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.