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.