Wednesday, June 30, 2010

30 June 2010 further into summer

30 June 2010 further into summer

Today was occupied with errands, shopping, and odds and ends that are required in order to maintain a household.

Dinner tonight will be tacos and refried black beans. For the weekend, we obtained ground chuck, country-style pork ribs, some beef ribs, and boneless country-style pork ribs. A watermelon is sitting in the crock pot crock stack.

The crock pot heating/control unit has been exhibiting overly hot temperatures and some missing indicator signals. Last night I started a pot of oatmeal at 2130. Normally this would cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. It was cooked by 2330 and a sizeable puddle of water had been blown out of the containment – another troubling symptom.

I called Hamilton-Beach this morning. While the unit is out of warrantee they authorized its return and will send us a new base/control unit. We dropped the old unit off at UPS this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

29 June 2010 Can we replace all the Senators and get rid of Texas?

29 June 2010 Can we replace all the Senators and get rid of Texas?

The Kagan hearings are being televised. A well qualified woman, properly nominated by a sitting President is being subjected to un-necessary grilling before television cameras by U.S. Senators. She will be hammered with all manner of idiotic questions as Senators who belong to the GOP look for any small niche in her suitability. While her academic credentials are quite adequate, she has never sat on a judicial bench. The GOP is using this as a cudgel. But it should be discredited. Although every past justice has been a lawyer, 41 of the 109 justices had no prior judicial experience. So if it has been acceptable 44.69% of the time prior to today, it should be quickly shoved aside as irrelevant.

Even the Democratic Senators will shove their faces into the camera’s field of vision to make long rambling and not very useful statements to remind voters that they did their assigned job in the matter of selecting a new Supreme Court Justice.

Since Ms. Kagan is qualified for the job, was nominated by a Democratic POTUS, and since there are sufficient Democrats holding Senatorial seats to provide a majority of votes for Ms. Kagan; the whole process has bogged down into pointless attempts at character assassination, poking around for undisclosed personal flaws, and yet another effort by the GOP to shut down Obama’s attempts to carry out his office.

The Senate has also refused to authorize an extension in unemployment benefits for several million citizens who have no other source of income. But as is the historical precedent, the GOP will hire enough lobbyists, spread enough lies, and generate enough hatred and racism to convince their base that it was not their party which essentially sold the nation’s economic security to the banks and energy companies, creating the un-regulated mess that threw us into a depression and near meltdown. I fail to understand how anyone who can read their own name can believe anything published by the GOP, its lobbyists, and its candidates. They consistently convince the middle and lower classes to vote against their own economic interests and for those of the wealthy.

I would gladly vote against the Senators from Tennessee in a heartbeat, and will do so when their terms of service have been completed yet again.

Texas GOP Unveils Brand New, Far-Right Platform

Texas is once more demonstrating why it should be handed back to Mexico. These links show how far Texas has not come since its entry into the Union. The GOP in Texas would be quite likely to vote for a theocracy led by Southern Baptists. It would offer no welcome to minorities of any sort. If Texas were to become able to implement their policies as laid out in these articles, Texas would become an area of political, religious, and ethnic intolerance – more so than it already is. It would soon be a North American mirror of Iran.

Fishing and politics

In 2005 I monitored two fly fishing groups. One began to deteriorate into a fishing/proselytizing site. I became less and less involved with it. The other began to undergo politicization while simultaneously suffering an age-gap problem. I found myself unhappy with the on-line behavior of the youngest participants and in an uncomfortable middle politically.

About summer 2006 several of the more conservative and older members found their selves to be at extreme odds with the youngest group and outnumbered by the more progressive faction. Several of them were banned from the group and their core began another group. At this point, I was tired of the behavior of the youngest group and when I was invited to join the new group, I did.

By 2008 the old group had ejected most of the youngest/problem participants and the degree of civility was mostly restored. At the same time, the new group was becoming more and more polarized to the extreme right of American politics. Since the 2008 election I have found myself to be uncomfortable with the political positions of the new group. I have found that a percentage of them exhibit behavior with tea party mob activism, with theocracy and proselytizing, and happily accept the worst practices of the GOP. Nearly all the few progressives initially invited to participate have left this group, claiming to feel unwelcome and not wishing to support the group any longer. While the group was initially formed to continue charitable actions, the behavior of the mid and core level participants no longer justifies membership for most of them.

Now the wheel has turned full circle. In the last week I have watched as two people were publically threatened with expulsion unless they tender a public apology over arguments that demonstrate the rising intolerance in the group. While I appreciate the irony of such public behavior, I’m saddened that friends I’ve fished and communicated with should act so much like tea party mobsters. It will not be long until I am unable to participate in this group any longer.

Dinner tonight will be Beef Stroganoff over egg noodles.

Monday, June 28, 2010

28 June 2010 “just say no” to the Pope just hear no on the Gulf Coast

28 June 2010 “just say no” to the Pope just hear no on the Gulf Coast

Pope Lashes Out at Belgium After Raid on Church

Seeking God’s Help for a Wounded Gulf

Europe is making strides toward the further removal of religious over-lordship. A deliberate incursion by civil authorities into the previously sacrosanct properties of the Roman Catholic Church is a wonderful event. This event followed still more allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests and Church Hierarchy. Claiming that the autonomy of the Church was violated, the Pope claimed that the investigation should have been carried out simultaneously by cannon and civil authorities. Belgian authorities apparently felt that this would have allowed obstruction of justice and would have increased the potential for Papal cover-up. The Vatican is angry, has rebuked Belgium’s action. Belgium is displaying a lack of concern for the power of the Church, demonstrating a national awareness that the Church should have no role in government or in national policy. This is good.

Meanwhile, closer to the Dark Ages, the five Gulf Coast states have essentially crawled back to the days of divine rights of royalty and the belief that government should include religion. Five governors declared 27 June to be official “prayer days,” in order to beg for divine intercession in stopping the BP oil spill. Today the oil is still pouring from the seabed, volume and velocity unchecked. The seas were not magically parted. No giant boulder fell from the skies to block the wellhead. No chorus of angels sang.

It should be painfully obvious to all but the least well educated that there will be no divine intervention. It matters not, in their minds, that we’ve ignored the 1st Amendment in five states in order to beg for magic events. If 50% of the prayers of attendees and players in high school football games are ignored, can the same demographic honestly not see that Bonne Secour is simply a fallacy?

We need to follow Belgium, and the rest of Western Europe in removing religion from political matters. The hold that Christianity has on U.S. internal policy is horrifying. Its fundamentalist believers want to force religion into every aspect of life in this nation.

Despite their every effort to make this into a theocratic nation, some shreds of the 1st Amendment remain intact and will hopefully do so for a few more years. There is no Christian sect that can be trusted to not intrude in national policy.

We need to learn from Belgium, or at least our fundamentalists do. If the volume of prayers pouring out of the Vatican didn’t stop a police raid, it’s unlikely that there will, likewise, be no response to the Gulf Coast supplicants. Technology is the only applicable answer and, as of today, it has little to offer. All those people pictured on bent knees in those Gulf Coast churches would be far more effective if they went out to help clean the beaches and de-oil some wildlife.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

27 June 2010 18th and looking happily forward

27 June 2010 18th and looking happily forward

Eighteen years ago today Gloria and I were married in Columbia MD. It was a small, simple wedding, held on the deck at her brother’s home. The temperature was around 95 °F and the wine used to consecrate the marriage was at ambient temperature.

We were surrounded by family and friends.

Due to logistics our wedding dinner took place in a “Roy Rogers.” While inelegant in nature, it was adequate and something we’ve joke about ever since. The next morning we left for Cape Cod. We had a wonderful honeymoon that ended in Boston before driving back to Gaithersburg MD.

The recall brings a grin to my face. How quickly the time has flown. I couldn’t imagine a better wife, friend, and lover. I’m looking forward to the next 18 years.

Dinner tonight is planned to be bone-in rib steaks done with a cocoa, coffee, chili rub; grilled asparagus, and sweet potato fries. Champaign will suffice for dessert.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

26 June 2010 Pandora’s oil barrel

26 June 2010 Pandora’s oil barrel

Both of us woke up early today after 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep. At some point we’ll both run out of energy and wind up dozing. In my case it will probably happen when I am sitting on the couch, trying to read. Gloria will stretch out for a nap. I don’t nap easily or well. It’s hard to surrender that time.

I have a new fly pattern I want to try in the coming week. It produces extended body, hollow-winged flies using closed-cell foam for the body and PVC dual surface wings. I ran into the pattern as “the Johannson dun.” With judicious use of markers it should allow production of any morphology one prefers.

I need to site the scopes on my rifles more closely. Mike has offered the use of his range and bench; and would most likely spot for me. Since these are both fixed power, 4X, low end scopes, having a good spotter could save a lot of time and aggravation.

The presence of TS Alex in proximity to the Gulf oil spill promises to be a matter of grave concern for anyone with personal or professional interests along our Gulf coast waters. The 5 day forecast currently has the landfall in the western gulf. At least two of the potential inland tracks will bring the downgraded low pressure center up into the mid-south, tracking over our region of the Appalachians. This could provide much needed rain to the region. If it stalls over us, it could also bring flooding.

Models can be seen at:

And a great topographical presentation is at:

We can only wonder how many species will become extinct as a result of this oil spill. To hear GOP elected officials describe it as an “act of God” is truly repugnant. There is nothing divine about the greed that drove BP to cut corners that even Halliburton recommend not be cut There is nothing divine about the rush by the GOP to lessen any responsibility that falls on BP. And there is nothing divine about the grip the oil industry lobbyists have on the U.S. Congress and Senate. This spill is an act of man, driven by greed to over-reach our technical capacity to repair what we have broken.

BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Storm Threat, Current Production, and Other News - and Open Thread

Extractions from the Oil Drum Commentary.

“OK let's get real about the GOM oil flow. There doesn't really seem to be much info on TOD that furthers more complete understanding of what's really happening in the GOM.

As you have probably seen and maybe feel yourselves, there are several things that do not appear to make sense regarding the actions of attack against the well. Don't feel bad, there is much that doesn't make sense even to professionals unless you take into account some important variables that we are not being told about. There seems to me to be a reluctance to face what cannot be termed anything less than grim circumstances in my opinion. There certainly is a reluctance to inform us regular people and all we have really gotten is a few dots here and there...”

“These are clear and present dangers to the battered subsea safety structure (bop and lmrp) which is the only loose cork on this well we have left. The immediate (first 1,000 feet) of well structure that remains is now also undoubtedly compromised. bad as that is? is far from the only possible problems with this very problematic well. There were ongoing troubles with the entire process during the drilling of this well. There were also many comprises made by BP IMO which may have resulted in an overall weakened structure of the entire well system all the way to the bottom plug which is over 12,000 feet deep. Problems with the cementing procedure which was done by Haliburton and was deemed as “was against our best practices.” by a Haliburton employee on April 1st weeks before the well blew out. There is much more and I won't go into detail right now concerning the lower end of the well and the troubles encountered during the whole creation of this well and earlier "Well control" situations that were revieled in various internal BP e-mails. I will add several links to those documents and quotes from them below and for now, address the issues concerning the upper portion of the well and the region of the sea floor.

What is likely to happen now?

Well...none of what is likely to happen is good, in's about as bad as it gets. I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don't, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.

Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? won't be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov't must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now? the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

It's a race now...a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

We are not even 2 months into it, barely half way by even optimistic estimates. The damage done by the leaked oil now is virtually immeasurable already and it will not get better, it can only get worse. No matter how much they can collect, there will still be thousands and thousands of gallons leaking out every minute, every hour of every day. We have 2 months left before the relief wells are even near in position and set up to take a kill shot and that is being optimistic as I said.

Over the next 2 months the mechanical situation also cannot improve, it can only get worse, getting better is an impossibility. While they may make some gains on collecting the leaked oil, the structural situation cannot heal itself. It will continue to erode and flow out more oil and eventually the inevitable collapse which cannot be stopped will happen. It is only a simple matter of who can "get there first" or the well.

We can only hope the race against that eventuality is one we can win, but my assessment I am sad to say is that we will not.

The system will collapse or fail substantially before we reach the finish line ahead of the well and the worst is yet to come.

Sorry to bring you that news, I know it is grim, but that is the way I see it....I sincerely hope I am wrong.

We need to prepare for the possibility of this blow out sending more oil into the gulf per week then what we already have now, because that is what a collapse of the system will cause. All the collection efforts that have captured oil will be erased in short order. The magnitude of this disaster will increase exponentially by the time we can do anything to halt it and our odds of actually even being able to halt it will go down.

The magnitude and impact of this disaster will eclipse anything we have known in our life times if the worst or even near worst happens...

We are seeing the puny forces of man vs the awesome forces of nature.

We are going to need some luck and a lot of effort to win...

and if nature decides we ought to lose, we will....”

And the odds are that we will lose. We have no way to repair fractured sub-sea strata that should never have been opened. We have no way to bring this spill to an end by our actions. We’ve opened a Pandora’s Box and now all the things we wish had not escaped are loose and unconcerned for our regrets.

Friday, June 25, 2010

25 June 2010 Recovery proceeds

25 June 2010 Recovery proceeds

Gloria’s recovery is going well. Today she resumed morning iguana chores. Since this entails a certain amount of lifting and bending, it is a good marker for her progress. Her post-op pain is diminishing and she seems pleased with the early results.

While she trusts me to care for her iguanas she doesn’t think I do it as she would. No question about that. They’re her pets; they’re another morning chore for me. While I handle them as carefully as possible, and have done so many times in the past, she can’t help trying to look over my shoulder.

We opted out of going into town this afternoon. She still needs to stretch out and take it easy. And by the time I got back from the hike with Mike, I was soaked in sweat and pretty well lacking in any desire to experience the heat index in Johnson City. The post-hike shower felt very good.

Tonight’s dinner will involve romaine lettuce, leftover London broil, and Thai seasonings. Tomorrow’s will be light fare. Sunday’s will feature steaks and charcoal, asparagus, and a very nice bottle of Champaign provided by my mother.

Mike and I talked about the people who came to the door Tuesday evening. Like us, he believes their intent was to commit some illegal act. The description of the vehicle is sounding more and more like one involved in another attempt; one foiled when cops happened to drive by, in another part of the county.

Some pop-up rain showers seem to be developing behind us, along the ridges that are Unicoi County. We can use some rain – standard summer lament – to cool us off, settle the dust, and replenish the aquifer. The first real chance of rain appears to be Sunday.

David, Gloria’s nephew and his wife, Daisy, just had flowers delivered for Gloria. Today is their 5th wedding anniversary. We attended their wedding and then continued north into Massachusetts to visit some of Gloria’s family before arriving in Vermont to fish and then capping off the trip in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was our desire to stay away from I-95 on the return trip, as well as route-planning around a series of land-falling tropical storms that led us to move to our present location. Lives hinge around such small matters.

Five years ago we were spending the night in a Marriot in Maryland after having grabbed a late meal at a CiCi’s pizza. We got up at 0530 to travel north. We grabbed what we could at the continental breakfast in the hotel and then had brunch about 0930 en-route to Boston. Somewhere between and Baltimore a dump truck shed a hand-sized chunk of rock that shattered a fog-light lense. We didn’t discover the damage until it allowed the lamp housing to fill up with water during a thunderstorm in New Hampshire, shorting out the fog lamp. At that point it was too late for the clear lense tape we used to hold it all together to prevent damage.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

24 June 2010 Closer to home than we knew

24 June 2010 Closer to home than we knew

The morning paper brought alarming news of scam/burglaries being run by three people in a silver Dodge Ram SUV. This sounds very much like the vehicle and people who came to our door Tuesday evening. Coupled with the column documenting another attempted robbery Monday night by a three person Van/SUV crew, one woman, two men, trust in strangers is meager here.

The potential for repeat visits by thieves, along with the apparent snake migration season, has provided some increased interest in making sure the firearms are maintained and properly sighted. I’m finding that my cataract surgery did not leave my right eye as sharp as I might wish. That deficit makes it more difficult to shoot than it was when I was younger.

I’ve done most of my shooting with iron/open sights. I’ve got scopes on the rifles that need to be re-sighted with me wearing glasses. Both rifles print well with open sights but the nature of shooting for game and for competition suggests that becoming re-acquainted with scopes is in order. The handgun is wonderfully engineered to put the sights right into that area where neither eye can focus on either sight. That large white front sight has become a great indicator. Time to clean my glasses and shoot for quals wearing them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23 June 2010 Paranoia strikes deep

23 June 2010 Paranoia strikes deep

Yesterday evening we foiled what was probably an attempted robbery.

At 1830 a young black woman knocked on the door. She had an unlabeled container in her hand that looked like a dish-washing detergent container. She wanted to see the “woman of the house.”

She was accompanied by at least one other person who was driving the large silver SUV that sat idling the driveway, blocking in both our vehicles. When I refused to call Gloria she asked about another time, then left when I told her that there would not be a good time to return.

They backed out of the driveway, concealing their license plate. They then went up valley toward the family compound. I didn’t see any more of them.

The more we thought about it, the less we liked the event. In our opinion it was either a scouting attempt for a robbery or some sort of scam. The woman had no paperwork, sales was not foremost in her mind. The SUV had no commercial markings. And the nature of the entire encounter was uncomfortable.

No one in that SUV belonged here. It wasn’t the color of anyone’s skin, the woman spoke standard English, her clothing was not unusual, her hair was well-dressed and not extreme. But something about the encounter had alarm bells ringing. Gloria was in another room, listening, ready to call the law. I didn’t ask her to do that, she picked up the alarm on her own.

There have been some home invasions in the region lately that have resulted in injuries and fatalities. None of them have been in this neighborhood but there are some likely targets on the middle and lower part of the road. Our house sits well back off the road and is well-screened. Our presence yesterday may well have prevented a burglary.

We alerted several friends last night. We called the sheriff’s office this morning. We should have called them immediately last night. We hate to seem paranoid but the Sheriff’s office did not seem to think we were wrong in our suspicion.

We had BLT’s for dinner tonight. Very enjoyable!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

22 June 2010 We want to borrow your platform for a while

22 June 2010 We want to borrow your platform for a while

Blow Up the Well to Save the Gulf


Published: June 21, 2010

“TONY HAYWARD, the chief executive of BP, made an astounding admission before Congress last week: after nearly two months of failure, the company and the Coast Guard have no further plans to plug the Macondo oil well leaking into the Gulf. Instead, the goal is merely to contain the leak until a relief well comes online, a process that could take months.

With tens of thousands of barrels of oil leaking from the well each day, this absence of a backup plan highlights a lack of leadership, resources and expertise on the part of the Coast Guard, which from the beginning was compelled to give BP complete control over the leaking wellhead.

Instead, President Obama needs to create a new command structure that places responsibility for plugging the leak with the Navy, the only organization in the world that can muster the necessary team. Then the Navy needs to demolish the well. “

While this sounds like a workable solution, the U.S. Navy does not possess the hardware to carry out such a mission. It would have to immediately seize control of all the drilling platforms, salvage vessels, and other technology necessary to assume the mission. This would immediately enrage the oil industry, the GOP, and the Tea Party mobs.

The research Remote-Operated Vehicles used by Ballard are not equipped to drill, ferry heavy hardware, or deliver explosives. Naval demolitions and explosives are not necessarily deliverable via hose and blasting slurry, AMFO type mixtures, may not be sufficiently high order or powerful enough to perform as the author hopes. He is, after all, familiar with torpedoes and other Navy ordnance, not with blasting compounds measured by the gallon. Given the fractured nature of the sea bed at the well site reported by geologists who came forward, the risk of further fracturing the strata and causing more leaks is extremely high.

While our Navy is capable of many types of missions, it is not familiar with deep water drilling and well management.

It might not be the worst option for Obama to nationalize the hardware currently in use by BP in drilling the relief well and salvaging what oil they can contain. Whatever action he takes will anger and antagonize the right wing and the oil industry. He’s been accused of trying engineer a socialist political takeover – utter nonsense but widely believed. He’s also been accused of doing nothing to resolve this crisis. He may as well commandeer the hardware the Navy might need to deliver some sort of other device. At some point BP is likely to decide they’ve completed their obligation. That point is not likely to intersect with that which indicates that the best possible cleanup and recovery has been done.

Stanley McChrystal: The runaway general

The graveyard of empires has likely destroyed another military leader’s career. This President is too poorly grounded in things military to trust the Pentagon or its flag officers. That will cost him and the nation dearly.

He’s allowed himself to be sucked further into Bush’s war, making it Obama’s war. A withdrawal would have been the best option. Failing that, paying attention to the military leaders would have been advisable. This war is not winnable and will never be. We have not defined a victory point; have no Afghani allies who can be trusted to provide a working government or military without immense amounts of assistance. The Taliban’s religious hold and terrorist hold on the Afghani citizenry, as well as the tribal nature of the country will prevent a workable army every being fielded.

McChrystal, highly talented, should have refused the assignment. He is too much a warrior, too little a diplomat, and too given to speaking the truth as he sees it. The Rolling Stone article is well worth reading. It depicts a doomed mission being attempted by a military force that must believe in the mission; a force essentially abandoned by all of the nation’s citizenry except the theocons. Our military is once more being ordered out to accomplish the impossible by civilians who don’t understand the mission and who can’t be bothered to serve their selves.

Obama has no real choice but to fire McChrystal. In doing so, he will guarantee that we will leave Afghanistan as we left VietNam.

Monday, June 21, 2010

21 June 2010 Unleash the hounds of early summer

21 June 2010 Unleash the hounds of early summer

How Obama changed the right

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Monday, June 21, 2010

“The rise of the Tea Party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional. It typically perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with "American values."

The Tea Party mobs are composed of the same part of the populace who championed George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. They’re as easily swayed by the quasi-literate efforts of an aging beauty pageant contestant as they were by an aging actor displaying the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s when first elected.

They complain, endlessly, about the liberal, educated, elitists – presumably anyone with a university degree that reads for education after graduation – but are enthralled by actors and pageant contestants who are participants in far more exclusive social elite – essentially a continuation of the jock and cheerleader/homecoming queen cliques of their high school days.

The animosity toward “educated elitists” seems to become evident in our culture as early as in grade school. In my youth, grade school students were tracked and sorted by reading and math abilities. By Jr. High (middle school) the lines were drawn and they haven’t seemed to vary much since. The VietNam pro/anti polarization that became so evident then seems to have remained mostly a constant since. The pro-war folks were the jocks, the pre-law people, beauty queen contestants, automobile dealership owners, etc. Those who found a safe place to avoid the war, those who enlisted, those who took the blue collar factory jobs, are, all too often just as opposed to the “liberal elite” as they were then. Those who evaded the war, who earned the degrees that put them into helping, construct a social safety net, which became underpaid teachers in underfunded schools, are just as unable to communicate the truths of science, social engineering, and all the reasons we need to choose science over mythology as they were in 1967.

It’s a long and bitter divide that isn’t likely to be resolved any time soon. The right wing will deal in lies and convince the working class and middle class to vote against their own welfare and self-interest yet again. The left will deal in truth, which unfortunately offends the mob that believes the myths. And the theocrats will do all they can to force their particular myth into laws that require everyone else to accept their myths.

Truth may set us free but most people don’t want to hear the truth. If it disturbs their self-image, if it indicates that their youthful glory wasn’t glorious, it is highly unwelcome. That social separation that took place in grade school and junior high is still driving the society today. Perhaps we’d have been better off if our schooling was only about education.

It puzzles me that anyone should hate the “Educated elite.” Education is one of those things that called out to our immigrant ancestors. They wanted a shot at education and the good things it brings. Once we made our voyages here, education became much more accessible. It wasn’t landed gentry who developed manned flight, who built the first nuclear reactor, who took us to the moon and back. It was the sons and daughters of immigrants who valued education as much as life. Somewhere, along a twisted path, we’ve decided that a lack of education, illiteracy, racism, and hatred are alright if you believe the right myth instead of science, if you can throw a ball or sit in a mob watching others throw it better, if your genetic coding provides physical symmetry, if you can make yourself part of the mob.

I’m lucky. While I’m not that well educated, I appreciate what education brings and abhor what illiteracy offers. The elite that draws so much scorn and hatred provides us with medical care, with great music, architecture, works of art, etc. If the mob lacks the ability to see and hear these benefits, I’m still able to appreciate them. I was brought up well, learned to appreciate knowledge for its own sake, quality above quantity.

We would do well to recall the ruinous period of Chinese History when Mao drove his mobs into the Great Cultural Revolution.

We’re seeing what may be a similar event building here. The threatened use of private firearms to “protect the Constitution” is as much a potential cultural disaster as what Mao unleashed.

Walter M Miller Jr. may well have captured more of our future than he intended.

Beate Leibowitz, ora pro me!

The pool heater flamed into function this morning. Much gratitude over small matters.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

20 June 2010 Keep me out of Louisiana

20 June 2010 Keep me out of Louisiana

Today the pool heater is my primary annoyance. The start-up sequence is not hard to follow. The gas supply is adequate, the water is sufficiently clear, I believe, to pass the clarity requirement. I’ve made five attempts to fire up the heater. I’m rewarded, each time, with the sound of the gas control relay closing and a trouble-shooting code IF displayed. IF indicates “ignition failure.” I sort of figured that part out. Tomorrow, I’ll back-flush yet again and try a couple more times before seeking tech support.

The positive side of the problem is that the solar blanket has raised the pool temp to 80°F. Gloria should be able to tolerate that.

In the how stupid can we appear category, CNN reports that the state of Louisiana is trying, yet again, to return our culture to the middle ages, or even further back. It won’t be long until bin Laden might feel at home there. I would love to hear some café conversation about this in Europe. Ranks right up there with Palin’s contention that man and dinosaurs shared common time.

Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster

Saturday, June 19, 2010

19 June 2010 Oh, the wind and rain / one dying and a bury'n

19 June 2010 Oh, the wind and rain

At 1430 a line of strong thunderstorms is approaching. According to radar, it should be raining already. Rain would be beneficial to the local crops and would help settle the dust and pollen; as well as cool things off a bit. Rain would be less than desirable as I am planning a dinner menu that needs a working charcoal grill. Rain pours off our roof and onto our charcoal grill.

The question, now, becomes how much rain and for how long.

Gloria’s feeling better today, making a good recovery.

Loki is agitated by the thunderstorm. I’m content to be here.

The Westboro Baptist Church has members in the region to picket the funeral of local Airman who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The Airman, 24 years old, was a Para-rescueman. His job was to jump or be inserted behind hostile forces to effect or aid in the rescue of other American troops. Every aspect of his job was dangerous and likely to cost his life.

The Westboro Baptist Church is based in Kansas. It is made up of people who believe that homosexuality and other social wedge issues are destroying the United States. They use their 1st Amendment freedom of speech to besmirch the names and memories of American troops who signed up to serve and protect those same rights. The demonstrators will get as close to the funeral as law allows and then display posters and signs blaming America’s social problems on the acceptance of gays in the armed forces.

They are truly despicable people who, in order to fund their activities; sue the families of dead troops who object to their presence. No soldier or his/her family should be subjected to such behavior.

There is a counter demonstration being organized. The outcome will be interesting. While this is a region very supportive of our armed forces; it is also a region with many evangelical and fundamentalist people who vote consistently for the religious right.

Monday is the funeral. More to follow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

18 June 2010 Congress is as responsible as BP

18 June 2010 Congress is responsible as much as BP

The removal of oversight and regulatory function designed to prevent just such events as the BP oil dump took place in the halls of the United States Congress. The hands of many energy company lobbyists placed campaign contributions and other enticements into the hands of any elected or appointed official who could close their fist around the money. The GOP, spearheaded by Reagan, Bush II, and Cheney succeeded in gutting the agencies and laws put into place by other administrations.

Congress is as guilty of causing this disaster as is BP.

BP has sacrificed a CEO before the American public, to be snarled at and lectured to by Representatives and Senators equally complicit but more able to dodge the immediate application of blame in their carefully scripted “hearings” where they are allowed to hurl invective and place blame on a business man who is legally advised to say little or nothing. Congress is hoping that most voters will ignore their complicity in November, and most likely, the voters will. Voters seem to allow the GOP to hoodwink them routinely.

If I were a BP executive, I’d go home to Britain at once and tell the American Congress to pound sand and accept their own blame. BP wants American business but doesn’t really require it.

Their upper-crust accent fails the executives here. At home, their grammar and speech patterns would have once been sufficient to turn aside most critics. Of course, that is no longer the case today but one hears a bit of irritation at that change coming in the responses of the sacrificial BP exes who are being grilled by our Congress.

As for Rep. Barton R-TX, I’m hoping to hear his “apology” to BP played loudly and repeatedly at every GOP campaign stop. A fleet of sound-trucks driving through our towns with those words that so indicate where the GOP’s loyalty belongs is just the ticket for November. I’ve always known the GOP cared nothing for the American citizen except as a captive consumer and cannon fodder. It’s time the nation be reminded of this fact and Rep. Barton has put his words to the service of any voter with the intelligence to write his own name correctly.

It’s of tremendous interest and very amusing to watch the Red state elected officials demand that the government they want to demolish save them from yet another disaster brought about by the sainted “free marketers.” If I were in a position to wield that sort of power I’d have them spinning in the wind for a bit until they found the need to admit that a strong federal government is necessary in today’s world. But I don’t have that power and never will.

These are interesting articles, obviously biased as I would prefer:

BP executive failed to answer questions, lawmakers say

By the CNN Wire Staff

June 18, 2010 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)

“(CNN) -- As oil continued gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's ruptured deepwater well Friday, the political firestorm sparked by the environmental disaster showed no signs of slowing.

Lawmakers said many questions remained after BP CEO Tony Hayward faced a bipartisan barrage of criticism during a heated day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

"It was frustrating, not just to me but to the American people," Rep. Bart Stupak said Thursday on CNN's "John King, USA."

'Tired' Tony Hayward 'savaged' by Congress, say UK media

June 18, 2010 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)

“London, England (CNN) -- British commentators and media have been split by the performance of BP boss Tony Hayward before a Congressional committee investigating the Gulf Coast oil disaster.

But while some analysts backed Hayward following Thursday's appearance before his House Energy and Commerce Committee, others criticized his performance and approach.

PR guru Mark Borkowski writing in The Daily Telegraph, said that Hayward "couldn't, or wouldn't, answer most of the questions. In fact, he looked like a tired undertaker who was rather bored with having to look mournful."

Gulf oil spill puts industry-friendly Republicans in tight spot

By Karen Tumulty

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, June 18, 2010

“Who says there's no such thing as loyalty in politics?

Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), who has received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle, revealed Thursday that he may be the only person in America who believes that BP deserves an apology for the way it has been treated during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Although Barton later retracted his suggestion that BP was the victim of a White House "shakedown" -- after House GOP leaders threatened to take away his position as ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee -- the episode showed the uncomfortable spot in which some Republicans find themselves.

This is not the moment to be seen as coddling Big Oil. The GOP leadership has laid out a set of talking points that spread blame in all directions -- toward the company, the White House and the regulators who looked the other way.

But some Republicans are having trouble bringing themselves to say anything bad about an industry that has been so good to them. It was notable that in their statement distancing themselves from Barton, House Republican leaders John A. Boehner (Ohio), Eric Cantor (Va.) and Mike Pence (Ind.) referred to the spill -- caused by the explosion of an oil rig -- as a "natural" disaster.

The oil industry "has deep pockets, and they have a long history of supporting Republicans," said political consultant John Weaver, a former strategist for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Like any kind of addiction, it's a terribly difficult thing to break." “

Shrimp in garlic and olive oil over linguini tonight.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

17 June 2010 Not the exact words Id choose to describe the Democrats

17 June 2010 Not the exact words Id choose to describe the Democrats

Democrats should show a little pride and purpose

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

“A weird malaise is haunting the Democratic Party. “

“From Plaquemines Parish to Wall Street, we are seeing what happens when government takes too hands-off an approach to private economic actors. Yet the GOP is managing to sell the idea that the big issue in this election should be . . . government spending.”

For some unholy reason the GOP has been able to convince the working class and middle class American citizen to vote against their own self-interests. No amount of tax cuts for the wealthy will ever result in more jobs being created for American citizens. The wealthy became wealthy by squeezing every available cent from everything they touch. They will continue to export any jobs they can find to export while telling the newly laid-off that “socialists” did this to them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Part 2

Part 2

At 0936 Gloria is still in surgery, progress is good, she’s doing well.

0957 and the woman and two kids left again. I’d prefer they not return, or that they at least take other seating. The older woman in the group is wearing blue jean shorts, cut off at the gluteal fold. I would estimate her age in the mid thirties and I think she is the grandmother to the kids. The acronym PWT springs readily to mind. She looks as if she has a regular seat in a local bar, ill-used, and living out some country music song. I should not be so quick to judge, I suppose. But when I was responsible for children of that age, I made it a point to not allow them to disturb others or to behave inappropriately in public places.

1005 and moderately quiet at the moment. I’m appreciative of small benefits.

The volunteer receptionist here is doing an excellent job of dealing with patient families.

1015 – Surgery finished. 1020 brief post-op chat with the neurosurgeon. He wound up taking disc material he had hoped not to touch. However, he was able to tighten up the ligament at the operative site. Gloria to Recovery and doing fine at 1027.

That’s a relief. All those minor nagging worries that accompany experience are pushed back and no longer of concern. The day is much brighter, annoyances somewhat easier to handle.

We celebrate 18 years of marriage in 12 days and there have been many days spent in waiting rooms with the other of us in OR or other suites. There wasn’t much mention of fear this time except for one evening about a week ago when Gloria mentioned that she was frightened. Now she doesn’t have to be.

1125 – Recovery called and said they were keeping Gloria due to sleepiness. She finally was moved at 1330 to the most remote building in the hospital complex. As of 1410, she has been up out of bed, neuro checks are good we’re waiting to order her diet/meals before I head for home to take care of animals and then turn around in 12 hours to be back at the hospital in time for rounds – hopefully to bring her home.

1530 – home – Grateful dog gets to go outside. Iguanas fed and cooled down. Make the necessary phone calls and watched weather radar. Ugly looking storm clouds in all directions and some distant thunder, enough to upset Loki. No rain falls and the storms seem to break up as they hit the ridges behind us

Gloria calls with the bad news that she is spiking a temp. We both think about the similar happening after her last L-spine surgery in Sarasota. She’s unhappy, uncomfortable, and afraid that this will be a repeat. I’m equally concerned.

I’m really too tired to eat but make a cheese sandwich to meet sustenance needs. I doze through local news, national news, and right up to the end of Jeopardy. Then I’m reasonably awake and start getting ready for tomorrow/today. Loki gets a final tour of the yard. Gloria is still running elevated temp of 102 post acetaminophen dose.

Up at 0415 to travel back to Kingsport. Leftover coffee, OJ, and a biscuit/pseudo-steak before hitting the road.

The 0530 departure time allows me to see a beautiful sunrise. Lots of orange and red clouds and patches of fog in the valleys and low spots. The wipers are necessary for the entire trip but there is less side window fogging than Tuesday. I pull into the parking slot at 0640 and walk into Gloria’s room 5 minutes later.

Her breakfast tray arrives before 0700 and I’m happy to help her relocate the stuff on her bedside table and get set up to eat. The neurosurgeon’s nurse comes in and assesses Gloria’s condition, looks at her pain med usage, checks the wound, and issues post-op instructions. We’ll leave with two prescriptions to fill. At first, I ask her to call them in to the pharmacy in Greeneville but then realize I’d be better off having them called to the nearest CVS so that I can stop on the way home. The neurosurgeon comes in, repeats the assessment, and the process to discharge Gloria is underway. At 0830 she’s dozing but eager to leave. It’s a matter of waiting for paperwork, for discharge processing, and for her part in the morning routines of the nursing unit to mesh with everyone else’s so that we can leave.

It’s a good thing that we mentioned her previous post-op fevers. Hartman is of the opinion that the fever is due to pulmonary causes post anesthesia, common in the first 24 hours post-op. In the absence of a protocol that demands all febrile patients be handed to an aggressive Infectious Diseases department,, Gloria will miss another un-necessary 5 days of in-patient time hooked up to 3rd gen cephalosporins that she doesn’t need now and didn’t need then.

We asked that any prescriptions be called to a local CVS so that we could pick them up on the way home rather than me having to drive hand-written scrips to Greeneville and then wait for them to be filled and return home, leaving Gloria alone. No problem…

Until I called the pharmacy 90 minutes later to check on the scrips. No record of them. Some irritated phone calls from several other people corrected the problem – the call was still in the list of scrips phoned in and not yet responded to.

We arrived home about 1300; Gloria has had most of the afternoon to sleep with no noise from monitors, IV pumps, call buttons, or other hospital nursing unit endemic noises.

We’re hoping this surgery provides some long-lasting stabilization for her back.

For all the good wishes, Thanks much!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

15 June 2010 hanging ‘round the hospital- part 1

15 June 2010 hanging ‘round the hospital

We crawled out of bed at 0337 this morning for the trip back to Kingsport. That left time for a shower and a quick trip outside with Loki. Then it was load the packs and us in the car and back onto the highway.

We fought condensation on the windows all the way up. Some weather conditions make it impossible to drive the Pathfinder without having the wipers on continually to deal with the windshield fogging over. We parked in the hospital lot at 0550. They put Gloria into a holding room to change close and complete her admit to the unit. They took her to Anesthesia prep/holding at 0700 for an 0800 procedure.

What is planned for her is a microscopic decompression of L3-L4, which will ideally take about 90 minutes skin-to-skin. Recovery will add at least an hour to that time.

I’m in the surgery waiting area, (0725) which is unstaffed until 0800. Until then, when the phone rings, everyone hopes someone else will pick it up and summon the intended family.

At 0715 a volunteer came in pushing a coffee/tea cart. I took some iced tea, and then realized that it may be aspartame laden. The follow-up Mimi-pastry came complete with a new testament quotation wrapped around the actual wrapper. I nuked some biscuit/sausage/pseudo-steak things before leaving home and ate them in Gloria’s prep room. They, along with leftover coffee and some unsweetened tea from home, will get me through the surgery period.

0836 – The OR called about 0830 to tell me that the procedure had begun. Gloria handled induction well and should do fine. I’m happy to have that update.

The waiting room is a circus of sorts. Some patients must have ten family/friends waiting for them. I’m definitely a minority, being the single family member waiting for Gloria. There is, thankfully, no television in this area That means no Fox news, no sports, and no religious broadcasts. Every package of paper they’ve given us to read has a number to call to have someone pray for, &/or with you. We’re tempted to ask for a minyan just to see the puzzled looks on faces.

I was lucky to get a chair next to a table, blocking one side from other people. Unfortunately, the other side was filled up by two women with two kids, a whiney, tired girl in diapers, and a hyper-kinetic boy. The women are letting the kids wander around while they jabber on cell phones.

I recall the days when children under 12 were not allowed out of the lobby in hospitals. There was a valid reason for that restriction then. And in today’s world, with parents all too willing to let their kids annoy others, the restriction should still be on the books and enforced by every hospital and surgical center in the nation.

0857 – The coffee/tea/jesus cart is back. There is a constant dull background roar of conversations, augmented by various cell phones ringing in various obnoxious manners. Nextel does not support down-loaded ring tones so while we once looked at choosing owl and loon cries as ring tones we were saved from the expense and from annoying others with our choices. I’m really glad I chose not to wear my hearing aids. The rooms here echo badly and I was really tired of the background when we got home yesterday. Today is so much worse, so much more background to wade through and screen out. It’s hard to describe how difficult and how exhausting it can be trying to wear hearing aids in such environs without seeming ungrateful. I appreciate the effort and expense undertaken by VA to help me compensate for my hearing deficit. But it is not just plug and hear with hearing aids. They amplify the stuff you don’t want to hear as well as what you want to hear.

At 0905 I’m starting to feel the sleep deficit and am wishing the two women and their kids would move to other seating.

At 0920 the women and kids got up and went off to plague some other location. Around the same time a 250 lb + man in orange athletic pants and a torn t-shirt came in and plopped down directly in front of me. His time has been spent receiving and sending text messages, I guess, and some other type of message/link that arrives with synthetic techno-pop like sound. I guess it is a smart phone application as he spent ten minutes repeatedly throwing his hand upward while holding his phone. Each upward tossing motion boosted the volume and repeated the noise pattern. Toys for the easily amused? Certainly not considerate of neighboring people.

In the middle of his repeated noise, one of the women and both kids returned. The kids are now climbing on furniture, running in and obstructing traffic flow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

14 June 2010 Flag Day

14 June 2010 Flag Day

Pre-Op day as well.

Most of the day spent in Kingsport or traveling to and from Kingsport and home.

There were heavy thunderstorms in Kingsport and on our route but at home we logged only 0.04 inches of rain.

It will be a short night and a long day tomorrow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

13 June 2010 Listen to the thunder crying “ I am!”

13 June 2010 Listen to the thunder crying “ I am!”

Woke up to the sound of a thunderstorm rolling in at about 0530. The dog, no fan of loud noises, was pacing around the bedroom, looking for a place to avoid the noise. When the rain began, it dropped 0.71 inches of rain in just over an hour. Now the radar map is filled with pop-up thunderstorms along the ridge line and a line of more intense storms dropping in from the north west. We avoided the morning power outage that has begun to feel like a pattern over the last several weekends.

During yesterday’s power outage I tried to call the outage in, as I have always done, using my cell phone to access the no-humans-involved notification system. I keyed in my land line number to identify the account. Unlike previous calls, this one was rejected because my cell phone number is not keyed to the account.

We only have one phone jack in the house. It hides under a desk with a lot of other things obscuring it. To use a land line phone we have to find the land line set, move about a ton of stuff, crawl under furniture, and then look up the number in a phonebook. All of this in the dark, of course. We don’t use our cell phones as primary phones because service is spotty, at best, in our valley. If I hook up the land line so that it works, either the cordless phones or the fax will not work properly. So I need to find a solution that doesn’t entail me crawling under furniture in the dark trying to recall which splitter socket to plug a cable into for one phone call to a computer.

I also copied the account number from a bill and stuck it on the refrigerator for cell phone input. I plan on calling them after Wednesday.

We installed a new printer today on Gloria’s side of the system. Like all HP printers, it required multiple installs and screwed up other settings. We’ll be fighting gremlins for a month.

Steaks and sweet potato fries tonight if the storms hold off. Time to go light the grill. Charcoal and steaks – unbeatable!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

12 June 2010 powerless in Chuckey

12 June 2010 powerless in Chuckey

What was intended to be a productive morning of mowing, trimming, and other necessary chores was upset by the dual impact of a thunderstorm and a power outage that began at 0930 and ended at 1100.

We did manage to get the lawn mowed and most of the trimming completed. We still need to mark and cut the solar blanket. We may get it done, we may not.

My cousin and friend, Danny Gelmon, in Vancouver sent me a newspaper article to read. It arrived at a time when I welcomed someone else’s words to convey a bit of wisdom to me. Thanks, Danny! You always come through.

Pilar Rahola (above) is a Spanish politician, journalist and activist and member of the far left. Her articles are published in Spain and throughout some of the most important newspapers in Latin America. She writes:

Why don't we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris, Barcelona?

Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship?

Why aren't there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection?

Why aren't there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam?

Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan?

Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel?

Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism?

Why don't they defend Israel's right to exist?

Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, which have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn't care.

And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: "We want freedom for the people!"

Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hammas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.

The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don't inform, they propagandize.

When reporting about Israel the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel, that there aren't any accusations left to level against her.

At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel; the indoctrination of children and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.

And let me add on the topic of the Spanish left. Many are the examples that illustrate the anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments that define the Spanish left. For example, one of the leftist parties in-Spain has just expelled one of its members for creating a pro-Israel website. I quote from the expulsion document: "Our friends are the people of Iran, Libya and Venezuela, oppressed by imperialism, and not a Nazi state like Israel."

In another example, the socialist mayor of Campozuelos changed Shoah Day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, with Palestinian Nabka Day, which mourns the establishment of the State of Israel, thus showing contempt for the six million European Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Or in my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Thus, they invited Leila Khaled, a noted terrorist from the 70's and current leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization so described by the European Union, which promotes the use of bombs against Israel.

This politically correct way of thinking has even polluted the speeches of president Zapatero. His foreign policy falls within the lunatic left, and on issues of the Middle East he is unequivocally pro Arab. I can assure you that in private, Zapatero places on Israel the blame for the conflict in the Middle East, and the policies of foreign minister Moratinos reflect this. The fact that Zapatero chose to wear a kafiah in the midst of the Lebanon conflict is no coincidence; it's a symbol.

Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization. As I wrote before, they kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. An yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.

And then it says it is anti Israeli because of solidarity. This is the madness I want to denounce in this conference.


I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles.

Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn't want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

Bold emphasis mine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

11 June 2010 T-minus

11 June 2010 T-minus

Day spent running errands, returning books to the library, grocery shopping. Temp peaked at 91.72°F. Sticky, with 40% chance of rain.

Tomorrow we plan to cut the solar blanket to size, perhaps get some mowing done.

Flashpoint should be on tonight. I’m not convinced it will be. We set up to record it last week and the local CBS affiliate ran a children’s fund raiser pledge drive for some cause. I’ve been waiting for Flashpoint to return for nearly a year. It won’t surprise me if the same thing happens tonight.

I get to sleep in tomorrow, looking forward to it very much.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10 June 2010 In the name of

10 June 2010 In the name of

Taliban executes boy, 7, for spying

By Matiullah Mati, CNN

June 10, 2010 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)

Fundamentalism rears its ugly head once more. Although Islam is said to proscribe killing the innocent, somehow this innocent slipped through the cracks. Is he now a martyr for losing his life accused of a crime he was likely unable to fully comprehend? If he is a martyr, does he receive the full benefits of martyrdom, the 72 houris to entertain him? What good are 72 houris to a 7 year old’s soul? Does he get only a percentage of the 72 to acknowledge his death before maturity?

Children are all too often the targets of the religious fundamentalists. They are indoctrinated at the earliest opportunity. This same child might have been convinced by a Mullah that only he can carry the suicide vest close enough to an enemy unit to make it a true martyrdom. Or he might have been convinced that surrendering his body to the predations of a priest or minister was approved by heaven. Perhaps he could have been indoctrinated into becoming a child soldier in the name of some deity.

The children are the same, only the uniform and the sacred text of the predator varies. We have children starving to death while they beg for money to be handed over to religious authorities for their purposes. We have children going door to door selling over-priced gift wrap and snack foods to fund missionaries who will spend the money in another nation, feeding someone else’s children just enough to keep them alive and singing the songs the missionaries want them to sing. If they stop singing they stop eating but the collection process continues here. On both ends of the game, the children pay the cost, do the labor, and please the adults.

We’ve stopped throwing children into the fire in order to placate stone deities and therefore keep the city safe. But we’ve not stopped using and abusing children to placate the men and women who keep the myths alive as a means to their own power. The fire may have been the better option for many of these children.

Every time I see or hear “Save the children,” “think of the children,” “do it for the children,” bring a child to ----,” or “save a child’s soul,” I think of Dickensian orphanages, missionary schools, children bent slavishly over religious texts memorizing but not learning to read anything else. And I refuse the request. Keep all children religion free until they are adults, have learned to read, and can refuse the predation of fundamentalists.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

9 June 2010 Dummies and the Tea Party Mob

9 June 2010 Dummies and the Tea Party Mob

Our friend Suki sent one of these links to Gloria.

Normally I avoid You tube and videos as if they were capable of spreading plague and illiteracy.

Imagine my delight when I heard the “Dummies recruit for a tea party zip around the office. There are several of these videos mocking the Texas School Board, The Tea Party mobs, Michelle Bachman, and other targets of opportunity.

Dummies recruiting for the Tea Party

How Dummies respond to oil spills

Does Fox News employ dummies?

How to use talking points and buzz words to scare dummies

There are a bunch of these things. Please pick one or two that have you howling at the truth they release for the coming campaign. The GOP and Tea Party deal in lies, deception, and fear. These videos are a great tool to defeat them with truth. Let’s demand to see their birth certificates.

Have fun with these.

Haircut today, only cost $10.00. We found a sort of old-time barber shop that doesn’t try to sell us unnecessary grooming products. Gloria likes the way the 2nd chair beautician cuts her hair and I like the 1st chair barber/owner.

After that, a flying trip through the grocery store for the ingredients to put Greek salads on the table and fried chicken as an entrée behind the salads. I bought chicken prepped and fried at the grocery store. I have no desire to fry chicken here.

Finally, a stop at the Mennonite-owned food store for honey, eggs, bacon, and cheese for sandwiches. The rain held off most of the time I was out.

Now, the trash is ready to move out to the road tomorrow morning, dinner will be an easy fix, and I’m ready to enjoy a quiet, rainy evening.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

8 June 2010 All Texans need to know, they can learn from the Taliban

8 June 2010 All Texans need to know, they can learn from the Taliban

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Monday offered a stern warning against halting oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of a massive oil leak, and he raised the question of whether the explosion was an “act of God.”

Read more:

It must be true. Perry is joined in his certainty by Congressman Tom Cole, R-OK in rushing to absolve the oil industry and its employees of any guilt.

“. Tom Cole on oil spill: ‘Acts of God are acts of God.’

By Lee Fang on Jun 2nd, 2010 at 9:50 am

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), an ardent supporter of the oil industry and adherent of the “drill here, drill now” chant, appeared on KTOK radio yesterday to discuss BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf. Like Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who dismissed the oil spill catastrophe as an “act of God,” Cole sought to downplay dangers inherently associated with offshore drilling. Cole said more could have been done to deal with the spill, but the oil spill itself was more or less unpredictable because “acts of God are acts of God”:

COLE: We probably should have forced BP to mobilize more in the way of vessels. There’s still a lot that can be done. But again, acts of God are acts of God. And you know, FEMA is not, you know, can not cope with everything.”

Just as the pre-failure excuse commonly used in Afghanistan, “Insh Allah” (If God wills it,” is used to limit personal responsibility for nearly everything that takes place from crop failure to lost military campaigns; so can Oil companies shed guilt in the states where Oil is already a primary source of revenue waiting to be laundered and buried in offshore bank accounts.

This is an economic and legislative problem that demonstrates how deeply in thrall our elected officials are to the gods of oil and greed. But even worse, it negates centuries of physics, geology, biology, and evolutionary sciences that are recognized by every modern nation, except the U.S. to be accurate, valid, and true descriptions of how the physical universe came about, the laws which govern it, and the geological history of the planet including the development and deposition of fossil fuels beneath the earth’s surface.

The various creation myths came about as proto-societies tried to understand the physical world and the varieties of life and experiences in that world. Larger than life gods were created and used as both a means of answering poorly defined questions and as a means to power for those who became the intermediaries between gods and men. “God lifted the rocks and put the oil and coal beneath them” may work in a culture which restricts education to males and limits their access to sectarian knowledge in order to maintain cultural and religious purity. But it should not work for any culture that can locate oil in subsurface strata and build the tools necessary to reach and extract it. Nor should that technically more advanced culture be allowed to get by with using “it’s God’s will” as an excuse to limit the penalties for companies that ignored safety requirements and technical indications of problems in order to squeeze a few dollars more from the process of looting national resources.

The scary thing is that with the concerted efforts made by the theocons and Christian fundamentalists to negate teaching the realities of physics, geology, and evolution as part of routine biology, there exists a sub-populace now who buy into the creation myths all too deeply. A former VP candidate believes that dinosaurs and humans co-existed on a planet that is less than 6000 years old. She also believes she was divinely chosen to run for office. She has thousands of rabid followers who believe every word she fabricates; and who will now recall the false statement that she was opposed to offshore oil and gas drilling as if she had actually opposed such drilling.

For the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan, poor education, limited education, and faulty education of the populace is a means to retain power in the religious industry. For the Taliban of American fundamentalists churches, poor education is equally important as a means to gain and exercise political power. When lists of who to vote for are handed out in churches that are supposedly tax-exempt due to absence of political activity, we are in trouble. When our schools are teaching watered down or inaccurate science because the Taliban want it that way, we are in serious trouble. We won’t maintain traffic to the international space station by teaching faulty science. We won’t retain our constitution and our personal freedoms if the churches seize power and re-write the parts they don’t like. The first amendment keeps them safe from government takeover. But far more importantly, it keeps us, and our government safe from religious takeover. Just as the Taliban in Kabul are working to control government and culture, so are our Taliban in Houston, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Jackson, Little Rock, and hundreds of other cities. Is the oil spill an act of god? Hardly. But there’s a problem more damaging to America than any oil spill just waiting to be unleashed if enough of out Taliban grab power. Then we’ll begin to see just how godless such men of god can be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

7 June 2010 Trespassers may become shot

7 June 2010 Trespassers may become shot

Yesterday afternoon Gloria and Loki encountered a 2.5-3 foot long Timber Rattlesnake in our front yard. She heard and saw it, told Loki to stay and Loki chose to obey. Gloria brought her around back and into the house, told me about the snake, rather calmly.

I loaded our Mossberg 500 with flechette rounds and went out the front door. The snake had moved from where Gloria had seen it and was headed for the upper, wooded area of our property. Fortunately for us, I was able to pick it up visually. My hearing deficit is really becoming problematic. One round of flechette was adequate for the job but, as with all rattlesnakes, it retained muscle activity and bite reflex for a significant and potentially dangerous time. We separated the head from the body and put it on a wood pile out of Loki’s reach. The body went into the creek bed.

The adrenaline burst was far too heavy and lasted much longer than I would prefer.

I had just been thinking that the shotgun should be loaded. It is a primary home defense tool and is only a club if unloaded. It will be loaded from today forward.

From a safety stand point, only the two of us live here or have any access to the firearms. Gloria knows that the weapons are all loaded and has her own personal weapon for defense. No one else is authorized to be in the house, let alone handle our firearms. They are kept under lock and key or on our persons.

This is the first venomous snake we’ve seen on our property. Since we’ve been here, Mike killed one on his bridge from driveway to house and someone from the family compound at the head of the valley ran over one in the road about 2/3 of the way from our drive to the upper property line. So we know they’re out there, just normally not crossing our paths. Something to watch out for when outside and when letting the dog roam a bit.

I dislike killing snakes, even venomous snakes. However, this one was a threat to our well-being and to Loki. Had it been on the property edge, leaving our land, I’d have left it alone if possible. It will certainly be bright lights tonight when outdoors with the dog.

Gloria gets credit for her calm control of Loki and quick response. I lose points for lacking half my search, tracking and targeting systems down due to battle damage. I must make a serious effort to wear my hearing aids whenever outside. They’re not water-resistant but I will have to figure out a way to deal with that problem.

Needless to say, all the cracks, crevices, weedy areas, and berry patches are suspect today. The road edges during today’s hike with Mike were suspect too. Not just poison ivy to be concerned about.

Spent about half an hour today patterning the shotgun, using the various rounds I have available. I sent sabot/slug rounds, 00 buckshot, “super speed” #7 1/2 game loads, and flechette down range at a man shaped target at 20 meters. Any snake inside that range would best be met with the game loads. The flechette I used yesterday has 19 darts/round. I shot better than I have in a long time.

Spent an hour and a half cleaning the Mossberg. That is always a problem with shooting; it takes a long time to really clean a weapon. The recoil I did not notice yesterday was very much in evidence today. A 12 gauge shotgun is not a target gun.

Gloria was in the pool today after we peeled back the solar blanket and cleaned the pool. She’s happy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

6 June 2010 We con the world

6 June 2010 We con the world

Very good band last night at the contra dance in Jonesborough. Perpetual e-Motion is the band. They played Friday night at the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo and will play there again Sunday night. They’re logging a lot of miles to lay down some fantastic music.

The pool pump is still running after being switched off and on a few times to allow for maintenance on the pool. We put the new solar blanket on the pool this morning. We’ll give it 2-3 days to flatten out before trimming it down to size. If it stays cloudy, at least it will help keep the pool clean. I’ve got to install some grommets and figure out a way to unroll it without help.

I’m planning on steaks (chuck eyes) and corn on the cob for dinner. I’ll fire up some charcoal if the weather allows. If not, I’ll cook indoors. Either way it will be enjoyable.

We had a 55 minute power outage this morning. We almost never know what causes them. It could have been someone hitting a power pole, unlikely due to the short nature of the outage. It could have been a suicidal squirrel doing the power line dance. Whatever the cause, it happened after we were awake and moving, and ended before we finished the paper. I’d already made coffee so we were not bothered overly much.

Another D-Day anniversary rolls around and I’m reminded of the bravery of the thousands who made that landing in the face of everything the Nazis could throw at them.

Israel continues to stand nearly alone.

A parody by a Jerusalem Post writer. Many Israelis feel this way.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5 June 2010 Odds and ends intellect, hope, beauty, and anger

5 June 2010 Odds and ends

Last night we went to hear and see Donna The Buffalo. We left home during a severe thunder storm. The dog was not at all pleased to be left alone. We received 0.75 inches of rain yesterday evening. When we reached Highway 107 the rain, for the most part, stopped; allowing us to travel at highway speeds without fear of hydroplaning off the road or into something. We had dinner reservations at a new Japanese restaurant and met a friend of Gloria’s from the contra dancing community.

Dinner was quite good, service was good to excellent and the restaurant surprisingly empty for a Friday evening. Perhaps all the festivals in the area were responsible for the dearth of customers. We found no fault at all with the food. As we left, the staff actually bowed us out the door. I’ve never had this happen at any Japanese restaurant in the CONUS. We plan on returning.

While we were eating, the thunderstorm we left in Chuckey, or a close relation, caught up with us and we worried about being able to see the band. But the storm moved on and we had no more rain to deal with last night.

We managed to find parking spots within 300 meters of the stage where we wanted to be. We sat up our chairs and waited for a decent zydeco band to finish and for DTB to set up.

The band is a well known jam band, with roots similar to The Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, etc. They are well worth the travel time to hear them. Last night they were, unfortunately, lacking a good sound person. The mix was atrocious. The drums were far too forward in the mix, the bass also too heavy. The vocals were down in the clutter and muddy. Since the band has interesting lyrics and good vocal performers, half the performance was substandard. When they opened up and jammed, the mix became tolerable but still lacking with respect to being able to hear all the instruments and voices. The practice of using local sound people, who tend to mix everything like Country or Rap, is detrimental to a good band.

The rain never returned the crowd was reasonably innocuous; no one spilled beer on us or fell over us. The music was, all-in-all, worth the trip. The evening cooled off nicely, breezes kept it cool. The band is always worth listening to, catch them if you can.

Practicing magical thinking of my own, I flipped the switch on the pool pump this morning and it brought the pump into operation. While it may be the pump motor, I’m going to buy a replacement switch and keep it on hand for the next failure. Every day without having to buy a new motor is good. If it continues to work, we’ll open up the new solar blanket and let it stretch out before cutting it to size.

This is the beginning of a movie review from the Washington Post. I rarely read movie reviews and even less seldom find them causing me to become interested in the movie reviewed. This one caught me. I want to see “Agora.” I hope it goes to cable soon as I don’t think it will play in this region at all. The review is long but worth reading. I offer it to you.

Reason is the star of "Agora

By Susan Jacoby
June 2, 2010; 4:31 PM ET

Also long but worth reading is this history and commentary on one of the great pieces of sculpture. I became aware of this sculpture in a “Classics” comic book. The link provides history of the work and comparisons to other “messenger” themed works of art. I have my friend, Dr. Paul Scotten, to think for directing me to the marvelous archeology web site that provided this link.

A closer look at the Victory of Samothrace

Last, this link from the Washington Post to an article by Dana Milbank is worthy of the time it takes to read it and become outraged. The GOP apologists for the damages caused by greed in today’s corporate structures are now claiming that the BP ravages to the Gulf of Mexico are “acts of God.” This is in keeping with the legal view declaring corporations have “rights” equitable to those of actual persons. If so, they also have responsibilities and should serve prison sentences. I have no problem with jailing BP’s corporate officers and executives, as well as their board of directors for the ecological damages they are causing due to their corporate policies, practices, and greed. They can blame this on a divine causation if they like. I don’t buy it.

In fact, I want to see all the corporate sky pilots and televangelists trying to mesh the science and geology of sub-oceanic oil deposits with the theocratic fundamentalists insistence that the world is only a few thousand years old. I’m sure it is only a matter of time until the GOP theocrats and Tea Party mobs start blaming this spill on gays, lesbians, atheists, Jews, and socialists.

If oil spill is 'an act of God,' BP merits divine retribution

By Dana Milbank

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, June 4, 2010

4 June 2010 Friday rolls around again

4 June 2010 Friday rolls around again

We received 0.62 inches of rain between 0030 and 0400 this morning. A series of heavy thunderstorms rolled along the ridges and tracked right over us. I don’t normally wake up for rainfall. These storms work me. It wasn’t the lightning and thunder, which had Loki quite upset, but the noise of the rain falling on a metal roof that woke me several times. The rainfall was heavy enough and loud enough that I really think there was some hail mixed in with it.

So a tired start to the morning and a hot and sticky hike with Mike left me ready for a shower. But I needed to backwash the pool filter and remove the old solar blanket from the reel first. The reel is now ready for the new blanket. The filter pump refused to restart after I flipped it off. Not a good sign. It is possibly a bad switch that caused problems when they opened the pool a week ago. But more likely it is a pump motor. We’ll find out but I suspect the cheap fix is not an option.

We’re going into Johnson City to night for free music at a street festival. Donna the Buffalo will be playing. We’ve not see them since Live Oak in 1997. Japanese food prior to going to the festival area. Neither of us needs street food and I really don’t trust a lot of the vendors to maintain safe and healthy conditions. I also don’t care to stand in line with families with strollers, kids, and diaper bags who think that their status as parents affords them special status. We’d both rather eat a bit more healthily and do so in cool air at a clean table. Should be good music.

We will be missing the mostly gospel music performances at Elizabethton’s Covered Bridge Festival and a lot of bad country and bad Christian at a Vietnam Veteran’s Homecoming laid on by a local vet and a biker church. Not at all hard to miss this little bit of self-pity. There have been enough such “home comings” for us VietNam vets. We all know we’re home, most of us have learned to deal with our PTSD, we’re getting health care from VA and no amount of bible thumping is going to cure the rest of us who were lost before becoming cannon fodder.

Perhaps a chance to sleep in tomorrow?

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

3 June 2010 Palin offended by NBC - good!

3 June 2010 Palin offended by NBC

“Palin was in contact with the “Today" show the day before McGinniss's appearance and provided a statement responding to the author before the interview.

“McGinniss has followed us for some time now, from showing up on our doorstep last winter, bidding over $60,000 for a military charity auction dinner with me, writing the hit pieces, attending at least one Outside book event, etc,” Palin said. “He has a right to pursue his subject, I suppose, and certainly has a right to live wherever he wants, but my family also has a right to expect privacy, and hopefully to enjoy peace this summer. Good fences do make for good neighbors. The fence is now up, and I hope that we can enjoy peace. During his interview on “Today,” McGinniss accused Palin of using “Nazi” tactics to incite her supporters to go after him. But Palin’s response to the interview initially was not aired.

Palin then took to her Facebook page to complain that the network “broke their promise” to run her statement, going on to lump NBC in with “a corrupt, deceptive, and manipulative media” that can “ruin the lives of good people, disrupt families, destroy reputations and ultimately hurt our country.”

On Wednesday morning, NBC anchor Ann Curry read part of Palin’s statement, but without mentioning that it was intended for the previous day or that Palin had complained about the network’s coverage.

“Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is speaking out about comments made by author Joe McGinniss on this broadcast on Tuesday,” Curry said. “[McGinniss] has claimed he's received death threats, and he's complained about what he called the power Palin has to incite hatred.”

“On her Facebook page, Palin claims that the left has been inciting hatred against her for the last two years,” Curry added. “Referring to McGinniss, she tells NBC News, ‘He has a right to pursue his subject, I suppose, and certainly has a right to live wherever he wants, but my family also has a right to expect privacy and hopefully enjoy peace this summer. The media sensationalizes the recent McGinniss tactic so the public will tune in to whatever the latest episode is, always with ratings in mind, and that’s unfortunate.”

Read more:

Read more:

How sad that the resignator, former governor Palin, feels the press is treating her unfairly. If she would participate in a normal interview instead of hiding behind a ghost-written statement she might eventually feel less persecuted.

But since her inability to speak and stand erect simultaneously precludes her being interviewed by any real journalist, on any real news service, she will continue to hide on Face book where she can block any person who might possibly “be mean to her.” Any genuine interview would only highlight her lack of familiarity with English grammar, with logic and reason, and with truth. The resignator would never allow herself to have to answer questions that she hasn’t had time to send to a ghost-writer.

She blatantly accused author Joe McGinnis of pedophilia and provided his e-mail address to her rabid supporters. One can only imagine the height of her hysteria if someone posted her private e-mail address and accused her of child abuse/neglect in a public forum. In fact, we don’t have to imagine her response. She became so distraught that she could no longer carry out her elected duties. She published one set of lies after another, claiming various men were stalking her daughters. She habitually uses her children as stage props and then lies about doing so. In the McGinnis interview segment he specifically stated that he was not calling her a Nazi. So, of course, she leapt onto the word and accused him of calling her a Nazi. She hears only what she wants to hear, truth is whatever she might believe it to be, and facts don’t matter anymore than does science.

Her insistence that her privacy is being violated, along with that of her children, is yet another example of her “magical thinking.” She was nominated for VPOTUS, and had she won that election, would have acquired some protection from intrusion for her and her family. But since she was not elected, and since she resigned her gubernatorial position, she is no more entitled to any “Extra” privacy than I am.

She complains that NBC ruined “their Memorial Day”, requiring her to be on the phone. Had she deigned to be interviewed by an actual journalist on a real news program, there would have been no need to make phone calls. And for what it is worth, she’s not employed and could have deferred any phone calls to the following work days. Nothing she has to say is so important as to require ruining a family celebration. That is, of course, unless one is worried that one’s name might not appear on television that day.

Her concern for privacy seems to vanish with the increase in proximity of a TV camera to her. Then she turns her ghost writer loose on Face Book and drags her kids out once again to demonstrate how they are being stalked and threatened. The stalkers in the neighborhood live in the Palin house.

It would be a rare treat to see her interviewed by a real journalist. The Couric interview was only a preview of how dysfunctional she would become if asked the right questions.

NBC should offer her the opportunity to appear on cameral to discuss her statement. So should CBS, ABC, and CNN. Then no major news network should cover anything she says or does until she quits hiding behind her ghost-written Face book page or admits that she is unqualified for any national office.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2 June 2010 Obscenely unseen and unheard

2 June 2010 Obscenely unseen and unheard

Artist Tattoos Indelible Iraq Memorial Into His Skin

by Lara Pellegrinelli

June 1, 2010

On Memorial Day, Americans paused to remember the nation's men and women who died in combat. For Iraqi-born visual artist Wafaa Bilal, the effort to remember casualties of war is an ongoing and permanent project — tattooed into his skin.

More and more this nation ignores, forgets, and simply fails to see its wars’ dead and injured. Our men and women in uniform train, deploy, fight, die, and return with no one but their families aware of their wounds, their broken lives, and their deaths.

In previous wars, newspapers printed weekly casualty reports announcing who was injured, who was missing, and who was dead. This seems to have ended with WWII. In Korea, there were fewer unit deployments. By the time VietNam was full-blown unit deployments were uncommon, soldiers received individual orders, deployed, were assigned in country, and left as their tour of duty was up. Casualty reports were minimized and, of course, much smaller than those of previous wars. Fewer casualties, easier to gloss over the wounded, missing, and dead.

So little attention did our casualties receive beyond the confines of family that we seem even to have forgotten the terms: WIA, MIA, and KIA. We actually have car dealerships selling cars with the letters “KIA” prominently displayed. Ignoring the fact that the product line is a cheap and relatively safety deficient automobile; there is no way I would ever be so unconcerned for our history as to buy and drive such a vehicle. I don’t know what the letters mean in Korea. I don’t care.

Even more overlooked are the casualties inflicted upon non-combatants now. The video game appearance of remote warfare has desensitized our combatants and our civilians beyond concern for the “collateral damage” we cause. While no war is ever free of civilian injuries and death, while war is designed to inflict injuries and death on the opposing forces, no injuries or deaths should ever be regarded lightly. The safety of our troops in time of war is of utmost importance, little to no concern for the enemy’s numbers should be a factor in how we carry out our wars until we have done everything possible to protect our own troops. Peace activists, and anti-war protestors have no place in the planning and execution of a military campaign. They should not be allowed on battlefields, should not be allowed to interfere in a campaign by intrusion into hostilities, and should be treated as the idiots they are if they attempt to block military actions.

The Bush administration did all it could to minimize the awareness of our casualties and to fully ignore the number of enemy combatants and civilians killed. Our wounded were warehoused under shameful conditions until the press began to uncover and publicize their treatment. The dead were treated equally shamefully, brought back secretly with no public awareness of how many and when they were returned.

No one killed in war should become nameless and forgotten. But the use of UV ink to remember them is noteworthy and should somehow become part of every future monument to our war dead. We ask the ultimate sacrifice of them and then choose to hide their sacrifice and memory from the public.