Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Outsourcing anyone?

Intel launches Vietnam investment
Not really outsourcing, as Intel is simply a multi-national firm with plants everywhere in the world. Arizona, New Mexico, Massachusets, Scotland, Ireland...why not Vietnam? I had a little experience in chip plants (And Intel) before I retired and so I like to keep up with the technology...

Stormy weather

This picture doesn't do justice to the incredible blue of the sky; seen between the clouds.

You want fries with that?

And another fascinating Friedman story was about the McDonalds restaurant in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. When you drive up to order your Big Mac and fries, you see the speaker in the outdoor menu board and are greeted by a disembodied voice, “May I take your order, please?” All is normal, except for the fact that the person asking you for your order is in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 900 miles away from you. That person has also taken your photograph along with your order and has transmitted it within a second or two to a person in the restaurant, 50 feet away from where you are. The photo is deleted as soon as your order is delivered. Believe it or not, the franchise owner (He owns 12) has found that doing it this way has cut his order to delivery time in half and added 30 orders per hour to what had been his normal output.


Tuesday and it’s the last day of the month. I am awake at the usual time and I see that the rain has stopped for a little while. The wind is still with us and will continue to be blustery for most of the week. But it was the rain that was giving us a problem with our satellite connection and that was as bad as I have ever seen it.

Since it was raining yesterday, I was able to finish two books and get them off of my reading table. And of course I have a few more to replace them; Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. And The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Friedman.

For most people, I’m sure that my reading habits are perplexing if not annoying. Normally, I will be reading 3 or more books at the same time, savoring a small amount out of each one and then putting it down. I do the same with magazines, taking quite a long time to work my way through them. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that I do this because I usually read too fast. Reading a little bit at a time forces me to re-read quite often and that’s a good thing.

Last night I was reading Friedman’s book and found it to be quite fascinating (filled with facts) and so I kept reading longer than usual. In the first chapter he spends some time describing “outsourcing” and how it works in this flat world of ours. For instance, I found out that there is a growing business in the reading of x-rays. Radiologists in India are contracted to read x-rays while your own doctor is sleeping soundly at home. And there is “homesourcing”, where work-at-home moms in Utah, over 400 of them, work as reservation clerks for JetBlue Airlines. Cool.

And then I read about the city of Dalian. I had never read about it before; even the name was unfamiliar. Shame on me! But this is where Japan meets China every day in a world of commerce. And it happens to be where a large number of multi-national firms are investing. One reason for the popularity is the huge population of educated citizens. With 22 universities and over 200,000 students, they are in a good position to attract even more of the world’s business.

We ignore these facts at our own peril.

Monday, February 27, 2006


- Yale and the Taliban
Fascinating! You can't make up stuff like this...

Rain Rain, Go Away

The rain is making it difficult to maintain a good connection with the satellite this morning and my internet connection fades in and out in tune with the degree of storm intensity. I wish we could have a broadband connection; cable or DSL, but the companies that might provide it aren’t interested in this little piece of Glenn County. Where’s the Public Utilities Commission when you need them? Oh, I forgot…we’re in a Free Market Economy and this is “good” for me. That will be my mantra for the day. I already feel so much better!

Rainy Day

Monday morning and all is fine, as long as you’re inside. Rain is the most common word in the forecast for the week, along with a mention of possible flooding. I was looking at the NOAA website yesterday and found it to be filled with a lot more information than what is provided by Yahoo Weather or the Weather Channel. Everything from wind speeds to river heights is covered. And you can zero in on local weather by clicking on their maps and getting to within a mile or two of your location. Too bad they don’t have an RSS feed so I could receive it automatically. Here’s a sample…

For: 0.6 miles north of Orland. Created: February 27, 2006 04:24:12 PSTRest of the morning: Cloudy. Low 49. Today: Rain. Probability of measurable precipitation 100 percent. Southeast wind 30 mph. High 59. Tonight: Occasional thunderstorms. Southeast wind 31 mph. Low 45.

And here is the link to the river heights.

And what else is new? I received a newsletter from Whiskey and Gunpowder the other day and found some of the writing to be quite credible…and some was simply odd. Here are some excerpts.

“I understand why people are upset that the Bush administration OK'd the sale of operation of six major American ports… to Dubai Ports World. (DPW)

After all, DPW is controlled by the United Arab Emirates, which really means our port operations are now owned by the UAE royal family. The CIA once held off on targeting Osama bin Laden because half the UAE royal family was visiting him in Afghanistan.”

That is certainly enough information to make you wonder, just what is going on? The article goes on to explain why it could be a good idea to continue to let foreign countries operate our ports (as they have for the past 30 years).

“It might actually INCREASE security. Only 5% of the shipments into America's ports are inspected now. Compare that with Hong Kong, which inspects 100% of shipments at ports. Since 24 of the 25 biggest ship terminal operators worldwide are foreign based, most of the containers sent to the United States leave terminals operated by foreign governments or companies. So if terrorists want to send a nuclear bomb via container ship into an American city, they're not waiting for the UAE to control the ports. They'll just do it anyway.
Point is, the UAE taking over control of six American ports might actually shock the do-nothings in Washington into funding a port security system with real teeth.”

The gang from Whiskey and Gunpowder are “Gold bugs” and extreme Libertarians, so you need to take it all in with a grain of salt.


and how do cats purr?
Far more complex an answer than you might expect.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Winter

The storm has arrived...sort of. The rain is gentle and that's a good thing, as I was able to get my rose tonic in place before the rain started. This rain should soak it in well. And the cat is happy again this afternoon. The little people have departed and so the house is safe for her once more. But she does avoid the front room where the red party balloons have gathered in what appears to be a menacing herd.

(It feels strange to have the temperatue drop so quickly. I have changed into my cozy sweats once more and have a cup of tea in hand. And yesterday we were basking in the sunshine...)

Stormy Weather

Sunday it is, and this is supposed to be a day of change as a new storm sweeps in to Northern California. It’s hard to imagine a storm after we enjoyed such a beautiful day on Saturday. First, there was a good training walk in the park early Saturday morning; afterwards we hurried back to Orland to attend another watercolor class. I’m learning…slowly. Then, after a quick lunch we went back to Chico and spent some time walking around downtown. No destination in mind, just strolling in the sun.

This new storm comes with a weather service flood warning for areas around streams and rivers. It’s supposed to be a warm storm with snow levels near 8,000 feet or higher. Then, on Wednesday…it changes to a cold storm with snow levels falling to near the valley floors. Yes, it’s still winter.

Speaking of floods…that subject has suddenly become a hot item for politicians. The newspapers have been filled with pictures of politicians standing on or near the levees. And getting “Face Time” on the evening news while droning on about how dedicated they are to the public safety. And where have these same politicians been during the past ten, twenty, thirty, forty years of neglect? Let’s see…is 2006 an election year?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

For Sale

I have looked at the news for this morning and all seems well…or as well as can be expected. And I just received a “virtual” tap on the shoulder from my Outlook reminder…the Bidwell Classic is only 6 days away. Will I be ready? I think so; and we’re going to do a fast lap of the park this morning, just to be sure. And we’re planning on a longer walk for tomorrow morning; a double?

Comments: The subject of American ports came up last night and it was not surprising to find that most thought that the ports had always been in the hands of U.S. businessmen; they were surprised to learn that a British company, P&O, was selling the operations to a company based in Dubai. I think most Americans would be shocked to find out how much of America is being run by the multinational corporations. America stopped being an island unto itself a long, long time ago. It’s a much smaller world and that gives us a greater responsibility; to be a good neighbor.

Party On!

Saturday morning and all is well. The birthday party has come and gone. For this year. We have our guests safely bedded down in the rooms down the hall from here and I don’t hear a sound from them this morning…but it’s early. It grew quite noisy at times last night as all celebrated Laurae’s (mom’s…grandma’s) birthday…good noise. And this morning, in the dark, there are balloons everywhere, floating here and there.
I bought her an Ott light as my contribution to the celebration. That should help to illuminate her art scene. And her sewing/knitting as well. And I received a special “atta boy” for my purchase because I used a Michael’s 50%-off coupon when I purchased it! Laurae loves a bargain.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What's new

Friday has arrived. It’s a quiet morning and I have not heard the 4 O’clock Flyer in the past few days. I’m beginning to think that my theory was correct; that the flight was somehow connected to the freezing temperatures we were experiencing.

What is new? The one thing that is on my mind is a splinter embedded in my right index finger. It is quite red and swollen, not a good sign. I need to leave it alone for awhile and see if the splinter will pop out on its own.

I did get a few things done yesterday. Odds and ends really, nothing major. I am in the process of refinishing a small end table that my daughter gave me. I added a few more strokes to my watercolor of an almond blossom. And I finished cutting out the first wooden “snowman” for Jill; that’s the reason I have a splinter! I picked some oranges and continued working on cleaning the pool. I added some of the trim (Base) and set the new/old corner cabinet in place. Then we went to town and I picked up a few items at Michaels; some metallic paint for gourds and a gold wax rub for the trim on that end table.

When I read that last paragraph again, I see a person who can’t focus! How many projects do I need?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The news is filled with debate about whether or not an Arab company should manage American ports…an interesting sidebar to this would be a debate on whether or not to allow ships owned by American companies to fly foreign flags. “Flags of Convenience” are what they are called…somehow I doubt that anyone will bring up this paradox.

Stuff from the Park:

Disneyland and others
This blog has a large collection of old Disneyland/Knotts Berry Farm photos. You will need to do some digging as they aren't consecutively arranged. Go to the Other Posts to find your way around.


The latest in Cat News…It appears that Boo is doing fine after her encounter with a glue trap. The vegetable oil took the adhesive out of her fur and I didn’t need the scissors. Although she still wasn’t very happy about the whole ordeal…she seemed to think that it was my fault? and so she was snubbing me yesterday. But, last night she finally forgave me and curled up on my lap to sleep.

For the rest of the news, I’m using Newsvine quite a bit these days. It’s an interesting concept; as you can comment on a news story directly. And you can post links to other news stories. I’m not describing it very well…check it out and see for yourself.


Thursday. And it’s early…Very dark outside. Time for a cup of coffee and a glance at the news. OK, more than a glance; I will check it all out and then decide if I need more coffee to wake me. Lately, just reading the Google news alerts for Iran has been enough to keep me wide-eyed. Saves money on coffee…

I have been reading the latest issue of Sojourners magazine and found some interesting articles…and some odd bits of data. I can share the data, but you will have to read the magazine yourself. For instance; Chances that a woman will die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth: Sub-Saharan Africa – 1 in 16. Developed Countries – 1 in 2,800. And this; in 2004, one in every 31 adults was under correctional supervision (prison, jail, parole, probation) compared to one in 88 in 1980. And, the United States has the highest imprisonment rate in the world. (686 per 100,000)  Wow! It sounds like we’re more dangerous than the rest of the world. Why are we afraid of terrorists? We should fear our neighbors more…

There was also a short article about Shanti Seliz and Daniel Straus, both of whom are being charged with transport of illegal aliens and conspiracy. They “conspired” to take 3 migrants to a hospital in Tucson, AZ. They belong to a group, No More Deaths, which advocates for immigration reform and provides food, water, and medical care for migrants crossing the desert. Note; they didn’t help anyone to cross the border. They simply provided basic human compassion…maximum fine for “compassion” these days is 15 years in prison and $500,000. So if you’re driving through the desert and come across someone who needs help, better check your calendar and your bank account before stopping.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Xentient Thumbnails

Now this looks like the ideal tool to help you sort your huge collection of photos...and the price is right.

The News

I was reading the Bee the other day and I ran across an interesting story about “news”. The short story is that few people are interested in the news and even fewer young people look for news in their lives. One 19 year old had this to say, “I try to pick up little things, here and there, about the news. I'm a social science major, so maybe I'm different,"… "But my friends just don't care. I'm always surprised when they don't know stuff."

Stuff? According to David T. Z. Mindich, a former CNN producer and author of "Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News”, this attitude is alarming.

Mindich's argument: Our very democracy hinges upon an informed citizenry plugged in to current events.

"How do you hold the government and its leaders accountable if you don't follow the news?" Mindich asks. "There's always been a segment of the population that will never follow the news. The problem is that the numbers have increased a lot in the last 30 or 40 years."

And this… “A 2005 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that young people spend 6 hours and 21 minutes per day using media - 3 hours and 51 minutes of it watching TV. Yet, only 6 percent of respondents said they watched the news.”



Some headlines…

“An execution was delayed indefinitely in California after a federal judge ordered the state to use an untested lethal injection method.”

What’s not being reported widely is the fact that the state must go back to the judge who originally signed the death warrant and convince him to sign another one. It just so happens that this judge now has doubts about the testimony of some key witnesses in the trial. Doubts? Yet the state wants to press on quickly.

“Iran pledged on Wednesday to provide financial assistance to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority following threats by Western nations to halt aid to a Hamas-controlled government.”

Should have seen that coming! And I’m sure Venezuela will pitch in as well.

“Austrian prosecutors seek to lengthen the jail term given to historian David Irving for denying the Holocaust.”

So, three years in prison isn’t enough punishment for being an idiot? Are there degrees of stupidity that require different punishments? Probation for being “Silly”? 6 months for “Foolishness”? A full year for “A Senior Moment”?

New FBI Computer System Exceeds Cost
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The FBI's latest attempt to modernize its computers is running behind schedule and its budget already has exceeded the cost of the last failed effort.

Wow! No kidding? What could have gone wrong? I’m sure that they are really upset about it.


The middle of the week. And it’s early for me once again. I took a nap yesterday afternoon and so five hours of sleep was all I could muster last night. I need to avoid the naps and the television if I’m going to go for eight straight hours of sleep. But do I need to? I enjoy being awake at this hour. People on the east coast are just waking now. In another hour or so, they will be making news. It’s almost noon in London, and somewhere in the world…it’s tomorrow!

And this morning I need to spend some time Googling for a remedy, a cure for cats that allow glue traps to become stuck to them. Plain water doesn’t touch it. I will try warm and soapy water next, but I suppose I will have to end up using scissors.

OK, here’s the answer…“Use plain old cooking oil. That comes straight from the exterminator that supplies my mother with those traps. She had one turn over onto her carpet and the cooking oil worked like a charm. Rub a little into the glue and comb it off. Then use a degreasing shampoo.”

I’m going to get rid of the glue traps. They only attract dust…and cats. I have only had one mouse caught this way and I think the D-Con works better.

Now what’s the weather supposed to do today? And speaking of weather, the 4 O’clock Flyer has not made an appearance. And sure enough, the current temp is 34°, going for a high near 70°.


From Slate and others…

“Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for $75 million in emergency funding to promote internal opposition to Iran's fundamentalist regime…”

Gosh! $75 million is a really, really small amount of money. If you are supposed to be serious about winning over the Iranians, you won’t insult them with that meager amount. Too late…we already did.

“…Many Iranians, probably a majority of them, despise their rulers. They want a real democracy… they even like the United States… as anyone who knows anything about Iran's history would emphasize, these same Iranians deeply distrust outsiders who try to interfere in their domestic affairs.

You would think that there might be one person in our State Department who would try to consider how another nation would react if they were being meddled with. Start by asking, “How would we react?”

This distrust goes all of the way back to 1953, when the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plotted, along with British oil interests, to overthrow Iran's premier, Mohammad Mossadeq, and replace him with the Shah. Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is certainly not the same as Mohammad Mossadeq; but he was democratically elected. If the United States tried to remove him; he would quickly assume the martyr's role.

This (1953) has to be one of the most embarrassing moments in our relationship with Iran, yet we have never apologized for it…maybe most Americans don’t even remember it, but it’s guaranteed that every Iranian schoolchild is taught this fact.

Kenneth Pollack tells an instructive story in his book, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America. Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bush officials started meeting with Iranian officials. The two countries shared an interest in overthrowing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and they took cooperative steps toward that common goal; two decades of mutual hostility began to melt away. Then, in January 2002, President Bush delivered his State of the Union Address—linking Iran with Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil"—and the Iranians instantly ended all talks. More than that, the Western-leaning factions within the Iranian regime were delegitimized and crushed.”

And another opportunity was lost…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Visitors Authority

An interesting place...did you know that articles of clothing manufactured here get to display a "Made in the USA" tag? So that new shirt you bought, the one with a tag that made you feel good? Guess what...it was probably made right here. And the workers who made it? Were paid very little for their labor. This is why Mr. DeLay made a tour of these islands as a guest of Mr. Abramoff...and why Mr. DeLay promoted a bill that would allow manufacturers here to avoid any regulations that might hurt the bottom line.

That seems to be the story I have heard...true? I don't know, but it looks like the happy workers can go windsurfing and then lay on the beach after a pleasant day in the factory.


Some odds and ends from the news…

“Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after admitting to an Austrian court that he denied the Holocaust; a crime in the country where Hitler was born.”

Try as I might, I don’t understand a law that punishes people for simple idiocy. So he denied that Holocaust occurred? And I can’t find the crime in that. Some people believe that the world is flat. Some believe that the lunar landing was a hoax. Are those crimes as well? And does this mean that I’m a criminal as well, because I can’t see the crime?

If he truly believed that the Holocaust didn’t happen, the greatest punishment would have been to ignore him. All that the Austrians have done has given his odd reasoning some sort of validation…

And this one…

Administration Critics Chafe at State Dept Shuffle
A State Department reorganization of analysts involved in preventing the spread of deadly weapons has spawned internal turmoil, with more than half a dozen career employees alleging in interviews that political appointees sought to punish long-term employees whose views they considered suspect.”

Heavens! We certainly don’t want suspect views. We want everyone to think the same thoughts at all times. In Austria, they put people in prison for an odd thought.


Lockheed Martin Corp., the biggest U.S. defense contractor, on Tuesday downplayed the potential effect of Washington's political influence on India's planned purchase of 126 new fighter jets… Lockheed believes its multi-role F-16 Fighting Falcon would "offer a tremendous capability to the Indian Air Force,"

126 fighter jets for India. This is the same India that will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. The same India that is in a constant state of tension with its neighbor, Pakistan. Pakistan won’t sign that treaty either and buys fighter jets from us. Why do we sell these weapons to them? I could have sworn that we were supposed to be spreading peace and democracy in the Middle East? Or is this something from Orwell’s book, 1984…remember “New speak”? War is peace.

Morning Time

Tuesday has arrived and I am right on top of it…nothing much escapes me! OK, now that it’s here, what will I do with it? I do have a practice walk scheduled for later this morning. And I need to get the last of the pruning done. Garage and shop cleanup are on the list as well. Chores and more chores!

We went into town (Chico) yesterday to get a few supplies. We were looking for some sort of containers to put our watercolor supplies in and found some “under bed” storage containers at K-Mart and those fit the need perfectly. And we stopped by Brambly Cottage, one of our favorite stores in the downtown area. That was when I spotted a framed photograph that I had seen in the Victorian Trading Company catalog. I just checked that catalog price a minute ago and found that I could buy it in the store for $40 less. That is odd when the store price is lower than the catalogs. And we stopped at Fleet Feet so that I could pick up my free t-shirt, just for joining the Chico Running Club. While we were there, I checked to see if they had received Jill’s check for the ½ marathon registration. They admitted that they hadn’t processed many of the registrations yet; in fact they had over 400 checks that needed to be deposited! The good news was that we found her check in the midst of that bundle and so all is well.

Hmm? I just heard the 4 O’clock Flyer pass over the house again on his approach into Orland. If the flyer disappears when the weather is warmer, then I can assume that my supposition that the flyer was connected to the helicopter “anti-freeze” service was correct. And the forecast calls for fairly low temps this morning and that means that some helicopters will be flying.

I just had a vision of that flight. I have flown a few times in small aircraft and can appreciate the enjoyment that pilot receives as he guides the craft through the chilly early morning darkness. Coming up the valley, he would see far fewer lights and could imagine that he was all alone in the sky. He would be high enough to see the faint silver of the approaching dawn in the east. Stars would still be filling the heavens above his canopy. Below him, the concrete ribbon that is I-5 would be eerily empty. There would be trucks of course, but far fewer than usual and the occasional car would be a rarity at this hour.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Template Monster Free

WordPress Themes
I read this morning that Template Monster will be producing some free Blogger themes as well. Soon, I hope. If you use Word Press, I guess you're first in line for some nice looking themes.


Monday is here. The fire is going. The coffee is ready. What else could I possibly need? Perhaps I should drink some of that coffee and then I will have a better idea of what I might need.

Odd. I just heard that same airplane flying low overhead. That’s about 3 days in a row that I have heard him. I wonder what he’s doing at this early hour?

I did hear some helicopters during the past few morning as well, and they are used to combat freezing temperatures in the orchards by mixing up the air below their blades.  Perhaps the airplane is delivering a helicopter pilot to work? The helicopters are currently based at Orland International, but I don’t think the pilots live around here.

Since the weather forecast appears favorable for this week, I hope to get in some good practice walks as the date for the Bidwell Classic draws near.

OK, I figured out what I need…more coffee!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

More of the same

More headlines… Hundreds of Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad tried to storm the U.S. Embassy on Sunday, smashing the windows of a guard post but failing to push through the gates. Several people were injured.”

I think we can all figure out that this has very little to do with religion but has everything to do with a hatred for the West. All through history, people have cloaked their hatreds in various religions to give them some sort of respectability. In their own eyes of course. And we wonder why God would weep?

Art 101

Went to my first watercolor class yesterday...a little bit late as I had to do a 5K walk in Durham first. But here's the results of that first class...(I'm not through with it.) And in case you were wondering, it's an almond blossom study.

More later...

More Money

Just in case you didn’t realize it…politics is never about “good guy” or “bad guy”. But it is always about money. “ Arnold has $120 million goal for re-election campaign” With enough money, you can dress up any old pig to look like a debutante.

$120 million to campaign for a job that doesn’t pay Arnold anything?

There I go, being cynical again.

Edward Burtynsky

Ship Breaking
These are great photos...the only problem here is that there is no direct link on his website to them. You will have to explore a little but they are worth it.

Of Interest

Interesting reading this morning…from the Times.

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, Neocons…suggested that the United States would use its margin of power to exert a kind of "benevolent hegemony" over the rest of the world, fixing problems like rogue states with W.M.D., human rights abuses and terrorist threats as they came up.

Writing before the Iraq war, Kristol and Kagan considered whether this posture would provoke resistance from the rest of the world, and concluded, "It is precisely because American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality that other nations find they have less to fear from its otherwise daunting power." ...”

Where did our unusual high degree of morality go?

It’s a good article and worth logging on to the Times website…

Sunday Musings

Sunday morning and all is well…mostly. I am up at an early hour and that’s not unusual, as I napped for awhile in front of the TV last night. I know I should just go to bed when I start nodding off, but it seems to be the American thing to do…to sleep in front of the tube. There is a whole section of the American economy devoted to the manufacture and sale of recliners, made expressly for sleeping while “watching” television. I have seen houses where everyone has a recliner, even the guests. That’s really equal opportunity. But, we don’t own a recliner (yet) and so I must sit upright in an old wingback chair while watching the back of my eyelids. That’s not really a problem, as sleeping while vertical has never been difficult for me. I first learned to do it when I was in Navy “boot camp” and have since become quite proficient at it.

Of course this whole recliner business is based on the fact that there is very little to watch on television. What would happen to the fortunes of the Lazy Boy Corporation if the television audience decided to stay awake and watch some fascinating show? There is little danger of that happening, but it is a sobering thought. And I can’t help but wonder who’s really awake at those houses where the Neilson ratings are being taken? The television may be on but the audience has switched off.

I have checked the news this morning and the only thing that has me incensed is a story about smoking in Congress. It seems that it is still legal to use tobacco in the buildings that house our lawmakers. And the Honorable Tom DeLay spits Skoal…isn’t that a delightful image? Does he use an old Lone Star beer can? The article went on to describe how the lawmakers have developed a sixth sense when it comes to being able to avoid being photographed with a cigarette, cigar or snuff. (Aha! So they know it’s wrong!) There’s a great idea for a blog…posting photos of congressional leaders, taken while they are using tobacco.

And speaking of dangerous drugs…I watched Frontline last week and a story on the methamphetamine epidemic. It was quite revealing to see how the always ethical pharmaceutical industry has profited from this terribly addictive drug. And I stayed awake while watching it!

I better check the weather; I see that mild weather is returning during the next few days. And that means that I may need to turn the sprinklers back on…we didn’t get any rain out of the last storm, though it rained briefly in areas all around us.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Really Winter

Here I am; at the usual spot on a Friday morning. Or any morning. Sitting in our study and looking out the window into the dark, hoping to see something that will tell me what kind of day we are heading toward. Too dark this morning to tell. So I will have to depend on Yahoo weather to tell me what’s out there. Let’s see; 34°, cloudy, and the barometer is falling. Chance of rain is 30%...OK, I can deal with that.

And I have the fire going in the fireplace. I had to struggle a little bit to get it going again when I first woke up, but a piece of cardboard and some energetic “pucker power” directed at the coals got a flicker of flames that quickly grew into a comforting blaze.

Last night, on the weather news, I heard that Orland set a new record for low temperatures yesterday morning; 22°! Now that is pretty cold for the area, but I don’t think it lasted long enough to damage the citrus.

And since it’s going to be a genuine winter day, I’m planning on making an Italian Sausage Soup for our dinner. I have most of the ingredients and will only need to buy some Great Northern beans and some spinach. I’ve had this interesting recipe sitting on my desk for at least two weeks while I waited for a winter day to show up.


I remember the early 1970’s…and this (below) describes us quite well.

”…Elizabeth Warren, writing in Harvard magazine, who shows that the median family had only one wage earner in the early 1970s, who earned $41,670, in today's money. Out of this, he or she paid the family's regular, more or less fixed, expenses: taxes, mortgage payments, health insurance, car and gas payments, etc. Typically, these costs rose to 55% of monthly income. This left the family $1,630 to spend on food, clothes, entertainment and so forth.

Now, 30 years later - after the Reagan Revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disappearance of the last vestiges of the gold standard, and the biggest financial boom in history - the median family has two wage earners who, between the two of them, working nearly twice as much as before, earn around $73,770. But fixed costs have risen to 75% of income, leaving only $1,509 in "discretionary" spending.”

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Odds and Ends

And here's a shot of some of our neighbors...the sun is out and it looks like a nice day, but I can verify that it is quite cold and breezy out here.
You've heard of cats taking "dirt naps" before...well, here's Boo after a short one.

Coffee Time

Ah! The coffee is wonderful this morning…my own special blend of coffee, syrup and creamer, toasted to perfection in the microwave before adding more of the coffee to fill the cup to the brim.

I don’t have an outside thermometer yet; it’s on my list of things to do. So I checked the Yahoo weather and that source tells me that it is 27° outside. That also tells me that the temperature will probably go as low as 25° before the sun rises. I would presume that Yahoo gets its information from an automated weather recorder at the local airport and that’s about a mile from here, so the temperature is going to be fairly accurate for my location. And speaking of airports, I heard a low flying airplane just about 15 minutes ago, as I was pouring my first coffee. That seems very early to be landing at Orland International?

This cold snap we are seeing may end up being very damaging to the local agricultural economy. An awful lot of plants, trees and people were fooled by the warm weather we saw for the past two weeks and blossoms are opening everywhere. The drive from Orland to Chico takes you through a sea of white and lilac colored blossoms right now…but tomorrow? We have wind, rain and low temps forecast for the next few days. Sounds a lot like winter, doesn’t it?

And I’m going to be out in that cold winter scene this morning as I make my way around the park in my quest for racewalking fitness. I have a race this weekend, the Almond Blossom 5k in Durham, and that day is forecast to be very wintry! “Saturday: Mix of rain and snow. Highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 20s.” Snow? It doesn’t snow here…or does it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


You like photo art?
Here's a great collection of images...

Faith, Politics, and Culture

But no mention of Justice

It makes you ask the question; why are they so afraid of this man?

News bits

Rice Facing Iraq, Iran and Hamas QuestionsWashington Post - United StatesWASHINGTON -- The United States is facing a defiant Iran, a stubborn insurgency in Iraq and an impending takeover of the Palestinian government by Hamas…

And let’s not forget Venezuela…democracies all. A little democracy is a dangerous thing…just ask King George.

Iran must be stopped, says OlmertScotsman - United KingdomIran's president is obsessed with hatred of the Jews and must be stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said...

And on another note, if only the Israeli’s had not acquired nuclear weapons. And Pakistan. And India. A dangerous world.

“I wish it were one-tenth the cost, and if it were I would be giving it to almost everybody."DR. DAVID JOHNSON, on the cancer drug Avastin.

And why does it cost so much?


Wednesday is here. The week is at its mid-point and I am slightly behind it. My list of incomplete tasks grows along with my reluctance to complete them. One of my many failings! Procrastination is my middle name.

The almost full moon is still lighting the orchard this morning and I can see that the wind has slowed to a mild breeze for now. That’s going to make the morning walk a chilly one.

After listening to another blogger tell of her life with blogging, I had to think about all of my reasons for doing it. Perhaps if I start at the beginning…and that was many years ago when I signed up with Blogger.com and began a “private” blog. Yes, you could (and still can) create a blog that no one else would ever see unless you invited them. I used it for exercises in writing. And I kept it private until May of 2004. That is when a friend of mine started his own blog and I read it. Well, if he could do it, so could I.  

I still use it for exercise, but not as much as I should. The reason, the motivation for blogging has changed for me. I see it now as my small voice in a very large world. I see it as “conversation”. What I write about are the same things I would talk about if there were just two of us sitting at a table somewhere, a book, a magazine, and a newspaper or two serving as conversation starters. The radio is playing softly in the background. Maybe a television is on? And I’m talking. Once in awhile, someone interrupts me and adds to the conversation. I like that.

At the same time, I am becoming more aware of others who might be reading my words. My hit counter astonishes me. And I feel that I have to be careful with my words now, something that didn’t bother me when it was a private blog. I’m not always successful at that and I’m sure I have offended. And that is when I have to rely on the fact that there are millions of blogs…and who is listening to that one small voice in the crowd? Not many. That doesn’t excuse me and so I still need to weigh my words carefully.

At times I feel like I should start over with my blog and chart a steadier course, one that would avoid the pitfalls of politics and opinion. But all blogs are opinion and what kind of a conversation would we be having if I avoided any chance of controversy? Boring!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Flying Luxury Hotel

Let me be one of the first to go!

Southwest Airlines, you have met your match! Carnival, Princess...who needs you?


to PaperBackSwap.com
An interesting concept and a good idea! I just joined and now I need to find the 9 or 10 paperbacks that I no longer want and post them.

Bode DQ'd

in combined, loses shot at medal

Can't we all just agree now that Mr. Miller is not an athlete...?
Yes, he's "edgy", but that doesn't make him an athlete.

Julie Zickefoose

My sister sent med a story link from NPR and I listened...as you can by following this link

Oh, I could certainly relate to a lot of what was said. And of course it made me think once again about "Why I Blog". No easy answers though...

I do think you will enjoy her blog.


Grand Shelters Icebox

Our children made one of these in our backyard many years ago (close to 30) using a rectangular Tupperware container...It was pretty cool, literally and figuratively.

Odds and Ends

Tuesday morning and all is not well…I have an Amazon order that I’m trying to get on its way, but since I decided to add my $5 gift certificate to the order, the cursor has decided to enter the hourglass mode and so it sits…and sits. While I wait and wait some more. And now it is telling me that something is wrong with the gift certificate number and can’t accept it. Just when you’re beginning to love on-line shopping, you suddenly need to talk to someone!

The order was for some books I had waiting in my shopping cart for some time, but on Saturday I was listening to an interview of the author of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”, Doris Kearns Goodwin. That interview motivated me to include the book in my order.

I have always been fascinated by Lincoln (Aren’t we all?) but even more so when I discovered he was also an INFP personality type, just as I am. No, I’m not comparing myself to Lincoln, but this book also points out some of those peculiarities of the INFP type…though the author never mentions Myers-Briggs type. That just happens to be my take on it.

And for the art lover, here’s some good news; Laurae Dunn has entered two of her works in the 2006 Orland Art Show and Sale. The sale/show will be held at the Chamber of Commerce Building, 720 Pabst Avenue in Orland. Gallery hours are from 1 to 6 on weekdays. There is an opening reception to meet the artists on March 3rd, from 5 to 7 PM.


Recently while going through an airport on one of his many trips,  President Bush encountered a man with long gray hair, wearing a  white robe, and sandals, holding a staff.
 President Bush went up to the man and said, "Has anyone told you that you look like Moses?"The man never answered. He just kept staring straight ahead.
The President said, "Moses!" in a loud voice. The man just stared ahead, turning slightly away from the President, never acknowledging him.Bush pulled a Secret Service agent aside and pointing to the robed man asked him, "Am I crazy, or does that man not look like Moses to you?"
The Secret Service agent looked at the man carefully and then agreed.
"Well," said the President, "Every time I say his name he ignores me, refusing to speak.  Watch!"  Again the President yelled, "Moses!" and again the man ignored him.The Secret Service agent went up to the man in the white robe and whispered, "You look just like Moses. Are you Moses?" The man leaned over and whispered back, "Yes, I am  Moses.  However, the last time I talked to a bush I spent 40 years wandering in the desert, and ended up leading my people to the only spot in the entire Middle East where there is no oil."

Thanks, Julia!

Bush's Last Day

Buttons, Magnets, Decals, Hats, Mugs and Bumperstickers, T-shirts and Countdown Clocks
Yes, there's a little something here for everyone...a mug would be nice.

More news

News comments…
“Hardline Hindu and Muslim groups burned Valentine’s Day greeting cards on Tuesday and held protests across India against celebrating the festival of love, saying it was a Western import that spread immorality.”

“Pakistanis torch KFC, other building
Thousands rampaged through two Pakistani cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and setting fire to Western businesses in the country’s worst wave of violence against the Prophet Mohammad cartoons.”

And you’re worried about Iran and the possibility of their building a nuclear bomb? Pakistan and India are the ones to worry about. Both of them have bombs and neither one are members of the Non-Proliferation “club”.

And of course Cheney got the lashing he deserved…who handles public relations for him anyway? Whoever it is did everything wrong.

"Bush-Quail '06," cracked Democratic strategist Jenny Backus.

"The CIA assured Cheney that Harry Whittington was actually a pheasant," added Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum.

"The worst part is, he was aiming at the special prosecutor," contributed John Kerry spokesman David Wade.

Democratic staffers on the Hill could be heard singing a parody of Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun," using the words "Cheney's got a gun." Or marveling at how "Republicans really don't like lawyers, do they?" or circulating a quote from Bush, in a 2000 interview with the Houston Chronicle, in which he hailed Cheney as "somebody who is going to shoot straight with the American people."

"The Daily Show" last night, Jon Stewart, speaking as a "concerned parent," urged viewers never to let their children go on hunting trips with the vice president. "I can't emphasize this enough," Stewart said. "I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulation they're trying to get lifted. . . . He'll shoot them in the face."

Likewise, David Letterman's Top 10 list was devoted to "Dick Cheney's excuses," which included that he "thought the guy was trying to go gay cowboy on me."

And this morning I read that the victim, Harry Whittington, was released from Intensive Care yesterday. That’s two days in Intensive Care for injuries that the PR people described as minor? Knowing what I do about today’s health care, there is something inheritantly fishy about that statement.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Chertoff Defends Katrina response
Monday, February 13, 2006
Embattled US security chief Michael Chertoff rejects criticism of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

I heard his response and it seems to me, that if he really wanted to help his agency, he would have been receptive to the possibility, however remote, that there was a failure within the agency and that they were going to do whatever it took to make corrections…but no, he simply rejected that possibility. The bureaucratic mind allows no room for apology or error.

Kind of reminds me of the Vice-President…”Not my fault”

Cheney's companion at fault in shooting,

White House says
Only this White House would try to blame someone else...if you have ever hunted you already know that the person pulling the trigger is ALWAYS responsible...

And if the VP was smart, he would own up to it right now. Or are we asking too much?

Full Moon

The moon is really bright! That means no clouds at this early hour on a Monday. Ordinarily that means colder temperatures as well, but it’s 52° outside; quite warm for this time of day. The temp is supposed to go to 75°, another record for February.

And for weather of another sort…

“AFP - A powerful blizzard pounded the US northeast Sunday, leaving thousands of air travelers stranded and dumping a record snowfall on New York.”

This caught my eye, as I once went through the blizzard experience myself. It was back in the late 60’s and I was working in Waterbury, Connecticut…I’m not going to relate one of those “back in my day” stories though.

More news…

“HELSINKI (Reuters) - An anti-immigration Finnish group has published on its Web site the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad after a similar site in neighboring Sweden was shut down last week.”

Those darn Finn’s! What is it about images that make them so powerful? And it is images (icons) that helped to split the eastern and western Christian churches. Christians can’t take any moral high ground here.

“Reuters - One person has been arrested after the release of a video apparently showing British soldiers savagely beating Iraqi teenagers in 2004, the Ministry of Defense said on Monday.”

Those darn cameras are everywhere, aren’t they? You would think that people would know that…

Sunday, February 12, 2006


takes message of support to Algeria:

"Some critics say the US should not improve military links with countries such as Algeria, which have poor human rights records and restricted political freedoms. But standing beside Mr Bouteflika, Mr Rumsfeld sidestepped a question on whether increased US military co-operation depended on further political reform"

Most Americans have forgotten that this is the same Rumsfeld that aided Iran in securing their first nuclear reactor, back in the 1970's...Most Iranians have not forgotten where that reactor came from.

Man Dies

After Insurance Co. Refuses To Cover Treatment

Isn't this wrong? I mean really wrong. Not just "Ooops!" wrong. Some basic human rights are being violated here.


The trade deficit figures for 2005 were released on Friday, showing a record high for the United States - $725.8 billion. That’s a lot of money.

That is the dollars we spent on foreign goods after taking into account the amount that others countries spent buying our goods…not a pretty picture. All those t-shirts and towels at Wal-Mart; the toys, the produce, the tires and the televisions…all from somewhere else. And we wonder why there are so many jobs being outsourced; to India and to China? Because that’s where our money went! Why are wages going down each year? (Unless you’re a CEO, then your wages went up!) So many questions – so little time!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Their Own

Version of a Big Bang
A scary guy!

"Boys and girls," Ham said. If a teacher so much as mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, "you put your hand up and you say, 'Excuse me, were you there?' Can you remember that?"

The children roared their assent.

"Sometimes people will answer, 'No, but you weren't there either,' " Ham told them. "Then you say, 'No, I wasn't, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world.' " He waved his Bible in the air."Who's the only one who's always been there?" Ham asked."God!" the boys and girls shouted."Who's the only one who knows everything?""God!""So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?"The children answered with a thundering: "God!"

So what's scary? Will the children believe Mr. Ham's version of what God says...or will they think and pray for themselves? Will they really trust God...or Mr. Ham? Anyone who claims to know God's mind is scary...

Weather or not

The sky is oddly cloudy this morning. I wonder what that is all about? The forecast says “Partly Cloudy”. So this must be all of the Partly Cloudy, concentrated in one place, that I’m looking at. It's quite pretty...as far as clouds go. And the extended forecast is a winner! For next Sunday and Monday, the 19th and 20th…

High 54°F Low 40°F

20th...Rain / Snow Showers
High 49°FLow 40°F

I knew it! This early spring was just a teaser…but snow? In Orland?


Saturday morning and all is well…or very close to well. I’ve had my two cups of coffee and my brain seems to be functioning normally. A third cup would be nice, and it might even prod my brain into overdrive.

I have been busy blogging bits of news this morning and not doing much with my Journal. I should report that we’re going to drive up to Susanville later this morning and attend a birthday party for the twins. Yes, they’re three years old. And February is quite a birthday month; Kevin (40+) and Alicia (30+) are included, the twins (3), Laurae (30+)…anymore? That’s five that I know of, but I’m not the best one to ask; after all, I’m 60+.

Speaking of news…

Voodoo head found in air luggage
Saturday, February 11, 2006
“A woman is arrested after arriving from Haiti at a US airport with a human head in her luggage…”

Why? It’s not on the list of prohibited carry-on items.

Snip, snip...

More bits…

“The Bush administration on Friday detailed its plan to raise money for rural schools and roads by selling publicly owned national forest land, including up to 85,000 acres in California.”

Hey, it’s only our National Forest…belonging to all of us; Left, Right and in the middle. Need money? What else can we sell? How about that big old house on Pennsylvania Avenue?

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's overhaul of the workers' compensation system has saved California employers billions of dollars over the past two years, but it also has led to a significant drop in benefits paid ...”

That’s OK, as long as the Right People have benefited from it…

“Iran 'could quit nuclear treaty’”
Saturday, February 11, 2006
President Ahmadinejad has hinted that Iran may withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Why not? Israel never even joined that club and they seem to be doing quite well…


Bits of news…

In US public's eyes, Iran biggest foreign menaceIranMania News - IranLONDON, February 11 (IranMania) - The escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear programme appears to have persuaded the US public that Tehran now poses a greater...

Wake up people! Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon. Pakistan does!

‘India's vote won't affect relations with Iran'Newindpress - Chennai,IndiaTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister of State for External Affairs E.Ahmed has said that India's stand at the IAEA meet would not affect its relations with Iran...

India has to walk a tightrope here. Good (business) relations with the west are a must. And India really wants the proposed natural gas pipeline to connect with Iran’s gas fields…they need the energy. A dilemma.

Rumsfeld Seeks Stronger Military Ties with Tunisia (Reuters)
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Reuters - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Saturday the United States wanted to strengthen military ties with Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco and played down the threat posed by al Qaeda in the countries.

Well, why wouldn’t you believe him? He has been a source of great wisdom for the past 5 years.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Boing Boing

Kids refuse to sell candy after completing health unit
Smart kids! Great teacher! Lesson learned!


What is in the news?

“AFP - Nigeria struggled to contain Africa's first known outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, as officials warned it is spreading rapidly through flocks in the north of the country.”

I had this odd thought yesterday…do you think our government would tell us if the virus had reached North America? (It will) Or would it be discovered that the news was being covered up? I’m betting that the plan of “cover up” has been discussed. Not necessarily implemented, but certainly talked about.

“Globe and Mail -The last part of the 20th century is considered by many scientists to be the warmest period since modern record-keeping began around the 1850s, but new research indicates the era is even more remarkable.”

Well, there is a “Duh” bit of news.

Reuters - Congressional investigators have learned a federal official's eyewitness account of the New Orleans flooding reached the Homeland Security Department the night before the Bush administration has said it learned of the disaster, the New York Times said on Thursday.

And that’s one more “Duh”…

Oh, by the way…they found the 10,000 trailers that FEMA lost. They were sitting in Hope, Arkansas. The name “Hope” is appropriate for the situation. We hope we can give you some shelter. We hope we can find our trailers. We hope no one notices that we lost them. OK, they weren’t lost after all. It seems that government, local and federal can’t agree on how to use them, so they sit. Thousands of them. Purchased at $$$ apiece. It would be interesting to go to the airport in Hope in about a year from now and count the trailers. I have a feeling that the number will be same as it is today. But hey! There could be another hurricane!


Whoa! That was an odd sensation…A bright light suddenly flashed into my eyes. I was startled and then realized it was a car on the road behind our property. The car was turning around at the end of the street and without any leaves on all of the trees between here and there, the light was quite bright. For about 8 months of the year, we can’t even see the houses on that street, making us feel quite isolated. But when fall arrives, fences and houses (And sheep) spring into view. Another month and the view will soften and then the houses will disappear, not to be seen again until sometime in late November. The sheep? I’ll still hear them.


Friday it is, and it comes right after Thursday, a most beautiful day. I would rather write about yesterday so here goes…The sky was a beautiful shade of blue and it was crystal clear from the mountains on the west to the Sierra’s on the east. Everywhere I looked I could see snow capped peaks. (And Mt. Lassen is spectacular right now.) The temperature at 8 in the morning was probably in the low 50’s and rising. I began the day by planting seeds in my portable greenhouse, hoping that they would be ready for transplanting when spring really arrives. I have to keep repeating to myself, “This is not spring…” But it’s difficult to fully understand that concept when you’re outside in the sunshine, the grass is green, the bees are buzzing and the orchards are beginning to bloom.

After loading my little greenhouse with potential, I tackled the pruning. I began with the apricots and cut them down to a manageable size. I also trimmed up my poor old Red Haven peach. It did such a splendid job of producing fruit last year that it lost two limbs in the process. Trimmed, it looks a sorry sight. But with a crop of leaves, it will improve and look less like a tree from the movie set of a graveyard. The plum and the nectarine were easy to trim, the pears a little more difficult. And the prune tree is a puzzle! Limbs going in every direction. I think I will save it for next week.

I quit pruning about 2, though I still had about 6 trees left to trim, including the puzzling prune. My arms were really tired from holding that long pole trimmer. For a break, I decided to pick up the oranges that were falling from the Navel orange tree and then to see how many on the tree were ripe. I picked a large basket full and then I tried picking some from the Valencia tree. Nope; not one was ripe. And that tree is simply covered with oranges! Of course I had to taste the oranges and I can tell you that the Valencia’s will be great. Right now they are a little tart…but much sweeter than they were a few weeks ago. Though not quite ripe, they could be eaten without making a face. And the Navel’s were perfect. I cut them into wedges and devoured them.

The pink grapefruit is not ready to pick; I tried. I understand it ripens sometime in late March. There are plenty of grapefruit on the tree and I’m looking forward to eating them for my breakfast…along with my oatmeal, of course.

Since I was on a pruning spree, it only made sense to cut my hair as well. There I was, clippers in hand, sitting outside on the patio at 5 in the afternoon. The temperature was in the mid 70’s and it was delightful just be outside!

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Instant "New" Music -

From your "Old" Music
All of those old LP's and cassettes that you are hanging onto...turn them into CD's or MP3 files for your iPod...


More about George…
One NASA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, said that Deutsch had worked on Bush's reelection campaign before being appointed to NASA headquarters in Washington.Deutsch became a controversial figure in recent days after the New York Times reported that one of NASA's top climate scientists, James E. Hansen, said that administration appointees (George) had tried to get him to tone down his statements about the dangers of global warming.Deutsch had tried to prevent Hansen from giving an interview to National Public Radio, calling it "the most liberal" media outlet in the country, the newspaper reported.

So what’s he saying here? That NPR lies? That what they report isn’t the truth? I’m just curious…

New York Times

Censoring Truth
It's worth signing in to read this one...And as you know, the president is pushing for increased funding for science students. But what kind of science?

"George Deutsch, a functionary in NASA's public affairs office whose chief credential appears to have been his service with President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee. On his résumé, Mr. Deutsch claimed a 2003 bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas A&M, but the university, alerted by a blogger, said that was not true. Mr. Deutsch has now resigned."

"...this young (24) politico with no qualifications was able to impose his ideology on other agency employees. At one point, he told a Web designer to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang."

"As Dr. Hansen observed, Mr. Deutsch was only a "bit player" in the administration's dishonest game of politicizing science on issues like warming, birth control, forest policy and clean air."

Move along folks, nothing to see here...

Congress is having a slight problem over its plan to become morally and ethically “reformed”.

“Lawmakers are clashing over issues such as whether to ban gifts and corporate travel, and whether ethics investigations should be conducted by outside watchdogs or members of Congress.”

Gee! I wonder how it will turn out? What a dilemma…


I need to get busy on the pruning in the orchard. I see flowering has already begun in some areas of the county (almonds) and I don’t want to get caught pruning after buds have formed. And I want to begin my seeds for the garden as well. Spring brings plenty of work after a relaxed, but short winter season. So it’s apricots and peaches first, the cherries and pears are second with plums and prunes after that. The walnuts can be last. The recipe for the tonic says that I can buy the ingredients at Red Star Mills, but I’m going to stop by the C Bar D store and see if they have the same ingredients; they’re closer to home. And after all of that, I need to build two raised beds for vegetables this year. The rest of the garden is going to be things that grow on vines…


International : "Indonesia's president on Thursday called on the media to draw a lesson from the publication of cartoons that have sparked Muslim protests worldwide, saying freedom of the press was not absolute"

What is he thinking? Without a free press you have no freedom. He wrongly wants to blame the press for the actions (riots) of the people...What's their excuse? Oh, "The newspaper made me do it!"

Don't ya love it?

From the Daily Reckoning

“...a recent report conducted by the federal National Taxpayer Advocate Service shows that the IRS froze 120,000 refunds last year, citing suspicion of fraud - and never let the taxpayers know why they didn't receive their refund.

The taxpayers in question? Working parents and those who applied for the earned-income tax credit, two groups of people whose median income ranges between $13,330 and $11,956. To add insult to injury, the report showed that 80 percent of these people in question deserved either a full or partial refund of the amount they had originally claimed, which they received over eight months later.

When asked for comment, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said that the agency would reconsider stalling tax refunds without notifying filers. And, he continued, the IRS would "minimize the number of taxpayers whose refunds are frozen unnecessarily."



JAKARTA (Reuters) - Police and media in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, are too lax in their treatment of radical Islamic groups and their violence, a leading moderate Islamic cleric said on Thursday.

Gee! Do ya’ think?

Thousands of Gulf Coast residents remain without trailers promised by the federal government for use as temporary shelter.

What’s the matter here? Aren’t there enough empty cabins on the cruise ships that FEMA is renting? A cruise ship is better than a trailer any day! So let’s rent another ship…it’s only money and we own the printing press for it.

Iraq Utilities Are Falling Short of Prewar Performance
Performance has fallen even though $16 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program.

$16 billion? See above. And turn on the presses, its gonna a long day!