Friday, August 29, 2008

Wake Up America

I had all sorts of troubles with this blog. I am not going to write it over because it was about the Democrat's convention and that is now history.

Instead I am going to write my comments about Sarah Palin. I have heard the talking heads bloviate on McSame's choice both pro and con. It seems to me that the pros who are trying to play up her strengths have very slim pickings to go on. It boils down to two positives that I can recognize. 1) She cancelled the 'bridge to nowhere" and 2) She gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome even though she could have aborted the fetus when she knew there would be a disadvantaged baby.

Both are commendable and I will only make the comment that I wonder who is taking care of that baby while she is off politicking.

The bad news is that she was not properly vetted and John McSame, who wanted Liebeman, was told by the right wing that "he couldn't have the other Joe". So, having met her but once, he threw away any credibility he might have had on not being beholden to the Christian conservatives and chose her instead.

Sarah Palin will win the support of the NRA, the Christian right, and the Right to Life crowd. But if McSame thinks he will get the disgruntled Hillary backers with this far right Christian Fundamentalist gal I think he made a big mistake.

She will attract a lot of men who like guns and pretty women, but she will turn off just as many women who don't like agressive and gun totin' Mols.

I guess only time will prove me right or wrong, but it is inconceivable to me that the voters will look at the person who is only one heart beat away from the presidency and not find her extremely thin qualifications very scary.

Following is the letter I received on Sarah Palin's environmental record. It's enough to make Gore want to run again.

Dear Darlene,

A few hours ago, the news broke that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been selected by Sen. John McCain as the vice presidential candidate for the Republican ticket.

As a Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund supporter, you are no doubt aware of Governor Palin’s dismal record, from her staunch support for special interests and Big Oil to her terrible assault on wolves and other wildlife.

As much of the nation wonders just who Sarah Palin is, I wanted to pass along my statement that I've just released.

Please read it and pass it along to everyone you know.

Thanks for your continued support,
Rodger Signature

August 29, 2008

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON-- Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Travel Photos

Busy, busy, busy. The 'hurrieder' I go the 'behinder' I get. Lack of time prompts me to take the easy path again and post more old pictures I took on my travels.

The top photo is marble courtyard of
King Louis XIV, Versailles.

The next one is Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford on the Avon.

You will all recognize the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It really tilts.

The bottom photo is my favorite place of all -- Carcasonne, France.

Click on any of my photos to enlarge them.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Democrat's Convention

Did you feel a sense of pride in the three women who, to me, were the most inspiring in last night's Democratic convention opening? I am referring to Michelle Obama, Barack's sister, Maya, with her beautiful smile and Hillary with her call to unity.

The most poignant moment for me, though was when Ted Kennedy courageously stepped up to the podium. It was a teary time for me having lived with a man who died of multiple terminal brain tumors. I know how weak Ted must have been, but he mustered the energy to boom forth with his powerful voice and rally the troops.

It is so inspiring to see a person who really puts the love of country and party above his own needs. When Ted said it was a time for hope I had a lump in my throat and when he said he would be in the Senate on January first that lump grew into a mountain and my eyes got misty.

I know that the diagnosis of terminal cancer can consume your every waking thought and yet, here stood a man, so weak that he had to ride in a golf cart to the podium, to proclaim a message of hope.

Here's to you, Ted, and may your continue the courageous fight and be on the floor of the Senate next January to celebrate.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Travel photos

If any of you read my post this morning and are wondering what happened I will enlighten you.

I went to the dentist and found out there was a valid reason to give me an antibiotic and to give me so many injections. My whine gave a false impression; therefore the whine is gone.

Because I want to watch the Democrat convention I will post some photos to refresh your memory if you have been to these places. If not, you can dream.

I am posting a hodgepodge of places I've been. The first it the welcome from the King to the Kodak show in Oahu.

The next one is from the (probably) Toltec ruins in Mexico

The next is a Roman Aquaduct in France.

The fourth, and last photo, is Holyrood House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Post Script To the Last Post "No Blood For OIl"

Please read my previous post "No Blood For Oil" before reading this one. They should have been posted as a single unit.

In addition to "Facts are stubborn things" John Adams had another quote that is a favorite of mine. It is:
Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people: John Adams

Nancy sent me this funny spoof on the Bush presidency that I think every one will enjoy. I would like to post it here, but for expediency I am just including the link. If you like to laugh, please click here.

My last political rant itemized many of the blunders of 'Bush and company' but I failed to mention the signing statements. As of February 8, 2008 George Bush had signed a total of 156 signing statements. While this practice has not been declared unconstitutional, it has certainly undermined the separation of powers. It is a way of weakening Congress' authority and power. It is also an indication of the secretive way this administration has governed.

It really mystifies me that some people still defend Bush and fail to see the danger he has put our nation in. I guess Honest Abe was right. You can fool some of the people all of the time.

Now that I have ranted on the Bush presidency that, thank God, is almost over, I am going to look forward to a future danger.

One of the most frightening to me, and one that will have the most lasting effect, is the fate of the Supreme Court. There are three Justices who are certainly going to retire within the next four years. John Paul Stevens is 88, Anthony Kennedy is 72,and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while only 69, has had cancer. John McCain has already praised Samuel Alito as his favorite Justice and has promised to nominate like thinking Judges. He is determined to overturn Roe vs Wade which will have the dire result of criminalizing doctors and women who either preform or need abortions. No one wants an abortion, contrary to what the pro-lifers claim. It is most certainly NOT expensive birth control and is only a last resort for desperate women. We have experienced the terrible consequences of making abortion illegal and I doubt that anyone who lived during that time would want to return to those dark ages of coat hanger abortions.

I do hope that those who disagree with my rant will take the time to delve out the facts on my statements and not do, as so many of the opposite view have done, believe what the Fox talking heads and Rush Limbaugh say and swallow it whole. Or believe what a novelist wrote on Climate Change instead of believing the Scientists who actually make a study of it.

Please, please vote intelligently based on facts and not spin or sound bites. I beg you; our country depends on it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No Blood For Oil

So many things are wrong; so little time to fix them.

A Tome could be written about all of the mistakes, deceptions, errors in judgment and illegal acts of this Administration. It would read like a cheap novel and if everything were documented no one would believe that this could happen here. There is no single part of government that this administration hasn't destroyed or weakened. (And we thought Nixon was bad; at least he opened up China.)

I tried, in fairness to think of one good thing that Bush has done right and I just couldn't come up with one. I'm sure someone will enlighten me. I do tend to be biased. ;-)

And so, off the top of my head, I am listing the obvious ones first that even the most oblivious will find hard to refute. Remember, facts are stubborn things.

  • The economy is in the tank.
  • The horrible cost in lives and money due to the illegal and ruinous war with Iraq.
  • The environment has been ignored and allowed to deteriorate further,
  • The slowest job growth in 50 years.
  • The National debt is 9.5 trillion: the largest in history
  • The biggest divide between the rich and poor since the days of the robber barons.
  • The destruction of our image in the world. We are now a nation that is hated.
  • The infrastructure has been allowed to crumble.
  • Politics have been injected into the highest court in our land.
  • The housing market is imploding.
  • Big Corporations pay no taxes.
  • Schools are saddled with mandated tests and no money to pay for them and our educational system is becoming one of the worst compared to other industrialized nations..
  • Our voting system is becoming more unreliable with touch pad electronics and illegal meddling.
  • Placing Ideologues as heads of Cabinet positions who made decisions based on ideology rather than facts and science.
I could continue with sub-topics about Abu-Graib, torture, secrecy, Katrina, illegal wire tapping, the outing of Valerie Plame, etc. But people who read already know all this.It's the insidious small things that escape detection and that are also undermining our society. It all began when Bush came into office and was determined to undo everything Clinton had put in place. Treaties were canceled or ignored, The Israeli/Palestinian conflict was put on the back burner and shoved aside.. If Clinton did it, Bush undid it without any analysis of its merit. He was like a petulant child who stamped his feet if he didn't get his way. So, because the administration wanted to do some 'not-so-nice' and/or illegal things, they became obsessively secretive. It will be years for the extent of the complete damage done to see the light of day. Due to the illegal loss (?) of documents ("The White House is missing as many as 225 days of e-mail dating back to 2003 and there is little if any likelihood a recovery effort will be completed by the time the Bush administration leaves office), we may never know all of the sleazy things done by this administration. If the records finally are found and haven't been destroyed we may learn that this administration caused a popular governor to go to prison on trumped up charges. And other Federal prosecuters lost their jobs because they didn't prosecute Democrats or did prosecute Republicans. The independence of the judicial system meant about as much as checks and balances to these guys.

The Conservative belief that all things can be cured by privatizing them is undermining our society in ways that will last for generations. The disastrous Medical Reform Act has further weakened our health system that is now so broken that the only way to fix it would be to scrap it and start over. Of course, that would create such a furor that it will never happen.

Little by little more insidious facts are spilling out about what the Bush Administration has really done to our country under the radar. Sometimes deliberately and sometimes with sheer incompetence. A new fact just surfaced that people were sickened and some died because the FDA ignored. or glossed over, a report that 88 tainted shipments of chili peppers were turned away months ago. Since they took no action, more peppers were allowed in and people ingested Salmonella. This is just one example of incompetence at agencies that were once professional. And we all know about the mess in New Orleans.

Surprise, surprise !! The real reason we went into Iraq was one that some of us (including Barak Obama) believed to be true at the time. One word. OIL. Remember the people who cried, "No blood for
oil !"? They were vilified by the administration and called traitors. Now everyone should know that they were right and were the true patriots.

Prior to the war the oil industry was nationalized by the government of Iraq and they made it extremely difficult for foreign oil companies to do business there. But wonder of wonders, Hunt oil has just signed an agreement with the Kurds, four more American oil companies have signed temporary agreements, and seven more will be bidding. No wonder Dick Cheney deviously worked behind the scenes to make sure this war happened. And no wonder he has hidden his meeting on energy and refuses to release the documents.

Now, to add injury to insult, Bush is trying to weaken the endangered species act. If those in this administration were our enemies they couldn't do a better job of ruining our country. Wait a minute - maybe they are our enemies. Methinks they 'protesteth too much' on how patriotic they are. (Okay, that's over the top, but I couldn't resist. Forgive me.)

What is more sickening is the number of people who can't see that John McCain will continue all of these failed policies. He is no maverick, having voted with the administration 95% of the time. This information must be spread and understood by the electorate before we see the total destruction of our country.

Please continue on to the post script to this post.

People At the Grand Canyon

I am working on a political post so today I will make it easy on myself and fill up space with more photos of my last trip to the Grand Canyon. I selected photos with people this time for a more human theme. It seems more appropriate after the latest news of having to evacuate the Indians and hikers from the bottom of the canyon after a mud dam broke.

The top photo is of a comedian who entertained us on the train. The cars are old, the seats close together and the aisles narrow. This guy was in our car for a long time and had moved toward the end of the car when I needed to use the facilities that were beyond him. I walked up the aisle and he didn't know I was behind him wanting to get by. Since he was well into his patter I didn't want to interrupt.

Each car on the train had an attendant in period costume. Ours was a very handsome piano player in the dress suit worn in the Gay Nineties. He saw my dilemma and quietly came down the
aisle to where I was standing and pinched the
entertainer on the butt. Without missing a beat the comedian whirled around and said, "Did you do that Maam?" I think my face turned a lovely shade of hot pink and I tried to avoid looking at all those laughing faces who were finding this episode to be the funniest thing said.

The next photo shows a couple of white haired buddies (I honestly don't know if it's two women or a man and woman).

The next photo is of a cliff house. If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can get a better view of the visitors.

The final photo shows our companions from the bus walking up to view a monument. I can't tell you what is on the plaque because I decided that the path was too rocky for me to navigate with my poor sense of balance.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Elder Jokes

Sometimes we have to keep our sense of humor and have a good laugh at ourselves. Remember what keeps the doctor away. ;-)

And if you've heard them before remember, I'm older than dirt and my jokes are too.


A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office. 'Is it true,' she wanted to know, 'that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?'

'Yes, I'm afraid so,' the doctor told her.

There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied, I'm wondering, then, just how serious is my condition because this prescription is marked 'NO REFILLS'.'


An older gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.

As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son.

'Yes, Dad, what is it? '

'Don't be nervous, son; do your best and just remember, if it doesn't go well,
if something happens to me, your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife....'



Eventually you will reach a point
when you stop lying about your age
and start bragging about it.


The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.


Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me! I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.


When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.


You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.


One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.


Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.


First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper It's worse when you forget to pull it down.


Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft... Today, it's called golf.


Two old guys are pushing their carts around Wal-Mart when they collide.

The first old guy says to the second guy, 'Sorry about that. I'm looking for my wife, and I guess I wasn't paying attention to where I was going.'

The second old guy says, 'That's OK, it's a coincidence. I'm looking for my wife, too. I can't find her and I'm getting a little desperate.'

The first old guy says, 'Well, maybe I can help you find her. What does she look like?'

' The second old guy says, 'Well, she is 27 yrs old, tall, with red hair, blue eyes, long legs, and is wearing short shorts.

What does your wife look like?'

To which the first old guy says, 'Doesn't matter, --- let's look for yours.'


Lord, Keep Your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Birth Story

Newborn Baby Mason, my latest great-grandchild

The following story is going around the Internet and is supposedly a true one as told by a teacher. True or not, it fits in with my previous post on kids and what they say. I love this one.

The best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back. When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplane, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement. 'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.) 'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like Psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

Then the middle wife starts saying 'push push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten.Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mt. Lemmon II

I didn't finish with the facts that I wanted to post yesterday, so decided to add a few more of the photos I took while on our picnic trip.

The Tohono O'dham Indians name for the mountain is Frog Mountain. The top of the mountain stands 9,000 ft. above sea level resulting in a 30 degree temperature difference between Tucson and Summerhaven. That's really welcome when our temperature reaches 100 degrees, but not so great in the winter.

The University of Arizona has an observatory in the Santa Catalina mountains named Mt. Lemmon Sky Center.

Now that I have
dispensed with the educational portion of my lecture (hmmm.) I will explain the photos. You will be ascending up the mountain with me.

The top
photo was taken at the first pull out and overlooks a housing development on the edge of Tucson. Notice the cactus in the middle.

The next photo is further up when we get into the rock formations that I showed on yesterday's post. The third photo is at a favorite stop where the hardy and young can climb on giant rocks.

The bottom photo is near the top of the mountain and overlooking the back side of the mountain. As I indicated yesterday, it was very hazy so the details are not clear. Perhaps I will be able to go back after our monsoon season and get better pictures.

I really needed this trip because the previous day I went to a new dentist. I have been with the same excellent dentist for 24 years and only changed because I need two expensive crowns. I foolishly decided to save money (not a small amount) and went to a dentist on my insurance plan. The new dentist found a cavity on the other side of my mouth and filled it. He decided I needed a root canal before getting the crown (I am not convinced about that.) and I left the office with the tooth needing a crown hurting and the one he filled still hurting. I can't chew on either side now so I look like Bugs Bunny as I masticate with my middle teeth.

Once again, I have to say like Bette, "Growing old ain't for sissies."
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mt. Lemmon

Yesterday was a wonderful day spent on Mt. Lemmon far away from politics, bad dentists and other cares of the world.

I don't have a clue as to the name of the wildflower, but thought it's cheery yellow color was worth a shot.

The top of the mountain has a village named Summerhaven. It is rebuilding after the terrible Aspen fire of 2003 that destroyed most of the structures. There is also a ski run on top and the areea is named Ski Valley.

From the desert floor you are only one hour away from the top where tall pines grow and temperatures drop
30 degrees. Needless to say, it is very popular with the

These photos were taken as we drove up the mountain. We drove from the desert with cacti, to weird rock formations ending in the tall pines. It is a wonderful drive and way to spend a day.

My friend and I took a picnic lunch and you can see where we enjoyed our repast on the bottom photo. A little bird shared our spot, hopping around looking for crumbs. There are bears on the mountain and I was grateful that our only visitor was our feathered friend.

We are in the middle of our Monsoon season and the humidity was 68%. Therefore, the view from the mountain was hazy. We were lucky and the rain held off until evening, long after we were home.

When the rain did come last night it was preceded by bolts of lightening and crashing thunder. I decided the Olympics would continue without me and I went to bed.

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John McCain - a Disasterous Choice

John McCain seems to have two things going for him with the public.
  • McCain is believed when he says that drilling offshore is necessary and that Congress must return and 'get to work' now. Of course, he conveniently forgets to mention that he has not voted on the last 8 energy votes even though he was in his Senate office when one of the votes was taken. He is certainly a 'Johhny come lately' to the issue of energy.
  • McCain is perceived to be stronger on national security than Obama. As I have previously stated, a military background is not necessarily a good background for a President. McCain's background has made him very militant. Having good judgment is far more important.
Those of you who read the Huffington Post will want to skip the rest of this post. Most of it will be taken directly from today's article. Arianna Huffington has put the second misconception in context very well with the following excerpt from today's post:

every day between now and November 4th voters should be reminded that:

McCain has been among the most ardent supporters of the war in Iraq -- the most disastrous foreign policy decision in American history.

McCain falsely claims that, from the beginning of the war, he called on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to resign. He should have, but he didn't.

McCain thinks it's "not too important" when American forces come home from Iraq.

McCain has repeatedly claimed that Iran was training members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the key players in the war. He doesn't understand the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, and even after being corrected he still doesn't get it.

McCain falsely claimed that the surge was what led to the Anbar Awakening, even though the Sunni revolt against al-Qaeda in the province began months before Bush even announced his plan to send more troops to Iraq.

McCain falsely claimed at the end of May that American troops in Iraq were down to "pre-surge levels" (brandished as proof that the surge was "succeeding") -- even though two-thirds of the additional surge troops were still in Iraq. And, when called on his mistake, he refused to acknowledge that he was wrong.

McCain falsely claimed that the war in Iraq was "the first major conflict since 9/11" -- either forgetting about the war in Afghanistan or deeming it not major enough. This is not all that surprising, since McCain's policies on Afghanistan -- the real central front in the war on terror -- have been all over the map. Indeed, McCain first attacked Obama's policy on Afghanistan, then adopted it for himself.

McCain has a long history of paying lip service to supporting America's troops but voting against their interests. His handling of the new GI bill was the latest example of his hypocrisy: he consistently and vocally worked to defeat it, then, once it passed, tried to take credit for it.

Need more proof of why McCain is not "ready to lead"? Do you want a president who thinks there is an "Iraq/Pakistan border"? Who believes Darfur is in Somalia? And that Czechoslovakia is still a country?

McCain and his handlers believe that national security and terror will be their secret weapon come the fall -- and any day when their ability to deploy it is not undermined by the Obama campaign is a good day indeed. (Hence the celebrity distraction.)

This is why Obama needs to come out firing after his vacation. Over and over and over again. The myth of John McCain's competence on foreign policy has been allowed to take root over many years -- so it will take more than a few polite swipes destroy it.

And this is not just strategic thinking and acting on the Bush-proven tactic of going after your opponent's primary strength. It is also the essential truth of this campaign. The world cannot afford McCain in the White House. George Bush has brought us to the brink of disaster; John McCain's will undoubtedly take us over the edge.

Obama needs to make it clear to the nation that that's what this election is all about.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summertime And the Livin' Is Easy

I was walking up my street the other day and this sight suddenly caught my attention. It is not an unusual scene; I see it every day when I walk up to get my mail. For some reason it spoke to me and I went home to get my camera to preserve it on film. The white puffy clouds reminded me of my childhood when I would lie on my back and see how many shapes I could spot in the clouds. The dark undersides of the clouds told me that a storm was probably brewing up there in the atmosphere. Somehow, this all seemed to be a metaphor for my life.

When trouble comes it is usually unexpected like the dark clouds that will turn a sunny day into a rainy one. One thing I have learned in my 80+ years is that the sun will come out again and all will be well. As the current colloquial saying goes, you just have to 'hang in there.'

Another thought was prompted by the clouds. I reminisced about the innocence of youth when anything was possible. I was going to write the great American novel, or compose a symphony, or find the cure for a dread disease. I looked forward to a life yet to unfold. As I looked up at the beautiful sky my dreams did not have limitations. Life was a movie and the ending was still a mystery.

Now the movie has been viewed and I know the plot. I didn't write that novel or compose that symphony or find a cure for cancer. And yet, my life was full of unexpected twists and turns and some wonderful things happened along the way.

The innocence of youth faded along with the belief that all things were possible. I became jaded and cynical as I discovered that justice does not always triumph and that some very bad things happen on earth. And yet the earth survives and the sun does come out again.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Will Drilling Offshore Lower the Price of Gas? NO ~~

I am not going to rant because the following stubborn facts speak louder than John McCain or anything I could say. I hope the charts are visible when you open this post. These are proof that the drill, drill, drill mantra won't help anything for years. Even then, the help will be microscopic.

While I don't intend to belabor the point I did hear that the drill, drill, drill drum beat is helping John McCain in the polls. That is downright depressing.

Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling - and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year. This is a quote from Paul Krugman.

Global Warming
Don't Buy Big Oil's Lies!

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the costs and benefits of offshore drilling. Here are some facts on why more drilling is not the answer to our energy crisis.

More oil drilling will not lower gas prices. It will only make the world's richest oil companies richer. The U.S. sits on less than 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. Even if we drill every corner of America, the oil will amount to a drop in the bucket globally and won't have an impact on prices on the world market.

(Click to see larger version.)
Source: EIA, Petrolium Statistics

The United States has more oil and gas rigs operating today than the entire rest of the world combined, with hundreds of millions of acres of onshore and offshore federal lands available for leasing.

The U.S. has 1,928 drilling rigs operating on our lands and waters, compared to 1,512 rigs operating throughout the rest of the world combined. (

Area in black available for oil leasing.Source: EWG analysis of leasing and drilling records in 12 western states, contained in the Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 database, acquired by EWG May 15 2004.

The U.S. has over 800,000 producing oil and gas wells, and oil companies already own rights to 68 million acres of federal land and coastline that they aren't even drilling.

Sources: Department of the Interior, unpublished table entitled “Total Number of Acres Leased, Data from FY 1994 through FY 2007” from Response to Questions for the Record from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, February 7, 2008; MMS, “Producing and Nonproducing OCS Oil, Gas, Slat, Sulphur Leases under Federal Supervision by Year Since 1960,” Region’s Quarterly Reports, as of April 2006; The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits, Rahallreport.pdf, June 2008; Inventory of Onshore Federal Oil and Natural Gas Resources and Restrictions to Their Development, U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy, May 2008.

Oil companies are making more money than any other industry in the history of the world. They don't need more breaks from American taxpayers.

Vice President Dick Cheney and others have claimed that other countries like China are already drilling off our coasts. But Cheney was forced to retract this lie after the Congressional Research Service proved there was absolutely no truth to the claim.

But what IS true is that there is no guarantee that if we open our beaches to drilling the oil won't just be shipped abroad.

Why ruin our beaches if we're only going to send the oil overseas?

Offshore drilling is a dirty business. If we open our coasts to Big Oil, we can look forward to ruined beaches, oil-slicked wildlife, and toxic air and water pollution.

More Cactus Blossoms

Today is a busy one; therefore my post will be more photos. The one above was taken yesterday and is of a Barrel Cactus. The bottom ones are of a Prickly Pear Cactus and the photos were taken in May. All are in my front yard.

I'm sure many of you know that jelly, jam and candy are made from the Prickly Pear fruit. My husband even made wine from it a couple of years. I thought it was ghastly, but he was proud of his efforts. I bravely smiled and drank it because I knew how much work he had put into it. I think I deserve a medal of some sort for my bravery.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Out Of the Mouths Of Babes

Gail and Mark
My two contributors to this story.

Art Linkletter used to have a radio show in which he featured kids and he would ask questions framed in a way to elicit funny answers. It was a big hit and I never missed it. I was musing about his show and began thinking about the funny things kids I knew had said.

One time I had a snake in my house and when I discovered it I let out a shriek. My son, who was still in diapers, asked me, “Whassa’ matter, Mommy?" In a breathless tone I replied, “There’s a snake in the house.” He asked me, “Did the snake go EEEK Mommy?”

When I was pregnant with my daughter my son was ten years old. It was not an easy pregnancy and I suffered with nausea the entire nine months. One night when my color was a shade of green my son looked at me with sympathy and said, “Mommy, you shouldn’t born any more babies. Maybe you should get your sack lowered, or whatever it is they do.”

My daughter stopped me cold when I scolded her for leaving her toys all over the living room when company was expected soon. She was four years old and with the wisdom of a precocious child told me, “You know something, Mommy? You never should of had children.” Ouch!

The funniest stories came from my friend's children. We were sharing a house with a couple who had two little boys. The oldest was three years old when he got mad at his parents for making him go to bed, which he loudly proclaimed that he didn’t want to do. In desperation he told his Mom that he was going to run away. His Mom played along with his charade and reminded him that he would get hungry and she put a potato in a sack for his lunch. Then she bundled him up, turned the porch light on, and asked him to be sure to write them when he learned how. It was January in Wisconsin and the snow was piled as high as the porch. It was also a very dark night with not a star visible. Donny, the little boy, was looking more and more unsure about running away, but he let his mother guide him outside. We turned the inside lights off and watched him from the window. He got as far as the end of the porch, stood there for a few minutes, came back in the house and proclaimed that he had decided to wait until tomorrow to run away. We assured him that was a wise decision.

I have saved what I think is the funniest one to the last. When my son was ten years old he had a good friend who had two sisters and a very small brother about three years old. We lived in the country so it was a long drive to Church. There was an old man that decided to hold Sunday School for the neighborhood children. The three older children of this family attended every Sunday, but the small child stayed home. One Sunday he decided that he wanted to go. When he got home his mother asked him what he learned. He said, “Oh, God lives in a tent and Jesus has a ring in his nose.” Needless to say, this puzzled his mother and she asked the oldest girl where he got those ideas. The girl thought for a long time and finally came up with the answer. She told her mother that when the Sunday School teacher ended the lesson he told them that God takes care of you and spreads his tent over you. And when he took up the collection he rang a little bell and said, “When I ring this bell, Jesus knows.”

I would bet that you have funny stories to tell and I would love hearing them.
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Monday, August 4, 2008

Senior T-Shirt

I need to be more careful. Some of you may have seen this on the previous post. Today I noticed a typo in the title so I edited it and the graphics just disappeared.

I am posting it again because I think we all need a laugh after my rants. (Maybe they are funny enough.) I hope that gremlin doesn't steal the t-shirt this time.

The Senior T-Shirt!

We are Valuable!!
We are more valuable than any of the younger generations:
We have silver in our hair,
We have gold in our teeth.
We have stones in our kidneys.
We have lead in our feet.

We are loaded with natural gas!!!

Thought for the day

Handle every Stressful situation like a dog.

If you can't eat it or play with it,

Pee on it and walk away.

Negative Advertising

I find it so depressing to learn that negative "Swift Boating" advertising works. Karl Rove and his protegee (who is advising McCain) must be dancing in the streets today.

The latest polls show that McCain, who was 9 points behind Obama, has bridged the gap with his barrage of negative ads and is now tied. What is the matter with people? I may be jaded, but I have very little confidence with the intelligence of the average voter. If they are so easily swayed by disgusting ads playing on the worst impulses in our society I hold no hope for democracy.

Remember the ad that brought down that very handsome black candidate, Harold Ford, in the last election? It showed a white bimbo whispering into a phone saying, "Call me Harold." This was a 'not-so-subtle' message of an 'uppity black man who would dare to date your white daughter". The voters got it; they defeated Ford who had been ahead prior to this ad.

Did you see that ad with Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton? If anyone thinks that the ad with Brittney, Paris and Barack was not a more insidious version of the same ilk, they are very naive. Then, to cap it, a smirking McCain says it was just injecting a bit of humor into the race. I didn't find it funny. Did you?

How can you possibly defeat this kind of racist message under the guise of humor? If Obama complains or explains, he is the one accused of injecting racism into the campaign. We all know that racism was there from the moment he showed his face. HE'S BLACK !

I don't know which of my emotions is strongest at this point. I am furious, disgusted and depressed. I thought that the public said they didn't want any more of this kind of negative campaigning; then why are they falling for it? My only hope is that it backfires and people begin to wake up.

I just read a review of Kevin Costner's latest movie, Swing Vote, dealing with this subject. At the risk of promoting a movie I haven't seen yet, I do think anyone who is interested in this subject should see it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Facts Are Stubborn Things

John Adams had a famous saying, “Facts are stubborn things.” Never has it been more important to separate fact from fiction than during an election campaign when bumper stickers and sound bites become accepted truths.

The average person does not have the time to verify everything that is said during a campaign. The sad result is voting based on half-truths, distortions and outright lies. The campaign managers know this and use it to their advantage. As Mark Twain said, "A lie gets half way around the world before the truth puts on her boots."

The result is that some people still believe that Obama is a Muslim despite that fact that he is a practicing Christian. Others believe that John McCain is still a maverick in spite of the fact that he is parroting the Bush administration’s policies right down the line. The media keep reaffirming this view by bringing it up in spite of the fact that McCain has voted with the Bush administration almost all of the time and would keep the same policies if elected.

Polls indicate that more people believe that John McCain would be the strongest candidate to protect us as Commander-in-Chief. This perception seems to be based on the fact that he was born into a military family and that he served and was captured. It IS a fact that he was a prisoner of war and knows what torture is. It is NOT a fact that this makes him a better candidate to be Commander-in-Chief. If so, our best presidents who won wars would have been military men. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, but his leadership helped the North win the Civil War in spite of being burdened with some really bad Generals. Franklin D. Roosevelt was crippled by Polio and was physically unable to be in the military. Yet with their leadership they won wars. Only two Presidents have actually taken to the battlefield. George Washington and James Madison (who lost the battle). (Wickpedia).

Therefore, military experience is not a necessary, or even a desirable, characteristic for a President. What he must possess is excellent judgment, intelligence and knowledge. Many factors come into play in keeping a country safe. They are too numerous to mention here, but if you use your own thinking cap you will realize that knowing WHEN to go to war is one of the more important ones. (Or, as they say, when to hold and when to fold.) McCain still actually maintains that going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do.

John McCain knows that his military experience is his best playing card and so he is trying to portray Barack Obama as being weak and lacking in knowledge. (That's a hoot when you realize that McCain said there was a border between Iraq and Pakistan). McCain is making false statements about Obama’s record. Here are some of the misstatements on his recent ad followed by the truth.
  • Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan.
Barack Obama is on the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe. Afghanistan is not in Europe. Afghanistan was not in his area of responsibility.
Fact: McCain is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has missed every hearing the past two years.

  • He (Obama) hasn’t been to Iraq in years.
While McCain has been to Iraq he was so protected that there is no way he could have known what was really happening. Instead, on his last visit he gave a Pollyanna view of everything being just peachy keen there. It sure as heck wasn’t, as it turned out. Where is his judgment?
  • He voted against funding our troops
This is an outright lie. Obama voted for funding every time with the one exception when they were trying to force a timeline on withdrawing the troops.
  • He made time to go to the gym, but canceled a visit with wounded troops.
This distortion of what really happened has been covered by the media. Obama didn’t cancel; it was never on his schedule. Obama did visit the military hospital in Baghdad with no fanfare. The McCain ad makes it sound like Obama was just having fun at the gym and ignores the fact that the troops were there and he was actually visiting them in Kuwait.
  • John McCain is always there for our troops.
This is the one that really sticks in my craw. McCain has actually voted against, or has not shown up for, funding for the troops nearly every time. He voted against the GI bill, against the funding for armored vehicles bill, against a bill requiring adequate rest between deployments, a plan to draw down troop levels, against funding for outpatient treatment for Vets, against increasing Vet's medical services, etc. (Source, www.Vets For Common Sense,org.)
  • McCain. Country first.
Yeah, right! That is, if you believe that the country can survive another 4 to 8 years of the current policy.
  • John McCain approved this message.
Please question, question question when you listen to campaign ads whether left, right or front and center.

John Adams was correct; facts are stubborn things.