Thursday, June 30, 2005

Early Morning

I just got back from an early morning visit to my garden. To view God’s creation as the sun rises, that’s a great way to start your day!

Everything is growing well. I even saw some pink on the tomatoes so that means it won’t be long till they will be ready to eat…every day.

And while I was inspecting and watering some of the plants, I couldn’t help but notice that the plants were covered with dew. The temperature is close to 70 right now and yet there is dew to nourish the plants. Amazing! But, I went ahead and started the sprinklers early because of the forecast heat for the day.

All of my flowers are doing well. I planted Calendulas, African Daisies, Bachelor Buttons, Hollyhocks, Marigolds and others, all in rows next to the vegetables. I used seeds, so not all were successful, but a lot were, and it should be a riot of color in a few more weeks.

I am particularly fascinated by the Eggplant plant. It has half a dozen of the purple vegetable dangling from its spindly stalks and I wonder how it holds them up? They are beautiful, a very dark purple.

So what’s in my garden? Gourds, big “cannonball” sized. I have strawberries, eggplant, crookneck squash, straight neck squash, zucchini, acorn squash, sweet yellow corn, “burpless” cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, pineapple tomatilloes, purple tomatilloes, tomatoes; 5 varieties! Bell peppers and wax peppers.

Did I miss something? Ah, yes…pumpkins! And that is a story in itself as I got the pumpkin plant from Little Red Hen Nursery. And at harvest time, I will take the pumpkins back to the nursery, where they are sold for charity. The other day, when I put out all of the plants I had recently purchased and actually put them in the ground, I had placed the pumpkin where I wanted it…and then forgot to plant it. So it sat out in the sun all day, forgotten and wilting. I spotted it when I made my evening inspection of the garden and wasted no time trying to revive it, soaking it thoroughly. Apparently it worked and the next morning it appeared to be on its way back to health. I see that I lost one stem, but that’s not an obstacle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wrong Turn

If we are really going to pursue the 9/11 connection as Bush intimates in his speech...we should be in Riyadh and not Baghdad. Have we made a wrong turn somewhere?

(And as far as that speech goes; that was one of Karl's better efforts and Bush read it really good!)

More About Oil

Learning More About Oil by George Crispin
Of course...and global warming is a myth. It's all part of a plot by the (insert name here) conspiracy.

U.S. military says -

U.S. military says can defeat nuclear-armed N.Korea - Yahoo! News
I don't think saber rattling is a very mature way of initiating the peace process...if you really want peace, you have to act like you do. Ignore North Korean threats, don't respond in kind, and ask them time and time again to come and talk peace.


Have you seen the surfboards? I'm talking about the surfboard images that are being posted on traffic caution signs. For instance, the one warning of agricultural traffic displays a man on a tractor...except that now he has a surfboard under one arm. I've been told that they are everywhere. But where? Are they only local? And why?

Another Speech

Bush has spoken again and he couldn't seem to resist (or his speechwriters couldn't) bringing up 9/11 as the reason for our misadventure in Iraq. We all know by now that was not the reason, so why does he persist in saying them? He certainly could have tried using some refreshingly truthful words and that would have gained him an incredible amount of political capitol. I'm just glad he didn't say, "Mission Accomplished!" once again.

Truthful words = we have to stay and help the Iraq'i people for as long as it takes. We can't let them down after this terrible expenditure of their lives and ours. We have made horrible mistakes and will never be able to make that right, but we can try...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Social Security Revisited

It has been a good day...My phone interview went well, although it does feel odd making sworn statements over the phone while they tape the conversation. 1984? All in all it was very pleasant.

I still have a few documents to file but after that I'm officially a retired U.S. citizen.

So to prepare for that retired feeling, we had bought a barbecue the other day. We had looked at 4 different stores but found the one we wanted at Target. I looked at the store model and couldn't determine just where it had been made, but it was a Brinkmann model and they were located in the USA.

We had to take a raincheck since it was a pretty good price...and today we picked it up and I assembled it. And of course it was made in China. On the positive side, it went together easily, it seems quite solid and I understand that the recycled cardboard used in the packaging material was made in America.

Tuesday AM

And it's a nice far. I am waiting for the Social Security Administration phone appointment at 9:05. And after that, who knows what kind of day I might have.

I've been out in the garden while waiting and I have managed to plant all of the perennials we bought a few days ago at Little Red Hen. I don't rush home and plant, I need to time to decide where they might look best. And then when it's time...I plant them all in a rush. (It's an INFP thing!) My flower garden is evolving slowly and that's sort of my un-plan. I just ignore the bare spots, knowing I will receive an inspiration someday.

I also harvested some yellow squash and zucchini, plus a foot long Armenian cucumber. Everything is growing well with the increased heat and so I need to watch the watering schedule; it's dangerous to let them dry out at all.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Some Ten Commandments Displays OK

Court: Some Ten Commandments Displays OK - Yahoo! News
It gets sillier every day...what's with the Supremes? Do they really think that their convoluted opinions will stop the wacko's from knocking on their door again? The fact is - the display of the Ten Commandments will mean 100 different things to 100 different people. And each time we see them, we may have a different feeling or we may not notice them at all. They should have told those who brought the suit to stop and get a life! And then thrown the suit out and charged the lawyers for wasting their time.

Here's a test. During the last time you went to your local courthouse, what was on display? Were you offended? Do you even remember where the courthouse is?

Money Talks

"America’s Supreme Court has ruled that makers of peer-to-peer file-swapping technology can be held responsible for the copyright infringement that their products allow. This may stop much of the free downloading of music and film over the internet, but it will not cure the entertainment business’s ills. Nor will it do much for innovation."

The know, the same ones that say it's OK to condemn private property for private use and profit. Now using the same logic, (Money Rules) they have decided that P2P networks must go. Sort of like saying that automobile makers should be responsible for the illegal acts of those who drive them.


We have been attending church recently at the Orland Federated church...Federated is a denomination within two denominations. Back in the very early years of California, the Methodists and the Presbyterians agreed to limit their church plantings by not going head to head in a fight for congregants and so they split up the small towns between them. If a Presbyterian church was already in a town, then the Methodists would move on to a town without a church. The Presbyterians would do the same. If you travel the old towns of the west you will rarely see a Presbyterian and Methodist church in the same town. Later, in a move to save costs, the two denominations agreed to support a church (Federated) in more of the small towns under their combined guidance. So Orland has no Methodist church and no Presbyterian church...and has a Federated church instead. And so far, we like it...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Did You Know?

The new Boeing 787 represents the most Japanese involvement yet in the manufacture of airplanes, with 70% of the new Boeing plane being built in Japan.

Currently, Japan manufactures 30% of the 777.

Defense $$

I see that Rumsfeld is highly upset with seems that they are spending a lot of money on defense and as Secretary of War he doesn't want anyone trying to spend more than he does. Not that he has to worry about China catching up to what he spends. China says that they are spending $25 billion (some think it's closer to $60 billion) and we spend $450 billion, or 18 times as much.

But he may have a point...they might get more for their dollar than we do.

Let's see, how much loot has been poured into the Star Wars defense scheme ever since Ronny dreamed it up back in the 80's? By the way, it still doesn't work.

It's the Law!

America...and especially Mr. Bush's America, is ambivalent when it comes to the law. John Bolton, his appointee? to the UN, has said that treaties that constrain American sovereignty in any way are not legally binding. But the same Mr. Bush said that Iraq's transgressions of international law were part of the reason to go to war. He pulled us out of the ICC (International Criminal Court) and the Kyoto Treaty. And at the same time, America backs global rules on trade, finance and international investments. On and on it's pick and choose the laws you like and ignore or bend the others.

Of course he learned from a master of law benders...When (1986) the World Court found America guilty of mining Nicaragua's harbors, Reagan told his advisors to tear up the treaty relating to that offense. When he was told that this required two years notice, he told them to tear up that part as well.


I think it’s obvious that, as a nation, we can’t turn our backs on the Iraqi people. Despite the protests of many honorable citizens, we gave them this terrible war and it’s too late for us to simply walk away. And it dishonors those who died believing that they were doing something good. So we need to be there for as long as it takes.

But this is simply disgusting…

“Rumsfeld said Sunday he gave President Bush a list of about 15 things "that could go terribly, terribly wrong before the war started."

He said they included Iraq's oil wells being set on fire; mass refugees and relocations; blown-up bridges; and a moat of oil around Baghdad, the capital.
"So a great many of the bad things that could have happened did not happen," Rumsfeld said.

Asked if his list included the possibility of such a strong insurgency, Rumsfeld said: "I don't remember whether that was on there, but certainly it was discussed."

Rumsfeld defended Cheney's recent statement that the insurgents are in their "last throes," saying there are many ways to measure their strength.”

Those happen to be the lamest excuses I have ever heard.

Can’t any one of these people own up to their mistakes?

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I went to the Social Security office yesterday to register for Medicare. You’re supposed to do that 3 months before you turn 65…That was quite an experience. From the outside, the office appears to be quite pleasant, nice architectural lines and a good color scheme. But inside…the first thing you see is a “Take a number” machine. Directly beyond that is a large waiting room with precisely placed rows of those uncomfortable stacking chairs, the kind you haul out when unexpected company shows up. The chairs are all facing one direction so it appears as if there were a class being held in the room and the teacher has stepped out for a minute. At the back of this “classroom” there sits a security guard at his own special desk with a video monitor showing the room. I’m not sure why he can’t simply look at the room by looking up from the monitor? But he looks very officious and after awhile I think that’s a good thing. On one wall, there are a few posters extolling the virtues of SSI in both English and Spanish. On the long wall that runs parallel to the seats there are three window opening, appropriately labeled 1, 2 and 3. Each window has 2 chairs placed in front of it and people are sitting on them and talking to someone on the other side of the window.

With my number (14) firmly in hand, we sit on 2 available chairs and begin our wait. Surprisingly, it only takes a minute or two. My number is called and we go window number 2, where my name and Social Security number are taken and I tell the clerk what it is that I want to do. I’m told to take a seat and I will be called again, this time by name and not number.

Now the waiting begins in earnest. People come and go and I realize that the first visit to the window was simply to find out what you wanted. You will be served whenever it’s convenient for someone, somewhere beyond the windows. And I also notice that the mood of those waiting is not entirely pleasant. Most of the people are visibly angry and that’s when I’m glad the security guard is present. I also notice that being called to window doesn’t seem to make people less angry, which is what I was hoping for.

Finally, I am called and we go to window #1. Here, a very pleasant young lady asks me once again as to my business and she also wants my name and number. Plus my driver’s license. I explain that since it is recommended by the Social Security Administration that I register for Medicare 3 months before I’m 65, I had decided to do that very thing. Did I want to register for retirement as well? I told her that I was going to wait until March, when I would be eligible for full benefits. Oh, oh! Now she was puzzled and told me that since she was “new here” that she would have to ask someone about the legality of my request.

Oh, oh…now I’m worried. During all of this waiting time, I had been observing her and the other clerks and it was obvious that she was the one that the rest of the clerks depended on for answers. I had assumed that she was the most senior of the clerks. Wrong! The real senior clerk soon appeared and reassured her that I was doing the right thing. And I could have an appointment to register for Medicare. An appointment? As it turns out, I will have a telephone appointment next week and then I will send them the appropriate documents by mail. All of that waiting and it turns out that the process will be handled by a telephone call. Ah! Government…you gotta love it!

As for the security guard, he was still intently looking at the room by looking at the monitor. And this thought comes to me...if some violence were to take place in the room, would he recognize it or would he assume it was just something on TV?

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Plum, the Plum, Boss...the Plum!

Harvest time is rolling around again. First up are the apricots and the plums. Sad to say, but the apricots, though plentiful, are so badly scarred from a hail storm that they are almost impossible to eat...ugly! We have been picking the ripe ones and then cutting them up for inclusion in our hot breakfast cereal. I might be able to salvage 50 or more from the two trees. A poor harvest.

The plums are almost the same, with lots of scars. But I eat them anyway, fresh and sweet. And I made some plum sauce this morning, since it doesn't require a good looking plum to be successful. That sauce will go on our pork dinners. Next I will try and make some plum butter!

Speaking of Multinationals

"Even as it proceeds with layoffs of up to 13,000 workers in Europe and the United States, I.B.M plans to increase its payroll in India this year by more than 14,000 workers, according to an internal company document."

For a net gain of 1,000 employees...for I.B.M, and a huge gain in corporate profits.

Fight terror with conveyor belts

Fight terror with conveyor belts and longer tables |
As a former frequesnt flyer, these stories always get my attention.

Since I would have to pass through airport security at least 4 times each week, I became somewhat of an "expert" on how to do it easily. I had my Airport Shoes; these had no metal in them and guaranteed quick transit. I knew enough to place most items in my checked luggage and everything else went into my briefcase for the trip through the security gauntlet. But sometimes it was the obvious things that irritated me the most. Like a table...I would find myself at the end of the conveyor, a basket or two filled with computer, briefcase and sweater and no place to put them while trying to get them all back in order. Frequently, I would simply stop, place them all on the floor, kneel down and begin the re-packing. Didn't it make sense that if you needed a table to unpack your stuff at one end of the security process, that you would need a table at the opposite end to reverse the process?

My favorite though was the "Don't Touch Table". If they wanted to more thoroughly examine your computer, they would take it to a table that held a specialized type of scanner. On this table, in small print, on a small label, were the words "Don't place any objects on this table". Of course! The table was at just the right height to set your briefcase while they worked on seeking out any bombs in your laptop. But...just glance down at that table as if you were thinking about touching it and they were on you like wolves on a rabbit! Get away from that table! I know it's silly, but wouldn't it make more sense to simply place this special table in a place where you wouldn't be tempted to touch it?


"It does raise questions about how much of the country we are willing to sell to a Communist country that we might be fighting someday."(MICHAEL O'HANLON, an international military specialist at the Brookings Institution, on the bid for Unocal Corporation by one of China's largest state-controlled oil companies.)

This statement disturbs me. The first thing I noted was his premise that Unocal was somehow the property of the US. “…how much of the country we are willing to sell”. Unocal, of course, is a multinational corporation. It belongs to the shareholders and they can decide where to place their loyalties. They are currently headquartered in El Segundo, California, but that’s just a place to store papers and mid-level executives. Their resources, the lifeblood of the corporation come from all over the world.

The second thing I noted was the fact that he was calling China a Communist country. They are not. No, they aren’t a democracy by any stretch…but they gave up communism a long time ago. I really don’t know what the proper term for them is…but it’s not communism anymore. (I think Castro is the last true communist) I would be more interested in determining and influencing the shape of their government, not raising the specter of possible war.

Third, I wondered why it was oil that got the attention of Mr. O’Hanlon? Why doesn’t the fact that China, among all the countries of the world, holds the most of our national debt bother him? And our balance of trade with China? Isn’t that worthy of mention? In the Port of Los Angeles alone, we import $35 billion dollars worth of Chinese finished goods annually. At the same time, we export $3 billion dollars worth of raw materials to China. That’s the figures from one port alone.

I know it’s not as dramatic a story as one with the word “oil’ in it, but Wal*Mart sold itself to China quite a few years ago, as did every multinational corporation that could.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cities May Seize Homes

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes - Yahoo! News
Can you, for a minute, think of any reason why a private entity should be able to persuade a city to condemn and take your property for their own use and profit?

If this doesn't scare are simply unconscious. I know, I know...they will take someone else's home, not yours.


“House Ethics Chairman May Quit, Officials Report”
House Ethics…is that an oxymoron?

It seems that “Doc” Hastings’s has now grown weary of being noticed by the press.

“Mr. Hastings was named chairman of the ethics committee in February, succeeding Representative Joel Hefley of Colorado, who drew the ire of some fellow Republicans when the committee admonished Mr. DeLay three times last year.” Naughty, naughty! Mr. Hefley. You must not speak ill of your fellow Republicans, even when they deserve it.

An article this week in The Tri-City Herald, the local newspaper of Mr. Hastings's hometown, Pasco, Washington, detailed his ties to Preston Gates & Ellis, a Seattle law firm that has been linked to Mr. DeLay, and to one of its major lobbying clients in the 1990's, the government of the Northern Mariana Islands, an American commonwealth in the Pacific.

“At the firm's urging, Mr. Hastings introduced testimony into the record in the House in support of the islands' efforts to prevent the federal minimum wage from being imposed on its clothing factories. The headline on the article was "Hastings' Link to Islands Sullies Ethics Post." The firm's former chief lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, is now the focus of a federal corruption investigation here.”

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Private Warriors

Did you get a chance to watch Frontline last night? A very good program with more information on the problems created by the Rumsfeld "Lean" military machine. Shouldn't someone show him where the door is?

But before he goes, how about a recap of the things said by this man...I found the following on a Slate web page, parodied as Donald's poetry.

The Unknown
As we know, There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know There are known unknowns. That is to say We know there are some things We do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, The ones we don't know We don't know.
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Glass Box
You know, it's the old glass box at the—At the gas station, Where you're using those little things Trying to pick up the prize, And you can't find it. It's—
And it's all these arms are going down in there, And so you keep dropping it And picking it up again and moving it, But—
Some of you are probably too young to remember those—Those glass boxes, But—
But they used to have them At all the gas stations When I was a kid.
—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

A Confession
Once in a while, I'm standing here, doing something. And I think,"What in the world am I doing here?"It's a big surprise.
—May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times

You're going to be told lots of things. You get told things every day that don't happen.
It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—It's printed in the press. The world thinks all these things happen. They never happened.
Everyone's so eager to get the story Before in fact the story's there That the world is constantly being fed Things that haven't happened.
All I can tell you is, It hasn't happened. It's going to happen.
—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious, What you can buy off the Internet In terms of overhead photography!
A trained ape can know an awful lot Of what is going on in this world, Just by punching on his mouse For a relatively modest cost!
—June 9, 2001, following European trip

The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous. The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous Ought not to be characterized as a pause. There will be some things that people will see. There will be some things that people won't see. And life goes on.
—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

I think what you'll find, I think what you'll find is, Whatever it is we do substantively, There will be near-perfect clarity As to what it is.
And it will be known, And it will be known to the Congress, And it will be known to you, Probably before we decide it, But it will be known.
—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

Nuclear Power Plants

Bush: U.S. Needs More Nuclear Power Plants - Yahoo! News

Finally, something that we agree on...but first let's check and see how much investing (in nuclear power) the extended Bush family has done recently. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that they had.


The day has started with a short road trip up to the feeder canal, where I opened the gate to let the water flow on down to our property. That was at 6 and now the orchard is about 1/3 covered with water. Once the water was flowing without a problem, I had to chance to wander around the garden and look at the progress of all of the plants. The straight neck yellow squash had doubled in size overnight, so I cut them off for dinner tonight. The tomatoes are growing like crazy, but no hint of red yet. My favorite garden activity? Eating cherry tomatoes…one for the basket, one for me…one for the basket, one for me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What Was Your Name Again?

What’s the matter with these people?
I officially left the Democratic Party about a year ago. When I moved to Glenn County, I registered as an Independent. To be honest, I had already left the Democratic Party in spirit when they nominated Al Gore to run. Perhaps even earlier than that…I left the Democratic Party when they stopped listening to ordinary citizens and that was long, long ago. Not that the Republicans listen, for they don’t either; they simply have better tacticians and less scruples.

So why am I talking about this? Because I received a letter today from the Democratic National Committee and this is how the letter begins; “Dear Fellow Democrat, blah, blah, blah…because you are an active and engaged member of our Party in your neighborhood, blah, blah. As a Democratic leader in your area, blah, blah, your insights, etc.” It ends with a big pitch for money.

And they wonder why they’re number 2…These people are simply clueless! My wife, who didn’t change her registration, has never received any communication from the Democrats.

Busy Day

Today is the day before I irrigate the orchard, so that means that I have to mow the orchard, allowing the water to move quickly across it in the morning. I got that chore done, plus mowing one of the front lawns and the one in the back yard. I cleaned the pool and weeded the garden. I painted a door frame in my glass studio and I cut my hair. And I harvested plums, a whole lot of them! Oh yes, I also lost a big branch of one of the peach trees. It broke under the weight of the peaches and I had to clean that up before I could finish mowing...we picked a bunch of the peaches and maybe a few will ripen.

The best part? Picking the plums. Taking a plum off of the tree and deciding to eat it. The warm juice spilling down your chin. Yep, it's the Garden of Eatin'.

Cellphones take up driver attention

Cellphones take up driver attention
This is one of those studies from the "Duh" Institute of Obvious Sciences. I hope no one paid for this...

Private Warriors

FRONTLINE: coming soon: private warriors | PBS

You might want to watch this one tonight...after all, you're paying for these guys. Big time!

Frist Reverses Himself

Frist Reverses Himself, Pushes Bolton Vote - Yahoo! News
Glad to see that Frist is his own man, a man with the courage of his convictions. Right!

Maybe...just maybe, John Bolton isn't qualified for the position. Did anyone ever think of that?


It’s a quarter to five and the sky is just now beginning to show some silver along the eastern edge. I can see the trees outside of my study window, in silhouette, and they are not moving at all, so that means that we should have a warmer day than yesterday. And the view reminded me of something that my granddaughter posted to her blog the other day…the wind rushing through the top of the trees; a drastic change from the sirens running past my bedroom window several times a night…She was writing of her time spent in Westwood, an old mill town in Lassen County, far away from her normal burdens of city life. And when I read it, I was transported back to our life in Janesville. The sound of the wind in the tree tops was quite dramatic, yet soothing at the same time; a paradox. You would hear a whisper at first. Looking up, you would see the thin tops of the pines begin to sway. The sound would quickly build to a roar and the tops would be swirling in every direction. And then, just as quickly as it began, the wind would fade away for a moment or two. And all during this time of tumult, you could barely feel a breeze at ground level. As if the trees were doing their utmost to protect you.

Americans Who Tell the Truth

Americans Who Tell the Truth
You might find these to be interesting; I did. What struck me was the wide political/social range of those who are portrayed; from Sojourner Truth to Dwight D. Eisenhower. There are 5 pages of portraits and short bio's for each.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Let Them Eat War

Let Them Eat War

Why do those who stand to gain the least from virtually every policy of George W. Bush, support him the most?Good question, and the answers are interesting. Senseless...but interesting.

"expertise unneeded"

FBI terrorism chiefs say Mideast expertise unneeded

Why think "outside the box" when it's so comfortable "inside"?

Good Book

I found this yesterday and thought you might find it interesting.

Prophetic Untimeliness by Os Guinness
An excerpt…
“The avant-garde is the rear guard” is said today with good reason, for many twenty-first century liberals have eighteenth-century views of progress, nineteenth-century views of science, and mid-twentieth-century views of fact and objectivity. The problem is not that these views are dated—the error of chronological snobbery is itself a legacy of modern time—but that they are untrue.

The paradox is evident on the conservative side too. Many conservatives, it is said, hate liberals more than they love freedom. But that is only the beginning of the contortions. Above all, conservatives today are anything but conservative when it comes to business and the environment. In these areas no one could be more stridently progressive than our brave conservatives. Historian John Lukacs writes, “ ‘Conservatives,’ especially in the United States, are some of the most strident proponents of ‘Progress’; their views of the present and future are not merely shortsighted but laden with a bellowing optimism that is imbecile rather than naïve.”

These ironies lead us right back to our central concern—how an unprecedented Christian pursuit of relevance has led directly to an unprecedented Christian irrelevance. To this special problem we can now turn, with this vivid awareness of how the pressures of modern time shape all of our lives, including our life of faith.”

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Memos Show British Concern Over Iraq Plans - Yahoo! News
And the leaks keep on coming! That's the hard part, keeping it a secret when you conspire to "conspire".
Here is the garden shot for this rainy day. There are all kinds of green tomatoes hidden in the vegetation. We just need some sunshine and heat. Posted by Hello


Another rainy day. How am I ever going to harvest my garden if it continues to rain like this? All of the garden plants look as if they would explode with fruits and vegetables if only it were a little bit warmer.

And the orchard is somewhat the same. The apricots are just about ready and I have been eating some plums. But I have to report that the fruit is pretty ugly. You may remember the hail storm that I reported earlier in the year and that has scarred a lot of the fruit. If you can ignore the pits and blemishes, the apricots are quite good. Peaches, nectarines and pears are all scarred as well. Only the prunes seemed immune to the hammering of the hail, but they were quite small at the time.

It's time for another photo of the garden and I will take one in a minute...

Ten, Count Them

Have you seen the Ten Commandments lately? No, not the movie. I mean the cheap plaster facsimiles that adorn government buildings all around this country. Some (a few) are actually made of stone and are an integral part of the structure that houses them.

For some reason, they have become very important lately. Some want them removed from public buildings and others are just as determined to see them remain. But what about you? You’re pretty much an “average citizen”, right? Do you know where they are? Have you actually seen them? And when you did see them, were you moved in any way? Did you pause to read them and reflect on their meaning?

I’m going to suggest that a very large majority of Americans cannot tell you when or where they last saw the Ten Commandments. And I’m also going to state, not suggest, that a large majority of Americans could care less about what is written on those “phony” tablets.

Now this is what was written on the “real” tablets…
I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me.
Exo 20:4 You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exo 20:5 You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me,
Exo 20:6 and showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments.
Exo 20:7 You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain. For Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.
Exo 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Jehovah your God. You shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger within your gates.
Exo 20:11 For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.
Exo 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which Jehovah your God gives you.
Exo 20:13 You shall not kill.
Exo 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's.
Those tablets don’t exist anymore. And they don’t need to. For we are supposed to live them, not worship them. That’s the second and third commandments.

According to some polls, and the figures keep changing, some 70 to 80 percent of Americans are Christians. And yet I have to wonder about those numbers…here are some other numbers that may make you wonder as well.

“According to a statement made on a recent airing of James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" radio show, only 13 percent of Americans base moral decisions on biblical teachings. Even more disturbing is the fact that, according to Dobson, only 32 percent of those who are born again believe in absolute truth. Moreover, only 6 percent of Christian teens believe in absolute truth. “

Personally, I think the furor over the removal or the keeping of the Ten Commandments on or in public buildings is being staged for political purposes only. And that should be a crime…

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Rest of the Story


Cold and calculating


New York Times/CBS poll
“The latest poll was conducted by telephone June 10 through Wednesday with 1,111 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.”

Respondents who approved of how Bush is handling…
His job…42%
His Foreign policy…39%
The economy…39%
Campaign against terrorism…52%
Social Security…25%

And those who represent us in Congress fare much worse.

33% approve of the way Congress is handling its job.
While only 19% think that Congress shares their priorities for the country.

Some other results…

51% said we should have stayed out of Iraq.

60% say that the war in Iraq is going badly.

33% say the country is on “The right track”, while 61% say the opposite.

But, as refreshing as it is to see that people are actually questioning this administration, it’s still only a poll. And as a nation we are far more complex than these simple question and answers would indicate.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hup, two, three- four

Here’s some stuff I picked up from the internet this morning, regarding Army recruiters and their "School Recruiting Program Handbook"

The handbook states, "The goal is school ownership that can only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments."

Some other statements from the handbook…
"The football team usually starts practicing in August, contact the coach and volunteer to assist in leading calisthenics or calling cadence during team runs."

"Homecoming normally happens in October, coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade."

"Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist."

"If you wait until they're seniors, it's probably too late,"
(This one really upsets me!)

"Don't forget the administrative staff. ... Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary's week, with a card or flowers."

"Get involved with local Boy Scout troops. Scoutmasters are typically happy to get any assistance you can offer. Many scouts are [high school] students and potential enlistees or student influencers."

Do you really believe that our children are mature enough at the age of 16 or 17 (even 18) to make a decision that will change (or end) their lives so dramatically?

I made my decision at the age of 19 and that was far too early. Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't take back those memories for anything. But I wish that I had asked more questions and perhaps made wiser career choices when I was talking to the recruiter. By the way...did you know that the recruiter doesn't come with you to "Boot camp"?

Tell Me More

WASHINGTON, June 15 - Senior Justice Department officials overrode the objections of career lawyers running the government's tobacco racketeering trial and ordered them to reduce the penalties sought at the close of the nine-month trial by $120 billion, internal documents and interviews show.

They have won the case against the tobacco companies but at the last moment they changed the amount from $130 billion to $10 billion. What’s going on? Is someone being paid off? The tobacco companies are the lowest of the low; immoral scum that deal in dangerous drugs. There is no defense for what they do and if that financial loss could hurt them in any way, we should go after it, certainly not pull back. Now I just read this morning that the lawyers who were handling the case were told by their boss to scale back the demand. And who is his boss? Someone, higher up, made that decision and they should be able to justify it. But, their feeble and only attempt to justify the reduction is that it would comply with an adverse decision from an appellate court earlier this year. It doesn’t read as if they are working for us at all. A more thorough explanation is in order if we are to believe that it wasn’t politically motivated. Follow the money? Sounds like good advice…

A good place to begin would be at the office of Robert McCallum, Associate Attorney General. He's number 3 in the department. And he is also a former partner at the law firm of Alston & Bird, doing legal work for R.J. Reynolds. And he just happens to be a good friend of Bush and a former Skull & Bones member.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Poor

SojoNet: Faith, Politics, and Culture

This article is well written and deserves your attention...


I really didn't want to know this...

"Americans shelled out $48 billion on lotteries in fiscal 2004, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. That means the average American spent more on lottery tickets than on reading materials or movie tickets."

New Definition

The board of General Motors has given the United Automobile Workers union until the end of the month to agree to cuts in its members' health care benefits, union officials said Tuesday.
Many local union leaders have said they were willing to make concessions, but not to the extent that G.M. was seeking. If the union and the company cannot agree by the end of the month, G.M. is threatening to make the cuts on its own. Such a step could lead to a breakdown in G.M.'s relations with the union and possible strikes.

Remember when contracts were legally binding documents and you signed them only after being very certain that the terms were satisfactory? I guess "Legal and Binding" has become "infinitely variable"...

Hey! I have an idea...make some vehicles that will sell.


Quake News
Apparently the quake in the Geysers was secondary to this which one did we observe?

Rummy Speaks

I just don't get it...

The detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be needed for years to come, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suggested on Tuesday. Mr. Rumsfeld said at a news conference at the Pentagon that there was no alternative site to hold and question the suspected terrorists there.

Rummy says that the prisoners are suspects. He doesn't say they are convicted felons. So why don't we try them? Are we not sure they are guilty? This whole thing is so un-American. This is something that Rummy and W know that they can't do on our own soil, so they do it on foreign soil. Shameful!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


How odd...I had just walked into the living room and was talking to Laurae. But my eye was focused on the pool. Why was the water sloshing back and forth? I interrupted her and we both looked at the odd sight. The water was rising and falling at least 6", but we didn't feel a thing. So I went to the computer and searched for seismic activity and sure enough, there had been a 3.9 magnitude earthquake at 7:57. The location was near the Geysers, less than a 100 miles away.

You can see how exciting our life is...not!


Just got back from my walk and read the paper...Oh, my! It has begun; the analysis of why the jury and the judge were wrong in the MJ case. Here are people who were never in the courtroom, never saw the evidence, never heard the testimony and never heard the judge's instructions. But...they know the truth. And I'm willing to bet a substantial amount of money that these same "experts" have never served on a jury and will do their very best to avoid jury duty. Why bother with trials at all when we have such great legal minds free for the asking?

Trust Me...I'm from the Government

I ran across this comment (and more) on an odd blog. Sadly, his comments reflect a growing perception of unions.

“Personally, I’d just as soon see all unions go the way of the dinosaur. The problems they were created to solve (poor working conditions, atrociously low wages) have largely been alleviated and, given the realities of today’s technology and media environment, are not that hard to monitor for future violations.”

So here is my perception...

I can’t help but wonder about this dream world that the writer inhabits. Does he really believe that the XYZ Corporation will continue to pay a living wage after the unions disappear? The marketplace demands a lower wage and a higher profit. Without a union contract, the wages will quickly fall to meet or beat the lowest wage.

It’s largely self defeating; as once the workers wages have declined to that lower number, there is no money left in their budgets to buy the products of the XYZ Corporation. So XYZ must become even more competitive, lowering wages again so that prices can be dropped. And there certainly isn’t any money available for XYZ to maintain workplace safety, so that has to go.

Don't believe it will happen? Read your history. The labor movement was created for a better workers lives, because companies like XYZ didn't care for their employees and the government wouldn't step in to protect them. (Remember the old saying..."Follow the money.")

And who is going to monitor XYZ for possible violations? The government? Would you trust the government to monitor anything? Anything at all? Please tell me; I’m really curious as to what portion of your life you would trust the government with…not just accept, but trust.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Don't read if you're at all bothered by violence...

Ah! Blessed Relief!

Michael Jackson found innocent on all 10 counts in his child molestation trial.

Now...can we please get back to real life? And real news?

I'm sure we can for a little while, but some other ugly little news story will quickly fill the vacuum and once more we will have to endure the "talking heads", "Faux News" and "film at 11!" while they magnify the story to an unbelievable size...


Ever been in a Carnegie library?

Andrew Carnegie, one of this countries wealthiest men decided that philanthropy was what the wealthy should be involved in. He put his money where his mouth was and gave small towns, all over America, libraries to educate those who wanted knowledge. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled "The Gospel of Wealth," in which he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately for their dependents, and distribute the rest of their riches to benefit the welfare and happiness of the common man--with the consideration to help only those who would help themselves. "The Best Fields for Philanthropy," his second essay, listed seven fields to which the wealthy should donate: universities, libraries, medical centers, public parks, meeting and concert halls, public baths, and churches. He later expanded this list to include gifts that promoted scientific research, the general spread of knowledge, and the promotion of world peace. Many of these organizations continue to this day: the Carnegie Corporation in New York, for example, helps support "Sesame Street."

Libraries were his favorite gift because people could choose to better themselves by using the library.

When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes in which he believed. His gifts to various charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. In todays dollars, that would be $7 billion!

He took a very dim view of the wealthy who believed in enjoying their wealth to the last minute and then leaving something as a bequest in their wills. "Men who leave vast sums in this way may fairly be thought men who who would not have left it at all, had they been able to take it with them." He also believed in taxing estates (inheritance taxes). "By taxing estates heavily at death the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaires unworthy life."

Did you know that plenty (over 120) of today's wealthiest feel the same way? Warren Buffett, George Soros and David Rockefeller are among them, and they have opposed recent Republican efforts to scrap the "death tax".

I've been to half a dozen of those libraries...Roseville has one. Chico has one. I even went to one in Petaluma. Check it might have one where you live.

Speaking of Letters

Here's one that I had to laugh about.

"The June 3 commentary "Many teachers prefer classrooms over politics"...hit a nerve with me. Not only do I wholeheartedly agree...but I offer up another aspect of the topic. I'm about to finish up my 31st year as a middle school teacher. I'm also a conservative. For three decades I have watched my union dues used to support the very politicians whom I vote against. And there's nothing I can do about it. The system has us all by the throat."

Now here's my take on it...I'm 64 years old and for the past 43 years I have watched my taxes go to causes and laws that I didn't support. And there was something I could do about it. I voted.

I won't include the letter writers name, since on reflection I would hope that they would be embarrassed by what they wrote...especially so if they ever taught civics in their 30+ year career.


I was reading the newspaper this morning and couldn't help but notice the vitriol filling the letters to the editor. I find it absolutely amazing that the Bee gets taken to task for what is written on the editorial pages. Those pages are labeled, quite boldly, OPINION. What's so hard to understand about that? Or are there no valid opinions except the conservative ones? I guess I will never understand why conservatives are filled with so much hate...but that's just an opinion.

Business As Usual

Tell me again why I'm supposed to respect those who govern...I seem to have forgotten.

"For most Americans, the influence on the last election of unregulated partisan groups with huge advertising budgets was evidence that campaign finance reform has not gone far enough. But not for a group of brazen House Republicans who are trying to gut 30 years of checks on campaign spending and allow fat-cat donors to once more write six-figure checks to candidates."

"A shameful bill that would undo much of the post-Watergate reforms is being rushed to the House floor. It would scrap a donor's current limit of $40,000 for candidates across a two-year cycle and let him give $2 million or more. Further, the bill would attack the more recent McCain-Feingold campaign controls by letting the national parties wheel and deal in unlimited amounts in supporting favored candidates."

I guess the increase to $2 million can be charged to the cost of doing business.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Luckily, there is plenty of water to play in at Turtle Bay Posted by Hello

Turtle Bay

We spent the day (yesterday) up at Turtle Bay and the new McConnell Arboretum & Gardens.

If you haven't been to Redding lately, you should make a point of visiting Turtle will change any of your previous conceptions of the city.

And if you have small children...they will love it! And if you're a gardener, or wish you will love it!

But a word of caution. They have a restaurant with a view of the bridge, but it's pricey and the wait for food can exceed your children's (and your) patience. Luckily, they warned us before we ordered that the wait would be at least 40 minutes. Yeah, tell that to a pair of cranky and hungry twins...we settled for a bagel and the promise of food at a later hour. (They have no restrictions on bringing your own food.)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

This is a good story...With all of his success, you would think that more people in the financial world would emulate his strategies. But they don't. He is so un-cool! And so very strange at the same time?

The market price for one (1) share of Berkshire Hathaway stock on Friday was $83,000.11. So much for cool!

Money = happiness? Apparently it still doesn't.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms

What are the Feds thinking? Here is a chance to really hurt the tobacco companies and make them change their ways. The big tobacco companies haven't learned yet, now they are buying foreign tobacco companies to spread their poison and increase their profits. A large judgement will go a long way towards slowing them down. Who's telling them to back off? Can you say "Campaign Contribution"?

Bush and Brown

Save our Courts - Federal Judicial Nominees

Won't someone tell the Emperor?

9/11 Public Discourse Project

9/11 Public Discourse Project
Bipartisan! What a novel concept...

Keep your eye on this group as I predict that the White House will do their best to discredit them. I hope I'm wrong...

White House Weather

Where, exactly, does the “buck” stop? Why is it OK to “Manipulate intelligence”? And why doesn’t someone tell the Emperor he’s naked?

From the NY Times...
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.
Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.

American Rhetoric

American Rhetoric

I was 13 when I heard this. My mother would watch the hearings every day and I would join her at times. I remember applauding after Mr. Welch spoke...someone finally had the courage to tell this demagogue that he was wrong. And that was all it took, one person to expose McCarthy for what he was and it was as if a cloud had lifted from over America. Reminds me of the story of the Emperors New Clothes...

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

The Supremes

The Supreme Court has ruled against medical marijuana and it’s created quite a stir. Those advocates, both pro and con, are quite vocal about their positions. I guess I can add my opinion as well…

First; I don’t smoke…anything. I don’t drink and the only drugs I’m taking are an aspirin a day and some vitamins. And when I look at this issue I see it only as a matter of fairness. Alcohol has certainly ruined more lives than marijuana. Tobacco use kills and disfigures thousands of people each year. Yet those two drugs have some respectability, why? True, tobacco’s respectability is on the wane, but tobacco stock is still traded on the stock exchanges and reputable? Magazines still feature ads for its use. But the government refuses to even consider studying or discussing marijuana for any possible benefit. (There may be some benefits, but I would assume that it’s fairly small.)

The whole subject baffles me. Alcohol and nicotine are drugs that are poisonous to the central nervous system. Alcoholism is rampant throughout the world. There is no debate on that. People don’t drink bourbon because it tastes good; they drink it because of how it makes them feel when they drink it. Wine may taste better, but the underlying reason to drink it is because of how it makes you feel. Have a glass of wine…unwind.

I suppose I will never understand it; why alcohol and tobacco get respect and another, very similar drug, doesn’t. But shouldn’t “Being fair” enter into the decision as to whether or not a drug should be studied?

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Everything is growing well.

How Very Cool

My sister is a grandmother! Our niece gave birth to a lovely baby girl...Sophia Grace and she is perfect. I know...I saw her pictures!

What was odd was the fact that Laurae had marked up her calendar awhile ago and had printed "Erin - Baby" in the box for the 4th of June.


I don’t know about you, but long ago I grew increasingly irritated as more and more institutions demanded my Social Security number to use in my transactions with them. You couldn’t get a credit card without giving away that number; you couldn’t get a loan without giving that number away, although it quite clearly states on the card that it’s not to be used for identification. It has become pervasive in our society, so much so that the act of withholding it is meaningless. And because we have allowed this numbering system to become so common and meaningless, we have a whole new industry…

These days, most immigrants working unlawfully buy a document combo for $100 to $200 that includes a fake green card and fake Social Security card with a nine-digit number plucked out of thin air. "They'll make it for you right there at the flea market," said David Blanco, an illegal immigrant from Costa Rica who works as an auto mechanic in Stockton, Calif.

This process has one big drawback, however. Each year, Social Security receives millions of W-2 earning statements with names or numbers that do not match its records. Nine million poured in for 2002, many of them just simple mistakes. In response the agency sends hundreds of thousands of letters asking employers to correct the information. These letters can provoke the firing of the offending worker.

That chance of a firing has started another industry, renting out of valid numbers.

Many legal immigrants, whether living in the United States or back in Mexico, are happy to provide them: as they pad their earnings by letting illegal immigrants work under their name and number, they also enhance their own unemployment and pension benefits. And sometimes they charge for the favor.

And still we haven’t learned…the Social Security card, whether valid or false, still states that it is not to be used for identification.

Monday, June 6, 2005

I Shouldn't...

I don't know why I'm posting this, as it will only encourage eldest daughter just sent me this and I found myself laughing at it.

For All Those Who Take Life Too Seriously:
1. Save The Whales. Collect The Whole Set.
2. A Day Without Sunshine Is Like, Night.
3. On The Other Hand, You Have Different Fingers.
4. I Just Got Lost In Thought. It Wasn't Familiar Territory.
5. 42.7 Percent Of All Statistics Are Made Up On The Spot.
6. 99 Percent Of Lawyers Give The Rest A Bad Name.
7. I Feel Like I'm Diagonally Parked In A Parallel Universe.
8. Honk If You Love Peace And Quiet.
9. Remember, Half The People You Know Are Below Average.
10. He Who Laughs Last Thinks Slowest.
11. Depression Is Merely Anger Without Enthusiasm.
12. The Early Bird May Get The Worm, But The Second Mouse Gets The Cheese.
13. I Drive Way Too Fast To Worry About Cholesterol.
14. Support Bacteria. They're The Only Culture Some People Have.
15. Monday Is An Awful Way To Spend 1/7 Of Your Week.
16. A Clear Conscience Is Usually The Sign Of A Bad Memory.
17. Change Is Inevitable, Except From Vending Machines.
18. Get A New Car For Your Spouse. It'll Be A Great Trade!
19. Plan To Be Spontaneous Tomorrow.
20. Always Try To Be Modest, And Be Proud Of It!
21. If You Think Nobody Cares, Try Missing A Couple Of Payments.
22. How Many Of You Believe In Psycho-kinesis? Raise My Hand.
23 . Ok, So What's The Speed Of Dark?
24. How Do You Tell When You're Out Of Invisible Ink?
25. If Everything Seems To Be Going Well, You Have Obviously Overlooked Something.
26. When Everything Is Coming Your Way, You're In The Wrong Lane.
27. Hard Work Pays Off In The Future. Laziness Pays Off Now.
28. Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.
29. If Barbie Is So Popular, Why Do You Have To Buy Her Friends?
30. How Much Deeper Would The Ocean Be Without Sponges?
31. Eagles May Soar, But Weasels Do Not Get Sucked Into Jet Engines.
32. What Happens If You Get Scared Half To Death Twice?
33. I Used To Have An Open Mind But My Brains Kept Falling Out.
34. I Couldn't Repair Your Brakes, So I Made Your Horn Louder.
35. Why Do Psychics Have To Ask You For Your Name?
36. Inside Every Older Person Is A Younger Person Wondering 'what Happened?'
37. Just Remember - If The World Did Not Suck, We Would All Fall Off.
38. Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.
The (future) grape harvest...


Monday has arrived. And it looks like it will be a nice day, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is going to be quite a bit lower than normal. Not the best weather for gardens, as the plants seem to do best when it’s in the 80’s, but not bad for gardeners who don’t feel like sweating a lot while weeding. I do enjoy warm weather, even hot weather…but I must admit that it interferes with my gardening plans when it gets up into the high 90’s, and even the plants are stressed at that temperature. As soon as the sun is up, I will take a picture of the grapes I have growing in the garden. If they all ripen, as I think they will, we will have a bumper crop! I read the other day that the wine grape harvest is supposed to be a record one and so I suppose it follows that table grapes would have a similar forecast. Since this is just our first full year in Orland, I don’t really have a feel for harvest dates yet. I seem to remember that the grapes were almost completely ripe last year at this date. And I know that the apricots were ripe…but not this year. It will be at least another 2 or 3 weeks before the apricots turn from green to gold. I really should keep a garden diary, complete with dates for harvesting and maybe it will all make sense in a few years.

Yes, Saturday was the one year anniversary of our move from the city to the country. And I rarely think of that old house and neighborhood anymore. If I miss anything about it at all, it would have to be Monday breakfasts with Dennis and Trader Joe’s.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Conservatives see liberal bias in class - and mobilize

Conservatives see liberal bias in class - and mobilize | csmonitor.comWell, of course! Everyone knows that conservatives hold the key to the TRUTH. You didn't know that? Ask one...

But I have a better idea...why not teach children to think for themselves. Show them how to search out facts and weigh them. Don't teach Left or Right. Teach critical thinking.

Government Logic

While I was enjoying that website that defined government contract language…this memory came to me. At one time my father owned a mechanical engineering and contracting firm, a very small one. But he had a good friend, a Rear Admiral with an office in the Pentagon. (I remembered him well as Commander Daniels, but that’s another story.) My father bid on and received a contract to refurbish the power plant boilers at a naval station. And he was also directed to build some brick barbecues at the Officers Barracks. This was an addition to his contract and it was justified by the fact that the power plant had a direct connection to the barracks, via conduit and piping, thereby making it an extension of the power plant. Or part of the Utility Distribution System.

"Utility distribution system," as used in this subpart, includes distribution and transmission lines, substations, or installed equipment forming an integral part of the system by which gas, water, steam, electricity, sewerage, or other utility services are transmitted between the outside building or structure in which the services are used and the point of origin, disposal, or connection with some other system. It does not include communication services.

All perfectly logical!

Follow More of the Money

These are contracts for one (1) day. These are published every working day and list every contract over $5 million. Below $5 million is chump change...and you needn't worry about who gets the contract.

I did get a laugh from some of the language used. Did you see the word, "undefinitized" as in undefinitized contractual action? I couldn't find that word in my dictionary, so I Googled for a definition...and I found a site that provides definitions for US government contract language!

Wow! Who would've thought?

Follow the Money

Defense spending in billions of dollars
United States $419
Russia $65
China $56
United Kingdom $49
Japan $45
France $40
Germany $30
Saudi Arabia $19
India $19
Italy $18
South Korea $16
Australia $12
Turkey $12
Israel $12
Canada $10
Spain $10
Brazil $9
Netherlands $8
Taiwan $8
Greece $7
Indonesia $6
Sweden $6
North Korea $6
Ukraine $6
Singapore $5
Poland $4
Norway $4
Kuwait $4
Iran $4
Belgium $3
Pakistan $3
Colombia $3
Portugal $3
Vietnam $3
Denmark $3
Mexico $3
Egypt $3
Czech Republic $2
Hungary $2
Syria $2
Argentina $2
Romania $2
Cuba $1

Source: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Who Said That?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Some data:

$4.4 billion: The cost of two B-2 Bombers.

$3.2 billion: The annual budget for the World Food Program to assist 104 million starving and malnourished people in 81 countries.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Rule of Law II

Rule of law is often cited by Bush as a hallmark of a civilized nation. So what are we, a civilized nation, doing in Guantánamo?

For myself, I found it quite telling when the administration reacted so vehemently to the criticism of this prison camp by Amnesty International.

“President Bush called the report "absurd" several times, and said it was the product of people who "hate America." Vice President Dick Cheney told CNN that he was "offended" by the use of the term and that he did not take the organization "seriously." And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called the comparison "reprehensible."”

This is pretty much typical of what these people do when criticized; they attack and never answer the criticism with facts that might support their position. I guess it’s all part of the “the best defense is a good offense” mentality.

Amnesty replies… "If our reports are so 'absurd,' why did the administration repeatedly cite our findings about Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war?" wrote William F. Schultz, executive director of the group's United States branch, in a letter to the editor being published Saturday in The New York Times. "Why does it welcome our criticisms of Cuba, China and North Korea? And why does it cite our research in its own annual human rights reports?"

All good questions. But will this administration step off of its high horse and answer them?

Friday, June 3, 2005

Here We Go Again

Apparently, Bush is convinced that the problem with big businesses is that too many people just don’t trust them. So he has nominated Christopher Cox to head the S.E.C. Well, tell me…should we trust Big Business? Can you think of any reason at all why we shouldn’t? (hint: think Bernie Ebbers. Think Enron, etc, etc.)

“Mr. Cox - a devoted student of Ayn Rand, the high priestess of unfettered capitalism - has a long record in the House of promoting the agenda of business interests that are a cornerstone of the Republican Party's political and financial support.

A major recipient of contributions from business groups, the accounting profession and Silicon Valley, he has fought against accounting rules that would give less favorable treatment to corporate mergers and executive stock options. He opposes taxes on dividends and capital gains. And he helped to steer through the House a bill making investor lawsuits more difficult.”

I especially like this one... “He opposes taxes on dividends and capital gains.” That is saying that he opposes taxing any money that you make by playing the stock market. Or even more simply said; he opposes taxes on gambling earnings. Although I feel he has a far different view when it comes to losses.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Museums of Interesting Things

IMuseums of Interesting Things
I guess I have found one the better websites...Now I'm subscribing to the newsletter so that I can be reminded to visit every day. I love this kind of stuff!

The Information Age

Thursday is the name of the day; let me check that first, I’ve been wrong about my calendar facts recently. Yes, it is Thursday…according to my computer. And that statement makes me wonder what we would do without our computers? Some would argue that we are far too dependant upon them. Others, such as me, would say that we need faster and more powerful ones. When I was growing up, I used the tool called “books” to access information and some people used to tell me that I spent far too much time reading. So I just read faster. Now I wonder how my life would have been different if I had had access to a personal computer during my school years.

For those of my generation, television was the defining event in our lives. It had the power of books and it could attract everyone, even those who would never set foot in a library. And so, it is sad to see how television has lost its promise, lured away from being a great tool of education to simply being another way to sell beer.

And what about the computer as a tool for education? Will the same fate befall it?

Truth and Deceit

Truth and Deceit

Good article. I am glad to see that someone else saw the similarities between the events of the Nixon era and those of this administration. But why should I be surprised? It's because most have forgotten about those events...or weren't even born yet. It seems as if each generation has to to learn the truth, painfully, about the honor and integrity of its elected leaders.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Yeah, this really makes me want to buy chicken...

Yeah, this really makes me want to buy chicken...Good for the Brits! At least they were able to complain to an agency of sorts; the ASA. I wonder if we have one in our country? I have complained (once) to Carl's concerning their rude commercials...but, as you can imagine, they had a good laugh over my complaint.

Rumsfeld Defends the Treatment of Prisoners

Rumsfeld Defends Treatment of Prisoners

What is it about the word "suspect" that Donald and his boss don't understand? Not tried, not convicted...suspected. Is that a difficult concept? Or, hey! Let's do this...we can have trials and determine the guilt or innocence of the suspects. And that is a concept that those two should understand.

Truth Be Told

The Patriot Act is coming up for renewal and the Republicans are acting just like…Republicans, again.

For instance; “Citizens who want to keep an eye on the process will have no easy task. The most crucial debates of the Senate Intelligence Committee are being kept closed to the public.”

What’s with Republicans and secrets? The very first thing that Bush did when elected (2000) was to seal all the presidential papers of his father. Why? Had he done something wrong? And now I read that Bush won’t let the Senate see the secret files about the conduct of John Bolton.

I can tell you that the story about Mark Felt brought back all of those memories of Republican deception during the Nixon years. And I can certainly see a lot of the same behavior by this administration. I can only hope that there might be another Woodward and Bernstein…and another Mark Felt.