's A Cowboy Now?

I'm checking out a movie from 1945 titled "The Clock" starring Judy Garland and Robert Walker. I need the diversion.

Seems recent news accounts of traveling politicians confirm my suspicions. There is no shortage of clueless bloviators willing to make laughingstocks of themselves to muscle their way onto the world stage. Actors all.

First Senator Bill Nelson, former astronaut from Florida, goes to Syria for a little tete a tete with Bashir. His jet barely back into the skies and the Iranian press is mocking him and his great adventure into the diplomatic abyss. He thought it was a good way to stick a finger into the eye of President Bush, whose administration asked him not to go in the first place. I'm sure he didn't count on the reaction of the region. They thought he was a very foolish man.

Not to be outdone, John Kerry traipses off to Syria, and to raise the stakes a bit announces he would be happy to go to Iran to talk with the madman there, if he was needed. Thanks, John. I'm sure the people of Israel, next on the itinerary, were really excited with the prospects of his visit.

Evan Bayh went to the region, too. He's out of the presidential race now, though, so who cares?

Brings to mind the old joke about every senator waking up and seeing a future president in the mirror.

When President Bush does things that raise eyebrows, he's called a cowboy. That would be an insult to the uppity elites, you know.

Now it's the pilgrimage to Cuba. Both parties are guilty of this. Can't we just talk to the brutal dictator and solve all the problems? Can't we just allow free trade and make money there?

The answer is no.

Did the latest congressional delegation to travel to Cuba ask about the political prisoners or the imprisoned journalists or the people guilty of practicing their religions? No word on that but lots about remarks from silly, no-nothings like Congressman Meeks from New York that brags now that the democrats are in charge it's time to take advantage and change policy towards Cuba. Or Congressman Flake from Arizona who thinks the atmosphere is ripe for business investment with the Cuban leadership.

Lord help us.

And Joy Behar continues not to disappoint. Her latest easy, cheap shot at conservatives was concerning Fox News and their coverage of the Hitler/Rumsfeld remark: "Fox News is all over my ass. I consider it an honor, like being on Nixon's enemies list." She's one classy broad, that one.

If it weren't for easy cheap shots she'd have no schtick at all. Maybe Santa will bring her some original thoughts for Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just Not Worthy

Sometimes people prove unworthy of serious consideration.

Yesterday, during a regular press briefing with Tony Snow, the journalists (loosely speaking) of the national press and radio were all but fainting in the aisles upon the news of Laura Bush's recent cancer scare. This wasn't concern for the First Lady and her health, oh no. This was due to the fact that Mrs. Bush had a cancerous spot, the size of a nickel, removed from her right leg's shin in November. How dare no one notify the press of this procedure immediately, maybe even as it was being done at her doctor's office.

Better yet, since she "only" had local anesthesia, maybe the press was expecting a personal phone call from her during the procedure.

It was quite the feeding frenzy aimed at Tony Snow. Everyone from The New York Times, CNN, network news, CBS Radio, was demanding to know more. Why didn't Mrs. Bush disclose this immediately, will she now do advocacy work encouraging Americans to be regularly checked for skin cancer? Well, doesn't she think this is important?

The fact is, as I see it, Laura Bush is a private citizen with national recognition. She is an unelected,unpaid public servant doing good works around the globe and a huge advocate for women and children everywhere. Which, I might add, that includes all the world's women and children, unlike the "feminists" in this country. Where was their support of women in countries living with true oppression and misery? Where is the celebrating from the feminist crowd over the fact that little girls in Afghanistan are going to school for the first time?

There is also the matter of medical privacy. This is not something her doctor or a medical facility could announce. The only person allowed to disclose this kind of information was Laura Bush herself. She answered a reporter's question during a White House holiday reception concerning the bandage on her leg. She was in a skirt and it was visible.

Her press secretary was asked why the press didn't know about this and the press secretary answered that no one had asked about it and Mrs. Bush said it was no big deal. The tumor was caught early and removed. Mrs. Bush continued on with her normal schedule, traveled with the President overseas and oversaw the holiday preparations at the White House.

Where was all this questioning and distress during the Clinton administration when the President didn't disclose medical records as is normally done annually? What was he hiding? How about Hillary Clinton? Chelsea?


A slow news day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One For The Road

Is it just me, or did you find it odd to hear a British accent coming out of the mouth of the CEO of Taco Bell, talking about the recent e-Coli scare?

Bono is upset with the new Democratic leadership of the incoming Congress. My man, Bono, was promised a bunch of money for his programs in Africa, a pleasant surprise to him after Clinton left office and those mean old Republicans took over the White House. So, after meetings on Capitol Hill in recent days, Senator Harry Reid has refused to guarantee to work with Republicans to ok the President's request for monies. I know, according to Kenye West, President Bush hates black people. But, alas, his administration has done more for the continent of Africa than any other previous administraton. And one of the President's twin daughters is working there, personally, and Laura Bush has been there to support projects more than any other first lady has been. Hmm.

Seems we have substance over symbolism with this administration instead of the reverse from the old Clinton days. They were all about the symbolism and nothing much else. Remember the trip to Africa Hillary and Chelsea took and a big photo op was made of native Africans doing tribal dancing for them. Performing for the big shots.

I know it's fun to go to the old canards in arguments but the dinosaur liberal thinking and talking points just don't play in modern times. Joy Behar, the "comedian" on The View, equated Donald Rumsfeld with Hitler yesterday on the show. Wow, how original to put Hitler and a Republican in the same sentence. Even Jon Stewart says only Hitler was Hitler. Maybe she was just sucking up to Rosie.

This is Kofi Annan's last week of officially presiding over the U.N. Finally. Alas, we have one more scandal trickling out as he departs. Seems Kofi and his wife, the tall, attractive blonde at his side have been living in another apartment than the one they are on paper as occupying. They are on the lease for an apartment that is subsidized by the taxpayers of the City of New York but they live in another place. Kofi's brother lives in the subsidized place. And why was he given the break for housing anyway? His wife is a member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden and they are not in need. Just greedy, of course. Like all of his corrupt, pocket-lining deals through the U.N.

One more for the road.

I have been watching the NASA channel the past couple of days when I need distraction. It is so incredible to think of watching an astronaut working on the space station in real time on tv.

The tickets to "Spamalot" have been purchased. The traveling company from Broadway will be here at the end of May for a couple of weeks. My guys, especially, are huge Monty Python fans so we are all looking forward to treat.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Simple Song

Good Monday morning, y'all! I'm enjoying a bit of early morning quiet as Max patrols the backyard and the son is still asleep. Hubby is off to the office. All is well. So far so good.

Yesterday I read an article in the newspaper that told of a parent singing an old Shaker song with her child. This brought many memories flooding back for me of the days when our son was small.

I read to our son every night at bedtime and it was our routine. I started this before he was even born, believing he could hear my voice and this pattern would be familiar to him when he was born. I'm not a scientist but I read obsessively. Somewhere along the line when I was pregnant, I read something confirming this belief of mine.

The husband was not home every night due to work in the real world for him. He has always been gone for varying lengths of time for work purposes and this is a normal way of life, even for our son. When the husband was home, he wanted to do something special with son as part of the bedtime routine that would just be theirs. The male bonding thing. So, he and the boy would recite the Lord's Prayer together then they would sing The Simple Song.

Son learned the Lord's Prayer at a very early age, thanks to his dad. The song I referenced is not really named the Simple Song, but it is a part of the verse - "Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free". It is so lovely and good advice, too. It is a Shaker song. I don't know the song's real name.

I love hearing their voices wafting down the hall.

Several years ago the husband was doing an extended assignment in the State of Maine. He was on site at a shipyard in Portland as a rig was being built and he was in charge of making sure it was commissioned. Son and I joined him for about a month that summer.

One of the most memorable sites we saw in Maine was a Shaker village. We visited the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, on Route 26, in New Gloucester. This village is the only functioning Shaker community in the world.

With a father and mother who love history, the son was pre-destined for this visit. Fortunately he is not as bored by this sort of field trip as some young people are. I see him as a budding history buff.

This village is so interesting. There are 18 structures in the village and 6 are open to the public. It is a look into the life of a Shaker village. The museum was started in 1931 by two of the women members of the community. As I said, it is still functioning so tours and such are worked around daily life there.

The community is known for its herb gardening skills. We bought packages of salad herbs, herbal teas and potpourri from a recipe developed in 1858. The gift shop provides income for the community and they also have a mail order catalog for their goods. We purchased a couple of books about the Shaker history and a frameable poster of an arrangement of Shaker chairs. The beauty is in the simple starkness of the chair construction.

Tis a gift to be simple.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Let the Games Begin

Today I had lunch with my lifelong girlfriend. Well, since second grade when her family moved to town. It was our once a month lunch. The seafood alfredo was yummy.

Son's Senior Class ring arrived today. So wierd.

The attempts to rescue the three mountain climbers in Oregon is compelling. I pray the weather cooperates tomorrow. The statements from the families are heartbreaking.

I see Senator Evan Bayh is not running for President after all. Wonder if he was too skittish about his lifestyle in college getting out to haunt him now that he has a wife and children. I lived in Indiana, in Bloomington, when he was a student at Indiana University and knew a couple of Bayh's friends. He used to be Senator Birch Bayh's son before the sr. Bayh was defeated and Evan was old enough to go into the political scene himself. Needless to say the news of his marriage was surprising to most.

Wonder what Evan will do with the reported $10 million he has in his PAC established as an exploratory committee?

I finally sent out our Christmas cards yesterday. It was late for me, I like to get them out towards the first of December as a rule. Just didn't happen this year.

With $14 million dollars in the bank for her presidential run and all the former consultants and aides from President Clinton's days in the White House on the payroll, does anyone still have any doubts Hillary is running for 2008? Obama is putting a scare into her, though, so she'll have to stop the cat and mouse games in fairly short order. Already there are commercials running in New Hampshire for a draft Obama initiative.

Gonna be interesting.

The Logan Act

Happy Hanukkah!

Winter break from school began at 11:30 yesterday morning as son was then finished with finals week. The air-conditioning is still running. I killed two mosquitoes yesterday in my house.

Tonight the husband, son and I went to a play at the Country Playhouse using our season tickets. The current offering is "A Christmas Story" and it was pretty good. A little draggy at times and felt a bit drawn out but overall a good play for the season. It was a nice change of pace from the endless showing of it in movie form on tv. It's gotten to be like "It's A Wonderful Life" in overkill.

Anyone paying attention to the growing stream of U.S. Senators going over to terror-sponsoring countries and "talking" to their murderous, thug leaders? Well, the list is growing. So far, I have noted the trips of John Kerry to Egypt and Syria before he goes to Israel and Palestine. Israel being the only friend of the U.S. in the region, and oh yeah, he'll go to Iran if he needs to. Thanks Senator Kerry. Also, Senator Bill Nelson, and Senator Evan Bayh have been to Syria with Arlen Spector announcing he's going, too. N.M. Governor Bill Richardson visited North Korea. You may remember him from his days in the Clinton administration and his previous failings with North Korea with Maddie Allbright.

In light of the fact that the Bush administration has asked them not to go and they have voiced disapproval of their tactics, it is time to dust off the Logan Act.

According to, "Dr. George Logan of Pennsylvania attempted to normalize relations with France. He entered into negotiations with France, without authorization, in hopes of resuming normal relations. In 1799, Congress passed legislation outlawing such contacts between foreign governments and private individuals. The law remains on the books to this day."

I know the Dems are all giddy that they have a two vote majority in the Senate now, and Arlen Spector has been a disgrace for many years to the Republicans, but this arrogance is breathtaking, to say the least.

Senators are not authorized to commune with foreign leaders on policy. Especially after they have been asked not to go by the administration. We have a very capable State Department, thank you, and the Senators are showing weakness and conflict with the administration, at a time of war.

At a time of war.

I don't care if you don't like how President Bush is conducting policy or how Secretary Rice is handling diplomatic matters. The Senators have clearly crossed over the line.

America has to speak with one voice.

The balance of power has changed in Congress but the same man is president. The leaders of other countries see a sign of weakness in this hijacking of diplomacy.

The terrorists love the Democrats. They want the old days back. Just like they applaud old and foolish dinosaur politicians like Patrick Leahy as he comes back to being Judiciary Chair and says he'll try to eliminate the tools used to monitor and hunt down terrorists. Leahy was kicked off the Senate Intelligence Committee a few years back after he was caught leaking classified info to the press.

Leahy is a prime example of why Democrats can't be trusted with national security. The times are too dangerous for unserious people.

Just as I have called for the reinstatement of The Sedition Act, I think the Logan Act must be used. We are a nation at war. If the president's overall approval ratings were not so low now, there is no way these Senators would be pulling off these shenanigans. When Clinton was turning a blind eye to attack after attack to our military and facilities, the Republicans didn't take it upon themselves to travel the world and try to do the work of the State Department.

The European Socialist Democrats told Howard Dean last week, as he was at their meeting, that they were so happy the Democrats were back in power.

No wonder.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Balance of Power

I feel good. I spent 2 1/2 hours at the salon this afternoon and my hair looks marvelous, darling. It's short, it's quite blonde and I'm feeling frisky. See, I was born with red hair, then it turned brunette as I grew older. I have always enjoyed coloring it for kicks, beginning as a college freshman. Mostly I went red and auburn. I am very fair complexioned so it was a no brainer. Now that I am a woman of substance, I am going blonde in a big way. It's fun to see where all the highlights lead me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The health crisis of Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota troubles me. The poor man. He is 59 years old and in a stressful job. He has stroke-like symtoms while on a conference call with reporters and is rushed to the hospital after he hangs up and collaspes on the way back to his office. This is serious stuff, folks.

What is reported? The first sentence or two is about the actual condition of the senator. Then we immediately jump into the fragile balance of power in the Senate. Yes, if the man should die, then the governor of the great state of South Dakota will appoint someone to serve out Senator Johnson's term, which ends in 2008. But do we really have to go there right this second?

Can't we let the man recover from his surgery and let the doctors make their judgments? It is the holiday break anyway. Let his family and friends have the respect they deserve and leave them alone. I hope the tv in his hospital room is not on, as that is all he'll hear from everyone - what will happen if he is not able to carry out his duties and fulfill his term.

Good Lord.

Frankly, it doesn't matter that much. Politically speaking, he is a conservative sort of Democrat on most issues. Yes, it effects the votes if VP Cheney gets to make tie-breaking votes but not to the extent that this circus implies. The media is disgraceful and sound like hovering buzzards.

Shame on them.

I am a Republican. I would like nothing more than for my peeps to be in the driver's seat. But, please.

This turns my stomach.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Different World

Today is the one year anniversary of the capture of Saddam. Not much said about on the news. Yawn, yeah, big deal.

When I recently purchased a new automobile, the salesman of my deal was a top seller at the dealership. He was very friendly and chatty, as successful salespeople are and he seemed to feel comfortable telling his stories to my husband and me. I suppose his tension faded a bit as he learned of my husband's travels in the part of the world from where he came.

The salesman, when asked his original home, said he was from the holy land. He was Palestinian and his family lived in Gaza after being run out of Iraq due to survival concerns as Saddam took over the country.

This man said he has 7 children. Some are from a previous marriage. His first wife was not a "good wife" as he put it, so his mother chose another woman for him. He is, as it turns out, a big believer in arranged marriage.

He also told us he butchers his own lamb as he doesn't really trust the butchers who claim to butcher according to the Muslim laws.

I learned of this belief of arranged marriage when he mentioned he would be traveling to Jordan toward the end of December. Oh, visiting friends and family, I asked? Well, some, but the main purpose of the visit was to find a wife for his eldest son.


What's good for the father is good for the son.

The son is 24 years old, owns his own condo, and wants a "good wife". He wants his father to handle it for him.

It struck me at the time how odd this conversation was for me, as an American woman, with no frame of reference of these traditions. The old feminist in me automatically rises in contempt over terms like "good wife". Yet, the son found comfort and strength from this tradition.

Seems to me this is a good example with the problem we, as Americans, have with relating to life in the middle east, even in the year 2006. In many ways, they remain in a different time, a different century.

When we lived in Lafayette, and I was helping open a Childrens Museum, a young mother who we could always count on to help us with fundraisers suddenly was widowed. She was in her early 30's and had 3 young children, the youngest two children were twins only a year old. She and her husband were of middle eastern descent. The husband's family was full of men. The husband had no sisters but 3 or 4 brothers. I remember talking to another woman at the museum about what a tragedy it was. I wondered outloud how she would survive raising the children on her own, as she like us was a stay at home mom. I inquired if the friend knew if she at least had life insurance money coming to help, since my friend's husband was the couple's financial advisor. My friend didn't have an answer. Then she said something I thought back to while speaking to my salesman. She said, don't worry for her, the brothers will take care of her.

What? She said it is traditional for the husband's family to take care of the widow and help raise the children. They simply take over for the deceased husband. As the husband was first generation American, the old ways were still common within this family and their community of friends and relatives.

It's a different world.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Rest of the Story

An update of the posting yesterday about the rabbi and the officials at Sea-Tac airport is in order. My blogging friend Karen, at Thoughts by Seawitch, does a good post today about the rest of the story. She rightly feels those blogging about it should finish the story.

I saw the rabbi on tv last night and cynic that I am, thought he was getting the publicity he sought after all. I tried to listen with an open mind, though, and turns out I think he didn't have the motivation I accused him of after listening to him.

I think the American public's reaction to this story is justifiable, given the way it was reported in the media. The problem is we were listening to the story from the media.

From what I have pieced together at this point, the rabbi was in talks with the airport officials about a display for an 8 foot mennorah, to be provided free of charge by his group. He offered for it to be placed wherever the airport saw fit to place it.

I don't know when the lawyer came into the story but it may have been due to the rabbi's frustration in not reaching an agreement with the officials. The airport officials totally wimped out and claimed they took everything down so as not to have to do displays for other religions, too. The airport claims it didn't have staff and time to do more decorating.

Now, we hear today that the trees are back up and talks will begin after the first of the new year concerning holiday displays for next year.

My heritage includes a paternal grandfather who was Jewish. I love the religion and the history of the people of Israel. I thought this story, according to how it was reported, to be another one for the ACLU loons out there constantly chipping away at our American culture and celebrations.

I was wrong.

My guard is back up towards the media. Again.

An Ego the Size of the World

Here comes the sun, nuh a nuh nuh. Here comes the sun and I say, It's alright. The Beatles.

So yesterday at the Truman Presidental Museum and Library, of all places, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his big farewell speech. This corrupt, pompous man can not be out of the door fast enough for me, I'll say that right off the bat. Kofi is the poster boy for surrender monkeys everywhere and those thinking that dialogue will solve the world's problems.

Kofi took the opportunity to bash America, his host and sponsor of his lavish lifestyle as we are the biggest contributor to the U.N. in money and amenities, and then claims not to be doing so during the question and answer session after the speech. This man lies directly into the eyes of questioners and does so effortlessly.

At one point in my life the U.N. held a reputation of successful peacekeeping and for distributing aid after disasters to poor nations. No longer. Now we hear nothing but stories filled with shameful accounts of bribes, payoffs, sexual assaults of young girls and women, peacekeepers fleeing instead of carrying out their missions, and the usual America bashing.

What exactly has been accomplished during Annan's 10 year reign at the helm of the U.N.? I am unable to come up with even one source of success. Under his watch, the largest scandal began and continued with his blessings, including a large piece of the payoff pie going to his own son. While Saddam was building palaces and Kofi and his cohorts were lining their pockets, the Iraqi people were suffering under the oil for food program. The very nations Kofi scolds America for not building concensus with for the war in Iraq efforts, France, Russia, and Germany, are the ones benefitting from the favors of Kofi. And Saddam.

What comes to mind when the record of Kofi is brought forward? Ruwanda, Sudan, Kosovo, Bosnia, all dire situations of which Kofi turned a blind eye and wanted "dialogues" to solve the situations. Peacekeeping stations in Lebanon were exposed on the Israeli borders recently to be complacent while Hezbollah built up an arsenal of weapons, only to use them during the last conflict over the past summer.

The American armed forces are the ones stationed, still to this day, in Kosovo, Bosnia, and for that matter, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and 160 bases overseas. These are the peacekeepers. Their helmuts are not blue.

Emboldened by the fact that his term is up, Kofi has been more strident in his bad mouthing of the U.S. Now we hear in his speech that he thinks the world's only remaining superpower is not building enough coalitions of support in the world, in his opinion. We have to talk more, use force less.

Beam him up, Scottie.

Kofi's idea of talking has given the world continued diaster, not peace or freedom and liberty to the oppressed. He continues to be an anti-Semite and encourages the resolutions against the nation of Israel as they try to defend themselves in a completely hostile environment. I have yet to hear his condemnation of Iran or Hamas for stating their goal of the elimination of Israel. Elimination.

Gosh, elimination doesn't sound too peaceful to me.

His pal Jan Eglund will be leaving, too. You remember Jan, don't you? He's the one who said the U.S. is stingy and doesn't contribute it's fair share in monetary pledges around the world. Nevermind we are the most generous nation on the face of the earth; our people give more individually to causes all over the world, too.

Kofi and Co. have successfully blocked needed reform to the U.N. in recent days. They've got a good thing going, why rock the boat?

"Mr. Carter, thank you for making me a Republican, because of your incompetent handling of the Iranians, the stagnation and your cozying up with every dictator, thug and Islamic terrorist there is. But more importantly, I find it to be vile, you know, because you're black at heart. It's hard because you're an anti-Semite, and let me explain why I think you're a bigot, a racist and an anti-Semite." - A C-SPAN caller to Jimma Carter, promoting his recently published book. The book has come under fire for being full of lies, plagarism and without proper documentation while he claims it is a history of events in the middle east.

Monday, December 11, 2006

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Christmas Tree

Starting a dark and dreary, rainy Monday morning with Starbuck's Christmas blend. I buy it every year.

The news today brings an odd story out of Seattle. Seems a rabbi complained to the SeaTac airport officials about the Christmas trees on display inside the building. He wanted a menorah displayed, too and informed the officials that he was lawyered up and ready to go if his demand wasn't met.

Mind you, this is just one person complaining.

The airport officials decide to simply remove all eight of the decorated trees instead of putting up a menorah or dealing with the rabbi through the legal system. Bah humbug.

Now the rabbi is quoted in the newspaper this morning that he is "appalled" by the airport's decision. What's to be appalled about? If all he wanted was equal space for his religion's symbol, he got it. Neither symbols will be there. The trees, by the way, were very simply decorated with red ribbons and bows, it's not as if crosses and creches were on display.

A Christmas tree is not a religious symbol. A menorah is a religious symbol. The Christmas tree began as a pagan symbol and is used as a seasonal reference today. Christmas day is a federal holiday, put into law by our government. More than 90% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas.

So, congrats, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky. For trying to take advantage of political correctness in today's society and complaining about trees with ribbons on them, you stole the holiday decorations from travelers this holiday season.

You also denied yourself the attention through publicity in the tv interviews, had your case begun the legal process. I suspect that was your goal all along.

Another strange story comes out of England about the fact that when Princess Diana was killed in the automobile crash, she was under surveillance by American intelligence without permission from the British government. She had a relationship with an American billionaire, Teddy Forstmann, at the time and intelligence reports alerted the British intelligence agency that her safety and her sons' safety could not be guaranteed during a planned visit to the States.

Diana's telephones were bugged, allegedly, by the CIA. President Clinton was in the White House then. She went on to vacation with Dodi Fayad instead and the rest is history.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal

It's pleasant on the inside but on the outside it is rather dreary and slightly rainy. Still cold but should be back into the 70's by midweek. Bleech.

I read this afternoon on a community board from our subdivision for the internet that the dinner theatre we were to go to for our Christmas Eve's entertainment burned to the ground in the early morning hours. Apparently it was a 3 alarm fire around 5:30 this morning. Bummer. The owners are a sweet couple with a child in our son's former private school. I hope the insurance premiums were paid up and they can re-build. We enjoy that place.

All weekend it has been impossible to check in with the news and not find a story of Senator Barack Obama's pilgrimage to the great state of New Hampshire, disguised as a book signing event. Obama is the flavor of the season for Democrats looking to the 2008 presidential election.

Barack Hussein Obama, son of a Kenyon Muslim father who left him at the age of 2, and a mother who raised him in Hawaii and Indonesia along with his grandparents. He's a little of everyone - half black, half white, Muslim, Christian, while practicing neither religion. He's the whole package. The political machine behind his ascension into national political life is determined for him to be the anti-Hillary candidate. The Daly machine out of Chicago hearts him.

Senator Dick (gulags) Durbin, the senior senator from the great state of Illinois, waxes poetically about the junior senator from the great state of Illinois. Since Hillary is a native of the great state of Illinois, it could be all about Illinois. Hillary grew up Republican and was a Goldwater girl, though. And she is strictly a WASP.

Obama appeals to voters with his pleasant public personality and words indicating his willingness to work with people of both parties. His voting record shows the opposite, though. He talks middle of the road and votes as a liberal. He is ranked the 18th most liberal in the Senate, ahead of 60% of fellow Democrats. He gets 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, The AFL-CIO loves that he votes 9 out of 10 times with them and the ACLU agrees with him, too.

Barack's recently published book, "The Audacity of Hope" is rumored to have been ghostwritten. That isn't so unusual, Hillary's book was, too. But it shows a bit too much naivete for a potential President. He speaks, in Chapter 5, of airline travel. This chapter is getting a lot of play for his remarks of how great it is to fly on private jets instead of coach on commercial airlines. Duh. What I suppose we are to not notice is that this is a Senator and the private jets are owned by lobbyists. He made 23 reported trips in his two short years in the Senate and then stopped when he was made the point man for the ethics rules legislation in the Senate. Hmm.

Barack is accomplished for a man of 44 years. He was a student in the Ivy League. He was a professor of constitutional law, a state legislator and now a Senator in D.C.

People like Barack. No one liked Al Gore or John Kerry. Not their personalities, anyway. Being a personable human being is always an asset in the professional world. He will need, however, more than easy slogans and the Democrats' bumper sticker speeches to get to that big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

He's young yet, there's time.

Now is not his time.

Perhaps a Clinton/Obama ticket. Covers all the bases.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Discovery is in space tonight"

That's what a local newsman reported on the late night newscast tonight. The rare night launch was successful after the scrub earlier in the week.

Building the international space station.


With Whom Do You Stand?

A little tidbit from the news Thursday, not reported that I heard of, only read about from a Reuters news account, is Howard Dean's little trip off to Portugal for the conference held by the European Socialist Party. It was a two day soiree for the leaders of the leftist governments and the president of the group, Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, told the audience "We are not anti-American, we want the real America, your America" as he looked over to Dean. The Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, chimed in with "Europe needs an America that is back on track."


I suppose we are to want to strive to imitate Europe, with its high unemployment rates, high cost of living, lesser home ownerships, socialist medicine and nanny state mentality.

Socrates assured Dean that the Democrats "should know that they can count on European Socialists" for support.


I feel much better now.

In stark contrast, President Bush and Tony Blair held a joint press conference Thursday. As I watched the two leaders of the free world speak and answer questions, all I could think was how fortunate that we are to have these two strong men at this time in history.

I was reminded of President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. An earlier team who were committed to keeping their countries free and spreading the concept of freedom and liberty for all.

In today's dangerous times, no less is needed. One of the key facts from the Iraq Study Group's report was the need for a unified American people. Senator Joe Lieberman said, "Too much of our discussions on Iraq have been carried out in partisan press conferences. That's got to end." He is right. Again. It is a shame more of his party is so committed to our failure in Iraq and humilating President Bush that they cannot see beyond the next election cycle. They are not serious people and command no respect.

I have very little in the way of common political beliefs with Senator Lieberman. However, on the most important issue of the day, the pursuit of the war on terrorism, we are on the same page. That is bi-partisan.

That is rising to the occasion.

Are you Chamberlain or Churchill?

With whom do you stand?

"You don't accept that you ever give up." - Tony Blair

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

This morning came an announcement that yesterday Jeane J. Kirkpatrick passed away at her home in Maryland. She was 80.

Ms. Kirkpatrick, originally a Democrat and later a Republican, was appointed at the first woman to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. She was yet another "first" woman in a powerful position appointed by a Republican president, despite the bashing of Republicans as not supportive of women.


Ms. Kirkpatrick was a woman with a brilliant mind and a stiff backbone. When ridiculed during a speech, she would continue on and her words were heard. She did not suffer fools lightly.

She served at the U.N. from 1981 to 1985. She was a member of the president's cabinet and the National Security Council.

Ms. Kirkpatrick, a member of the American Enterprise Institute since 1978, was remembered by the organization including the following statement: "The United States has lost a great patriot and champion of freedom."

Rest In Peace.

Jimma Still Hates the Jews

The Iranian ambassador to the U.N. spoke recently at Columbia University in New York. During a question and answer session with the audience, he was confronted about the problem of Hizbollah doing its best to cause a collapse of the Lebanese government. When the ambassador's approval of the terrorist organization was not accepted by the young people, he told them not to "consume" what is told by Fox News. Yeah, that's the problem with the state of the world, Fox News. You'd think he was a Democrat in the last election, making Fox News the enemy. Some just don't want to hear both sides. For that, there is a lot of other options for news in this country. Most don't even bother to pretend a non-bias anymore.

I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the audience. Usually, when Fox News is bashed, like the bashing of the current administration, the young sheep (or the audiences of The View and Oprah) erupt into applause and laughter. This Columbia University audience was a bit different though. Only a smattering of applause and a bit of laughter was heard in the auditiorium.

Kenneth Stein, up until earlier in the week was an aide to former President Jimma Carter. Mr. Stein, a historian of 30 plus years, has worked with Carter in Georgia at the Carter Center and co-authored a book with him. He has now resigned from working with Carter. The recently published book of the former president put Mr. Stein over the top.

Seems Mr. Carter still hates the Jews. According to Mr. Stein, there are many factual errors in the new book concerning past historical events and policies. Carter doesn't reference sources or other works. Mr. Stein claims Carter just recalled from his own memory the events.

Jimma Carter receives no respect from me. He was a failed president and before that a lousy governor of the state of Georgia. I lived in the state at that time and was absolutely amazed that the American public would vote the man into the presidency.

Jimma Carter travels the world bashing the current president with glee. He finds himself quite amusing. He blames the current administration for not working harder on the Israeli/Palestine conflict. He knows President Bush is the first president to support a two state solution. He also knows that Secretary Rice has devoted much of her time on working for solutions. Yesterday Tony Blair said publicly that President Bush is the first international leader to commit to a two state solution.

When Carter was in office, he traveled to Israel and chastised Golda Meir that Israel was not religious enough. Can you imagine?

Jimma Carter is a bitter old man. At one time he was at least respected for humanitarian works. No longer. There comes a point when good works are overshadowed by the bad. In the past, when he embraced terrorist leaders like Arafat, the world looked away in silence. Times are different. With madmen in Iran and Syria continuing to state the elimination of Israel as their objectives, then on to America, the stakes are too high to remain silent.

The Palestinian leadership continues to allow the people of Palestine to live in unspeakable poverty and ignorance. Israel is not to blame. Former Prime Minister Sharon conceded more land to the people of Palestine and was rewarded with rockets launched into Israel and the resurgance of suicide bombers.

It is past time for Jimma Carter to go off into the sunset, sit on the front porch and gaze out at the peanuts.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Fat, Dumb and Happy"

This morning I am trying a new blend of my Boca Java. A seasonal blend, Merry Mistletoe, has been opened and I stirred in a bit of peppermint mocha creamer. Interesting taste. The coffee has light notes of roasted pecans and a hint of cinnamon. Not too overwhelming to be too flavored for a morning cup of coffee, I am relieved to say. Flavored coffee is no way to begin a day, if you are pouring a cup for me.

Last night for dinner I prepared enchiladas for son and me. We love them and it is one of the entrees we enjoy when hubby is out of town. We have several items on the list that hubby doesn't particularly care for yet the two of us enjoy them. So, this morning I am awakened by son asking the dreaded question, "Mom, did those enchiladas make you sick last night?" Apparently I have poisoned my son, as he was sick during the night and I have the comforter from his bed in the washer to prove it as I type. I feel fine. The boy normally has a cast iron stomach so I feel sorry for him. He's home from school, resting, as he assures me that he has the study guides from today's classes for next week's final exams.

Today is the 65th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. It's hard to believe the passage of time and that a whole generation of war heroes are leaving us so quickly. Husband, son and I visited Hawaii the spring break following the second attack on our soil, 9/11. Pearl Harbor was on the list of must-see activities. Unfortunately it was not to be. I knew we would regret it and I know I do. As I said, it was a few short months after 9/11 and new security measures were in place for the memorial. Absolutely no bags, including women's handbags, were allowed on the boat over to the memorial. Well, as our vacation had been spent on the Big Island, we were only flying in and out of Honolulu. This was on our departing day and we had all of our luggage with us. We had nowhere to store it since we didn't have a hotel room there. We understand the new rules, of course, but it was a disappointment. We walked along Waikiki Beach instead and enjoyed a lunch at a little local diner there.

Another remembrance surrounding Pearl Harbor is the following: When I was a college student in Atlanta, in the mid 70's, I was a taking a required Philosophy class. The professor was Japanese. I remember having to listen carefully to his lectures due to his still thick accent. For Pearl Harbor day's remembrance, he invited students to come by his residence and served sake to us. Don't be alarmed, the legal drinking age in Georgia at the time was 18 years so he wasn't breaking any laws.

This morning on the news I listened as a reporter interviewed some of the World War II veterans who made the pilgramage to the memorial, as many do every year. One gentleman told the reporter America has to remember to stay alert and beware of looming threats. He said we can never again be "fat, dumb and happy" as we were as a nation pre-9/11.

Something to remember.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'll Try It Again

This is my second attempt at posting today. I don't know what happened to the first one. I guess the dog ate it.

All the buzz today is the Iraq Study Group report, presented to the President and then to Congress. I have two words for the finished product:

Big deal.

No, I haven't read it. From what I have taken from it so far is the same stuff that has been leaked to the press for the past two weeks. It goes something like this:

l. Iraq is a mess and not currently going very well.
2. Almost 3,000 of our nation's treasure have lost lives.
3. Almost 25,000 heroes have been wounded.
4. Serious corrections must be made in training the Iraqi police and military forces.
5. The battle in Iraq needs a political solution, not a military one.
6. The immediate withdrawal, or a withdrawal made too soon will result in catastrophe in the region.
7. Dividing the country into three regions is not the answer.
8. Success can still be met.
9. We may need to "negotiate" with Iran and Syria for help in the region.

See anything new there? The group laid it all out in 79 points. The negotiating with Iran and Syria is lunacy. Whom do you think is fueling the insurgency anyway? Oh, please Mr. Amajinidad, please stop sending weapons and money to the fanatics fighting the Americans and coalition soldiers. And, please acknowledge the Holocaust, while we're talking, ok?

The Democratic leadership ran to the cameras and had their say to the reporters. The administration is all wrong, the war is lost, Bush is the devil, etc. The usual pap.

Tony Snow held the regular news conference with reporters around lunch time. This was the best exchange I heard:

David Gregory: "Are you suggesting I'm trying to frame the report in a partisan way?"
Tony Snow: "Yes."

This exchange was after Gregory did his usual filibustering of the press conference with 20 questions and all negative and accusatory. He is truly disgusting. It's all about him.

So, now we are told the House of Representatives is going on a true 5 day a week schedule. Again. They were on one when Newt Gingrich was in charge, you may remember, and the Dems screamed bloody murder. And we are told there is to be one investigation after another, under the heading of "oversight". Um-huh.

Nancy Pelosi, after claiming the Dems could win without any concrete plans for the nation, has relied on her 100 hour plan. When the new Congress comes in, her 6 points to clean the swamp, as she so elegantly put it, will be enacted in 100 hours. What she doesn't say is, it will be 100 legislative hours, not actual hours. 100 legislative hours could take weeks. Ah, well. Bumper sticker slogans are more fun, aren't they?

Already the earmark reform, the pork projects, are not looking like this really will be reformed after all. Seems the Dems do it, too, and expect to keep on doing it. Shocking.

The Dems were not given a mandate, only a chance. Even the head Dem, Bill Clinton, admits this fact from the recent elections. The American public didn't necessarily want the Dems in charge, but they do want a change of policy.

We'll soon see what happens.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good Bye and Good Luck

Frost on the automobile this morning. Warmed up the machine again before we headed out. Needed the defroster. I'm happy to say it all works well. I'm enjoying a second cup of Boca Java Boca Villa now as I only had time for one before we left.

I'll be watching the Robert Gates hearing this morning. I hope it all goes quickly as I don't think a Secretary of Defense is a postition we want in limbo while we are at war. Texas A&M's loss is the country's gain.

The Dems, continuing to show their true partisan colors, refused to allow John Bolton's nomination to get out of committee for a vote on the Senate floor, where he would have be voted in, so he has resigned. It's a shame that political gamesmanship overrides the best interests of the country. John Bolton was quite successful and he was respected in the position. I am disappointed the administration didn't fight harder for him. He has devoted his career to serving the country with honor, in short supply for many.

Add another celebrity to the list of those who will never get any of my ticket money anymore. Gwyneth Paltrow, pulling the spoiled American trick overseas, claimed to a Porteguese newspaper that Americans are not intelligent and are too materialistic to be interesting. Seems she thinks dinner conversations center around work too much in this country.

Poor Gwynnie. She claims she was misunderstood in the interview, now that she realizes what an ass she was. She claims she was speaking in Spanish to the reporter and she blames her mastery of the language on the comments and their interpretation.

Where does she think she made all the money to allow her the freedom to move around and live where she pleases? Those boring Americans have provided her with a very comfortable lifestyle. She lives next to Madonna and claims Madonna is her mentor.

Quite the role model, Madonna. And both are sorely lacking in talent. Madonna has at least mastered the art of public relations. Maybe it was Madonna's advise to Gwennie to be an idiot for publicity.

Advice to Gwyn: remember the Dixie Chicks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Beware the Christmas Decorations

I had to run out and start the car a bit before we headed out this morning as I thought Mondays are icky enough without dealing with a cold car, too.

I have had the mother in law on my mind with her broken kneecap here at Christmas time. Her accident is further evidence to me that this is a perilous time of year.

Mother in law fractured the kneecap of her right leg. She was out in her garage gathering boxes of Christmas decorations. She was trying to get the seasonal decorating done with on her free day. A very common accident happened. Her heel of her shoe caught an upturned corner of a throw rug and she went down. She landed directly on both knees. Just visualizing this sends a jolt up my spine. She is lucky it was only one kneecap fractured. She is lucky it isn't an entire leg or hip, for that matter. She is in a brace, removable for showers and dressing, so she does have a bit of leeway there.

This brings me to my own Christmas decoration accident. In 1998, we moved to a suburb of Houston. We rented a house for a year so that we weren't rushed into buying a house right away, as we weren't familar enough with the city to know where we wanted to live. This rented house was carpeted throughout. The Christmas tree was displayed in the living room of this house in front of the big picture window. It was a real tree, brought home by husband and son and decorated by son and me on afternoon. Husband supervised after getting the thing into the stand.

A real tree, of course, must be watered. On Sunday evening, after dinner but before bedtime, I went into the living room to check to see if the tree needed water. I brought the watering can and placed in on the floor as I plopped down on the floor. I stretched out and checked. Upon rising, I somehow managed to get my feet tangled up and went down. My tibia was fractured rather badly, as it turned out.

I couldn't move. The pain was so intense I couldn't even yell loudly for the husband. He heard me and instructed son to dial 911 for help. The ambulance came and I went out on a stretcher into the cold night in my flannel nightgown and a blanket over me. The next door neighbors were kindly inquiring if son would like to pack a little bag and spend the night at their house but he stayed with his dad. They followed the ambulance to the hospital.

My ankle was swollen and x-rays were taken. They told me to take Advil, a remedy they say helps swelling better than regular aspirin. They gave me the business card of an Orthopedic surgeon after making an appointment with him for the next morning. Remember, this was Sunday night. I was sent home on crutches.

I am not the most coordinated humans on a good day, so the crutches were quite a challenge. Husband took son and me back to the house and went out to the drugstore for a jumbo bottle of Advil.

Next morning it was determined surgery was in order. That night I had surgery - a steel rod was placed into my leg with bolts. Lovely scar, too, from the ankle bone halfway up my calf (?). You know what I mean.

I was in a cast for 6 weeks, a walking cast 6 weeks, and then physical therapy. Yeah, good times.

I threw out that flannel nightgown. Bad karma. Three months later I had my gall bladder removed. I was relieved when the lease was up and we moved into the city into a new (to us) house of our own.

We now have artificial trees. The latest is a three foot tall tree, placed on the large, wide hearth in the great room and it is lit with fiber optics. Quite fun to watch.

And much safer for me, too!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

Awaking this morning was normal. Max and I went back to lay down a while after I switched on the coffee and he went outside to patrol the parameter of the backyard and water somewhere. I turned on the tv to check and see if the world was still rotating on its axis and drifted back to sleep.

Next thing I knew the telephone was ringing. I reached over to the nightstand and cleared my throat. "Hello?", I say, trying to sound like I wasn't asleep. It was my mother in law, chirping hello and telling me to ask her how she is. Ok, I say. "How are you?". Her leg is in a brace, thank you and her kneecap has suffered a fracture. The doctor put her in a full leg brace to keep the kneecap secure to mend. It won't be in a cast so she can still shower and change clothes comfortably, with the help of medication. Her friends are all stopping by and bringing her meals and helping around her place.

She is a lucky woman. Not the broken kneecap thing, of course, but the fact that she has lived in the same town for more than 60 years and has so many old friends who automatically kick into gear and take care of her. She is extremely healthy, especially for a woman of 84 years, but all the women rally around each other with support and care when needed.

We should all be so lucky.

As luck would have it, I had just made the final reservations for her air travel here for a Christmas visit last night, online, as I usually do. Since it was less than 24 hours ago, and since I took out the ticket insurance plan, I got a full refund on the ticket and the insurance charges. That was a relief.

I told her that a couple of books were to be Christmas gifts for her so I'd get them on out to her Monday. She is a voracious reader and will be wanting books to read. The ladies all pass around books to each other, too.

So, we'll have a Christmas celebration in the spring this coming new year with her.

Today I've been running around picking up things for the boy for his Winter Dance tonight, as guest of his date. I picked up his new suit that had been altered and then the date's corsage. I went by the ATM to get cash for his dinner tonight at the restaurant before the dance. Geez.

He did help me put up the large lighted candy canes in the front yard so that's worth something.

His date's parents are arriving with her in 45 minutes to pick him up and he's just going upstairs to get ready. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. As a teenage girl I'd have devoted the entire afternoon to getting ready.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Do You Hear What I Hear?

The story of the 6 Imams who were taken off the U.S. Airways flight in Minneapolis is a strange one. The continuing trickle of facts coming out is interesting.

Last night a woman going by the name of "Pauline" told the story from her perspective as a passenger on the flight. She is afraid to use her full name, her hometown or any personal information at all. She fears retribution. It's the times in which we live.

Six Muslim men bring out the prayer mats and pray in the waiting area before boarding the flight. Some other passengers say that they hear disparaging comments about President Bush, the U.S., the war in Iraq and praises of bin Laden. Another Muslim man, not in this group of Imams, translates some of the Arabic into English for other passengers.

Once onboard the Imams change from their assigned seats. In twos, they move to seats by exits. One goes up to first class. Some request seat extenders but don't use them or are heavy enough to require them, for that matter. They put them on the floor of the plane.

This pattern of behavior alarms some of the nearby, alert passengers. This pattern of behavior is known to have been used on 9/11 so the alarm is understandable.

Flight attendants call the authorities and FBI led them off the plane. Bomb sniffer dogs were dispatched. The passengers applauded when the Imams were led off the plane.

The curious part is how it was all reported. Most of us knew nothing about it until the following morning when the attorneys and "victims" were making the rounds on tv telling their version of the story. All of a sudden we had racial, ethnic profiling and misbehavior by the employees of U.S. Airways. They complain they were lead off in handcuffs. "Pauline" says they were not. She said the whole process was quiet and professional.

I applaud the alert passengers for reporting suspicious behavior of fellow passengers. In a post 9/11 world, this is the single most important lesson to learn - do not be afraid of possible embarrassment, speak up. We are all in this together and have to look out for each other.

Turns out one of the Imams squawking the loudest has previous ties to Hamas and money transactions with the group. Turns out the mosque they were traveling to meet at in Arizona is under investigation by the Feds.

Other Muslims were on the flight. None of them had any problems at all. Just these 6 Imams. Why? Well, in today's world if you are Arab speaking Muslims, you have to make adjustments in this country. Flying is not a right, it is a priviledge. The airline is a private company and you should be smart enough to know how to properly behave. These Imams were not unworldly men. They knew exactly how they would be perceived.

Was it all a stunt for publicity? Was it meant to intimidate future flyers from speaking up? Was this meant to pave the way for a future tragedy in the air?

The right call was made. If they want to boycott U.S. Airways, so be it. Who cares? They are victims only of inconvenience and they brought it on themselves. Too bad.

The number in the arrests of the terrorists in training here in Houston has risen to three now. The two arrested earlier in the week had others involved. No surprise. There are more out there.

I hope they are all inconvenienced as soon as possible.

Boring Boorish Behavior

I do so love alliteration! It's Friday, what the heck. I'm sipping a little Pinot Grigio and smelling the enticing aroma of the beef stew in the slow cooker. We have some fresh French bread to warm up when it's time to serve the stew. I'm good.

The wind that blew in the frigid air yesterday is gone and clothing is not flying about any longer. It is Dec. 1, which means hurricane season is officially history for another year. It is feeling like the holiday season now. I have broken out the Christmas cds and am getting into the swing of things. I treasure the vast array of Christmas music in this house. Every kind of music is covered and something can be found to get even the grinchiest human in the mood.

Politicans behaving badly is nothing new. Yesterday brought out two examples of men obviously compensating for something in their lives. Seems to me when men feel the need to be all macho and big guy sounding, they are covering for something inadequate in their lives, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Not even sworn into office yet, the incoming Senator-elect from Virginia, James Webb, is well known from boorish behavior. He was let go from the Reagan administration as the Secretary of the Navy after 7 months on the job and has been trying to prove what a man he is ever since. He has no love of women, as proven by his behavior during the whole Tailhook scandal and then in his later novels. So, he decided to run for the Senate. He changed over to the Democratic party and put on his son's military boots to strut his stuff. At a reception at the White House with the President for incoming freshmen, he tried to avoid President Bush. He didn't go thru the reception line. He said he didn't want a picture of him and the President on his office wall. He said he is showing his leadership by his actions. Ok. His actions are boorish, juvenile and not in the best interests of his bosses, the people whom he represents. The President inquired about his son in the military when he saw him and Webb was an ass. "That's between me and my boy", he said. Nice. Then he tells the reporter he looks forward to working with the President to get work done. Good luck.

"Leaders do symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is", he told a Washington Post reporter. Yeah, we know exactly who he is now, don't we? Such delusions of grandeur. The whole symbolic thing came to a head during the Clinton days. They were masters at it. Covers up the fact that only little things are done, not the big issues of the day. Webb will learn the hard way, I suppose.

Last night I saw a report that Howard Dean was the invited keynote speaker of the Canadian Liberal party's convention. His speech, spoken partly in French, was the usual stuff until he made a remark and then said "Fox News wouldn't like that." Yeah, that's a funny line, Howard. Then it was noted by the reporter of the piece that Fox News was the only news coverage of the speech. And then the reporter spoke in French to wrap up the piece. Priceless. Howard continues to prove why he is so not an important person anymore.

And lastly, I finish with a quote from Dana Priest, Washington Post National Security Correspondent: "Publishing secrets is essential in a democracy". She calls is essential, I call it sedition during a time of war.

C'est la vie, mes amis.