I can't believe it has been so long since I've actually done a post here. Some housekeeping on the web site tonight and I hope to do a real post this week sometime!
Some buddies went up to Canada to see first hand how bad their health care really is. They figured that they would see piles of dead Canadians since we are told their health care is really bad. Here is what they found ...
It's been awhile since I last posted. I suppose part of that deals with having a birthday which tends to make me more reflective. After Christmas I bought myself a little present ... a new Canon EOS 40D digital camera. I took the camera with me when I spent a few nights in Mazatlan, Mexico. Sooner or later I will post some new pictures here! With the economy as it is I downsized my annual vacation plans this year. So instead of 2 weeks down under I spent 3 nights in a familiar tropical locale. Hey Lisa, I've already started my down under vacation savings account for next year!
I've had a health concern lately. I won't get into the details here but out of it I stopped ignoring my doctor and had a colonoscopy. Now for those that know they will be looking at getting one in the next few years I have some thoughts. First off, its the night before that is evil. I would be a good idea to have a extra set or two of underwear available! The second thought, the IV drip is great but you may want to suggest that the doctor wait another 5 minutes before they start. I felt the absolute worse pressure pain for about 30 seconds before I no longer was feeling any feeling. All came out good in the long run as I don't need to have another one for ten years.
I bought a new domain and will be moving my photography to that site. No definite date yet but it will be in May or June. More details as they become available!
That's it for this post. I am so ready for winter to be over!
This is too good not to post tonight ... George W Bush Presidential Libraium. Thank goodness the national nightmare is just about over!
Sometimes just aimlessly surfing the net can give you some great results. This morning I found Pennies for Peace. The idea is brilliant and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There is a YouTube video that I'm posting here for you all to see!
P.S. - Go Steelers!
Hi gang! It's been awhile since I've posted some links, so here are some links I've found interesting!
Snarky cards for sending that special message! A kid who has a bright future, 9-year-old author reveals secrets of picking up girls. If you want to do something good for others, try Secret Santa World , globalgiving - a million little earth-changing ideas, and TisBest - Give a better world.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year celebration. Peace and Love to all!
In the last 6 weeks I have done a great deal of traveling. I was in DC a week for a vacation and then Nome, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Fairbanks, Alaska for work. This story is from my time in Alaska.
One late afternoon while I was getting my tools packed up, ready to leave the store after putting in a 9 hour shift. The assistant manager swung by and asked if I could give her a hand. Apparently there was a drunk on the snow covered sidewalk in front of the liquor store entrance. I said sure and followed her to the far end of the store where the liquor department was located.
The first thing we did was to check out the situation. There was a man standing over another man who was knelling on the snow covered walk way. This is the guy that alerted the staff that there was a problem. We walked over and the man standing told us that this man had fallen and was to drunk to get up. He told us that this was a common problem with the Native Americans that live in the area. He also told us that he used to work security for a local business and had seen this scene countless times over the years. I don't know what his name was so we'll just call him John Doe.
Well the assistant manager headed back inside the store to call the police. I stood outside with John Doe and the knelling man. John Doe was helping us out but he was being a jerk. He kept saying things like "your company is really going to owe me for helping you out". I told John that we appreciated his help, but that is all that I could say. John and I did get the knelling man to stand up and we were able to steady him. Something just didn't seem right about all of this.
I've seen my fair share of drunks. It pains me to say that there was a time when I could've been the one knelling on a snow covered sidewalk. I had my battle with alcohol, and alcohol won. So now I stay far away from the spirits. As a side note: when I travel I generally have my dinners in a lounge. I can eat, drink my coffee, watch the news, and watch what a douse of alcohol does to people. This reaffirms my desire not to let alcohol control my life as it has done in the past.
The assistant manager came back out and told the knelling man that we had help on the way. John Doe started his "your company is going to owe me" shtick. He kept challenging us so we thanked him for his efforts but that we could take it from there. It was classic to watch someone get called on their shtick. John Doe kept saying "can you handle this ... I've dealt with this many times over ... are you sure" as he was walking away.
With John Doe gone we were able to concentrate our efforts with the swaying but standing man. The assistant manager didn't want the man in the store but he needed a place to sit down. The thing about stores in climates that can be harsh, they have transition zones before you enter the main structure. So we were able to walk the man over to the nearest transition zone and he was able to sit down on a motorized cart. The assistant manager went inside the store for a moment and I kept the standing man company, talking with him to make sure he was alert. He was getting more alert and I was able to get his name. His name was Chris.
I was also trying to get any information that would help the police find someone who could help Chris. He told me that he was just taking a walk and then just couldn't walk anymore so he crawled to the front of the store just when John Doe came by. The thing about alcohol, it distorts your age. Chris looked to be my age, but that could also translate to someone in his late 30's with severe alcohol abuse. Chris was able to tell me that he walked about a quarter of a mile to get to where he was at. The warmth of the transition zone was bringing him back some awareness.
Armed with this information, the assistant manager pulled out the phone book looking for his phone listing or his Mom's phone number. He had mentioned a couple of places as to where he was staying and she tried to track those down. All of this, to no avails. Meanwhile, I was still talking with Chris out in the transition zone when he told me he was 53. He also mumbled that he had a stroke a year ago.
A stroke ... he was not a drunk. Chris was rehabilitating from a stroke. Chris was only 3 years older than me. Talk about hitting one over with a basket full of bricks. There was a little tear that came out of my eye that moment. I wiped it away and focused since I knew the assistant manager would be back out in a moment. She would be able to track down assisted living facilities in the immediate area and give this information to the police when they arrived.
Chris and I talked some more and he was becoming more aware but still needed some more help. He pulled off his gloves and he had some paper money inside. I saw a 10 dollar bill that had been ripped in half, one section in each glove. I pulled out my wallet and found a 20, folded it in quarters, and gave it to Chris saying here was something to help keep his palms warm. I don't normally do things like that ... it might have been to dampen the guilt I was feeling. I give a fair amount to charities around the globe but rarely give to an individual straight out.
Just as Chris was putting his gloves back on the assistant manager came back out. I told her the latest information I had gleaned and I know she felt like a basket full of bricks had just hit her. She started to go back into the store when the police finally arrived. We gave him all of the information we had. The officer said that he would be able to track down where Chris lived. He was very familiar with the assisted living facilities in the area. The day was done ... it was time for me to head back to the hotel, grab some dinner, and then some down time before bed.
I got in the car, silly driving only 2 blocks back and forth ... . Chris had walked a quarter of a mile or so and I had to use a rental car. There was a good deal of reflection that day thanks to Chris. When I did move the car out of the parking lot I didn't go back to the hotel immediately. I drove around the area looking to see if I could find a police car, looking to find where Chris lived. I never found his place. I didn't see him again during the rest of my stay. I wish I had, at the very least I could've sat down and chatted with him.
A nasty cold is natures way of saying slow down. I've been wanting to do a post for weeks but something always gets in the way. So I'm going to post a few pictures today and some words in the next few days. Hopefully that will get me back into a regular rhythm.
I have been home for 8 days and don't think I have any more traveling for the rest of the year. My cold seems to have run its course but now Dad has it very bad. And today is not only Thanksgiving but it is his 85th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!
That is all for now ... many more pictures and words to post in the next few days! Happy Thanksgiving to all!!
Hello all! I haven't fallen off the face of the earth but I have been busy. The last few weeks I have been working the graveyard shift and that throws off the old body clock. I have also been working on a new blog.
I am going to be transforming this web site into a community to focus on the mid life crisis. To do that I need to remove much of myself, and in particular, my political thoughts and ramblings. I have always regarded this web site as a child and now is the time to give it some independence from a dotting father. I have hired a web designer to do a remodel and am tinkering with the idea of adding sub domains. I will still be here as I know this will not happen over night. But changes they are a comming!
I have some pictures to post from my Montana excursion ... plus ... I'm headed to DC for a week and back up to Alaska for a few. The camera always come with me so I'm sure that pictures are to follow!
To those of you who don't know me, I'm a screaming Seattle liberal (and damn proud of it)! I work for a major corporation in their IT department, that has sent me to some very red states over the last year. I deal, and sometimes try to convince, those on the red side to come over to my way of thought. The last couple of weeks I've been in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is absolutely beautiful and is the resting spot for many going to Glacier National Park (many pictures to follow). The residents are the best … very friendly and a bit on the blue side of politics. However, when one reads the local paper you cringe when you see the red lambasting the blue on the editorial page and cartoon.
Last Friday I was reading the local paper and there was an article that Joe Biden would be in Kalispell, about 13 miles south of Whitefish, on Sunday September 7th. On Saturday they released tickets for a discussion at Flathead High School. So I headed to the local Obama/Biden office in Whitefish, a nondescript residential home away from the beaten path, and picked up a ticket. It was encouraging to see a line of people waiting for tickets.
Sunday came and I headed to the High School. Parking was a breeze but the line to get in was time consuming as TSA was doing the pat downs and camera checks. Evidence below ...
Once inside I was able to find a seat on the main floor sitting next to two middle school teachers. We chatted a bit and I found out that the area is still very red but there is a growing population of blue. They mentioned that even the reds are disenchanted right now, and with Ron Paul, things could get interesting. The high school gym fits probably a thousand or so, I'd say there were 700 proud members of the Democratic Party in attendance (the local paper states 1600 were there). What struck me about this discussion was the commitment it shows from the Obama/Biden camp to reach out to real people who have a real desire for change. Why on earth would a political party expend time, energy, and resources if there wasn't a genuine desire to reach common people?
I can't give you a run down on all that Joe Biden said … I started writing notes but he is a down home intellectual that cuts through the note taking. He was the right choice as a VP candidate. He talked about how Obama cuts through the partisan rhetoric, crosses the aisle to solve the issues that we face. He was a cheerleader, no doubt, but when it is all said and done we need someone to lead and to be honest and level with us. My Dad and I are always at odds. He watches Fox and I read liberal blogs. But the one thing he has stated, that no one can argue, is the biggest domestic issues we as a country will face in the next term is Social Security and Medicare. These are domestic issues that will take a good deal of movement across the aisle to get a working solution. We need to work together to find the solutions and Obama/Biden is our best hope. We will not get all that we want but we will be on a positive course. I feel that Obama/Biden can cross the aisle and get Congress to start working for the people. It is time to focus on the real needs of the people and not the special interests that the right caters to.
On Foreign Policy Biden is the expert. I trust him to make wise decisions on our National Security. He has the experience … as he joked about his age and time in the Senate, there are 44 members of the Senate that are older then he is. I found his story about Jessie Helms interesting. The short version is that you don't attack the person, you attack the policy. That is some very wise words and may explain why he has been in the Senate for so long. It will be interesting to see the Vice Presidential debates because the Republican Party attacks the person. I will say that I was most impressed with the wisdom and ethics that Joe Biden displayed today.
Invoking September 11th is a dangerous proposition in my book. I say that because I lived in Arlington, Virginia on that day. I find it interesting how that the right wing wants to tell *me* how I should feel. Well, did you live in my shoes that day or the days after? We forget that as a nation we were one in the weeks afterwards. Not only were we a nation but the world shared our pain. The world was with us … until … Iraq. And that is also when the country became so polarized. It didn't have to be that way. Biden touched on what I call the "what ifs". Just imagine what we could've done if we would have had agreement with the rest of the world and not forced our way into a failed policy. I feel that the Obama/Biden ticket will give not only the country but the rest of the world hope. I have a friend that works for the State Department that agrees with my assessment that it will take years and possible decades to repair the damage done in the last 6-7 years. I trust the team of Obama/Biden to heal the divisions on the world stage. Foreign Policy, as with any policy, is not a knee jerk reaction.
As I headed out the door after the rally/discussion I finally saw some protesters. I'd say these kids were in High School and had “NoObama” signs. They called a lady in front of me a socialist. I had to chuckle and wonder how they would feel if the draft was instituted. If we have another 4 years of Bush’s failed policies under McCain they may get that chance to find out.
A week ago I headed to a local farmers market in a neighboring town. I got lost and frustrated but eventually found the way. I got out of the work van and walked over to the stands. They had a musician playing a song that just brought a smile and a ray of hope, Imagine by John Lennon. Joe Biden affirmed to me today that hope is not lost. Hope came to a town in the very red state of Montana today. The message was change, but it is a message that shouldn't have been needed. But what really struck me today was that the message was delivered to a speck of blue in a sea of red.
That should make you feel very proud of our next Vice President of the United States of America.
Well the summer is winding down ... we are getting some 64 degree rain today in Seattle. It has been an interesting summer. I've done some writing which was my biggest short term goal of the summer. I will be posting some of my thoughts later this week! Fall will find me in DC the middle of October. It has been two years since I visited DC and I miss the heat, humidity, power, and history.
I was contacted recently by a person who wanted me to include a link to their site dealing with mid life crisis. There seems to be some good information at this site, give it a visit ... A midlife crisis.
Here is a little taste of my road trip. The photograph below was taken just east of Vantage, Washington on the other side of the Columbia River looking west. Enjoy!
A busy week coming up that will take me in to Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana. In 5 days I will drive about 1500 miles. Road trip!
on a Islam/Muslim hate web site. Well if you know me, you know this graphic means the world to me. This was the graphic used by Arlington County on their fundraising efforts for the families touched by the Pentagon Attack. This graphic is about love, not hate. Of course there is no contact link to that site so I can't express my displeasure. Hiding behind a wall to express hate is cowardly.
June 8th update: A little background story on the graphic above. It is not unusual for people to leave mementos at a designated place after a horrific event. September 11, 2001 was no different. I have pictures from an area where people left flowers, candles, and other mementos near the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. I have never posted these pictures but several of my friends and family members have seen them. You would not have dry eyes if you were to see them. At the end of the day people from the DoD, Arlington County, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian would catalogue what was left. For me the most touching memento was a yellow T-shirt letting "Bob" know that his family would look after "Bob's" family for him.
During one of these cataloguing efforts Arlington County came across a graphic that someone left ... the graphic above. Arlington County Police Department was able to track down the artist and get permission to use the graphic in a fundraising effort for the families of the Pentagon attack. They sold pins and T-shirts that had been donated and all of the money raised was given to the families. It was a way to help in a helpless situation.
Later on the Commonwealth of Virginia used the graphic on a fight terrorism license plate. There was a concern with using the graphic because this was not a fundraising situation for the families. None of the money generated by the license plate went to the families. I suppose that is when the idea of using this image for other purposes was born. As much as I like the license plate theme I always felt that any money collected should have been put into an education trust fund or something along those lines for the families touched by this tragedy.
The graphic symbolizes all that is good within all of us. We were one on September 11th. Now using that graphic to target a segment of our society is just plain wrong. I've sent off an email to Arlington County Police Department. I don't know if that will do any good ... but you just don't know unless you try. I will not link to the blog that is using the graphic but you can contact me for the url or if you have any ideas on how to get the graphic pulled from an obvious misuse.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world."
It has been a busy month ... first trip was a jaunt to the San Diego area to meet an on-line friend. If you are a regular reader and viewer of this site then you know I have an appreciation for all that Mother Nature gives us. The San Diego area is incredibly beautiful. I'm not a big fan of zoo's because I don't believe we should entrap animals of the wild and put them on display. However, the San Diego Zoo does a good job and all of the animals look healthy. I did stand in line to see their Panda baby ... only to prove to myself that Butterstick is the cutest ever. Butterstick rules!
And while I'm thinking about it, there is this great restaurant called Parkhouse Eatery. You must go there if you ever get down to San Diego ... it's not to far from the Zoo or the neighborhood called "Normal Heights". You just have to love a neighborhood that includes the word normal.
The second trip was back up to Alaska for work. I went to Juneau and Ketchikan ... I was very busy while I was in Juneau so I didn't get a chance to see much. But while I was in Ketchikan I did get a chance to see some of the surrounding area. I feasted my eyes on wonders of Mother Nature and was buzzed by an Eagle or two. I have added some other photographs on my Alaska page!
And yesterday I got back from my third trip of the month, a week in Montana for work. When I lived in the DC area the one thing I missed about the Seattle area was Mt. Rainier and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Montana has the Rockies but they don't have the allure to me that the above mentioned mountain ranges have. I spent most of my time in Polson and Whitefish and took some time to explore my surroundings. I am a city person but wouldn't find it hard to move to a smaller location to be close to all of the trees, mountains, and streams. Alaska is an extreme and Montana just doesn't do anything for me. It's nice and all but it's not home material for me.
It is nice to be back in my own bed. I'm tired and look forward to having the next four days off to recoup from a very busy month. More pictures and words to follow ...!
I've added a new page with some pictures I took mid November 2007 while I was in Fairbanks, Alaska for work. It was cold ... very cold. I head back up to Alaska in a couple of weeks. This time I'll be in Juneau and Ketchikan. Picture to follow I'm sure!
Next weekend I have a 4 day adventure in Los Angeles and San Diego!
I didn't know that you could get the flu twice in one season. Damn governmental conspiracy!
I came across this web site last week and the owner has graciously agreed to let me post this graphic. I think it is great and very accurate! His site is at Republican Offenders. The thing about this list is that these are only the Republicans that have been convicted of a crime. So the ones that have resigned to escape prosecution are not listed. Great site Tommy!
Life happens! Sometimes we get to busy and forget about important events ... that has happened to me recently. There is a conference in Seattle for the next few days called Seeds of Compassion. The headliner is the Dalai Lama. I watched one of the events on the tube this afternoon and wished I had been there. He is inspirational and his message is sound.
Enjoy life ... enjoy the changing season!
On Friday I loaded the parents into my car and we went to Idaho to visit my Uncle. On the way back I had had one too many cups of coffee and needed to find a bathroom. I found a turn off to a camp site where I knew there would be a bathroom of sorts. I later found out that we were at Palouse Falls ... here are a couple of photographs of the area.
It's amazing what you find when you open up your eyes to what's around you!
The Awakening is moving to it's new location in DC. This sculpture belongs at Hains Point not at the development called the National Harbour. Just my humble opinion and slightly biased.
Ponderings and musings from a visit to a different country … and a little life thrown in for fun!
Cell phones are everywhere. Probably the most annoying aspect of this is when the clerk making your sub par cappuccino is texting back and forth. This was of course what led me to find another espresso cafe a block from the Universidad. A little factoid I recently read, there are 6.6 Billion People in the world ... and ... 3.3 Billion active cell phone lines in the world.
Mazatlan, and in particular Hotel Playa Mazatlan, has discovered wifi and that is leading to the demise of the Internet Cafe. Technology is a great tool ... but ... this is a vacation place. It made me ill to see all of the people on their laptops while I was in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The hotel has two computers that clients can check their email on. I did once a day for about 10 mins. in the morning and that was all I needed. I had to laugh the first morning when I saw a line of 10 people waiting to use the computers. That morning I just went for a walk! People really have gotten to comfortable with getting their communication through technology. What happens when a network issue occurs? Side note: yesterday I checked my work email account and saw there was a Blackberry outage in North America on the 11th. And ... everyone is an expert with technology. One morning after I checked in at the front office to use a computer I had to tell the clerk the computer wasn't turned on. The person next to me scoffed at that idea and offered to help me. Me being a humble but smart person said sure. You know even humble and smart people can make mistakes, right? Well I wasn't wrong ... I didn't say anything to the person next to me but I really wanted to!
People read books on vacation! The only time people weren't reading is when they took a walk on the beach or drinking heavily. I read "The Kite Runner" and think it should be on everyone's list of books to read. There are points in the book where you will throw it across the room … but after an hour or so you'll pick it back up. The words are magical and very descriptive. It is not a feel good book and deals with some heavy subjects that may lead to the previously mentioned throwing of the book across the room and crying. I understand they are making a movie out of the book ... but it is rare when a movie is better than the book.
I couldn't get over how many times I was approached on this vacation by someone who wanted to sell me pot or coke. Frankly, it offended me. When did drugs become so readily acceptable? The only thing that keeps coming back to my mind is "there is a reason why they call it dope" quote. I just have no tolerance for people who use drugs ... .
While I was waiting for my connecting flight from LA to Seattle on Thursday night I saw something that made me shake my head. This gets back to technology. Sitting close to me was a couple that was on their way to Seattle. They were an attractive couple in their 40's dressed in business attire. Well after some talked they both pulled out their blackberries and went to work. There really wasn't any talking between them from that point on, just their fingers working feverishly on their handholds. I am not an old fuddy duddy, nor am I against technology but this just seemed so wrong on many accounts (first and foremost it was the 14th). The world, and relationships within it, is changing. I accept that and even welcome it but we are not meant to be “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a balance that needs to be looked at and explored otherwise we will look back and wonder what happened with all of the time. I wasted a lot of my life to alcohol and drugs when I could've been focusing on a different path. And now that I have a healthier and clearer path I plan on taking my life to a higher level in my next 50 years!
These are just a few observations from a nice diversion at the beach!
Today I became eligible to become a member of AARP. That's right my friends, even though I have at least another 16.5 years of work, I can become a member of the American Association of Retired Persons. Now that's living! Happy Days are here!!
Count me as one of the ones who didn't get a flu shot this year ... and now regret that decision. I've had the flu since Saturday and it is just plain evil.
I had wanted to write up a post on the next two links but I just haven't had the energy. First we have, Shell unveils £1.5m-an-hour profit. Now compare and contrast that to, Haiti’s poor resort to eating mud as prices rise. We are doing something wrong if we allow this to continue.
And since I'm updating a bit, here are a couple of other important articles. Science is so interesting ... especially when it's new stuff, Figments of the Imagination?. A very long story but worth the time.
Since I turn 50 in a couple of days, Middle age is truly depressing, study finds. Along the same lines but on a very positive path, Peace Corps 50+.
Privacy issues, Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software ... and ... Russ Feingold on the New FISA Legislation. Some background on the FISA debate from the NY Times, Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry
A feel good story that shows what a high school student can do, U.S. teen brings new school to rural Cambodia. It is stories like this that show me we won't stand by while people are eating mud cookies in Haiti.
That's it for now ... enjoy the reading I've given to you!
I'm changing site hosts this weekend. Good bye web.com/web site pros ... dltdhyotwo!
Lately I've been doing a bunch of instate travel for work. A couple of weeks ago I was sent up north to reseat a phone system module. As I was passing the tulip fields I noticed something out of the corner of my left eye ... a flock of geese flying heading south in the familiar V formation. When I actually took my eyes momentarily off the road I saw 5 flocks with 20-30 geese in each flock flying in that familiar formation. The sight took me back as I couldn't remember the last time I had seen that. It must have been many, many years ago. I used to see that all of the time when I was growing up, now never. About a mile north of that point I saw a field where there was hundreds, if not close to a thousand, Canadian Geese all sitting in a field off to the right. The weather wasn't that good that day with a cold mist and rain coming down and covering the earth. I guess the geese where taking a little breather as they were headed south. But each goose was say two feet from another in all directions making the field appear to be in bloom with the color of cotton. Of course this scene made me wonder ... why I haven't seen this in many, many years. Where my eyes closed from the daily grind or is there a message? That is a question that we all need to ask ourselves and come up with our own answer.
My destination that day was Oak Harbor. I have fond memories from my youth within Oak Harbor. At one time I was a lighting technician for a local rock and roll band. Every four weeks or so the group would have a show at a club on base at the Navel Air Station in Oak Harbor that always produced memories. In those days it wasn't unusual to pull an all nighter. We’d load the equipment and be on the road by noon. We'd return to the Seattle area about 7 AM the next morning and then unload the equipment. I always looked forward to seeing the sign that was posted at the turn to the base ... "Please excuse our noise. It is the sound of Freedom". NAS Whidbey is home to a squadron of jets that are primarily used to jam communication.
But since September 11th the sound is not as welcoming to me. You see the days, weeks, and months that followed that day meant an increase of jets being dispatched for one reason or another. There were times where I'd be awaken from a deep sleep from the jets hugging the Potomac as the afterburners would kick in to intercept and escort a commercial jet to Dulles. And always I'd have the drone of a helicopter as it was transporting someone to Fort Meyer near my apartment. Now days I get an uneasy feeling when I hear military jets. Every year we have the Blue Angels perform an air show during an August event where I live now in Seattle. And every year I find myself taking some time off to head to the Oregon Coast to steer clear of the noise.
I bring this up because I was hoping that I wouldn't be in Oak Harbor long enough that to hear the jets. Well, the first time I heard the jets I couldn't find them because the cloud cover was pretty low. I pulled over to the side of the road and looked. I finally saw it through a break in the clouds. A short time later I was back on the road and heard another. Well, I put my mind into overdrive so I could focus on my task at hand. I got to the store, did my task, got a coffee from Starbucks, and headed out of town. It’s funny that I can fly on a commercial jet and not flinch but for some reason I have a hard time with the sound of freedom. The rest of the day was uneventful.
Last week I was sent to Central Washington State to work on a remodel. The store is in Sunnyside but I chose to stay about 30 miles north in Yakima. Sunnyside has a feedlot and the smell burns the eyes. For those of you who don't know what a feedlot is I'll explain. As the cow gets to maturity the farmers ship them to a feedlot to fatten them up for slaughter. So all the cow does is eat and ... well ... add methane to the air we breath. The last time I had been to Sunnyside was two years ago and I still have vivid memories of my eyes burning. To my surprise the feedlot is gone and Sunnyside is becoming known for their grapes and hops (An important ingredient of beer).
Sunnyside is your everyday little town. The downtown core has three traffic lights but really doesn’t need them. Rural America is fairly conservative, just listen to the AM radio and you'll know that with the names of Sean, Rush, and Bill. Since Sunnyside farmers grow hops and wine grapes they also use migrant farm workers. Talk with these farmers and all you hear is complaints about immigration and how the country is going to pot. They need the workers but look down on the migrants. Obviously I have a problem with that. There are universal truths in this life and one of those is that everyone has value and should be treated with dignity.
Many of the arguments on immigration deal with economics so here is something to think about. Imagine one day all of the migrants went back to their respective country. Sitting next to the remodel project in Sunnyside is a smaller specialty grocery store. It is an independent store, owned by a mom and pop. They also have several employees. So this small business is filling a need and paying taxes. Those taxes help generate revenue for Sunnyside and the State. This revenue helps Sunnyside to buy feedlots out and convert the land suitable to farm in. The revenue also helps pave and maintain the roads, police and fire services, and a host of other items many people just take for granted. Small business has been called the backbone of the American economic system. So it follows that when small businesses folds our system fails. In this case the small business is a specialty grocery store that went out of business because all of their customers had to leave. There is a grocery store across the street from the project in Sunnyside ... it is called the Mexican Food Mart. It’s interesting that many can not see the connection in all of this.
Another interesting scene of life I saw last week was my daily drive back to Yakima from Sunnyside. Rural America has some great scenes that I think everyone needs to see. The cows grazing even with the ground covered in snow. Steam or fog rising from the little creeks that help keep the animals watered. Eagles and other Raptors gliding along in the sky or perched on a tree near the roadside waiting for a meal to appear. And finally, the barns that are weathered and have stood the test of time. There is so much beauty all around us; we just need to open our eyes to see it. Safely back in the warm confines of the hotel I stayed at, which sits on the Yakima River, I was able to watch the feeding of some Herons. The birds are so majestic that you can't help to be hypnotized with their flight.
I'll save the story of the double-super-secret-men-in-suits-and-dark-glasses installation that is about 10 miles north of Yakima for another time. I waved hello to that installation as I drove out of town my last morning. But before I did that I made an effort to catch a sunrise from an outlook north of Yakima. I was there as the first rays of the sun painted Mt. Adams in pastel colors off in the distance … and a few moments later the Sun blazing over the local hills in a magnificent display of brightness that leaves you in awe.
While there have been things going on in my world that have caused me to be less then positive, it is sunrises like that one that tell me not to be concerned about the small stuff. These are lessons I hope I will remember through out this year!
Yeah I know it's been a long time since I posted anything. We all go through phases where we don't have much to say or we just don't feel like saying much. Take you pick ... I may fit into both ideals there. I have started my own city though! You can find it on the web at Proud Liberal. Drop on by and help me build this into a place we all can be happy at!
I have started a new blog ... not sure what that means for regular postings here yet. If you are interested in the url send me an email. Basically I'm doing that to reclaim a certain amount of privacy. At this web site you have my real name and the city I live in so I can be easily targeted. And once you put something out there on the web it doesn't go away.
Posted without comment ... Global Orgasm and Study reveals why monkeys shout during sex. Oh my!
That's it for now ... I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Let's look forward to a Happy New Year. Yeah!
there's no need to be afraid At Christmastime,
we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime
But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Here's to you
Raise a glass for everyone
Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived
If the table was turned would you survive
Here's to them
Underneath that burning sun
You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless
Give a little help to the helpless
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again
Band Aid - lyrics from elyrics.net
New picture at the top of this page ... taken at Santa Claus House - North Pole, Alaska.
Hello all ... taking a day off today to get ready for a work trip to the tropical paradise know as Fairbanks, Alaska! If I am lucky I may even see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights while I'm there. We could then knock that off the "things to see or do before I die" list.
But the reason why I am posting today is to remind everyone that the One Laptop per Child program opened up this morning. I am a big supporter of this project. Children are the future of this world ... and ... education is the magic bullet that will make the future brighter. Consider it. You can always donate the "other" laptop to an organization here in the United States!
Be well my friends!
A couple of months ago I received an email from a Dr. Ravi Godse. Ravi is a medical doctor in the Pittsburgh area and had an unique approach to his mid life crisis ... he made a movie. The movie is called Dr. Ravi and Mr. Hyde, "a comedy about a doctor, who went to film school, to make a film about being a doctor" ... now isn't that a mid life crisis! I must applaud Ravi for his effort.
I wasn't expecting a "great" movie and I wasn't expecting a "b" movie, but what I got was a fun and quirky tale. It was very endearing. Part of my joy was seeing scenes shot in Pittsburgh of places I had been to, seen, or enjoyed a cup of coffee. The cafe' were several of the scenes are shot makes a damn fine cup of coffee.
The acting is quirky but you really fall in love with the characters. I found myself actually rooting for Ravi as the movie progressed. The only scene that I felt didn't fit in was the Salsa dance scene. Part of my problem with the scene is the dancers were not movie quality. I have a friend in Pittsburgh who does salsa dance so I know what it should look and "feel" like.
So would I recomend the movie? Yes! It is a lovable tale ... and Dr. Ravi has another movie on the horizon that looks to be as quirky as Dr. Ravi and Mr. Hyde. Ravi ... good luck in finding your path. You have chosen a unique way to express yourself!
Clean out weekend! Let's start with a quote from a popular blogger on the far right, Michelle Malkin. I post for your consideration ...
"If Republicans don't have the stomach to do battle over fundamental policy questions–like, you know, who deserves government-subsidized health insurance– what are they doing in office? More “partisan bickering” could have spared us McCain-Feingold, No Child Left Behind, and the hugetastic Medicare expansion boondoggle. If not for “partisan bickering,” shamnesty would be the law(lessness) of the land.
We need more “partisan bickering,” not less."
Let me just say this, partisan bickering is part of the problem in our country. So you are wrong Michelle.
Links ... something to do to help those in need, the one laptop per child organization. And a great idea from a Representative in the House that was written about in the New York Times, Congressional Fashion Statement.
More words and links later this weekend!
A challenge: what can you do?
Ah yes, another gloom and doom post from Don. I wish I could be just like others and let the world go by without lifting a finger or expressing outrage. But I can't. Let me ask you a question … what is the worlds most important resource? We all have to answer that question on our own but by the time you finish reading this email you will know what I feel and know it to be.
If you're an American, and this email is going all over the world, do you know how lucky you are? While many, including myself, will argue that we are under military rule here in the US … we are not. We have many rights and privileges that people would kill for around the world. Those rights and privileges do come with a price or as I say a responsibility. You can look at all of the statistics out there and find we are better off, as a whole, then most of the world. Our life is centered on the home. Home ownership is at the highest level since stats were compiled. But that skews our viewpoint. Let me explain.
Most of us save so we can put down a 20% payment for a home. Along with the home we need to have furnishings. Because the average price of the home is so expensive now a days we have to buy outside of the metro area which suggests we need a car to get to work. Add to the mix that to attain many of these goals one will need to have a college degree or two. So let’s add in student loan debt here. By the time we are in our early 30's we are swimming in debt … but we are living the American dream with the home, spouse, and children.
So we sell our soul to make our life comfortable. Why do I say that? Well, you can only serve one master at a time. And this master is the debt. We like to think we can serve debt and keep an awareness of what is going on around the world, but we don't do anything about the injustices. If we did, the world wouldn't be in the shape it is. There wouldn't be genocide in the Sudan area. We would've been able to exorcise the military Juntas that are quashing dissent in Myanmar (or Burma if you know it that way). And let’s not forget Iraq. Our hands are so bloody for allowing all of this to happen. And you know that there are more examples other then the three I listed.
Is our greed the cause all of this? NO. Are our religions the cause of all of this? No, but they haven't helped. Really how many are you aware that Buddhism is not a religion per say, but a set of spiritual teachings and practices (Wikipedia)? There is no God-like deity to worship too but a good way of life that many of the religions appose to be, but aren't. Why is there a need to kill a Buddhist Monk speaking out on the human condition? I'm not Buddhist but I honor their ideal of universal human rights and enlightenment.
The worlds most important resource is us … the human being. A simple, yet timely, example; who figured out oil could be used to make everything under the sun. Our collective mind can solve most of the problems a thinking mind can come up with. We can end wars, poverty, and injustice if we work at it. How do you know that the Boy Soldier in Sudan will not grow up to discover a method of energy production that is sustainable? Or that woman who is raped as a form of ethnic control will not discover an antibody that would paralyze the HIV virus. Or that child who is bloated from malnutrition will not discover a plant that is the cure for all Cancer. We need to give them all a chance. Their future is our hope … as we were the hope for the generations before us.
I know that you believe me to be right on this, so you are asking yourself what can I do. Only you know the answer for yourself. I don't have all of the answers … only answers for myself. For me I just can't accept the status quo … I won't. We are all given gifts and it’s up to us to determine how to use them. Some say my gift is writing … stringing words together. Others wouldn't be surprised to see me back up my words in a few years by parking myself in the middle of a developing nation and saying “what do you want me to do?” I don't have the mortgage obligation to hold me back. And sadly, I don't have any children to nurture into becoming the worlds next problem solver. A blogger I respect pointed out to me late last year that all of the world’s children can be mine. I like her take on that. So I will have to put my words into direct action. And I challenge each and every one of you to do that too.
This isn't about liberal or conservative. This isn't about “the haves and the have not's”. This is about doing what is right. This is about righting the injustices of the world. While we look at the whole picture let’s not forget about the needs here at home in the United States. I know it’s a novel concept but it does say UNITED States. Maybe that is what the founders were thinking about: United for basic human rights at home and abroad. We do not need to accept the status quo. Get involved … today, before it’s too late.
If the 60's and 70's taught us anything it’s that We Can Change the World.
P.S. - A great post today from Bitch PhD entitled "The most deadly of things are the two that are red, gold and saffron." about Myanmar/Burma. And from the New York Times comes a great article, Karma Power: What Makes a Monk Mad.
Time for some links ... Outsourcing Intelligence: How Bush Gets His National Intelligence from Private Companies. Here is a link to find some understanding on FISA and how it relates to YOU. CREW RELEASES THIRD ANNUAL MOST CORRUPT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS REPORT, is your Senator or Representative on the list? Switching gears ... WikiScanner: List anonymous wikipedia edits from interesting organizations. The site isn't very user friendly but it contains some interesting information. And from the local news department, SLUT -- Streetcar's unfortunate acronym seems here to stay ... only in Seattle! And a friend of mine wrote a book, Diversity at Work. Paul is now working on his second ... ah, the pleasures of tenure!
More to come ... life is grand!
Happy Birthday, Sis!
When I was a kid the family would pile into the Mercury and head over through Eastern Washington State en route to Lewiston, Idaho where my Dad’s mother and father lived. Looking back on those trips it seemed like we were on the road for 10 hours. Today I went back in time when I went to Moses Lake, Washington for work. Times have changed, roads have changed, but the memories are just like yesterday. The first flashback was when I saw this train trestle that went over the Interstate. I remember that trestle as being part of a controversy in the early 70’s. The trestle sit’s close to the Columbia River in the arid and highly agricultural land of the State. During the 50’s through the 80’s there was a movement to bring more irrigation into that area. This was done with dams … it also created energy as a byproduct. At the time there was a good deal of research being done in the area on the Native population that lived there thousands of years ago. And wouldn't you know it, the archeologists found a man … a very old man. They needed more time to survey the area and do more digging. The power interests and the federal government were not happy with the delays and wanted to continue their work without stopping. It went to court … even on the fast track this case lasted a couple of years. In the end the power interests prevailed and the “lost old man” site was flooded. I remember being very sad when the site went underwater. I still am and today a silly little trestle brought that all back.
I continued my trek into the other Washington. I crossed over the Columbia River into the land of corn, wheat, mustard, and yes peaches and apples. It was funny that I tried to get my Seattle radio station on but I was to far away. I was in another world. A world where the only radio shows had the name of Rush, Sean, and Bill attached to them. As I got closer to Moses Lake I saw a little 747 go out on touch and go flights. I also saw one of the monster C5A military transports doing practice runs. I knew there was a military air strip near Moses Lake … but I was shocked to see the sign that said “Moses Lake International Airport”. I later found out that the little 747 (compared to a C5A) was a Japan Air Lines plane. JAL has a maintenance facility at Moses Lake International Airport. I find my exit and I slow down to make my stop. The weather was starting to break so I rolled down my window. My next flashback … really there is no better smell in this world of the rain evaporating on the stalks of corn and wheat. I really felt like I was 10 all over again. There is a small difference in the scent of water evaporation on the pavement compared to stalks of corn or wheat. Both smells are flashback material but just by definition one is man made and one is God made.
So I took my left turn off the freeway and what do my eyes spot … yes, in the land of Sean, Rush, and Bill … in the land of wheat, corn, and gourds … I see a brand new Starbucks. My trip to heaven is now complete. I know that when I head back to Seattle I’ll stop by that brand new sparkling Starbucks and get a double tall non fat latte. Driving 185 miles each way to do a little training can play havoc with your senses but when you leave any major city and go to a rural environment take the time to roll down the windows and breathe that incredible air. All of your senses will thank you. I know that on the way back to Seattle I was driving, on average, 10 MPH slower. I stopped at one farm and picked up some fresh sweet corn. A little farther down the road I bought some Peaches. Let me tell you about Peaches … they say Georgia has the best peaches. Nope, Washington State Freestone peaches are the biggest, the juiciest, and the best tasting I have ever had. Washington is known for its apples, salmon, and mountains but if you ever taste our peaches you will see that the list of known’s will grow by 1.
I end this short essay with my point … every state in our country has an area of agriculture. Go visit your local grower … it will be the freshest produce you've had in years! And every state in our country has an area waiting for you to explore or rediscover. And when you do, remember to slow down and enjoy the journey. And, finally, let your senses go … let things register so in years to come you can remember the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and especially the smells. It had been roughly 15 years since I had been in that area and I remember it just like yesterday.
The summer is almost over and as usual I didn't accomplish as much as I had hope. But it is ending on some positive notes! However, the state of our country is not positive at all.
I just finished reading another great book by John Perkins, "The Secret History of the American Empire". I recomend this book to anyone who cares about the world and is not self-centered and absorbed. There really is no hope for those that are me, me, me, and only me. That is the +/- 30% who still hold firm to President Bush and his corporate policies. I'm very discouraged even with one of my democratic Senators who didn't bother to vote on the FISA bill before the August recess. I will be actively pushing for her not to seek re-election in 2008. If my civil liberties are not important to her then my vote will be cast for someone who does find it important.
Along the same lines here are a few recent articles that people should read ... Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To Widen and Iraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties. From Newsweek, and if I read the author correctly, she is the daughter of Former President Ronald Reagan, we have Smile … Or Else (Behavior Detection Officers’ are now watching passengers’ facial expressions for signs of danger. It’s a new level of absurdity for America.) This is out of control.
It is time to take back the legislative and executive branch of our government and place it into the hands of representatives that value what the Constitution and Bill of Rights stand for. I'm afraid that January 21, 2009 will be to late ... we have to start now by demanding impeachment. Crimes have been committed and it's time to take a stand.
I'll try to post more before classes start on September 4th. Until then, enjoy the rest of the summer!
This week I finished a great book "A long Way Gone: Memoirs Of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah. Ishmael was a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. I highly recomend this book and when you are done you might want to do something about what you have just read. Part of why I have gone back to school to get my degrees is to make this world a better place. I wouldn't be surprised if I went overseas within a couple of months of recieving my Bachelors Degree in two to three years. From page 200 in this book, "I was sad to leave [New York], but I was also pleased to have met people outside of Sierra Leone. Because if I was to get killed upon my return, I knew that a memory of my existence was alive somewhere in the world." That is a very powerful statement and one that I hold close to my heart.
If you can't give of yourself, might I suggest giving to Save the Children. It is a good organization and rated very highly. Until next time ...! `
What memories of summertime do you have that make you smile every time you see someone else do it? That happened to me today on my way home from getting my afternoon latte'. I saw a Kodak moment that made me head home, grab my camera, and head back to Devin's lemonade stand. When I drove past the first time I saw Mom taking pictures of her adorable little girl and remembered my youth of days long past. I also remembered one of life's treasured rules ... always stop by a lemonade stand when you see one! When I came back I gave Devin my money and her Mom poured me a cup of great lemonade. I had a chance to talk with Devin's Mom and asked her if she remembered doing this when she was a kid. She replied yes, but she didn't have all of the marketing that Devin did. Devin, here is a secret: marketing is great but your smile will bring everyone to your lemonade stand! Thank you Devin and Mom for making my day!! This is one of life's simple pleasures.
We are given a mouth that closes and ears that don't - which should tell us something.
Back when I was a kid one of the wonderful summer events was wiffle ball. You know the big hollow plastic balls that you hit with the oversized plastic bats. My backyard wasn't that large but we made do. If we hit the ball over a fence we'd have to either jump the fence or walk around to the neighbors front porch, ring the bell, and ask to retrieve the ball. And if we did it more than once we would just call the game because our neighbors weren't always very nice. Growing up with piffle ball was fun and generally kept us out of to much trouble. Ah, the memories … I'm sure most of you can relate to my nostalgic look back!
Today, I went out for my daily walk around the garden in the back to see if the bulbs are coming up. This year hasn't been very good for my bulbs. As I was walking around I spotted something white in the corner of my eye. I did a double take and I saw a plastic wiffle ball. I remember hearing the grandkids next door hit the ball around earlier this week so I knew where it belonged. I tossed it over the fence with a big smile. I continued my garden bulb hunt and I spotted another ball. I really was laughing now … the poor kids just don't have enough room to play next door. And could it be … have I grown to be one of the feared neighbors that they wouldn't jump the fence or ask us to throw the ball over? Naw … but next time I hear them back there playing again I'll tell them to feel free to get the ball if they hit it over here. Because, the game has to be continued! And maybe they'll ask me to join in … one could only hope!!
What punctuation would others use to describe your life?
From a fortune cookie I got with lunch the other day ... Need some adventure and enjoyment? Take a vacation. *That's a good idea as I'm on vacation next week!!*
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller
... Dick passed away today. You were a good man Dick and will be missed. I'll bring the rest of the State quarters when we see each other again. Rest in peace.
It is not what you have lost, but what you have left that counts. - Harold Russell
I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor. - Hippocrates
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. - Buddha
More soon! The Copper River Salmon run is on ... the best Salmon I have ever had!
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and what I should do and can do, I will do" ... author unknown.
While I'm not participating in this I'd thought I'd pass this along. A blogger friend of mine, Blue Gal, wanted to raise awareness for her pet cause, First Freedom First. So BG came up with the idea of a Blogswarm called Blog Against Theocracy that spotlights the separation of church and State. Regardless of your viewpoint on faith, this concept is so important to our democracy that the framers of the Constitution wrote about religion in the First Amendment. Watch this trailer, You Tube - First Freedom First, to learn more … maybe it will make you think and then maybe do.
“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it” … author unknown.
Health care Post #1 ... this is a Press Release that deals with some background on the health care benefit plan I'm enrolled in. Paragraph five is key but I've included the whole press release for context. I have blocked out the name of the Company I work for but it is not hard to find out .... Google or Dogpile it!
CEO Calls for Renewed National Discussion on Health Care Reform-Joins Senator Ron Wyden, Business, Labor and Health Care Leaders in Advancing Market-Based, Behavior Driven Solutions to America's Health Care Crisis
Business Wire, December 13, 2006, 11:00:00
WASHINGTON, Dec 13, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ******* Inc. (NYSE:***) Chairman, President and CEO Steve Burd today joined Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and leaders from business, labor and health care in calling for a new approach to reforming health care. At a Capitol Hill press conference where Senator Wyden unveiled health care legislation aimed at providing affordable, high quality, private health coverage for all individuals, Mr. Burd underscored the importance of renewing the national discussion on health care reform and crafting market-based, bipartisan solutions to the nation's health care crisis.
"Senator Wyden, with his commitment and passion for health care reform, has introduced an innovative proposal that lays a foundation to begin a serious discussion on health care reform in this country," said Burd. "Our nation is facing a crisis that requires immediate attention. Working together, business, labor, government, consumer groups and health care providers can collectively solve this problem."
Left unchecked, Mr. Burd noted that health care costs for companies are projected to equal net profits by 2008. He praised many of the key elements in the Wyden plan that could reduce overall health care costs, including market-based solutions, an individual mandate, incentives to encourage healthy behavior, an emphasis on preventive care, and shared responsibility among individuals, employers, government and health care providers. Mr. Burd said he wants to work together and strengthen elements of the plan to ensure appropriate levels of coverage and a fair, equitable transition for consumers and employers.
"The problems facing the current health care system can be solved, but it will take innovative leadership," said Burd. "Without some dramatic change, not only will the uninsured population continue to grow but the American worker will become less competitive. We have a unique opportunity to solve this problem and instill market mechanisms that reduce costs, increase affordability and improve health by assisting individuals in making better health care decisions."
During the past two years ******* has moved to a consumer-driven plan for its non-union workforce that aligns personal incentives with healthy choices. In 2007, more than 70% of eligible non-union employees will be enrolled in this plan, which pays 100% of preventive care and provides incentives to improve health care decisions. The total health care costs for these employees have decreased 30% over the two year period versus the prior increasing trend. The majority of these savings have been passed on directly to those employees.
Mr. Burd has been a leading voice for market-based reforms to our nation's health care system for more than a decade. In September, he addressed the U.S. Chamber Foundation, challenging business, labor and the health care industry to work together to forge solutions to the nation's health care crisis. In August, Mr. Burd spoke at California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Health Care Summit in Los Angeles where he discussed the need for reforms that would include preventive care and behaviorism. Mr. Burd has also addressed the Milken Institute Global Conference for the past two years on the need for health care reform and more individual control in health care decision-making.
**And here is another article that goes over some of the same points and adds a new wrinkle at the end. As like the article above, I've included the whole story to add context and blocked out the name of the company I work for. This was written up in late January 2007.
Notes & commentary from FMI Midwinter (Day Two)…by Kevin Coupe
ORLANDO – To put it simply, ******* CEO Steve Burd’s speech yesterday about solving the health care crisis that afflicts both the industry and the nation was one of the best presentations we've seen in two decades of covering the business. It laid out the problem and the solution with elegant simplicity, and gave attendees their marching orders if they want to create real and lasting change in this critical area. “If we don't solve this crisis,” Burd told the audience, “it is going to hurt all of American business,” and the broader implications for the nation are dire. But, he said, “it is eminently solvable.”
And even better, the timing of the presentation suggests that we'll all know if Burd can do what he thinks he can do within about six weeks. But more on this later.
At the annual Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Midwinter Executive Conference here, Burd defined the problem in stark terms:
Health care inflation is running at about 10 percent annually, he said, and is growing at more than three times the consumer price index, costing companies an ever expanding percentage of their profits. The biggest contributor, he said, is the problem of the uninsured, who only cover between 10 and 20 percent of their health care costs, and the underinsured, who cover between 60 and 70 percent of their costs. The rest, he said, is covered by a kind of “hidden tax” paid by people and companies who are adequately insured. “It doesn't really cost $3300 a night for a hospital room,” he said, noting that it only costs that much because health care providers are looking to recoup the money they've lost on the uninsured and the underinsured.
Furthermore, Burd said, between 60 and 70 percent of the $2 trillion spent in the US on healthcare costs is spent on problems directly related to behavior, not genetics. That, he said, is the “Holy Grail,” because it defines the problem as something that can be fixed. More than three quarters of the nation’s health care costs can be linked to the “big four” conditions, he said – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity-related problems.
To solve the problem, he said, the nation and the industry have to embrace a market driven model that encourages competition and drives down price (as opposed to a nationalized single payer system), and a system that is modeled on auto insurance – everybody simply will have to have it.
Where companies can make a real difference is in creating programs that incentivize employees to pay attention to their health, and gives them some “skin in the game” by rewarding good health habits – all without reducing benefits.
In the case of *******, the company already has seen some real progress. In certain cases, it has gotten nonunion employees to accept an increase in their deductibles from $750 a year to $2,000 by putting $1,000 into a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) that the employee can draw from to pay health expenses, but gets to keep if he or she stays healthy and uses the system wisely. That means not using emergency rooms for regular care, and using preventive measures that are 100 percent covered by *******.
Burd noted that prevention is critically important both for reasons of health and cost. It is less expensive if one discovers a disease state early, he suggested, and more effective – if breast cancer is caught at stage one, the cure rate is in the 90 percentile, he said, while the cure rate for stage three breast cancer is roughly 50-50.
As listed by Burd, the key features of the ******* program include:
• More individual responsibility for health care.
• Preventive medicine covered 100 percent.
• Use of a health risk baseline to establish each employee’s baseline.
• Proactive care management based on individual needs.
• Rewards for healthy behavior.
• Use of continuing wellness programs to help employees stay healthy.
While the program is new, Burd said, after just a year ******* has been able to drive its total health care costs down by 11 percent, decrease the company’s portion of the total by four percent, and drive down the amount that employees pay overall by more than 20 percent.
Burd, who has embraced the call by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to mandate universal health care in his state, said that for the moment, “states are leading the charge” in trying to find health care solutions. It will eventually require the federal government to get involved, but right now, “the stars are lined up” for making a real change in how health care is delivered in the US.
We suggested above that “the timing of the presentation suggests that we'll all know if Burd can do what he thinks he can do within about six weeks.”
Here’s what we mean. *******, along with ********** and ******, is facing labor negotiations in Southern California on a contract that ends in early March. Obviously, health care costs will be a major subject for discussion…and if Burd can get the labor unions to buy into his vision of a health care future that is both more responsive to individual needs while being structured in a way that demands greater personal responsibility, then he will have worked a minor miracle. Maybe a major miracle. (And from our perspective, if the unions don't “get it,” then the argument that unions are irrelevant and out of touch will have gotten a lot stronger.)
And, we would guess, a success would mean that in addition to the union locals, both ****** and ********** have bought into his vision. If that happens, it means the Burd health care gospel is going to start spreading. Which strikes us as a positive for everyone.
KC's View: We're going to make two predictions here.
One is that sometime before summer you're going to see Steve Burd’s picture either on the cover or prominently displayed in either Newsweek or Time, along with a story that carries a headline that goes something like, “This Man May be Able To Fix The US Healthcare Crisis.”
The other is that within the next three years, Burd will be drafted, by whoever is president at the time, to be America’s healthcare czar.
Politics ... I'm disappointed in our government. The only hope will be if Congress can actually oversee and start to repair the mess we are in. I have opinions I'd like to express but I have a couple of other pressing posts to write. So I just shake my head in disgust ....
Back in late January the server that the site resided on crashed. It took the people of web.com two days to determine that they were not going to fix it. So I had to call up the sales department to figure out a new plan ... and of course there were no backups (apparently you have to pay for that separately). So a new plan was figured out and I rebuilt my site but some of the photographs were gone. Then a friend told me about the Internet Archive after I got the site back up. This is a very cool site that archives web pages. Sure enough my missing photographs were there! But I digress ... I then started having email problems. It got to the point where when I called Tech Support I asked if I was talking with someone in Atlanta or the Philippines. It was not a pleasant experience any way you look at it. So to recap ... server crashed without backups, bad Tech support from the begining, email server issues, and continuing bad Tech support even now with web trend reporting issues. So ... I have stayed with web.com for the time being because they have this no refund policy. I'm not independently wealthy so I can't afford to lose out on the money I paid in early November. Interestingly, I saw a Unix programer wanted ad on there site when I informed them my site was down. My thought is that they wanted Unix gone so they wouldn't have to hire a programer or support personel. Well, they have won this battle in the war. Or have they?
Coming soon ... a post on my employers health insurance partnering with a health management research center which has lead me to file a HIPAA complaint. It is an interesting story that I have decided to go public with. This is a trend in health care industry and more people need to be aware of what they are being asked to do. Also ... some new pictures from my travels to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and maybe a picture or two from Mazatlan!
From a web site called Conservapedia ... commenting on the Patriot Act ...
The Patriot Act (formally, the `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001') was an act passed by the Republican congress following the 2001 attacks on World Trade Center. It removed a certain number of liberties from American citizens, including such things as the right of habeas corpus and the requirement for a search warrent, since of course freedom might be used by terrorists against America, and hence freedom is the enemy of security.
Long ago patriots said things like "Give me liberty, or give me death", but today we say "take away my liberties, that's ok, patriotism means security not liberty."
Okay, what's wrong with this picture?
A little boy tugged on the overalls of a farmer who had puppies to sell. "Mister" he said "I want to buy one of your puppies. I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"
"Sure" said the farmer. "Here Dolly," he called. Out from the doghouse ran Dolly, followed by four little balls of fur. As the dogs made their way toward him, the boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared, doing its best to catch up with the others.
The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. He showed the farmer a steel brace running down both sides of his leg, attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
"You see, sir," he said, "I don't run to well myself, and he will need someone who understands."
Adapted from "Puppies for Sale and other Inspirational Tales" by Dan Clark
Okay, now that you've wiped the tears away, isn't it easy to realize that we all have a small piece of the little ball of fur that doesn't get around so well in us. We all could use that extra understanding that the little boy so easily knows something about.
I'll have a vacation report up soon. It was nice to be in a bright 80+ degree locale again. Some pictures and maybe some words coming soon. I needed this little diversion.
Palms swaying in the calm ocean breeze,
Pelican's searching for their late lunch meal,
Mothers in their one pieces toddling after the young,
The lonely hearts watching the lives of all that surround them.
Suddenly the alarm chimes out telling me its just a dream.
From the only in Washington State files: Taser Used on 79-Year-Old In-Law ... and ... Gore Film Sparks Parents' Anger. What are people thinking out here?
More updates soon!
P.S. - Happy Birthday to myself on the 8th ... 49 (shuddering at the thought)!
Web site is back up ... the server crashed two weeks ago and I didn't have a back up. I was able to recreate most of everything ... but stay tuned because I plan to do a post on that experience soon!
Another photograph of mine has been published on a blog. Go visit Blue Gal and read her insightful posts!
More soon ...
People who do something and fail are infinitely better than those who do nothing and succeed. - Author unknown
I received my AA diploma in the mail today! Yeah!!
An organization that you can give some time or money to, Save the Children.
The web comic for cute gone bad! - Good stuff here!
Not much else to write on at this time. Many decisions coming up on school, work, and living situations ... plus a vacation in 4 weeks hopefully in a hot, humid, and sandy location!
Just finished a great book, "What is the What" by Dave Eggers ... the story of Valentino Achak Deng. I recomend to all as it might change how you view the world.
More words and opinions to come soon!
Breaking at 7:35 PM ... Michelle Malkin apologizes (Hell has frozen over). Corrections ... about the swift boating of John Kerry. And at the very bottom of the post a correction about AP. But it's so hard for her to take responsibility ... even in this apology.
It's been a good year ... on to 2007! There is just one thought I'd like to leave this year with ... can't we all just get along? Who are the victims in all of the strife man causes? The answer of course are the children. With all of the rhetoric, bitterness, and warring they learn early on about hate, prejudice, hunger, and death. Don't we owe them a better future? Maybe that is what we can work on for 2007. Let's make this a world that children are free to play and have fun. Let's give them back their innocence. Dreams are not just for the privileged ... the children are the future of this world that we live in so let's give them their dreams back in 2007.
Happy New Year world!
... Breaking news at 8 PM PST!
I stepped outside to have my last smoke and was shown a beautiful sight ... the Moon was out and shinning through two layers of light clouds or fog so it appeared to be three rings. I'd say that is a good sign for me to remember as I try to give this habit up for good. I have tried many times and I hope and pray that this will be my last attempt. I no longer enjoy it ... actually haven't enjoyed it for just about three years now. I am now at a place where I feel it is time to be rid of it. My health has not suffered yet and I don't want to come up against that anytime soon. I guess what I'm saying is that I choose to live ... I have to much left to do in this world in which we live in. I have goals for 2007 and smoking would make those difficult to say the least. I will make it to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier this coming summer. It will be done, period. So, I'm out of smokes and plan to stay that way. This coming week may be difficult but ... it's time. Peace, Love, Happiness, and Health to all in 2007!
A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a heart breaking event, one that impacted the way I see the world. I am a product of all of the choices I've made in my life. My recent decisions have been good and have placed me in a better position to help change the world. But many of my decisions and choices of the past have been flawed and for a man of nearly 49 years old, I'm a bit behind where most are. One of those decisions or choices dealt with having children. I always wanted to be a father but never found the “right” person to settle down with. I had other issues, confidence mainly, that led me to be alone most of my life so the idea of children never was a focal point. Now that those issues have gone by the way side, I regret not having been a parent. Many say that age is not an issue with a man but the reality of this is I have made the choice to date women of my age bracket. I tried the mid life crisis myth years ago and I discovered, that when all is said and done, you still need to be able to have communication with your partner. When there is a big age difference you are at different phases of your life experiences. This leads to frequent communication breakdowns which dooms the relationship. Communication and the shared lifetime experiences are important to me and that is why I date the women I date. So I keep looking … I have no problem with accepting my dating partners children as my own, if that is what my partner is wanting and looking for. Adoption is another avenue that may be explored in the future if I am able to find the right person to spend my life with. The truth is I have pretty much resigned myself that I won't be a father … that is regret as I do think I would be a good father!
So to continue with the story … a couple of weeks ago I was doing service calls at a store down south of Seattle, in the Olympia area. I was busy trying to get a check stand printer to print correctly. My attention was grabbed by a little girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, crying at the customer service area. I heard the clerk say what is your Mommy’s name? It took a couple of tries but the clerk was able to get the mommy’s name and sent a page out on the intercom. This little girl was in terror because she had gotten separated from her Mom … that’s bad anytime but this was just 4 or 5 days before Christmas. My heart sank … I felt sick and felt tears well up in my eyes. In less than a couple of minutes the mom came to the counter and found the sobbing child. They moved away from counter but were still very close to me. The young child kept clinging to the mom … and the mom was comforting her child. But the terror of this little girl made me weak … most of us has witnessed something similar to this. How did it make you feel? What did you do? I was so ready to search for this mom … I was so ready to hold and comfort this child … I was so ready to give my life for a child that I had never met. I felt her terror as I remember feeling that way once when I was probably her age. Trauma the week before Christmas, it makes you think, and wish, and feel.
Since I was working by myself I was able to walk away after the mother and child had left the area. I went to my car and covered my eyes for a bit. I was happy that this situation had a good ending but I was also sad that I made some wrong decisions and choices in my life. I had discovered a weakness that I knew existed but was hidden under the surface, buried in regret. Children are our future and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure their safety and security. I am a big believer in ethics and doing the right thing no matter what the cost. The biggest injustice I see in this world is the abuse and neglect of children. How can people do that? And what can I do to make this world better for our future, the children? These questions I hope to face as this year comes to a close and a New Year begins. I may not be a father to a child but maybe I'm a Dad to many. While I still see the terror of that little girl maybe I can use that image to not just make myself a better person but to also make this world a safe and more secure place for little girls and little boys.
Every day is a gift! The images that your eyes see can make you think of the past, the present, and the future. Living in the past only destroys the present and the future, yet the past has helped form us to what we are today. It is indeed a fine line, life as it is. So today I'm writing about this recent past event … I'm giving it a name and a face … that way I can build on this event for present and future endeavors. My life has taken a good turn the last couple of years. So I close this year out with successes and look forward to the new challenges that will roll in with the New Year. The biggest reward of this year has been living each day as a gift … a gift from God. Thank you for a good 2006!
New Pics at my New Pics page!
I received my Christmas gift early this year ... a couple of weeks ago. So I thank you all ... now get off the Internet and have a good day!
So am I being targeted? An interesting question. Some background is in order ... when you own a web site there is a software package that usually comes with the host agreement. This software tells you how many visitors you get daily and where they are coming from. That is why people say that there is no such thing as anonymity on the Internet. There are anonymizers that help conceal your movements but I find them a pain to use. But I digress ... the information that is collected is your general generic type stuff except the ip address which is specific. Last week I had two interesting visitors ... my employer and a company called Cyveillance.
I would be interested to find out if those visits are connected or if I've annoyed two organizations in a week! Time is on my side right now. As I stated a week or so ago, I'm not ready to go public with my 2007 health insurance issues. Interesting to note that the CEO of the company I work for was in the news this week ... talking about an issue similar to what I'm dealing with. Except I don't see the numbers presented to be factual. If the election cycle of 2006 has proved anything, it's that numbers can be spun to mean different things to different people. The good fight goes on ...!
Other news that's fit to print ... a great day today! I was able to fix the fence that got blown down early Friday morning. No way will that section will get blown down again ... a man and his nails are dangerous tools! Also, I hung Christmas lights this year. Yeah!! Maybe I'll get a tree early in the week ... a small one. This year is coming to a close and whatever happens between now and then it will still rank as my best year yet! Life is good and I've been blessed. Blogging may be light as I have a few projects yet to complete in the next month. Everyone ... if I don't say it now I may not have time later ... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Sayings day ...
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
A good memory is fine - but the ability to forget is the true test of greatness.
Communication: Listening to what isn't said is often more important than hearing what is said.
Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrows. It empties today of its strength. (Corrie Ten Boom)
All of these sayings have come from a silly little daily desk calendar a friend gave me in Arlington, Virginia. I find inspiration daily from these sayings. They are good food for thought!
P.S. - I made it unscathed from the rain and wind here in Seattle. I am so ready for a vacation in a bright, warm, tropical, and sandy environment!
From the Hope Health Letter ... (author unknown)
Everyday survival kit: Little things that mean a lot.
Toothpick - to remind you to pick the good qualities in everyone.
Rubber band - to remind you to be flexible. Things may not always go the way you want, but they can be worked out.
Band-aid - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, whether yours or someone else's.
Eraser - to remind you everyone makes mistakes.
Candy kiss - to remind you everyone needs a hug or a compliment every day.
Mint - to remind you that you are worth a mint to your family and friends.
Sugarless gum - to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything.
Pencil - to remind you to list your blessings every day.
Tea bag - to remind you that you never know how strong you are until your in hot water.
"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed" ... Booker T. Washington.
I'm a college graduate now ... yeah!! Next step is my Bachelors degree which I'll start on soon.
Other news ... I am having an issue with my health insurance at my job. I'm not going to go public with this yet, but stay tuned. We all know that you have to pick your battles carefully and I've decided that this is one that is worth the fight. More to follow ....
A special post!
Barring the end of the world, on Thursday at 7 AM I will unofficially have an Associates of Arts degree. About two weeks later, around the middle of December it will be official. And 6 to 8 weeks later, just before my birthday I will have the parchment in my hands. Many of my friends say I should be proud. I am to a certain degree ... I put a great deal of effort into this the last year. And that effort paid off. But I'm also very grateful and that must be acknowledged.
Over the years I've had some great coaches. I'd be remiss if I didn't start off with God ... with Him all things are possible. Of course my parents, who always told me that education is very important. They are right but it took me many years to get it all together and find my way to that path. Ten years or so ago, I met Jane. Jane was/is very smart and creative. She thought I was smart ... I just thought she was crazy to think that. Her cousin Lou also thought I was smart and I couldn't really argue with him because he too was smart and becoming accomplished. I figured he was just being nice and polite. I acknowledged that I was intelligent but that was more to stay away from saying I was smart.
Six years ago I met D^3 who was academically accomplished, creative, and the smartest most forward looking person I've ever met (still is). Early on she mentioned that I was very intelligent and kept asking me where I learned this or that. She had a hard time believing I didn't have any degree and continued to be astonished by my knowledge base. After a little prodding I finally took an IQ test. I didn't really want to know because then I might have to really do something about that ... like apply myself. I scored higher than I thought I would and that is all I will say. Well, I started to believe.
A little over a year ago I had to make some changes in my life ... finishing this degree was one of the changes. D^3 always made it clear that she was there to help if I hit some roadblocks like I had in previous attempts. I never expected the help, the guidance, the direction, and the encouragement that I received. Thank you! You helped me to believe in myself.
I have a couple of others to thank ... a few months after I moved back to Seattle in 2004 I found out that the meat manager at the store that I worked was in a PhD. program. We bonded very quickly ... I was able to understand some of his situations because D^3 had told me of her process. He appreciated the ear and discussion from an intelligent buddy. I encouraged him, actually calling him up every few days to make sure he was working on the research and then dissertation ... and he encouraged me to move towards getting my degrees. He was also very important in keeping me focused of the prize. He now has his PhD and has changed careers now as a college business professor ... congratulations again and thank you Paul Gerhardt.
My email pal in Jordan, Diala. Thank you! You give much too many in your life. I know Ali will be very proud of you. We all have a legacy that we leave and I would be very happy with mine even if it was just half of what you are doing. Really, the world thanks you.
There are others ... I thank you and appreciate all the support and encouragement you've shown to me. I've been blessed!
Something to ponder ... "Humor diffuses stress ... pulls bricks out of the walls that come between us, and helps us remember why we liked each other in the first place" (Kay Bishop).
I came in 3rd place for an essay contest ... no the essay isn't posted but you can read about the contest at, Popgadget.net.
More to come soon ...
The worst part of Thanksgiving ... family! I'm back ... some old political and policy links that I should've posted weeks ago ...
My New Total Information Awareness Technique Will Be Totally Unstoppable. Remember TIA from three to four years ago?
Terrorist Profiling, Version 2.0.
Knowledge Computing Corporation ... why would they be poking around my web site? Data mining?
Bush Signs Bill Enabling Martial Law ... very interesting.
Bush Appointee Said to Reject Advice on Endangered Species ... the war on Science.
Women still struggling to break the glass ceiling, a Seattle PI article dealing with the gender issue in Washington State.
How to Read a Face, about the emerging field of social neuroscience is based on the idea that human brains are 'wired to connect.'
And finally, something that everyone should get involved with as a way of fighting hunger and poverty in developing countries, Micro-Loans Online. Late add on ... something to laugh at guys ... Guidelines for Platonic Friendship!
Okay time for some coffee and then dinner!
Ha ... got your attention! But this post is about all of that and life. Back in June 2005 I read a book by "Washingtonienne", aka Jessica Cutler. She was embroiled in a sex scandal in Washington, DC about a year earlier in 2004. As the story goes, she had a blog, Washingtonienne, for her friends that detailed her life in DC. Well, there was some details on her blog that were personal and not for mass market publication. Remember that this blog was to keep her friends in the loop about life in our Nations Capital. Washington, DC is not always pretty and can have a very dark side to it. Somehow a mass market blogger found out about this ... published a story ... and Jessica got fired very quickly. I did not exactly give the book high marks nor did I have a glowing opinion of Jessica Cutler. But life has a way of throwing you curve balls every once in a while that makes you re-evaluate your positions.
So as the story goes ... back in June I sent out an email to my friends asking them for their summer songs. I planned to burn a CD for roadtrips in my new car. As an after thought I sent that email to several of the bloggers that I read. Lo and behold Jessica answered the email and gave me her suggestion. That started an email exchange that continues ... and I began to learn about her and her life. One of ethics of this life I lead is to try and not judge others. But judgements come in many forms. Once I was accused of putting a former girlfriend on a pedestal. No one can ever live up to that status and it kills relationships. We are not perfect ... we are not meant to be. But I digress ... again!
There has been several comments from Jessica that have rang bells in my middle aged brain. First thing, to quote Chuck Knox, you deal with the hand your dealt. She dealt with her notoriety with her head held high after a brief period of doubt and bewilderment. She told me stories about those early days after the scandal broke. But it showed to me that she is nothing like what I had thought. She tried to get a different job in DC but was ratted out to the media. So how do you fight back? Jessica found a way.
Marketing baby, marketing! I'm not sure what came first, the book deal or the Playboy spread, but she did what she had to do. She is a very attractive young women and used the tools that she could use to her advantage. She worked with the hand that she was dealt or using a different cliche', made lemonade out of lemons. Is that wrong? Depends. She needed to live and she needed to move on. A big part of me feels that she has been exploited for years and reacted in the only way that she knew how. She had two choices ... to give in to what people were saying she was or to fight. Well Jessica came up with a third option, to fight exploiting those that used her by marketing herself as Washingtonienne. She is one very smart person! And someone that is as human as you and me.
So why am I writing about Jessica? Well if you know the story at all she is being sued by one of her former "boyfriends" in DC. Frankly he should be happy that he was one of her boyfriends. But after she was outed people figured out who he was ... now he's embarrassed. What I can't figure out is everyone has their kink, and his kink isn't all that unusual. Not mine, but not over the top either. Anyway ... this is a free speech issue. Free speech is not always pretty. But that is what makes America different! Was his privacy compromised by her blog. No ... he was never named only his initials were given. But the law suit goes on. And now he is dragging the blog that outed Jessica's blog into all of this. So I write about this for several reasons. Don't judge the book by it's cover ... deal with the hand you are dealt ... be creative in all of your options ... go take the risk to find the pot of gold ... and stand up for what you believe even if it's not always well defined. Look at all of those cliche's!!
Finally, go visit her site ... click on her advertising links as that may help get her a little extra cash ... and if you are feeling generous drop her a donation. She taught me a little about life and I thank her for that!
P.S. - After the Foley scandal erupted, she did a TV interview ... Subject Of '04 Scandal: DC Breeding Ground For Sex.
Education opens your eyes to the world around you. Once you wipe away the tears you want to do something about it.
Lot's going on but I need to get back to my school work so this will be a short post. Right off the bat, let me tell you that I officially will be done with my AA in 19 days. Yeah!! The bad news, I honestly can't afford to continue in my quest for a Bachelor's degree. I'm going to put that in a holding pattern for 3 months to see what kind of money I can come across. In that time I will be concentrating on getting my A+ and Network+ certifications ... so I won't be just sitting on my butt. These are also projects that I started a year or two ago and I *need* to prove to myself that I can finish these projects up too.
Yeah for the Democratic party! Sure enough it was all about values!!
About values ... I'm a spiritual person. I've been thinking about finding a church that I could grow with. One of the church's I go past on my Sunday morning latte' run is in Ballard. I always see young people stream in and out of this place. I was thinking I would check it out ... until ... I came across a blog post that linked to the Paster's blog. It was right after the Haggard scandal. The paster suggested that his wife bore some of the responsibility because "it is not unusual to meet pasters' wives who really let themselves go". Okay, let me just say this is BS ... kids happen. You try and do their job you jackass. But that is not all, today he posted about the new Episcopalian Bishop, that happens to be a woman, at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Let's just say he thinks "All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men". You know, if someone is called to serve a church, that is good. It shouldn't matter what their gender is ... and ... get over it, as you like to write! Needless to say I will not be looking at that church anymore. I will not post a link to this Paster's blog because I won't be part of his message. If you want to know the church, the pastor, and the blog ... email me.
Okay, that is it. I have a post coming on an email pal from New York that has helped me to see the light in matters of the youth. Also, links to add ... but that is it for know!
Some more news ... I broke down and bought some Adobe products that came bundled with some Macromedia programs. In the next few months I will be redesigning my site with these tools. I also hope to do a flash presentation as a into page. Much to learn ...! Now for some interesting links ... Saving Pluto: The Fightback Begins. A great IQ game ... translate the page for instructions or go here. And lastly, for those that like politics there is a great updated Plamegate timeline at TPM Cafe.
That's it for today ... my vacation starts on Friday. I'll be in the metro DC area for a week. Pictures to follow!
Photograph taken a mile or so north of Leavenworth, Washington on Highway 2. I believe that this is the Tumwater Canyon area. I've been spending 3 days in each of the last two weeks in the Wenatchee area. It is paradise with the rolling hills and the peaks like in the photograph above. In just about 3 months this peak will be covered in snow. When I took this picture you will notice there was a bit of haze. The haze is from a forest fire in eastern Washington. We have had a very dry summer here in Washington State. Last week when I was there, I stopped at a fruit stand on the way home and bought some peaches and nectarines. They were so good ... the best I've had in years ... that I bought a 20 pound box of peaches for myself, family, and friends yesterday. I also bought some freshly picked sweet corn that was grown in Quincy, Washington. The peach and nectarine crops are just about done for the year with the apple and pear harvest just days or weeks away. It's a different world there ... a world I could get very used to.
Other stuff ... I got a 4.0 in my Environmental Sciences class. Yippee!! That means I have just one more class before I attain that elusive AA degree ... and then on to get a Bachelors. I also have a week of vacation coming soon. I like my job and all but I do need to have some down time to visit with friends, have some dinners out, and see some shows.
So, that is it for this installment of Don's world. Enjoy what life gives you!
And ... how do you like the new logo?
Okay, a few links ... The Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust. I'm not sure how I feel about this but she was outed as a CIA operative with the approval of the Bush administration. That, I guess, would be an example of a "good" leak? From the ACLU we have Shocking but True - the Spies have it. This is really good but you should have high speed Internet access to view this. Next, a Washington Post article on where we have been and where we are going with How Common Ground of 9/11 Gave Way to Partisan Split. This does show you where the rhetoric will be heading as we approach the 2006 mid term elections. A long but very good read. And finally, something that helps when all of the "stuff" out there gets to you, the Cute Project. Get ready to say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
That is it for right now. I have a long week ahead of me ... I keep thinking that I'm to old for this stuff!
... I couldn't say it any better!
You see them on the grass at lunch hour
Soaking up the vertical rays
In their summer dresses
A little smile can really make your day
Their kisses feel like real kisses
And when they cry they cry real tears
But what's left in your arms
When the static clears
They're landing on the Jersey beaches
Their engines make the white sand swirl
The heat is so intense
Earthmen have no defense
Against Tomorrow's Girls
Tomorrow's Girl, Donald Fagen
A great song ... there is a few lines towards the end of the song that really puts the weakness of men in perspective ...
A virus wearing pumps and pearls
Lord help the lonely guys
Hooked by those hungry eyes
That about says it all.
I went to a graduation party for a friend of mine last night. Fun was had by all! I saw some people who I hadn't seen for months and met some new folks. And, you all will love this because it happens to everyone, I saw someone who I recognized but we couldn't figure out how we knew each other. One of lifes great twists!
A couple of links for you all ... the return of Stickman in Animator v. Animation, very cool. Along the same lines ... but different ... we have Make your own Jackson Pollock painting. Now for a little flashback from Wikipedia, List of problems solved by MacGyver ... no comment required.
That's it for today ... I think. A little road trip to Wenatchee this coming week for work. So until next time have a great day!
So ... I read news and blogs from the left and on the right so I can determine for myself what is really going on. There is a lot of "hate" going on in this country and it makes me ill. Don't you all understand that when a great nation such as ours is pulled by the extremes it's the center that gets ripped apart. Of course, that may be the goal. This is not a healthy country we are living in right now. The people ... that's you and me, right and left, rich and poor, and educated by academia or by hard knocks, are going to have to stand up and demand a higher job performance from our elected officials. We also need to expect more from each other because, really, that is all that we have right now.
There has been a lot of talk about whether I'm patriotic since I generally lean to the left. We are all products of our life experiences. Part of my life was living in Arlington, Virginia from May 2001 until June 2004. Look closely at those dates ... that was my neighborhood, literately, that saw a lot of tears on a fateful day in September 2001. The country pulled together that day and the days afterwards. That cooperation has vanished in a sea of red and blue states (of minds). Isn't it time to solve our problems together again?
I know that I've been a bit jaded from all of the "hate" going around. Why do I say that ... well ... from a blog post by Michelle Malkin (who I very much disagree with), she states in the title, Dissent is Patriotic. We'll see ... I'm wondering how long it will be before she uses the term "moonbat" to describe someone like me that disagrees with the state of our country, or more likely, disagrees with her viewpoint. The countdown begins.
Having said all of that have a good, safe, and sane 4th of July!!
It's going to be a hot one today ... shades of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing". 90+ in Seattle for the next two days ... everyone keep cool! Remember the ice!!
Summer quarter officially starts tomorrow ....
Life is good! But after having the last week off for vacation, I have no desire to go back to work on Monday.
I'll post more photographs and commentary from my little trip to the ocean later today or tomorrow. Plus a list of summer songs from my friends!
... from Cannon Beach, Oregon. More to follow!
My hotel was the Hallmark Inn and Resort. I highly recomend this Inn!
Blogging from the beach!! I have many things to write about and say but now is not the time. I am going through my actual mid life transition (not a crisis) right now. Where do I go and what will I do? Questions that will be answered in the coming summer days that are at hand. My decisions will set a course for the rest of my life. It's time to face my fears ... I'm so afraid that I will go on the wrong path ... or worse, fail. More on this as the summer unfolds.
So ... I sent out an email to my friends and bloggers that I read asking them what song means to summer them. I've got some good responses including one from Jessica Cutler (aka Washingtonienne). If you don't know who she is don't be surprised what you find out when you google her name. I wrote about her last June I believe after I read her book. Her song of the summer is "Ridin Dirty" by Chamillionaire. Pretty cool that she answered my email. On the computer right now is "Cherry Hill Park" by Billy Joe Royal. This will be a recurring theme as the summer progresses ... more to follow. Time to hit the beach ... pictures and stories to follow.
That's it for today! The quarter is over and I have a couple of weeks to gear up for my next set of classes. Plus I'm on a well deserved weeks worth of vacation in 6 days. Life is good ... the old adage of what you put into it, is what you get out of it is so true!!
There is a sign in Oak Harbor, Washington, as you near the Naval Air Station, that reads “Excuse our noise; it’s the sound of Freedom”. In Washington, DC this weekend they will have another sound of freedom being heard, the annual ride of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group. Both of these sounds mean a great deal to me, as I've been witness to both, but it took years for that knowledge to sink into my sometimes thick skull. So let me give you a little background. I missed the draft for Vietnam by a year or two … I'm not to sure because the 70’s seem like such a long time ago. I was worried how that would all come out when I was 16 because I didn't believe the cost associated with the conflict was worth the price being paid. We even had our own college students being killed in the United States that were expressing their views against the conflict. I have an idea what I would have done, had I been drafted, but that is only speculation. I do know that I'm a much different person then I was when I was 18. I was very anti war (conflict) at the time, and for the most part I still am. I do believe words work better then guns and bombs. So my mind set was not geared towards the conflict in Vietnam and when the troops came home I was happy but not very supportive. Frankly, I didn't know any better. I wasn't touched by a loss or really understood all of the pain that the soldiers were feeling when they came home. Thankfully two major events happened in the coming years to help all of us cope and understand a little bit better … a movie called “Coming Home” and Maya LI’s Vietnam Memorial on the mall in Washington, DC. Of course, as it always seems to be in the United States, both were surround by controversy. In the end the movie and the Memorial helped to heal the divisions in our great country. We learned, or more specifically, I learned what the families and loved ones already knew and understood which was that the soldiers had paid a high price for their sacrifices to serve our country.
As you all know, I moved out to the Metro DC area in late May 2001. My second full day in Arlington was Memorial Day so I decided to head to Arlington National Cemetery to visit a grave site of the former Seattle School District Superintendent, John Stanford. Stanford had died from Leukemia the year or two before and because of his service to the country he was buried at Arlington. My true education started that day. Arlington is sacred ground. I saw many tears that day and that promoted a sense of deep respect in me for those who came before and sacrificed much in their lives. I had always know how privileged I was but this brought it all home to me. I was no longer on the outside looking in … I had moved to a different point in my evolution. Then came September 11, 2001….
The Pentagon was two miles from my apartment, which also boarders Arlington National Cemetery. I lived four blocks from Fort Meyer in Arlington. Suddenly on that day my life, and the world I live in, changed. The aftermath included many funeral processions that stopped traffic on Washington Boulevard (Route 50) from different churches in the area in route to Arlington National Cemetery. That was a very somber time. When you are stopped it does give you some time to reflect on all of the sacrifices that others make. I did reflect as many of the others did in this great country we live in. I lived in Arlington until June 6, 2004. On the day before I left I went to visit Arlington National Cemetery to say “thank you and goodbye”. I spent 3 hours there first walking up to an area that paid honor to victims of the Lockerbie bombing and then down to the September 11th Memorial. As I was walking to the September 11th Memorial I was witness to three different services going on. I'm not too proud to say that I had tears in my eyes as I was walking back to my car that afternoon. Many people had indeed paid the ultimate price in giving me freedoms that much of the world only dreams about.
I have stayed away from politics up to this point in this post. I prefer to label myself as a centrist. I'm liberal in some of my beliefs and I'm conservative in others. Our country is deeply divided right now. My conservative friends label me as a liberal. My liberal friends label me as conservative. I will proudly wear both badges because I don't feel that either doctrine holds all of the magic bullets that will solve all of our problems and divisions. One thing that needs to be said over and over again, that also ties into all of this, many have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. Sacrifice and freedoms do go hand in hand. Nobody will dispute that ordinary folks like you and me have to make sacrifices post September 11, 2001. But where are the lines? Where are the checks and balances? Is the public going to be allowed to express thoughts and opinions in the policy decisions? If not, why not? All of these questions and many more, are very important to ask. Lately, those that have asked these questions are labeled and investigated. I don't believe that the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, nor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice would agree with this position. As I stated, all of these are important questions that need to be asked. It is part of our duty that many paid such a high cost for.
So as you go about your lives this weekend remember those who came before us. Think of the sacrifices that they made and how your life has been affected. We all have someone that we know that gave service to our country. It could be a Mom or Dad, a Brother or Sister, and Aunt or Uncle, or even that next door neighbor that you think is a jerk. Whoever it is, take the time to thank them. Our lives have gotten so busy that sometimes we forget about some of the things we should be thankful for. On this Memorial Day I will reflect, give thanks, and make a renewed commitment to be involved in the process. Even though I won't be in Arlington this weekend to visit the National Cemetery or to see and hear Rolling Thunders sound of freedom, honor, and respect I will be there in spirit.
Best wishes to all. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!
... I now own this. The clerk saw how much I enjoyed the ruler and gave it to me. She also showed me the matching pen that went along with it. The pen was maybe three inches long that had a little button that you would press and the pen would slowly rotate up so you could lock it into a useable fully extended position. I want the pen now too!!
Now ... back to my homework.
Politics ... well, will next week be Merry Fitzmas? Possibly!! I'm feeling pretty sick at the way our country is going. I urge all of you to register to vote because we have to take back our country. We need to clean up Congress. We need to send them all a message that its time to do the peoples work not the special intrests work. A good web site to visit about all of the excessive baggage that makes it on an appropriations bill can be found at Porkbusters.org. A link from a few weeks ago that I still like to visit if I need some music mixed with my politics, I'm the Decider.
Some links ... NSFW but a good learning resource, Rethink. Something for women that like to laugh about men's insecurities try Philips Bodygroom, it is funny. For the thought provoking try, Phenomena produce theories, but no answers, about some strange booms in California.
Well, that's it for now. I hope all are enjoying the spring. Until next time ...
I know ... lots of links to follow today but between road trips for work and the new school quarter begining I've been suffering from a lack of time. As I said at the begining of this post, opinions to follow soon. Lot's to say about our civil liberties, leaks, real lobbying reform, made up wars on this or that (to deflect the real issues that need to be discussed and debated), and finally Tom DeLay. Until then ... peace be with everyone
Okay a few links for you all ... Easter is just around the corner so how about This is Bunny that is trying for world domination. Also, Uber-Review has their take on the top ten most annoying alarm clocks. On a serious and educational note, the Washington Post has an article, Hacking made easy that will give you some good advice to protect yourself online.
Well that is that for 5 to 6 days. I look forward to safe trip to the Mountains and back. Hopefully I'll have some photographs to post next weekend. Well, that may be optimistic as my first ever laptop will be delivered while I'm away ... so some learning time next weekend. Yeah!! TT4N.
Along the same lines, my job took me to the foothills of Mt. Rainier today. I stepped outside at about 6:30 AM and was treated to a sunrise that God could only have created. Pink skies and a majestic Mountain ... eye candy!
Dick DeGuerin, Tom DeLay's attorney, about a new Documentary that focuses on his client. This quote was lifted from Crooks and Liars. The newspaper article that this quote came from is at the Houston Chronicle.
A few links for you all ... from YouTube we have a real life intro to the Simpsons. An old post, January 13, 2006, from Donklephant about drilling for oil in Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska. It's interesting how big oil gets what they want ... follow the money. A contributor to one of the blogs I read daily, Crooks and Liars has his own blog. I have no idea how long he has had it but I just recently discovered it. You can find Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory ... very good thought and analysis. And, just as a reminder, CERT has a great resource page to help you secure your web browser. CERT is a great resource for the latest news in protection and security on the Internet.
That's it for today. If you live in my area enjoy the wind storm and ponder the "big picture" of things.
So, I was reading a blog yesterday and someone referenced Time Cube. Um, what is this all about? Is this a ranting from an off balanced person? You decide and let me know! On a serious front, we have a Washington Post article on Gonzales Seeks to Clarify Testimony on Spying, Extent of Eavesdropping May Go Beyond NSA Work. You know, we may be at "war" but this administration is out of control. I hate to harp on this but if you let this go on, you have no one to blame but yourself. Get involved!
I haven't checked out this organization yet, but Renew New Orleans Foundation sounds like a good use of your money.
And ... for a multi-media presentation that will knock your sox's off try We will not be silenced. This is not for Conservatives ... a Fire and Brimstone experience.
I'm sure that if I had not been so preoccupied with "Dog Days" in January my classes might have gone smoother. I had a very hard time focusing on school this quarter and will no doubt be taking my classes over again. Thankfully a good friend recommended the Perkins book to me and that helped me to refocus my energies back into my education. Thank you!
Enjoy the links ... more commentary and writing coming soon!
That's it for this post! I will be writing a post soon about our Government abusing its power and the erosion of our civil rights. I will also be putting up a page with papers that I've written for school. Everyone have a good Christmas and may this season bring about all of your wishes!
Well that's it. I have just 11 days left in the quarter, then I can rest for a few weeks. If I don't post much in December, please have a good Christmas and New Year celebration!
It's my Dad's birthday today. Happy Birthday Dad!!
Some links ... this is for my fascination with Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie's ... some serious stuff from the Washington Post Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity ... and a great article on computer maintenence called Gunk Busters.
Some more odds and ends. I will be posting some of my school papers soon. I also have a new installment on my war on spam posted now! And finally, as most of you know this domain is for sale. I am entertaining offers but have already decided that I will probably take the site down during the first part of 2006. My life is moving away from this. I'm finding that I want to do other things that have more meaning for me right now.
That's it for today! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I did!
Now, back to my post ... I'm going on a work road trip this week ... yeah, I get to see the Mountains and the snow. I have been doing some serious hours at work and some equally serious hours for my classes of late. My web surfing is down to about 15 mins. per day ... translated that means there is life after the Internet. Some let me toss you some links ... Early Peek at Panda Cub Planned, a friend wrote me this week to say she just loved our little Butterstick! Let's see, we also have the Butterstick Cafe Press store! How about Cool Stuff Being Made video site. Some really cool Weebles, I never knew that is what they were called, at Jason Chase's site, and finally a Coffee lovers blog! That's it for awhile. I do hope everyone is doing well ... I am!
Appreciation for the good things in your life my help you ward off the "holidays blues" as well as keep you happier and healthier all year long. People who write down the things they are grateful for every day have stronger immune systems, more happiness, and less reaction to negative events, according to Dr. Robert Emmons, author of The Psychology of Gratitude. "Gratitude is an appreciation of your life right now vs. where you want it to be," explains Emmons. People are often disappointed during the holidays because they have unrealistic expectations, especially about their loved ones. This is also the time of year when they reflect on the gap between their current situation in life and where they wish they were. By counting your daily blessings, you can reduce anger, resentment, regret, and other unhappy feelings.
Everyone have a good weekend!
That's it for today ... time for a pain pill.
Yawl have a great weekend, ya hear!
My wonderful view of Downtown Seattle is about to be no more. I noticed today that one of the neighbors is putting up a new house on their lot that will block out the view. I might add that the couple that bought the house awhile back live next door to it and are real estate brokers. Oh well, that's life ...!
On to other stuff ... links ... eBay auction for the Pentagon Memorial Fund, and finally how about wallpaper from your own designs!
I've know for years that God does exist. I know how wasted I was just about 15 years ago when I checked into a treatment center for Drug and Alcohol abuse. I had some divine intervention that morning to show me I was on the wrong path and I needed help. So, a miracle happened to me. I have seen how God has changed others that were part of my life. So I knew ... but I didn't follow. As it happens in life, we don't call on God, or give Him praise, when things are going good ... usually just when things get bumpy. I'm a great one for that. But my life is changing ... and in large part it's because I'm finally seeing things in a spiritually centered world. More specifically, a God centered world and life. This last week when I was on a Roller Coaster I came across a passage, more a phrase, from my daily reading that put things in a clearer perspective. The phrase was ... and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God .... A light went off in my brain and I was able to seperate myself from the Roller Coaster ride. In the last two months, actually closer to the last 7 months, this has happened several times to me. I have found a peace within my life that really never was there before.
Some may be wondering if this new attitude will change my web site and blog. The answer is probably not. A persons relationship with God is a deep part of one's identity. My relationship is deeper then it ever has been, but it is still very personal to me. I share this today because I'm no longer ashamed to say that I need guidence in my life. And the guidence I ask for is from God. I share this with you so that you can see another aspect of my life that makes me who I am. I'm still left of center and I doubt that will change anytime soon. So to close today's posting ... I'll try and post some new links here this week if I stay on top of my school work ... and ... have a great week ahead!!
I did finish up a book today that I was reading. I was very disappointed with "Belle de Jour - diary of a London call girl". I have been reading Belle's blog for a couple of years now. She is a great writer but that didn't translate into a great book. The book was better then "Washingtoniene", but that doesn't say much. The last blog book I am looking forward to reading is by Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox, and will be called "Dog Days", due to be out on January 5, 2006.
I would like to think I'll post tomorrow but I know that Sunday will be filled with all of the homework I didn't do today, a trip to the yard store to get fall and spring flowers and bulbs, and finally an early call to bed so I can get up at 3:30 AM Monday. Until, next time!
Also from the Post, we have a great story on the First Privacy Officer that just stepped down from the Department of Homeland Security. It is an informative and inspirational article for all women that are exacting change from the inside.
In passing, I see that Tom DeLay was indicted ... Bill Frist is being investigated for insider trading ... and Judith Miller is released from the Federal Detention facility in Alexandria, Virginia after she agree to name Lewis Libby as her source. No wonder why their poll numbers are down.
From the DC and Politics File we have Roosevelt Island to be Sold? From the Science Files we have Aurora Chasers a pretty cool site that will email you if the Aurora Borealis is visible in your area. From the Photography and Arts File we have Abstract Art from your dna and Liquid Sculptures a high speed photography site of splashes! For reference and fun I stumbled upon My favorite word and Dictionaraoke a site that mixes Dictionary and Karaoke. Some people have to much time on their hands! And finally, we have Print a Kid, create a personalized book for your child starring your child!
I have more links to post but a Text book is calling my name. The Text book is called The Meaning of Differences for my Humanities class. Until next time....
I can not control anyone other then myself, nor do I want to. If I could I would let them know that September 11th can not be compared to other current issues. Both are disasters but one was man made the other was a natural disaster. Be very careful what you read on that other "them" site.
In 8 days I start my new job ... in 15 days I start my return to higher education. I will not be posting to this page much when school starts ... I will not have the time. But if something comes my way, that I think you should know about, you bet there will be a posting. A couple of hints as to what that might be ... well ... let's try DeLay, Rove, and matters of privacy. For my closing today, remember and reflect.
CNN Sues To Cover Katrina Aftermath
September 9, 2005
To: CNN Staff
From: Jim Walton
In response to official statements earlier today that news media would be excluded from covering the victim recovery process in New Orleans and surrounding areas on the suggestion that what is reported may offend viewers' or victims' sensibilities, CNN has filed a lawsuit in federal court to prohibit any agency from restricting its ability to fully and fairly cover this story.
As seen most recently from war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, from tsunami-ravaged South Asia and from Hurricane Katrina's landfall along the Gulf, CNN has shown that it is capable of balancing vigorous reporting with respect for private concerns. Government officials cannot be allowed to hinder the free flow of information to the public, and CNN will not let such a decision stand without challenge.
And from the Washington Post, Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk. And what do we get ... my take is that we need to be alarmed about the erosion of our civil liberties, our right to judge the story for ourselves, and our right to earn a fair wage. If we don't care about what is going on, do you think they will care? We will only have ourselves to blame if we continue to let this happen.
Not much else to report today!
A bunch of links for you all ... I came across a few sites dealing with Festivals and other World Events ... check out their Bizarre listings! For the consumer in all of us, we have Strange New Products, Customized Car Emblems, and Cable Management Tools, for the Yuppie in all of us!
That's it for today ... I hope everyone had a good holiday!
And, congratulations cousin Brian! You have a brand new baby!!
For something good and close to my heart, try Powerful Voices - Because strong girls becomes strong women. This organization helps lead the young women of Seattle into a much better world where gender and color won't hold them back.
To follow that line for a moment ... one of the things that bog me down is that I want to do so much. I get interested in something new before I finish what I'm doing. That leads to having a few different projects going at the same time and not enough action to complete them. That is something I'm working on right now! I am going to finish up my A+ Certification here before the middle of September. Once that is finished up I am going to finish up my education. School starts the last week of September .... I'm finally at the point where I need to do this for myself. About 6 years ago I hit a brick wall with a Logic class I was taking. I felt that if I couldn't get that class then I had failed. My failing was to let that one class dictate to me how dumb I felt. I'm not dumb ... actually I'm too smart for my own good some times! It's just my grammar and spelling that really lacks!! Okay, I've beaten this subject senseless so let's move on. Until next time ....
And, to finish off today's post, my current weight is 158. Since October 2004 I have lost 40 pounds. It gets very expensive buying new clothes!
It's back to school time for the Advertising world. I saw a pretty disgusting ad on TV the other day. Target has an ad out using the Sir Mix-a-lot's song "Baby got back". Of course the words have been changed but everyone knows the implication of the song. Sexual marketing to kids is wrong, period. A parents job is hard enough these days without the advertisers using a sexual song to market backpacks. I am liberal, I am not a prude, but this crosses the line for me. Just an opinion from me!
More stuff later this week!
Leak: Bush Holds Tongue on Probe
We all know that I think Rove should go ... but I'm not holding my breath. Yes, I lean to the left but that is not the reason why I think Rove should go. It's all about perception and motive. Legally it appears that Rove didn't do anything wrong. But, if you are in Government you must be held to a higher standard. The perception of the public must be considered. That is my whole problem with the current administration. They, the current administration, have not let the public become involved in their policies. On a different political and personal note, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of SCOTUS was just released from the hospital that I had surgery at back in January 2004. I guess I did have a good hospital and doctor when I was living in Arlington, Virginia!
Yesterday was a big day for me. I had two teeth pulled with some gum work done at the same time. I also finally upgraded to cable for my Internet connection. As a matter of fact, I need to finish this update fast because the pain medication is already starting to make me, well, loopy! You see, it's already making me place my sentences out of order!
A few links to leave you with ... Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. How about,The Panda Cam ... watch Mama and her little "stick of butter". For some relaxing sounds try iSerenity - ambient sound environments at your desktop for relaxation and solitude.
More to come tomorrow ... new photographs and maybe a layout change for the web site. Then back to work on Saturday.
Also concerning this web site, and my life here in Seattle ... I am entertaining offers for this domain name. I have always had a roof over my head, a fortunate one, but most of my life I've been living out of boxes. Even when I lived in Arlington, Virginia most of my possessions were stored in boxes. I am at the stage of my life that I need to have a place that is home. My belongings and I need a place to breath, feel the light, and grow. I have finally decided that Seattle will be the city that I will call home. I do love the Metro DC area, but the quality of life here in Seattle can not be beat. I know this little house that I want to call home ... and it's really pretty small. So, it's time to pull my assets together and see where I am at in this new and exciting proposal. This domain is an asset. I hate the idea of letting it go but a house is out there calling me home.
Over the last four years I have had many offers for this domain. I have had musical groups, life coaches, and even porno purveyors ask if I wanted to sell. I had originally wanted this domain to supplement my retirement ... but I guess that a house, that is a home, can do the same! I had always wanted this site to be a community forum. I still do. But the reality is that my ideals and concepts don't mean much in todays world. So, here it is. Make an offer, and yes that would be US dollars. I have an idea what I want for this domain and how much it is worth. I am not shooting for the moon, just for one orbit around the earth.
This discourse is about the recent refusal of the Supreme Court to get involved with the "Matt Cooper and Judy Miller" case regarding the outing of a CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband. Today, while having my morning latte, I heard the news that Time Magazine was going to turn over Matt Coppers notes concerning the outing of the CIA agent. While I know that this was a difficult decision to make, Time Magazine is doing the right thing. There is just to many questions, that have not been answered, as to who leaked this information and why. Do I think this leak came from someone in the current administration, yes. Why? This information was leaked simply to discredit someone who was critical of this administration. And in this case, we need to know who it was. Nobody is above the law. So let the chips fall where they may. This case should never have gotten this far. Someone is destroying our freedoms because they will not fess up to what they did. My friends, this is the crowning example of what's wrong in our society today. Nobody takes responsibility for their actions anymore. And, my political pot shot of the day, it starts at the very top and is followed by others.
A few years ago a former girlfriend gave me this wonderful book called The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. It rates as one of my all time favorite books. This book is very descriptive in its writing and one will get something new out of it with each read. While Jami and I were at B. Dalton I saw and heard this book calling my name. While nine may be a little young for someone to read this book, I knew that this was going to be with her for years to come. Just as someone was "paying it forward" to me by giving me this wonderful book, I was thinking about Jami doing the same for someone someday in the future. Great Literature never dies, it just keeps getting handed down from generation to generation.
Since it was my nieces 9th birthday on the 21st I'm taking her out shopping tomorrow. It should be fun to see how poor she will make me. I love spoiling Jami! That's all for now.
Police Chief's Car Stolen
D.C. police are trying to figure out who stole their boss' car. Police Chief Charles Ramsey had an unmarked police car that was stolen over the weekend. The black 1999 Ford Crown Victoria was parked outside Ramsey's home. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, someone took the car. "I think that the police have made significant improvements reducing crime. But if the chief's car can be stolen, then a lot of folks are going to (ask) are their cars safe?" D.C. City Councilman Phil Mendelson said. Investigators said there were no weapons inside the car, but there was police equipment.
A sidebar to this ... when I worked in DC I saw his car illegally parked many times in front of the Watergate South. Wouldn't it be funny if his car had just been towed!
A few links to share with you all. First, how about the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers. And, we have Zen and the art of Small Claims, a how to guide to sue Spammers and other malcontents. Finally, we have an interesting web site that gives you all sorts of information about the day you were born. The site is called the Birthday Calculator. Enjoy the links! And stay tuned, I still have updates and opinions to write about a Diversity Workshop I went to last week, my vacation to DC two weeks ago, and trashy novels. Oh, and I start work at a different store tomorrow! It's starting out to be a busy summer.
7:30 PM - While reading the WashingtonPost.com tonight I came upon a disturbing article. The article is Gov't. Collected Airline Passenger Data. This is another example on how our privacy has been eroded without our consent.
4:30 PM - Arggg. The sound of frustration. I bought a Sports Coat about 2 months ago. It fit when I bought it ... now it's to big. That's what you get for losing all of the weight that I have. I hate finding things out like this when you are packing for a trip.
I have had first hand knowledge on how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously in the business and education world today. I dated a woman that had received her Ph.D. from a major university, in a pretty liberal city. She went to work for a competing university that is on the level of many Ivy League schools. One of her assignments was as an Executive Director of a Technology program. The Director was making well over 3 times the amount of money as she was, working on solidifying his next job (double dipping), and didn't have the educational background that she had. When they found out that she could type as fast as people could talk, that is what they wanted her to do in the meetings. Imagine that, the smartest and most forward thinking PERSON I ever met, with the educational background, and they wanted her to be an Administrative Assistant. She has since moved on to another educational institution.
Now for the reason I tie both of these people together. Even in an educational institution, that by definition is liberal in thought, a woman has a very hard time being taken seriously. And, in our generaly conservative government these day, a woman is just for show not substance. To change this way of thought we have to educate the masses, tear down the "old boys network", and we have to have good role models for the children to follow. While I make no judgements on Jessica Cutler I do think she has done some damage by her choices. Let me ask you this, would you rather have your daughter make a financial killing on a Playboy spread and a trashy Novel or would you rather have your daughter work within the system to exact change and make it easier for those that will follow? When you fall into the abyss of what the general perceptions are in the "old boys network", you make it harder for people like my former girlfriend to be taken seriously. A friend of mine was offended because I wished her a happy "International Womens Day". I asked her why she was offended and her reply made me pause and educated me at the same time. She said it shouldn't matter what sex you are. Diala is right ... but we have a long way left to go.
Later ... it officially hit 88 degrees as the high today in Seattle. Show me some skin Seattle! That pale skin that is showing is blinding. That's why we need sunglasses here in Seattle.
On a more serious note, I have a couple of links for people who are concerned about their privacy and online security. From the washingtonpost.com comes this article, Common Sense Moves Could Protect Privacy. And, from the SecurityFocus web site we have Web Browser Forensics, Part 1. Both of these articles contain great information. I am of the belief that the more information a person has, even if it means my friends will no longer need me to work on their computers, the better off you are. Enjoy the articles and happy safe browsing!
The wait is over! The annual Cooper River Salmon Run is on. Cooper River Salmon is the best WILD Salmon a person will ever have. The season lasts roughly 3 weeks and then you have to wait another 11 months to get your fix. Yes Virginia, there is an upside to living in Seattle!
I need to add some background and a disclaimer for this post. When I moved to the metro DC area in May of 2001 some of my long held beliefs and opinions changed. One of those beliefs dealt with the military. I challenge anyone to visit Arlington National Cemetery and not have some internal upheaval and sincere thanks to all of the veterans who rest there. I know now that this country needs and requires a strong military. You can not argue that point. We, Americans, are targets. Our freedoms, that were fought for by those resting at Arlington, are under attack. This post does not delve into the why or questioning wether we brought this on ourself. I have strong opinions about that, but what is done is done. As Chuck Knox, former great professional football coach, says "you deal with the cards that are dealt." I am pro military, I support the troops efforts, but I don't think that Iraq was justified. I have seen the sacrifices. I have lived under terror. And, I do not agree with this fight on terror being politicized. Both parties are to blame for that. Okay, now with that background and opinion in place, time for the disclaimer.
The Internet is a great tool and resource. However, anyone that has an opinion or ax to grind, can post whatever they want to regardless of the facts. You see this all of the time. So, whatever you read or whatever you hear on the Internet, you have the responsibility to research some more. You can not take everything you read as truth. Truth comes from searching, questioning, and searching some more. Most of the time the truth lies in the middle of what someone is writing about. One legacy of Watergate is that you need to question Your government. Frankly, my opinion is that should be a requirement of the voting right. So I post this article for you to read, for you to question, and for you to do some more research. I've done a little checking on this article and I am going to add a couple of links at the end of the story for you. I'm not sure how I feel about what this article says. I know I feel very uncomfortable about the implications. If you are bothered by the implications get involved. Remember, it is the United States of America. The Congress is elected by the People. Ultimately, Congress has to answer to you and me. The stakes are to high to stand on the sidelines. Read, question, research, and Get Involved.
... this article has been deleted on December 17, 2006 by the owner of this web site. I deleted it because of recent visitors to this web site.
My next post will be a little less serious or deep!
I have posted some photographs of the Herons on my animals page.
I've been reading a book that many people have all ready read called "The Purpose Driven Life." It is a great book, very religious in nature, but a very uplifting book. I do recomend this book to all.
Later this week I will be having some more thoughts on our privacy post September 11, 2001. A friend has been sending me some interesting articles and I just need to digest what is written a little more before I state my opinions. Privacy issues are a tough call when you have to balance the need for National Security.
And, it seems the far right has some strange ideas on sex. For more go to Wonkette.com or FishBowlDC.com and look into last weeks postings. Then get ready to shake your head. Heck, some of the far right make me look like a saint and a prude!
Finally, and don't tell anyone, okay, but I'm going to quit smoking this week. But, please, don't tell anyone! Why, because I need to have just under 20,000.00 in dental work done in the next 3 month. Ouch.
WASHINGTON - The duck stops here. After four weeks as Washington's newest tourist attraction, a mother mallard duck and her - count 'em - 11 ducklings were transported in a motorcade Sunday to a new and far more suitable setting in Rock Creek Park.
The whole group took to the water, well, like ducks, although there was a bit of drama along the way.
The transfer had been mapped out like a military operation for the mother duck, a capital celebrity since taking up residence at the main entrance to the Treasury Department. The building is on Pennsylvania Avenue, the prime thoroughfare that tourists use in walking to the White House, which is right next door.
The Secret Service uniformed division had provided protection for the nesting mother over the past four weeks. Agents had built and then extended metal barricades to keep tourists back from the nest, which the mother had constructed in a mulch pile surrounding a tree.
Even after appearances on national television and in newspapers around the world, the mother - whom some Treasury employees had variously named Duck Cheney, Quacks Reform and T-bill - seemed oblivious to the attention as she stuck to her job of keeping the eggs warm.
The hatching began Saturday afternoon and continued into a stormy night with heavy rain. Wildlife experts who had studied the nest believed there were nine eggs. It turned out there were actually 11 eggs; all hatched.
The mother and her offspring were left on the nest overnight so the ducklings could get oriented.
Early Sunday, in an operation more elaborate than the ducks' move in the children's classic "Make Way for Ducklings," government biologists gently captured the mother duck and her yellow-and-black ducklings and put them in cages for the short ride to their new home.
Once at the park, the ducks were placed in a holding pen to get their bearings. But in only a few seconds, the mother mallard had found an opening and was headed to the nearby creek. Her ducklings scurried behind in a single line.
Duck No. 11 had a little trouble at first, stumbling and landing on its back, its webbed feet fighting the air. It quickly righted itself, only to trip again and tumble down the muddy river bank before landing with a plop in the water.
From there, all 11 ducklings quickly formed a line paddling after their mother and set out to explore their new surroundings.
While they had hatched in the rain, their first journey in their new home took place under a bright sky.
"Ducks are born knowing how to navigate in water," said Laura Illige, chief park ranger at Rock Creek. "We have a healthy duck population here and we are happy to take the new additions under our wings."-Only in DC!-
It's been 30 years since the fall of Saigon. I do remember watching the the fall on TV ... I was only 17 ... where did the years go?
Ummmm ... I bought some new work pants on Thursday ... a size 34 waist! I have to temper my happiness over the size 34 because, now a days, they have elastic waist bands that give old farts the illusion of not getting heavier. But, from a size 38 to a 34/35 since October 2004 is pretty darn good!
Many of you know I've dropped about 25 pounds since the middle of October 2004. I have decided to market my diet. Why not, everyone else does. So my diet will be marketed as the Three S Diet. The three S's are ... and in order of ... Starbucks, Stress, and Safeway. That's right one and all, it comes down to drinking your breakfast and lunch, then a real and sensible dinner. Then add a dash of Stress from opening up a brand new grocery store. And the grocery store would be a Safeway .... Anyway, back to the diet, it works!
Next up is the three L's. I have some new priorities for the short term. Let's call them Learning, Living, and Loving. They are self explanatory but you will hear about my definitions, actions, and successes in the near term. There is more for me to do ... and I've only just begun!
Some more odds and ends ... I have recently gotten into reading some other blogs. Most of the blogs are dealing with DC and the power structure of our Government (you can read into that I have some trouble with what's going on in our country). For those interested the blogs are ... why.i.hate.dc, FishBowlDC (about the media), and Wonkette.
The Pope was a good man. He did more for the world then all of the other world leaders combined. May he rest in Peace. Once again the media should be ashamed of their coverage. Do you remember how the USSR would announce to their country when one of their leaders had passed on? It was with classical and mournful music ... no commentary. That is what should have been done for this kind and gentle man. A respectful passing and remembrance of his life. That's it for now ... reflection is a wondrous gift from whom we look up to.
It's 62 degrees out today in Seattle with the Cherry Blossoms a blooming. So, a quick little update then go give my car a shower! Once that's done I'm going to take the camera and go exploring.
It's to bad that vacations end. Tomorrow I will go back to work after having 10 days off. Mazatlan, Mexico is a great place to go when you are feeling FINE (that's fucked up, insecure, neurotic, and exhausted)! I was able to relax, re-focus, and have a good time ... all without the stress that has made me such a pain to be around the last few months. I will write more about my insights in the coming week. But, it's time for the last mid morning nap of my vacation! I miss the heat of Mazatlan ... all ready!