Thursday, December 31, 2009

From ZNet -

- Obama's Terror War

and Paul Street's reasoned commentary.

I read it and couldn't find much that I would debate with him. Would the President debate him? I doubt it...

Don't you understand?

Spotted this headline at the newspaper rack while checking out at the market...

"The King at 75"

Below was a heavily retouched photo of Elvis Presley. (if you're younger than 30 and don't know who he is...good for you)

When, oh when will they understand. He's dead. He can never reach 75. He's dead. And what's next?

"Diana at 50"

From Bob Cesca

Awesome Blog! Go!: Lack of Insurance Deadlier Than Terrorism

Amazing stuff, data. It shows you what you need to know, the truth, but nine times out 0f ten, (I made up that statistic) you don't want to see it. Hands over eyes! You would think that knowledge of the truth would overcome the fear, but the fear seems to be welcomed by the same nine out of ten. They use it to validate their own image of today's society. "He was dark and talked funny...I swear he was a terrorist! Imagine! I was standing right next to him..."

By the way, insurance companies are making a mint by selling terrorism insurance. True. They read the data.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From Informed Comment:

Top Republican Myths about the Crotch Bomber Affair

Don't you just love the internets? What was life like back in the day when you had to search far and wide for any kind of facts? The best you could do was "Information Please" on the radio. That's the way I remember it and that was over fifty years ago. And that's where the Republican Party resides. About half a century off center.

Ya know, if the Republican Party didn't exist...we would have to invent them so we could have some comic relief.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DeMint. Republican. South Wingnutia.

Is there something wrong with me? I did not feel threatened by a lone terrorist and the government's response to that event. I did not feel that President Obama should have done anymore than he did. Someone wrote a headline that stated, "President emerges from seclusion…" Seclusion? When is he ever secluded? He is always surrounded by his staff including all of the military staff. And Hawai'i actually has telephones and all of the other forms of communication that are a normal part of our world. He's also a few minutes away from Kaneohe Naval Air Station. And some other reporter noted that the President was " a tropical paradise". Obviously a reporter that has never been to that side of the island of Oahu. The biggest thing going on that part of 'paradise' is a Naval Air Station. Have you ever seen the neighbors that live around a military base? The Presidents view of paradise comes only from his front room window that faces the Pacific. Mini-marts, tattoo parlors and check cashing services are abundant all around that part of paradise. (The other side of Oahu isn't that much better)

I really feel more threatened by the fact that the Republicans are holding the confirmation of the presumed head of the TSA, hostage…

An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

What else have they held up in their desire to subvert the President every chance they get?

At the same time, I also feel that these small attempts at terrorism (I know that they weren't 'small' to anyone on the airplane, but in the larger picture they were small) are meant to keep us focused on the wrong things while something bigger is planned and in some area where we haven't been so careful. That would be my worry…

Of course my military strategy expertise comes from a few grueling years of playing 'War' outside the house and in a vacant lot when I was six and seven years old. But I'll put that expertise up against Demint's any old time.

Monday, December 28, 2009

As Seen on TV

Why is it so difficult to understand? We're all together in this nation and we really have no place to go, so why can't we take care of one another? Why are we the only nation that does not take care of its citizens? We are the richest and yet the poorest when it comes to morality. We should be ashamed.

From an Op-Ed Columnist -

- The Big Zero -

Warning. There is a good chance that free content like this fine column by Mr. Krugman will soon be behind Pay Walls. But what they are ignoring is the free buzz they get by bloggers including the content in their links within their own posts...and on it goes. These new business models will be a real pain and a lot will fail. Best to get a subscription to a real news magazine that has a web presence, that way you can see the current news on-line and a recap delivered to your mailbox. Later, much later.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Early Bird

I was up early this morning, even for me, and so I did some reading and then I broke out the art supplies. I was lucky enough to be given a copy of The Creative Edge by Mary Todd Beam. My sister picked it out, bless her...though I was the one that placed it on my Amazon Wishlist, so she had a very good chance of picking the right present. I had a Corvette, valued at a little over $150,00 on my wishlist as well, but she avoided that one for some reason. Okay, back to the art supplies; this book has re-energized me. I had a bushel full of paintings that I had abandoned; turned them to the wall because they embarrassed me so much. Ms Beam preaches redemption! Any painting can be brought back to life...a gospel that I knew somewhere in my head, but I wasn't ready to try it. Now I am.

The book is filled with great ideas and I doubt I will put it away any time soon. Some of the text might be described as a little bit 'New Age' but the art and the techniques are rock solid.

How's this for a quote from page 19 "It takes a long time to become young" Pablo Picasso said that...I love it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

From The Well-Armed Lamb

The Bushevik Decade: It WAS "the worst of times..."

Yes, I know this is an older post on this most interesting blog, but I've been busy for the past three days. It's still valuable and should be read...maybe once or twice each week of the year. Lest we forget.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A family gathering

How strange it is. We had Christmas yesterday and so I feel somewhat left out this morning as the rest of the world celebrates this great festival of commerce. (excuse me…I just had a 'humbug' moment there) We opened presents all day yesterday as children and grandchildren came and went. The house was beautifully decorated and we had a festive dinner of pot roast and lasagna; so much better than turkey or ham! Pictures were taken and games were played. Our youngest grandson received a an XBox 360 and that was the center of attention for all the rest of the kids. But today we must content ourselves with exchanging gifts, long distance, with my sister and her husband in Scottsdale. We'll open those few presents left under the tree and I know I will be most pleased with my sister's selection of a gift for me. I always am. In Arizona, our gifts to them will opened and then one of us will make the phone call and we'll enjoy the few minutes of family connection as we thank each other for gifts received. And despite my 'humbug' thoughts, we really will enjoy Christmas once again. It has changed over the years and this is just the latest iteration of our family traditions. We took Christmas from our parents and we made it ours and now our grandchildren are seeing it and later, will take the pieces of it that they remember and it will become their 'traditional' Christmas. Christmas changes over the years and it can't be stopped, but we'll slow it down a little each year as we gather as a family once again, whether it's on the 25th or the 24th or the…

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Despite Fragile Health

Byrd Is Present for Votes -

"As the president pro tempore of the Senate (which places him third in the presidential line of succession), Mr. Byrd is provided a round-the-clock security detail from the United States Capitol Police, who ferry him to and from the Capitol."

He's 92 years old! Why is he still a Senator? We force commercial airline pilots to retire at 65 because of safety concerns. Why do we let lawmakers continue on, way past the point of 'safety'?

I's an old and useless rant, but darn it, I'm very much a liberal and I would want every liberal vote possible in the Senate, but the Senate is full of old men...who really need to retire. I want fresh ideas from lawmakers, not the same old thing. And I'm getting close to 70 years old myself...I know that you can't be a star at age 75 or 80. These people are only fooling themselves if they think they can do the job that should be done as our representatives.

Oh, well. I feel better for saying it. And I do wish Mr. Byrd a long, long life...but not as a Senator.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


break Amazon's Kindle DRM • The Register

Am I in favor of it? You bet! If I own an ebook, I should be able to loan it to anyone I want. should surrender now and save yourself all the money you might spend trying to defend your $10 books. Apple has spent millions on their brand of 'protection' and they still fail.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wally Votes!

Thanks, Wally...we certainly didn't need any jobs around here.

Jobs for Main Street Act - Vote Passed (217-212, 6 Not Voting)

The House passed this $154 billion jobs bill which is partially paid for by unspent money from last year's Troubled Asset Relief Program. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO......

So it begins…

I just received this info from Jane Hamsher of FDL. She is asking that I sign a petition to 'Kill the Bill' and I'm certainly thinking about doing just that. Especially when I heard read that the stock prices for the various health insurers has risen dramatically since it became obvious that the bill would pass.

  1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations -- whether you want to or not
  2. If you refuse to buy the insurance,  you'll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS
  3. After being forced to pay thousands in premiums for junk insurance, you can still be on the hook for up to $11,900 a year in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  4. Massive restriction on a woman's right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court
  5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays
  6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won't see any benefits -- like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions -- until 2014 when the program begins.
  7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others
  8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.
  9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years
  10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of 4 will rise an average of $1,000 a year -- meaning in 10 years, you family's insurance premium will be at least $10,000 more annually than it is right now.


I added all the emphasis above. I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of this (and I suppose the health insurance companies are counting on that as well)…but how hard should it be for the 100 wise women and men that we elected to come up with a bill that would restore America's prominence in health care for its citizens? And why is it that the Republican Party has no bill of their own? Was the status quo just OK with the Republicans'? They saw no need to bring us up from 37th place among the nations when it comes cost/performance? They were satisfied that we are losing ground on our life expectancy and now rank 42nd in the world? Are they not unhappy about the fact that we rank 33rd among the nations for infant mortality? That was OK? And the fact that we already pay the highest prices for drugs in the whole wide world? And they are going to go up? What's the matter with these 100 wise women and men? Are they blind or are they…?



I was looking at the mail yesterday and saw the latest issue of the AARP magazine so I read it, not expecting much from it. It does have some articles of interest now and then but usually it's pretty light reading. Anyway, I spotted a small article about generic drug prices and after reading it I was shocked…okay, not shocked, but I was irritated to learn that there was such a wide disparity in generic drug prices. Since I haven't had to use drugs or pay for drugs until recently, I was not very smart when it came to shopping for them; after all, didn't they all cost the same, no matter where you shopped? Yes, I was that ignorant. So, this morning I decided to look up some more information on generic prices. I found this on the Consumer Reports website…

"Costco stores nationwide were generally the least expensive, with a median price less than half that of the two closest competitors, Wal-Mart and Target. And Costco pharmacy customers don't have to pay Costco's $50 annual membership fee."

I found all of this very interesting, especially the part where non-union Wal*Mart has prices that are double those from all-union Costco. I suppose my interest was sharpened because of the recent attempt by the local Wal*Mart to expand and the supporters of that expansion were bashing the local Costco. And of course I'm interested in any union versus non-union subject. All that aside…I was also disappointed to read in the AARP article that Walgreens was the highest priced in a sampling of pharmacies. Even higher than CVS. That's of interest to us because in our very small town we have a CVS store that we can't stand to shop in and a brand new Walgreens store, so new it isn't even open yet. And we were eagerly awaiting its opening so that we could escape the CVS store when we were shopping locally. Yes, there is a Costco store around but it's 25 miles away and you plan those kinds of trips.

Sigh. It's never easy is it?

Link to Consumer Reports (Shocking!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

From MIT

MIT’s big wheel in Copenhagen

No, I'm not ready to ride again, but when I do...I want one of these!

(We have a car that does the same thing...Nissan Altima Hybrid)

Councilman under fire

for atheism --

As a christian, I'm embarrassed by those that want to be rid of Mr. Bothwell. It's obvious that they have never read the New Testament, nor the Old for that matter. As I said earlier, the news only makes me sad today and I shouldn't have read this. I need to go detox myself...

Musing again

A quarter to six and I haven't done much news browsing at all. Why? The news is very depressing these days and that makes me a sad person and since I don't want that today, I've avoided it. Ordinarily, I can take most news stories and really enjoy the facts I can glean from them, but not recently. I suppose I've reached a saturation point and must wait awhile before getting back into the thick of it. It all started with a recent issue of the Economist and a story about Turkmenistan and their 'gas' problem. No, not that gas but their supply of natural gas which is huge. They sell $$$billions of dollars worth of it and the populace remains poor, sick and ignorant. And then there were stories of Nepal, Burma and Bangladesh. Throw in some news from Somalia and it's hard to stay focused on a glass half full anymore. Why in the world do we, the supposed civilized nations, allow this to happen? It's not just the US but it's all of the civilized nations and that includes China. You say it's none of our business? No, it's one planet and one race, the human race. Whenever people, humans, are sick, abused and starving it doesn't matter where they are, it's our collective problem. I know, I know…it's foolish to think it will ever change but I think we all have to keep these desires somewhere in our psyche or we will turn into 'them' and we don't want to do that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little something I found...

This is what we can expect from our Senators. And after this is a done deal, they will call for press conferences and pat each other on the back as they boast about all of the hard that was done and aren't we all happy now?

1. A Legal Mandate upon every American buy insurance from private companies, at whatsoever price the supplier decides, without the choice of a public option;
2. Higher (even first-time) taxes on middle class health care plans--e.g., unions-- and a free ride for the wealthy;
3. Higher insurance premiums, which will INCREASE in cost by about/at least $1000 a year;
4. Increased O-o-P (out of pocket) health care costs in higher deductibles and co-pays;
5. Insurance companies will continue to be exempt from anti-trust laws, inhibiting competition;
6. A sweet, sweet deal for PhRMA preserving them from being required to negotiate prices for Medicare drug users;
7. Monopolies granted on new biologic drugs so they will never become generics
8. NO medicare expansion
9. Despite explicit declarations to the contrary, there will be annual limit on benefits that insurance companies have to pay out, and
10. And to top it all off, the IRS fines you if you won't shell out money to insurance companies!

Gosh, I'm glad to be an American!

And one more thing...they will be cracking down on drug sales from Canadian sources. You know how shady those Canadians are!

Very good!

I've tried all sorts of imaging software over the years and my hard drive is overflowing with the mostly forgotten ones. Well, maybe not overflowing, but you know what I mean. I have been using Irfanview for years for all of the basics and I'm sure I always will, but Google led me to try their new Picasa3 software and it's definitely worth trying! It's free of course, and after you see what it can do, you will wonder why they are giving it away. No kidding. It's better than any you can name for this price. I'm still finding new things that it can do; it's almost like a Swiss Army knife in that respect. I love it!

Just an opinion of course...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More news about Wally

FY2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill - Vote Passed (221-202, 1 Present, 10 Not Voting)

The House passed this $446.8 billion bill that combines 6 unfinished 2010 fiscal year spending bills. The bills included are Transportation/HUD; Military Construction/Veterans Affairs; Labor/HHS; State/Foreign Operations; Commerce/Justice/Science; and Financial Services. The Senate gave final approval to the bill on Sunday.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 - Vote Passed (223-202, 9 Not Voting)

This House bill would overhaul financial services regulations and place new controls on institutions deemed to pose a risk to the entire financial system. The bill now awaits Senate action.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

That's our boy! He's never found a bill he likes, especially if it would benefit his constituents.

What a rat!

I went to traitor Lieberman's website this morning to register my disapproval of his actions regarding the health care bill. Okay, 'traitor' is harsh language and I take it back. But, the rat, has changed his website email so that he will only accept email from Connecticut residents. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Joe works for you and me as well. He's simply hiding.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another 'NO'

From Wally Buffoon...

Tax Extenders Act of 2009 - Vote Passed (241-181, 12 Not Voting)

The House voted to extend a number of expiring tax cuts. The bill now awaits Senate action.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO

Apparently Wally likes taxes. Wonder if his constituents know that?


I've become addicted to the farm games, Farm Town and Farmville. They are both run within the Facebook platform and easy to play. You can become a farmer and choose which crops to plant and where. Harvesting the crops will generate 'coins' and those are used to buy more seed and after awhile you can make enough 'cash' to buy yourself a bigger spread, a tractor, some palm trees and a farm house complete with a yard full of chickens. It's great fun and it's obviously a lesson on how to live the American Dream. The only thing missing are the Hispanic laborers to harvest the crop, but if you have become a successful farmer, you have bought a giant mechanical harvester to do that work for you and they would be out of a job anyway. That's a plus of course, as the labor could be a drain on your profits…a little bit. On the downside of all this joyful agricultural frenzy, both games are Beta versions and so they have 'issues' at times. Frustrating but minor.

On the other hand, although they have generated a mob of fans, they have also created a similar sized group of those that see the addictive qualities of the game quite clearly and are enemies of the game. They jeer and point fingers at us. If they could, they would throw virtual stones at us and our chickens. They would also trample down the corn and the marigolds if given half a chance. Luckily for us, the technology hasn't reached the point where they can do that, but it's only a matter of time.

I guess I don't understand those who would deprive us of our simple pleasures. We aren't hurting them at all, our addiction for the farm life and making virtual cash is a private one…much like the addiction of…wait, I'm, trying to think of something similar. Give me a minute, I've got some asparagus to harvest and then I'll be right back.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Though I am a cynic and proud of it, I am also an optimist. Yes, those two can go together. But lately I have a feeling that I am becoming fatalistic and that doesn't play well with optimism. The fatalism comes from the sad state of affairs in our country. I am not a member of either party but I have never seen such willful stubbornness as I have seen from the Republicans. They have not bothered to come up with any meaningful legislation this past year and have, instead, done their best to defeat any Democratic Party legislation. Defeat, not amend. And what I just said applies to the nation as well as our 'failed state' of California. In each case, the Republicans are listening to those who shout the loudest or who support their reelection bids with money. And then the.....................

Okay, I quit; all that I just wrote has been written before and far better. In fact I read this every day. Someone of importance, somewhere, writes about it because it's true and they think it needs to be said. But who is listening? To any of us? I'm afraid we have become voiceless. This is fatalism and I don't like it!

From the LA Times

The silliness of Climategate --

"we Americans are, by and large, technologically advanced but scientifically illiterate. Our national conversation is dominated by a culture of assertion rather than a respect for evidence reasonably assessed."

You can say that again! And again...but still they won't hear you. Assertions are so much easier to believe. Yes, it's a good read about hysteria and political pettifoggery. I have always liked that word! I must use it more often. (though I don't understand why Microsoft doesn't think it's a word)

From Ezra Klein -

Senate bill allows insurers to establish annual limits:

"The tradeoff here is slightly higher premiums for everyone versus total financial ruin for the people who absolutely need help the most."

Personally, I believe that Harry Reid should be the first one to try this idea out and see how it works. Hey, it's his idea, why not?

Disgusting; every day brings us a new story about the butchering of an already useless health care bill. When will the American public understand what is happening here? Sad, but only personal medical disaster will convince a voter. If it's not happening to that voter and it's only a news story, nothing will change and the insurance companies will continue to slowly bleed that voter dry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From Now Listen Here...

FDR's Second Bill Of Rights

I might have heard this speech, but since I was only four years old, I really can't remember it. I wish I could, but this is almost as good. Once read, it should be carved into the top of the desk in the Oval Office and made part of the pledge for Senators and Congresspersons to take before they assume office. Signing it in blood would be a nice touch, don't you think? But...they are bloodless creatures, aren't they?

No Public Option?

If so, then we have been betrayed by our 'leaders'. The Public Option was hard enough to swallow as it was; Medicare for All or Single Payer are the types of plans that work so successfully in other countries and that's what we needed. (Don't believe the lies about poor care in the civilized nations. They are quite simply... lies.) Without the Public Option, terrible as it was, we have nothing for us, the citizens, except a fat and worthless bill and fat and worthless Senators, but now there is a huge trough for the insurance companies to feed from. Filled with our money. I'm sick.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hi Ho the Merry-O

Curse you Facebook! I have become a Farmville addict and spend far too much time looking at my virtual crops and figuring out how to make more virtual money. But it was time well spent this morning as I waited impatiently for my Poinsettia crop to become ready for harvesting. Suddenly I had an idea; why can't the Farmville community have virtual migrant workers available to purchase? C'mon, we're talking about farms here and we have to do all of the work; somehow that doesn't seem right. Oh, I know that some Farmville farmers would moan about aiding the illegal's, but we could make sure that they all had virtual green cards. Problem solved. Considering the size of my farm and the kind of crops I grow, I might need two migrant workers for the picking, cultivating and seeding. Then I could sit on my virtual butt and watch the money roll in. I like the idea!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From The Well-Armed Lamb

The Well-Armed Lamb:

"For some time I have wondered why the US Govt has conceived such an animus against Ivo Morales"

Well...I too wondered what the deal was. Morales certainly didn't seem like much of threat, yet as soon as he was elected, I read of the displeasure of the powers that be in our land. Bolivia, a threat? But I did not know about the Lithium. So Morales is really a big player in world economics and our powers that be are never happy if a, gasp!, Socialist makes his way onto the world stage. Perhaps our efforts would be better spent on wooing him instead of thinking of devious ways to eliminate him.Just imagine the kerfuffle if such a plan were to be uncovered. Bye, bye Lithium forever!

From Now Listen Here

The 10th Amendment And The F Word

A very interesting blog and new to me...Holte Ender, the author, has been going through the amendments and giving an abbreviated interpretation. Good stuff.

My own take on the 'States Rights' argument is that it's far past time for us to abandon the whole idea. States Rights makes no sense in such a fluid society as ours is. The states are no longer independent nations as they once were in the 1700's. Time moves on and after the Civil War, States Rights were gone forever. And a good thing it was!

Key Votes

From -

Yes, believe it or not...that Representative of mine who always wishes to prevent taxation in any form, Wally Buffoon, voted no on this bill. Will this be in his newsletter? Luckily, saner heads prevailed (even Republican heads) and the bill was passed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Palin's Iowa stop

spurs talk of presidential run -

I'm going to say right now that this would be the best thing that could happen to the Republican Party. It would be a godsend. There is no way, that in a face to face debate, that she can deny her lies. And the fact that she is a quitter. That's not even debatable.

Okay, that's what I'm saying right now...but considering the average intelligencee of those who rarely ever vote and can go any which way, I may have to eat my words and say that she is the most dangerous candidate.

But on the other hand, considering her record, how can she go 3 years without a major mistake? It can't happen.

Mitch McConnell

and the Health Care Industry

Mr. McConnel is the Senator from Kentucky, a place where I had always assumed that health care reform would be needed most.

"32 percent of all Kentuckians under age 65 – went without health insurance for some period of time. [Families USA, 4/2009]"

Perhaps it is the half a million dollars that Mr. McConnel has received from the health care industry that has swayed his vote...nah! He's a Republican Senator, how could that possibly be true?

Apropos of other things; where is the Republican Health Care bill? I haven't seen it yet and wonder why?

Ars Gratia Artis

We went to the Art First Saturday in Chico yesterday and made a couple of good finds. We only went to two openings and both were productive for us. First, we stopped at the Chico Art Center and saw some gourds on display and they were priced at $45. That was good to know as I have gourds that were that good or better and I intend to sell some next week at my daughter's business, The Plant Barn. She puts on a small extravaganza of flowers and art every year at this time and said she would set aside a table for me and my art. Truth is, I've had four pieces of my artwork at the Barn for a couple of months and none have sold. But, the venue, where the gourds were scattered about among the other decorations and gifts, was not all that flattering. I'm hoping that a better display and some refurbishing will move some of them. That and I'm also going to part with some of my better pieces. For a price of course and the $45 dollar figure gave me an idea of where the market was. And, it also confirmed that I already knew the market pretty well, I had three of my gourds priced at $35 and one was at $50. True, they didn't sell at that price but I am thinking that it was the setting. In fact, I'm convinced it was the setting!

Second, we stopped by a small house, away from downtown, where a showing was being held in a backyard. It was set up on the small patio because of the strong breeze and so it was crowded with people and art, but I spotted one artist's work right away and after a short deliberation, we took away a nicely matted piece for only $20! The matting was worth at least half of that amount. And the artist gave us a gift of one of her decorative note cards. I also took her business card and later, after we were home, I checked out her website and was pleasantly surprised by the range of her work. She has some more pieces that I would love to have…plus she has inspired me to get busy, when I can, with my own mixed media works.

Her website… and the Plant Barn…

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The headline

NATO pledges 7,000 Troops...

What's wrong here? What does NATO consist of? There are 28 member states including us. We send 30,000 additional troops and the rest of our allies (?) pony up with 7,000. Makes no sense unless they know something we don't and I have a suspicion that they do. Did they tell us and we didn't listen? There's that as well...

From Helloooo...... Mr. President, are you listening??:

We won't know what we've got until it's gone...

Okay...this is an antidote for my previous post...(down two) The list of accomplishments should be published by the Dem's every month. Full page in the NY Times. Of course asking a Dem to do something smart is...what? I'm looking for the right word here. Hopeless? No, something less final than that.

From Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog!

Go!: Rat Bastards

American style health care at its very best. Got Aetna? sorry.

Another one from Time Goes By

Obama So Far

Yes, another one worth reading and this one is from Saul Friedman. I'm afraid that I'm with Saul, this presidency is not not showing me much. I know campaign promises are meant to be vague, but this is getting to be ridiculous. The Democrats won didn't they? In the the article, there is mention of the fact that independents have soured on the broken promises. They (I) expected some one like Roosevelt and there hasn't been one positive move in that direction. True, we needed to repair our image among the other nations of the world and that has happened. Yay! But now we have another large and expensive war going on in a country that has historically defeated the largest of forces pitted against it. Why are we there? We really need to be repairing things in Pakistan...they have the Bomb. And as for health care, I think I have lost all interest in that miserable bill. What happened to Medicare for all? Another reason I'm glad to be an independent; at least I don't have to be embarrassed by the current bill as the Democrats should be. Every email I sent to key lawmakers included a reference to my support for Medicare for I'm not embarrassed, just disappointed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Things I learned today

119% is the increase in employer sponsored family health insurance premiums between 1999 and 2008. (Did that percentage in wages go up?)

$12,298 is the average cost of family premiums for employer sponsored health insurance across all states. Without reform, this will be $23,842 in 2020. (Wow! Just ten years from now)

94% is the increase by 2020 if the cost of average premiums for family coverage continues at its current rate. (No problem. Your boss will increase your salary at the same rate.)

$3,759 is the average amount saved on family health plans if the rate of increase in average premiums for family coverage was slowed by 1.5 percentage points.

Source: Sojourners magazine and the Commonwealth Fund.

From Time Goes By

Imagining Life Without a Middle Class

I was reading this great post by Ronni Bennett and the memories came rushing back to me. Memories of a time when ‘middle class’ meant something. It meant that as a family unit you had comfortable shelter, plenty of food and a job that allowed you to buy that shelter, the food and a vehicle that would take you to your job. At the time, we couldn’t live in the city because of high prices for housing and so we moved to the suburbs to gain the security of owning a piece of real estate. It really worked out well for us as I worked in the commercial construction industry and the jobs were located all over Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties. I worked steadily as a union carpenter through the 60’s and then in the 70’s the effect of Reagan’s governorship was effecting the economy in California, just at the time I had gone into business, a partnership. Business flattened out and jobs were rare. We moved north and I found work in Reno Nevada, building casinos and high rise hotels. Then Reagan became President and set out to destroy the middle class. I’m really not sure that he had the mental capacity to plan such a thing, but he had the help of plenty of republicans that did.

Union membership fell all across the country but because I was a ‘commercial’ carpenter, the non-skilled non-union labor couldn’t fill my job. I was relatively safe, but I saw friends that had been good ‘wood butcher’ carpenters give up their union membership to get a job. A low paying job with no benefits. What were the republicans doing to us? Why?

Because a fair and equitable distribution of wealth was anathema to them. They saw no reason why they couldn’t have it all. And they cloaked their plans in the American flag. You weren’t patriotic if you didn’t want a non-union workplace’. Oddly enough, when told this lie by some Senator with a tear in his eye, a lot of people believed it. And union membership fell again, along with the average wage.
Facts are; whenever the republicans were in power, wages fell and stock values rose. There is a mountain of evidence that shows this, but it’s so much easier to believe a lie than to seek out the truth.

So the country slides backwards, education becomes a joke and the jobs dry up; the real jobs that is. Jobs that come with retirement packages and not 401(k) schemes. Jobs with affordable health insurance. The middle class is on its way out and even those that consider themselves to be upper middle class will look up one day and find the door to the next class, firmly shut and locked.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Something different

I'm not always focused on the wider world, I even have a life. For instance; today will be a great day for us as we will be out and about in Chico. I love it! Getting out and seeing people is wonderful when you have been somewhat confined to the house. But today seems to be a minimal pain day so perhaps I can enjoy a cup of coffee, double latte, and then reading the local radical paper at Cal-Java. Some shopping and some visiting after that. We need to deliver some lemons and grapefruit to the Plant Barn and then spend some time at Costco, my favorite people watching store.After that all that, we will be home again in the early afternoon. I already have dinner planned, spaghetti, and that's a no-brainer, especially with all of the great tomato sauce we made in the summer and then froze for occasions like this. I will probably take a nap, with Boo the Magic Cat joining me as she often does, curled up on my stomach. Seven pound cat, no problem. After waking, I will check on my not so secret vice, a Farmville farm on Facebook. I may have crops to harvest! Then I will try once more to learn how to knit. I bought a kit yesterday after giving up on the YouTube video instruction, I also have a crewel project I'm working on and then there's plenty of books and crossword puzzles to occupy me in my makeshift Command Central in the family room. There's even a netbook nearby so I don't lose track of the real world...that's it, my day.

From Democracy Now

Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War:
"We're Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire"

A good read. Kucinich knows history well and so he knows the future in Afghanistan.

'Winning' the war in Afghanistan, which we can't do, would never stop the Taliban or Al-Qada. They would simply fade away into the Pashtun tribal areas that merge with Pakistan. Remember, the Pashtun's don't believe in borders. And Pakistan is days or months away from being a failed state. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has been targeted for assassination and then who knows what will happen in this, the most dangerous of nations. Pakistan has nuclear weaponry and the Taliban wants them. At the same time, the average Pakistani is liable to be illiterate and he hates the USA. Where do you suppose he will place his support when the crisis comes?

Al-Qada? They are everywhere and nowhere. They don't need a base of operations for the evil they do. The 9/11 attacks were planned in Europe, not Afghanistan. The perpetrators were Saudi's, not Afghans or Pakistani's. Killing thousands of Afghans, Taliban or not, will do nothing to Al-Qada.

Somehow or another the focus of war needs to change...we need to educate and invest in countries, not kill. There is nothing more dangerous than a population filled with young men, 16 to 28, who have no jobs and no prospect of getting one. That's a fact. Toss in the curse of illiteracy and you have a disaster Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From An Average American Patriot

An Average American Patriot:

"The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program.[1] The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran."

I across this blog the other day and added it to my RSS feeds. I enjoy reading it and you may as well.

How much and how many?

30,000 troops. Additional troops. At $1 million dollars each per year. (That is if they don't killed in that year.) Well, how much does that add up to? 30,000 x 1 million? my mind can't do it at this early hour but I know it's a whole lot of money. And how many schools and books and medical aid could we give to Afghanistan with that money? With half of that amount? Education is the ONLY way to win this war. Any war! It's so painfully obvious and yet they love to play at war...

What a waste. Money and blood.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Senate

battles over elderly health benefits | from Reuter

I read the whole article and then sat back in my chair...disgusted.
No, not because I was fearful of medicare cuts, but because I find it hard to believe that these are grown men (and a few women) and somehow we have allowed them to decide our future. They are at best, adolescents, despite the gray hair and considerable paunch's. And then I remembered watching this body of lawmakers at work back when I was an adolescent myself...the McCarthy era, and they were no better then than they are now. When will we learn? Socialism? Bring it on! It's certainly better than this farce.