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