Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday December 17, 2007....Home is Here

This is a note to all my family members.

Sometimes in your life, you hit a snag and you lose your direction. You thought you knew just where you were headed and now you're not so sure. Life does that to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes the path we set out to follow leads us to a dead end and we hate to backtrack and are unsure just how to change our direction. Or, we have followed the path we set out to follow and reached the goal but found that this isn't really where we want to be. It's difficult to admit a mistake and have to start out all over again, but it's sometimes necessary.

If, at this time or sometime in the future, you feel a bit lost and unsure of which direction to follow from here forward I want you to know that here you have a refuge. You are family and are always welcome, without reservation. Here is someone you can trust and be at home with. Here is someone who loves you no matter what mistakes you made along the way. If you feel lost and alone, know that here is home and that you are never alone. Here is family.

Our family has a history of looking out for each other which goes back many generations. Parents look out for children and children look out for parents, no matter what age. Aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews are all family and loved. Friends come and go, long remembered or soon forgotten, but family always remains and will continue through the generations. My grandparents took care of their parents in their old age and their children after divorces. Their children, in turn, looked after them in their old age. My parents took me in at a time of need and I watched out for them in their time of need. That's what family does, whatever is needed and necessary.

It's reassuring to know that no matter what obstacles you run into in life, there is always a home for you and that home is here with your family.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday December 4, 2007....Iran with no Nucular weapons? Huh?

So, did someone forget to tell the president that Iran halted nuclear weapons development in 2003? Or did he just ignore the facts again?

Four years ago, they stopped. For four years the president has been shouting and pointing fingers and prodding Iran in front of the rest of the world for being evil and all the time our intelligence agencies knew that it wasn't true. It sure makes us look like the big bully on the block, doesn't it? Put these facts together with our invasion of Iraq for illegitimate reasons and we really look like war mongers, don't we.

Meanwhile, you have North Korea with a real threat being pretty much ignored and countries in Africa carrying out genocide and mass murders without a single american soldier being sent to help maintain peace. It looks like we are only concerned with countries that have something we want. Since George is an oil man and the son of an oil man, he understands that we need oil so he seems to want to deal only with oil countries and if they won't play the game his way, he is going to force them to. After all, it's his army, isn't it? And he has the power, doesn't he? And he can do anything he wants to do, can't he? And he's never made a mistake, has he?

A cowboy mentality – shoot first and ask questions later – seems to dominate his diplomacy. Then he surrounds himself with people who don't argue with him. What's a few soldiers anyway, it's his army and it's his country, isn't it? Once we get rid of some of the dissenters by using the “Patriot Act”, he'll have more control over the little people and be better able to lead them where he wants them to go. Just try to get in his way and he'll step on you just like he did in Iraq. Who needs the rest of the world anyway?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday November 29, 2007... Peace in our time

It's funny how most presidents start on some type of foreign peacemaking mission toward the end of their presidency. I guess they want to leave behind some image that they really weren't so bad.

Nixon traveled to China and made overtures of peace.
Jimmy Carter had the Camp David Accords with Egypt and Israel back in 1978.
Reagan pretty much tore down the wall and Russia (that was his way of bringing peace)
George senior whupped Iraq then pushed for the Madrid conference between all the arab states and Israel back in 1991.
Clinton pushed the Oslo agreement in 1993, then the Israeli/Syrian talks in 1995, then the Camp David talks in 2000 and the Saudi Pease Plan in 2002.
George junior pretty much ignored peace until now, 40 years after the 1967 war, finally pushing for peace in the middle east.

It always comes as an afterthought in most presidencies that we still don't have peace in the middle east after all these years. And the sad thing is that we still don't understand the people from that portion of the world any better today than we did 50 years ago. We still try to force our philosophies and attitudes on to people who are completely different in their attitudes and perspective. They have traditions established over 1,400 years ago that they still hold dear and we are not going to change that. We need to study them and learn to understand them and then try to work with them toward a mutually satifying solution.

Since George will never admit to a mistake, we won't get any lasting peace from this attempt. Maybe with the next president there will be some hope.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday November 21, 2007....Thanks!

I think maybe I'm one of those lucky ones.

While considering the many things I have to be thankful for, I realized how fortunate I have been my whole life. First I was born here in the USA with the freedom to make my choices in life, to go where I wanted to go and be what I wanted to be. Secondly, I was blessed with a wonderful family – parents who cared and shared, sisters and brother who support and love, children who respect and love. I've been surrounded by their love and protection my whole life. Thirdly, I became a young man when there was no conflict to participate in. My father was fortunate this way as well as my grandfather – we were too young for the previous war and too old for the upcoming war – a fluke of nature and timing. Fourth, my friends have all been good people and have not taken me off the path of life into crime or destitution – we were lucky to avoid those types of events. Last, I was lucky enough to have the health and intelligence to be able to do just about anything I wanted to attempt throughout my whole life. There have been few restrictions that have been set upon me during my life.

I don't know why I have been so lucky, but I really appreciate the fact. Each and every day of my life is a new day to explore and enjoy and learn.

It's definitely a day of thanksgiving for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday November 14, 2007...What's and extra 3.5 Trillion dollars, more or less?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to total $1.6 trillion - roughly double the amount the White House has requested thus far, according to a new report by Democrats on Congress' Joint Economic Committee.

The report, released Tuesday, attempted to put a price tag on the two conflicts, including "hidden" costs such as interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars, lost investment, the expense of long-term health care for injured veterans and the cost of oil market disruptions.

The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said. The Bush administration has requested $804 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, the report stated.
For the Iraq war only, total economic costs were estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. That would cost a family of four $16,500, the report said.
Future economic costs would be even greater. The report estimated that both wars would cost $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017. Under that scenario, it would cost a family of four $46,400, the report said.

And who ends up getting this 3.5 TRILLION dollars? Think about it. The main recipients are the defense contractors and suppliers who have a very powerful lobby. Corporations that supply the bullets and the planes and the hum-vees and the tanks and the food and the uniforms and all the rest of the supplies do quite well, thank you. Their main worry is about their bottom line – they are not concerned that this money could have been better spent on our own citizens health or education or housing or even paying down the national debt. They just want to have the government keep on paying them for more and more product. If a few soldiers die, that's what they get paid for. That is the callous attitude that they all assume. Since World War I, they have become a greater and greater drain on our economy. What do we gain with all this firepower? How has it helped us? How will it help us in the future?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wednesday November 7, 2007...Stages of Life

Stages of Life

It seems we all pass through the same stages of life. Even within the various stages of life, we pass through similar sub-stages. It can't be helped, it varies in time with each person but it does happen.

We pass through the learning stage from childhood to young adult. It is the preparatory time when we learn where our skills lay and choose how we will apply them.

After reaching the apex of our learning stage and being the “top dog” in that part of life, we progress to the novice stage. This is where we are first applying the skills and knowledge we have picked up in our learning stage. We are at the bottom of the heap just learning how the system works.

After the novice stage, we are accepted into the competent or journeyman stage of life. This is where you have picked up enough learning and picked up enough training to be able to perform competently and are recognized as such. You have become capable in your chosen profession.

After the competent stage, we enter the experienced and knowledgeable stage. You are recognized as experienced and valued for your knowledge. Your advice is requested from competents and novices around you and you are able to give wise advice. This is the stage you worked toward all these years.

The next stage is the retired stage. Many people have a hard time giving up the experienced stage to assume this restful but calming stage. You have left the main part of the workforce and now have the time to pursue hobbies and interests that may not be financially rewarding but are interesting to you. Your advice is no longer sought out and you tend to drift towards others at your same stage in life. In some countries people at this stage are still revered for their knowledge and past experiences, but not so much in the United States. There is much wisdom set aside here.

The last stage is the elderly stage. This can be a very difficult stage. Your body and sometimes your mind are becoming weaker and less controllable. You notice that your generation is fading away and that the world has changed, not always for the better. There are less and less compatriots to interact with and your world seems to shrink. Your family and friends become much more valuable to you and you come to accept the inevitability of life and death. Memories are very important.

I have reached the retired stage. I helped my parents through their elderly stage and helped my children through their learning stage and into their novice stage. I accept my past life as it happened with its successes and its failures and carry hope ahead in the years to come. I have already created a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of love, so I am ready for whatever comes next.

Life is good sometimes. Look for the joy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday October 30, 2007....Better now than never

Bush never vetoed a spending bill when Republicans controlled Congress, but he's itching to do so now to demonstrate toughness on spending. He's a few trillion dollars late in doing so.
Bush warned Congress not to bother sending him another version of a children's health insurance bill that he will not sign. Why help the poor children with taxes on the wealthy?
Bush said he would veto a potential Democratic bill that would bundle together three massive spending bills for defense matters, veterans affairs and the labor, education and health departments. He thinks it's his ball and he wants to make up the rules for the game.

He really believes it is HIS government and that HE should be in complete control. He doesn't want to recognize that he is the head of just one of the three branches of government. Congress should have as much power as he does and the courts should have stopping power over both him and Congress when they pass laws or perform functions outside the parameters of the constitution. For the past six years he has pretty much done what he wanted to do without anyone stopping him. Finally we have a congress not completely under his control. I just hope that they stand up to him and keep standing up to him. They have to make the man blink first. He is on such a power trip and doen't recognize his mistakes and won't listen to others – they need to make him sit up and take notice. Without controls, he has pushed this country far off the path they should be following. It's time to correct our course.

But, other than that, it's a fine autumn day and the leaves are turning from green to gold. Sunny days and cool nights. I really need to quit reading the newspaper and quit watching the news. What's left of the woodlands and streams are lovely this time of the year and should be enjoyed while they still can be. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday October 29, 2007....Sounding like a broken record

I know, I know. I sound like a broken record.
Does anyone even know what a broken record sounds like anymore? Maybe I should say I sound like a scratched CD – saying the same thing over and over again. Sorry about that.

I just get so discouraged when supposedly intelligent people repeat stupid mistakes. People who spent millions of dollars convincing us how well they will run our country then spend billions of dollars wastefully. Instead of shouting into the wind, which always upsets my neighbors, I use this blog to vent my frustration.

I keep thinking that somewhere there is a perfect world where everyone is looking out for everyone else and no one is selfish or hurtful. I haven't found it except in my closest family members. I wish the leaders of the world could be as friendly and unselfish as my family. Won't happen! Over the years I've seen the special interests become more and more blatant with their demands and more and more selfish in their desires. It seems that politeness has been forgotten and now everyone has grown grabby. Take what you can when you can and let others look out for themselves. In the process, we lose a bit of our humanity and become statistics.

I miss the days when we at least tried to keep up the appearance of civility and decorum. Those days are now of the past. I'm not sure why we lost them but we are now the Ugly American that we dreaded many years ago. My hope is that life will recycle and that what goes around comes around and someday we will see a better world.

I am not foolish – I won't hold my breath – I'll just keep hoping.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday October 26, 2007...Life isn't always fair

I said it on September 5, 2007 and it bears repeating now.

If you build on an earthquake fault line, you better build earthquake proof.

If you build in the middle of a forest, you better build fireproof.

If you build next to an ocean, below sea level, you better build floodproof.

If you build on top of a volcano, you are stupid and deserve what you get.

Many of the homes that were destroyed in California were built in an arid area with forests all around. Many homes out there are also built near an earthquake fault line. These homes were just setting there asking to be destroyed in one manner or another. In some of the interviews, it appears that many homeowners were warned to clear out low lying shrubs for a distance from their homes after the fires of 2003. Some of those that did were spared damage, but those that didn't were consumed. Hopefully the replacement houses will be built responsibly with some effort to protect them from fire and earthquake. There are ways now to construct homes so they act as a unit and are not completely shaken apart when an earthquake hits and there are obvious ways to help keep a fire from starting using the correct materials and building in the correct location.

OR you can leave it up to chance and hope that you're just dumb and lucky.

Who is responsible for someone else's stupidity and irresponsibility? Will all of our insurance rates increase because of hurricane damage on the coast line or forest fire damage in the forests or earthquake damage near fault lines? Those of us who build our homes above the flood plain, away from forests, clear of fault lines, far from coast lines and try to protect our homes have seen our insurance increase many times over the years, even though there have never been any claims on our part. Some part of this doesn't seem fair. Well, nobody guaranteed that life would always be fair. Sometimes, it's just being in the right place at the right time - or vice versa.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday October 25, 2007....Back from Vacation

I've been on vacation for the last few weeks. I was camping in Missouri state parks near the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. It was nice enjoying nature and ignoring all the trials and tribulations that mankind seems to create. Out in the woods, life goes on much as it has for millennia with complete disregard for the news of the day. Squirrels are preparing for winter and deer are gorging themselves on acorns. The leaves are just now starting to show their autumn glory and I was able to become a “rock” in the woods and observe. Peaceful and pleasant.

Now that I'm back I see that the globe is still heating up and massive fires are consuming large areas of our forests while the polar regions melt. Not a nice story.

I see that the hawks are beating the drums again with MMDs this time (missles of mass destruction) instead of WMDs like last time. We have certainly turned Iran into a paranoid state with our rhetoric and our threats. If I were Iran, I would be looking at protecting myself by whatever means possible against the big bully on the block. They only have to look at 2 of their neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, to see what is the next probable action against them. Last time, we excused ourselves for premptively invading another sovreign country with the “weapons of mass destruction” excuse which turned out to be a lie. Now we are rattling our sabers with “missles of mass destruction” as an excuse and the threat of nucular holocaust as backup. We don't seem to take notice of the larger threat of North Korea which already has nucular weapons and missles and a huge army and hostile intent. No, we seem intent on involving ourselves in the mideast - where the oil is. They now predict that the total cost of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq will amount to 2.4 Trillion dollars. What a waste! What noble purpose could that same money and those same lives have been applied to? Think of all the things wrong in our country that could have been helped with that money and that effort. Why in the world are we still wasting our time over there with our failed strategy and our misguided leadership? I thought that, somehow, our new congress could curb the stupidity and wastefulness, but they seem to be ineffective and unable to consolidate themselves.

Perhaps I can return to the woods and bury my mind in nature and ignore the stupidity and wastefulness until the forest burns down around me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday October 6, 2007.....A wonderful opportunity!

I got an investment letter in the mail noting that the artic thaw is a new multibillion-dollar opportunity.

Yes folks, this major earth catastrophe is a golden opportunity for the rich to get richer. The sea route running along the Artic coastline of North America is nearly ice free for the first time since records began. Now the Russians, United States, Canada and Denmark are all rushing to lay claim to the Artic.

Yes, thanks to global warming, deposits of natural resources once covered with impenetrable ice are now easier to get at and now icebound shipping lanes are opening up. There are large troves of undiscovered oil and gas and minerals like copper, zinc, cobalt and diamonds. Whoopee. We can be thankful for global warming!

Shipping from China to Europe will be 5,000 miles shorter than going through either canal. And now Canada and Russia will be able to ship their resources and products to anywhere in the world much faster.

Also, think of the new tourist spas opening up near the Artic circle once the rest of the world gets too hot to handle. Everyone will be dying to go north where the weather is great. Perhaps Greenland will actually be a green land now. With the middle west drying up and turning to a semi-arid desert-like region, the new wheat and corn belts will be up north in Canada, if there is enough top soil to handle it.
And thanks to global warming, bottled water will be worth much more as the lakes and rivers diminish and the snow pack no longer fills the reservoirs. There will be new investments for all to make a buck on, thanks to the miracle of global warming – at least for the survivors.

See, it's all in the way that you look at it. A catastrophe for many is an opportunity for others. A pot of oil at the end of the rainbow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007.....Why leave troops?

I've lived through too many wars, I guess. When we fought World War II, we left troops in Japan and Germany after the war and still have bases there and in Europe. After the Korean conflict, where we were supposedly part of a United Nations effort, we left troops in South Korea and they are still there.
When we left Vietnam, we got out of there without leaving any troops at all.

All of these countries are now at peace and doing well enough on their own, with or without our troops.

Now we are in Iraq, for misguided reasons, and the argument seems to be how many troops to leave there to maintain Iraq's peace and stability. Bill Richardson is the only major candidate saying we should withdraw ALL troops from Iraq and let a Muslim peace keeping force maintain the peace.

He's right! If we even hint at leaving troops there, we will be there for at least 50 years. What a complete waste of lives and money! We should never have been there in the first place and now we are obligating ourselves for generations. Why? Is it connected to the oil companies and influence on how the oil is distributed? We haven't stepped into any African countries to quell the dictators – they have no oil.

I'm disappointed in all the other candidates, Republican and Democrats, for not even considering removing all our troops. When we escaped Vietnam, we were sure that the whole country would fall apart under the evils of communism, maybe even fall under the reign of evil Red China. Now we are trading with Vietnam and China and don't seem so worried about their evil empires. Vietnam worked out their own problems the way the Vietnamese people wanted to work them out (without our guidance and expertise). Iraq could do the same thing. They have their problems to solve their own way. Their way is not our way, but it will work for them. We may not be able to control them the way we want, but they will have control of their own country and that's the way it should be.

Check out this man from New Mexico, Bill Richardson. He has some sound ideas and he seems to be a very practical guy (a real change from what we've had).

Tuesday September 25, 2007.....Autumn reflections

Autumn has arrived.

Those lazy hazy days of summer have all passed away.

We have a nice fall rain today and a cool breeze.
The parched earth and the husks of brown grass are greedily absorbing the gentle rain and soon I will have to go out and once again mow grass. I won't mind because it will be cooler and the fall leaves will have started to brighten up the neighborhood. Kids are back in school and the neighborhood is quieter now. Now and then a few fallen leaves are blown down the empty street and I enjoy the peace and quiet of fall.

Fall is harvest time and a time of reflection – a good time in the midwest to remember autumns past. It's a time of football and school events. It's a time of opening up the house and letting the stale summer air be replaced by the moist cool autumn air. Soon enough the leaves will all fall down and winter will approach but for right now it's a great time to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday September 22, 2007 check out bob's recipes

Look at my recipe section.
I added some information that I found very interesting.
A to Z of Spices.

Happy Autumn!

Saturday September 22, 2007.....Whatever happened to the trust?

We have become a litiginous world. We can't seem to trust each other any more. We don't trust our leaders to watch out for us. We don't trust the news to give us the truth. We don't trust our bosses to care about us. We don't trust any stranger we meet - he might be out to gain what we have. We lock our doors and we put up protective barriers to keep others out. We guard our homes and our computers and we don't trust anyone anymore.

When I started in the construction business, it was a world of trust built up over the years. A man was as good as his word and if you couldn't trust him, you didn't deal with him. A handshake or a one page contract was enough to start building a large construction project. That's all changed now. Contracts are like books and you have to read each word carefully so that the other party won't cheat you out of something you weren't aware of. You don't trust anyone's word, only the signed document with copies for each of you that can be taken to court. You become suspicious of any offer by someone you don't know - what are they trying to do to you? Trust no longer exists. You can't leave your car unlocked. You can't leave your home unlocked. You can't leave your camping possessions out where they can be stolen. You can't leave your bicycle out without a bike chain. You have to take steps to protect your identity so that it can't be stolen and used against you.

What happened to us? What caused us to become so wary and untrusting? What happened to civility and integrity? We have lost so much and the world has become a meaner place. It was a kinder, simpler place with a bit of built in safety and we all tried to look out for each other. We all knew we were in the same boat and needed that trust and safety. Now it's every man for himself and get yours while you can. It's ugly out there.

Once you lose trust, it takes a long time to get it back. It will take many years for society to rebuild a world of trust. It has to start somewhere with someone. Who will be the first sucker?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday September 20, 2007.....I want to raise MY debt limit, too.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress on Wednesday that the federal government will hit the current debt ceiling on Oct. 1.
He urged quick action to increase the limit, saying it was essential to protect the "full faith and credit" of the country, especially at a time of financial market turmoil.
The current debt limit is $8.965 trillion. Unless Congress votes to raise that ceiling, the country would be unable to borrow more money to keep the government operating and to pay debt obligations coming due. The United States has never defaulted on a debt payment but the decision on whether to raise the debt ceiling often sparks a prolonged political battle in Congress.

The Senate Finance Committee earlier this month approved increasing the limit on the national debt to $9.82 trillion. That boost of $850 billion would be the fifth increase in the government's borrowing limit since President Bush took office in 2001.

Facing opposition in Congress, Bush held town hall-style public meetings across the U.S. in 2001 to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Bush and his economic advisers argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers. (that was when Clinton had actually established a balanced budget with perhaps a surplus – which never showed up under Bush)

By August 23, 2007, the national debt had officially risen to $8.98 trillion dollars; the national debt has increased $3.25 trillion dollars since Bush took office. The national debt stood at 5.73 trillion dollars when George took office. The budget was balanced at that time. It had increased from 4.35 trillion to 5.73 trillion in the 8 years of Clinton's reign. Prior to that, it had risen from 2.87 trillion to 4.35 trillion under Bush Sr. and from .996 trillion to 2.87 trillion under Reagan.

In other words, all the national debt incurred during the history of the United States prior to Ronald Reagan was more than quadrupled during Reagan/Bush 12 years of presidency. It increased by 31.72% under Clinton and now it is projected to increase by 83.25% under Bush. It is projected to reach 10.56 trillion dollars by the time George leaves office. Up until Reagan's presidency the country had survived major expansion and 2 world wars as well as numerous other conflicts including Korea and Vietnam and had amassed a total debt approaching 1 trillion dollars. Since then, with Republicans at the helm for 20 of the 28 years, our debt will have increased 10 fold – 10 times the amount we had incurred in the first 205 years. During those 28 years, the average citizen has seen his net spending power decrease, due to taxation and inflation. The wealth of the nation has shifted from the middle class to the wealthy.

We are becoming a country of haves and have-nots, similar to other third world countries. It has taken time and effort, but the speed is increasing. Where once the middle class family could survive on one person's income, it now takes 2 and with the increased cost of education and the limited availability of starter homes and starter jobs families will find it takes more to survive than ever before. Students and young adults will be staying with parents longer before striking out on their own. Soon, their income will become part of the family's requirements and more families will find multi-generations living together for economic reasons.

I don't see where the Democrats can be called the “tax and spend” party. It looks to be like the Republicans are the “take from the poor and the budget and give to the rich” party. If they handled my budget like they do the country's, I would be bankrupt. No wonder they want to strip the pension plans and do away with healthcare – it's taking money out of their pockets.

By the way, I want to raise my own personal debt limit a trillion dollars. Is that okay with me? Okay! Now I just need to find a sucker to lend me the money. Any takers?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday September 16, 2007.....Reflections of an illusion

Here today, gone tomorrow.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Out of sight, out of mind.

All old sayings with an element of truth and a glimpse of the transitory illusion of long life.

When we are young, we think of life as extending off into the distant unknown future with all kinds of possibilities and adventures awaiting us.
As we get older, we realize that life is slipping by and some of the dreams we had aren't going to happen, but we trudge on.
Now that I have gotten older and can look back on my life, I see that the dreams of youth got pushed aside by the realities of life. I gambled and spent some of my youth attempting to insure comfort for later years. I gave up some of my dreams for security. Now that the later years are upon me, I'm not sure that the gamble and expense were worth it.

As old age approaches, you carry mostly the memories of the adventures and the friendship and the love you gained along the way. The "things" that you held onto for security lose much of their worth and importance. Before you know it the end of life comes speeding at you like a train out of the night and all you take with you are your memories.

Perhaps the poets had it right when they espoused "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may".

I do have many fond memories and many great adventures to reflect upon. I wonder how many more I might have had if I had been a bit less reserved and had approached life with a bit more gusto. Who will ever know?

I hope all of you have sweet memories behind you and approach the future with as much gusto as you can muster. Look for the beauty and the joy - it's out there waiting.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday September 14, 2007 The first step

The first step is the hardest.

We have all heard this many times in our lives, but it is a truth that bears repeating.
All of us have our foibles, bad habits that consume us without our recognition. It's when these habits become overwhelming and actually start redirecting our efforts that we need someone to point out the error of our ways and guide us in the right direction. That's when this truth applies. It is hard for us to admit that we have a basic fault and that we need to redirect our lives. It's hard for each of us to admit a mistake and see ourselves as human as everyone else. It's hard to take that first step.

When you are in the position of pointing out that fault in a loved one and attempting to get someone you love to take that first step, you feel a bit guilty. You feel guilty for having to step into their life and interfere, even though it is for their own good. It's important that you make the effort, because if you don't you'll blame yourself forever for not helping when help was required. Unfortunately, you can't take that first step for your loved one. It is a step that they must take on their own with their own recognition that it is required. All you can do is counsel and hope.

For you the first step is to offer advice and counsel. For them they must recognize that you have stepped in out of love and tried to offer help. Then they must make up their own mind and take that very first step toward recovery.

I have a loved one in my family who is sliding down a slippery slope toward self destruction. He doesn't realize how far off course he has strayed. If he continues, his future life could be at great hazard. I have tried to give gentle hints that have gone unheeded. I now must try to be more direct and as honest as I can be. If he takes my warnings as insult and interference, so be it. I must try for his own sake. I hope this time my warning is heeded.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday SEPTEMBER 11, 2007 Six years later and they are still out there!

A memorable day.
We have enemies out there.
Are we fighting the right ones?

In case you missed it, here are the results of a survery taken of Iraqi citizens.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Overwhelming numbers of Iraqis say the U.S. troop buildup has worsened security and the prospects for economic and political progress in their country, according to a poll released Monday that provides a strikingly bleak appraisal of the war.

Forty-seven percent want American forces and their coalition allies to leave the country immediately, the survey showed, 12 points more than said so in a March poll as the troop increase was beginning. And 57 percent - including nearly all Sunnis and half of Shiites - said they consider attacks on coalition forces acceptable, a slight increase over the past half year.

The poll, conducted by ABC News, Britain's BBC, and Japan's public broadcaster NHK, was released at the start of a critical week in the fight by Democrats trying to force President Bush to begin a withdrawal.

Seventy percent in the survey said they believe security has worsened where the added forces were sent, with another 11 percent saying the buildup has had no effect. Similar numbers said security in other parts of the country has deteriorated and that overall economic and political conditions have declined.

Only a quarter said their own communities have become safer in the past half year. Every person interviewed in Baghdad and Anbar province, a Sunni-dominated area where Bush recently visited and cited progress, said the troop increase has worsened security.

And now our death toll approaches 3,800 young men with many thousands having lasting injuries to deal with the rest of their lives. Osama still broadcasts videos and threatens us - six years later. Our elected officials seem impotent and incapable of exacting any sort of retribution or justice. The Iraqis bear the brunt of our misguided frustration and anger.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday September 10, 2007 Is a word enough?

A word to the wise is enough, but how about the rest of us?

How many words to people like George does it take?
Apparently many more than most people thought.

Groucho had a quote that seems appropo these days.

Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms. - Groucho Marx

And with those bits of wisdom for you to chew on, I'll see see if the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday September 9, 2007 Speaking of food

Two heads are better than one, as long as they are right because two wrongs do not make a right but two is company while three is a crowd. But if you have too many cooks, they spoil the broth.

So, many cooks does it take to have too many? A crowd of cooks? And how do we tell if they are right? Everybodies tastes are different.

It's simple sayings like this that sometimes run through my mind making a mockery of logic. But life goes on and if you can't laugh about some of the silliness, you may turn out to be a dill pickle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday September 6, 2007 Sweet memories

Variety is the spice of life, but is it sweet or is it sour? Revenge is sweet but it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

When you think about it, life seldom leaves any taste in your mouth.
There may be a remembered sound or the feel of a gentle breeze on your skin or a sound that triggers a memory, but seldom is taste involved with anything but the here and now. I do remember the smell of cookies baking or the smell of a turkey at thanksgiving but the taste is not a remembered thing.

As for the sweetness of revenge, I don't buy that. Too often we regret any acts of revenge. It's a feeling that we are better off without. Looking back on the many wars we have had and the bitter enemies who later became stalwart friends, we can see that any acts of revenge would later be regretted. It would seem that hatred and revenge go hand in hand, but never last. Friendship and tolerance lead to a happier life. I hope that when I leave this life, I leave only friends – no enemies.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wednesday September 5, 2007 It really is bliss

Ignorance is bliss and I'm a very happy man. Hmmm.

On another note, I've been thinking about locations and natural disasters and planning for the future.

We have a location in Kansas City, along Southwest Boulevard, near the Kansas River before it dumps into the Missouri River. That portion of road is in the river flood plain and everytime we get a heavy rain, it floods. Sometimes, it floods worse than others, but there is always some kind of water damage. Each time there is a major flood, the home and business owners are interviewed and vow to rebuild. They often say how many times they have been flooded, but how no river is going to drive them out.

Now these people are probably like the people who stay in trailers when the tornado is coming vowing that no stupid wind is going to make them leave their homes. I assume that the people of New Orleans are of the same human nature. Therefore, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for them when the expected does eventually happen. I feel sorry for their plight and sorry for their lack of foresight but I don't feel responsible for their choices, just as I don't feel responsible for people who frolic about in a lightning storm or dare a tornado to hit them. They seem to want to trust in their luck and rail against the storm. I admire their bravado but don't respect their intelligence and refuse to pay for their losses. Now I would believe in the Federal Government helping them to relocate and rebuild in a safer location because that should be a one time help and would make sense and actually save lives.

If you build on an earthquake fault line, you better build earthquake proof.

If you build in the middle of a forest, you better build fireproof.

If you build next to an ocean, below sea level, you better build floodproof.

If you build on top of a volcano, you are stupid and deserve what you get.


In New Orleans case, it's not like they haven't had Hurricanes before. Between 1851 and 2004, 49 of the 273 hurricanes that made landfall on the American Atlantic Coast hit Louisiana. On average, one major storm crosses within 100 nautical miles of New Orleans every decade.
Hurricanes bring storm tides that can be 15 feet or more above nomal tide levels which can cause storm surge of 30 feet or more. A cubic yard of water weighs 1700 pounds, which when driven by high winds and tides can cause much damage. New Orleans has an average elevation of 6 feet BELOW sea level. It is ringed by levees and flood water has nowhere to recede. The pumps designed to pump out any flood water won't work when completely submerged.

FEMA has listed a hurricane strike in New Orleans as one of the direst threats to the nation, on par with a large California earthquake or a terrorist attack on New York City.

Years with storms within 60 miles
36 times in 136yrs end of 2006

How often New Orleans gets affected?
brushed or hit every 3.78 years

Average years between direct hurricane hits.(usually within 40 miles to include small hurricanes)
once every 12.36 years

Statistically when New Orleans should be affected next
before the end of the 2009 season


Rebuilding New Orleans in the same place doesn't make sense. Why not relocate to a safer location or to a safer elevation?

It would truly be a NEW Orleans.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tueseday September 4, 2007 Pretty tricky

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
But you can teach a new dog old tricks
and maybe you can teach an old dog old tricks
and for sure you can teach a new dog new tricks.

If you're a pretty tricky teacher.

I haven't learned any tricks, new or old, for quite some time.
I guess I can't be taught?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Monday 09/03/2007 Labor Day A Good Life

I was reviewing some of the thousands of pictures I have stored in my computer and each one refreshed a memory of another place, person or time.

I really like my memories. I'm very happy with the life I've lived and the places I've been and the people I've known. It's been an excellent life up to now and I wouldn't change a single moment. All the moments and all the memories brought me to this very instant and made me who I am today and I'm happy with myself and the life I've lived. What more can I say? What more could I have wished for?

I'm surrounded by family who I love and who love me and I have great memories of friends I've made along the way and the moments we have shared. Some friends are active in my life today and some aren't, but they know that they remain my friends and when we meet again we resume our friendship without hesitation.

I wish all my friends and family could have as good a life as I have had. Hopefully most will.

Monday September 3, 2007 Old fools never die

They just fade away.

There's no fool like an old fool and a fool and his money are soon parted, but you can't take it with you anyway and it's later than you think but it's better late than never and all's well that ends well, but never say dieand never is a long, long time. Of course old habits die hard.

That reminds me, I need to see that movie again, but that's only because I'm an old fool with way too much time on my hands.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday September 2, 2007 Notes for a Sunday

If you practice what you preach and practice makes perfect then why haven't I ever heard a perfect preach been made by a preacher? It seems that most of the preachers I've heard have made speeches (making them speechers or speakers) or they have talked (making them talkers). Often I have been sermonized and castized and sometimes preached to, but the sermon or the castigation or the preach was never what I would call perfect. Maybe perfect is in the ear of the beholder?

Besides, according to Ben Franklin you're supposed to believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

I won't bend your ear any longer. Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saturday September 1, 2007 Trivial thoughts

Of course, some of us don't have a daily thought, we kind of float along on yesterday's thoughts or we let someone else do our thinking for us.

When your retired and sitting around eating bon-bons, it's easy to let your mind drift without focusing on any particular thing. I think it's recovery from all the stress that I used to have when I worked and had to multi-multi-task.

Now I try to get just one thing done each day and feel great after achieving that goal. Life is good.

But for the rest of you here are a few financial idioms it sometimes pays to remember

1. Look out for the dollars and the pennies will take care of themselves.
That's why you always end up with lots and lots of pennies, but not so many dollars

2. Pay yourself first and let the credit card companies just try to find all the junk you bought

3. A fool and his money are soon parted, but aren't we all?

4. Remember that time is money, except when they're computing your paycheck.

5. Money is the root of all politicians.

6. God helps them that help themselves unless it's to someone else's money.

It's amazing how many wonderful sayings the mind traps and stores away.
I seem to be just filled with trivial thoughts.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday August 31, 2007 Daily thoughts

Slow and steady wins the race

to get yourself fired, or honked at.

I never know whether to wave when I'm honked at or to give some other signal that I heard and acknowledge their impatience. Sometimes I just wave and smile as though I know them. I've often thought about stopping to say hello and find out what they wanted to tell me, but I'm sure they are in too much of a hurry to discuss matters with me. And we could have become such great friends. Usually, they will pass me by and politly cut in front of me. That's okay, they probably have an emergency to deal with. Life gets to be in too much of a rush. You need to slow down and smell the dandelions.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday August 30, 2007 Inspiration

My daughter sent me directions to a website which offered inspirational thoughts.

After all these years, I have all the inspirational thoughts I need tucked away in my own brain. When you get older and wiser, like me, you have a wealth of advice and inspiration just waiting to be tapped.

Generally, I have a useful saying for most any event that I am more than willing to interject in any conversation – just give me a chance. Of course, when I offer this sage advice, the conversation grows respectfully quiet and as they turn away, I'm sure they are filled with awe and admiration and find themselve choked with feeling. At least I assume so because generally the conversation ends with my interjection. But does that disappoint me, NO. It encourages me to offer more and more to all within audible range.

Yessir, I'm ready to spout wise and knowledgable quotes at the drop of a hat – of course, noone wears a hat anymore. I notice that lately I haven't been to to many gatherings where I get a chance to philosophize for others. I'm sure that it's just a coincidence.

So I thought why not offer bits and pieces of my mind in my blog. That way I can reach the millions of people who read my blog religiously. It could be similar to Poor Richard's Almanac, although more up to date. That way my daughter could send directions to her friends to my site for inspirational thoughts. Of course, I wouldn't want to become too famous – just recognized for my wit and sagacity.

My thought for today:

Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. (but keep a list of things to do – you'll feel better)

Till next time.
This is your older and wiser inspirationist, Bob.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday August 27, 2007 Glug, glug, glug.

Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Wolfkowitz, Rove, Gonzalez.
They've all left the sinking ship.

Now if only George and Dick would bail out too. I guess that's too much to hope for. After all, the captain is supposed to go down with the ship.

Unfortunately, it's OUR ship!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday August 22, 2007 Almost four and a half years.

We entered World War 1 In 1917 and by November, 1918 it was over. We helped save Europe.(many countries never paid us for war debts)

We entered World War 2 in December 1941 and by August 1945 it was over. We helped save and rebuild Europe. We helped rebuild Japan. (We still have troops there after 62 years)

We entered the Korean War in 1950 and by 1953 it had ended. (We still have troops there 54 years later)

We entered into the Vietnam War in 1964, after the gulf of Tonkin incident, and pulled out in 1973 (the civil war in Vietnam ended in 1975). They found their own peace and we have no troops there. They rebuilt their own country.

4½ years ago we invaded Iraq. Our boys are still dying over there. There is still no peace. There is still no security. This could go on forever.

The conflict between Sunnis and Shiites has been going on for over 1300 years and it isn't going to end because of our interference. The Sunnis have been in control for most of those 1300 years(Saddam was a Sunni and had nationalized the oil industry, taking it away from western owners) and the Shiites want revenge. The Sunnis believe that they are right and the Shiites believe they are right and we are smack dab in the middle. We need to get out of there and let them come to their own conclusion.(without leaving any troops there)

As of Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007, at least 3,707 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 3,046 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The British military has reported 168 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, South Korea, one death each.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 27,506 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department's weekly tally.

Many of the wounded will carry extensive disabilities with them for decades to come. Their lives will always be altered by this war. There are many more emotional scars that don't show and will affect their lives as long as they live. These are the hidden wounds that don't show in the statistics.

Meanwhile, while we throw more lives and more money into the conflict, we ignore the sick and hungry and homeless people in our own country. We waste our resources on weapons and destruction when it could help to rescue our own. People are dying here at home from hunger and disease. Many people are still homeless in New Orleans. Many children don't get proper nutrition or health services. Many people don't know where their next meal will come from. And all the time, we overlook them to focus on another nation's problems and try to act as the world's police force. England tried that once. It didn't work.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday August 18, 2007 The President lost his brain!

Another sad event this week – the President lost his brain.

Well, actually, it wasn't his brain at all – it was just one he used most of the time so he could think of more important things, like splitting wood in Crawford, Texas and how to help his buddies keep more of their money.

I'm speaking of Karl Rove, the President's borrowed brain, who announced this week that he is moving on to greener pastures. Without Karl and Rumsfeld to advise him, I'm not sure what George can do or say without appearing foolish – just like the good old days. Have you ever noticed that he surrounds himself with people he considers shmart so he won't have to do the thinking? That way, when things go wrong, he can point to someone else and say “It was HIS idea”.

Luckily, George doesn't have to run another campaign and all he has to do at work is have dinners and veto laws passed by congress and plan for his presidential library. His library will have to be a lot bigger than his dad's or Bill Clinton's what with all his military escapade when he was defending Texas and all the party paraphanalia and such. Of course it won't actually have a library, because he doesn't have many books and most of his documents will be sealed away for decades – but it will have many statues and picutes. He's really good with pictures!

Some of us aren't unhappy that the President lost his brain. Some of us thought that the brain he was using was a bit abynormal anyway, or at least bent way off to the right side too much. He really needs a balanced brain with a lot more on the left side. I guess he's going to have to make do like the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” with a diploma in lieu of a brain.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday August 5, 2007 Dollars and sense










Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday July 21, 2007 How much is enough?

I've already had enough of that, maybe even too much of that - but I haven't had nearly enough of this. So, it depends on whether you're talking about this or that when you say you've had enough.

Some people say enough is enough - but they really don't know what they are talking about. You don't know whether they are talking about this or that. That's enough of that but not nearly enough of this. I'll take a little bit more of this, but no more of that.

So think about this today, but not about that.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday July 14, 2007 Looking for someone.

It's hard not to write about some of the events of the day when they are plastered on the news hour after hour - war, global warming, destroyed environment, terrorism, the fall of the dollar, the deficit, etc, etc, etc.

I long for the simpler days when all we worried about were the sexual escapades of our president. We were at peace and everybody liked us and the budget was balanced and everything seemed to be falling into place. The future seemed bright and rosy. We had come through Y2K without falling apart and we were looking ahead to better days.

Things change.

Hopefully, they will change again in the future and we will get back on track. It feels right now that we have been derailed and somehow have lost the trail that leads to a brighter future. We need somone, who cares about all of us, to come to the forefront and lead us out of this mess.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday July 2, 2007 It's a shame

My retired sister and brother-in-law have a golden eagle pass which allows them to visit all national parks and national monuments without paying entrance fees. That is what has been the situation for years and years. Apparently things have changed under President Bush. In his efforts to privatize many public jobs (have private enterprise handle them instead of government employees, supposedly to save the government money), Mount Rushmore is now handled by a private company and the golden eagle pass doesn't allow them to visit free any more. Now they have to pay whatever the private company dictates just like everyone else. They were disappointed after driving clear across South Dakota to see the monument. I want to know where the savings from privatizing all these jobs is being placed. I have a hunch that if there is any savings from situations like this that it was passed along in the tax cuts that mainly benefitted the wealthy while the rest of us have to spend a bit more here and a bit more there or do without. It's nice to know that the wealthy will easily be able to afford to visit sites such as this. I know that the entrance fee isn't huge, but it's the principle of the thing that bothers me. The whole idea of golden eagle passes was to help retired people on fixed income just a bit and let them enjoy the public facilities that belong to all of us. Somewhere along the line, that idea got forgotten. It's a shame.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday June 24, 2007 Back from Vacation

Vacations take a lot out of you, and I don't mean just money.

It seems that you plan for several months ahead of time, making all the arrangements and trying to cover all the contingencies. Next you get your house and car all prepared for the time you will be away. You pack all your necessities and way too many clothes. You notify the mail service and the newspaper. You clean out the refrigerator. You gather all the road maps and load up the car. You pick up extra money from the bank and pack up some snacks and water bottles.

Now, you are finally ready to relax and travel.

I just got back from a relaxing 3,000 mile drive in the country. I saw a lot of country, a whole lot of country. There are many beautiful views around this country and a lot of drivers in a hurry to get somewhere. I enjoyed going just under the speed limit and watched the cars come speeding up to my rear bumper before whipping around me and then disappearing into the vast horizon opening up ahead of me. I really liked the way traffic kept opening up in front of me. Once I got off the interstates, all traffic seemed much more mellow and in less of a hurry to get somewhere else. The little towns located on the old national highways haven't changed that much in the last 20 years. The big cities along the interstates have grown dramatically. Not all growth is good. Sometimes growth causes the towns and cities to lose their personalities and become more commercial and less personal. It's probably just me and my nostalgia. Sometimes it is best to not go back to places you've been before.

It was good to get back home. You really appreciate your privacy and the comfort of your own home after being away. You let out a sigh of relief and finally relax and unwind. The unpacking can be done at your leisure and you can kick off your shoes and put on your sweats and just flop. Perhaps one of the joys of vacations is the appreciation you feel for your own place when you return.

Also, it's good to get back to the old computer and see what the world has done while you were away.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday May 25, 2007 Give up, yet?

I give up.

I thought that the voters had given a mandate to congress last fall. It was clear to me that the majority of the people in this country wanted this war to end – and the sooner, the better. When George got stubborn and vetoed the money to support the troops and draw an end to the conflict, I thought that our newly elected officials could get stubborn as well and push right back. I was wrong. The new congress knuckled over to George's demands, just like the old one. They didn't have the gumption to stand up to George and say NO!.

I don't know what else we the people can say or do other than vote our thoughts and send our letters and emails and protest when our officials don't do what we elected them to do.

My representative, Mr. Cleaver, did right – he voted against funding. But my senator, Ms. McCaskill, voted for the funding. You win very few and you lose a lot.

I guess stubborness and bull-headedness win out over intelligence and fortitude.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday May 8, 2007 Stubborn? Who, me?

I'm sorry I sound like a broken record going over the same thing time after time.
It couldn't be because I'm stubborn or anything, could it? Who else in this world is stubborn?

The trouble is that we keep talking about the conflict as a “war”. It may have been a war before with a defined enemy state and defined goals to accomplish, but now it is simply an “occupation” gone entirely wrong. We find ourselves stuck in the middle of two or three parties vying for supremacy of the reconstructed state of Iraq. It has become a civil war for them and an occupation for us.

We did the same thing back in Vietnam, trying to enforce our type of government on people who wanted to determine their own. The main problem we have now is a man with no vision who is stubbornly trying to enforce his will upon their country and ours. He tried to force his will on the rest of the world and caused our previous allies to line up against us. He believes that might is right and stubborness is good leadership. To admit a mistake is somehow weakness. He will drag us down with him before admitting a mistake.

I had hoped that the last election would convince him that the people are not with him and perhaps he would bend to their will. Instead, he has stiffened even more and refused to compromise in the slightest. Unfortunately, his bullheaded attitude is forcing the rest of our government to give in to his will and compromise what should be done to what they believe he will accept. I kept waiting for him to see the light of reason and the choice of the American people, but apparently he doesn't care what we think. He is a willful child in a position of power and everyone else is allowing him to keep up his tantrums. At times he sounds reasonable, but when push comes to shove, he will not budge. I suppose it's because he has always had his own way throughout his life and now he expects it.

Just two more years,
just a few thousand more lives,
just a few more hundred billion dollars,
just wait......

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday April 27, 2007 Veto? Okay!

So what happens if Bush remains stubborn and won't sign the funding bill that covers the expenses of the occupation of Iraq? What happens if the Congress says okay and refuses to send through another funding bill? Does that mean that we won't have the funds to maintain the occupation and will be forced to send our troops home? That way George can say “We had to bring the boys home, I didn't want to but was forced to.” and Congress can say “The people wanted this to end and now it has.”.

Not a bad outcome if you think about it. It's turned out to be a civil war over there between two different sects of the same religion who have been warring for a thousand years and who are likely to keep it up for many more. We somehow got stuck in the middle (mainly because of the oil). How does it hurt us if we just walk away and let them settle their own religious differences?

How did we become the police force for the world? We don't have unlimited resources. We are losing our manufacturing to other countries and we owe just about everybody in the world with our extreme national debt and yet some of us feel like we have to be the world referee. Perhaps we need to give up our imperial thinking and pull back to look our for ourselves. Here is our chance to start that process.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday April 25, 2007 You can fool some of the voters all of the time.

Some people have a high opionion of Dick. Others don't.
Some people think of leaders as gods. Others don't.
Some people can be fooled by false images. Others can't.
Some people see our leaders as intelligent and fearless. Others don't.
Don't be fooled by the rhetoric. Don't be fooled by the sound bites.
Weigh the person by his actions and the results not by the words or the images.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday April 9, 2007 QUOTES

Were we misled?


"F**k Saddam, we're taking him out." –President Bush to three U.S. Senators in March 2002, a full year before the Iraq invasion

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." –Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet the Press," March 16, 2003
"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." —President Bush, discussing the Iraq war with Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, after Robertson told him he should prepare the American people for casualties

"Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries." –Secretary of State Colin Powell, testifying about Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons capabilities before the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003
"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." –National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, on Iraq's nuclear capabilities and the Bush administration's case for war, Sept. 8, 2002
"We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." –Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet The Press" March 16, 2003
"I don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons." –Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, June 24, 2003

BAGHDAD April, 2007(AP) - Tens of thousands of Shiites - a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags - marched from Kufa to Najaf on Monday, demanding U.S. forces leave their country on the fourth anniversary of fall of Baghdad. Streets in the capital were silent and empty under a hastily imposed 24-hour driving ban.
Demonstrators ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug flung on the road between the two holy cities for the huge march, ordered up by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a show of strength not only to Washington but to Iraq's establishment Shiite ayatollahs as well.
Al-Sadr, who disappointed followers hoping he might appear after months in seclusion, has pounded his anti-American theme in a series of written statements, the most recent on Sunday when he called on his Mahdi Army militia to redouble efforts to expel American forces and for the police and army to join the struggle against "your archenemy."

The Mahdi Army may now be "several hundred thousand strong", per British intelligence. Even if that estimate vastly overstates his troop strength, it reflects the sense that he has the strongest political-military force in the country -- because of the loyalty that so many Shiites have to him.

They call us occupiers, not liberators. We are not welcome, and yet we keep dying. Why?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sunday April 1, 2007 Their Day?

Today is their day and we need to salute them.

Send your accolades to all those fools who somehow ended up in Washington. No matter how good they look in their 30 second sound bytes on TV, we learn later that we have indeed sent another goshdurn fool to represent us. The trouble is that they in turn choose as their lieutenants and advisors other fools. We end up with one fool taking another fool's advice and it turns out to be an Abbot and Costello tragedy – or perhaps a version of the Three Stooges. Even when we prosecute them for their mistakes, they don't seem to fathom what they have done. They revel in their foolishness and we might get a kick out of watching their antics if it didn't affect so many of us negatively.

So today is their day – a Fool's day. Unfortunately they will reign on many more.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday March 19, 2007 Happy Anniversary?

President Bush on Monday marked the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq, which has stretched longer with higher costs than the White House ever expected.

As of Sunday, March 18, 2007, at least 3,217 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

President Bush’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year calls for a 7 percent cut for the VA.

Today soldiers are coming back from service in Iraq and Afghanistan and being forced into homelessness because they have lost their jobs while serving in the military. Yes that is against the law, but no one seems to be willing to enforce it.

Service in the U.S. military or even in combat does not guarantee a veteran health coverage for life or even complete coverage for a limited time.

Soldiers who served in combat after Nov. 11, 1998 can get free care for combat-related conditions but only for two years after their active duty has ended.


_Only 18 percent of Iraqis have confidence in U.S. and coalition troops, and 86 percent are concerned that someone in their household will be a victim of violence.

_Slightly more than half of Iraqis - 51 percent - now say that violence against U.S. forces is acceptable - up from 17 percent who felt that way in early 2004. More than nine in 10 Sunni Arabs in Iraq now feel this way.

_While 63 percent said they felt very safe in their neighborhoods in late 2005, only 26 percent feel that way now.

_The number of Iraqis who say their own life is going well has dipped from 71 percent in November 2005 to 39 percent now.

Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000, possibly much higher. More than half of Iraqis surveyed said a friend or relative has been hurt or killed in the violence, while almost nine in 10 worried that a loved one will be hurt.

Fewer than half in the country, 42 percent, said that life in Iraq now is better than it was under Saddam Hussein, the late dictator accused of murdering tens of thousands during a brutal regime.

About four in five Iraqis oppose the presence of U.S. troops but only a third want those U.S. troops to leave Iraq immediately.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wednesday March 14, 2007 The blind leading us

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Veterans Affairs' system for handling disability claims is strained to its limit, and the Bush administration's current efforts to relieve backlogs won't be enough to serve veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, investigators said Tuesday.

In testimony to a House panel, the Government Accountability Office and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes detailed their study into the VA's claims system in light of growing demands created by wars. They found a system on the verge of crisis due to backlogs, cumbersome paperwork and ballooning costs.

The House hearing is the latest to review the quality of care for wounded troops returning from Iraq - from emergency medical care at military hospitals, to long-term rehabilitation at VA clinics and eventual transition to civilian life with VA disability payments.

According to their findings, the VA:

_Took between 127 to 177 days to process an initial claim and an average of 657 days to process an appeal, resulting in significant hardship to veterans. In contrast, the private sector industry takes about 89.5 days to process a claim.

_Had a claims backlog of roughly 600,000.

_Will see 638,000 new first-time claims in the next five years due to the Iraq war - 400,000 by the end of 2009 alone - creating added costs of between $70 billion and $150 billion.


What's hard to talk about is the agony and suffering being inflicted not just on the Iraqi people, but on our citizens who go to fight there. On one hand, you have soldiers injured in combat being sent back before they heal:

"This is not right," said Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who has been ordered to Iraq even though he has a spine problem that doctors say would be damaged further by heavy Army protective gear. …

As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records.


So we don't want them to go, can't afford to send them, don't properly protect them, don't take care of them when they get injured, but keep saying that we're making progress.

Who is in charge up there in Washington and why don't they see what the rest of us see?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday March 10, 2007? Savings time?

Tomorrow we change our clocks again. This year it comes 3 weeks earlier, for some unexplained reason, and it will last one week later. If congress can pretend that now is later, for now, then why can't we do something similar?

Being retired now, I find myself sleeping later and I often geel guilty about that. I suppose it's leftover training from all those years of alarm clocks and having to be at an exact spot at an exact time. I got to thinking about this arbitrary time keeping that we call “daylight savings time”. Actually, retired people don't need to save daylight. They have all the daylight they need. What if we created our own time – we could call it “Bob's daylight time”. Since I sleep a bit later, instead of moving the clock up, I will move the clock back an hour. So when your clock, set at daylight savings time, says 9:00, mine will say 7:00 and I won't feel guilty anymore. The only problem I forsee is that television shows will be on way too early in the evening so I will record the shows and turn the calendar back one day and watch them on time. By Bob's time, this will be yesterday two hours earlier. When I watch today's shows tomorrow, it will be my today. And when I make my payments, I have to remember to make them early so you will think they are on time. If I pay them on time by my calendar, you will think them late my yours.

Now that we have that all straightened out, you will have to adjust your visits and calls to my time and calendar. When you come by on the weekend, be sure what day it is and be sure what time it is. Other than that, we should have no problems. I think this could be the start of a great system.

What if everybody adjusted their clocks and calendars to their own particular needs, like congress?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday March 9, 2007 Law of Attraction?


You get what you think about, whether wanted or unwanted.

All forms of matter and energy are attracted to that which is of a like vibration.

You are a living magnet.

You get what you put your energy and focus on, whether wanted or unwanted.

Energy attracts like energy

Everything draws to itself that which is like itself.


At least that is what they say.

I never thought about it exactly that way. I know that if I try to act upbeat, I usually end of feeling very positive. One of my favorite sayings is “How are you this bright and cheery morning?”. I believe in maintaining a happy face and looking for the joy in life. I have always said that I am basically “lucky” and that everything will just naturally work out fine. Even when something bad happens, you just assume that it could have been worse and that you were still lucky. So maybe all these years I have been applying this law of attraction that everyone is talking about now.

I would have to agree with parts of it. If you think positive about everything then you will remain positive and will not be consumed by the negative. You do not dwell on what might have been or what could have been but focus on what you have now. You become very happy with your life and those around you. Sadness and misfortune wash out of your life very quickly. In any situation, as long as you are still alive, there is hope. If you lose an arm, you have the challenge of learning to do everything one-handed. If you lose your eyesight, you still have your hearing and can enjoy music and sounds. You don't let the losses control – you count your assets and continue.

Life can be very good and there are always new things to be learned and new beauty to discover. Life is about the memories you make.


I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.....Martha Washington

Saturday, February 10, 2007

If I didn't have George to pick on, who would be left? He's such an easy target because he is always leading off on the wrong foot. What's bad is that he gets away with many of his missteps. I suppose if you were surrounded by legions of “yes” men, you wouldn't acknowledge any of your mistakes either.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush asked Congress to help solve "one of the great challenges facing our generation" by approving proposals he says will cut U.S. gasoline consumption by up to 20 percent over 10 years.

"Every member of Congress who cares about strengthening our economy, protecting our national security and confronting climate change should support the energy initiatives I have set out," the president said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "We can leave behind a cleaner and better world for our children and grandchildren."

Bush's energy proposals, made in his State of the Union address last month, include ramping up the production of alternative fuels such as ethanol made from new, non-corn feedstocks. The president wants to require the use of 35 billion gallons a year of ethanol and other alternative fuels, such as soybean-based biodiesel, by 2017, a fivefold increase over current requirements. The ethanol would be in gasoline blends of 10 percent to 85 percent.

The call for sharp increases in ethanol use will get bipartisan support in Congress. But production of ethanol from corn is expected to fall far short of meeting such an increase. So Bush envisions a major speedup of research into production of "cellulosic" ethanol made from wood chips, switchgrass and other feedstocks.


After promising support for renewable energy our illustrious leader has proposed a cut in funding for the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). After promising a 20% reduction in fuel use through renewable sources, Bush promptly proposed a raise in funding for fossil fuels and nuclear development, while at the same time proposing a 3% budget cut for NREL. You may remember last year Bush visited the NREL labs in Golden Co. His visit was marred by the fact that many workers at the lab had been laid off just prior to his arrival.

It seems that this administration is up to its old tricks again. Say one thing, do another. How can Bush hope to meet renewable energy goals without renewable energy research?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday February 3, 2007 Posters

I think these posters say it all for now.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday February 2, 2007 Latest News

Have you seen the latest news?

The NIE report (national intelligence estimate) says that no matter what we do right now in Iraq, it won't work. There is too much divisiveness in the country for the various groups to ever unite. It appears that the future will have to deal with partitioning the country. We are dying while trying to save the unity of the country and they don't want it. Their concerns date back over a thousand years and are embedded in their society. Our democracy won't work over there.

The latest report and forecast for the earth says that no matter what we do right now to stop additional greenhouse gas pollution, the earth will continue to get hotter and the weather will get wilder because the effects of the pollution to date will take a century to be fully realized. And we're not curbing the pollution – we're just trying to slow down the increase.

Where can I get a large handbasket? We're going to need one where we're going.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tueseday January 23, 2007 The state of our union

What is the state of our union?

In the past 6 years, we have seen the state of our union deteriorate. We have seen terrorists strike us in the heart of New York. We have seen natural catastrophes like hurricane Katrina wipe out a whole city. We have seen our economic situation slip from balanced budget to the largest deficit in history. We have started a major war with two countries and have not finished either one. We have ignored the plight of our uninsured countrymen and given great tax breaks to the wealthy. The state of our union is deplorable. Under the guidance of the Republican party our union has been plundered and we have been separated into the rich and the poor with little care from those in power for those without. We have watched other countries bypass our own in medical care and educational benefits. We have taken the attitude that you can buy whatever you can afford, leaving a great society for the rich and the rest of us watching from the outside. We start to look to other countries hungrily wondering why we can't have what they have.

This isn't the same United States that I grew up in. We cared more about the average man than we did for the special interests. Even the rich made a semblance of caring. No more. There is only greed for wealth and power.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday January 20, 2007 You need a back plan

Ooh, oww, ouch. I'm learning new moans and groans.

For 30 years I've fought a bad back that kept getting worse and worse. I hurt it in a skiing accident in the 70s. Back then the doctor advised to avoid back surgery as long as possible – so I did. Then, this last year it became harder and harder to even walk very far without pain so I decided that I had put it off as long as possible. Now the back surgery isn't nearly as invasive as it used to be. I was on the table for over 3 hours, but able to walk the very next day. They let me out of the hospital after 24 hours and sent me home to recuperate. I was in fine shape until the pain medication wore off. Apparently the pain will be with be for a matter of some months as the bone grafts merge with where the steel plates were screwed in. Once my body adapts and adjusts to the new status and the effects of being cut open and being stretched and hammered on subside, I will enter into physical therapy (about 3 months after surgery). Until then, I'm supposed to not do anything strenuous or any lifting that puts a strain on my back. In other words, I'm supposed to be a bum for about 3 months and moan and groan a lot. I can do that.

Already I can tell that where it hurt before (down deep in the lower part of my back) doesn't hurt now. Right now my back is black and blue and hurts in many other spots, but I'm hoping those pains will subside.

Maybe I'll be able to get out and go skiing again? I don't think so. Most people I know skied until they got hurt and then quit. Same as me.

I can really get into this being a bum under doctor's orders. It's hard, but someone's got to do it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday January 13, 2007 Who's irresponsible?

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Saturday challenged lawmakers skeptical of his new Iraq plan to propose their own strategy for stopping the violence in Baghdad.

"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," Bush said.

Obviously, he isn't listening. Most of the congress has stated it's support of the Iraq Study Group Report. Here we had a panel of highly revered experts who are eminently qualified studying the entire situation and concluding unanimously on the report. But George has his own opinions and he has never made a mistake.

As stated in the Iraq Study Group Report:

“Despite a massive effort, stability in Iraq remains elusive and the situation is deteriorating.The Iraqi government cannot now govern, sustain, and defend itself without the support of theUnited States. Iraqis have not been convinced that they must take responsibility for their ownfuture. Iraq’s neighbors and much of the international community have not been persuaded toplay an active and constructive role in supporting Iraq. The ability of the United States to shapeoutcomes is diminishing. Time is running out.”

The Iraq Study Group recommended most combat troops be withdrawn by early 2008 and the U.S. mission changed from combat to training and support of Iraqi units. It also called for an energetic effort to seek a diplomatic solution to Iraq's violence by engaging its neighbors, including Iran and Syria.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. Incoming Senate majority leader said. "Talking to the same people he should have talked to four years ago does not relieve the president of the need to demonstrate leadership and change his policy now."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday January 10, 2007 What did you expect?

Put the following excerpts together and it appears we have unlimited funds for war, but not for education or healthcare. Does this make sense? I guess I'm just a bit disappointed in our leaders at this point.

WASHINGTON - The cost of putting each U.S. military service member in the Iraq war zone approached a record-high $400,000 by the end of 2005 and is continuing to rise sharply, according to a government study.
The figure, which did not include basic pay, means the Iraq war is costing more per fighter than any other U.S. war, according to experts.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Unswayed by anti-war passions, President Bush will send 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq and build the American presence there toward its highest level to quell worsening bloodshed. The move puts Bush on a collision course with the new Democratic Congress and runs counter to advice from some senior generals.
Bush's blueprint would boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq - now at 132,000 - to 153,500 at a cost of $5.6 billion. The highest number was 160,000 a year ago in a troop buildup for Iraqi elections.
President Bush pushed for renewal of the No Child Left Behind education law Monday in a meeting with congressional leaders but was noncommittal on their request for more money to help schools meet the law's requirements.
The administration and Republican lawmakers have underfunded the law by about $50 billion, compared to what was originally called for. Republicans say it is common practice for legislation to be funded at less than the full level.
Bush would provide tax credits to help people purchase insurance on the open market. The main problem with Bush's plan is that his tax credits would not pay for much of a health insurance package. The average cost for health insurance in the U.S. is approximately $5,000 a year for a family of four, not $2,000, which is all that the Bush tax credit would provide. A family purchasing $2,000 worth of health insurance would have to settle for a policy that denied coverage for many basic services or that charged high additional amounts in deductibles and co-payments, which the family could not afford.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tuesday January 9, 2007 What are the benefits of doubt?

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's new plan for Iraq sounds a lot like his old one. Send in more troops, set goals for the Iraqi government and assure Americans it's better to wage war there than here.

The plan the president will outline to the nation Wednesday night is the latest repackaging of a program that's been wrapped and rewrapped many times.

But Bush advisers believe that Americans do not necessarily support an immediate withdrawal and might be willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt if he presents a feasible, detailed plan that points the way to an eventual U.S. drawdown.

I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when they announced that there were weapons of mass destruction – and that was the reason for the war. WRONG!
I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when they said that we would be welcomed as liberators. WRONG!
I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when they said the hostilities were over and the mission was accomplished and there were less than 300 of our boys killed. WRONG!
I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when they said that we were fighting insurgents and terrorists in Iraq instead of here in the United States. (it wasn't a civil war) WRONG!
I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when we were looking forward to the Iraq election and then we would start withdrawal. WRONG!
I gave President Bush and his advisors the benefit of a doubt when they said that this war would cost only 50 Billion dollars, tops. The oil revenues would pay for the reconstruction. WRONG!

Now I doubt whether President Bush and his advisors know any solutions to any of the problems facing Iraq. They seem to be stuck in a rut (stay the course) and hoping that stubborness and sacrifice will eventually bring something that appears to be a victory.

Now I have nothing but doubt about any of President Bush and his advisors' plans for continuation of this damned war.

It has become a civil war, just like in Vietnam. They won't resolve their problems until we leave, just like in Vietnam.
The longer we stay, the more lives and dollars we will lose, just like in Vietnam.
We don't understand the people or their culture, just like in Vietnam.
We are trying to impose our culture and our beliefs and our way of living on another country, just like in Vietnam.

We won the liberation but we've lost the occupation.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Monday January 1, 2007 One can hope

We've said it before. Let's say it again, with hope and a bit of a prayer.


The slate is clean. Mistakes were made in the past, but can now be forgotten. It's a brand new year with potential. It can be a good year. It can be a great year. It's really up to us and how we use it. We've wasted many years in the past and literally thrown those years away. Maybe 2007 will be one of those years we can remember fondly. 2007, the year when we took the first steps forward into a new era.

Once can hope.