Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just a Sample

A sample of some ads I just spotted on a web page…

Download a Term Paper Now
We have a paper on your topic. Download the one you need now.
www.research-assistance.com
Learn a Language for Free
Free download teaches you to speak any of 11 languages in just minutes
www.byki.com
Glimpses of China
Summer program in Shanghai for high-achieving high school students
www.foundationprograms.com

So, what is the cost of “higher education” these days? I guess it’s whatever a term paper costs.

A Letter to Congress

Read "Empire of Debt"
And after you read this article, click here to visit a great websiteif you want to keep informed on things financial...

Let it snow, let it snow...let it snow!

Light Flurries Projector
Honey! Where's the snow shovel?

A Frightening Tale...

The Martyrs of Alcatraz
A story of America from long ago...how long ago was it?

Here's some more on the subject.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Clinton Budget Well Received in the Region

From the archives
Sorry, you will need a free pass from the Times to view the page...but here's a sample, "With a muscular economy fueling projections of surpluses into the next decade, the budget President Clinton proposed today would increase Federal spending on an array of programs important to the New York region, with education, heating, defense and housing programs benefiting the most." Remember those days?

Recess

The members of Congress left Washington just before Thanksgiving and won’t be seen again until mid-December. But they left a few vital measures behind. They headed home without approving any money to help poor Americans pay their heating bills this winter. Although they had earlier agreed to allocate up to $2 billion in home heating subsidies, they failed to pass the bill that included that money when push came to shove. They also failed to come up with the additional $3 billion that is needed to cover the huge price increases in various fuels since Hurricane Katrina.

So…is it time to read the Randy Cunningham story again?

Wired News

...Blogging With a Wooden Tongue
I'm glad to see that my news aggregator has included news from Wired...always a favorite of mine, despite my hassles with their subscription department. And if you want to see a good example of the "wooden tongue" in action, visit the blogs/websites of any of our politicians. You will find that your comments are NOT invited and the whole thing reads like a press release. (Which it is)

Ex-Powell aide rips Bush

...on Iraq, detainees, and U.S. Security
Here's a report that is 5 years too late. But he's only verifying what many knew to be true and were ignored.

Congressman Admits Taking Bribes

Randy! How could you?
Apparently you can't depend upon a politician to tell you the truth...I'm absolutely appalled!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Kalamazoo tuition

gift generates big interest
Imagine that! Just a C average gets you a full ride tuition...if you were smart enough to live in Kalamazoo.

Bush Promotes Guest-Worker Plan, Immigration Policy

NPR
I listened to this today (You can to)...it's a good story. As usual, it's not a simple story. By creating a guest worker program, are we actually creating a servant class? We are unless we pay a living wage. What will we pay the guest worker? The only reason Americans won't do the jobs that illegals do, is because of the poor pay. And if we create a guest worker classification I would assume that it would pay better than what we are currently paying illegals. Now you would be denying Americans jobs...

Bush to tackle illegal immigration

From Yahoo! News
Now we will see the administration engage in some very fancy "footwork" as they try to appear as if they want to close the borders, while at the same time they know that their Republican $$supporters$$ in the business world want their cheap labor supply to be uninterrupted.This will require more brainpower than is currently available in Congress.

Afraid

A scary thought…it seems that pharmaceutical companies aren’t satisfied with having the president and congress in their pockets, they want it all! So they are recruiting “pep squad” members to become sales reps…

“"Exaggerated motions, exaggerated smiles, exaggerated enthusiasm - they learn those things and they can get people to do what they want."LYNN WILLIAMSON, an adviser at the University of Kentucky, on why so many former cheerleaders are hired as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies.”

So give me an “N”, give me an “E”, give me an “X”…Yay, Nexium!!!! Go! Go! Go!

Mission Impossible?

Just a passing thought; I was attending our study group meeting at the church last night and we were reading the lesson for the second Sunday of Advent and somehow the conversation came around to some things that Jesus said…and that is when I thought that it should be a “requirement” that all Bibles be Red Letter Versions, that is where all the words ascribed to Jesus are in red print. That way there would be no doubt as to what the Son of God told us to do…The 6th chapter of Luke is a good example. And then we could make sure that all of our representatives; local, state and federal, have a copy…Now there’s a mission project!

Balancing the Budget

The budget bill that the House Representatives recently passed included about $50 billion in spending cuts. Some of those cuts were; $5 billion in child support, $600 million in foster care and $700 million in food stamps. (This feeds children as well)  But to even things up…they included at least $60 billion in tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthiest. After all, fair is fair!

Some other statistics. There were 119,000 children waiting to be adopted in 2003. And every year, 18,000 – 20,000 0f those children “Age out”. They turn 18 and are no longer adoptable. Or supported in any way. They are shown to the front door and asked to leave. Too bad! So sorry!

Room for Christ

Room for Christ by Dorothy Day
Once again, the Daily Dig has an article worth contemplating at this early hour.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Shhh!

Saturday morning has arrived again and the house is sort of quiet. It has been a restless night for the twins and for their dad, whose back is giving him lots of pain. I can hear Steven (or is it Abby?) crying softly in the other bedroom and then the noise stops for awhile. Only to resume once again, just when you think they are finally asleep.

It’s time for my second cup of coffee but I’m quite aware of the fact that I will have to travel down the hall, past the children’s room to get it. And my trip will cause the motion sensor to turn on a light in the hallway. Will the twins be asleep? Or will the light let them know that I’m up and about?

OK, I’m back and apparently I disturbed no one with my travels...It has been a quiet few days for news, even with the use of the news aggregator; I haven’t found much that I want to comment on. I did find a few new blogs that I will enjoy reading and some interesting new commentaries as well.

It’s time to browse the news again and see if there isn’t something worth commenting on.

I did find an article on Richard Pombo, the Republican congressman who thinks it’s a good thing to build a new freeway from Tracy to San Jose…over land that he and his family owns. He is also in charge of the committee that oversees U.S public lands and thinks that it’s time we used (sold) those lands and made a little money on the deals. It’s not surprising that he is also involved in the real estate business. But it’s his ethics bankruptcy that scares me.

And I found another article on the Medicare fiasco. This one is written by the Wall Street Journal and demonstrates that even some conservatives can see greed as being something “bad”, every once in awhile. Although their main complaint seems to be that the Republican Medicare drug fiasco will only make it harder to fool the public in the years to come. Naturally.

And then there is an article from Slate regarding Cheney’s recent diatribes against anyone who might dare to question the Commander-in-Chief.  

Friday, November 25, 2005

Want to Ride? Papers, Please.

This is one story that should really bother you...

http://www.papersplease.org/davis/facts.html

Same Old, Same Old

Everything returns to normal…

I just read the headlines in the Sacramento Bee and one story tells of the courageous stand taken by Sacramento area school district administrators. Although they had to lose some teachers positions due to budget cuts, they were able to hold the line and no administrators lost their jobs. It’s great to read some good news once in awhile.

Just Another Black Friday Blog

Today is Black Friday, the ultimate shopping day for millions of people. These are the people that will ultimately make or break the fortunes of American retailers. For some odd reason, whatever happens in the marketplace on this ritualized day after Thanksgiving sets the pace and drives the economy for the next 30 days, or until Christmas.

Even as I type these words in the early morning darkness, ordinary citizens are awake and priming themselves to become hunters and gatherers once more; all vestiges of civilized behavior will disappear as they charge into the shopping fray. The newspapers will then report that some people were injured when the doors opened and there will be photographs of people fighting over prime bits of merchandise.

Let me say that I don’t intend to be anywhere near a shopping center today. For the introverted, this is definitely a day to avoid shopping. For those who wish to make a statement about excess, it’s also a day to Buy Nothing… I just checked their website and they have a countdown clock; now showing less than a minute to 5, the hour that the doors will open and the hordes will descend upon the hapless clerks. Oh! The humanity…!

And speaking of Introversion versus Extroversion, my extroverted daughter brought her karaoke machine to our holiday celebration yesterday. Classic! Within an hour, the Introverts were huddled together in another part of the house. But what a great celebration it was, with lots of children, grandchildren and laughter. And nothing makes this grandfather happier than seeing his family all gathered together.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Official Stuff

...and other facts pertinent to Iraq
No one could have made up this stuff!

Firefighter tests turkey fryer

This is just a test!
For some reason, I thought this was an appropriate link for today...

Not exactly "News"


But here is some great information. My sister sent this to me yesterday, and although I have no immediate need for it, I am going to print a copy.

Ignoring data can 'help memory'

BBC NEWS
Now that I have access to all of the world's news...this is the article that I chose to show you. Go figure!

Now...is "scatterbrained" a slur, or is it praise? (I'm choosing "praise".)

Thanksgiving Day

It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I am awake at a slightly later hour; and along with my coffee, I’m enjoying the fact that the house is filled with children and grandchildren. What a wonderful feeling! And more will arrive later today…making the day even better!

I’m trying to be quiet this morning as there are sleepers in most all of the rooms, including some on an air mattress in the living room. I have already heard a few noises from the room where the twins are sleeping and I imagine that they will be the first to wake. And when that happens, all of us will soon be awake! There is no hiding from those two…

It appears that the email logjam has broken. Some mail never made it, but I found about 20 messages in my inbox this morning, including some that were 24 hours old.

And along with the email, I now have a “News Aggregator” to keep me better informed. I chose Pluck (Free!) from among the many available and so far it seems like a good choice. RSS feeds are very easy to subscribe to and Pluck has a lengthy list of them to choose from. Now why didn’t I do this before? I have heard about aggregators for years, but never did any investigating. Now I see that I have been missing out on an easy method of dealing with news.

I guess I had better start looking at the news…Now, where do I begin?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Reliable Communication

I have decided to try something other than email to get my news. Something that will, perhaps, be more dependable; a news aggregator. After much research I have downloaded Pluck. (Yesterday) Now if I could only get it to work…there seems to be a mail delivery problem with Direcway and I’m not getting a timely delivery of mail. I expect to see about a dozen emails each morning when I sit down in our study with coffee in hand. That would be normal; this morning I had three. And one that is still missing is a verification email from Pluck. The program won’t work with out my replying to it.

Right now, the only reliable communication I have is this blog…or the phone. (How 20th century!)

Real World

News from the real world…

“More than 80 percent of manufacturers report that a moderate to severe shortage of skilled employees is hindering their ability to meet customer demands, according to a report Tuesday by the National Association of Manufacturers. Technologically sophisticated factories are struggling to find a younger generation of machinists, technicians, and engineers to replace skilled workers entering retirement, the report said.”

It’s not just the manufacturing sector that has this problem; construction jobs require skilled workers as well and they can’t be found. And this news is not likely to get better. Our high schools are simply not delivering that generation of workers needed to fill those jobs. Schools focus their energy on delivering every student to the front door of the university.

And at the same time, the schools (in California) will allow 50,000 students to leave high school this year without a diploma. They didn’t fit the “university mold” and they didn’t pass the exit exam. That’s not a failure on the part of the students, that’s a failure of our society to address the real world educational needs of all of our children.

And these 50,000 non-students won’t simply disappear, they become the unemployable and next year they will be joined by 50,000 more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Anyone can write a blog

but will anyone read it?
Some handy tips...and then, the most important one of all. "Spelling and grammar count. Some in the blogging community believe that you should just let it all flow, typos and all. It's not true. Readers hate poor English and sloppy writing. And they will not hesitate to tell you so."

And since Blogger.com lets you use Word to post your blogs, there should be very few typos.

Tuesday Morning Musing

Tuesday has arrived on schedule. And I have slept in this morning; always a good thing! In fact, it was a terrible dream that finally got me out of bed or I might be sleeping still. In my dream I was seated at a conference table (with others) and an auditor told me, quite sternly, “bring in all of your work on Monday.” Such a thing never happened in real life and so I suspect that that I must be feeling some residual guilt? But why? Guilt? I used to get great annual performance reviews and never had to worry about such things. I can tell you that it was a relief to wake up and remember that I was retired and the “auditor” doesn’t exist. (Or does he?)

Perhaps it’s because, at times, Laurae and I have marveled at the fact that I can be paid each month and don’t actually have to go to work for that paycheck. Having worked regularly since 1956; I suppose that might instill a sense of responsibility. Want money? You must work for it. Now I don’t…weird!

Now that we’re talking about retirement, how about a discussion on General Motors, Delphi, Delta airlines and others that say that pension requirements are driving them to bankruptcy. What I find odd about these complaints is the fact that the pensions were always an important part of a contract. Contracts are agreements between two parties. There are no contracts where both parties don’t agree on the terms. If you don’t like a contract, don’t sign it. It really is that simple. Now, the taxpayer will bail out those companies that decided to ignore that part of their contracts with labor. And in the meantime, the corporate flacks and their Republican counterparts are spreading the word that “greedy unions” have caused their problems. It’s the contract, stupid!

Monday, November 21, 2005

SeatGuru.com

- Your Enlightened Guide to Airplane Seating
Very nice...if only I had known about this in my previous life.

Cheney Lashes Out

at Bush's Iraq Critics
He still doesn't understand the truth when he sees it. And if he had actually listened to Murtha...but I digress, he doesn't listen to anyone. If it wasn't so serious, it would be laughable.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Download.com

Reviews and free downloads at Download.com
I had almost forgotten about this site. I used to use it back in the day...when I downloaded LOTS of stuff. And at the time there were plenty of download sites to choose from. This one has stood the test of time and still has plenty of freeware.

I was here to download an FTP client as I want to begin podcasting and the program/site I will be using requires that files be uploaded via FTP...of course I found a free client here, and that will work with my free podcast software and free podcast hosting site. How nice!

Batter up! Germany warned U.S

on faulty intelligence
When you're at bat, you really need to be looking out for the "curveball".

Another link... http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0402-01.htm

Something New

What else is new? We were in Chico yesterday and saw that the new Trader Joe’s store is on track to open in a few weeks. The sign has now been installed on the outside of the building and they have been busy hiring at the site. One thing that we don’t have (yet!) is a Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer; the sales publication that previews the best of what TJ has to offer. But…you can go on-line to get one. It’s a .pdf file and you can print your very own flyer, long before the post office delivers one to you.

Slow News Day

Sunday is a very slow email day, with only a few items arriving overnight in my in-basket. If I want to know what has happened to the world outside of this house, I have to search for the information; it’s not being delivered to me. I did receive the New York Times and read an Op-Ed piece on the plans of the two political parties to sneak in some legislation vital to their common interests; one is a bill that would modify campaign financing rules and allow unlimited financing of internet campaigns. The other, not a bill, is the plan for Bush to use Recess Appointment powers to appoint new Federal Election Commissioners. He is planning on giving both parties some “reliable” members, ones that will remember just how they came to power, not like Scott Thomas, the F.E.C. Chairman. Though he is a Democrat, the Democrats want to dump him because he has been fair and impartial. In politics? What was he thinking?

And; can you imagine what the internet will look like with unlimited money being spent on political advertising? Next will be a bill to outlaw the use of spam and pop-up blocking software…!

There is another “internet”. Like a parallel universe, but we have no access to it. Only the privileged few use it, and just like the original, it’s all about data…not a pop-up in sight! We could use a good alternate internet right about now.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bush vows to 'stay in the fight'

Bush vows to 'stay in the fight' in Iraq
Words to remember..."Mission accomplished!"

Weekend Chores

The weekend is here and Thanksgiving is close at hand. And we have already begun to shop, buying a large turkey and some of the other required Thanksgiving staples. We will wait till mid-week before buying the necessary fresh vegetables for the dinner. I heard that our granddaughter wants to make a dish for the holiday table. Great! And I will be trying out a new vegetable dish, as usual. I’m probably batting .500 on these trial dishes, but no one has died!

Although I did some of the chores on my list, I didn’t get around to burning any leaves. The pile grows higher and the leaves keep falling. But, I did get some trim painting done in the living room and I enjoyed a great walk in the park, doing the 6.33 miles in 1:17 minutes. That’s a very fast time for me and indicates that I am still fit, despite a more relaxed training routine.

My list of chores for this day needs to include the finishing of all the work in the living room. And then I need to clean up the garage again. It’s been too long since it was last neat and orderly…or was it ever? No matter; I have a new Shop-Vac and it needs to be used. And I can’t forget that I need to finish up the pomegranates and get ready to make some jelly.

It’s also time for me to get the orchard and garden chores done. I guess I don’t really understand what “retirement” means. If I did, I would practice it more often. I haven’t had a nap in months now. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I actually do too many things; it’s that I think about doing too many things. Procrastination just wears me out!  

The news for the day? The only headlines that caught my attention were the ones for the “food fight” in the House of Representatives yesterday. I guess the few grown-ups in the House membership had left the chamber temporarily. See what happens when you leave them unattended? (“At one point in the emotional debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

"He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send U.S. Rep. Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said. Murtha is a 37-year Marine veteran.

Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.

Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that Republicans were making uncalled-for personal attacks. "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!" yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Democrats gave Murtha a standing ovation as he entered the chamber and took his customary corner seat.”)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday To You!

I heard this news on the radio this morning and it got me thinking. (Danger!) Here's a Senator; 80 years old and the only thing he's noted for is attempting to use $400 million of our tax money to build some bridges in Alaska...which will probably have his name on them. The more I thought (more danger!) the more I was sure that it was age that is causing this problem. Shouldn't we leave the governing to people under the age of, lets say, 60? After all, it's more their world than it is of those who are over that age. Do you really want to "Old People" to govern you? Look what happened when Reagan did it. An economy turned to a pile of rubble while Ronny smiled for the cameras. Now don't get me wrong...the old people have a place, an important one, they should be the advisors and consultants. After all, we are wise. But, due to our age, we won't have to live with our mistakes and that is something every government official should have to do.

Think about it, mandatory retirement for all governing officials at the age of 60. They already have the best retirement plan/health plan in the world, so let's not spend a lot of time worrying about that aspect of a forced retirement!

Oh, Yeah!

What a great morning! A good, fast walk in Bidwell Park to get the heart exercised and then a drive over to Cal-Java on East Avenue. There I had a medium latte and a berry scone, my reward for a job well-done. I sat outside to enjoy the sunshine, though I was the only one doing that. I was still wearing shorts and running shirt and though the temp was 45, it was quite nice to sit in the sun and enjoy my time of reading and sipping on a good coffee.

And I was reading Anthony Porter’s column again, always a good read! This one was on voting, and though I might disagree with him, I find his views to be well thought out and worthy of your interest.

The Congress From Nowhere

Editorial - New York Times
Go ahead, read it...it's well written and makes a lot of sense. The plain truth isn't that hard to swallow.

Chores

Since it is Friday, I need to go out for a long and fast walk this morning and then spend some quality time at a favored coffee house with a medium sized latte and a copy of the News and Review, the radical rag of Chico. And I had better do it early, as I still have plenty of chores to do at home. Burning leaves would be at the top of the list, followed by finishing up the trim in the living room. Mowing the lawns has to fit in there as well. I did rake up most of the leaves yesterday, but the trees are still shedding and I expect to see a carpet of yellow leaves once the sun rises. And I have a new chore for the list…I joined the Orland Friends of the Library awhile ago and yesterday I became involved in their internet sales program. It is research work, as they frequently find rare and sometimes valuable books among the many that are donated. We look up the titles on various sites and then post a description and price on the Bookfinders website. I saw one yesterday that was going to retail for $180…not bad for donated treasures.

What to Wear?

It’s the end of the work week. Not that I have to worry at all about what to wear on Dress-Down Friday’s anymore. I simply note it. My casual dress extends to all days of the week now. And, truth be told, I never paid a lot of attention to the corporate dress code. Friday was more memorable as being the day that I usually flew home; my travel day! And that required comfortable clothes, slip-on shoes and a really good attitude.

Once again I have a cup of good coffee in front of me and I didn’t have to thrash the coffee maker to obtain it. One day the coffee arrives with a struggle and the next day it brews quite nicely. I don’t get it. And speaking of attitudes; I don’t like coffee makers that have one!

With adequate caffeine preparedness, it’s time to look at the headlines once again. The sun is already up on the eastern shore and people are writing news articles. Here’s one…House Passes Sweeping Budget Cut Bill Fri Nov 18, 2:46 AM ET WASHINGTON - House Republicans sweated out a victory on a major budget cut bill in the wee hours Friday, salvaging a major pillar of their agenda despite divisions within the party and nervousness among moderates that the vote could cost them in next year's elections. They should be nervous. Once more the poor and the middle class will balance the budget without any help from the wealthiest among us.

Rapid Pullout From Iraq Urged by Key Democrat is another headline. Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran who voted for the Iraq war said…”after more than two years of combat, American forces had united a disparate array of insurgents in a seemingly endless cycle of violence…He said the 153,000 American troops in Iraq should be pulled out within six months. "Our military has done everything that has been asked of them. It is time to bring them home," Mr. Murtha said, at times choking back tears. Mr. Murtha's proposal…stunned many Republicans who quickly held their own news conference to criticize the plan. As much as I would like to agree with Mr. Murtha, I don’t see how we can abandon Iraq after telling the citizens of that ravaged country that we were with them, all the way! We’ve already broken many of our promises there and this (withdrawal) would be the final straw for all of the nations of the Middle East that are watching us. We created this mess and we have a responsibility to see it through to some sort of resolution. Criticize Mr. Murtha? Never! I respect him…

On a lighter note, I spent some time looking at the Google Base site. This is already a major news story in the tech world and should be noted by everyone, not just techies. Newspapers will be the first to be impacted by Google Base. And I just read that Knight-Ridder is looking to sell off its newspapers. Did they have advance news of Google’s latest offering? I read that some newspapers are already being affected by CraigsList, so a Google Base hit could be fatal for them.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Goodbye Skype

Gizmo, a free phone for your computer
That didn't take very long at all. Now there is a better Voip phone. I was reading the latest issue of Wired and ran across this new service.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gizmo_Project


Dick Cheney

lambasts Iraq critics
Perhaps he could have called them "Nattering nabobs of negativity" That worked, sort of, many years ago...and that was said by a politician of equal stature, and vice-president to boot!

http://www.bartleby.com/63/48/8148.html

Getting Better

The headlines only get better…

Iraqi Minister: Torture Claims Exaggerated
“I reject torture and I will punish those who perform torture," Jabr said. "No one was beheaded, no one was killed.” Oh, why didn’t you say so in the first place? Sorry to have bothered you.

Lawmakers Acted on Heels of Abramoff Gifts
“Lawmakers contacted by AP said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff's fundraising, and instead reflected their long-held concerns about tribal gaming expansion.” Of course. Why wouldn’t I believe that? These are just and honorable men and women.

Also on the front page, some interesting news about the sales next Friday. (Not this coming Friday, the next one.) It seems that most large retailers are unhappy with this sites ability to get a preview of the ads for Black Friday…but it’s all about Power to the Consumer and the balance of power is shifting away from the retailer. About time!




Privacy

It seems as if the American “right to privacy” is getting another challenge as the Senate prepares to look at the nomination of Judge Alito for Supreme Court Justice.

Doesn’t privacy seem like a basic human right and not just an American right?

According to those on the wacky right wing, if it’s not in the Constitution, it isn’t a right. So there! And the Constitution does not address the issue. Why? Probably because the founders of our nation thought it was an inherent human right.

Dan Savage wrote an Op-Ed piece for the NY Times and in it he says, “Well, if the right to privacy is so difficult for some people to locate in the Constitution, why don't we just stick it in there? Wouldn't that make it easier to find?”

If the Republicans can propose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, why can't the Democrats propose a right to privacy amendment? Making this implicit right explicit would forever end the debate about whether there is a right to privacy. And the debate over the bill would force Republicans who opposed it to explain why they don't think Americans deserve a right to privacy - which would alienate not only moderates, but also those libertarian, small-government conservatives who survive only in isolated pockets on the Eastern Seaboard and the American West.

Good idea! And well said…this would certainly expose the Compassionate Conservative Republicans as the small minded bigots that they really are.

What’s not to like about Privacy?

Bridges

Thursday is here. The week is just flying by. And right now I wish our coffee pot was flying…out to the trash can! It has stalled once more, groaning and wheezing gasps of steam while producing an espresso cup amount of coffee. Then it gives out a few cheerful beeps to announce that it has completed its task. Not!

With a cup in place, in front of me while I type, I’m ready to face the day. And according to the weather report, it will be another nice day. And without any wind. That presents a quandary, as I was hoping that all of the leaves would be stripped from the maples and I could finish the front yard cleanup, but the wind was only able to get about half of them down and now the leaves are slowly fluttering to earth, one at a time. Should I rake now? Or…

Of course I can’t wait around for all of the leaves to fall. I have to get them picked up and ready to burn. I have already found that if the leaves stay on the lawn for too long, a crop of mushrooms will grow under the protective canopy of leaves.

I have looked at the headlines this morning and the one that fascinated me was the one concerning those bridges in Alaska. “Two 'Bridges to Nowhere' Tumble Down in Congress” was the headline and the story is all about a Republican Congress that has finally become embarrassed. It seems that the public was more than slightly outraged that the Alaskan representatives had earmarked $442 million for two bridges that served a very small purpose. With their leader’s popularity in decline, these Republican congressmen and senators decided that it would be in their best interest to appear as if they were actually interested in fiscal responsibility. At the same time, there was an opportunity to sneak the money to the Alaskans while appearing to be the good guys. What they did was to remove the “earmark”, the requirement that the money be spent on the bridges. The money, all $442 million, goes to the state to do whatever they wish with…including the building of bridges if they so desire.

I can see now that these are not “Tax and Spend” Democrats, these are a new brand of Republicans, “Cut Tax and Spend”. They have obviously taken lessons from both sides of the aisle on this. You can become popular (and re-elected) by giving lots of “pork” to the populace and gain support (and campaign financing) from the business community by cutting taxes. It’s the best of both worlds.

We all know about presidential popularity polls, but what about the numbers for Congress? For instance, our acting governor has very low polling numbers right now, but less known is the fact that the state legislators have even lower numbers. I suppose I could Google that and see…and here it is from CBS, on November 3rd.

PRESIDENT BUSH'S JOB APPROVAL
Approve 35% Disapprove 57%                Congress is rated even lower. Only 34 percent approve of its work.
                Vice President Cheney has never been as popular as the president, but his favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent.

34% approval? So why do we re-elect them? Are we really that stupid? Well, I just read the CBS polling pages and the results of some of the polls would indicate that, yes, we are stupid. Sad.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Data

And more data…
Crime and Punishment
Prisoners; the U.S leads the world with 2,021,223. China, (where Bush is pushing democracy this week) has 1,428,126.

And this; Australia leads the world in Serious Assaults, with 736.8 per 100,000 population. The U.S is at # 11 with just 318.6. With Theft, Australia drops to 3rd with 6,653.2 incidents per 100,000. And again the U.S. lags behind, coming in at #10 with 3,804.6 cases.

I had no idea it was so dangerous “Down Under”…but remember, the Australian continent was founded and populated by importing prisoners from England. I didn’t realize that a life of crime was hereditary!

More Data

More Data
Highest health spending…the United States with 13% of GDP
Lowest health spending…Taiwan, with 0.4% of GDP

Most hospital beds. (Beds per 1,000 of population)
Taiwan is in 43rd place, along with Slovenia at 5.3 beds. The U.S. didn’t make it into this category at all. Albania and the United Kingdom were in 54th place, with 3.9 beds. So I’m guessing that the money spent on health care keeps us out of the hospitals?

Some headlines...

Some headlines…
Tighten air cargo security: report
“With six billion pounds of air cargo transported annually onboard passenger aircraft within the United States…   Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat said the 100 percent screening of passengers gives travelers a false sense of security when only a tiny fraction of cargo in the belly of the plane is checked.
"Americans need to know that their sneakers may be inspected but that objects the size of a car are waved on board," Markey said in a statement.”

I have always said that the airports themselves are filled with security holes and the screening process is designed to harass the passengers just enough to make them believe that security is “tough”. When I worked on the construction of McCarran International, I saw enough behind the scenes to convince me that the whole security system was a sham.

Bush prods China on freedom
“…Bush on Wednesday urged China to move further to allow political and religious freedoms, and he held up Taiwan as a model for Asia of a free and democratic society.”

According to the Economist’s Corruption Perception Index of 2004, Taiwan is in 29th place, just ahead of Italy. The U.S. is in 16th place with Chile in 17th place. China? They were in 59th place, right behind Mexico. The least corrupt was Finland. Remember; Perception is Reality!

Wednesday Morning...Early

Wednesday morning and I’m alive. And what is new this morning? I have had my first cup of coffee, so my mind is officially in gear. Not that it’s moving very fast, as I can’t think of an answer for the question of “what’s new this morning?” Perhaps a second cup, with another shot of Torani Pumpkin Spice syrup will get things moving.

Looking at the headlines might help a little bit. And so will this second cup of coffee. This time I used some Vanilla Caramel Coffee Mate creamer with a shot of the Pumpkin Spice…very good! All of this makes me think I have come full circle in the coffee department. I began drinking coffee when I was 15 or 16, drinking it with sugar and ½ & ½. That was how my parents drank it and so I did the same. Later, I enjoyed drinking exotic coffees and espresso at the various coffee houses that were popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s. And in the Navy, I drank more and more coffee, all black at this stage of my coffee career. The Navy floats on a sea of coffee. After the Navy, I continued to drink black coffee, drinking more and more of it; sometimes 2 or 3 pots a day. Now here I am, 50 years later, and I am drinking sweet coffee with creamer. No, I don’t drink as much coffee anymore, usually 4 cups a day. But I don’t like decaffeinated coffee (what’s the point?) and will drink an occasional cup of the real stuff in the evening if offered.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wind


As I mentioned in my walking blog, the wind is blowing today. But it was just a breeze in Chico when compared to the gales we're experiencing out here in the country. Keeping my ladder on the leeward side, I just finished getting more pomegranates off the trees and I found a good handful of pecans that had been blown off the tree as well. The pool is a mess, with leaves and dead roses littering the surface. I have given up on the front yard. There is no way for me to keep up with the leaves that are falling out there. I will wait.

And this morning, when I went out to get the paper I noticed that odd look that the landscape has this time of year when the leaves vacate and you can see...everything!

Here's a shot of a portion of the citrus harvest. And now it's time to start taking pomegranates apart.

Follow the Money

The Comptroller General. Don’t you love that title? Well, David Walker is the holder of that title and he is forecasting some very bad news. In his words, “We face a demographic tsunami” that “will never recede”. The U.S. has “a broken business model” and faces huge deficits in the budget. No kidding? This administration took a thriving economy and a surplus and turned it to ashes. Just like the “voodoo economics” of the Reaganites, this economy model won’t work either…

Apres News

So much for the news, it’s time for another cup of coffee…And now, with coffee cup close at hand, it’s time for the local stuff. Like pomegranates. The harvest is almost complete. With two trees, there was plenty to pick! I have a bucket of pomegranates to send down to Little Red Hen nursery and there are some for Karlee and Kyle as well. I have seeded (Is that the right word?) a bunch of them already and have close to 15 pounds of seeds in the refrigerator. By the time I strip the tree of the few remaining fruit, and remove the seeds…I should have close to 20 pounds of the bright red seeds, filled with juice and ready to be made into jelly.

Two pomegranate trees are enough for this family and them some. But I am looking at other ideas to improve my orchard. For instance, I really enjoy the Mandarin oranges and we’re having a great year for all of our citrus. The lemon tree is loaded with bright yellow fruit and the grapefruit tree is weighted down with ripening pink grapefruit. Oranges? I have hundreds! But I have no tangerines. Perhaps I should. And pecans have been plentiful. Should I plant another pecan? They are beautiful trees as well as being prolific. So many choices!

Tuesday Trivia

Tuesday has arrived in the usual fashion; nothing abnormal about it so far. I have my coffee in front of me, sweetened with just a dash of Torani raspberry syrup. Hazelnut, Crème Caramel, Ginger Spice and Vanilla Bean are my usual favorites for this time of the day, but I saw the raspberry and had to try it. It’s quite good!

I just had a sudden flood of email. When I woke up my computer this morning, I found a log-in screen for my mail service. Sometime last night, the service failed to remember who I was and waited for me to acknowledge, with an “OK” that I was who I claimed to be. Since I was asleep, the mail had to wait. But, now I can see what is happening in the world.

Wal-Mart Forecasts Big Season. Is one of the headlines. The hidden headline is this; “Trade Deficit with China Increases, Again”. But a growing U.S economy is a good thing for China, since they own so many of our bonds. And you don’t even want to think about what would happen if China decided to dump those bonds. So be a patriot and Buy Chinese! (Actually, you can’t help but do that, no matter where you shop.)

Other Nations Hope to Loosen U.S. Grip on Internet. Here’s a paradox. It’s called the World Wide Web, but the rules and the backbone are strictly American. As for myself, I love the concept of a world united by technology, with people in far away places sharing their thoughts and, yes, their commerce. At the same time, I believe that American entrepreneurship and expertise is the driving force behind the Web. Do I want to give up familiar structure for an unknown one? That’s a tough decision, but to be fair…the whole world has to share in this. So be nice, share.

Iraqi Chalabi meets Cheney, Rumsfeld. Here’s a guy that is perfectly at home with Dick and Don, the puppet masters. The Pentagon wouldn’t allow TV coverage of this meeting and I can understand that. I’m sure it was a meeting for the purpose of getting their respective stories straight. Want to know more about Chalabi? http://counterpunch.org/chalabi05202004.html See? I told you he would fit in with the puppet masters.

Time for more coffee, with Caramel Crème this time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bush Fires Parting Shot at Iraq Critics

Bush Fires Parting Shot at Iraq Critics
Does anyone remember Nixon's most memorable words? "I am NOT a crook!"

Google Earth

Google Earth
If your computer can handle it, this is worthwhile. But it takes a newer computer with plenty of processing power and a 3-D graphics card. Google lays out the minimums for you before you download...

Monday News

Once again it’s a Monday and I’m trying out the keyboard at an early hour. The moon is full and so I can see the trees and the horizon from my window, even at this hour. Moonlight also means a cloudless sky above. And with any luck at all, the coffeepot will deliver a hot cup of coffee in just a few minutes and I can get on with the day.

Ah! Very good coffee. Now I need to see what’s in the news. That involves a visit to my Yahoo news page where I have assembled a collection of links to all of the major news services, newspapers and assorted blogs. The paper and ink newspaper won’t arrive for an hour, so I satisfy my early morning curiosity with the electronic news. Why do I bother with a newspaper? Good question. I imagine that newspapers will become less and less important to us as news availability via other mediums becomes easier to access.

Easy access is the key. The fact that 25% of Americans don’t even have internet access is disturbing news. Because that means that a quarter of all Americans don’t know about the wealth of information that is available to them when connected to the internet. And how many computers with internet connections are used solely for gaming? Let’s make the percentage of uninformed 35%. A third of all Americans don’t use the internet to increase their knowledge of the world.

And today’s headlines are; Britain says troops may start leaving Iraq in 2006. That sounds to me like Tony Blair is preparing to save his political life. Recent parliamentary votes have threatened his party and so he needs to do something to show Britons that he isn’t a Bush crony.

Jump in suspected bird flu cases in people. So far, so good. Still no instances of human to human transmission of the disease, but the number of cases keep rising.

That’s enough. There is plenty more just like that but you can look it up yourself. For myself, I need another cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Iranian laptop tough sell to U.S. allies

Iranian laptop tough sell to U.S. allies
See what happens when you are caught in a lie? It makes it so very difficult to get people to believe you...

So what is the difference between this story and the uranium "yellowcake" from Niger story? Not a lot. I happen to think it's quite plausible that Iran has made such plans, but because of those lies about Iraq's WMD's, I hesitate...and that's a sad thing.

Israel's political crisis deepens

Israel's political crisis deepens
This just adds more fuel to the middle eastern fires. And with Iran deciding to ignore all efforts to halt atomic weapon production, there is a very good chance that Sharon may elect to do something dramatic to save his political life. There certainly is precedent for it..."After Israel bombed the Iraqi reactor on June 7, 1981, using U.S.-supplied F-16s and F-15s, the Reagan administration said, "The United States government condemns the reported Israeli air strike on the Iraqi nuclear facility, the unprecedented character of which cannot but seriously add to the already tense situation in the area." Most other nations joined in denouncing the action." Since that raid, the Iranians have moved all of their own nuclear facilities underground.

And Israel cerainly has the technology (U.S. supplied) and the inclination.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0921-20.htm

Oh, Pat!

Pat Robertson makes headlines once again…and it’s all too silly to comment on. I think he needs professional help now.

“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.

All eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design" - the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power - as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said."

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

Robertson made headlines this summer when he called on his daily show for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Falling Leaves

Fall is truly here…and so are the leaves. I just finished raking and blowing all of the maple leaves off of the front lawns and driveway. I piled the last of them on top of the heap and turned to savor the vision of a job well done. The maple leaves had covered the lawn once again and the green was quickly disappearing beneath a sea of yellow leaves. OK, I will do it again tomorrow.

So I decided to do something a little more constructive and fruitful with my time…I picked a basket full of seedless mandarin oranges. They are just now turning ripe and they are delicious! And I picked a bucket full of pomegranates as well. Those I had to soak in water to make the earwigs vacate before bringing them in the house. There are still some pecans in the trees, but the crows have spotted the higher ones and are stealing them; dropping them on the road out in front to crack them open. Smart crows!

Type Matters

I was recently given a list of the last 10 presidents and their Myers Briggs Type Indicator.

FDR--ENTJ
Truman--ESTJ
Eisenhower--ESFJ
Kennedy--INTJ
Nixon--INTJ
Ford--ENFP
Carter--INFJ
Bush (41)--ISFJ
Clinton--ENFP
Bush (44)--ESFJ

The last one is most interesting. Here are some views of that Type. See if you can spot any similarities. Maybe you will…maybe you won’t.

“The ESFJ's value system is defined externally. They usually have very well-formed ideas about the way things should be, and are not shy about expressing these opinions. However, they weigh their values and morals against the world around them, rather than against an internal value system. They may have a strong moral code, but it is defined by the community that they live in, rather than by any strongly felt internal values.”

“ESFJ’s who have not had the advantage of developing their own values by weighing them against a good external value system may develop very questionable values. In such cases, the ESFJ most often genuinely believes in the integrity of their skewed value system. They have no internal understanding of values to set them straight. In weighing their values against our society, they find plenty of support for whatever moral transgression they wish to justify. This type of ESFJ is a dangerous person indeed.”

“Extraverted Feeling drives them to control and manipulate, and their lack of Intuition prevents them from seeing the big picture. They're usually quite popular and good with people, and good at manipulating them. Unlike their ENFJ cousin, they don't have Intuition to help them understand the real consequences of their actions. They are driven to manipulate other to achieve their own ends, yet they believe that they are following a solid moral code of conduct.”

And finally, “An ESFJ who has developed in a less than ideal way may be prone to being quite insecure, and focus all of their attention on pleasing others. He or she might also be very controlling, or overly sensitive, imagining bad intentions when there weren't any.”

Todays Urban Legend

Poor Wal*Mart!
One of the problems when you're the biggest retailer in the world...you will offend! But then again, some people need to get a life!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lies and More of the Same

Tonight, the news headlines tell us “Bush Forcefully Attacks Iraq Critics” and the story includes this statement. “Defending the march to war, Bush said foreign intelligence services and Democrats and Republicans alike were convinced at the time that Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, had weapons of mass destruction.

That’s absolutely amazing! Why then, was I…and millions of others, not convinced of that at the same time? And we knew that without the benefit of the “intelligence” reports that the president used.

The man has no shame.  

Who's Paying?

I read where our acting governor has admitted that he made an error in calling for the recent special election. He said he would take the blame for it; it was all his fault he says, but will he repay the $50 million that the election cost us? Just wondering…

Good Question

Speaking of torture
Not the most pleasant of subjects...but it's time we made it clear to this administration that Americans don't condone torture, ever!

Molecular Expressions

Molecular Expressions
This is a great website! Almost makes you dizzy...My friend Dan sent this my way.

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

450 portable classrooms for Mississippi schools, as reported in the New York Times.
“…Provided by a politically connected Alaskan-owned business (Akima) under a $40 million no-bid contract, the classrooms cost FEMA nearly $90,000 each, including transportation, according to contracting documents. That is double the wholesale price and nearly 60 percent higher than the price offered by two small Mississippi businesses dropped from the deal.”
I always wondered about the meaning of “New Math”. Now I know.
(“Akima's majority owner is the NANA Regional Corporation. It is represented in Washington by Blank Rome Government Relations, a lobbying firm with close ties to the Bush administration and particularly Tom Ridge, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's parent agency. NANA's federal contracts have grown rapidly in recent years, according to the Center for Public Integrity.”)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chico?

In case you missed it, Arnold came to Chico on Monday morning. Yes, our acting governor made a breakfast appearance at the Cozy Diner. But guess what? The diner wasn’t open to just anyone. Only “Invited” guest were allowed entrance. That makes me wonder; why didn’t he just stay in Sacramento? He certainly wasn’t here to meet any potential voters. Surrounded by those who were already in the Arnold camp, he wasn’t even willing to listen to those with an opposing viewpoint. Just another photo-op! One of the few things that he’s good at.

It's 6 in the morning

It’s 6 in the morning in Orland and it is 11:30 at night in Darwin, NT Australia. In half an hour it will be a new day in Darwin; Friday. Despite the fact that I made technology and it’s applications a big part of my career, I’m sometimes amazed by it. And that’s a good thing. I have been corresponding via email with an old friend that lives in Darwin and I received a receipt from my latest email to him, just around 4:30 or 5…so he was still awake at 11. On the opposite end of the earth. Yet we were communicating in “real time”. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can amaze you.

I just remembered another…my nephew was sailing across the Atlantic in a small yacht a few years ago and I was able to communicate (via email by way of satellite) with him. Now that was cool!

Boo!

And on a different note; we have a cat now. A black cat to be exact. Denise spotted a young cat (1-2 years old) ready for adoption at the veterinarian’s office in Durham and told me about it. So I went there yesterday and took the cat home. The twins are visiting with us and I asked them for some suggestions as to what to name the cat and the best they could come up with was “kitty”, so I am thinking of calling her Boo.

More Data

News from the Washington Post and ABC News…
  1. 60% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

  2. 58% believe Bush is not "honest and trustworthy."

  3. 55% believe the Bush administration "intentionally misled the American public" about Iraq.

  4. 64% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq.

  5. 60% think that given the costs, the Iraq war was not worth fighting.

  6. 52% believe that the Iraq war has not "contributed to the long-term security" of the U.S.
I think they (the majority) are 100% right.

And on another note; the election of Tim Kaine as Governor of Virginia proves that you can be a Democrat and a Christian at the same time, despite the rhetoric of the wacko right.

Bigger Than Arnold

The really big news is not the latest election results, but it’s the possibility of H5N1 Avian flu mutating and spreading between humans. The virus has already made the leap between species and that was the difficult part.

Unfortunately, human behavior has helped the virus along. In poorer countries, birds are a major source of protein and so you see human interaction with birds on a huge scale! I saw one photo showing farmers sleeping with their flocks. We think it’s novel to see a flock of chickens along the side of the road and point them out to our children. In the rest of the world, that’s the most common sight. No one even notices. Ducks and chicken can be found crowding the roads and pathways everywhere.

And Tamiflu? Although it is being seen as some sort of “magic bullet”, there are signs that the virus has already mutated and become resistant to the drug. Here is a case where science can only watch and guess what will happen next, along with the rest of us. History tells us that it happened before, many times.

Yesterday's News


The big news was yesterday’s election results and our acting governor is trying to recover from his defeat. I hope he is thinking about not running for governor in 2006. It’s true that we don’t pay him anything right now, but if he runs, he may want to get paid for the next 4 years. That would be robbery! Right now it’s fair; we pay nothing and we get nothing. And when it comes to robbery, we shouldn’t forget the state legislators. They have a lower rating in the public opinion polls than the governor; only 25% of the populace believes they are doing a good job. And we pay them! There’s an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Obviously that doesn’t apply to the legislature

If Arnold does go ahead with his plans and runs for governor, there is a good chance that he will win, despite his poor performance. The citizens of California have a history of electing actors, with decidedly disastrous results.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Persimmon Magic

Massaging the Persimmon
A great story. I read it first in the Bee this morning, complete with photos. Sorry, I don't have any. Now I happen have a Hachiya persimmon tree and this looks like a neat thing to try, but...sadly, the tree bore very little fruit this year. I think there are no more than 6 fruit on it. But next year!

The Crown Rules

Yesterday I began the installation of the crown molding in the living room. It’s going OK, but only OK. This molding is all wood and I’m used to using MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) which is quite a bit easier to work with. And the fact that it is wood has made the price a bit steep; $19 for a 12’ length. I looked at many suppliers for better prices and varieties of molding, but if it’s wood, it will be expensive. I have the molding up along two walls so far and today I hope to have it all done. Then I will have to repair all of the dings and hammer marks that I put in it before I can paint it and call it complete.

That brings up the subject of trees; wood is made from trees you know (You knew that, right?) and the price of lumber has increased dramatically. There is no good reason for the price increase except for greed. America has created an illegal trade barrier for wood and wood products from Canada and that has driven up the prices. With that barrier in place, the lumber industry is free to charge whatever they want in the absence of competition. The average American logger doesn’t see any of this profit because he is a supplier of the raw product and is always squeezed by the manufacturer. It’s the manufacturer that controls the pricing structure. And most of the larger lumber companies have used their money to buy up and control all of the needed links in the chain of supply. They have their own land, mills and their own logging trucks and they only let the small operator invest in the risky part of the business, the labor.

Good Morning...again

Good morning. It’s a Wednesday morning and a windy one as well. I can hear the wind hitting the mower shed outside, making the aluminum ripple and moan. I have my second cup of coffee in hand and I have been reading the news. (The wind should stop soon) What would I do without the news? I can’t imagine life without it…

And the big news of the day is the California election results where Arnold, our acting governor, has lost. No, he didn’t lose his job, just his credibility; this was already in sad shape. He still has one year left to star in his role as governor before he tries for an encore, but this setback may make him think twice. (Thinking once should be sufficient)

Some other headlines…
Democrats sweep Virginia, New Jersey racesMaybe there is hope, even in Red states. Although the news from Ohio shows that some voters just can’t get enough abuse!
Senators, oil execs to debate profitsThere is talk of a tax on Windfall Profits, but is that fair? Should we also up the tax on Apple for making big money with its iPod? How about Motorola and its Razr phone? Where do you stop the tax on windfalls?  
Kansas educators clear way for evolution criticismWouldn’t you think that reading, math and spelling should have priority? Some things are better off being taught at home.

And some jokes from my friend Dan…in Darwin, NT Australia. How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America? And, isn’t having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?

Schwarzenegger

Voters vs. Schwarzenegger
Voters win. Let's see, $300 million dollars spent on the election and a population of 35,893,799 (2004 estimated) That's $8.3579896349227341469204750380421 per person for this election. And if we do the math using just the number of voters, the $8 will be chump change! Our acting governor needs a new script.

Paris Is Burning - What Can You Do?

Paris Is Burning - What Can You Do?
A good question from the Bruderhof's..."As in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the underlying reason for the violence is the enormous and growing gap between the world’s rich and its poor." We have a failure of vision if we think this is just a French problem. They may put out the fires today, but the problem won't go away with the flames.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Quotes for Today

Timely quotes…

He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. -Thomas Paine.

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. -Voltaire.

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government. -Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. -J. William Fulbright.

The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. - Plato.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. -Abraham Lincoln.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain.

Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning

Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning
I found this story on page A4 of the Sacramento Bee, instead of on the front page where it belonged. We should all be afraid whenever government uses its powers of taxation to threaten those who would criticize that same government. This story isn't about churches and taxation, it's about freedom. And this is one of our most basic freedoms; conservative or liberal, we should all be free to criticize those in power. If not, how different are we from the Taliban?

http://www.allsaints-pas.org/all_saints_church.htm Here's a link to the church in question

Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard:
Another nugget from the Daily Dig...

Famous Quotes

Educational Quotes for the 21st Century
I ended up on this very interesting page as I was pursuing more information on this quote...One can easily understand a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when grown men and women are afraid of the light.That's a quote from Plato. And I was drawn to that quotation by the events unfolding in Sacramento at the Sheriff's office. The local paper has begun investigating stories of abuse by sheriff's officers at the jail. And this morning (and yesterday) the newspapers letters to the editor section was filled with letters from those who think the newspaper should stop what they are doing and support the Sheriff 100% of the time. Law enforcement has a long history of using this "Circle the Wagons" mentality, when they should be inviting everyone concerned to investigate all that they can. If there is nothing to be hidden, let's turn the lights on. Their protest only begs the question; why?

Record amount raised for initiatives

Record amount raised for initiatives
Election Day is here and guess what? The MONEY won! No, it wasn't good sense and education...that came in dead last. Of course I don't have the final results and no one will for quite a few more hours. After the polls open, there will be some Exit Polling and some wild guesses; and this year the Absentee ballots will play a big role, but not as big as the MONEY.

If nothing else can demonstrate the power of money, elections do it in spades. From President to dog catcher...it's all about the money. The worst President and the worst dog catcher can swap jobs if one of them has enough money. In fact, that may have happened...

Introverts in an extrovert's world

Introverts in an extrovert's worldMy sister sent me this link and it's a good one! It certainly describes the dilemna that Introverts face each day; how to interact with an Extroverted society that likes to call Introverts "shy" as if that were a problem. It's really only a problem for the Extrovert.

I have a background in the study and teaching of the Myer-Briggs Type Index and that explores all of the ways we "prefer" to interact with each other...and we used to explain the difference this way; an Extrovert talks to think, while an Introvert thinks before talking.

What this author doesn't describe is the daily pain that children are faced with in school, as schools don't take into account any of the 16 different personality Types. Schools have a "one size fits all" mentality.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Airlines and Airports

Airlines and Airports
Here is a great site for the world traveler...or just a national traveler. Lots of information, including seat pitch. That's the true indicator of just how much torture the airline intends to put you through. "Ve haff vays to make you talk! Ve vill make you fly economy class to Cincinnatti...twice!"

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Novel Progress

The novel writing goes on, but much slower than I thought it would. I really thought I was filled with some creative spirit and that the words would just flow from my fingertips and into a state of existence. But no, the words are stuck somewhere and I have to pull each one into being. But the title problem is solved; I have chosen to use “Bobby’s Train”. Don’t ask; that’s it for now, although I suppose the name can always be changed if I become so inspired.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Phone Call

We all get those calls from a robot dialing service. You know, the call where you pick up the receiver, say "hello" and no reply is heard for a second or two, and then you hear a click before the call is transferred to some hardy soul selling you something you don't need. If you're fast enough, you can get the receiver back down before the transfer is made and that's counted as a small victory against the telemarketers.

But today I was blindsided by a new weapon. I picked up the phone and immediately heard the voice of our acting governor, "Hello, I'm Arnold Schwarzen..." That was as far I let it go. The receiver was back down.

I hope that they continue to use this device, as I'm certain that it will irritate more people than it will educate. And an irritated voter will vote NO for Arnold's pet projects. Me, I'm going back to screening my calls.