Monday, October 31, 2005

Tonkin Gulf reports cooked?

Tonkin Gulf reports cooked?
Well, of course they were. And now to continue to keep that a secret is just plain wrong. Research on this..."was detailed four years ago in an in-house article that remains classified, in part because agency officials feared its release might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter. Secrecy is the hall mark of this administration. The first presidential act of Dubya was to seal all of the presidential papers of the previous presidents.

Bush picks Alito for Supreme Court

Bush picks Alito for Supreme Court
The village idiot is on the loose once again. Instead of building consensus, he picks a fight. Given a choice of healing or hurting, he picks the most damaging option. A president for all American's? Not even close...

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Found on the net…Transparency International is a nongovernmental, Berlin-based organization that studies corruption and poverty and the obvious relationship between the two. The pervasive nature of the problem is seen in their just released annual Corruptions Perceptions Index, which found that two-thirds of the 159 countries surveyed scored low (below 5 on a 10-point scale) in the perceptions of businesspeople and analysts.

Countries where corruption is perceived to be worst: Chad, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Burma (Myanmar), and Haiti - are among the world's poorest. The US finished 17th. The 10 highest-ranked nations (with 10 being the best possible score) from Transparency International's index:

1. Iceland 9.7
2. Finland, New Zealand (tie) 9.6
4. Denmark 9.5
5. Singapore 9.4
6. Sweden 9.2
7. Switzerland 9.1
8. Norway 8.9
9. Australia 8.8
10. Austria 8.7

Remember, Perception is Reality.


An excerpt from the New York Times…”Richard Pombo has had a hard time keeping himself out of the news lately...a watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Mr. Pombo, a seven-term House member from California, one of the 13 most corrupt politicians in Congress. Wow! That’s pretty elite company that he’s keeping. Just who are the other 12? It’s just the usual suspects. And the score is Republicans 11, Democrats 2.

The Morning Reading

I was reading about the politics and corporate in-fighting involved in the Wireless Philadelphia project and I think that the politicians in that city have it all wrong. Looking west, they can see the plan in San Francisco has all of the advantages that their plan doesn’t have…for one, wireless access will be free in San Francisco. Google’s plan is to blanket the city with wireless service and allow advertising to pay the bill. (This year, Google will sell $6.1 billion in ads, nearly double what it sold last year. According to those in the know, that is more advertising than is sold by any newspaper chain, magazine publisher or television network. By next year, Google is expected to have advertising revenue of $9.5 billion.)

Let’s face it, when we sell knowledge, the poor lose and the rich get richer. Knowledge and access to knowledge should always be free. Should we charge admission to the libraries of the world? No; if we want a better world, we need to do all we can to spread knowledge, not make a profit from it. The digital divide is real and responsible governments should address the problem now…Hey! It’s free, Google says so!

Note to City Manager, Orland CA: Joe, please call Google and see if we can get on the waiting list.


That label comes to mind every time I read about the president’s conservative “base”. That base is now confident that the president has learned a lesson from his failed attempt to secure a second judgeship for the Supreme Court. They believe that he will bow to their demands for a truly conservative justice. One can only hope they are wrong.

It doesn’t seem to make much difference as to which country or which era, conservatives are always the same…scary! In fact, most are still furious with Columbus for proving the world is round.

Carve a Pumpkin

Click Here to Carve a Pumpkin
This one is pretty clever and the supply of pumpkins is endless...

Saturday, October 29, 2005


This is what I was writing in my Journal this morning..."Probably because of the fact that my coffee maker is giving me fits this morning! No, I didn’t run the cleaning cycle as I should have. I shouldn’t have to…but it looks like I will have to do it soon. And perhaps I should buy a new coffee maker? I’m disgusted with this one! But which coffee maker should I buy? I need to look into the reviews on-line and see what others think of the current crop of brands." So I Googled "Coffee Maker Reviews" and found this...

Politics As Usual

The good news from the political arena is the indictment of Mr. Libby on five (5) felony charges. No surprise there. But, let’s not forget that it’s only an indictment and not a conviction. Mr. Libby is innocent until proven guilty. Convicting people before a trial is a Republican habit and reflects badly on them. Democrats should remember that and not take the low road, no matter how tempting. What surprised me is the fact that it has taken 5 years for these administration policies to be revealed as (possible) criminal acts.

Watergate, Iran/Contra and now this. The Party of Lincoln has an almost predictable future based on their past. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and now Bush II. The last decent man they chose to lead their party was Lincoln.

And last; I know it’s petty…but can you really trust a grown man who calls himself “Scooter”?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fido Puzzle

Fido Puzzle
Oh, yeah! Way cool...but you have to remember to click on the little dude that is waving his left hand to move between screens.

The Original Primitive Stencil Co.

The Original Primitive Stencil Co.
I read about this and had to go look...great idea! Design your own stencils on-line and have them shipped to you. Oh, oh, Michaels could be in trouble!

Zippety Doo Dah!

What a great day it is…the news is exciting and it’s all positive. Let’s see; “Scooter” Libby has been indicted and that possibility still exists for Rove and Cheney. And Bush has to start all over on his Supreme Court picks.

And if you are a stockholder in Exxon Mobil, things are looking pretty good there as well. Despite any hurricane damage, Exxon Mobil was able to make some serious money. Net income was up 75% from the 3rd quarter of 2004. They made $9.92 billion. That’s in one year! You say you don’t have any stock? You say you had to sell your stock to buy gas and groceries? What a pity!

Change is Good!

My, how things change! For the past 5 years, the Republicans have been outraged if you weren’t supporting their president. Absolutely outraged! How un-patriotic! But now? Where was their unflagging support for Dubya and his choice of Ms. Miers’s for Supreme Court Justice? Some actually criticized the man. How dare they!

Hey, George…only 39 months to go!

A Story

Like most grandparent’s, we have photos of all of our grandchildren on display in various parts of the house. And I spotted one the other day that made me laugh. It’s a picture of the twins sitting on my lap while I read them a story. If you look at the picture closely, you will see the title of the book…”Once upon a Potty”. Actually, there were two books, one for a boy and one for a girl, and they insisted that I read both of them.

What do you get?

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?Pumpkin pi...

Found on the Jokes page of the Prairie Home Companion website.

Check out the category "Third Grader Jokes". That will restore some old memories!

Pity the Poor Finns

Pity the poor Finns. What a terrible life they have to live. Once an idyllic nation, making do with a economy based solely on wood pulp, they are now a thriving hi-tech economy ranked the most competitive in the world, they have the best educated citizenry of all the industrialized countries, and a welfare state that has created one of the world's most egalitarian societies.
Some of the abuses that come with living in this welfare state are…
There is no cost for a university education. None. Zip. Nada. How are you going to learn anything if you don’t pay for it?

Free healthcare. Sounds like a bunch of communists to me!

Having a baby? The government will pay you 66% of your salary to stay home and care for your child until it’s time for day care…which the state pays 4/5ths of the cost. Criminal!

Lose your job? Finns get 70% of their salary for up to 18 months while they look for a job.

Retired? You can look forward to an income of 60% of their last salary. What are these people thinking?

Of course there is a cost: Finland levies some of the highest taxes in the world, a successful citizen will pay more than 45 percent of their personal income toward taxes. Most don’t object. "I feel that is what keeps our society and country running," one explained. "We can't keep the welfare state running unless everyone pitches in and helps with the costs." What kind of an idea is that?

It has been said that Finns do not regard social spending as a drag on economic growth and job creation, but as a positive force. Well of course they are wrong!

Riita Lampola, head of international relations for the Finnish Board of Education, which oversees schooling says, "As a poor country with a small population, if we wanted to be a modern society and to develop our country, we needed everybody here," she says. "That meant everybody had to be educated."

One educator wrote, "When people can fulfill their potential they become innovators," …"The innovative economy is competitive..."
Although it may look like a success, reality is…For the past 10 years successive governments have grown stingier than they used to be, and though social spending has held steady, services have not improved in the way they used to. See? Government is doing what it always does best. Now that’s more like it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What's in a name?

The Polywell? What kind of name is that? I was reading some email from an on-line computer magazine and they had an article on the Polywell computer that you might find interesting if you’re in the market for a new computer. I remember the name (who wouldn’t?) from many years ago and at the time I thought they were a pretty nice machine, very innovative. Surprising, but they are still around and still producing good computers at an affordable price. But the name is just terrible! Imagine what kind of success they might have had if only their name had some style…how about “Electra”? Buick isn’t using the name anymore. Or?  

Local News

I just read that the Chico Enterprise-Record has decided to get into the “blog business” by hosting a half dozen or more blogs written by locals. The site for these is here... . If you’re interested in a local take on the news, you might find something of interest here. Supposedly a little something for everyone. (I just checked some of the blogs and none are current?)

But what I find most interesting is the fact that the E-R is joining the rush to embrace the blog. I really didn’t think that they would. The paper has always struck me as being stuck in the 20th century, the early 20th century. If only they could be as forward thinking when producing their daily paper.


The World Adult Kickball Association
The closest this craze has come to Chico is Sacramento...they have a club down there but no field. I was sort of interested, but I don't see any photos of "mature" players.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Iran wants Israel "wiped off the map"

Iran wants Israel "wiped off the map"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad probably won't be on the short list for the Nobel Peace Prize...


Some things just never seem to change...

Customers Last

Customers LastAnd now for a look at the negative side of customer service.

On a Positive Note

2005 Customers First AwardsAn interesting list, although I don't understand why Best Buy is on it? I've tried them, honest! I've been to half a dozen of their stores, from coast coast and I have never bought a thing. Usually, it's the music that drives me out the door.

More on Walmart Watch

Walmart Watch
If...Wal*Mart is such a great place to work,why would a website such as this, exist? Somewhere, the truth can be found and it won't be found in the press releases from Bentonville. Perhaps the "internal memo" can tell us about the truth?


One of those pesky “internal memos” came to see the light of day over at the Wal*Mart offices and now someone has to do some explaining. What’s to explain? It’s simply the Wal*Mart way…

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, recommended reducing 401(k) contributions and recruiting younger, healthier, workers by offering them education benefits. The memo notes a concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.

Ms. Chambers recommends hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)." This would presumably discourage any unhealthy job applicants,

It was acknowledged by Ms. Chambers that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees are uninsured or on Medicaid.

"We are investing in our benefits that will take even better care of our associates," she said. "Our benefit plan is known today as being generous." Known? Known where? Perhaps it would be considered generous if this were a third world country.


The weather is changing. This time I think it’s definitely fall. When I went to the park yesterday, the temperature was only 50° at 9 AM. But I quickly warmed up while walking. And now the forecast calls for rain today and Friday. Also, the leaves are beginning to accumulate in the front yard. The maples just began to shed their leaves, adding to the clutter of oak leaves that have already fallen. The walnut trees are still green, but in another month, they will be bare. It’s also nearing the end of harvest time as the last of the walnuts can only be found by searching diligently, and the pecans are beginning their slow and steady escape from the trees. The arrival of the crows will tell me when they are fully ripe and I will have to battle them for the harvest. I have picked some of the riper pomegranates and will begin the jelly making process next week. By that time, the rest of the pomegranates will be fully ripe and I can make some pomegranate molasses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yes and No

Yes on 74
No on 75
No on 76
Yes on 77
No on 78
Yes on 79
Yes on 80

If you haven’t done your homework, it’s really quite easy to make the right decision on how to vote. Just follow the money.

The heat is on

Who would’ve known? The Bee published some statistics on the cost of heating your home. As you know, this is supposed to be an expensive proposition for most of us this year, with record high prices for natural gas.
                     Efficiency                              Annual Cost
Natural gas      80%                                     $1,524
Propane           79%                                     $2,744
Electricity         98%                                     $2692
Firewood          77%                                     $1,623 *$250 a cord
Wood pellets        83%                                     $1,616

Hmm? Gas wins…but that price is based on gas prices now, not in December.  

Bush: Iraq war will require more sacrifice

Bush: Iraq war will require more sacrifice
I heard an interesting comment this morning...Iran has now accomplished everything they set out to do in the 1980's when they were at war with Iraq. It cost them a million men, but Saddam is gone, there are no weapons of "you know what" and a Shiite majority is in power in Baghdad.

Thanks, Dubya; they couldn't have done it without ya!

The Race is On

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard a little bit about the governor’s race in Virginia. It’s supposed to be a close one, with incumbent Governor Warner giving his support to Lt. Governor Tim Kaine. And what I heard from his opponent, Jerry Kilgore, made my day! Kilgore was addressing a group of NASCAR fans and made the statement that NASCAR fans are the most patriotic of all Americans. The most patriotic? People who watch cars go around in a circle are somehow more patriotic than those who don’t? Ya gotta love the politicians! They’re kind of like big, old, Howdy Doody dolls. Someone else (the campaign manager) is putting words in their mouths and they just keep grinning…their heads filled with air.

(Maybe Jerry would like to live in California? He would make a great governor here!)

Facts again

Facts are usually disturbing, so we try to avoid them at all costs.

During the past 25 years, only about 500,000 people have died from the effects of earthquakes. 300,000 of that number occurred last December during the tsunami. Last year, 2 million children under the age of 5 died in India alone, most because of poor nutrition or bad water. In Africa, malaria kills 2,800 children under the age of 5, each day of the year.

And speaking of earthquakes. The most powerful earthquakes in America’s history occurred in the winter of 1810/1811. These occurred along the New Madrid fault zone in Missouri. They were powerful enough to fell trees in the forest, change the course of the Mississippi river and ring bells in churches in Virginia and Boston. Do you want to guess how stringent the building codes are in St Louis and in Memphis?

Hoax Index

Hoax Index
An interesting site and well done. I have used in the past, whenever I wanted to check facts...but this site appears easier to use.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Headlines…”Budget debate now a fight for soul of GOP”

“For House Republicans, loyalty to leaders and the mantra of fiscal discipline are articles of faith. But a debate over budget cuts to help offset the cost of rebuilding the Gulf Coast has put those allegiances into open conflict.”

Does any of that make sense to you? Do you want any elected representative to be loyal to a party leader? How about being loyal to those who elected him or her?


My old e-mail address is now history. was used for about 10 years and that is a long time in this era of rapid change. JPS Net was a small provider in Roseville that was bought up by a larger one and in turn that provider was bought by Earthlink. The address stayed the same and I was grateful for that. But now that I have satellite internet service, the Earthlink service was redundant and so they are gone. Why was I so attached to that address? It’s just a collection of 6 letters, arranged to specify a user. OK, change is good! (And my mailbox won’t have so much junk in it.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mr. Porter

Another piece from the mind of Anthony Peyton Porter. I have some disagreement with it, but it is fine piece despite my petty criticisms. It’s about soldiers and that happens to be the title as well.

He goes on to talk about the fact that some people are upset that soldiers sent to the hurricane ravaged south, appear to be ready to shoot at anyone. He then explains that killing people is what soldiers do. If you don’t want people killed, don’t send soldiers. That’s what they are trained for.

And he talks about Casey Sheehan and Casey’s mother, Cindy. Cindy once said that Casey’s agreement to do what the government had ordered, “noble and honorable.” Then Porter questions that. Doing the bidding of any government would have to be noble and honorable then. Is any blind commitment honorable, he asks?

My disagreement? He wrote, “...her wailing and whining to George Bush disrespects Casey and diminishes his role in determining his own fate.” That’s wrong. He can’t imagine the pain she has gone through; in fact he admits that; so he can’t criticize her for her actions. No one can. Casey is at peace. Cindy must live with the pain forever.


The theory of everything.
A question posed by the Science and Technology editors of The Economist was “…does the universe have to be the way it is?” and this is an important question because if it were only slightly different, life as we know it, could not have occurred. In physics, this is known as the Anthropic Principle and it bothers a great many physicists. They can’t understand, for instance, why space has to have only three dimensions. Apparently, there isn’t a physical or mathematical rule that stops dimensions at three.

The article I was reading goes on to explain that Andreas Karch and Lisa Randall have come up with a reason why physics are biased towards three dimensions. At the same time, their studies show a similar bias towards 7 dimensions!

OK, so where are those other 4 dimensions? Some believe that they are rolled up so tightly, that they can’t be seen; such as in Calabi-Yau shapes. Another group believes that they aren’t rolled up at all, but we can’t see them because we aren’t free to move about in them. We live in a three dimensional world or surface, embedded within a higher dimensional landscape. This surface, or membrane is the one that Karch and Randall have studied (mathematically) and they believe that there are equal parts of membranes and anti-membranes in the universe; just as there is matter and anti-matter.

Since the universe would be filled with equal numbers of membranes and anti-membranes, 3 dimensioned membranes and 7 dimensioned membranes would soon dominate since they would be least likely to run into their opposite numbers and be destroyed. So they theorize that there is a mathematical possibility of a seven dimension world! Very cool…

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weblog: The Top Ten Design Mistakes)

Weblog: The Top Ten Design Mistakes (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
Do you have a blog? A website? Click on the link above if you want a clear explanation of how to make them better. I've already learned a few things from it.

One year Ago

One year ago, this story made brief headlines,

Todays story,
“Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., the flamboyant Texas oil trader who flaunted his close ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein, was indicted yesterday in federal court in New York on charges that he paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to the regime to sell Iraqi oil under a United Nations program.”

CROP WALKS Help End Hunger Locally and Globally

CROP WALKS Help End Hunger Locally and Globally
No, it's not a marathon...but it is important. And quite easy to do.

Art for Arts Sake

I was watching (between naps) PBS last night and saw a program on self-taught artists. The Scope of Art Today; The contrasts between schooled artists and those without any formal training are discussed by photographer Andres Serrano and others. It was very revealing, a great show that made me think a lot about art and how it affects me. And what I found most interesting were the comments from the viewers of the artwork. The interviewer was trying very hard to elicit responses from these viewers and most obliged him with wordy (and nonsensical) reviews of the works. As I looked at each piece, I could say that I liked it, or I liked it a lot, or perhaps I didn’t like it at all. These were feelings and that is what art is supposed to affect. No matter what the artist was trying to “say” with his work, it all boils down to how the art affects me. (And you) Art is always static, the viewers change.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Another "Daily Dig" of Some Good Value

Carlo Carretto: Who Guides the World?

Reinventing the Yo-Yo

Reinventing the Yo-Yo
How appropriate! I was e-mailing some yo-yo memories to an old friend this morning and ran across this website. And since Chico is the Yo-Yo Capitol of the Universe, maybe I could find a good yo-yo and re-live a little of my youth. But $400? Even $40 is pretty steep!

Policy Is Run by 'Cabal'

Policy Is Run by 'Cabal'
Good story by someone close to the action.

Volcano Inn

Volcano Inn
Another reason or two...or more.

Volcano Inn

Volcano Inn
Kitty and Dean are on their way to Maui this morning; a very long and boring trip. I think it’s going to be 7 hours or more from takeoff in Phoenix until they land in Hawai‘i. But what a great place to be…I still have some frequent flyer miles at United Airlines, about 235,000 of them, and I need to use them before United disappears for good. But where in Hawai‘i, do we want to go? PCI no longer has an office in Honolulu, so there isn’t much to attract us back to Oahu. Kauai is a beautiful island, but one of the smaller ones. I keep thinking about the “Big Island”, as we had a great time there before…and it’s generally cheaper, especially if you stay on the wet Hilo side of the island. We have talked about staying in a small town, high on the mountain, named Volcano. It’s just down the hill a mile from the entrance to the Volcanoes National Park.

The Quantum Life

Good morning once again. It’s Friday, or I think it is? OK, the computer tells me that Friday was a good guess. After so many years of living by the clock and calendar it’s very odd to not know what day it is. But it’s certainly liberating! Of course I still need to overcome some old habits; I took my watch off about a year and half ago and I still catch myself looking at the blank spot on my left wrist whenever I am in a social situation and I want to leave.

And, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I have a fascination with nanotechnology and the world of quantum physics. And I just read a great article on a practical application of that science. It’s a product with the unlikely name of Clap and it will be sold as an oil additive that improves fuel economy by around 10%. By grinding the mineral, serpentine, into particles as small as a millionth of a millimeter (1 nanometer) they release magnesium silicate which then bonds to the surfaces of the engine, creating instant repairs to the many rough surfaces and cracks that exist in a quantum world. This will make the engine more efficient and save fuel. The stuff goes on sale in December.  

Now if they could only make a carbon nanotube sheet to cover the roads. That would be real progress!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Boss Ignored Warnings

Boss Ignored Warnings
Now if this works like it's supposed to, the whistle blower, Bahamonde, will be fired. Nobody likes a snitch! And stories like this can cause people to lose faith in their government and we don't want that to happen.

You Gotta Love the Swiss

“ROCHE reported that sales of its Tamiflu antiviral drug, touted as the best defense against the H5N1 bird flu, had grown by 263% in the first nine months of 2005 compared with 2004 (total drug sales rose by 20%). The Swiss pharmaceuticals group also faced some criticism for not allowing other firms to manufacture Tamiflu, but said it was ready to discuss "all available options" and would raise its production by opening a new factory in the United States.” Why the United States? Because that’s where the money is.

263% and they still have another quarter to go in the calendar year sales. $60 per treatment, per person. Not a bad return on their money.

Switching gears here…One thing that isn’t reported on very much is the possibility of an economic meltdown if the virus gets to the poultry industry in America. The virus was reported in Greece today, the first of the EU countries to find it.

Poor Harriet

Poor Harriet! I bet she is wondering why she ever said yes when “W’” popped the question. Or is this all a ploy? Did “W” intend to nominate a loser, so that he could propose another, a ringer…when Harriet decides to throw in the towel? By that time, the opposition will be tired and frustrated; a ringer could slide right in. Hmm? I wonder?


I just finished reading the paper and I was not surprised to see that California’s schools are taking a real beating in the math and reading testing required by the No Child Left Behind law. Apparently 4th and 8th graders tested very near to dead last in those areas. It is obvious that something has to change and I would propose that we fire all of the teachers and hire new ones. After all, it has to be the teachers’ fault that the scores are so low. And by hiring all new teachers, we can save a lot of money; as we won’t have to pay them very much until they can prove their worth by a raising of the test scores. We can certainly keep the current high level state administrators in their jobs though; heaven knows that they have tried their very best! After all, they are “high level” and that must mean highly skilled.

Time to Vote

I see my ballot sitting on the desk here. I guess I had better open it and read the darn thing. Of course I will vote; I haven’t missed a vote since I became eligible may years ago. But I don’t like many of the measures that have been placed on this ballot. Our acting governor, “Photo Op” Schwarzenegger, is circumventing the legislative process for his own agenda and it shows. But since the legislative process in California died some years ago, what else can we expect?  

Aha! Now I see

I see that the Bush administration, with a little help from “brother Jeb”, have decided to show their true colors with the approval of a new Medicaid bill that limits spending for many of the 2.2 million beneficiaries in Florida and gives private health plans new freedom to limit benefits. This is how Republican “Compassionate Conservatism” works. You cut taxes for the very wealthy and you cut benefits for the very poor. Everyone gets a cut…sounds fair to me!

By the way, did you realize that this president has not vetoed any bill that has come across his desk? Ever? Wow! I guess Congress has been most wise and have not approved any bills that might have been worthy of a veto. What a wonderful team; Congress and the president.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who Knew?

I was reading the Bee (Taste section) and there was an article on sushi, one of my favorite dishes. And in the article was this this question; chopsticks or fingers? And the answer's up to the diner, but traditionally sushi is eaten by picking up each piece with the fingers!

Other tips. Dip the topping of the sushi into the soy sauce, not the more absorbent block of rice on the bottom. Also put it in your mouth upside down, so the topping, rather than the rice, is what you first taste . And the sliced and pickled ginger (gari) is used to cleanse the palate between courses.

Now, where's a good sushi restaurant so I can practice?

Iraq "Most Corrupt"

Iraq "Most Corrupt"
You weren't really surprised, were you?


Georgia on my mind.

Georgia has (or had) a new voter-identification law. Citizens without drivers’ licenses have to pay $20 or more for the documentation necessary to vote. Some have called it a modern-day poll tax, intended to keep blacks and poor people from voting and yesterday a federal judge agreed and blocked the law from taking effect.

Georgia Republicans pushed the bill through the Legislature this year, creating the nation's toughest voter-identification requirements. And when it passed, most of the state's black legislators walked out of the Capitol in protest. Under this new law, voters with driver's licenses are not inconvenienced. But it creates a huge obstacle for voters without licenses, who are disproportionately poor and black. What is required is an official state picture-identification card, and the payment of processing fees of $20 or more. Would you believe this - there was not one office in Atlanta where these identification cards were for sale?

For shame! And on a national level, Republicans should repudiate their Georgia brethren.

Vote Early and Vote Often

“The electoral officials, at the suggestion of United Nations advisers, said Monday that they were looking into unusually one-sided tallies in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces, where early returns from the voting on Saturday showed more than 90 percent approval.

The provinces in question are dominated by Shiite Arabs or Kurds, who are generally determined to enshrine the document over the opposition of many Sunni Arabs.”

It’s interesting to see how quickly the people of Iraq have learned to make democracy “work” for them. This reminds me of Ohio in 2004…


I found a disturbing item in my e-mail this morning; it was political advertising. Not just any political advertising, but California political advertising to be exact. My SpamBayes filter had already moved it to the Junk folder, but I was surprised that the senders were able to discern that my address was a California address. The mail itself was an anti-Proposition 79 piece, sent by John T. Kehoe, Founder, California Senior Advocates League []. Notice the last part of the address? Botpush11? So it’s a robot mailing service that doesn’t allow you to reply.

And Mr. Kehoe? He is low key but Google found this, “AARP is not the only senior group taking a position on the drug discount measures. The California Senior Advocates League has taken the opposite position, and John T. Kehoe, one of the group's founders, is serving as co-chairman of the Proposition 78 campaign.
But the Senior Advocates League has no paid members. It operates on an shoestring budget of about $120,000, of which more than 5% comes from drug company contributions. Kehoe, the former executive director of the California Commission on Aging, said that had nothing to do with why he joined the Proposition 78 campaign.

Has no paid members? And just how does Mr. Kehoe operate a slick advertising campaign? This one smells…


I think it was a week ago that I was writing about the possibility of getting supermarket advertising on-line and maybe, just maybe...being able to create a shopping list after checking the items you wanted. Well, here it is! Laurae read my words and decided to see what kind of advertising was available and it turns out that Raley's already has just such a feature. Excuse me, I will talk to you later. I have to go shopping.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Starting Life All Over Again

Starting Life All Over Again
I recently subscribed to the "Daily Dig", a commentary from the Bruderhof communities. This was one I certainly could identify with.

Saddam heads to Iraq court, two years after capture

Saddam heads to Iraq court, two years after capture
Two years? Amazing how time flies...

Is he guilty of crimes against humanity? Undoubtedly. But the trial will bring up some interesting points as the defense will point to the USA as a co-defendant, saying that Saddam was aided and encouraged by the USA, back in the days when we were giving military aid to him. (including WMD's) Sadly, that part is true...

The latest investor in green energy - the CIA

The latest investor in green energy - the CIA
Forget the CIA. I want one of these!

It's Time

I have decided to place myself in the field of possible Supreme Court Justices. I have a copy of the Constitution and I can both read and think; sometimes at exactly the same time! That makes me a "strict constructionist" and a perfect choice for the job. I can guess, as well as the next person, just what the founding fathers meant when they apporoved this document over 200 years ago.

The only thing missing from my near perfect resume is the fact that W doesn't know me and consider me a best buddy...


Last night I watched the show, Two Days in October, shown on PBS. If you ever have a chance, watch it when it’s shown again. Those two days were in October of 1967 and the film recalls the horror of the war in Vietnam. It’s non-judgmental, simply showing the events and the comments of those who were involved, both in battle and in protest.

I was 27 at the time, and had been married for over 4 years. In 1967 we have a 3 year old daughter, Denise, and Alicia is just old enough to stand and contemplate walking. We have a new house in Newbury Park. We have two cars. I have a good job. Life is good in 1967. But every morning we read the newspapers and every night we watch the television news.

I suppose that what bothered me about this film, was the fact that it brought back all of those conflicting memories. (Our children and grandchildren have an entirely different view of the war in Vietnam.) For those of us who were living through it, it became a life changing event. For those who were in Vietnam, doing as they were told, it was both horrific and valorous.

I think that the war in Vietnam explains why I am so cynical today. Last night, as I listened to the veterans tell their stories; it was easy to see how conflicted they were. Many wanted to tell you that it all made sense somehow, but before they could finish their story, they were shaking their heads and crying as they remembered the futility of it all. Some were bitter; still wanting to punish those who protested the war.

A little story; It was a time in the early 1970’s. I was eating lunch, sitting on a stack of drywall at work and talking to another worker that had just been discharged from the Army. He told me of coming ashore in an LST, landing on a Vietnamese beach in full combat gear. His company had then been assembled and placed on trucks for the trip to the howitzer battalion that they had been assigned to. They took off for an anticipated one hour trip. The driver of their truck became lost and soon they were in the jungle, at night. Eventually they found their way to the battalion. The story? All of this time, from the beach landing to the ride through the jungle; they were without ammunition for their rifles. Empty guns. He laughed about it.

And speaking of drugs

And speaking of drugs, I just received my copy of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans for 2006. What a mind altering plan that is! Page after page of government “speak”, which means that it is difficult to understand and will cost you more money. Have you ever wondered if the big pharmaceutical and health insurance companies might be in league with the Bush administration? Wonder no more!

And the flood of advertising for various drug plans has begun to hit my mailbox. And it won’t stop for years to come…the Medicare plan that will tie you to a specific drug provider is going to be a “cash cow” for the successful advertisers.

And last; I think I have the perfect sleep inducing drug. Read the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for 2006. You will drop off after about 5 pages.


I was reading a story in the Sacramento Bee the other day; all about our national urge to medicate ourselves and our children. It was alarming to read. But certainly not unexpected. When you sit down to watch television, you can count on watching at least a half dozen or more pharmaceutical ads. These are ads for drugs that you can’t buy…you have to ask your doctor for them. In fact, sometimes you may need to ask your doctor what the drug is supposed to do; the ads are so vague, but full of promise! And magazines; they are filled with slick (and expensive) full page ads for prescription drugs. The link below will take you to a story about the latest fad; to give our children sleeping pills.

And in a related story, I found that Lunesta, the sleeping pill that is advertised with the butterfly, will bring sleep approximately 10 minutes faster than if you didn’t take it at all. And then you have to suffer from a drug induced stupor after you wake up. Why on earth would you take it? But you can’t…certainly not by yourself. You have to go to a doctor and have him prescribe it for you. Which he will do, of course. After all, you just added $75 dollars to his bottom line with your visit and request.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fact versus Fiction

From Sojourners...

"Many in Congress claim that Hurricane Katrina has driven congressional spending and budgets out of control, and that sweeping cuts to vital social services are justified because of these increases. This claim couldn't be further from the truth.

Fiction : Government spending is dangerously high.
Fact: Even with new Katrina funds, federal spending as a percentage of the economy is below the 30-year average. Arguments like these are driven by an ideological determination to shrink government, not reality.
Fiction : Deficits are spinning out of control because of reckless spending and new Katrina relief.
Fact : The root of the problem of skyrocketing deficits is new tax cuts for the very wealthy, not new spending. For the past three years, tax revenues as a percentage of the economy are at a 30-year low. Nevertheless, many in Congress will stop at nothing to enact new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Between now and 2010, the cost of the Bush tax cuts (if extended) will total $1.7 trillion. Katrina relief - even when you amount interest costs, is projected at $240 billion - less than 15% of what the tax cuts will cost. And yet there is momentum behind a plan this year to add an additional $70 billion in new tax cuts - mostly for the very wealthy. Simply put, this plan is out of touch with our values."

US 'blockade' of Cuba

US 'blockade' of Cuba
What's in a word? Blockade vs. Embargo. Like "collateral damage", what does that mean? Why not call it what it is? Killing innocent people.

For instance, "Unfortunately, the air raid caused some collateral damage." Why not tell the truth? "Unfortunately, the air raid killed 20 innocent people."

And keeping people and trade away from Cuba is certainly a blockade. What are they afraid of when they decide to use such "weasel words"?

Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain. I bring up his name because I think there is a distinct possibility that he will run for President once again. Initially, I was a fan of his, but he is still a politician and so he comes with lots of baggage. For instance; this old webpage…

All very depressing! Do you ever feel like Diogenes, searching everywhere for an honest man? My guess is that the honest man or woman won’t be found in the political arena and that we should be satisfied with simply obtaining the best politician that money can buy.  

My good friend, Dennis, calls me cynical. But I would rather be a cynic than a sheep. And I’m still looking…

Survey says

“According to a recent survey for AOL. 48.7% of the bloggers said that they blog for therapeutic reasons, while 40.8% do it to keep in touch with friends and family. In sharp contrast, only 7.5% wanted to draw attention to political topics, and 16.2% related it to an interest in journalism.”
So why do I blog? (Wait a second…I think a blog is a noun, not a verb. I post to my blog, “post” being the verb.)  OK, now that the grammar lesson is out of the way…why do I post to my blog?

I’m definitely in tune with the majority, but I think the reasons don’t stand by themselves. They are intertwined. My keeping in touch with family and friends is therapeutic. My reasons? All of the above in equal amounts.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iraq voters

Iraq voters
Good news - bad news. Once there is a constitution in place, we are that much closer to getting out. But will a constitution bring peace? You can hold elections and call this a "democracy" till the cows come home, but it's still a primitive tribal society and these people are passionate in their beliefs. On both sides.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wal*Mart Memories

Wal*Mart. You remember them, don’t you? They have recently decided to explore the possibility of getting into the banking business. Makes sense. They certainly have plenty of money to work with. Just think of the possibilities if Wal*Mart goes even further! You could wake up to Wal*Mart Radio (99.7 on your FM dial) on your Wal*Mart alarm clock, just before hopping into the shower. (Towels and soap…Wal*Mart!) Have breakfast, eating some of the groceries you bought at Wal*Mart. Then it’s off to work, (at Wal*Mart, of course) driving the new Wal*Mobile you purchased with a loan from your local Wal*Bank. But since you work at Wal*Mart, it will be many, many years before that loan is paid off. And it’s the same problem with your Wal*Mortgage. This whole thing gives you a headache…but you really can’t afford to go to the Wal*Doc again; you still owe quite a bit for the surgery they performed last month, a complete wallet removal.

Oddly enough, the banking industry is upset with this proposal. (Make that more scared than upset)

Generic Tamiflu for 2006 (Click Here)

Generic Tamiflu for 2006
Here's some more info on Roche and the competition. Just Google "tamiflu" for more stories about this... U.S. (Click Here)

This story, and others like it will soon be front page news as the virus travels along the flyways of wild birds.

Just a little known fact; Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, gets $60 for one treatment. Let's see...$60 times 200 million is $12000000000000, more or less. A footnote to that is the fact that an Indian pharmaceutical company has decoded the structure of Tamiflu and is on its way to making a generic equivalent.

But, as you can see from the article, the virus is mutating and becoming Tamiflu resistant. The last influenza pandemeic was in 1918 and it killed millions of people worldwide and that was before the era of air travel.

My prediction? Halliburton will get into the drug business...

Friday, October 14, 2005


We finally gave up on the local paper. The delivery had become erratic and the price had been raised once more. The price increase was the final straw and it felt good to say, “No more!”, although it was Laurae that had the privilege of actually doing that. She said that the person who listened to her explanation for quitting the service was quite sympathetic, but could offer nothing to change our minds.

Upon reflection, I can see the demise of most small town newspapers as costs go up and subscribers fade away. We already subscribe to the Sacramento Bee, which handles foreign, national and regional news well enough. Local news is rarely found in the Bee and so for that I will turn to the internet version of the local paper. Yes, the one we just stopped subscribing to. And the Bee won’t be around that much longer either, as almost all news can be found on the internet. I already subscribe to 3 or 4 news services (free!). So it doesn’t make sense to subscribe to a daily newspaper just for the comics page!

It’s usually said that we need the newspaper for the local ads and I can see where local merchants could get together and put out a weekly internet advertising mailing. Perhaps there is a business opportunity for someone? Imagine one commercial website for the Butte/Glenn county area. On the website would be advertising for the local grocery stores, department stores, drug stores…the same stuff you see in the Wednesday edition of your local paper. Maybe you could include a built in shopping list with check boxes. That would be cool; just print your shopping list. And you could print coupons as well! Developing and managing the mailing list would be tough at first, but it has to easier than maintaining a printing press.

I don’t know about you, but we already do a lot of shopping on-line. And we get specialized advertising all of the time. But the difference is; we allow the advertising we want and block the others. Newspapers can’t offer that.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What's new

What is new around here? Since the excitement of the marathon is slowly fading away, I need to find something to replace it. And what I have done is to begin some painting projects. Painting; as in “house painting” and not painting on canvas. I’m painting the living room right now and I want to do the hallway after that. Bold colors are currently in vogue and that’s fun…and different for me. I was always a person who preferred a stark white background and thought that the furniture and artwork made the best statement about your tastes.

The living room only needs a few more hours of painting and the walls and ceiling will be complete. Then I need to rip out the old baseboards, dark and narrow, and add the new and taller baseboards for that final touch.

Laurae picked the colors for our study and they were perfect. Now it looks as if she has made another great choice with the living room colors. Her being an ISFJ type has a lot to do with that, as she spends a lot of time researching and studying how the colors interact with their surroundings; that’s the “Sensing” type at work. Myself, an INFP; I will go with what makes me “Feel” good at the moment I buy the paint. That’s not the same from day to day. And that’s probably why I liked white as a background color; neutral and non-threatening. But I’m getting used to living dangerously with color and I have some bold ideas of my own for the hallway. Stay tuned.

Treated for Illness, Then Lost in Labyrinth of Bills

Treated for Illness, Then Lost in Labyrinth of Bills
This article (3 pages) is worth the hassle of logging in to the Times website. No, it won't solve your medical problems, nor will it make you feel better. But you might discover that you aren't the only one with this problem...Maybe you could forward the article to your doctor?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yahoo Serious

After having re-established communication with an old friend, now living in Darwin, I couldn't help but think of another favorite Australian, Yahoo Serious! I finally bought a videotape of his epic film, Young Einstein, awhile ago...and now I can't find it. I think someone in my family has it. If so, please let me know where it is. I'm ready for a serious evening with Yahoo...

They Don't Get It!

The poor Democrats! Will they ever learn? By this time, they should already have a candidate lined up for the 2008 race, but the party is still split between centrists and liberals and neither side talks to the other. What neither side seems to understand is that the majority of voters think that Democrats are unfriendly to religion. (71% think this.) Even though the majority of Americans avoid actually going to church, they still like to think of themselves as "Religious". And defense is still an issue. The Democrats need to show the public that they have a strong defense plan, but without the warmongering attitude of the Republicans.

But will they do it? They have spent the last five years engaged in silly squabbles when they should have elevated the fight to "major issues" only. I don't see them changing though. And even thinking about Hillary Clinton as a candidiate is a recipe for disaster.

I'm glad I'm an independent.


I’m still trying to understand…Bush said that Harriet Miers would not change if she became a justice. "I know her well enough to be able to say that she's not going to change, that 20 years from now she'll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today." And he said that as if that were a good thing. What is he thinking? Change is what’s needed. Change is good! A person who doesn’t want to change has the intellect of a rock…

Oh…I guess I answered my own question.

Oh No!

Oh, no! the Chick-fil-A Corporation has invaded California! When I was last in Roseville, I spotted the sign of this once strictly Southern restaurant chain. And now I note that they have also been seen in Fairfield. Where will they show up next?

This means that the famous “Cow commercials” won’t be far behind! For those who have never been to a Chick-fil-A restaurant, it’s like KFC on steroids. And it has always been a standard attraction in the South, along with the Waffle House restaurants. (Just think “Waffle rhymes with “Awful”)


Wednesday morning is here once again. And I can say that I slept better last night. The 3 nights spent in the hotel last weekend reminded me of just how much I dislike hotel beds. Absolutely painful! But I am one of those odd people that love an extra firm mattress. A layer of blankets placed directly on the floor would be ideal.

This morning I was reading an article about the growing concern among State department officials and other administration higher-ups, that Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and other nations have gained far too much political power because of their oil wealth. It really was another one of those “duh!” moments, as the only way these nations can have that kind of political power is if we let them. It’s our dependence on oil that creates this kind of power. Venezuela’s oil export revenue will hit $35 billion this year. In 1998, that figure was $13 billion. Iran has made over $25 billion in windfall profits this year. And the “new” Russia no longer has to borrow money from us. They will earn $110 billion this year and that’s up 22% from last year. That’s a lot of money…and a lot of political power.

There is only one way to reduce that power and that is to stop using so much oil. Yet, the current administration has decided that a gentle reminder that, perhaps, we shouldn’t drive so much will be sufficient. Hello!? Bush has gone out of his way to encourage gasoline consumption by refusing to change the C.A.F.E standards for the automobile industry. Fuel efficiency is not a priority for Republicans.

A story about the new GM models got my attention when I saw that the “new and improved” Yukon will have increased mileage as one of its selling points. Yes, it get 1 (one) more mile per gallon than last years model.

Some figures to go along with this ranting…
Leading oil consumers (2004)
U.S.A. 20.5 millions of barrels per day
China 6.5 millions of barrels per day
Japan 5.4 millions of barrels per day
Germany 2.6 millions of barrels per day
Russia 2.6 millions of barrels per day

Leading world oil exporters of oil (2004)
Saudi Arabia 8.73 millions of barrels per day
Russia 6.67 millions of barrels per day
Norway 2.91 millions of barrels per day
Iran 2.55 millions of barrels per day
Venezuela 2.36 millions of barrels per day

These figures tell the story. As I said, these other nations have more power over us because we give it to them. And, no surprise!, those nations enjoy wielding that power.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Perhaps it's time for me to support the president's choice for the next Supreme Court seems that his recent choice has made the conservatives very unhappy and I always welcome a chance to make them unhappier! Even in such a small way as this posting.

Though, I must's very hard to tell when they aren't angry or unhappy. It seems to be their natural state. Truthfully now; have you ever seen a happy conservative? Of course you haven't!

Anthony Peyton Porter

Anthony Peyton Porter
Here is some more from Mr. Porter...the links you see on the left are for mp3 files so you will need to turn on your speakers. Or, you can right click on the links and "Save target as..." and download them for your later listening pleasure.

From the edge - October 6, 2005

From the edge - October 6, 2005
I read this while enjoying my "latte and the news" last week and couldn't get it out of my mind. I thought that these were wise words indeed.

Alvin Alexsi Currier

Alvin Alexsi Currier
A good question for us all...

It's Over

I am back from a very successful weekend in Portland. You can read about it in my "Short Laps" blog.

I have to admit that I strutted a little after the finish. Hey! I'm 65 and I was able to do a marathon, so I guess a little strut won't be considered bad form. After all, less than 1% of the population ever does a marathon so it's sort of special.

I would certainly recommend it for anyone...anyone at all! You don't have to be a super athlete, you just need to be determined. And you're only racing against yourself when you are out there on the course. And when you win that race, the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable as you head down the chute at the finish and they call out your name. You did it!

Friday, October 7, 2005

Early Morning Visitor

I have an early morning visitor! Steven just woke up and has joined me. After some initial “Good Morning!” hugs and kisses, I now have him sitting in our small chair and covered with a blanket, in the hopes that he will fall asleep again. But from the noises he is making, I think it’s a losing battle. Grandchildren; is there any experience more delightful than a hug from a grandchild? And we have been blessed with grandchildren of all ages, from 23 to 2. A few days ago, Kyle came running and jumped into my arms for a hug and a kiss. He’s 5 and it won’t be too long before he will distance himself from these displays of affection, so I treasure them all the more.

I suppose sister Abigayle will join us soon, as Steven is irrepresible and he's making enough noise to wake her...but that's all right. We need an early start for our journey.

(And now; the big question...should I take the computer with me? If I do, then I can post to the marathon blog right away. But, it's just one more piece of luggage to contend with. And does the Hilton have wireless connections?)

Race Day is Coming

Friday has arrived (just as it should have) and this is our travel day. We’re on our way to Portland and it will probably take us most of the day to get there. And I will be traveling in the company of grandchildren…what fun! I have been told that singing is an important part of our travel adventures and so I must be prepared to join in. And naps. Since the grandchildren are not quite 3 years old, there must be some napping involved in our travels and I will try to join in that as well.

I will be staying at the Hilton in downtown Portland, not far from the Start/Finish line for the marathon. And the weather is supposed to be OK for Sunday; mid 60’s and some clouds. It will be dark when we first assemble on the street for the mass start, but at 7, it’s light enough to enjoy the sight of thousands of participants moving forward as one, heading for the electronic strip that lies across the road at the start line; that will activate the small timing chip tied to our shoe laces as we cross it. Then all we have to is settle into our own pace and enjoy the marathon!

Thursday, October 6, 2005

A Fair Wage

A Fair Wage
Having a problem making ends meet these past few months? Are those darn bill collectors pestering you? Here's the solution; from what I've read, these people have more money than they know what to do with. Just explain your circumstances to them, I'm sure they will help you out...The author of this article has their names and everything, so it should be simple to find them. Though one of them, Dennis Kozlowski, is currently unavailable.

A Matter of Honor

A Matter of Honor
Well said...and worthy of your attention.

Minimum Governor

I guess we get just what we pay for. And since we don't pay Arnold anything, we certainly get fair value.

Let's see now...he vetoed the increase to the minimum wage. Compassionate Conservatism at it's finest. And his crusade to not allow union dues to be used for political purposes? It seems that the CSEA dues are already handled that way. If a teacher doesn't want his/her dues used for political purposes, only a letter notification is required; anytime between June 1 and July 10. So his solution just adds a barrier for the union. And since "fair" is supposed to be all encompassing, why is it that corporations that I have invested in, can use my money for political purposes? Shouldn't they require my approval as well?


Harriet Miers. At first I was undecided. Then Bush spoke at a press conference and said, basically, that we should trust him. That was the whole recommendation. Trust Bush. What?

That certainly pushed me into the “opposition” camp, and then when I read that Harriet had once said, “…the president was the most brilliant man she ever met.” This was in a conversation with David Frum, former White House speech writer. That did it! It’s obvious that Harriet has no life experience at all and shouldn’t be trusted with any decision making…ever!

And finally, this…just for laughs, of course.


Steven King, R - Iowa. "'I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy, she would realize that he was a hero for America.' "Who is this idiot? Can you imagine anyone who has read American history saying something like this? The people of Iowa deserve better.
And all over a local matter...local for Berkeley, not Iowa.


Thursday is here and it arrived in the usual way. Overnight. It’s about 5 right now and I’m trying to wake up and get a creative flow going. I have looked at the headlines, read and deleted some mail, just the usual housekeeping chores for this time of day. Perhaps a second cup of coffee will do the trick.

Speaking of “Creative”…I have joined the National Novel Writing organization for the month of November. See the website below. I had tried to join in August, but they were filled. They sent me an invitation this morning and so I jumped at it. Now I have some time to create and review all sorts of possible plots and twists for my first novel.

If nothing else, it will be good mental exercise for me; something that all senior citizens need, besides additional fiber and Centrum Silver.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Comments on a news story from Massachusetts; the governor of that state has a plan to use merit pay for teachers as a way of improving the efficiency of the schools. Of course that won’t work. Not unless he can guarantee each teacher will be given the same opportunity to succeed. The same quality of classroom and supplies, the same students, the same administrators…Please understand; I’m a big fan of merit pay. When I was a carpenter, a young carpenter, I used to work for “piece work” wages. The faster I worked, the more money I made. Simple merit pay. If I was better (faster) than Frank or Joe, I made more money. But, we were all given the same type of work to do. The materials were the same and so were the houses. If…there was any difference in the scope of the work or the quality of the materials; that quickly became a point of contention between us and the contractor. And that is exactly what will happen with merit pay for teachers. It certainly sounds fair, but as it is often said, “The devil is in the details”. And some teachers will fail because of those details. We would be putting the entire weight of the education process on the shoulders of the teacher. The school board, the parents and the administrators would have no responsibility. How fair is that?

Monday, October 3, 2005

The Democratic Party

The Democratic Party
Some interesting information on oil prices and how they came to be...and this was in May!

As Dick Cheney once said (1986), "Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States."

Bush picks

Bush picks
Harriet Miers. Who? What are her qualifications? Well, she has some experience as a lawyer...but none as a judge. But she is Dubya's buddy. And Dubya always rewards his buddies. That makes sense. Doesn't it? After all, what's more important than unswerving loyalty to your boss?

Project Censored

Project Censored Media Democracy in Action
Sure, it's a lot to read, but you're a citizen and have an obligation to be informed.

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins
One of my favorite authors. Molly Ivins always tells the truth and that alone makes her words valuable in a world of "spin".


The real looting continues…in Louisiana.

“Not content with the $62.3 billion Congress has already appropriated for emergency relief, the state's representatives have asked for $250 billion more in federal reconstruction funds, equal to more than $50,000 per Louisiana resident.”

Let’s see… 62.3 plus 250. That’s $312.3 billion. A few more billion here and there and we’re talking about some serious money! In fact, I can remember back to the days when we had more than that amount as our budget surplus.

Sunday, October 2, 2005


What a story…FEMA ordered some ice and the rest is history.

Ninety-one thousand tons of ice cubes, that is, intended to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of the storm. It would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and most of it would never be delivered. (1,820,000 pounds) (4,500 truckloads)

Truck after truck, all loaded with ice cubes were shuttled from one state to another as officials tried to figure out what to do with all of it. In the end, 59 % of the ice was trucked to storage locations all over the country, yes, even to Portland, Maine.

Here’s one story…just Google “FEMA ICE” for more.

Sticks and Stones

Free speech ... does anyone care?
Should have been on the front page...but I never saw it. Why?


It’s that season…Halloween. And Americans are going to spend an estimated $3 billion+ dollars on it. Now that’s scary!

I’m from an earlier generation and Halloween wasn’t very controversial during my years as a “trick or treater”. I do remember that it wasn’t a time for small children or for older children. . Costumes were all made by hand, children’s hands. Store bought costumes were considered tacky. Parents were not involved, except for a small role as greeters and dispensers of candy at the front door. (A small, but important role.) And parents were also the arbiters, determining when a child was no longer allowed to ring doorbells…”you’re a little old for this, aren’t you?” When you heard that from 2 or more houses, you knew it was time to hang up the sack and leave the field to the younger children.

No, it was not demonic or satanic, it was loosely organized extortion. And the doorbell ringing never began until it was dark, very dark. That was the whole idea; to have a chance to be safely scared while completing your mission of collecting more loot than anyone else…


I think this a bigger story than it first appears to be. Free internet. Free, as in No $$$'s. Zip, nada...etc. Internet access as a city service, just like street maintenance and parks. A service to spread information. There is already a private versus free battle going on around the country as cities face the "connectivity" issue. Google, with all of their clout (and money), has thrown in with the "free" side and that may be the end of the battle.

Play Ball

Before and after yesterday’s walk in the park, I was in attendance at soccer games. First, at 8:30, was Karlee’s game, the Dragonflies vs. ???. Her team dominated the other and the score was 4 -0. I returned to the Chico soccer complex at 12:45 to watch Kyle and his team playing. Now, I’m trying to be fair to all of my grandchildren here…but I have to say that this was one of the best games I’ve seen in quite awhile. These players are only 5 years old and so the concept of “teamwork” is somewhat vague to them. But spirit and energy…they were loaded with it! There were mini-dramas going on every minute and all over the field. A dozen or more 5-year old boys and a soccer ball; what a concept! We were all entertained. I have a feeling that this is a magical moment in sports and that within a month or so, the teamwork will gel and the serious side of the sport will begin to dominate. Too bad.