Monday, July 31, 2006

Darn that Darwin!

Monday; the week begins anew. And in a most pleasant fashion, with cool air sweeping through the house. I read that we can expect to see morning low’s back in the 50’s. Yes, it’s just for one day, but it’s a start!

I’m heading up to Susanville early this morning for a one day trip to nail some sheathing on the addition. The roof trusses will arrive tomorrow and Bill wants the corners all squared and true before the crane lifts them into place.

Odd; I was at a public function last night, a community church “sing” in the park and heard the “leader” make the observation that scientists do not know how a seed can make a plant. Those scientists know how a plant grows…but have no knowledge of how the process starts. Only God knows. This was followed by a few more anti-science comments. What’s with that? Why do some Christians go out of their way to bash science? And to do it with nonsensical opinions and not fact? I felt like raising my hand and asking for some documentation for his weird pronouncement. Yes, “scientists” and even high school biologists know how a seed can make a plant. This is the kind of rhetoric that can only hurt the cause of Christianity. For instance; Charles Darwin was an avowed Christian to the day he died, but the conservative fundamentalists equate his name with pure evil. Obviously, he was not their kind of Christian. He asked questions.

Knowledge. I think that is what scares them because it has the power to shake their faith. But, it’s their faith that needs strengthening, and dismissing knowledge won’t help with that problem.

Some odds and ends from the news aggregator…
Israeli Air Force Continue Lebanon Strikes
“The Israeli air force carried out strikes Monday in southern Lebanon despite an agreement to halt raids for 48 hours after nearly 60 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli bombing, the army said.” That makes me wonder, who’s in charge?

And this one…
Iraq Supporting Lebanon
“…The Iraqi prime minister angered many Americans — especially Democrats — during a visit to Washington last week when he called for an immediate cease-fire without criticizing Hezbollah for provoking the crisis by capturing two Israeli soldiers and firing missiles into Israel.”

“…Some Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, boycotted al-Maliki's speech to Congress the following day. Sen. Charles Schumer said a "large number of people" were "uncomfortable" with al-Maliki's stance.”

“Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean went so far as to label al-Maliki an "anti-Semite" for failing to denounce Hezbollah.”

Obviously, for Clinton, Schumer and Dean, democracy is only for Democrats.

I was just thinking that we need a lot of “No Bozo’s” stickers to apply to the doors of the House and Senate buildings. Would that change anything? No, but it might make us feel better.


I ran across this odd typo in the Christian Science Monitor.

“Arizona persecutors have charged Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz, who say they tried to save the lives of three sick migrants stranded in the desert, with felony charges of transporting illegal immigrants. Border Patrol agents arrested the two in July 2005 as they attempted to drive the migrants to a Tucson, Ariz., hospital. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison and a half-million-dollar fine.”

Persecutors? I suppose if the shoe fits…and it sounds like it does.

A word to the wise. Before helping anyone, even those you find dying in the desert…check their passports!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

There are no "accidents" in war

Organizations like Hezbollah feed and grow stronger on the deaths of innocents. And we oblige them.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, there are no innocent bystanders in their war. And the same can be said for Israel. They both believe that the Lebanese people need to be on one side or the other. For them, there is no middle ground and so the innocent die, somewhere on the middle ground…

Bad news from| Reuters

Top News Article
This can only make things worse. What a disaster.

U.S. Employers

Look Offshore for Healthcare - Los Angeles Times

Just when you thought "outsourcing" had reached its limits.
You may have to register (free) to see this article...but it is worth it.

And now a word from our sponsor...

More from the Middle East…
Rice Returns to Israel to Press for Cease-Fire
“There was a sense that President Bush had decided to give Israel a shorter period in which to hammer Hezbollah in Lebanon.” And in the process, kill more innocent Lebanese.

Audit Finds U.S. Hid Cost of Iraq Projects
“The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns” Gosh! Who would have believed it possible?

Partisan Divide on Iraq Exceeds Split on Vietnam
“No military conflict in modern times has divided Americans on partisan lines more than the war in Iraq.” I believe it.

The End

Can you believe it? July is almost over with. For some reason it seemed to fly by. That is one of the hazards associated with aging. And right now, with the twins sleeping in the other room, I’m very much aware of aging. How did I get to be so old?

I will do my best to avoid writing about the weather this morning. I will simply enjoy it.

I noticed the first ads of the political season by Phil Angelides seem to make a big deal of the fact that our acting governor is “an actor”! Cheap shots…those are the kinds of things that the public can say (me!) but we should expect better from the politicians. We really need facts and not rhetoric. I guess facts don’t fit well into a 30 second TV spot.

Other news… “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday she is "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life," after an attack on a village in southern Lebanon. But she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militias.” But not saddened enough to call off the “pit bull”.

Here is what those in Palestine have to say about foreign aid… and here’s what those in Israel have to say. Well, I couldn’t find a pro-Israel site that included a plea for more defense money. Apparently the Israel lobby keeps quiet about it. I did find this one though. This is another one of those issues that requires facts and not rhetoric. But most people already have their minds made up.

Let the Battle Begin!

The City of Chico is under assault by Wal*Mart once again, as the plans for a new store and Super Center are being proposed. That would give Wal*Mart two stores in this town and probably drive out an existing business or two.

Here are some facts about Wal*Mart that I found recently…

Wal*Mart made $312.4 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2006.

If Wal*Mart were a country, it would rank 21st out of 180 in the value of its Gross Domestic Product. (GDP) Saudi Arabia ranks 22nd with a GDP of $307.8 billion dollars.

Wal*Marts annual sales are more than the combined GDP of the bottom 80 countries on the list.

There are more than 3,800 stores in the U.S. (2,600 in 14 other countries)

Wal*Mart employs 1.3 million people in the U.S.

I think we have reached a saturation point. There is really nothing new or startling to report about Wal*Mart. If you told me that Wal*Mart was proposing to develop their own military force, I wouldn’t be surprised. You are either for them or against them. I prefer to be against them. It’s my patriotic duty! (Stand up straight! Salute!)

(Patriotism might be the only weapon available to fight them with…)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Business - As Usual

"The House tied a $2.10 increase in the (minimum) wage scale to a reduction in the estate tax and a package of tax breaks."

What small and petty minds they have. Let's do ourselves a favor a get rid of them all in the next election.

The Plot Thickens


If you were wondering if it couldn't get much worse in the Middle can!

Things I didn't know

Saturday has arrived and all is quiet in the house. Just the usual roaring of the fans as they exchange the bad air for good. And I’m sitting in the study, looking out the window and waiting for the first hints of the sunrise to come. It’s coming later each day; so sad.

Yesterday was spent in an interesting way, as we took a bus ride to Oroville with the volunteers that work at the Senior Thrift Store here in Orland. Two or three times a year, the volunteers are recognized for their efforts and the board hosts a special event for them. I became a board member just this month and I didn’t want to pass up a chance to see what had been planned. Also, it had been quite awhile since the last time I had taken a bus ride. The thought of someone else doing the driving sounded attractive.

The bus was fairly new and had comfortable seats. So far, so good. But once we had started down the freeway, it was the view that had me fascinated. Sitting quite a bit higher, I could see things along the road that I hadn’t seen before. Sad, but most of what I saw was trash. Sitting in a car, you can’t see into the depression along the edge of the freeway, but from our viewpoint it was apparent that there is very little that won’t be thrown from passing cars. You name it; it’s in the ditch.

We had a great tour of the Oroville Dam, the fish hatchery and then, after lunch, a look at the Chinese Temple in downtown Oroville. Of course there was the obligatory stop at an Indian casino.

Some things I didn’t know…Oroville Dam, completed in 1967, is the highest dam in the US at 770+ feet. They were still using dredges to mine for gold below Oroville in the 1950’s. That if you wanted to know what a cubic foot of water looked like, think of the box that a new basketball would come in. And in the flood of 1997, the flow into Lake Oroville could be represented by 300,000 cubic feet per second. When the spillway is operating at full volume, the road across the canyon from the spillway is closed because there is so much water in the air (mist) that the oxygen levels aren’t high enough to support life.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Feels Good!

Friday and very cool! How cool? Well, I have dropped the inside temperature almost 10 degrees just by opening the window and running the fans. Inside, it is now 70° compared to a 65° outside. I love it!

Yesterday, my comments regarding the weather and heat were somewhat insensitive. With almost 100 people in California now dead from the effects of the heat, it’s obviously not just a simple matter of lowering the thermostat if you feel a little hot. And of course my comments didn’t include the homeless who can’t even find a thermostat, let alone turn it down.

I was listening to a report on public opinion yesterday and apparently, Californians think we need to do something about “Global Warming”. Well, more than 2/3rds of them do…what I believe most don’t understand is that even if we were to start working on some magical solution today, it wouldn’t change anything for hundreds of years. Not that we shouldn’t start, you understand. Our great, great, great grandchildren will thank us.

World War III news: “A Somali lawmaker was fatally shot outside a mosque Friday, the latest blow to a virtually powerless administration that has watched helplessly as Islamic militants have taken over much of the country.”

Now is the time for everyone to go and get their world maps and find out where Somalia is located. This is the next frontline in the war.

And this…“President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are teamed up against much of the world again, this time in their refusal to criticize Israel's offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon or to call for an immediate cease-fire in the Mideast fighting.”

Well, it’s not as if these two had a great track record.

So Long Ago

I was browsing through my journal and came across this entry from February 23rd, 1991.

War in the Middle East. I have saved the newspapers from the first chaotic week of the war. I wonder why we are at it again? I can understand the evil of Saddam Hussein, so many men are evil, and history shows us that we have no monopoly on it in this era. I was born just before a world war and grew up during the Korean War and the Indo-China war that would come back to haunt us as the Vietnam War. So war is a part of my life.

We seem to be winning, but with the past evils of Saddam Hussein as a reminder, I am not sure of a quick and decisive war. The terror could go on for years. Not because of one man, Saddam, but because the American government has never used its powers to resolve the Palestinian homeland questions. Nor has our government ever accorded dignity to the Arab people. I have a terrible suspicion that this war will bring us a very unpleasant surprise. I hope that I am wrong. I also find the attitude of so many Americans puzzling, so unaware of the reality of war. It’s as if it were a television production, just change the channel and it will go away. So many flag wavers without a clue as to the harsh facts of death on a battlefield. When I was in the Navy, I was so very young and naive, but I did know something of death, I saw it happen in the hospital where I worked, and I saw something, (very little) of the reality of war. The people I talk to today believe in the technology of war. Our weapons are smarter somehow than our enemies, but far away, on the battlefield, where wars are fought, it becomes very personal.

So here we are, 15+ years later.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Barack Obama

Call to Renewal

The Senator is well spoken...and I hear good things about him. Is he the one that could mend the Democratic Party? I can only hope it is him. Then I could even think about the possibility of supporting a Democrat.

False Stewardship -

Sojourners Magazine/August 2006

A good and careful critique of Mr. Dobson's agenda..

Just Do It!

From the CSM…
“Hizbullah seen as tougher foe than expected

Heavy casualties, lack of 'significant victory' has some in Israeli military concerned.”

Well, nuke ‘em! That’ll show them.

Oh, oh…I forgot. Israel won’t admit that it has nuclear weapons.

“What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Speaking of the weather

Thursday has arrived, the week is half gone. Now, if only the heat was gone as well…but it is cooler this morning, a good sign that perhaps, the weather pattern is changing. I certainly hope so; I’m getting tired of writing about it.

Where does this preoccupation with the weather come from? It’s certainly an interest that spans across all borders and cultural groups. We all talk about it and it’s usually the first subject we talk about when we meet with one another. Yet we live in a society where it usually doesn’t mean much; we have the technology to make the weather unimportant. Hot? Turn up the AC. We can create and maintain almost any climate we want. Yet we still complain about the weather.  

Yesterday was a travel day for us as we went to Roseville for my visit with the dentist. And while we were there we had a chance to visit Roseville Gourmet, our favorite Roseville restaurant. A late (and great) lunch was more than sufficient for us and so we didn’t even bother with dinner. These hot summer days make dieting pretty easy!

And while we were in Roseville, we couldn’t help but notice the construction. The volume of construction should indicate a healthy economy. Both hospitals have major additions underway and there are new homes and shopping centers being built, all of the way from Yuba City to Roseville. And traffic. Did I mention the traffic? Sure, we’re from the country now and the volume of traffic and the rude drivers simply amaze us. Plus, all of the tricked out (large) cars with $$$ in accessories. A gasoline price crisis in Roseville? Not!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So Sorry

“U.N. observers in southern Lebanon called the Israeli military 10 times during a six-hour period to ask it to halt an airstrike before their observation post was hit, according to details of a preliminary U.N. report on the incident. Four U.N. observers were killed in the bombing Tuesday.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "deep regret" Wednesday over the killings, and dismay over U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's accusation that the air strike was "apparently deliberate."

Hello? He was dismayed that Kofi Annan used the word, “Apparently”?  He should be happy that Mr. Annan didn’t use the word, “Very”. After all of the evidence I’ve read and heard and considering Israel’s track record…I’m ready to believe it. Mr. Annan was being kind.

“Apparently” means, in this case, that all the evidence points to a deliberate attack, either that or a terminal case of idiocy on the part of the Israeli’s. Me, I’m glad to hear that someone was outraged enough to tell people just what he felt at the news of the murder of four UN employees. Mr. Olmert should have been as outraged. Those UN employees worked for him as well.

Anyone think that 4 “deep regrets” will bring the UN observers back to life?


I have my Word (2003) program configured to give me some tips from the Microsoft site each time I start it up and this morning I spotted this…

Check it out…some good templates in here and the price is right.

Give Me a Break!

Good news…the night time temperatures have lowered considerably and I’m filling the house with cooler air once again. Bad news…our outdated A/C unit has made our power bill rocket out of sight. Now we have to go shopping for a new one. Is there a bright side to this? I suppose a new and energy efficient unit will also give us some wintertime savings. Considering the cost of new unit, it had better save a lot of money!

Today is a travel day as we go south to Roseville for my semi-annual dental exam. What fun! But since we haven’t been there for quite awhile, the sightseeing will help to make the trip enjoyable. I’m sure Roseville will have added more shopping centers, more homes and more traffic.

Is there any world news worth mentioning? Of course! (That doesn’t mean it’s good news.)

UN chief Kofi Annan "I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli defense forces of a UN observer post in southern Lebanon that has killed two UN military observers, with two more feared dead," Annan said on Tuesday in a statement released in Rome.

Israel claims that “apparently deliberate” is wrong and that they will investigate. Perhaps they can investigate the case of the two Red Cross ambulances that were targeted and destroyed as well? It was quite disturbing to see film images of a white ambulance with Red Cross symbols on it…and a large shell hole punched through the roof. Those who say that these incidents are just a regrettable part of war are speaking obscenities! Everything about a war is regrettable...and avoidable. I sometimes think that Israel and Hezbollah deserve one another.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

History 101 Revisited

“The US should grant preference for visas to those willing to serve in the military.”

Yes, that’s exactly what the Romans used to do…

Anyone see the Roman Empire lately?

Somethings Wrong Here...

“The US has pledged $30 million in humanitarian aid to hard-hit Lebanon.”

And the US is rushing more bombs to Israel… (True story!)

Does anyone see a problem here?

First, the math. Smart bombs run close to $1 million apiece…So we pay to bomb Lebanon and then we pay to…Oh, never mind! It’s idiotic!

Making Bad Choices

You gotta love those Democrats! Mental giants!

"Reuters - Congressional Democrats voiced alarm on Tuesday over Iraq's denunciation of Israel in the Mideast conflict, and some said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's upcoming address to Congress should be canceled unless he apologizes."

So if he apologizes, he can them come out and play? OK, say you're sorry now...good boy!

And what does that say about our own democracy?

And another year passes

1948 and History continues…

State of Israel Declared- On May 14, as the British Mandate was ending, the Jews of Palestine declared themselves independent. They created the State of Israel, with David Ben-Gurion as the Prime Minister. Immediately, the neighboring Arab nations attacked. Israel succeeded in repulsing the attacks. By the end of the war, the Jewish State was larger than the territory originally assigned to it under the partition plan. In the course of the war, hundreds of thousand of Palestinian Arabs were displaced, some under their own volition and some by force

US Recognizes Israel - (5/14/48) After being a supporter of the rights of the Jews to create an independent state, President Truman extended American recognition 14 minutes after the State had been declared in Tel Aviv. Immediately after the State's independence was declared, it was attacked by the surrounding Arab States.


History Lessons.
India/Pakistan Gain Independence - (8/15/47) In 1942, Indian Nationalists had spurned the British offer of autonomy within the British Empire. They demanded complete independence. After the Second World War, the British agreed to independence. However, no agreement could be reached between the Hindus and Moslems. Large scale rioting ensued, in which thousands died. An accord was finally reached to establish two states: Hindu India and Moslem Pakistan. On August 15th, the two new states achieved independence. Millions of refugees were created in both countries. And two million people died. They continue to die today and for the same reasons.

Unrest In Palestine - Britain Turns Problem Over To UN -On November 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly met to vote on the proposal to partition Palestine. All of Zionist foreign policy was tied to this one moment. Members of the Zionist delegation lobbied continually to ensure that the partition motion was passed. The members of the American Zionist Movement were especially instrumental in influencing many wavering delegations to vote for the partition. The final results were as follows:Supporting the partition:Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussia (part of the Soviet Union), Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, U.S.S.R., U.S.A., Uruguay and Venezuela.Against partition: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.Abstaining: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom.After the vote, Abba Hillel Silver spoke on behalf of the Jewish Agency, saying, "The Jewish people will be forever grateful to the nations which contributed to the decision; we're especially appreciative of the leadership provided by the United States and the Soviet Union, and are happy that, in the solution of the Palestine problem, these two great powers worked harmoniously together."

The Palestinians didn’t think they had a problem in 1946.


Think about it...
"Reuters - United Nations humanitarian agencies said on Tuesday they were still largely blocked from bringing relief supplies into Lebanon and from getting injured and chronically sick people to hospitals."

No power, no water, no food, no medical care, no shelter, no cease fire. The Decider hasn't decided yet.

Spell Check

Tuesday, and it’s both early and warm. Is that why I’m awake so early? Once again there is no relief gained by opening the windows. But it does exchange stale air for fresh, even if the air is the same temperature.

As I was circling the park yesterday morning, I had some thoughts about art and how universal it is. It’s part of each of us, though we don’t always recognize it. If we define art, as I think we should, as anything we do to create “a thing” or a “feeling” that pleases us in some way. Painting and sculpture are obvious. But what about the cake you decorate? Or the flowers you pick and place in a vase? Mow the lawn? Play the flute? Trim the hedge? Build a fence? All of those things change your environment in a personal way and that is art. So why don’t we pay more attention to the development of our artistic senses? We allow kindergarteners to play with finger paints, a very direct art form that stimulates their artistic senses; and then it’s over. School is now all about those things that will bring in the money! The government holds that financial “carrot” and art, which makes us uniquely human, has no role in securing the money.  

2,480 is a large number; it’s the total number of posts I have made to my various blogs since Saturday, March 06, 2004. That was my first posting. Since my original intention was to practice writing, I guess I can say that I have done my practice. In fact, my original blog was “private” and I was the only one that could read it. (That doesn’t even make sense now?) And I’m not a better writer but it is fun! I think bloggers have to admit that fun is part of the attraction, though most may appear to be quite serious in their writings.

Before blogging, there was only the “vanity press”. You had to pay someone to print your thoughts and plenty of people did just that. I suppose that as the public becomes more accustomed to on-line reminiscing, the number of publishers doing vanity work will decrease.

Whoa! That scared me! Boo just jumped up (in the dark) and caught the window screen with her claws. A loud meow; almost in my face…she wants breakfast and she wants it now! OK, OK. I’m coming.

Back to blogging…I believe that blogs can turn you into a poor writer just as easily as a better one. Overuse makes some of us use shortcuts and in our haste to post something, anything at all…we don’t look at the post with a critical eye. Sentence structure? Spelling? Clear ideas? Something similar happened to me when I was a Hospital Corpsman; I had to write something in each patients chart at the end of each shift. There had to be an entry, even if nothing had changed. “3:30 PM. There was no change in the patient’s condition.” With 30 or 40 patients, it became a race to get it done before the end of the day. Handwriting skills disappeared first, then writing skills. You want to know why you can’t read the doctors handwriting? Every doctor has had the same experience.

Enough mental meandering; time to look at the news.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Nothing New

Bad morning! Stupid coffee pot! Everything has been working smoothly for some time now, but this morning the coffee pot decides to brew a ½ cup of coffee and then call it quits. Good enough, it says. That’s it. Nada mas. It even had the nerve to sound off with the normal “beeps” to signal me that it had accomplished its task. Not!

I pulled the plug and now I’m waiting…so it’s time for me to look at the news while I debate (heatedly!) over my coffee options.

The weather, of course, is the big news in California. 81° at 4 in the morning is not normal. And according to the reports, it will be at least 5 more days before the high temperature drops below 100° during the day. I can’t even use the fans to cool off the house in the early morning as the inside and outside temps are only a degree or two different. We have our A/C thermostat set for 82° and the current temperature won’t provide much relief.

Other news? (But not war news…I’m not ready) There is this item that I found interesting, Ruthless Focus on the Customer. From the Mini Cooper to Whole Foods, companies and brands are discovering how superior customer experience keeps 'em coming back for more.

Now there’s a “duh!” moment. It’s funny how generation after generation keeps re-discovering the fact that customers like to be treated well.

I guess I can’t ignore World War III. It knocks, insistently on my consciousness.

Israel warns it will hit 10 buildings for every rocket fired
Khaleej Times - JERUSALEM – “The Israeli air force is under orders to blast 10 buildings in south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, for every rocket the Shiite militant group fires at the Israeli port of Haifa, army radio said Monday."

And what will that accomplish? Ironically, it’s the same tactic that the Germans used during World War II. I guess that proves that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to human cruelty.

And now this… “White House officials said President Bush remains opposed to an immediate cease-fire to stop violence in the Middle East, despite personal pleas from ally Saudi Arabia that he help stop the bloodshed.”

Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about the man?

OK, enough news. It looks like I will be heading to the park this morning without my usual dose of coffee. A good thing? It sure doesn’t feel like it! But once I get started on the circuit and begin to sweat…I will have other things on my mind beside caffeine.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Peak Oil:

Life After the Oil Crash

Remember the Y2K Bug? Well, this isn't it. In fact, it could very well be the "real deal." How do we know? We don't and there are "experts" on both side claiming superior knowledge. In fact Peak Oil could have already happened; unfortunately, we will be among the very last to know. But if you see castles being built once again...with moats and drawbridges, there's a good chance it's true. Me? I'm making friends with the castle contractor...

Have a good day!

Blind Justice

Great article on the immigrants that were arrested at the Petit Jean poultry plant in Arkadelphia, Arkansas one year ago.

Some quotes:

“According to two community leaders, about 60% of the deported Petit Jean workers have returned to southwest Arkansas and are working again.”

And the point of the raid was?

“…yet Dixon has limited sympathy for the Petit Jean workers and other illegal immigrants, because she believes they lower wages for American workers.”

Wait a second, who lowered the wages? I believe it was the employer, not the employee.

And last, this…
“Fred Swafford, 65, a retired plant manager, over breakfast at Andy's, a restaurant just off Interstate 30.”We are a nation of laws, and you cannot ignore those basic laws."”

Oh, if only that were true. Those in high places do it all of the time…



Obviously this UN official does not know what he's talking about...everyone knows that Israel uses "smart" bombs and they never make mistakes.

It's Been Decided

Sunday morning, and I think we’re getting close to our limit. Heat is a good thing…in smaller doses. But I’ve seen the forecast and the extended forecast as well, and we’re not going to see any relief for at least a week. Next Sunday’s forecast shows a high of 97°, while we can expect a high of 111° today.

I have always been attracted to places that were warmer than usual for some odd reason. And I normally prefer hot over cold…Back in the day when I worked with my tools, I would bask in the heat! But of course I would always make sure that I started the workday at an early hour, to avoid the cruel and lingering heat of a late afternoon. In Arizona we would start the day at 3 in the morning during the months of July and August.

Being a concerned pet owner (how do you “own” a cat?) I have been careful to make sure that Boo has plenty of water and I try and get her to spend time inside the house, where it’s cooler. But she wants out! And out she goes whenever the door opens. Yesterday afternoon, in the hottest part of the day, I saw her curled up under the shrubs along the fence and I went to rescue her. Of course she was simply sleeping…on top of the moist and cool soil. Those shrubs are irrigated every morning and the ground stays moist for quite awhile. Smart cat! And to illustrate again how smart she is, when I went out to water the garden, she followed and then carefully folded herself into a small ball of fur in the middle of the still wet flower bed. There she could watch me in comfort.

All I have to worry about is the temperature; life elsewhere is far more complex and dangerous. World War III continues without a pause this week…

“Israeli warplanes pounded a religious complex in a refugee-filled southern port city and other Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon on Sunday. The guerrillas fired rocket after rocket into northern Israel, killing at least two people.”

Closer to home; this small headline caught my attention. “Convicted congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham; a new study says Cunningham took advantage of secrecy and badgered congressional aides to help slip items into classified bills that would benefit him and his associates. Cunningham's case puts a stark spotlight on the oversight of classified — or "black" — budgets.”

Another reason why secrecy in government needs to be curtailed. I wonder; is “secrecy” part of our Constitution? I suppose we could let “The Decider” tell us. What? He already has? Isn’t it wonderful to have a Decider to handle the tough questions in life?

Saturday, July 22, 2006


There are a few parts of Glenn and Tehama counties that are just plain embarrassing. And those are the wrecking yards that are located along highway 99W, parallel with I-5. I’m old enough to remember Lady Bird Johnson and her campaign to clean up the highways of America. Laws were passed. And I remember that automobile junkyards were given a limited amount of time to build fences that screen their operations from the public view. And it’s not just the view; the soil in those yards has to be contaminated with a wide spectrum of toxic materials, including lead.

Has that law been removed or gutted by the Republicans? Or is it just being ignored by the Republicans that run Glenn and Tehama counties?

I suppose I could write to the EPA and complain, but Bush doesn’t let them do much enforcing these days…maybe I could write a letter to the editor? Except the local paper is a right-wing rag; no help there.

OK, I don’t have an answer yet…but I’m going to keep looking.

Summertime, and the living is easy..

I was just reading the comments section from the New Dharma Bums, all on the inconvenience caused by the heat wave that most Americans are experiencing. I couldn’t help but think of how we used to survive those days, back in the 1940’s. That was AD, but before A/C. (A little humor.) We lived at the beach, so most summers were a breeze. (More humor.) But there were summer days when we would have to go as a family to visit Auntie Jay, Uncle Rocky and Cousin Jill. And they lived in the second hottest place in California, the San Fernando Valley. Of course our family car had no air conditioning, so all of the windows were opened as we made our way up the Mulholland Highway and over Sepulveda Pass, dropping down into a heat that would quickly fray the tempers of all  (5) stuffed into the interior of a 1947 Oldsmobile 2 door sedan.

And the hottest place in California at the time? Well, that honor would change from time to time. Sometimes it was Bakersfield. Other times it was Colton. Once it was El Centro. It depended upon where Dad decided to take us. In a car with no A/C. But then, in the late 1940’s…Dad discovered a portable A/C unit at Pep Boys Auto Supply store. It fit into the passenger side window; just roll up the window to hold it in place. You would fill it with water and then pull a chain. That would drag the filter unit into the water supply. Release the chain and the wet filter would roll back into place and deliver moist and cool air. But more often it would simply spray the backseat passengers with water…the design needed some work. A second A/C unit that attracted Dad’s attention used a large “brick” of dry ice to cool the air. That worked better but we really missed the welcoming spray of water.


Isn’t it odd? We spend billions on the prevention of death. Everything from highway safety programs to tsunami warning systems. From vaccines to airbags. You name the killer…we have a way of preventing it from happening; or we will very soon. But war? No, that where we make the money; thank you very much!


The hot and stale air is clearing away slowly. The windows are all open and the fans are going full blast this morning. The outside temperature is 76° and dropping slightly, while inside it’s a cool 79°. At this point, I would like to stay even with the cooler outside temp for a little while.

Last night, the Science channel had show featuring the Sun and I was amazed once more at all of the factoids. Such as it taking 8.5 minutes for the heat (the radiation) to reach us. And every second 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into helium ashes. In the process 5 million tons of pure energy is released; therefore, as time goes on the Sun is becoming lighter.

This morning it’s the news that has my attention. And words (sometimes) fail me as I read the headlines…

U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis
The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which some military officers see as a sign of a longer campaign ahead. (If you don’t watch the movie, Why We Fight, you’re sticking your head in the sand.)

Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, on the fighting in Lebanon
"What I won’t do is go to some place and try to get a cease-fire that I know isn’t going to last."  

She refuses to look for a peaceful solution because she knows it won’t last? This is coming from the former Soviet Union expert for the Reagan administration who didn’t know that the Soviet Union was collapsing of its own weight. Exactly, what does she know? We already know she’s fallible.

Here’s what I know…I can tell you that citizens of Lebanon shouldn’t look to the USA for any leadership or help in this. It’s official; we’re not interested in peace. We have bombs to sell and business is business, you know.

And this one…simply sickens me.
“Human life is of supreme value, but this is a demanding operation, and we are at war,” Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, who commands the Israeli forces fighting on the Lebanese front, told Israeli television. “I suggest we don’t count the dead until it’s all over.”

Supreme value…but? What kind of sick logic is that? We love you dearly but we’re going to have to kill you anyway. Is that what he’s saying? And “don’t count the dead until it’s all over.”  And when would that be? Who decides? Maybe it’s The Decider.

All I really know from all of this is the fact that the world becomes a more dangerous place every single time an innocent is killed, whether it is by the indiscriminate weapons of Hezbollah or the “precision” bombs of the USA.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Getting old?

If you’ve been reading the blog, The New Dharma Bums, you may have noticed that the most recent subjects for contemplation have been about food. Good choice; though I found it difficult to contribute much to the discussion. First there was a post on cooking utensils and then one on favorite foods and restaurants.

I tried to think of something to say about the kitchen utensils we own; favorites and such. But I was at a loss. My only favorites are my knives. Since we bought the new oven and glass topped cooking surface, the old cast iron stuff is forbidden. And the one antique cast iron dutch oven is nowhere to be found. Now where did that go?

And then favorite restaurants and meals…I think that included those made at home. (There are really no rules to these discussions…) And again I drew a blank. Yet I have a blog that deals with just that subject. Where did my mind go? The same place as the dutch oven?

Their subject for today is all about keeping cool. Timely. And I think we found a pretty good way; we use a fan in the study doorway to blow out the hot air from the assorted electronics in that room. Sure seems cool! And we use fans all through the house while keeping the thermostat at 80°. Our acting governor wants us to keep it at 78° and we’re more than happy to do a little bit better than that.

This Could Be Interesting

I wonder how hot it will be today? I just had an odd experience; opening the window here in the study actually increased the inside temperature by one degree! I guess I had assumed that the night air was going to be cooler. Well, I’m leaving it open for now; fresh is always better.

Now I’m wondering about my training plans. I was hoping to do 10 miles, or two hours; whichever came first. With a temperature of 81° at 4 in the morning. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. And reading the weather forecast doesn’t bring much comfort. “…hot humid temperatures combined with a surge of monsoonal moisture could bring some interesting weather to interior Northern California over the next couple of days...Strenuous activities outdoors should be reduced or moved to the coolest time of the day.”  That’s odd phrasing isn’t it?. Especially for a government agency. But I like the idea; we should always have “interesting weather”.

I don’t want to abandon the training altogether, so I’m thinking about cutting it in half. That will give me some good cardio exercise but I won’t be stressed. And that plan allows me to enjoy a Cappuccino and a quiet time of reading the newspaper in Chico.

With no training activities planned on Saturday, we can go to the Farmer’s Market early in the morning and see the produce before the heat has wilted it. And before the crowds, of course.

In the news…
U.S. sets military drills on tense Korean peninsula (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. Forces Korea announced its next military drills with South Korean troops on Friday, a move likely to heighten tensions on the peninsula after North Korea's defiant missile tests on July 5.

That’s what we need; more tension. We don’t seem to get enough of it these days.

And speaking of tension, there is this…
California will run out of prison space next year, official says
California will run out of even makeshift prison beds in less than a year unless the state takes action, the state's corrections chief said Thursday, warning also of an increased danger of riots…

Perhaps the state might look at some of the reasons why the prisons are full. And no, it isn’t because Californians are “natural born criminals.” (Although there might be some in the state legislature that qualify for such a description.)

A book I read, a long time ago; The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes had vivid description of the prison system in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Overcrowding was rampant because of the indiscriminate nature of sentencing… Imagine that! At one point, the government used the dismasted ships of the Navy, anchored in the Thames River, as prisons. These were called the “hulks” and not surprising, the prisoners controlled them. This overcrowding led to a change in sentencing and prisoners were soon being transported…to Australia. Gone and forgotten.

But we don’t have an empty Australia to send our prisoners to, which means we need to take some responsibility.  The words “responsibility” and “legislature” seem to be mutually exclusive.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Another day and another dollar. That was the old saying; very old! Now, I have no idea as to what could be said that would update it. When I started my career, it was already up to “Another day and another 20 dollars.” And when I retired, we were paying a journeyman carpenter, $184 a day.

I have no idea as to where that thought came from…suddenly, it was there and I was typing. Old age?

OK, on to more timely matters. Last night, we watched the movie, Why We Fight. That title is borrowed from a series of Army training films from WWII, directed by Frank Capra. Everyone should see this movie. Every facet of the political debate on war is represented and the viewer can make up their own minds as to the validity of the views that are given. It starts and ends with the words and images from Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech as he left office in 1961. He was a man who knew exactly why we fight and he said so. He also warned us in that speech, of the dangers to our freedom if we were to allow the unchecked growth of the military-industrial complex. He was right. And we didn’t listen.

Some headlines…
Tap-Dancing as Fast as He Can Testifying on Tuesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee after months of refusing to show up, Alberto Gonzales dodged questions about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping operation.

Does he have something to hide or is he just a really busy guy?

And this one… Editorial: All Bets Are Off(line)
Instead of hassling offshore gambling CEOs at airports, the feds should legalize online betting.

If the feds believe they can stop on-line gaming, they have simply lost their minds. Utterly. Do we really want a “War on Gambling” that will be just as successful as the “War on Drugs”? (And just as costly?)

Oh, oh! I see that we have a 112° day forecast for Saturday. Today it’s forecast to be a mere 107°. I guess I had better get out to the park early if I want a comfortable workout. The plan will now be training today and tomorrow, and then I will skip Saturday. Return to the park on Sunday/Monday and Tuesday; skip Wednesday; always beginning about 6 AM.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Ugly Truth: From the The Huffington Post

Our President is an Imbecile

Oh, my! can you say that...legally?

Oh, go ahead...he also has a short attention span and he'll forget about it in no time.

By the way, where is Somalia?

Some interesting data. From Sojourners, August 2006.

Estimated number of children currently serving life-without-parole sentences.*

In the United States; 2,225     In the rest of the world; 12

*The practice is forbidden by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by every country in the world…except for the United States and Somalia.

Well, gosh…if Somalia thinks it’s OK, then it must be!

The wearing of the green

Last night, there was a great television special on Ireland. The story was all about the great changes that have been made in that once poor country. Ireland is very much involved in modern technology now and with that has come a great deal of money. They have the second highest GDP in the European community. Unemployment now runs below 5% and suburbs are replacing the farms. And this…the Irish are coming home! A large number of Irish immigrants are leaving the United States and returning to the auld sod.

So, if you were one of the many people in America who hated the Irish immigrants at one time…rest easy, they’re leaving.

Global thoughts

Wednesday and another hot day is forecast. The weather news tells me that 95% of the nation is suffering from this heat wave and drought is the norm for the Midwest, yet…no one has mentioned Global Warming in connection with it?

When it comes to heat, my major complaint is that it slows down life. Everybody moves at half speed, including myself, and it frustrates me. And the heat will only increase during the next 5 days, with Friday/Saturday being the hottest.

We were at our watercolor class last night and that was more frustration. The location we were using (Carnegie Library) didn’t allow enough room for me to really get involved in the art and so I ended up reading art books and doodling. I don’t know about others, but I like to have plenty of room, space to put out all of my materials so that I can pick and choose easily. Working out of a box just doesn’t cut it. And I also found the size of the paper frustrating as well. But that’s not new…I have always wanted to draw or paint on a large scale. No, not on the side of a building, but something along the order of 3’ x 4’. For now, that would be big enough; building sized art will come later.

What else is new? In no particular order…It’s irrigation day and that means I will have to run the gauntlet of the webs when I walk up to the canal in a few hours. Spiders are everywhere. Inside and outside; in fact, I don’t ever remember seeing as many as we have this year. Global Warming?

And my oldest granddaughter joined into a far too short discussion on my blog regarding youth, the elderly and the insurance industry. She has a blog of her own and I look at it just about every day, hoping that she will have posted something new. She’s talented and she’s bright…and her relationship has little to do with my praise. I think she should write something every day of the week. It wouldn’t have to be anything monumental, just a thought would be sufficient. It would be a great way for her to practice expressing herself, as a thinker of great thoughts. OK, so I’m a little bit biased…

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


"WASHINGTON — The White House announced Tuesday that President Bush plans to speak to the NAACP for the first time since taking office, after rejecting the civil rights group's invitations for five straight years"

Why on earth would they invite him for the 6th year?

This is better?

Tuesday is bringing a little relief from the heat, but not much. I see that we have a 75° day at this early hour; that’s only a 5° difference between the inside and outside temperatures. I’ll run the fans anyway and maybe that will lower the temperature inside by a degree or two before the sun rises and we start all over again.

It’s definitely a “Bakersfield morning”, with crickets singing like crazy. Back in the day; I always equated extreme heat with Bakersfield. That was before I knew about places like Blythe, Phoenix, Red Bluff, Corning and Orland. And we had a record setting day yesterday with a high of 110°. Corning, just to the north of us by about 5 miles had a record setting 117°. I know…that doesn’t sound right to me either. Was that just a grandstand play by Corning to get some attention?

The cat is outside somewhere, probably sleeping in some cool grass. Yesterday afternoon, I had invited her in and she was somewhat reluctant, but I picked her up and took her inside anyway. Then, about 5, she wanted out again. I opened the door and she felt the air. The decision was quickly made and she retreated back to a cool corner in the family room, not to appear again till much later that night. Even at 9 last night, she was slow to exit once she felt the heat.

We saw an interesting sight last night. I think it was about 9 and not quite dark. I was walking through the kitchen after letting Boo out and some movement outside caught my eye. It was the bats and they were having a field day, flying low and swooping back and forth over the pool and through the air over the ferns. That flight path took them right past the kitchen windows; within inches of the glass! There must have been at least two dozen of them…but how do you count them when they fly so fast?

I’m heading to the park at an earlier hour this morning; 5:30. That will get me there at 6, when the gates open, and I should be able to get in at least 8 miles before the temperatures make it uncomfortable to maintain a fast pace. Even in this heat, you can do longer training walks if you slow down, but I’m still interested in speed.

What’s in the news? Nothing good. But I do think I see a way for the Democrats to make some headway this fall. (Being generally inept, they haven’t found an issue to concentrate on.) They might try something simple. Such as, “We care about you.” Since it’s so obvious that Republicans don’t care about the average American, seeming to care should be easy for the Democrats. No, they won’t, not really…they are politicians after all. But they can easily make it appear as if they do.

Monday, July 17, 2006


In Saint Petersburg today, Bush had this [expletive deleted] to say about that. Film at 11.

Isn’t he a classy guy?

A Duty to Family,

Heritage and Country

I listened to this a few minutes ago and was shocked...mind control!


Now that’s interesting…our weather forecast looks almost the same as the one for Scottsdale, Arizona, where my sister and her family live. Yes, it’s going to be 108° today…for both of us. But our humidity is at 41% compared to 51% in Arizona. So what happened to the much publicized “it’s a dry heat” of Arizona? With a lower humidity, could Orland become the preferred vacation spot for the rich and famous and take the title away from Scottsdale?

And with that kind of a forecast, I think I had better get out and on the trail early this morning if I want to avoid heat problems while training. And I will need to make certain that I stop for water at every chance.

The cat seems to take this weather in stride and that seems odd. You would think that a black fur coat would not be the best choice for summer wear. But she has changed her habits to fit the weather. She spends most of the day in the furthest corner of the garage, up under a workbench. Here she naps for at least 8 hours, sometimes longer. She only becomes active in the late evening/early morning hours. Such as right now…she’s busily wandering about the house, inspecting, and I expect her to jump up into her favorite spot in the window very soon.


Monday morning and I’m listening to the crickets serenading. The memories! I can still remember being at my grandfather’s house, in Bakersfield, in the middle of summer. My bedroom window would be open, as was every window in the house. And the sound of crickets seemed to be an integral part of the heat that blanketed that little cottage. And being a “beach” kid, the sound was foreign at first; but it wasn’t long before it became forever associated with hot summer nights.

What’s new this morning? As if World War III wasn’t enough to worry about, now I have to worry about the price of gasoline and the health of the stock market. And neither one looks good this morning. European and Indian stock markets are down “sharply” this morning because of oil prices that are supposed to hit $80 a barrel today. Are stocks ever up “sharply”? And does anyone even remember what it was like to have money in a Savings Account? Where banks actually paid you well to use your money? Now if anyone has savings, it’s invested in some sort of financial plan that’s tied to the stock market. We’re all gamblers now, willing or not.

Here’s a bit of news that I can take personally,
A Crash Course for the Elderly
”...We should require continuing education for all drivers and licensing recertification and mandatory road testing for drivers 65 and older.”

Personally, I prefer to let the insurance industry take care of it. They know exactly who is at risk and they charge accordingly. Why would we want the government to be in charge of one more thing, when they can’t manage what’s already on their plate? Younger drivers have more accidents…that’s a fact and they are billed higher rates because of it. Older drivers are not billed at a higher rate. Does Mr. Haas think that’s happening because the insurance industry is kind hearted and doesn’t want to inconvenience the poor senior citizens? Hello?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Here we go again...

Interesting. The vitriol that spews from those who hate anyone different from themselves. News stories, blogs and unsigned e-mail. Gossip and malicious lies, disguised as “fact”; all designed to hurt those who are different.

Why, if you were to believe all of the stories…policemen once had nothing to do; hospitals were clean and oh, so quiet; schools only had bright young (white) children in them and they were never overcrowded. Our taxes were only used for “good” things, like welfare for the properly appreciative.  

Yes, it is clearly (and currently) the fault of all Hispanic’s, legal or otherwise, that the American Dream has gone awry.  

And before them it was the Mick’s, the Hunkies, the Polacks, the Japs, the Chinks, the Jews, etc, etc. (Don’t even get me started on the crimes committed against the African Americans and the Native Americans!)

We are definitely a Christian nation…and that’s spelled with a capitol “C”.

Ban of book

on Cuba lands in court

Idiocy prevails once again in Florida. (Maybe it's the water?)

When will people in Florida learn about the First Amendment?

The columnist that wrote about this story in the Miami Herald said it best, "Three hundred grand. To fight over a children's book. And, in all probability, lose. Can you spell idiocy, boys and girls?" Pitts wrote. "If you were educated in a Miami public school, there's a good chance you can't. Yet, the school board has $300,000 to waste on this foolishness?"

Sir Rupert; shame on you!

Over the weekend I decided to check out the website because of what I had read in the Economist…it seemed, from the article, that Mr. Murdock had the intention of making it into a first class destination. But I should have known better…this is the same guy that owns Fox News! What does he know about class?

So I created a “space”, and yes, I used my real name and age. (And now I will delete it) My spam filter caught some messages right away; “Jose wants to be your friend.” Who is Jose? And what makes him think he can be my friend after reading my short and boring bio? And then a girl? named “Model” wants to exchange e-mail with me. Oh sure!

I wonder what Sir Rupert’s MySpace address is? I would like to exchange some e-mail with him. Or maybe I could just forward my mail to him…

And furthermore...

From the L.A. Times

“…Although the court's judgment is undoubtedly sound legally, it once again points to the tragic lack of understanding about mental illness in our nation.”

Isn’t it time for Justice to throw away the blindfold?

Morning News. Bah!

I can already see that the nights are growing longer. Darn! In my perfect world, nighttime is from 9 PM to 5 AM. Every day of the year. And daytime temperatures are always 90°; nighttime temps are right around 65° with a 7.5 mph breeze blowing. Oops! I almost forgot; it rains every night for 30 minutes. Now where is this place?

On a different note: Although I am a rabid fan of world news, I’m certainly not enjoying any of the stories I have been reading lately. World War III continues to grow in size and scope, while politicians dither and posture at the G8 meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Is there anyone in charge that doesn’t have a personal agenda of increased power? Is there anyone in charge that cares for the lives of the innocents? Apparently not.

“Israeli airstrikes reduced entire apartment buildings to rubble…” and “Rockets fired by Hezbollah guerrillas killed eight people in the Israeli city of Haifa on Sunday…” As you can see, it’s all about terror…from both sides. A pox on both of their houses!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

And the answer is?

Here’s the question: The war in Iraq; is the U.S. winning?…For Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer…

Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing: "I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing."

Good answer. I don’t know what it means though. Perhaps he has decided to abandon his straight-shooting bluntness style, because now he sounds just like his boss.

(Now we are in trouble…when generals start to sound like politicians, it’s the beginning of the end.)

Post-Soviet Lessons

for a Post-American Century

Interesting stuff here...caution: Could be depressing!


Saturday; and though it is still dark enough to see the stars, I can already hear the first bit of chatter from the birds. I wonder what kind of birds they are? And do we have any rare birds in this area? I have to admit that ever since I began reading Julie Zickefoose’s blog, I have looked at birds a little differently. I suppose I’m not too old to learn a few new things. (Of course not!) I don’t want to become an expert “birder”; I just want to be able to identify the ones common to this area. Question: Can you own a cat and still be considered a bird lover? Oh, sure…as if anyone ever “owned” a cat!

Speaking of cats, I hear Boo bumping around in the area outside the study window? What is she doing? And looking out that window, I can see the bats flying, silhouetted against the silver sky as they seek out the last few mosquitoes before they retire for the day. I’m sure glad they live in that old barn next door. We have seen very few mosquitoes this year and I don’t even bother with mosquito repellant these days. That was a mistake though, when we were at Denise’s house in Durham the other day. I was nailed twice by the pests in just a few minutes. Of course Durham has a reputation for growing some of the biggest and meanest mosquitoes in Butte County.

Now I have read some more mosquito facts and I’m thoroughly bummed! I had read once that mosquitoes won’t fly much above 8’ and now I read that isn’t so…in fact, the page of facts dismissed most of my thoughts about mosquitoes, including the one about the bats!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Take two aspirin...

Speaking of doctors…there are very few doctors who participate in the blogging world. This is too bad. They might learn something.

Now, speaking of patients; there are plenty who blog and plenty of them have complaints. Here’s my litany…and I’m not even a patient, yet.

I learned the other day that some of those tests that the medical profession insists we need, regularly, are not all that easy to obtain. Mammogram; that’s a 6 week wait. Colonoscopy; you have to wait 3 months. Yet these tests are so vital to our health, so important…that we are advised by public service announcements on television and radio, plus the print media, to get one today! Right…

And prescription drugs…you may have noticed that all of the big box pharmacy companies are expanding like crazy. Walgreen’s, Longs, Rite Aid and etc. It’s not being done to give you even more places to shop for lawn furniture and greeting cards. They carry that stuff as a sideline. The real money is in prescription drugs and more importantly, Medicare and your supplemental insurer’s kind of drugs…the expensive kind.

A lady I know was recently given (free) some drug samples of a fairly expensive drug; a 30 day supply. Nice. And this was the second time it happened. Double nice for her. But let’s suppose that only happens about 30% of the time; the doctor looks in the box that the pharmaceutical company rep dropped off and sees a drug that will work for you. He hands it over and the next time you see him, you ask if he has any more? He looks; sure enough the rep has given him another box full. It all sounds good…except for the person who didn’t get the free stuff. Somebody has to pay for all those giveaways. And someone has to pay for all of the television advertising, all of the 2-full page print ads. Oh, and the third time you go to the doctor and ask about the free stuff? Nope. It’s payback time.

And when the doctor hands out free medicine…I suspect (Shame on me!) that he has some obligation to the drug company now. This is exactly what they had planned.

So what do think the cost of drugs would be if we didn’t pay for all of the above? ½? Maybe even 1/3?

As Usual

I was listening to the news and heard former Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu talking about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Strange logic prevailed. He said that Israel had every right to defend itself against the attacks from Hezbollah troops operating in Lebanon. So it was OK to attack and destroy Lebanese infrastructure…and cause civilian deaths as well. They were all very sorry about that. Then he said that Hezbollah is funded, directed and controlled by Iran and Syria. So why would Israel attack Lebanon when the real enemy is in Syria and Iran?

“Jan Egeland, the U.N.'s top relief coordinator, said that Israeli forces and militants…had shown little regard for children and other bystanders in the conflict that has claimed dozens of civilian lives.

While decrying Israel's response as "massive and disproportionate", Egeland said those who had kidnapped Israeli soldiers and fired homemade rockets into Israeli territory from both Gaza and southern Lebanon were also at fault.
"It seems that they want to provoke a response and they don't seem to care the slightest bit that it is the children and the women and the civilians who bear the brunt of all of this," he told a news conference in Geneva. Some 63 people, mainly civilians, have died and at least 165 have been wounded.”

Using Israel’s logic…if I were mugged in Central Park, then I have every right to destroy City Hall because those “in charge” didn’t prevent it from happening. Huh?