Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blossoms, Musings and an Update

Pyracantha blossoms that will turn into the red berries that the birds love.

Blossoms on one of my potted succulents.

This is a photo of the Jasmine plant I showed in a previous post. It's at it's full glory now and the blossoms will soon be gone.

I do love the renewal of life that occurs when Spring arrives.

As I looked at these lovely blossoms of renewal I remembered an old story. Many of you have probably heard it, but I will repeat it anyhow.

A elderly man in Brooklyn was hit by a car while crossing the street and killed. An autopsy was ordered and the Pathologist made an amazing discovery. He found that the body was riddled with cancer, heart disease, and numerous other maladies. According to acquaintances, the man had never been to a doctor or had a sick day in his life.

I have no way of knowing if that man never felt pain or if he chose to ignore it. But I have often thought of that man when a sharp pain makes me say, "Now what?"

They are just beginning to unravel the mysteries of the brain and who knows what they may discover in time. I only know that attitude is 90% of the power of healing. It is still healthier to be optimistic rather than dwelling on our ills.

I have a weird theory about the brain and illness. I believe that in time some scientist will discover that the brain has healing powers. They already know that the brain releases endorphins to calm us if we work hard. They can help in a stressful situation, but we must exert energy to let them flow.

What do I base my theory on? I have first hand knowledge of seemingly miraculous healing without the aid of medicine. This has bothered me because, as a very pragmatic person, I don't want to believe in miracles. Whether the healing was done by prayer, belief in Christian Science, or simply denial such miracles have occurred when the believer had the kind of faith that moves mountains.

On the other hand, I have also witnessed failures of those same individuals who held that strong belief. I have come to the conclusion that in some way the successes were due to the believer tapping into that part of the brain that can heal.

Okay, it may be a 'kookie' theory. I am just throwing it out for discussion.

AARP has a list of what the Health Care Reform will do. I decided it's time to update the information.

  • Helps 32 Million Americans get insurance.
  • Makes preexisting conditions a thing of the past. Insurance can't use them to deny coverage for children from this year on, or adults starting in 2014.
  • Guarantees basic benefits for everyone in Medicare, makes preventative services free for most, and gradually closes the "doughnut hole" in the Part D drug program.
  • Sets up a temporary program in July to help people with preexisting conditions - who have been uninsured at least six months - obtain coverage.
  • Provides new benefits for most people who already have insurance, such as coverage for children until the age 26.
  • Leaves medical decisions in the hands of your doctor and you.
  • Requires most people to have coverage by 2014, but offers subsidies for those with low or moderate income and makes more people eligible for Medicaid.
  • Created State-run-insurance exchanges offering a menu of private insurance plans for people who are uninsured, self employed, or between jobs.
  • Offers immediate tax credit help for small businesses to buy insurance for employees.
  • Keeps Medicare financially sound for at least ten more years and reduces the U.S. deficit by an estimated $143 billion.
While the bill did not give most of us all that we desired, it's a start in the right direction.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arizona's Shame

Well, she did it. Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, just signed one of the worst pieces of legislation into law in a history of bad laws in AZ. Unless you have been hibernating in a cave, you know the law I mean; the anti-immigration piece of garbage the Russell Pearce, just foisted on us.

Ms. Brewer just gave new meaning to the jokes about dumb blonds. (I suspect that her blond has come from a bottle, though. Meow.) I was sickened when I heard this lame brain governor give her rationale for signing this stupid piece of legislation.

Where is our former governor, Janet Napolitano, when we need her? Oh, darn, she was so good that Obama tapped her to be in his cabinet. Janet vetoed similar legislation time after time when the fringe wingnuts in our leggie passed similar legislation. You do know that Jan Brewer was not elected, but was selected to replace Janet, don't you? Who did that dastardly deed, I wonder.

Arizona is cutting vital school programs right and left because we are out of money. Now we will be spending money to defend this idiotic bill because sane people are already lining up to sue Arizona. Our own Senator in Washington, Rual Grivala, is urging a boycott of our State. So there goes one of our main sources of revenue, tourism. I am sure conventions will stay away in droves from this backward leaning state. In addition, I am sure the Mexican Nationals across the border will be afraid to come do their shopping in Arizona now. That is another big source of revenue that will go down the drain. Some business's are against this legislation because they use guest workers for farm labor, etc; backbreaking work that others do not want to do. Unintended consequences are going to further put our state in financial trouble.

I believe that this law will not stand the test of constitutionality. It is unconstitutional for a state to pass laws that supersede Federal laws. Immigration is the province of the Federal Government. In addition, it will be impossible to implement this law without racial profiling, which is a crime.

From the President to the lowliest citizen the condemnation of this mean spirited law is being broadcast all over the nation. Here are a couple of excerpts in this morning's papers.

From Creator's editorial page, Mark Shields wrote: Reason has not stopped the Arizona state legislature from passing a bill to require every presidential candidate to provide a birth certificate in order to be listed on the state ballot.

This is the poison harvest of a political paranoia that demonizes and dehumanizes one's opponents.

We, the real majority who care about our country, have an obligation to reject the politics of personal destruction and the Big Lie on every side and to give our political opponents the benefit of the doubt — that they may very well care just as much about America and their children's future as we think we do.


From the L. A. Times: Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said the authorities’ ability to demand documents was like “Nazism.”
Paranoia, extremism, bigotry and hatred make bad laws. We certainly have our share on the books. How in God's green earth can you identify an illegal entrant without racial profiling? This law is aimed directly at the Mexican illegals who usually have dark skin, brown eyes and dark hair. Guess who will be stopped by a racist policeman? A fair skinned, blue eyed illegal from (say Poland) is perfectly safe here.

It will also be a misdemeanor to fail to have your papers with you proving your status. If you fit the description of a Mexican you will need to have a valid driver's license issued in the U. S., or other proof of citizenship or some other paper such as a Green Card to prove you are in the U. S. legally or you will be fined. What rot. Is this America, the land of the free? Is this the land that Lady Liberty said to bring the huddled masses and they would be welcome? No longer in Arizona.

Unless stopped by legal means, this law goes into effect in August. What a pity.

Late News: April 26 addition to this post. A necessary read to bolster my points.
Please read the following article in today's Huffington Post.

Monday, April 19, 2010

An Arizona Spring

Like a piece of Chocolate cake our Cactus blossoms don't last very long, but they are so lovely when they appear.

The top two photos are a Cholla.
The pink one is a Hedgehog Cactus and the yellow one is a Prickly Pear.

If these are familiar it's because I posted photos of the same plants a year ago. Some of you missed them so I am repeating posting photos of the blossoms in my neighborhood. (I am such a showoff.) I also tried out a new camera lens on the top four. I really can't tell the difference; it makes me wonder why I spent so much money on it.

I don't know the names of the last four cactus. They are in my neighbor's yard.
The yellow and orange blossoms appear to be those of a variety of a Barrel Cactus.

An aside: Is anyone else having trouble commenting on some blogs now that you have to sign in with a specific title? I have tried using my Google account and it automatically diverts me to a Google sign in page. After signing in my comment vanishes. On some blogs I can sign in using my URL, but not on all of them. So if you didn't get a comment from me it was not for wont of trying. Sorry !!!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Wild West

By now you have probably read that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Republican, signed a law making it legal to carry concealed weapons. The gun fight at OK Corral is about to be re-enacted, only it will probably be in a school, restaurant, or a shopping mall.

To further compound this insanity, this law removes a law on the books requiring a permit to carry a gun. To get the permit you had to have a one day course in the law and on how to use the gun and a background check. By sometime in August that will no longer be necessary. God, give me strength.

Sen, Pierce, Republican, said the signing of this bill on the anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, where 32 students were killed, was appropriate because if that law had been in effect the massacre could have been prevented. Does this nitwit have half a brain? I would say that if the gun laws had been more stringent that mentally deranged shooter would not have had a gun to begin with.

I am probably living dangerously in writing this because any yahoo who disagrees with my post can now come into my home to do repair work, pull out a gun from his tool box and shoot me. I am willing to be a martyr for the cause. (Do you think that heaven will provide me with 70 handsome studs?)

I remember that many years ago there was an article written by a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court which, after much study, determined that the prevailing part of the Second Amendment was "a well run Militia". And if you were not a part of a Militia the Amendment did not give you the right to own a gun.

I decided to turn to Wikipedia to see how the right to bear arms evolved into this current free for all that the NRA has foisted on us. I discovered that the arguments 'for and against' that right pertaining to individuals began before the amendment was drafted and continue to this day.


In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

  • deterring undemocratic government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection;
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • slave control in slave states.
Which of these considerations they thought were most important, which of these considerations they were most alarmed about, and the extent to which each of these considerations ultimately found expression in the Second Amendment is disputed.

During the 1760s pre-revolutionary period, the established colonial militia was composed of colonists, which included a number who were loyal to British imperial rule. As defiance and opposition to the British rule developed, a distrust of these Loyalists in the militia became widespread among the colonists, known as Patriots, who favored independence from British rule. As a result, these Patriots established independent colonial legislatures to create their own militias which excluded the Loyalists and then sought out to stock up independent armories for their militias.

The armed forces that won the American Revolution consisted of the standing Continental Army created by the Continental Congress, together with various state and regional militia units. In opposition, the British forces consisted of a mixture of the standing British Army, Loyalist Militia and Hessian mercenaries. Following the Revolution, the United States was governed by the Articles of Confederation. An unworkable division of power between Congress and the states caused military weakness, and the standing army was reduced to as few as 80 men. There was no effective federal military response to an armed uprising in western Massachusetts known as Shays' Rebellion. Subsequently, the Philadelphia Convention proposed in 1787 to grant Congress exclusive power to raise and support a standing army and navy of unlimited size

Drafting the Amendment:

Modern scholars Thomas B. McAffee and Michael J. Quinlan have stated that
James Madison "did not invent the right to keep and bear arms when he drafted the Second Amendment; the right was pre-existing at both common law and in the early state constitutions." In contrast, historian Jack Rakove

One aspect of the gun control debate is the conflict between gun control laws and the alleged right to rebel against unjust governments. Some believe that the framers of the Bill of Rights sought to balance not just political power, but also military power, between the people, the states and the nation, as Alexander Hamilton explained in 1788:

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.

Some scholars have said that it is wrong to read a right of armed insurrection in the Second Amendment because clearly the founding fathers sought to place trust in the power of the ordered liberty of democratic government versus the anarchy of insurrectionists. Other scholars, such as Glenn Reynolds, contend that the framers did believe in an individual right to armed insurrection. The latter scholars cite examples, such as the Declaration of Independence (describing in 1776 “the Right of the People to … institute new Government”) and the New Hampshire Constitution (stating in 1784 that “nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind”).

There was an ongoing debate in the 1780s about "the people" fighting governmental tyranny (as described by Anti-Federalists); or the risk of mob rule of "the people" (as described by the Federalists) related to the ongoing revolution in France. A widespread fear, during the debates on the ratification of the Constitution, was the possibility of a military takeover of the states by the federal government, which could happen if the Congress passed laws prohibiting states from arming citizens, prohibiting citizens from arming themselves or the federal government prohibiting the southern tradition of using their state militia for slave control.


The orthodox view of the meaning of the Second Amendment was articulated by Joseph Story in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution. In his view the meaning of the Amendment was clear:

The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.
In this quote, Story describes a militia as the "natural defence of a free country," both against foreign foes, domestic revolts and usurpation by rulers. The book regards the militia as a "moral check" against both usurpation and the arbitrary use of power, while expressing distress at the growing indifference of the American people to maintaining such an organized militia, which could lead to the undermining of the protection of the Second Amendment.

Abolitionist Lysander Spooner, commenting on bills of rights, stated that the object of all bills of rights is to assert the rights of individuals against the government and that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was in support of the right to resist government oppression, as the only security against the tyranny of government lies in forcible resistance to injustice, for injustice will certainly be executed, unless forcibly resisted. Spooner's theory provided the intellectual foundation for John Brown and other radical abolitionists who believed that arming slaves was not only morally justified, but entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. An express connection between this right and the Second Amendment was drawn by Lysander Spooner who commented that a "right of resistance" is protected by both the right to trial by jury and the Second Amendment.


Because I am not a legal scholar I will get flack from those who believe that the amendment gives the right to every individual to bear arms. I take issue with this premise on three counts. 1.) Why was the phrase "well regulated militia" even necessary in the amendment if it applied to all individuals? 2.) The phrase means just that; a well regulated militia. and 3) The term 'bear arms' refers to war. If you are not part of a militia it does not grant you, as an individual, a right to carry a automatic weapon that can gun down 32 people in a matter of minutes.

I wish the framers of the Constitution had resolved this and made the meaning of the amendment clearer. (Of course, they could not forsee the horrible weapons now available at every gun show.) Here we are, over two hundred years later still arguing this right.

I grew up in a home that had a large upright locked display cabinet with hunting rifles behind the glass. My step-father was an avid hunter and always filled his license. I ate so much venison and elk growing up that I used to complain that I would bugle. I actively avoid all game meat now.

I have no objection to single shot hunting rifles to kill birds and animals for human consumption. I do object to guns that spray a series of bullets in a matter of seconds. Where is the sport in that? And I have no objection to hunters owning hunting rifles or pistols after first undergoing a required background check and training course for the use of weapons.

I vociferously object to the NRA using their vast resources to intimidate Congress into weakening gun laws. Or in overturning a city's right to ban guns.

Most of all, I object to the Arizona legislators and governor making this a more dangerous place to live. To their shame, they didn't even restrict businesses that serve liquor. Listen for the gun fire. It's coming.


Another ill conceived idea by the 'leggie' (word 'leggie' thanks to the late great Molly Ivins).

As if toting a gun in Granny's purse isn't bad enough, our stupid, idiotic, lame brain 'leggies' have now proposed a worse bill, if possible. See this morning's NYT article for full particulars on the Immigration bill. It isn't law yet, but given Jan Brewer's record it soon will be. Who elects these neanderthals? Well, Phoenix does. Tucson does have some good legislators who fight hard to prevent such terrible bills from passing, but they are outnumbered. Here's the link to this outrage.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Astounding Republican Hypocrisy

For those who still think the voting public are astute, think again. The Republican party know better. They know that the voters have a shorter attention span than a flea. They know that the public have already forgotten that it was the Bush Administration that got us in this mess and that it was the Bush Administration that gave Wall Street a bailout with no strings attached.

Now, with a straight face, Mitch McConnell and his tin soldiers are turning the banking legislation proposed by Chris Dodd upside down and claiming that the Democrats are promising a giveaway to Wall Street. Huh? Can life get crazier than this? They are pandering to the Tea Party movement on the one hand, while trying to weaken the legislation to appease Wall Street on the other. Robert Reich has a wonderful editorial explaining how this works.

It is a well known fact that I hate two things; lies and hypocrisy. I have seen enough of it in my lifetime to become sickened about how well it often succeeds.

It makes me want to throw a temper tantrum. I won't do that because I have also learned that it is a waste of energy and serves no purpose. Beside, I have mentioned before that I no longer have enough steam to stamp or shout.

Now polls are claiming that the average Tea Party attendee is a college graduate, a middle age white male, and well to do. Go figure. You sure couldn't tell that they learned much in college from the comments I have heard them make. Critical thinking was not in their course of study. I guess they are just selfish grumps that simply don't want to pay their fair share.

A further update on my pesky tooth. I discovered that when dentists say they are going to put in a permanent filling they are referring to a crown. I now have a temporary crown and hope the permanent one is ready for my next appointment on May 5. This was a very big shock to me and to my pocketbook. The saga isn't over yet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Party and Socialism

I vowed that the Tea Party would not get any space on my blog, but I am reconsidering. My adrenalin starts flowing when I hear them rant about the liberals and Obama pushing a Socialist form of government. This false information is, of course, being promoted on Faux news. There is an excellent expose on how many times Faux News has pushed the Tea Party movement, contrary to Rupert Murdoch's denials. I can't find it, sorry, but it is complete with videos of the talking heads recommending the Tea Party movement.

(TP also stands for toilet paper on my shopping list; most apt, don't you think? The s__t ends up on both of them.)

I doubt that many of the TP bunch even know the definition of Socialism. For their edification I am printing it for them.


1. (Economics) an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels Compare capitalism

2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) any of various social or political theories or movements in which the common welfare is to be achieved through the establishment of a socialist economic system.

3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in Leninist theory) a transitional stage after the proletarian revolution in the development of a society from capitalism to communism: characterized by the distribution of income according to work rather than need.

The U. S. does have one socialist program and it is the most efficient and lowest cost health care system in the country. It is the Veteran's Administration.

While Medicare is administered by the government, it is not a Socialist program. Repeat after me: Medicare is not a socialist program! The government does not hire the doctors and other medical personnel, own the hospitals, or the pharmaceutical industry. If it were a true Socialist program the government would own and manage the entire system. The HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL that just passed into law IS NOT A SOCIALIST SYSTEM.

Now to move on to the Tea Party (TP's) and their misguided information source, Faux News.

Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans wrote the following 9 myths about the U. S. moving toward Socialism. The article was reproduced on Information Clearing House.

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Turkey. See

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out towards socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

Myth #4. The US is generous in its treatment of families with children.

The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low-income, or one of the parents is unemployed.

Myth #5. The US is very supportive of its workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other 30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers.

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of 8 paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers.

Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

Myth #9. The US generously gives foreign aid to countries across the world.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007 the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan.

Despite the opinions of right wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path towards socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

Here are a few more facts that the TP"s should pay attention to:

The Tea Party movement is not just a bunch of disgruntled citizens gathering spontaneously to protest. It's main funding comes from two extremely wealthy right wing individuals through their organizations. The Americans For Property Freedom Works and Koch Industries. Behind these two organizations are the following individuals: David Koch and Sarah Mellon Scaife . (If the name 'Mellon Scaife' sounds familiar you might remember that it was Richard Mellon Scaife who tried to bring Clinton down with his bogus scandals that led to Clinton's Impeachment.)

Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation gave 12 million to Freedom Works and 2.46 million to the Tea Party movement. Her wealth comes from Oil and Banking. Do you see the connection?

The organization is being managed by Dick Armey, former Republican member of the House of Representatives.

It's no wonder that the Republicans are reluctant to denounce this group. This is where a large source of income resides.

I am afraid that dismissing the Tea Party movement as a fringe group is ignoring the facts. It can become a very dangerous and divisive group and the big shots in Washington had better take note.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Yesterday I spent two hours copying a long list of jokes intending to post them. I had copied and pasted them from an e-mail. The original printing was so large that I was unable to post it, so I tried changing the font size. That usually works, but not this time. So I pasted it in Notepad. Still no luck.

The only alternative that I could find was to type the whole thing in my blog manually. I set the correct font and size and went to work. I had to change colors due to the changing jokes. Spacing became a problem, but, not to be deterred, I figured that out. I was determined that you were not going to miss these hilarious jokes.

At long last, and after much editing, I was ready to post it. As I scanned it one last time to make sure I hadn't missed a typo I noticed one of those little red circles with the x that you use to delete a box. I assumed that it was from the original copy that I had been using as a template and I didn't want that showing on my post.

Yep - you probably guessed it! I clicked on it and watched my entire post disappear. Gone, kaput, vanished off into cyberspace.

Did I scream, swear, throw things, stamp my feet or throw a tantrum you ask? Ten years ago I probably would have answered 'yes' to all of the above. You will be proud of me when I tell you that I didn't do any of those things. Well, save your pride. I didn't do them because I no longer have the energy it takes.

Instead of the giggle I wanted to give you, I am giving you a meme. So sorry!

And, no, I am not typing it over.

And, yes, you can laugh now.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The End Of the Saga And a Laugh

An update on my third root canal: the good news is that the procedure was finally successful. The bad news is that this was the most unpleasant one of the three. It took two hours from the first injection until they finally took that latex square off of my mouth. The Novocane was wearing off so at the end of the poking and scraping it became painful. If they had told me I needed another one I would have punched that specialist in the face. (No matter that she is sweet and gentle.) Now after I get a permanent filling next week it will be over.


Why we love children ...


I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, 'Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!'


On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents ..'


A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.'


A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, 'What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?'

5) POLICE # 1

While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop? Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report. My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'

6) POLICE # 2

It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'


While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'


A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, 'Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit.'
'And why not, darling?'
'You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning.'


While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.
The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: 'Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes.' (I want this line used at my funeral!)


A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'


A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
'Mama, look what I found,' the boy called out.
'What have you got there, dear?'
With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, 'I think it's Adam's underwear!'


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ronni

Happy, Happy Birthday, Ronni

Today, April 7, is Ronni Bennett's birthday. Ronni writes that outstanding blog, Time Goes By.
This incredible lady is mentor to many bloggers including yours truly. Stop by Ronni's blog today and wish her a happy birthday. Click on the link and enjoy a great blog.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How The Republicans Win

There are many days when I just want to give up and never hear, or read, another political rant. And when Obama disappoints me and gives new life to that discredited 'drill, baby drill' I say a pox on both of their houses. I was stunned when I heard the news that Obama was going to open up offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

While impractical, it is tempting to join the crowd who say, "Throw all the bums out." When disappointed I want to renounce all political parties.

Then I read a stunner like the article below and I become a Democrat again. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that there are very few Representatives in Washington, or in any State for that matter, that give a hoot for the public. It's all just like some gigantic game of holding onto, or gaining power.

The link will connect you to a Truthout article titled "How the Republicans Win."
If you have the time please follow the link and read the article. If not, you can read my abbreviated version. It will show you how Washington really works.

I will not bore you with any more of my observations. I think the article will be enough to digest for one day. I am posting an excerpt.

How Republicans Win

by: Robert Parry | Consortium News

The Republicans are following a playbook that has evolved over more than four decades, to regain power by sabotaging Democratic presidents.The "destroy Obama" game plan tracks most closely with Newt Gingrich's strategy for undermining Bill Clinton 16 years ago. But today's strategy also traces back to Richard Nixon's sabotage of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam peace talks in 1968 and Ronald Reagan's October Surprise gambit against President Jimmy Carter's Iran hostage negotiations in 1980.

The Republicans did not behave as a loyal opposition but rather as a single-minded political enemy that viewed the White House as its birthright and Democratic control of the Executive Branch as illegitimate.

For the first time, every Republican voted against the federal budget, which included tax increases to rein in the deficit that had surged to unprecedented levels under eagan and George H.W. Bush (41).By 1994, the Whitewater "scandal" about an obscure Clinton real-estate investment had become front-page news and a Republican-controlled judicial panel had picked former Reagan-Bush-41 appointee Kenneth Starr to head up an aggressive investigation into the Clintons' personal finances – and later into their private life.Having covered CIA destabilization campaigns in Third World countries, particularly Nicaragua, I was struck by the similarities. In the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush-41 administrations destroyed Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista revolution by systematically making the country ungovernable via a combination of economic dislocations, political/media propaganda, and paramilitary activities.

Finally, in 1990, Nicaraguan votersopted to accede to Washington's desires and voted for Chamorro.

Documentary evidence from Reagan's presidential library now shows that the overseas and domestic propaganda machines were built simultaneously as Reagan's CIA Director William Casey recruited conservative foundation executives like Richard Mellon Scaife to help finance it.

Another major accomplishment of the Reagan administration was the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, (Or NED for short - My insertion.)

many of the NED-funded organizations were based in Washington – and since the NED bureaucracy was dominated by neoconservatives – NED, in effect, became a permanent funding mechanism for the neocon community in the U.S. capital.

NED funding explains why Washington's neocons have remained so influential despite their involvement in so many policy disasters, such as the Iraq War.

Even when the neocons find themselves adrift during brief periods out of power, many of them remain afloat with the help of NED grant money. They can hang onto a financial life-preserver tossed from some institute that benefits from the federal funding.

When Clinton managed to wrest the White House from the Republicans after 12 years of Reagan and Bush-41, the GOP realized that it could well shorten its time out of power by savaging the new President and creating chaos to undermine his political power and his popularity. (Hillary's vast Right Wing Comspiracy)

The Republicans definitely "got" what was happening and why. In celebration, the Gingrich "revolutionaries" made Rush Limbaugh an honorary member of the new Republican congressional majority, hailing him as their "national precinct captain."Gingrich had a positive message in his "Contract for America," that analysis misses the point that it was the tearing down of the Clintons – represented by Limbaugh's daily tirades – and the impression of national disarray under Clinton that were key to the GOP victory in 1994. On April 19, 1995, right-wing militia fanatic Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb at the Oklahoma City federal building killing 168 people. Limbaugh and others who had stoked the fires of paranoia would angrily deny any suggestion that they had contributed to the catastrophe.

Despite Clinton's reelection in 1996, the Republicans did not give up their determination to destroy him. In 1998-99, they instituted impeachment proceedings that sought to oust him from office for lying about his extramarital sex life. Republicans were energized to restore the Reagan-Bush dynasty by putting George W. Bush into the White House, even if he did lose the popular vote to Al Gore.

Tearing down a Democratic president and creating a sense of political havoc – are again at the center of Republican strategy, except that today the GOP is even better placed to carry out a repeat than the party was in 1994. Then, there was no Fox News dominating the cable TV ratings and the right-wing media was far less developed than it is today.

Though the Republicans can't say that Obama wasn't legitimately elected (he won with 53 percent of the vote and a record 66.8 million ballots), the Right has questioned his legitimacy in other ways, such as the spurious claims that he was born in Kenya despite his Hawaiian birth certificate.

The Tea Party crowd also has decried him as some Islamic-terrorist-loving, America-hating communist, socialist or Nazi – if not the anti-Christ. A popular Tea Party poster shows Obama as a white-faced Joker, the sociopathic character from the latest Batman movie.

The organized chaos even entered the Congress itself, as Republican lawmakers cheered protesters on – and at times acted like them.

Republican leaders also engaged in apocalyptic rhetoric, with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio declaring that passage of health-care reform would lead to "Armageddon," a religious reference to the end-times battle between a warrior Jesus and the anti-Christ.

Though Boehner and a few other Republican leaders finally criticized acts of violence, others continued to wink at the unruly behavior or shift the blame onto the Democrats for talking about it.

"It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, criticizing Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine for "dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon."

For her part, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended her advice that her backers should "reload" and her decision to put crosshairs on the districts of endangered Democrats, saying the references had nothing to do with violence. She blamed the controversy on "this BS coming from the lame-stream media, lately, about us inciting violence."

Despite the growing specter of political violence, the Republicans appear set in their determination to foment as much disruption as possible between now and the November elections, and thus reap expected gains, with hopes that they can win back the House and Senate and then further neutralize Obama.

To refer back to the Nicaragua comparison, the GOP's inside-outside game is like Nicaragua's pro-U.S. "internal opposition" operating as a non-violent political arm while the U.S.-funded paramilitary contras wreaked havoc in the countryside, both with the goal of removing the Sandinistas from power.

And as long as this "make-the-political-system-scream" strategy continues to work, it is probably unrealistic to expect the Republicans to disavow it. Washington power and the money that comes with it are so intoxicating that the political risks appear well worth it, especially if Democrats and the American Left don't have the means or the courage to stand against abuses by Republicans and the Right.

That pattern of acquiescence by the Democrats and the Left dates back to the emergence of this Republican anything-goes strategy more than four decades ago. As audiotapes at LBJ's presidential library make clear, Johnson was aware of Nixon's pre-election sabotaging of the Paris peace talks in 1968, but remained silent to avoid risking damage to Nixon's presidential legitimacy.

Similarly, Jimmy Carter and other leading Democrats, such as former Rep. Lee Hamilton, were aware of substantial evidence that Ronald Reagan's campaign secretly undercut Carter's efforts to win the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran in 1980, but the Democrats have chosen to look the other way.

Hamilton, who prides himself on his "bipartisanship," led a congressional investigation into the Iran-hostage "October Surprise" mystery in 1992, but refused to pursue late-developing evidence pointing to Republican guilt even after his chief counsel, Lawrence Barcella, asked for an extension because so much new information was pouring in by the end of 1992.

Barcella told me later that Hamilton simply ordered the inquiry brought to a close with its finding of Republican innocence. Much of the new evidence implicating the Republicans was then stored away, including a Russian intelligence report confirming secret meetings between Republicans and Iranians. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege]

For his part, ex-President Carter appeared more concerned about the danger of being accused of sour grapes than learning anything new about how the Republicans sank his presidency.

In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess to his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations.

"There is something I want to tell you," Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat's bunker in Gaza City. "You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election."

So, the Republicans have never been made to pay a political price for their scheming to undercut sitting Democratic presidents -- and to grease the GOP's route back to power. Whenever a Democrat is in the White House, the Republicans believe they are free do whatever they want to block him from solving national problems, making him look weak and ineffectual.

That was true of Johnson, Carter, Clinton and now Obama.

This GOP strategy is pursued even if it tarnishes the international image of the United States or if it undermines national security, even if it means more than 20,000 additional U.S. soldierIt'ss dying in Vietnam, or 52 American hostages facing longer captivity in Iran, or the likes of Timothy McVeigh feeling empowered to blow up a federal building.



Today's NYT has the following article by Charles Blow.

It's worth checking out.