Posted by: Helen Philpot | May 14, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow…

Margaret, tell Howard that the difference between me and Rush Limbaugh is that I don’t lie in order to support my opinion.  That fat bastard Limbaugh will say anything to keep his ratings up and counts on his fans being too lazy to check the facts.  And as far as the next election, Howard is probably right.  This fickle country of ours will probably put the Republicans back in control of something and it will start all over again.  It’s sad really.

I wonder if the Grand Old Party has taken a step back recently and gotten a good look at just how tarnished they have become?   You’ve got one Governor shooting wolves out of helicopters and another using laser guided missiles  to take out coyotes during his morning jog.    You’ve got the Tea Party rooting for insurance companies instead of kids  and the Right-To-Lifers shooting doctors at church.  The GOP even has homophobes practicing homosexuality.  And “drill, baby, drill” isn’t sounding too great for a battle cry these days, but by God they’re sticking to it.  From where I sit, the entire Republican Party should head to OZ – looking for a brain, a heart and a pair of testicles.

Honestly, do Republicans put their guns down long enough to wipe their asses or do they just take a chance and occasionally wound themselves in the privates?  What the hell are these people thinking?  Have you listened to Rush Limbaugh recently?  And if you have, please tell me why.   We know he never graduated from College.  We know his mother said he flunked everything.  We know that much of his career was spent high on hillbilly heroin.  And we know for damn sure he lies.  There is actually an entire organization dedicated to exposing his lies from each and every broadcast.  So how in God’s name can you repeat his garbage in your emails and comments to me and not expect me to immediately discount you for a fool?

For the record.  I have no issue with all these morons asking to see President Obama’s birth certificate.  After all, for eight years I demanded that President Bush produce a GED document to prove he had a brain.  I never did get proof, but I also knew when to give up… right about the time he said that the human being and fish could coexist peacefully.   The birth certificate argument is a horse as dead as the coyote that almost ate Governor Good Hair.

The absolute absurdity of it all has become… well…  absurd.

Margaret, you have to ask yourself:

How many guns do you need before you cross the line from hunter to paranoid militia member?

How much oil has to wash ashore in the Gulf Coast before we seriously consider solar, wind and other alternative fuel sources?

How many skeletons and fossils do we have to dig up before evolution seems more plausible than the story of God sleeping in after six days of hard work?

How many wars do we have to start before we realize that, in war, there are no winners except Dick Cheney and Halliburton?

How long before Tea Party members stop misspelling signs and just start burning crosses?

Does that law in Arizona really do anything to fix immigration or is it just a new way of saying you don’t want a Mexican buying the house next door? 

And just how stupid does Sarah Palin have to be before you reconsider giving her the codes to the nukes?

About that last one. I really, really do mean it.

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  10. love this, YOU ROCK

  11. Well, hello Jean.

    You asked for a favor, and I was the only one who delivered. I didn’t expect a “thank you,” but you now know I will return good for evil. You, on the other hand return evil for good, don’t you?

    I do enjoy knowing I am inside of your head. Why else would you be so apparently obsessed by people like me? A normal person would ignore us, but not you. Now, you compare us to barnacles. I am still a producer, and my taxes help pay your bills. That makes you more of a parasite than I.

    Which species of barnacle are you? I vote for Pilumnopeus serratifrons.

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom.

    Uncle James

  12. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Any one of Helen’s posts is as timely today as when she first put it up and is worth re-reading. That is the hallmark of a great writer. Most of the contributors here have been quite informative and congenial with the exception of only a few. Those few remind me of barnacles.

    This vital information is a brief summary of what barnacles are all about. In case you are not familiar with these critters, you can read more on Google and see pictures of them too. They are not very pretty! Barnacles are anthropods who live in their shells in the water, mostly oceans. They attach themselves to rocks instead of crawling after food. They are hermaphrodytic. The barnacle will live out its life inside its “shell house” firmly attached to one spot on the rock. It cannot move about and is dependent upon the high tides to bring all the things that it needs to survive.

    However, many genus of barnacles live quite high on the shore and may only be covered with water for a few hours each day. For the rest of the time they must endure the baking sun.

    Barnacles also attach themselves to the hull of ships and boats. Mariners have to scrape them off the bottoms of those vessels from time to time during routine maintenance or painting. Slimy.

    A most unusual barnacle which does not construct a shell-like covering for itself is the parasitic barnacle. It takes residence under the abdominal flap of a small shore crab, the Smooth-handed Crab, Pilumnopeus serratifrons. The parasitic barnacle feeds off the living tissues of the crab.

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean

  13. It is clear that ignorance isn’t an age issue. As far as I can see, Obama is Bush on Steroids. Bush funds the first bail out, leaves the borders open and funds a war that has gone now where. And Obama follows in spade. Wake up and smell reality.

    I have to thank you because it is your kind that have spawned the beginnings of new parties. Democrat or Republican same shit different animal.

  14. Diane, you mean the honor that Bush managed to tar during his illegal tenure?

    I was in Washington, DC three years ago visiting the National Archives. I really wanted to see the US Constitution but was told that it was out for repairs. I laughed to myself and replied, “Of course it is, because Bush shredded it.” They just smiled.

    Love your site ladies – thanks for sharing your letters with us.

  15. Please keep writing. You are voices of sanity in an absolutely insane world where Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are holding a rally about our country taking back its honor.

  16. We miss you Whirled Peas. :wink:

  17. Out of the mouths of cartoon characters oft times come history lessons:

    The Pinky Show: Vietnam

    PEACE

  18. Pfessor, ironic, my husband survived an aortic arch dissection in 2006. Yes I get GE makes some good stuff (not appliances – ours are all GE, and being replaced with anything but) It’s just ironic that they profited from the destruction of a country, and profit in it’s rebuilding…

  19. pfessor, I devoured science fiction, and thought of Clark’s law too, also. We could buy paperback books for $.25 or so through our school book club.

    You are right. The wagon tracks still remain in the Platte Valley of Nebraska. So do buffalo wallows if you know where to look.

    An old stage road remains on the loess hills east of us, and arrowheads are easy to find where Indians were buried after an inter tribal battle. People here still tell stories of how it was when Jessie James’ gang rested in our county.

    My great grandmother thought something was wrong on a sunny January day in 1888, and when the weather turned bad that afternoon, she refused to let her students go home. Because of her caution, she probably saved their lives from the Blizzard of ’88 or the Childrens’ Blizzard because so many children died on their way home from school.

    She and her students formed a chain because the visibility was so low. Someone held on to the sod building while the group swept through the school yard until they found her horse. They put it in the school with them.

    My great grand mother’s brother walked 14 miles to see his first electric lights.

    My grandfather used to sing
    “Nebraska land, Nebraska land
    Upon your fruited plain I stand
    I watch the sun rise and fall each day
    and wonder why it never rains.”

    Yes, they would have thought any one suggesting how we would live now to be crazy.

  20. James -

    “Professor, we live in an age of miracles don’t we?”

    When I was in grade school and high school I devoured science fiction and I often think of Clarke’s third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    What I have always found most remarkable though is man’s range from good to bad, from almost unfathomable innovation and beauty to really unfathomable depravity. I often fly, and when I cross the Plains, I always look down to see if I can find the wagon tracks that legend has can still be seen if you know where to look. And the thought is always the same: If you told those people in those wagons that their young children would – in their lifetimes – be able to make the same trip in two hours that was taking them three months; that they would do it six miles straight up, at 550 miles per hour, in air 120 degrees below zero – and would do so in perfect comfort, with a cute young lady or gentleman serving them lunch – they would tie you to the wagon for the rest of the trip, since you were obviously crazy.

    Yet here it is. Yes we live in an age of miracles. And it can only get better.

    (cross posted to M&H new posting)

    Jim

  21. Our niece and her husband returned from their second tour in Iraq last winter. They also spent time in Afghanistan, so I know how you feel. As Poolman wrote, “May God bless all those in the midst of warefare…”

    I agree Poolman, but we have to live with the world as it is. l can’t think of any country which would dominate the world with greater good than the United States. That is why I root for our side though the other side can have valid grievances.

    It is ironic isn’t it Dawn. These are multinational companies that hire people where ever they can pay the lowest wage.

    Professor, we live in an age of miracles don’t we?

  22. Dawn -

    I wonder what Mr. Edison would think of the Edison General Electric Company these days?

    Their products are pretty remarkable. Our hospital just purchased a 64-slice GE CAT scanner; I just diagnosed a 49 year-old man’s aortic dissection yesterday (that’s where the lining of the largest blood vessel in the body peels away from the wall and the blood begins to leak out. In past times, they were over 95% fatal.) When I was in training, to diagnose this condition we would spend hours in a dangerous arteriogram procedure, hoping to get a hint of what was wrong; now it takes me four minutes from the time the patient gets on the table until he gets off. Then another minute for the computer to reconstruct the images. Then one minute for a phone call to the Emergency Room. From the time he hit the door until he was on the helicopter was twenty minutes. Amazing technology – it clearly saved this 49 year-old father’s life.

    You mentioned GE engines. As also a pilot and electrical engineer, I am in awe of GE aircraft engines; conceded by even their competitors to be the best in the world. When you fly, those engines are constantly being monitored by GE from the ground, and any anomaly is fed into computers which diagnose the most likely cause and feed the data to the airplane’s next stop so technicians can fix it if necessary. This is all done without the pilot’s knowledge, unless it is a safety issue. What a shame to see such beautiful engineering go for the purpose of killing humans…my college roomie used to say that if we could kill people with sunbeams we’d have had solar power years ago.

  23. Who benefits from our toil you ask? (military) Uh, that would be the corportations who sell war.

    I find it incredibly ironic that GE now has a stong foothold in Viet Nam ( USA TODAY, 8/18) First the company makes $ building engines to drive the airplanes that drop the bombs that destroy the flora, fauna, and those pesky live of people that live there.

    Now, it is making money giving the Vietnamese people jobs… don’t bother making things here in the US. Truly ironic.

  24. May God bless all those in the midst of warfare, where ever they are, I pray. Help them, Father, to make wise choices and keep them under Your Almighty wings. Bless those over them. Give them noble commanders. Please give us all a desire to end these wars and our occupations. Let us support our troops by bringing them all home to their families. Let all those who perpetrate war disappear from among our numbers. Let us learn to be doers of good and supporters of life, I pray.

    When will our military actually support our troops?

  25. I hold your hand Greytdog, since I am also concerned this a dangerous time, I too have family members still in Iraq.

  26. The last American combat brigade has left Iraq & is now Kuwait. In a couple of weeks or so, they will be home. Troops still in country no longer on a combat mission but are in a training/transition m.o. Security for American personnel & the International Zone (aka Green Zone) will be shared between Iraqi army & mercenaries. My oldest stepson is there. The Intl Zone shelled twice already tonight…he expects an uptick in violence. . .

  27. James, mankind hasn’t changed over generations in the way they desire to manipulate others for personal gain. It is that inherent nature that we have to overcome to truly subsist peacefully on one planet. Many have gone before us and we have hand-me-down knowledge to sort things out. Those that hold power and wealth have always resorted to any means, no matter how extreme, to hold on to it or gain more.

    Afterall, one person’s jihad movement is another’s crusade. Who benefits from the chaos? That is who stages it. It is an orchestrated game for control of the resources. Look beyond the players to those that actually have admitted to using terror to force their agendas. Sometimes the hardest things to truly see are the most familiar and in plain sight.

  28. Poolman, I posted an answer, but I think the internet ate it. I agree in part, but our response to the jihad movement was more defensive than offensive. We didn’t wage a serious attack until after 9/11. The Cold war began more as a reaction to the Soviets than the other way around.

    I think the United States should behave as TR advised. “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”Don’t go looking for trouble. If we have no choice but to fight a war, it is best to do it with overwhelming force and end it as quickly as possible. Then, make a friend of our defeated enemy as we did the Germans and Japanese.

  29. Craig, I’m good with our Republic as was the original intent. Any form of government can be oppressive or not, it depends on how those in power use that authority in the treatment of others.

    Meinst du, macht nichts, pfesser? Oder macht keinen Unterschied? Vielleicht ist das Problem mit deinen zehnten Rang-Physik-Klasse. Wissenschaft entwickelt sich.

    James, I have been researching much of that era now that a lot of classified information is available through the FOIA. It doesn’t make mainstream news. We tend to want to forget that era, and actually have been quite successful in that. Except, that is, for those directly involved. They are fewer and fewer as time advances. But we have not learned from that time what we hoped and vowed. Today peoples have to prove they are not enemies or threats to us, rather than the other way around. We have a proactive stance, rather than reactive. Offensive rather than defensive. That works well for humanity with medicine, not so much in war.

  30. Craig’s interpretation of history is reasonably accurate.

    As he wrote, our forces are usually the first to show up during emergencies and natural disasters. For example, the UN complained that not many countries who could have done as much as the United States for flooded regions of Pakistan.

    A difference between us and most of our enemies is we don’t institutionalize cruelty, and they do.

    The history of Vietnam is more complex than our schools usually teach. Ho Chi Ming was one of many revolutionaries who wanted to be independent of Europeans like the French. He asked the United States for help. We refused because France was our ally.

    Ho turned to the Soviets and became a communist. WW11 and the Japanese occupation united all sides, in part because of Japanese cruelty. After the war Ho’s group systematically eliminated his competitors, some of whom wanted a democracy.

    They defeated the French and a struggle between the autocratic north and democratic south resumed. Thousands of northerners fled to the south to escape Ho’s brutality.

    The geopolitical reality of enough nuclear bombs and missiles to destroy the world made the Soviets and West reluctant to wage face to face hot wars. Both sides were rational enough to do what they could to avoid a fatal mistake, so they fought proxy wars.

    Thus, the communists helped the North, and we responded with aid to the South. The major powers had taken over a local civil war, and it took on a greater meaning than it previously had. The war became a test of the two systems and the domino theory was born. If Vietnam fell, South East Asia and maybe the Philipines would become communist.

    Johnson lied when he used the Gulf of Tolkin as an excuse to escalate the war. He said he was not going to be the first modern Democrat to lose a war.

    One thing our planners failed to take into account was a thousand years of bad blood between the Chinese and Vietnamese. The Chinese and Vietnamese were reluctant allies. I read that after the Soviet Union fell, researchers found documents recording important Soviet involvement in the war. I think the war reduced to its basic components was between the Soviets and the West.

    The Tet Offensive was a military victory for the West. We won most of the other battles, as General Giap noted. He also said the North won the war on American and European college campuses. The North Vietnamese realized they could win through public opinion and propaganda.

    The United States didn’t have the stomach for such a long, inconclusive war which killed so many of our youth, and the North used that fact to their advantage.

    The United States negotiated a pseudo peace with Ho’s government, and if I remember correctly Kissinger and his counterpart won the Nobel Peace Prize. South Vietnam’s president Ky condemned the treaty as a sell out.

    The treaty created something like the Korean stalemate. The North planned to violate the treaty and conquer the South after our attention turned elsewhere. Fighting continued but most of our troops were gone or in support positions. The South made lavish use of air power as we had taught them, and they held their own.

    After Watergate, an anti- war generation of representatives gained enough power to stop aid to South Vietnam. Gerald Ford practically begged Congress to keep helping the South, but his political position was so weakened there was nothing he could do.

    The emotional impact on the South was dramatic. An experimental northern incursion turned into a rout which surprised Ho’s forces. They took advantage and pressed on. Panic stricken Southerners fled for safety, and so did many of the military. They stole helicopters, trucks and other machines to transfer them and their families to safety.

    It became a tidal wave which fed on itself. An Army man told me Montenarg tribesmen who bravely helped us for years radioed for help as North Vietnamese troops surrounded their bases. There was nothing he could do, so he sadly turned off the radio.

    A local television meteorologist I knew was an Army reporter and one of the last to leave Saigon. He was a comedian, and made weather shows interesting. Tom was also a civic power house in Sioux City. I wasn’t the only one who felt a dark cloud which seemed to surround him. He saw things he never talked about.

    We made the South Vietnamese dependent on our money and they created an urban economy which mirrored ours. We unintentionally corrupted their society. We promised them they could depend on us, and they believed we would keep our word.

    We lied to people who had risked their lives to help us. We left them standing outside our embassy walls waiting for rescue we knew would never come.

    Many Vietnamese airmen took their families and flew helicopters to our ships stationed off shore. Some jumped out of their helicopters a few feet over the water within sight of our ships and hoped for rescue. So many landed on carriers, our sailors had to push them overboard to make room for more.

    We owed the South Vietnamese who had faith in our word. They ended up in re -education camps and some were killed or tortured. Others died as boat people who tried to escape.

    After news of the Killing Fields spread, Joan Biaz, who was prominent in the anti-war movement, said maybe they had misjudged the North Vietnamese. Most didn’t care.

    I think “War on Terror” had roots in our abandonment of Vietnam.

    “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” and both sides who used Vietnam for their own battles created Hell in Southeast Asia.

  31. sorry – Pollyanna, not polyanna

  32. Coffee/Kathy -

    Actually, I think Craig’s problem is that he is too polyanna – he thinks that almost everybody is, underneath, reasonable, and if he presents another side to an argument, reasonable people will consider it.

    Of course, the day I discovered this sad little place I realized that almost nobody – with, I later learned, the exception of Rae – has the self-confidence necessary to consider other points of view and concede points well-made. Having been unable to successfully illustrate a point using tenth-grade physics, I realized that to have a conversation, your co-discussant has to have: a) a certain minimum level of basic knowledge and b) a desire to learn – rather than just a desire to have others blow sunshine up his arse and tell him what a fine fellow he is.

    When I came, I surmised immediately that reason is precisely why James and Craig are unappreciated by some here, and subsequent experience has done nothing to refute that opinion.

    Of course, I am implacable, but I detect a certain weariness in Craig and James. My advice to them would be to cut your losses. As William Claude Dukenfield said, never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Waste on James’ and Craig’s part; annoyance by everyone else. Don’t squander your brain power, fellas. Your effort machs nix.

  33. You’re welcome, no ones’ puppet.

  34. I think Craig needs to get out more…or maybe a hobby. Sad really.

  35. Let’s all just agree to disagree that Craig’s head is not up his ass.

  36. “Why haven’t all our efforts made this a better place? Who benefits from our toil? Who is taking care of the land? The sea? Poolman”

    And so, if those glasses you are looking through cannot give you a view of what it would be like without a United States as the policeman or caretaker..then what kind of world would we have?

    The United Nations is a farce. It might have worked for the Korean war..but that’s just because the Russians decided to take a walk on the wrong day and the votes went against them.

    Would you prefer to have to kind of government of North Korea?
    How about Iran?
    Cuban troops in Grenada..once upon a time.
    Venezuela and their idiot in charge…
    Panama and their former dope dealer..

    I realize that there are atrocities on both sides in all wars. But that’s why they call it war not playtime.
    The only rule is to play to win, unless you want to play and pander to the media or politicians. AKA Vietnam.

    Cruelty?
    The British with their prison ships during the Revolutionary war.
    The same with Union and Southern prison camps.
    World War I with chemical warfare..
    The Holocaust..
    Killings of GI’s at Malmedy during the Bulge and I’m sure there were some times when Germans were not treated so kindly as well.
    Korea,Vietnam, yes we both have seen the horrors many times as portrayed by both sides.

    But I’ve not seen many times when Military forces from other countries have showed up after earthquakes or other disasters..
    Not many pics with USSR or Al Queda stamped on the side of a bag of rice being handed out.
    Hell ..North Korea can hardly feed their own because they put so much into arms.

    Poolman lets just agree to disagree that you have a jaded impression of American military or for that matter any American efforts and that includes political at assisting other countries in need, since you always see it as a gift I.E. military /cash donation with strings.

    And as for assisting the peoples during the Bosnian war and hunting down the perpetrators of war crimes? What say you there? What did we stand to gain? But we showed up..and I’m sorry to say too late in many cases.

    As I said we have our differences.
    Interesting..My son arrived in Singapore last week for the next six weeks to participate in the continued exercises concerning the “what if’s” of a North Korean invasion. He’s based at a Command and Control facility that the U.S. has based there.
    He told me by phone last weekend that one of the
    “what if’s”, was how to respond to the evacuation of villagers and others retreating from the N. Koreans and how to organize our ships for the extraction and care of these people.

    Have a good evening….

    “Use plenty of light. Light is a needed disinfectant in this land.”..
    and thus I offer people like Rod Blagojevich getting off pretty much scott free.
    Just my opinion.
    CRaig

  37. Craig, I grew up an Army brat. When my parents married, Dad was in the Navy stationed on an aircraft carrier out at sea. Then re-upped in the Army and during my kid years worked his way up to CWO4. He was a lifer, and he was a respected soldier. He served one tour in Vietnam – never talked about it. He was active duty the day he died of a heart attack almost 2 months shy of 42 years of age.

    We saw wonderful places and I had a strong sense of love for my country and pride in our military. Dad was an electronics wiz and was in charge of maintenance for the “computer” guidance systems for our missle systems. When he was stationed in Fulda, Germany during the cold war, he was one of two that could do his job. That made for restricted travel and a lot of quick trips to places unknown to us. We were just kids enjoying the bountiful pleasures of youth in a land of adventure.

    Growing up in America was great. I became a happy consumer. On the outside everything was so shiny and true. Just like the Disney version. It was a wonderful ride, you want it to go on forever….

    But at whose expense? Why haven’t all our efforts made this a better place? Who benefits from our toil? Who is taking care of the land? The sea? The nice places I go back to are gone. They have changed. No one is leaving things better than they found it. We promote crooks. We force poverty and imprisonment on others. The moneychangers are running the show. We acquire, hoard, cheat, take. Who can get the most? The first? The biggest? All at the expense of other life. I don’t care how we package it, the undercoat isn’t as pretty as the outside. The deeper I dig, the uglier it gets. We need to get the evil out of this nation, as like a cancer. It has spread everywhere. All the powers over us are influenced. It is like fibers in the tapestry of our culture – very hard to remove and distinguish. But we can sure see the “fruit” of it. That is, if you are willing to remove the colored glasses. Better vision. Use plenty of light. Light is a needed disinfectant in this land. May He give us more light, I pray.

  38. “I was somewhat disturbed…” – pfesser

    Tell me about it! Since the Japanese Empire was subdued, we get to learn all about them and their sins. I followed the Wiki link you provided and read the info. That was a well documented massacre including film and eyewitnesses. Just like we do in all of our fighting. Since the US is still the top dog Empire, so much of our sins and atrocities are still suppressed and kept out of the history books. Afterall, we wear the white hats, right? Can’t have any blemishes, now can we?

    However, many are being brought to light, despite great efforts to keep them under wraps. All the abuses in Abu Graib, etc., is nothing new.

    We are all familiar with the My Lai massacre, but that was minor in comparison to other massacres and war crimes. There is even a museum of American war crimes in Ho Chi Minh City. Google “Tiger Force” and you will see a little more of the things our guys were doing there – all sanctioned by their commanders. And that was just Vietnam. There we fought the Viet Cong – the natives fighting for their freedom from the occupiers – first the French, then us. It had nothing to do with a “spread of communism.”

    Through the FOIA, we know the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a false flag giving the US an excuse for invasion.

    One of my buddies that was there was telling me about one of the guys in his unit that snapped. He would go out at night and attack “the enemy”. One day when they got up there were over a dozen heads propped on sticks in the camp from his overnight carnage. That ended his tour…

    There are so many others I could go through in many other lands from the Americas to Europe and Asia. Korea had recently opened investigations into the atrocities done on its civilian population during our conflict there. We documented those very well. North Korea has an exhibit depicting US and allies war atrocities.

    So I guess it always looks more humane and justified when it’s “our guys” doing the maimin’.

  39. Poolman.
    You know my position.

    History.

    You can rewrite it if you wish..but that does not make it so.

    I will grant you one thing. Several European countries still held on to their beliefs that the sun should never set on their country/states. As in Great Britain, France and the Dutch. And America if you say we were occupiers of the Philippines.

    Japan,Germany and Italy all had designs on expanding their sphere of influence around the world. In simple terms…

    Japan had an Imperor who had no control over the Generals. And they started practicing in the Russo/Japan war. Then continued unabated in China because the rest of the world looked the other way.

    Germany had a mad man wanting nothing more than to rule the world plus he had help with a world economy that was in ruins until he came along and gave everybody jobs for creating a war machine. England gave him Hitler anything he wanted and signed away several country’s rights to save their own skin.

    Italy had a wannabe gangbanger essentially.
    Mussolini who wanted to ride the coattails of Hitler.

    And Russia’s Stalin was coy enough to just wait everyone out until it bit him in the ass.

    But to say that Americans as a whole were complicit in a purposeful effort by design to murder and rape the countryside of Vietnam is just wrong.

    You can say it based on Lt.Calley and a few other
    isolated incidents, but you cannot brand the whole of American efforts in Vietnam as a effort to what “go for the Oil” as you have stated on so many other occasions …and using anything with American troops being sent abroad as a effort to assimilate that country to be under our thumb.

    I believe you were some what hurt in some way or other by the armed forces at one point or another.
    Possibly a father or some other family member is involved.
    Your hatred is only matched by Ms. Jean and her diatribes about American interventions.

    Of course no one ever gives the American services credit for saving and preserving life.

    I could go on Poolman..but you have your mind made up.

  40. Poolman -

    I was somewhat disturbed by your last post, which I interpreted as suggesting that the actions of *some* Vietnam-era American soldiers was in some way morally equivalent to the *officially sanctioned* actions of the Japanese in WWII.

    Here is a fairly neutral, but pretty graphic description of their behavior in Nanking, China. Arguably the worst, but very equivalent to their behaviors elsewhere, especially including the Philippines, and illuminates the Japanese thought process during that time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanjing_Massacre

    I don’t think very many folks have the slightest concept of what these people did during that war. One of my oldest friends won’t even speak of Japan, and I respect his wishes; when we speak of the War, I never bring it up.

    Jim

  41. Johnson -

    C’mon man – chill out. It’s a hell of a pull to get folks here to disagree without name-calling, and you already have people decompensating.

    Make good points, and even if you piss people off, they will respond to you. Just name-call or show you really don’t know your stuff and they will just ignore you to death.

    Jim

  42. My mother is a psychic and she says she has a strong feeling that Helen has gone to be with the Lord.

  43. Dekurker,
    You must the the old broad’s daughter for not having anymore respect than she does for our nations finest.
    And you Lady and I use that term lightly are full of it,
    bullshit..that is.

  44. Thanks for the comments about my mother, she had her moments, when she showed a lot of gumption and a personal flair.

  45. Oh, I do hope nothing has happened to these two remarkable Ladies. I have so enjoyed their postings.

    Wishing you the best, Ladies!

  46. Johnson, I call bullshit. The people threatening our freedoms are right here in our own country. They strip the freedoms away a little at a time out of fear.

    I’d greet you properly but you don’t deserve it. Instead I’ll use vocabulary you can grasp. You’re a rude and an ass.

  47. Poolman, I think your quote about our soldiers in Vietnam was one Senator John Kerry made. He lied through exaggeration for political reasons.

    New Zealanders may have introduced the practice of cutting off the ears of dead combatants. Some soldiers made necklaces of them. I saw the dried ears.

    North Vietnamese soldiers sometimes wired babies with explosives and left them by the side of the road to destroy them and soldiers who stopped to pick them up. They put bombs on teenagers or children and made them enter military buildings.

    My brother said enemy solders preferred to be held by Americans rather than Koreans who they judged to be meaner.

    Our pilots were frustrated because they weren’t allowed to bomb hospitals and schools from where missiles were firing to shoot our air planes down.

    John McCaine and others are still physically impaired by the torture they endured. Our side did nasty things, but I think the enemy was worse.

  48. Poolman, I don’t know if it is public enemy number one, but the press does rank near the top.

  49. Posted by some ole broad
    “Why are we the self-appointed ‘Super Power’ and policeman of the world? Many of those military bases are huge, larger than some of the towns of the countries in which they are located. ”

    Why?
    So you can continue to live that lifestyle your accustomed to. You know, the one where you can blast the nation’s finest for doing what they do best.
    That is, Keeping your fat ass safe from some suicide bomber.

  50. Yes, no ones’ puppet, I agree with you. As we know, the victor is not always right either, though it says so. With no one surviving or strong enough to dispute, the victor becomes “right”. Most countries objectify their enemies to make them less human and easier to kill. Hatred is a good motivator, as you wrote.

    You illustrated the concept well. Your mother’s kindness to the lonely woman is especially touching. I’ll bet some of her values rubbed off on you.

    My influences included my parents teaching us we were all worthy of equal treatment. Then, one day our high school principal told us what had happened to her family during WW1. Their own friends and neighbors vandalized their home, threw yellow paint on their house and ostracized them because they were Germans.

    This woman and her family had long since regained their respected status when I knew her. It was such a shock and so different from my parents’ teachings that people and their descendants whom I knew and liked could be so ugly.

    I ran with a group of blacks on one base. Some called me a N lover, but it was sort of good natured,and I ignored it. What angered me was how my friends educated me on being black in the 1960′s. Our own country, the best in the world was doing awful things to its own citizens who’s only sin was to have black skin.

    My officers put me in harm’s way to catch some bad guys. They betrayed me and I nearly died. I also learned things about myself better left unexamined. It was the first time, I really hated myself.

    Then at my first grad school orientation party I said I was a Vietnam era veteran. Someone said “you don’t belong here you fascist. We’ll get rid of you!” They were judging me like my black friends on my membership in a group, not on my character. Unlike them, I could lie about my service. They couldn’t change their skin color.

    I was angry and hate- filled in those days. I hated the world and I hated anti- war protesters, though I didn’t show it. I decided to change it to a positive force. We grad students worked long hours to get good grades. I used my anger as a stimulant to give me the energy to work as hard as or harder than students younger than I. It worked.

    Thanks again for your stories. I think there is still hope for us, especially when I hear stories about people like your mother.

  51. Jean,
    I thought you would like this…
    Subject: 1945 – VJ Day in Hawaii…
    http://vimeo.com/5645171

    This is fabulous restored amateur footage from 1945 16mm………. you’re gonna love it.

  52. God bless your Moma NOP!! And you too for that matter! May He bless your socks off! XO to all!

    We miss you M & H…………

  53. How many times do we have to prove it? American press is public enemy number one. I am in full agreement here.

  54. Donna, I hope you resurface to share a smirk with me over the Supreme Court’s decision on Orly! Stop by the kitchen if you have time! (Just click on my name)

  55. You might conclude James, “might makes right” is only for the victor. History shows us over and over what humans are capable of inflicting on others, mostly, because we have been indoctrinated. If we weren’t taught to hate, wars would still happen, but there would be far fewer war crimes.
    I have three memories from very early childhood that somewhat demonstrate this concept. When I was perhaps four, I know I wasn’t in school yet, I said the N word, my father scooped me up and before I knew it, he was washing my mouth out with soap and saying, “his children would not speak like white trash.” I had to ask my sister in private later, what I said, she explained, some people call black people by that name, but that ignorant. My next question, “what is a black person?” “Like Louis Armstrong,” she said. Oh!
    About that same time period, this same sister, advised me before we entered a photography shop, that the man inside was a “good Jap not a bad one,” good to know I thought. For awhile after that I though, some people with thick glasses are not nice people. My sister was obviously influenced by the war propaganda, fortunately her bias didn’t stay with her for life. The other thing, that made a profound impression on me as a small child, was my mother dressing to the nines to visit a neighbor, a first generation German woman. My mother literally made sure all the other neighbors knew where she was walking when she went. As a matter of fact this woman was the only woman my mother ever visited for coffee, as my mother thought coffees were a waste of her valuable time. But mother knew how lonely this woman was and made an except, because none of the other women in the neighborhood would.

  56. My Korean born daughter in law still remembers accounts of what the Japanese did to her people years ago. Had our side lost, historians would have glorified the Japanese and Nazi’s deeds.

    Another bit of history concerns the Lakota Sioux. They like the Europeans were relatively new to the Great Plains. Like us, they were empire builders and they like us, were expanding their territory through conquest. The Black Hills became their sacred ground after they stole them from another tribe.

    My ancestors from Wales have an underground separatist movement. Northern Ireland fought to become independent of the British. The Basques also want to be independent of Spain. Kurds want their own independent country. They have about as much chance as Hawaiians do.

    Its not fair, but might makes right.

  57. Yeah, I’m sure our war conduct is so much more humane – NOT! It just depends on which side of the conflict you find yourself on. “[American soldiers] had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam. . .” And that was before we allowed torture…

    Just keep living the life of illusion…

  58. “Damn Americans – always wanting the readers’ digest version in this fast-food society. No wonder we don’t know our history. Attention spans are too short except when it comes to game time or pleasuring ourselves. Nothing ventured,…”

    No, I am just able to prioritize, and I understand the concept of “opportunity cost.” I can read 10 images in 25 minutes and you know what it costs to get your x-rays read, so A 25 minute video is not a priority…

    “It says we have illegally occupied and taken over the Island nation. ALL history and the documentation supports it.”

    I’m sure we did – just like we did mainland America. Just like the Romans did with Boadicea and the English did with my people at Culloden. Whether it is “legal” or not depends on whether you are the winner or the loser. If you won, it’s legal. If you lost, it is illegal. Easy.

    “There are native Hawaiians that have been working to get their nation back from the occupiers.”

    Waste of time. Like this thread, really.

    Yeah, talk to the Allied soldiers you know. I’m sure they are well aquainted with US propaganda and acts of imperialism. I’m sure they got the truth from their commanders like all soldiers do. Yeah, that’s the ticket….

    If it’s OK with you, I’ll talk to the ones the Japs didn’t behead, the women they didn’t rape and subsequently kill; I’ll confer with the POWS who survived because of surprise Allied raids, since the Japs had a policy of killing all POWs if it looked like they would fall into Allied hands. I think they may actually know some truths independently of their commanders, since – unlike you or I – THEY WERE THERE.

    Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll also confer with the Chinese mothers who watched Japanese soldiers toss their babies into the air and catch them on their bayonets.

    Yes, you’re right. We don’t know our history, do we?

  59. I agree with no ones’ puppet. Greed is a stronger impulse than empathy. I believe private enterprise which is based on greed is successful at creating wealth for that reason. Combine it with enforced empathy, and lives improve.

    Our founding fathers were aware of our nature. They created a government of checks and balances to short- circuit people’s natural inclinations. So far, it is the best system in the world.

    It has brought us closer to “a world where all of the people have something to eat…” Even our poor are richer than most people in the world. Maybe our relative wealth and freedom has prevented us from revolting against our government. I wish we could create a society no one’s puppet describes.

    I think we will soon reach the point where we can genetically engineer ourselves with different personal and physical traits than we now have. I hope we never do it.

    Using drones to fight our wars has obvious benefits, but I think drones might devalue the impact of war. The dead, especially enemy civilian non- combatants may become even more abstract to us than they are.

    The computerized warriors might let people take war less seriously than they do now. A country with drones might be more inclined to resort to violence than it would if an army of sons and daughters was at risk.

    The nuclear arms race prevented nuclear and some conventional wars because both sides were afraid a miss -step would end the world. I’m not so sure an arms race of drones would have the same result.

    I am an optimist and a realist.

    “Joy comes from freedom.” I know. My wife and I live on the farm we paid for, and our nearest neighbor lives two miles away. That is as close to real freedom as anyone can get without being homeless.

    I know about Eubie Blake. He played a song on the Today Show when he was about 100. Gene Shallet joked “don’t die on us.” His is an inspiring story.

    So is Eddie Sach’s, the “Clown Prince of Racing.” While Katy Perry grew up in a loving California home she was an unlikely pop star. As a Christian, she has a positive influence too.

    I learned in school “missionaries went to Hawaii to do good, and they did well.” Native Hawaiians would have done the same to us if they could have.

  60. Damn Americans – always wanting the readers’ digest version in this fast-food society. No wonder we don’t know our history. Attention spans are too short except when it comes to game time or pleasuring ourselves. Nothing ventured,…

    It says we have illegally occupied and taken over the Island nation. ALL history and the documentation supports it. There are native Hawaiians that have been working to get their nation back from the occupiers.

    Yeah, talk to the Allied soldiers you know. I’m sure they are well aquainted with US propaganda and acts of imperialism. I’m sure they got the truth from their commanders like all soldiers do. Yeah, that’s the ticket….

  61. Poolman -

    Can you summarize? I don’t have the time to watch a 25 minute strip.

    I suppose we could put it to a referendum as to whether Hawaiians would rather be an American state or under the Japanese. I’ll also pass on your comments to the few remaining Allied soldiers I know who fought in the Pacific and get back to you.

  62. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Are you a whining pessimist or a shining optimist?

    I invite you to Google the life of EUBIE BLAKE. He is the perfect example of the triumph of the human spirit over what for many people would be insurmountable obstacles.

    For every lousy, miserable story, I can give you ten about remarkable people who improved their own lives and had positive influences on others.

    iT IS ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  63. I think I would step this conversation back, if we are talking about evolution of man as in Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest, warfare is inevitable. It is about having the most, being the best, having the most descendants, etc. I don’t believe there is any evidence that human beings are necessarily becoming more altruist or compassionate. As long as leaders have power over others, or as in America’s case, a complaisant Congress that goes along with anything asked of them, and business moguls operate unregulated, you get what you get. Until enough people express the opinion that enough is enough or someone with greater influence takes over, there for I think greed is a stronger force in mankind’s nature than empathy.
    Now if we can create a world and an economy where all the people have something to eat, plenty of energy resources, and the means to assure the survival of all our descents, we can overcome our own innate nature.

  64. PFesser, I guess you are not up on the truth about the island nation. Not to worry, you are among the majority. I posted this some time ago before you were visiting this site and therefore I will repost for your benefit.

    Hawaii vs US Imperialism

    And then there is Kahoolawe…thar’s a whole nuther can ‘o’ worms… :wink:

  65. “humans have evolved to become more intelligent, more empathetic and cooperative as time goes by”

    Maybe so, but I personally haven’t seen any sign of it so far…Do you have some kind of independent confirmation for that, or is it just your personal belief?

    “The ego-centric nay-sayers are outnumbered by far.”

    I prefer the term “steely-eyed realist,” and as for being outnumbered, of course, truth is not determined by a vote.

    “Yes, there are pockets of violence and selfishness in every society.”

    I think in recorded history there has been ONE six-month period without a war somewhere. Perhaps “pockets of violence” is the wrong phrase. “Ubiquitous, unrelenting violence” comes immediately to mind.

    “But the decent, caring people who don’t make a lot of noise; that love each other, their children and their fellow man do and will prevail over the negative wanna-be headline grabbers.”

    That is, of course the problem, isn’t it? “Love,” passivity, and an unwillingness to fight early on sounds good, but unfortunately inevitably leads to a hell of a fight later. See Hitler, Adolph. Love didn’t do very well against steel tanks and bullets back then and it won’t now. And yes, we prevailed – (that is, those who fought – not those who prayed and loved. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition). You as a Hawaiian should be the most relieved of all; the Japanese treated their conquered subjects very poorly. See “Manchuria.”

    “Humankind IS capable of learning better ways to live on this planet, every day.”

    Well, not so far, but there is always tomorrow…

    “If you will, that is a God given gift. For those who can’t believe that, I am sorry they are missing out on so much joy in life.”

    Joy comes from freedom. There are those who enjoy it because they fought for it and those who enjoy it because the others did their fighting for them. I don’t think any in the first group would exchange places with a single member of the second, so I guess you could say it is *they* who have the ultimate joy.

    PFesser

  66. fan that Auntie Jean!

  67. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I believe that just as it is here on this blog, as well as around the country and around the world, humans have evolved to become more intelligent, more empathetic and cooperative as time goes by. The ego-centric nay-sayers are outnumbered by far.

    Yes, there are pockets of violence and selfishness in every society. But the decent, caring people who don’t make a lot of noise; that love each other, their children and their fellow man do and will prevail over the negative wanna-be headline grabbers.

    Humankind IS capable of learning better ways to live on this planet, every day. If you will, that is a God given gift. For those who can’t believe that, I am sorry they are missing out on so much joy in life.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste

    Auntie Jean

  68. Wonderin’ of everything is OK. Hopin’ it is. Your fan.

    H

  69. “Don’t trust the USA to be upfront and honest with” foreigners either. In the 1950′s Hungarians revolted against the Soviet Union, after we helped incite them with vague hints of help. Kurds and others revolted against Husein’s government after the Gulf War, again with encouragement from us, and once again, we left them hanging. We did the same to the South Vietnamese.

    No government of any country can be trusted. We will remain pawns until we spend as much time on changing our government as we do on our jobs, families and hobbies.

  70. When it comes to the war on terrorism and what started this latest “war,”compare this reprint of an enlightening interview in September 2001 with Hamid Gul and the recent accusations brought to light through Wikileaks and reported in Murdock’s Wall Street Journal (a true propaganda publication). It makes me question Wikileaks, as some others have, wondering whether they are a cointel tool of the CIA or truly what they claim. Either way, the end response should be – don’t trust the USA to be upfront and honest with its citizens. We are just the pawns in this game.

  71. “War isn’t going away” because it is inborn. Living things compete for resources, and as societies evolve, they work collectively to destroy or control their competitors. Wolves, chimps, and humans for example operate under the same biological directive.

    Our history is replete with theft and murder dressed up in wonderful patriotic and heroic words. Since people developed the technology and economies to wage large-scale wars we have competed to rule the world and take most of its resources as our own.

    For the past century, it has been our turn to dominate most of our competitors. It may not be controlling territory in the conventional sense, but the United States runs a world-wide empire. An empire is like a teacher at a school recess. The teacher has the power to control the playground as we control the world .

    China, Russia, Muslim jihadists, and others want to replace us. If the United States is gone, one or another will fill the vacume.

    The president of Columbia or Bolivia’s saying a US base on their soil would be fine if they could have one on Miami is good logic, but it won’t fly. Everything is about the United States and its power. They might be right, but they don’t have the power.

    We maintain bases across the world because it serves our interests, and that includes Iraq. In time, locals also benefit from our bases and our presence can become a type of foreign aid.

    As the professor wrote, wars are progressively killing fewer people. I think drone battles will become more influential than human to human fighting. The winners may be the most adept at video games.

  72. re: mechanized warfare

    Jean – your points are well-taken, but there is an alternative view that I find interesting.

    To the dead soldier and his – now her also – family, it is of little consequence how he was killed, whether through death ray from a drone or up_close_and_personal hand-to-hand with bayonets. What I believe IS important is how MANY are killed in a conflict and how much damage done, since wealth really is nothing but people’s labor made tangible.

    The “modern” – if that is an appropriate term – wars have actually resulted in fewer and fewer casualties. And before you say it, I mean fewer on *both* sides. One of the ways this happens is through overwhelming force with a rapid resolution of the conflict. No more getting gassed by the thousands in the trenches. Bombs can be guided down individual smokestacks, and while you made the excellent point about collateral damage, the fact is that, while the business of warfare is killing people, modern guided munitions minimize civilian deaths. (unless of course you are you-know-who and your *purpose* is to kill civilians.

    War isn’t going away. The question is how to give a war with the least total misery; maybe clone wars are actually the answer.

    Thoughts?

    Jim

  73. Speaking of US military bases on foreign soil, we saw the movie “South of the Border” a documentary by Oliver Stone. Lots of food for thought, but the one item that made me laugh out loud was the president of Bolivia or Columbia said the US could keep their military base there if he could put a military instillation in Miami.

    Wondering if anyone else has seen this and has any thoughts.

    Where oh where are you M&H??? I sincerely hope you’re alright!! You are sorely missed!

  74. Hi Congenial Gang, poolman, elsie09 and no one’s puppet,

    Thanks Bruddah poolman and Sistah elsie for the links. I sure don’t know how you two pull off that magic!!!

    I miss dear old Bruddah Peas too. No idea where he has gone, Just vanished. I wish he would show up again with his links to President Obama’s weekly address. That was nice to look forward to.

    Sistah no one’s puppet, not exactly a bubble of illusions here. Of course there will still be troops in Iraq, just as there are all over the world. A signing ceremony is nothing more than that – a ceremony. The nasty bitterness continues…..

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  75. Jean, I hate to burst your bubble, but not all of troops are leaving Iraq, some will remain, for how long, I don’t know. And I don’t think we can ever officially say the war is over, because there is no one to sign an armistice.

  76. Good work, poolman, finding the links for Jean.

    I must admit that I have missed a lot of the action here on the porch for the last several months.

    I see that Juneau Joe should be getting settled into Juneau right about now to begin teaching there again this fall. It will be great to hear his new adventures living in the Great North.

    I wonder what happened to Whirled Peas? The last entry from him that I found was in June. Do you have any idea?

  77. I don’t know why I found only a short “preview” on the “War of the Machines” story, yet the whole article showed up on that link.

    In the great scheme of things, it’s not really necessary that I have a full grasp of the InterTubes; I’ll accept that maybe Jean got what she wanted, and be satisfied with that.

  78. Jean, here are Internet links to those articles you mentioned in “Scientific American”.

    I think this article, “Terminate the Terminators” is given in its entirety:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=terminate-the-terminators

    However, this one, “War of the Machines”, is only partially available as a preview at
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=war-of-the-machines; the rest can be accessed by subscribing to the magazine or buying the issue online.

    Or, for most towns, there remains one more rather old-fashioned option, that of going to the public library and finding the published magazine in the archives there!

  79. Here are the articles, Auntie Jean:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=terminate-the-terminators

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=war-of-the-machines

    Killing is something we do well and it is big business. Jobs. The capitalist’s mantra.

  80. Hi Congenial Gang, poolman and Elsie,

    Looks like there is nobody filling up cyberspace here today but me. Oh, well……

    I heard on CNN that President Obama is keeping his campaign promise to pull troops out of Iraq and that soon the war there will FINALLY be over. I wish we could say the same about WWII, the Korean ‘Conflict’ and Vietnam. Rhetorical questions. Why do we still have some 737 military bases in 30 countries with more than a half million troops stationed all over the world? Why are we the self-appointed ‘Super Power’ and policeman of the world? Many of those military bases are huge, larger than some of the towns of the countries in which they are located.

    The bases are quite permanent with fixed buildings, all the comforts of home and plenty of amenities for the troops that their host countries do not have. I’m not suggesting that the troops should be living in tents. Not at all!!! But for instance in Wiesbaden, Germany, there is not an awful lot of shootin’ war going on there. Are golf courses, Pizza Hut and McDonalds really appropriate images to project of our American military? Often the bases and troops are deeply resented by the local people. Don’t we have enough problems right here within our own country needing the resources and attention that this military might is hogging?

    Secretary Gates announced that the DOD is eliminating a command and cutting a large amount of money from its budget. Well, that’s a start in the right direction. But there’s a catch.

    I’ve been reading again. Uh-oh! This is preliminary and I intend to research other sources for more information though. Military Robotics, otherwise known as remote warfare, drones and such are changing the enduring traditions of waging war for the past 5,000 years and the U.S. is leading the way – but not in a very humane direction.

    Up until 2003 in Kuwait the military considered robotics to be unbecoming of the warrior culture. The general public however has rightly become appalled at the number of American casualties on the battlefield, while the civilian casualties of the ‘enemy’ are played down. They are ALL HUMAN BEINGS, folks!

    More and more now, soldiers go ‘to war’ from a base in the U.S., sit in front of a computer all day and ‘do battle’ with the ‘enemy’ 10,000 miles away. Then they get in their cars, and drive home. As one Air Force officer put it: “Within 20 minutes they are sitting at the dinner table talking to their kids.” Just another day at the office. ‘The most dangerous part of their day is not on the battlefield but the commute home!’

    Even more chilling is how easy it is getting to be to recruit teenagers who are already adroit at playing computer games. “Wow! This is fun!!!!” They get to play computer games all day and get paid for it! What they don’t seem to realize is that they are raining death and destruction down on LIVING PEOPLE. And don’t try to sell ME on ‘precision targeting’. C’mon. I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. There are always such things as ‘human errors’ and/or ‘mechanical errors’. (Do BP and the Gulf Oil Spill ring any bells?)

    Bruddah poolman or Sistah Elsie, for openers, could you please track down these articles for me and put up links? It is “The Scientific American Magazine”, July 2010 issue. On page 30 is a short article entitled “Terminate the Terminators” and on page 56, “War of the Machines”. The latter is a more detailed article with numbers and descriptions that to me are cold-blooded to the point of being diabolical. I have just never understood why we have to devise newer and more efficient ways to kill people in order to make a point of some kind.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  81. Hi friends, just checking in, worrying over our fine ladies. Hope everything is ok, hugs and good vibes to all!

  82. Alaskapi:

    Please accept my belated condolences on the death of your cousin Terry. I have been reading accounts of interviews with him and, in aviation, a career field that has a host of interesting personalities, he was truly exceptional. The high profile nature of the accident will lead to an exhaustive search for the cause but in the end, unless there is some explicit information furnished by survivors or compelling evidence of a catastrophic mechanical failure, the Feds will publicly ascribe the accident to Pilot Error. I’m sure that coming from a heavily aviation centered family like yours, that will cause much anguish but will not be a complete surprise.

    For many years aviation was a continuing side interest of mine and, as a result, I’ve read enough aircraft accident reports to understand that there is never a single cause. More often it can be a chain of unrelated small incidents that accumulate in a way that can overwhelm even the most meticulous aviator. After all, in a car when things get out of control the driver can park on the side of the road until things get sorted out. Aviators do not have that luxury and sometimes have to rely entirely on their wits and past experiences to help them although, in some cases, that may not be enough.

    The irony, of course, is that Terry was the quintessential aviation safety expert and as such had a totally positive though immeasurable impact on Alaskan aviation. Once again, please accept my sincere condolences.

  83. alaskapi, my sincere condolences on the death of your cousin. Keeping you in my thoughts & prayers.

  84. Hi Congenial Gang,

    As we wait for Margaret and Helen to return…….

    Here’s my little story about our CA family’s visit. OK, I’ll fess up. I am a mighty proud Old Grandma. Among the many other things we did together except send them off to the beach, sightseeing and eat, was talk about everything we were all interested in.

    This is a two-fold story, starting in 1948 up to 2010. Back in the pre-historic times when I was a freshman in college, I was a Music Major. The final exam in my Theory and Harmony class was to write an original composition of our choosing. I went to the library and found a poem I liked and set it to music for a lyric soprano with piano accompaniment. It’s a love song. The poem, “Es Stehen Unbeweglich” was written by the well-known German poet, Justinius Kerner. (Google him.) These are the English translation lyrics:

    “For many thousand ages, the steadfast stars above,
    Have gazed upon each other, with ever-mournful love.

    They speak a certain language, so beautiful, so grand,
    Which none of the philologians could ever, understand.

    But I have learned it, learned it; forever by the grace,
    Of studying from one grammar, my heart’s own darling’s face.”

    Naturally, at that age and with other exams to study for, I left it to the last minute. The school was a small womens’ college, with an exceedingly high academic standard and a superb music department. It was also very strict. We had lights out at 10:00PM and ‘Bed Check’, TWICE, by the dorm counselor with a flashlight looking in to see if each of us was tucked in, sound asleep. Our virginity was in jeopardy you know. (Yeah. Like any of us on the third floor suites were gonna tie sheets together and shimmy out a third floor window?) All of us caught on quickly that we could wait until after the second ‘Bed Check’, get up, sit cross-legged on the floor of the closet with a flashlight and do our studying. Shut up in the closet, I scribbled down the music for the exam. The next day I carefully and neatly copied it, by hand of course, and handed it in just under the wire.

    To my surprise, the college wanted a copy of it for its archives. In the rush of other exams and to pack to go home, I didn’t get around to copying it. No copy machines in those pre-historic days. I sort of tucked it into my memorabilia box and forgot about it over the years. I have only heard it sung once by a lyric soprano friend a very long time ago. I can play the accompaniment on the piano, but the range is much too high for my voice.

    Anyway, one thing led to another when our CA family was here and I dug it out. Our grandson is 6’2” and has a fine deep and rich baritone even though he is only 15-going-on-16 years old. I transposed it into his fach and he learned it. It was lovely talking and making music together.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  85. I am missing Margaret and Helen too and am hoping all is well. Family, please let us know!

  86. Does anyone know what happened to Margaret and Helen???

  87. On the same day of the crash, four bikers were on their way home from the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD. The oldest was 62, the same age as the pilot.

    A young man miscalculated, lost control of his car, and plowed into the bikers on the interstate near our house.

    One friend said one small bit of comfort was at least the four men died doing something they loved. I guess that applies to victims of the air plane crash too.

  88. Alaskapi, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept my sincere condolences to you and your family.
    My brother was a pilot who fought fires; it was a very dangerous job on any given day. But it was his passion to fly, it made him happy to be doing an important job, and that’s all that matters.
    Please know in your heart that your cousin’s skill and experience is the reason there were survivors, and take comfort in knowing how well loved and respected he was.

  89. Alaskapi, My condolences to Mr. Smith’s family as well as all the relatives and firends. Best wishes to all the families touched by this awful trajedy.

  90. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson said on KFAB this morning that Ted Stevens was the first senator to be nice to him when he first took on his job. He said though they belonged to different parties, they often worked together.

    The two were friends and Nelson often went to Alaska to go fishing with Stevens and his son.

    The denverpost.com has a story about the crash.

    My condolences too.

  91. Hi Congenial Gang and alaskapi,

    Sistah alaskapi, I left you a brief note of condolence in the kitchen right after I heard about the death of your cousin in the plane crash. He must have been a fine and brave man who will be sorely missed by not only his loved ones, but by the people of Alaska.

    I hope you will take courage and comfort from knowing that.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  92. Hi Congenial Gang and Elsie on August 11, 2010 at 7:38AM,

    Thank you Sistah Elsie for bringing up the Donna Brazile link for me. I really admire those of you who can navigate your way around the internet so well.

    We had the BEST time with our CA family. But all great things must come to an end. I have a poignant story to share with all of you later. Today we are off to the Big Cities, getting back into our regular routine. Dental appintment, etc. Sigh.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  93. I think maybe alaskapi is at work right now, and when I sat back down here, and saw your comments, pfessor, I thought I’d jump in for the moment.

    From what I’ve learned about this pilot, who was alaskapi’s cousin, flying was not only his career, but his avocation, as well.

    Did you see what was written about him?

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/news/6322-pilot-reported-dead-in-gci-plane-crashhttp://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/news/6322-pilot-reported-dead-in-gci-plane-crash

    (snips)
    Smith had a long career in Alaska aviation, including a post as Alaska Airline’s chief pilot in the state.

    “He was extremely revered,” said Jim Bridwell, a colleague and close friend of Smith’s. “He was well-liked; a pilot’s pilot.”

    Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan sent the following statement on behalf of the company, which employed Smith for nearly three decades:

    “Terry Smith had many close friends and colleagues at Alaska Airlines who will miss him dearly, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to Terry’s family and loved ones. Captain Terry Smith retired from Alaska Airlines in 2007 after a 28-year career during which he served as chief pilot of our Anchorage base. Smith also flew as captain on two historic flights across the Bering Sea in the late 1980s that laid the groundwork for Alaska Airlines to offer the first U.S.-scheduled service to the Russian Far East in 1991. The Boeing 737-200 used on those flights bears Smith’s name and is now on exhibit at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage.

    Rogoff described Smith as the “most skillful aviator imaginable.”

    “The fact there were four survivors is testament to his skills,” she added. “He would have maneuvered that plane like no other mere pilot to save lives.”

    Rogoff said Smith was “totally cautious” when it came to flying in inclement weather.

    “There was no weather he hadn’t experienced, so (he) would not have been flummoxed by it,” she said. Smith was flying the GCI plane this week “just as a friend,” Rogoff said; Smith’s wife, Terri, thought the trip would be a “healthy diversion” after the death of the Smiths’ son-in-law.

    …Smith’s death is especially devastating because Smith’s son-in-law, Aaron Malone, was killed less than two weeks ago in a C-17 crash at Elmendorf Air Force Base. According to his obituary, Malone met Melanie Smith, Terry Smith’s daughter, while taking classes at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The July 28 crash killed three other airmen.

  94. pfesser-
    We wouldn’t be a state without flight. We have almost no roads and the Alaska Railway ( which one of my granpas helped build- he was a powder monkey and blacksmith ) only runs a relatively short way. Water and air tie us together across most of the state.
    So- the why-do-they-fly question folks ask is silly. it’s a necessity here.
    That being said, aviation safety is an ever present concern and issue.
    My cousin’s father was a legend here for training Fish and Wildlife pilots to fly without mishap… And a bush pilot of some reknown himself.
    He and my cousin were interviewed a number of times- this is one of my favorites.

    http://www.fws.gov/digitalmedia/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/natdiglib&CISOPTR=9393&filename=9394.pdf#search=%22Beavers%22

    I’m not sure about your last question. Until we know more about the causes of the accident I cannot say any of the family feels comfortable saying he died doing what he loved…
    If for one instant he knew someone else was likely to die because of his flying it would have broken his heart… so much of his life was spent making sure people got places safely.

  95. Alaskapi -

    Sorry, man – really bad deal. Sympathy for your family.

    Back in WV, we always get “Why do they work in the mines if they’re so dangerous?” and things of that sort, or “They are so brave going underground to supply us with electricity.”

    It’s none of that. It’s a job, one of the few available back there, and there is risk with it. Nobody feels special; mining is just what they do so they can make a living for their families. Nobody feels any different from anybody living anywhere else.

    I also hear things like, “Well, if flying in Alaska is so dangerous, why do they do it?”

    It would seem to me it’s just like mining coal. Yep, it can be risky, but so can driving cab in NYC. They do it because that is how you get around up there. It’s how you make a living. You get very good at it, but like good coal miners, sometimes you get killed, too. That’s just how it is, so you can provide for yourself and your family. And if you have to go, (usually) it ain’t a bad way to go, either.

    Thoughts?

  96. pfesser-
    The pilot was my cousin.
    The plane was converted to turbine.
    We are waiting to hear if he made a mistake or if, as he had done so many other times, managed to bring it down survivably.
    This is a hard time.
    His son in law was killed in the C17 crash 2 weeks ago.
    I come from a huge family- we are going to be ok but it is awful right now.
    Ted Stevens made me so mad sometimes I could scream but he did more for rural Alaska than anyone I can think of as well as Alaskan avaition. Goodbye Mr Chairman and thank you…

  97. Title: Jon Stewart Calls Out Those Blindly Opposed to Ground Zero Mosque
    Link: http://tv.gawker.com/5609824/jon-stewart-calls-out-those-blindly-opposed-to-ground-zero-mosque

  98. I noticed Senator Stevens’ airplane was listed as a DeHavilland Otter, with a /T designation. I wonder if it had the turbine conversion. The P/W PT-6 they put on these airplanes changes them into different beasts. The old 600 horsepower radial was too weak; the 1000 HP radial really decent, but the turbine made a remarkable airplane a real champ. I wonder what happened. The usual up there is scud-running. Since very few of the airports are lighted, there is no way to put in a decent instrument approach and folks just try to avoid weather and stay in contact with the ground. They say the risk there is worth the beauty. I hope to see for myself someday…

    Alaskapi, got any info on that?

  99. Lori, your words will have personal meaning for at least a couple of Helen’s readers here. I know they are mourning the loss of their incredible cousin, Terry Smith, the pilot of the Stevens’ plane. My condolences to them this sad day.

    You might be interested in reading about Terry’s accomplishments and his life at http://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/news/6322-pilot-reported-dead-in-gci-plane-crashhttp://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/news/6322-pilot-reported-dead-in-gci-plane-crash

  100. Thanks Poolman. I signed the petition.

    no one’s puppet, maybe I should be listening to Glenn Beck more often. He is entertaining, but if I believed everything he said, I’d have a bomb shelter filled with gold and a year’s supply of food. He also doesn’t represent the Republican party. If he did, I think I would move to Brandon, Manitoba.

    The left does use the race card. I cited examples earlier. Politico, I think quoted Mary Francis Berry, University of Pennsylvania professor of American social thought and history, who said the Tea Party was no more or less racist than any other comparable group, but it was good Democratic strategy to accuse them of racism because it put them on the defensive and forced them to use energy defending themselves.

    A blogger has a $100,000 reward for anyone with audio or video of a bonafied Tea Party member uttering the N word etc. So far, no one has claimed the reward. The Drudge Report linked to a couple of stories of leftists advocating planting false racists in the Tea Party demonstrations.

    Pfessor, thanks for the link. It looks like a good site. One thing about the rear flank down draft is it can sometimes act like a cold front and create a line of smaller thunderstorms extending from the main cell.

    Sometimes, heavy rain and hail will hide the tornado lurking behind. If you’ve just had a hail storm and it becomes quiet, don’t assume you are in the clear. The rain is part of the down draft, and the tornado is located in a usually rain free updraft. Storm chasers at a Lincoln, Nebraska weather seminar showed tape of low visibility and hail when a dark shadow appeared to their right. They stepped on the gas and narrowly escaped a tornado. Debris hit their car as it was.

    I reported a tornado, near our home, and the weather service people told me to take cover immediately. I guessed it would fade because rain was beginning to fall around it, so I went back out. I was right, the funnel was becoming ragged and indistinct. . Then, I was suddenly wrong.

    I heard a noise and looked into a new funnel overhead. A light west wind shifted to strong east and then north for about thirty seconds before it became light westerly again. I ran as fast as I could, cursing my foolishness, but I did get to see what most people don’t–the inside of a tornado.

    Weatherwise Magazine mentioned the first nameless person to report rotation from the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado which killed four boy scouts and injured many more in June, 2008. I was that nameless person because an Omaha meteorologist said on his warning statement, “Radar shows the area of rotation is headed straight toward weather watcher Jim—– farm.” That prompted me to drive a half mile west to see what was going on.

    At the weather seminar, I cited him as a weather caster who’s work has saved lives. That storm was especially dangerous because it was wrapped in rain. It caused $8,000 in damage to our farm, and we had no electricity for almost thirty hours.

    Yes, things change fast. Thanks to my experiences in the Air Force, I will never fly in a private plane again.

    I wish more people were interested in the weather. It is more fun than politics.

  101. I echo our President’s sentiments.

    A decorated World War II veteran, Senator Ted Stevens devoted his career to serving the people of Alaska and fighting for our men and women in uniform. Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Stevens family and to the families of those who perished alongside Senator Stevens in this terrible accident.

  102. Jean, I found this link for you:

    http://blog.cagle.com/author/donna-brazile/

    Sometimes links like that are archived after a while and thus become difficult to access later. Registration may be required to view them later. My hope is that this link will continue to be available to you as often and as much as you want it to be.

    It’s hard to say good-bye to loved ones, isn’t it? The saving grace for all that, though, is remembering the wonderful visit with them, the blessing of sharing your home, and your state, reveling in the joyous, happy moments you had, and hopefully reviewing, at your leisure, plenty of photos of the happy times with them.

  103. This just in -

    Muslims to build giant clock in Mecca and want the rest of the world to synch to it. (Hmmm….that should really make the world’s GPS units work better…)

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/11/giant-mecca-clock-seeks-to-call-time-on-greenwich/

    I can see it now – a sign on every road into town:

    WELCOME TO MECCA – PLEASE SET YOUR WATCH BACK 500 YEARS

    Jim

  104. James -

    As a flyer I am of course very interested in your passion – weather. Many times one can blunder into significant weather not seen by onboard radar or ATC radar, since each only sees precip.

    Here is a NOAA site I like pretty well.

    http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/primer/tornado/tor_detecting.html

    I find thunderstorms fascinating, but a lot more complex than I thought. I’ve been studying the site quite a bit. What are your thoughts? You think it’s decent?

    Jim

  105. sorry – forgot my sig line:

    no mas, te
    (that’s Spanish)

  106. no one’s pup -

    ” You are shouting in the wind, why shouldn’t someone build a gay bar next door, on both sides, across the street, or five blocks in any direction from the proposed mosque?”

    Precisely.

    “Or you could build one or many anywhere else, its a free country!”

    Once true, now debatable. Between GWB’s fascism and Obama’s socialism, it could be argued that there isn’t much freedom left, I’m afraid.

    “Geez you are just being dense now.”

    Perhaps it is not I who am being dense. If you are going to slap and run, at least take the time to read and respond appropriately. Having to explain sarcasm and irony is embarrassing for everyone, but what the hell. I’ll take it real slow and make it easy for you.

    I_think_the_gay_bar_ is_a_good_idea. Got it? I can’t make it any simpler. I find bigotry most objectionable, whether in public or in a simple forum such as this one, and the idea of surrounding the monument to murder with gay bars has a certain symmetry to it.

    Do I need to explain the concept of rhetorical symmetry, too? If so, just let me know. No charge.

    Jim

  107. Hi Congenial Gang, Poolman or anybody,

    In this morning’s local paper, there was a really fine article by Donna Brazile entitled, “Lessons From the Oil Spill”. I have always liked her. I think she is a clear thinker who stays right on top of current events. Bruddah Poolman, do you suppose you or someone more computer-savvy than I could track it down for me and put up a link to it?

    Our CA family has gone home. Thud! We miss them terribly, already. We love them so. I kept a stiff upper lip through their whole departure procedure, but if you will please excuse me now, I think I’ll go weep for a while…….

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  108. You are shouting in the wind, why shouldn’t someone build a gay bar next door, on both sides, across the street, or five blocks in any direction from the proposed mosque? Or you could build one or many anywhere else, its a free country! Geez you are just being dense now.

  109. HRH Sofia -

    Actually, there is a certain, um, symmetry in the gay bar idea. Brilliant, actually. The folks who want the mosque feel that it is important for tolerance and good will to prevail; that we should not become intolerant or impatient just because radical muslims slaughtered 3000 innocent Americans; no, that would make us as bad as the terrorists, wouldn’t it? And after all, the Constitution guarantees certain rights – even to people we don’t like. That’s its beauty.

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think we should allow intolerance or bigotry to keep us from building a gay bar – or many gay bars – surrounding the proposed mosque. After all, they shouldn’t become intolerant or impatient that these fellas are taking it up the rectum nightly; they should love and respect them as allah would wish. And we should help the imams and their sheep – er, flock – in their journey of enlightenment by surrounding them with manly – and I mean MANLY – love, so they too can learn tolerance and beauty.

    Great plan! I’m in! Where’s my checkbook?

    Jim

  110. Hi Congenial Gang and no one’s puppet on August 10, 2010 at 12:09PM,

    You know me, Sistah no one’s puppet. I don’t like to strope or cast aspersions on anyone by naming names. But I can’t help but wonder if that big ole hunk of a self-styled he-man, at his chronological age isn’t going through his refills of Viagra faster than he can find new doctors to writing him more script. It’s a common enough occurance with his type.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  111. Actually, there’s probably already a gay bar there. I remember I went to a birthday party down near there, held at a restaurant/club where all the wait people were transvestites. The City attracts a wide variety of people with many different interests. That’s the part I love about it. DIVERSITY!

  112. I wonder if he’s taking donations?

    I’m in!

  113. It’s a free country, so what!

  114. This just in -

    Plans to build a gay bar adjacent to NYC’s ground zero mosque.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/10/greg-gutfeld-im-opening-g_n_676699.html

    “in the spirit of outreach” and in an “effort to break down barriers”

    Jim

  115. Seems you had more sense when you were younger, forgot your roots too, just a frat boy want-to-be.

  116. no one’s puppet -

    frat boy. LOL.

    I was too poor to be a frat boy; besides, the war was on and the frats on campus represented “the Establishment” to us. We loathed them.

    Not exactly a freak, though – the drugs other than pot scared hell out of me – I guess more a lost kid from up_the_holler, with $5/week to spend, a VW bug that stayed broken down most of the time, and a vague feeling that he wanted to be a “mining engineer” because the people in my mining town where I grew up felt that was as high as a local boy could go. I spent the summer days working in the mines; evenings and weekends riding my dirt bike through the mountains, trying to have as much sex as possible with the local girls, who thought a “college man” was Something Else. LOL. Such a sad, narrow life back there…

    It’s interesting to look back on those days. frat boy? not really. Just a good kid, trying to find his way…

    Jim

  117. Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia and Minnesota go to the polls today! If you live in those states please don’t forget to vote!

  118. Hi Congenial Gang and Greytdog,

    Have a wonderful, wonderful time in Germany!!! I envy you. So many great plaes to go and things to see. Be sure to tell us all about it when you get back.

    BTW, where is Captiva, BFD?

    Bon Voyage!!!!!

    Aloha! :-) Namaste

    Auntie Jean

  119. Frat boy!

  120. Depends upon whether the victim is willing or it’s really force.

    In my house, it’s called bondage and discipline, but I don’t think they were playing that game. More like bondage, bong-age and —— now what was I talking about? Oh, wow…I’m starving, man…Want some Breyer’s vanilla and M&M’s?

    Now where were we? Oh yeah, if you don’t stop, I’m goin’ to call the law.

    Laaaaaaawwwwww……..

    You goin’ to eat that piece of pizza, man? Yeah, I’ll take it…got any beer?

    Now where was I?

  121. Excuse me pfesser, would that be false imprisonment or kidnapping?

  122. Sorry – got too excited there.

    Rand, not Ron

  123. This just in: Ron Paul, when in college, got stoned and along with his buddy, blindfolded and kidnapped a coed, took her to his apartment and MADE HER TAKE BONG HITS!

    http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-q/2010/08/gq-exclusive-rand-pauls-crazy-college-days-hint-theres-a-secret-society-involved.html

    I knew I was going to vote for that sonofabitch…now I’m going to have to contribute to his campaign, too…

    How come I never had that much fun in college? Dammit!

    Jim

  124. What’s with this latest rant from G. Beck comparing the Obama Administration to The Planet of Apes, is he running for Grand Wizard? You are so wrong James, the left isn’t playing the race card, wake up and smell the coffee.

  125. James, try this link to Al Franken. He has a petition also: http://www.alfranken.com/index.php/splash/netneutrality

  126. I tried to get the link to colorofchange.org and left the computer to do other work while waiting. Three hours later, our computer still will not link. If I can’t sign that petition now, I will do some research and make some phone calls etc. It looks like a bad deal.

  127. OK – you caught it. Good

  128. ty Jim, I appreciate the heads up.

  129. That’s all right Greytdog. I wonder what is going on too.

    Yes, the right can also be crude , but the left is using race more often. By some strategists’ own admission, they are concentrating on the Tea Partys because they represent a threat. Maybe it is not as bad as I feel. I just have a strong reaction to race baiting.

    To be fair, some rightists’ obscesion with Obama’s birth certificate, and his numerous golf games is also silly. The Gulf oil spill was not Obama’s finest time. He dithered at first, but some people are unfairly blaming him for too much. I can’t think of anything specific, but I remember hearing some talk show hosts criticize Obama unfairly. One thing I hate is when Rush says Obama wants the economy to fail. That is an awful thing to say. I think Obama is constrained by his leftist economic theories which aren’t working, and he is doing his best.

    Obama is not a centrist. He, as Lori told Jean, he ran as more conservative than Clinton and Edwards, but he was lying.

    Look at his and the Democratic record. They do not have a centrist agenda. Please review the conversation Rae and I had about it.

    You and I probably have different definitions of Liberal, Conservative, and Centrist. We would need to define our terms and agree on them before we could really discuss them.

    I am left of Obama in one respect. I support gay marriage.

    I agree the golden age of American exceptionalism, is over, but we are not yet just an ordinary country. We may become one, but not yet.

    A mutation near the Black See created blue eyes 8 to 10 thousand years ago. Global warming melted enough ice water from the Mediteranian created the Black Sea. People fled in all directions and took flood myths with them. The mass migration may have helped seed the world with blue eyes. If you have blue eyes, we are distant cousins.

    We have storm damage to clean up. I saw and reported a wall cloud last night.

  130. Lori –

    Email me immediately at pfesser53@gmail.com. This is not a joke.

    Jim

  131. HRH I received this e-mail this morning thought you and others might be interested.

    If you value the free, fair, and open Internet, then you need to act now, before two corporate giants deal it away.

    Last Thursday, several news outlets reported that Google and Verizon are about to cut a deal that would allow giant corporations to control which websites load slowly, quickly, or not at all.1,2,3 Google used to oppose this kind of corporate control over the Internet, but now it looks like they might be changing their tune. Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” but it looks like their pursuit of profit might be getting in the way of living up to that ideal.4

    Thankfully, it’s not a done deal yet — and with enough pressure, we can stop them from acting. That’s why we’re joining our friends at CREDO, MoveOn, and Free Press to demand that Google back off this corporate takeover of the Internet. Will you add your voice, and then ask your friends and family to do the same?

    http://www.colorofchange.org/google/?id=1965-972540

    The basic promise of the Internet lies in the guarantee that information you put online is treated the same as anyone else’s information in terms of its basic ability to travel across the Internet. Your own personal website or blog can compete on equal footing with the biggest companies. It’s the reason the Internet is so diverse — and so powerful. Anyone with a good idea can find their audience online, whether or not there’s money to promote the idea or money to be made from it.

    This is critical for Black communities and others that have had our voices compromised by corporate-controlled media. For the first time in history we can communicate with a broad audience, educate, politically organize, and create new businesses — without prohibitive costs or mediation by gatekeepers in government or industry. It’s the strength of your ideas, not the size of your budget, that largely determines your success. In television, radio, and print this can’t happen because access is determined by big media corporations seeking to turn a profit.

    This deal could take the Internet in a different direction. It could end the Internet’s level playing field by allowing rich corporations like Google to pay for faster-loading websites and services. It could destroy the potential for independent voices to compete with giant corporations for an audience — big corporations who can pay for preferential access to Internet users would drown out the smaller voices online. And it could mean that you’ll start getting less Internet service at a higher cost.

    We expect the big telecommunications companies to try to stifle freedom and equality on the Internet — they’ve hired an army of lobbyists to do just that. But Google has always said it supports a free and open Internet. Google likes to portray itself as a corporation with principles that go beyond profit, and it would be disappointing to see Google abandon them.

    Google has tried to downplay this story. They issued a short, carefully worded statement that says they’re still committed to an open Internet, but they haven’t denied that they are in talks with Verizon to cut a deal that would give corporations more control over Internet traffic.5

    By speaking out, you can pressure Google to walk away from this deal. But time is running out — please sign our petition to Google today.

  132. HRH sofia

    I don’t have much information on the net neutrality issue, but I have to say I really enjoy the idea that my traffic gets the same treatment as some big guy’s. Kind of like the post office.

    That flies a little in the face of pure capitalism, but I have never been a fan of completely unregulated industry. The Internet, after all, was government-invented and maintained for a long time, and still so to a great extent.

    So I have to plead about 20 percent net neutrality and a 80 percent ignorance.

    Jim

  133. so what do you all think about the “net neutrality” issue then? Do you think Verizon and those other companies should be allowed to align themselves in agreements which allow them to send you advertising and other chosen content more quickly than you can send the information that truly matters to YOU?

  134. Jean -

    I just finished (for the third time?) a Learning Company tape set on classical mythology, and one of the last things I studied was King Minos and the Minotaur. Very cool.

    I hope to get to Greece one day; ’tis not to be right now; too many irons in the fire. My wife has been wanting me to look into moving to Italy and reading X-rays over the wire; she has a small publishing business that she could easily run from overseas also. The Internet has been a real godsend; some “futurist” several years ago predicted it would eventually be judged second in importance only to the printed word. I was sceptical, but now I think maybe he was right. god what a great time to be alive!

    Jim

  135. Auntie Jean, that goes along with a lot of the stuff I have been reading. Also the earthquake and volcano activity has been thought due to the passing of the tenth planet aka Nibiru close to the earth every 3600 years. That also coincides with the history of a great flood. I have found this site regarding Earth history interesting. The author started from a strict Calvinist upbringing and rejected the ideology and has since sought truth from all sources. There is a lot of information here and the site is fairly easy to navigate, although I found some misspellings – one of my pet peeves when I seek accurate data from any “source.”

  136. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I am fascinated by the history of Crete (Kriti), especially since our visit there in the fall of 2206. The island is in the Southern Mediterranean. The renowned artist ‘El Greco’ was born on Crete.

    The Mediterranean has been rife with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions since time immemorial. (Etna, et al.) On the tiny island of Thera, about ninety miles north of Crete, there was one of the most horrendous eruptions of any recorded volcano, the Santorini Volcano in approximately 1459 BC. There is a fascinating scientific THEORY floating around regarding this natural phenomenon. The effects of the eruption of such gargantuan proportions would have been widespread throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. Also, earthquakes often accompany volcanic activity, causing gigantic tsunamis.

    There was a more recent eruption of a volcano in Africa. It caused a large distant lake to turn red because of underground activity prior to the eruption that released vast amounts of iron into the water. The iron oxidized, making the lake appear blood red. Of course, deprived of oxygen, the marine life died, polluting the lake with bacteria. But the frogs, being amphibians, jumped out. Naturally, the cattle drank the contaminated lake water, sickened from various diseases and many died. Lots of dead marine life washed ashore and bovine life lying around attracted scavengers, flies and “siniphs”, small biting insects similar to gnats. These insects attacked the remaining cattle and infected them first with the diseases. Next they began to attack humans, causing boils and “blains”, (large inflammatory swelling and sore blisters.) Many of the sickened animals were unwittingly eaten by humans. You guessed it. The humans sickened and some, but not all died.

    A spectacular eruption of the size of Santorini would certainly have disrupted prevailing weather patterns, probably causing storms of thunder and lightning and possibly hail. Also concurrent could have been the fall out from the eruption of fire and ash from the volcano to darken the skies for extended periods of time. (Similar to descriptions of the well-known ‘Nuclear Winter’.

    The Santorini Eruption wreaked havoc with the Minoan Civilization, which, on Crete, was geographically not too far from Egypt. The Minoan and Egyptian Civilizations were contemporaries.

    See where I am going with this? The sequence of events coincides with the Plagues visited on the Egyptians at the time Moses was trying to get the Pharaoh to free the Jewish people from slavery. The Bible, (The Book of Exodus) is singularly lacking in dates and details!!! You can find the biblical accounts of these events in the Book of Exodus, Chapters 7-14 in both the Douay and the St. James Versions. Nevertheless, there is a continuous record of the Jewish people in the Old Testament. The same cannot be said of untold other peoples who were either assimilated into other cultures, became extinct through natural disasters of one kind or another, or simply became extinct through unknown reasons or were exterminated by man. Examples you can Google are: the Hepthalites of Central Asia into Southeastern Europe as well as any number of North and South American Native American tribes. Nothing was ever heard of them again.

    The sequence of Biblical Plagues are as follows:

    1. Moses asked God to turn the Nile River to Blood. (Iron oxidation?)
    2. Second Plague, frogs.
    3. Third Plague, ”Sciniphs”.
    4. Fourth Plague, Flies.
    5. Fifth Plague, ‘Murrien’ among the Cattle. (Murien Typhus?)
    6. Boils in Man and Beast.
    7. Lightening and Thunder. (Disruption in weather patterns from Santorini?)
    8. Locusts.
    9. Darkness, (Fallout from Santorini?)
    10. Threat and death of first-born children. (Infection from “Sciniphs”, flies, or eating diseased cattle?)

    That was the beginning of the Feast of the Passover followed by the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.

    Moses asked God to part the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross. (Typically, a tsunami draws the water OUT before it comes rushing back in. We get tsunamis from as far away as Japan and Southeast Asia, Alaska and South America.) A tsunami from tributaries of the Gulf of Suez into the Red Sea could have pulled the water out long enough for the Israelites to get across and then closed again, drowning the Egyptians.

    Of course, this is not to say that God did not cause the Santorini Volcano to erupt in the first place, causing a domino chain of events that certainly worked in Moses favor! Who knows? God does work in strange and mysterious ways. Which version do I personally believe? I am an affirmed Casuist. I simply do not know.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  137. hey james et al, sorry for the crankiness. I am worried about M&H – I would hope that Matthew would let us know if the ladies or anyone in their families were in poor health, thus necessitating their absence from what is essentially a non-essential aspect of their lives. I miss M&H’s posts – but I would rather NOT have their blog at all if it meant the ladies & their loved ones were okay. To me, that’s a rich pay off.

    I do have to laugh about James’ comments regarding “crude Democratic attacks” on the TeaNuts. Puhleeze. Calling them out for their racism and bigotry is mild in comparison to their BS regarding liberals, Obama, et al. And the irony – Obama isn’t even a center-left progressive – he’s a centrist pragmatist. But no matter – fear is the motivating force in American politics and the Golden Age of American Exceptionalism passed by a long time ago – we’re just another ordinary country committed to doing and achieving nothing spectacular nor noteworthy.

  138. I agree PFessor53. I’ve heard the stories too.

    Here is another appropriate story. Michael Gersen of the Washington Post wrote in his article titled “Democrats tactics are helping GOP’s Cause: “… a quarter to a third of Americans identify in one way or another with the Tea Party movement.” As William Galston of the Brookings Institution said, “Americans currently place themselves on the ideological spectrum closer to the Tea Party than they do the Democratic Party.”

    Gerson continued “Crude Democratic attacks on the Tea Party offend a broad group of voters. And the political intensity of conservative populists is only increased by elite disdain.”

    When people like Vaszlo or Victor write crudely, its not all their fault. It must feel awful watching the walls close in when facts favor the other side.

    A big tornadic storm is northwest of us. I’m grabbing my cameras and off to experience the show.

  139. Hi Congenial Gang, Sistah lori and Sistah HRH,

    ty lori, for answering my rhetorical question. I will probably be asking you a lot more because I like your political astuteness. It’s a daunting if not impossible task to keep up with what is happening in all 50 states as the political climate heats up. It’s nice to have a reliable source to turn to. You are one of the best! I don’t care much for the authenticity of “People Magazine” or other such sources.

    Great idea HRH to go to “The Elephant in the Room” to leave comments! Considering that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who come to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” every day to read but not necessarily to leave comments, for a while until all these other people get the hang of the shift to “The Elephant” to cut down on downloading time, I think I will put up my comments on both of Helen’s posts. I would like to remind everyone that we are guests here at the pleasure of Margaret and Helen.

    This morning on CNN there was a crawl about an earthquake on Crete in the Mediterranean. That was of special interest to me since we have been there and learned quite a bit about its history. I have an intriguing story to tell about it, but it will have to wait till later. Gotta go have lunch with our CA family.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  140. James -

    re: Bush as a nice guy. The folks in uniform loved Bush. He was careful to never travel on a holiday so his military staff could have the day off. He was uniformly described as friendly and respectful of those who worked for him, and especially the military people. They said he always thanked the pilots who flew him, knew their names and the names of their wives and children. Contrast that with stories of the Clintons and how they treated the military people who served them. I’m sure you heard the stories.

    Bush’s judgment on a lot of things is another matter. My wife always said that he would make a great neighbor, but made a terrible president – oddly enough, in a way very much like Carter (god, remember the Carter presidency?). I think she’s pretty much on the money.

    Jim

  141. VLaszlo, I’m not complaining or whining, I am telling you what some of you are. People like you require lots of repetition–the way you do with children.

    Where have you been all this time? You’re not even a blip on the radar. Betcha you feel like a big man now doncha? Or are you a woman? Did it take you all afternoon to look up those big words? Whatever it takes to make you forget your…deficiencies.

  142. Victor -

    It is not your place to decide what is or is not good riddance.

    By the way, you left out “accurate.” Deadly accurate – as you all too-well know. Otherwise it wouldn’t bother you at all, would it?

    Have to scoot. More stalls to clean out.

    K.

  143. My My,
    Just a few complainers?

    Just what in the heck.. can you people not debate anymore?
    Pull up yer Big Girl panties and scoot to the kitchen?

    Amazing. I thought you all had more fortitude than that.

  144. Pfesser Turdblossom

    Pompous, obnoxious, mulish, rude, quarrelsome, contemptuous, sexist, egotist. And that’s just for starters. What else did I miss?

    Good riddance!!

    And whiney James’ disappearance together with his pathetic grievance collecting and lack of social graces would be no great loss either.

    VLaszlo

  145. Alaskapi, I moderated a message board and posted on two which moderators closely watched. Mathew’s definition fits my experience, and I accept it.

    Maybe I slipped up a time or two, but look at the archives. Others like Kalaspop attacked me first. In a controlled situation, I would have filed a private complaint with the moderators. They would have cautioned the wrong doer, or suspended him/her. If it continued, the rule breaker would be suspended again or banned.

    I would have been told not to respond to personal attacks or risk punishment also. When such rules were in place, I followed them.

    Here, there are few rules that I can see . It is like the wild west, and it reminds of me of the service when men were trying to kill me. I learned how to fight , and it saved me. So, in the same way, if people flame me, I flame back. I’m not complaining. I’m reminding those with short memories. Besides, words are not like knives or rifles. They can’t hurt you.

    My understanding of “troll” is someone who purposely creates discord within a message board. I create a lot of discord, but it is not from malice. I came to exchange views and to practice my debating skills. The record also shows I agree with some of the posts too.

    I behaved the same on the Janeane Garafalo message board. It was rough being one of the few non-liberals for a while, but eventually, they made me one of the moderators, and I was an administrator of one version.

    As Professor observed, some people who write here are disturbed by people who don’t accept established doctrine. If the administrator wants uniformity, let him ban outliers like me.

    Sometimes I hog the spotlight, in part to defend myself (as now to you), and my long posts are due to our dial up system. I sometimes only get one shot at them .

    ” If you are not for me you are against me…” Is not quite right. Shades of gray. You can be neutral. Only one rule matters to me. I will treat you as you treat me.

  146. James- it is a probably a stretch to decide that this comment was Matthew of M&H’s family/blog but whether or no, some of the personal attacks you indulge in really do present themselves as flaming…

    “Your interpretation of “troll” and who you think fits the bill is not universal.
    Many of those who fancy themselves mighty troll smiters here would be banned themselves from moderated discussion groups for flaming (which is different than trolling), baiting (similar to trolling), and generally elevating the impact of the “trolls.”

    Flaming is getting personal. Trolling is posting specifically to provoke a response (usually negative).

    Blog-hogging and pimping one’s own site are also considered troll traits. No matter WHO does it.”

    By: Matt on June 30, 2010
    at 11:32 AM”

    Would suggest you and all of us think about Helen’s rules:

    http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/what-was-i-thinking-when-i-called-sarah-palin-a-bitch/

    “NEW, New Rules:

    If you are not for me, you are against me. I’ll get over it. Now kindly return the favor.”

    Helen and Margaret- many warm wishes to you and thank you for this place. Missing you …

  147. Kalaspop, I am smug because I am usually right. My wife and I live a comfortable life because we made decisions which proved to be the correct ones.

    Most of my early predictions on this message board have proven to be true.

    You write I am a smug prick. Maybe I am. I earned it. What’s your excuse?

    No one’s puppet, I also don’t doubt that Cheney is an ass. His nickname, Darth Vader seemed to fit him.

    Lori, from what I have read Rush is a kind and generous man. He sometimes attends Nebraska football games in Lincoln, and people who’ve met him seem to like him.

    Bush and Rush are able to connect with people because of their personalities. I’m oversimplifying, but “Frat Boy” W’s rich good old boy persona contrasted with Al Gore’s fakery, and John Kerry’s dour elitism. In my opinion, it helped him win his elections.

    Rush made a success for himself through determination and hard work. I think the personality he presents played an important role.

    My writing that our auto repair man thought Bush was a nice man was just an observation. I didn’t think any one would react to it. My comment was equivalent to noticing Bush’s eye color. It has nothing to do with politicians’ or talk show hosts’ beliefs which are a separate issue.

    Let me know Lori if you want me to write about what I believe are Bush’s and Rush’s ideological and political short comings. It would be a long post and you might be surprised. We agree on some things.

    Jean, yes, Obama got his start in Iowa. He also presented himself as more conservative than he is when he spoke to the general public. However, he was charming and said most of the right things. More importantly, Obama had a super campaign organization which outdid the Clintons’.

    His campaign, like Howard Dean’s relied heavily on the internet and college students. We heard Obama’s voice on our answering machine many times.

    I discovered something when I worked on my MA thesis. Iowa is really economically and climatologicaly two states. The far west is more like Nebraska and though I’d have to look it up to be sure, I think in the West, the majority of Democrats went for Hillary.

    I like what you wrote poolman. I “knew” my immanent death was “certain” at ages 24 and 25, and ever since I have not taken for granted I will live to see another season. Waking up each morning is wonderful, and the world is filled with miracles. Peace be with you too.

    Greytdog, I agree something may be up about Helen and Margaret. I remember an announcement of bad health one time. In June, the nephew took the trouble to define trolls and flaming. One would think if something bad had happened, he would announce it. You have posted here longer than I. Was it a practice to announce reasons for lapses in postings? Its hard to know if no news is good news or not.

    You and I may not care where Michelle Obama travels, but I suspect it will be a minor campaign issue if the economy stays in the tank. Even the networks have taken note of what the trip cost us tax payers. Symbolism.

    Have a good time in Germany.

  148. good idea HRH

  149. opps I mean *ultra liberal extreme left… of course.. ;-)

  150. Auntie Jean,

    I’m sure your question was rhetorical but I’ll answer anyway! LOL Yes Obama won the Iowa caucus. Edwards was second. Clinton came in third with more votes than Edwards. It was the first time many came to believe, hey maybe this black guy has a shot!

    Ironically, Obama ran right of both those candidates. Obama’s politics are not ultra liberal – extreme right as the carnival barkers would like us to believe. It doesn’t matter how many times they scream it, it doesn’t make it so. Take for example Clinton and Edwards stance on healthcare and gay rights. Obama is now and was then, far more moderate than either of them. (much to the chagrin of many in my party) About the only area that I can think of Obama being less right of those two would be his stance on national defense, and those differences are subtle.

  151. Greytdog, Thank you for stating the obvious. I am concerned that the condition of either a spouse of, or one of the ladies themselves is a more important problem right now than this blog is. Although I feel sorry for us, (I really miss hearing what they have to say), I guess I’ll keep checking back in case the situation resolves itself.

    I do have a suggestion, though. I just added a comment to the post “The Elephant in the Room is a Kangaroo” from back in February. That post has fewer comments so if everyone (with a couple of exceptions) went to that page, it would take less time to load and my computer wouldn’t seem quite so constipated. The 2,000+ comments here have to be kicked several times before they all show up.

    The weather here in the Northeast has finally changed to less humidity, only for this weekend, though. It’s picnic weather, gonna go put one together right now.

  152. Ohhhh rightwingnuttery it never gets old does it?

  153. Oh good grief. I could care less if Mrs Obama goes to Spain for vacation or to Camp David. I’ve been working a lot of freelance one-offs lately, and despite our own economic crunch, we still managed to indulge ourselves in wonderful week at our favorite resort on Capitva. BFD. And we plan to head to Germany next month. Yeah spending our hard earned dollars overseas…. oohhh we must be socialists.

    As for PFesser or whatever it is, ciao baby!I’m so tired of trying to be civil and polite to wingnuts and batshit crazies like that.

    As for the authors of this post, it’s interesting to see how the RWNJs automatically assume they’re not real, and have no concern whatsoever for the fact that both women have life partners who are not in good health. So IMO the silence from the ladies is very worrisome. . . I just hope they and their families are okay.

  154. Hello gang! Spectacular sunset tonight! An amazing display by our Heavenly Host. Sometimes when those true colors come shining through it is a beautiful thing. Like with people. Other times – not so much. Learn to love and appreciate both, and life will be much fuller. Afterall, it is short and we can all seize the moment with a positive or a negative influence. It is a choice we still have and are called to make as long as we are interacting with this world. It is all about relationships. Like love, the more you try to hold onto, the less you have in the end. Peace be with you.

  155. Hi Congenial Gang and Rae,

    Come on back gal! There is plenty of room on both the porch and in the kitchen. We have scrubbed them nice and clean!

    I’m bringing Apple Crisp Pie and White Zin. How about you? M&H always provide the tea and occasional sympathy along with some feistiness.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  156. And Judith, I’d like to be sisters with you, great comments, high five, I think we got mooned as he went out the door. LMAO pfessor53, bye!

  157. Hi Congenial Gang and lori,

    lori, you are more politically savvy than I am in many respects. Refresh my memory. Wasn’t it in the Iowa primary that the voters selected Obama and he began to gain national recognition for his intellect and his world view? Not as a ‘warrior’, promoting American Imperialism, but as a man of peace with honor. Heaven knows, he was and is anything but provincial in his thinking!

    Fool the voters once, shame on the same-ole-same conservative thinking and the party of “No!” Fool the voters again, shame on the progressives!

    There was an old popular song, I think it was during WWII, a sort of battle cry to rally the troops. I think the lyrics are appropriate for a peaceful approach to a political contest in November for us progressives:

    “WE DID IT BEFORE AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN…….” in November 2010 and 2012!!!!!

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  158. “I believe we all know in our hearts there is no real Margaret and Helen.”

    Wouldn’t that just be your ideal resolution – “And it was all a dream……..

    I can’t speak for others, but I don’t ‘know’ any such thing. My personal theory is that Helen and Margaret (Helen, as the major writer) are exactly as represented; old, savvy, and using admitted nom de plumes for security reasons. I suspect that this was intended to be largely private conversation between them, but when it went viral, it turned into a lot more time, effort and attention than they really wished to handle. I applaud them for keeping it going a full three years.

    I do wonder why it’s so impossible to believe that an old person could write like this and have such opinions. It says more about you than about Helen’. As far as the remainder of your nice life goes, I truly wish that you do not experience the same decline that you expect for others.

    Helen, if we don’t hear from you again – I wanna grow up to be you. Thanks.

  159. Wow -

    I’ve been working on my old ’62 Cessna all day; looks like I missed a real donnybrook!

    Firstly, I am truly sorry to see you go, Rae. I have begun to have real respect for you.

    But it’s all for the best, I think. As much as we wish it were not so, I believe we all know in our hearts there is no real Margaret and Helen. It was all a very clever little ruse to promote one particular side in the culture war, and order here was kept through intimidation – just like in the old Soviet Union – until one day someone arrived who could not be intimidated. Once it was shown – over and over – that those who claim to own the moral high ground in reality behave exactly like those they claim to oppose, the Emperor’s backside was exposed it was all over. I will be very surprised if there is ever another post by “Margaret” or “Helen” or “Amber and Fred” or whoever he, she, they are – unless, of course, they post in response to this note to prove it is not so.

    But no matter. Have a nice life, everyone. I’ll be looking around for more liberals to expose. It’s kind of getting boring, though. With experience I’m afraid it has become just too easy.

    Turdblossom

  160. Heck I sat in the same box as Rushbo through an entire football game and he was “pleasant”. He didn’t behead any small children or pull the ears off of puppies while I was watching………. That and 5 bucks will buy you a Starbucks.

  161. I wouldn’t doubt Bush is pleasant, but I have a friend who went through K-12 with Dick Cheney and he assures me Dick Cheney has always been a ass. And I don’t doubt that either.

  162. Boy was I late to this blog chain. I’ve always checked for new columns by helen & never stayed to read the letters. If Helen is reading these comments James she’d be the first one to point out what a dick you are, & SMUG. Since she doesn’t seem able to reply I will SMUG PRICK!

  163. I wasn’t making moral value judgments. I was reporting my friend’s experience with Bush. Our auto man thought Bush was a nice guy, quick with jokes and polite to the caddies.

    I’ve met Bill Clinton too. He seems as nice as Bush. However, Clinton made a special trip to Arkansas to fry an allegedly retarded man because it was good politics when he ran for president.

    I oppose capital punishment, but I don’t think either man is evil.

  164. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a group of web formats used for frequent standardized updates. It is used in some blogs, for example. The information can be published once and seen by multiple readers.

    That’s all I know, and I don’t even know if it is correct. . Google RSS or check Wickipedia. Surely they can tell you what you want to know.

  165. I’m so sure it’s lots of fun to be around a former president who, when he was president, ridiculed and made fun of someone asking for a stay of execution. Wonderful sense of personal character there, don’t you think?
    Bush and his family have put on quite a show over the last 90 years.

  166. You are wrong Rae. Your definition of “class” is letting others victimize you. I doubt it is how you live your life. Bye.

  167. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Please excuse my Computerese ignorance in Blogland, but what do “RSS – Posts” and “RSS -Comments” mean?

    tx

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  168. No ones’ puppet. Bush golfed quite a few times early in his administration. Later, as the war was going badly, he gave it up because he said it didn’t seem right for him to be golfing when soldiers and civilians were dying in two wars. It was no sacrifice, just a symbolic gesture. I don’t know or care if Bush golfs now.

    My point is the Obama’s don’t have the sense of symbolism Bush had, and his family’s lavish trips in these times are beginning to wear thin, mostly on conservatives and maybe others. I don’t care about Obamas’ trips. He is always at the government’s beck and call. However, I do care that the press is using a double standard in reporting.

    Before our auto repair man bought his business, he worked for a man who knew “W” He played golf with the future president twice and said Bush was a lot of fun to be with.

    I try to be fair. Read E.J. Dionne Jr.’s article in the Washington Post. “Auto bailout turned out well for industry, public.” He gives credit to Bush for setting the machinery into motion and to Obama for bailing out the auto companies. I agree with him.

    Sorry to bore you with my personal life, but since you mentioned it, I do have a big case of ” the red ass.” My wife and I are on the board of a Town and Country Arts organization. We were part of an insurgency which removed the previous leaders. Their antics were damaging the organization and alienated several donors.

    They regrouped and created a “rump parliament” complete with advertised meetings. I have been communicating with both sides, but it is falling apart. We are dealing with sequential changed locks, consultations with the sheriff, lawyers and the county attorney. We are discussing restraining orders. Creative people are tempermental and crazy.

    Twenty years ago, I helped get signs designating a historic byway. The signs were popular, but now Iowa wants the byway signs to be uniform. Since our county now has three scenic byways, and the state will pay for the signs, I think new signs are a good deal.

    Our county economic development chair thinks we need to let Iowa buy us new signs, and asked several organizations write letters supporting the purchase. As president of our county Certified Local Government and of the Historical Society, I wrote and signed two letters. We didn’t have a meeting, though I polled several members of the historical society, and I wrote the letter as a private citizen associated with the historical society, not an official representative.

    We created a fire storm. Some of the officials have a financial interest in keeping the old signs. They have been selling memoribilia quietly, and maybe illegally. Government officials are not supposed to profit from projects like that. The head of the conservation commission with which the historical society has financial and other ties is livid. We both manage the welcome center and museum, and they are hoping our society donates $20,000 to help pay for landscaping and improvements to the welcome center. This makes dealing with them more difficult.

    Meanwhile, my wife got a grant for our CLG to publish an oral history we made for the Iowa sesquicentianal in 1995. We hired a woman to transcribe the interviews, but she bailed because of a bad back. We spent over fifty hours proof reading and correcting what she did do. My wife and I have been finishing the work and it needs to be done in a couple of weeks. We are 3/4 done.

    My wife checked the terms of the grant and learned the woman who started transcribing worked so many hours she will take the lion’s share of the payment. Our work will likely end up being a payment in kind contribution.

    And that’s why I was in a bad mood this morning. Bet you and everyone else wish you had never asked.

  169. Rae, there is room for you in the kitchen. Just click on my name to find it.

  170. I am out of here, permanently. I’ve had it with this “if everyone would treat me nicely, I would do the same” stuff. Class is behaving when those around you are not. And knowing when to leave. Auntie Jean, it has been a pleasure.

  171. I had to leave for Omaha and didn’t have time to finish my tirade, Lori.

    Trading personal insults is childish. Look at the record. I didn’t start this fight, but it will continue as long as you want.

    My rule is be nice to me, and I will be nice to you. If you control your anger long enough to treat the other side with respect, I will treat you the same.

    Otherwise, nothing will change. I don’t know enough about you, but my guess is you may be suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. You should talk to someone.

    If I didn’t already know politics is a dirty business, I’d know by “meeting” a soiled bit of fluff as you, “buttercup.” Please forgive me for not returning the cyber kisses. I don’t know where you’ve been.

  172. Geez James, you seem to have what folks in Louisiana call “the red ass” this morning, maybe some nice herbal tea will settle your nerves. I don’t think it was a sacrifice for Bush II to give up golf. When did he ever golf? Has he golfed even once since he left office? I not saying he’s never golfed, but get real.

  173. Which Jim are you referring to Lori? Me, James or the Professor.

    Don’t worry your pretty little head Lori. I am a precinct committeeman and on the county party board. I have spoken to both of my senators and representatives reps so often they recognize my voice and sometimes visit about their personal subjects.

    I’m making a difference in other ways too.

    I’m not whining about “big bad liberals” I’m calling you out when you behave like boors and when you lie.

    You are a minor distraction. My dreams focus on a man and his daughter burning to death in a wrecked truck. They will die many times until I am dead.

    I have not yet sunk so low to pollute my mind with the likes of you.

  174. Dave Weigel was the first casualty of the Jounolist scandal. He is now at slate.com owned by the Washington Post, his former employer.

    He wrote “The Five Myths about the ‘tea party.’ They are not racists in his opinion, and like many organizations they try to expel racists as they appear.

    Another writer said the Tea Party is no more or less racist than other groups. She wrote it is good poliltical strategy to accuse them of it and force them to spend energy defending themselves while making main stream politicians reluctant to associate with them.

  175. For those of you who were interested in the KY senate race (Rand Paul (TB) Jack Conway (D) here is a site that can help you find ways to help with the campaign. http://www.jackconway.org/

    Real Clear Politics has Paul up by 6, which is EXCELLENT considering it is a VERY STRONG R seat. If you take into account Rassmussen was considered into that average ……. we have a real race down there! Although his last numers slipped a bit. Keep the pressure up and this is one of several senate seats I think we can steal. Paul has already been forced to take money from the established GOP, even though he is a TB, he couldn’t raise enough money!

    YAY for us. Yes we can!

    Also if you are interested in putting Perry into permanent retirement (Mr. Good Hair and Helen calls him) we could use some help in Dallas. That is an area where we could pick up lots of votes. We need people to register new voters, phone bank, blog, op ed.

    Thanks! have a great weekend all.. namaste

    Awwwwww sweet Jim, I see you are thinking about me again this morning. Did you dream about me too? You know if you spent half as much time working for your cause as you do whining about the big bad liberals calling you names you might actually be a significant help to your cause. Politics is a dirty bizness buttercup, you better learn to suck it up if you decide to troll. kiss kiss

  176. Kaylaspop might have a point about Lynn Sweet if she was the only reporter discussing the trip. She is not. NBC cited the cost to the Obamas and the tax payers.

    The Obama’s series of expensive vacations and trips is their business as long as they pay the bills. Their staff and other ancillary costs my taxes pay for are my business. The president is never really on vacation because the White House follows him, so the trips themselves are not a big deal to me.

    What we have is more hypocracy. The press needled Bush for his frequent vacations to his Texas ranch, but now we don’t hear much criticism of the Obamas for doing the same thing. That trend may change.

    Bush quit golfing because he thought it looked bad when our troops were fighting a war. Obama takes no such care for appearances. Symbolism is important, and though there is nothing wrong with lavish trips, it looks bad in this weak economy when so many families are forced to cut back. The Obamas and other politicians leave themselves open to unnecessary criticism.

    I did some research before the last election and learned about Michelle’s job at the University of Chicago Hospital. She was hired as the hospital’s Executive Director for $120,000 per year. In 2005, the hospital created a new previously non- existent job for her and raised her salary to $316,962. In Feb. 2006, Obama requested a $1 million dollar earmark for the University of Chicago.

    Days after the election, Mrs. Obama resigned, and on January 14, Michelle’s position was eliminated. Her job was absorbed into another. Why? Was this a pay off? Or an innocent change of hospital policy? Why didn’t the press investigate what I was able to find? Doug Ross@journal reports the story. He is a conservative, but his facts on this are true.

    The press operates under a double standard which I believe is worse for us in the long run than a politician’s extravagance.

    “Miss Jean Brody”, I suggest “Genetic Influence on Human Psychological Traits A survey by Thomas J. Bouchard Jr. I can find others for you, but we wouldn’t want to strain your old eyes.

    Maybe, together, we can understand Lori who called me a “bagger”. A genetic psychologist would have a field day exploring her mind.

  177. Jean -

    Hope you are having a good time on your trip.

    Do you think you will have time today to begin your “line by line” exposition on the biological basis of sexual differentiation in humans? I have my old med school textbooks and a stack of “Science” magazines at the ready so I can follow along…

    Thanks,

    Jim

  178. Hi Congenial Gang and Chrystal on August 8 at 8:55PM,

    I’m glad you enjoy my travel stories. I love writing about them and reliving them in the process.

    Yes, of course. Since I am a ‘Little Old Lady’ (although I prefer to refer to myself as an ‘Old Broad’) I claim that privilege to respond or not respond as I see fit in any way I see fit, especially when I see posts that I feel belong more in the ‘National Inquirer’ than here at M&H’s porch. I have neither the time nor the inclination to respond to each and every challenge, Most of the other posters claim that privilege as well.

    Speaking of time. With our CA family visiting here, whenever they come back from the beach they are STARVED!!! Gawd!!! They are eating us out of house and home!!! I had forgotten what it is like to try to fill up a 15-going-on-16 year old boy, our grandson.

    Did I tell everybody in the gang that he has a beautiful singing voice and had a leading role in a recent high school musical production? We have been having some private performances and are amazed. Proud grandma and grandpa!!! He and I are working on some music together and having a great time at it. Maybe I’ll tell you about it later.

    Right now, I’ve got to go rustle up some more chow because they will be back soon. A clam dip and chips maybe? Grandson is going through mango nectar like there’s no tomorrow!

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  179. Lynn Sweet is a trouble making mensch, not a reporter. One in the same started the whole Skip Gates non-happening into Rush’s wet dream. Cite her & every argument you’d like to make flies directly out the window. Helen, where you?

  180. I love it..Keep digging it deeper ..

    Queen Latifa of the WHITE HOUSE, first lady Michelle Obama is halfway around the world, on vacation with her 9-year-old daughter, Sasha, in Spain.

    The two are traveling on what the White House has described as a four-day “private trip” with several Obama family friends along the country’s ritzy southern coast.

    Of course, no first lady’s life is truly ever private, and already plenty of drama is swirling around Michelle Obama’s foreign jaunt. Some critics have laid into the trip’s price, while others are highlighting an apparent diplomatic gaffe between the United States and Spain.

    In a scathing editorial published Thursday, New York Daily News writer Andrea Tantaros trashed Michelle Obama as a “modern day Marie Antoinette” for taking such a glitzy vacation while most of the country is struggling to make ends meet.

    The Obama entourage is staying at the luxury Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton property often described as one of the world’s top 10 hotels. Rates range between $500 and $2,500 a night. It’s not clear that the Obama delegation picked this hotel specifically, or if the Secret Service — which often gets final say over where a protectee stays — made the accommodations call.

    Either way, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the first lady will pay her personal expenses — as will the friends who are traveling with her. But that only covers a small part of the ultimate expense, given that she has full-time Secret Service protection and has to travel with an entourage of staff. That cost, as well as her travel on board an official Air Force charter plane, is covered by taxpayers.

    Its estimated to cost upwards of 200K a day for the security detail.

    As the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reports, by the end of the summer, the first lady will have taken eight vacations.

    That includes a June trip to Los Angeles, where she and her daughters attended the NBA Finals, as well as an upcoming trip to the Florida Gulf Coast next weekend and a 10-day visit to Martha’s Vineyard later this month with the president.

    Just a few months and we all can tell the Obama’s how we really feel about their management of our economy,health care and oil clean up.

  181. Hi Congenial Gang and delurker gurl,

    Gotcha! Our CA family is here so time is limited but I’ll get into the kitchen soon.

    Thank you for the invitation.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste

    Auntie Jean

  182. no one’s puppet -

    “I think we were all respectful, without agreeing, when we discussed our personal religious, or lack there of, beliefs, wonder why we can’t do this with politics?”

    We can. But I think it would be instructive to look back a little at the posts on ALL subjects, and things will be a bit clearer. There is a pattern there. See it?

    To my eye it goes as follows: 1) opinion expressed. 2) second person weighs in. If they agree with the first person, all is good. If they do not, person one gets snotty. 3) person two gets snotty back 4) person one calls them a troll. 5) others pile on. Never varies.

    There is a second pattern, too. The first snotter is always one of the same group, as is the second – I picked out the little clique the first time I posted. As long as you toe the line, life is good, but a different opinion isn’t welcome. What happened to that “tolerance for all opinions” thing? Sometimes it seems those who believe they are the good guys behave exactly like those they claim to oppose. I really understand (was it Helen’s nephew?) the POV about how those who self-identify as troll-killers would be considered trolls themselves anywhere else.

    I could be wrong. Just my opinion.

  183. Heyyyyyy look at delurkers name.. Whatta know about that. I think I’ll click it and see what happens! LOL

  184. I think we were all respectful, without agreeing, when we discussed our personal religious, or lack there of, beliefs, wonder why we can’t do this with politics? Less personalities, more substance? Or at least reach some consensus on what are the most pressing problems facing our nation.

  185. I’ve figured out a simple way to get this thing to call up faster at times, so here I am.

    Poolman, I like Obama as a person too. However, he is still on OJT, and as you write, his advisers are ill serving him. I basically agree with what you wrote. A European diplomat said before WW1 something like “The lights are going out one by one. We shall not see them again in our time.” I suspect it will be pretty dark for awhile.

    Thank you no one’s puppet. We don’t have to agree. We need to respect one another. You wrote it better than any of us.

    This one’s for you: “I knew a man that I did not care for. And then one day, this man gave me a call. We sat and talked about things on our minds, and now this man, he is a friend of mine. Reach out in the Darkness…”

  186. Congratulations, Elena Kagan! It’s either a beautiful day or there’s a high risk of big chunks of sky falling, depending on who you listen to, LOL!

    Donna & JRSI, if you are lurking could you email me? Just use my ID @ hotmail.com. I miss you!

  187. “I don’t think he (or any president) has the ability to steer this big ship. Though he stands at the helm, the rudder is otherwise manipulated. The tide’s going out and the undercurrent is intense. It is a titanic feat to just stay the course.”

    I think you are just being naut-y.

    Jim

  188. I am only speaking for myself.

    I found this site by accident when I was googling something else. My motives were innocent. I just wanted some friendly arguments and maybe make an e friend or two as I had on two other message boards.

    I was polite and at first my novelty value kept the others civil too. Then, the piling on began, and I responded in kind.

    Around June 28, Helen or Margaret’s nephew, (I don’t remember which) wrote that many who fancy themselves troll killers would be considered trolls themselves on moderated message boards.
    Lori is a prime example.

    Her conspiratorial adhominon attacks would get her banned or suspended from many message boards, including Janeane Garafalo’s which I moderated before I left. I think I am still listed as a moderator on the Janeane Garafalo message board. Look it up.

    Lori’s depiction of me and others as a cyber trouble makers is wrong. Why would a liberal site like Garafalo’s choose me to be a moderator? I think Lori is afraid of contrary opinions she cannot refute.

    Do your remember, Lori when you wrote you would ignore me because I was parroting Rush’s lies when the politicians you supported were proving themselves to be liars too. Which were you that day, a hyprocrite or clueless?
    Do you need someone to spell out the Regime’s lies?

    Lori, remember when you tried to disprove my argument with a factcheck citation and it supported what I was writing? That was a special moment wasn’t it? Surely you treasure the memory as much as I do. When your case is weak, you have to resort to mud slinging don’t you?

    Another special moment was Jean’s writing I would never win any humanitarian awards after I won an argument. She opposed using the A bomb to end WW11, even it if its use saved many Allied and Japanese lives. I supported my point with a government estimate of the carnage which a ground invasion would have caused. I think her humanitarian comment was her response or it came from another argument she couldn’t support with facts.

    By all means, anyone look at the record. Maybe start with “snarky Friday” around June, 2009.

  189. Harmony, nice as it is, doesn’t keep my interest for very long, but at the same time the mundane “humor” strings just creepy. That’s the right word, creepy. That goes for those “great thinkers:” Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, who make up their own facts. The latter of whom is probably going blind from all the Vicks Vapor Rub he put on his eyes to make him tear. I am going to agree with James on one thing, age is not a defense, a lot of us qualify as older individuals. Almost all of us are college graduates or have had some college, we know better, sloppy scholarship makes my teeth hurt. List your arguments and back them up with relevant facts and then give your conclusion, then you will be able defend.

  190. I have liked Obama since the first time I heard him speak. I felt he spoke from the heart and had a great compassion for people. I have not changed my opinion on that, but I have been disappointed by some of the policies promoted by him and his administration. I think those surrounding him are self-serving and many are true criminals of the state. I know we expect much from our leader, but he isn’t a king. I don’t think he (or any president) has the ability to steer this big ship. Though he stands at the helm, the rudder is otherwise manipulated. The tide’s going out and the undercurrent is intense. It is a titanic feat to just stay the course.

  191. Being married helps doesn’t it no one’s puppet.

    I agree with your last comment. Polls only represent an educated guess of opinion on one day.

    Yes, Rae, I know the proponents of single payer and socialized medicine are in the majority. I am one of them. Add the implications and costs, the majority fades, and you lose me.

    I mused about the “marketing problem” you mentioned.

    I was part of and subject to socialized medicine in the service. I watched it evolve in Britain and to a lessor degree, France. The French did better with a combination.

    The National Weather Service uses observers like me to provide “ground truth” to confirm their radar observations and for climatological data.

    Polls are like radar. They give information, but by themselves they only provide gist for assumptions.

    Combine the average of all major polls with public attitudes, and we have an approximation of “ground truth.” It shows a majority disenchanted with the direction this country is taking and a majority, probably by default, more conservative than the administration. Scott Brown is just one bit of ground truth.

    Bill Clinton had a similar problem and his moving the country too far left helped Republicans win on their Contract With America. He may be a dirt bag, but I like him. Bill was smart enough to tack toward the right and become what some called a virtual Republican president.

    Obama is intelligent and charming. If he was more flexible and found something that worked, the majority would not feel they were being dragged into something they didn’t want.

    To be fair, President Obama and Congress are wrongly blamed for losing or creating jobs. Private citizens do that. Their policies influence the economy though.

    I try hard not to “hear what ” I “want to hear.” If I had we would have lost the farm during the farm recession. I “want to hear” Obama will lose the next election, but I think he can still win a second term. The Republicans for the most part, are still out to lunch. That’s another thing I don’t want to hear, but it is true.

    Its been fun the past few days, but our slow dial up system and the difficulty of getting this site to load may not let me post much longer.

  192. TY mikat… your words are very kind and I am VERY undeserving! LOL

    I sent you an e-mail. I am busy for the rest of the day hanging out with my daughters, but I will get back to you asap.

    Keep the home fires burning guys.. ;-)

  193. Lori
    I am a BIG fan of yours, you say what I would like to, only MUCH better!!
    Please tell me where the gang has gone!
    I have been a constant reader and occasional contributer for two years, I miss the “team”.
    you can reach me at ~vanje~aol.com
    Rae,
    I am very happy to see you have joined the porch dwellers, you are a joy.
    Auntie Jean, You may have to step in and be our next “Helen” if she does not return soon.
    It has been so long since Helen has written us, I am afraid there must be something wrong.
    Helen,
    I hope all is well with you and yours, come back soon, we miss you and Margaret very much!

  194. For those of you who are interested and did not receive this e-mail…

    On March 7th, 1965, 600 of us lined up to walk from Selma to Montgomery, to march for voting rights.

    When we tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, we were met by state troopers. They attacked us with tear gas, bullwhips, and nightsticks.

    It became known as Bloody Sunday, and the national outcry over the brutality that day led to the enactment, exactly 45 years ago today, of the Voting Rights Act.

    The progress we’ve made since then is remarkable.

    But the expansion of voting rights for millions did not happen overnight. It was the product of a continued struggle, by many people, over many years.

    And just as change did not come easily then, it does not come easily now.

    Discrimination still exists in America — its effects can be as harmful as they were decades ago. And we can always become a better, more just society.

    Two years ago, this movement — led by Barack Obama — brought millions of people into the political process for the first time.

    I’m told that many of you are working hard now to get as many as possible of those folks — and others from across the country who are with us in these fights — to the polls this year.

    It’s an important effort, and the legacy of the fight for the Voting Rights Act is that it is not only our right to vote, and to help others do so — it is our duty.

    Can I count on you to help out between now and the elections in November?

    When I was a child, I tasted the bitter fruits of racial discrimination — and I did not like it.

    That was what spurred me to act. In those early days, we sacrificed our very selves for our rights as Americans. But we never gave up.

    And now barriers that kept an entire people from full participation in this country have been removed.

    No longer are people who look like me met with violence when we register to vote.

    No longer is the idea that an African American could become president just a dream.

    We live in a better world, a better country.

    But our work is not complete. We cannot wait for someone else to make change.

    We must all do it. You must do it. I must do it.

    Please sign up to help millions more vote:

    http://my.barackobama.com/VolunteerVRA

    Thank you,

    Representative John Lewis

  195. and here come the alter egos……

  196. Jean,
    From what little I’ve seen or read, you do have a tendency to pull the “Little ole lady” routine,then run away or not respond to people who challenge you on your postings.
    I’ve enjoyed your postings about your travels, but when you have been challenged there have been numerous occasions where I have not seen a response or you belittled the other party as not worthy of your response.
    Just saying.
    Chrystal

  197. Had a secretary once who did not like to be referenced by the comment of “yes mamm” or “no mamm.”
    I told her it was the way I was raised, a southern thing I suppose..and that I opened doors for ladies.

  198. With all due respect Rae I am surprised you haven’t figured Jim’s (and his alter egos) motive out yet. He isn ‘t here for good conversation and debate he was summoned here to help out the other bagger who got his little boy’s panties in a wad last year. This is a typical wing nut “strategy”. Do you honestly believe they are fan’s of M&H’s way of thinking and just innocently wandered onto her blog because they wanted to “chat”? They were most likely cohorts from another blog from which they have been banned . M&H had been getting a lot of publicity the trolls came out of the wood work. They have been nothing but nasty arrogant sobs since they arrived, insulting and belittling anyone they are threatened by. Just like bullies on a play ground. They have used every tactic in the book.

    All of us, have tried to have respectful conversations with these nuts, it’s impossible because that isn’t their reason for being here.

    You are a new contributor to this blog and most likely are not aware of the history of these trolls. Don’t believe me? If you are interested go back in the archives and see where they came onto the sceen and see who started what, when……Please don’t be fooled into thinking the buttercups are here for intellectual convo.

    Oh and NOP you are 100 percent correct.

  199. Rae -

    Jim, I call ad feminam.

    Nonsense. Support that argument, please.

    Actually, the problem is not ad- anything. IMHO the problem is that there is a certain amount of inappropriate deference given to Jean by everyone – except me, of course – because of her alleged age – allowances made that would not be made for you or me, for example. In the meantime, she feels safe poking her head out from time to time with snotty comments, then retreating, saying, “Don’t hit me; I’m an old woman!” – comforted by the certain knowledge that others will take up for her.

    Sorry – doesn’t work on me. If you don’t want the big kids to play rough with you then don’t play rough with them.

    ‘As an argument, it is beneath you. What’s wrong with a simple “jsri, if you are a genetics professor, please take the time to weigh in on this topic. I for one am interested in current thought, irrespective of Jean’s belief on the matter.”’

    I wasn’t responding to jsri; I was responding to Jean, who said she “could refute line by line.” OK, then do so. I welcome any germane comments by jsri or anyone else. We ALL need to learn, and whoever has the information is welcome in my personal space.

    “Your tone belies your claim to be willing to learn, and signing “cordially” does not undo the harm.”

    That’s called sarcasm. If there is anything for which to apologise, it is that. I apologise.

    On another front: quoting a little Simon and Garfunkel, I see…I loved “The Boxer.” A perfect song for a melancholy teenage boy of the ‘seventies. Many, many good memories of that song…

    Cordially – and I mean that,
    Jim

  200. Speaking of arguing, I could tell you polls aren’t valid representations of public opinion, because of how the questions are formed, use of cell phones and caller I D, and I’d have a point, but I won’t. In my own state, the general election campaigns have begun in earnest and poll numbers have changed significantly. I’m not taking them for granted though, if they changed once, they could change again. Polls really are a picture in time of the number of presumed voters and how they presume they will vote several months later.

  201. Years of practice James, I’m married.

  202. But wait, there’s more.

    Jim, I call ad feminam. As an argument, it is beneath you. What’s wrong with a simple “jsri, if you are a genetics professor, please take the time to weigh in on this topic. I for one am interested in current thought, irrespective of Jean’s belief on the matter.”

    Your tone belies your claim to be willing to learn, and signing “cordially” does not undo the harm.

    OK, you were writing in the wee hours of the morning, so we will assume that you weren’t at your peak, but please clean it up.

    R

  203. Clearly, a “man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.” Seeing a lot of that today.

    James, did you know that a majority of the people in this country are proponents of single payer (when it is described without political labels)? Hard to believe so many people support that key foundational element of “socialized medicine,” (really just simplified medical billing and cutting out the middle man, but why break conversation on the wheel of exact inquiry?)

    The majority of people in this country use the label “conservative” when describing themselves, but endorse ideas that are liberal. That sounds like a marketing problem to me, not a political one.

  204. Yes, Lori, “run and hide”. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    As for that Shakespear quote, look in the mirror.

    Jean, I’d like to watch you “refute line by line.” You’d have as much success as I would to fly if I jumped out my upstairs window.

    Poolman, I didn’t try to watch the video because of our slow dial up service, but I you may be on to something.

    No one’s puppet, you put up a good argument. That is more than we can say about several of the others.

  205. I received this in an e-mail this morning… thought it so fitting for the porch ;-)

    The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

    William Shakespeare

    Also for my friendly porch dwellers…. we have had some difficult astrological aspects these last couple of weeks ( = grouchy people) but the moon entered Gemmy yesterday so things should start to feel a little better soon. Gemmy moon reminds to us to breathe! Hang in there friends! ;-)

  206. Jean wrote -

    “This recent talk about ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosomes, yatta, yatta,yatta is very amusing and I could refute line by line but you as a Biology and Genetics professor could do it even better and provide links to up-dated info. Why bother. I think neither of us wants to waste our time mostly because the vast majority of the info would be so far over the yatta, yatta, yatta heads. ”

    Please, enlighten us. I for one relish new information, have you any. I especially am interested in the “line by line” stuff.

    You know Jean, the problem with the Internet is that you never REALLY know who anyone is, and broadcasting in the blind – as you, I’m afraid, are so often wont to do – sometimes connects you with people who are far, far over YOUR head and when the denouement comes, one can end up looking pretty silly. That’s already happened to you once – want to go around again?

    We await breathlessly your biology lecture. “Refute” away…

    Cordially,
    Jim

  207. Awwwwww Jim, you are such a charmer. TY sweetheart kiss kiss.

    YW Delurker ;-)

    Auntie Jean, I am having a wonderful time thank you! We lived in Dallas for 11 years, so not only am I able to spend time with my wonderful daughter, I have had the opportunity to visit with my long time TX friends. It’s been so much fun. I have laughed so much my cheeks hurt! I am so blessed to have such lovely people in my life.

    I have a few more days here and then I will be helping my daughter pack up and move back to university for her senior year. I get to have her ONE more year before she permanently moves to the big D. ;-)

    Hope you’re wrong about M&H, A new post would help. This thread is getting difficult if not impossible to load.

    Just in case we have lurkers…It’s time to gear up for November elections. All hands on deck. We need your help! Please volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!

    Enjoy your day all!

    namaste !

  208. I don’t think I posted this video before. Here’s change I can support. It’s all about class warfare and the disconnect in our world. I don’t hold out a lot of hope based on our recent history.

  209. Hi Congenial Gang, lori, jsri and Rae on August 4 at 11:21AM,

    I’m glad you are back lori, I hope you had a wonderful time with your daughter. Tell us all about it!

    jsri, a while back you said something about this site being taken over and driving the gang away. You may be right! Like the ‘tea baggers’ and the ’birthers’, they aren’t very good at what they do – - – but they do a LOT of it!!! This recent talk about ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosomes, yatta, yatta,yatta is very amusing and I could refute line by line but you as a Biology and Genetics professor could do it even better and provide links to up-dated info. Why bother. I think neither of us wants to waste our time mostly because the vast majority of the info would be so far over the yatta, yatta, yatta heads.

    Rae, I enjoyed the article you posted on “The End of Men”. I made a note to re-read later and check out the comments after our CA family has left and I have more time. I feel it is quite thought provoking. Naturally, my biased impressions are as a woman, daughter, wife and mother. My dad was an honorable man who earned the love and respect of me as well as my siblings, and of course, my mother. My husband too, is such a man. We put in an order for a daughter, but with our broken hearts, she wasn’t meant to be. Our three sons have grown to be fine, responsible men with lives and families of their own.

    I think we all go through different phases of growth and development. In his youth, my husband was an ice hockey player for eight years in high school and college. He then served in the Air Force during the Korean ‘Conflict’ in B-47s for five years. You can’t get much more macho and gung ho than that!!! We were married for the last three years of his tour of duty.

    I think many men go through the stages of being tough guys with nothing but muscles between their ears while their counterparts in women become air-headed sex kittens. These are rites of passage until we move onto the next stage toward a degree of maturity.

    Most mammals can be taught to do intellectual tricks and skills, but that doesn’t mean they have reached anything near emotional maturity. Further, both men and women grow and develop at different rates.

    Then comes middle age when many men have the well-known mid-life crisis and the women bemoan the loss of their ‘femininity ’ and sex appeal as menopause approaches. This is the second rite of passage. If both men and women have not resolved the conflicts of the first, they will have a tough time getting through the second or not at all. After that comes the third, time to grow old gracefully in wisdom.

    Those men fixated during the first rite of passage get stuck there and feel the need for conquests, if not in reality, then in fantasy through porn to have a sex kitten satisfy their sexual appetites and feed their egos as macho players. Some sex kittens need to constantly have their egos fed with the attentions they can claim as conquests. Otherwise, those drives could just as easily be met through various methods of autoeroticism.

    Men and women who have weathered these rites of passage know that the most successful relationships between men and women are mutual co-operation and gratification in all aspects of life.

    In public political life, we certainly don’t need over-the-hill tough macho guys with nothing but muscles between their ears and aging airhead bimbo sex kittens making decisions affecting the lives of millions if not billions of people.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  210. Thank you, Lori.

  211. Lori wrote:

    “agreed gimmethetruth nice job…. drop me an e-mail and i’ll tell you where the rest of the M&H gang went”

    Run and hide, little girl. We wouldn’t want you to get hurt playing with the big children, would we?

    heheee…………

    Jim

  212. Good to hear from you, Lori. I hope your visit has been fantastic. You have my email – lemme know where to find the gang!

    Poolman, I would love to hear from your wife one day. She’s lucky to have you and I imagine she’d say so!

  213. Rae, your instincts are correct to be concern about crazies on the net. We even have one here on the front porch. Be careful.

  214. agreed gimmethetruth nice job…. drop me an e-mail and i’ll tell you where the rest of the M&H gang went.

  215. I’m sorry I forgot to log in.

    No one’s puppet. I make my political assumption based on observation. An August, 2009 Gallup poll showed “Despite the Democratic Party’s political strength–seen in its majority representation in congress and in state houses across the country–more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal.”

    Another poll this summer showed twice as many conservatives as liberals. The poll James Carvil commissioned paints a similar picture. Now, it is possible liberals in some states self identify as conservatives even if they are not objectively conservative in the same way that people not of the middle class consider themselves to be so.

    We know popularity of various political beliefs ebbs and flows, and I believe some conservative and liberal orientation is situational. Good or bad times influence the ratio.

    Over time the majority has tended to be center right. That’s what I consider myself. Democrats must agree. Consider how President Obama campaigned. Though he left hints to the contrary, he presented himself as a moderate.

    Rahm Emanuel recruited Democrats who were almost like Republicans and they became the Blue Dog Democrats Maxine Waters and others complained about during the health care bill debate. If he had thought the country was basically liberal, he would have spoken to more people of the left.

    I agree that liberal enclaves tend to hold more people in a smaller geographical area than do conservative sections. Like the black man in Harlem, both tend to regard themselves as the norm. My subjective opinion is both are wrong. Moderates hold the majority, though circumstances are pushing more to the right.

    The Tea Party has become a powerful inchoate grass roots movement with no counterpart on the other side. That is another sign to support my view. The Democrats have a huge majority, but they have struggled to pass their legislation because I believe a majority opposes it.

    I have seen no signs to convince me I am wrong. The Democrats are swimming against a strong current. Were most Republicans not such clueless wonders and Tea Partiers less ideological, Democrats would be swept into minority status this go round.

    I agree boys are more than augmented girls, but I was already taking so much space I became simplistic.

    I think porn may serve a social purpose. Men are programed to spread their genes as far afield as they can. They are more visual because as hunters their genes tell them to watch the terrain. They care more about spreading their seed to as many as possible than about the personalities of their partners. Women are programed to select the best genetic material for their offspring. It is in their interest to have a loyal mate to protect and provide for. They are less visual because they need someone who will support them. Personality becomes more important. Moreover, a sexual encounter is much more expensive for a woman than a man. It is in her genetic interest to be more careful and slow. The goals of both genders work at cross purposes. In our society, filanderers are condemned especially if they are married. Porn is a virtual affair with multiple women society won’t let men have.

    Studies have shown men range from monogamous to Charlie of Two and a Half Men. Women too. Women are sometimes attracted to “bad boys” but after pregnancy they better like safer men. That would make biological sense.

    The other obvious explaination for porn is as you stated. Some men are socially inept.

    I read that some womens’ sex drives improve in their forties. Maybe that explains cougars. Older men and younger women are acceptable. Why not the reverse?

  216. Jim — of course I know a man isn’t a modified woman or whatever. I was just joking w/ James, who said men were women with something extra. “Men are women without the ability to multi-task” may have been a better joke.

    I would rather he go for the girl than the porn. Once he goes for the porn (and I don’t mean the occasional porn, which all people enjoy, male and female), he won’t come back. Our obsession with marital fidelity is dysfunctional. It’s one of the ideas our culture instilled, but I was never able to throw off, to my detriment. I hope my kids are more sensible.

    Poolman, good points about porn as an addiction. In all my years, I have never, never met someone who spent hours reading / surfing for porn, and had even a passably decent family relationship.

    Therefore, I would rather he go for the girl. At least you know he’s still in the human game.

  217. This article by Gordon Duff is good and reinterates that we need to beware of god’s army in our midst. The dominionists will take this country down if we aren’t vigilant.

    As far as porn goes….men will defend their “right” to enjoy it until the sun no longer shines upon the earth, IMO. Denying it hurts anything or affects relationships is the common opinion among them, but that doesn’t line up with reality. Like other addictions, some people are more susceptible. The results affect perceptions and relationships from subtle to extreme. Few, if any, are positive or healthy. The fact that many “normal” or “family-type” people are involved does not change that. Of course, from a capitalist perspective – porn/sex sells and is profitable. But then, so is war contracting.

  218. Rae -

    Apologies – I didn’t see that anonymous was you.

    re: porn. I think it is a great thing. Here are some of my observations, and the opinions are mine alone; I don’t presume to speak for anyone else.

    I believe men are far more stimulated by visual input. That is generally accepted as true and in my case absolutely true. Women in my experience are less so – and more stimulated by more subtle things – and at a slower pace. A guy who can temporarily hide that throbbing erection long enough to play the head game will never sleep alone, in my experience.

    Secondly, porn is a good substitute because not all guys know how to play the boy-meets-girl game. Lack of confidence is most of it, and that is itself such a turn-off to women that it becomes a self-reinforcing thing. Good looks help a man moderately, but regardless, if you can do the head game, the sex is yours for the taking. For those other guys, porn fills the gap.

    Thirdly, I believe women are in general less interested in sex and – importantly – the longer they go without, the less it bothers them. Men are exactly the opposite; the longer they are abstinent the more it becomes an obsession. Once again, porn fills the need.

    Fourthly, after about forty, most women can take sex or leave it. Absolutely not true for men untll they are ninety. The women who are good sports will still put out and do enjoy it once the ball, so to speak, gets rolling. The smart ones may hope it goes away, but don’t refuse their partners anyhow, and as I said, are good sports, because for men the urge only gets stronger with denial. You can recognize those women who stop f-ing their husbands by the lack of a ring on their fourth left finger – my ex-wife of 26 years is one of them. (There is no job security nowadays – one of the casualties of modern sex.)

    Why do many women dislike porn? Aside from not being personally interested, it is a union-buster. Men just need the relief much of the time, and when they don’t get it at home, they will either get in from porn or from some other woman who is perfectly willing to bust the women’s union for her own benefit. What your momma told you about “What a man doesn’t find at home he will find elsewhere” is 100 percent true. Believe me, I know.

    For your own partner, which of the above would you prefer he do, the porn or the girl?

    Just my five cents’ worth. Comments?

    Jim

  219. James and Rae -

    I believe the idea that boys are just augmented girls or some variant on that theme is far too simplistic. The development of the sexes is extremely complicated, and we now know that the chromosomes are only part of the story in genetic expression and do not carry all the genetic data. Remember, this organism developed more or less haphazardly, and when the truth is eventually discovered it almost certainly won’t fit even remotely our desires for neat, compartmentalized and simple explanations.

    Rae – once again, the idea that giving men estrogens makes them more like women is too simplistic. Some things, yes. Some no. Many things are set in place and welded long ago and pouring estrogen on them only screws them up but does not convert them to the “other.” It’s like acromegaly – if you give growth hormone after the bones stop growing and the physes have fused, you get a grotesque monster, not just a tall fella.

    Rae – re: overstimulation and ADD. My wife lived with the Amish for a while when she was younger. Know what the incidence of ADD is in Amish? It is nearly unheard of. It’s been shown that the brain is very plastic early on and can be permanently altered physically by external stimuli. Cover a kitten’s eyes for six weeks after birth and they are permanently blind. I wonder if the hyperstimulatory, flash-flash-flash TV shows like Powerpuff Girls doesn’t program the brain to search that kind of stimulus out. Don’t underestimate the estrogen-like substances in the environment, either. Most of the stuff goes that into the animals we eat is related chemically to the estrogens and the excess they pee out goes into the water cycle. Oral contraceptive and other products eventually go into the water. The dose required for effect is vanishingly small. I really wonder…

    anonymous – Why do men like porn? Because it’s fun. Why do you like sex? If you tried to explain why to an alien, they would say, “Why in the world would anybody find that fun?” Because it is hardwired. Why do people like feet or bondage or spanking? Because they are wired to be excited by it. In my former life as an EE, I had the opportunity to go to AdultDex in Las Vegas. I found the adult webmasters to be – almost to the last person – nice, good people, with families. (Not Max Hardcore – he’s an ass). They provide something fun to people who want it. No harm done.

    Poolman – why have men traditionally dominated women? Two reasons: They are physically far stronger and women could not until now control their fertility. Get effective family planning in any country and the women will blossom. (Listening, Iraq, Iran, Saudi, Afghanistan?)

    Sorry for the somewhat disjointed post. I’m working alone this week and don’t have time to proofread much.

    Jim

  220. James, of course I recognize you, where ever you have been is of no difference, but when you present political viewpoints, you always make the assumption that the conservative midwestern viewpoint is the majority viewpoint. I have lived throughout the United States, including the midwest and let me assure you the Red states march to slower tempo than the other regions of the country. So when you generalize using regional examples it means very little as far as the larger picture, both coasts which are more populated than your area and the majority of people who live there are far more liberal. That rather screws up your conclusions on current public opinion when you base them upon your neighbors’ reactions. We liberal types on this blog are closer to the majority, if not indeed the actual majority, than you seem to realize.

  221. No ones puppet. When I was in college I read an essay that stayed with me. A black man who grew up in Harlem wrote that as a child, he believed his race was country’s most numerous. He saw mostly black people and interaction with whites was rare. He didn’t learn the truth until he left home. I felt the same way about farmers until I left home. We tend to think our little group is most numerous, especially if everyone we know is like us.

    I have been in most of our states and the Canadian provinces. I know my way around London, Paris, Geneva, and other cities. You can take the boy out of the heartland but you can’t take the heartland out of the boy.

    Listen to an old T Rex song. I helped a band that looked a lot like them set up when I lived in Essex, UK. They had a mean sax like T Rex, and a similar sound. Listen to the opening guitar in Bang A Gong. It is straight from southern rock a billie- the heartland thousands of miles from its original home.

    Rae the concept of adding something to make a male is what I learned in school. It is harder to create a male than a female. In the beginning the fetus is basically female. Only when the testosterzone kicks in does the fetus become male. A lot can go wrong. The timing may cause biological errors and may contribute to gender problems in boys or girls if hormones fail to flood the brain at the right time.

    Intersex people illustrate that males are the model constructed from the female design. One condition features a few XY males who’s cells can not react to male hormones though they can be producing as much as any super male. They are born looking like girls, and without a genetic test the condition may not be discovered until their teens. They spend their lives as non -fertile women.

    Some girls are born X0. No boys have a comparable condition to my knowledge. You can not live without an X chromosome. The Y chromosome is smaller than the X and it has fewer fail safe parts to prevent genetic problems.
    Some scientists believe the Y chromosome has shrunk over millions of years as the X takes over more genetic duties.

    As “Generations of Adam” implies, males were created to be the protectors and providers.When boys are rambunctious, they, like young wolves are practicing for when they will be hunters and warriors. If they manage to help create the next generation, it doesn’t matter. Males are expendable.

    I don’t feel under siege. I am one of the lucky ones born with traits which let me thrive in many different situations. Many men do feel theatened though.

    I agree we need to find a solution to the problem. I think as you wrote, societal and technological change has created an environment more congenial to women than men. There is considerable variablability with extremes of both sexes, but men and women are programed differently.

    We are changing the culture to be more congenial to women while neglecting the genetic differences between the sexes. Until we take into account innate gender differences the problem will worsen. Maybe separate schools for boys and girls is a good start. I don’t know.
    We are conducting an experiment on ourselves, and the outcome is unknown.

    Lysenko may have been partly right. Tests show attention spans shortening. Watch a modern movie and compare it to one made seventy years ago.

    A public television documentary discussed research done on a Swedish town near the Arctic circle. The towns people kept detailed records of births, deaths, diseases and crop yields. Researchers confirmed that longevity tends to run in families but they were also surprised.

    Men who survived famine when they were approaching puberty produced grand sons who lived much longer than average. If they were well fed during that age, their grand sons tended to die earlier. They were also four times as likely to have diabetes than grand children who ancestors suffered through a time of hunger. Women were exempt.

    Women who were pregnant during famine produced grand daughters who tended to die sooner and if they were well-fed, their grand daughters lived longer.

    Later experiments with rats showed effects lasting six or more generations. The conclusions were that while our genes may not change much from generation to generation, the environment will induce the body to create chemicals which influence how the genes dictate to the body.

    Letting estrogen make men and boys more like women is a bad idea. While it may soften some male attitudes, it puts them more at risk for some diseases, and they are less fertile.

    I have not understood porn since we watched Mexican movies in the service. They were hard core and they sickened me.

    I agree with Craig. Humor helps diffuse hostility.

  222. That anonymous response was from me. Rae

  223. An interesting book you mention there, poolman. Can’t say I’ve done any Kabbalah study, so this was new to me. It was written in 1600 by Isaiah Horowitz, a Jewish scholar born in Prague. It wasn’t translated to English until the mid-1990s. I guess it was written as an introduction to a larger work. It uses the “Generations of Adam,” basically Adam’s “descendants” as a framework for discussion of all kinds of ethical and moral and anthropological topics.

    You can read a good portion of it on Amazon.com, if you want to. I didn’t get as far as the relationships between men and women that poolman mentions, but I did read a part in the biographical section that noted Horowitz’s need to get a second wife after his first wife died, because of the rabbinical teaching that a marital relationship was essential for full spiritual practice. I had forgotten about that aspect of orthodox / hassidic teaching.

    Anyway, interesting stuff, even for an atheist. Thanks for sharing.

    I forgot about pornography, too, which says something. What guy would have forgotten about that? It is the #1 use of the Internet. Good grief, guys, is that what you want out of life? Online pornography and a life-like rubber doll? Someone please explain to me how so many men choose to go that route. How can they choose a life without meaning over one with?

  224. There is a book called the “Generations of Adam” which is supposed to be the written account started by Adam and referred to in Genesis 5:1 that apparently has been missing for a great deal of time. It’s translation is now available and if you read the account, women and men were equal in the beginning – and representative of their creator(s) who was both male and female.

    When they left paradise, women were weaker and men eventually exploited that. That has been the trend ever since. Historic records were primarily kept by men and women were not generally included, unless it could not be avoided. Cleopatra and Queen of Sheba, to name a few, made the history books, but men were considered more important. The “myths” regarding a society of fierce women warriors has basically been shown as based in fact. Many women were leaders and influential in scriptural accounts, serving as leaders and even priests.

    In today’s modern society, we have s l o w l y let women into all the areas from which they were formerly restricted. As a whole, they have always been more inclusive and preservative in nature – maybe due to the childbearing role they play.

    Men have been self-serving for the most part, and have been able to exercise their preferences over society due to their physical dominance and rule. Most of the distractions in today’s society are geared toward the male psyche. Sports and entertainment, clubs and organizations were mainly geared toward men. That is – until recently. Women are now nearing equalty in opportunities and stature in many countries.

    Because of that, women are beginning to experience much of the same physical ailments formerly associated with men. Cases of heart disease and stress-related ailments are on the rise in females as they do more “mens’ work.” Whether women can govern better than men is debatable. A Sarah Palin with nuke codes scares me slightly more than McCain having those same codes. I still think we need to consider the person, and not the sex. Good or evil can manipulate both at any given time, IMO.

    But the video games primarily “hook” males. Like the “lost generation” in Japan, so involved in a virtual world that they cannot cope in the real one. And look to the multi-billion dollar porn industry. It hooks mostly males and becomes extremely addictive, leaving them with an unhealthy perception of women. Add to that the way we decimated the black family unit during our recent history, and you get an overall weakened male populace.

  225. I love it that we’re all still leaving our comments. I hope Helen will post soon. She inspired me to
    start my own blog as well. If you’re reading this and want to check out my latest post, it’s here:
    http://www.gimmethetruth.wordpress.com
    Hope to see you there. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think…Thanks!

  226. What the heck does nature “add” to make males? That’s an odd comment, James. Thought you guys were just missing one arm on a chromosome. “Under seige” may be what it feels like, but what’s happening is that boys and men are failing, or at least they aren’t succeeding at the levels women are, and I think it would be a good idea for all of us to figure out why. Unless we want to get to the point where men are all just cannon fodder, that is. Not what I would recommend.

    I don’t have very much experience with kids outright failing in school. Mine hated school, but did ok, and did better once they made it to college. As you know, I do have some opinions about education, and how it is failing all kids, but especially boys.

    Who says kids that can’t sit still in little rows for hours at a time should be medicated so they can? Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the kids, there’s something wrong with school. Maybe kids should be doing things, physical things, and they learn better that way. Maybe we should be teaching biology outside, in the woods. Maybe kids should be cleaning old tires out of streams instead of filling out “worksheets” and turning them in.

    And “cubicle land?” Is that really an appropriate way for people to be working? Maybe there’s something wrong with how we are doing things, not something wrong with young men and women. OK, women are better at that than men, but I can’t believe it’s good for anybody.

    And being bombarded with visual stimulation? I had a friend who said twenty years ago that if virtual reality got good enough, no one would both with the real thing anymore. I poo-poo’d his comment at the time, but now I’m wondering. Maybe it isn’t good for people to watch television and play video games for hours at a time. Maybe it does something to our brains, and maybe to the brains of boys more than girls, that makes us tune out.

    As for estrogen-like substances in the environment, I am aware of this and concerned about it, absolutely, but don’t think it really explains the widening achievement gap between men and women. After all, giving estrogen to men should make them more like women, and should result in a narrowing gap. Maybe there’s some mechanism I haven’t considered, though. That said, it’s another thing we have to stop doing.

    Here’s what I want to know: why is it that when women move into the workforce, productivity goes up? (Average productivity, not just the total number of people producing, which is trivial.) My daughter says it’s socialization — guys are socially programmed to goof off and play, women to please, so they work harder. Will things even out when women no longer have to work so hard to prove themselves? Or, as the author of the article stated, is it that the “natural” skills women have are more in demand in the workplace today? And if so, what does that mean for us all?

    Thoughts?

  227. Rae,
    If we or us cannot laugh at ourselves and our predicaments then what is there?

    I mean is it not a joke about Mrs. Obama going to Spain… taking AF ONE, daughters,friends and security staff to a five star hotel outside the U.S. and booking 50 some odd rooms?
    What hotel in the U.S. would not want that business. She just had a vacation in Maine last week. Went to Gulf Shores week before that and Chicago right after school was out..

    So The joke is on the American people. At least Shrub just went to his ranch in Crawford.

  228. I just got home and didn’t update the site, so maybe others have responded to Professor53. He touches an other issue I don’t remember the article covered.

    Yes, estrogen- like substances are polluting our environment, and schools are more girl than boy friendly. The Omaha World Herald prints a summary of the region’s top graduating students. The majority of scholarships go to girls, and more girls than boys graduate at the top of their classes. It would be interesting to study trends over the past fifty years and to compare changing school and societal environments.

    Another reason males are under siege is the human baseline is female. Nature adds something to make a male, and more things can go wrong in the process.

  229. James, it is good that you remind us the heartland exists, but don’t be so provincial, try to see the rest of the country from your porch once in awhile.

  230. Rae -

    One more thing. My wife and I have discussed the state of the world a long time, and I mean this sincerely: I am ready to give the women a chance to run it; they couldn’t possibly do as bad a job as we have. And if they have children, so much the better; they will run it IMHO with an eye toward those children’s futures, something we, frankly, haven’t done.

    Jim

  231. Rae, my use of “regime” in the same sentence as Tea Party was nothing more than a little dig at people like Lori who use “bagger.” I think Chris Mathews was the first to call Bush’s administration a “regime, ” and Rush Limbaugh began to use it in reference to Obama to illustrate the Democrats’ disrespect of Bush. In real life, I think it is as disrespectful as bagger.

    I agree “conservative” and “liberal” are anything one wants to make them, but for the purpose of this discussion, I’m using them.

    A poll commissioned by James Carville etc. is only the latest sign that I am right the electorate is more conservative than the present Democratic leadership. A blog called Hot Air discusses the poll.

    71% of Missouri voters voted to reject the federal mandate to buy health insurance. Other states are suing the federal government. A majority also supports Arizona’s anti -illegal immigrant law. The Democrats’ failing fortunes come not from their being too conservative, but for voters’ fear of growing deficites, future higher taxes, and intrusive government. In a word, their liberality. I do know a man who thinks Obama is too conservative, but people like that are in the minority.

    We subscribe to Atlantic, so I have read the article. As a man who likes women, I wasn’t sure what I would find . Your daughter’s comment made me laugh. As Homer Simpson would say, “its funny because its true.”

    I disagree with the writer’s saying data doesn’t back up the contention the absence of fathers has little influence on the ultimate success of their children. There is too much evidence to the contrary.

    The author makes a good point about the changing nature of employment. Our society no longer needs the manly brawn to the degree it once did. Increasingly large numbers of jobs need verbal and negotiating skills traditionally associated with women.

    This recession has destroyed or exported more traditionally male than female jobs, and women often gain the economic upper hand. More women are investing in higher education and they find the pool of elegable bachelors increasingly smaller.

    This process has been happening in some black communities for years. Welfare laws and greater fear of black men than of black women has reduced the chances poor black men will find good jobs. They have created a defensive culture which often disdains higher education and thinking white.

    Black women are forced to take the traditional male role and hold the family together. Biological and social roles have put men in the role of protector and women as managers of resources and creators of the home atmosphere. Now, more white women are facing the prospect that they may have to play more of what we view as the husband’s role.

    I don’t think this is the end of men, nor does the author. I don’t think women will rule the board rooms and men will stay home to care for the children, not that there is anything wrong with that. I was primary care giver of our pre- school children during winter on the farm.

    As the economy improves traditionally male labor jobs will return, but I think men with verbal skills and determination will be more successful than other males. Men will need to adapt to changing circumstances as women have done.

    I believe our species is more comfortable with the role of male as protector (even if it is fiction sometimes) of the family because biologically, it was best for the more expendable male to die defending the hearth. It may be a fiction, but I think it will remain.

    Otherwise we may turn out like Two and a Half Men, two hapless guys who have been victimized by women all of their lives. LOL.

  232. Rae -

    This is something I’ve been concerned about for a long time. As I am sure you know, there is considerable concern for estrogen-like substances in plastics and their effect on boys. And since the body manufactures specific receptors for hormones, it takes only a few molecules to have an effect.

    In my son’s graduating high school class, ten of the top ten students were girls. Many, many of the male children I know are on Adderall and all are of course poor students. It’s really disheartening. The boys I know are all poorly motivated, many addicted to videogames, absolutely aimless. Are you familiar with the “lost boys” of Japan?

    Jim

  233. Enough with war. From now on I refuse to support any candidate who does not take a stand against further funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m going to let my dollars and my vote do the talking for me.

    And, to turn the conversation from war, I am going to throw a bomb onto the porch.

    I ambled over to the library yesterday (it’s a few blocks away) and picked up Atlantic Monthly, or as I call it Atlantic Every Once in Awhile.

    And I read an article called The End of Men. Read it here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/

    Now, for the record, I like men. I’ve always worked with men, because my profession is a mostly-male one. If we are seeing the “end of men,” that makes me unhappy. And a little worried about the “opposite and equal reaction.” However, the article cites some interesting statistics.

    So, I texted my sounding-board daughter, the about-to-graduate college student. Her response was “Yeah, have heard this stuff before. Lots of cultural stuff affecting everything. And anyway, I don’t care, I’m not giving mine up.”

    I suggested she read the article, which she did, and she came back with a joke (post-feminism is so interesting): “Well, most women get ahead by leveraging their sexuality. That’s why attractive women succeed where plain ones don’t. And that isn’t going to work if there aren’t men in charge, so I say let’s keep them. LOL”

    Anyway, for something new to talk about, why don’t we read the article and see what we think is really going on?

  234. James, some of your comments are good, but the one about the “present regime” being less conservative than most people is actually false. If you ask people how they feel about specific issues, their responses are rather consistently more progressive than the positions taken by the administration.

    The fact that they call themselves “conservative” is pretty meaningless when their positions on issues are not. The words “conservative” and “liberal” when used in the public forum are just another form of name calling. It’s bad guy-good guy, us vs. them.

    I remember a study a few years ago where ordinary people were asked to read some material and then identify it. What they read was the Bill of Rights. The most commonly-selected answer (multiple choice, of course, only recently naturalized citizens can actually answer questions like this without help) was “The Communist Manifesto.” I’m sure those folks would call themselves proponents of freedom, liberty, etc., and, Jesus aside, they were rabidly anti-communist. However, if you ask them to read anything that pertains to those freedoms, they think it’s something sinister. Too hard to understand, so it must be communist? Not sure. Anyway, the words are used, not for their meaning, but for their emotional power. Semantic vs. evaluative meaning and all that. Conservative, liberal, progressive, blah, blah, blah.

    I am disappointed that the administration has compromised so much on its progressive agenda, but understand that although most of the people in the country support the changes being proposed, there are powerful forces aligned against them. So our “democracy” must balance people’s wishes against corporate power, people against money. It is sad, though.

    Craig, you are being silly. All presidents travel, and they travel with their families. All are treated in a manner befitting their position. Our president has canceled several trips due to the steady stream of crises he’s had to deal with. Expenditures for travel by this administration are small compared to others. Don’t get me started on the topic of how many days of “vacation” our last president took, as opposed to the number President Obama is taking.

    If it bugs you so much that he gets to travel, why don’t you get on Priceline, bid on a round-trip flight, and get yourself to Spain? Hostels are cheap.

  235. WoW..and at our expense…
    $$$Mrs. Obama ,children and a few close friends go to Malaga Spain for a vacation.
    Air Force One,60 rooms for security detail and those few close friends.$$$
    Must be nice.
    What economic downturn?$

    You would have thought they could have spent their Dollars in the United States.$$$

    “US First Lady Michelle Obama and her nine-year-old daughter Sasha arrived Wednesday on Spain’s Mediterranean coast for a vacation with friends at a luxury hotel where they have booked 60 rooms.
    The pair and their entourage arrived at the Hotel Villa Padierna in the hills above the resort town of Marbella, a haunt for the rich and famous, aboard a cavalcade of vehicles. They had flown to Malaga on a US air force plane.
    President Barack Obama, who celebrates his 49th birthday on Wednesday, has stayed behind in the United States as did the couple’s elder daughter, 12-year-old Malia, who is attending a summer camp.
    The White House has described the four-day visit as “a private, mother-daughter trip with longtime family friends”.
    Michelle Obama was however scheduled to meet Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at their summer palace on the Balearic island of Majorca, a short flight from Marbella.
    Spanish media reported the visit with the Spanish royals could come this weekend.
    The US First Lady will visit the city of Granada, the former seat of Moorish rule in Spain which is located some 180 kilometres (110 miles) north of Marbella, on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the municipality told AFP.
    She will take in the Alhambra fortress-palace, Spain’s most-visited tourist attraction, as well the city’s cathedral and the hilltop Albaicin quarter of narrow alleyways and small squares, the spokeswoman added.
    Earlier on Wednesday the hotel’s owner Ricardo Arranz told public radio RNE that the Obamas had reserved 60 rooms at the hotel for themselves, their friends and their extensive secret service detail.
    “Everything is ready,” he added.
    In recent days local officials have had roads re-paved, gardens tidied up and new streets lights installed while the hotel has flown a US flag at its entrance in the Obama’s honour.
    Dozens of photographers and reporters have staked out the entrance to the five-star hotel, where rates for a room run from 250 euros for a room to 5,000 euros (6,500 dollars) for a villa with 24-hour butler service and private pool and garden.
    An Italian palazzo-style building about five kilometres (three miles) from the coast, the hotel has five restaurants, a spa and access to three 18-hole golf courses.

  236. James -

    I think your assessment of war is spot-on.

    We somehow need to get these wars stopped. The Afghans don’t want us there and they are either going to make their own government or they are not; we are not going to nation-build in our own image. I say let them be, unless they begin exporting violence to our own country – then crush the military and come home – again. They’ll get the message. We need to keep our noses out of other people’s business. Ditto Iraq.

    Here, the US govt has done its homework. There is no draft, so there is no energy behind an anti-war movement. The soldiers are “volunteers” and everybody conveniently ignores them and the govt can use the military as it sees fit. A state of perpetual war. It has to stop.

    I think Rae’s comment about how the Chinese must be pretty amused by our missteps is right on the money, and I don’t think Obama has the plan we need. Sometimes you just have to stop digging. Today. Now.

    Jim

  237. Craig’s observation about comedic attacks on Obama and the Democrats is right on. The Light Master’s luster is fading. The average American is more conservative than our present “Regime”, and what the Tea Party helped start is spreading.

    The recent revelations about conduct of our two wars held few surprises to anyone with a sense of history. Records of the other side would tell a similar tale. War is Hell, no matter how you fight, and if you go to war, you owe it to yourself to do everything to win.

    If the drones Obama likes kill more people and save our soldiers’ lives, so be it. Give no quarter. Otherwise you extend the suffering and sacrifice even more lives. War should be a last resort when no other options are available.

    Rae and Craig, the war dead did not give their lives to a cause, nor did anyone sacrifice them. They are merely tools of national policy, and most people give them little thought. Governments do hope their tools survive because it costs a lot of money to find and train replacements. Their lives were stolen from them through bad luck and their own mistakes.

    Once in a while combatants “Reach out in the Darkness.” During WW1, some Germans began singing Christmas carols and allied troops in the trench not far away heard them. They counter sang, and soon emesaries, from both sides met. They agreed to stop fighting during the Christmas season, and some exchanged Christmas gifts. They put up and decorated a Christmas tree in No Man’s Land, and the soldiers their governments declared to be enemies played soccer.

    Eventually, their leaders heard what was happening and came to investigate. Germans and British put on a good show as they fired their weapons wide of the mark until their officers left. Eventually, commanders transferred all of the offending allied soldiers far away and the war continued as it was meant to.

    “Reach out in the darkness…and you may find a friend. I knew a man that I did not care for. And then one day, that man gave me a call. We sat and talked about things on our minds. And now this man, he is a friend of mine. Reach out in the darkness.”..whether it is in a fire fight, Congress… or on this message board.

  238. Jean, thanks for a great read. I love learning something new. Yummy stuff.

    Craig, here we go with the jokes again. Didn’t we have enough trouble when we talked about the psychology of humor? I know he scares you, that you feel white men are being marginalized (at least they aren’t enjoying their position of unearned privilege and entitlement anymore). Deal with it.

  239. Hi Congenial Gang,

    While we are hanging out waiting for a new post from M&H, I thought I would chat with you a bit and stir things up regarding everybody’s favorite topics to argue about, Religion and Politics. I’m doing this mostly off the top of my head, so feel free to jump in.

    Since forever, there is this truism:

    “Cuius regio eius religio.” – “the religion of the region must be that of the ruler”. (Rae, please verify my Latin spelling.) Remember the famous recent quote, “I think God wants me to be president.” With a little help from Carl Rove et al, GWB was!

    I have always thought it is interesting that myths and superstitions are somebody ELSE’s religion. In 2006, we took a cruise around the Aegean Sea from Istanbul, Turkey down the Greek Isles to Crete and back up to Athens. Before and after the trip, I researched quite a bit of the history of that vast region. From our hotel window in Athens we could see the Acropolis up on the hill. It was a spectacular sight but I told my ‘Boy Toy’ there is NO WAY we are gonna be able to climb up there to see it up close and personal. Surprisingly though, we did it! There was a winding path about 12 feet wide with HANDRAILS. No steps. It had a very gentle upward slope so we made it fine. But all about the Acropolis is another story.

    Right now I want to talk about Crete. All around the Mediterranean, the mythology of the religions of Crete, Greece, and later Rome has tales of BULLS. They may have originated with a very ancient religion called Mithraism and its story of the Creation. If I started telling you about it, you would be convinced that I was hitting the White Zin pretty hard or smoking something funny. It’s that wild and crazy a tale, starting with a bull.

    Did you ever hear about the ‘Minotaur’ on Crete? Half-bull and half-human, the story of its conception is even wilder! The ‘Minotaur’ was kept in an elaborate labyrinth. It required a yearly diet of seven boys and seven girls sent to it as tribute from Greece. Plato wrote about it.

    You really ought to Google Mithraism. That religion persisted well into the Christian Era. Many of the ‘pagan’ soldiers in the ROMAN army opposing the ROMAN army of Constantine worshiped Mithra. When Constantine triumphed and became sole Emperor, Christianity became the Law of the Land. Of course, you all know that Constantine was the first Christian Roman Emperor and was responsible for the conversion from ‘paganism’ to Christianity. “Cuius regio eius religio.” – again.

    Meanwhile way back when in Crete, their ‘pagan’ religion had taken an interesting turn, again about bulls. The frescos on the ruins of the walls of the palace at Knossos show a sport the people had, sort of vaulting over the horns of the bull. (You might also want to Google ‘Knossos’)

    Wherever people go they always take their religious and cultural traditions with them. Eventually, the ‘bull thing’ may or may not have wound up in Spain as bull fighting. Transported by the Conquistadores of Spanish Imperialism, Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries continue the fine art (?) of bull fighting.

    Ancient Crete was a highly developed Civilization. Hey, they had running water and flush toilets! Crete was also a more or less contemporary of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization. Both had a written language. The Egyptian language of the hieroglyphic “Rosetta Stone” was eventually deciphered by the Frenchman Champollin in 1822. The language of Crete is contained on clay tablets known as the “Phaestos Disc.” If and when it is deciphered it will be an enormous achievement in archeology and history. But it will take years to sort it all out.

    I was going to draw a parallel between an interesting theory involving Crete, Ancient Egypt and Moses leading his people out of bondage but I’ve run out of KBs. The theory can either reconcile religion and science or tear them further apart, depending on your point of view. Maybe sometime later.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  240. Wow, someone killed all their brain cells, better layoff the sauce.

  241. You know the honeymoon is over when the comedians start in on you!

    The liberals are asking us to give Obama time.
    We agree, and think 25 to life would be appropriate. -Jay Leno

    America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask. -Jay
    Leno

    Q: Have you heard about McDonald’s’ new Obama Value Meal?
    A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.
    -Conan O’Brien

    Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
    A: A fund raiser. -Jay Leno

    Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary?
    A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society.
    The other is for housing prisoners. -David Letterman

    Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and
    it started to sink, who would be saved?
    A: America! -Jimmy Fallon

    Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
    A: Bo has papers. -Jimmy Kimmel

    Q: What was the most positive result of the “Cash for Clunkers” program?
    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. -David Letterman

  242. Jim: un peu pas

    Craig: They didn’t give their lives, we sacrificed them. As for Lohan, she’s another sacrifice, to the public appetite for tragedy.

    Poolman: yes, but I believe we can say no and should. It is a moral imperative.

  243. Hello everyone. I tried posting yesterday, but apparently it didn’t take – must not have liked the link I posted from Truthdig regarding Howard Zinn. This thread is getting ridiculously long. I don’t think we have had this long of a time lapse between postings, either. I pray Helen and family are okay. I don’t like not knowing anything.

    As far as wars go, we will likely be at war from here on out. War on drugs, war on terror, war on illegals, etc. It is a means to an end. We’ve been trying to instigate a war with Iran for some time now. The manipulators of truth will get us there, as it is part of the overall plan. After examining the historical documents, none of these conflicts and wars have been justified – not since WWII – and even that has been proven we allowed Pearl Harbor to happen so we would get the support of the public to go to war.

    I was all “gung ho” USA during the first Gulf war and impressed with all the technology we employed with the “smart” weapons. Now that we can go back and examine much of the documentation through the FOIA, it is kind of cheesy to know we baited Saddam and told him to go into Kuwait for his oil and we that would look the other way. And he believed us. That was his mistake. Believing in anything that we said was his doom. We set them up, we knock ‘em down.

    We have raised up our generation of warriors and given them the technology to kill without moral consequence. Video games have been a large part of the training. With this economy, we have plenty signing up.

    So, though it is tragic that we are losing soldiers to battle, the greater tragedy is we are even in these countries to begin with, destroying civilians, lands, and property. And we leave permanent reminders of the damage with the type of weaponry we use. Add to that the PTSD and include the suicide rate that is WAY up in the military right now. If you really believe we should support our troops, bring them home. Give them therapy. Take care of them.

  244. Just a reminder!!!!!!!!!

    Today is election day in Michigan! Polls close @ 8 pm.

    (Kansas and Missouri too. I don’t think we have any porch dwellers left from those states though.) ;(

    wwwwwaving to Auntie Jean and delurker…. all! I am still in TX but doing a little GOTV work from a distance! LOL Please don’t forget to vote!

  245. Rae,
    Have friends who live in St. Louis.
    North and west up near ..”old St Louis”

    They lived and loved it in DFW area until their jobs ran out.
    They are complaining of the heat and humidity.
    I was there for Christmas and it was nice and warm.
    We had a White Christmas at home in Texas and rain in St Louis..Is that weird or what?

  246. Lindsay Lohan, 24, got her name and face all over the various news media because she went to jail, last week.

    Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27, are all Marines that gave their lives last week.

  247. Rae -

    Yes, it’s still there. I had my first helicopter ride there a long time ago in a Bell 47 – the bubble heli you see in M.A.S.H.

    Saw Doc MANY years ago at WVU Coliseum. I learned to play “Black Mountain Rag” on the guitar by watching him. Vassar was also one of my favorite musicians ever. Gone now. Goddamned cigarettes. Probably my favorite bluegrass piece of all time is “Steam Powered Aereo-plain” as played by John, Vassar, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Tony Rice et al on an old TNN feed.

    I expect this clip to be taken down any day for copyright infringement.

    Jim

  248. Rae -

    Armed only with your wits? C’mon, now…Not since I was twenty have I considered a female armed with wits anything less formidable than an Ohio-class submarine. Remember, this ain’t my first rodeo.

    Yellowstone? I love the cold. I think I am the only person in my town that can ski. Very, very interesting. My fantasy is to get snowed in Yellowstone.

    Bow and boat…hmmm….gotta think about that one.

    As for kicking arses, and arses in general, etc…you can figure out something about me, too. Speak any French?

    Jim

  249. P.S. Used to make it to Ripley every July. Saw Doc Watson & Vassar Clements there. Is it still going on, Jim?

  250. Craig – wrong. I lived in St. Louis for 3 years, and thought I was going to die the whole time. Wasn’t comfortable until December. Kept my coat in storage the whole time. Florida: my idea of hell. Yellowstone in the middle of winter: my idea of heaven.

    Jim – half way between the bow and the boat.

    I’m mostly nervous about crazies, which is why I am somewhat protective of my identity. I am a single woman, armed only with my wits. ;-D

    As for arse-kicking, yes, of course I know. Bring it on.

  251. Rae -

    “So where do you think I’m from? Should I tell you whether I say “soda” or “pop” or “soda pop”?”

    Too many variables, too few equations. If I could hear you say “about” and “Minnesota” I could come pretty close, though.

    I certainly understand the “being identified” problem. My wife and I locally well-known and are politically active. Although she has had an Internet business for a long time and is quite savvy about protecting her identity, she left only one bread crumb years ago and got herself “outed” some time back by a political hack. No harm done, but really lets you know to be careful. I don’t have the temperament to have right-wingers picketing my driveway and my state has a poor sense of humor about personal assault, so we keep a low profile.

    I google my name about once every two to three weeks; fortunately there is a very popular and old site that has my name in its url and all the hits go there. Last year I opened a Facebook account at the behest of one of my wife’s friends so I could see pictures of her kids; the next day I was contacted by a girl from my high school class, wondering what I was doing and wanting to “get together.” Jesus, the girls are forward these days, aren’t they? I closed the account three minutes later. No Myspace or Twitter accts either, so I understand your concern.

    And, by the way, the comment that “I would tell you, but that would make it too easy to identify me” did not pass unnoticed. It tells me that you have enough at stake to be careful, and out of respect for that, I will trouble you no further on this issue.

    (However, I’ll still kick your arse when I can, and expect no less from you. It’s an academic thing and a matter of pride, you know…LOL)

    Jim

  252. Rae,
    South of the Mason Dixon line.

    Jim,
    I agree about Iraq and the second war with Saddam.

    Jean,
    Interesting how you didn’t respond to my Aug 2 8:48 posting..Why not?

    “Hey Jean,
    You probably had nightmares after “Fail Safe” the 1964 movie about early issues dealing with a nuclear armed Russia and the possibility of not being able to recall bombers on their way to Russia. Thus leaving actor/ President Henry Fonda with the apologetic bombing of New York as a “my bad” for the mistaken bombing of Moscow.
    Then there was the comedy of of Dr. Strangelove,
    which also came out that same year.
    Actually Strangelove had better box office results.
    You throw the term “American Imperialism” around as if to compare us to WWII Japan.”

  253. Where were you when …

    I watched the towers come down from my place of employment at the time, one of the mega-banks, but I wasn’t in NY. I was in a department that included bank security, so we had FBI agents beside us as we watched. Of course my first reaction was “gotta’ get the kids,” but they called me & said they were fine, don’t come. Second thought was “oh, crap, we are going to screw this up royally.” And so we did. Exactly, as you say, what they wanted. Trashed our own economy, the real source of our power and influence in the world.

    The Chinese must still be laughing at how naive we were. If I believed in conspiracies I would believe the Chinese financed the operation. Of course it didn’t take that much $$, and the Saudis are certainly not in need of financial help.

    I don’t think you’ll figure out what I “am,” because I’m an educational dilettante. I would tell you, but that would make it too easy to identify me, so we will leave it at this: never practiced law, never took the bar, but yes, one of the degrees was law. Although I am a bit of an educational junkie, I paid for every bit of it myself, have been self-supporting since the age of 17. So I’m not one of those stereotypical career grad students. I did work for quite a few years in a college of medicine, and my ex is an MD/PhD, so I guess I have some medicine in my background, and a couple of publications, but no degrees there. And that was long ago.

    So where do you think I’m from? Should I tell you whether I say “soda” or “pop” or “soda pop”?

  254. Rae -

    “Hadn’t thought of the squandered opportunity angle.

    Did that thought occur to you at the time of 9/11, or is it something that occurred to you, or something you heard, afterward?”

    I thought about it as I watched the first tower fall. I tend to not be much of a panicker; helps when you fly or work in medicine – both of which I do.

    My wife and I were on the phone, watching the whole thing. She said it would destroy the economy; I said no, if folks thought about it a minute, this was nothing when taken in view of the size of the American economy, but people wouldn’t think like that and would freak out – which was exactly what the enemy wanted and therefore what you should not do. (Forgive my Palin-like run-on there…)

    I still remember watching Senator Byrd cooly standing on the Senate floor and lecturing about the history of the senate, while everybody else was thrashing around trying to get the floor to Just Do Something-Anything! I peripherally knew the old Klansman, and liked him. He called GWB a cowboy and hated him fiercely.

    Wow. What a walk down memory lane.

    Anyway, I thought about root causes and good responses and felt Bush-the-Lesser would do the wrong thing as a knee jerk, which he did. What a lost opportunity to set us on a new course…sad, just sad.

    *******

    BTW, I had pegged you for a lawyer. It’s kind of a hobby of mine – figuring out what folks do or their education level is. Your thought processes seemed pretty clean, but not engineer-like, so I settled on lawyer. I also try to locate accents from people I meet. Just a hobby…

    Jim

  255. Puppet –

    The NYT Opinion to which you directed us was well-written, but no great shakes. However, the 500 or so comments following were a terrific read. Who would guess that there could be 500 different things to say about the article?

    Here’s the link to the comments:
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/philosophy-and-faith/?sort=oldest

  256. Jim,

    Hadn’t thought of the squandered opportunity angle. It might have been a difficult call for someone from former “oil country,” but how visionary! He could have gone down in history as the guy who saved the day. Instead he’s the guy who set the end in motion. I wonder what Gore might have done differently, whether he might have been able to see things differently. Who knows?

    Did that thought occur to you at the time of 9/11, or is it something that occurred to you, or something you heard, afterward?

    I remember thinking at the time that it wasn’t the crisis itself, but how we responded to it that would determine whether our way of life survived. So we went after Iraq. I guess people wanted blood, and blood they would have. It didn’t much matter whose, as long as they were people who weren’t like us. What a nightmare.

    Rae

  257. Craig and Rae -

    It occurs to me that the hardest thing to do is to realize that you have made a mistake and admit it. I am not much on gratuitous self-deprecation, but I really think we have followed the path of many great nations and let our anger and arrogance cause us to do the wrong thing when we went adventuring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I really believe GWB squandered of Rahm Emanuel’s proverbial crises when he reacted to 9-11. We were much richer, much more powerful then. I think he should have gone on TV and said, “We believe that our dependence on foreign oil is making us vulnerable and we are going to begin today to move away.” He would have had complete support for a $1.00/gal fuel tax, with all proceeds to go into electric research and developing our own fuel sources. This would have deprived the enemy of HIS fuel source-money.

    Then I wonder if carrying out the first month’s attacks in Afghanistan on the Taliban as a warning, then withdrawing home would not have been a better option than this endless war in the “graveyard of nations” has been. (They were decimated in a very short time as you remember, but when we got down in the dirt with them, it became a lot harder.)

    Iraq I believe was a total mistake – not the least of which was defeating the enemy of one loony Mahmoud I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket.

    As the father of a recent high-school graduate, I am particularly offended by the damage these wars have done to the economy. There are so many unemployed young men and women that the military has a nearly unlimited supply of cannon fodder, and regularly turns down applicants. Nice little plan – no draft, so unlike Vietnam, there is nobody protesting the deaths and maiming of these “volunteers.” Yeah, right…

    Thoughts?

    Jim

  258. Hi Congenial Gang, Sistah Rae and Sistah no one’s puppet,

    Tx for carrying the banner high as the summer begins to wind down. The rest of the Gang will drift back in soon I hope. And Margaret and Helen will too!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  259. Unfortunately, you are not going to be able to click on this and see the article, but the article can be found on The New York Times web page.

  260. I thought after our recent discussions about religion and faith this might be of interest to some in our group. OPINION | August 01, 2010
    The Stone: Philosophy and Faith
    By GARY GUTTING
    A Notre Dame professor and his students look for the link between philosophical inquiry and religious belief.

  261. Craig, are you actually arguing that I must support whatever my country does because American soldiers are involved, and otherwise I would be implicated in their deaths? That, my friend, is one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard. (Doesn’t work well in the war crimes trials, either.)

    Bradley Manning, through his brave actions, has probably helped to put an end to this unjust and foolish war in Afghanistan. That means fewer lives lost, both innocent lives and the lives of our young men and women.

    I want those children back as much as anyone else does. And I understand that in our country, as in most, it is the poor kids with few options who do the “dirty work” for us all as we empire build, acquiring corporate resources and establishing global power.

    I stood up on the first day of bombing in Iraq in 1991 (January 16, I remember it well), and said “this is wrong, and nothing good will come of it.” I was at a church council meeting. And I remember having an argument with a fellow at work who claimed the Iraqi people would be cheering us in the streets for bringing democracy and freedom to their country in Bush Jr’s war foolish little WMD war. I told my coworker he was a fool, that within 6 weeks we would be the enemy, that we would end up destroying the country and fighting for years before we finally left with little accomplished except bankruptcy — ours and Iraq’s. How did I know? How did you not know?

    Sure there were people dancing in the streets. And there were Americans cheering the bombing in Iraq. They are pawns of their governments, and you are a pawn of yours.

  262. Then Rae you probably also like Jonathan Pollard or Aldrich Ames.

    If some 22 year old kid gives out information that leads to the killing of your neighbors child or perhaps a distant relative of yours..then I suppose you would also be still inclined to call him a “hero”?

    AS to the Helicopter video. Its war. Its dirty and it has civilian casualties. As one airman said “that’s what happens when you bring children to a war.”
    I’m sure those airmen thought they were legitimate targets.

    No one stood up on day one 1991
    of the first day of Baghdad bombings covered by CNN from their hotel room and asked how many innocents were killed. They just marveled at the
    accuracy of bombings and the continued live television coverage being provided.

    No one has mentioned the dancing in the streets footage when the news of the 911 towers attack reached Baghdad and GAZA. Guess they get a pass. And hey, what’s a video beheading among friends whether its a reporter or a truck driver.

    Some acts as I mentioned above are intentional while others as you have portrayed are accidents of war. In war you don’t have time to land the chopper and ask for identity cards. And finally there are some questions still, as to whether there were or were not weapons at the site.

  263. Can’t answer for you, Jean, but as far as I’m concerned, the bravest guy in the room is Pvc. Bradley Manning, who believed that truth, democracy, and the lives of innocent Afghans were more important than his own freedom. That takes guts. And those are the things worth “fighting” for (although fighting is usually the easier, more self-serving option). Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc. Not empire-building and corporate profits. Not that I begrudge corporations their profits; I just wouldn’t lay my life on the line for them.

  264. Hey Jean,
    You probably had nightmares after “Fail Safe” the 1964 movie about early issues dealing with a nuclear armed Russia and the possibility of not being able to recall bombers on their way to Russia. Thus leaving actor/ President Henry Fonda with the apologetic bombing of New York as a “my bad” for the mistaken bombing of Moscow.
    Then there was the comedy of of Dr. Strangelove,
    which also came out that same year.
    Actually Strangelove had better box office results.
    You throw the term “American Imperialism” around as if to compare us to WWII Japan.
    Nope Jean there will be wars and rumors of wars as long as you have the idiots like N. Korea, Iran and the Taliban. But of course with your pacifist nature, I”m sure that you would be able to sit down with these agents of hate over tea and bring us world peace.
    I don’t know where you were on 911 or what your feelings were on that day. You may even be of the camp that said it was an American government scam to get us into war for oil?
    And I presume you feel the same for the U.S.S.COLE bombing and the first bombing of the World Trade Center.
    Hell Jean, I imagine you would give the Wikileaks guy a medal for revealing names of innocent Afghan people who have helped America prosecute their war in Afghanistan.
    And if we wanted to, You could take this discussion all the way back to when a rabble got together in Philadelphia in 1775 to determine they wanted independence.
    That I think would have made you a Tory?
    My whole posting is just to see what you would find worth fighting for. And I’m sure you will use Americans Big Stick policies from Teddy’s days to present to make your arguments.
    Just a congenial Monday morning nudge Jean.
    .. And nothing personal.
    Regards,
    Craig

  265. Jean, thanks for the heartfelt peace epistle.

    The whole bad-guys / good guys thing is so childish! News flash: everyone thinks he’s a good guy. And second news flash; the winner is who ends up being called the good guy in the history books.

    People will do pretty much what they have to do to survive. It’s easy for the guy sitting on a big pile of money and stuff to roll his eyes at the guy who doesn’t play by the rules and respect his ownership rights. Of course!

  266. Hi Congenial Gang,

    CA family visiting or no, ‘Boy Toy’ and I have to have our several daily flat-of-our-back rest periods, so we continue to read, read, read. Also, around the dinner table we get into some lively discussions about just about everything. We are pleased at how well informed our 15-year-old grandson is and how much he contributes to the conversation.

    There is not much debate amongst us about one thing – war. About the only real discussions we have is just HOW to go about resolving conflicts and achieving a just peace. As most of you here at M&H already know, I am an avowed pacifist. I don’t think war is nice. Of late there has been much written and talked about robotic warfare. Drones and such. There is always the possibility and probability of human and/or mechanical failure. Those kinds of Oopses! can wreak havoc in all directions. Do I need remind anybody of BP and the Gulf Oil Spill?

    During WWI, chemical warfare was used, (mustard gas). Many a veteran came home with life-long disabilities from that and other injuries as well as what was then called “Shell Shock”, (PTSD). WWII ushered in the Nuclear Age in terms of horrific weapons on not only the military but civilian populations. Back then we were at least honest about it and called it the”War Department”, not the “Department of Defense.” (DOD).

    Then in the Vietnam War, we had the defoliant ‘Agent Orange’ to flush out where the ‘enemy’ was hiding, that more often than not included civilians. And hideous stories of Napalm Bombs. But of course, we have always been the “Good Guys” and as such, could justify using the most brutal tactics against the ”Bad Guys”. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Sadam Hussein used WMD against his own people, the “Kurds”, so naturally we had to attack the Iraqi PEOPLE in order to take HIM OUT. Sheesh!)

    The civilized people of the world on most sides of the geopolitical spectrum abhor chemical, biological and nuclear warfare. So here we go again with the drones and robotic weapons that, for me, fall into the same categories. In our American Imperialism, we have just been upping the ante another notch. If we want to talk about the ethics of warfare, (an oxymoron if there ever was one!), I don’t see how we can ever continue to rationalize our way around finding new and more efficient, to say nothing of expensive, ways to kill and maim people; destroy their homes, livelihoods, and cities. No matter how many women wear chadors and veils and/or how many ‘terrorists’ we find under every rock and behind every bush. News flash!!! There aren’t nearly as many ‘terrorists’ lurking around as conservative thinking would like to make us believe in the name of ‘National Defense.’

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  267. How are we going to avoid ‘identifying’ legal citizens who are simply going about their legal business? Verifying status takes time, even if you do take the precaution of carrying papers which other legal citizens are not likely to need at any given moment. During this time they will be detained. I’m sure you can imagine that this is going to make it hard to hold down a job, pick up the kids at day care or any other routine function of daily life.

    My original opinion of this law and of your opinion still stands. I do believe that the effect of harassing legal citizens is exactly what the writers had in mind.

  268. Jean, I’m sure some areas of the country have some interesting political races this fall, but I’m not ready to focus on mine. We have a crazy woman running against Harry Reid, I’m sure you hear plenty about it as things heat up after Labor Day. Just think of me with the covers pulled up over my head, it is surreal.

  269. On the end-of-life arrangements:

    A poem from Tom Beavers – an old friend of an old friend, both now long gone – Tom, having discovered incurable colon cancer, by his own hand.

    ********************************

    Doctor Magnum

    Doctor Magnum, genius wise,
    Can diagnose, I so surmise,
    Every mortal pain and ill,
    Cure everything with one blue pill.

    Every ailment known to man,
    Of body or mind since time began,
    Responds to Magnum’s simple cure;
    His healing art is swift and sure.

    When life has fruitful been, and long,
    The urge to strive and win been strong,
    There comes a time of failing strength
    And faltering will to do, at length.

    The strong man quails at thought that he
    At last with broken sword shall be
    All weaponless before his foes,
    As fragile as a sun dried rose.

    Life to me has been most kind;
    No burdens would I leave behind,
    For I would go as I have come,
    No fanfare, grief, or throb of drum.

    No sermon, song, or eulogy
    When I pass to eternity,
    For I my final leave would take,
    And not one tiny ripple make.

    Avaunt the thought that I would lie
    Averse to live, afraid to die,
    While others say what’s to be done,
    And how my last lap should be run.

    So when I sense life’s near its end,
    To Magnum’s clinic I shall wend,
    And cherrily say, “Doc, ease my pains;
    Release me from these irksome chains.”

  270. Judith –

    Your original post was:

    ” – the last time I bowed out was when some silly twit argued that “most criminals (in the area) are Latino; therefore, we should legally be able to challenge all Latinos” or words to that effect.”

    Then you very helpfully found the following:

    ” Since the majority of illegals in AZ are Hispanic, it would seem to me that having a higher index of suspicion that Hispanic-appearing people (who have been stopped for a traffic violation, say) might be illegals would be appropriate, good police work. You know, “I suspect Hispanic-appearing people more because that’s where (figuratively speaking) the money is.” May 19th, 3:44
    Not all illegals in Arizona are Hispanic, but that’s also the way to bet. It’s just police work 101. May 20
    *****************

    When one is bereft of a decent argument, the reflex is to pull out the trusty race card, isn’t it? As Penn Jilette said,”Well, that’s the magic word. Once you say ‘racism,’ the other side loses automatically.”

    And of course, the disingenuous and fallacious inference is made that the “other side” is saying the criminality is *because* of the criminal’s race, when in fact we all know – without saying – it is only an association – but, one which can be used to *identify* the criminal.

    Very important distinction, isn’t it? Being Latino doesn’t *make* you an illegal alien, but can be very important in identifying same, since the vast, vast majority of illegals in the Southwest are exactly that – Latino.

    It’s a little like the silliness I observe in the major airports: TSA pulls out blue-haired old ladies for search, but lets young Muslim women in burqas (at least we *think* they are women) pass through unscathed in order to not outrage someone’s delicate sensibilities – despite the fact that, while not all Muslims are terrorists, the vast majority of terrorists are Muslims.

    Nonsense. Nonsense all. Thanks for the leg-up. I could be wrong, but I think you just kicked your own argument in the head.

  271. Ok, here’s my 2 cents for end of life stuff. The durable power of attoney is a great way to start. In the county I live in in CA, we have this thing called a POLST (don’t ask me what it stands for) but it is an additional document the physician and patient fill out.

    It specifies in explicit detail what you want done when the end of the line is near. Please consider discussing with your family and MD when and if you want to withhold IV antibiotics, IV fluids, artificial breathing, tube feedings. Make sure they have a lot of dated and signed copies of it as well. Please bring it as well as ALL of the current medications to the ER as well.

    Still looking forward to another M&H post, but enjoying the porch nonetheless.

  272. OK, Auntie Jean, assignment accepted. Here’s a free copy of the column:
    http://blog.cagle.com/2010/07/28/the-msm-fooled-by-gopaganda-again/

    ’twas interesting, indeed.

  273. Hi Congenial Gang, poolman and Rae,

    As the postcards say, “Having a wonderful time! Wish you were here!” The CA family went off to the beach to come back later, all sunburned with sand in their shoes. ‘Boy Toy’ is taking a nap, so I want to update you on an idea.

    Until M&H get back, what say we keep ourselves up on what’s going on in our local, state or regional areas.

    We are all political animals here so have some perspectives on what’s going on nationally or even internationally from various news sources. However, if you are like me, more or less isolated from other parts of the country, we don’t have much of a clue about the rest of it.

    In this morning’s local newspaper there was a Gene Lyons’ column entitled, “The MSM Fooled By GOPagenda – again.” Lyons’ column appears every week or so here. Bruddah poolman or Sistah Rae, could either of you track it down and put it up here for me?

    I know you must be dismayed, poolman, by what the MSM is reporting about Arizona. If accurate, in the summer heat; the police, firemen and EMT are going to be kept too busy with heat exhaustion to be rounding up illegal aliens.

    Regarding my idea, for example, the political climate is red hot out here for the September 18 Primary and then on to the Mid-terms and then the 2012 national elections. Blah, blah, blah. An awful lot of money is being spent on TV and newspaper ads. Until and/or if we can get some kind of campaign finance reforms enacted, that’s the way it’s gonna be.

    Out here there is a quaint custom. Billboards are against local law. Fortunately!!! But candidates are permitted to put up signs on private property. So you can just imagine how peppered the landscape is with political signs from little ones to big ones. There is one good thing though. There is also a local law that they have to be taken down IMMEDIATELY THE NEXT DAY after whichever election.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  274. Sometimes no news is good news. But when you need news, who do you turn to? Today you can access the internet and get a broader perspective on the issues. You can learn of things that are kept out of the public realm. For now, anyway. We’ll see how long that lasts. Efforts are underway to quash that freedom too.

    Like this article regarding Iran’s nuclear program. You won’t get this information or perspective from any mainstream media outlet. Most Americans only trust the mainstream media. Sad. Very sad. Much more sinister and destructive than terrorism, IMO.

  275. Rae on July 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    There are two forms that go along with the will, A Durable Power of Attorney for Financial decisions and a Health Care Proxy. Our son is third after my wife and I who are the first named for each other. It gets into a lot of paper work but all the bases are covered. My wife and I are the end of the line as far as our respective families are concerned but the will is necessary in case anyone else comes snooping along that claims to be a relative.

    Our son, our physician, our attorney, our neighbors and various friends are well aware of our wishes. They are not a surprise to anyone.

  276. Hi all -

    re: funerals. I thought of having my body buried, but the slow decay doesn’t seem that appealing, so I told my wife I want to be burned up. That appeals to a sense of cleanliness and finality.

    Speaking of getting bruied, anybody ever read “The Cremation of Sam McGhee?” Probably one of my three favorite poems of all time. There is a stellar rendition on YouTube…let’s see here…Here it is.

    I don’t usually evangelize this kind of stuff, but if you have five minutes to watch it, I guarantee you will think it is pretty cool.

    My buddy Johnny Flynn was a wild hippie newspaperman who woke up with a leaking aortic aneurysm one night. When he knew he was going to die he made us promise to burn him up and put the following line on his tombstone: God Rest His Soul; He Was a Tootsie Roll, But He’s a Dead Cat Just the Same. We did it. He wouldn’t tell us where it came from, but I found it. It’s part of a John Prine song called, “Living in the Future.”

    http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?cmns:1:./temp/~ammem_Qeri::

    Sure miss old John…

    Jim

  277. Just sitting here watching “Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole” about M theory on the Science channel, interesting. I tend to understand theoretical physics pretty well as long as it is well explained, it does tend to have a relationship to our recent discussions, does it answer the question, is there a God? I’d have to answer, no, but qualify that to, unless you want there to be a God.

  278. Pureness of heart is more important than denomination or sect. It is the ultimate goal of all “good” religions. We always look outward for God, when we should focus inward. The essence of all is from within. – similar to an operating system in a computer.

    We read in the OT that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying physically to be with God, since he so pleased Him. That was before any organized religion existed. So it wasn’t related to how many Hail Marys he repeated, whether he was baptized – sprinkled or immersed, if he knelt facing a certain direction at a certain time of day, or whether he kept the Sabbath or the feasts, burned incense or sacrifices. It hasn’t changed from God’s perspective. Man, however, has added plenty of requirements, qualifications, practices, and limits to this creator/created relationship. And anytime you get man’s meddling and interpretation… well just look at our world today. Physical evidence that has been discovered confirming biblical truths has been systematically censored.

    Reincarnation does actually occur within the spirit realm, despite what many western religions profess. As soon as you profess a belief in the spiritual, you have confirmed the existence of the supernatural. We are told some spirits are destined to roam this earthly plain up until its renewal. That they often inhabit living beings is no surprise, and in no way contradicts scripture.

  279. jsri, your comment reminded me of something everyone should know –

    You, of course, made sure your son knows about your wish to be cremated, so you aren’t relying on your will.

    That is good, because your lawyer should have told you that wishes for service, cremation, etc. that you put in your will have no effect. Keep in mind that people aren’t looking at your will in the few days following your death — that’s done quite a bit later. At least you hope that isn’t what they’re worrying about.

    Another thing people often specify in their wills is guardianship for their minor children. Parents’ wishes will be considered (because courts assume they have their children’s best interests in mind), but what you specify in a will isn’t binding on anyone.

    It’s been awhile since law school, so maybe I’m not current on this stuff, but I suspect that hundreds of years of estate law tradition probably hasn’t changed significantly in the last couple of decades. Any lawyers on the porch to verify or refute this?

  280. My husband did me one better than that jsri, he pre purchased my cremation, three years ago, long enough, so I no longer joke, that he had an ulterior motive. He also paid for my ashes to be buried with him and his first wife, but I’ve told my children, they can divide the ashes and spread them or whatever gives them comfort if they wish.
    My father told my mother, that he specifically didn’t want any hymns at his funeral, because our church’s soprano’s voice hadn’t improved with age and he didn’t want his mourners to have to endure her screeching. But his plan was ruined when she called my mother to donate her services, because she’d alway liked and admired my father so much, so she said. My mother did the right thing and thanked her and accepted her “gift,” sometimes the right thing isn’t what we want. My father would have be proud of mother and done the same thing if he had been the survivor.

  281. judith on July 28, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Your description of the church service for your mother’s funeral evoked a similar response because my experience was so much like yours. In fact, the priest obviously had no idea who she was and some of his comments sounded like they came from a Hollywood script.

    I think it is a much better experience for all concerned to have all the details worked out ahead of time and not leave it up to someone else to make such decisions. So, my wife and I recently updated our wills with the stipulation that we be cremated and that there will be no formal religious service. That way, people can do whatever makes them comfortable in that regard. At the same time we updated our health care and financial proxies so there will no question as to what we want.

    Our son, who is our only heir knows our wishes and is in agreement as is our physician and our lawyer and since there is no religious service involved that question is not debatable. What people might have to say after we are gone is of no consequence because we will not be around to hear it. However, there is no question that it will all be good.

  282. Hello porch dwellers,

    I’ve been enjoying the day to day reading of all of your posts. It’s interesting how some topics catch my interest and others not so much. But, that’s the way of the future…..learned from the past. Discern what is important to you and delve into it.

    The topic of reincarnation has been interesting.
    If it was to be a bug–I’d want to be a flying bug.

    Rae, your suggestion of discussing Eastern religions is well taken. I’ve always been intrigued by the positive force that Buddhism left with me after a study of a statue in a local Asian Art museum. It was the “aha” moment of the statue’s face that impressed me with the enlightenment of always moving forward, expressing optimism and hope.

    Judith, I really appreciated your personal note on the “inner workings” of how siblings conduct the memorials for their parents. I recently received a letter from a friend who stated how she and her husband were left to “organize and execute” the memorial–no other siblings could or would.
    She told me that she and her husband did it “their way”. And your point of understanding your sister’s need to “keep up appearances” for her friends was revealing.

    I often wonder what people will do or say after I’m gone. I’ve been told by SO that he wants polka dot dresses on his closest friends at his memorial. And he’s serious. That’s when I realize that what we say or do after our loved ones pass away can only be truly felt within one’s own heart in their own way. Your sister’s need to choose the “favorite hyms” was her way of coping.

    I love the old hymns from my youth.
    One of my favorites? “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

    Have a great rest of the morning everyone!

    VGman

  283. The funeral for my mother was arranged by my sister in the sister’s personal church venue. Reading the hymnal while waiting for the service to start, I was blown away by some of the unfamiliar titles. “Fountains of Blood”, anyone? and similar grisly images. Made me wonder just what went on normally. (But not enough to make me want to come back and find out). I don’t know if the difference is the type of church or the intervening years.

    I was also highly amused to find the service was peppered with my mother’s ‘favorite hymns’. She hadn’t been to church in decades, and, at best, attended Christmas, Easter and the required benchmark ceremonies that we all had to be at, such as baptism & confirmation. The closest my sister got was “Down By The Riverside”, which my mother genuinely loved in its Dixieland form. Needless to say, this wasn’t the version we heard. Too bad – she’d have loved it.

    Apparently, it’s required in certain communities that people have favorite hymns, and my sister didn’t want to admit to her friends that our mother was non-compliant. I didn’t comment or make any fuss because there’s really no point. But it’s sort of weird.

    Good news (IMHO) on the AZ decision!

  284. Rae,
    As to the music…
    I prefer the old hymns as you recalled..

    I’ve been to some of these Mega churches
    with slick semi Rock music with laser lights and big screens… it’s kinda a turn off for me personally.

    While others I think come and want to be entertained for the 1-2 hours they are in “Gods”
    house.

  285. @Puppet on reincarnation and universal health care — ditto that.

    @Craig — apostles write epistles. Epistula apostolorum. (At last, a justification for 5 years of Latin.)

    We should all have a discussion of Eastern religions some day. NPR’s Interfaith Voices had an interesting program on the rise of Confucianism in China, which would be a fun topic for us. And good old Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, etc. We’re all so focused on the Abrahamic religions here in the West, we think they’re synonymous with “religion.” Let’s all get our minds around something completely different and see what we learn.

  286. Looks like the old girls might of rolled off the battleship! Too bad. They were funny as hell.

  287. Hi Congenial Gang and Greytdog,

    Today I was making ‘leis’ with CNN on. They had a little piece you might be interested in. We all use Wikipedia sometimes, right? Do you know where it got its name? In the Hawaiian language, “Wiki” means “quick” or “fast”. There is a bus at HNL that takes passengers between the international terminal and the inter-island terminal called “ The Wiki-Wiki”. Its not really that ‘wiki’ but it beats walking, schlepping your bags along and it’s free. There are also some 7/11 type stores called “Wiki Markets.”

    For the uninitiated, I want to tell you about the ‘Fine Art of Lei Making’. I’m sure you have seen pictures of people out here laden down, up to their ears with flower garlands. It is customary to greet people coming to the islands with a ‘lei’. But it is not automatic. You have to know somebody who cares. If you are on a tour, for a price, someone will ‘lei’ you at the airport or the harbor. The ‘leis’ are fairly expensive since they are always fresh and hand made.

    We have some born-and-raised-on-the-island-friends who taught me this Fine Art years ago. The ‘leis’ can become incredibly intricate; depending on what kind of flowers, vines, leaves, seeds, etc., are used. I am the proud possessor of my BA and MA in ‘Lei Making’ but I won’t get my PhD until I can get someone to climb up in the mountains and find me some wild ‘Maile’ vines. To my knowledge, no one has been able to cultivate them. The ‘Maile’ is very fragrant and used mostly for formal occasions such as weddings and special ceremonies. Also they are usually for men. They are worn around the neck and often fall open down to the knees. (If you are interested, you could Google ‘Maile Leis’ and learn all about them. Also Ti plants.)

    We will buy an orchid or plumeria (frangipangi) lei for our DIL because, although we have some orchid plants, we don’t have the small cymbidium orchids commonly used for ’leis’. Also we don’t have enough plumeria for a ‘lei’’ in our Pitiful Little Patch, (PLP). It takes quite a few of the small flowers to make a ‘lei’. Of course, I could filch some from neighbors’ yards, but that wouldn’t be nice.

    I made two Ti leaf ‘leis’ for our son and grandson. These Ti leaves, come from our PLP and are emerald green plants halfway between a bush and a tree. (There are also burgundy red and variegated varieties.) They have many uses; in flower arranging, decorations and believe it or not, in cooking!

    It takes 6 leaves, each about 2½ feet long for each ‘lei’. I cut each leaf in half and cut out the spine. Then, I kid you not, I steam iron them! That breaks down the fibers, making them easier to twist. Two twisted leaves are again twisted together to form a rope about a yard long. The ends are woven together in the rope and finally tied together to form the ‘lei’. Voila! A Ti leaf ‘lei’!

    They are kept refrigerated until we leave for the airport’ when I will put one golden yellow hibiscus flower from our plants out front in each ‘lei’ where they are tied together.

    When our family arrives, the traditional greeting is to say, “Aloha! Welcome to Hawaii!” Give each loved one a big hug and kiss and drape the ‘lei’ around his/her neck. It is a lovely tradition, dontcha think?

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

    P. S. Sistah Greytdog, how are your frangipangi doing?

  288. A bug Jean? I’d be good for sure. And probably look over my shoulder a lot. lol

  289. Hi Congenial Gang and Sistah no one’s puppet,

    Here is my little tongue in cheek comment on reincarnation since I really don’t know much about it formally. It is my understanding that if you are good, in the next life you will come back in a higher form. (Rich, perpetually young and beautiful?) Or if you are bad you could come back as a bug.

    Or even an inanimate object. (Animism but not animatism?) Do you remember the little poem I put up a while back:

    “I wish I wuz a little rock, a sittin’ on a hill……..”

    I think you are right about everyone having universal healthcare – to stave off as long as possible coming back as a bug.

    Aloha! :-) Namaste.

    Auntie Jean

  290. Rae, I didn’t take you seriously, but if I was inventing a religion it would probably be reincarnation, what could be more fair? If we all knew we be rewarded for goodness and punished in exactly the same way we did an injustice, we’d probably be very moral. And I would predict universal healthcare, no problem, for everyone.

  291. Hey, puppet, it was intended as irony. I remember deciding one day to start liking “Chinese food” (I was a kid), and that worked ok, but I’m afraid these decisions to start believing this or that may work for a day, but the beliefs don’t stay put. I’m unfortunately for me a died-in-the-wool empiricist. Unfortunate, because I’ve heard more than a few times that I “think like a man” and “think too much.” Humph.

    Craig, I think Auntie Jean’s point was that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Islam is way behind Christianity in the brutality department. You know that Islam was the bright light during what we call the Dark Ages, right? That Islam at one time was inclusive and tolerant, that Jews and Christians lived in Islamic cities without serious concerns about safety?

    About fundamentalism — interesting notion. It’s a fairly new idea, a strict adherence to a set of basic beliefs, religious or otherwise, usually in response to a perceived compromise with modern social or political life (thanks Wikipedia).

    “Right” thinking is always a bit of a problem. In my little town, there is a landmark (I’ll have to be vague here or you will be able to track me down) that was long painted white. A group of concerned citizens decided to raise funds to return it to its “proper” color, and they succeeded — the landmark is now painted a different color. The problem is that the “proper” color is not very attractive, and it’s really just the color most of these people remember from their childhoods. It certainly isn’t the “original” color.

    Fundamentalism strikes me the same way. If you are a Christian arguing for a return to the “original” liturgy, how far back do you go? My experience is that what people really want is a return to what they grew up with. And hymns! Good heavens — have you ever been involved in a discussion of church music? Everyone over 40 wants “traditional” music, but what they mean is “the hymns we sang in my church when I was a child.”

    We people are quite entertaining.

  292. Ms.Jean,
    I guess I didn’t read your apostle concerning religions of the world Part I.

    I don’t know of any “organized” religion that can raise its head and say we have been a pure and forgiving one.

    Obviously Rome and the Holy Catholic church,
    The Reformation,King Henry’s church and most any other eastern religions have had their horrors unleashed on those not of their faith at one time or another.

    But if I read you correctly, you saying that the Islamic faith should get a pass because they are behind us by a couple of centuries? You also say that fundamentalist Christianity is in that same boat.

    By which “fundamentalist” Christian faith do you recognize as the backward one? Is that a organized group that may have ties or connection to the Republican party by chance?

    I guess there are many fundamentalists churches.
    That would include almost any which are trying to return to their original liturgy, traditions and orordinances.

  293. Rae, thanks for the suggestion, but I’ll wait for concrete evidence, for you see, I am incapable of belief, I prefer to know. Now I am going to share a personal experience that contradicts almost everything I have said, up until now. During my lifetime I had from time to time, psychic experiences, particularly concerning one of my nieces. My son, then a teenager and easy embarrassed, challenged me, by saying, I’d had lucky guesses about her, and he would be just as likely to make a correct prediction about her. So since she was pregnant at the time, my son and I both wrote down whatever came to mind about her impeding birth. I had a rather long list of things written down, baby’s gender, size, etc, when I suddenly realized she was giving birth right then, so I wrote down the time and told my son, she was giving birth. Which he didn’t believe and I didn’t have to believe, but I knew what I said was correct (don’t ask me to explain what I mean by knowing, but when that feeling comes over me, I know it). So the next morning I took my reluctant son, fearful I would embarrass him to the OB unit of the hospital and asked for her room number. My son became a believer, when the nurse gave me the room number. And really became a believer when my niece confirmed the time of the baby’s birth, even asks me, as do his sisters, if I have any predictions, which I rarely have. Oh of course I can spout some predictions based on knowledge of the facts, but that kind of know with every fiber of my being feeling can’t be prompted. So if that is the feeling religious believers have, all I can say is good for them, and I am sorry that kind of certainty about spirituality, creation, God or gods, eludes me

  294. Rae,
    I know you meant 70×7

    When Peter came to Jesus he asked how many times should I forgive my brother who has sinned against me? Seven times?
    Jesus said seventy times seven.

    Matthew 18:15
    “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

    Rae..you have showed me my fault.
    Matthew 18:16
    But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

  295. P.S. — never told my kids there was an Easter Bunny or a Santa. They insisted on believing in Santa anyway (“No, there’s no Santa Claus.” “Yes there is.” “No, it’s just a fairy tale.” “No it isn’t and I’m not going to listen to you.”) Pretty funny, actually.

    So the parking lot for my kids was — well, there are some things you just can’t do anything about, so don’t waste time worrying about it. Just make sure it really IS something you can’t do anything about. A sort of “play the hand you’re dealt as well as you can” philosophy. It worked out ok.

    I do admit to the power of myth in teaching lessons, however. I took my kids to church, and when questioned about it by my brother, told him they needed to learn a moral code, so why not there? A collection of myths that tell a moral story — can’t get much more powerful than that. Yes, it enforces cultural norms, some of which you might not like, but you can always tweak. Well, as long as you don’t have some crazy doctrinal inerrancy thing going on.

    All cultures have their myths and norms; the odd thing about us is that we insist that the myths are TRUE, and enforce a code of BELIEF as well as a normative code. Sort of like Russian communism.

  296. Porch dwellers: I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought you weren’t “smart enough” for abstract conversation. What I meant was that most people sitting out on the porch would rather be talking about the lake or the sky than some abstract blah blah blah. I just returned from a walk to Lake Michigan myself, and didn’t think about natural selection once.

  297. Rae said -

    “Now explain by what mechanism something in the supernatural world (an idea, no less — god) might influence a natural process, i.e., natural selection.”

    It doesn’t influence in a real sense, because it doesn’t exist.

    The IDEA exists however, albeit only in the human mind. Humans are always imagining things that don’t exist in reality – and those “things” have utility. Tell me your children don’t get happiness from the easter bunny and Santa. In the here and now they are happy, and it makes YOU happy. Of course they are eventually disappointed, but that’s the price you pay for joy now.

    Adults have their easter bunnies, too – and for those who are stressed by their impotence during life and the certainty of their own extinction at the end, a god or two can be very comforting, allowing those (former) periods of stress to be utilized profitably elsewhere. Hopefully, they are not disappointed during life, so the little lies may not be that important – so long as they don’t try to force their little lies on others.

    “Maybe what you’re saying is that for all the things you can’t influence, there’s a utility in not attempting to influence them, so god ends up being a sort of “parking lot” for concerns that cannot be addressed. That the selection value is that you don’t spend processing time and physical effort on what cannot be changed.”

    Precisely.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about the “porch” – another abstract by the way that does not exist, but has utility. These folks are plenty smart enough to handle anything we dish out.

    Jim

  298. NOP and Lori -

    I like reincarnation, because I don’t like the idea of dying (how, after all, can the world continue without me?) and because I really, really want a do-over. So this morning I decided to start believing in it.

  299. OK, Jim. We’ve established that by “natural,” you mean scientifically knowable, “real” in the scientific sense. Now explain by what mechanism something in the supernatural world (an idea, no less — god) might influence a natural process, i.e., natural selection.

    As I said before, I understand the selection value of heuristic thinking. The ability to make quick decisions is probably more important than accuracy, and you can’t spend your adult (i.e., breeding and child-rearing) years building models of how the world works, as children do. The utility of the models you built as a child will presumably influence your effectiveness in the breeding-rearing world, and thus the survival of your genes. So it helps to have good, simple, easy-to-apply “theories” of how the world works. I think you’re saying that belief in the supernatural is one of these. If so, you end up making an argument that sounds a lot like a scientist’s argument for one model over another, and that leads you … well, you can figure that out.

    Maybe what you’re saying is that for all the things you can’t influence, there’s a utility in not attempting to influence them, so god ends up being a sort of “parking lot” for concerns that cannot be addressed. That the selection value is that you don’t spend processing time and physical effort on what cannot be changed.

    My last comment on this topic. It’s too abstract for polite company, certainly porch company.

  300. Rae -

    I’m having a little trouble getting your meaning, but here’s what natural and supernatural mean to me.

    For natural events: 1) there is a clear correlation between cause and effect, 2) it is repeatable to a very high degree and 3) it doesn’t require some special condition that has no discernible bearing on the situation otherwise (faith, full moon, &c.) 4) probably most importantly, the hypotheses are refutable, that is you can test them to see if they are true.

    The supernatural 1) has no correlation between cause and effect. God said it and it happened. How does that work? 2)It is not repeatable. Sometimes prayer works, sometimes not – usually to about the 50% mark. 3)You have to do something special to make it work. You must have faith; you must sacrifice a fatted cow or whatever it was, and if it doesn’t work, then you didn’t do it right; it’s not god’s fault. 4) The supernatural does not lend itself readily to being refuted, and those who believe in the supernatural are not swayed by that fact, saying “god’s ways are mysterious; you have to have faith; not everything lends itself to be tested – all of which makes it impossible to get the very proof that would support the case for the supernatural’s existence.

    I think a lot about Clarke’s hypothesis about advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic. That is true; for many years people thought radio waves were in that unknowable realm, but there was a big difference: you could do the experiments and they worked every time. Not so the supernatural.

    Are there things out there we have never dreamed of? I think so. But one thing is for sure: there will be an explanation, and it won’t involve magic.

  301. Oh I wanted to comment on your Post NOP.

    you mentioned: I must admit I have a certain attraction towards reincarnation, because it seems fair, but from everything I know, not enough people have lived in the past to account for all the humans presently on earth.

    ….perhaps there is (human-souls) life on other planets and universes ? If there is reincarnation I am sure souls aren’t just bound to the planet earth. Just a thought.. ;-)

  302. NOP, I agree 100 percent about the Repubs. Their tactics worked for the short run but eventually fear and smear wears thin.

    Talea, I agree it is a beautiful word/meaning.

    Auntie Jean LOL yes TY = thank you, tx works too! In the world of texting anything goes as long as you get your point across quickly. Back in the day when text messaging was more expensive (you paid by the text) and the phones were more difficult to use (no key boards) the kids devised a type of “short hand” to over come those obstacles. That is where a lot of those abbreviations came from. Others have their origins from the old inter-net chat rooms.

    Here are a few more.
    <3 = love, heart
    ILY = I love you
    ttul= talk to you later

    Speaking of my children… I am off to visit my oldest who is doing an internship in Dallas for the summer. I've been missing her like crazy and can't wait to get my hands on her!

    Enjoy your visit with your son and his family! Hug them tight!

    A reminder to the Michigander's… Don't forget to vote! hmmmmmm That reminds me of one of our porch family, she was a Michigan artist, lived in Kalamazoo I think?, was undergoing chemo… What was her name? We haven't seen her in a while, hope she is doing ok.. I must visit her studio when I get home!

    Keep the home fires burnin friends.. <3

    namaste

  303. Hi Congenial Gang, lori, poolman, craig and Rae,

    Sistah lori, does “ty” = thank you? How about “tx”= thanks? We’re gearing up for our CA son and family’s arrival and I have to be ready to speak our grandson’s language. Having recently returned from your trip to France, you can identify with them about now. Getting the cat ready for the ‘Kitty Motel’ and taking care of a million last minute details.

    Then there is the mad rush to the airport on the freeways, parking the car in the long term parking garage, checking in, security and then wait……… Well, theirs is only about a 5½ hour flight but I’m sure they will be a little tuckered out and jet lagged when they get here. We will “lei” them inside baggage claim and then we will all be ready to go for a wonderful time!

    Bruddah poolman, I do admire your unshakable faith. If I have said it once I’ve said it a hunnert times, “Don’t run with scissors!’ And I have also said a hunnert times, “There is a VAST difference between what I believe is INNATE SPIRITUALITY and ORGANIZED RELIGION”. ‘Innate’ and ‘hardwired’ are only hair-splitting semantics. Where do allegories fit in as a teaching tool in the the picture between evolution, religion and philosophy? I am a casuist. I don’t know.

    Bruddah, craig, either you hadn’t yet joined M&H’s porch way back when I was giving my history lessons on the origins of Islam or you weren’t paying attention. Islam is running about 500-600 years behind its older brother, Christianity and has been following in his footsteps ever since. You have heard of Joan of Arc and her battlefield triumphs, haven’t you? That is until, among her other crimes and misdemeanors, officialdom had her physically examined regarding the state of her virginity and burned her at the stake. Then there were all them witches they burned in Salem, Massachusetts. Modern Islam is catching up to its older sibling Christianity though, especially in terms of warfare. Both Fundamentalist Islam and Fundamentalist Christianity would like to take a few giant steps back a millennium or so if they could get away with it.

    Sistah Rae, you are turning out to be a great new source here on the porch for tracking down stuff on the inter-net. I’ll keep that in mind since I’m not very good at it. I’m not above a little name-dropping from time to time. Michael Crichton was a neighbor here on Kauai for a while. His novels are entertaining works of science fiction. However like “Frankenstein” and “Star Trek” he played fast and loose with scientific data. But he made a ton of money and became something of a pop culture celebrity.

    “Jurassic Park” was filmed here on Kauai along with many other movies. There are actually “Movie Tour” busses that take tourists around to all the sites where famous movies were made. Such as “South Pacific”, “King Kong”, a John Wayne movie I can’t remember the name of and of course the ultra-famous Elvis
    Presley’s “Blue Hawaii.”

    Aloha! Namaste, Shalom and Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  304. Rae, by natural selection, are you referring to Darwinian natural selection? If so, I would agree, there is no advantage to inheriting a “belief” gene. Since natural selection is all about surviving long enough to procreate and in the case of human beings living long enough to ensure the survival of your offspring, so they can also reproduce. How would a belief gene attract a mate? Really not the same thing as a 70% waist to hip ratio, signifying good health and fertility is it?

  305. Well, Jim, I’m afraid I didn’t communicate my point very well. I will try again tomorrow maybe (too tired now), and see what you think. My point is a semantic one.

    Oh, heck, let’s try this: you say people believe in the “supernatural,” but only their version of the supernatural. What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that they believe the rules of the natural world are occasionally suspended, but only in specific cases that are allowed by …. what? Convention? What does ‘supernatural’ mean in that sentence? Usually, supernatural is the not real; natural is the real. In that context, it seems to mean that I can believe the not real is real in a very specific way, and that I deny the validity of another person’s doing the same in a different specific way. Now show me how the “real” world of natural selection could select for a specific false belief.

    And then we have the problem of the religious person’s use of the world natural — he maintains that “god,” which you might call supernatural is in fact part of the natural world, and that you are using the word ‘natural’ to describe what would be better described as ‘subnatural.’

    Being all about words, and not about anything in the real world, it is difficult to understand how natural selection could be operating. By what mechanism? (Yes, I know how natural selection works – I am asking you to tell me by what mechanism it works in this situation.)

    I doubt that was any clearer, but had to give it a try.

    Puppet, we are accustomed to “belief” (dogma) being part of religion, because it is so among the religions prevalent in our culture, but belief isn’t part of every religion, at least not in the same sense. Many religions are based in practice rather than belief. And many are based in morality. One great example in our own culture is the Universalist/Unitarian church. “That seems like morality, not religion” gives too narrow a definition to religion, I think.

    Hey, Craig, wasn’t it seventy-seven times? Apparently the gap between what we are and what we are called to be is pretty darned wide. Also, just for the record, if anyone can name a Western religious tradition that treats women and men equally, I’d like to hear it. Islam has no corner on misogyny.

  306. Rae said:

    “As for belief in the supernatural as “hard-wired,” it’s an odd thought. It presupposes a genetic awareness of the distinction between natural and supernatural, which seems unlikely.”

    No, I don’t think so. I see it as typical evolution: whatever makes one more adaptive is passed on. A god may allow one to ignore certain stressors (the Big Guy is taking care of that) and focus on one of many competing threats, which could be adaptive behavior. The idea of a genetic awareness would be sort of teleological and I don’t see that.

    “Which of those explanations turn out to be natural and supernatural kind of changes with our understanding of the world.”

    I don’t think so there, either – at least not in the modern day. We have a very well worked-out method – “scientific method”- which if followed, guarantees a non-supernatural explanation or none at all. (although I’m reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s comment about how “sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”)

    “Quantuum explanations have only recently moved from the supernatural to natural category, don’t you think?”

    Quantum mechanics was never explained magically – although the math is pretty close to magic. I have never got the quantum stuff. When things move into realms such that I have no reference in real life or even imagination, I’m stuck. The math seems to work, but how this all fits together is well above my pay grade. Seems like magic to me, that’s for sure.

    “And I suspect that many people think of god as something part of the natural world.”

    Gods as a concept are interesting, but not necessary to the natural world. My biggest problem is that they inject irrationality into life, which is hard enough to understand as it is. I want to understand the world I live in and they are constantly blocking my way.

    Jim

  307. Isn’t the Golden Rule more about morality than about religious belief? I can’t argue for religion vs atheism or visa versa, because I have no proof one way or the other. But morality I can, I’m all for it. I must admit I have a certain attraction towards reincarnation, because it seems fair, but from everything I know, not enough people have lived in the past to account for all the humans presently on earth.

  308. Anonymous,
    I said I would only turn the cheek so many times.

  309. If anyone is suggesting I’ve been posting for the last several days–much less today–I have not. I have one avatar and I always post under Donna. Nice try, whoever “Anonymous” at 3:28 is.

  310. OK Donna. Whatever you say.

  311. Craig on July 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    You noted, “I guess the tenets of the golden rule is at the core of my faith, and that is to treat any one with the same respect and treatment as I would like to be treated.”

    That’s an odd statement coming from you who delights in denigrating people who disagree with you. Your comments are as nasty as any seen on this site.

    I think that’s called hypocrisy

  312. My faith resides in my heart.
    I’m sure we’re tested sometimes and we don’t even know it.
    Some need a physical structure to commune with their God.
    Some also need a intersession by another who is appointed or ordained to be a communicator and or spokes person for their God.

    I for the longest time have held that I do not need a roof,steeple or person to intercede for me.

    But that aside. I allow that my God is no greater than any other persons God or faith.
    I cannot in good heart condemn any other’s faith just because it does not conform to my beliefs.

    Basically what ever floats your boat and makes you a happy camper.
    I guess the tenets of the golden rule is at the core of my faith, and that is to treat any one with the same respect and treatment as I would like to be treated. But I can only turn my cheek perhaps two times before I’m walking away.

    But before I close I do have to question Islamic
    religious laws that allow for the barbaric treatment of women. If there is a supreme being for that sort of law..I question the tenets of peace that supposedly are are the basis of their faith.
    That also goes for the brutal beheading of captives.

  313. oops. Sorry.

  314. Jim,

    I re-read your post, and want to say something about the Big Guy taking care of all that scary stuff. I think you’re right. Especially if the big guy is open to influence, which apparently he is — prayer, donations to churches, professions of loyalty, general pretty-good behavior. It gives one a sense of control where there generally is no control, at least not until recently in our history.

    Much more appealing than “bad things happen to good people,” that’s for sure.

  315. Jim,

    I re-read your post, and want to say something about the Big Guy taking care of all that scary stuff. I think you’re right. Especially if the big guy is open to influence, which apparently he is — prayer, donations to churches, professions of loyalty, general pretty-good behavior. It gives one a sense of control where there generally is no control, at least not until recently in our history.

  316. Puppet – I agree. Who’d have thought we’d be looking back with nostalgia on the days when you could listen to Wm F. Buckley, Jr. or George Will in his prime … Before the Republican Party became the party of dummies.

    Jim, here’s your Michael Crichton essay:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/commentaries_essays/crichton_three_speeches.html

    As for belief in the supernatural as “hard-wired,” it’s an odd thought. It presupposes a genetic awareness of the distinction between natural and supernatural, which seems unlikely. We’re hard-wired to come up with explanations for things and to adopt heuristics for making decisions and predicting what will happen. And we’re hard-wired to prefer simple explanations (even scientists value parsimony, right?).

    Which of those explanations turn out to be natural and supernatural kind of changes with our understanding of the world. Quantuum explanations have only recently moved from the supernatural to natural category, don’t you think? And I suspect that many people think of god as something part of the natural world.

    Supernatural vs natural: describing the current state of science, not “reality,” and therefore unlikely to be hard-wired. That said, there is in my mind no reason, aside from wishful thinking, to posit the existence of what most people mean by “god.”

  317. It’s interesting that a lot of folks – probably most – in the world believe in the supernatural, but only their OWN version, thinking everybody else’s gods are just silly. I ran across an argument lately postulated that humans are naturally hardwired with a predisposition to superstition as a means of lowering stress. (the Big Guy is going to take care of all those scary unknown dangers.)

    One interesting take on it was by Michael Crichton, who I believe did an essay on environmentalism as a religion, saying that it was basically religion for atheists, scientists or other “freethinkers.” Don’t quote me exactly; I haven’t seen the essay in several years.

    Anybody familiar with that?

    Jim

  318. Poolman, I cannot remember a time when I didn’t think Biblical stories were implausible. I recall sitting in Sunday School, thinking, people actually believe this or do they just pretend to believe it?

  319. Hi all -

    re: Jim Bakker

    I have an old friend in southern WV who has made a fortune doing machine work for the coal mines, but to talk to him you wouldn’t know he had a penny.

    Several years back, right after Jim Bakker was released from jail, Roger received a call about two in the morning that there was a bus on Interstate 77 with a likely failed transmission, and could he take a look at it?

    He assented and arrived at his shop to find an aging tour bus sitting in one of the bays. He called in some of the machinists from home, made a pot of coffee and asked the people in the bus to come on in out of the cold and share some hot coffee with him while they waited.

    In walked Jim Bakker. He went into Roger’s office – Roger said that slinked was more like it – and sat down across the desk, clearly very cold and appreciative. In classic Hillbilly fashion, Roger – who recognized Bakker immediately – conversed with him at length, asked about his bus, but never acknowledged his identity.

    Finally Jim could stand it no longer and said, “Do you know who I am?” Roger said yes he did. “I was afraid if you recognized me you wouldn’t work on my bus. After what all I’ve done, and being a jailbird and all.”

    Roger – again typical mountain Scotsman – said, “You money’s good, ain’t it?” Bakker allowed it was.

    “Then I don’t reckon that other is any of my business.”

    By daylight the bus was back on the road. I sure miss those people in the West Virginia coalfields. It’s such a shame there’s nothing there for me or my kids.

    Jim

  320. no one’s puppet re: Whigs and Repuglicans

    Fanned!

    Jim

  321. Tammy Faye’s first husband was Jim Bakker. She later married Roe Messner, a contractor she and Jim worked with while building their PTL empire.

    Messner was her husband when she died.

  322. Namaste: when I went trekking in Nepal, most of the folks I met (some Hindu, some Buddhist, some not religious but all from India or Nepal) defined it as: “The god in me honors the god in you.”

    And they defined “god” in different ways: some the Christian/Judaic/Muslim God, some basically as “the force,” “the spirit of the Universe” etc.

    I think that’s a lovely greeting, regardless of how you worship or define God.

  323. As far as the proof for God, no one’s puppet… with me, I see God’s handiwork in everything and I commune with His Spirit. The universe points to His existence. All mankind needs to do is merely observe the physical evidence. That is before it is removed and hidden from us. The Discovery Channel did a show regarding giants and other evidence that colloborates the Bible’s account of history. However, you cannot find it in their annals. It was captured and put on Youtube. If you google Niphilim you find a lot of information – some credible, some bogus, and a lot questionable. But it is very obvious that the evidence has been systematically removed and has been kept hidden from the public. This is much like the incoming planet X that NASA confirmed in the 80′s, and images have been captured by Hubble and SOHO. And of course, the huge observatory we constructed in 2006 at the south pole. Some info has been leaked. The disinformation campaign is all over that one. The US government has censored these scientific discoveries from the general public.

    Obviously, our controllers don’t think we need to know the truth, or are afraid we would not be so passive if we had that knowledge. Can you feel the wool? Wonder why you’re feeling itchy? And you think it is all a battle of religion or political leanings. Silly humans. Much greater things are at stake.

  324. Lori, I should explain a bit better than I have in the past, it is my contention that the Republican Party cannot survive, unless they become a party of ideas, not old ideas or loony ideas thrust upon them by the t p. I hate to say that history repeats itself, because that isn’t entirely true, but that is what happened to the Whig Party, they literally ran out of fresh ideas which benefitted the country. And during the interim, the know nothing party went all Nativist. In retrospect it was absolutely amazing that out of that heap of rubble, a burned out Whig Party that the Republican Party formed and elected Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency. This country needs two vibrant parties in my opinion to function.

  325. My, my. It’s starting to look like we need to get Supernanny in here. TIME OUT!!

  326. Awwwww Fluxux I was expecting so much more from you! That is it? You can do better. I’ve seen it! LOL LOL Check your thesaurus.

  327. LORI,
    ….”isn’t it?”

    Just so ya know I observed the miss in the grammar.

  328. If Lori stoops to their level, they’ll snicker and declare victory. If Lori ignores them, they’ll snicker and declare victory.

    It’s like a Beavis and Butt-head spin-off.

  329. Wow LORI..

    Haven’t seen ya this pissy for some time.
    It’s not fun when you are the one being chased in the barn yard doesn’t it?

    So what torch or banner are you going to take up today? Taking care of Granny Jean?
    You seem to always know everything about everything.

    Hang in there sunshine!
    XOXOXO

  330. Lori,

    Here’s a difference that even you might be able to understand. I assume that you have some idea of what the word “hypocrite” means.

    For you to point to the misspelled signs of the tea party is hypocritical when you wouldn’t even pass a high school English exam. At the very least, “Helen” has a firm grasp of the English language. She doesn’t use “there” when “their” is called for, or throw an apostrophe in where none is required. You? Yes. That’s just the errors for today and it’s not even noon.

    So come out from behind “Helen,” Lori. Stop with the juvenile argument that “so-and-so said it toooooo” and back up your divisive claims of a racist tea party while excusing racism within your own party. Because by now we all pretty much know why that claim is being made. It’s strategic. You’re a race-baiter, Lori. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Along with a few other things.

  331. Jean

    I believe Tammy’s husband is Jim Baker

  332. This is a great article. It addresses many of the topics we porch dwellers have discussed of the last year or so.

    I read a study a couple of years ago, done by a liberal think tank, that has concluded many of the same things this article has asserted. The think tank study was geared, of course, to shifting/preserving liberal policy to reflect the future demographics and electorates. 2008′s election results further demonstates these shifts.

    These findings, along with others I’ve cited (along with NOP) leads me to believe the Tea people (aka republican’s) future is at stake if they continue with the same policies. There base is literally dying. It’s why I say I don’t see the TB’s as a long term threat/ political force, especially if they continue to embrace and tolerate extreme racial views.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/cs_20100724_3946.php

  333. Oh and just to set the record straight Jim. It was Helen who wrote the line. (you remember her, she is your gracious host who allows you to post here)

    “How long before Tea Party members stop misspelling signs and just start burning crosses?”

    I gotta give credit where credit is due. Great line dontcha think?

  334. There ya go Jim… feel better now?.. Keep looking buttercup it will keep you occupied for daysssssssssss. xoxoxox Love ya

  335. Hi Congenial Gang, Rae and alaskapi,

    Thanks Rae for the info on Bell, CA. What a mess to clean up.

    Now you’ve got me going, alaskapi, trying to remember Tammy Faye’s hubby’s name. I can still visualizing him being carted off to jail but not his name. Isn’t it interesting how these cults get going, last a while and gather a following of ardent supporters. Then the ‘True Believers’ get stuck in a time warp and become angry and defensive whenever their icons are disparaged.

    I am reminded of the male domestic fowl who wants to be the only rooster in the hen house but can’t get any of the hens to submit to him. And he can’t challenge any of the other roosters in the barnyard to a cock fight because none of them cares to be bothered with him either. Poor fellow. All he can do is crow.

    Busy day tomorrow since our CA family is coming out this week. I have to roust out early and that is going to be a sacrifice! I don’t choose to ‘do’ morning anymore. It is against my recently acquired moral principals.

    Nighty-night all,

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  336. And I’m sure waiting for a wallop of fresh air from Helen too… hoping all is ok there…

  337. Does Glenn Beck remind anyone else of Tammy Faye Bakker?
    ——————–
    No- more like a hybrid of Tammy Faye and her hubby, whatziname…

  338. Auntie Jean, from what I’ve read, the problem in Bell, CA is that the city changed its organization from general to charter law, circumventing pay limits the state imposes on city councils. Fewer than 500 people out of 40,000 showed up to vote in the election where this change was made, and they voted to pass the proposal. Probably family members of the beneficiaries of the lifting of limits. Oops. Hope they’re kicking themselves in the behinds now.

  339. Sarah T — I’m a pretty good Internet searcher and I can find NOTHING recent about Helen or Margaret out there. I share your bad feeling …

    Auntie Jean, I don’t think the governor has much to say about the pay of local officials. State can get involved if there’s corruption, though. Who can explain that craziness?

    Does Glenn Beck remind anyone else of Tammy Faye Bakker?

  340. Hi Congenial Gang,

    My husband and I have always liked to read – almost anything. Books, magazines, newspapers, journals, traffic signs and cereal boxes. ‘Boy toy’ is especially adept at ferreting out obscure items of interest, both interesting and outrageously obscene.

    Here’s a story he read in our local paper about a small town, Bell, CA, near Los Angeles, population, 36,000+. Can anyone from SoCal verify this?

    I have to laboriously copy it because scanning it, etc., etc., etc., is beyond my inclination (and capabilities.)

    “The City Council in this small, blue collar suburb of Los Angeles intends to ask three administrators whose salaries total more than $1.6 million to resign or face possible firing.

    The officials include Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, who earns $787,637 a year – nearly twice the pay of President Barrack Obama – for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County. (That’s seven-hundred-eighty-seven thousand, six-hundred and thirty-seven dollars a year, folks!)

    The others are: Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, who makes $376,288 a year and Police Chief Randy Adams, whose annual salary of $457,000 is 50% more than that of Lon Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. (Three-hundred-seventy-six-thousand, two-hundred-eighty-eight dollars a year. And four-hundred-fifty-seven-thousand dollars a year for the police chief, fifty percent more than the LA Police Chief.)

    Councilman Luis Artiga said the panel planned to request the resignations during a closed-door, afternoon meeting that was called to consider dismissing the officials. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday.

    Rizzo was hired at an annual salary of $72,000 a year in 1992, and the council rapidly increased that amount over the years. His most recent raise boosted his salary more than $84,000 a year. (Seven-hundred-two thousand dollars a year in 1992 with more than eight-hundred-four-thousand dollars a year in raises.)

    ‘All right, somebody wasn’t paying attention to that,’ said Artiga, who joined the council a little more than a year ago. ‘But we are acting on that today.’”

    My point is: This has been going on during the tenure of the Republican Governor Ahnold Schwartzenegger, under his leadership watch of the State of California. If I remember correctly, California has or did have the 6th (sixth) largest economy in the world. And – - – I understand that the State is now broke.

    This is an example of why we have to change our leadership at the Congressional level in Washington, at the state levels, county and municipal levels in November and on into 2012. We need a much more comfortable Democratic majority to get things done and faster. Reversing the abuses that have gone on so long, PEACEFULLY and within the RULE OF LAW, takes time. The Democrats need more time to clean up the abuse and neglect that the Republicans have allowed and sanctioned. Leave the rabble-rousing-protesting-marching-in-the-streets to the tea partiers and so-called ‘conservtive thinkers’.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  341. Jim- what is this tirade about?
    This Ayn Rand thing?
    She was certainly affected by the Russia of her birth and the Bolshevik Revolution- her ferocious condemnation of anything collectivist and near religiosity regarding anything individual may have been part of her personality but she herself pointed to her young adult years under Communist rule as the reason she felt so strongly that way.
    She fell in love with America at certain levels but was no lover of democracy…
    And her rational self-interest philosophy …?
    Crimenently, the woman was in love with elitist aristocratic notions of who was worth anything…
    Her heros fell pitifully short of Ortega’s “noble man” – a much healthier ideal from a contemporary…
    Who cares when Jean last read the dang book?
    Looking for references to Russia in it misses her point…
    And I can’t figure yours out…
    What’s with the sniping ?

  342. I’ve not a good feeling about Margaret and Helen. Would there be anyway of finding out if both are well? I wonder.

  343. And my final word on Ayn Rand: Revenge of the Nerds writ large.

  344. Ayn Rand was very much Russian. She was born in Russia, was a young woman during the revolution, and saw her family’s fortunes lost to “collectivism.” She finished college in Russia and developed her philosophy there, although she didn’t really study philosophy in any depth. Her philosophy is pro-capitalist primarily as a reaction to what she saw happen in Russia. To call it “pro-American” is simplistic; she was mostly passionately anti-collectivism. She would argue, I think, that she was mostly pro-reason, and there is no doubt that she was quite intelligent, but she wasn’t well-educated.

    Rand’s philosophical arguments have received a pounding in philosophical circles, but her advocacy of unfettered capitalism has found some political favor, and was the underlying “philosophy” for much of the Chicago school of economics that defined fiscal policy over the last few decades. I’d say most of us question whether that worked out as well as its proponents expected. Or maybe it did — the “special” people made a killing, and the riff-raff got poorer. Who’d have thought Alan Greenspan would turn out to be the real John Galt? Funny, I always thought of him as better looking. Teenage girl stuff, I guess.

    I do remember seeing Rand interviewed often during the late 60s and 70s — she was an occasional guest on Dick Cavett. A life-long smoker, she had a raspy, horrible voice, and she seemed to have the sourest disposition you can imagine. Pretty much like the stereotypes of Russian women at the time, actually. Scary.

    Good lord. (That’s for your benefit, Jim; Christians don’t own the English language, believe it or not.)

  345. Oops, Lori,-YW! Thanks again.
    BTW (look at me show off) I don’t think the PFesser likes to learn from others, he just likes to instruct. Another type of class envy I suppose…

  346. lori-

    “oh lord before I better correct this before someone has a hissy…”

    Stop acting like a petulant little girl.

    It’s generally considered bad manners on the ‘Net to point out spelling or grammatical errors, and I make it a point to avoid doing it, but in your case it was appropriate and I made an exception, gently pointing out that those who like to harp on misspelled Tea Partiers’ signs might not be immune to making spelling errors themselves.

    It seems to have worked, too – I haven’t seen you point out any misspelled Tea Party signs lately.

    And by the way, by christian rules, “lord” is spelled with a capital “L.” In charity, I’ll let the other errors drop.

    You’re welcome.

    Jim

  347. oh lord before I better correct this before someone has a hissy…. LOL

    YW = you’re welcome

  348. roz… YW= your welcome ;-)

  349. Lori, many thanks for the Namaste lesson! However, I still need one more bit of info–what does the VW you used in the beginning of your post signify?

  350. I’m suffering from Margaret and Helen withdrawal, hoping you’re on a lovely vacation and staying healthy!

  351. Jean -

    I think you got caught pants down and you are trying crawfish out of it by slicing the proverbial balogna thinner and thinner.

    I read Atlas cover to cover recently. I can’t think of a single reference to Russia – czarist or otherwise. Maybe there is somewhere, but it is no way even obliquely the main thrust. “The Russia of her heritage?” What does that mean?

    Of course everybody sees things through their own filter. What’s new? That’s not what you said. Here is what you said: She romanticized the Russia of her heritage during the Czarist regimes especially in the wake of WW’s I and II and under Communism.”

    She did no such thing. If she romanticized anything, it was America.

    Jean, you need to cut your losses here and frankly admit you haven’t read the book in ages, had forgotten what was in it, and got caught by someone who knew.

  352. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I don’t respond directly to “Anonymous Persons.” For the benefit of the rest of the gang, in my comment of 7/24 2010 at 9:25 PM I stated, regarding Any Rand, and this is a direct quote: “The Russia of her HERITAGE.” (Caps are mine.) That is in reference to Any Rand who published “Atlas Shrugged” sometime in the ’50s. I content that most of us see the world through the lens of our own ancestral and cultural heritage.

    I apologize for the mispelling of “James Galway’s” name. He is the great Irish Flautist. Although on this blog, the name “James” (or the contraction to “Jim”) could just as easily be construed as “Games”, since there is a preference with those persons for childish game playing.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  353. ” Since the majority of illegals in AZ are Hispanic, it would seem to me that having a higher index of suspicion that Hispanic-appearing people (who have been stopped for a traffic violation, say) might be illegals would be appropriate, good police work. You know, “I suspect Hispanic-appearing people more because that’s where (figuratively speaking) the money is.” May 19th, 3:44
    Not all illegals in Arizona are Hispanic, but that’s also the way to bet. It’s just police work 101. May 20

    Anyway, back to allegories and realities. I’m aware Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, but it concerns me when people suggest that real life and economies should be based on it. Nobody is doing this with Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim’s Progress. (It’s also worth noting that Ayn Rand had no regard whatsoever for Libertarians – felt about them pretty much the same way Joseph Campbell felt about neo-pagans). The only other ‘allegory’ I can think of offhand that gets treated this way is “The Turner Diaries”, and we all know how that turned out.

    I’m also going to mention again – In this fondly imagined social structure, the best you can hope for is Loyal Serf. They’re not letting you into the People That Matter Club. Not no way, not nohow. It’s a good idea, therefore, to notice how the Loyal Serfs get treated, both in the allegory and in real life. BOHICA. (For those not familiar with that particular abbreviation, that’s Bend Over, Here It Comes Again). Sorry, I don’t see the attraction.

  354. Jim you are a real puke. If you want to get your jollies off this morning by insulting people go back to insulting me. I am sure there are enough grammar and spelling mistakes in my posts it will keep you hot for a whole week!

    If you don’t like Auntie Jean’s posts stop reading them!

    Good God man pick on someone your own age!

  355. Obama speaking to Netroot Nation.

    A good reminder of how far we’ve come! Worth the listen.

    As he says, we have done it before, we can do it again. YES WE CAN!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/24/barack-obama-netroots-nation-video_n_658193.html

  356. Auntie Jean -

    Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. – snip -. She romanticized the Russia of her heritage during the Czarist regimes especially in the wake of WW’s I and II and under Communism.”

    I think one of our memories is beginning to fail us. (It could be me; I’m fast approaching my dotage… -grin-). I just re-read Atlas about three years ago and don’t recall a single line about Czarist Russia. (or in fact a single line about Russia, although I could be wrong). It was set almost entirely in America, wasn’t it?

    Could you help us out with a few citations? It would be important to know, since if that one line is not true it negates the entire paragraph. Thanks.

  357. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I had a lovely afternoon working with my piano student. Today we finished up Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and “La fille aux cheveu de lin”, (“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair”.) Next time we will work on Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 1”. If you are interested, you can You Tube them. I recommend the “Clair de Lune” performed by smalin but the beloved Games Galway’s flute rendition is haunting. The best Satie work on You Tube by far, at least for me is, Michelangeli. Relax and enjoy!

    This student happens to be a whiz with computer stuff so is helping me get started, getting the bugs out to re-activate my website. I would like to be able to add to it, maybe edit some of it, etc. We are working on the barter system. There is no charge for the music lessons and no charge for the computer lessons.

    I have read with some interest the debate here about Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. Of course, it is a piece of fiction that was popular during my young adulthood. She romanticized the Russia of her heritage during the Czarist regimes especially in the wake of WW’s I and II and under Communism.

    For a somewhat different POV, perhaps you would like to check out my non-fiction account of Czarist Russia under Nicholas II through WWI and into the beginnings of Communism there. If you click on my name up by my avatar, you can read about it starting with Chapter 24 and through all of Part Three. There was one tiny little inherited recessive gene that played a vital role, possibly changing the course of history as we know it. Ayn Rand could never have even heard of it or believed it if she had.

    Aloha! :_)

    Auntie Jean

  358. Auntie Jean – I have been laughing over your “Medieval Times” shorthand story from July 23. Only those of us living and going to school then can appreciate it.
    My shorthand story goes like this. When I started HS my mother ( who was a top notch secretary) was going to teach me shorthand so it would be easy I went to HS> She had done this with her youngest sister. I didn’t even get to the end of the first page when I shut the book and said “NO”. When it came time to enrol for my JR year I was asked “Foods or Clothing?” I iwas permitted to do it. My reply was “Drafting” .
    and believe it or not I was permitted to do it.
    AT my 50th reunion I learned I was the first girl to ever take drafting at that schooll!
    PS I had been cooking and sewing at home for a long time.

  359. YW Roz, Ive been reading your posts for a long time and always love your thoughts.

    this is the definition wiki has for namaste (I pronounce it namastay)

    Namaste (Sanskrit: नमस्ते, Hindustani pronunciation: [nʌmʌsˈteː], from external sandhi between namaḥ and te) is a common spoken greeting or salutation used in India and Nepal. It has multi-religious or else common usage where it may simply mean “I bow to you.” The word is derived from Sanskrit namas, to bow, give obeisance or reverential salutation, and te, “to you.”[1]
    When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. This gesture, called Añjali Mudrā, can also be performed wordlessly and carries the same meaning.

    I use it as a salutation with people I respect and love. As an affectionate goodbye or hello.. There are several spellings and I’ve heard it pronounced 100 different ways!

  360. Great shopping story JSRI, thanks for the lift!
    And Lori, thanks for the K. Gibran quote that takes one right where they need to be – IMHO. Also, I’m wondering about the meaning of Namaste …I’m not sure if it means peace or implies a connection amongst us as beings or…..can you help?

  361. Hi Congenial Gang and jsri on July 24,2010 at 1:26PM,

    Yep, jsri, your WW and I are sisters under the skin. There is an interesting littke article in the current July 2010 “Scientific American Magazine” that indicates that “Under Threat, Women Bond and Men Withdraw”. At the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s 2010 meeting in Montreal, experts cofirmed what you WW and I have always known.

    ‘Management’ doesn’t have a prayer when up against a battalion of women armed with shopping carts and a fistfull of coupons.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  362. “Why would anyone settle out of court with a patient if there wasn’t a threat of a much larger in court judgement?”

    Look – we know mistakes are going to occur, and as medicine progresses, more procedures are going to be done on sicker and sicker patients, further increasing the probability that one of those treatments is not going to work out. We know that. I personally would like to see a compensation system that would – first and foremost – cover all patient expenses related to that injury. Once a patient is enrolled, the case will be peer-reviewed to see if this was an expected complication by a competent physician or whether the physician should have done a better job. If his competency is found wanting, then he would be required to increase his competency in that area through more training before doing that procedure again.

    “And if there is an out of court settlement who would represent the victim?”

    Just like now. Typically that person retains an attorney.

    “And would that person be compensated for their skill set?”

    I would assume they would charge for their services, or do it pro bono.

    “Isn’t that the principle you were screaming about a day or two ago when you complaining about the caps (or in that case regulations) congress has put on wall street or when Bush did nothing to bailout AIG when it was in a shambles?”

    I don’t scream.

    I don’t believe I have commented on the Wall Street regulations that were passed lately, except as I read them they are probably not tough enough. Can you quote me where I said that?

    As I said about AIG and others, if they are too big to fail they are too big to exist.

  363. I just have to ask these questions. In your fantasy world….

    Why would anyone settle out of court with a patient if there wasn’t a threat of a much larger in court judgement?

    And if there is an out of court settlement who would represent the victim?

    And would that person be compensated for their skill set?

    Isn’t it capitalism to allow the market to dictate the attorney’s fee’s? Isn’t that the principle you were screaming about a day or two ago when you complaining about the caps (or in that case regulations) congress has put on wall street or when Bush did nothing to bailout AIG when it was in a shambles?

    Or would you have some class envy going when it comes to attoneys?

  364. Rae -

    “Capping awards – snip -but won’t do much at all to the overall costs in the system.”

    Look – I have been in the medical field since 1975, and have watched this system get more and more screwed up the whole time. It is basically a system to screw the patient. The patient must have a doctor. The doctor must have insurance. The insurer must stay solvent, so they pass any new costs to the doc who passes them to the patient.

    Other countries have dealt with this a long time ago, but we can’t seem to do it. When a reporter asked Harry Reid about tort reform in the new healthcare bill, he said that they would barely be able to pass it anyway and they weren’t about to take on the trial lawyers.

    I need health care; my family needs healthcare; my relatives, too. People who work in the healthcare system know what needs to be done – on all fronts, not just tort reform – but nobody ever asked us. And of course those who make a veritable killing off the system – the insurance companies and the trial lawyers – are going to do everything they can – usually through class envy – to keep medical people and patients at each others’ throats. And it is working; this little forum is a case in point.

    Warren Buffett said that if you are in a poker game for a half hour and still didn’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy. The next time you drive past a skyscraper full of trial lawyers of a gated community full of mcmansions owned by same, take a second to consider who is the patsy.

    It’s you.

    Jim

  365. Rae -

    “Let me bring this down to earth: x contains y. Does that mean that x = y? Absolutely not,”

    Nobody every said they were the same thing. You’re making this too hard.

    Mathematical logic does not speak of fallacies. Period. Philosophical logic does. They are not the same thing. Neither contains the other. I think we are going in circles here.

    “And I’m sure you know that it is the medical claims system — they way the providers of medical care must obtain reimbursement for their services in this country — that adds the most cost to our system.”

    That is one cost. There are others, including the costs of defensive medicine, which is very difficult to quantify. I’ll give you an example, and don’t think this is just one guy; it is the perfect description of the doctors’ mindset:

    I keep track of radiation dose to patients. Last year I upbraided a young ER physician: “You have to let up on these CT scans on kids; you are burning them up!”

    His response: “Look, I know exactly what I’m doing, but look at it from my POV. I am young; I have forty more years to work. There is absolutely no penalty to me to do a CT on everybody, but there is a hell of a penalty if I don’t and miss something. Maybe career-ending.”

    Thoughts? And before you comment, you can fuss all you want; there is not a thing you can do about this; as long as physicians run scared they are going to order every test they can think of. Period.

    As for the legal costs, wouldn’t you agree it would be beneficial to get rid of the 1/2 of the cost of litigation that does not go to the patient if the patient could be equally compensated otherwise?

  366. What the heck …. how about a little math?

    What are the “legal costs” involved in a medical malpractice or other personal injury case?

    Well, you have to pay for experts — medical experts, for example. Tens of thousands there.

    You have to pay for your lawyer’s time, of course, generally less per hour than you paid for your doctor. And the lawyer has to spend a very large number of hours navigating the legal bureaucracy (just as the average doctor spends a large percentage of his or her time navigating the medical bureaucracy).

    So let’s say we do away with contingency fees for lawyers. Even if every lawyer would agree to work for free, you have court costs, and those pesky experts. So ante up a few tens of thousands, and you can get to court with your claim. Of course, your free lawyer isn’t going to be as good as the high-paid lawyers the rich guys get, but we all know justice isn’t the same thing for rich and not-so-rich. OK, let’s say you pay your lawyer a reasonable hourly rate. Add a few more tens of thousands to the pot. Now you can have access to the legal system. Lawyers will take bad cases and good cases — what’s the difference? They’ll get paid either way.

    All right, let’s keep contingency fees, but put a cap on the awards. Probably not a bad idea, because juries do tend to pile on the $$ for especially sympathetic victims, for example, babies, and against unsympathetic defendants, e.g., large corporations. In fact, juries cause quite a bit of unfairness in the system. The problem is that nobody has figured out a better way to balance the power between the ordinary plaintiff and the corporate defendant.

    Capping awards will make us feel better about the whole thing — nothing worse than hearing about somebody getting rich off a bogus claim — but won’t do much at all to the overall costs in the system.

  367. JeanΔ ¥ on July 23, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Genetics and shopping.

    There is no question that the shopping gene is a sex influenced female dominant. Occasionally males are influenced by it but mostly when it helps sort through craft beers. I think my wife has a double dose. And even though she could qualify for a parking placard, she won’t apply because most places she researches, have shopping carts and, like you, she can go for hours, as long as she has one to lean on. But the funny part is that, after shopping, she often arrives at home empty handed. But I know that she knows absolutely where every item of interest is located and she is now ready to pounce on them when they go on sale.

    And then there are the coupons. She is always armed with a fistful.

    Recently we went shopping for a small kitchen appliance. I went along as her bellhop. I’d get to carry the bags. She had a 20% off coupon but her tired eyes couldn’t decipher the miniscule fine print and only when she presented the coupon did she learn that the branded appliance she chose was specifically verboten. But the female sales associate, who was awed by Wonder Wife’s coupon cache, noticed that she had a generic store coupon worth 5% off any item. Almost immediately, another shopper joined the fray and the 3 ladies had a prolonged discussion about coupons and sales in general. Meanwhile, I’ve been standing around in the background for what seemed like hours and I’m beginning to droop like an unwatered potted plant. Then the sales associate noted that the 3rd woman had a generic store coupon worth 10% and asked if she would be willing to swap with my wife if she could give up some grocery coupons from her stash. But first they had to get a store supervisor’s approval. The female store supervisor, yet another clandestine shopper, joined in the discussion and I watched in amazement as the whole issue got sorted out amid a lot of talk, a lot of laughter and a lot of shopping stories.

    Well, 15% isn’t quite the 20% that WW was looking for but it was a healthy discount, nevertheless. So now I’m looking at the manual that came with the appliance and my English reading of the directions translated by a Chinese interpreter from the original Indonesian has a lot to be desired. But it was a great bargain.

  368. Jim,

    My good philosopher friends and my good mathematician friends would say you are making a “false dichotomy” (whose aim is not to speak right, but to make right figures, as Mr. Pascal would say). They, and the computer scientists I’ve worked with over the years, believe themselves to be studying the same thing, but approaching it with different tools. Philosophers use words, so introduce a semantic component; mathematicians are deliberately abstract and formal. I think most agree that computer science has a little corner of the logic world that is its area of interest, and none of them have ever made the claim that that corner is also where mathematical logic lives.

    Let me bring this down to earth: x contains y. Does that mean that x = y? Absolutely not, at least in most formal systems (you could imagine systems that would be otherwise.) Philosophers would say no. Mathematicians would say no (set theory; it’s basic). And computer scientists would say no. All for the same reason, although the language of their explanations might be a little different.

    It is true that access to quality medical care and the legal system are both much more expensive in this country than elsewhere. The systems are inefficient and error-prone. Blaming lawyers for this is silly. Much of the legal work done in this country is done pro bono; your comment about lawyers doing what doctors do is inaccurate and mean-spirited. And I’m sure you know that it is the medical claims system — they way the providers of medical care must obtain reimbursement for their services in this country — that adds the most cost to our system. You and I pay for the uninsured in every American-made product we buy, which somehow makes people happier than paying for them directly. Great for insurance company shareholders, bad for all of us. But let’s blame lawyers for the mess — after all, if some lady in California weren’t suing McDonalds for too-hot coffee, everything would be hunky-dory.

  369. Bravo gimmethetruth, keep on writing!

  370. The Repub representatives should be more like the Dems and stick it to the taxpayers, and then turn around and not pay their own fair share. Hypocrites.

    I like that Mad Cow calling out bias on Fox News. What did she have to say about the Journolist?

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/07/the-corruption-of-journolist.html

    In case you missed it, here’s what Mad Cow’s frequent guest Spencer Ackerman considers his job as a journalist -

    “What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

    And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes them sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

  371. Rae -

    “mathematics contains logic. Are you perhaps confusing mathematics with computation or arithmetic?”

    Stop! Stop! You’re both right!

    There is “logic” that is a subdivision of mathematics, true. It is the logic that operates all our computers. I had a 4-hour class in digital logic in EE school – it has nothing to do with fallacies, except the fallacy that I thought I could get an “A.”

    There is also a “logic” – very different from the above – that is a subdivision of philosophy, and most generally the mathematicians let the philosophers worry about the “fallacies” that are in turn a subdivision of philosophy’s “logic.”

    “As for contingency fees, it’s a way to make tort actions available to people who aren’t rich. Contingency fees encourage lawyers to take only worthy cases and to take worthy cases regardless of the client’s current ability to ante up $20,000. Do away with that, and you’ll take one step closer to “liberty and justice for all who can afford it.”

    Ah, yes – the old, “Contingency fees are the poor man’s keys to the courthouse” argument.

    Firstly, if the cases are worthy, why don’t the lawyers do what doctors do – take them for free?

    Secondly, the British and a lot of others figured out the answer to this a loooooong time ago – it’s called, “loser pays” – basically the loser in a suit pays all lawyer fees and court costs. If you have a good case then you should pursue it, since the opposition will be paying your fees. Of course, with real assets at risk, this tends to make people think twice about going to court and try to settle their differences – unlike the US, in which the only thing the plaintiff has at risk is a $75 filing fee. The court will of course decide what is a reasonable fee, which of course the lawyers hate.

    The ultimate result is that there are a lot fewer lawsuits, the courts are tied up less, people tend to settle out of court, and meritorious cases go on to the courtroom. What’s to hate? Nothing unless you are a plaintiff’s attorney looking across the big pond at billion-dollar settlements and calculating what 45% of that would do for your summer home.

    “There are obvious abuses of the system, but they’re relatively rare and highly publicized. The studies of the subject conclude that savings in our medical care system, for example, as a result of tort reform would be relatively small.”

    That’s the plaintiffs lawyer’s argument of course; there are others who disagree. A four-second google turns up:

    “U.S. litigation costs overall are at least twice those in other developed countries, such as Canada and much of Europe, according to a 2008 study by the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy. Experts have estimated U.S. medical liability claims to be roughly 10% of all tort litigation, with at least half of related expenses going to legal costs rather than compensating patients.”

    As you would say, “hmmmm……”

    Cordially,
    Jim

  372. I love this blog, and I truly enjoy reading the comments. I hope Helen will post again soon.
    She inspired me to start my own blog here, so if you’re reading this and interested, it’s
    http://www.gimmethetruth.wordpress.com
    Frankly, the Repubs looking out for the rich and themselves is nothing new. They have revealed their true selves by simply sticking it to the unemployed, who are mostly unemployed due to the inept and carlesness of their Repulican President George Bush.

  373. Hmmm…

    Anonymous, mathematics contains logic. Are you perhaps confusing mathematics with computation or arithmetic?

    As for Ayn Rand, good grief. Even when I was in high school I knew the books were fantasies of the “geek guy gets hot babe” variety. And Ayn Rand herself … what a mess. Online gaming is today’s Atlas Shrugged. Is there anyone (other than a few embarrassing Chicago school economists) over 18 who believe that stuff?

    As for contingency fees, it’s a way to make tort actions available to people who aren’t rich. Contingency fees encourage lawyers to take only worthy cases and to take worthy cases regardless of the client’s current ability to ante up $20,000. Do away with that, and you’ll take one step closer to “liberty and justice for all who can afford it.”

    There are obvious abuses of the system, but they’re relatively rare and highly publicized. The studies of the subject conclude that savings in our medical care system, for example, as a result of tort reform would be relatively small.

  374. Judith -

    “better – the last time I bowed out was when some silly twit argued that “most criminals (in the area) are Latino; therefore, we should legally be able to challenge all Latinos” or words to that effect.”

    I’ve searched the posts and I can’t find that or anything like it. Can you help me out with a cite?

    “For the record, “A contains B” is not the same as “A equals B”

    Mathematically true, but unrelated to fallacies.

    “and anybody who can argue it does wouldn’t know a fallacy if it staggered up, bit their ankle and shat on their shoes.”

    I would argue that they don’t know the difference between math and logic (although in some cases they can be related. See George Boole – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Boole)

    “Ok, Atlas Shrugged. I know it well. I liked it in high school and college, but even then I knew it was a fantasy.”

    Actually, it is a novel. And the essence of a novel is that it is not literally true. Novels can sometimes be fantastic (Asimov’s work comes to mind) or sometimes – like Atlas – they can be allegorical. My understanding is that Rand’s purpose was to assail the collectivist mentality (which had robbed her family of their livelihood in Russia during the Revolution).

    Not literally true? Yep. Fantasy? Not really.

    ***********

    “Tort reform, anybody? Means you can’t sue, no matter what. Death, disability, you name it. They can poison your grandparents or your kids with bad water or Listeria in the luncheon meat – hey, caveat emptor, you’re SOL.”

    It means nothing of the sort. It means putting in place some kind of sanity – like the rest of the world has. For example, the contingency fee – which entangles the lawyer’s personal fortune with the case he’s trying – is illegal – let me repeat that: it is ILLEGAL – in every country in the world except the United States. It is important to compensate people who have been harmed – without enriching liability attorneys, who add nothing to the equation, but end up with most of the money. (John Edwards, anybody?)

    Pete Rose can’t bet on his own games. A doctor wouldn’t be allowed to tell his patient, “If you die you don’t owe me anything; if you live you owe me a potentially unlimited amount – maybe hundreds of millions.” Why can a lawyer do that?

  375. Good morning all.. Thought this fitting in light of the passing the UI bill this week..

    You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
    The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pastures.
    They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
    Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights,
    is worthy of all else from you.

    Kahlil Gibran

    namaste

  376. Hi Congenial Gang, jsri, on July 23, 2010 at 11:47PM and vgman, on July 22, 2010 at 11:35PM,

    Uncle jsri, thank you for your spellings and definitions. In the context that I was thinking of, any or all of the three for the words, “boor”, “bore”, and/or “boar” might be applicable. I believe that many of the old time regulars here as well as some more recent ones will be checking in more often when the summer vacation season is over, the kids and grandkids go back to school and the November election campaigns get into full swing. I am confident that Margaret and Helen will come roaring back in then too, if not sooner.

    You almost made me homesick for the Eastern Seaboard again, vgman. Well, maybe not homesick but certainly nostalgic. We look forward to a more extensive report when you get back from camping.

    Obviously, we are back home from my ‘boy toy’s’ Epidural Prednisone shot today. It went off successfully without a hitch. The nurse was the same one who helped give me mine last summer. The doctor was different though. This one was all of 16-years-old I think, a tall handsome Hispanic dude. While we got acquainted, he practiced his French on us a little as we practiced our Spanish on him some too. His grandparents are coming out to visit shortly from Scottsdale, Arizona to escape the heat.

    Both the, doctor, nurse and staff were most efficient. We gave and received hugs all around when we left. We were in and outta there under an hour and a half.

    Afterwards, we did a little shopping we forgot Wednesday. Thanks to an Act of Congress, for quite some time we have had a handicapped placard and usually manage to find a close-by-parking space near where they stash the shopping carts before they gather them up to take back to the front entrance.

    We can get into bickering over, “My Spinal Stenosis is worse than yours today, so get your own shopping cart to lean on!” We rarely frequent merchants any more that don’t provide shopping carts. They work better than canes or walkers!

    We can hobble around nicely as long as we don’t have to go too far or for too long. Example, I log on to M&H, and go take care of some little chores, come back and Voila! all these over-two-months-of-comments have been downloaded. I don’t have to sit there twiddling my thumbs, staring at the computer screen in frustration while I wait.
    Then I can sit and rest a bit while I get caught up reading the latest comments. Works for me!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  377. Oh, no – not dishwashers! I just finished learning how to repair mine. I had decided to clean out the food and grease trap and somehow didn’t put it back together right. The next time I ran it, the lower workings became airborne (waterborne?) and the lower spray arm landed across the heating element and melted all to hell and gone. If it hadn’t been quite so, well, moist, we would have had a major fire. I can’t afford a $200. service call, so we just bought the part online and figured out how it went on. (It’s not like they’ll actually tell you, even in the manual – they just say to call for ‘approved maintenance’). Shipping was as much as the part itself, but at least we have a working machine again – fingers crossed. Approve this! (Imagine appropriate gesture). Funniest thing was DH – when he found out it would be 2 weeks before we got the part, he panicked. “We’ll run out of dishes long before that!” I reminded him that we’ve been married for 30 years. Had a dishwasher for 5. I think we can cope.

    Have to weigh in on Atlas Shrugged. I should know better – the last time I bowed out was when some silly twit argued that “most criminals (in the area) are Latino; therefore, we should legally be able to challenge all Latinos” or words to that effect. Can’t even remember whom – can’t keep them straight & don’t really see the need to, but he was seeking to instruct me in fallacies. For the record, “A contains B” is not the same as “A equals B” and anybody who can argue it does wouldn’t know a fallacy if it staggered up, bit their ankle and shat on their shoes. There’s no point in even having a discussion – and that’s even before considering the concept of ‘competitive argument’. This is not the same as a discussion, and “I win, I win, I win! Yee-Hah! This is fun!” would be creepy-ooky, even if the point were a good one.

    Ok, Atlas Shrugged. I know it well. I liked it in high school and college, but even then I knew it was a fantasy. (We can get past the part where all the good guys, women included, are tall and beautiful. Fairy tales always do that. I do think that when Keats said “Truth is beauty, and beauty truth”, he meant that truth is beautiful by nature, because it was truth – not the other way around).

    The thing that always struck me about it was that nearly all the heros came from Money, except for the occasional freak genius who was allowed in anyway. It was essentially a feudal society, complete with the loyal serf characters, as well as the parasites. Anybody else ever notice that when the ‘productive people’ headed off to their valley to let Society fall to pieces without them, they left the help behind? “Gee, guys, sorry, it’s been fun, but after all, you’re not really, well, us”. Boy, oh, boy – don’t you just want to go work for those people? And the benefit for playing by their rules was – what? I’m sorry, I’m not seeing it.

    I understand that Rand had fled Stalinist Russia, which was a nightmare society. That doesn’t really excuse yearning back to the glorious days of nobility and the Tsar. Believe me, in that society, they wouldn’t have let her in, either. No more than the neo-cons are about to let in any of us. Nobody below the top 5%, and if they can get the percentage smaller, they will.

    The ‘productive class’ which all these tax breaks, etc. are supposed to benefit seems to be people like the Bushes. They sit on boards, they try to get and hold power and use it to collect even more money with even less oversight and no legal penalties for bad behavior. Tort reform, anybody? Means you can’t sue, no matter what. Death, disability, you name it. They can poison your grandparents or your kids with bad water or Listeria in the luncheon meat – hey, caveat emptor, you’re SOL.

    Come up with an innovative idea? They’ll find some way to steal or buy it (for pennies on the dollar), so they can kill it dead. That ‘freak genius” wouldn’t have a chance, in real life.

    As far as I can tell, they don’t actually do anything. (Productive?) It isn’t even about the investors, anymore. They get the same money for running companies into the ground and bailing. When Bernie Madoff said “F-k my victims”, he was only being more honest than most. Of course, when you’re serving many more lifetimes than you’re actually going to have. you might as well be honest. I hope he enjoys the novelty.

    The neo-cons have a feudal society in mind. Their early writers admit as much. 95% or more will belong to a permanent underclass, with no hope of climbing out. If you think they have your best interests in mind, I have a mother ship you might want to board. If you can leave your mothers basement.

    Ok, knock yourself out. Since this can’t be a real discussion, I expect a flurry of bad points, followed by “I win, I win, I win! Yee-Hah! This is fun!”. Cash those points in wherever you think you can, for whatever you think you can get. But I gotta ask – is this anything like the old Gold Stamps catalog?

  378. RIP Daniel Schorr. Speaking of NPR, here’s his obit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128565997

  379. Roz, may I suggest Josh Marshall’s http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/
    as an additional source of news. You can find more about Mr. Marshall on Wikipedia, it informs of his earlier work. I usually read his site before I read the others you mention.

    Vgman, I’m glad you had a chance to see my part of the world. I lived in NYC some years ago though I now live in the country, a couple of hours from there. The part I love about that city is the wonderful diversity of people. You were apparently only in Manhattan, but the surrounding areas are more human. Queens has a wonderful Greek and Mediterranean area, as well as Indian, South and Central America, and Chinese as well as other Asian countries. We’re due to do another international food tour (did one 5-6 years ago) It’s possible to surround yourself with foods and stores from a different country every day for weeks. 40 years ago, we lived in the Arab section of Brooklyn. I have fond memories of the Lebanese woman who made triangular spinach pies (fatayer bi sabanekh) in a ‘bakery’ under the sidewalk, in coal fired ovens. Just entering the place was an adventure. Sadly, last time I was there I learned she had passed on and although there was a rumor of a nephew taking over, I believe the place is closed.

    And you also missed the parrots that live in Brooklyn, descended from some that apparently escaped from a shipment that arrived at JFK Airport back in the ’60′s. Seeing their huge communal nests on top of the street light poles in a residential area is unique. They like pizza crusts.

    Soooo many wonderful things to do but now it’s more true than ever, “it’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

  380. jsri, all,
    I wholly agree with your “news” post. The last time I watched PBS “Newshour” was when the swiftboaters went after John Kerry. The word balance in news now means you put up a liar against someone telling the “truth”. Yikes!!!
    If I watch news now it’s via the daily show and the colbert report. But really, I just mostly go to Daily Kos, Crooks and LIars, Bark, Bark, Woof Woof and of course, here.
    I hope we hear from our absent and sorely missed gals soon and that they and theirs are OK!

  381. No, no jsri, this site needs only Margaret and Helen!

  382. vgman on July 22, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    One of the features that has made H&M’s website so attractive is the diversity of opinions offered by a readership that stretches across a half dozen time zones and from the Arctic Circle to the Mexican border. By their comments and concerns some of us have learned about the uniqueness of living in parts of the country we have never visited or may have missed in our travels. It is also fun to see how different regions we may be familiar with can be seen through the eyes of those from other parts of the country. Your trip is an example of that. It is also something that Auntie Jean has done effectively on an international scale.

    But I fear that all this may be coming to an end as the site has been taken over gradually by a handful of people pushing personal agendas and running roughshod over the rest of the posters. I hate to say this but it looks as if this site is on its last legs unless past posters take it back.

  383. EXACTLY jsri.. I sooooo agree! Makes me a crazy person!

  384. lori on July 23, 2010 at 6:17 AM:

    My safety net for unbiased news used to be PBS, but not any more. They have fallen into the trap of trying to show balance by presenting countering arguments for issues that may be more in need of additional analyses than balanced opinions. And any interviewer who allows John Boehner or Mitch McConnell to get within ten feet of a microphone should be banished to the nearest outhouse. They are so predictable and repetitious that a tape recorder could easily replace them.

  385. Jean: on July 22, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    I missed the context of your question but here are a few definitions that may be useful.

    A boor is a person with rude, clumsy manners and little refinement.
    A bore is a hollow, usually cylindrical chamber or hole in the ground.
    A boar is an uncastrated male pig.

  386. Dawn,
    The old 5 moth old dishwasher just went out the door to the scrap heap according to the plumber.
    I thought such a waste. I have a call into GE to see if they could repair the old one and donate it here locally to some organization or Habitat for Humanity.

    Hang in there for the job. God Bless.

  387. Craig,

    I feel your pain regarding GE appliances. We bought our house 11 years ago in a new development with all GE appliances. Refridgerator always freezes stuff on the top left part of the shelf. The repairman said I couldn’t read a thermometer. After 30 yrs as a nurse I know how to wipe someone’s butt, and I know how to read a thermometer.
    Dishwasher went kaput 2 years ago, but I have kids so that’s no problem. Self cleaning oven can’t stand being at the high temp for that long and it shuts itself down. Washing machine bought the farm about 3 years ago.

    I don’t want to say anything about the microwave because it’s working great, but about 50% of the homes have had to have it replaced and that was within the 1st 2 years.

    Too bad I didn’t post that a year or two ago…

    Thanks for all the positive thoughts regarding my husband’s job situation.

  388. I said. The party out of power ALWAYS loses seats.

    It should re .. of course The party IN power Always loses seats.

    but everyone knew what I meant right? ;-)

  389. Those were both good reads Auntie Jean.. thank you poolman and ellise for finding and posting them.

    As you know I agree with their POV.

    It’s frustrating, for political wonks like myself, to sit through a news cast when the anchors/pundits are simply just wrong in their reporting.

    As I was making dinner yesterday I had CNN on in the back ground. I heard one of the hosts throw out a tease that went something like “Obama’s approval ratings take yet another dive”. Curious and a tad worried I hurried what I was doing and went to the TV to hear what the “newest” poll they were citing was all about. In the meantime I searched my data base to see if I could find the polls they were citing and the particulars. I couldn’t find anything that would indicate their tease was even remotely true.

    When the political expert finally came on to discuss her “finding” and opinions, my mood went from worried to furious. One of the “facts’ she breathlessly cited to back up her claim that Obama was tanking and therefore going to lose re-election was…. and I’m paraphrasing, Obama is losing white males! Okkkkkk well the problem with that is Obama never “had” white males. McCain won the white male vote by a healthy margin. There were about a half dozen more misconceptions this “expert” cited that I won’t bore you with. The experts’ conclusion was Obama is going to have trouble getting reelected.

    My point is …. To the casual, non political, typical American, they would have listen to this “expert” and concluded .. WOW no one likes Obama, he isn’t going to win re election. The experts will of course repeat and repeat and repeat those “facts” today until they become reality in the minds of their listeners.

    The “expert” was using approval ratings polls to conclude voter outcome, when voter history showed contradictory data! White men didn’t vote for Obama in 2008. Unless white men’s approval rating is now lower than the percentage of white men that voted for him in 2008 he isn’t “losing” white men. If you want to opine on Obama’s re-election chances compare approval ratings to the actual voter results! grrrrrr sooo frustrating!

    The same can is true with the mid term elections and the Tea Party candidates. The party out of power ALWAYS loses seats. Given the economy I expect about a 5 – 10 percent more of a loss. There is no voter history that tells me the percentages they need to win back both houses is possible. It’s going to be a tough year but the forgone conclusion that we will lose congress is far from certain.

    Take the tea party candidates. Experts giddily report how tea party candidates are sooooo popular with the voters. They fail to mention they are popular with REPUBLICAN voters. A Tea Party candidate has not won an election against a democrat. The two special elections that ran a TB er…. they lost (NY 23) ! One of those races was in an extremely RED district. Look at KY. It been Republican for years we never had a chance in KY. This year they are running a R/TB, Rand Paul, and guess what? We have a chance in KY!

    Do I think a few Tea Baggers will win this year? Yes I do. Do I think they are runaway winners? No I don’t. Not by a long shot.

    100 days out, I think we have a good shot at holding both houses. We have to get excited and give our voters a reason to vote. If we accomplish that we retain both.

    Anyway… I am happy to see a FEW experts out there still use conventional statistics to opine on election results.

  390. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I belong to a growing voter demographic of, uh, mature women. I think we will remember in November. Many of them can relate to my story here.

    Back in Medieval Times, in high school it was de rigueur for girls to take courses in Home Economics, (cooking, sewing, etc.,), typing and shorthand. I had no problem with Home Ec and typing, but I can’t tell you how much I despised shorthand! I learned that damn shorthand well, but I still loathed it.

    I got a job that, among many other duties, required taking dictation. Here’s how it went. Mr. Big Boss (BB) would call me in, “Miss Sweet Young Thing, (SYT), bring your book.” “Yes, Sir!” I would patiently listen to his rambling, and take it down in shorthand, word for word, then go back to my desk, transcribe it verbatim, type it up and present it to him; stand there while he read and red penciled it and said, “Retype it”. Back to the desk, retype it letter perfectly, present it to him with the stamped addressed envelope for his signature, carefully fold it, lick the envelope and put it in my outbox.

    After a while, I started to surreptitiously edit it a little and gradually began to enter the ‘Inner Sanctum’ with an acceptable copy for his signature. Not having to retype everything lightened my workload a little. Over time, Mr. BB caught on and started calling me in, “Miss SYT, answer these,” and pointed to me a stack of correspondence. “ I want them on my desk first thing tomorrow morning”. “Yes Sir!” and I picked them up off his desk. Then he would go home.

    Now, I never received an “At-a-Girl!” nor was it reflected in my meager paycheck. At least, Mr. BB never patted me on the fanny either. He was a happily married family man and pillar of the community. It probably didn’t hurt either that my parents were best friends with the Chief of Police and his wife. The four of them played Canasta together all the time.

    Fortunately for me I was still living at home with my parent’s free room and board. I usually walked to work or in inclement weather took the streetcar. The streetcar always collected a fare before you could ride it. There was absolutely no way I could have supported myself with a place of my own or a car.

    I only stayed with that job for a relatively short time and then I moved on to continue my education and my life. Shorthand? The day I walked out of that office, it was as if I had scrubbed a blackboard with an eraser in my brain. I can’t remember a single squiggle of shorthand today. Much later when I heard about the ‘dicta-phone’ being invented, I thought it was the best thing since the ‘Invention of the Wheel’ and the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  391. Hi congenial Gang and elsie09,

    Woohoo! Sistah Elsie! How did you do that? Yep that’s the Steve Mirsky article I wanted. Now, that’s satirical writing to the max!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  392. Hey ya’ll,

    I’ve been reflecting the past few days on the vacation I just finished–two weeks on the east coast….DC, Philadelphia and New York City.

    What a sea of humanity in the most humid spot I’ve ever been. But we had a lot of fun and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked…..

    The National Archives outdoor guard on duty told us, “I’ve got my eye on you!”

    Saw several people lounging on the Truman Balcony….I had my binoculars.

    Laughed at Carol Burnett’s dress made from curtains in the American History Museum.

    The massive tile and marble front foyer of the Library of Congress was breathtaking.

    There was a dog sniffing around inside of the Supreme Court room–its master chatting with the tourists.

    Took a walk to Lafayette Square and watched the tourists, squirrels, and homeless on the benches.

    Marveled at the Norman Rockwell exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery.

    And of course, learned more about our Presidents and their wives in both the Presidents Portraits exhibit and the First Wives collection in the American History Museum. I can spend hours looking at details in the paintings.

    Walked, with my water bottle strapped to my waist, from memorial to memorial in one afternoon…..
    Washington’s two-color toned obelisk,
    World War II and Vietnam…….
    Reflecting Pool and Lincoln……
    Korean War…
    Franklin Roosevelt
    Japanese Cherry Blossom trees
    and saw the site under construction for the MLK memorial.

    I thought how fitting it was that it would sit across the pond from Thomas Jefferson’s statuesque pose. The words “Let freedom ring” would sound across the water back and forth between the two men.

    Then on to Gettysburg. It was here that I stood in the same spot where five presidents have stood to address a Memorial Day crowd at the cemetary.

    Toured the Hershey Factory and bought some candy….not too much. Learned a lot about the Amish people as well.

    Philadelphia with its Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (which was my most wished for place to be on this trip), Benjamin Franklin’s home and grave, and finally the City Tavern. Once again, having a stout beer from Jefferson’s recipes, while eating in the same place as Washington, Adams, and Jefferson had was inspiring.

    Ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (72 steps) and posed……and then yelled “Adrianne” out loud to no one in particular.

    And of course, had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.

    New York City was too much. Too many cabs, too many people, too much money, too much walking (but the subway was fun, too!)
    Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Teddy Roosevelt’s Birthplace, WTC site, St Patrick’s Church, Staten Island Ferry, and my feet are beginning to ache just typing the words.

    Anyways, guys and gals, it was fun and memorable.

    We have an amazing nation with so many diverse people. Our Constitution just requires us to talk about our differences and then come to resolution in a way that respects each other and works for the common good.

    Lastly, I hope that all that I saw would keep reminding me that we live in a country that has been through a lot.

    Now, it’s off to camping…..leave the cities behind and enjoy a good campfire.

    See ya,

    VGman

  393. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=presidential-harrisment

    Jean, I believe this may be the Steve Mirsky article you referenced. I hope it holds the information you are seeking.

  394. Hi Congenial Gang, Bruddah poolman and jsri,

    I have another assignment for you Bruddah poolman, to track down another coumn to put up here at M&H. Every issue of “Scientific American Magazine” has a feature article by Steve Mirsky. In the June 2010 issue he had one on a Harris Poll conducted in an online interactive survey regarding the attitudes of Americans toward President Obama. The results and Mirsky’s comments are quite thought provoking.

    jsri, maybe you can help me out again with some spelling and definitions. Is it “bore” or is it “boor”?

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  395. Greytdog wrote:

    “this little thing called the 1st Amendment and I don’t believe it specifically says that only Christians can build houses of worship.”

    No, I think it says something like this, if I’m not mistaken:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I don’t think it talks about building churches at all, but the mosque would prolly fall under the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And under that clause, most likely they can build it. Of course, also under the same amendment, thousands can gather around it in protest, too.

    “Nor do I believe that the 1st Amendment defines what is considered worship and what is not.”

    Right on. vide supra

    “If we want to talk insult because WTC area is now “hallowed ground”,”

    I don’t believe much in “hallowed ground.” I do, however, think that this mosque has very little to do with religion and a hell of a lot to do with rubbing America’s nose in dog shit, if you will pardon my French.

    “then let’s talk Mt. Rushmore, built smack dab in the middle of sacred Lakota burial grounds.”

    Remember what your mommy told you: two wrongs don’t make a right.

  396. Greytdog -

    fiona wrote:

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: -snippity snip – leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

    Yeah, yeah…what is the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a scum-sucking bottom dweller and the other is a fish. What is the difference, &c &c…ad infinitum ad nauseum…That technique is so funny Adam kicked the slats out of his cradle when it was first used.

    However we both know that ridicule is the last resort of the man with no argument, don’t we?

    Show us your argument – have you any.

  397. Building a mosque two or three blocks away from Ground Zero is not an insult to the people who died there nor is it an aggressive act. As I recall, altho I’m probably wrong, the United States has this little thing called the 1st Amendment and I don’t believe it specifically says that only Christians can build houses of worship. Nor do I believe that the 1st Amendment defines what is considered worship and what is not. If we want to talk insult because WTC area is now “hallowed ground”, then let’s talk Mt. Rushmore, built smack dab in the middle of sacred Lakota burial grounds. . .

  398. lori -

    “Jim you really need to be a little more orignal with your posts…. the ones you have been copying and pasting are getting boring!”

    Nice try, but the cut and paste was of my own post at I believe the Daily Caller (Huffpo?) today. Unlike some, I receive both the Left’s and the Right’s online publications. If you can locate the other post, look at the poster’s name – you will find it is…drum roll…pfesser53…

    If you find it, please enlighten us all – including me – as to where you found it.

    Believe me, sweetie – I write enough that I don’t need to cut and post anyone else’s work, and if I do, I enclose it in quotation marks. I obviously don’t enclose my own work in quotations… et tu?

    So I will be more original if you will be more careful. It isn’t fun having one’s gouge shoved down one’s own throat, it it?

    …heh…heh…Fair enough?

    Cordially,
    Jim

  399. PFesser-
    I interpreted delurkergurl’s comment as a way of looking at the idea in your comments stripped of the emotional baggage we collectively carry when we talk about anything Muslim these last few years… within the device of substituting a group we know…
    Similarly to what this young man did here…
    What If The Tea Party Was Black – Jasiri X

    I’ve been kind of amused but mostly irritated with all the talk about the NAACP “pulling the race card ” talk lately…
    My state is almost 15% Alaska Native, including moi. Racism is institutionalized here… both overtly and covertly… and the rise of the local Tea Party is exacerbating it.
    There’s no such thing as a race card, there’s no such thing as a monolithic religion which devours all in it’s path by design…
    There ARE a LOT of people who are turning to fundamentalist religions of all types, silly political stances, and so on who feel they are left out of the loop …
    The methods they are choosing, be they gun toting 2nd amendment twits or muslim extremists , are those human beings choose when they get caught up in a cause and forget they are human…

  400. fiona wrote:

    “If I felt the mosque’s being built in that location was anything other than blatant aggression, I would say let it be. ”

    ‘Pfesser, would you have the same complaint if it were a Christian church?

    Didn’t think so …’

    Very considerate of you to ask me a question and then answer it, too! Thank you, but if you don’t mind, I’ll take a stab at it myself…

    You have struck a dry hole here, since I am a lifelong atheist and consider christianity to just be another desert religion, somewhat akin to islam, but generally more vicious and therefore successful. If anything, having grown up in the buckle of the bible belt, I am more frustrated with fundamentalist christians than I am fundy islamists.

    To get back on track: One never knows what one would do in a hypothetical, but if the Towers had been struck by aircraft piloted by christian zealots, doing it for god, and then a christian church proposed, I believe my response would be the same.

    How about you? Correct me if I’m wrong, but my assumption is you are christian. How do you think you would have reacted?

    Jim

  401. Fiona64–you are great!

  402. Hi Congenial Gang and Brudda poolman,

    Wow! poolman, you are quick! I thank you and I think most of the gang here will thank you.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  403. Here’s that article by Gene Lyons, Auntie Jean. :wink:

  404. LOL LOL I love that comeback Fiona64! ( and I love your name..)

    Jim’s quote made the rounds recently in one of those propaganda e-mails JRSI and Auntie Jean were talking about earlier today. I think Rush bo was spouting it as well a little while back….. Your post is a PERFECT slap down! Thank you! LOL

    Jim you really need to be a little more orignal with your posts…. the ones you have been copying and pasting are getting boring!

  405. “There are several soliloquies in Atlas Shrugged that so perfectly stress the need for a free society, without the meddlers trying to achieve “fairness” by fiat.”

    To which I can only respond with this (unfortunately, I do not know to whom this should be attributed):

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  406. “If I felt the mosque’s being built in that location was anything other than blatant aggression, I would say let it be. ”

    Pfesser, would you have the same complaint if it were a Christian church?

    Didn’t think so …

  407. Hi Congenial Gang and jsri,

    We should all take to heart your explanation of the email and spam’s methods of distribution. Even ‘jokes’ we receive from good friends invariably have a laundry list of email addresses attached. I have always taken the time to delete all the extraneous stuff before I forward them on.
    We have NEVER wanted our email address distributed indiscriminately, but somehow, despite our best efforts, it still gets out there. Same with our mailing address.

    On to the business of the day. Our local newspaper runs political columns every day gleaned from national and international newspapers of every stripe. In this morning’s paper there was an excellent article by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette columnist, Gene Lyons, entitled;

    “Simplify, Amplify and Repeat, Mr. President”. (For the benefit of the Conservative Thinkers with a short attention span I guess.) If there is anyone here more computer savvy than I, (Bruddah Peas? Bruddah Poolman?), I would appreciate it if you could track his column down and put up a link here. I don’t know how to do that.

    Regarding travel vs. reading about it. We have always done our homework before going places. Often that’s what prompted us to go there in the first place! We always picked up local books and did more reading after we got home because that’s what interested us. Since then, whenever we read or see on TV anything about those places, our interest is piqued even more because we have been there! One of our newer ‘trolls’ has ahem! so adroitly attempted to instructed us on ‘word association’, (as if that were a new concept.)

    Future travels are somewhat iffy considering our economic resources and health issues, but we never say never – - – about anything!

    Last year when I was getting my Epidural Prednisone shot like my ‘boy toy’ is getting tomorrow, the doctor was giving me the pitch on what it was all going to be about. Bless his heart, from where I sat, he looked like he was about 16 years old. So I asked him, “Then you have done this before?” He grinned and quipped, “Well, I’ve read about it!”

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  408. Jean:

    Good to see you are still posting. For the past few weeks this site has been taken over by some pretty persistent posters and it has gotten to be like wading through knee deep mud. So I skip most of it and look for the people I respect. Unfortunately, many of them seem to have withdrawn lately. I can see why Helen might be reluctant to post anything new.

    In one of your earlier posts you wrote about dealing with RW propaganda floods. I’m familiar with the process because I have a RW acquaintance who sends me missives that are classic hyperventilating screeds that I “must read”. He is a full time follower of Fox News and hate radio and although I’ve told him I’m not interested and not to send me any more he ignores my request and his persistence has led to some unanticipated and ugly consequences.

    Early last week he sent me one about the 28th Amendment that went into the trash bin on arrival. No interest, no big deal. But then a few days later my in box was filled with a whole series of RW propaganda pieces from unknown sources.

    I’ve always tried to protect my personal e-mail address and have not been bothered by spammers because, for one reason, I give it out sparingly and use several junk e-mail addresses for other purposes. So when I looked at the source code for some of the unwanted messages I found that some had origins that were identical. Not only that, I found that these spammers could all be traced back to the 28th Amendment screed I had gotten several days earlier.

    My RW friend had forwarded an e-mail that had been reforwarded at least six times. The object of the original sender was to send the message to 20 friends who in turn were to forward it to 20 more friends and on and on, in a typical pyramid scheme. When I looked at the routing background, it had the e-mail addresses of everyone along the way who had gotten a copy of the reforwarded original. There was a total of over a hundred e-mail addresses and a couple of them I could trace to the later junk I got.

    I’ve set up some blocks to get rid of most of them but I’m afraid that my personal e-mail address is now out there somewhere in the hands of some of the last people in the world I would want to have it. Spammers love to intercept messages like those because it gives them a ready list of potential suckers they can send a personalized pitch to.

    If you really need to forward an e-mail, and to avoid getting caught up in that sort of maelstrom, it is best to copy and paste the message into a new message and then use the e-mail blind carbon copy function (BCC) for the “To” address box.

  409. Don’t get too excited Poolman, I’m still an agnostic until there is proof one way or another (doubt that will ever happen), but the Bible has certain truths, and one is that the wealthy never think they are rich enough.

  410. no one’s puppet, you’re quoting the Bible? I love it! Money and wealth are one of the primary topics of that book. As believers we are taught that it ALL belongs to Him, we are just the stewards. The rest of that passage goes on to say, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And a lot of folks think wrongly that the book claims that money is evil. It does say that the LOVE OF MONEY is – big difference and goes along with greed, selfishness, entitlement, etc. There is also much instruction regarding the handling of such and the whole ownership and usury principles – not the same as government required contributions or distributions.

    And as far as religion goes, there are radicals in every group. Even though Jews, Christians, and Muslims all cling to the very same God, you can see we don’t always all get along. Those who claim Muslims are trying to erradicate all “infidels” and that it is a religion of hate, haven’t read the Koran. True Islam is a religion of peace – but then, so is Christianity. You would never know it by most of recorded history, or by those claiming to be members of the faith.

    I was reading chapter 5 of Matthew the other day and couldn’t see how any of the republicans I knew could call themselves Christian, especially when you get to verse 44. I guess they haven’t read that part of the manual or they feel it applies to others – not them.

    Still watching the skies for Nibiru. It’s inbound and that’s pretty exciting. You can run, but you cannot hide. :grin:

  411. , you’re very correct about the beginning of the end for the GOP was the religious right. The GOP allowed one fringe element of their party to have WAyyyyyy too much influence in their policy. The ironic thing is the rright is leaving them in droves because they realize the party has done nothing for them, other than give them lip service. The party hasn’t been able (or unwilling) to move the rrights agenda one inch.

    Now they have the Tea baggers and the party is making the same mistake. (usually it’s my side who doesn’t learn their lesson! it’s kinda nice to sit back and watch it happen on the other side for a change! )LOL The baggers are sooooo far out of main stream it will be very difficult for them to win a national election, running as a tea partier, they just don’t have mass appeal, imho, especially if they don’t put a lid on crazy aunt Virginia’s pots. They also need to run FOR something, time and time again it has been proven you can’t win on ANTI – everything… You have to be FOR something. The only hope they (GOP) has is the TB’s can’t raise the money they need and they will have to rely on the party to fund their individual races, that will force the TB’s to be more compliant to the establishment. You are already seeing that with Rand Paul.

    If the party leaders’ don’t start denouncing these nut bags and carnival barkers and wrestling back the power they are in real trouble though. They are in the midst of a power vacuum it will be interesting to see who or what emerges on the other side.

    The TB’s have push them so far right its very difficult to see how the moderate republican’s (all 5 of them LOL) can fit in the party.

  412. Your comment was spot on Delurker!

  413. alaskapi -

    I interpreted delurkergurl’s comment as sarcasm.

    If I felt the mosque’s being built in that location was anything other than blatant aggression, I would say let it be. But Islam’s – and I don’t just mean Radical Islam – goal is domination, plain and simple. (like another desert religion, I might add) They pursue a multi-tentacled program of violence, intimidation and hyper-breeding combined with a feigned hypersensitivity to criticism in order to bully their way into dominance everywhere in the world. And they are doing it with the cooperation of their victims, who are themselves hypersensitive about being considered racist or intolerant.

    I for one will have none of it. PC can go to hell. These people are too technologically backward to eventually prevail, but if the modern world fails recognize the threat, bolt its head on straight and meet this challenge head-on now, they will EVENTUALLY have to do it anyway. This is a perfect replay of the ‘thirties, when Churchill tried to warn the Parliament about the Nazs and was ignored. You know how that ended.

  414. PFessor53, you made several comments I agree with this morning, The Republican Party has got to redefine their principles, the religious right eroded the GOP to the point they are unrecognizable. I also agree with you about book learning, history and culture are complex and are not taught or learned on a visit.

  415. oh- sorry about all the spellos this morning… sheesh

  416. I understood yours delurkergurl… :-)
    Wasn’t expilicit enough myself
    Forgot the intro line which is :

    PFesser-
    whatever is true about humans being self serving has an opposite face in group dealings…
    We live, most of us with one foot in each part of the human world… but all too often get to leaning too hard on one foot or the other…

  417. Alaskapi, you lost me – would you clarify? My post was an illustration, of course.

  418. Assuming one’s synthesis of a set of facts is the full truth is a human failing…
    A failing which has multiple threads, not the least of which is ignoring that, without endless “peer review”, underlying assumptions about causal relationships can take on the cloak of fact.

    Yarding up the broken person , McVeigh, to bolster a stance …
    sheesh…
    am betting this has become more about competiveness than philosophy with that one…
    What did Ted Bundy have to say about religion if we are going to go this route…?

  419. Nice try.

    “Science is my religion.” — Timothy McVeigh

  420. The proposed YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) recreational facility, located just 7 blocks from the site of the bombed Murrah federal building, has gathered the attention of politicians, the media and citizens everywhere. Tweeted one former politician from far across the country, “Peace loving Christians, understand this is a slap in the face!” because the terrorists behind the bombing were Christians.

  421. Jean said -

    ” – snippity snip – former West or East or now Unified Germany and the industrious, prosperous society they have carved out for themselves from the chaos of WWII and its afterrmath.”

    Guess again. West Germany indeed underwent an “economic miracle” after WWII, and after reunification that miracle continued, although there were quite a few bumps in the road. There were tremendous problems incorporating the East German economy and those who had lived under communism. Note I said “incorporating the East German.” West Germany basically absorbed the other, inefficient system and discarded it. It did NOT happen the other way.

    For the average West German, life after reunification did not change much. For the average East German, the change was profound. (Maybe you should do some reading before you visit these places…just a suggestion.)

    and further opined: “It is apparent he has never seen first hand either the former West or East or now Unified Germany”

    I’m glad you get to travel, but that does not make you any more an expert on the places you visit than visiting a hospital makes you a doctor. (or as we like to say ’round here, “If the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn’t call ‘em biscuits.”) My brother was always spouting about “book l’arnin’” and how “experience is the best teacher.”

    Nonsense. If you want to know about something you have to start with study. Experience alone only teaches you how to do it wrong – over and over.

  422. You make me chuckle Auntie Jean.. thank you for that.. sending good vibes for the boy toy’s procedure Friday!

    I hadn’t read that speech Poolman thank you for posting that link. I reposted it on my FB. I donno, but I think that young lady is gonna be just fine, don’t you? We will be in good hands…

  423. Roz -

    Points well-taken. No argument with anything.

    Be sure that I am thoroughly disgusted with Washington, and that it is a footrace as to whether the Democrats or ReBiblicans take first place. I’m probably more irritated with the ReBiblicans, since that used to be my party and – like Reagan and the Democrats – I feel I did not leave them; they left ME. I have not abandoned my principles over the past forty years; they have.

    Despite my disgust with their insinuation of fundamentalist religion into American politics, I had held my nose and voted ReBiblican for the last four elections prior to 2008, but the selection of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate was just too much. Yes, Obama’s resume is very thin, but there is a fundamental difference between him and Sarah Palin: He is well-educated – editor of Harvard Law Review – the top of the top; she doesn’t know basic geography, or apparently, basic English. The fundamental curiosity about the world that any high officeholder must have is woefully absent in Sarah Palin – along with the basic knowledge of same.

    I would put it at even money whether John McCain could have finished ONE term in office; the thoughts of having someone as president who thinks the world will end in her lifetime and then giving her the nuclear codes to make that happen were just too much for me, and I reluctantly voted for Barack Obama.

    While IMHO Obama has been an unmitigated disaster, my only consolation is that Sarah Palin would be infinitely worse. If the ReBiblicans field her as their next presidential candidate, I am going to make that Hobson’s choice again and – once again – vote against my old party.

    And I am not alone.

    Jim

  424. Ooops! financial would be the correct spelling. Sorry!

  425. I’m not advocating for welfare or communist states…that’s clearly not an improvement.
    By the way, East Germany was a communist not a socialist state.
    It seems to me that we want a government that is of the people, by and for the people….ALL the people. Our political system no longer represents people, it represents monied interests. Bottom line, even if we call it a democracy or whatever, we need to pay close attention to who/whom our politicians serve. I think the answer is clear. The democrats are far from perfect but there have been efforts to represent the interests of the people in the health care, fanancial reform bill, etc. Watering down the bills to very imperfect legislation has been mostly because of Republican obstruction.
    By the way, those folks in Scandinavia, who live under socialist governments have been found to be the happiest countries in the world…even with 6 months or more of darkness. Hmmm….

  426. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I put this up here some time ago from my ‘Priceless File’. It seems appropriate to rerun it about now, dontcha think?

    A woman was at her hairdresser’s getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded:

    “Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It’s crowded and dirty. You’re crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?”

    “We’re taking Lusthansa,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”

    “Lufthansa?” exclaimed the hairdresser. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late. You’ll never see your luggage again. So, where are you staying in Rome?”

    “We’ll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome’s Tiber River called ‘Teste’.”

    “Don’t go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks its gonna be something special and exclusive, but it’s really a dump.”

    “We’re going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope.”

    “That’s rich,” laughed the hairdresser. You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”

    A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

    “It was wonderful,” explained the woman, “not only were we on time in one of Lufthansa’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were outstanding, complimentary of course even in coach class. And I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. Our luggage was the first off the carousel. The hotel was great! They’d just finished a $500 million remodeling job, and now it’s a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner’s suite at no extra charge!”

    “Well,” muttered the hairdresser, “that’s all well and good, but I know you didn’t get to see the Pope.”

    “Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me.”

    “Oh, really! What’d he say?”

    He said: “Who messed up your hair?”

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  427. Hi Congenial Gang,

    I am LMAO at the bullshit being put out by one self-styled ‘expert’, basing his lopsided opinion of his long ago youth in one teeny-tiny little corner of the U.S. It is apparent he has never seen first hand either the former West or East or now Unified Germany and the industrious, prosperous society they have carved out for themselves from the chaos of WWII and its afterrmath.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  428. Hi Congenial Gang,

    This is one Old White Polar Bear Mama who doesn’t like one bit what is happening to the Polar Ice Cap, the habitat of my species since forever. I will do whatever it takes to defend my grown up cubs and their young cubs too!

    So don’t mess with Old White Polar Bear Mamas!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  429. Recognize the words,” its harder for a rich man to enter heaven, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”? Think of it, those of us who care about our fellow man are just looking out for the wealthy. Feel better?

  430. Poolman,
    “We wear the white hats, you know. And we wonder why our nation is in such deep doo doo.”

    So which country do you most identify with?

  431. Roz -

    Your points are well-taken.

    OTOH, having grown up in WV in the 1950′s – 60′s I got a first hand look at the consequences of a welfare (socialist) system. I saw a very proud group of mountain Scotsmen, German, Irish, English slowly turn into wastrels after they were put on the dole – fields idle and grown up with weeds, pregnant girls running about, filth and squalor everywhere. This socialist experiment has been tried and tried again – and has failed; people work best when they work for self-interest. The ultimate twin experiment is Germany; many in West Germany wish they had never seen the East – that socialist system has destroyed the industrious German psyche there.

    There are several soliloquies in Atlas Shrugged that so perfectly stress the need for a free society, without the meddlers trying to achieve “fairness” by fiat. Their meddling assures poverty for everybody. As the old saw goes, the problem with capitalism is that it distributes the wealth so unevenly. The problem with socialism is that it distributes the misery so perfectly.

    Jim

  432. PFesser53, Life is certainly not fair. If it were, perhaps we’d all be gorgeous and wealthy- or the opposite. I always made sure to teach that principle to my first grade students.
    However, there is right and wrong. I don’t believe that taxing the rich is class envy. It’s simply, in my opinion, a moral/ethical consideration that those who have so much contribute/pay taxes to the country/government that has made it possible to accumulate their wealth. This goes for individuals and for corporations. We teach this principle to our children so that they become responsible social and moral beings. Why should we ignore these concepts once adulthood is reached?
    I certainly don’t envy the wealthy. They worked hard (but their children won’t have to) to earn their money. I do however, feel that by paying a progressive/proportionate share of the tax burden on us all, that they are investing in their country that was helpful to them in accruing their wealth. Why is patriotism so often viewed as a military response? Paying taxes is to support one’s government (by the way, that’s us) is definitely another form of patriotism.
    And, by the way, my husband ran a small business for many years that hired, depending on the economy, between 5-7 employees. My dad and uncle also ran a small business employing 5-7 workers. They weren’t wealthy either. They were however, ethical businessmen that didn’t use greed as their guiding principle.
    And now that I think of it, it’s kind of mathematical. When I taught fractions I helped the students undertand the concept of equal parts by using the term fair share. I think it behooves us all to keep an eye on the economic pie with that conept. It may be unrealistic (and oh my gosh- socialism) to think we can achieve fair share, but we can pay attention to the consequences of our beliefs and actions.

  433. I just ran across this article and remembered we did breach this subject on this looooonnnngggg thread. Valedictorian speaks out against schooling in a graduation speech. You want to know what is wrong with our society? This speaks to much of it. We don’t see a pattern here? That’s okay, I guess. Despite having some outstanding teachers on this blog and in our lives, the system is the same. Ignorance they say, is bliss. :wink: Maybe it’s time for another dose of Carlin.

  434. Auntie Jean – the Native Americans you were talking about were Navajo and called Code Talkers I think. Navajo live in New Mexico and ARizona.
    Wonderful stories about them were written by Tony Hillerman. Great mystery stories.
    Hillerman passed away I think this spring.

  435. Our ongoing foreign policy in these strategic countries always involves the same tactics. All in the name of democracy and nation building. Yeah, we’re the good guys. We wear the white hats, you know. And we wonder why our nation is in such deep doo doo.

  436. Poolman
    About that quality thingy…
    There is no such thing in America anymore.

    We were remodeling our kitchen.
    So last Jan 31st, I bought all new top of the line GE Profile series appliances.
    Dishwasher
    Double oven
    Microwave
    Refrigerator

    5 moths later…
    The dishwasher went out June 27th.
    Been waiting for a “pump drain assembly” for three weeks..nobody can find one.

    The refrigerator also started putting out whole ice when we wanted crushed. The repair man came for the Fridge today. He said the ice bin and auger was bad. He would order a new one and have it delivered to me and for me to just junk the old one.

    As to the Dishwasher.
    I and my sales associate have been on the phone for the past three weeks trying to get answers.
    I have talked to three different call centers in North Carolina,Louieville Ky.,
    and Rapid City S. Dakota. Been promised everything..nuthing delivered.

    I special delivered a letter to the Corporate offices of GE Manager of Customer services and with a copy to the CEO of both GE and Lowes.
    This was received yesterday.

    At 8:30am today I received a call from GE corporate telling me they had received my letter and that they had found the part. I then informed the lady that milkey water had been standing in the washer for three weeks. What would the status of all the parts that were continually under water do to the rest of the machine?

    The next comment from her was “would you like a new unit? Yes. Its being delivered 300 miles from dallas tomorrow and installed on Friday.

    Now I purchased extended warranties on all these appliances as well. I’m glad I did.
    But for all those Apple fans out there.
    CONSUMER reports rated my dishwasher as second from the top..so so much for consumer reports status as well.

  437. Hi Congenial Gang and Dawn,

    Sistah Dawn, I’ll spread the word, “Don’t feed the fish – period!” And why. Thank you for the tips.

    I do hope your husband’s job situation will be straightened out soon. Sadly, stories like yours are legion right now. It sounds as if you are both working hard and doing your very best to get through this. Kudos to you!

    How interesting that your friend got our island started on the Kamalani playground. It is a huge hit with all the parents and kids who live here as well as the tourist families. Adjacent to Lydgate swimming and snorkeling, there is also an extensive bike path. They are beautifully maintained by the county and volunteers. All free! This just goes to show you what can be accomplished by community organization. There are plenty of free or inexpensive entertainments everywhere for families to do in this tough economy if all of us get the word out on what and where they are.

    A few years back our PA son and his family were visiting. We ‘did’ all the usual sightseeing and activities. When we were leaving on the way to the airport, his mother asked him what he had liked best about this vacation. He was about 4 and shouted, “Kamalani!!!” He even pronounced it correctly!

    Friday my husband goes in for his Epidural Prednisone Shot for his Spinal Stenosis. We will be seeing nurses like you, Sistah Dawn. Well-trained, experienced professionals who are invariably cheerful and friendly. He will be in good hands.

    For now, we are hobbling off to the Big Cities to buy out Costco, etc., to stock up for when our CA son and family arrive next week. We are checking off our to-do list, one by one!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  438. No one’s puppet, as I said, I was glad the benefits were extended. My point was that it isn’t government money that is going into it, except that it becomes government money and is distributed through them. Every business that has employees is required to pay in a certain amount based on their payroll. When being drawn out, it has to be replenished. Call it a labor cost, I don’t care. All costs have to be covered.

    The running joke we always had when we were assessed increases in fees or for materials was, “pass the savings on down to the customer”. Any increase in labor, material, or overhead costs have to result in an increase to the end user. The burden first impacts the business, while most are struggling right now to retain employees and still operate in the black. Unlike our government, things have to balance in most businesses. By raising prices in the market, you generally lose customers to the competition or people forgo purchases. This is especially true with the non essential products and services.

    My answer is that capitalism has run its course and we must move on to something else. We have been trained from preschool to be a worker society and the system is rigged. Marketing has succeeded in getting us to consume more than any people in the history of the planet. Everything from smoking cigarettes to our need for the latest techno-gadget fixes. Capitalism requires a continuing growing marketplace of consumers with disposable incomes. We don’t offer that anymore. In order to keep profitable, many companies went elsewhere for cheap labor and lax regulations. We let them and continue to support them and that practice with our continued purchases.

    Years ago, manufacturers determined to make products with a built-in “life” to assure future purchases and profits. This lowered quality and therefore overall value. Now we have to replace them as they generally last for the warranty period only. Integrity fell to the bottom line.

  439. correction much of the decretionary spending (12 percent) was due to a 12 percent increase in DOD.

  440. 2009 was a gwb budget.

    2010, Obama’s budget

    discresctionary spending was up 13.1 percent.

    mandatory spending up 15 percent

    Obama put the 2 wars on the books. So much of that 15 percent increase was due to a 12 percent increase in the department of defense. GWB conviencely left them off.

  441. In a bid to stem taxpayer losses for bad loans guaranteed by federal housing agencies Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) proposed that borrowers be required to make a 5% down payment in order to qualify. His proposal was rejected 57-42 on a party-line vote

    …….because, as Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) explained, “passage of such a requirement would restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it.”

    I can’t add anything to this

  442. Lori wrote:

    “We got to where we are by waging 2 unfunded wars and by giving tax cuts for the upper 2 percent of the country.”

    The tax cuts don’t bother me; that’s just class envy. I have never been given a job by a poor man – always by a rich one. Money that stays in a producer’s hand goes back into his business typically. We saw that when the class warfare people thought it would be a good idea to tax yachts and the end result was that rich folks simply spent their money elsewhere and put thousands of shipbuilding craftsmen out of work.

    As for the two unfunded wars, I agree absolutely. Not a single word of argument there.

    “We got to where we are by banks over leveraging and lending money they did not have.”

    Agreed. I would add, “-to people who could not afford to pay it back, but lent it anyway because the pseudo-government agencies, Fannie and Freddie told them to do it or else.”

    “We got to where we are by GWB not bailing out AIG for political reasons and allowing the house of cards to fall down around him…”

    If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist. Death of the weak is just as important as prosperity for the strong. Let them fail. That’s how any economic system works.

    “NOT by extending unemployment benefits.”

    Agreed. I think you support your people. Unemployment benefits are like shock absorbers on a car; they level out the highs and lows. MY experience is that nearly every person on unemployment wants to work and would if they could find it.

    “We had a 42 percent.. yes 42 percent……. spending increase in 2001!”

    Didn’t know that. No question GWB was a bloody disaster all ’round. No argument there.

    BTW, just out of curiosity, what has it been since 20 Jan 2009?

    Jim

  443. Lori, I live in Texas.
    In 2001, I believe I received just shy of three months
    of benefits. That was approximately $300 and change each week. You could phone in your work search for proof that you were earnestly looking.
    I had worked at the same company for 20 years and three months.

    No One’s Puppet,
    Let me have your address and I will tell the people who have run out of benefits to write you so they may give you their names and place to send a check each week.

    Do you think there are any out there who just want to sit on the apartment stoop,receive their check so they can get their cigarettes and beer
    and hopefully have enough till the welfare checks
    come in?

    At what point does society say enough?
    Perhaps Obama should have instituted a “works progress program” instead of a blank check for
    continued citizens ..some of which do not want to work. Would you admit that there are those in such a category?

  444. No One’s Puppet, don’t be dramatic. :P

    The unemployed do not have to starve on the street and keel over on hospital steps! They can burn through all of their retirement savings and their kids college funds. Once that is gone, they can go on welfare and get food stamps and medicaid while they default on their debts. Special bonus is that they can be called lazy deadbeats, while repeatedly being one of the 9 in 10 people who aren’t selected for each job they apply for.

    Eventaully, if they have to declare bankruptcy then everyone loses with them.

    Once they lose their homes, I don’t think they can get those services though. Then they can go to the overcrowded homeless shelters, eat at soup kitchens, and visit our overburdened emergency rooms if they get sick.

  445. We got to where we are by waging 2 unfunded wars and by giving tax cuts for the upper 2 percent of the country. We got to where we are by banks over leveraging and lending money they did not have. We got to where we are by GWB not bailing out AIG for political reasons and allowing the house of cards to fall down around him…

    NOT by extending unemployment benefits.

    We had a 42 percent.. yes 42 percent……. spending increase in 2001!

    I’m sorry for your troubles Dawn… Sending all positive thoughts your way.

  446. dawn -

    Thanks for the heads-up on feeding the fish. I dive in the ocean occasionally and hadn’t thought of that.

    About ten years ago I did some scuba off the east coast on a wrecked WWII German sub. It was wonderful, but two-hour ride out in rough seas had several of us inadvertently feeding the fish I’m afraid off the fantail of the boat! (grin) Interesting, though, after we got in the water all the seasickness just vanished.

    Bless your heart about the unemployment. I have a nephew with three small kids who has been unemployed since the crash. It is so demoralizing for him. Fortunately his wife works as a teacher, but they are barely making it. You were talking about your husband having a degree; my nephew has an MBA, but the jobs aren’t out there. First you have to take care of small business, since they create the jobs. The elite at the big banks and the govt just make me ill. It’s almost a “let them eat cake” attitude. Grrr…..

    It seems to me that what is good policy for a family can scarcely be ill for a country. I see Paul Krugman – Nobel prizewinner in economics – pushing for more and more borrowing and spending and it just seems to me that’s how we got where we are. I think the unemployment extension was a good idea though, even if it means more borrowing. I’m pretty irritated at the Repuglicans right now for their disingenuous attempts to block it because it was “fiscally irresponsible.” Yeah right. Like anyone thinks they really believe that.

    Good luck to you and your family.

    Jim

  447. So what is the answer Poolman and craig, we just let the unemployed starve on the street, keel over on the hospital steps?

  448. A few things

    Auntie Jean, a while back you posted about Lydgate Park and snorkling. The Kamalani playground was inspired by a friend there who visited here and saw a playground our community built.

    Regarding snorkling, one shouldn’t take ANY food to feed the fish. It makes them dependent on humans and susceptible to diseases especially if human hands touch them and remove a protective coating they have.

    Regarding unemployment benefits…sorry as I am to say this, I am so grateful it will probably pass. My husband has been underemployed for 2 years and unemployed since Dec 21(merry Christmas) He has sent out resumes/applied for between 40-60 jobs in the meantime. We were so excited when he got ONE call back 2 weeks ago. Sadly, he got the “Sorry Charlie” email yesterday.

    He has gone back to school and gotten his degree, but I fear between his age, and the economy it is an endeavor that will be ultimately only for personal satisfaction.

    So, we continue to live frugally, I work extra in the ER when I can, and will pick up an extra nursing job here and there where I can.

    I for one am thankful for the unemployment compensation and however it gets paid.

  449. When state unemployment funds (pools) have been depleted the federal government can loan the individual States monies to bridge the gap. That loan must be paid back with in a specific amount of time. The individual states will then determine the course of action. That can vary from state to state.

  450. delurkergurl, I saw the Rachael Maddow piece regarding that gal. I think this administration should not have kowtowed to this BS and needs to grow a set of cajones. There was no reason to let her go. I am tired of seeing this administration let the wingers push them around. It is quite frustrating.

  451. The employer has to makeup any funds pulled out of the “pool” by his former employees. The largest amount available to me 5 years ago was 270 a week, even though my salary at that time was about 1800 per week. So BIG difference. It wasn’t enough to cover the regular expenses we had at the time. The reason I filed aside from being fired was to get back at that employer who owed me much more than I was going to receive through these bennies, but I knew he had to contribute well over 300 weekly while I was drawing that pay. Additionally, it requires that you are constantly looking for work – you have to prove it and claim on record that you are trying and haven’t received any other offers or income. While I was testing for a contractor’s license and going through the wait period, I was still supposed to be looking for work to keep the bennies coming. I kept telling them that I was not going to work for someone else, that my intent was to work for myself, yet on record I had to claim I was actively seeking employment. It’s a f**ked system and far from efficient.

  452. Just to set the record straight.

    LORI knows everything about everything.

    So if the employer has paid all that he accumulated to pay out for unemployment insurance…..
    Where does the balance come from to continue to pay the unemployed of that company?

    The government. That’s you and me, LORI.

  453. Did anyone see Rachel Maddow’s piece last night about Shirley Sherrod? Infuriating. Rachel did a good job. FOX fabricates news, and the administration falls for it. Infuriating.

    PS – Lori, thank you for the simple explanation of how unemployment insurance works.

  454. Another great article in the Times today on the origins of the words “liberal” and “progressive.” (amusing, awful and artificial – not what you think)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/opinion/21mcwhorter.html?th&emc=th

    BTW today is the 85th anniversary of Scopes’ conviction in the “Monkey Trial,” for you history buffs.

    Jim

  455. JUst to set the record straight…

    The unemployment tax the employers pay is considered a labor cost. The premiums paid to employees are part of the employee’s compensation package which increases the longer they are employed until they max out.

    The average unemployment check is about 300 a week.

    Employers base their compensation packaged based on all labor costs… or at least the successful ones do!

    I repeat…….Unemployment compensation, just as any benefit extended to employee’s, is considered, by most accountants as part of the total compensation package.. hence a labor cost.

    An employer’s premium is determined by its past layoff/claims history and – the more people the employer has claiming unemployment over time, the higher the premiums paid. The employer pays the premium for each worker on its payroll.

    The notion that unemployment is “welfare” would be like saying an employee’s paycheck is welfare. That, of course is just welllllll silly.

  456. Poolman -

    I know you are up on the energy/oil debate. Great article by Tom Friedman in today’s Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/opinion/21friedman.html?th&emc=th

    He really takes the Repuglicans to task. I read his book, Hot Flat and Crowded last year and it changed my POV completely. The thing I like about Friedman is that he does not self-identify as conservative or liberal – just as a man in pursuit of the truth. Very thoughtful and knowledgeable fellow.

    BTW, the above anonymous post is mine. When I’m in my private email account I sometimes forget that the name/email field doesn’t auto-fill.

    Jim

  457. Poolman -

    I got a little chuckle from your post:

    “I am greatful that the extension of unemployment benefits passed, though it is just a bandaid where we need a tourniquet. If you were an employer, you would realize that the unemployment benefits come from your own required contributions, so this does not help struggling businesses who are just barely hanging in there. Guess who gets to replenish those funds? Yeah. As a nation of primarily employees, most are somewhat removed from that reality tidbit, like the true cost of health insurance.”

    Right on, Brother! Being a greybeard has its advantages. Having been both employee and employer, I’m always surprised by how little employees understand what happens in order to bring them a paycheck, and how a small businessman’s and his family’s futures are at risk every day. However the redistributionists don’t care about THEM. The socialist’s only interest in business is using them as a source of money, but you_eventually_run_out-of-other-people’s_money.

    I’m usually up at around 4 a.m. and read before work. I will typically read a book/week – two in wintertime. I hadn’t read Atlas Shrugged since college, and decided to re-read it for the 50th anniversary. Rand had it perfectly: the parasites have an unbounded disdain for the producers and constantly clamor to “stick it to the rich” – rich being defined as someone who has more than I. But unfortunately as taxes go up, the producers begin to cut back their work, *reducing* the parasites’ take. I worked for a surgeon in the late seventies; he had it calculated to the dollar. For high-income individuals, PR (pre-Reagan) marginal tax rates were in the eighty-percent range, if memory serves. When his earnings put him into a certain tax bracket, he shut down his practice and took the rest of the year off – about five months a year. We’re headed there again. It is to nobody’s advantage to incentivise producers to *stop* working, but that’s where we are going once again.

    When taxes went up in the nineties I closed my practice and spent six years in electrical engineering school, playing with my two young sons, taking the summers off and paying NO taxes. Now I’m converting to a low-income lifestyle again and when the Obama tax kicks in, I will spend my days playing with my grandchildren. The problem with taking other people’s money is that they can *react* and they do. Oh well, I guess the socialists never learn.

  458. Hi Congenial Gang, lori, Poolman, Mirror Man and gramma rock,

    Sistah lori, ‘(‘con su permisso’), you are keeping me on my toes deciphering blog speak! ‘Fan’ means approval or something like that?

    Bruddah Poolman (‘con su permisso también’), I’ll bet you can translate that, huh. I’m glad you are back and continuing at least to try to keep the powers-that-be honest. That’s a tall order.

    Mirror Man, we will be having another celebration soon here on the porch when President Obama signs the Unemployment Compensation Bill. Do you think you could whip up some Tex Mex in addition to our tea, pie and wine? We loved Tex Mex during the years we lived in Texas. The closest we can get out here is Taco Hell. Yuck! We do have a few half way decent authentic Mexican restaurants but one of them goes pretty heavy on the cilantro.

    My husband got going on old war stories this afternoon and somehow we would up talking about a famous Native American Unit during WWII. The Allies and the Axis were busy breaking each other’s secret communication codes right and left. There was one unit made up of a Southwestern Tribe that came up with a code based on their language that no one was ever able to break. gramma rock, do you happen to remember which tribe that was? If I remember correctly, your late husband was a Korean vet just as my husband is.

    After fighting for the country they loved, and some of them dying, they were sent back to their reservations to live their lives as less than second-class American citizens. It was the same practice the African American and Japanese American citizens were subjected to. The units were segregated of course. Those are shameful stains on the American Flag.

    We seem to always need a ‘Group du Jour’ to pick on and dishonor. Is that supposed to shore up ever so weak egos and make us feel superior? Maybe someday we can live up to our promises and at last achieve true equality.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  459. We have a real douche bag on the porch tonight, kind of convenient though, they can give their self an enema, because they are really full of it, if you know what I mean.

  460. Poolman,

    “oligarchy”
    As in Chicago based politics running our President like a Puppet?

    Kinda like finding a black in a haystack to run in South Carolina politics?

  461. Poolman,
    I’ll let ya know when I get back from Italy in October.

  462. Fan that Auntie Jean!

    WB poolman, you were missed, I hope whatever took you away has been resolved in a positive way.

    You’re right about a loss of freedoms and we are slipping further and further behind most of our European friends in terms of quality of life too. ;-( and yes it is because of corporations owning our politicians.

  463. Craig, I’ve been to Europe, albeit not as many places as Auntie Jean has. I think an honest assessment of their countries and government would show that many live better than we do, and now with a lot more freedoms. And most have been at it for much longer than we have. If you really think this a democracy, though it was set up as a republic, then you need more larnin’. Equal representation…really? Maybe for corporations. We are more a fascist oligarchy.

  464. Hello everyone. I took a few days away from the internet and technology, though not by my choice. I was hoping, as many others have expressed, Helen would have resurfaced by now.

    I am greatful that the extension of unemployment benefits passed, though it is just a bandaid where we need a tourniquet. If you were an employer, you would realize that the unemployment benefits come from your own required contributions, so this does not help struggling businesses who are just barely hanging in there. Guess who gets to replenish those funds? Yeah. As a nation of primarily employees, most are somewhat removed from that reality tidbit, like the true cost of health insurance.

    Banks still own us. We haven’t done anything to change that. They have merely repositioned themselves along the riverbanks of the cash flow, still upstream from us. Damming and diverting, filling their coffers first. Nothing’s changed, except many some of the pollutants.

    Anyone familiar with planet X aka Nibiru or Mardok? It was introduced as proven fact and with visual evidence by NASA in 1983 and now all the data has been pulled and censored. My daughter learned all about it in her advanced science classes back in HS. Its existence was mathematically determined prior to any visual observations. This is the same planet that appears in recorded history in Sumeria and many other early civilizations. Dr. Robert Sutton Harrington and Dr. Tom Van Flandern were astronomers working for the Navy. The planet was discovered when NASA’s IRAS spacecraft first captured infrared images of it back in 1983. Now they and access to the data are gone. But look at the telescopes we are putting in Antartica, the best place to observe this baby. I know, nop, just another coincidence. You’d mentioned skepticism regarding why loose lips didn’t reveal these types of things – a reason you yourself justified to doubt conspiracies. I am compiling a list of those “whistleblowers” who are not with us any longer. Fast-acting cancers and suicides seem to get most of them. My list is over a hundred-fifty so far. I’m sure that is bit of a deterent to some who might have a conscience. Kind of like JFK would be a good reason for Obama to keep stuff under wraps, IMO.

  465. ..and apparently over a democratically elected
    President/Chicago styled Payola government.
    I’ll take my apple pie and Hot dogs over your Danish
    and coffee anyday. We’re stuck with a stick it in your ear Socialist who wants to cram his socialist agenda down Anerica’s throat.
    And Auntie M..not all of us can travel the world the way you and your husband apparently have.. and at whose expense I might ask?

  466. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Hooray!!! It passed!!!

    I would like to discuss ‘Socialism’. Apparently there are an alarming number of people who don’t have a clue what it is all about but bandy the term around like it’s poison.

    For openers, the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution states that “We the People……” It required the Bill of Rights to spell out exactly which Rights the Constitution applied to. Originally, only males, over the age of 21 and property owners were considered citizens eligible to vote. Certainly not slaves and not women. Those omissions were rectified much later with amendments. Unfortunately there is no mention of people over the age of 21 who have only the intelligence and emotional maturity of a 13 year-old. (No offense to 13 year-olds. I love chronological and genuine 13 year-olds.)

    In the political climate today there is much talk about the Socialism of Europe that, heaven forbid, we don’t want to become. Let’s examine that. Different countries of Europe have constitutions similar, but not mirror images of the U.S. Constitution. Their constitutions are crafted to the specific needs of their countries and have been instituted by their people.

    Plenty of the news we receive about Europe is negative and repeated over and over again, especially by people who have never visited those countries. Over the past 20 years of retirement we have visited most of Europe, Russia, Turkey and the Greek Isles, North Africa and much of Southeast Asia. Some of these destinations, several times. For the most part we found the countries we visited to be safe, modern and clean with fine people.

    Here are a few positives: Many European countries have far more nuclear power plants than the U.S. does in answer to their energy needs. The down side to all nuclear plants is what to do with the nuclear waste. Some are finding ways to recycle the waste. France for instance has been and is working for some time on the ‘ITER for Fusion Energy’ facility. That is in conjunction with research going on at the Livermore Labs in California. That could ultimately be the answer to energy needs with no nuclear waste or the well known adverse effects of fossil fuels. It will take some time to get the bugs out. Probably not in my lifetime, but it could certainly benefit our kids and grandkids. So there is much more to French ‘Socialism’ than French Wine, Fine Food and ‘Freedom Fries’.

    England gave us the Magna Charta and many of the philosophical foundations for our constitution and democracy. They have Oxford and Cambridge Universities and gave us their language. (They also gave us BP. Oh shit, never mind.)

    I have been reading about the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Geneva, Switzerland. I don’t understand very much about it because the technology is way, way over my head, but it is certainly cutting edge in science and engineering. Switzerland has considerably more going for it than the Alps, beautiful lakes, Swiss cheese and cuckoo clocks.

    Germany has the Max Planck Institute along with many fine universities. She gave us Geothe, Martin Luther, Beethoven, Freud, Wienerschnitzel and Strudel as well as the Nazis.

    Scandinavia? How about the Nobel Prize from Oslo, Norway, recognizing the worldwide excellence of achievement in every field of human endeavor. And then there is Arhus with its 2000 year-old Tollman Man! The Norwegian sculptor, Gustav Vigeland is right up there with Michaelangelo in my book. Denmark gave us our beloved Victor Borge. The Danish people have a delicious sense of humor. You haven’t lived until you have had coffee and a REAL Danish in Copenhagen. Stockholm, Sweden is rightly known as the “Venice of the North.” The bronze figure of sculptor, Carl Milles’ “The Little Money Maker” is a masterpiece! The ‘Temppeliaukio’ Church in Helsinki, Finland is a marvel, hewn out of solid rock. We have a refrigerator magnet from Helsinki of a little mosquito, with the caption, “Send More Tourists. Any blood type will do!”

    You can Google any of the above that interest you.

    These are only a few ‘Socialist’ countries of Europe. I won’t even go into Italy. What would we do without pizza? And Spain won the World Cup!

    Don’t knock it if you ain’t been there, done that and tried it!

    So if I have my druthers, I’ll take Socialistic Democracy any day over a Monarchy, Dictatorship, Theocracy or Oligarchy, thank you.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  467. OOOhhhhhh Great the Giveaway continues….

    That should be good for another 250,000 votes
    for the Czar.

  468. Finally – the extension passed!!! Good News!!

  469. YAY! Delurker, I know this will be a blessed day for millions around the country! WTG dems!

  470. Gene Simmons of KISS salute to the Troops.

  471. It passed! Oh happy day!

  472. OK..so let me see if I get this right.

    You want everyone to have their wellfare…I mean
    unemployment benefits extended. Yes I have collected unemployment in the past and gone thru my share.

    Why did I not get another slice of the pie? What impetus is there for people to try and find work, if your going to keep sending them checks each week?

    At what point do you take them away from the government trough.

    What do you do for the ones who lost or went thru their benefits a year ago? Do you go back and add them to the group?

    I think what the “right” is trying to say is, When do you get them off the rolls?
    You won’t take the money from the unspent stimulus. Why not?

    Or is this the democratic way to buy votes for the November election?

  473. Fluxux forgot his meds today.

    Greatdog – good mama grizzly observation! Saw the new word you invented somewhere else on the web, too. Good one. You never disappoint!

    Where’s Poolman?

    On the unemployment benefits extension vote – I didn’t realize that we’d still have to endure further debate before the Senate vote. Gah! And still a House vote ahead. This could drag on for a week or more! Days of people from both sides of the aisle grabbing the podium to spew hot air and point fingers. There are people’s lives in the balance here. Is there really anything new to be said at this point? Will anyone’s vote be swayed? Do we need Larry the Cable Guy to stand in front with a gavel and scream “Git’r DONE!”?

  474. fan that greytdog

  475. Did you guys hear about the teacher who allegedly lied about brain cancer to skip work? For 10 years! No Mas! Teachers are lazy and lie to skip work and I’m not tolerating it any longer. And where is the outrage from all the other teachers denouncing this racist lying faker? Nothing! Not one word. That’s because they’re alllllllllllll like that. Tossed salads! And I’m not apologizing for calling them that either. When the rest of the teachers get off their lazy lying racist asses and DENOUNCE this lazy lying racist tossed salad – THEN I’ll apologizzzzze. Until then, TOSSED SALADS! LOL 24/7! ^5 (that means that slapping in the air thing that basket-ballers to whenever they score). LOLcano.

    (((((((((namaste!))))))))))))

  476. A mama grizzly is known as a “sow”. Talk about pigs with lipstick, eh?

  477. Goldman Sachs earnings for the quarter took a big hit because they had to pay that “huge fine” that equates to about FOUR DAYS revenue from their unscrupulous, unfettered glory days. The bad earnings news is helping the market sag today, so people are paying the price AGAIN for GS’s greed. The worse news is that they are still unfettered, legally. It’s not clear to me if the pending financial reform will actually HELP with this, or if it’ll just embolden the financial companies the way healthcare reform has emboldened the insurance companies.

    PS – got it, Lori, thanks!

  478. Lori,
    In response to your “Mark Williams blanket” thrown over all TEA party followers…

    I would suggest that it would be similar to saying Louis Farrakhan is a supporter of President Obama.
    Such as during his “Saviour’s Day speech when he said :
    “Sen. Obama is not the Messiah for sure, but anytime, he gives you a sign of uniting races, ethnic groups, ideologies, religions and makes people feel a sense of oneness, that’s not necessarily Satan’s work, that is I believe the work of God.” Obama’s organization did all they could to distance them selves from this known radical.

    How about Mayor Nagan of New Orleans proclaiming to make the town a chocolate town after Katrina…

    or even Jesse Jackson a known suporter of Obama who used the term Hymie town to describe New York.

    So I would say there are fringe elements on both sides that any legitimate organization would want to distant themselves from because of their extremist views.

    But it appears that the Socialist agenda is to paint all TEA party members in a bad light by claiming they called out profanity and spat on members of Congress ..and to this day with money on the table for proof of these alleged activities, no one has yet to come forward to claim their prize.

  479. I just sent you a note Delurker.. check the time stamp…

  480. Our part of the country from Dallas to Fargo is one of the fastest growing in the country. Most of the area is run by moderates and conservatives. I don’t know if there is a connection, but our government should do the research to see what works.

    KFAB Omaha reported the government has spent over $22 million putting up signs to tout the newly created jobs. A talk show host said we should consider another WPA to put the unemployed to work.

    Republicans are protesting because the government still had a lot of unspent stimulus money which could be used for extended umemployment payments. It would save us from borrowing still more from China or firing up the printing presses.

    Dr. Charles Krauthammer said Obama has the political skills of Clinton or Reagan. He believes Obama is a far left secular progressive surrounded by socialists and extremists. Whatever you call him, Obama is changing the United States into a European style socialist country. If he isn’t one, he will do until we find a socialist.

    Obama and his allies fooled a lot of people. Compared to the beginning of his administration, a Cold Play song describes his perdicement.

    “I used to rule the world.
    Seas would rise when I gave the word
    I used to roll the dice
    feel the fear in my enemies eyes
    Listen as the crowd would sing
    “now the old king is dead. Long live the king.”
    People couldn’t believe what I’d become…
    But that was when I ruled the world.”

    I can also see November from my porch.

    We haven’t seen our son in two years, and he will be here tomorrow. This the last you will hear from me until his vacation ends and he goes back to California.

  481. This page is getting awful to load. I wish Matthew would create an ‘open thread’ post or something like they do on some other blogs. Maybe he could put the trolls in their places by sharing the news of Margaret & Helen’s good health.

    Lori, could you please email me at delurkergurl ~ at ~ hotmail ~.~ com? I have something I’d like to talk to you over the hedge instead of on the porch. :) If there is a way you can indicate that you are really you and not someone else I’d appreciate that but I’m not clever enough to specify just how you could do that!

  482. Here are some ways my neighbors and I have made a difference.

    I helped save a life in the service.

    We fought Iowa’s DOT for three years to stop them from closing a secondary highway we needed and to replace a dangerous bridge. They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it.

    My wife and I are Republican caucus chairs, and I am on the county central committee.

    My wife writes grant applications and she also helped bring over $80,000 in scholarships to this year’s senior class. Several students wouldn’t have made it but for her. This year, a family gave my wife a graduation present out of appreciation for how she had helped their son. A senior girl wrote a three page letter thanking my wife for what she had done for her.

    My wife started student organization to collect crayons, jackets etc. for poor students who can’t afford them. That group, the one at church and we on our own, deliver things to a shelter in Carter Lake, Iowa. In the spring, she rummages through trash cans to find coats, un mended shirts, etc students have discarded. She cleans and repairs them and stores them until she sees a student who might need something.

    I write letters to the editor, and I call my senators and representative. My wife and I attend political discussions when they they are held in our county.

    We both vote.

    I left a lot out, and I am not bragging. I am simply illustrating Lori’s point. This is our country, and we all must work to make it better.

    Professor is right. Without dissenting opinions to fight, we grow fat and lazy in an echo chamber. I think he attracted some hostility because several people couldn’t counter some of his arguments. The last refuge in such encounters is hostility and name calling.

    The Tea Party is a truly revolutionary movement against the ruling class which includes Republicans and Democrats. Several Republicans were caught saying they thought the movement was dangerous. Trent Lott said if they win, Republicans must co- opt them.

    They, especially Democrats, try to paint the group as racists because they know they must discredit the movement. Aside from a few extremists, the movement is not racist. To say otherwise is to lie from malice or ignorance.
    The Democratic party supports far more racists than the Tea Party does.

    If we judge the Democrats by the standards some impose on the Tea Party and accuse them of racism we can do the same to Democrats . After all none I have heard, including the NAACP who accused the Tea Party of racism has condemned the Black Panther rep who said white cracker babies should be killed. And that is just one example. Biden’s “clean and articulate” comment is as racist as when a white NCO’s wife said all blacks should be like my friend.

  483. Hi all -

    When the ReBiblicans wouldn’t listen to their own people and put forth the likes of Mama Grizzly (Grisly is more like it), many conservatives and libertarians left the ship, but it appears the ReBiblicans are learning their lesson and focusing on Small Government and Low Taxes, and leaving the idealogical crap alone, lead by two high-profile governors:

    “Governors Christie (NJ) and McDonnell (VA) are governing as they campaigned, addressing the government union legacy costs and high taxes that put New Jersey in a downward spiral and eliminating the largest deficit in Virginia history without raising taxes,” Gillespie told The Daily Caller.

    Without RAISING TAXES. TaxedEnoughAlready…

    “Christie has rolled over significant opposition from organized labor in the state to force state employees to begin contributing to their pension funds, pass a budget with huge spending cuts to close an $11 billion deficit, and forge a compromise with Democrats to cap property tax increases at two percent a year.”

    My own state (Virginia) was near bankruptcy and our new ReBiblican governor, McDonnell, has proven true to his word and now is projecting a surplus:

    “McDonnell has turned a projected $1.8 billion deficit for the fiscal year that closed at the end of June into a $220 million surplus.”

    Ah, maybe the ReBiblicans will come out of the wilderness and return to their roots: taking care of the average Joe working guy by Low Taxes and Small Government.

    In the meantime, the socialists in the White House are trying as hard as they can to sail us off to European status. Unfortunately they haven’t read any Thatcher with their Marx; the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

    I have a news flash for them: they’re out – and the People who will have to pay that bill are pissed.

    I Can See November From My Porch

    Jim

  484. Anyone out there that can still load this page and cares about the Texas gubernatorial race.. we could use some help in Dallas and San Antonio. We have a chance to send Mr. Good Hair into retirement. LET’S DO IT! Let’s make M&H proud!

    Also, we are fast approaching a 100 days out of the mid term election. This year more than ever it is so important to get involved. We have come so far and worked too hard to let it slip away because of apathy. Many of you have asked over the months how you can help in certain campaigns (KY Senate race Paul) and issues. I have posted a link to help you get started. It’s just a starting place. If organized groups aren’t your thing … that’s great too.. do your own thing… as long as you do it!

    Polls have shown over and over our issues remain very popular among the American people. Where we are in trouble is in voter intensity (although that is on the rise as well). WE MUST get out the vote. If we accomplish that, we have sure victory and will retain majorities. We have a much better ground game and believe it or not, more money than the GOP, we just need to use those resources wisely. We have only just begun to achieve our goals we set a couple of years ago. Please don’t stop now. Not now, not this time.

    So many people on this blog have such special talents, please don’t let them go to waste. Get involved… get connected… blog, write letters to editors, host or attend a get together with like minded people, join a phone bank, pass literature at a fair, concert, sporting event. register new voters, canvas your neighborhood…. last but not least VOTE! Every candidate in every district needs your help take nothing for granted!

    Thanks …

    http://my.democrats.org/page/s/volunteertx

  485. you sure did Delurker.. ;-)

    Antie Jean… ikr! LOL

    BTW…… IKR = I know right? <3

  486. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Those of you who have been regular contributors to M&H for a long time know that I have discussed this before. Perhaps it bears repeating in a somewhat different context for some of the neophytes here.

    Here in polyglot Hawaii, we speak a ‘Lingua Franca’ known as ‘Pigin’. Members of our ‘Calabash Family’ (immediate family and extended family of close friends) use terms of endearment for each other such as I use for ‘Bruddah Peas’, ‘Sistah Sally’ and granting permission to select friends here at M&H to address me as ‘Auntie Jean’.

    Since I have been visiting this site, I have picked up plenty of the ‘blogging’ jargon that I never knew before: such as ‘BTW’, ‘IMHO’, ‘LOL’, etc. Bruddah Peas taught me how to do my Avatar. I would love to change it, but I’m not about to go through all that computerese again. It’s tough!!!

    When our grandson comes out, I’m looking forward to him checking me out further on the shorthand he uses when he is ‘texting’ with his friends. It is a whole new world of writing and communicating for me.

    There are certainly idioms, colloquialisms and figures of speech in every region and indeed, any language. However, there are some expressions that are universally offensive. Persons using those can be expected to be ostracized, shunned and often black balled. ‘nough said.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  487. Miss you, Helen and Margaret. Hope to read a new piece soon. There’s so much going on and I miss your keen wit and brilliant mind.

  488. oh that buffoon is back–the one who started the “Helen Philpot died and will be sorely missed.” One has to wonder at the level of immaturity that it takes to not only say something so juvenile but to then repeat it with a minor variation.

  489. I hope the kids head back to school soon.

    Jean, I’m not sure how I helped but I’m sure glad I did! :D

  490. Margaret Talley died today.

  491. Hi Congenial Gang,

    We’ve been down this road before here on M&H as you know and sooner or later the ‘dissenters’ drift away for the most part. Especially after they have regressed to adolescent crudity. Most of us have raised kids and know well the various stages.

    Let’s continue to bore this latest one. Our Congenial Gang is doing a great job of informing we grownups here. Keep it up!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  492. Does anyone know how long it will take before people will be able to get their back unemployment checks, after the UI extension passes tomorrow? After 2 months without the meager income UI provides, people have probably missed at least a couple of house payments and a lot of bills. More defaults… just what this economy needs!

    How does a person decide what bills to pay first when UI gives you less than what you need to get by and you’ve been without even that for two months?

  493. WWGKD.

    And on we go…..

    sooooo ….

    If you agree with this letter please click the link and sign the letter and send a message to the rethugs.

    Together … YES WE CAN…. dont be distracted.

    Senate Republicans –

    We stand together to support unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs because of this recession.

    Refusing to vote on this issue isn’t just wrong; it’s wrong-headed.

    http://my.democrats.org/page/content/joblessbenefitsnow?source=20100719_DB_ST3

  494. Well, Jim, how’s this for tossing PC out the window? What I’ve learned from you is that you are a sexist, objectifying, prejudiced jerk. You like to provoke people, and it isn’t for educational purposes – it’s for sport. Why else would you make a comment about liking black women’s asses to a room largely comprised of women?

    I’m sick of you arrogantly crowding others off this porch because you think you’re so clever and wise, and that we who loveD this place for what it WAS need your brand of improvement. Who do you think you are? You’re wrong, and you’re dismissed.

    Unfortunately, I realize that doesn’t mean you’re leaving. Others will keep playing your game with you and validating you. You’ll keep getting whatever it is you get out of it. It’s the way of the web.

    I truly wish you the best possible life. Ideally, one where you have no time at all to spend here.

    Adios.

  495. Delurkergurl -

    “Jim, I am deeply sorry that you ever found this blog.”

    Makes you uncomfortable, doesn’t it? heh – heh…That’s good. It reminds one of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” That is my touchstone. I have read and reread it two dozen times, but of all this magnificent document, my favorite is this passage:

    “…I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. ”

    Wow. Gives me chills.

    Hopefully the tension I have created in you will help you to throw off the coils of PC and learn to think for yourself. But one thing is for sure: As long as I’m here – and I don’t know how long that will be before I get bored – I will always challenge you and force you to prove your point, instead of just blowing sunshine up your backside to make you feel good. THAT is a true sign of respect and concern.

    So don’t be sorry! Use this as an opportunity to learn to think more clearly – and always remember: you don’t get better at chess by playing people you can beat.

    Cordially,
    Jim

  496. I would suggest, he tolerates you, because he does work with you, get a clue.

  497. Jim, I am deeply sorry that you ever found this blog.

  498. Third from last paragraph, my last post.

    Argghhh!! Yours, not your’s. My bad. Your’s is not a word.

  499. no one’s puppet -

    Actually I work with this guy. I’m in a pretty rural setting now, and he’s from DC originally, having moved here to help take care of his mother. He’s quite urbane, especially regarding music; I’ve learned quite a bit about jazz from him. We’re both butt men; we keep each other on alert for “onion booty,” which of course is owned 99% by the black girls, and he makes fun of the fact that as a Scotsman I have no arse, which makes my pants want to fall down all the time.

    When you really don’t care about race it can be a lot of fun to hang out with people who are “different.” He and I couldn’t care less.

    Rae -

    “From what I’ve learned about you on this blog, I would say the emotion behind your racial humor is “discomfort” -snip-

    You are clearly very bright and well-educated (which reminds me, you never responded to my question about your educational background), but don’t over-analyze. Your’s is one interpretation. Another might be that it’s just funny. Just a thought…

  500. Jim, “My best friend…racial jokes….” My husband and I are acquainted with a particularly obtuse couple, and since we’ve moved across the country, we suddenly realize, they consider us their best friends, calling all the time, and even coming out for a long uncomfortable visit. We are trying to give them a hint by not calling or emailing them, but so far no luck. Sound like your “friendship,” Jim?

  501. What we are seeing, Lori and Jim, is a well-documented phenomenon. Women respond to novel stimuli (including members of out-groups) with verbal encouragement. Men respond with physical aggression and “humor,” where physical aggression is not possible or where fear prevents it. This is, yes, a generalization (not every man finds denigrating humor “funny” and some women do), but in general humor masks aggression and fear. There are about forty years worth of research backing this up. Interestingly, boys and girls before puberty react the same way — with curiosity. It isn’t until after puberty that responses diverge. And I guess I can see the evolutionary logic behind it all — women as nurturers, men as protectors, etc. It doesn’t mean we have to give in to it.

    No, I’m not going to provide references. Look them up yourselves; I’m tired of doing that. And yes, any woman who doesn’t consider what a man finds funny when looking for a mate is a fool.

    Sorry, Jim, I agree with you on many things, but not this one. From what I’ve learned about you on this blog, I would say the emotion behind your racial humor is “discomfort” rather than aggression, but it still isn’t right.

  502. “Sorry Jim, racism isn’t funny in any shape or form any time any decade…… in my book.”

    I think anything that comments on the foibles of humanity can be humourous – and what *makes* it funny is that in every joke there is always a tiny grain of truth. That is also what makes those targeted by such humour fume and bridle at such things, because they know in their heart-of-hearts that some of it is true.

    But as for the race-baiters:

    In the same way that people who are secure in their own sexuality don’t care who else takes it up the rump, those who – like I – hate everybody equally, don’t worry about race. It is only the insecure who accuse everything that moves of being “racist” – in my view, usually because they are whistling by the graveyard in hopes their OWN – very real – prejudices won’t be exposed.

    That’s my nickel psychiatrist evaluation. I could be wrong.

  503. Sorry Jim, racism isn’t funny in any shape or form any time any decade…… in my book.

    It doesn’t surprise me you think otherwise.

  504. Funny how you see what you want to see.

    Lori said -

    “This is a letter/ post TEA PARTY EXPRESS leader Mark Williams wrote.

    “We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”

    hmmm…Here’s what I found on the Web on the matter:

    “The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday….”

    “Apparently he thought it was funny.”

    I do too!

    “Now you good people ttry and ell me again that the under lying “message” behind the tea party movement is not racist.”

    Or maybe – unlike some on the Left – not being terrified of political correctness, Mssr. Williams decided to make a joke. My best friend in the world is black and we tell each other racial jokes all the time.

    Lori, you need to get over the ’60′s – it was a long time ago and people are tired of the race card being dragged out any time people can’t defend their positions. We’re post-racial now, remember? We have a socialist mulatto president who is taking us into the gleaming future…life is good! The racial ambulance-chasers, like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are soon going to be out of work.

    “As I said many months ago, I am sure there are baggers who honestly think they are marching for lower taxes. Those people would be ignorant.”

    I think THEY know what they are marching for more than YOU know what they are marching for…perhaps the ignorance is not theirs.

    “Don’t Pee on my boots and tell ME it’s rain.. I call BULSHIT!”

    Me, too. Lean back so the steam doesn’t get you.

    Jim

  505. @crystal

    Sorry but I missed all the talk shows yesterday. I spent the morning making zucchini cakes for my freezer. My garden overfloweth!

    So no, I wasn’t paraphrasing anyone. It’s just politics 101. Time will tell if history repeats itself. I could be wrong, won’t be the first time, certainly not the last. But that’s my take on it at this point in time.

    Your fears about Panetta? Again no surprise there. Conservatives are always afraid veryyyyy afraid. In a conservative’s mind there is always a liberal boogie man just around the corner waiting to getcha and take your America away…..I can only suggest to ya sistar come on over to the progressives side and have faith in our country not fear. ;-)

    Here is a link that compares several past presidents and their approval ratings, you can see we are JUST fine..But thanks for the concern!

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-presapp0605-31.html

  506. This is a letter/ post TEA PARTY EXPRESS leader Mark Williams wrote.

    “We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”

    Apparently he thought it was funny.

    Now you good people ttry and ell me again that the under lying “message” behind the tea party movement is not racist. When their LEADER writes the type of scum that can be seen above. As I said many months ago, I am sure there are baggers who honestly think they are marching for lower taxes. Those people would be ignorant.

    Don’t Pee on my boots and tell ME it’s rain.. I call BULSHIT!

  507. Hi Congenial Gang and Lori,

    Lori, I too have a mixed marriage – of 47 years. Well, I did have. ‘Boy toy’ was never what would be called an Ultra-Right Winger today. However he had a political epiphany as a result of the Bush Administration.

    I voted Republican only once in my life in a Presidential election – for Gerald Ford. Nixon was sandwiched in between Eisenhower and Ford, and I still think that both Eisenhower and Ford were honorable men. Ford served as vice-president at the pleasure of Nixon.

    I felt after the Nixon shenanigans and his fiasco, the country might suffer from whiplash if it turned around too rapidly. Nixon’s mess needed to be cleaned up too, just as Bushs’ even larger one does. Remember quite a few of Nixon’s top staff members (and henchmen) went to jail. That was mostly about trying to saboutage the Democratic Party on top of other nasty political mischief.

    A metaphor could be that you can’t turn a battleship around on a dime under the best of ocean weather conditions. In a political hurricane the whole Ship of State could capsize and sink.

    My husband didn’t go to all the trouble to get his name removed from every Republican mailing list that ever existed. As a result, right along he has been getting a stack of official and unofficial Republican or Conservative Thinking type mail that is unbelievable, not only in quantity but in page after page after page of unverifiable ‘facts’. (‘Propaganda’?). I receive some from Democratic/Progressive Thinking too. But I would say the ratio of Republican to Democrat is about 20/25-1. So the Far Right spends an awful lot of money on printing and bulk mailings!!! Oh, well, it helps keep that floundering ‘Socialist’ Government Agency, the U. S. Post Office, afloat with the jobs it provides.

    The same could be said of Republican and Conservative Thinking email and ‘spam’ that range from incomprehensible to stupid to downright vicious and vile.

    We glance at both the mail and electronic offerings. Occasionally we read some of it so we both get something of a cross section of what’s going on outside the tiny little cocoon we built for ourselves to live in.

    The overall impression we get of the Republican or tea party strategy is, ahead of any proposed legislation on any bill: to balk, moan and groan, and ‘just say no’ to any and all Democratic/Progressive issues or initiatives. Once the legislation goes through, the Right’s strategy is; to moan and groan some more; whine and pick away at any of the flaws and human imperfections that inevitably crop up. There seems to be a pattern there.

    It is all sort of like the annoying incessant commercials that interrupt shows on TV. The idea is, if something is repeated often enough and loud enough, it should be able to hammer home the message and get people to buy into it. More recently we have been getting Progressive Insurance commercials on TV with a sweet young thing batting her big blue contacts as spokeswoman.

    You don’t suppose the executives and advertising people of that insurance company are trying to attract Progressive/Liberal customers with the ‘Progressive’ word association name, do you? Naw, I don’t think they are smart enough or clever enough to think of that. Or are they?

    C’mon folks. From William James’, “The Stream of Consciousness” to Google and other search engines sending out their spiders into cyberspace for key words, I don’t think there are very many M&H bloggers of any demographic who are so naïve as to fall for bullshit when they see it coming at them.

    If a poll and/or ratings were taken here at M&H tomorrow of the readers and those who comment on what the outcome of the November election is likely to be, what do you think would be the results? I have a pretty good idea.

    Aloha!

    Auntie Jean

  508. Re: Panetta
    How could someone of that supposed cailber
    be our nations top security expert, with an answer like his about supposed troop strength of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan?

  509. Lori,
    Pertaining to your response to Poolman.
    I think you quoted or paraphrased a comment from the Round Table on ABC’s This Week which aired this morning. As follows:
    “I also have to set you straight in Obama’s popularity. Ronnie had exactly the same poll numbers at exactly the same time and roughly the same unemployment rate. You know the rest of the story.”

    That rest of that story, which former White House Media Director, Nicolle Wallace responded to Jake Tapper said something along the lines as follows:
    “While both had the same low approval ratings at the same time, Regan crafted an agenda that so appealed to the political center that it created a new class of voters which became known as the Regan Democrats. Nicolle went further to explain that Obama is going entirely in the opposite direction and that he is totally interested in expanding the government and increasing its role in peoples lives and will probably have the opposite impact than Regan’s Presidency did.”

    I also found it extremely interesting that George Will picked up on and that I heard some three weeks ago on something that Dir, of CIA Leon Panetta said regarding Afghanistan and that was to the numbers of Al Qaeda fighters that “he”, Panetta thought were in Afghanistan..and that number Panetta said would be somewhere between 50 to 100, maybe less. That’s scary coming from someone who is suppose to be an authority on our security and knowledgeable about enemy troop strength.
    How could someone of that supposed caiber

  510. @poolman,

    You’re very correct when you say I am “entrenched” in the Democratic Party.

    I have two things to say about that!

    1. That came as a revelation to you? LOL I never asserted otherwise. I am as partisan and bias as the day is long. I have joked (not really) with my husband many times, who is a repug, that I wouldn’t vote for him if he ran for office! Yes, I have a mixed marriage! LOL However, just because I am bias doesn’t mean I can’t recognize faults. I would have never won a campaign if I didn’t! LOL I seldom publicly argue a democratic policy I don’t personally agree with but there are many democratic issues of which I don’t agree. I work within my party to change those planks.

    2. Everyone who cares about this country and politics should be entrenched in the party of their choice. It is the only way their candidate and/or idea will become a reality. Period end of discussion. This “vote for the best man/woman” rhetoric sounds noble and I think people should do that in the primary election, but it’s silly to waste your vote on “the best person for the job”. You aren’t voting for the person you are voting for an agenda. Yes you can cite me incidents where elected officials break with party, and you would be right, there is some leeway, more in the democratic party than the GOP, but not much, if they drift too far they will be primaried. I promise you that. Also poolman people say they want bipartisanship, but they don’t, it’s been proven time and time again.

    And anyone who doesn’t think it’s important to vote party need to look no further than the impeachment of Clinton. Talk about a waste of money and time!

    Until we have publicly funded elections, people should vote for a party not a person. You want to make a difference? Work within your party to shape policy, get involved in the primary elections, and run your best person then. Sad fact I know… but true.

    I also have to set you straight in Obama’s popularity. Ronnie had exactly the same poll numbers at exactly the same time and roughly the same unemployment rate. You know the rest of the story. In this enviroment – high unemployment, two wars, struggling economy, I’ll take 47 percent.

    Palin, is very popular with the media, she is a policial pop star…….. think Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Brittnay Spears… in the news allll the time… lots of people talk about them…. but few actually LIKE them, they have their fan base, but it’s small. Their popularity is driven by the news they generate. That is Palin. That could change but that is what I see today.

    Jim, you’re spot on with the Trig story and with your assertion about ruthlessness among national politicians. It’s a dirty bizness.

  511. Let the socialist health-care rationing begin:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/business/18choice.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

    Geez, I thought that under Obamacare the cost of medicine would go *down* and everybody would get to choose their own doctor.

    And no *rationing*. This sure looks like rationing to me. Let’s see…I think I know where this is going. Since the gub’ment is paying for everything, you can only go to the cheapest doctor in town.

    Maybe they haven’t heard about the wisdom of buying a cheap parachute, or getting a family practitioner to treat your cancer. Or maybe they have. After all, dead people don’t cost anything in healthcare at all. Ah, we are going to love socialism. I can see it now.

    Now let me see, where did I put that 28th amendment chain letter…

    Jim

  512. YW Jean,
    I would guess Nancy’s job is pretty safe when we retain the house but I am not so sure about good old Harry! He has a good shot at returning, thanks to the tea party loon he is running against, but it’s my hunch (or maybe wishful thinking) his job is not that secure as Majority Leader.
    I think Nancy has done a magnificent job. She has had all the tough legislation teed up and ready to vote. INCLUDING PUBLIC OPTION! It’s been Harry, IMHO, that has been the main culprit in the watered down legislation. I think he was worrying a little too much about how he was going to fund his reelection campaign (he knew he was in trouble) than he did about good legislation.
    Harry has been a good Senator for Nevada (and of course has been in politics all his life ) and is well liked as a person among his colleagues. That and his LONGggggggg history in politics has allowed him to rise to Leader. He really didn’t do THAT great of a job as whip either! I just don’t think he has the balls it takes in today’s political climate to lead legislation, he is an old fashioned gentleman and that just doesn’t cut it in today’s world on the hill. .. Just one girl’s opinion…

  513. Hi Congenial Gang, lori, Whirled Peas and delurkergurl,

    I think I’ve got this straight on the Congressional procedures thanks to you, lori, for answering my questions. So all the Republicans (and a few Democrats), who howl so loudly against Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, have no way of knowing if they will be chosen for their leadership positions again in the next session. There are plenty of other well-qualified Democrats in both houses who could fill the jobs.

    I personally think Reid and Pelosi have done outstanding work in getting the Health Care and Financial Reform Legislations through, to name only the two major ones. Especially considering the solid block of opposition they were up against with the GOP. What we really need is to pick up a few more Democratic seats in both houses in November, because the GOP has made it abundantly clear than they have no intention of cooperating with the White House or anybody else, any time – with the exception of the ladies from Maine.

    Yeah, Bruddah Peas, where are you? I’ve missed you and your links!

    delurkergurl, I owe you big time – again. My printer crapped out. I thought the poor thing was gone, but I tried the trick you taught me when you helped me fix my ‘Control Panel’. Somehow it worked!!! I felt like I was reading Sanskrit all the way, but got it done. It saved me a bundle from getting my new computer guru up here to do it. I’m feeling so cocky, I think I may try re-activating my website on my own.

    I really shouldn’t let my ‘boy toy’ near the computer. He was writing a personal letter and I think he punched a few wrong buttons. It could happen. I have always been his secretary for the important official business stuff.

    Nighty-night everyone,

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  514. BTW…. there is a great blog roll on that ^ site. I particularly like the middle class one.

    Auntie Jean to answer your ?.

    Each new session of congress a “speaker of the house is elected”.

    The Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and the Chairman of the Republican Conference to nominate a candidate for Speaker the full house then votes.

    The same for the Majority and minority leaders of the senate.

  515. Hi Congenial Gang, lori, jsri and PFessor,

    lori, I’m so glad you are back and had a wonderful trip! Now you can assume some of the porch clean up duty and I can get back to cookin’ and cleanin’ for our family coming out.

    Nope, jsri, neither PR for the HVB (Hawaii Tourist Bureau) nor the Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, tourism is our economic life blood and we are hurting like the rest of the country right now. Since sugar and pineapple fizzled out and corn-to-methane didn’t pan out, all we are left with is the damn tourists. And of course, the damn Haole retirees who come out and drive up the Real Estate values out of sight.

    You may remember my story a while back about the attempt to bring a ferry out here and how we chased it out.

    When we came out here 20 years ago there was only one traffic light on the whole island. Now development and traffic are becoming wild! Damn tourists! Damn Haole retirees!

    Free-association my foot, PFessor. Every single word is deliberately chosen! There’s method in my madness. That’s what Story Tellers do best. ‘Free-association’ is no more than a newer more clinical term for finding common interests between people to achieve more mutually satisfactory goals.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  516. and one more …. this use to be peas job! ??? p where you b? LOL

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/17/weekly-address-filibustering-recovery-obstructing-progress?utm_source=email&utm_medium=66&utm_content=graphic&utm_campaign=economy

  517. For those of you that r interested!

    lori — wanted to make sure you saw that DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen will be on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning to discuss the 2010 Elections up against Republican NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions.

    Check it out on Sunday and then tell us what you think. You can get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or by just replying to this message.

    Thanks for all that you do to stand with us.

    Onward to Victory,

    Jon Vogel
    DCCC Executive Director

    P.S. Our “100 Days Out” deadline is fast approaching. While Republicans were meeting with K Street lobbyists yesterday, we were busy planning our election season strategy.

  518. Hey James, many with brown, hazel, and green eyes are also cousins; we all have dominant and recessive genes. And of course we descent from a single female and a single male in the very distant past, so homo sapiens, are just one huge dysfunctional family.
    Wow gang, just because we aren’t Helen solo or main focus, why assume she is deceased? I prefer to think she has a “life.”

  519. James -

    I kind of like Jean’s rambling style; what the hell – I think Helen’s abandoned ship – or god forbid, bitten the dust – so we may as well follow Jean’s example and free associate a little…LOL

    to wit:

    Palin and Obama – young guns with slim resumes. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I see one very significant difference though: Obama is well-educated and well-spoken. Of course, if you are a well-educated socialist, that only makes you more dangerous. I think he is trying to remake us in Europe’s image; maybe he should look to see how being Europe is working out for EUROPE before he commits us to a socialist model. My jury is still out on Palin; I think clearly she is a charlatan and a puppet, likely controlled by (RNC maybe?), but is so dumb she thinks she is an original. I’m weighing the damage she can do vs. the good; if I’m sure she cannot gain serious office, hell, I may join her little group…

    BTW, did you get the chain email proposing the 28th amendment? Normally I roundfile that kind of stuff, but I had just finished Hitchens’ memoir (tough plowing) and his biography on my Boy Jefferson, and decided it was exactly what the Old Master would favor, so I sent it on to 20 of my conservative friends. If it gets forwarded by 20 others, hmmm….poolman, what is 20^20? I think that is a Very Big Number, isn’t it?

    I have been to Jefferson’s Monticello about ten times myself, and my wife went to school at UVA – “Mr. Jefferson’s School;” she has been there at least 25 times. We try to make a pilgrimage to the Great Man’s Mountain at least once a year; I always walk down to his grave and kneel at the gate; my kids think I have lost my mind. They have no idea what goes through my head as I give thanks to the memory of that giant. No idea. Last weekend a couple of my stepson’s friends asked me to fly them to C’ville for a party; I crossed from the south; here’s almost exactly what we saw, except I was a little lower.

    http://www.monticello.org/gallery/grounds/south_mountain.html

    The FAA is a little funny about national monuments nowadays and asked me to “climb when able.” We all had a chuckle about that one. VERY nice, well-trained controllers in Charlottesville. They remember me when I come in; there aren’t too many black airplanes in the US.

    This Alzheimer-ish stream-of-consciousness stuff is fun, James! Try it.

    Jim

  520. I think Helen has died.

  521. Jean:

    I finally figured it out. Either you are a PR rep for the tourist industry on your little island or else you are a member of the local Chamber of Commerce.

    But I must caution you, because if you oversell it, you will get crowded out by new washashores. At least that’s what they called new arrivals when we lived on Cape Cod.

    When we first settled on the Cape 25 years ago it was a pretty laid back place to live. But now, traffic is a nightmare made even more impossible by the choke points of the 2 bridges leading onto the Cape. The reason we moved off Cape a few years back was because every time we wanted to catch up with the activities of our grandsons who lived 100 miles away, it usually involved weekend travel, a summertime, nightmare. Traffic backups of 7-8 miles are not uncommon and travel times can go out the window.

    So if they ever make ferry time to your island convenient, be prepared for the onrush and subsequent displacement.

  522. If Boehner has blue eyes, he is my distant cousin. A Danish scientist discovered the gene which creates blue eyes resulted from a mutation near the Black Sea six to ten thousand years ago.

    The Democratic party is like a wounded buffalo. It took power on false pretenses as it tried and failed to keep its promises even with an overwhelming majority. The party passed laws important to its agenda, but the results didn’t make a noticeable difference.

    Sarah Palin and her clones are like wolves circling a weakened, but still strong animal. She and the Tea Party are driving the debate while most Republicans sit around like Hamlet waiting to see which way the wind will blow. If trends continue the Tea Party will be able to claim much of the credit for a Republican victory. No wonder some Democrats want to discredit the Tea Party movement with obscene names. The only way to drive the wolves away is some noticeable Democratic success. Right now, they smell blood.

    A recent poll showed Obama and Palin even in popularity. Two Republicans were ahead. Sarah Palin and Barack Obama were mirror images of each other during the last election. The two relatively young campaigners with slim resumes attracted most of the attention. I’m not sure about Obama, but Palin still attracts passionate crowds. Like Nixon, she has been quietly campaigning for and giving money to Republicans.

    I don’t think Palin will win the next election, even if she wants to run, but extrapolation of present conditions a few years hence allows for the possibility of a worse-case scenario perfect storm. President Palin, would be as bad for the country as President Obama in my opinion. In the unlikely event of her election, I wonder what the voters and politicians would do for an encore.

  523. Thanks for t he comment MirrorMan!

    Just finished reading about Cheney. and his picture with the horrible scowl.

    Again from one of my favorite authors Anne Perry.
    A recurring theme in her early books. The Inner Circle. A group of men high up in politics who manipulate events to their liking.
    To anyone who has read her books does that sound familiar?
    Compare her stories with bought elections, and a few other things.

  524. It’s so lovely to see the porch alive and well! I too am sending all good thoughts M&H’s way. I hope to hear from them soon.

    A couple of exciting things happened while I was out of country eh? YAY! the oil leak seems to be stopped… thank heavens for small favors. AND we did manage to pass some financial reform. It didn’t go far enough in my opinion but it’s a start. Another reminder to back candidates who are pro public elections! WTG dems!

    Just a reminder to any porch dwellers that live in Michigan … August 3 is election day… please don’t forget to vote, and if you can’t be here there is still time for an absentee ballot! click here! http://www.longdistancevoter.org/michigan

    Auntie Jean, My husband and I spent a few days on the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. He had some business to take care of there and I tagged along. It was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! And it renewed my soul! I am so zen like now I don’t even think a bagger could rile me.. (wink) LOL

    Have a wonderful weekend all..

    namaste

  525. Hi Congenial Gang,

    That was my snotty, sarcastic jab at the Republican Leadership (?) earlier today. Sorry about that. Sometimes I just can’t resist. The devil made me do it!

    However, I do get weary with the GOP, especially Boehner playing the same old games over and over again. Now he is trying to play divide and conquer within the Democrats. Like there is such unity in the GOP, the tea partiers, Michael Steele, South Carolina representation, etc., etc., except to just say no to everything.

    Remember what Will Rodgers said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat!” We can do a little infighting from time to time, but when it really counts for November, we’ll come together!

    Does anybody here know Congressional procedures very well? For example, when re-elected, will Harry Reid automatically be retained or could someone else be chosen for his current position in the Senate? Same with Nancy Pelosi. Will she still be the Speaker of the House or could someone else be selected? Just curious. I don’t know.

    Anyway off on another topic, if any of you landlubbers have ever thought you might like to try snorkeling in the ocean, here’s your lesson. It’s easy. If you can breath through your mouth, you can snorkel.

    We have one of the best snorkeling spots right here on our island. I think it is even better than the world famous Hanauma Bay on Oahu. It is called “Lydgate” and is located on the East Side at Wailua. A long time age somebody had a great idea to enclose a quite large semi-circular area of the ocean. It is not a seawall but piles of huge black lava stones. There are only a couple of places where you can’t put your feet down at low tide. Adjacent is a separate but smaller shallow area also enclosed for kids.

    You always want to go snorkeling at low tide. That’s when the water is calm, crystal clear and the fish come out. (Please don’t feed them frozen peas or other stuff that’s not good for them. A few slices of bread, torn up into little pieces in a small Ziploc bag, work just fine. Take the empty Ziploc bag back with you though.) In the local newspaper or on the TV weather news, the times of high and low tides are posted every day.

    The lava wall keeps the really big fish out, like sharks and barracuda but the other fish can swim in and out between the huge stones.

    Occasionally, a young sea turtle is washed over the wall with a big wave. But there is a place down at Poipu where, from the highish rocky shore, you can see adult sea turtles frolic around.

    The Lydgate enclosure is great for swimming of course, but it is also fun to just hang there, face down, and watch the fish go by. There is every size and variety of tropical fish imaginable. There are schools of Big Blue (fish, not IBM) that are roundish, about a foot or more long and flat all over. Then there are the little-bitty flat yellow butterfly fish, round and about 3” in diameter. I have just hung there and the butterfly fish have gathered around to try to nibble at my fingernails. I guess the nails look like food. Their nibbles are more like kisses than bites.

    About ten days after the full moon, there is an influx of small jellyfish. (Nothing like the deadly ones on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We haven’t been to Australia because it is another place too far away and where the flights are way, way too long.) In our islands, jellyfish signs are posted at beaches for the two or three days a month that the jellyfish are around. They are not particularly aggressive but have a nasty sting if you get in their way. An occasional tourist ignores the signs, get stung and makes a dashing trip to the ER. Believe it or not, the best treatment is, maybe Bactine, or………this may sound gross, but your own urine works just fine. So the local people say.

    One time we goofed and went snorkeling at high tide. Big waves were crashing over the lava rocks, churning up lots and lots of bubbles. When the bubbles cleared, I found myself face to face with a Portuguese-Man-O-War!!! He was pretty nonchalant with his long tentacles trailing along. But I set a new Olympic record getting the hell outta there!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  526. On Boehner, Jean, ‘Old Blue Eyes,’ no, but he might be the aged Coppertone baby, someone tell him, he is orange enough.

  527. Hi Congenial Gang and alaskapi on July 14, 2010 at 1030PM,

    I also think that Palin is somewhat dangerous in this sense. She has inspired plenty of pre- or mid-menopausal airheads to touch up their roots and run for public office.

    THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS!!!

    Ergo, Bachmann, Brewer and that babe who is challenging Harry Reid in Nevada. And then there is Boehner, who is bucking for Nancy Pelosi’s job. ‘Ole Blue Eyes’ gets up there on the podium with a mic in his hands and croons away, thinking he’s Frank Sinatra. Sheesh!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  528. Speculation that Helen & Margaret might not be who they say they are have often been presented through incredibly insulting inferrences that older women aren’t capable of that level if wit, sass and intellect.That would justify the common level of fury over the implications.

  529. Craig, I’m aware of the speculation regarding Helen’s identity on various blogs; to me it doesn’t matter — I love the “voice.” I don’t care who it belongs to.

  530. Helen had a lengthy absence awhile back, her husband was hospitalized, so like you and I’m sure most of us here, I am concerned.

  531. Rae,
    “If in fact you’re really just a recent college grad who took advantage of the fact that older people can get away with speaking blunt truth, thanks for the ride.”

    The proposition of this blog site being ghost written by some young blue blood college democrat has been made more than once on this blog site.
    Often in the past it has been met with open resentment and anger. So I’m surprised at the
    “0″ decibel noise level that has descended on the site.
    So Rae the answer to your last proposition is:
    “It’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.

  532. This is the longest Helen has gone without blogging, puppet, and I’m concerned. She is supposed to be in her 80s, and not in the best of health, so maybe she’s having health problems. I can find nothing in the blogosphere about it, which is odd, given the popularity of this site. Maybe she just grew tired of all of it. Helen, if you’re watching, or if your grandson is watching, just let us know, ok? If in fact you’re really just a recent college grad who took advantage of the fact that older people can get away with speaking blunt truth, thanks for the ride.

  533. Perhaps this is the longest Helen has went without blogging, does anyone know?

  534. I am sure I can whip up some snacks (Decades in the Food Service industry as a Chef. Pretty sure I can handle it.)

  535. Hey Gang!!!!! Woohoo!!!!! You too Greytdog, Crafty Lady in Illinois and Mirror Man!!!!!

    This is a red letter day!!!!! The passage of the Financial Reform bill and stopping the oli leak. Now if we can just get a new post from M&H, we’ll be in clover.

    I was so pleased that the ladies from Maine had the courage to vote for what is best for the country instead of toeing the GOP party line. That took guts.

    There is plenty of work still to be done. The Financial Reforms need some time to get in place and begin to take effect. And let’s keep our fingers crossed that the oil cap holds long enough for the relief well to get there. We are just gonna have to continue to keep their feet to the fire! There is still the cleanup.

    It sort of reminds me of me, making my Tuna Croquettes and the disaster I made in the kitchen in the process. I think I will retire, permanently, from making the damn things. The mess to clean up after just isn’t worth it anymore. There are plenty of other goodies for the family to eat.

    Uh, thanks, Crafty Lady. Don’t encourage me. Is there any place anyone is either planning or has ever had a hankering to go to? I’ll give you the full scoop! Except Antarctica. It’s too cold and too far, but you can ask jsri. He’s been there.

    Greytdog and Mirror Man, welcome back. I knew you two hadn’t jumped ship.

    Let’s celebrate with pie, tea, wine – the works! But I’m not serving up any Tuna Croquettes.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  536. No conspiracies here, folks. Just keep consuming. Keep paying in. Keep your eye to the tellie for what to believe. It’s all under control. Everything is just peachy keen.

  537. To Auntie Jean,

    I mostly just read everyone’s opinions………..all so interesting but, of late, have really enjoyed Auntie Jean and her thoughts and many travels to places I will never see in my lifetime. Thank you Auntie Jean……..you’re as entertaining as Margaret and Helen are…………and, yes, I miss them too!!

  538. (Watered down) financial reform has passed the senate and BP says they have STOPPED the oil from gushing into the gulf.

  539. Hi Congenial Gang and jsri,

    Bless your heart, jsri! You answered my questions beautifully in that these are extremely complex issues. You probably have more expertise along those lines than most of us here at M&H, but are so cautious in jumping to conclusions. The few sound bits we get on TV or read about don’t begin to scratch the surface of what’s really going on in the world.

    I love your gentle WW! I wish we could meet you both in person. She personifies exactly how far a little kindness will go.

    Just as your WW’s health issues have a genetic component, my husband’s heart problems do too. There are anomalies in his cardiac blood vessels that were unknown until his first heart attack in 1985 when he had the angiogram.
    It was medical science and expertise that discovered it and more importantly, knew what to do about it.

    I think the wisest thing any of us can do is find the best medical team (if we can afford it!), trust them and follow their advice to the best of our ability.

    Busy day tomorrow in the Big Cities, so nighty-night, everyone.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  540. Hi, Kids! And I also mean you, Auntie Jean and Grandma Katie, especially you!
    I have been watching from the shadows, and haven’t missed much, except this new corporal punishment bit, which, of course, I have my own opinions on, but I need to read through everything before I comment.
    I hope you don’t mind if I pull up a seat on the porch, pour myself a strong cup of tea, and grab a piece of pie. I have been…busy.

    But not absent…

  541. yes- our gone gov is dangerous on a variety of levels…
    probably need keep an eye on her but there are more important things to attend to …


    Hero woos commission with soulful crooning

    ————————-

  542. JeanΔ ¥ on July 14, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Jean:

    I missed your second shot at me about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in your post above. The negative effects of alcohol on the developing fetus were suspected long before they became confirmed but even when our son was in utero fifty years ago my wife knew enough to stay away from booze. So it is not a new issue. However, it is now well known that the effects of alcohol are most severe during the early stages of pregnancy when the most rapid and complicated stages of fetal development are taking place. The alcohol doesn’t have a genetic effect but instead, interferes with metabolic processes during the various stages of the differentiation of organs and structures. Neurological tissues are among the most susceptible.

    For more info check out this link.
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fetalalcoholsyndrome.html

  543. JeanΔ ¥ on July 14, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I’m still ducking the question because I’ve been out of the field for more than 30 years so asking the for a Bio 101 course about innumerable genetic disorders, both physical and mental is not a simple question. And the field of genetics has moved so far beyond where I was at the time, I wouldn’t be comfortable even taking a random shot at it. Human genetics is a specialized field which is way outside of my experience and the genetics of mental disorders is so specialized that each disorder may or may not have a genetic component yet each one still has its own individual set of issues to be studied. Since there is no common underlying genetic mechanism to account for the multitude of such conditions the best place for information may be to study research papers regarding a specific condition you need to know about. Some of the more reliable medical websites, such as WebMD, NIH’s MedlinePlus or Mayo Clinic, can present a perspective about a specific condition that a layman can understand. But to learn about a condition with any authority or specificity, one would have to have contact with someone actively engaged in research within the field. But be forewarned, each disease has its own jargon and insider expressions that can be difficult to decipher. I’d feel very uncomfortable trying to do that and anything I’d report might be inaccurate or out of date.

    Just for an example closer to home, my wife has a well known but not necessarily common medical condition that is basically a genetic problem yet despite a vast volume of research, there is still no effective treatment for dealing with it. At present, her condition can be ameliorated but not cured and that is only one of thousands of such diseases.

    On the other hand if you had a specific question I might be able to take a stab at it or at least get launched off in the right direction. However, it may take a bit of time as I have been getting more involved in activities that have been keeping me on the go for the past year or so.

  544. Hi Congenial Gang, no one’s puppet, jsri, poolman, Rae, Grandma Katie and everybody else,

    I think it was you, no one’s puppet, who wondered was there anyone over the age of 60 here ever having heard of ADD/ADHD in our dissolute youth. Of course not! All we knew were the three categories of ‘Imbecile’, ‘Moron’ and ‘Idiot’ that have become part of our lexicon. Depending on the degree, they were automatically institutionalized or locked up in the attic. (Thanks for the reminder, Rae, about “Wuthering Heights”, but I am thinking of Mr. Rochester’s loony wife in “Jane Eyre”. And every town had its ‘village idiot’ and/or ‘town drunk’. We have come a very long way since the cruelty of those days.

    Also what my generation knew about ‘recreational drugs’ in those days were the horrors of opium dens in China. Those were induced by the “Opium Wars” of British Imperialism, trying to bring China to her knees as a British colony like India. India was already part of the British Empire and that’s where the English got the opium, huh, Grandma Katie.

    Since then, there have been innumerable stories of ‘Savants’ who were geniuses in math, music, sculpture, etc., but couldn’t find their way to the bathroom on their own. Both mental and physical ailments were just chalked up to ‘sin’ and you had to pray your way out of them or maybe get exorcised by any number of bizarre practices.

    I have tried several times to pry jsri out of his cushy retirement to give us the course on Genetics 101 on innumerable disorders, both physical and mental. You won’t budge, will ya buddy.

    Scientific research is a long arduous journey. But it has paid off and still is. Here is one of the biggest problems. Scientific studies require time and well-trained people to produce anything close to reliable evidence. And money. The people working in research like to eat and have roofs over their heads too; just as the ones appointed/elected to sit on boards do, while busy shuffling papers they can’t read or comprehend if they could read them.

    Where does the money come from? I can cite two well-known sources. We all know that the big pharmaceutical giants do research and conduct clinical trials on drugs for safety and efficacy. But there is a profit motive to get a drug on the market as fast as possible and collect on the proprietary patent protection. Skew the statistics! Screw regulatory agencies! Fast talk your way past the understaffed FDA if you can.

    Where do you think the recognized-around-the-world-logo “Coca-Cola” came from? Before ‘coke’ became banned as a controlled substance, it was the key ingredient in Coke. The company still maintains it’s highly secretive formula but just substituted sugar for a ‘sugar high’ instead of a ‘coke high’.

    The other source of funding is government-sponsored studies, often in conjunction with universities, which more often than not are also government-funded institutions. (I’m not talking about future graduates of the newly founded Beck University. I understand that Glen Beck says you can enroll in his University for $79.00.)

    Enter politics. We all remember the “War on Cancer”, the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terrorists”, competing for funding. The word “War” conjures up images of parades of soldiers marching, tanks, maybe a couple of fighter jets in flyovers, flag waving and martial music. Then everybody goes home and on about his/her business. Remember Nancy Reagan and her “Just Say No” dictum to drugs? Then Ronald Reagan read the script he was handed about the ’Welfare Queens’ strung out and delivering ‘Crack Babies’. And the “War” was on!

    Those ‘Crack Babies’ have daddies too. Where is the correlation between ‘recreational drugs’ and the genetic bouncing around of mutations on alleles during the replication of the DNA in either or both ovum and sperm? How about ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’? Does it arise at the genetic level or during gestation? jsri, damn it, speak up! The old ‘Nature vs. Nuture’ controversy just reared its ugly head – again.

    I personally don’t believe that a glass or two of wine automatically leads to alcoholism any more than I think smoking an occasional joint leads to addiction to narcotic derivatives. (I was pretty popular in the social scene in my day, probably partly because I was a cheap date. I could nurse half a drink for a whole evening. BTW, I love alliteration, don’t you? Check out the ‘p’s – several times above.)

    Anybody who has ever had major surgery or a root canal has been mighty grateful for those drugs! But who knows where the dividing line between moderate use and chronic addiction are. The major difference is you can buy your booze at the local supermarket. You can go to jail for pot possession. (I’m on a ‘p’ alliteration roll! Sugar High from my five Hershey Chocolate Kisses to top off my lunch?)

    So like everything else in life, it is not the use, but the abuse.

    Rae and Poolman, you are both very good at tracking down authoritative empirical studies to share with us. Perhaps you can find some on the correlation between ‘recreational drugs’ in the past couple of generations and ADD/ADHD.

    Me, I’ve had my hands full for the past 15 years as one of the foot soldiers in the trenches of a very large and long-range cancer study, pumping data into their database. (My family tree is riddled with some rare cancers, but how come I am and always have been cancer free?)

    This study is PLCO in Honolulu as a part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Health (NIH). There are ten PLCO Screening Centers scattered all over the U.S. You can Google: PLCO.

    Oh my, those are funded by that nasty Socialist Government in Washington. You know, the one that Conservative Thinking so loudly decries the use of our taxpayer dollars for. Or perhaps the tea partiers would rather return to the Good Old Days of flu, measles, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and smallpox. The Empress of Russia Alexandra’s mother and sister both died of diphtheria at very young ages.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

    P. S. I’m off my soapbox – for now.

  545. Hi Congenial Gang,

    As an outsider looking in on domestic disputes, maybe, just maybe Sarah Palin is:

    THE-MOTHER-IN-LAW-TO-BE-FROM-HELL!!!!!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  546. No conspiracies here, folks. Just keep shopping. Keep paying your taxes. Keep watching TV for updates and information. We got it all under control. Everything is fine.

  547. Conspiracy theories thrive because of the plausibility factor. Not fact. just factor.

  548. Gosh, I thought Helen would have a humorous take on Bristol and Levi II. I wish the kids well, and unfortunately I think they are going to need a lot of luck, they are very young and both sets of in-laws have a tendency to over involve themselves in their relationship.

  549. I have to agree with Rae, if a number of people are in the know about a conspiracy, someone, or a lot of someones, are going to blow it.
    We all know Bush didn’t win his first term, the Supreme Court handed it to him. Damn if I know how he won the second term, some people don’t think that he did, all I know is, I didn’t vote for him either time.

  550. JeanΔ ¥ on July 14, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    I have nothing to add to the ADD/ADHD discussion or conspiracy theories so I’m going to check out for a while, at least until H&M post a new offering. When my wife taught, ADD had not been identified as such and was seen as a behavioral problem, not medical, and treated accordingly.

    Meanwhile, I’m thinking about looking into auditing an on-line university course or two, probably redoing something I once studied in College but is now only a vague memory. But before I go I have one more WonderWife tale to tell you.

    Several weeks ago we were waiting for breakfast in a funky eatery in a torpid little hamlet just south of the New York-Canadian Border. Service was moving at the speed of a tortoise when my wife realized that the young waitress, barely out of her teens, was also the cook and seemed to be handling one order at a time. Sitting behind me two tables away was a young couple with a beautiful angelic looking two and a half year old daughter who was acting like, – well, a two and a half year old, that is., – antsy. WW is so attuned to children under stress, she will focus on them like a laser. I’d assume it’s her mother-grandmother-teacher genes coming together at the surface. I was now subjected to a running commentary regarding the scene unfolding behind me.

    While dad was fixated on his text messaging, the young mother was pulling tricks and toys, one after another, out of her shoulder bag to distract the child, and doing a good job of it. And when the food finally arrived. I also got a running account of the mess created as the child abandoned her spoon in favor of her fingers. During the whole process, it was obvious that young mom was teetering on the edge of a cave in

    When we got ready to leave. The couple was at the register paying the bill when my wife began talking with the young mom. First she told her how beautiful her child was. Then she told the mom that she was doing a fine job under stressful conditions and that it was nice to see a mother who was so attentive to the needs of her obviously bright child. Only WW expressed these observations in softer terms than I can conjure up. Then she said something soothing to the child and by the time the couple walked out the door, the child was smiling and waving bye-bye and the mother was beaming. Dad took time out of his texting to snap a quick cell phone picture as they left.

    As I prepared to pay the waitress/chef, WW quickly learned that the owners of the eatery were off on a short vacation and that the chef didn’t show up for work. WW complimented her on her resourcefulness and dedication and as I handed over the money, I got a soft, inconspicuous poke in the ribs, a signal to be more generous than usual. It’s not often that you can be moved to pay more in tips than the meal is worth. When we left, the waitress/chef, now the cashier, was smiling too.

  551. poolman, maybe my quibble is with the use of the word “conspiracy.”

    Take the whole Milton Friedman “shock” thing. His philosophical beliefs, shared by some others, informed his choices and actions over a period of time, wreaking havoc in Central and South America. But was it a “conspiracy?” I don’t think so. Just a bunch of pathetic guys who read Ayn Rand books and there found hope that the geeks would inherit the earth and the hot babes, so reacted in a certain way to the various opportunities presented to them. Conspiracy implies planning, and the ability to control more than human beings can control.

    Lots of people act more or less consistently according to their beliefs. Much of that action produces very bad results. The macro effect of all of that may look like a conspiracy, but I don’t think it is. More like emergent evil than deliberate evil (or good, for that matter, as conspirators could be acting for good as well.)

    Are the Saudis madly preparing for whatever will preserve their wealth and their power when the oil runs out? Well, sure they are. Everybody is scrambling to survive what’s coming. But is it a conspiracy? I think that glamorizes what’s happening.

  552. We have been taught to discredit conspiracy theories. It seems to have been a lesson well-learned. Cointel has been an extremely effective tool used on us. Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and all the Saudi hijackers involvement in nine-eleven is still an unproved conspiracy that 2/3rds of Americans accept as fact. So if you believe the official report, you do believe in a conspiracy theory.

    What are your thoughts regarding the global warming conspiracy in light of the Oregon petition, Leipzig Declaration, or SEPP? With all the FOIA is doing to help uncover truths that support many of these conspiracies, albeit slowly, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Korean War facts, and the first Gulf war against Iraq, do you think we have changed our MO? For me, it has been very enlightening. It does, however, go against everything I was raised to believe regarding America and our role in the world.

  553. Poolman -

    Palin as a puppet.

    You HAVE been doing your homework. Not one person in five hundred really understands how this game is being played. VERY impressive.

    I agree with your assessment of her chances for election as well. In ordinary times – not a prayer. In these times – I’m not so sure. Not at all.

    As an aside, I think it is very important to concede good points – even in bad people; it makes you more credible and it is the right thing to do. Along those lines, my stepdaughter lives in NYC. Her roomie’s mom actually ended up doing Queen Esther’s hair for a recent appearance. Her assessment was as follows: She – like all credible reports about GWB – was extremely polite, friendly and down-to-earth. “She was a real pleasure to work with. She also was as dumb as a stump.”

    You can quote me on that. (her, actually)

    Jim

  554. Hello everyone and especially to Jean,

    I’m among those beautiful corn fields of Amish country as I type this. Taking a vacation the last week or so and this part of PA is on our itinerary.
    Been keeping up with the reading on the porch every few days…..my but this is a lively bunch.

    Liked your “connecting the dots” link, Poolman.

    Hope everyone is having a great mid-summer’s night breeze each evening. It’s HOT on the east coast!!!!!!!

    vgman

  555. Conspiracy theories: if there were any evidence that human beings are capable of formulating and sustaining plans over a period lasting longer than one month, I might believe in them. If there were any evidence that groups of people were capable of keeping secrets and capable of working together for more than two months without turning on each other, I might believe in them.

  556. PFesser53, oh yeah. Scary bunch. Our military is full of them, too. When the fundamentalists began to enter politics in the Reagan years, they dug in real deep. They have infiltrated left and right political arenas. Part of the “seven mountains” theology garbage. And regarding Trig and Track, I have been made familiar with the controversy. I am a frequent visitor to Mudflats, thanks to Greytdog who posted links to AKM early. I listen to Shannyn Moore’s radio show when I have the chance, also.

    No one’s puppet, I think if the elections were above board, you could be right. But then explain how Bush was able to win in 2000 and then again in 2004? I think you should investigate one Michael Louis Connell and learn how elections are really conducted. Palin is the perfect puppet, and has been for sometime. If those in control want her there, trust me, she will be the next POTUS, despite how you or I vote.

  557. Poolman, Sarah Palin probably could win in the Red States, but they don’t have enough electoral votes to gain the Presidency.

  558. Poolman -

    You never cease to surprise. So you know about the Dominionists, huh? Pretty scary bunch of people. If you have studied them, then you know Leah Burton, an acquaintance of mine whose life’s work is to expose them. She’s rarely seen nowadays; she’s writing a book about them.

    My wife and I are personal friends with several of the Alaska bloggers; the real scoop coming out of Wasilla would make you pretty nervous. I am extremely concerned for Levi’s sister, Mercede. The Palins have become IMHO involved in a dance of death with the ReBiblicans, who know the real story about “Trig.” Several of us who were investigating this story before the election were told by a fairly high-up Democratic operative in Florida that everyone in both the Obama and McCain camp knew that her birth story, known colloquially as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” was completely bogus, and whether the Democrats revealed it would depend on how things looked in the election. If you have a good memory, you will remember that McCain basically gave up the last week before the election. My guess is that he was made both aware of his running mate’s shortcomings and the fact that her story was out.

    If the real story is revealed, it will embarrass everyone – the Democrats, the lamestream media (love that term) – and McCain’s career is over, so everyone is keeping mum. In the meantime, Palin – who thinks she has god’s_own_sanction, is going rogue, since everyone is afraid of her.

    Levi is a brainless git; his handlers, Tank and Rex, who I call Pimp and Playa, (Tank used to be a pimp, BTW) have clearly been paid-off. They previously manhandled Mercede and her mother, but now the little girl has shown some real cajones in her blog and is clearly out of their control. I believe she is in great danger. A little coke spread in her car, her clothes, etc, and she goes to jail; her mother for many years. The Palinistas play for keeps; never lose sight of that fact. They are as ruthless as the Clintons, just not as smart.

    Of course, that is my own wild conspiracy theory. I could be wrong. heh heh…

  559. Rae – I loved your story about reading and the library.
    Unfortunately the town I grew up in and the CArnegie Library did’t allow you in the library to check out books until you were nine. So on my 9th birthday a card came in the mail with an application form in it. My Dad came home for lunch and took me to the library on his way back to work. I spent a happy time looking at all the books, fi
    Finally chose one and went home and read it that afternoon. From then on I used my mother’s card so I could check out a bunch and save trips.
    Wasn’t long before I started slithering over into the non fiction section.
    Today I am fortunate in the Board and Care Residence. Someone takes me to the library and lets me carry back numerous books. So between those books ,computer and M&H, and cell phone, I have managed to keep my sanity while a resident here.

  560. *’ opinion*
    Sorry, only one cup of coffee.

    I’ve seen some articles presenting SP as a potential candidate in the 2012 presidential campaign. I didn’t think we were that ignorant or desperate, but I’m beginning to change my mind. I don’t think it impossible for her to get elected anymore. Barack’s popularity has declined so much and many people think changing parties is going to fix things. We are so short-sighted as a race. I still run into people daily that blame Obama for all our woes and feel getting him out will put us back on a good path. My personal belief is that he doesn’t have the power we think he does. I think he means well, but there is an agenda that supercedes his capabilities. At some point you risk being removed, kind of like JFK was. Don’t push the Zionists too hard or you’re gone, IMO.

    That attitude combined with our fraudulent election outcomes, scares me into thinking that SP as president IS a possibility. That said, if it truly comes to fruition, I will reveal some prophecy that I have come across befitting of that scenerio. The dominionists play a big role. Of course, some discredit that sort of stuff.

  561. Good morning, everyone. Just read that Levi and Bristol are getting married. Good for them and despite her parents of him. Of course that will probably help keep a lot of those family secrets from emerging.

  562. I think the Banff and Lake Louise area are some of the most beautiful in the world. Edmonton and Calgary aren’t bad either. A drive around the Canadian Rockies reminds me of the Swiss Alps because they appear so high and snow covered.

    My father unwittingly taught me to read as he read the Sunday funnies to me and my brother. I started reading Life Magazine, US News and World Report and Saturday Evening Post, before I was ten. I didn’t like fiction. I was a sophomore in high school when I entered a library for the first time.

    When I was in kindergarten, our teacher told us to look out the window. She showed us elf tracks in the snow. All of the kids were thrilled that elves would be listening to our classes. I was distraught because all I could see were the splatter marks from water dripping off the roof and hitting the snow. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t see what every one else could see? It bothered me for weeks, as I kept looking for elf tracks.

    I told some girls in second grade that Santa Clause didn’t exist. Two cried and told the teacher. It led to a nice chat with our principal.

    In third grade, I helped some friends sneak into the class room through a window during the noon hour so they could change their grades in the grade book. The fools used a pencil when the teacher had used a pen. It turned out badly.

  563. Hi Congenial Gang and Rae,

    The discussion on ADD/ADHD is very interesting and naturally I have my own opinions on the subject. But since I am not a physician or clinician, I am not really qualified, so I didn’t think I would go there. It was sort of the same as when the Israeli/Palestinian issue came up – again. I learned a very long time ago, I could not solve all the problems of the world single-handedly.

    But the more I thought about it maybe I will wade in tomorrow. Rae, either I will try to bail you out or I will get both of us into deep yogurt. We’ll see. For now, today I made a whole mess of my Tuna Croquettes to freeze and nearly totaled the kitchen before I was through. I’m a little tuckered out tonight.

    Back in the days when I was a starving artist, I decided to make Salmon Croquettes for dinner. Oops! No salmon in the cupboard. My husband was at work with our only car and we were living from paycheck to paycheck. It was too far to push a twin stroller to the store for a can of salmon. But I had a few cans of tuna. OK. Maybe that would work.

    Halfway through making them, another Oops! I only had a smidgen of breadcrumbs or crackers to roll them in. Scrounging around, I found some Graham Crackers. Well, that might work too. Voila! Tuna Croquettes rolled in mashed up Graham Crackers! As we all know, tuna is a little on the bland side. The Graham Crackers gave them just enough sweetness to liven the croquettes up a bit. They turned out to be something of a sensation and I have never made Salmon Croquettes since. Serendipity struck again!!!

    It turned out that a little tradition evolved that whoever’s birthday it is gets the dinner of his choice. One of our sons always requested Tuna Croquettes and my famous potato salad. My husband is sort of ho-hum about birthday cake so he always requested Raisin Pie – from scratch. That’s quite a production too! It’s not worth the effort and mess to make just one so I make 3-4 and freeze ‘em. Have you ever put birthday candles on top a lattice crust Raisin Pie? I created a couple of Culinary Monsters for myself there!

    I don’t really consider myself a great cook except for a few specialties. One of our sons, however, is an amateur gourmet chef. Our DIL loves it! Some of my best recipes come from him. So you can see, with only a couple of weeks left to prepare for CA son and family’s visit, I’ve got some serious cooking and freezing to do!

    BTW, out here if you are looking for “tuna” on a menu or in the market, half the time you would be out of luck if you didn’t know it is “ahi”.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  564. Sorry, all. The shopping in the wilderness story and the crazy reading story are mine. Forgot to log in.

  565. Reading. My mother, a very bored housewife with no interest in or talent for homemaking arts, began to teach me to read when I was three. I began teaching my two-year old sister, but only when we were out of sight of mom. One day sister Mary read “Ajax Cleanser” (sounded it out and pointed at the words) while my mother stood nearby. She screamed, grabbed Mary, and ran next door to the neighbors, who quickly determined that she could add and subtract, too. I had been a busy little teacher.

    As 8 and 9 year-olds we used to jump on a city bus and go to the big downtown library. We would check out the maximum number of books (I think it was 7 each), and bring them home in bags, and then we would devour them. After lights out we would hang out of our beds onto the floor and read by the hall light, or sneak flashlights under the covers. We were caught about once a week and soundly thrashed for our disobedience, but we kept it up.

    I still remember the week I checked out Wuthering Heights and Mary checked out The House of the Seven Gables. We were 10 & 11, I think. Naturally one consequence of all of this is that we became terrible know-it-alls, something appreciated by a few teachers, tolerated by more, and hated by some others. And of course we thought we knew more than we did, because although an 11 year old might be able to read Wuthering Heights, but would she really understand what she was reading? Probably not.

    Oh, and before somebody says “you can’t let your kids go anywhere on a city bus these days,” we really shouldn’t have been riding them by ourselves either, even then. We had all kinds of “adventures” that we shouldn’t have, although I quickly learned that an umbrella is an essential traveling companion and nothing terrible ever happened.

  566. Well, here’s my strangest Banff story. I had backpacked there, as I said earlier, but went back, accompanied my husband to a conference, and stayed in the Chateau Lake Louise. Somewhat different experience. Not that I remember it … how can a hotel stay compete with sleeping under those stars?

    Anyway, we ditched the conference one day and hiked around the lake and on up the mountain, the name of which I can’t recall, opposite the hotel. After quite an arduous climb, we approached the top, and came upon a grocery cart. Before we dragged it back down with us, and boy was that awful, I had my picture taken “shopping in the wilderness.” We made a poster of it and had it on the wall for awhile; I think the ex got it in the divorce, along with the 35mm slide the poster was made from.

  567. Judith – loved your story about learning to read.My dad started reading to me very early,Thornton Burgess and Tales of the Green meadow. I do not remember learning to read,just seemed to know. I do remember getting sent to my seat from the reading circle because I didn’t know the place when it was my turn to read. (I was reading in the back of the book because the rest were too slow.) In later years I sat at the last seat on the row. That way I could read a library book instead of listening to the teacher.
    My kids grew up with books all over the house. They all read everything and so do their children.
    BTW – the grandchild with ADD is the one who went to Senegal his Jr year.

  568. Hi Congenial Gang and Donna on July 12, 2010 at 5:49PM,

    Oh, you are gonna love Banff and Lake Louise! If you have the time, spend a few days in either Calgary and/or Vancouver and Victoria. You will absolutely love the people!!! See if you can get some “Tourtier”, the traditional French Canadian meat pie. Yep, they even have it all the way across Canada.

    The drive up to Jasper is of beautiful scenery but the lil’ ole town is a bit ho-hum. But if you are into lil’ ole Western towns, you will enjoy it.

    I would love to read your report on your trip when you get back.

    Bon Voyage!!!!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  569. Thanks Poolman. I didn’t see your post until now. Thanks for taking the trouble to let me know. I loved the line about hating blue eyes, since my eyes are blue. Our C rations were vintage Korean War, and I loved the peaches. Once a field kitchen served us the best spaghetti and meat balls I ever ate. Since I was in the medical squadron we usually ate what hospital patients ate.

    I was lucky. On a scale from blizzard to sunny day, my experience was more like a snow squall. It wasn’t that my advemtires were so bad, but that I was totally alone during the worst times, and I did things I would be jailed for in normal life. The worst part was it made me feel alive. I hated myself for that. We are all so civilized now in civilian life, but I can’t escape what is under the surface. Listen to Phil Colins’ “In the Air Tonight.”

    “And I’ve been waiting this moment for all my life…Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
    I’ve seen your face before my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am
    Well, I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own eyes
    So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been
    Its all been a pack of lies…
    Well I remember, I remember, don’t worry how could I ever forget”

    The song raised the hear on the back of my head when I first heard it. It was almost as if Phil Collins was beside me that night.

    My choice was to face the past head on without compartmentalizing, drugs or alcohol. I learned to control my dreams. Talking about it to anyone who would listen helped. Forgiveness worked too.

    I still, when I meet people, even on this site guess who would try to kill me if past circumstances repeated and who would not.

    Someone I met in the service said a friend told him a friend knew someone at the Gulf of Tonkin. He said the night was dark, and everyone was nervous. Someone fired, maybe at a shadow,, and others returned shots. The man thought the North Vietnamese who were lurking in the area were not involved. It was all paniced American sailors firing at each other. For some reason, I believed the crazy tale. So, yes, it bothered me. Since then, I have not trusted what politicians say without verification.

    Professor53, your son reminds me of an e friend’s nephew. He has a learning disability and cannot stay focused on many things either.

    He also had an aptitude for computers and though his grades weren’t so good, he entered community college where he is doing well. As you write, one doesn’t have to go to college to create a good career and to earn a lot of money.

    Congratulations to Grandma Katie’s son. His overcoming extra challenges should make him a good teacher.

    “Exciting times we live in people!” Yes, Poolman. Ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

  570. This is a long article, but an interesting read. It does highlight a lot of what we are going through today. Connecting the dots is done at least once monthly by the authors of this site to attempt to tie everything we are experiencing together. Exciting times we live in, people!

  571. This is an interesting read. Rae said at 11:29am July 12th that most CEOs are “notorious wife-beaters”. I don’t know if that is true or not, or how that plays out if a woman is the CEO, but this may also have some bearing on their actions. Psychopaths in charge of the Gulf disaster and cleanup. We have been able to identify them in politicians, but less obvious are the corporate elite.

  572. Grandma Katie -

    That’s great. My son is quite interesting, actually. He has no tolerance for subjects not of interest and cannot remain focused, but he is slain by computer programming, has taught himself, and can sit for more than twelve hours pounding the keyboard. No lack of focus there!

    His grades are too low for college, but he received a job offer at the local Internet service provider right out of high school as a programmer. Amazing. The unemployment here is so high that experienced tradesmen and people with college degrees are going begging for work, but he was hired the day he graduated. I’m certainly grateful for that.

  573. My oldest grandson has Attention deficit and struggled all through grade school. Everything available was tried. Dad spent evenings working withu home w ork. Finally on his entrance to middle school they tried medication. It worked.
    Now he is a young man preparing to be a teacher. He finishes his masters at USC this fall.

  574. Good Morning all and James. James, I posted a link yesterday at 12:34pm and again (double post) at 12:36pm that I thought you might have an interest in. It is regarding the vets from Vietnam. I didn’t know if you checked it out, or not. It is not video, so your dial up should be okay. When I read it, I was thinking about you and the stories I have heard from some others I know that served there – the ones that are still around and can talk about it. Many have tried to disassociate themselves with that place, time, and those memories. I don’t know how successful that is. I know you still struggle with those demons. It is probably more distressing knowing now that the whole Gulf of Tonkin incident was fabricated to get us into war. It seems to be our MO.

  575. The National Weather Service uses observers like me to determine “ground truth.” Rae wrote, “show me the facts…” which applies to the National Weather service. a teacher who assigns a term paper or the head of a research project.

    A conservative blogger offered a large reward for any video or audio proof of Tea Party racism, and so far there are no takers. Lori essentially called the movement racist without proof. Of course it has a few outliers as all loosely organized groups do, but if she and others smear a group of people for the views of a few, what must she think of the Democratic party and organizations like the NAACP?

    According to blogger Sistertoldja, former DNC finance chair, Michael Brown said on the Hannity show that the New Black Panthers who intimidated voters in 2008 were “just trying to protect black voters.”

    We have heard the New Black Panther representative who advocated killing “cracker babies”. Why didn’t the NAACP offer a resolution condemning such racist speech? Why haven’t they condemned racist statements by Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, some of their own leaders, and overtly racist white supremacy groups?

    This is about power, not race. Read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” The Tea Party represents a threat. White racist organizations do not, and Democratic race baiters are allies, so the natural course is to marginalize and defame what is dangerous. Calling them names is part of the marginalization process.

    My wife has been teaching high school for many years, and she has sometimes had to resort to creative ways to get students with emotional and mental problems into the graduation ceremonies. She was at school this spring for as long as twelve hours a day helping a student with ADHD finish a term paper to pass English and graduate. I don’t know if the girl was on medication.

    My wife gave the girl a graduation present at her graduation party, but the family gave my wife one out of gratitude.

    Rae may be onto something with her musings. PBS had a documentary and discussion with people suffering from mental disorders controlled by drugs. The psychiatrists said research has shown that counseling with or without drugs causes physical changes to the brain.

    Other studies suggest video games and similar distractions are shortening attention spans in some young people.

    I think Glenn Beck has ADHD. An e- friend we have met in California also has ADHD. He is intelligent and a good artist, but when we visited, bright shiny objects distracted him. A sea gull flew by, he stopped to look and forgot what he was talking about.

    Ken Burns documentary on baseball mentioned a talented pitcher who won a lot of games around 1900. Opposing teams planted people in the audience. They held up puppies and other things to make the pitcher lose his concentration.

    I agree with Alaskapi. One of our nephews also has a severe learning disability. His school and parents failed him. He never graduated and felt like a failure. Now, he owns his own business and is married with two small children. He did it without the help of his parents or school.

  576. Pfessor-
    I said “most”…
    My ma was one of the earliest special ed teachers. I met kids like yours .
    However, I have watched teachers bully parents into believing normal kinetic personalities are ill and my DIL deals with hundreds of parents and kids who have been pushed towards evaluation and most are fine.
    What is wrong about ALL of it is that kids who are ADD/ADHD far too often don’t get the help they need unless their parents have the will to endlessly advocate for them while way too many kids who just need strategies to cope with learning end up on meds…
    I have what is considered a severe learning disability- having folks who saw it early and helped devise strategies to offset it means I never suffered for it…
    I wish that for all children.
    Your son is lucky…

  577. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Damn! I was all set to ‘do’ Amish Country and then go make Tuna Croquettes tomorrow to freeze for our CA son and family coming out. But then y’all got going on ADD/ADHD, etc.

    Well, anyway, our youngest son has lived out in Amish Country in PA for some 20 years.
    Their little buggies go clippity-clopping down the streets all the time, but they are careful to stay well to the right and assiduously obey the traffic laws. The cars take care to go around them and not too fast, so there is peaceful co-existence all around.

    Of course, it is farming country for both the Amish and the Mennonites, German immigrants from way back. Their farming methods are incredible!!! As I understand it, they have never liked and eschew mechanized equipment or modern fertilizers and pesticides that are screwing up our global environment. Yet, their produce and meat products are amazing.

    There is an enormous super-super-supermarket called “Shady Maple” where everybody shops for everything, including toilet paper, Tylenol and Heinz Catsup.

    Adjacent to the supermarket is an equally huge buffet restaurant with an array of food you would not believe, all reasonably priced. One of their specialties in the bakery section is their famous ‘Shoo-fly Pie’! You help yourself and sit at one of the long family style tables. We have enjoyed many a meal seated and chatting with Amish/Mennonite patrons. They were invariably cheerful and just as interested in us as we were in them as we dined.

    The employees as well as many of the customers are Amish/Mennonite. They are easily distinguished from each other. The Amish women wear darling little white lace or net caps tied with a ribbon under the chin, and print cotton longish dresses, obviously cut from the same pattern, (not ‘Vogue’!) And oh, yes, sensible black shoes. The Amish men have beards, black hats, (which they remove indoors), white shirts, black pants and black suspenders.

    The Mennonite women wear the little white caps but what we would consider regular feminine attair, although I don’t remember seeing any long pants. Obviously, no shorts. The Mennonite men with them are dressed indistinguishably from any other so-called ‘American Men’.

    Now, I don’t see much difference than seeing a woman in a habit that denotes she is a nun, or a man wearing a white collar that denotes a clergyman. Or people who wear a crucifix around their necks to signify that they are Christian.

    Anymore than Muslim women around the Mediterranean in floor length burkas, chadors and full-face veils or other women with merely different colored headscarves and otherwise ‘Western’ dress. Occasionally we saw a few Muslim men wearing long white robes and the traditional ‘Keffiyah’ and ‘Agal’ head coverings.

    How about Orthodox Jewish men with their beards and Black hats? Indian men with their Turbans or women with their Saris? All these modes of dress are nothing more than expressions of their religious beliefs and customs whose specific meanings are lost in the mists of time.

    BTW, what do grouchy, hyper-critical and egotistical old self-proclaimed Athiest wear to blend in with the crowd? I’ve seen pictures of Richard Dawkins and read his books. He seems like a reasonably tolerant and pleasant fellow.

    Meanwhile, back in Amish country. The people are not adverse toward ‘exploiting’ their religion and culture for the benefit of the curious. We have visited both Amish and Mennonite well- established centers where local docents have lectured and demonstrated at length on their lifestyle. (The Mormons do the same thing in Salt Lake City. How about the California Missions all up and down the West coast? Every city in the U. S. has tours of one kind or another of its historical sites.)

    Generally, the Amish/Mennonites have a delicate or sometimes indelicate sense of humor and are able to poke fun at themselves – not at others. There are also a number of very large permanent ‘tourist traps’ with an array of homemade crafts and quite lovely items. We have several refrigerator magnets, one of which could be considered quite naughty. Also there was a hand made plaque with a little black buggy logo, suitable for hanging on the wall. It said:

    “Clop, clop, clop, bang! clop clop clop!
    An Amish drive by shooting!”

    On one of our visits, we got a welcome mat for the front door that says:

    “We love our vacuum.
    We have found God.
    We gave at the office.”
    Thanks.”

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  578. I missed a lot of this discussion about ADHD, but I have a little to throw in, for what little it’s worth.

    Twenty-one years ago, my little 18-month old daughter was quite sick with a high fever. The pediatrician prescribed Amoxicillin that day. I gave her the first dose, and my previously feverishly lethargic daughter began racing from one side of her bedroom to the other, repeatedly hurling herself from one wall to the other, for at least 10 minutes. I couldn’t get her to stop; I called my husband in to watch. We were stunned at her hyperactivity and dedication to running laps back and forth across her room. That was our first slap upside the head with hyperactivity in our daughter, brought on by the red food coloring in the Amoxicillin. The next day the doctor argued with me that it wasn’t the medicine, even though I told him it was the only new thing introduced to her, and, afterwards, within minutes, she reacted just that badly to it. I needed him to prescribe a different medicine that contained no food coloring, or, at least, no red. He grumbled and prescribed erythromycin, a white antibiotic, and my little girl was just sick with fever, fighting her illness once again, but getting better without any more mad racing about.

    Within a short time, we began to notice that yellow food dye also set her off. If she ate a little bowl of Borden’s vanilla ice cream near bedtime, with its yellow #5 coloring, her sleep was disturbed all night, and she was cranky, too. But if she ate Bluebell vanilla ice cream, without the artificial yellow coloring in it, she was a happy little girl who slept well.

    Through her years, we saw the direct results of diet in her life. We used the Feingold diet to help steer her down less troubled paths. Dr. Ben Feingold was a pediatric allergist who first connected the problems of his patients with foods, chemicals added to foods, and related issues.

    “As he worked with patients he suspected of being sensitive to aspirin, he began to notice that they also reacted to some foods and food additives. He found, to his surprise, that not only did some people have physical reactions, but many experienced changes in their behavior.

    “Although it is well-known that things like alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and chemicals like drugs can affect behavior, most people don’t consider that chemicals added to foods may do the same.” http://www.feingold.org/faq.php

    I know the Feingold Association of the United States is run by honorable and trustworthy parents themselves who try today, as they have for decades, to reach other parents who are at their wits’ end with the problems of their unmanageable children.

    We survived our daughter’s childhood by following Feingold guidelines of dietary management, and we have always found their message to be on-target and wonderfully helpful. If you’d like more information about them, their web site is at http://www.feingold.org/

  579. alaskapi -

    I pooh-poohed ADHD and considered it “inconvenient behavior” for years – until I had a kid with it. From about three years of age, my son had terrific difficulty. If I wanted to know where he was, I just opened the door and I could instantly locate him in the neighborhood by his nearly continuous yelling at the top of his voice. In grade school he could not come close to passing any class without my constant tutelage every night. It got so bad that I couldn’t do more than two spelling words at a time, because with three he would forget how to spell the first one. I was in denial for a long time and lost precious months. Finally I had an observer go into his fourth grade class, because the teacher was worthless and I didn’t know who was at fault – she or my son.

    In her report the observer said that the amazing thing was not that he had ADHD; it was that the other kids got anything done at all, he was so disruptive.

    Reluctantly we gave him Adderall. It was like a block of stone opened up and my son walked out. But just like they say, it made him more manageable in the classroom, but it didn’t really help his grades much. We tried many different meds, some really bad, some less bad. All bad. We took him off it in the summers; we sent him for a month’s hiking in the Cascades; we did everything we could think of. He went to Sylvan in the summertime.

    He has graduated from high school and has a job as a computer technician – something at which he excels. He takes no drugs and seems to have somewhat outgrown it, but his education level is not good. We are grateful for that little bit of good news, but we still don’t know what happened and if we in all our trials-and-errors did the right thing.

    So I can tell you – it’s real. And I would pay a year’s salary to know what causes it and how to do something about it.

  580. I’m missing you Helen and Margaret. I hope all is well with you and yours.

  581. Rae- Many fine teachers and mental health professionals think most of what is called ADD/ADHD is what you say here:
    “ADHD, in my humble opinion, is a medical name we’ve given to natural behavior we find inconvenient.”
    I’d be interested to hear what others here who have been or are in the teaching profession think…
    There are compelling arguments that children have different learning styles and that most kids do well if some effort is made to adjust for that. The best teachers manage this easily…

    Having lived a life without TV and raised a child without one I have no idea about the whole argument there but would caution seeing it as the be-all and end-all of bad guys…

    What we now call autism was lumped together with all things we called “retarded” until relatively recently.
    Many of those kids were institutionalized in the bad old days …

  582. Recent comments made me think of this info I read some time ago regarding ADHD. Here’s another use for that medicinal plant we label illegal and criminal in our advanced state of knowledge. I am certain there are natural remedies for just about every ailment or symptom we can come up with. Doesn’t allow the drug companies to profit as much. Too bad. I’m so sorry. NOT!

  583. Sorry, no one’s puppet — guess you’re the one who got me in trouble with ADHD.

    And for whoever brought it up, I too wonder whether our epidemic of autism spectrum disorder, as well as ADHD, don’t have something to do with sitting immobile for hours in front of a television.

    I wonder whether overloading the brain with information of one modality — visual — and depriving it of information of another modality — kinetic — doesn’t cause some problems. Not that I have done any research on this; I haven’t. Just musing …

  584. Oh, Chris, now you are really going to get me in trouble. ADHD.

    Of course no one had that diagnosis when I was a kid, because it hadn’t been invented yet. However, the “medicalization of deviance” was well underway by that time, and it’s only natural that “undesirable” behavior by children should come to be described in medical terms, and that medical personnel should become the enforcers of societal norms.

    If our aim is to ensure that 25 or 30 kids can sit at their desks quietly for hours at a time, preparing them as my daughter says, for life in cubicle land, then we need to medicate a whole lot of them. Because, of course, that kind of behavior is in no way “natural.” Is it the only way children can learn? No, in fact they’re much better at learning by crashing through the woods and wading in the pond, poking around in the ant hill, climbing a tree to inspect the top of the roof. It’s not about what is best for the children, it’s about a bureaucracy that needs to operate EFFICIENTLY.

    I don’t think kids have changed much since I was a kid. We did all walk to school, and ran around on the playground for 30 minutes or so before we went in, then again for another 30 minutes of recess. We played outside in the snow, too. They turned us loose in the gym on rainy days. I’m not sure what we’d have been like if we’d been driven to school, dropped off a couple of minutes before the bell, and expected to sit down immediately. I doubt we’d have behaved any better than kids do today.

    ADHD, in my humble opinion, is a medical name we’ve given to natural behavior we find inconvenient. When I was a kid, if Tommy grabbed the ball away from another kid and went running across the playground, the teacher said, “Tommy, bring that ball back,” not “Tommy, did you take your medication?”

    IMHO

    (Just to head off the straw man attacks — yes, of course I know that there are severely brain damaged children who have an inability to attend to just about anything, and whose whirling and spinning and other activities never stop. Not what I’m talking about.)

  585. Dr of Pediatric Psychology DIL thinks ADD/ADHD is way over diagnosed and that most kids she works with do quite well with no meds, lots of help with strategies to fit in just well enough to get by and lots of love until they are mature enough to pick up their own lives.

  586. I barely survived a one-size-fits-all educational system, and that was a long time ago. It’s only gotten worse. Much, much worse.

    My mother was the bane of our local primary school, since she taught us all to read as soon as we said we wanted to learn. She was informed as soon as my older sister (first child) hit kindergarten that this was The Teacher’s Job and her efforts were not at all appreciated. In fact, she was to cease and desist. (She didn’t). I was never formally taught even by my mother – apparently I learned while my sister was learning, by looking over her shoulder.

    I was definitely one of those kids running around the classroom uncontrollably. Got me yanked out of the class, tested, and moved up a class mid-year. I don’t remember being informed of this decision. I just was taken out of one classroom, introduced to another one and placed in a seat. Spent the rest of the day wondering what the hell just happened and became an instant social pariah. Yippee.

    We did have books everywhere, and not much TV. I could speed read & read everything I could get my hands on. Our local librarian dedicated herself to keeping me out of the adult section and tried to pen me up with the kiddy books. Curious George, when I was devouring Last of the Mohicans Girl of the Limberlost and Andre Norton. She eventually tried a compromise when I got to nine or ten and wanted to steer me to the young adult section. Icky, sticky girlish romances. Apparently these were preferable to chancing I might get my hands on Peyton Place. I knew every back route to the real books, including some she didn’t know. She never had a chance.

    In junior high, we were supposed to read Great Expectations and class time was set aside for this; sometimes almost a whole period. The teacher noticed right away I wasn’t doing what everybody else was, and called me forward. I explained I’d already read it. She gave me a detailed verbal exam, had to accept that I was telling the truth, and started listing off more Dickens – finally, it was determined that I hadn’t read Old Curiosity Shop yet, and I was sent down to the library to get it. Two days later, we repeated the ritual. This time, I had to write a paper on the book, and was then assigned another. We did this three times in all, before I finally started just propping the current book in front of me and daydreaming for an hour, which the teacher was careful not to notice. I was very aware she was coming to loathe the sight of me. I was a lot of extra work in an already overloaded schedule.

    I had some good teachers, but overall, I was not lucky in that regard. That doesn’t mean they didn’t exist, but a system – any system – is not set up to handle weirdly-shaped pegs. The more regimented it is, the worse it will be. Corporal punishment to beat me into manageability? With my personality, I would have been neither manageable nor educated at the end of it. If it had worked, I still wouldn’t have been educated – just manageable. Maybe that’s what the conservatives are aiming for – I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Incidentally, my older sister was told in later life that she was an adult ADHD and needed to go on the drugs right away. She declined.

  587. Juneau Joe-
    Downtown…
    and I think Zephyr is new since you went walkabout… next to Silverbow.

    Donna- glad you DID make it here…
    Wildflowers are stunning right now.
    paintbrush,chocolate lily, lupine, roseroot, wooly lousewort, sitka valerian, wild colombine, avens, violets, ground dogwood, narcissus anemone, wild geranium…so many more…
    heaven…

  588. Banff is our next trip, Auntie Jean!!

  589. Hi Congenial Gang, Donna and Juneau Joe,

    I just have to jump in on Mendenhall Glacier. We took a helicopter and landed right on it. Awesome!!!

    Also we have been to Banff – twice. Would go again in a heartbeat if we could hobble on to an airplane and fly away again.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  590. Hi Congenial Gang and Rae,

    Isn’t it delicious to wiggle your newly emancipated toes in your bejeweled sandals?

    I appreciate you, and jsri too, for doing our homework for us on the current concesus of expert thinking regarding hot button issues.

    God willin’ and the crik don’t rise, I will have a few thousand words to say this evening about Amish/Mennonite country in PA. They are not nearly as insulated as popular outside opinion might think. Many of them are almost mainstream.

    Our youngest son and his family live among them.
    They know many people but not intimately enough to ask them whether they spank their children or not, as well as child rearing practices in general.

    Over the past 20 years, we have visited them often but not in the past 4 years. I seriously doubt if much has changed radically since then. The Amish/Memonite acres and acres of farms were lush and immaculate. A weed wouldn’t have a prayer there!

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  591. Dang double post! I will say once you hit “submit” it does go, even if you hit “stop” or if it doesn’t show right away. Sorry about that.

    Regarding the ADD and ADHD, studies are being done all the time, and there have been links to diet primarily. Nothing is conclusive, though. Some say that wheat gluten has a bearing on it. Some say high fructose corn syrup exacerbates it. Some say the processed foods, or our use of fertilizers and insecticides. Some indicate the radiation we are constantly being bombarded with that has proven disruptive may have contributing factors. Others have suggested some of the vaccines we require have an impact. I have even seen some studies that claim the chemicals we are exposed to regularly in today’s consumer marketplace play a role.

    Sometimes the medication is worse than the disorder. The drug manufacturers are happy to provide medications for profit. The more, the merrier. The further we get from nature, the more we will see these abnormalities, IMHO.

  592. “but does anyone here of a certain age, maybe over sixty, remember children with ADD or ADHD from our own childhoods”

    IMHO

    They were the kids that ran with scissors. They were the kids that always had to sit next to the teacher’s desk.

    They were the kids that had few friends because they were impulsive. The boys tended to grab toys out of the hands of other kids.

    The girls tended to daydream most of the time.

    Usually teachers knew what to do to keep them focused.

  593. Juneau Joe and no one’s puppet -

    Know what the rate of ADHD is in Amish kids?

    Unheard of.

    I had and ADHD kid. He just graduated from high school and I held my breath for twelve years. My wife lived with the Amish for a while when she was in college and believes it is entirely situational. I am intrigued by that take on things, since the brain has been shown to be very “plastic,” which is to say it can change structurally in response to environmental factors – for example if you cover kittens’ eyes for six weeks after birth they will be irrecoverably blind. I still remember my kids watching “PowerPuff Girls,” in which the screen flashes from scene to scene about every four seconds. It’s vertigo-inducing. I gave them access to “educational” videogames very early on; both of them to some extent became addicted, to the point I had to take the computers literally out of the house. I always wonder what would have happened if I had raised them without computers or TV…

    Thoughts?

    Jim

  594. jsri -

    Great post about your wife. I talked to one of my grade school teachers many years ago and she told me that when she was right out of teacher’s college she applied at my little grade school. Mr. Barrett, the principal, took her for a little walk around the playground and told her to not worry; he and the more experienced teachers would help her get started. She related that they did exactly that – something she credited with a lifetime of accomplishment. I can vouch for her success.

    When I say the system is rotten to the core, I mean exactly that. The SYSTEM. I don’t think today’s teachers are on average less smart, but they are surely less well-trained.

    I was later on the school board in my old county, and some of my teachers were still teaching! All of them were despondent. They spent so much of their time on process; the concept of wasting time producing a lesson plan to teach second graders *anything* just blew my mind. When they went home, their day was about 2/3 over. Nuts. Just nuts. They didn’t make much money but they never had; that complaint took second place to a general feeling of helplessness.

    The superintendent and I used to drink a little liquor and play bluegrass; he told me that he got an inch-thick report of Federal and State compliance requirements every thirty days; this on top of those he got LAST month and the month before. They have a whole department dedicated to “compliance.” Kids learn by time-on-task, not process. Good teachers won’t stay in that kind of environment.

    The best example was the number of employees. Being on the Board, I had access to the data. In 1960, when I was in grade school, that county Board had: Superintendent, Assistant Super, Truant Officer, Secretary for a county of 2500 students. That’s it. When I was on the Board, there were over 100 employees in the Central Office, and due to population loss it now had 1500 students total. I’m not making these numbers up; as a board member I had access to anything I wanted.

    It ain’t working. Everybody is miserable. Parents are angry, teachers completely demoralized; each blames the other. This has to stop.

  595. nope–hiked in on the tougher of the trails. And absolutely loved it. And yes on the caves!

  596. Never been there but I will certainly try it out.

    Isn’t Mendenhall great! Did you take a helicopter?

    Did you check out the ice caves?

  597. JJ: Downtown, on Seward. If you are going to treat yourself to a really great dinner, this is absolutely the place. We went there after hiking to/on the Mendenhall–it was as perfect a day as you can have.

  598. ADD ADHD: I think chemicals in our environment play a large part as well. Along with that, the way you have to keep a constant eye on your kids gives them little/no time to act like stupid kids. When I was a little guy, I was all over town, without a worry.
    Today – I would not let my grandkids live the life I lived – too dangerous.

    Chemicals in the atmosphere and another thing – food! McDonald’s and instant foods are not nearly the kind of meals which the body should be getting nutrition from. TV and video games also play into the ADD ADHD.

  599. I’m probably crazy to step into the child rearing/education issue again, but does anyone here of a certain age, maybe over sixty, remember children with ADD or ADHD from our own childhoods, I sure don’t. I can’t help but think overexposure to television contributes to school issues. And for that matter, how can we say a child has an attention disorder, if they are capable of watching hours of television without even flinching?

  600. Rae ,
    I made a trek to that Banff glacier..not 6 weeks worth..
    But this was in 1990.
    Is it gone now?

  601. Donna, Zephyr? Where was it located? Waterfront, downtown juneau or the mall area?

    Rae: Glaciers: They are retreating in AK too – significantly. There is still a major Glacier behind Juneau that is 160 miles long but it is shrinking.
    PermaFrost along the Yukon River has been melting for 20+ years. I got to hang around Mendenhall Glacier for a year and looking forward to spending another year or two checking it out again.

  602. PFesser –

    I repeat: show me facts, and I will listen. Tell me a story about your children, and it won’t make much of a difference, because we all have stories about our children.

    I will listen to other points of view; I just value facts over opinion. A great logical or philosophical argument is compelling as well, so feel free to make a case along those lines.

    Yes, I know the Qur’an and the Bible both encourage physical discipline of wives and children. I don’t consider either of those books to be an authority on the subject, sorry.

    Finally, anyone who doesn’t care about this issue is a puzzle to me. It isn’t just about the effect on a child; it’s about the effect on a society. Like Poolman, I am concerned about our society, its values, its level of violence. Is anyone really arguing that societal violence is the result of insufficient use of corporal punishment? Maybe we could tell that to the Scandinavians, who are able to leave their children in strollers on the sidewalk while they shop in the store.

  603. Juneau Joe, I am so envious! I backpacked for 6 weeks one time in Glacier/Banff and it was magnificent. The glaciers are mostly gone, though. Hard to imagine in my own lifetime. At least Alaska still has them.

  604. Juneau Joe: Have you been to Zephyr restaurant? Absolutely wonderful food.

  605. JeanΔ ¥ on July 11, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Sorry about that. I get carried away when I start writing about my wife but I really get annoyed when someone trashes all educators as incompetent fools or worse. She was anything but. It has been my experience that those who yell the loudest are often short on self reflection and would be more accurate in their fault finding if they spent more time looking into a mirror for culprits.

    And I have great respect for someone like Vgman who deals with a classroom full of pre-pubescent adolescents on a daily basis. I can’t think of a more exhausting situation other than teaching in one of today’s middle schools.

    I spent almost half of my academic career in positions where I evaluated programs and instruction and, as in any career field, found that delivery ranged from outstanding to indifferent. The worst was in a unionized state college where any negative reviews, no matter how slight, were challenged and ended up in mediation. The time wasted in such hearings was outrageous and valuations eventually became as insipid as eyewash. On the other hand, I was also involved with a private college that had no union and faculty members were so poorly paid they qualified for food stamps. Tenure there was not a problem. No one stayed long enough to qualify and most eventually found desirable positions elsewhere. I called it Steppingstone U.

    I’ll reserve comment on the discipline issue. I was never a spanker or a spankee so I only know what research has suggested, that it may be a bad idea.

  606. Rae et al -

    I’m sorry I brought this topic up; it is guaranteed to cause strife to no purpose and is clearly doing it here.

    Rae, clearly this is a topic very important to you – maybe too important. There are other points of view, and I would feel more comfortable with *your* pov if you were more willing to consider that of *others*. Clearly the kids in America aren’t making it, and a very frustrated population of parents is trying to figure out why. I don’t think we can solve the problem here; IMHO the problem is one of more variables than equations – spanking is one variable of many, and who know how big a role it plays. I will say this: a visit of a week or two to an Amish community is pretty eye-opening. They spank their kids when needed and consider it a sad but necessary duty – and a parent weak and neglectful who does not do it. In my former life as an amateur farmer I have dealt with them regularly and have never found more polite, well-adjusted, happy – and yes, disciplined children anywhere. Maybe that’s not why, but it certainly happens as needed and none of them seems the worse for wear.

    BTW – I’m glad that in your world facts trump bullshit. Realize, however that you’re not special in that way – but the problem is that everybody is sure that *their* opinions constitute the “facts” and everybody else’s constitute the “bullshit.” I think most of the people here are honest and well-motivated, and most have children, so I wouldn’t characterize their opinions as “bullshit.”

  607. Even if we raise our youth as close to perfect as we can in our finite capacity, we still are putting them into a society that doesn’t learn from our past and has continued to sacrifice that same youth for the benefit of a few. These experiences do plenty to undermine any good we are striving to impart to our future generations.

  608. And even if we raise our youth as close to perfect as we can in our finite capacity, we still are putting them into a society that doesn’t learn from our past and has continued to sacrifice that same youth for the benefit of a few. These experiences do plenty to undermine any good we are striving to impart to the future of humanity

  609. Grandma Katie: Happy Birthday!!

    No village this time. I will be in Juneau. I want to hike into the Glaciers and kayak out to the Glacier too. It takes more of a person than I to be in a village. The people of the AK villages are amazing people but I am a city boy who got to hang out in the village for 6 months.

    We have a Costco, Safeway and Fred Meyer in Juneau – regular city stuff.

    Alaska Pi – you work downtown or out by Costco?
    I will look you up.

  610. Rae, I have no desire to debate you on proper punishment techniques for kids, nor do I care how “up” on the data you are. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. As parents we each have our own responsibility to raise our own children. Mine turned out great. No one’s puppet’s turned out great. She didn’t spank. I did. I don’t need government intervention or so called “experts” telling me how to raise my kids. I’ll consider their ideas, but for me, show me the results. With all our intellect and experts and surveys and books and studies and opinions and modern means of disseminating information, you would think we would be getting MUCH better results. I’ll let you do your own research as to how much better statisically you think we are doing raising our youth today and enabling them to succeed and function in society compared to a time when we weren’t so enlightened.

    I also have also experienced different parenting techniques over my lifetime. As a waiter in college there were always the well-behaved kids that came out in public with their parents and then the opposite – the uncontrollable brats that mom and dad were trying to bribe into obedience or just totally ignored.

    I see that in our society today. I have observed that the best behaved and the most self-confident kids come from homes where the parents or a single parent is engaged and interested in their activities and development, regardless of the form of discipline administered. I know some are physically abused. This is NOT the same as spanking. I also think there is considerably more damage done by non-physical abuses, sexual predators, or simply absent caregivers. Sexual abuse doesn’t have to be physical, either. No data cited – merely an observation in my 53 years of life experience.

  611. Lori and Jean,

    You will be amused to hear that I accidentally left my tennis shoes in my hotel room a few days ago, so I am now sitting here in my bejeweled sandals. I suppose I will have to replace them eventually, but for now, no shorts with tennis shoes.

    The nights under the stars were fabulous! I am renewed.

  612. jsri,

    Your wife sounds like a fabulous teacher. I ran into a few of those along the way — they really take your breath away.

    A tidbit about mainstreaming: I talked a bit about the Harlem Promise Neighborhood Project a few days ago. Remember that I said the goal was “100% of the students perform at or above grade level”? Well, early on the administration had to grapple with the “Special Ed” question. In that neighborhood, a very large (and growing) percentage of children were “Special Ed.” Do we exclude these kids from our goal or not? What are the implications? Doesn’t the system incent parents and schools to classify more and more kids as “Special Ed,” parents to obtain additional free services for their kids, schools to improve their numbers? Yes, the “disability” movement is another of our dirty little secrets — the benefits associated with a disability diagnosis encourage people to seek disability status. Is everyone in the future going to be disabled? Anyway, that’s a different subject.

    The Harlem project decided to include ALL of the kids in their goal. Yes, even the “Special Ed” kids are expected to meet state standards. Canada argued that “Special Ed,” just meant special needs, and special educational approaches, but that the goal should remain the same. Clearly, the Project has funding sufficient to make that approach workable, another long subject for discussion. Last I heard, however, the project was succeeding — all kids, not just the few left without a diagnosis.

    (If anyone has more current info, fill us in)

  613. jsri,

    Good article. Not sure we’re at cross-purposes here (and everywhere in the world of humankind), but we certainly argue from facts without changing minds.

    I’m aware of that, which is why I say “facts trump bullshit in my world.” Yes, people are persuaded in a very different way. Thus the success of advertising in driving people to accumulate crap they can never use, to the point of bankruptcy. It’s not hard to get people to act in opposition to their own self-interest, as others have pointed out in our tea party discussions.

    I’m just unwilling to punctuate my arguments with nubile, half-dressed, 16-year-olds, lounging over the hoods of hot cars or QVC-type appeals to desperate women unable to face the truth of their inability to measure up to the standard set by the car-hood babes.

    It’s not hard to convince people if you’re willing to lie. Whole populations have been convinced to exterminate minorities with whom they’ve lived in relative peace and harmony for centuries. How do you bend the minds of that many people? Well, not with the facts, that’s for sure.

    Want to convince me of something? It’s easy, really. Just the facts.

  614. Poolman, you just have to understand science here. “My child was spanked and is a fine upstanding citizen” is absolutely irrelevant. That’s because we have no control — we don’t know what your child would or could have been had he or she NOT been spanked. (Same goes for my fine upstanding citizens, who haven’t been spanked.) That’s why anecdotal evidence is considered suggestive, perhaps, and reason to do research, but is not considered to add anything to the body of scientific knowledge in and of itself.

    Furthermore, yes, there is some limited evidence that corporal punishment promotes short-term compliance. Occasional studies show beneficial effects, but because a sample is just a sample, scientists insist upon replication, in order to rule out with reasonable confidence, sampling error. Show me not one study, but a meta-study, a review of a number of studies published in peer-reviewed journals, supporting your theories. Then I will believe you. Sorry, but my evidence is just a whole lot bigger than your evidence.

    You also make a mistake in comparing this issue to abortion. People have strong feelings about abortion, but here the similarity ends. In abortion, the differences are not related to questions of FACT. The questions in abortion relate to the weight one gives to the different interests involved — mother’s freedom to make decisions regarding her own health and body, the rights a fetus might have to life, the wisdom of using public funding for a procedure about which there are moral disagreements, etc. Factual questions — is prohibition likely to reduce the prevalence of abortion, for example — are not the basis for the disagreement.

    Feel free to argue that you like spanking, and that you’re going to keep doing it because you think parents’ rights to make decisions are more important than the welfare of the child. But if you are going to argue that it “works,” in any way other than that you get immediate compliance, you are going to have a hard time defending it.

    CEOs were spanked? Yep. They’re also notorious wife-beaters. Your point?

  615. Alaski Pi and Juneau Joe- so glad to see you back! and Juneau Joe – will you be going back to the same village?

  616. Matthew – please can you give us an undate on your Aunt Helen? We are getting quite concerned.

    More for the punishment saga.
    My 2nd son was an imp. he delighted in tormenting me.He was 3 or 4 and busy one evening tormenting his baby sister. I was reaching into a closet to get a yard stick to punsh him when he swerved out of my reach and ran unto a dor, followed by a trip to the Dr’s office and three stitches to hi forhead. A couple of years later he was getting ready for school.As \I was oon the phone he began tormet=nting me again and tripped over a rug. Anopther trip to ‘Dr and foot in a cast with three broken bones. As he sat on the X-ray table, he looked across to the room where hue had his head stitched and said “I shouldn’t have yelledlike that. should I>”

    He did enough things for the rest of his siblings.
    Fortunately they didn’t do the devilry he didor I might have become a babbyling idiot.

    I donot remember punishing any of t hem. I could take them shopping and theynever touched things or asked to buy.
    Today they have well behaved kids. and all well disciplined, and o nice to be around.

  617. Hi everyone!

    Just hopped on the porch for some pie. Anyone heard anything from M&H? It’s been a long time since their last post.

    Coffee and tea for everyone!

  618. I am looking forward to being back. Two years and then back to the lower 48 is the current plan.

  619. JuneauJoe-
    Berries will be ready to pick and fish will be running when you get home…
    and no whatzername in our beautiful Governor’s Mansion!
    We’ll have to have a party!

  620. lori – great article! Thanks

    Alaskapi – I will be in Juneau August 12 and beyond

    juneauJoe

  621. I concur alaskapi! (7-11-10 9:05pm) It was very good….I see this very dynamic at work in my own family much to my horror.

    No matter how gently I can show proof of an error, both my Mom and baby brother believe, they become more entrenched and frantic in defending their position. It just DOESN”T MATTER that what they believe they’ve been told is wrong.

    I don’t try anymore….I love them dearly and dislike strongly the strife that occurs whenever anything political creeps into conversations. I just refuse to pick up that particular asp and give it the succor of my breast!

    Needless to say there’s not much really deep conversing happening when we see one another. But we don’t seem to have alot in common any longer. All my Mom watches is Fox whenever she has the boob tube on, and my poor brother eats sleeps and breaths Rush.

    I confess I did listen to Rush once upon a time, but after about 6 months of chewing on his stew, I made a decision to not go to that particular well ever again for my thirst. That was back in ’92.

    As for Fox……….I’ve never watched (other than clips I see online). I just didn’t figure it had any nutritional value judging from the crap shows, and titillating reality fare Murdock et al were shoveling into America’s waiting maw. Used to have big disagreements with my girls back when they were at home about the crap Fox broadcast. Didn’t want it coming into my home. Read a Book for Heavens sake!!!!!!

    I’m more of a PBS, Discovery type gal. And I like classic movies when I get to watch! Mainly, I prefer listening to music! Rapsody on a Theme of Paganini is one of my more favorite Rachmaninoff movements Auntie Jean!! I remember going to sleep to Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18 when I was in the 5th grade and we lived with my Uncle who was a concert pianist.

    He had the pleasure of having accompanied the late great Joan Sutherland many times, and of playing a command performance at the White House for Gerald Ford! This Uncle of mine is now retired and living down in Oro Valley, just a little north of Tucson nestled right at the feet of the Santa Catalinas. I love to go visit! He plays organ for a small congregation around the corner from his home and works with adult students of the piano out of his home also.

    I have to balance the Rachmaninoff tho’….I still enjoy listening to the mighty Zepplin from time to time and enjoy having alot of Plant’s subsequent work too. My favorite there is Fate of Nations, with the last cut on the disk being the most powerful imo…..”Network News”. Hubby and I did our darndest to find video of Plant preforming that song to no avail! Even tho’ that disk was put out in response to the first Gulf War, I believe it is still pertinent to the current times we find ourselves in.

    I must say good night to all. My Mondays start around 5:30am and it’s coming fast! May everyone have a restful blessed sleep! You know the kind…where you wake up with a song in your heart deeply refreshed!! :smile:

  622. jsri-
    excellent article!

  623. Hi Congenial Gang and jsri,

    Your beautiful tribute to your WW (Wonder Wife) brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. You and she are a remarkable couple.

    Your WW reminded me lovingly of my own mother although their upbringing was very different. Born in 1898, in rural Louisiana, she was the 10th in a family of 12 children. During the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, she had it and survived! Two of her siblings died.

    She attended Louisiana State Normal College, (now LSU.) Few women even went to school at all in those days, let alone college. Later she took educational courses at the Univ. of Chicago.

    She became the proverbial ‘School Marm’ in a one room schoolhouse with every grade imaginable. Her sweetheart was killed in Europe in WW I. However, as fate would have it she met a handsome widower, a ‘Damn Yankee’ at that, with two small children, ages 3 and 5. She married him. They had two children, me and my younger sister.

    To her dying day there was nothing she loved more than to get her hands on some kid, any kid and teach him/her something, anything. I am who I am today because of her and of course her handsome ‘Damn Yankee’. They persevered together through the Great Depression and every other vicissitude that life has a habit of throwing at people.

    She had a short series of mini-strokes and could no longer speak. In the hostpital shortly before she died, she smiled at me and weakly lifted her hand to wave ‘Bye-bye’.

    The unsung true heroes of every generation.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  624. “Results are what count” – no one’s puppet. Yes! We can agree here. It is the end result, or the “fruit” of our labor that we should be looking at to determine whether we have raised them successfully. My daughters were totally different from each other and we tailored discipline techniques for each one, based on effectiveness. Overall, they were very good kids. Much of their stability was due to my wife being a full-time mom. My grandkids are completely different and discipline is custom tailored to each of them. For instance, time out works best for the youngest, and restricting video games works better for the oldest one.

    jsri, that was a good article. It explains plenty – and we have seen examples here on M&H’s blog as facts and myths are bandied about. I have changed my opinion and beliefs on quite a few subjects since I began coming here. But then I am open to learning and do so daily. I know plenty that hold tightly to misconceptions even when faced with facts. It is usually frustrating to deal with such people. Anymore, I just try to move on. It is hard for me to do, though. The old adage applies, “you can lead a horse to water,…

  625. If you have ever wondered why people on this blog always seem to be talking at crossed purposes, this article may have some answers.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

  626. It is pretty easy to pick skewed anecdotal examples to buttress a negative assessment of educators so I guess I can do something similar in refutation. But to denounce education by broad brush claiming, “the school system is rotten to the proverbial core” I think not.

    In 1955, at the beginning of the baby boomer generation, my wife got her first teaching job. She was a graduate of a top tier college with a BA in English Lit and based on her resume and an interview was given an emergency teaching certificate. But her first teaching assignment was not a high school class as she expected. Instead it was in a 2-room rural schoolhouse in a classroom covering grades 3,4 and 5. At the outset she had zero teaching experience and was given two whole days to prepare.

    Fortunately, her assigned supervisor was a master teacher who knew the politics of her neighborhood as well as she knew her students and their families. What her supervisor got in return for her own efforts was an intelligent, creative and devoted teacher, an acutely organized, exceptional performer who relied not on threats or intimidation but on humanity and compassion as her most effective teaching techniques. And she is also a very funny lady.

    My Wonder Wife (WW) has an uncanny way of deflecting anger and channeling hostility in positive directions. She is a very skilled questioner and always amazes me as to how much she can learn about a person in a very few minutes. The subject is always the person she is talking with, it is never about herself or about politics or religion. Most never learn that she suffers from a chronic ailment that can be quite debilitating, that she has a PhD, that she is a caring mother and grandmother, or that she had nothing but superlative reviews in her 33 years of teaching. She would never shove her accomplishments down anyone’s throat just to make a point.

    One would never predict such a personality given her early life. Her mother died in childbirth and, instead of being handed over to a local orphanage, she was adopted by her dour Scottish grandmother. Her father remarried but never took an ounce of responsibility for her upbringing. When Grandmother died nine years later, WW was left in the hands of a gaggle of aunts and uncles who clothed and fed her and paid for her education. None of these people had schooling beyond ninth grade.

    Teaching school, she was superbly organized and knew exactly where each child was along the promotion trail. She was once chastised by a principal for not having a class lesson plan for a substitute covering her room for a day. What he failed to note was that she had 22 lesson plans, one for each student. By her third year at the rural school, she began seeing students in her classroom from outside her district, often children of politically connected parents. However, all children got equal treatment.

    Three years later the town closed the rural school and she had the pick of three different schools. The school she selected had a first grade opening and a principal highly regarded by his teachers. For the next 27 years she taught first grade because, according to her, “the first grade will make or break a child as a student.”

    She became a cooperating teacher and soon had a constant train of students from a nearby teachers college in her classroom. After seven years of this, the college invited her to teach at their on-campus elementary school. She finally accepted an appointment to the college and spent the next 20 years on the faculty there but still teaching first grade as well as college students.

    When she retired, it wasn’t a teaching problem that sent her away, it was administrative incompetence. The school board began by mainstreaming special needs students without offering any sort of assistance to the teachers. Any teacher who has had the bad luck to have to face this situation knows that one such child, unattended, can be such a distraction that all educational efforts go south in a heartbeat. Also, toward the end, the school had taken on an array of inner city students who had been troublesome in public schools and many ended up in her class. No matter what they threw at her, she took in stride. Finally, about 20 years ago she faced an unsettling situation with a principal using his job as a stepping stone for a superintendent’s job. It was all about a petty school policy and when he threatened to put a letter of reprimand in her file, she didn’t fight, instead, at the end of the year she took a hike. I don’t know what he gained, but her retirement was a huge loss for the school.

  627. Or as Shakespeare might have put it

    “Neither a hitter nor a hittee be!”

  628. Results are what count, my son recently was promoted over his boss and his boss’ boss, that’s because he has self discipline. Not because he was spanked, but because I took the time to explain consequences in the real world. And he is not the only one of my children to thrive without a spanking, one of my daughters is a successful business owner and the other daughter is highly successful in her field and climbing the corporate ladder at a phenomenal pace.

  629. Good morning people. This child discipline issue is just as controversial as the abortion debate. Those who say you should never and those who say you should are about equal. Studies show positive results for the advocation of both. None are conclusive or unbiased. This article found positive results, though the author is against the practice. Spanking seems to be most effective between the ages of 2 and 6. This one claims 90 percent of successful CEO’s were spanked and that helped in their own self-discipline. Of course if you publicly claim to support it today, you are ostracized and called an abuser in society. And unfortunately there is sometimes physical abuse that is lumped in with discipline that includes spanking.

    Once again I point out – a one-size-fits-all mentality doesn’t work for life, but that is how we try to package it. Limiting our parental options is detrimental to development. If we can get that simple concept, we will see more successes.

  630. And now that I have monopolized the blogspace this a.m., I am heading back into the woods for fabulous music, dancing, friends, and a night under the stars. No computer!

  631. I wish I could say this will be my last post on this topic, but it probably won’t, because I care too much. But at least this one will be shorter.

    Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem experiment, by providing cradle-to-graduation services to a critical mass of children, seeks to permanently change the culture of a large neighborhood. Its goal is to have 100% of the kids, no exceptions, meet or exceed state educational standards, and go on to graduate from high school on time. It seems to be working, and is the model for the “Promise Neighborhood” projects being funded all over the country.

    The program begins with parenting classes before or shortly after children are born. And you know what the parenting classes are about? One thing: punishment. The young, impoverished, uneducated parents are taught other methods of discipline. Why? Because research shows that early learning is impaired by the use of corporal punishment.

    Canada is frank about his intent. Certain values and child rearing techniques lead to better success in school and in the mainstream economy, and he wants to make sure people in impoverished communities have access to them.

    The schools that seem to be working? KIPP, for example? No corporal punishment. Simple rules, effectively communicated, consistently enforced, without physical punishment. It works.

  632. Yes, I am passionate about this. And cannot fathom how anyone could approach parenting so casually that he or she fails to think beyond “that’s how I was raised and I turned out ok.”

  633. A few years ago, my local newspaper published an editorial extolling the virtues of spanking and bemoaning the decline in discipline in the schools, etc.

    I did some research (because facts trump bullshit in my world). I was spanked. My children were never spanked, and are wonderful, loving, responsible adults. So what? I wanted to know what the current knowledge was on the subject.

    Here is the letter I wrote in response. It was published, and caused a big controversy in the town. Some references follow. I removed names to avoid hate mail and visits by crazies.

    “To the Editor:

    [the Editor] spoke to the “politics” of paddling in his column published April 4. At stake is the welfare of our children, and of our society as a whole, since today’s poorly-reared children are tomorrow’s non-contributors, or worse. It is too important to be relegated to the political arena where popular opinion rules. Let’s instead talk about the science of paddling.

    Here’s a quick summary of the results of a large body of research:
    1. The only demonstrated benefit of corporal punishment of children is short-term compliance
    2. Physically punished children are more likely to commit crimes as adults
    3. People who commit violent crimes as adults were almost always subjected to severe corporal punishment as children
    4. The more a child is spanked, the more likely he is to assault siblings and other children
    5. The more a child is spanked, the more likely he is to be alcoholic, depressed, masochistic, and suicidal as an adult
    6. Parents who use corporal punishment are more likely to physically assault each other
    7. Parents who abuse their children generally started with corporal punishment

    Not every person who was spanked grows up to be a criminal or depressed or suicidal. Not every parent who spanks ends up an abuser. But given its questionable benefit, and its harmful effects, a number of countries, including many of the European countries, have banned the use of corporal punishment by parents (nearly all countries ban its use in schools). New Zealand and Australia are considering doing the same. In many Asian countries it is legal, but frowned upon. And yes, California (with an economy that puts it among the top ten countries of the world) is also considering banning it. The official policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics bans its use, in part because stresses on parents may push them past punishment into abuse, but also because it has been proven to have limited long-term effectiveness.

    As [the Editor] points out, child-rearing requires considerable patience and commitment. Those of us who take it seriously know that the end game isn’t good kids we can brag about, but good adult citizens. It takes more effort and more time to use discipline (training by instruction and practice) than corporal punishment (infliction of pain to effect behavior change). We should commend parents who do the hard, slow work of parenting and eschew the quick fix called spanking.”

    Here are some references if you are really interested in the facts, and aren’t simply justifying your own behavior:

    Cohen P. How can generative theories of the effects of punishment be tested? Pediatrics 1996; 98:834-836

    Gershoff, E. Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoritecal review. Psychological Bulletin. 2002; 128(4): 539-579.

    Graziano AM, Hamblen JL, Plante WA. Subabusive violence in child rearing in middle-class American families. Pediatrics 1996; 98:845-848

    Larzelere, Robert E. A Review of the Outcomes of Parental Use of Nonabusive or Customary Physical Punishment. Pediatrics 1996; 98:824-831.

    MacMillan, HL, et al., Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a general population. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1999; 161(7):805-9.

    Straus MA. Spanking and the making of a violent society. Pediatrics. 1996; 98:837-842.

    Straus, M., Beating the Devil out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families and Its Effects on Children. Transaction Publishers: New Brusnwick, New Jersey, 2001.

  634. Oops!

    I forgot to mention, I like the You Tube rendition by Platnev. But the one by Lang Lang is interesting too.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  635. Hi Congenial Gang, jsri and Azgrandma on 7/10 at 7:46PM,

    jsri, thread? What thread?? There’s a thread??? Since when have we had a continuous thread here between M&H’s posts?????

    Only one quick expression of my opinion on corporal punishment. I feel that spankings are the result of parental anger, frustration and fear; not an attempt to instill discipline or change behavior. There may be a very few occasions in which the child is in extreme physical danger where it might remotely be somewhat appropriate. But those situations would be quite rare. Verbal and emotional abuse can be equally damaging. Further factored into the mix should be age of the child, the interaction between the parent(s), siblings and peer groups. This is certainly no either or question with easy answers.

    Azgrandma, I would love to hoist a glass of White Zin and have some pie with you anytime and talk about Kauai. Time and circumstances permitting, as long as I have ten fingers and a scroll button, I will be here with tales of Kauai as well as other things.

    We seriously considered retiring to Sedona. Our youngest son went to ASU, so for two years in a row, we delivered him there in person. He and I drove out and had some quality mom/son time and saw the country. Dad flew in from business in LA and we drove back together on vacation.

    I cried all the way to Yellowstone about leaving my baby all alone and friendless in Phoenix, so we contacted him to see whether we should come back and take him home. He was having a ball and wanted to move into a fraternity house. So after my husband and I ‘did’ Yellowstone, I wept all the way home to Philly because my baby was all grown up and didn’t need me anymore.

    We did a repeat the next year taking different routes. For his 3rd and 4th years he transferred to an Eastern school. (‘Cherchez la femme!’) Sedona didn’t pan out for dad and mom. Later we went on vacation to Hawaii, ‘did’ all the islands and fell in love with Kauai (and each other all over again). For a while it was a toss up between Maui and Kauai, but Kauai won out.

    Many of the Old Time Regulars here at M&H already know parts of the saga of our move out here so I won’t repeat it; other than to say it took us three years, lots of fancy footwork and plenty of luck to pull it off. It was some adventure.

    jsri, are the dogwood trees finished blooming yet? And do you have plenty of azaleas and rhodos now? We enjoyed living in Philly except for the cold/heat and humidity as you described today. In summer we had to go from A/C house to A/C car to A/C errands and back. It was very nice in spring and fall though – both days. We left some dear friends there and are still in contact with many of them.

    I felt I had to get my husband out of there in winter because, after three heart attacks, he persisted in shoveling the damn snow! Sheesh! But once we got out here, and had a lovely 3-acre property in Paradise, he snuck off to Sears and came back with a chainsaw to whack stuff down in the ravine. Jasus!

    I had a busy afternoon working with a piano student on Rachmaninov’s (Rachmaninoff’s) “Eighteenth Variation from a Rhapsodie (Rhapsody) on a Theme of Paganini”. It is a lovely piece and you can listen to it on You Tube if you are interested. For now, the theme is still buzzing around in my head (ear worm) so I think I’ll toddle off to bed and sleep it off.

    Nighty-night,

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  636. That’s okay, no one’s puppet. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. What was successful in my circumstance may not suit another. Bottom line – we are each responsible for the outcome of our offspring. A solid and defined foundation is more apt to promote stability. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Yes that is biblical, reject it for that if you prefer, but it is also truth. I have seen the result.

    Seriously though, if you truly want to examine some genuine abuses that we allow today and that do MUCH MORE to damage ourselves and our youth, there are plenty from which to choose.

  637. Hitting and spanking are two different things. A swat across the buttocks of a child with a wooden spoon or paddle makes quite a profound impression. After that, the memory and threat are real. It doesn’t need to be administered often, or sometimes only that once is enough to be effective. It has nothing to do with abuse.

    Children suffer more abuse by being set in from of a TV to babysit them – or getting away with whatever they want, whenever they want. When, later in life they finally find out there are boundries, the consequences are much greater.

    I was responsible for raising my kids and now helping with my grandkids. My two daughters are in their late 20′s and have been as close to perfect as I could ever expect. We have a very close relationship and enjoy spending time together. They are both very stable people with respectable jobs and husbands.

  638. Hitting a child is abuse!

  639. no one’s puppet, you NEVER discipline in anger, otherwise you are just reacting, and THAT leads to abuse. Child abuse is not limited to physical actions. What do think the purpose for discipline is? You need to establish boundries for kids. They are looking for them. Most kids will push to see how far they can go. It is up to the adults to define those boundries. If they have no boundries, they have no base to begin to build from – right and wrong choices are blurred and authority is not respected.

    We are a society of extremes. In my day, most parents spanked their kids, and almost out of habit. Today most parents do not and prefer to reason or bribe kids to obey. From one extreme to the other. It is hard to find moderation in life. We run the extremes to our own detriment.

    The primary point in my last several posts is that every situation requires a unique approach. We are lazy and want a formula or method – doesn’t always work.

  640. Why else would you hit a child except in anger poolman and don’t pull out the Bible for an explanation, I’m not a part of a herding society (that is the group the Bible was written for after all)? Sophia, I’m quickly becoming one of those burnouts, I just don’t see any reason to hang out with ignoramuses.

  641. Hello HRH sofia EQ. What I was trying to say was I think that spanking does have a place in disciplining our children. We should however, NEVER discipline out of anger. We should always be in control of ourselves when we dole out punishment. I know, not usually easy. And natural curiousity should not be stifled, merely guided. That is what the shepherd’s rod was for, not for beating.

    I have witnessed emotional and psychological abuses by those who oppose spanking children. Most verbal assaults are less effective and have a greater longterm damaging impact. There is a time to use reason and a time to exhibit authority. Each situation as well as the individual needs to be considered to make the best choice. We are responsible to guide and provide the best example we can to our offspring, and that means good character traits, including self-discipline.

  642. ( ah jeez… shoulda washed my glasses before reading for spelling errors!)

  643. Helen and Margaret-
    Missing you! Hope all is well with you!
    Happy Birthday Grandma Katie! I don’t stop by here as often anymore but always look for you when I do…
    delurkergirl-
    Am so glad you and your kids are living what we all hope for for our kids and their education! There are plenty of failure stories but also plenty of success stories.
    Poolman-
    I would insist that the tension between humans and their institutions is an ongoing process as well. The interplay between idea and method and how it shakes out for the individual and the community is a neverending process. When we get stuck and somehow people start serving the institution far more than the opposite we have need of reflection and measured steps to re-order the institution.
    Pfessor-
    Some of the Tea Party set of ideas find plenty of resonance with Americans outside the so-called party . Unlike many here , perhaps because I come from a huge family which includes some Tea Partiers along with quite a number of hippie-commie-liberal-wierdos like me, with a nice dollop of old fashioned pre-neocon conservatives, I do not dismiss the TP folks’ feelings and concerns out of hand.
    I think Mr Bageant’s
    Deer Hunting With JesusDispatches from America’s Class War
    gets hold of the reality of far too many Americans’ experience today :

    “… Winchester, like countless American small towns, was fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass — a white ghetto of the working poor in which two in five people do not finish high school, nearly everyone over fifty has serious health problems and little or no health care, and credit ratings are virtually nonexistent.
    What it adds up to, Bageant argues, is an unacknowledged, American class war from which alcohol, overeating, and Jesus are the preferred avenues of escape.

    http://www.scribepublications.com.au/book/deerhuntingwithjesus

    and that blithely ignoring these neighbors or focussing on mis-spelled posters at rallies is a dis-service to us all. That far too many of these folks fell for the Rovian garbage which has had them voting against their own best interests for a very long time is a tragedy but it IS understanable.

    All that being said, I also think my cousins, etc who are part of this movement are stuck in Chapter 5 ( complaining without real plans to fix or solve anything ) and while I respect their rightful anger at a system which has steadily eroded their place in society I am in disagreement with the childish “throw all the incumbents out” crap -amongst other things.

    —————–
    Having a bit of a go with the idea that dropping ritualized paddling of children was the end of education in this country…
    Or that demanding unquestioning respect for authority will solve all our educational ills…
    My father was a teacher and later a school superintendent for as many years as your neighbor. He would disagree with your neighbor.
    As would my mother, a highly successful teacher herself.
    The problems in education are many and far too many of them are ignored while folks look for one-size-fits-all answers.
    Dad saw school district consolidation after the boomers were through school and attendance falling as a major problem as he felt the model expanded administration and distance from the kids themselves instead of the proposed goal of the opposite…
    The 3Rs movement during Reagan years dumbed down education…
    The interplay between local school districts, their state govts, and the fed has undergone many shifts in the last 60 years- each proposing to have all the answers …
    Rural schools across America have suffered with half baked responses from educational authorities trying to deal declining enrollments…
    Parents alternately are cast as the problem amd the answer to all things…
    Teaching appeals to a broad spectrum of folks as a career, some of whom are more interested in everything about it except the kids…
    There is a lot going on and a lot of work to do… and it won’t be solved by coming up with some golden-age-of-education meme..

  644. This was in my local paper today–

    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Michelle Obama’s visit to Bay County on Monday will be the first for a sitting first lady.

    The first lady is scheduled to fly into the county Monday afternoon and later will appear at a Panama City Beach resort. While in Bay County, the first lady will participate in a briefing and informal discussion with area business and community leaders. White House officials indicated the purpose of her visit is to listen to concerns and ideas about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its economic effect on the region.

    “Democrat or Republican, we need to make sure we give the first lady the respect and courtesy that the people of Panama City know how to give,” said Allan Bense, a Republican and Panama City resident who has served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives

    That speaks volumns about this area–

  645. Many Blessed returns grandma Katie! Hope this one was the Best Yet!

    I had meant this to post right after my other one a couple days ago, but have been busy with grandsons and their friend for the past two days. Now I’m just kinda getting my second wind today!

    Auntie Jean!! Oh how I love to read of your trips to so many exotic places! If I were able to get back to the Islands it would be lovely to raise a glass and have some pie with you!

    Awhile back, (in the ’90′s…ha!) my boy toy and I found ourselves on your Island of Kaua’i as the results of a sales competition. That was in December of ’96. I remember it as being the MOST awesome trip I’d EVER been on! I was a Navy brat…..but whenever My Dad was shipped out overseas, he stuck my Mom and I on good ol’ Greyhound no matter where we were in the U.S. and shipped us back to Colorado City TX to stay with my Mom’s parents. Consequently, we never experienced any overseas duty my Dad had so I never ‘saw’ anything that might be considered exotic. They divorced when I was 8 and Mom and I and my new baby brother were put on the bus one more time and ended up back in C-City, as it was referred to……that’s a whole ‘nother can o’ worms. Not going there….

    Anyway, I get to go to the Islands and I’m pretty much beside myself!! Well first thing I discovered was I’m not cut out for a flight of that length! The AA flight we took was the longest flight I’d ever been on in my entire life, not to mention the BIGGEST plane I’d been on. Halfway through the flight I started to have what I guess is a panic attack…..I don’t know…never had one of these before!!!!! Ha! Bloody Mary’s DEFINITELY didn’t help!!

    We land in Honolulu and deplane to catch the Island jumper to get us up the chain to your lovely Island, Auntie Jean. Well, we are with a HUGE group of folks from other companies who’ve won this sales trip also. They are all jumping for joy as most of them have been to the Islands MANY times before. Me?!….it was all my poor Hubby could do to scrape his poor freaking wife together and convince me to get on the plane, as none of us could get to our destination til I was in my seat. I was all, “Ya’ll just go. I’ll be fine here. Sure, there’s places for me to walk and I’ll just stay here at the airport. I can eat at one of these kiosks…..” I’m happy to say we ALL finally made it to the resort the group was booked into. I don’t remember the name of it but it was down on Poipu Beach amongst all the condo’s, and timeshares and resorts. Somewhere in my photo boxes I’ve got a great pic of my boy toy at Spouting horn! We were about a mile and a half from there.

    That 5 days/4 nights was a true wonder to me! And yeah, I grew up seeing photos and movies filmed in the Islands…but it was nothing, compared to actually seeing with my own eyes, such otherworldly beauty!! It still causes me to pause and re-experience the feelings of utter awe and quietness within my own spirit, because of what my eye saw!

    We rode horses, we hiked, we drove all the way up to Ke’e Beach, we drove all the way out to Barking Sands, we went up to Kokee State Park and admired the Na Pali Wilderness area from above! On the trails not from the air! (Scared @#$!@#%$ as another individual was at the wheel other than my beloved Hubby! Thought we were gonna DIE!) Couldn’t afford the helicopter or fixed wing tours. It was just a magical time for me!

    Trip home to Phoenix was much easier coming back…Knew what to expect this time!

    We got to head out to the Islands one other time on another sales trip. That was in December ’98 when these trips are all planned. Maui was the destination that year and we had a ball! But it is fodder for another post some other time!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday evening with the one’s they love!

    God bless! :wink:

  646. Thanks, HRH Sofia EQ. I’ll try not to give up, but honestly I can understand why Helen and Margaret have lost interest in the blog.

  647. I don’t really understand money. This cartoon (longish but everyone I sent it to says it’s worth the time) helped me understand the financial mess we’re in.

  648. jsri, Jean, Lori, Greytdog, Grandma Katie, and the others who don’t show up as much anymore.

    I think of us as a little pie eating, music playing, porch sitting society. A little microcosm of an almost perfect world. I’ve enjoyed reading what you have to say for the past couple of years. I often quote something I read here in my everyday life. I say, “I read this on my old lady blog.” Some of the people who have shown up lately or came back after going away miffed, remind me of “T baggers” in the general society. They are loud and have a lot of complaints. They don’t seem to have any answers. They just are mad as hell and won’t take it any more. They don’t like taxes but won’t admit that they pay less that they used to. They also don’t want companies to pay taxes. I guess they think services just come down like manna from heaven or that it’s ok for them to get benefits, just not the other guy. If we ignore them, they will quietly take over our world (they say “I want my country back”)

    Please do not give up. I value you and your ideas. Please check back now and again, and when Margaret or Helen post again, or just if you’re in the mood, please say hello. Maybe the irritants will get tired and go back to wherever they came from, and things will get better (read “interesting, not boring”) again.

  649. HRH, if you read the new testament your view of Christianity would be a little different from what you described. Just sayin’! :)

  650. Rae, I totally agree with you, our downfall began with the “idiot box”

    Perfesser, I can give you data of a very direct sort. My father believed in using his razor strap (the gold stamp on it said it was ‘pure horsehide’) to discipline my sister and I. It was not effective, we just thought of ways to avoid him AND the chores we were supposed to do. Beating children or wives is JUST NOT THE ANSWER. And if you think “paddling” a child is not beating the child, you are very, very wrong. I know it’s easy to frighten smaller people with brute force, but come on, how much bigger are you? (when the neighbor child 5yrs said, “eek, I’m scared of that garden snake” I said “hey, look how small his mouth is, he can’t hurt you” and he stopped and studied the snake and is no longer afraid of them)

    I believe children have an ALMOST unstoppable curiosity about the world. They want very much to learn. When they’re told things like “the curriculum allows us to deal only with numbers 1-10 in kindergarten, you have to wait for first grade to go past 10″ when they can already count to 100, they loose interest. This happened to my son. We took him out of the public school system and enrolled him in a private, alternative kind of school. It was far from perfect but my theory was that even in that imperfect system, he would learn what he needed to learn as long as he wasn’t ‘stifled’ (remember Archie Bunker…”Stifle yourself, Edith?”) We couldn’t really afford it but cleaned the school every weekend to pay some of the tuition. It was the right choice, he often tells people of the ‘sacrifice’ we made and how much it meant to him. He finished college after the 6 year plan, flunked out of the first school, attended a junior college to get his grades back up, went back to the first school and graduated. Now he makes buckets of money and established a scholarship at his old high school to help other students interested in math and science.

    I don’t know what the answer is, it’s not easy to give answers to 30 children with 30 different questions. They want to know NOW. or they get bored. It takes a lot of energy to teach. People who are looking for a well paying job with the summer off are not the people you want teaching the children. (but then, people looking for a well paying job with regular hours doing medical tests are also not the people you want making decisions about your health)

    Poolman, at 2:47 PM ..you just said the same thing that I said but I read it after.

    And then a moment later you lost me. You seem to be saying that self discipline can only come from being punished by spanking. When that above mentioned son was about a year old, I couldn’t get him to leave the kitty litter alone. We lived in an apartment in the city, he couldn’t go outside to play in the sand. One day, I tried paddling him every time he got into it. Each time, he got a little more stubborn. That’s when I realized that spanking meant nothing to him and kitty litter meant everything. I gave up the corporal punishment and put up a fence around the box. By the time he was old enough to figure out the way through the fence, he had lost interest in the litter.

    And besides, you refuted your own argument when you said “I don’t think there were proper boundries established.”

    One thing I don’t like about Christianity is that it’s based on “be good or you will be punished and go to hell.” Of course, that’s an oversimplification. and I don’t want to mess with anyone’s religion. I personally prefer “be good because it’s the right thing to do”

  651. Today I feel compelled to share that I have good and responsible children who were probably spanked once each and with great regret because frankly it occurred in moments of great anger. Other consequences worked better. The kids dress nicely. Their grades are good – could be better but could be a huckuva lot worse. Their waist bands are at their hips, and they wear belts if needed. They rarely notice things they can help with around the house but if asked, they will help with minimal moaning. They help other people cheerfully and enjoy volunteering. They have the “me” centric view of youth sometimes, but are compassionate. Their friends are similar. We’ve had pretty good teachers most of the time. It’s hard for me to feel that civilization is declining in our country when I see the great things the youth do and have the potential to do. There are problem kids, of course, but they’re the ‘noisy minority’, not the majority. My kids go to church and youth group.

    I’m proud of them.

    I see that there are a lot of trouble kids and bad attitudes because that’s what the news shows me, but frankly I see more good than bad.

  652. This also applies to corporal punishment. I grew up with a dad that busted my butt on a regular basis. The schools I attended, for the most part, used paddles to discipline bad behavior. I have experienced some abuse from both sources.

    I also know plenty that have grown up without it. There are mixed results, but most I have met that haven’t ever been spanked, have a much harder time with self-disciple. I don’t think there were proper boundries established. They seem to have a harder time coping with setbacks. It is mostly with males. I have met some females that were never spanked and yet were very well-mannered.

    Once again, I think it is a matter of tailoring to an individual. We still resort to spanking my grandkids when they deserve it. It doesn’t happen very often, but the threat is real and usually enough to curtail the bad behavior.

  653. Hi Jean:

    Been off for a few days and it is hell trying to pick up a sensible thread here. In the past few days this site has gone through more changes than a runway model, and not necessarily for the better. It’s been almost two months since H&M’s last post and I think the natives are getting restless. And I see that our educational system is taking a beating again so I might have something to say about that when I get a few minutes but I feel that some of the harshest critics need to take a look in the mirror if they are truly seeking solutions to its problems.

    This past week has been a scorcher, temps in the triple digits. It’s been like having Phoenix temperatures and New Orleans humidity. During the worst of it I had to do a 380mile errand, usually a seven hour round trip but, with the combination of heat, traffic and construction, plus torrential downpours along the way, it turned into a 12.5 hour trip. We were scheduled to go to Martha’s Vineyard the following day but had to put it on hold until the Fall.

    Glad to see you are still posting, Here, you are often the only isle of calm in an otherwise tempestuous sea.

  654. Generally speaking, problems arise from institutions in the way they administer to groups rather than individuals. Citing mostly economic and practical reasons, rigorous research and testing is sometimes performed to establish parameters that reflect accepted normalcy. We learn to group and categorize similar features and lump together people to simplify and easier control the method of transferring rule – or knowledge – or care – or information – or ideology – whatever the task on the societal agenda.

    This goes against the natural way of life. On Earth everything is unique and reacts to natural stimuli somewhat differently than others of its species. This also repeats in the inanimate, each snowflake crystal, every rock. Individuals function best when all things are in tune with them. A most glorious symphony! We could truly blossom. All cylinders firing with full compression. All senses fully functioning. We are awed by nature, yet continually oppose its natural flow.

  655. Jean said:

    “I definitely concur with you about corporal punishment as a means of discipline. What it does teach children is that they are powerless and can be controlled by violence and thus, later in life they will have the power and can control others by means of violence. So the cycle is repeated over again.”

    Nice theory, isn’t it? Of course, violence perpetrated by those brought up in the current system is considerably more than that in the generation before, so I’d feel a lot better if you could cite some data that shows what you say is true. As Ross Perot said, “I’m all ears.”

    Another theory might be that it caused students of that era to take their work seriously and provided that little bit of extra anxiety which makes us more respectful of authority, thus REDUCING violence.

    The school superintendent in my district told me that he could trace the rapid decline in his district to the day the took the paddles out of the school. “You only need it for one out of a hundred, but the other ninety-nine know it’s there.” Of course, he is only one man – (with forty years’ experience, involving tens of thousands of students, with whom he dealt eight hours every day. What could he possibly know?)

    “Nurturing love and patience work oh so much better.”

    Hasn’t so far, but hey – tomorrow’s another day. Could happen. Just could happen.

  656. Hi Congenial Gang and Rae on July 10, 2010 at 7:28PM

    Rae, I’m glad you joined the gang.

    I definitely concur with you about corporal punishment as a means of discipline. What it does teach children is that they are powerless and can be controlled by violence and thus, later in life they will have the power and can control others by means of violence. So the cycle is repeated over again. Nurturing love and patience work oh so much better.

    But the Old Guard who were raised by the ‘Spare the Rod Mentality’ are not likely to buy into such a ‘sissy’ concept.

    I think you’re gonna love the sandals, but doing the toenails is a big chore. I have to psyche myself up for several days to do it! How I would love to invest just once sometime in a professional pedicure! Wouldn’t that be the height of decadent luxury?

    Once long ago in the summertime we drove from Quebec across Southern Canada and dropped back into the states at Saute Saint Marie. We moseyed around and ‘did’ Michigan! So green and peaceful. All the people we met were friendly and helpful, especially when we got lost – which we did – a lot! Fond memories.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  657. Stupid=working against your own self interest=tea baggers.

  658. Thanks, Poolman. Every day can use a little Carlin.

  659. This is from 18 years ago and is apropos today. A little crude, but fun. “We like war. We like bombing brown people.” :wink:

  660. PFesser — I agree that the education system is a mess. But I don’t think “spare the rod” is the cause. The best teachers I had in school and the best teachers my children had maintained order through discipline (df: training that corrects, molds, or enforces the mental faculties or moral character), not punishment (df: suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution). There is no evidence to support the use of physical punishment as an effective way to mold the behavior of children, and there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that it has a harmful effect.

    It’s difficult to tell cause from effect here, of course. Our cultural values have certainly changed. Our education system’s failures are beyond dispute. So how did all of this happen? I vote for television as a significant contributor.

  661. Good morning everyone! Happy Saturday. Some wisdom from the late great George Carlin. Plastic – the reason we are here?
    I have always enjoyed his stuff, but it should be noted the language is a bit crude. Not that that is uncommon today, but some might be offended.

  662. “Historically, conservative thinking has been about the traditional or status quo, even in many cases, regressive thinking.”

    It’s also known as “Better the devil you know”. IMHO, it’s fear-based thinking. Even if you see a train wreck coming, for Heaven’s sakes, don’t leave the path you’re on. You just don’t know what might be off-road.

  663. Thanks to those of you who sent birthday wishes!
    I currently reside in a Board and Care REsidence
    where I have the privilege of having my computer in m y room. Many thanks to M&H and all of you forkeeping my mind busy and thinking and also entertaining me.

    I have been coming to this site since before the last election. Thanls for putting up with my typing. It has improved at least I hope so.

    Jean – isn’t it wonderful to see the grandkids being productive! I think the idea of spending a year in another country is great.
    Oldest grandson spent his term in Senegal. It was a wonderful experience for him. His brother hopefully is going to Shanghai.

  664. Jean -

    “The pen is mightier than the sword,” huh? Kind of reminds me of “Fighting never settled anything.”

    Try telling those things to a Southerner.

    Jim

  665. Rae -

    “Have you ever read letters from civil war soldiers? Farmers, with elementary school educations. Beautifully written … I don’t think “class” is the only thing at play here.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Taxes are part of the Tea Party’s problem, but not all.

    As the youngest son of the youngest son, my aunts and uncles were all very old when I was born. These people were born and raised in the deepest, darkest, farthest-back “hollers” in West Virginia in the late 1800′s, yet armed with a 6th grade education, they sent their boys to medical, dental, engineering school. How’d they do that?

    Funny you should ask. There is an audiotape extant of my Aunt Mary (born ~ 1880), not too long before she died. Her diction is perfect, right down to pronouncing the “t” in “perfect.” Her grammar is perfect. Her spelling was perfect in every letter she wrote, and the writing looked like it came from a book on penmanship. Her house was filled with books; she taught her husband to read.

    How did these “wood-hicks” do these things? simple. They went to no-nonsense grade schools with high standards. They sat down, shut up and learned; and when they strayed, the ever-present switch put them back on track.

    Our school system has no different raw materials today than it had back then, except today’s students are far more experienced and worldly. The reason some of the “baggers” can’t spell is not because they are stupid; it’s because the school system is rotten to the proverbial core, and to quote Donna, Everybody Knows It. Pursued by a cadre of contingency-fee driven lawyers, afraid to enforce any discipline, afraid to enforce standards, just afraid in general, crippled by an ever-increasing burden of regulations, the system has devolved to the lowest common denominator – it basically does as little as possible and attracts the academically bottom-of-the-barrel students to be “education” majors. Having been on a local school board for several years, believe me; I know how it works.

    One may denigrate and laugh at the Tea Party, but do so at your own risk. Sometimes they are not very well-organized, but they are motivated and, like many of the rest of us, don’t feel Washington in any way reflects the will of the People. Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe they are a force to be reckoned with.

  666. Jean,

    I so appreciate your posts. Haven’t responded much, because I find myself agreeing with everything you say. Mel Gibson — I will never again watch a Mel Gibson movie. He’s the lowest of the low. Probably not, but I guess I can hope it doesn’t get any worse than that.

    I have resisted the bejeweled sandals thing, pretending to be young and hip, I guess, but I’m not fooling anyone on that anymore, so maybe I’ll pitch the stilettos (admittedly unworn for some time, but hanging on, just in case) this afternoon and invest in a pair of said sandals to take people’s minds off the rest of aging me. Guess I’ll have to paint the toenails, too. At least I can still reach them.

    It is beautiful today up here. Lake Michigan is gorgeous, sky is blue, temperature low-to-mid 70s. Heaven.

  667. Hi Congenial Gang, Rae and lori,

    Rae, yeah, unfortunately, we have run into plenty of ‘Ugly Americans’ in our travels. They always embarrased us and we did our best to make up for it. PJ’s? Why didn’t I think of that on overnight flights?

    Lori, where ya goin’? Wherever, Bon Voyage! I’m with you on general principal about sneakers. I know they are practical for sports, but I always say, “Today’s joggers are tomorrow’s orthopedic patients.”

    I’ve been wearing zoris (rubber slippers, flip-flops) around the house forever. Never have had any foot trouble, a corn or callous in my life. In our travels, I have always worn sandals, albeit elegantly bejeweled. In airports people stared at my feet more than they did my face, which, at my age, is a good thing. I still had to slip out of them and put them in a tray to get through security though.

    Can you imagine us wearing the stilettos like we used to in our youth? I would fall on my face and break my damn neck trying to teeter around on them now.

    And oh, Rae, if I had been wearing my PJ’s, everybody would have been too busy staring at my feet to notice.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  668. Craig, honey, it is just not a good idea to blog while drinking.

  669. “Would I dare go up to the lady sitting next to me with unplucked eyebrows and correct her fashion faux pas?????” not unless I wanted to insult her. Sometimes we/I intentionally insult people by “correcting” their mistakes, but you will never catch me insulting people and then try to justify my insult.”
    LORI

    Why would you want to “insult people” just for the sake of insulting? The above..I’m still trying to figure out the logic. Then again, it may be lost on this poor soul.

  670. Lori,
    I beg your pardon, Mamm.
    I think your avatar gives your collar away anyway.
    Its not blue..It’s Kennedy “blue blood” blue.
    My father was a life long democrat and a union man.
    Dropped out of school at ninth grade,yet educated himself in a trade that allowed him to send two boys to college.
    My fathers collar was always blue.
    And I’m proud of my father for his beliefs.
    My father taught me though to never hold myself above another man because of race or stature in society.
    You are flaunting your stature.
    You are known by the company you keep.

  671. I think Margaret died and Helen couldn’t stand the thought of life without her…so she died too.

  672. Hi Congenial Gang Donna and lori,

    This morning I was out on our Dinky Deck watering our potted plants. I could see the ocean, the mountains, the blue sky with white puffy clouds and a gentle trade wind breeze. It was sooooooooo beautiful. This is what God, or Gaia or Mother Nature made. What a lovely way to start the day.

    Later, the headline in our local morning paper read, “Kaua’i receives ‘best island’ award.” Our island was voted second behind Galapagos as the “World’s Best Island” by the readers of “Travel & Leisure” magazine. This is the second year in a row that Kaua’i has received such an honor.

    My heart just breaks when I see of the images of the Gulf oil spill disaster, the barrier islands and how it is affecting the lives of people in the region. This is a Man-made disaster of monumental proportions with no end in sight. The debate rages on about what to do and how to prevent such in the future. Naturally, it boils down for the most part between conservatives and liberal/progressives.

    Historically, conservative thinking has been about the traditional or status quo, even in many cases, regressive thinking. Liberals generally fall into the category of forward and innovative thinkers. I make no apologies for being a liberal/progressive.

    I applaud Donna and lori for their intelligence and willingness to challenge injustice, racism and sexism wherever they find it, either blatantly or in not-so subtle nuances. They are not inclined to roll over and say, “Yes, Sir, Master”. They work with their words and efforts, not fighting with muscles and guns. As the old saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Or in the case of this blog, the computer keyboard as opposed to battles with armies and nuclear weapons.

    And then there are our self-appointed, Old Testament-Style Patriarchs and/or ‘Les Enfants Terribles’.

    I cite ergo, Mel Gibson, (“Braveheart”?????) and his charge of domestic abuse and defense thereof, “She f**king deserved it!” or the current ultra-conservative regime of Iran’s sentence to stone a woman to death for adultery. The punishment is not of substance but only a matter of degree.

    The origin of the word ‘woman’ is “woe to man”.

    Before I am accused of trying to be the Matriarch of this blog, may I remind you that I am here because of the hospitality of Margaret and Helen, the true Matriarchs. They are much older than I, with much more seniority and life experience, since I am just an upstart Old Broad of 80.

    I am reminded of the profound poem by Thomas Wolfe, “This Is Man”. He uses the word ‘Man’ in the generic meaning of ‘Mankind’. The entire poem is rather lengthy. If you are interested, you could probably find it on the inter-net or I could put it up here upon request. The word ‘batten’ (with a ‘b’) means to grow fat, to thrive, to be well fed or wealthy at another’s expense. The last four lines are:

    “Why, then, should any living man,
    Ally himself with death,
    And in his greed and blindness,
    Batten on his brother’s blood.”

    “It could just as easily read:

    Why, then, should any living woman,
    Ally herself with death,
    And in her greed and blindness,
    Batten on her sister’s blood.”

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

    P. S. The Statue of Liberty is a woman. The blindfolded statue holding the Scales of Justice is a woman.

    Refute away, at your will.

  673. Most of the people I know in Europe think we’re uncouth because we are ignorant, expect other people to jump when we snap our fingers, and are greedy.

    I had a long conversation with a cab driver in Ireland one time. I had asked him a question about the ongoing hostilities between Protestants and Catholics in that country, and he pulled over to give me a history lesson. Then he gave me a history lesson about race relations in the US. He said he was disgusted with Americans, who don’t even know their own history, but feel free to comment on situations in other countries. Pretty funny encounter — a cab driver, no less — but I think it captured pretty well the things Europeans don’t like about ordinary Americans (lots they don’t like about our government and corporations, of course). I don’t think it has much to do with clothing.

  674. Fiona, my dear, you weren’t paying attention. I wore PJs on the plane, not in the airport. And I got the idea from a coworker, who happens to be British. I find folks from the continent to be more practical than we (and of course a lot thinner, which is why they look so much better while spending a fraction of what we spend on clothing).

  675. fiona64, it is because Americans ARE remarkably uncouth. Look at our culture. Our youth run around with the crotch of their trousers around their knees and whatever underware is deemed appropriate for public exposure. They got to hold on to certain parts so as not to lose them. Keeps their hands occupied, I suppose. It sure makes me question our “advanced intellect” as a species.

    Or turn on the TV, especially the news. Flip through to the other shows, especially the “reality” shows. Go to a Walmart. Go to the mall. Unless you are in an upscale area, you are going to find many faux pas. I’m sure

    There might be a few that want to project an image. There are others with class that dress for the public. But it is becoming very rare in our comfort-driven society. Out here in Arizona, the predominant mood is casual, bordering on slob. One becomes immune to it after time. It does also provide for some amusement. :grin:

  676. Rae, there are comfortable clothes for traveling that are *not* pajamas. :-( Unfortunately, that kind of thing (parading around the airport in pajamas) is why Europeans think that Americans are remarkably uncouth. :-( If it makes me a snob to think that one should respect the people around you enough to be wearing actual clothes whilst in public, so be it.

  677. Personally I’d LOVE to have Lori “Get my back”…..even if I don’t agree with all her politics! Go Lori!!!

  678. By: lori on July 9, 2010
    at 8:11 AM

    “…but you will never catch me insulting people and then try to justify my insult.”

    By: lori on July 9, 2010
    at 9:22 AM

    “BAGGERS”

    By: lori on July 9, 2010
    at 11:15 AM

    “Sorry Delurker but its about damn time someone uses inflammatory words on those idiots!”

  679. rae… sooo you’re not lazy, unkept, uncivilized or ignorant, just because you don’t know enough to wear proper mother land clothing in a public place? All this time I have thought people who dress improperly were stupid….

    hmmmm go figure.. ? Well you have taught me something today.. thanks…

  680. Well, Lori … My feeling about airports and planes is that you should wear whatever the heck you want. I did a red-eye trans-Atlantic one time in my PJs. Screw it. It’s miserable enough being stuck without moving for that many hours. I’m not letting uncomfortable clothes add to my pain. Didn’t wear the company logo, of course.

  681. Hi Congenial Gang and Grandma Katie,

    Happy Birthday!!!! 81 huh. Well, I’m gainin’ on ya! Gimme a couple more months and I’ll catch up to ya.

    Aloha! :-)

    Auntie Jean

  682. While there may indeed be more looney Deomcrats and Republicans than Tea Partiers by number, but it’s the ratio/density and not the volume that is significant.

    There are many millions of D’s & R’s across many decades. The Tea Partiers are a brand new group with comparitively smaller numbers. Of course there will be a higher quantity of anything in larger groups, but that’s a false statistical signal. If something occurs 100 times in 10,000 cases, it’s less statistically significant than something that happens 9 times out of 10, even though 100 is much greater than 9.

  683. I wholeheartedly concur with Poolman’s assessment that it’s time we moved beyond the two-party system, which is relatively modern.

    However, the Tea Party (which is just the John Birch Society end of the Republicans) is NOT the answer.

  684. <