Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mary, Quite Contrary

How about those Brits, huh? News this morning that Scotland Yard has jailed eight men using counter-terrorism methods. The British surveillance tactics make ours look like a half-hearted effort so the left must be protesting it by now.

These men were in Birmingham England. They were planning an Iraqi style kidnapping, the victim, a soldier in his twenties, was already chosen. They were to demand ransom then execute him on camera to tout the act. Any of this sound familiar?

The parade of the odd in D.C. on Saturday had a segment of themselves spray painting the capitol building. Did you know that? The capitol police were instructed before the parade to stand down. Who dictates orders to the capitol police? The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader. So, that would be Pelosi and Reid.

Did you know that the communications director and senior policy advisor to Louisiana Rep. William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson has resigned from his employ and has a new job? It is to be the press secretary to the House Judiciary Committee. I kid you not. This is according to Roll Call, "The Newspaper of Capitol Hill".

And this brings us to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Recently Barack Obama, Joe Lieberman and Mary were in New Orleans for a 'field hearing' focusing on the rebuilding efforts in the city. Mary, quite contrary, said, "I often think we would have been better off if the terrorists had blown up our levees. Maybe we'd have gotten more attention."

More attention. What an embarrassment she continues to be. Billions of federal monies have been allotted to New Orleans. Whose fault is it that the governor and the mayor of New Orleans can not even show enough competence to get the money and properly distribute it? They are still arguing over plans on the drawing board.

Mary is from a political family. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was the mayor of New Orleans. Her brother was in the state legislature and is now Lt. Gov of the state. Mary was comptroller of the state before she went to the Senate in D.C. She has always been on the government's payroll, whether state or federal, and clearly sees the government as Big Daddy.

Last week taxpayers in my city were subjected to more whining from the Katrina people still here and living off funds from FEMA. The FEMA money is scheduled to be cut off in six months. This is the end of the third extension, by the way. Well, now it will be another 18 months. When will we just admit that these folks will never take care of themselves and have no intention of doing so? These are the ones living off the city and state in Louisiana and now they expect FEMA to pick up the slack. FEMA is not chartered to be a welfare program. It is a temporary emergency relief agency.

Mary, quite contrary, told a reporter at the 'field hearing' that she didn't like the reputation Louisiana has about corruption. She said, "Mississippi is actually the most corrupt state in the union." Wow. Who knew? Could it be her anger is directed to the state of Mississippi because they are handling reconstruction and their governor and local mayors aren't throwing tantrums as a means of getting attention? I think it shows a distinction between political parties, too. Louisiana, democrat governor, Mississippi, republican. The mayors along the coast of Mississippi who are democrat are working with the republican governor. Yet, in Louisiana, with all democrats, except for the junior Senator Vitter, nothing is done as it should be going by now. Interesting.

The culture of victimization continues in the great state of Louisiana.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


From a telephone conversation yesterday:

Husband: Can we have steak tonight for dinner?
Me: I'm just back from the store and I picked up a package of ribeyes on special. So, yes.
Husband: It's been a hard day; I need some comfort food.

There's a contrast between men and women. Men think comfort food is steak. I say it's chocolate or mac and cheese. Mashed potatoes. Carbs. When I'm stressed or in need of special comfort, I want lots of carbs. Men are wierd.

The son has signed up for tests in his three AP classes - English, U.S. History, and Psychology. They don't happen until May but we have to pay in advance. He received credit from his one AP test last year in World Geography, with not much preparation in advance on his part, so we are hoping for good things this year. He has been told to knock himself out and be super prepared for maximum points this year. He was honored, along with the other kids earning AP points for future college credits from last year's testing, Friday with breakfast burritos and fruit plates during his first period class.

An opportunity for students maybe not planning to go on to higher education is vo-tech training within my son's high school. The school has partnered with Outback Steakhouse and has a full, completely outfitted commercial kitchen provided by the restaurant chain. The students learn restaurant management, food service training, accounting practices, inventory purchasing, etc. The whole shebang. When I toured the school, prior to sending our son there, I remember thinking what a great idea the opportunity was for those kids. The restaurant on campus sells lunches there three days a week, allowing the students to receive real life experience cooking and serving, clean up, etc. Special events happen there, too, and the breakfast for the AP students was held there Friday.

So, one advantage to sending our son to a large high school is that they can go all out on both ends of the educational spectrum - on gifted and talented, advanced placement classes as well as students not pursuing college degrees.

Are you ready for 24/7 we heart Hillary media coverage? It's here with a vengeance. For a woman who has not done a single noticeable bit of legislation in her 6 years as a Senator, she sure is touted as a capable front runner. I watched a re-broadcast of her socialized health care roll out to the congress in 1993 last night on C-SPAN. I do it so you don't have to. It is said that she was not trusted because her meetings were without sunlight and always top secret. It is said she was thought to be too arrogant, with a 'just do it, I know best', kind of attitude.

Sound familiar?

An interesting observation by columnist David Broder, of the Washington Post, in yesterday's column was the performance by Hillary in the Senate Armed Forces committee during the hearing for Gen. Petraeus. Another senator running for president on the committee, John McCain, peppered Petraeus with lots of questions, running out of time before he ran out of questions. Hillary, though, asked not one question. She used her allotted time to make a partisan speech criticizing the president and his administration.

It was quite a contrast painted by Broder. I watched the hearing. Broder is no cheerleader for this administration, no doubt about that, so I was a bit surprised to read his thoughts of the hearing. If Hillary is to be taken seriously on the policies of the war, she'll have to start showing more than partisan speeches, solely with her eye on the next election.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This and That

I enjoyed some baking therapy yesterday. I baked a chocolate pound cake and made my own ganache to glaze it. With the leftover ganache, I pulled out some thick, rod style pretzels from the pantry and dipped them halfway with the chocolate goodness. The son was loving my idea! Well, I couldn't throw it out, now could I?

The wolf is coming off the Endangered Species list. The wolf is the mascot for my son's high school. They call him Wesley. Wesley the wolf. OK then.

I've decided to support the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. I have to support Archie's boy Peyton. It's a loyalty thing. Just don't tell my mother in law, ok?

Two sad anniversaries related to the space program and NASA - the 21st anniversary of the Challenger disaster (seems like yesterday) and the 4th anniversary of the Columbia disaster. My son was an eighth grader when Columbia exploded over Texas and his class did a grid search over their school's sports field, searching for any debris.

In Cape Canaveral, NASA honored the three astronauts killed the Apollo 1 command module, on launch pad 34. "Fire in the cockpit" was heard as the three fought to live. The deaths of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were remembered as forcing design and safety changes necessary in the space program.

My father went to school with Gus Grissom. Grissom was a couple of years ahead of my father in school, but Grissom's younger brother was in my father's class in Mitchell High School, in Mitchell, Indiana. Mitchell is a small town in southern Indiana. My father had nothing but good words for the Grissoms. Mitchell built a memorial for their native son, the astronaut, the hero. I visited the memorial as a teenager. A presentation for the public, showing slides of photos from his life and a vocal narration are included in the tour.

Very nice.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thank You, Lt. Dan

This weekend brought what is being referred to as a trifecta by some following the events landing in the news. We had the Pelosi/Murtha excellent adventure to Iraq, then Senator Kerry makes his way to Davos, for the World Economic Forum, and yesterday was the 'anti war march on Washington' featuring Jane Fonda. There's a triple play for you.

In between these events, an interesting speech was made at the National Press Club. The speaker was Gary Sinise. Sinise is best known for his role as Lt. Dan in the movie 'Forrest Gump' and as member of the cast of the current hit tv show, CSI.

Gary Sinise has worked in the field of fundraising for military veterans since 1980 after watching a play done by Vietnam veterans, 'Tracers', which portrayed an ungrateful nation treating her veterans as baby killers. He is from a long line of armed forces veterans and his wife, too. He modeled the character Lt. Dan after his wife's brother, who recently died of cancer at a hospital at Fort Leavenworth. He is also the founder of the Stephenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

Sinise raises money for Fisher Houses by performing with his band, the Lt. Dan Band, and various fundraiser events featuring him as the keynote speaker. He has been on over 20 USO tours in the last 3 years. Now he is heading up the effort to build the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in D.C. Over half of the money estimated needed is already raised. The estimate is $63 million.

He doesn't make political speeches. I would venture to say he has no political consultant on his payroll of assistants. I'd say he has little in the way of an entourage. He is a regular, good and decent man working in an industry that feels obliged to tell the American people, responsible for their very pampered lifestyles, just how responsible America is for the woes of the world. I have no idea which party he supports at the voting booth and I hope it stays that way.

The Lt. Dan Band played a benefit concert on the mall in D.C. Friday night to raise money for the memorial. The next day, Saturday, the Capitol Building was the site of the march on Washington to protest the war in Iraq. The crowd was not as large as predicted. It was quoted as tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands of the glory days of the Vietnam War protests, and it featured the standard roster of the vocal and pampered. Jane Fonda, age 69, was there to say it was the first rally she's been to since the Vietnam days. Sean Penn was there without his canoe and rifle, and Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins were there, too. Robbins avoided the faux Shakespearean accent this time, though. All screamed for the impeachment of President Bush. Does this mean they are hankering for a Cheney presidency? I thought the theme was 'out of Iraq' anyway. Robbins went so far as to say "Bush will end his presidency in a bunker, as did Adolph Hitler". Just can't get away from the old Nazi references, those intellectuals.

The non-profit organization, United for Peace and Justice, was the organizer of the rally in Washington. Code Pink, Pax Christi, etc. joined in on the action. The paid president of United for Peace and Justice was a guest on C-Span earlier in the day and she stated all war is unacceptable, of course, and democracy in America is not the way to be governed. What did we expect? She was 60ish and another leftover from the failed policies of the 1960's which brought us into this mess all these years later. I would think today she is embarrassed by the turnout of yesterday. In the heyday of anti-war protests, in the late 60's and early 70's, real protests took place. Hundreds of thousands would shut down major cities across the country. Military bases experienced protesters chaining themselves to gates of entry, military veterans were beat up and spit upon by the 'pacifists' and the streets of Chicago ran red with the blood of the likes of the 'Chicago 7' during the Democratic National Convention.

Ah, the good old days.

Let's not forget the Winter Soldier love fest in Washington, featuring John Kerry and his pal Jane Fonda, testifying before Congress using lies and hysterics against the military of this country. Something Kerry still doesn't understand - a true hero doesn't' go off calling himself a hero. John McCain ring a bell? So, carrying on his fine tradition of traitorous behavior, Kerry was in Devos for the annual World Economic Forum and with whom was he seated on stage? Why it was none other than the former President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami. This was about the very time a story was breaking in this country that Iranian Special Ops were executing an attack on American troops in Kerbala, resulting in the death of 5 American soldiers. After almost 30 years of living with the cowardly decision making of failed President Carter which brought on the modern fanatical Islamic threat to our country, John Kerry said:

"So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East - in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today". International pariah. Bravo, Lurch.

Again, Kerry chooses the enemy over his own country, while seated next to a real face of evil.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Kerry was proven wrong that we are the international pariah he claims now. The country of Somalia asked for our help with fanatic Muslims, received it and was properly grateful. George Bush cleaning up another Clinton mess, seems to me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

In a Perfect World

It's rainy out there today. My Boca Java donation to the troops has been shipped this time to the 399th CSH FOB Diamondback . I placed an order for Girl Scout cookies with our neighbor's sweet little granddaughter last night. I am heartened to see the Girl Scouts are participating in a program to offer customers an option to send boxed of cookies to the troops. I'm sending some. Comfort items are essential to folks in tough environments.

In a perfect world, I would be in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The National Review Conservative Conference is happening. It would be wonk nirvana for me, I'll tell you. I would listen to premier intellectual movers and shakers and get a boost of motivation.

"I think those that don't support the plan have an obligation to produce their plan for victory". - Senator Joe Lieberman.

Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha and their minions are in Baghdad to meet with al-Maliki. She makes a point of saying they support the troops. To her mind, supporting the troops is denouncing a plan before it is implemented. She voted against the war in the first place. The Senate Armed Services committee voted unanimously to send Gen. Petraeus's name for nomination for leading the efforts in Iraq. The Senate voted unanimously to confirm him. All along, the non-binding resolutions are floating around. So, they are saying they will send him off to handle a mission they do not support or intend to fund.

"I know there is skepticism and pessimism and that some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," the president said. "They have an obligation and a serious responsibility therefore to put up their own plan as to what would work." - President George W. Bush

General Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services committee that the non-binding resolutions would embolden the enemy. He clearly stated that the resolutions would harm the troops.

"Whatever you voted on, you did not vote for failure." - President George W. Bush, the State of the Union address

So, while newly elected Senator Claire McCaskell was watching Senator Carl Levin for clues as to when she should stand during the State of the Union address, as she stated the next morning, and the members of the Senate produce no productive suggestions or plans for action in Iraq, we are subjected to the likes of Senator Joe Biden, running for President himself, claiming that the resolutions are not meant to embarrass the president. So, what is are we to believe is the purpose?

If the sole response to the situation in Iraq is for the newly elected Congress to state that the way to end the war is to cut funding, well, God help us. When Murtha was questioned as to how the "redeployment" of troops to Okinawa would be able to respond to the situation, he said, well, he didn't really mean Okinawa specifically. So, if those spouting the opinion of the day aren't specifically offering solutions, how serious are they?

I have signed a petition online. I encourage you, if you are a voting Conservative, whether Republican or Independent, to do the same. The process is quick and simple.

The petition, named the NRSC Pledge reads:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute t the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

For all those demanding the troops be brought home immediately, I ask a simple question: Then what?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Little About Mardi Gras

I've been asked so I will do my best to reply - what is a King Cake?

The season of Mardi Gras begins on the Twelfth Night of Christmas. January 6. The Day of Epiphany. As a part of the Feast of Epiphany, the roots of the King Cake are born. Mardi Gras is a celebration involving royality and ceremony. The celebrations of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are best known to Americans. It originated in Europe, of course, and the King Cake represents a gift from the Wise Men, later known as Kings. Today's King Cakes are made of a brioche type of dough and iced or glazed with white icing, then sprinkled with three colors of sugar. The sugar colors are green, gold and purple. The colors of royality and good fortune.

The New Orleans version of Mardi Gras is different than the Cajun Mardi Gras in the central/southwestern area of Louisiana. The Cajun Mardi Gras is rural in origin and involves men on horseback going on a kind of a scavenger hunt for the ingredients of gumbo. It is raucaus and very male. The small communities still carry on the tradition.

In New Orleans, the parades roll in the streets of the French Quarter and along the Garden District and the uptown areas. A krewe is a private organization of people who enjoy participating in a parade, costumes, and a traditional masked ball. Different members of the krewe make up the royal hierarchy, with a king and queen at the helm. Membership in a krewe is by invitation only and although today the rules are a bit more relaxed, many krewes still keep the tradition of secrecy. Different parades are sponsored by different krewes. The oldest Krewe in New Orleans is the Krewe of Zulu. It is a krewe comprised of black New Orleanians from the business community and the favored throw from the parade is a coconut. I'm not kidding. Heads up.

The cry of "Throw me something, Mister" is heard as the parades roll. All sorts of trinkets and goodies are thrown to onlookers. Beads, originally glass and now plastic, are the most popular. Other throws can be candy, doubloons, plastic cups, mini frisbees, whistles, etc. All of the stuff bears the name of the krewe throwing it.

The season is fun. It is rowdy and it is celebrated all along the coast of Louisiana, in Mobile, in Gulfport and Biloxi, in Galveston and points in between. Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, is the day before the Wednesday beginning Lent. Party, then atone.

Laissez le bon temps rouler. Let the good times roll.

Anyway, a King Cake is served at parties during Mardi Gras season. Today the hidden surprise is a plastic baby. Whoever gets the slice of cake with the baby is tasked with providing the next cake at the next get-together. It is a symbol of good luck.

Yes, The Rich Are Different

I was enjoying the warmth of my Starbuck's French Roast this morning, anticipating the arrival of my Boca Java order, when I hear something that makes me shake my head. People have 'political consultants' who tell them, I'm assuming, who to support and what to think of the issues of the day. Several years ago I heard that the actor Richard Dreyfuss employed one. I thought, well, ok. He goes on and on in interviews in his 'intellectual' mode and apparently that is courtesy of the hired help.

Now, I hear that Stephen Spielberg also throws money at one. He and the other two Hollywood guys that make up Dreamworks are hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama on February 20. If an attendee agrees to pledge to raise $46,000 for the candidate, then that person gets to attend a private affair with the candidate. In the past, all three of these guys have been big Clinton supporters. Spielberg likes Hillary and contributed to her Senate bid, but also likes Obama and has a 'personal relationship' with Edwards. So, you see his need for the political consultant. Poor guy can't make up his mind. He's a busy guy. Let's just hire out these pesky decisions.

I'm seeing King Cakes in the grocery stores. Galveston will kick off the Mardi Gras season on February 9 with the usual parades, etc. I need to jot down a reminder to order a King Cake from our favorite bakery in Lafayette. They ship. I can't abide by those imposters in the stores here. I need the real deal.

The left in this country, in the media in particular, is using the Vice President's daughter as a way to try to beat up on him in interviews again. First, Kerry invokes Mary Cheney into the 2004 campaign debates, then Wolf Blitzer decides to dust off that trick yesterday in an interview. He says to the VP that he 'symphathizes' with the two Cheney daughters. What the hell does that mean? He says 'we all' are happy about another grandchild for the Cheney's. Who are 'we all' and why would that matter to the VP? Did he ask for approval? So, when Cheney firmly but calmly refuses to answer Wolf's question concerning the remarks of groups like Focus on the Family about the pregnancy, well, Wolf is all defensive and states the question is a fair and justifiable one. What an idiot.

Those Democrats. They are all for gay rights, aren't they? Isn't it those neanderthal Republicans who are so mean and prejudiced? I would say that using a daughter of a politician and her sexual preference as fuel for your petty assertations is plenty discriminatory. Go pick on someone else.

A non-binding resolution was voted on in the Foreign Relations committee yesterday in the Senate. Now it will go to the floor for a vote by the entire Senate. It is a resolution stating that the Senate does not support the surge of troops into Iraq. The only Republican on the committee that voted in favor of it is Chuck Hagel. Hagel is a disgrace. He ranted on and on yesterday, belittling the other Republicans on the committee for voicing opposition to the resolution. He looked like he was coming unglued. Hagel is the Dems favorite Republican. He can always be counted on to go their way, especially if it is to embarrass the President. Then they say, see, we have bi-partisan support, Hagel voted with us.

Does that mean Republicans have bi-partisan support every time Joe Lieberman votes with them? The media heralds Hagel, he's a maverick. Not the same opinion given to Lieberman, though.

So, the Dems support the troops. They have an odd way of showing it. Senator Barbara Boxer yesterday in the committee meeting was boasting she was an anti-war vote before the war. She now insists the Senate cut off funding for the war effort. Right now. This resolution doesn't go far enough.

The resolution and those that will follow, are meaningless. They only make those voting in favor of them feel good. The president is still Commander in Chief. As he says, he's the 'decider'. I agree with thinking voices like Newt Gringrich who said recently, "defeating Bush is more important than defeating the enemy". They continue to hold up some who disagree with decisions being made, hopefully other Republicans, and claim moral authority. "Surrounding defeat with heroism", Gringrich says. President Bush announced the formation of a War Council to bring in voices from all sides. No deal, say the Dems. They aren't participating on no stinkin' council. The council would require forming solutions and other options. That would be productive. Productive solutions are not in the best interest of the Dems. It's all about defeating Bush. It hasn't been about the best interests of this country from the beginning. A unified country would have never emboldened the enemy as it is now.

They are simply waiting us out now.

Senator McCain, who used to be the media's darling, their maverick in the Republican party, asked Lt. General David Petraeus, the incoming commander of the Iraq Multi-National Forces, what effect on the troops the resolution would have. He told Sen. McCain it serves no good purpose to the troops and emboldens the enemy. Petraeus was told by all the members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee that he is the right man for the job. Real bi-partisan support. But the Dems have no intention to listening to him.

But they support the troops.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It's yet another rainy day here in Space City. I am feeling the doom and gloom.

The husband left this morning to head out to the office. He's flying over to Odessa with the manager of Engineers and the president/owner of the company. Do not ask me what my husband does for a living. I never, in our almost 24 years married to each other, really have figured out what it is. His job now is as project engineering management of building oil drilling rigs. I don't know.

Did I mention he's flying on the company plane? The company's pilot is at the helm. I don't know if the three of them are flying back today or not. Apparently it's about a 2 hour flight so, technically, he could be home for dinner tonight.

Did you watch the State of the Union Address? No? Well, you didn't miss much. I watched but didn't expect much. I wasn't disappointed. I saw a president speaking to a hostile audience. I saw the president congratulate the new democrat majority. I saw a president speak of the honor of being the first president to utter the words, 'Madame Speaker'. I saw this madame speaker blink excessively and move her mouth around in odd ways. I saw a vice president look as if he was alternating between bored out of his mind and the occasional grin.

I heard the usual crap about bi-partisanship. I saw members on the left pulling a groin muscle trying to shake the hand of the president as he filed in and out as if they were his best friend. The president is the same guy they have called every name in the book and accused of conspiracy theories and grand imperial plans, yet there they are, for the face time on camera with the president and back slapping and aw shucking with him.

I saw a segment of the democrats remaining on their asses as the president talked of the American desire for victory in Iraq. Pelosi stood. Reid stood. Not so for Obama, Kennedy, and their ilk. There's your support of the troops.

I heard the new proposals for energy and health insurance and social security reform. All of these proposals were dismissed out of hand by the different democrat committee chairs before the speech was even made. The proposals will not even be brought to the committees. Bi-partisan enough for you?

I was heartened, as I always am, by the heroes mentioned in the speech and acknowledged in the First Lady's box. All worthy of the attention. There was even a Houston Rockets member there. He is a naturalized citizen from Africa. He has built a hospital in his former town and continues each year to have fundraisers to support the hospital.

I heard the rebuttal given by Senator Webb. Same old, same old. And from such a newcomer. He's tough. He'll bully the president for you, don't you worry your pretty little head. We should leave Iraq right this minute, but he doesn't think we should have a precipitous withdrawal. Ok then. Bush and Cheney bad. Webb tough.

Am I the only one who enjoys the irony of the fact that Webb sits on the Senate armed services committee with John Warner? Both were Republican Secretaries of the Navy. Webb, however, was fired by Reagan after only seven months on the job.

The president asked for the new direction of policy in Iraq to be given a chance with Lt. Gen David Petraeus in charge. Fat chance. We'll just watch as the funding is cut, as the Republican party implodes, as the troops are brought home and the area blows up and the terrorists outlast whatever shred of resolve the American people have for fighting to stay safe at home. We'll just accept the lies of Hillary that we were all so safe and happy under Bill and her, the lies Webb says that the majority of the military no longer supports the war effort, the lies of Richardson that the economy is struggling. We won't ask any questions to the validity of these claims.

We'll just go back to sticking our heads in the ground. We'll forget our foreign policy troubles. We'll concentrate on domestic responsibilities, the nanny state Hillary desires. Your taxes will be raised. We'll go back to calling anyone who makes over $30,000 a year, 'rich', to justify the tax burdens.

Small ideas, small policies, small people.

Clinton's legacy? He made a deal and got his wife a Senate seat. It wasn't welfare reform, that was only after 2 vetoes and the Republican majority finally demanded it strongly enough that the public noticed. It wasn't the balanced budget. That was only after, again, the Republicans demanded it and the voters noticed. Oh, wait, it might be the v-chips for the tv sets. No. That was Gore's big idea.

This president tried a big idea about a free middle east. It was all brought on him by the events of 9/11. How thick do you have to be not to get it by now? Get over the Bush hatred. Times are tough. Let's pull together and get the war finished. The domestic landscape is good. Our economy is the strongest in decades, whether you want to acknowledge that or not. This time when Carville and Begala run the Hillary presidential campaign, the slogan will have to be something other than 'it's the economy, stupid'. Lot's of things could use work. That's always how it is.

My prediction for the next two years?


Monday, January 22, 2007

What a Difference a Week Makes

Sipping a cup of Boca Java's Light Up Las Olas blend, I couldn't help but ponder the building field for the 2008 presidential election this morning. How long will some of these potential nominees last, on both sides of the aisle?

Hillary Clinton, hoping to officially sit on the sidelines and let the others slug it out for a while, was forced into the ring after the formal announcement of John Edwards and then the announcement of Barack Obama's exploratory committee forming last week while she was touring Iraq. Interesting, no? The word was that several of Clinton's earlier supporters have jumped ship and gone over to Obama, including Hollywood big shots and George Soros, too. It doesn't really matter. Clinton has enough money for now that she doesn't have to worry.

Clinton's fingerprints were all over the yammering about the early schooling of Obama in a muslim school while he lived in Indonesia. The term 'radical muslim' was used in describing the school and that he was a student there for 4 years. That exposure teamed up with the fact that his middle name is Hussein proved too juicy to be ignored by the chattering class. Just as Clinton knew would happen. She has played hardball since her days in Arkansas and all I can say is Obama better watch his kneecaps.

I find the announcements of entering the race via webpages a sign of the times. Remember when all announcements were done with much fanfare, lots of beaming supporters and placards swaying in the background? Now, in the case of Clinton, it's the soft lighting and the couch, inviting you to 'chat' and let her know what is on your mind. How very Oprah.

Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, just may give them a run for the money. He is very experienced and is a capable uniter among quarrelling factions in both parties. And the bonus is that he has Hispanic blood to claim. He is a calm voice.

Hillary is shrill and her voice is one of monotones and scornful looks. She lectures. She sorely lacks Bill's personality so she will be counseled to not be on the stage with him too much. The comparison is not favorable to her. He'll be her biggest asset on the campaign trail and he'll love the center of the attention once again. She would be no where without him.

What I find so interesting is that Hillary prides herself the solid feminist, making her own way in the world. She was surrounded by children yesterday during her first public speech after the warm and cozy website announcement. Same with Nancy Pelosi, touting herself as first woman Speaker of the House, surrounding herself with grandchildren. She's just a mom and grandmom, we're told. I don't get it. What are they trying to prove with all this 'it's for the children' nonsense? Does it mean a woman must prove she is still motherly if she rises in power?

Sam Brownback from Kansas has entered the race. I don't think he has a chance, at least I hope not. I'm not impressed and I hope Republicans can finally start breaking away from the religious litmus tests. I think the far right has gone too far over and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't think it's good for the country any more than I think it is right that the Democrat candidates feel compelled to campaign in black churches. Separation of church and state. I think it is high time the churches allowing campaigning from the pulpit be denied tax-exempt status.

John Edwards was campaigning from the pulpit of Riverside Church in Harlem last week. Let's start with that church's tax exemptions.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Life On Mars

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I will tell you, any day Max gets to chase them around the yard is squirrel appreciation day around here. That activity is second only to walkies with the husband. The husband smokes a cigar and Max gets some excercise.

It was good to read in today's newspaper that Shell's Mars platform is back on line and producing more than ever. It was down for nine months after Hurricane Katrina, but it's all good now. It's located about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. It produces 160,000 barrels of oil each day.

Up to 154 people live on the Mars any given day. Most workers are on a 14/14 schedule. Fourteen days on, fourteen days off. Keep in mind that none of these are regular nine to five kind of jobs. Drilling rigs and platforms go on a 12 hour shift schedule. Most positions have two workers, one for day shift, one for night shift. It's 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So, how are you going to keep the guys happy? You feed 'em. (By 'guys', I don't mean to say all the workers are male. Most are, though. It's a tough environment.) Meals happen four times a day, with the extra one at midnight. The workers can eat something whenever they have a break, with a sandwich or a bowl of gumbo being popular snacks. I remember the years my husband was employed by oil drilling companies and the meals served to them. Before the drastic oil bust in the eighties, lobster nights were common. Steaks abounded. After the bust and into the late nineties the food service suffered with smaller budgets. And the cooks were not high quality talent. It's coming back now. The guys need it. The food keeps the morale up. Now former chefs from New Orleans are employed by the food service contractors.

I read where the Mars has groceries delivered every Sunday and they try to keep a two week supply in case of bad weather conditions - the groceries are delivered by boat. The supplies cost $12,000 to 15,000 each delivery. My husband always joked, kind of, that the meals were extra good on Coast Guard inspection days!

I'm watching the play-off game, New Orleans Saints v Chicago Bears. I'm torn. Either team can win as far as I'm concerned. I feel the sentimental pull toward the Saints, and they have Reggie Bush, the recent grad of Univ of Texas superstar that the Houston Texans should have taken but don't get me started. It's also ok if Chicago wins. Rex Grossman, the young quarterback is the grandson of one of my mother in law's oldest, dearest friends. Rex's grandfather, also Rex, built the husband's family house and they all ran in the same circle of friends. I'm sure all the ladies are having a football viewing party this afternoon and rooting for Rex. The husband went to school with Rex's aunt, Jill.

I grew up a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. We lived in Shreveport, which is far north west Louisiana, almost Texas so every Sunday it was a Cowboys game. I cheered with America's Sweethearts, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in our den and my father would always remark what a fine man coach Tom Landry was on the field. No hysterics or bad behavior from him.

I'll start dinner soon. Pork chops, lemon orzo, salad, green beans. It's a beautiful day outside. A little chilly but no complaints.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Just a Gentle Nudge

If you haven't read any posts by Michael Yon, I would gently yet firmly push you to his site:
This guy is a wonderfully talented writer. He is a military veteran so he sees the war in Iraq through different eyes than other journalists without that life experience. He was in Iraq for most of 2005 and now is back to devote 2007 to being on the ground there again. What I respect the most of his writing is that he is out with the troops and writing the unvarnished accounting of the missions.

"But I don't do this work to espouse a point of view, or rally people to the right or left. Some people might find that statement disingenuous. I've been criticized for using terms like terrorist and enemy in my dispatches. Most critics are a safe distance from the background. Up close, its more than a matter of taking sides. There's no value in using imprecise language in a futile attempt to appear objective." Yon writes as a professional. Fair and balanced, just as I like it. I try to look at both sides of an argument and make up my own mind, thank you very much.

A poll taken earlier in the week shows 45% of those responding agree that Iraq is our most important national issue. A significent portion of the population is not in favor of the plan for a troop surge in Baghdad. Yet, 63% want the new plan to succeed and 61% agree it is Iraq's last chance. Iraqis must find it in themselves to rise to the occassion and take over their own country. Make their own destiny.

I think the poll shows the absolute complexity of the battle for Baghdad. I think it is easy to sit in our comfy chairs and spout all kinds of opinions. It is far wiser to listen to what those there and those recently home have to say. I am heartened to learn the new Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, is again in country, this time in Basra. I hope this will give him a clearer vision of what is going on and lead to sound advice to the president and his people.

Bumper sticker mentality is easy. Thinking a little deeper into issues and the big picture, the implications of the future, requires an open mind and the desire to look at all options.

We can argue over whether or not it was prudent to go into Iraq and dispose of Saddam. I didn't think it was the way to go, going in with troops and all. I thought it would be far better for special ops or a similiar team to go in and take him out. But I also know, from my husband's accounts of his trip to Iraq in 2003, just before the war, that the country was a completely closed society with nothing but suspicion of foreigners. Americans. The buzz in the hotel in Baghdad where my husband stayed as a base for moving around to different regions was all about the fact that there was an American guest there. Was he a spy? Was he friend or foe?

Some argue that Iran and North Korea pose a greater threat and should have been dealt with first. Well, that has proven to be true. Now. Not then. Remember the State of the Union speech naming the Axis of Evil, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea? All the hubbub from those more interested in politically correct speech than the truth? At the time, with the intelligence available to the U.S. and countries around the world, Iraq was thought to be the greater danger. The intelligence was flawed and Saddam certainly had time to move everything out of his country and bury the rest. He continued to not abide by the 17 U.N. resolutions and he continued to shoot at our fighter jets patrolling the no-fly zone.

So, prudent or not, the war in Iraq was set into play. Mistakes were made and that is how it is in all war. Some decisions proved wrong.... And that is how it is in all war. We are there. The people of Iraq are scared we will stay and scared we will leave. And now we have Democrat politicians, emboldened by the president's poll numbers, bringing forth legislation to cut funding to the military. Some want to cut funds so that the policy of the surge will not be able to go forth. Some want to cut funds so that the military must leave now.

From Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe: "Edward Kennedy likes to label Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam", as he did last week when he introduced legislation to give Congress the final say on troop levels in Iraq.
Bush played no role in the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia to the Communists in 1975, of course. But Kennedy did. He helped lead the congressional drive to cut off financial aid to the pro-American governments in Saigon and Phnom Penh, brushing aside President Gerald Ford's warning that "the horror and the tragedy that we see on television" would only grow worse if America deserted its allies.
But Kennedy and the Democrats spurned Ford, and the result was unspeakable agony -- Cambodia's killing fields, Vietnam's re-education camps, waves of "boat people" hurling themselves into the sea. Having seen the results of U.S. abandonment in Indochina, how can Kennedy advocate the same policy in Iraq" "If we cease to help our friends in Indochina, Ford said, we will ... have been false to ourselves, to our word, and to our friends. No one should think for a moment that we can walk away from that without a deep sense of shame." Ford, a decent man, couldn't imagine deliberately abandoning a friend in dire straits. Kennedy, it seems, isn't so inhibited."

Kennedy to Iraqis : Sink or swim.

Go read Michael Yon.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Katie Not So Cute

I love lists. I make them and I read them. As I make a list I am able to focus and organize thoughts.

Here's a list from a recent article I read of the Top Employers in Texas:

Alcon Laboratories
Container Store
David Weekley Homes
EOG Resources
Mens' Wearhouse
Methodist Hospital System
National Instruments
TD Industries
Texas Instruments
Valero Energy
Whole Foods Market

Interesting. These are the employers voted Best Places to Work. Just a little trivia for you.

So, I'm pondering what is the ratio of male to female executives in these companies? According to Katie Couric, always my source for the unvarnished truth, women are still being held back by men. Poor Katie. She's a multi-millionaire and her show is in the tank but she still feels the need to pen an article whining about the fact she was the only female news anchor in the White House briefing last week before the President's speech on the war in Iraq.

She said it is always a thrill to be in a White House briefing , "no matter who is in the Oval Office", getting her editorial jab in, and said the predominantly male atmosphere was 'jocular'. What? Did she think this word would mean an atmosphere of jocks?

"Don't more women deserve a place at the table, too?" I would venture to say, no, not if Couric is the cream of the crop. She laments the feminist movement of the 1970's as waning, (hello!), and the lack of women in the House of Reps or Senate. How did she miss commenting on her girl, Nancy Pelosi, and the fact that she's the first woman Speaker of the House?

Women are 51% of the American population. More women than men apply for college entrance. Wages for women have never been higher, (right, Katie?), and the argument that women are under the thumb of men is just plain silly. More liberal victimization pap.

Katie, put on your big girl panties and speak as a mature woman. Whining is not becoming on anyone.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Page 213

In his new book, 'Palestine: Peace not Apartheid', former President Jimmy Carter separates those supporting Israel from those who approve of anti-Semite rhetoric. Last week, fourteen more members of the Carter Center in Atlanta resigned, claiming they could no longer look the other way. Silence is regarded as acceptance.

"It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road map for Peace are accepted by Israel". This is a quote from page 213 from the above mentioned book.

The failed former president has never been shy about voicing his anti-Semitic opinions. A famous quote of his came during a conversation with a campaign advisor as he was running re-election of the presidency: he was heard saying when he was re-elected, he'd be able to f*** the Jews. He blamed Jews on Wall Street for ruining the national economy, not his inept attempts of governing.

These fourteen board members resigned in protest of the latest Carter book. Scholars have criticized the book for inaccuracy and flat out lies, as well as taking intellectual properties of others without permission or acknowledgement. Two members, both Emory professors resigned as the publisher and Carter's book tour introduced the book. Professor Stein was pooh-poohed by Carter as a disgruntled board member.

Carter was a secret advisor for Arafat on political issues and public relations, up until his death. The Carter Center is heavily funded by the Saudi Arabians.

Here's a 'you might be an anti-Semite' type of list, offered up by columnist Julia Goran:
11. cheered and danced on 9/11
10. killed Bobby Kennedy
9. named a youth soccer tournament after Saddam Hussein and opposed even the first Gulf War
8. planned and carried out the 1973 Khartoum murders of the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. Charges d'Affaires to Sudan
7. enjoy theocratic rule
6. believe that Hitler didn't finish the job
5. insist that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks
4. pay tribute to suicide bombers
3. named a region of the Jenin refugee camp after the first suicide terrorist in Iraq who killed four American soldiers
2. turn the purposely apolitical Olympic Games into a bloodbath
1. profess to hate America more than al Qaeda does and wish the latter success in its struggle against the U.S.

Nobel Prize laureate James Watson tells Esquire Magazine to be anti-Semitic is justifiable. His area of expertise is DNA structure. If Dr. Watson says so, it must be true.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends". - Martin L. King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Yes, we have the cold front here now. It struck with a vengeance yesterday but today is better. No rain. Windy, though. The predicted ice storm hasn't arrived, we are surrounded. All of the communities around us are dealing with ice and sleet. We are under an ice storm warning through tomorrow. All of the school kids are hoping it makes it here overnight.

I purchased the new Beatles double cd set, 'Love', Sunday afternoon. I was on the lookout for a good cd to play in the car while the son and I were in the bookstore picking up his copy of 'The Great Gatsby' for English class. It's a good cd but I am irritated by some of the mixing of the songs. They end up shortening some tunes I really like. Son was typically embarrassed that his mother was singing along with gusto on the way home. I especially enjoyed 'I Want to Hold Your Hand', the first Beatles song I ever heard.

I remember the first time I saw The Beatles. It was their first appearance on American tv. Their debut was on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 1964. I was 8 years old and my mamaw called me into her bedroom to watch the show with her. She told me that a rock and roll group, billed as the 'mop tops from Liverpool' were going to sing and we should see what all the fuss is about.

My grandmother, Mamaw, lived with us at that time. We lived in Shreveport, Louisiana and I loved that woman. I was her first grandchild and I could do no wrong. She spoiled me shamelessly and loved that I had bestowed her new moniker upon her as a little one learning to talk. My sister, 16 months younger than me, got the short end of the mamaw attention stick. When our youngest sister came along 6 years later, she was the new favorite grandchild at our house and became the perfect one. She even received the honor of being named after Mamaw, so there you have it. I enjoyed my 7 year reign as The Perfect One.

I thought The Beatles were cool. Still do.

I loved Paul. Still do.

Still do.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Man of Vision

Winter is making a grand entrance here today. The cold temperatures, rain and later ice that have been crossing the country are arriving here today. I am thankful that today is a holiday for our son and I don't have to get out until the rain lets up a bit.

Today is the birthday of two good men: my husband's oldest and dearest friend as well as Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I was doing a little research on the life of Dr. King, I noticed a fact that I don't remember reading before - his birth name was Michael, not Martin. His name was changed later. I wonder why that happened.

The family business was Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. His grandfather became pastor there in 1914, followed by his father and then his tenure there.

Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated from high school at the age of 15. He went from there to Morehouse College, a renowned black college. Again, attending this institute of higher learning was following in the path of his grandfather and father, both graduates of Morehouse.

Next King attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He was president of his senior class at this mostly white seminary. While there, he was awarded a fellowship to Boston University. He accepted the fellowship upon graduating from Crozer in 1951.

While continuing his graduate studies at Boston University, he met and married Coretta Scott. She was known for her intelligence and her artistic talents.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter", Dr. King said.

He became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and also a member of the executive committee of the NAACP. In December 1955, he joined the bus boycott. This boycott was described as "first great Negro non-violent demonstration of contemporary times in the U.S." by Gunnar Jahn in his speech in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize presentation in 1964. King was the youngest man to receive the award, at the age of 35. The prize money at that time was $54,123 and he pledged to give it to the civil rights movement.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

King was Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1963.

He was assassinated on the balcony of a motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

What struck me as I was reading about King's life, as I have done many times in my life, was that he was a man of privilege, especially for the times in which he lived. He was certainly far more educated than the average man, regardless of the color of the man's skin. He made the most of life's opportunities and responded to the call of leadership.

Dr. King was not a perfect man, that is clear. Often we succumb to the temptation of elevating our heroes to impossible standards of virtue. He was not faithful to his marriage vows to his wife and his vision of non-violence has been bent to justify all types of anti-war sentiments.

Dr. King was an opponent of the Vietnam War. This was not unusual among the American population. He, however, placed Coretta in the position of public, vocal opponent. He remained silent on the war almost until his death. He understood the power of the bully pulpit and did not abuse it needlessly. His message was focused and clear. All man are created equal.

I think Dr. King would be supportive of America's efforts in the war on terror. His civil rights advocacy was aligned with the mission that to whom much is given, much is expected. His 'I Have a Dream' speech still gives me goosebumps. The passion and emotion shine through.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy". - Martin L. King, Jr. 1963

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Venezuela and Cuba

This evening my guys and I did our part to support local theatre. We went to see 'Bell, Book and Candle' at the Country Playhouse. It's the current production using our season tickets. The play was really good, some fine local acting talent and of course, the story is great. It's the premise for which the tv series 'Bewitched' was created. We can all use some magic in our lives.

I'm sipping a little Pinot Grigio now and ready to post.

"We are heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it," Chavez said at a ceremony in Caracas to swear in new Cabinet members. That is a quote from the Houston Chronicle.

In 1991, the husband accepted a contract to work in Venezuela. The contract was for a year's assignment. The plan was for him to go ahead of us, get settled into a place for us to live and then the baby and I would join him. My sister, her husband and their new son came from Montana to spend Christmas with us in Lafayette. The husband left the week between Christmas and New Year's. He set up residence in Maturin. We joined him in March. The town was small but did have some amenities as far as convenience of grocery shopping and small shops were involved. We lived in the 'penthouse' of the apartment building. I use the term loosely. I had a maid 5 days a week.

Venezuela is a third world country, make no mistake about that. The poverty was rampant and the people were dealing with unemployment. Militia men were armed with uzis and enjoyed setting checkpoints to demand drivers stop their vehicles and show proof of identity and the occasional pay-off. It was known as standard operating procedure.

Caracus was ok in the areas made for tourist trade. The rest of the city is ghetto housing settlements all around and dangerous, prone to robbing for money and jewelry as a way to survive. Our hotel was nice, catering to tourists. It was a Hilton or a Hyatt, I don't remember. I remember my stay there with our son for two reasons - the swimming pool had a swim up bar and my son had his first adventure with a bidet. My toddling son wandered off to the bathroom as I was unpacking his pajamas for bed and he turned a knob that produced a rocketing fountain of water up to the ceiling. He enjoyed it immensely and was quite proud of himself.

The next day we caught a small plane, propeller-style, to Maturin where we were met by the husband. I am blessed with a child who has been an excellent traveling companion since birth. Otherwise, our first trip out of the country together would have been tons more stressful.

Unless you are living la vita loca in a small section in Caracus, like Hugo Chavez, then Venezuela is not a place where an American would like to live. We are never more aware of all that we have in America than when we travel abroad. The sheer numbers of people wanting to move here tells the tale. Even those oh, so sophisticated Europeans, flock here.

Chavez fancies himself the protege of Fidel Castro. The Cuban model is the vision of the future for Venezuela as far as Chavez is concerned. The far left political faction in this country embraces Chavez because he talks trash against President Bush. Further evidence of the sheer naivete of the radical left. My brother in law, bless his heart, is a good example. He and his wife went to Cuba a couple of years ago and this was to be such a cool trip. The frosting on the cake was that it was against U.S. policy for them to travel there in the first place. Stickin' it to Bush, you know. Brother in law is a musician, living in a coastal community a ferry's ride from Seattle. His wife is a part time musician herself but has a day job. The brother in law works in a music shop as his day job. When they were back from the Cuban adventure, he called and I spoke with him, as I answered the telephone. He told me his shock that the people with whom they stayed were forbidden to have their Bible out in the open. The whole suppression of religion thing was a real eye-opener for him. I thought to myself, wow, where's he been? He's not an ignorant man, he is well educated and travels frequently. But, he is so far left that he is out of reality. NPR is too conservative for him. I'm not kidding.

So, Cindy Sheehan and her posse from Code Pink travel on down to Camp Gitmo to protest it's existence. After they get the chant down, they proceed to march and do their thing. What wasn't commonly reported, shocking I know, is that Sheehan was asked by a prominent women's group made up of wives of jailed dissenters to the Castro regime to march in protest for them. She turned them down. She and her group went to Cuba to protest the American government, not the murderous dictator of Cuba and his regime.

Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

In the town where Camp Gitmo is located, there are 14 prisons filled with political dissenters. In Sheehan's Nirvanas of Venezuela and Cuba, she would be living out the rest of her life in a prison at the first sign of political dissent from her.

Camp Gitmo is of a level of excellence like no other as far as prisons go. Sounds strange, I know, but it has been stated over and over again. The Red Cross regularly visits Camp Gitmo and it passes it's list of requirements with flying colors. The Red Cross is not allowed in Cuban prisons. Officials from Belgium visited and stated that Camp Gitmo is far superior to European prisons. The average prisoner gains 18 pounds there. A soccer field is available for exercise and Qurans are issued with clothing and other necessities to each prisoner. They receive the call to worship five times a day and they are issued prayer mats. They thank the American soldiers stationed there by spitting on them and throwing feces and urine at them.

Living in Venezuela was an interesting life experience.

I've never been prouder to be an American.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Week's End

On C-SPAN yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations committee had a hearing with Secretary Rice. Today it is the Senate Armed Services committee with Secretary Gates and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Pace. Quite the excercise in contrast.

Some Senators are members of both committees. Secretary Rice was afforded very little respect yesterday. The Senators used their allotted time to make speeches and personal attacks instead of asking questions. It seemed to be a lost opportunity for some answers. Senator Boxer went so far as to again call Secretary Rice a liar and to tell her she had no way of understanding the human cost of the war in Iraq as she had no 'immediate family' reference. Wow. I thought that particular form of nasty feminism was long gone. I thought the movement was all about respect for personal choices. I guess it doesn't apply if you are a conservative, black woman.

Both parties were voicing displeasure with the new strategy in Iraq.

Today shows a more thoughtful and calm group of Senators willing to listen and learn what the thoughts are of the new Secretary of Defense. An interesting contrast involves the new Senator from Virginia, Senator Webb when compared to Senator McCain. Webb, boasting of his time in the Pentagon during the Reagan years though not of the fact he only lasted 7 short months before being fired for incompetence as Secretary of the Navy, is now a Democrat for the sake of seeking office. He wore his Marine son's combat boots with his suits while campaigning to prove his street cred. Webb's a conservative and will soon disappoint the liberals who gleefully voted for him in November.

Senator McCain also has a Marine son in Iraq. He believes the new strategy and still believes in victory. He asked if those opposed to the new strategy think leaving is the best choice? I tend to agree with Senator McCain that now is the time for full participation by the Iraqis in the mission and if progress is not shown in the very near future then it will be clear the people of Iraq will not be able to meet the challenges of a free society.

Senator Lieberman said now is the time for all those opposing the new strategy to produce their plan for victory. He lamented the point that most of the opposition seems to be raw politics and not in the best interests of our country. He said we should remember that when the first President Bush went into Kuwait he only had the support of about 17% of the U.S. public. When the mission was successful, he enjoyed approval ratings of 90%, the highest of any sitting American president. He said we must think of the long run. Decisions must sometimes be made in light of long term vision, not popularity or a future legacy.

President Bush is an ideologue. He is not of the school of realism. He truly believes every human being is entitled to a life of freedom. This is a noble trait. It is a very liberal trait. It is a good trait.

This is tough stuff. If the answers were simple, the problem would have been attended to in the previous administration. The previous administration was responsible for the 1998 resolution making regime change in Iraq as our national policy. But, Clinton was more concerned with legacy and personal ambitions of him and his wife to do brave moves in the world. He authorized, in 2002 after he was long out of office, Sandy Berger, former NSA to Maddie Allbright, to go into the National Archives and research documents on brewing events that lead to Sept 11, 2001. Berger morphed into Burglar and stole classified, archived documents by stuffing them into his sock, trousers and on his person while being filmed by security cameras. He left the building with them and even went so far as to hide them under a trailer at a construction site. Why was the full extent of his criminal activity not known until December 2006, after the November elections? Why was he only given a fine and community service? Hillary Rodham began her Washington career as a staffer on Watergate committees and their hearings during the Nixon days. You'd think she and Bill would not resort to those type of tactics to coverup his administrations actions.

I go back to the absence of common sense in politics. The enemy is watching. Yes, there is a real enemy. Troubled nations look to the U.S. for help. Whether you are proud of our place in the world and the responsibilities that our place brings, or think if we just not bother anyone then we will not be bothered, the fact is that the words of our politicians are broadcast around the world. binLaden bloviates that Americans are too soft to respond to bully tactics, just as Saddam did. Neither thought Americans would be up to the task of war in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I continue to pray we prove them wrong.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Win For America

This is the last, best chance for victory in Iraq. I don't know if the surge of troops into Baghdad and other areas will be successful. I know the effort must be made.

The politicians and media opposing the war effort in Iraq do not understand that a victory in Iraq is a win for America, not a win for President Bush. The low poll numbers on the support of the war and the president, after the American public has been beat over the head on a daily basis with nothing but bad news and cynical media figures with an agenda, have emboldened the nay-sayers at the expense of our country. Maybe the cynics just are not able to comprehend the big picture. Loathing an administration on a purely political level does strange things to thought processes.

The speech last night laid out the troop surge and the fact that now the Iraqi leaders must step up and meet certain benchmarks for the U.S. to continue to support them. In the past, the benchmarks have been met, whether it was voting, writing a constitution or the like. We, as Americans not Republicans and Democrats, must show faith and support this one last time.

Senator Dick "Gulags" Durbin recited the Democrats response to the speech. He thinks the new direction the American people want in Iraq is surrender and retreat. Senator Barack Obama, fully clothed this time, the least experienced on the Foreign Relations committee, was interviewed on CNN. CNN, the network loved by our enemies, asked no hard questions of the current heartthrob of the left. He said we must immediately 'redeploy' to other countries. Redeploy means surrender and leave.

Durbin and President Bush agree on one point - the government of Iraq must now stand on its own. I'm sure Durbin would never have uttered that statement if he realized that was a part of the President's speech. Durbin has no intention of showing any support for the sake of American victory. He has been consistent on that all along. He was shocked when he gave his speech on the floor of the Senate a while ago and slandered American troops by stating they were conducting Gitmo as the gulags under the Soviets. C-SPAN picked up the speech and I remember I was watching it at the time and my jaw dropped. Fortunately others saw it and as a result of the following press days later, he had to issue an apology, complete with tears at the thought it might influence voters against him at the next election.

The Dems pledge their support to the military, every resource they will need, we are told. Except for funding and support of the mission. Or faith in their success. With support like that what else do those in the military need?

Senator John McCain, the father of a Marine in Iraq and a former POW in Vietnam, thinks the plan will succeed. He supports the plan of clearing and holding. He understands better than most that if we surrender now, chaos will spread around the region. This is the last chance for Maliki and he must perform.

The argument is often made that when the funding was cut for the war in Vietnam and the troops came home, that was final. The enemy didn't follow us home. The case is different now. The enemy will follow us home this time. They were already here, on September 11, 2001 and in 1993, before that day. Elements of IslamoFacism continue to tell us that the goal for their world view is the elimination of Israel and then bringing down America. I can think of no other reason to succeed in Iraq.

The American media is too heavily invested in a Democratic president in 2008 to bring more than the worst of the news out of the region. They are planning on President Hillary Clinton and her husband, their best bud, Bill. In the coming days, you will see members of the Republican party who are not in favor of more troops in Iraq to be given the red carpet treatment. The media will interview them with relish and hold them up as fine examples of patriotic politicians. I doubt no one's patriotism. This is difficult stuff. The problem comes in with the fact that the terrorists are gleeful over the divide in this country. They will simply wait it out.

What is needed is for the country to come together. Not forever, I'm not naive. A presidential election is on the horizon. Many current Senators are running as well as some in the House. They will not put country over personal ambition, unfortunately. This one last effort is worthy.

"Despite all the hardships, however, we Iraqis were able to raise the rudimentary pillars of our nascent democracy by writing a constitution, electing a parliament based on that constitution and granting a vote of confidence to a government through that elected parliament. It is not fair to look at Iraq as a collections of failures without identifying its successes. The birth of a new nation is not easy, but just as your nation has become a beacon for democracy, we hope that Iraq will one day do the same". - Tariq al- Hashimi, Vice President of the Republic of Iraq

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Victory Is Not A Dirty Word

All those Bush hating, 'military supporters': here's your chance! Where are you? We've had a few days now of very successful air operations over Somalia, have you noticed? The leaders of Somalia are pleased that the American military is acting on intelligence from SEALS in country and taking out many high level al Qaeda operatives. Any kudos?

Hundreds were killed in embassy bombings in Somalia dating back to 1993 and U.S. airstrikes have taken care of Islamist leaders running for their lives into the interior of the country. "The leaders know they're finished," Culusow said. "They've basically told the young fighters they can go, it's over, and that anyone who stays behind should be resigned to die." Culusow is a former Islamist leader no longer in the movement.

You remember Mogadishu, don't you? Maybe you watched the movie 'Black Hawk Down' or read the book? The husband and I went to the movie and sat in a crowded theatre surrounded by the sound of grown men quietly weeping in the dark. They were all the age of the husband and I'm guessing Vietnam vets, too. The movie powerfully illustrates what happens to real people in real life when the most advanced, superior military in the world is told to retreat before the mission is completed. The movie illustrates the results from wishy-washy, stick a finger in the air to feel which way the wind is blowing, politicians making military decisions from their comfortable lofts back home.

Is there a left leaning, anti-war (but I support the military) politician left that hasn't condemned the President's speech, not yet delivered? Yesterday Ted "Swimmer" Kennedy gave a speech to the National Press Club and stated he will push legislation to deny funding for a troop surge to stabilize Baghdad. He demands the President receive approval from Congress to send in more troops.

Senator Kennedy: Please re-read Article II, Section 2:

"He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States...

Senator Kennedy: Do you read anything in this about troop deployment and the need for permission granted by the Congress?

Sober up or retire, Senator Kennedy. You day is long gone.

The President is entitled to give his speech and talk to the American people. I want to know what the plan is to turn this war in Iraq around. I pray he is receiving good counsel. Many mistakes have been made. The intentions were noble. The people of Iraq deserve better than a murdering dictator. If the politicians would band together and put aside pure politics, there is still a small window of opportunity for success. The Iraqis must be forced to continue to rise up and take care of themselves and their country. They will be told we are not there for an open-ended commitment.

When the Iraqis make their own decisions and ignore the counsel of America, like over the timing of the execution of Saddam - they decided to not take the U.S. generals advice to postpone it a while - then what do they get? American liberals bemoaning the fact that Saddam was put to death. It was a decision made by Iraqis for Iraqis, not America's. No matter. It's still our fault.

The war in Iraq is not Vietnam. It is a common slogan among the crowd thinking victory is impossible. Those spouting nonsense don't seem to understand the anti-war sentiments play right into the hands of the fanatical Islamists determined to take over the world. They don't get it. It's a shame. Let the soldiers do their job. Victory is not a dirty word.

Support the troops? Support the mission. Stop insulting them with nonsensical rhetoric.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Message From Beyond

Born to immigrant parents from Japan, Iwao Takamoto and his family spent time in the Manzanar internment camp after the attack at Pearl Harbor. He learned the art of illustration from other internees and went on to be best known for his character, Scooby-Doo.

For more than 60 years he worked for Disney and Hanna-Barbera, too. He was involved with creating Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

Scooby-Doo was inspired after Takamoto had a conversation with a Great Dane breeder and the Frank Sinatra song, 'Strangers in the Night'.

The breeder " showed me some pictures and talked about the important points of a Great Dane, like a straight back, straight legs, small chin and such", Takamoto said recently at Cartoon Network Studios. "I decided to go the opposite and gave him a humpback, bowed legs, big chin and such. Even his color is wrong".

He also created Astro from The Jetsons.

He passed away today at the age of 81. He gave hours of enjoyment to generations.

A life well done.

David Eagleman of Houston has created a service by the name of Deathswitch. This service guarantees critical personal information will survive, according to Eagleman. When subscribers to this on-line service die, the company sends an e-mail to recipients provided by the subscriber. This critical information could be anything from computer passwords, a love note, or the final words of an argument.

The service costs $19.95 a year and ceases when the subscriber dies. Deathswitch provides an automated system that leads subscribers to type in their password on a regular schedule so that the service knows the person is still alive. A vacation mode is an option if a person will be away and a friend's e-mail address can be used as a back-up.

Messages sent upon death can include documents, videos and images.

Eagleman is 35 years old and an assistant professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He is quite the renaissance man, as he also buys and restores old houses and has written three science books and a collection of short stories.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Elvis and The Husband

Happy Birthday to the husband! He shares the day with Elvis, who would be 72 today. The husband is 59, so you know next year is a biggie! I will torment him relentlessly. It is good to be younger.

I see in honor of the husband's birthday, the Congress of the U.S. will not be in session. Oh wait. It's because of the football game. So much for the vow to work 5 days a week, unlike those lazy Republicans.

There will be no session next Monday, either, as it will be MLK Day. When does the official clock begin for the first 100 hours, I wonder. Remember, the claim is misleading - it is 100 legislative hours - so this may take a while.

The Libertarian streak in me rejoices that less work is done.

In the Saturday edition of our Houston Pravda, I read an article of the top tier of cities in the U.S. as far as the Dept of Homeland Security is concerned. There are six cities and Houston is one. Not exactly the good kind of honor. The other cities are New York, L.A., Chicago, and San Francisco. Looks like we'll get a larger share of the federal money. The article points out the fact that our city's radio system for police and firefighters is 16 years old and vulnerable in the event of a terrorist attack. I'll be happy when they get the ship channel more secure and more training for the emergency task force people.

I enjoyed looking at the new-to-me catalog that landed in the mailbox the other day. It's called Baker's Catalogue and I've had fun to do a fantasy wish list in my mind as I do when browsing interesting catalogs.

Tonight's menu for the birthday guy - N.Y. strip steaks, baked potatoes, sauteed fresh mushrooms, green salad and rolls. I'll be stopping at the specialty ice cream shop on the way back from picking up the son and getting an ice cream pie for dessert. It's his favorite special dessert.

His birthday present from me? A Waterman fountain pen. He asked for a "nice" fountain pen. We'll start with this one and see how long he holds on to it. He isn't known for keeping track of pens!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Salutations

Weekends, as you know, are generally mostly about family time, cooking and book tv on C-Span. This one is no exception. Started off the morning with my trusty Boca Java, Palm Beach Passion blend, and baked a cranberry quick bread to hold the husband and me over until a later breakfast time.

I tried a frozen hash brown, name brand, with cheese mixed in as a break from our standard grits, but wasn't impressed with them. I'll stick to my own fried potatoes. I bake extra potatoes every time we have them and then use the extras for weekend breakfasts. Baking them first makes them crisp on the outside when you fry them.

Tonight we're having butterflied pork chops, currently marinating in a Greek feta vinaigrette, with sides of orzo salad, and lima beans.

I watched an in depth interview with P.J. O'Rourke on book tv this afternoon. It was wonderful to listen to him for an extended period of time. He always entertains me. The interview reminded me of a couple of his books I need to read. He's the author of twelve so far.

In the morning I will attend the monthly meeting of my Republican women's club. New officers will be installed and I'm still new enough with this bunch that I need to put names to faces and get a feel for the agenda. We're a PAC so I like to keep up with where my dues end up. Our group has the reputation of being a 'liberal' Republican group, according to a local political writer for the newspaper. I think he meant to throw that out as a compliment during his recent talk to us. I usually find it insulting. Kind of like being told we're not the crazy wing of the party. Whatever.

I am just now getting around to breaking open the new calendar I purchased last fall when they all hit the bookstores. I love the look of it, more like a journal than a calendar. My book, I call it. I'm lost without them. I love opening up a fresh, unwritten in one and beginning to chart out the year.

I have a new catalog. One that somehow I have never pulled out of the mailbox before last week, which surprises me. I thought surely I was on every marketing list out there. It is a baker's catalogue and the cover alone makes me smile. I am looking forward to some quiet time this evening with it.

More quirks from me.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Kiss-Off

To combat the dreary weather today and enjoy ourselves dispite it, the husband and I are watching "The Producers" on HBO and enjoying an adult libation. We both also have our trusty notebook computers fired up and in use, so there you go. The boy is out in the computer room, on the desktop and watching Da Ali G Show on another HBO channel. That's my boy.

While in line at the post office this morning, I noticed the stamps coming out in the near future. One coming out this month is the new Love stamp. It's poster only said it has a January release, not a date, so I asked if the clerk had any. No, they are not out yet, was her answer. Sometime this month. I hope I remember to check back at the end of the month and then I can use them on some valentines I mail.

I have an obsession with fine stationary, and this edges over into the stamp territory. I like using corresponding stamps on cards I mail.

We all have our quirks.

While reading the Wall Street Journal today I noticed an article about the Candy Desk in the U.S. Senate. This was an article right up my alley.

Seems since Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was defeated, the candy desk is in danger of being eliminated. For the past decade of Sen. Santorum's service, the candy desk has been stocked by Hershey and Just Born Inc, makers of Hot Tamales and Peanut Chews, according to the article.

The article reminds the reader that the ethics rules forbid members from accepting gifts worth $100 or more a year from a single source. A provision was crafted years ago that allow senators to offer visitors home-grown snacks like Florida orange juice or Georgia peanuts.

Mr. Santorum's desk will now be occupied by Senator Craig Thomas, of Wyoming. Wyoming doesn't have any big candy makers to take up the traditions, so the candy industry lobbying group that coordinates stocking up the desk will stop the effort.


The candy desk is a tradition that began in 1968. Senator George Murphy began sharing treats from his desk on the back row. He was a former actor and film executive. He left in 1971 and subsequent occupiers of the desk have continued the tradition. Some senators leave a few dollars in the desk to help with the cost. As the practice became institutionalized, the National Confectioners Association, in partnership with the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, began to organize donations.

So, there's some trivia-style small talk for you to use if you need some conversation filler. I'm here for ya.

Now, I must begin dinner - mustard coated chicken, noodles, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, maybe a loaf of bread popped into the oven with the help of the Pillsbury doughboy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's For The Children

"Right now, we're counting down to the power shift", Wolf Blitzer said, as he giddily counted the minutes until his party was again in control of the House and Senate.

When the Republican Revolution arrived in D.C, in 1994, I guess I missed the official giant clock counting down the minutes. It was a much bigger change, after 40 years of Dems in control, I would say. But, no big digital readout documenting the change. No, Newt Gingrich was the face of "the angry white male" and Speaker Pelosi gets a coronation.

At a 'women's tea' Pelosi screamed, "All right, let's hear it for the power", after she declared herself the most powerful woman in America. Wow. Hillary must be so depressed.

All of the old has-beens of the feminist movement were voicing such pleasure at Pelosi's ascension to Speaker of the House. I'm finding it hard to keep up. Pelosi wants you to thinks, shucks, she's just a mom and grandma. She thanked her husband for helping get her out of the kitchen and into the House. She's just a common woman.

It's all for the children, she says. Again with the exploitation of children for politic's sake. Same old, same old. Her father was mayor of Baltimore. She is hardly the common woman. Her brother was mayor of Baltimore. It's the family business. She married a multi-millionaire. She is hardly the common woman. When she was ready for a political career after raising children, she was well-connected and financed. She is hardly the common woman. The vineyards and resort property she and her husband own is not using union labor. Where's her proclaimed support for unions? Why the free pass on that?

She is hardly the common woman.

Pelosi has gotten off to a rocky start. While running on all her ideas of 'ethics reform', she continues to support the members of her party under clouds. She wanted Hastings, an impeached judge for the Intelligence Committee, instead of Jane Harmon. Pelosi is no friend to other women, I suppose. She chose Hastings, then Reyes, over Harmon who was hand picked by her several years back for the committee after she left it, yet since Harmon is not moonbat crazy anti-Bush and military, she couldn't have her as the committee's chair. Reyes was recently in the news as he flunked a pop quiz on the difference of Sunnis, Shiites, and al Queda.

Maybe Reyes will study up a bit now.

So, Pelosi pretends to be a good feminist woman, a good Dem leader, yet doesn't promote women of quality, doesn't promote labor unions on her own property, and has no sense of humble gratitude.

William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson was given a standing ovation by the Congressional Black Caucus. Pelosi's office refused to let his opponent in the recent election's primary, a black woman who is an attorney in New Orleans, through on the phone when she called the office asking for support. The people of New Orleans re-elected Jefferson.

Pelosi is all about power, not principal, party not country. She can spin it any way she wants but when she talks of a new era of civility and non-partisanship, it is enough to make me gag. She has spent the last 7 years calling the President every name in the book, loudly and in print. She has demanded her sheeple be the party of no and the party of obstruction. She demands complete loyalty, yet criticizes the President when he expects the same from his administration. As long as Republicans are doing things her way, then it is bi-partisan. She is shutting out the Republicans while declaring her commitment to working with them. She has even eliminated written, recorded votes in committees, which was never done before. So much for transparency, accountability.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.