Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Pentagon

Preps for Iran

How odd. TIRANNT sounds almost like what word?

Get Real

Should we expect more?

"Everyone in Washington expressed the requisite outrage last week about spiraling gas prices. But no one seemed outraged enough to seriously reassess any of the tired and rigid thinking that has paralyzed America's energy policy for years."

This administration hasn't done anything "real" since they began, back in 2000. There is no "real war" in Iraq and there was no "real" victory in Afghanistan. So why should we expect "real" solutions to the energy crisis?

Oops! I forgot...they have been spending real money.


Oh looks like some of the "good old boys" are abandoning ship...

"Former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised President Bush before the Iraq war to send more troops to the country, but the administration did not follow his recommendation, Powell said in an interview broadcast Sunday."

I bet this means he doesn't get an invite to spend some time in Crawford, Texas...sitting on the front porch and reminiscing.

Sunday Morning

Sunday is here and it’s already a splendid day. Probably because we had such a good “grandparents” day yesterday. We got to see six out of seven of them - all on the same day! That’s always a treat for us. Although it did take a fair amount of driving on our part for this to happen.

We started the day (Saturday) in Susanville with the twins and then we drove down the hill to Durham where we found Meghan playing a great baseball game while her cousins (Karlee and Kyle) and sister Shannon watched. Oh yes, we were watching as well. Then we had dinner at Denise’s. We made it home by 9 and were in bed by 10.

It looks like we will be enjoying another sunny day today. According to the forecast, “Abundant sunshine and warm…” Don’t you love that word, Abundant? Very descriptive! And it’s already 62° outside.

Granddaughter Shannon has big week coming up as she participates in a Moot Court competition. Last year there were 32 two-member teams and I suppose it will be the same this year. She hopes to place well in the competition, possibly earning a future job with the prestigious local law firm of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe.

Now, what’s in the news?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Senate GOP plan calls for

$100 gas rebate
What if they were really serious about energy conservation? Did you notice that conservation isn't part of this plan? It's a typical GOP plan to throw money at the problem in the hopes that it will go away.

What if...we reduced the national speed limit to 55 mph? "Reducing speeds from 70 m.p.h. to 60 m.p.h., for example, improves fuel efficiency by 15 percent. If Americans want to know what they can do to limit gasoline price inflation, the answer is simple: slow down."

What if...Bush proposed and the GOP Congress mandated a change in the CAFE fuel economy standards for automakers? That would take some bravery...and not normally found in DC.

New News

And what else is new? Well, this afternoon we are headed to Susanville once again. I’m still hoping to get in that one long (and perfect!) training walk before we do the Avenue of the Giants marathon on May 7th. We will return on Saturday afternoon.

And this news item is certainly worth noting, honest!

A security firm on Tuesday reported discovering a phishing scheme in which the scammers used Internet telephony to copy a bank's automated voice system in order to steal customers' passwords, account numbers and other personal information.”

I have to admit, that’s very clever! Illegal, yes – but definitely clever. The Digital Revolution continues…

Pita, Anyone?

My friend Alex and his son, Tom, arrived yesterday afternoon and we got a chance to show them our home and to spend a few short hours with them. We enjoyed an “Akoury meal” with them, that’s one where all sorts of tempting tidbits; olives, cheeses, and meats are displayed on the table and then scooped up and put into pita bread. All done while enjoying a great conversation. That was something that we always enjoyed when visiting Alex and his family, so it was only right to enjoy it once again. But, it didn’t last long enough and they were soon back on the road, on their way home to Vashon Island, Washington.

And this caught my attention this morning as I scanned the news…

SACRAMENTO — A juror said in a sworn statement that she was pressured into casting the final vote to convict a man of attending a Pakistani terrorist training camp. The juror's affidavit means Hamid Hayat, of Lodi, should get a new trial, attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi argued in a motion filed in federal court late Thursday. "I was under so much stress and pressure (from the other jurors) that I agreed to change my vote," Arcelia Lopez of Sacramento said in her statement. "I never once throughout the deliberation process and the reading of the verdict believed Hamid Hayat to be guilty."

Doesn’t that make the other jurors guilty – of something?


Friday has arrived and it already feels like a good day. The outside temp is 63° and I’m tempted to turn the overhead fan on, as it’s 77° in the study. Maybe that’s because of all of the electronics in this room? I don’t know about your house, but mine seems to have all sorts of little green, blue and red power indicator lights glowing. I can count them as I wander through the house in the dark. The kitchen has half a dozen and this room has even more of them.

Someone did a study on this standby power usage and according to that study; more than 10% of our power bill is for appliances that are “off”. They call these appliances “Zombies” and every house has plenty of them. Even your television is a “Zombie”, always on and waiting for your touch to bring it to life. Most of us aren’t old enough to remember that televisions used to have to “warm up” when you first switched them on. Of course this was back in the age when television stations played the national anthem and stopped broadcasting at midnight. They might start broadcasting again around 5 in the morning, but not before showing us a “Test Pattern” on our screens for an hour or so.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Regarding the previous post...

I think I have a great idea for a bold green t-shirt...and it will say, "Loving Money is a Sin"

Or how about this one..."It's a Sin to Glean". Maybe in some warm earth tones?

"Lev 19:10 And you shall not glean your vineyard. And you shall not gather the leavings of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger." Leviticus doesn't tell us what to do when it's the poor and the stranger that are doing the harvesting...

It's True...I read it!

Interesting. The Sacramento Bee had a story on some students at Oakmont High School (Roseville) who were wearing t-shirts that proclaimed that “Homosexuality is a Sin” and then had the appropriate Bible verses, so that you might verify that fact. What I found very interesting was the fact that no one had t-shirts mentioning any of the other sins mentioned in the Bible. There are a bunch of them! And I can see a great growth industry based on that fact. How about “Adultery is a Sin”? Great t-shirt! Just browse through the book of Leviticus and you can find hundreds more. And how about this for a Bible verse? John 8:7

Pool Time

Thursday is here and what is new? A quick glance at the news by Pluck and I see more of the same stuff I saw the day before…and the day before that, etc. There are a few notable highlights, but not many at this early hour.

Can you believe it? Even the weather is boring once again. Nothing but nice and sunny in the forecast. I even had to turn on the sprinklers. Ah, but the benefits of this kind of weather! The roses, patiently waiting all of this time, have decided it was time to burst forth with some beautiful blossoms. And the pool is warming up quite nicely. I tested the water temperature digitally, (put my finger in it) and I can see that a week of this kind of weather will have me into the pool again. There is nothing quite as nice as dipping into the pool after a few hours of working in the garden on a hot day.

For more fun, I mowed the orchard yesterday, enjoying the sunshine and the wind in my face as the mower sped through that chore. Also, I see that I have a few repairs to make on the ditches before we get our first water delivery. I wonder if I will have time to do any burning before that first water arrives? I guess I had better get into town and fill out the paperwork for my burning permit before I attempt to do that.

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes looking through my closet and found all of my favorite shorts, even the ones that Laurae has threatened to throw away. I’m all set now for the summer season; shorts, t-shirts and Crocs on my feet and I still have an ample supply of Hawaiian shirts for Sunday morning church wear.

My old friend, Alex, is on his way up here this morning and we hope to see him and his son for lunch. Can we talk him into staying over for the night? Knowing him as I do, that will be a tough chore, but I will attempt it.

I suppose I should report that the new store in town is a hit with us - so far. I’m always leery of “good things” that appear to be too good. Yes, you have to bag your own groceries, but the prices are really low on most things. Time will be the test. Can they keep up these kinds of prices throughout the year? In the meantime I am grateful that I can save a little gas money by shopping locally more often.

Still Courting Controversy

T. Boone Pickens: Still quite the jokester...
Let's see, my truck holds 37 gallons so that would make it $185 to fill it. He's right; demand would fall off quickly. Anyone want to buy a truck?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I usually read the letters to the editor every day and I have noticed a recurring theme lately. A lot of writers are suggesting that we deport or jail all the illegal immigrants and then use our existing prisoners to pick the crops. But not one mentioned the fact that maybe; just maybe the farmer doesn’t want prisoners picking his crop? The farmer probably wants willing workers and knowledgeable workers and I doubt that prisoners qualify. And then what about liabilities? The illegals picking his crop now don’t have insurance coverage and that’s the way the farmer likes it. If he accidentally sprays them with pesticide, it’s no big deal…but if they were prisoners? Who knows what liabilities the farmer would face? And since illegals do a lot more than just pick produce, what about those other jobs? Will we have prisoners mowing our lawns and being nanny’s for our children? Just wondering…


The Christian Face of Immigration
Just another immigration story, but you might want to read it...

Say What?

I make the trip to Chico perhaps 5 times a week and as I pass through Hamilton City, I always note the spot where the vegetable dealer sets up his trailer and sells some good looking produce. There is also a taco wagon sitting nearby, in case you become hungry while shopping. And one more vendor...a guy with a trailer and a sign pointing to his wares. "Plush Blankets - Knives _ Swords" Huh?

So, if your sword is out of date or broken, here's the place to get a new one. And I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a sword dealer when I moved to the country...

The Writer's Almanac

A good poem!
I heard this one on Monday and laughed out loud...

Heat Wave

Wednesday is here and I’m awake at a more normal hour. Normal for me. And I just looked at the weather forecast; nothing normal about that! It tells me that we can see 90° on Friday. What will all of this sudden heat do to the crops? And speaking of crops, my orchard is already afflicted with a severe outbreak of Peach Leaf Curl. I don’t feel alone in this as I see it everywhere in the valley. Even the big orchards that had the best of care are affected. I just hope my trees will survive. On the plus side, it only affects the peaches and nectarines. But my favorite, the Red Haven peach has a severe case, while the new one, the white peach is unaffected?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stealth campaign of super-wealthy

to repeal federal estate tax exposed.

The Big Lie exposed. Unless you are a multi millionaire, your estate is safe.
Read and hear why the Gates foundation thinks it's wrong to repeal the tax.


You bet it is!

"Reynolds American Inc., the nation's No. 2 cigarette maker, vaulted into the smokeless-tobacco market Tuesday by agreeing to pay $3.5 billion for the maker of Kodiak snuff and Levi Garrett chewing tobacco."

But $3.5 billion dollars? (I had no idea that it could be worth that much...actually it's not, but that's another story)

US to release

one-third of prisoners at Gitmo
Whoa! Did I miss something here? Isn't this the same administration that has insisted (for 4 years) that all of the prisoners at Guantanamo are dangerous terrorists, despite claims that they had a large number of innocents swept up along with the dangerous? Did someone have a revelation? Or did the Decider...simply decide?

A New Habit

I guess it’s time to bring in the cat. I’m sure she is waiting for me out in the garage. We’re developing a routine now; I open the door and she trots in and does a series of very looonnnggg cat stretches. Then she races me down the hallway, stopping just once to peer in our bedroom as she passes the doorway. She knows someone is in there. She then races into the study, always beating me there by just a few steps. Flopping onto her back and celebrating her victory, she invites me to rub her belly and scratch her head and ears. Then the purring machine goes into operation while she circles my ankles. She will pester me for a few more rubs and then, after about 15 minutes, will settle down into her bed, near my feet. It’s time for a 5 or 6 hour nap. It’s hard work being a cat! But I must admit that we haven’t seen the ground squirrels this spring and mice/rats are absent as well. She did catch a baby lizard, and that’s a bad thing. We have a lizard family living out in front and they help to eat all kinds of insects, so I’m hoping that they can stay out her path…and her teeth.

Coffee Time

An early start to the day. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. It started with a noise? That woke me up and after scouting around the house and finding nothing out of the ordinary; I tried to get back to sleep. After about ten minutes, I decided that was impossible. So on my feet again; I made a pot of coffee and I can hear it brewing all of the way from the other end of the house. Now I have to get that first cup of coffee if I want to continue here. Ah! That’s much better. A shot of Ginger Spice syrup and a shot of Hazelnut creamer, microwave for 22 seconds and then fill the cup with coffee. Now that’s a good cup of coffee.

I got in a great walk yesterday, 9 miles at a fast pace. Afterwards, I decided to indulge myself by mowing the front lawn. Yes, that right, mowing the lawn is now a treat as the new mower is definitely fun to operate! And it’s very fast. I would bet that I had the front lawn mowed in ten minutes less time than I could do it before, with the old mower. And I had no clogs at all in the grass catcher system, which was something that used to irritate me every time I mowed when using the old Sears mower. The catcher system also holds all of the grass from the front lawns; where I used to have to make three trips to empty it, I now make one. Also I’m starting to get a feel for the lever steering system now and I’m not leaving any marks in the lawn where I might have turned too fast. These mowers can definitely turn fast!

I will try for a longer, slower walk this morning, maybe 11 or 12 miles. Then a short and fast walk for tomorrow. With any luck I can get in an 18 mile high altitude walk on Saturday.

After the walk, we have to work at the Friends of the Library book sale this afternoon, from 3 till 6. This is the second day of the sale and the sales have probably started to slow down a little; I’m sure the first day was hectic. There were over 500 boxes of books to sell, with perhaps an average of 15 books per box. That’s a lot of books and there are two of these sales each year, plus a continuous “sale” from a couple of racks in the library itself. I’ve really been surprised by the interest in libraries here in the north state. The Chico library has a book sale every weekend and they wouldn’t do that unless there was plenty of interest in it. But the disappointing part of all of this is the fact that almost all of the members of the Friends of the Library are over 70 years of age. I’m a youngster, according to one of the volunteers I met in the Chico library. Who is going to continue this work in the future?

I heard from my old friend, Alex, the other day. He was driving by Orland on I-5 when he called, heading to Las Vegas but promising to return (and stop this time) on Friday when he and his son make their way back to Seattle and Vashon Island. So we have some sort of a lunch appointment to get together; he will call when they make it to Sacramento.

Monday, April 24, 2006

We're On Our Way

It’s done…I made the reservations (on-line) for our Anchorage trip in June. And what a terrible experience it was! I used AAA as my travel agent; after all, I pay a yearly fee for all of their services and travel booking is one of those services. But I would have been better off going to the AAA office in person. The pages loaded slower than most sites and every page had a non-secure item on it, so I was asked (each and every time) if I wanted to continue? Of course I did! What did they think I was doing there? Window shopping? Grrr!

I wonder why more companies don’t spend more time examining the successful web sites and then model their own on what they have seen? But no, they re-invent the wheel each time and it ends up slower and confusing.

How about Southwest Airlines and Amazon as models?

The 'American Inquisition'
Good questions...and we always need to ask questions. Anything wrong with asking questions? I suppose it depends on who you ask. (Don't ask the "Decider", it makes him cranky.)

Is dissent

during a time of war patriotic?
No, it's more than patriotic. It's your duty to speak out when you see any of those we chose to be our leaders making decisions that are illegal and/or immoral. Who is going to tell the "Decider" he's wrong...if not you?

The Boston

This years Boston Marathon* is history and although I will never participate in it, I do have a comment or two to make about it.

I was reading the sports page accounts of the race in the Sacramento Bee and the first thing I read made a big issue of the fact that Kenyans had done so well, once again, and that Americans had finally made it into the top 5 finishers. I couldn’t help but think that the writer has never participated in a marathon and in fact, has no clue as to what marathons are all about. Nationality has nothing to do with these races. It’s a race against yourself, competing against that voice inside you that says you’re tired and want to stop. A race to do better than you did the time before. American? Kenyan? Who cares! If you enter a marathon and you finish that marathon, you win. It’s that simple.

The Olympics are already ruined by the cult of nationalism; I would hate to see marathons end up the same way.

*The Boston Marathon is a runner’s only marathon. I’m a racewalker and so I won’t be participating.

Monday Musings

It begins again. Another day and this time I’m awake at a later hour for some reason. Was it the dreams that had me so fascinated that I didn’t want to wake up? It could have been. I haven’t been in the back of a bus for many years, but there I was…in my dream. And very reluctant to move over into the dreaded far corner of the back seat, where the roof curves down and really compresses the available space. What was that all about? Where was the bus going and why was I on it?

And since I’m awake at such a late hour I haven’t had a chance to wake up a little bit before beginning this entry. I usually browse through a few e-mails and take a look at the world news before I begin to type and I didn’t take much more than a minute to do that this morning. I do have my coffee in hand and that’s pretty much typical for any morning.

My plans for the day have to include a long walk in the park. Since our weekend plans were derailed because of rain, I need to get back on track with the training program and I don’t have that many days left. I feel like we will be in good shape for the Mayor’s marathon in Anchorage, but the Redwoods race has me worried. The mind plays a very important part in the race l and I may be worried for nothing. With the right mental attitude, I can do anything. Even going 26.2 miles when my body says. “Please, no more…stop!”

And my cat is giving me a bad time this morning. She is full of energy and wants to play while I want to type. So she pesters me, standing up to put her paws on my leg and meowing loudly; when I reach down to pet her, she attacks. And when I get up to get a cup of coffee, she races down the hallway ahead of me and then waits in ambush for me to pass, so that she can leap out and swat my ankles. Crazy cat!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

VA Contracts

Go to Ex-Chief's Company
Gotta Support the Troops! And their relatives...
What's weird is the fact that he doesn't even think there might be something "ethically" wrong with his actions. Not a clue. Right!

ABC News

Air Force One

People with way too much time on their hands!

Let's See...What's New

Sunday is here. And all is quiet outside; I don’t hear the tap, tap, tap of rain dripping from the gutters. That’s a good sign! A clear blue sky at dawn would be an even better sign. But I have to wait a few more minutes for that to happen.

What else is new? The details for our trip to Alaska are coming together, but the Mayor’s Midnight Sun marathon website is of no help. The Portland marathon website is one of the best ones around and you might think that others would copy it, but no! And then the Alaska Airlines website adds to the confusion. I’m checking the box for roundtrip flights and it gives me one-ways in each direction and asks me to put them together. Hundreds of them! And all very expensive. What are surprising to me are the flight durations, including airport time. It’s hard to imagine that over 14 hours are needed to get from Redding to Anchorage? Is it time for me to call a travel agent?

I have successfully (somewhat) completed the changeover from one e-mail address to another and my mailbox had most of the usual items in it this morning with only a few things missing. Now I have to check Laurae’s in-box to make certain hers is working as well.

Some news…”AFP - The Central Intelligence Agency warned US President George W. Bush before the Iraq war that it had reliable information the government of Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, a retired CIA operative disclosed.” Those darn retired guys again! You just can’t trust them to keep quiet about what they know!

And this one… Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sharply criticized the Bush administration Saturday for refusing to declare a pre-emptive federal disaster for California's fragile levees.” It’s still payback time for California. Bush lost this state in both elections and he has never forgotten it. And you shouldn’t either.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rain, Rain...Go Away

I'm looking out of a different window this morning. And I see tall pines and junipers, plus a swing set and some toys. We're high above Susanville, in the Willow Creek valley home of Bill and Jill. Our plan was to get in some quality high altitude training before the Valley Of The Giants Marathon next month, but it's raining once again. It's a gray sky, but the morning is young and who knows? It may clear up yet...

Friday, April 21, 2006

SR36/US395 Cam

SR36/US395 Cam
Looking west...towards Susanville


See it. Film it. Change it.

Peter Gabriel is the founder. Thank you.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Bizarro...A good one!

Time For a Change

As I read about the upcoming elections, I can’t help but be disappointed in the choices for the position of Governor. It’s sad to see how shallow they all are. Yes, I know that perception is my reality and I may have it wrong. But the choices! Angelides is a Sacramento insider, Arnold is an “actor” and always will be, while Westly is…I’m not sure yet? He’s a cipher. We really need a candidate with the stature to go along with the job.  

And it’s even more of a need on the national level. C’mon…is there anyone on the list of possible candidates that makes you think, “Yes! This is the one!” We really should expect more. And we should demand more! Look at what we have now, a failed businessman with a shady past. Held the ceremonial office of Governor and has a family background that…well, enough about that.

It’s time for a change and I decided, after thinking about it for 5 minutes…that I’m running for the office of President in 2008. I’m starting now, as are all of the rest of the big names. I don’t want to be left behind…And my campaign promise? “I won’t be like the last guy! Honest.” Maybe I better work on that?


In the news this morning…

U.S. CRACKDOWN SET OVER HIRING OF IMMIGRANTS By ERIC LIPTONThe government plans to more aggressively target employers who hire illegal workers, using techniques similar to those used to shut down the mob.

Want to bet those employers don’t have ties to the Republican Party? If you made your $$$ contributions, you’re safe!

It Is Friday

Friday. End of the week, if you are part of the working world. Which I’m not. And I was reminded of that this morning when I received a note from Jack, a fellow instructor at PCG, where I used to work. And as I read it, I couldn’t help but be thankful that “I’m not the man I used to be.” Nope, I’m not that guy at all anymore!

But I have to admit that found his recapping of the latest corporate news to be very interesting. I only had a 16 year investment in the company but that’s enough to make a permanent dent in your psyche, and a certain fondness for your fellow employees.

On a different subject. This recent move by Hughes (Direcway) to change e-mail addresses is a real pain! And completely unnecessary. So I’m going to be very busy this morning as I try to change my own e-mail address at all of the “important” locations. Some I won’t bother with; let them try to find me! And some I will probably forget to change and then be disappointed when I stop receiving mail.

Of course I have to receive my news! I can’t do without that…New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. All are world class newspapers and their e-mail news is just as good. Back in the day…when I was working in Connecticut and New Jersey, I looked forward to starting the day with a copy of the New York Times in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. And it disappoints me that most of the coffee shops in Chico don’t carry the Times; only Starbucks (the enemy!) has the good sense to provide it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


As long as we can trust our government to do the right thing, what are we worried about?

“Congress is considering a drug war idea that could be perceived globally as biological warfare. The House has authorized, and the Senate is considering, a proposal to revive research on the use of toxic, mold-like fungi called mycoherbicides to kill drug crops in other countries such as Colombia and Afghanistan…”

And just what might happen if we spent our money on drug use prevention programs instead of dangerous research like this? I’m just curious…

New Wal-Mart CIO steams ahead with RFID

Yes, it's a GOOD Wal-Mart thing...
I know it's hard to believe; that I would say something good about Wal*Mart. But RFID is a good thing, and if it's implemented as it should be, this could be the end of checkout lines at all stores! Imagine your shopping cart knowing what is contained within it. Adding up each item as you drop it into the cart. Want to see how much you spent? The cart can tell you...and then you can backtrack and remove that candy that your child (or husband) slipped into the cart while you were distracted.


A few good tips.

Early Musings

Thursday has arrived and it’s just another day. So far as I can tell…and that’s not much at this hour. It’s dark out there! Well, a cup of coffee will brighten my outlook.

The first thing I do in the morning is make the coffee. I pour in enough water for one 12 cup pot and while it is brewing, noisily, I go to our study and take a look at my overnight e-mail, deleting and reading; or vice versa. Once in awhile I find something really interesting to read and I will even forget about my waiting coffee. But that’s rare. And this morning is no different, only a few interesting items were found and I have my first cup of coffee at hand and half gone.

Here’s one I read, from the Los Angeles Times…I think it’s supposed to be a humor piece, but I could be wrong.
SACRAMENTO-Jeanne S. Woodford reportedly told the governor that politics is interfering with reform.
Isn’t that odd? How could that be? And then there was this one from the New York Times.

STORM EVACUEES ARE STRAINING TEXAS HOSTS The state may be nearing the end of its ability to play good neighbor without compensation. “The city of Houston bent over backwards for these people, and I am glad we did it. But now we are absorbing some of their problems."SCOTT WILSON, on victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Oh, oh…he called them “these people”. That’s the first step towards making them very separate and of a lesser value. They are no longer our fellow human beings but are “these people.” Now I could understand his attitude if the refugees had been politicians, but they weren’t. They were the victims of politicians and so they deserve our compassion. After all, aren’t we all victims? OK, maybe that’s the humor piece…

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wise Words

Some excerpts from The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.
“One problem we have today…is that so many American politicians don’t seem to have a clue about the flat world…venture capitalist John Doerr once remarked to me, “You talk to the leadership in China and they get what is going on immediately. The Americans don’t, because they’re all lawyers.” Added Bill Gates, “…and when you meet with Chinese politicians, they are all scientists and engineers. You can have a numeric discussion with them – you are never discussing ‘give me a one-liner to embarrass [my political rivals] with.’ You are meeting with an intelligent bureaucracy.

I am not saying we should require all politicians to hold engineering degrees, but it would be helpful if they had a basic understanding of the forces that are flattening the world, were able to educate constituents about them and galvanize a response. We have way too many politicians in America today who seem to do the opposite. They seem to go out of their way actually to make their constituents stupid – encouraging them to believe that certain jobs are “American jobs” and can be protected from foreign competition…


"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday the United States would use political, economic and other measures to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

Would those be the same measures that were used to prevent Israel, Pakistan and India from developng a nuclear weapon?

The Three R's

“President Bush said Wednesday the nation needs to keep on the cutting edge in research in the face of growing competition over jobs and natural resources from India and China.”

And this….”In the fiscal year 2005 budget for the National Science Foundation, which is the federal body most responsible for promoting research and funding more and better science education, was actually cut by $105 million.”  Does that sound like the work of people who actually believe we need to be on the cutting edge? Yes, you’re right - it was the work of a Republican Congress and a Republican President.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, the No Child Left Behind program is failing. (As expected) More and more states are desperately seeking loopholes that will allow them to gather up the money…and they are finding them.

The N.C.L.B. was never designed to work anyway. This administration needed something to divert the public’s attention and nothing does that as well as some harsh rhetoric about the condition of our education system. And a “plan” to save the day! Glorious speeches about the importance of readin’, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic were trotted out and dutifully recited. (Notice that nothing was ever said about the importance of science, arts and technical knowledge. And there is no mandatory testing for those subjects.)

Bureaucracies were created to gather the data from all of the mandatory testing and then those same bureaucrats become the final arbiter as to whether or not a school district could receive a share of the money. T’s must be crossed and I’s dotted if the money is to flow.

For this administration, the whole N.C.L.B. program is a win-win situation. When it finally fails, utterly and completely; the Bush administration will quickly blame those that they have already demonized; the teachers and the unions will share the blame. The public, of course, will believe it. School administrators will be safe from criticism, due to their titles; “administrator”.


Looking at the news aggregator; there appears to be plenty of news to comment on, perhaps too much? No, there can never be too much news. I’m just not ready to write about my thoughts on it.  

OK, here’s one… “India's third-largest software exporter, Wipro Ltd., said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit jumped by 42.7 percent driven by strong outsourcing orders from U.S. and European clients.” This news item fits right in with all I’ve been reading in The World is Flat. And I remember reading an article in Wired magazine, maybe 5 or more years ago, where the author made a case for India’s decision to pursue the making of “intelligence” as a commodity. The wise people of India decided that it would be foolish to try and outdo the west in manufacturing of hard goods, which only depletes natural resources. A much better resource is the human mind. Now China has embarked on the same course. Intelligence always trumps the physical world.

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Wednesday is here, right on schedule. It’s also a little bit cooler than yesterday, but I should warm right up after I get to the park and put in a mile or two.

And I can report now that the lawn mowing went quite well. All of the trees are still standing and I have all of my fingers and toes. The mower is definitely fun! It’s also quite fast, zipping along at speeds undreamed of on competing mowers. It’s already been suggested that I wear my bicycle helmet to protect myself from the occasional low hanging limb. This is especially true in the front yard, when circling my walnut tree. I received a good bump on the head before, when using the old mower, but with the speed of this mower, I could be in serious trouble if I hit it again. The grass bagger works perfectly and I didn’t have a single clog. The only negative note is that the gas tank seems smaller or the fuel economy is worse…I had to fill it twice to get the front yard and the orchard mowed.

Remember the old days, when lawn mower mileage was never an issue?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Damn Yankees - Not the Musical

Watching the movie, Cold Mountain, made me think about the Civil war again. (Inappropriate name – “Civil”) And I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this war is still not over. There are places in the Deep South, in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia – where the battle rages on in ignorant people’s minds. I have driven through small backwoods towns where I felt most unwelcome; and I’m white, but an obvious Yankee. From the glares, I think they assume that every stranger is a Yankee. I’ve seen places where the “Stars and Bars” are still displayed. It’s been over 140 years now. I wonder how long it will take?

Practice Makes Perfect

I would say that it was time for me to mow the front lawns once again. I think they are dry enough to withstand the rigors of my practicing on them with the new mower. With any luck at all, I will miss most of the trees and only leave a few divots missing where I have changed course too rapidly. Despite the danger to life and limb, I do need the practice.

It’s also time to spray for weeds. Roundup is my tool of choice in this endeavor. I know it’s not ecologically sound…but it works! I will change over to using vinegar later in the season, when the weeds aren’t so ambitious. In springtime, the weeds are fiercely determined to rule the plant world and Roundup is about the only thing that will slow them down.

What's New?

The morning is young…and I’m not. I have a few aches and pains from yesterday’s 14 mile walk, but they’re non-life threatening and, in fact, I will be out and doing some more walking this morning. That should erase those pains for good.

Sunny skies are expected today and that should remove all traces of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from my psyche. Yes, the solidly gray days during the past few months were quite depressing. Isn’t it nice to have a disorder of some kind to blame it on? But, I wonder; does Medicare cover S.A.D? Next year; could they send us somewhere “nice” to recover from it?

What else is new, besides the sunshine? Well, the war in Mesopotamia grinds on, all part of World War III. And now the Palestinian suicide bombers have begun their deadly work again. This is retaliation for the Israeli shelling of Palestinian homes…which was retaliation for previous bombings. Yesterday, I was listening to spokesmen for both sides of this conflict and they were saying the same things…almost word for word. It was eerie. And each side was promising… surprise! More retaliation!  

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bothered By The Cross - From

A good article.

Enjoy free municipal Wi-Fi

while you can -

I hope Mr. Dvorak is wrong. I believe that free municipal Wi-Fi is just as necessary as a free library. You can't compare it to "parking" which is never free...

Sadly, America is now behind the curve when it comes to technology and falling further behind each day. We should be embracing connectivity, not seeing how much money can be made from it.


Delphi and GM are still joined at the hip and I find it quite interesting that both are quick to portray the unions as being the main reason for their sad plight. And the unions are resisting contract changes…as they should.

What is it about a contract that makes those who sign them think they are only valid as long as they contract has some advantage for them? No one forced either party to sign the contract. There were no guns displayed at the contract meetings. They did it of their own free will.

What does the word “contract” mean?

For myself, I would like to see the contracts upheld. If that means that GM goes bankrupt; so be it. They signed a contract and that should be paramount. The void in the marketplace will be filled as it always is…


“For Delphi, Chapter 11 is a globalization gambit. If it works, rivals may copy it.” This could be bigger news than first appears…I have been reading “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman and he thoroughly explores and explains free markets and globalization. It’s certainly worthwhile reading and may surprise you when you see how much of the world has already understood the free market concept while we snooze here at home.

But…and this is irritating. Friedman is coming out with a revised and expanded version of his book sometime this spring. Shouldn’t I get a copy of that for some sort of discounted price? After all, when I bought the book, I thought I was getting the final word. Are authors looking at Detroit as a business model? Where the 2006 version of a book will soon be replaced by the 2007 version?

School Makes Kids Use

Buckets for Toilets -

"She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it."

She's the principal. And she makes decisions like this?

Here, kitty!

Another Monday has arrived. This one is different from the Monday’s past as there is supposed to be abundant sunshine around for us to enjoy. I guess I will believe it when I see it. Which should be in just about an hour?

The cat has joined me this morning, a little bit earlier than usual and she is trying to keep me focused on her needs; head scratches and belly rubs. She is quite insistent and pesters me by winding around my feet and occasionally slapping my leg with an open paw while meowing at a great rate and high volume. OK, OK, she wins.

She seems to be satisfied now and is purring contentedly after one of our usual wrestling matches where she gets to grab my hand and in a display of kitty savagery, she mock bites and scratches until I give in. Even though she is only playing, I still ended up with a few marks on my hand when she got a little bit carried away. I’m just glad she’s not serious!

Kyle and Karlee were here last night and once again the cat has disappointed them. Although she is pretty bold with me, she does her best to avoid strangers. They tried getting her to come and play with them but that is not in her repertoire; hiding is more her style. Introverted cat and introverted owner…no wonder we like each other! Not that I avoid strangers, I only avoid crowds. And I can’t help but remember that Meghan was here the other day and she was easily able to pick up the cat and hold her. Introvert.

Oops! Here she comes again; ready for a re-match!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The World Question Center

And what is your idea?

And dangerous doesn't have to mean "bad"...


Easter Sunday has arrived and with it, the universal message that Christians all around the world will share…He has risen. He has risen indeed.

I have walked out to the front and sure enough, it’s raining. But will it be raining in an hour, when we have to leave for the sunrise service? Of course I looked at the forecast and was delighted to see only one rain icon in a whole week worth of forecasts…and that one was for today!

Tax News?

I tried to post this yesterday without success. So here it is, a day late...

“Almost as certain as death and taxes is the public's feeling that the U.S. income tax system is not fair. An Ipsos Poll released this week found almost six of 10 people, 58%, say the system is unjust, and a number that is virtually unchanged from two decades ago”

Well now, that’s a very “Duh!” bit of news…

Saturday, April 15, 2006

U.S. building massive embassy in

I saw a most interesting photo in the paper this morning. It appeared to be a large construction site, with at least 8 tower cranes to be seen. I have always associated tower cranes with prosperity. The more cranes, the better the economy. Then I read the story below the photo…

What I was looking at was the new U. S. Embassy in Iraq. 104 acres and 21 buildings. 5,500 employees. And it’s the largest embassy in the world. Does that sound right to you?

It’s only one third complete so far and original cost estimates were pegged at $1 billion dollars. But, it’s a government project so you can expect the number to escalate to $2 billion, maybe $3 billion before it’s all over. Hey! It was just an estimate!

April the 15th

Today is tax day…or it would be if the IRS offices were open; they aren’t. And I read that the average tax refund is close to $2,500. That’s an amount that would equal a savings plan to put aside $200 a month, and how many people do that? Some congressman; I don’t remember the name, has proposed that tax refunds be automatically assigned to a 401(k) account if the taxpayer wishes. Sounds smart.

Back in the day, when I was a major tax payer…I would manipulate my deductions to generate a larger tax refund. That money was then used for a variety of purposes, including more than a few “luxury” items. I knew at the time how dumb it was to let the government hold that money for me; after all, they paid me no interest. But I also knew that I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) save the money, so the refund became my no-interest savings account that I plundered once a year. I can only imagine how much I might have now if I had put that refund aside each year.

The congressman’s proposal seems to make sense…so it’s bound to be dropped.

Friday, April 14, 2006


More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two more retired U.S. generals called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign on Thursday, claiming the chief architect of the Iraq war and subsequent American occupation should be held accountable for the chaos there.

And this…
The top U.S. military officer on Tuesday defended Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld…

Let me see if I got this right; those generals who no longer work for Rumsfeld are criticizing him. A general, who still has “Rummy” as his boss, defends him. Makes sense to me.

Good Friday

Friday has arrived once again. Only this time it’s Good Friday, only two more days till Easter. And this year we hope to find the sunrise services on Easter morning. Last year, we followed the instructions but were never able to find the turnoff to the site near Black Butte Lake. I think I will start out a little earlier this year, giving myself a better chance of recovery from any navigation errors.

I picked up our new mower yesterday. I also tried it out and that was probably a mistake. Beside the fact of my being a clumsy driver, the grass was far too wet and so I left some divots in the landscaping. But it seemed like such a nice day; I really couldn’t stop myself from mowing a little bit of grass. The divots will heal.

Yesterday’s paper had a great photo of the two Democrats running for governor, Angelides and Westly. They were photographed at a school, seated on kindergarten sized chairs while they tried to entertain some youngsters by singing a song that included hand movements. The children looked bored while the candidates tried to appear earnest. Imagine yourself as a child…what would you think of these two guys who show up in your classroom, wearing serious suits and followed by a crowd of strange and noisy people with cameras and microphones? I thought the candidates looked silly, but the children weren’t cracking a smile.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Comfort Slides

I don't usually do this...write about shoes? But these are really comfortable. True, they have a low heel and you might think that would make it difficult to walk in, but no, they are easy to walk in. It takes just a few minutes to get used to them. And they are a great price as well. I bought a pair last week and they arrived today and after trying them, I just ordered another pair...And if you really hate the idea of a slide, they make an almost identical moccasin and for the same price.

Vancouver Heat Wave

The Weather Makers
Think the weather is a little odd lately?


It feels a little bit like spring. It’s supposed to be much warmer today, into the 70’s. And I must admit that I peeked at next week’s weather, looking at the extended forecast. (Is that legal?) Apparently all of the days will be in the 70’s next week!

We got a preview of that kind of weather yesterday when we drove down to Roseville. Heavy rain stayed with us till Yuba City and then the skies cleared. We walked from our car to the Lowe’s store and didn’t get a drop of water on us. We wore no coats! That afternoon, as we drove back, the rain began to fall once more as we passed Yuba City and it was still pouring down when we arrived home. Had it ever stopped while we were gone?

FP Passport

blogging on global news, politics, economics and ideas
Like news? Here's a good one to bookmark.

Where do you live?

Gives a whole new meaning to "Red State" And check out the Washington DC area...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ya Gotta Love it...

“Almost all of the state's poorest residents will have to show proof of US citizenship to continue getting medical care by July 1, under a little-noticed federal law that could endanger coverage for many, as Massachusetts is trying to expand access to healthcare. Born out of ongoing efforts in Washington to clamp down on illegal immigration, the new federal requirement compels anyone seeking Medicaid coverage to provide a birth certificate, a passport, or another form of identification in order to sign up for benefits or renew them.”

Don’t have your ID with you? Forgot your birth certificate when you jumped out of the burning house and broke your legs? Well, please leave the emergency room. You’re bleeding all over the paying customers!

I don’t know about you, but I know of plenty of people (U.S. Citizens) who cannot come up with a birth certificate. They lack the mental capacity, through no fault of their own…so what do we do with them? Let them bleed till someone retrieves the certificate for them?

More Americans Frustrated With Politics

Gee! Do you think so?
"...a throw-the-bums-out mentality is on the upswing, especially among independent voters."

Independent = thinking! (just an opinion of course)


This is getting to be monotonous. It was raining when I went to bed and I woke up to the sound of rain. And more rain is forecast. According to the newspaper accounts, this is an “orphan storm”, a storm that slipped away from the storm track and is wandering aimlessly about the valley. And the computer models used for forecasting don’t work well with orphans…or so they say.

Bad news from the mower repair shop. I threw a rod in the engine and it looks like a very large repair bill. The good news was that the rod simply broke and didn’t punch a hole in the block. The shop owner and I spent some time talking about the relative merits of the major brands of mowers and then we talked about the mower that he sells. The Dixon ZTR. I have driven one of these before and they are definitely fast and maneuverable, as they don’t have to be turned in a large circle. They pivot in their own length and can cut right up against an obstacle. They are tricky to drive, (No steering wheel!) at first…but it became easier as I practiced. They are more expensive, but I did like the way it was built. It’s pretty solid, with ¼” plate used in places where the Craftsman used sheet metal. And I did some other comparisons on-line this morning, but the big advantage I see is that the mower can be serviced right here in Orland. And cheaply.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How about?

From the news…
“The IRS wants taxpayers to file electronically. But sending returns over the Internet requires many people to use a paid preparer or tax-preparation software, adding an extra fee to their tax bill.”

How about this instead; since every taxable transaction is already recorded, why not let the IRS do your taxes for you? Why should we report what they already know? Just so they can say “Gotcha!” ?????

Waving the Flag

Legal and illegal, carrying signs in English and Spanish, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters took to the streets in the nation's capital and in dozens of cities around the country, spreading a sea of white T-shirts and American flags across city parks and TV screens in an effort to persuade lawmakers to grant foreign-born workers more rights.”

American flags? What are they up to? There is something afoot here…And did you see that Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York a little while ago? There were obviously illegal Irishmen carrying Irish flags right down Broadway. Even on television I could spot their obvious Celtic features. Where was the INS? Who’s in charge?


My cat made a serious error last night. She attacked Laurae. Not a serious attack…unless you listen to Laurae’s accounting of it. We were watching television and Boo was sitting on the floor in front of Laurae, watching the swing and sway of the fringed throw that Laurae had wrapped around her. I could see Boo’s eyes darting back and forth as she watched the idle movement. Suddenly, Laurae shrugged, the throw moved upwards an inch or so and that was when Boo struck! Leaping up and reaching out with one paw. Gotcha!

I may have made an error myself…by laughing!

Follow the money

Once again, the sound of rain is ruining the start of a perfectly good morning. The only positive note is that the temperature is at the 50 degree mark. OK, I guess I can include the cup of coffee as being on the positive side as well.

Every morning now, in the spring, I have to wait in suspense to see what kind of day I will have for walking. I’m really looking forward to the heat of the summer, where I can count on each day being the same. There is no suspense this morning though…it’s definitely raining! Now I have to wonder; how long will it last?

Some interesting news;
Eighteen candidates vied for voters' support Tuesday in a special election to fill the congressional seat once held by incarcerated former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. 18? There are 18 people, selfless people, who want only to do “good” and to be of some small service to their fellow citizens? Of course.

And I read that the acting governor and I are on the same page regarding the great value of vocational education. Now if only the educators would get onboard. But then I read this, “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign has picked up a $44,600 donation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” That doesn’t seem very appropriate?

Monday, April 10, 2006


Retired General admits regrets over Iraq war…those were the headlines. And the general is Marine Corps Lt. General Gregory Newbold. In an essay published on Sunday, he expressed regret that he did not more energetically question those who had ordered the nation to war. Then he urged active duty officers to speak out if they had doubts about the war. To top it off, he also called for replacing Donald Rumsfeld and “many other unwilling to fundamentally change their approach.

The essay, which runs in Time magazine this week, has some other memorable statements from General Newbold. “I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat – al Qaida.” He also wrote, “The decision to invade Iraq was done with a casualness and a swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions – or bury the results.”

Those darn Marines! Ya know, he could have just retired and rode off into the sunset. But nooooo! He has to stir things up.

Feline Physics

Cats and physics. (I think I may be on to something here.) If you read about quantum physics you will know that the Super String Theory has a place in it for the existence of more dimensions. Dimensions that may exist but we cannot see them. Mathematical models seem to indicate their presence and my cat seems to support that theory as well. Quite often, she will tilt her head and peer off into a corner of the room. There is nothing there. But she sees something! She will jump up and race over to…a blank spot on the carpet and there she will stare at “it”. Or she will enter a room and then for no apparent reason, she will stop…and slowly back up. Then she will turn and race to another part of the house, as if she were being pursued.

Did Einstein have a cat? He looks like a cat person, doesn’t he?


Monday has rolled around once more. I just looked out the window in front and I saw the moon, a very full moon and a much better sight than the usual clouds. Now I need to get the cobwebs cleared out of my mind with this cup of coffee (or two) and then I will be “good to go”.

And where will I go? The usual places; first, I will open my e-mail and browse the news. That action, alone, requires two cups of coffee to be done properly. Then I spend some time reading others blogs before looking for the newspaper sometime after 6.  

It looks like I will have good weather for a long walk in the park this morning. Since I already have a small blister on my right heel, I need to protect it from any further damage; and a band aid will probably suffice for now. I am going to need another pair of shoes to put into the rotation, but I’m afraid to do it now. Better to wait. I’m getting too close to race day to have any more blister problems.

I need to make the pilgrimage to the local dump. I have the truck loaded with prunings and once it’s dumped, I can stop by Denise and David’s house and get the trailer and rototiller. I have a dead mower that needs to go to the repair shop quickly, before the front lawn explodes again.

I did run across a news item on the problem of poor attention span among geeks. According to the doctor…“I believe many people become geeks because computers have always been one of the things that keep them stimulated. In fact, if I question someone about their attention span, they never, even have problems staying focused on their computer work. If someone is in the middle of some exciting programming, the focus is always there…The typical geek trains their brain to be heavily focused while multitasking day after day. Is it surprising that this same brain does not do well when forced to isolate down to one task? Listening in a meeting is a very isolated, very passive event. Coding, developing, debugging — these are not passive at all. The geek brain is just not trained to sit quietly and listen.”

Can I relate to any of that? First, I think he’s on the wrong track. Calling it “Poor attention span” puts the weight of the problem on the listener, when it should more properly be on the speaker. It’s certainly not the listener that makes for a dull meeting! Hello! Are you awake?

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Bulletin from...

AARP and the stuff I have learned…
Did you know that the expiration date on drugs is not calculated scientifically at all? In fact, it’s the pharmaceutical companies themselves that come up with the date; and without much more than a guess. No testing is done. Of course it would make sense for them to shorten that “valid” time span, wouldn’t it?

TABOR = Taxpayers Bill of Rights. The anti-tax crowd is pushing this one and Colorado bought into it in 1992. Colorado has the nations 7th highest per capita income but it has a few other notable bits of data. They went from 30th to 50th in teacher salaries. From 24th to 43rd in share of children receiving full vaccinations. From 20th to 40th in percent of adults without health insurance. Has fallen from 26th to 32nd in K-12 education funding. High school graduation rates declined from 76% to 70% in 2004.

Colorado has decided that perhaps TABOR needs a moratorium and so they have dropped it for 5 years, starting this year. You really do (or should) get what you pay for.

On the Border

$430 million has been spent since 1997 in border technology systems. That’s border fences, sensors, stadium lighting, remote control cameras, helicopters and unmanned drones. Lots of fancy toys and nothing has changed. Let’s take sensors results. Less than 1% of sensor alerts have led to arrests. Most alerts are the results of passing trains and cows. Radar systems used to find tunnels? Not effective. The long tunnel found near San Diego was discovered because of a tip. But we love the new and exciting stuff! High tech gear! Case in point; we have continued to pour billions into Star Wars missile systems ever since Ronnie had a vision that they would work to defeat communism. They still don’t work, communism is dead of its own hand and so is Ronny. Dead, that is. But the dollars keep pouring into the program; why? Because we love toys! But I digress…

Since the early 1990’s, the Border Patrol has made about a million “apprehensions” per year, while approximately 500,000 get across. Odds are not that bad; 1 out of 3. (The number of detainees last year was the same as in 1993) But…the number of immigrant deaths has increased. In 1994, 24 died. In 2005, almost 500.

And NAFTA? That grand plan was supposed to increase wages for Mexican industrial workers and make border crossings less attractive. Wages for Mexican factory workers have actually declined during the past ten years. American factories on Mexican soil; go figure! I guess that’s why they call it “Free Trade”. And with an 11 to 1 wage differential in manufacturing and 20 to 1 in agriculture, why wouldn’t they cross the border?

International Federation of Competitive Eating

Pick your poison! I just read about the Cannoli contest and that's a no-starter. 11,000 calories and no prize money! What were they thinking? And if you're not a big fan of the IFOCE, there's the AICE for you.

Were you wondering about the state of civilization these days? Wonder no more...

Is it me?

It’s fairly early on a Sunday morning. I’m not sure why I am awake. But since I am, I will make the best of it. And I have already done some reading of the news – the weather news to be exact. It’s not very encouraging. Is it just me, or do you make note of the weather more often these days? I really think this is an odd year for weather and one that will be remembered for many years– “Rain? You call this rain? You should have seen it rain during the spring of ‘06’, now that was rain!

I see some other news has made it to my screen…none of it surprising.

AP - Rising anxiety has pushed immigration close to the economy in the public's view of the most important problems facing this country, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. Those issues ranked slightly behind war in Iraq and elsewhere.

And this…
The president's self-defense at this point must be that if he, the president, decides to leak classified information, like the NIE assessment, then, by definition, it isn't a classified leak. POTUS gets to decide what is and isn't classified.

And this from the Atlantic Monthly… “The inconvenient truth of America’s foreign policy is that the last five years have left us with a series of choices – and all of them are bad…The United States cannot keep troops in Iraq indefinitely…it can’t withdraw them, because of the chaos that would ensue…the United States can’t accept Iran’s emergence as a nuclear power, but it cannot prevent this through military means – unless it is willing to commit itself to all-out war.”

What do you think? Are we willing? We haven’t been willing in Afghanistan or Iraq. We aren’t willing to re-institute the draft; that would have to happen. And would we be willing to do it with “Mission Accomplished” Bush in command? I don’t think so.

Christ Among the Partisans -

An Opinion piece from the - New York Times
Sorry if you have to register to read it, but it's certainly worthwhile. The author of this article, Garry Wills is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University and the author, most recently, of "What Jesus Meant."

Saturday, April 8, 2006

The Writer's Almanac

A good week of poetry, but the one I liked best was "On Closing the Apartment of my Grandparents of Blessed Memory "


I just finished browsing the usual blogs, my favorites…and noted that most have not been updated. Some, not in a very long time. What’s with that? But a new one that I enjoy, Julie Zickefoose, has led me to a daily reading of a blog linked to her site, The New Dharma Bums. This last one is authored by a pair of residents of Port Townsend, Washington, and a place I have a certain fondness for. When I read it, it’s as if I get a chance to visit once again. That reminds me; I also have a bunch of photo copies of the Port Townsend newspaper from the early 1900’s…I wonder if I can post one here?

Saturday's thoughts

Saturday morning and all is well; as far as I can see and that’s not far, not in the dark anyway. The storm that rolled through here last night has rolled away now and according to the radar maps, there is only a trace of rain falling in the Chico area this morning. So my plans to get in a long walk later this morning are still viable. Showers are still possible…60% chance.

I’m not sure of how much rain we received last night, but it seemed substantial. Plus lightning and thunder. I had filled the pool earlier yesterday and this certainly added to it.

And now that the pool is full, I can try out the new pool sweep. Hopefully, the leak is fixed for this season and I have already asked for a new liner next year at this time. Scary thought; the price of a liner is tied to the price of oil. There’s no escaping the impact of oil pricing on every part of our lives.

Let’s see what is news worthy…Hmmm? Not much on a Saturday morning. I did hear (yesterday) that a one meter (3 feet) rise in sea level is expected during the next 100 years. Sure, it’s just a guess…but if true, 60% of Bangladesh disappears. And everything south of Miami. What’s the guess for 10 years?

I guess people don’t realize how much change is taking place on a daily basis. I know I don’t…not until I do a little memory searching for just how things used to be when I was a child. Ecologically, it’s not the same world as it was in 1945; not even close!


Alarm over shopping radio tags?
What are these people thinking? You know how irritating all of the security packaging is; with RFID you could say goodbye to all of it. Checkout lines? Gone. What's not to like?

Friday, April 7, 2006

Just put it on my Visa

"As Congress debates immigration reforms, some experts say the most extreme proposal — deporting millions of illegal immigrants — would be a huge legal and logistical morass, and ruinously expensive, too."

When has the cost (or legality) of anything ever stopped us from doing what is "Right"? Let's do it! Jail and deportation for all! We need to do it because it's the "Right" thing to do!

From Sojourner

Good article...

"An ordinary man who listened" by Pearl Hoover
A lot has been said and written about Tom Fox these days - how exceptional he was, how he is the example of peacemaking for our time. Tom, as I have known him, would be the first to deny it. He was not exceptional; he was an ordinary man - setting out vegetables on grocery racks, playing the clarinet for a livelihood, walking on the rooftop in Iraq for exercise, proudly telling about his children's accomplishments.
What is exceptional is that he listened to God. When Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'
(Mat 5:38 -Mat 5:39) But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer," Tom listened. When Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Mat 5:44) Tom took him seriously. This is nothing more than is asked of any of us when we gather for worship. It is no more exceptional than is true for any of us who claim Jesus as our Savior and Guide..."

Yes, that is exactly what Jesus said...Read the whole article here

A new war

I just read about a new war! The “regular” Army is fighting the National Guard Army. (I suppose you thought they were on the same side…silly!)

The Pentagon doesn’t want to fund the National Guard for all of their requirements, even though almost 50% of the forces in Iraq are Guardsmen or Reservists. In fact the Guard has to take their own equipment to Iraq when they are deployed and then are required to leave it there when they return. They come back empty handed. Makes sense.

Currently, non-deployed Guard units have 5% of their authorized rifles…I suppose broomsticks will work if you only need them for marching.

And since the Army has been told to cut its budget, Rumsfeld is proposing to cut troop strength. But he’s planning on cutting those troops from the National Guard inventory, not “regular” Army.

Eagle Eye

Camera in B.C.
You may have alredy seen this link...but if you haven't, real eagles nesting on two eggs in British Columbia. In real time.

Friday Musings

Friday is upon us once more. Laurae tells me that it’s her favorite day of the week. And I was surprised to note that it isn’t raining. The forecast still calls for it and while I was lying in bed, just before I got up a few minutes ago, I could have sworn that I heard rain falling. Maybe it’s because that is what I’m used to hearing when I wake up?

And yesterday was beautiful. Really. After a good walk in the park I was able to get the front lawn mowed. Then I moved all of the prunings from the orchard out to a position close to the truck. I mowed the orchard and almost had it completed when the mower stopped. And so it sits, silent and abandoned…Well, I suppose that’s OK, I had to take it in for a yearly service anyway.

The pool guy was here yesterday and re-repaired the hole in the liner. I’ve been filling up the pool ever since he left and it’s getting close to an operational level now; he will show up again today and make certain that the new pool sweep works. Now that’s an equipment improvement that I will really enjoy.

What else? I got my Blood orange tree planted in the orchard. I also planted a cheap ($2- at Long’s)) Boysenberry plant in my row of berries. If it doesn’t make it, I’m not out much money. After all was done, I got dinner fixed and simmering on the stove while I went into town to watch Kyle play T-ball. It was their first game and it was very enjoyable to be able to sit in the afternoon sun and watch the kids running the bases.

I should mention that our local Holiday market is closing. Some discounter, a Wal-Mart wannabe, will take over the operation next week. The older citizens of Orland are not happy about it as it is one of those “bag it yourself” operations. I suppose I didn’t help Holiday in its endeavor to remain in business here. The prices were always too high, despite the courteous clerks, and so we usually shopped at Raley’s, only going to Holiday if we ran out of something and didn’t feel like driving into Chico. Although it is a 20 minute drive away, Raley’s is our favorite store now. The Safeway stores were ripping us off on so many items that I started to take it personally! And you don’t need a special card to shop at Raley’s.

Thursday, April 6, 2006


Iraqis Now Capable Of Conducting War Without U.S. Assistance

Thanks, Kitty...this is great news!

Good reading!

The Pig Book
But so could read the Pig Book Summary if you're not ready for a big meal of pork.


Thursday is here and the sun will soon be out…I know it will, I know it…I know it! I saw the sun yesterday afternoon and it was beautiful; just as I remembered it to be. Blue skies and puffy white clouds. And today we should see even more of it. Until tonight…when it is supposed to cloud over and begin raining once again.

Despite the blue sky and sunshine, I see trouble ahead. I notice from the news reports that attention is starting to be focused on the flags that immigration protesters are carrying. Nothing riles up the neo-cons like flag waving does. Especially if it isn’t the Red, White and Blue that’s being waved. These are usually the same people that think it’s OK to wear flags as clothing. Not!

And on a patriotic note, I just read Stephen Ambrose’s book, The Victors. Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of World War II. A great story, but I also found it to be disturbing, as in chapter after chapter, the brave men who fought those battles described how they felt abandoned by those who were supposed to be aiding them in this epic fight. Supplies that never showed up. Material that only came as far as the rear echelon and never to the front lines. It was epidemic. Yes, we won. But no thanks to those who treated the war as “business as usual.” And of course it was Eisenhower who warned us of the military-industrial complex. He knew!  

“…   In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together…”