Posted by: Helen Philpot | January 5, 2009

Getting the Bad Guys

Margaret,  I got a lot of crap.  How about you?    If it’s the thought that counts then I want to know what some of my family members were thinking? Candles and exotic soaps are gifts that tell me the giver didn’t give much thought.  To all my loved ones:  Please stop buying me things for the sake of buying me things.  In the future, bake me something nice and if you don’t bake,  a hug will do just fine.  And for the record, Harold hasn’t done anything that requires a screw driver set for almost twenty years.  We have people for that now.  And speaking of people…

Welcome back everyone.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  We had a lovely time with family stopping by for long overdue visits.  It was even good to see the vegetarians, but I couldn’t get them to try some stuffing.  Honestly, how can someone not like bacon?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

But I was so happy to see my nephew home from Iraq.  At least that is where I think he’s been.  As a  member of  the special forces, he can’t tell me what he’s been up to.  Instead he gave me a hug and told me he’s been getting the bad guys.   I hugged him back and held my tongue because I support the troops.

Support the troops.  You know saying those words takes about as much energy as putting one of those god awful yellow ribbon stickers on your car.  It’s meaningless unless you follow it with action.  When dealing with war, it’s more than the thought that counts. 

If you want to support the troops then you do everything you can to work for peace.  You march…  you write letters to your editor…  you call your elected officials…. and you teach your children that bad guys are rarely found on the field of battle. 

When it comes to war the real bad guys are usually hundreds of miles away surrounded by men with money to gain and power to loose.  It’s a shame that the guns are almost never aimed at the bad guys.  But I understand why the army has to convince my nephew and other soliders to see it that way.   I imagine it would be hard to pull the trigger if you realize the guy you’re aiming at is probably just like you.  Yep.  You don’t win many wars that way.  Instead you have to turn “us” into “them” and “we” into “they”.   It’s hard to hate people.  It’s much easier to just hate a country or a regime.  It’s hard to kill someone’s son or father or brother, but pulling a trigger when you are aiming at a terrorists… well that’s another story entirely.  You know, I can’t help but wonder what color the ribbons are in Irag.    I mean you realize that mothers in Iraq support the troops too, don’t you?

So my New Year’s resolution was going to be to stop calling Sarah Palin a bitch and to kiss and make up with George W. Bush.  But you know what they say about New Year’s Resolutions… they’re too easily broken.  Besides Sarah ” I see terrorists” Palin is a bitch.  And the only kiss that will ever happen between me and George W. Bush will be when his lips meet my ass.

So let’s see if we can all come up with a better resolution.  One that we can  actually keep and one that is in keeping with the spirit of this blog.   For me, in 2009, I resolve to point the gun at the bad guys…starting with myself.  

I have no idea if my little rants on this internet have had any type of positive impact, but I cannot point the gun at Palin and Bush without blaming myself as well.  I sat by for eight years when I should have been getting active every day in our politcal system.  It’s the only way democracy works.  So until they put me in a rest home, I’ll be watching – and writing.   I voted for Obama, but that doesn’t mean I gave him a free pass.   And I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of that moose hunter in heels.   Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson.  There will always be bad guys – at home and abroad.

So Happy New Year everyone.  Leave your New Year’s Resolution before you go and make it one you can keep.  Thanks for stopping by again.  I mean it.  Really.


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  2. Ah! After eating some very bland food in well known dowtonwn restaurants here in Juneau, I finally found a restaurant that has excellent food. Kenny\’s Wok I had T-5 (Teriyaki Chicken Breast served in Strips) with the spicy sauce that comes with T-4. If this is representative for the rest of Kenny\’s menu, then you will not be dissapointed. Prices very reasonable. The staff very clean in appearance, well dressed, very professional.But something else impressed me. The staff had no hardware hanging from there noses, lips, tongues, eyelids, etc.. I just think that when dining the metal should be limited to the tableware.If you like Asian, Kenny\’s is #1.


  3. Yeah it would have been better if they had more money but it was inadequat


  4. […] Getting the Bad Guys « Margaret and Helen […]


  5. […] Yes, I wanted him elected more than money, but once it was done I put that passion on hold.  As Helen said so well, just because I voted for him doesn’t mean I’m giving him a free pass.  Now it’s […]


  6. […] the rest here: Getting the Bad Guys « Margaret and Helen  eMail this post to a friendPopularity: 1% [?] var UserClicked=false; document.onkeydown=spy; […]


    Computer Game ‘Tetris’ May Help Reduce Flashbacks To Traumatic Events


  8. Jean,

    Not to worry, I knew you didn’t mean it that way. I took you to mean that in the lives we lead we all encounter events that often lead to symptoms of PTSD. Generally these things are short-term and can we often don’t realize what we’re going through. It’s all a matter of degrees.

    PTSD is, as you say, about as common as the common cold. I honestly feel that a lot of the ‘acting out’ we witness in others has roots in something akin to PTSD.

    But of course, there are those that are just plain mean. Those people recently voted Republican!



  9. ” how many Americans do you think know about this vote by Bush in their name? How many do you think would have agreed with it? ”
    Most Americans don’t know and for the time being most would agree with the vote.
    The countries which voted no are locked in land use issues with their own indigenous peoples amongst other things.
    For now , it is an important stride that many more Americans are aware of the lack of proper accounting for monies supposedly (paternalistically) held for First Americans from royalties for resource extraction on native lands. GWB and his cronies made such a hash of that that the dead fish popped to the top of the cesspool.
    So many,many horrible things have been done in our name in the last 8 years we will be years sorting them out and trying to fix em.
    I’m gonna go have soup…


  10. Greytdog, Thanks for including the study on suicide bombers. Well done and most informative.


  11. sophie-
    You have something at stake here which i cannot fathom.
    I KNOW you meant the Lakota and Aim. It is not my story so I don’t tell it. I send warm coats when the Lakota ask through our local leaders.
    I don’t send guns like in the middle east.

    But if you characterize all First Americans the same , you are doing what you are asking others not to do. If you are interested only in that which supports your theory you are close to using the Lakota as poster children as Hamas uses everyday Palestinians..

    I know about the UN thingy.

    You are very aggressive about demanding something which I can get hold of but a piece.
    Israel has made indefensible moves here and there- and within the nation has suffered terrible turmoil over what-to-do, but what do you want?
    That they all just throw themselves on a sword?

    sophie- We all of us in this country- have blood on our hands. You too. We have to try to figure out how to live past it and not take our kids there.
    So do the folks in the mideast.


  12. Aloha Jean, Hale Aikane (home sharing friend), it’s a good Hawaiian name for this parlor of Margaret and Helen, filled with pies, great conversation, and the great kool-aid.

    I enjoy your stories of Hurricane Iniki. It was a rough time, even the cell phones didn’t work because the towers were down. It was as if the island of Kauai was in blackout for days. We felt hopeless to help from here in Honolulu, and your son’s generator was worth gold back then.

    Hurricane Iwa was nowhere near as disastrous as Iniki. It hit mostly the north shore side of Oahu, and some cars got caught up in mudslides into some condos, etc.

    I like your analogy of hitting one’s head on a brick wall and how good it feels to stop. Glad I didn’t go around banging my head. For me it was more like having a constant screaming in my head, and now, the silence is bliss.

    We all miss Helen and Margaret!!! Maybe they went to talk story with Obama since he is meeting with conservative as well as liberal and moderate pundits.

    Sorry dear Alaskan friends for your blamey whiner of a governor. I wish our governor and she would just up and elope together since they seem to just love each other. (snap!)


  13. Posted without comment:

    New York Times

    Wednesday, nine Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israeli officials had committed war crimes in Gaza. The groups say that tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza have nowhere to flee, the Gaza health system has collapsed, many people are without electricity and running water, and some are beyond the reach of rescue teams.

    “This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes”



  14. Back to ‘Getting the Bad Guys’

    It helps if you know who they are.

    Rescue Me

    For background see my link on January 5, 2009 at 8:03 PM

    PEACE ~ Δ


  15. Alaska PI: how many Americans do you think know about this vote by Bush in their name? How many do you think would have agreed with it? (i stumbled across this yesterday)

    Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Updated 14 September 2007

    UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration in September 2007

    With an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favour, only 4 negative votes cast (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States) and 11 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly (GA) adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007. The Declaration has been negotiated through more than 20 years between nation-states and Indigenous Peoples.


  16. Oops!

    Got a few dropped words and typos in there. By now, I’m sure you can decipher my writing. I hope.




  17. Hi Gang,

    I guess Helen and Margaret will be back when they get back. I do miss them tho.

    Kindred spirit, Sally and/or ‘hale aikane’. (Did I say that right?) I d’know. Thanking Bush for his 8 rotten years just so we can look forward to a silver lining is somewhat like deliberately banging your head against a brick wall for 8 years because it feels SO GOOD when you stop. It will take some time for the bloody bruises to fade!

    A few postscripts to my story of Hurricane Iniki. Whenever I see Waikiki or Ka’anapali on Maui, in the event of another major hurricane, all I see is the tall buildings going down like dominos. Fortunately, we don’t have them as often as the Gulf Coast. Wasn’t Hurricane Ewa ten years before Iniki? You would know about that better than I. It was before my time. What level was it?

    Fortunately, Kauai has a nifty little ordinance prohibiting any building over four stories high. Naturally, developers have managed to weasel around the ordinance with two of the beautiful five star hotels here. (There are three.) The Princeville up here IS only four stories. However, it is built on the edge of a bluff with eight stories down the face of the bluff. You have to take an elevator eight floors DOWN to the beach. The Marriott in Lihue was originally a very old, old hotel with about six stories. The developer managed to get it grandfathered, gutted it and completely renovated it like new.

    With the frequency of hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and disasters of every kind, this country is badly in of need strict building codes, infrastructure, and Civil Defense. Considering the time honored human propensity for corruption and graft, it is VITAL to have a well-informed public at the LOCAL level as well as the state and national levels.

    It looks like it is going to fall on us old broads to take the vanguard in keeping SOME of the politicians out of mischief. We DON’T need Star Wars or anymore missile thingies. We seniors have more time to keep up on issues than the younger working people do.

    A few postscripts about our adventures in the aftermath of Iniki. On our way down to Safeway to use the free phones, we swung by the home of some friends about a mile away. They were in Seattle and had left us the key. This was their ‘Dream House’. They were in Seattle settling their affairs so they could retire here. We didn’t need the key.

    We just stepped through the shattered front sliding glass door. The house was a wreck, but, like ours, had kept its roof except for some shingles and tarpaper. We don’t know what prompted Martha to turn on the kitchen tap, but there was water!!!! No hot water. Still, cold water is wet!

    Down at Safeway we had to stand in line up to two hours everyday to use the free phones for five minutes each. We met a lot of nice people that way, swapping horror stories, getting and giving tips on how to cope, how and where to scrounge around for stuff we needed. In retrospect, I guess it was a kind of informal therapy for all of us.

    Our first call was to our son in CA. His wife told us he was stuck in Honolulu. He had hopped a plane as soon as they heard about the storm and knew we would need a generator. He had brought a small one as a carry-on. After the VIPs first and the emergency people got here, the radio had said they would let regular passengers come – when, we didn’t know. Proud COWA, we did a makeshift oral phone tree with our daughter-in-law to call family and friends and let them know were OK – sort of. Martha did the same with one of her daughters in the South.

    Our second phone call was to our friends in Seattle. We didn’t have the heart to tell them what kind of shape their ‘Dream House’ was in. But of course they gave us the go ahead to use their house for COLD showers and to replenish our water supplies.

    For the duration, we went down once a day with our dirty pots and pans, (we used paper plates), filled up our water receptacles and took turns in the showers. Many a time I stood there and asked myself before I turned on the COLD water, brrrrrrrrrrrr, was I really that dirty? Yep, I was. We were working almost around the clock doing the grunt work of cleaning up.

    Between showers at their house, we were also sweeping up shattered glass that was EVERYWHERE. No vacuuming of course without electricity. The shattered glass came to be fondly known island-wide as ‘Iniki Diamonds’. (For YEARS we found those damn diamonds in nooks and crannies.) My husband worked outside hauling debris to the curb.

    When we heard on the radio that they were letting regular passengers come over, we met every plane. Our son was astonished that we were there to meet him! Well, we couldn’t let him thumb it carrying a generator.

    We had been cooking up as much of the food in the freezer as we could on the BBQ before it spoiled, until we ran out of coals. With the small generator, our son got the fridge going and we had ice!!!!!

    That night we dined by candlelight out on the deck on sausage, two cans of green beans we heated up on the BBQ in a cake pan and sliced fresh mangos from the orchard. We had a CHILLED bottle of champagne left over from New Years. Our son said, “Gee, I don’t eat this well at home!”



    P.S. I forgot about our contribution to the Red Cross. I’ll tell you about it next time. I promise to make it short!


  18. Alaska PI: i meant the AIM movement, and the treatment of the Lakota, and, the anger has not disappeared. There are 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza, how many do you think hold that level of anger? do you really think it is all Palestinians? A bunch of homemade rockets set off by who knows who is inflated into ‘lives lived in constant terror’ and the blame is assigned to “the Palestinian people” and they are demonized as a people? I don’t judge all rich people by the behavior of Bernie Madoff. There are idiots and dangerous people in any group (including our own families), but judging large groups by the actions of a few? That kind of fear and hatred and mistrust and broad brush got some innocent Lakotas hanged here about 150 years ago. And the Lakotas have not forgotten. And it got some innocent blacks hanged 100 years ago here by angry mobs. And the blacks have not forgotten. The whites? seems they have managed to forget.


  19. Greytdog: do i say this or not? your comments re: unwillingness to work, what has happened to the land … to a casual observer, it sounds remarkably similar to what used to be said of American blacks and Native Americans, and i wonder how much of it is based in frustration over the refusal of this particular minority to assimilate to European-based, value systems and way of life that transplanted there with Zionism? you speak of a clearly European farming culture seen as ‘valueless’ by the Palestinians who destroyed it; i’m reminded of the Watts riots and the shock expressed by whites of blacks destroying ‘their own’ businesses by fire; equally senseless, yet perhaps equally understandable? … Palestinians have been described here as nomads historically. (i do remember the picture of the elderly Palestinian woman trying valiantly to prevent Israeli tanks from destroying her olive grove, however).

    Nobody wants refugees right now unless they can readily assimilate and have marketable job skills and extensive education. Just ask Syria re: iraqi refugees; they’ve even tried paying them to return – – they got zero takers. Does that have anything to do fundamentally with the refugees themselves? or rather the burden that they represent to the host country in rehabilitation and support costs long term. How long did it take for previous refugees to America to assimilate, under the best of circumstances and become self-sufficient? What’s been our track record here with recent refugees: the vietnamese, the Hmong, the Somalis, etc. It is not overnight in any case, but when the cultural divide is great, it can take how many generations under the best of conditions?

    I’ve spoken with Egyptians, Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians who have come to the US. One thing I know. It is not an easy road for any of them. And many of them come here hating the American government and what they see as the lack of a value system, a lack of respect for women, the failure of American society to financially support women and consign them to poverty. Sometimes, we bridge those misconceptions, sometimes we find agreement, sometimes we don’t. But until we establish a dialogue, bridging differences is out of the question. And maybe if we treated dysfunctional people we didn’t know with the same kindness we treat friends with PTSD we do know, we’d all be better off.


  20. “I can’t expect anyone who limits their understanding of the situation to what MSM and politicians in the US say.

    But, perhaps, some of you who have experienced Native American movements being mis-represented, and its leaders unfairly portrayed might have a better ability to consider that something similar might be happening in the Mideast today?”
    I’ve been thinking about this for a few hours now and think maybe gramma rock should step in if there is anything about “Native American movements being mis-represented…” that needs addressing because First Americans in Alaska have never had anything resembling a movement.
    We have had a few leaders who battled mightily and were misunderstood. But the whole picture here is entirely different than the mess in the mideast. So different on so many levels I’m not sure where to start…
    Underlying it all , I think , is a staunch insistence by Alaska Natives for acceptance as human beings.
    I do not see that as the underlying base of the poor Palestinian peoples- it is not similar.

    Terrible damage has been done to First Americans here- physically, psychically,culturally- but the desire to maintain identity and humanity has kept folks moving forward.
    There are places of anti-white feeling ( backlash)and certainly many who fall into drink and violence in despair…
    One of my favorite cousins died 3 years ago of alcohol poisoning. Bobby was a gentle man who fell into despair over and over. He got shot at least twice shooting his mouth off in rough bars when he had had a few beers. Bobby died alone and in pain.

    I don’t see any of that in the mideast mess- Egypt’s Nasser had a vested interest in keeping Palestinians in refugee status when so much of this started years ago and others in the region have followed over the years. I have Nasser’s anti-Israel polemic around here somehwere…

    (With power problem we have now, turning on all the lights and finding it is an issue. We’ll know in a couple days what the avalanche repair plan is and an estimation of time and cost. We are FAR luckier than so many of our neighbors in having hydro power and a full backup if something happens AND the dollars to pay for it!!)

    Whatever was the core of the Palestinian peoples’ life has died and fried on the altar of hatred-whatever community was once has been lost to ” the cause”- exterminating Israel.
    Sorry- no similarities with Alaska Native causes…

    I took that right, right- left, left test thingy as a lark recently. Found I live next door to where Mr Ghandi did… I keep looking to see if he left a key under the mat so I could look round his digs and maybe soak up some of his sense of identity and dignity.
    I have a hunch the mothers and grandmothers in Chile borrowed it when they walked for their disappeared-ones . I wonder if they would send it to Palestinian mothers and fathers so they may walk for their babies…?


  21. (a history that differs substantially from what Americans are being told)

    Ann: (from “Nancy Kaminer of MIT can count and therefore so does her article. She demonstrates that after the Israel-Hamas truce was concluded in mid-June, 2008, for four months there were virtually no rockets fired at Israel. The rockets began again after two Israeli attacks that killed several Palestinians. Kaminer analyzes periods of mutual violence and relative calm in the past few years and finds that in 80% of the cases, it is Israel that has re-initiated the violence. Her well-grounded analysis demonstrates the falsehood of the allegations that it is impossible to deal with Hamas or that it has always been Hamas that has started the fighting.”

    (an excerpt comparing tactics of neocons here v. Israeli political parties there): “Kadima examples: Israelis point to thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel, without mentioning that no Israelis had been killed by them during the truce stretching from mid-June, 2008 until December 26. That is, the prelude to the most violent Israeli attack on Gaza since 1967 was . . . not a single Israeli death at the hands of Hamas in the preceding half-year. And in 8 years, Hamas had killed about 15 Israelis with those home made rockets, during which time the Israelis had killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly 1000 of them minors. The rockets were small, handmade affairs for the most part and most landed uselessly. Some did damage to property and a few wounded or killed people. That would be a legitimate assertion. But the quotation of “thousands” of rockets is a half-truth and intentionally misleading.”

    Greytdog: i apologize. I get daily emails from and the reference to the more radical group was contained somewhere in a post since the start of the incursion; he did not reference them by name. I’ve done what i can in the past hour to locate it, but suspect i deleted the email permanently.

    It seems to me that everyone in that little spot of the world is so dysfunctional at this point (wonder what the rates of PTSD are on both sides) that they cannot solve it themselves. But i am watching the restraint of Iran and Hizbollah .. even actively preventing suicide bombers from leaving Iran for Gaza.

    In any case, I am not well enough informed to be sure of much of anything. Just hate to see what sure looks like state terror to me being described as a ‘defensive’ action. And, particularly, when it is the American people who are being blamed ….

    I also am reminded of something Tom Friedman said a while back about the Middle East: Arabs speak the truth in public and lie in private. Westerners speak the truth in private and lie in public. Any value to that observation or claim?

    for a funny read by Robert Fisk, try this:


  22. katmc-
    The gov could care less about Alaskans- be they beluga whales, polar bears, Alaska Natives, or …
    When she was running around the country with her drill-baby-drill team show Adak was suffering rolling power outages and fuel company refusing to deliver fuel. Turned out the utility was horribly managed, It had run up enormous unpaid fuel bills because the largest business customer was so far in arrears that there was no way for village to even pool money to pay it down enough to get more fuel.
    There was a letter in the lil paper out there by a gal who just loves the gov and her philosophy. Ms Palinista, we-all-just-need-to-take-care-of-ourselves-and-not-look-to-govt-to-take-care-of-us, proposed that everyone abandon town electricity and get their own generators like she had. Oh goody- a bazillion lil engines running right next to houses… fire? fumes? noise? diesel generators NOT designed for anything more than emergency power backup being all that most could afford crapping out mid-winter?
    The damn government agency which oversees utilities finally stepped up to do it’s job, Decertified the local utility, worked out fuel delivery and payment plans and , bingo, Adak was a town again.
    I’m not sure the ghastly gov even knew about any of it but she sure charged around the country talking about what an energy queen she thinks she is…


  23. Getting ready to head out for the night – neighbor just came over with a couple of heaters for the men’s shelter downtown and a bunch of blankets. Car’s loaded, I’ve got my coffee – all is well.
    An except from Obama’s letter to his girls:
    “She (Toot) helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better–and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It’s a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.”

    Stay warm. Stay healthy. Be happy. Only 5 more days.


  24. Oh- re: critter warm/cold weather behavior-
    I long ago decided such behavior was penance – we people types commit the sin of idolatry when it comes to our furry friends , over and over, and they demand we see them as REAL dogs and cats!

    Catholic beginnings always show, hunh?


  25. The palin/Alaska story is linked on Huffpo too.
    What THAT WOMAN is doing or not doing to help those people of hers should be a criminal act.

    “Governor Sarah Palin has left the office of Rural Advisor vacant since early October.There isn”t an interim person……….”
    “he did say that they hope to find somebody top fill the post soon, perhaps even in a month, but possibly not…………….”
    “Meanwhile, Gov. Palin is using funds not being paid out for the rural Advisor post and several others that used to support village and Native infrastructure to increase staffing of her Anchorage office. The new positions are largely working on the rapidly growing public relations aspects of her job.

    It may be Alaska”s fastest growing industry.”


  26. Greytdog said-
    “i forwarded the link the Mudflats about Emmonak (and the lack of response from Palin) to K.O. and Rachel. Not sure if it will do any good, really, but they might take it up. ”
    Oh- thank you! Having a terrible time staying connected tonight… keep trying to read or post and getting kicked off… busy here tonight! Whew.
    Books, and critters, AND pie!


  27. troutay-
    there is a link on this page below for direct help to villages too…


  28. Charles, that’s an excellent book. Karen Armstrong is a fantastic scholar and writer.

    And Pi, i forwarded the link the Mudflats about Emmonak (and the lack of response from Palin) to K.O. and Rachel. Not sure if it will do any good, really, but they might take it up. I really would like to see more action for the Native Americans from the Obama administration. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    And perhaps those of you with dogs will be able to answer this? Why is it, when the temps fall to cold, really cold, and beyond cold, dogs just have to go out then in out then in out again and then in? And why is it, when it gets really really hot and humid outside at night, why is that the one lousy night of the year all the cats have to come and sleep on your head, on your side, and across your legs trapping you under their furry HOT bodies while you drown in your sweat? But when it’s cold – fergitaboutit. Those critters ain’t anywhere to be found!


  29. Heavy stuff. There but for the grace of God, go I.

    Lucky we live Hawaii, eh Jean? We have our racial and class differences here, but NO where like the mid-east and the centuries of hatred between the Israelis, Palestinians, and everyone else who carries around a different Word of God.

    I hope but I don’t think man has the answers or the solution. In their religious fervor and anger, it seems like neither side can act reasonably. Without trust and understanding, there can be no agreement. And with the death of each person; a mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter grieves and then learns to hate back.

    Seems like we need another certified rep of God Almighty with a major big rubber band sling. Or with a Solomon-type judgement of threatening to make the Holy Land, Jerusalem, Mecca, or whatever it may be fall off the face of the earth.

    I am sorry if this sounds trite, I have no first hand knowledge or connection to this terrible situation. All I know is that there are the differing sides and each has reason to be mad as hell. Each are both wrong and wronged.

    It makes me cherish my American way of life.


  30. Good History written by Karen Armstrong
    The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


  31. troutay said-
    “Please go to Mudflats blog and learn about what is happening in Emmonok Alaska.

    What can we do??”

    The info provided by AKM for Emmonak is good for a contact for direct assistance.
    Emmonak is in the Calista Native Corporation and you can check here for contact info for Calista. They don’t seem to show shareholder-community services-help like mine so a phone call might be in order to see if there is larger help coming from parent corp to village corp…
    It is probably best to follow AKM’s suggested route of assistance at this time.

    We are not going to discuss the ghastly gov’s lack of concern for her constituents at this time. I will have a heart attack… or stroke… most certainly become apoplectic…


  32. Ann, Jerusalem is holy to Islam because it is believed that is where Mohammed left this earth for heaven. Thus the mosque on the Mount. It really isn’t surprising though – and I don’t think it has anything to do with Islam or Judaism – that the three monotheistic religions all lay claim to Jerusalem. They have fought over Jerusalem for centuries – literally. Lionheart, Saladin, Ben Gurion, Dayan. . . of course, to me, the irony is that for every site sacred to all of these religions, there sits a Catholic church – and you have to “pay” to get in.

    Oh well, pay to pray.


  33. The Tamil Tigers perfected the modern day technique of using suicide bombers against what they considered an oppressive regime. For a very good overview of the subject – the history of suicide terrorism – see the paper by Scott Atran at
    title: Genesis and Future of Suicide Terrorism
    And as I used to tell my students – check the bibliography for additional references and to flesh out the presentation.
    And on a lighter note, the weather in FL has turned chilly. Now that means about 40 degrees most of the time, but we’re actually under a freeze watch! Yeoww. And yes, the groves are bringing out the smudgers and such, but the real worry is in the fern community – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and the fern industry here supplies more than 3/4 of the fern/greenery for that day. If they get nailed by a freeze, they will not be able to recover very well – especially in this economic environment. We’ve covered up the garden, pulled in all the tropicals (my frangipangi and sampagita and calamandines) to a warm spot, and keeping our fingers crossed. Heading out in awhile to help set up the heaters at a couple of animal rescue shelters, then heading downtown with blankets and soup. Don’t think there will be any sleep tonight as I have to be at work by 7AM – brrrrrrr. Starbucks, here I come!


  34. The jews pray towards Jerusalem; muslims pray the other way. It is mentioned in the Torah many times as the capitol(700?) but it is never mentioned as a capitol of Islam. Seems like “not such a good idea” to split it. Seems just motivated by meaness and to hurt the Jews who hold Jerusalem dear.


  35. “Gallup has done a study re: what people want worldwide. JOBS. hands down. worldwide. No matter the religious beliefs, etc. JOBS. (Economic viability).”
    Sophie – I heard the report on NPR about the Gallup and having seen the affect that economic viability brings to people, I heartily agree. But – JOBS cannot simply be given to people – when the Israelis left Gaza, they left behind a flourishing floral, greenery, and hydroponic farming industry – all the equipment in place, ready to go. This was part of the agreement for the removal of the Israeli settlers from the Gaza – that they leave their houses, most of their belongings( Furniture, appliances, etc), and the businesses they had built up. (Ever been to Gaza? Having a farming industry in that stretch is an amazing feat of blood sweat and tears) And what did the Palestinians do when Gaza was handed over to them? They burned it down. Greenhouses, hydroponic plants, generators, etc. all gone – why? Go to the Jordan Valley and stand on Mt Tabor. Look to the west and you will see the kibbutzes – with orange groves, olive groves, wheat, etc. Look to the right – and you will see rocky land and maybe a few goats grazing around. The land on both sides of Mt Tabor is the same – the difference? The willingness to work hard, to create a life. And now people want Israel to apologize for this? What do you want them to say? Sorry the Brits split up your nomadic ways? Sorry the mullahs you listen to exhort you to kill us simply because we are Jews? So tell me, how should a country, a people, react when their neighbors have stated for decades that they do not wish to live in peace but seek your destruction? How do you play nice in that situation? THis is from the most recent email from my Professor friend at Hebrew University:
    “What is missing is a consideration of the structure of Palestinian society, its leadership or lack thereof, and the games being played elsewhere among Muslim countries.

    It’s an old story, but Americans do not seem to get it.

    Palestine does not exist as a unified community. Its several factions, based in localities, extended families, theology and/or ideology rank their own interests above any national interest. Among the ways they compete with one another is to be even more nationalist, religious, or violent than others.

    Each faction has its own arms, is capable of embarrassing the Palestinian center with their own attacks on Israeli targets, and of holding off any aspiration of the center to impose order.

    Some of the factions, now most prominently Hamas, have overseas patrons who push them to extremism, and supply money and weapons to use against Israel and other Palestinians.

    These traits of Palestinians hardly seem likely to bend in the face of one proposal or another, and certainly not in the face of pressure on Israel. They rest on cultural traits going deep into Palestinian society, politics elsewhere in the Middle East, and Islam.

    All this was true before Gaza. What comes next is anyone’s guess. It may not be easier to move Palestinian moderates beyond the non-negotiable demands they have been putting on the table for some time: a return to the borders of 1967; the right of 1948 and 1967 refugees to return home; and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.

    Only a limited version of the last issue (a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem) may find acceptance among Israeli leaders, and that may stumble, as it did in 2000, on an inability of Palestinians and Israelis to agree about dividing rights to the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary.

    The package insisted on by moderate Palestinians is not likely to win acceptance from extremist factions.

    Gaza seems likely to increase Palestinian animosity toward Israel, and distrust of any Palestinian willing to deal with Israel. Persistent attacks on Israeli civilians and the record of Palestinian fighters using women and children as shields are likely to sharpen Israeli distrust of Palestinians. ”

    Sophie, I don’t have any answers. I don’t think there is a single solution to this issue. Jobs are important – but the willingness to work and work together is just as important. The solution cannot be the responsibility of one side. So far,that’s all anyone has suggested.


  36. For those of you who can’t stand Joe the Plumber:

    Really FUNNY!!!!


  37. Hi Greytdog,

    Good for you, signing up for the writing workshop. You’re on your way to writing that book! I’m sure you will get and give lots of tips and encouragement.


    I certainly did not want to imply that PTSD was as frivolous as the common cold. As miserable as a cold can be, you can treat that with rest, lots of liquids and plenty of chicken soup. Sooner or later we all catch colds.

    But……the common cold CAN go into pneumonia which is of course, deadly. And we all have heard of ‘walking pneumonia’. That needs a doctor’s attention right away. A common cold usually just has to run its course. Pneumonia can be cured!




  38. From the Center For Biological Diversity:
    Governor Sarah Palin just announced she’s making the state of Alaska sue to strike down Endangered Species Act protection for the imperiled Cook Inlet beluga whale. The rare white whale’s population has already plummeted from thousands to just 375. They will certainly go extinct if Palin has her way.

    The crap is unending. GW may be on his way out – but there are plenty of heirs . . .


  39. “btw, the rockets referred to came not from Hamas directly, but from a radical group that Hamas has tolerated for better or worse.”
    And this more radical group than Hamas is????


  40. Oops, sorry Jay Leno, it wasn’t you trying to put the guilt trip on people surveyed that weren’t happy with the direction and/or president of America. Thanks for the snopes link Hallie.

    So maybe Osama bin Laden’s latest video is a fake too? Didn’t McCain say he knew how to get him? Maybe it was to use George HW Bush as bait – send him to Afghanistan and have him yell out, “Come to Uncle!” (ooooh, snap! snap! snap!)


  41. Hi Maven,

    I have been meaning to respond to your comment about fear of flying. I’ve been using the snap thing right along! It doesn’t always work as I’ve found out.

    If you can possibly get where you want to go by ground transportation; car, train, bus or pogo stick, do it! The scenery is better. You are not missing much these days by not flying. It’s no fun anymore.

    IMO, you may be one of those people who are incapable of being bored absolutely to death, strapped into a seat for hours on end. (Solitary Confinement?) I have been known to run up and down the aisles as much as I could until a flight attendant insisted I take my seat and buckle up with my knees up around my ears. They don’t even feed you a descent meal anymore that would while away some of the time. You get to buy a box lunch and might as well eat the cardboard it came in. The taste is the same.

    I understand the French manufacturer of Air Bus has come up with an 800 (that’s eight-hundred!) passenger plane. Can you imagine the hassles of checking in and going through security to say nothing of trying to find your luggage at the other end of the flight? Forget it! I’d rather stay home.




  42. Sorry, the above was directed towards Sophie.


  43. You seem to miss a fundamental point in your analysis of the problem of Gaza which is that the extremists within the Muslim community have turned on and threaten their own people and deny them any chance for improvement,as was offered by Israel in the past ,for without the misery of the people there the extremist movement loses its bargaining chip,its reason for being , and its chance to exploit.Even before Hamas, Arafat was known to have sequestered millions in France where his wife lived. Also the suicide bombers of Sri Lanka were muslims.


  44. troutay:”Hey Maven

    Someone else watches old Bugs Bunny reruns .”

    Hellyeah! I could see Foghorn Leghorn having a discussion with Shrub…now THAT would be funny!


  45. troutayΔ:
    I will blushingly admit that I still watch The 3 Stooges, too. They are on a show called “Stoogapalooza” which a local station here in Chicago airs on Saturday nights. I watch it when I need a Curley fix.

    Moe was rather fond of saying “Ya moron!” but I prefer the Bugs way.

    On another topic: I made a “pie” today with leftover ham from Christmas, chopped spinach, Gruyere cheese, eggs & cream. (I know, it’s really a quiche.) Felt a little savory instead of sweet today.



  46. troutay: Saw your post and am sending money for heating fuel now.

    This really hit home as I had to deal with board member idiots today about our own food bank and helping needy people. I am so tired and depressed by people who just don’t get it.

    Still reading all of your posts daily glad to see posts from Charles and mirrorman and others.

    Everyone have a great evening.


  47. Charles wrote:Speaking of parlors…I heard a story on NPR yesterday about this guy living in Paris who has an open dinner every Sunday. You pretty much have to place a reservation…since he can only accompany 60 people or so but they are from everywhere from the wold, all classes, et al. He has been doing this for about 30 years. Very cool.

    I read that and also thought very cool. Thanks Charles for pointing that out. More Tea and Pie on the veranda. I also read that someone is putting together an inaugural party for the low income/disable and is almost totally financing it

    :Charles said about our critters
    “…and they definitely understand a lot of what we have talked out of ourselves.”
    Yup… they sure do. Well put. I love the idea of an Empress Editor Emma watching over her person’s visits here… and all the dogs to-ing and fro-ing with their people. Someone (AnnΔ ? ) has horses too. Notice how the critters don’t crap up Helen and Margaret’s parlour as much as some of the people folks who stop by?

    Nope, critters never crap up the parlour, just the back yard if they are well trained. Of course trying to pick up the “crap” in 20 degree weather is no fun for the owners of dogs or horses but it certainly is better than trying to pick up the crap that Bush and company are dealing out right now. I at least have a manure pile to dump it in. Where do we dump the manure that those guys left behind?

    Jean, I thought of you today while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair making that big decision to finally have the teeth pulled and give up on all the other work. I guess dentures are a fact of life just like “shit happens”. That’s my daily motto, shit happens and I have to pick it up every day 🙂


  48. Please go to Mudflats blog and learn about what is happening in Emmonok Alaska.

    What can we do??


  49. Hey Maven

    Someone else watches old Bugs Bunny reruns .


  50. I did watch one Shrub-rewrites-history video segment (SNAP!) linked from Huffpost, in which he defends himself as to Katrina.

    Monkey-face refers to the *helicopter drivers* who rescued people stranded on rooftops in NOLA.

    I thought people who flew helicopters were called, um, PILOTS.

    What a maroon.

    Maven Δ


  51. Honolulu Sally: sociopaths are very adept at engendering pity .. particularly from women who ‘feel sorry for them’.. if it suits their agenda and they stand to gain from it.

    Sorry, I will never ‘feel sorry’ for GW Bush. I’ve got enough problems working up to ‘feeling sorry’ for Laura… 🙂


  52. Honolulu – You know that Jay Leno thing is a hoax, right?


  53. Hi all, good to be back in the parlor.

    Just got through watching Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, and his highlights on GW Bush’s latest interviews. If you are one of us terrible liberal unPalin’sAmerica M&H friends, you will be ROTFLOL (Rolling on the floor laughing out loud). He is like a young male version of Helen with great tv editing skills.

    One of my moderate friends also sent me a recent letter written by Jay Leno taking on the Newsweek poll of 2/3 of those polled saying they were unhappy with the direction the country was heading, and unhappy with the current president. He listed all the reasons why we should be happy – we have electricity, we are safe, etc. This late night host missed the point, it wasn’t that we were taking all that we have for granted, it was that we had a pretty crappy leader and we’re not in the best of shape right now.

    However, I do feel sorry for GWB right now. He looks like a sad puppy and he is shoveling his own dirt over his grave. It will be good to say farewell to him.



  54. re: Islamic extremists, Al-Queda and Hamas in particular? who funded them at their inception and provided resistance training and assistance? sadly, not Muslim countries, not Arab countries. Our CIA, the Brits et al. (Al-Queda is a translation of ‘The Cell” from the British intelligence list records.)

    Yes, the Muslim world has responsibility in the mess. But to suggest that the US and Israel have ‘clean hands”? not so much, I’m afraid.

    And, whether it matters or not, the ability of moderate Muslims to retain power is what is being lost in the process.

    I can’t expect anyone who limits their understanding of the situation to what MSM and politicians in the US say.

    But, perhaps, some of you who have experienced Native American movements being mis-represented, and its leaders unfairly portrayed might have a better ability to consider that something similar might be happening in the Mideast today?

    As for the rise of religious fundamentalism, it is a worldwide problem impacting all of the world’s religions. It is not limited to Islam.

    Additionally, the use of suicide bombers was not born in the Palestinian areas. They first occurred in Sri Lanka if i remember right.

    Religion as the ‘evil’? sorry, but i continue to believe subjugation of minorities and lack of economic viability probably is more causal. Gallup has done a study re: what people want worldwide. JOBS. hands down. worldwide. No matter the religious beliefs, etc. JOBS. (Economic viability).


  55. Greydog: were you referring to me? re: my quotation from The Talmud. If so, point taken. quotation withdrawn. I can assure you my objective was to embrace the spiritual message wholeheartedly and to invite others to do so, not to be used as a weapon in debate.

    Interesting tho if you were referring to me that you have assumed i am not Jewish? and/or unfamiliar with The Talmud?

    As to my 4-legged companions: one cat lays quietly, unobtrusively, in front of my computer monitor. Until discussions online become heated .. and then he stands in front of the screen blocking my view of the invective, especially if it contains profanity or inappropriate verbal attacks towards me.

    Seems i might be better off seeing to his needs, rather than anyone else’s.


  56. Cats do rule the household, don’t they? I’m a veterinary tech, so I’ve had lots of critters in my time. Most were rescues, but I’m currently down to just one dog – Aussie Terrier from a good breeder, which we call my husband’s ‘showgirl”. Not show quality, but the happiest dog I’ve ever met.
    Our premier cat, Toshiro, was the Godfather. The dogs (chow and bichon at the time) would charge up to him to get him to scatter, so they could chase him. (Well, it worked with the other cat). Tosh would just stand calmly and look at them. Telepathically, the message was “Oh, yeah? Ok, little closer, come on, just a little closer….” The dogs would skitter to a confused halt, and look at each other (“Hmm, well, uhh…I’m thirsty. You thirsty? Let’s get out of here and go see what the kitchen looks like.” and they’d quickly retire stage left. 15 pounds of muscle and he never had to use it. The look was enough.

    On a different topic – I’ve always thought hate was a subset of fear. We need to deal with the fear first, but some people just seem addicted to it or can’t get over it for some other reason.
    I’m not sure what to do about these people, save preventing them from hurting themselves and others (and me) while trying to help them as much as possible. Sometimes no help is possible, but at minimum we still have to prevent them from doing harm.


  57. Amen. And yes, Grouch, I ,too find it hard to believe that they could take us so far down.


  58. If I could bring myself to say a prayer about them, I would ask God:

    “Please give The Shrub and Cheney and their confederates what they so richly deserve”, which, I’m thinking, is prison.


  59. No, I didn’t go away. And no, I’m not really a grouch, even though I felt like one, posting what I did.

    I have no problem with your political opinions at all, I share nearly all of them. My mother’s father was a cousin and boyhood pal of Harry Truman and on my dad’s side I’m distantly related to Lyndon Johnson, so what could I be except Democratic? I’ve loathed GWB since the day I first laid eyes on him, but I honestly didn’t think even he could bring the country down as far as he has. I’m excited about our new president, and although I’m realist enough to know he’s not going to turn it around overnight, I’m hoping he can at least stop the downward spiral. I think he’s picking some good people to work with him, and I wish him and his staff the best of everything.

    The cat in my picture (and I have no clue why I have an avatar when I never set it up) is my Maine Coon, Simon, who is 1 1/2 years old and no, he does not like dogs, sometimes I think he doesn’t even like me, other than for the fact that I have opposable thumbs and can snap the cans of Fancy Feast open. All he can do is throw toilet paper into the toilet. Whole rolls at a time, which sit on the vanity because if on the roller, he will unroll them. He’s a very cat-like cat, very much the king.

    As for a forum, it’s too easy. Go here:

    All you have to do is register. I run one supposedly regarding a computer game that some of us play, but in reality a place where a bunch of us just go and chat, and even someone with minimal skills can handle it. Once registered, you’ll need to appoint some people to have administrative abilities, and set up your categories. There is plenty of online help available. Totally free. If you want to see one that’s set up and running, you can check mine out:

    You probably can’t read much of it unless you join, but if you are a Sims 2 player, we’d be glad to have you.


  60. Oh and sometimes I have other critters ….I have had a few men, they are usually rescues. I t does not always work out but I still find it worthwhile. L’Chaim!


  61. Oh Alaska Pi- I have some other critters too. Right now I have a Lhasa and her littler sister Shitzu. These are my first little dogs. Love them!!! Sometimes I make a mistake and actually call them…sh…c-a-t-s! One of my pups actually sits on my neck like a c-a-t. Nice prayer Mary Lynn! I was really wondering where it was going…hahaha. When is that Inauguration again? I plan to watch TV then and I hope to see Greytdog’s mother there! Pretty Cool!


  62. “have pity on their affliction, and grant them


    Mary Lynn-
    You just made my day…!
    Is it too much to ask for a warm jail cell for em too?


  63. troutay-
    Yup. And it’s awfully difficult at times to keep hold of that…
    One neighbor,the next block down my street, tests me to the limits oft times. I’m trying very hard to keep repeating,already, this year, “if that SOB goes by my door throwing rocks at that black bear sow and her cubs yelling “we don’t want you in our neighborhood…” this spring I will NOT go fill my truck in summer with salmon carcasses off the beach and fill his yard with em so the sow will move in with that idiot. I will not. I will not…”


  64. I’m asking everyone I know to pray. After very careful thought, I’m hopeful God may consider the following:

    Dear God, Father of the Universe, we humbly ask that you grant our prayer, for the good of the United States, and the benefit of it’s standing in the World.

    We ask that you look down on George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, see their arrogance and stupidity, have pity on their affliction, and grant them


    Mary Lynn


  65. Pi:

    I agree. This world has become so small that we do not have time or space to fight with our neighbors, whether they be in Iraq, North Korea, or the next block down our street.


  66. Looking back at my last post I realize what was explicit at that table was not so explicit here…
    We all knew the lil guy was due to and did ,fairly soon, bump into attitudes and behavior which would hurt. We also knew he was miles ahead of all of us , at 7 years old, in that he hadn’t had to be carefully trained ,for his own safety, to KNOW what he could not that day imagine.

    When Iran and their ilk start selling food and hope to their Palestinian cousins and their babies, instead of guns and hatred, maybe there will be a chance for a community breakfast in the Mideast… maybe…


  67. Charles said about our critters
    “…and they definitely understand a lot of what we have talked out of ourselves.”
    Yup… they sure do. Well put. I love the idea of an Empress Editor Emma watching over her person’s visits here… and all the dogs to-ing and fro-ing with their people. Someone (AnnΔ ? ) has horses too. Notice how the critters don’t crap up Helen and Margaret’s parlour as much as some of the people folks who stop by?
    AnnΔ said
    “Imagine a people whose lives are so impoverished that the greatest achievement and joy comes from exterminating the enemy and dying…for the rewards of the afterlife.”

    It is one of the deepest disappointments to me as I grow older that I don’t have to imagine such poor folks… I can see them all around …

    Way back to Werner’s kindnesses about my snippy reference to the olden days of ” No natives, No dogs” in windows of businesses-
    The days of that overt language are gone. Tis the lingering attitude which harms today. We all saw some of it in the underground racism in the just past election.
    But-I’ve been thinking- as we prepare to celebrate Mr Obama’s swearing in as Prez we HAVE made a few strides.
    Our own lil lives are our forever and as we age many of us realize it’s a damn short inifinity. (We’ll skip right on by the folks who want the forever of an afterlife…).
    A number of years ago, at a community breakfast to celebrate Dr King’s birthday , some overheard remarks prompted a lil neighborhood boy to ask those of us around him what we were talking about. We told him we were celebrating, amongst other things, the end of the days when the group gathered there could not have gathered in many restaurants and so on.
    Mouth full of BACON ( yes- Helen , bacon! ) and pancakes , the lil guy scanned the room of folks of all colors ( he is black) ,turned back to our table, and said as clear as a bell “no way, no way that could have been..!’
    Tiny step… not near far enough but a tiny step in that a child could not, would not believe people could be so stupid.


  68. I want to add – Imagine a people whose lives are so impoverished that the greatest achievement and joy comes from exterminating the enemy and dying…for the rewards of the afterlife.


  69. I heartedly agree about using religious works as weapons in debates. Also, some American liberals have difficulty understanding the total committment and passion of Jihadists to their beliefs and cause… more worthy than life itself-an act of martyrdom(!)that kills the enemy.My father was 2nd in command of a destroyer in the Pacific fleet during WW2. The ship was hit by a Kamikaze. When I was little my father showed me a bit of the wing of the plane that thankfully had not killed him or his men. Even at a very young age I found it incomprehensible that this could have been.And yet, these Japanese fighter pilots were proud to sacrifice for their cause. “It is a different culture” Dad said. Regarding suicide bombers,young women and men, and terrorists of other types , we in the USA need to know that they are the products of a different culture,with a religious passion or fanaticism driving them to kill and die. Faith based.


  70. On the other hand, my best work, IMO, came when a young EMT was badly injured in a traffic accident (their EMT truck was broadsided, the truck rolled down an embankment, the young EMT was inside with the patient, he tried to administer aid while severely injured himself, but the patient died) and the county was fighting his claims – both physical and mental claims). I combed through police reports, medical files, litigation files – and fought tooth and nail with the insurance carrier so this kid could get the help he needed. He was on over 20 different meds without medical management – about a zillion doctors – finally got him into pain management, a highly reputable doc versed in PTSD, a top notch ortho doc, and he’s now back at work doing what he does best – helping folks. He still has some issues from the accident (the driver of the truck was killed outright) but now has the support system he needs to go forward.


  71. Jean, when I was in need of a job, I accepted a position in the workers comp-managed care industry (still wiping off the slime). A lot of the cases dealt with PTSD – a diagnosis handed out as easily as candy hearts on Valentine’s Day. My favorite case involved a woman who picked up an empty box, “hurt” her back, and took paid time off for medical reasons. Her psychiatrist claimed she suffered from PTSD due to her inability to work (in the meantime, she’d managed to have a child and start her own business) because of her so-called injured back. My job was to write up assessments of medical & legal files for litigation. And to recommend additional courses of action as needed. After some investigation and such, I sent off a typical IME request to her doctor – to specifically outline his PTSD diagnosis in accordance with the DSM-IV. He called my office – to ask what was the DSM-IV. He also didn’t understand the typical request for an explanation of the trauma that led to his diagnosis. This case, and others like this one, really make me angry – to hand out diagnosis of PTSD like candy is to belittle the real PTSD sufferers – and it makes it harder for them to get the help and services they need.


  72. I find it both amusing and abhorrent when folks use religious books and writings as weapons. I suppose these folks think it gives their opinion a sense of veracity and righteousness. But as we all know, quotes taken out of context are simply that – out of context, with no real understanding of or interest in the foundation from which these writings are built. But without study and knowledge of the foundation, the writings are naught but words on a paper. To use them as a weapon shows, IMO, a weak argument and lack of in-depth knowledge of the subject. To use religious writings as a weapon is pretty much, IMO, a method of setting up a straw man argument because the “debater” has no real knowledge, just opinion based on opinion, and is not seeking to change hearts and minds (or understand anyone else’s point of view) but to browbeat their opponent into submission.


  73. been reading news reports:

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff are asking for a reduction in ‘assignments’ and use of the military in areas it doesn’t belong in and can’t deliver upon and requesting that other executive branch depts be tapped instead. ^5

    Biden apparently has told the Iraqi government that it has to compromise to address its internal differences reminding them that every dollar being spent by the US in Iraq is one less dollar that can be committed to to solving the global financial crisis. (Juan Cole) (war is finally a luxury we cannot afford it seems) ^5

    anyone who thinks i am anti-military is sadly mistaken. Unless they think that Biden and the Joint Chiefs are also ‘anti-military.’

    ann: Bin Laden tape out: jihad for Gaza incursion. (is anyone surprised?)

    stupid policies and stupid actions lead to national security problems, particularly ones that cause heavy civilian casualties.

    Some suggest war is 20th century relic.. no longer relevant, or practical or affordable or justifiable. Maybe we have the neo-cons both in the US and Israel to thank for that? If so, ^5


  74. A letter to the editors of the NYTimes, 01/13/09:
    To the Editor:

    Say what you will about George W. Bush’s place in history, he managed to accomplish the most amazing feat of positive change for our culture since women and blacks were given the right to vote: thanks to Mr. Bush’s incompetence, America voted overwhelmingly to elect Barack Obama and give the Democrats control over Congress.

    And for that, Mr. Bush, we thank you.

    Ralph Liberto

    White Mills, Pa., Jan. 13, 2009


  75. Hi Keith and others who have suffered,

    We hear plenty about Combat Related PTSD, but it is as common as the common cold with everybody. It is only a matter of DEGREE.

    I like your ‘Little Red Wagon’ analogy. You have to empty out the s**t one shovel at a time. (Sigh. Snap.) Then you have to rinse it out good. Tears work and they are a very good disinfectants and deodorizers. Out here we often say, “No rain, no rainbows!” You will then be able to look around and see all the beauty this world has to offer that you never noticed before.

    Next you start to fill up that Little Red Wagon with rainbows, music, flowers, sunsets, maybe puppies or kittens and hard work at your job.

    One day soon, you and your Marine will be strolling along, hand in hand, and look back to see that both your Little Red Wagons are gone! They have vanished!!!! You will laugh together as never before.

    One other thing. I don’t know where you live. But get outside into the bright sunlight every day if only for a few minutes. In addition to Vitamin D absorption, sunlight can enhance moods. In northern climates with winter sunlight diminished, lots of people’s moods can often go from cranky to depression.

    And don’t forget a regular dose of pie here; or at home, my personal favorite, chocolate brownies with walnuts!




  76. Alaska Pi…sounds like a very good circle of furries. Examples like that i spart of why I get so mad when I hear “just dumb animals”…they just are, no lies, no sh-t. If they like you, they let you know, if they don’t they let you know…and they definitely understand a lot of what we have talked out of ourselves.


  77. Greytdog-
    I have an ancient kitty- Toobies- who was an Emma for the first 18 years of her life. Boy- did she run the household!! The dogs still snap to attention and mind their Ps and Qs when she comes into the room.
    She is failing this winter- gently and quietly failing. Yana kitty and the puppers curl all around her at night now – a big critter circle of snorfles and purrs with the queen in the center.
    “Having a military is not the cause of war – having idiots like Bush, however, is. Stupidity, grandiosity, and selfrighteousness tend to lend themselves to abuses of and by the military. ”

    And , as we have just lived through, it’s worse when too many everyday folks have the same traits.


  78. Waving to all (Keith, Charles, Pi GDog, Anna, MirrorMan, etc)

    Off to bed. Night all


  79. Charles!
    Self discipline and focus!
    Crimenently, man, it’s January. Time to sleep till there’s more light!


  80. Charles – good luck with your writing. I’ve just signed up for an Amherst writing workshop in the hopes it will kick start the right-side of my brain. Arrgghhh. But frankly speaking, I’m really just killing time until the next Harry Potter movie comes out. 🙂


  81. WOW! Talk about a lively discussion. . . y’all’ve been really mixing it up today, eh? Pi, I have Emma, a longhair fluffy white cat who does my editing – and is know for strutting across the keyboard.. .she tolerates no foolishness from the droolies (the dogs) and even my corgi steers clear of her. Emma is definitely She Who Must Be Obeyed.
    And yup, in the Lower 48, snowmobiles are the Alaskan Snowmachine, and a snowmachine makes snow for the ski resorts. . . (or for Disney World, altho it’s that fake movie snow -)
    Smuggling, per se, is typically under law enforcement jurisdiction. The key is what is being smuggled – if it’s people, it’s INS; if it’s drugs, it’s DEA; if it’s weapons, then it usually is ATF. BUT it’s the INTENT that belies the jurisdiction more than the actual item(s). The military is not usually involved – internationally it’s Interpol/CIA/FBI – except when direct threat is inherent. And in the case of currency issues, it’s the Secret Service. Having a military is not the cause of war – having idiots like Bush, however, is. Stupidity, grandiosity, and selfrighteousness tend to lend themselves to abuses of and by the military. Blaming the military per se for the evils of war is a bit, IMO, like blaming the pitbull for dogfights. What Eisenhower was warning against was not the military alone – but the partnership between military and industry – and the dangers of that incestuous relationship. The military-industrial complex – where those sworn to protect this nation are used to advance the interests of the few at the expense of the many.


  82. I am focusing on being hilariously myself and bold in my chosen competitive arena. I have not watched TV in a month.Hence the messing around here but I shall now go read my latest worthwhile book-The Rebbes Army. Support the Non Military Troops too!


  83. You are fortunate to have someone special.Enjoy the pie.


  84. Oh! Completely off topic but I am working on my self discipline and betting back to writing…fiction, mostly dark fantasy/horror I suppose but hey, I grew up with Nixon, lived through Reagan and both Bushes so it should be natural.

    What is anyone else focusing on this coming year?


  85. troutaysaid-
    “Here in one of the lower 48s we call them “snowmobiles!””
    Hmmm. Must be more than one of the lower 48 cuz somebody looked at me oddly when I talked about snowmachines in high Sierra Nevada town in Northern California once.Turned out they thought I meant the machines which make snow at some resorts.
    Holey moley- we don’t want to be making snow! Have enough courtesy of the sky!
    Here in Southeast Alaska snowmachines are rarely used as transportation but further north they are- regularly.

    Oh Grouch- come get pie and visit.
    I have a black and white pound kitty named Yana who often sits here with me – and my laborious 7wpm typing- so bring your kitty too.
    Does your kitty like dogs? There’s a bunch o Corgis running around here a lot of the time.

    I’m with the folks who don’t want to hear one more word from Mr Bush and I feel sorry for Tex.
    I wish Mr Bush was on his way to the slammer AND (cover your pie…) I wish Dr Kissinger would have to share a cell with him.
    The k-word has done more damage to humankind in 40 years- as a sidelines chess player type than anyone else in this country.

    “In the song, the leader led the way and died. That gave the regular folks (soldiers) the ability to get the hell out of there before they died too. Bush and Cheney would not be at the front of the pack in a dangerous situation. ”
    I know JuneauJoe… goes clear back to Helen’s point about the real bad guys never even being in the neighborhood when it all comes down. How do you type disgust and sadness together?


  86. Hello Ann…let’s see the holidays are over and she was depressed because we couldn’t get her kids up here. Both of us are uncertain about work but at least she has a skill with 20 years experience, so she should be fine there…and we postponed moving in, since we both are getting old and crabby and still trying to figure out how to communicate. All-in-all though I am thinking things will be fine, just keep moving forward.

    Obviously I missed a lot being gone for a couple of weeks, so I am going to sit down, try to find a slice of vegan chocolate pie and watch who comes in…

    Glad everyone is still here, it is a comfortable place to be.

    BTW…found a good book ” Religion and its Monsters” by Timothy K Beal


  87. Charles! How have you been? How is your fiancee? Glad you could come by and I was wondering where you were.Pie? wrist band? rice with maple syrup?


  88. Hi Grouch…I agree about the forum format but the parlor here is all we have, besides I am certain that Helen’s grandson has better things to do than run a forum for us. As for having your opinions not seen or ignored…that happens, but I haven’t been here for weeks and somehow everyone has gotten along just fine.

    I think that Helen’s views are worth reading and the people hanging out eating pie are for the most part pretty cool…even a few of those who sneak in looking like trolls but just with a dissenting view.

    Speaking of parlors…I heard a story on NPR yesterday about this guy living in Paris who has an open dinner every Sunday. You pretty much have to place a reservation…since he can only accompany 60 people or so but they are from everywhere from the wold, all classes, et al. He has been doing this for about 30 years. Very cool.


  89. Wow! Step away for a minute and look what happens! Too bad work gets in the way of me reading all this good stuff! But worry not! I shall not be far away if a troll needs a good whomping! And I will drop off a recipe or two in my travels!


  90. Maven ∆,

    Yup, I noticed that Grouch hasn’t come back, so maybe he/she is not a grouch anymore and will be re-invented as Happy.

    Keith, so glad you are on the road to recovery. I hope your nephew gets saved – and your creep of a cousin gets castrated and more. In fact, I know a couple of choice places on his body to wrap tight rubber bands over and snap! away, all the while throwing my head back and laughing. What a creep.

    Still reading Michael Moore’s “Dude, Where’s My Country?”. He admittedly isn’t a scholar, but he does write a good sentence.

    If anyone really likes horror shows, google search “The Great Conspiracy” by Canandian filmmaker Barry Zwigler(sp?). If those in power really want to prosecute Bush & Co for crimes against our constitution, this 90 minute documentary is a good start. I really hope it isn’t the truth, but these 90 minutes are done with professionalism, interviews, and presented to open our eyes to the outgoing administration, almost like “Farenheit 9-11”, but without the flash of a Hollywood production. Warning, it may leave you feeling very frustrated and weak. Just stay away from rubber bands for a while.


  91. Maybe Grouch will check in later.


  92. Anyone else notice that Grouch hasn’t come back? And here we went and offered pie, coffee, seat on the porch, a Δ to cut-and-paste into his/her comments…. Sheesh, I don’t know how much more welcoming we can be than that.

    BTW, Grouch, “wedgie” was just a play on Limbaugh’s followers calling themselves dittoheads… It’s not a private club, just a name for *regular visitors* whether they post comments or not.

    As for a forum being the proper place to exchange our stories: We’d do that, but none of us knows how to set it up. (And Helen’s grandson is busy enough with this site.)

    Maven Δ


  93. Wow…. the support and community here gives me the warm-and-fuzzies! Thank You!

    Thanks for the comments from Troutay, Jean and Ira 364.

    And a personal note to Ira 364. I know a bit about where you’re coming from… I too was the victim of abuse.

    For about two years when I was 14 to 16 years old, I was the victim of sexual abuse by a cousin. Besides all the normal guilt that comes with that, I was coming to terms with my sexuality. I put it all behind me and went on, or so I thought.

    I self-medicated with alcohol for almost thirty years. It cost me jobs and relationships. I was branded a useless alcoholic. I went to AA. It drepressed the s*** out of me.

    Just almost ten years ago I went to a doctor for help with the drinking. He sat down and asked me what was going on. I began to talk and say things that had not been in my concious memory for some time… though not about the abuse. He diagnosed my anxiety/depression issues and prescribed Paxil and told me I was abusing alcohol but wasn’t an alcoholic.

    The Paxil helped me deal with the anxiety and depression and I eventually stopped taking it. But the nagging question in my head was why did I have the anxiety and depression in the first place.

    Then, my high school nephew (a troubled child himself) was sent to a “home” for troubled kids. He was to live on their ranch, which was run by my cousin. Yes, that one. I freaked. I stayed drunk for a week and it hit me. This was the issue that I hadn’t dealt with.

    I began to talk about it with those close to me. I never had any professional therapy, but I got there on my own with the help of many friends.

    Very often I wonder where my life would be if I’d known what was wrong with me; if any of the people in my life had known, could they have helped; would any of my previous relationships have survived.

    But what is the greatest is that I got through it all and was able to then recognize my partner’s PTSD. I’ve been able to tell him things about what he’s going through to make it easier; to convince him he’s not crazy, that he doesn’t have angre issues but has major frustration with his PTSD.

    It all happens for a reason. All my suffering, all your suffering gives us theinsight, wisdom, patience and ability to help others, quietly and with love.

    Thanks to all of you, and especially to Helen for keeping the fire in the fireplace, the pie and coffee handy, and for keeping the screen door unlatched!



  94. Welcome back Jean, my new haole (white) friend!

    Yes, I remember Iniki well, even though we had zero damage in Honolulu. Can you imagine if it had hit Honolulu? It would have been a crisis of monumental proportions, and I really don’t know if the aloha spirit or our military would have survived.

    Kauai is my favorite island – so beautiful, so relaxing. And after Hurricane Iniki, it looked like a war zone, like someone had leveled an atomic bomb on it. Glad you came out of it well enough, and instead of laying blame, you chuck it off to life.

    We had some Kauai friends fly into Honolulu – after the planes could finally fly out of Kauai – and they seemed like shell-shocked victims, seeing regular things like cleared roads, houses with roofs, and the biggest thrill for the little ones – toilets that flushed.

    Amazing that the playing cards were still on the table!

    Life is amazing and wonderful isn’t it? It sometimes takes the crap (snap!) to make us appreciate the good we have. So I guess I have to thank (ha ha ha) the Bush and Co. for those horrible 8 years without any silver lining for the brighter days we have ahead.

    Honolulu Sally


  95. i thought you might be interested in this… Sarah is still lying…


  96. Hi gang,

    To paraphrase Reagan, Here she goes again!

    I don’t want to leave the impression that I am totally anti-military. There is a definite role and purpose for the military. We need the military just as we need police and firemen. Do any of us have the training and equipment to catch civilian bad guys or put out our own fires? ALL of them should be much better appreciated compensated than they are.

    When Katrina and numerous other hurricanes struck, we could relate. We bled for and with them. On September 11, 1991 our island was hit with Hurricane Iniki. 9/11, honest! We freak at the mere mention of that date for both reasons. Of such things are superstitions born! There has been some debate as to whether it was a Level 4 or Level 5. A gust broke the anemometer at Barking Sands at 225 MPH.

    Trust me, the MILITARY were the ONLY ONES who were any help at all. We were warned that it was coming and did all we were told to do or knew how to do to prepare for it. We had a dear, dear friend John, retired military, born and raised here. He knew what we were in for. He dropped by in the morning and told us our best bet to ride out the storm was in our little guesthouse because it was in the lee of the main house. He told us that the hurricanes always come from the south.

    We could have gone to a shelter in the high school, but he advised against it. The car would have to be left in the parking lot. Turned out of course he was right. Most of the cars there were damaged or destroyed. Also the roof of the school blew off. When the calm of the eye passed, the people had to go across the street to St. Catherine’s Church. The church kept its roof!

    John had muttered any number of times before that we were a couple of ‘Dumb Haoles’ and needed a keeper! He appointed himself our keeper. (Sally, you will know what ‘Haole’ means.) After John left, Jean, the smart mouth said, “Don’t worry. We are up high and by the time it gets here it will have blown itself out.” HA!!!

    We had quite a bit of elevation, almost in the shadow of Mt. Waialeale. Well, our little island is almost circular, 35 miles in diameter. Iniki was 55 miles in diameter and we took a direct hit.

    We had a houseguest, my oldest and dearest friend Martha, a widow, who came out for a month every September. (We were like Helen and Margaret.) We didn’t know what else to do, so we played cards while we were waiting for the storm to come. It started to get a little hairy, so we decided to go down into the big walk-in closet in the master bedroom. (I mean, what did John know!)

    When we entered the room we could see the glass in the three big sliding glass windows and doors starting to bow. So we went into another walking-in closet in the downstairs hall, but it had a small window. Martha and I upended some suitcases to sit on and meanwhile my husband was holding the double doors to the bedroom closed.

    We were listening to the local radio reports until it went off the air. There was an announcement that Congress was sending a fact-finding committee. My husband joked, “I hope they get here in time to help me hold the doors!” Well, they didn’t.

    It started to get REALLY wild. We didn’t get the calm with the eye. We were on the ‘wall of the eye’. But my husband knew when it passed over because the direction of the wind shifted and he was PULLING on the doors instead of pushing on them. The frame of the doors started to give way. He stepped into the closet as the wind shot up the stairs and blew out the big heavy double front doors. We could hear crashing and breaking glass. I thought, well, the house is gone, but we can survive!

    As the storm was winding down, hurricane or no hurricane, I had to go to the bathroom. From the other bedroom, we could look out and see debris flying around furiously. My husband said, “Some poor devil is losing the shingles from his roof!” Then it dawned on him, “Those are MY shingles!!!” While we were in that room, there was another crash that turned out to be a huge piece of timber coming through the window of the closet we had been in.

    We were VERY, VERY lucky! The hurricane occurred during the daytime for 6-7 hours. It would have been terrifying at night.

    It was several days before the roads were cleared enough for us to get out. The radio came back, off and on. It said that the phone company had set up some free phone banks by Safeway to call anywhere. (No cell phones yet.) As we were wending our way down the hill through downed telephone poles, trees and unbelievable debris, my heart broke. Our beautiful little island was utterly trashed. That’s when the tears flowed.

    The aftermath was the tough part. We had no water and no electricity for two months. It was the Aloha Spirit that got everyone through. Neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger. You all know what a joke FEMA is. My husband spent the better part of a day at FEMA headquarters, going from table to table, filling out papers. Period. NOTHING came of it.

    It was the MILITARY that helped the most. A big old army truck came lumbering down our little one lane road with water. Two kids who looked like they were about 12, (one of them wore a wedding ring!) filled up two bathtubs and all our trash cans with water to flush toilets. They came back regularly. We were fortunate enough to get potable water every day from friends. The armory gave out MRE’s, “Meals Ready to Eat”, affectionately known as “Meals Refused By Ethiopians”. It was the ARMY that mounted the enormous island-wide cleanup and succeeded beautifully.

    Oh, yes. Marilyn Quale (sp?) flew over in a helicopter later on a “Tour of Inspection.” We saw the chopper go over. You remember Marilyn, the wife of Danny Quale. He was the Vice-President Mental Giant under G. H. W. Bush.

    The population of our entire island is 50-60 thousand. There were only three deaths as a result of Iniki, one a heart attack. Certainly not a large metropolitan area, but neither are many areas of the Gulf Coast that are hit every year.

    IMO, or InotMO, whatever. I think if or when Armageddon ever comes, it won’t be God’s will or punishment for some alleged sins. Just another in a long line of natural disasters that occur around the world all the time. (S**t happens. Snap.) In any case, the people desperately need the help of the military then.

    Armageddon is much more likely to be man made.



    P.S. We lost six out of nine sliding glass doors and windows. Would you believe the cards were still on the table upstairs where we left them. Go figure. And the little guesthouse was untouched except for a few shingles from the roof. We three moved into it.


  97. Of course Joe was giving advice. He is so right all the time! Why else was he the RNC’s poster boy?

    I think he should run for President. For sure he would have Homer Simpson’s vote, although not Marge’s. He’d have Rush, Dick, all the Bushes, Ann, all the Bubbas, and the pro-life kill the protestor votes. And of course Sarah Palin would endorse him – that would really put him over the top.

    Oh, snap! snap! snap!

    Sometimes it’s worth the pain.

    ∆∆∆∆∆ ß嬬¥ ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ (just showing off from my “options” key)


  98. Not at all, Sophie.I have had a lifetime of that type of pie.


  99. Ann: did the pie give you indigestion?


  100. Oh and he was quoting Talmud, too


  101. The Israeli’s found Joe the” Plummer”to be as much a jerk as we do.There were articles in their mainstream news about him. Apparently he was giving advice.


  102. Quoting Grouch at 1:59 PM

    “It’s great that you all have each other to chat with, but it’s intimidating to those of us without little quilt squares and little wedges, we already feel excluded, as if we’ve blundered into a closed club.”

    Welcome to the parlor Grouch. Sit down and enjoy some pie.

    The quilt squares are a ‘default’ if you don’t have a Gravatar (which you already do). If you want a quilt to show instead of your cat, leave your email blank. As far as the ‘Δ’, copy and paste and you too can be a ‘Wedgie’.

    Don’t let the various discussions get to you. The regulars are following along and love outside opinions.

    PEACE ~ Δ


  103. Honolulu Sally:

    no, it confirms that Pajamas Media and Joe the Plumber are idiots to be ignored. 🙂 And also helps explain why i eschew ‘mainstream’ press which is enamored of everything Joe the Plumber does thereby contributing nothing of value to the discussion of issues or solving of problems.


  104. Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the
    work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

    The Talmud


  105. So Grouch, We would like to know more about you. What do you like about the blog,what do you like on your rice, etc. I think that we are an inclusive bunch…Hi from Florida where the temp is dropping every second!No snow shoveling here, ever.


  106. Ann∆ and sophie,

    Doesn’t it warm your heart that Joe the Plumber is on assignment to Israel for pajamanews, and he wants to let everyone know how wrong they are to condemn the actions of Israel?

    I guess that makes Israel the right religious conservative good guys, and the Palestinians the left wrong liberal bad guys.


  107. I agree Food Life Line is a great organization. My family just worked before Thanksgiving for an evening packaging food and my 9 year old was amazed that 14 people packaged over 6000 pounds of food in two hours.


  108. Hey Grouch, you’re not really a grouch, are you?

    Like Ann∆ said, just jump in and write about whatever if you want. It doesn’t matter if it’s a change of subject, a different point of view, or a zinger from outer space. So long as it’s not posted as an insult to our fine grand ladies.

    Speaking of which, the longer we don’t hear from Helen and Margaret, the more we digress, and that’s okay too.

    For myself, I find it fascinating to “hear” the different sides of opinions, and I escape to some of the links. Example: I watched Ann Coulter on the View several times, trying to find the subsequent segment after Whoopie tells Ann that she can dish it out but can’t take it, and then says we’ll be right back (after commercial) but then what? I am assuming Ann wasn’t back.

    Then, I found some Jon Stewart you tube links, and he had Dana Perrino (Bush’s press secretary) on and she was a nice Bush loyalist (who evidently drank the same Kool Aid as Condeleeza Rice), and Jon’s comments just cracked me up. He was funny, fast, and still charming. I would LOVE to see Ann Coulter on his show. Two totally different styles and viewpoints.

    Bill O’Reilly is another one who makes me laugh. He is very intelligent and a showman for FOX news. It is easy to hate the man because of how he rants and interrupts (like Ann), but when he is not on his own show and a guest on The View, he is funny, and purposefully pushes buttons, yet can be very charming in his own righteous, pompous, bull farting way.

    Since I stopped subscribing to newspapers (duh, what publications or newspapers do I read – uh, nothing really), I like hearing from M&H’s on-line friends about their experiences, views on Gaza etc.,history lessons, poems, recipes, shoveling snow, and comments.

    Even your complaint about feeling excluded is a good read for me. It’s a pleasant non hurtful way to pass some time until I get to relish in the new wisdom of Helen and Margaret.

    Aloha from warm Hawaii,

    Honolulu Sally


  109. The name Palestine goes back to the Roman Empire. There was not such a country but an area of nomadic tribes. After the Balfour Declaration and the ensuing war by the Arab countries against the newly created state of Israel certain people were displaced . No Arab countries took these folks in…. they have not been resettled in 60 years by their people. Yet most of the jewish people in camps after WW2 were resettled in 2 1/2 yrs. Why? Stategically it was better for the so called Palestinians to be left to suffer and to be a thorn to Israel. What happens to Humanitarian aid? The same thing that happens many places. The people on top take it for personal gain. Why blockades? To stem the flow of arms.It is good you are so well read ; you might like to further your very one sided view by reading the Israel National News or the Jerusalem Post. Sometimes mainstream news can be useful.


  110. Ann: my information comes from Jewish Voices for Peace, and overseas newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent, a blog called Informed Comment written by Juan Cole, another called … several sources, none of which see the light of day in American discourse, all of which do not agree that the level of threat posed by Hamas can in any justify the actions of the Israeli government.

    re: the US on the UN resolution on ceasefire? sadly, no, reports are surfacing that the resolution was drafted in part by Condi Rice who then was told by Bush after a call from the Israeli government that she could not sign the very resolution she had worked so hard to finalize. The US in the final say abstained.

    The point is that using the equivalent of napalm on people geographically trapped in an Israeli-created, overcrowded ghetto and starving people and then using conventional military force against an asymmetrical threat in a disproportionate way does nothing to progress peace or improve Israel’s credibility in the peace process. And, yes, i am very comfortable in what i have stated re: Israel’s intent: to prevent the continued political power of Hamas, whether it survives this incursion or not.

    If the Israeli’s are that frightened about rockets from Hamas, how do you explain them picnicking and watching from a hill to see if any rockets are being shot? (btw, the rockets referred to came not from Hamas directly, but from a radical group that Hamas has tolerated for better or worse.)

    There are mistakes being made on both sides, but whether i disagree with Israel’s actions philosophically or not, pragmatically for both the US and Israel it is an absolute disaster IMO.

    Oppressed people often become very adept at becoming oppressors of the worst sort. I wish Israel would do some serious soul-searching about that.

    Further, i think it would be useful for there to be more historical perspective. Few Americans realize how Gaza came to be in the first place, the effect of ‘settlement’ building by Israelis, etc. How many americans even know about the blockade? the starvation? the unemployment rate? the inability to leave Gaza? their status as ‘refugees’ with an absolute right under international law to return to their homes? You cannot solve problems in a vacuum. Understanding history is essential. And our society is woefully ignorant in history of its own country, much less anyone else’s.


  111. And Grouch, I guess I should have written purr more… you might want to consider buying a t shirt and posting your picture in the gallery.


  112. Grouch, remember to wag more and bark less…you too can have a quilt square except that you have a beautiful purring avatar, and you too may have a wedgie just install it after your name. Welcome, just jump in and write what you think, join us for pie.


  113. You know, it seems to me that these ongoing discussions would belong more on a forum and less in the comments section of a blog. It’s great that you all have each other to chat with, but it’s intimidating to those of us without little quilt squares and little wedges, we already feel excluded, as if we’ve blundered into a closed club. I love Margaret and Helen every bit as much as you all do, but I don’t comment because (1) I don’t have a quilt square, and (2) you are all so busy commenting back and forth to each other that you totally overlook everyone else who tries to say something.


  114. Israel is protecting its’ citizens from the ongoing bombs fired on them by Hamas. The goal is not extinction of the Palestinians but the protection of Israeli’s. Life is sacred. The IDF repeatedly informs the people of Gaza where they will strike to destroy bomb launchers. Hamas then puts innocent palestinians there rather than protect them: killing their own. Have you not understood the Hamas’ use of the Human Shield?We pray that our enemy will stop doing bad things, we try to protect ourselves. Maybe they will change and become our friends. By the way that is untrue about lack of college education; Hebrew University in Jerusalem , which has always had faculty active in Peace Now understood for a long time that friendship and shared education was a road to peace. Sadly, Hamas has been educating the youngest Palestinians in hatred. Also as far as I know the USA did come out in favor of a cease fire. Israel is doing what they think best to protect their citizens that live under constant rocket fire in bomb shelters.


  115. 3. Aspiring Snipers

    And this is the microtrend that surprised Mark Penn most of all:

    “1 percent of California’s young (aged 16-22) respondents volunteered that, in ten years, they would most likely be snipers. Now in an open-ended question, for every one respondent who says something spontaneously, several more are thinking it. So this was truly news: A new ambition of the younger generation – not of a lot of them, but enough to be on a scale – is being a sniper…

    “And why the sudden interest? Part of it, no doubt, is an increasing respect for the military and law enforcement in America… (however) there is more of a questioning about being a front-line soldier, when you can do more damage to the enemy and be safer behind the scenes… This is also the generation that was raised on a lot of shooter video games… Finally, the statistically significant appearance of Aspiring Snipers says something about the post 9/11 culture in America. More so than in decades, young people today are unabashed in wanting to take down Bad Guys.”

    (excerpt from blog today)

    This is the first and last time i will be posting anything uttered by mark penn.


  116. hmmm…. isn’t smuggling a law enforcement issue?

    as to terrorists trying to wreak havoc here? so far the only ‘terrorists’ charged with activities here have been shown to have been of ‘no real threat’ to anyone but perhaps themselves, the plans were not workable, most of those charged were either mentally ill or duped by informants…. they were political charges that will go nowhere (or should go nowhere).

    Spending billions on the military has done nothing to protect our ports. When Bush had that famous PR shot at the LA port with the ‘scanner’ .. do you realize they had to transport that scanner from Seattle because LA doesn’t have one? And ABC News sent how many ‘ radioactive packages’ to the US with no interdiction?

    In the 80’s, Reagan beefed up military spending and drastically reduced USAID and humanitarian funding. One of the first cuts he made was aid to Pakistan to fund free secular education for all of its citizens. We pulled out; the mullahs filled in the vacuum.

    And now 30 years later we are trying to kill the resulting explosion of dangerous ‘beliefs’ and ‘ideology’ with a bloated, expensive, corrupt ($1.2 trillion of the Pentagon budget unaccounted for), self-serving beast that is ill-suited to address the ‘enemy.’

    The clip of Bin Laden not shown to the american public before the election stated his objectives clearly “to bankrupt the US.” To destroy us economically. (which by the way, was also the meaning of Khruschev’s (sp) words “we will bury you” the last time ‘shoes’ made it into american news.)

    I am not saying there is no merit to our military service. Just that constantly having politicians exaggerate threats and create ‘enemies’ to justify its existence doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

    A free society carries with it lots of safety risks. But we seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in our attempts to be ‘safe.’

    And so far, we seem to have managed only to have shot ourself in the foot (with or without shoes on) both economically and in terms of national security.

    Israel is acting like a rogue state (as has the US the last 5 years under this Administration). It has signed no military treaty with the US, therefore it should not be referred to as our ally. It’s government has openly stated “the US will burn before we do.” The current government has support of 18% of its people. And we have the policy makers there timing this to help secure them wins in the next election, while we are distracted with political transition.

    Children in Gaza are now shorter than their parents — MALNUTRITION. How much anger do you think that creates? Unemployment? Do you know that no Palestinian can attend a college? No Palestinian can have dual citizenship (the only people on earth denied that right.)

    Is this what we want to become to feel ‘safe?”

    And yet, in my state, only 2 of the Congressional delegation spoke out against the aggression in Gaza. Kucinich has stated the obvious: Israel has violated the terms and conditions of our military aid to it. Military aid to Israel should be pulled until it stops its political extermination of the Palestinian people.

    It just seems to me that many former military would not recognize today’s US military, in thought or practice. And i wonder how many military ‘supporters’ are supporting what they remember our military to be, rather than what it has become?


  117. I appreciate your views. But, I wonder, if we had only a state militia called up in times of acute national security emergencies, in what manner would we protect our national air space and our ports 24 hours a day from smugglers or terrorists trying to wreak havoc here? The Coast Guard is already overwhelmed, I think, trying to guard our ports. Could a state militia handle all those duties adequately?

    Truly, I’m not baiting you. I do appreciate your ideas and want to learn from you. I’m not the sharpest Crayon in the box, and the synapses tend to misfire a lot more as I get older!


  118. “I do wonder if the size and breadth of our military, by its very existence, makes it too easy for our leaders to follow his rules — how many of the ‘8′ are addressed simply to justify our military budget?”

    ooops. I was distracted. meant obviously “too hard” not “too easy”

    Re: Bush’s press conference. What struck me most was that he still clings to the notion that anything can be sold if the “PR” is done right. All of his “mistakes” and “disappointments” he framed in terms of PR failures. I guess the grandson of the grandfather who sold munitions illegally to Germany during WWII, got caught and had the chutzpah to see to it that Prescott got elected to the Senate (as payback or a simple FU to the US government?)… i guess the grandson of this family understandably is bound to be a little ethically and morally challenged.

    Unfortunately, Obama’s transition team has worded their stand on torture as “our policy RETURNS the US policy to ‘no torture'” legally insulates any of these criminals from prosecution, since it deftly implies that all of the torturers (including bush and cheney) were simply carrying out the Bush policy allowing torture; if they were as elected officials simply executing official policy, there can be no prosecution. This is a clever cop-out .. we all know that the official US policy remained officially “the US does not torture” throughout this putrid Administration.

    I hated the Clinton administration most of its tenure. I suspect i will hate this one just as much.

    Centrists invariably sacrifice principle in the name of “pragmatism” and end up with neither …. But Obama is true to his campaign. He campaigned as a centrist and he will undoubtedly lead like one.


  119. Elsie: without a national standing army, your brother would be part of a ‘state militia’ and available to be called up in cases of actual national security emergencies. My SIL is in the National Guard, not active military. Even he had a minimal learning curve to perform his duties in Iraq.

    I asked an old boss what his management philosophy was. His response: “When you are a manager, you may be presented with 10 problems daily.

    The key to management is not how you address the 2 that you do, but the wisdom to know which 2 to address and which 8 to ignore.” I do wonder if the size and breadth of our military, by its very existence, makes it too easy for our leaders to follow his rules — how many of the ‘8’ are addressed simply to justify our military budget?

    We currently have 736 US MILITARY BASES WORLDWIDE. True shows the lopsided spending on war preparedness and what it costs our country.

    We have a population that cannot see to the health and life of its own citizens, has one of the highest rates of poverty in the developed nations ….

    What was the line from that movie? “build it and they will come.”

    I read Col. Hackworth’s blog for years. I think he got it right.

    Maybe going to war shouldn’t be that dang easy for America ???

    We now have the Pentagon planning for the new threat — terrorism (which seems to be defined as any and all resistance to established, powerful regimes we ally with or identify with, or need to satisfy the needs and desires of US corporations).

    We now have the military assigned to our country, authorized to patrol our streets (to get us used to seeing soldiers with guns in our cities — this is defense? this is supposed to give me comfort?).

    The point is we do not always choose our leaders wisely; invariably it seems the military is being misused by politicians to score political points and puff up their ‘resolve and manliness’ at our expense. And the size of our military and the obscene spending attached to it i cannot defend in the name of ‘national security.’ Neither could Gen. Eisenhower.

    So, to satisfy people like me and to further justify a standing army with no state enemies to worry about, since the fall of the USSR, we end up with defining our military as “policemen” … we ask them to perform peacekeeping operations. Unfortunately, they are trained to kill, not keep the peace.

    When will we realize that BOTH the US and the USSR LOST the Cold War?


  120. Pi
    Here in one of the lower 48s we call them “snowmobiles!”


  121. Sophie, I believe having a standing U.S. Army (as well as Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard) is not a BAD thing; it’s definitely a GOOD thing!

    I’m grateful that we have our American military to guard us. I’m grateful for every single decent person who wears an American uniform and stands ready to die to protect our country, their brothers and sisters in uniform, me, my family, neighbors and friends — and my respect is not only for members of the military, but also for our firefighters, members of law enforcement, Secret Service, etc.

    My brother is career military, but I’m not a hawk, and neither is he. He is prepared, ready, trained, educated, and more than capable to do his job. He works hard every day, exercises daily to stay physically fit, worries about the people in his command, and pays attention to details. He stands ready when needed or commanded to take action. If ordered, he leaves his amazing wife and precious daughters, and takes care of business. Because of him, I see the military as a good thing. But, OF COURSE, it MUST be led by well-trained, conscientious commanders, NOT by arrogant, self-serving, narrow-minded, ill-prepared asses.

    I tend to see that old grey area….Pro-military, to me, becomes a question of: Who is in charge? What’s their agenda?

    If it’s the likes of Bush and Cheney, or, your son-in-law, then God help us.

    If it’s my brother, we are in good hands. : >)


  122. Thank you all so much for your kind responses to my last post. The joke about Norwegians expressing their emotions goes like this: Ole says: “I’ve been married for 50 years and I love my wife so much i almost told her so once.” I am very much Norwegian 🙂

    One little nugget about the Scandinavians who settled my state is that the vast majority of them came here as ‘draft dodgers’ — outraged by Sweden’s foray into ’empire’ that swept up poor Norwegian farm boys into Sweden’s military — outraged as well by ‘the greedy Swedish bankers’ who saw the wealth opportunities for them if Sweden adopted ’empire’ policies and devastated the poor and the middle class in the process. sound familiar anyone? (as much as we assume we are products of ‘american’ culture, are we really? … i suspect if we look at the attitudes and beliefs of our ancestors who came here re: war and military, we will find we probably generations later hold the same darn ones.)

    Sometimes, when someone asks what kind of mood i am in, i say “i’m ready to hunt bear today.” Imagine my amusement to find out i come from a long line of bear hunters and trappers, including one who fought back a fundamentalist Christian movement to remove musical instruments from Norway. The story goes he politely declined when asked to forfeit his violin by the religious wingnuts .. and the town backed him up and sent them all packing, saying “If you could play the violin the way he can, you wouldn’t give it up either.” So he played his violin at weddings (yes, he also had ‘music to play when the fights break out.”)

    As to my grandchildren, i will speak mostly of the eldest (he was 10 in 2003). His reaction to the nonstop-propagandized media buildup re: the Iraq War? “Grandma, this is just stupid.” (how is it that he was immune to propaganda when grown adults fell victim to it wholesale?) His reaction to a neighborhood child who committed a particularly nasty assault on him? “Grandma, he’s having problems right now; his father is in Iraq.” His reaction when the father returned from duty? “Grandma, he seems ok. ?? (more worry about this man’s son)”

    He lives in a community that thinks and behaves very differently than he does. He is under assault from all quarters. He is suffering badly. So i have worked very hard to provide him a place of respite and encouragement. It is so hard when you are a teenager to imagine that the minority viewpoints you hold are not yours alone. That there are others who agree with you and with whom you can find support and companionship. Until he finds those people, he is smart enough to come here when he needs to — and i am smart enough to do more listening than talking .. and make lots of food and try to send him home fat and sassy….

    In the 80’s and 90’s our heroes were the Wall Street wizards. We elevated accumulation of wealth with no sense of responsibility to those who helped us along the way to the “ideal” American. That’s worked out SO well …

    Now, we are elevating the “soldier” to the American “ideal.” How many DEM candidates were chosen last cycle specifically because of their ties to the military? We speak of the difficulties of soldiers reintegrating themselves into civilian society, yet we don’t see a problem with putting pro-military candidates on the ballot knowing they will formulate our foreign policy and budgets?

    Until the 1870’s, corporations were banned in the US. Until after WWI, we had no standing army. (both were strongly opposed by our founding fathers — but i doubt any “strict constructionist” is likely to reference those quotations.)

    Something tells me neither change has had a positive effect on our country or our culture….or am i becoming too jaded?


  123. John5051…You aced it.

    “Real support for troops comes in equipping them properly, and taking care of them in the best medical facilities when (and if) they return. And of course in the constant drumbeat for peace.”


  124. It is so refreshing to read this… you should be a syndicated column in every newspaper (except they keep shutting down). Real support for troops comes in equipping them properly, and taking care of them in the best medical facilities when (and if) they return. And of course in the constant drumbeat for peace.


  125. What? No post on The Shrub’s farewell press conference? Didn’t you love it when he said the press had “misunderestimated” him?


  126. Alaskan it makes my heart swell that you have a wonderful 9 year old who is already thinking about others! Thank that child for me!

    Alaska Pi and JuneauJoe take care! Sounds like you are having some very serious weather conditions! Yikes.

    Sophie welcome back! Seems we were talking at cross purposes. Even if I don’t always agree with people here on the blog I do like to read the differing opinions and insights. I think it is wonderful that your grandchildren have you to turn to.

    Watched KO and RM last night and all I can think about this morning is that it seems to me that Bush and Cheney seem to be daring PE Obama and the people of the US to do something about their now admitted war crimes.

    I am hoping that PE Obama can move the country forward and deal with the mess that has been created by these criminals! I agree with Jonathan Turley that we have to respect the treaties we have signed or our standing as a nation is nothing.

    Keeps me sighing heavily this morning.

    Is it mean of me to derive pleasure from the ladies on the View bitch slapping Anne Coulter around? I actually turned it on yesterday and was yelling at the TV slap her again! Scared my dogs. Thank goodness for Whoopi with the closing line “You can dish it out but you can’t take it!” Had me cheering!

    I have not read her book or books and can barely stand watching her on TV but from the few excerpts that were read I have to wonder what planet she is from? Why can’t people see her and Bill O and Hannity for what they are? Pot stirrers who just want ratings and sales to grow their personal wealth? IMHO


  127. Greetings from Tex! No, that’s not a typo. I started referring to Texas as Tex after we sent the ass to Washington. And now we’re getting him back. Pray for us.


  128. Greytdog, Whirled Peas
    IF you can mange the editing, I can manage the posting on youtube, I post from Canada and so I am not affected by US law.
    And if I mention “Satirical” somewhere in the posting (where it is to find, but not to easy) I might even be “protected” by freedom of speach!

    So get me the material and I do the posting!



  129. Grewytdog
    excellent idea about the slingshot!

    Do I have to use purple rubber bands or can I use any old color? Red is right handy here on my desk…..



  130. acckkk….
    I meant: “it seems as though it TOOK a long time….


  131. Greytdog, thanks for that Buffalo Beast link. It seems as though it to take a long time to wade through it, but it was interesting reading. I’d be hard-pressed to choose my own favorites from all the many names mentioned!


  132. Looking forward to your next post. I resolve to speak my mind this year and to do whatever it takes not to let something like the Bush vacuum of leadership ever happen in this country again.

    I never want to accept something that went so tragically wrong without a good fight.


  133. apologies for all the spellos and typos of last post…should have turned the lamp on with the computer…trying to save too much electricity!


  134. sophie-
    “I wrote from an intellectual viewpoint only as a form of personal protection .. to avoid the angst i have tried to escape daily since this nonsense of War became far too personal.”
    Welcome back!
    Being very familiar,personally, with this form of personal protection i’m happy to see you again…
    It is not heartless to make the choice you have. Supporting troops who have made the difficult choice to stand up against this war IS laudable. They NEED champions.
    The stories of vets who KNOW they were NOT heros is every bit as important. The local chapter of Veterans For Peace here in my neighborhood has worked hard to tell those stories -through their own stories and outreach to returning soldiers here at home.
    My own marraige crumbled under the weight of PTSD years ago- in the days when it was considered an individual defect instead of a human response to trauma.All the counsellors I talked the ex into going to see in those days refused to see the “broken-ness ” that was so plain to me…
    When the drinking to self- medicate finally overrode the human and I kept waking to find him in the closet talking to his guns I called his brother to get the guns out of the house, packed up my son and left. You don’t take unnecessary chances with your kids- no matter what other promises you have made to anyone else was my motto for years after that… I felt like I abandoned someone in quicksand but kids get one shot at growing up and be damned if was going to be a rifle shot in a drunken nightmare.

    I am so sorry about your yucko son-in-law. I am glad your grands have you… it probably doesn’t feel like enough to offset the SIL but it will be a lot to those kids. We also need to keep pointing to everyday heros at home- to change what HERO means to us and our kids.
    The other heros you can point to are quieter and not so flashy as the video game warrior…
    Here in Alaska, it’s my cousin’s wife- a nurse- the only healthcare person-no docs- in hundreds of square miles who travels by jeep in the summer, snowmachine in the winter to tiny clinics and cares for her neighbors.
    It’s my neighbor who worked as a magistrate in the bush for years- who carefully listened and grew to understand the workings of yupik culture and carefully , delicately applied the law-of-the-land within the cultural expevtations of his community.
    There are a lot more- we need to shout em out and sing em up!


    JuneauJoe- Yup… back to our lil puddles of light and one room of heat for now. At least we are gaining something like 2 seconds of outdoor light a day now! Careful over there… I live up there for 8 years… that hill is a sled run in this kind of weather- without the YEE-HAW part!!!

    Greytdog- Poor, poor garden! Keep it warm!
    Yup- the 30s are awfully cold for where you are. I saw pictures once of orange groves with smudge pots (?) in a cold snap in Florida…?
    Right now, I’m whooping it up cuz we have shed all the poofy down gear for subzero temps for the raincoats for the current 30s and are revelling in the “heat”.


  135. Sophie, Elsie is entirely correct.

    My father was an alcholic, a gambler. never worked and thought little of taking any nice things we had to the ‘pawn shop’ to get money to gamble or drink.

    I grew up in poverty. I decided by watching my father that I was going to do the opposite of my father and basically have done that through my life.

    There is hope. Hang in there.


  136. Thank you, Sophie, for returning here and explaining some of the background of your frustration and upset. If I had family members like your son-in-law and daughter, I’m certain that I’d be just as torn up and angry about things as you.

    Something that gives me comfort in MY daily life is knowing that things are rarely black and white; there’s a lot of grey out there. I will think something is written in stone, then find out it’s not turning out that way at all. So I’ve tried to let go of my worry about things that I cannot change, and hope/pray for the best outcome. I’ve even learned that sometimes a bad choice can eventually lead to good results, if it helps a person change course and get back on track in their life. In fact, for some folks, the only way they learn is through their own bad choices and the consequences thereof.

    If the stepdad is THAT big of a horse’s ass, then there’s a chance, as the kids grow up, they will begin to see that he’s not really the hotshot he pretends to be. Especially if their grandmother gives them her temperate, intelligent views about things to offset the belligerence and arrogance of their dad. Maybe even your daughter will eventually open her own eyes to his inadequacies and make better choices.

    Please keep writing here. Maybe you will find some love and hugs, some pie, and a lot of friendship, in Helen’s parlor here.


  137. From

    “20. Joe the Plumber

    Charges: The Che Guevara of bald, pissed off white men. In a lot of ways, Samuel Wurzelbacher really does represent the average American—basing economic opinions on unrealistic expectations of personal future success, blaming his failure to meet those expectations on minorities and old people, complaining about deadbeats getting his taxes when he isn’t actually paying his taxes, and advertising his own rudimentary historical and mathematical ignorance by warning of creeping socialism in a country whose highest income tax rate has dropped by half in thirty years. “Joe” indeed symbolizes the true American dream—to become undeservedly rich and famous through a dizzyingly improbable stroke of luck. As American folk heroes go, Wurzelbacher ranks somewhere between Hulk Hogan and Bernie Goetz.”


  138. “thing” should be ‘think Lynnie England. . . ”

    More coffee needed. . . .


  139. Sophie wrote: “How can we make sure that the upcoming generation learns new definitions of ‘hero’ and ’strength’ and ‘honor’ and ‘patriotism?” If we inflate all soldiers automatically to ‘hero’ status, simply due to the fact they have ’served’ .. what messages are we sending to our children about how they should lead their lives?”
    Thank you thank you thank you. You’ve hit the nail on the head! In our desire to not repeat the emotional debacle brought by the intense feelings engendered by the Vietnam War, we automatically gave the moniker of “hero” to every soldier thereby devaluing both terms. I have always found it interesting (in a socio-political way) how language defines us – and I find it sad that the term “hero” no longer means heroic action – after all, if the Medal of Freedom can be so casually handed out to undeserving jerks like Tenet and Rumsfeld. . . but I digress. I don’t think every soldier out there is a hero for putting on a uniform. Does anyone thing Lynnie England was heroic in her sadistic poses with Iraqi prisoners? What was so damn heroic about the soldiers who fired on Pat Tillman? I’m not saying that heroism doesn’t occur in the armed forces – but I tire of the ease by which we assume that each and every soldier is a hero. We forget that these folks volunteered for this job – whether they volunteered due to economics, personal commitment, or whatever – they still volunteered. They knew that part of the job was going off to fight. That’s like folks talking about the Twin Towers – and how everyone who died in those towers were heroes. Even though I lost friends in that rubble, I know they didn’t die as heroes – they were victims, some died instantly, others died in the collapse. To me, the folks on Flt 93 were heroic – it was a final strike, they knew most likely they were going to die, but damn if they would allow anyone else to die. . .
    We run our wars as video games and treat our soldiers as action hero figrues.. . and that just allows us to ignore their very real humanity that surfaces when they come home with PTSD, missing limbs, brain trauma, and intense anger because they can’t be the action figure we want them to be – because they’re humans first.


  140. Quoting Greytdog Δ at 8:58 PM:

    “Have you seen that commercial touting clean coal industry? The one where the jacka** walks through a doorway into a nice western plain. . . and claims it’s clean coal at work?”

    Watch it again Greytdog Δ and read the ‘more info’.

    Clean Coal: This Is Reality

    In reality, there is no such thing as clean coal. Join Reality. We’re going to challenge the clean coal myth and make sure misleading articles, false statements and other hype don’t go unanswered.

    They’re trying to show CC doesn’t exist. I hope this helps.

    PEACE ~ Δ


  141. Greydog

    That was not a western plain in that commercial.
    That was west virginia after coal mining.


  142. Sophie
    Thank you for posting again. From what I understand, we are all welcome here will all of our diverse opinions. Regardless of differences, this is the place to share them. Some will agree, some will not. But I think Margaret and Helen welcome any point of view.

    Except in the case of idiots and trolls.


  143. OMG Helen! Here’s something that will really rile you up: Elizabeth Hasselback invited to spent 15 minutes with W. in the OVAL OFFICE this past weekend!! WTF!!!!!!! Doesn’t he have, ummm, a few problems to attend to…and why on earth is SHE the one he is talking to??

    From paper today…
    “Elisabeth Hasselbeck enjoyed a private visit with President Bush in one of his final days in the White House, she told her co-hosts of “The View” Monday morning.

    “After being snubbed for the White House Christmas Party, Elisabeth and her family traveled to DC over the weekend, where they got 15 minutes alone with the President in the Oval Office.”


  144. we will not go down


  145. […] will ever happen between me and George W. Bush will be when his lips meet my ass.” – Helen, Margaret and Helen […]


  146. on a short hiatus from the computer — by way of explanation, for my mood and cantankerousness, i have spent the last 4 years trying to keep my grandchildren fed (literally and figuratively) from near and afar while their step-dad glories in fighting Bush’s war and revels openly in the notion that killing brown folks for their oil is the right of all good Americans. ‘they have it. we need it. we take it. it’s ours. end of discussion.”

    Being a good evangelical Christian, he has also persuaded (brainwashed) my daughter into opposing birth control as ‘against God’s will” and managed to add 2 more children to the family with absolutely no thought of how they will be fed or housed. Joel’s Army be danged!~

    My position does not come from being on ‘a high horse’ .. not in the least. I wrote from an intellectual viewpoint only as a form of personal protection .. to avoid the angst i have tried to escape daily since this nonsense of War became far too personal.

    Until more people are willing to set a standard for confused children that there is more to being an American hero than getting caught up in an illegal war and getting shot up or killed.. that supporting our troops can also include educating them that they have no obligation to follow illegal orders …. that they can choose a different path .. and be heroes too… that is getting lost right now. And as long as that continues to get lost, i run a very large risk of seeing grandsons and daughters who i worry about daily following a whole lot of B.S. and enlisting when they come of age. (Where are the other role models for me to point to?)

    We have to change the meme about what American heroism is all about.

    And, i have regretfully come to the conclusion, that what seems heartless – – to not support troops who are fighting there — is the only heartfelt thing i can think of to do to keep this failing empire 100 years of war on behalf of American corporations from continuing …..

    How else can we stop this madness? How can we make sure that the upcoming generation learns new definitions of ‘hero’ and ‘strength’ and ‘honor’ and ‘patriotism?” If we inflate all soldiers automatically to ‘hero’ status, simply due to the fact they have ‘served’ .. what messages are we sending to our children about how they should lead their lives? Look at all the messages they get from our culture already? You have spoken of Wii … have you seen how many video games are now ‘war games’? (not surprising since they all are descended from DARPA-funded grants for the military)

    I am very sorry if i offended anyone. It was not my intent.


  147. There’s a difference between a leader and a commander – a leader actually leads – but a commander is usually rear guard and commands. Perhaps that’s why the POTUS is a Commander In Chief, and not the Leader in Chief.


  148. JuneauJoe & Pi – take care of yourselves out there.
    And to everyone whose weather is beyond “normal winter weather” – stay warm, eat pie, and make sure you move those toes and fingers to keep the circulation going. FL is predicted to have temps in the mid-30s by end of this week. Mild and warm to some of you – brrrrr to Floridians. And I just planted my garden!!! Time to pull out the plastic garden covers.


  149. Alaska Pi: Waist Deep in the big Muddy could very well characterize Bush/Cheney with a big exception. In the song, the leader led the way and died. That gave the regular folks (soldiers) the ability to get the hell out of there before they died too. Bush and Cheney would not be at the front of the pack in a dangerous situation.

    They are on TV barking orders and getting young people killed. (Not their kids though)

    I am cutting back on electricity.


  150. Okay I’ve caught bits and pieces of the Shrub’s farewell to the press. Can we say delusional? Can we say that we are very fortunate that the wake of disaster following this man isn’t wider than it already is? Oh my god. Even David Gergen and Ed Rollins are saying the man is beyond abject failure. Omigod – I need a shoe to throw – to heck with rubber bands – gimme a shoe – a steel toed Doc Marttin! And I hope it bounces and hits Cheney. . . then bounces again and lodges in Limbaugh’s mouth.


  151. Ira364, have you seen that commercial touting clean coal industry? The one where the jacka** walks through a doorway into a nice western plain. . . and claims it’s clean coal at work? Well, I’ve been really tempted of taking their script and transposing that over the Sago Mining Disaster coverage, the TVA coal sludge lehar, and footage of the mountain removal. . . and posting to youtube. But unfortunately, I can’t – I’m 1) not technologically savvy enough to figure out how to do, (plus no equipment – editing equipment – to do it), and 2) I suspect their copy is protected under intellectual property law. . . sigh. But wish I could take their propaganda and use it against them. ANy takers???? Whirled Peas?


  152. Watching Rachel Maddow who just finished interviewing the military counsel for the prisoners at Gitmo. Lord almighty – now those are heroes – upholding the Constitution, the law of the land, knowing that such actions could very well lead to the end of their military career – dishonorable discharge, etc. And now Rachel’s interviewing the editor of the NOLA Picayune – the newspaper that won the Pulitzer for their heroic coverage of the near death experience of their beloved city. If and when NOLA returns, it won’t be because of GW. It will be in spite of GW. And if this country regains any footing in global opinion, it will be in spite of GW and the Dick.


  153. part of HURRICANE- for GWB, after Katrina
    music and lyrics by Buddy Tabor

    “…Some drowned in their attics, some died of burning thirst
    They all died alone and that was the worst
    No one heard their screams, no one heard their cries
    There were no tears in your cold dark eyes…

    When the hurricane hit you were in a drier land
    Raising funds for yourself and your own command
    You never had to suffer and you never felt the pain
    ‘Cause you were always sheltered from the hurricane

    You don’t know what you’re doing, you’re just a front man
    You’re nothing but a puppet for the ones in command
    People lost their homes, people lost their lives
    And there were no tears in your cold dark eyes…”

    Boy- be careful- we get this mess like this a couple times a year but this is a bad one. Will be interesting to know how long we’ll be on diesel power… Tower 35 taken out by avalanche at Snettisham…no hydro power for awhile.
    Just keep your hipwaders on -the-ghastly gov is due back next week…
    Whoa- hadn’t heard the Seeger “…Muddy” song -will have to find it.


  154. I liked the bit about the writers and “opiners” are not happy with him, but he has done nothing to change our standing in the world. Oh please!


  155. I listened to the POOTUS on MPR. He has no clue, or will not take any responsibility for what he has done.
    He also stated that they had been timely with Katrina.
    Is he joking? I think he hears nothing, sees nothing, does nothing, and cares even less.
    Misunderestimating indeed.

    Only 7 days, 5 hours, and 33 minutes


  156. Raji:
    Sorry, but I cannot listen to that jerk for even one more minute. Farewell speeches? I’ll wait for the “For Dummies” version. Wait, this IS the “For Dummies” version…..



  157. This is for all of you and I’m not going to try to type out the list. Are you listening to all these farewell speeches by POTUS? How, Why did we ever elect such a man and for 8 years??
    Were we all “SHEEPLE”? I am appalled at whatever made us stick our heads in the sand. Hopefully, we will no longer do so. I know I turned my head and just ignored the situation. You know the answer, what can one person do. Well, They say this is the end of the “baby Bloomers” but I think this is just the beginning. I’m a little older than them but I think we can all join together. This blog has pointed out that there are older intelligent, informative people out there willing to share.
    You may want to turn off the TV or radio but listen and learn what “you do not want in a POTUS”.
    Now the rest of you jump in and express what I am trying to say as I am not quite as good at verbalizing like some of you.


  158. Elsie, thanks! (Didn’t mean to leave you out!)

    Greydog- I also appreciated your insights on “clean” coal. No fuel that combusts is clean (biofuel, coal, gas, diesel, gasoline)… they ALL produce carbon dioxide. Coal and biofuel aren’t answers, they are more of the same thing. The sun, wind, and water are where it’s at!!


  159. Elsie Δ

    Thanks for the link to The View. While I love to hate that show, the chance to see Coulter try to swim in uncharted waters (read: any place besides Fox) was irresistable.

    Booo to Coulter for slamming Barbara on her reading style (can you say “back against the wall attack” ?) Actually, booo to Coulter for everything that came out of her biased anorexic little mouth.

    Yay to Whoopi for the “you can dish it out but you can’t take it” line.



  160. So really I guess the war in Iraq is one group of fundamentalists wanting to destroy another, but isn’t that what all wars are about ? (if you don’t include the desire to hoard resources and get rich… not naming names, but it starts with a ‘C’, ends in a ‘y’ and has ‘hene’ in the middle).


  161. Hi Helen,
    It was good to read a new post from you and I do hope the holidays were good to you. I have been reading you for quite some time, but never posted. My New Year’s resolution is “if I think it…write it” lol.
    I was involved with the Obama campaign because I knew it was time to take action. This was the first time I had a feeling of urgency since RFK was running. So, yes, I’m an old broad of 60 and have never seen a train wreck that quite matches “W’s” administration (and I use the term “administration” very loosely.
    “W” can go to Texas, sorry he will be so close to you, and he can kiss my ass every day and it still won’t make up for his total ineptness. I’m proud to say I NEVER voted for this idiot.
    Now, also, Palin, also, can go live on that island where she can see Russia, also, and I could live the rest of my days without hearing from her again, also, you betcha! I think she should contact the Guinness folks to see if she has spoken the longest sentence ever!!! She opened her yap when McCain tapped her and the yap is still going. SHUT UP, PLEASE!
    So keep writing girlfriend and I will make sure to write more ’cause “if I think it…write it”.

    Corie in North Carolina ( now a Blue State…hehehe)


  162. Another interesting thing I’ve noticed about neocon fundamentalists is that they hate Islamic fundamentalists, but they are preaching the same message! Do they not see this?


  163. Thanks, Greydog. I forgot that feminism is a bad word for neocons. I just think of it academically… you know: first wave feminism as women’s suffrage, second wave as women’s rights, third wave in questioning gender as a social construction. I guess neocons don’t get that deep. They’re still worried that women having choices might bring progress… *gasp!* 😉


  164. Ira364, it’s okay, I, too, understood your meaning, even if I didn’t already know myself that the Coultergeist is the antithesis of anything good, like feminism! She’s a virulent, hate-filled, nauseating female version of Limbaugh, etc.


  165. Ira364 – your post was very clear – I think we were all commenting (in a roundabout way) on the idea that women like Coulter spew hateful rhetoric towards other women (aka liberal, progressive, & thinking women), using the word “feminist” as if it were a scatological term (the same way their mouth twists whenever they use the word “liberal”) – yet I’m sure we’ve all noticed that if it were not for women who dared to stand up, Coulter, Malkin, and their ilk, would still be relegated to the backwater of media attention. These are women like Schafley who preach out against women having choices, but reserve the right of choice for themselves. These are the same women who expound on the virtues of Fundamentalism, but would never place themselves in a situation in which they would be subordinate to any other person. But they expect other women to do that very thing. Only in their case, Coulter et al want women to be subordinate to them. In the words of their heroine, thanks, but no thanks!~


  166. Hey guys! Thanks for your responses. My post on Coulter must have been unclear. I meant that she is NOT a feminist, she is a fundamentalist, the antithesis of feminist. Fundamentalist women tend to buy into their own oppression. They believe that the status-quo should be preserved, even if it means that women’s voices should be quieted. Choices should be removed from women to “preserve” the family unit, religion, etc, blah blah blah. If they actually listen to their own rhetoric, they might realize this themselves, but they are too busy spouting off that their values should be everyone’s values, even if those values trample of people’s rights! Boo to fundamentalists!!!!!


  167. Ack. I am sick. and it wasn’t the cake with the orange juice, brandy and sugar frosting.

    Is Ann Coulter sick? She looks so ghastly. As much as I never watch the view, I did this time just to see what she had to say. Yay Whoopie!
    Ann just spews what ever she thinks will get people worked up. She has no facts, no personal experience. She just attacks and blames “liberals” for everything.


  168. I gave up on the idea of resolutions years ago. I live my life by my motto:

    Life life to the fullest, one day at a time, with as much passion as possible.

    That is all any of us can do. I treat others who deserve respect with respect, and those who don’t I just ignore them. I am honest – even when it hurts – because everybody needs to have one really honest friend. My friends know who to go to when they need an honest answer – regardless.

    Happy New Year Everyone – may it be prosperous!!!


  169. Ira364, thanks for the mention of Coulter on “The View” this morning. I don’t watch that show, but I went to the ABC web site and watched today’s video of the women trying to interview the “Coultergeist” (thanks, Catherine!). Actually there are 3 sections of the ABC video there to click on, or, you can youtube it.

    Anyway, the wicked witch found herself in enemy territory, and she didn’t just roll over everyone like she normally does. The group challenged her, and she didn’t like it. It ends with Whoopi telling her that she can dish it out, but she can’t take it. I LOVED it, in a sick kinda way.

    If you can stomach it, here’s the link: This link opens with the videos; after today, I’m not sure how much looking will be required to find the link.


  170. That’s cool Grey Dog! I’ll be looking or listening or all of the above.

    As for Coultergeist. She’s just in it for the money. That’s not feminism, just pure greed.


  171. Ira364, I certainly wouldn’t put Coulter or Palin or Malkin in the “feminist” category – although I would definitely give them the title of Feminazi – I’m sure my definition would differ from Limbaugh’s definition.

    BTW, Rev. Sharon Watkins has been asked to deliver the sermon at the Inaugural Prayer Service – My mom is thrilled as Rev. Watkins was one of her theology students. I think Rev. Sharon makes a nice counterpoint to Rick Whatshisname. . . a liberal feminist minister who leads one of the largest indigenous Protestant denominations. . .The Inaugural Prayer Service is the first event of the day. Some stations will carry it live. If it is live in your area, my mom will be in the third pew from the front, on the pulpit side. 🙂


  172. Very funny post. Candles must be the gift for all of those who don’t give a crap about the person receiving them.

    My other favorite one is when they give a picture of themselves!! LOL!!


  173. So sorry I can’t get excited about rice!! I grew up in the middle west and we at e potatoes, lots of potatoeos. I like them fried, hash browns, baked, scalloped etc.

    Keith, thanks for you comments and hope your friend will improve…………………………….

    There are so many of you to thank for your idieas and encouragement that the list got way to long. o to all of y ou,many thanks to allof you for youir suggestions. Will have to save the Wii for a little late. Don’t seem to have a hand-eye problem. Problem is getting hand up to my mouth.

    I got the idea for the gatitude beads when I bought one,created my own design and made a bunch. here are woooden beads with words written on them. PEACE is one frequently used by me. in between the wooden beads are pretty beads. Use the beads in meditation and give thanks in gratitude for all in your life, good as weel as not so good for we learn lessons from them all.

    After living with my SO for 22 years and who was a Rush fan, REpublican etc. If GW said it it was gospel. If I had worn an elastic band then I would have had to buy them by the gross and he would have have red welts continally on his head! (He passed away 9/06)
    BTW this am I heard GW giving all his explanations for not going to site of Katrina, and all the other major things he didn’t get to. BArf, barf.

    My caregivers are from the Phillipines and the rice cooker is prominently on the kitchen counter!!


  174. For Helen and Margaret:

    Ann Coulter was on the View this morning– I’d love to hear your take on THAT woman! Isn’t it interesting how that neo-con woman has bought into her own oppression?

    Feminism isn’t the problem, fundamentalism is.


  175. ps. In that third piece of advice I meant to say:

    My memories of what I have done to help others defines me more than my memories of what was done to me. It brings me a real sense of pride and peace.

    Again, hope that is helpful! (hug!)


  176. Dear Keith,

    My heart goes out to you and your partner. As a fellow sufferer of PTSD (from an abusive childhood), I have the following advice for you:

    Remind your partner that PTSD is a NORMAL response to an ABNORMAL situation!

    Help your partner reestablish his sense of control in his life, even with little gestures like who gets to have the remote control in the evenings.

    And here is some advice from my own personal experience with therapy– there is a time to talk about it and grieve it, but there comes a time when NOT talking about it means a real attempt to re-establish “normalcy,” to not want to be defined by it anymore. I am no longer defined by my childhood experience, even as I will always carry around the memories of it. Help your partner make new memories to “replace” the old ones, memories that he can fall back on when thinking about his self-identity! 🙂

    Hope that is helpful, and know it comes from an earnest and compassionate place.


  177. Jean,

    Thanks for the link to the “miniature-earth” video.
    It was amazing. I hope everyone takes a minute to watch it.


  178. Alaska Pi,
    I am up by Crows Hill in Douglas. I was shoveling snow a lot this past weekend.

    Pete Seeger has some great anti war songs as well:
    Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

    The Sergeant said, “Sir, are you sure,
    This is the best way back to the base?”
    “Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
    ‘Bout a mile above this place.
    It’ll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
    We’ll soon be on dry ground.”
    We were — waist deep in the Big Muddy
    And the big fool said to push on.

    The Sergeant said, “Sir, with all this equipment
    No man will be able to swim.”
    “Sergeant, don’t be a Nervous Nellie,”
    The Captain said to him.
    “All we need is a little determination;
    Men, follow me, I’ll lead on.”
    We were — neck deep in the Big Muddy
    And the big fool said to push on.

    All at once, the moon clouded over,
    We heard a gurgling cry.
    A few seconds later, the captain’s helmet
    Was all that floated by.
    The Sergeant said, “Turn around men!
    I’m in charge from now on.”
    And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
    With the captain dead and gone.


  179. Proud,

    I agree Food Life Line is a great organization. My family just worked before Thanksgiving for an evening packaging food and my 9 year old was amazed that 14 people packaged over 6000 pounds of food in two hours. He was so touched that he wants to make sure that we do it about once a month. They were fully booked over the holidays though. I was amazed at their setup and how fully organized they are.

    My 9 year old also setup his own food drive over the holidays and through January to take to the food bank in Lynnwood. His goal this year is to collect 100 pounds of food and to increase that amount every year.

    Thanks for all of the work that you do.


  180. Well- you are right…also, he IS one of the BIGGEST bad guys of our lifetime… and struts around in the open AND says things about Mr Obama as well as others- when he should be in jail.


  181. Well, he said something snarky about obama


  182. “Henry Kissinger, neo-con-munist superstar”
    euwwww- troutay…
    You brought the K-word in here. Let’s wrap up all the pie before we slop slime on our goodies…!


  183. Looks like things haven’t changed much since then:

    “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”

    – Henry Kissinger, neo-con-munist superstar


  184. Here is another for you:


  185. Juneau Joe-
    Hope you are high and dry, wherever you are in the borough… here comes the rain!
    Heard a big avalanche off the mountain this am.My neighbors and I dug all the storm drains out from under last night ( fire hydrants too).
    I left the drug use by returning Nam soldiers for vets to talk about…It always seemed , to me, to be another “whistling in the dark” thingy like the mottos on lighters another vet here noted. I don’t know.
    Here we would call it talking-to-the-bears when you walk . It’s sometimes hard to know if you are letting the bears know you are there so they will run awaycuz you sooo big and loud or putting yourself on watch for that distinctive smell or certain sounds…

    Heard this on the radio the other day… reminded me we were never going to forget…
    45 years ago now…

    Bob Dylan-
    Masters Of War
    “Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin’
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it’s your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly…”

    Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music


  186. Here is the latest on Sarah Palin.


  187. Chutney on rice, a definite, along with shrimp curry topped with bacon bits.
    Yep, bacon in my dessert is not quite my “cup of tea”.
    I have never heard of maple syrup on rice which may be a Midwest thing. In the South, people use grits instead of rice and top it with all sorts of condiments.


  188. [Excerpt from WaPo 01/12/09]:

    White House Press Secretary Dana Perino perkily tells Jon Stewart: “We’re pretty proud of what we accomplished.”

    Stewart replies: “Why? . . . The country’s in a very tough place, and it’s very hard — the economy, foreign relations– he’s walking out with very few areas that are looking shinier than when he walked in.”

    Perino: “I disagree on foreign policy. . . . I would say to people, ‘As compared to what, when he got there?'”

    Stewart: “The lack of wars.”

    Gads, but I love Jon Stewart! Nails ’em everytime.


  189. I’ve missed reading you guys-

    I vote to celebrate National Pie Day on January 23rd (whose idea?); I will be glad to post my fresh Colorado Peach Pie recipe; I freeze these yummy peaches during season, so I can bake them in the winter.

    My grandfather loved bacon grease (he called it drippings) on white rice, but the rest of us ate it drizzled with maple syrup. Must be a Midwest thing?


  190. Hi everyone again,

    I have never sent you a link before and I’m not sure if I did it right. It came to us this morning from some very old friends who are lifelong fundamentalist christians. I think many are starting to come around.

    We receive e mails from all over of every political and/or religious strip. I call them our finger on the nation’s pulse. I’m sure we can all easily tell which way people lean by the e mails they send around. The tone has softened considerably.

    Speaking of e mails, our InBox has been badly neglected for a while and is backed WAY up – over 70+. Most are fun forwards, but I do have to get on responding or sending them around to friends and family. So I’m going to sign off here for a few days. Carry on!!!!! I know you can.



    Take a moment to view this short video – it is eye opening.

    Hit the play button for a short video and be sure to turn on the sound.


  191. Well they need the USS GHWBush so that the Shrub has a place to go play pilot & hang his commerative Mission Accomplished banner. Wonder if we could convince the entire Bush dynasty and their good friends, the Cheneys, Rumsfelds, & Ashcrofts to take a cruise along the Somali coastline? Alberto Gonzales could be their “gopher” – it’s a position for which he is well qualified.

    And btw, my mother just sent me her recipe for mango cobbler. I’m heading to the market first thing in the morning. JuneauJoe, sorry about the slobber on your ‘puter. Really, we didn’t mean to make you drool. Would a piece of warm dutch apple crumb pie topped with french vanilla ice cream make it up to you? 🙂


  192. Dear Keith,

    Your loved one is fortunate to have such a loving and thoughtful partner. You will get through this together and both be stronger than ever for it.

    I think, (Oops!) IMO, there are four basic instincts that are innate: Love, aversion, aggression and curiosity. If any one or a combination of them is thwarted, the balance is out of whack. Getting them into equilibrium once again makes for overall health.

    All of us here are rooting for you both. Please keep us posted on your progress. We care.




  193. Thank you Elsie,

    Correction, I remember now it was an aircraft carrier. Mega, mega bucks. Why? Who do they want to shoot up now? I just do not understand the 9th century mentality running around with 21st century technology.




  194. You guys are terrible. I come on, read a bit and end up slobbering all over myself after reading about your great recipes.

    Give a guy a break here.


  195. Raji, I’m actually a fan of fusion cuisine. BUT there comes a point in life where you simply have to say “Are you effin’ crazy?” Bacon chocolate crunch bar??? This is beyond sacreilegious – it’s gross. And I’ve never put sugar on rice – I like honey – preferably CocoHoney from the Philippines. . . with diced mango, golden currents, and maybe if I’m feeling extremely tropical, some pomegranate ymmmm.


  196. The latest on bacon: Bacon for dessert. Apparently the newest trend in upscale restaurants. Try these ideas on for size: Maple syrup pudding with bacon, bacon chocolate crunch bar, chocolate bread pudding with bacon creme anglaise and many others. Bacon has become an acceptable crossover. Just a tidbit I thought I would share.
    Bacon grease on rice, yes, cream and sugar on rice, no.


  197. lol. oh….. maple syrup!! bacon grease is in lieu of maple syrup and maybe some blueberries. : ) thought you meant that
    gawd awful white stuff.

    maple syrup ( zee zee bah kwad )
    wild rice ( mah noh min )


  198. Jean, it’s probably even more bucks than you think…it’s an aircraft carrier, not a sub, now commissioned as the “USS George H.W. Bush” just yesterday in Norfolk, VA. The reporter mentioned the estimate on that 1,092 ft long carrier, the last of the Nimitz class carriers, was $6 billion.

    (It was a lead story in the Houston Chronicle yesterday…front page news.)

    That’s when even politicians begin to talk about “real” money!


  199. Dear everybody,

    Oh, yes! Sally. We do love our rice! I can’t think of a more delicious or nutritious food that can be prepared a zillion ways. Isn’t it considered by many to be the ’complete food’?

    Last night I was reading my favorite historians, Will and Ariel Durant’s “The Age of Napoleon” published in 1975, p. 695. They were talking about the Depression of 1811 in France. Their words are so much better than any I could come up with.

    “Then suddenly, as if some evil force was coordinating catastrophes, the whole many-faceted economy seemed to fall to pieces, and to founder in a whirlpool of bank failures, market disruptions, factory closings, unemployment, strikes, poverty, riots and the threat of starvation – just as the miracle-working Emperor [Napoleon] was planning to raise money and troops and morale for a life-and-death struggle with a Russia distant, unknown, and immense.”

    p. 696. “The imperial adversaries {Napoleon and Russia’s Alexander I] prepared for the combat with diplomatic moves, military accumulations, and mass movements of men. Each tried to persuade the other that he was a devotee of peace.”

    Update. I noted the dedication of the George H. W. Bush new nuclear submarine by his son, George W. Whoopy!!! That baby cost $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!

    There are nine days left in hthe Bush Administration. Plenty of time. Cheney said on CNN the other day that there was still time ‘get’ Bin Laden. Maybe the ‘Decider’ will opt to send daddy’s sub into landlocked Zimbabwe to ‘get’ Mugabe.

    (Oops! Did it again. Snap, snap! Broke my newest resolution to knock off cynicism.)




  200. Keith
    I wish you and yours the very best. You are right in your opinion on this. Carrying a “monkey” is much harder than pulling it behind you in a wagon.


  201. Well, my gramma learned it from the Ojibwa. And she flavored everything with maple syrup.


  202. cream and sugar on wild rice….oh my.
    granpa rock would pitch a fit if he
    saw that…. on the rez we
    just put a dab of bacon grease.


  203. avotresante: Thank you for your thoughts and information. My Marine began his therapy this week, on Monday and Tuesday. Those sessions weren’t of any real substance other than getting to know one another and beginning to establish the framework of trust that will be necessary for C. to begin to unload the weight that he’s carrying on his shoulders.

    I’ve tried to explain to him that everything we’ve ever seen, heard, said or done in our lives is imprinted on our brains. We may or may not have concious memories of these events, but they shape (and sometimes control) our lives.

    This is the analogy I like to use: Until we give voice to those ‘demons’ that haunt us, we carry them on our shoulders and they infect our everyday lives like a virus. Once we’ve ‘told our story’ about our demons, we can then relegate them to the little red wagon of s*** that we all pull along behind us. None of it ever goes away, but we’re able to move it off our shoulders and get on with our lives.

    Thanks to all the words of support and wisdom from all of you.

    Scary thought of the day…. who’s going to be watching what Cheney does once he leaves office? Will he still be pulling George’s strings?

    And Ann Coulter…. she’s like the gopher that’s destroying my yard…. if one sits long enough with a shovel in hand, one can bop her a good one!



  204. Interesting that the primary color is “yellow”.
    I think I will resolve to not have anything to do with the color yellow for a bit.


  205. Greytdog: I find it interesting that only 32% admit to voting for GW and Cheney in 2000 and 2004. I have relatives who would fit in that catagory.

    I am staying away from the rubber band. What do they call it when a person intentionally hurts themselves? That would be me with a rubber band, whenever I think Bush, Cheney, Iraq, Colter, Rush or the Fox fools, economy, banking bailout, environmental lies by Bush, housing mess, health care costs, college costs, Cheney saying all went well for the last 8 years (I am choking on this one), Gaza and Zimbabwe.

    Keep the rubber bands away from me! I will work towards using one as Obama starts to straighten out the messes – not yet though.


  206. JuneauJoe – yeah I feel trickled on. . . to the point my boots are sloshing every time I walk. And yet, I’ve noticed that if I mention that my socks are soaking, I can’t feel my toes, etc. someone else screams that I’m unAmerican. In the meantime, to prove my American-ness, I am exhorted to buy an Escalade, snap up a foreclosed house, trust the government to do the right thing, and slap a yellow ribbon magnet on the back of my car. The trickle is a torrent, but we’re still sort of playing See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Say No Evil (evil being defined as liberal and/or progressive) because we be happy happy happy. (snap snap snap snap . . .TWANG)


  207. To Anne Gilbert (1/05):

    It’s YOUR blog! Speak from your own experiences, state your own insights without using attacking statements, and if your conservative friend gets offended, it’s her problem — her issue — to deal with, not yours! I like to remind myself of this: the problem is not that I’m [liberal-minded, progressive, compassionate, etc.] the problem is that there’s bigotry in this world. Keep reminding yourself of that, and use your blog to educate away!


  208. Billi re: “My resolution is to try and spend less time looking at all the negative things in life and find the positive things first.” I’m right there with you! My goal this year is to always assume goodwill of others. Not as easy as it sounds, but I’m going to work towards it every day!


  209. Jean,

    Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe
    My daughter and son in law were in Zimbabwe with the Peace Corps when Mugabe lost the election that brought his wrath on the whites. They went from heroes to venom and hatred by Zanu PF within weeks. Zimbabwe has only gotten worse and the Mugabe and Zanu PF grip has tightened. Starvation, torture, cholera, no water to whole cities, sewage running down the streets – that is Mugabe’s Zimbabwe of 2008. He and his wife Grace just too $100,000.00 US and went on vacation for a month though.

    My favorite Zimbabwe web is:

    It became ugly fast. They left 6 months before their tour because a Peace Corp member was taken from a crowd and burned to death.


  210. Yep
    We have all been “trickled” on for 8 years.


  211. Morning everyone,

    In floating through the web yesterday, I came across a bit of info from the Rachel Maddow show (I think it came from there.)
    The fellow said now under Bush: 350 people in the US have as much income and capital as do 1/2 of the US population.

    Basically, the middle class is shrinking while the wealth is put into the hands of the few. Do you feel trickled on?

    Alaska Pi and I have been shoveling lots of snow this past week. I got another foot of snow the last 24 hours.

    i haven’t been posting much but been reading a lot. You guys are great.


  212. Greydog:

    We too eat rice many times a week. My mother would cook wild rice (we have it growing all over here), and we would eat it for breakfast with cream and sugar. We used to go to a farm near by and buy our milk. The cream would rise to the top over night and we would put that on our steaming wild rice.
    I am hungry.


  213. Honolulu Sally – one of the things I miss the most from my childhood was heading up into the Bontoc region of the Philippines with my mom – to buy rice. The markets had the white rice, the brown rice, etc but we were in search of the mountain red rice – rich nutty flavor, hearty texture (similar but not really to kashi), and even the cooking of it was fragrant. Yum. We eat rice in my house at least 6 times a week and then I like to take the leftover rice and make rice pudding for breakfast. Hmmm…..speaking of which. . . .


  214. Grandma Katie, try going to one of my favorite bead sites: to see if they have the beads you want. The more items you order, the less expensive. This is a legit website, no spam, no viagra, no Bush, no Palin.

    Actually, it’s Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter that really scare me. Cheney is so confident and arrogant that he can’t be touched, and Coulter is just enjoying being mean. I really don’t like mean people, really, really, really! snap! snap! snap!

    My kids gave me Michael Moore’s 2003, “Dude, Where’s my Country?” and it is the dead opposite of Ann Coulter’s garbage. The only similarity they have is that they are both into entertainment and they both send shivers down me spine. Except Coulter scares me because of the meanness and evil she generates, Moore scares me because of the evil he exposes. The repubs can’t stand Moore as much as we can’t stand Coulter.

    Yuck. Just thinking about her makes me feel like a rash is coming on. Time for a snack instead. Spam mixed with scrambled eggs sounds good, with tabasco and ketchup and a side order of rice. We do love our rice over here, don’t we Jean?


  215. Jean, there’s a very logical progression to this discussion…lemme see if I can figure it out:
    Getting the Bad Guys >> Resolutions to not be quiet when bad guys try to do bad things to our good country >> speaking out instead of snarking or being silent >> TROLL ALERT (Capel) >> other trolls like NCLB, decaying infrastructure, coal industry >> community working together w/ Proud leading the way through her food bank & phone tree >> Rubber band snapping as a way to cleanse our fear >> rubber bands as weapons >> SP/AC (bad guys) compared to Rubber Bands >> lots of SPAM which is another way to remind us about the need to regulate and clean up the food industry. . . It’s still about getting the bad guys…especially if you use Spam as a metaphor…:) (Personally, I used to think it the height of culinary excellence when we had scrambled eggs mixed with spam…but then I was 5)


  216. Proud—what do you mean –quit drining? you mean he quit?
    Did you see his eyes when he was being interviewed by Charlie Gibson. Nough said.

    BTW have you ever seen Gratitude Beads?

    I made a bunch of them before the stroke. and started making them again –exercise for the hand. But I ran out of beads and haven’t found a new source for the ones I like. Not being able to get aaout and shop is rough.


  217. Dear Helen and Margaret,

    We need you back here. We are starting to bounce around all over the place and off the walls. We need to focus!

    Here is another topic. I have a very dear friend who is a born-and-raised ex-pat from Zimbabwe. She and her husband have been here seven or eight years. They have one daughter in Botswana and another in Italy. (I thought our family was spread out!)

    My friend plays the flute beautifully. She is quite accomplished. For a number of years we have gotten together once a week in the afternoon and ‘jam’; Mozart, Poulenc and such. I accompany her on the piano. Afterwards we sit out on the Dinky Deck, drink tea and giggle.

    She was a nurse in Zim and cared for countless AIDS patients. We both keep up with what’s going on in Zim, mostly through the BBC. She is quite a bit younger than I am.

    Zim was once known as the ‘Jewel of Africa’ and the ‘Bread Basket’ of Africa. Now it is just a basket case. Robert Mugabe is the dictator. The old fart is a tyrant of the first magnitude. (Oops! Language, Jean, language. Snap, snap!)

    Not long ago, the people had to show their political party affiliation card in order to buy food, IF they had any money to buy it. Inflation is off the charts. Last we heard, 300,000%!!!!!!! Not a typo. That’s three-hundred thousand percent!!!!!!! So the people just starve – literally. Or die of AIDS. It’s another kind of genocide.

    The rest of the world sits on its hands and does nothing. After all, there is no oil there. Just people.




  218. Hmmmm….bug eyes? Nope, haven’t looked at her much. It’s sort of like dealing with the shadow of evil – you never look it face on because it sucks your soul out. . . .so I usually just read about Coulter. . . but when she’s on the tube I leave the room or change the channel.


  219. Apparently Ann is quite a fan of Sarah Palin. I suppose birds of a feather…yada yada yada They are both cringe-worthy. But Greytdog, at the risk of being catty, Ann Coulter isssss actually scary. Yes yes 99% of it is due to her psychotic rants but have you seen those bug eyes? Come on. If that isn’t a frightening sight, I don’t know what is. She resembles a preying mantis………… more ways than one I suppose.


  220. Hi everybody in general and Sally in Honolulu in particular,

    Thank you for the Spam musubis tip and recipe. I think I’ll try 7/11 first and then maybe homemade. We might have a whole new menu item! Also thank you for enlightening me on ‘opihi’. I had a hunch it was a setup. Now I am glad I did spit it out! I have always passed on French snails, although we have friends who relish them. ‘Opihi’, limpets, snails. Same family.

    The next time we have a get together and that teenager is there, I will serve him some sauerkraut and tell him it is my celebrated cole slaw. He loves my famous cheesecake and likes to pretend to bar the front door and not let me in until I assure him I brought it.

    I think it is interesting how different foods can evoke such strong feelings and often have lifelong consequences. I remember one holiday dinner when my husband was starting to carve the turkey. One of our three-year old sons burst into tears and cried, “DON’T DO THAT!!!! THAT HURTS HIM!!!!!” To settle the little fella down, we had to take the turkey back into the kitchen to carve it.

    That kid grew up to ultimately become a vegetarian. He has no particular moral, religious or political agenda. He just says he doesn’t care much for meat. He is not hard-core and does fall off the ‘no meat’ wagon occasionally in polite company.

    Everyone has his/her own preferences to which each of us is entitled.




  221. Christine – s’right. Just typing Ann Coulter’s name will make ya crazy…mad…
    Now some people refer to AC as a bitch. But I kind of find that insulting to all the nice female canines out there. AC in and of herself is not scary – just another sad, embittered, shriveled soul. But the fact that she has a public platform and people actually BELIEVE the slime she spews – that’s scary! But I have to keep reminding myself that these are usually the same people who think SP was highly qualified to be VPOTUS – and was anointed by God himself. So maybe, to circle back around, we should consider SP/AC (twins separated at birth?) as the rubber bands of life – they keep twanging to remind us to be ON GUARD against false prophets and fascism.


  222. Whoops. Maybe there are hospitals for me. I meant to ask if there are hospitals for the criminally insane not just those that can’t type.


  223. Speaking of bad guys Helen; how about that loud mouth nutcase Ann Coulter? How scary is she? Aren’t there were state hospitals for people like her.


  224. January 23 – Have Peace with Pie. . .
    Have Pie in Peace

    I think Margaret & Helen should be invited to the Great American Pie Bake Off as Honorary Guests and Judges!!!

    How about a Pie Buffet? First, have a big family/neighborhood get-together potluck. (In the milder climes, this means BBQ – oh yeah!) And everyone should bring PIE to share. . . I’m already thinking of Blackberry Pie, Grasshopper Pie (with chocolate and creme de menthe), and a glazed tropical fruit tart. . . okay, I’m getting hungry. . .


  225. Quoting avotresante at 4:10 PM

    “One of my new year’s resolutions is to celebrate everything I can think of.
    January 23 is National PIE DAY!!!!!!!
    Seems fitting there should be a celebration here on the porch, or in the parlor if we clean up after ourselves. Any suggestions on how to honor Margaret and Helen on this day?”

    It’s official: American Pie Council

    PIE for PEACE ~ Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ


  226. Snap Snap! Great idea Raji!

    Kill the wabbit!


  227. Ha Ha
    Good one greytdog

    I think I’d end up using the rubber band to fashion a sling shot and just twang people in the head who annoyed me instead of complaining about their actions. . . .


  228. Greydog! you’ll shoot their eye out!


  229. One of my new year’s resolutions is to celebrate everything I can think of.
    January 23 is National PIE DAY!!!!!!!
    Seems fitting there should be a celebration here on the porch, or in the parlor if we clean up after ourselves. Any suggestions on how to honor Margaret and Helen on this day?


  230. I think I’d end up using the rubber band to fashion a sling shot and just twang people in the head who annoyed me instead of complaining about their actions. . . .


  231. Honolulu Sally…I’m smiling at your “Sarah Palin would have done well here. (snap! snap!)”

    Did you catch the story a while back about the Kansas City, MO, church that has a ministry for helping more people live a “complaint-free” life? They use purple rubber wrist bands to remind them not to complain. Their web site is

    “Rev. Will Bowen of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, MO was teaching a series on Prosperity. Part of this series was helping the congregation to form a habit of gratitude by going 21-days without complaining. Studies show it takes 21 days for people to form a new habit. In an effort to make the lesson practical, the church purchased purple bracelets and gave them away encouraging them to move the bracelet to the other arm if they caught themselves complaining.”

    For awhile, I thought I could talk my husband and some friends into this, but we never ordered the rubber bands. I still think I should try it, but the website FAQs say that it takes about 4-10 months to go 21 consecutive days without complaining. Sheesh. All you’d ever hear around here would be snap, snap, snap, all the time.

    Damn, was THAT a complaint? (….Snap!)

    See, I rest my case.


  232. Maven ∆,

    Isn’t this a great place to visit and chat and have various subjects and their tones going on, thanks to our two grand ladies Margaret and Helen?

    Thanks for the laugh. I may start to wear a rubber band around my wrist – I need to purge negative long standing resentments I can’t seem to shake from my conscience. I might get raw from the snapping though.

    As for Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” (or NCLB as our Hawaii State Department of Education likes to shorten all agencies, curriculums, programs to acronyms), it is actually “Every Child Left Behind”. Since Hawaii is so stuck on depending on federal funds, they jumped through Bush’s hoops and adopted his “brain”child. I guess the best that can come out of his NCLB program is that our kids will all have his IQ. Sarah Palin would have done well here. (snap! snap!)

    As it is, the budget for special needs kids has grown at the expense of the mainstream kids without needs. It really is the dumbing down of America – unless you can afford to send them to our private schools.

    Well, off to eat some spam sushi maki – little logs of spam rolled in sushi rice and wrapped with nori. Try it that way Jean. It is ono (delicious)!


  233. Honolulu Sally:

    Glad to hear my Fearless Flyers experience made you laugh …Was only trying to insert a little humor after hundreds of truly sad (and sometimes infuriating) comments.



  234. Well I posted about our phone tree this morning and guess what? It is working!!! I received a call asking if our food bank could store 4 pallets of water for the flood victims in the next county and of course said yes! Called my phone tree people and we headed down to clear space to receive it!

    We are so excited that this is working!

    Greytdog so agree with you about clean coal! I am going to put a link ( which I never do ) to a website about Elaine Choa. Bush’s head of the Dept. of Labor. This woman is disgraceful! She has protected not just corporations but seems very chummy with the mining industry and keeping them safe from any lawsuits.

    Here are just a few of the things she has done while Bush has been in office.

    Hired a former colleague from the Heritage Foundation who actually wrote a report titled “How to close down the Department of Labor”

    Cut over 100 inspectors at MSHA and, as result, hundreds of mines weren’t inspected and tragedies such as Sago and Crandall Canyon might have been prevented.

    Failed to issue a rule requiring employers pay for their workers’ safety gear, contributing to 400,000 workers injured and 50 dead.

    Tried to outsource hundreds of jobs from within her own agency.

    Those are just a few and it only gets worse.

    Here is the watchdog groups website that has been watching her every move.

    Warning it will infuriate you! I can only go to it about once a month as I get so damn mad!

    Ok need to get some things done here at home.


  235. What a great way to start 2009, reading your blogs. Just found it. Whether I am in agreement (90%) or not, whether I am laughing, or tearing up, I love you ladies, really looking forward to the posts you make. Carole Anne, Calgary Alberta


  236. Helen, do NOT follow any of your resolutions except the one to stay involved and speak up. We have to GET the Bad Guys and Get Them Gone.

    And, you make me feel better about giving my mother a red sweater that she likes a lot. She’s 83 and she looks good in red, so I thought it was better than candles or flowers and now I know it was.

    For eight years, as an opinion columnist for my local paper, I ranted about the Shrub (boy, do I miss Molly Ivins) and his cronies. You’re so right that it isn’t all the president’s doing – not even Bush could cause this much damage in such a short time all by himself. Now, with fingers crossed, I’m hoping Obama shows true leadership and can get Congress to go in the right direction.

    My resolutions are to spend more time with my grandaughter, who is four – I want to make memories with her – and visit my mom more, even though she’s 220 miles away. And to pray for economic recovery, because it’s scary here in Michigan just now.


  237. West Virginia has long been coal mine country. Here’s the irony: folks can buy a home and land in West Virginia – but they don’t buy the mineral rights. That belongs to the coal companies. So the companies can come in, strip your mountain top, leave you with sludge, contaminated ground water, heavy metals in the soil. . . and you can’t do anything about it. BUT if environmentalists who don’t understand the fine print come in and raise holy hell, the “land owners” are the first ones cited for polluting – and given the lion’s share of the clean-up costs. The coal companies on the other hand have lobbyists and PR folks who own a lot of politicians and air time and can go around spouting about how the industry advocates “clean coal”. The legal costs alone – not to mention the medical costs – of fighting the coal industry can wear a soul down – and that’s just the way the industry wants it.


  238. Greytdog-

    All that you say is true. But I think it is more than just the lies…
    The “Clean Coal” thingy works partly because of the hiding of truths and/or lying but it works on some other level to do with our valuation system. I can’t quite get hold of language to describe what I mean…
    If we denigrate and ignore those who live in resource extraction areas- like First Americans in the Southwest re:uranium and “hill folk” in Appalachia- as poor and whiny and however else we choose to set ourselves up in the grand old paternalistic voice- we’re-doing-this-for-your-own-good-see-the-jobs-you-get , we can get away with soothing any concerns about collateral damage our collective conscience whispers at us…
    I gotta go think about this some more…


  239. “Bad guys” don’t just lie about war; they lie about the environment; they lie about free markets; in short, they lie. Sometimes they lie outright – as in
    “Iraq has WMD” or “Mission Accomplished”. Sometimes their lies are predicated on the need to divide and conquer “Palin’ around with terrorists”. But there are lies of omission- and it’s the silencing of truth that will kill you. During the campaign, I was discouraged by the chatter concerning “clean coal” – coal ain’t clean, never has been, never will be. mining coal is a dangerous, dirty, and unregulated business and is this country’s dirty little secret. As we jaw on and on about green technologies, we conveniently ignore the mountaintop removal in West Virginia; as we turn on our green lightbulbs, we forget that power comes from coal – and that coal comes mostly from some of the poorest areas in this country – Appalachia. During the campaign, Appalachia was disparaged – so easy to do, because Appalachia is not on anyone’s radar. But Appalachia powers this country. Coal from its mines are trained and trucked throughout this country. And the coal ash lehar that devastated TN (and now AL) barely got a notice on the evening news. Folks in Appalachia are living with contaminated water, contaminated air, contaminated land – and their children die from cancer and other “mysterious” ailments not typically found among most populations of the young. And no one notices. No one pays attention. Instead they tout Clean Coal as their mantra – but it’s not clean, it’s dirty, and it’s the dirty little secret of the EPA and this country.


  240. Proud said-
    “I do think the people in our state will realize how badly we will need the infrastructure program Obama wants passed. On top of all of existing road and bridge repairs that are ongoing in our state we now have many more because of the levees that broke during this storm.”

    I hope all of America sees the need for infrastructure repair and re-do.
    The blind adherence to “starve the beast” of the neo-cons combined with other factors like aging facilities, giving corporate America a cheap pass ( how many projects for large employers/companies get waivers or credits of some sort or other which release them from having to share the burden of roads etc which deliver their goods , in the name of the wealth they supposedly generate for communities?), and so on have contributed mightily to the disrepair all around this country.
    “Deferred Maintenance” on levees, bridges, public buildings, and roads has gone on far too long… Far too many parts of the whole are past maintaining now…
    I suppose it looks good on paper to line item something out for deferred maintenance but the reality of crumbling bridges, the horrors of failed levees in New Orleans and gross disrepair reported in some of the VA facilities- for medical care!?- look like demolition fare to me.

    What a simple elegant add to emergency preparedness- your phone tree!

    Here’s to fixing up the rest of our everyday and emergency necessities !


  241. My 2009 resolution is not make any resolutions that I can not keep. So far so good.


  242. oops should have read that post! LOL “Ongoing projects that our politicians and voters keep arguing about.” Is how that should have read.


  243. Jean Honolulu Sally the memories of Spam are of my Dad frying it up and making Spam sandwiches on white bread. His other cooking talent was fried Bologna on white bread. LOL My mother died when I was 6 and we had many of these sandwiches for meals. Might be why I don’t head to Spam or Bologna when I grocery shop.

    Pi the state learned a valuable lesson in the flooding of 2007. The man who is the head of emergency response here did a seminar at an event I attended just after the flooding.

    We have a non profit in our state called Food Life Line. They coordinate and bring together all of the Food Banks and Food Pantries and we become a buying group. They do all of the foot work in researching and doing food recovery so that we can buy non perishables for pennies on the dollar. They also work with grocery chains for food recovery so we get many items for free. They warehouse the items and actually have warehouses all over the state and trucks so they truck our items to us.

    When the flooding occured in 2007 the state was trying to figure out how to get drinking water to the affected areas because everything was closed off. They were getting desperate and were going to helicopter the water in. Thank goodness the Director of Food Life Line saw this report on the news. She tracked the mans number down and called him several times the next day. He finally called her back and had no idea who she was or what Food Life Line was. When they finally got on the same page she informed him that they had a warehouse right in the affected area and a dry route to get the cases and cases of drinking water they had in their warehouse to the Rochester Food bank that they had staged as a recovery center. (That is another long story).

    It was after this that he realized what a resource this state had and really all states and no one had considered including them in their main recovery plans. Thus the idea was formed for each county to list all Non Profits and phone numbers. In essence we have created a phone tree.

    I do think the people in our state will realize how badly we will need the infrastructure program Obama wants passed. On top of all of existing road and bridge repairs that are ongoing in our state we now have many more because of the levees that broke during this storm.

    We had 22 rivers that crested and broke levees or jumped banks this time. Records were set as to how high some of that water got. I-5 once again was closed not just in the affected area from last year but further north in an area that had never been affected before. The water has undermined those sections and many repairs will have to be made. I-5 is a direct route through this state for trucking and services. I-90 over the mountains also took a huge hit with the mud and snow slides. Parts of the road are broken up in chunks. My husband works for the DOT and informed me they lost a bridge in one area.

    That list does not even include the ongoing projects that polouriticians and voters keep arguing about. Our 520 floating bridge needs replaced NOW and the Alaskan Way Viaduct through Seattle has been a huge battle! It is so bad that the state checks it every few months to measure how much it has shifted. There are state engineers who will not even drive over it.

    The argument is of course, who will pay for and fund it?

    So our infrastructure list has just gotten longer as we include the new damage to roads, bridges and levees.

    Oy I just want to bang my head on the wall as I look at this post.


  244. Speaking of infrastructure woes, Rachel Maddow’s show last night touched on that particular, not-going-away-any-time-soon problem. Maybe it’s a smart move for the bridges leading into DC to be closed for Obama’s inauguration. Those structures may not be able to handle the increased traffic load. I drove on the Great Potomac Bridge – from VA to MD – and that definitely uncovered a potential bridge phobia which only was increased when I read the reports that called the structure functional obsolete and structurally deficient. And that is what? One bridge built in the 20s out of how many throughout this country??? Egads. But hey – let’s bail out Citigroup and maybe later on develop technologies for fishing cars out of our rivers or digging homes out from coal ash lehars.


  245. Greytdog-
    Mr Galloway’s commentary is indeed excellent…
    Thank you.
    Jean, Honolulu Sally, et al-
    I have been following this Spam thingy.
    Nowadays, there are all kinds of freeze-dried foods and so on but when I was a kid Spam was what you took on fly-fishing backpack trips with dad. It was what you ate when you did not catch fish. It always tasted like defeat to me but my sisters liked it.
    John said-
    “I’ve struggled with the “defining experience” expression. My best guess is they regret they passed up an opportunity to be a hero, which of course is a common childhood desire. ”

    That’s as close a guess as I’ve ever managed -thanks.
    Glad to hear you are fine!
    Your state is sensible to pull in non-profits and organize plans for taking care of folks in floods and so on.
    Emergency planning must be tough- the type that hopes to be ready to move at any moment but might sit for years without mobilizing?
    Hard to keep folks’ attention on the necessity of infrastructure when calamities are so unpredictable in occurance?


  246. Good Morning all!

    Greytdog read your link and it just makes my blood boil. While he touched on the suicides what the article did not say was that suicides of returning vets is at an all time high and so is divorce.

    For the Bush administration to try and take credit and call their treatment of soldiers and vets as one of their greatest accomplishment just makes me sick to my stomach.

    I also watched last night as Bush once again is trying to rewrite history and claim that his no child left behind is a raging success! In what world?

    This is a person who has absolutely no shame and no conscience. He even went as far as to say he is a liberator of our school systems.

    I really think he has started drinking again.


  247. Joe Galloway has an excellent commentary on how the Bush government supported the vets (NOT):


  248. Maven ∆,

    I saw that rubber band on the wrist therapy in a movie. It was a silly funny movie (I forget the name of it), and the school bus driver used to swear a blue streak so the kids on the bus started swearing. They would have had to fire him unless he stopped swearing, so he had to wear a rubber band on his wrist and snap it everytime he swore. Of course, when he would snap it, he would swear because it hurt, then swear because he swore.

    I’m sorry you have such a fear of flying, and forgive me for laughing, but it must have been funny with the rubber band snapping throughout the plane.


  249. Aloha Jean,

    Glad you might give spam a chance again. I laugh because just last night I was telling my husband’s ukulele making group about this blog and how lots of people hate spam because of the war rationing. One of the girls started sighing about how her mother used to dress the spam like ham, with cloves and bake it in the oven and put a glaze of brown sugar, pineapples, etc on it and serve it like a fine ham. Can you imagine a small rectangle of spam right from the can all dressed up and glorified? She loved it.

    The delicacy you gagged and spit out is called “opihi”. It is very expensive and harder to get nowadays. You can sometimes find them where waves crash on rocks. One of our mainland guests told us they are called “limpets”. I don’t care for it, but beer drinkers love it. It’s a bit too sea-tasting for me.

    Hmmm. But in tidepools and under rocks at night – maybe you were better off spitting it out.

    If you ever want to try a spam musubi, make about 2 cups of medium grained white rice, divide into 5 piles on waxed paper or cutting board. Insert ume (ooo-may; pickled plum) in center and form into firm rectangles with dampened slightly salted hands. Set aside.

    To prepare the spam, slice into 1/4″ slabs. One can will yield approximately 8 slices. Put about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a pot, heat gently and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup japanese soy sauce and smashed slices of fresh ginger root. Stir until dissolved, add a little water (very little). Put spam slices in, trying to not overlap and cooked one layer at a time. Turn each piece over carefully and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

    Transfer one piece of spam onto each rice rectangle and wrap around with a half sheet of nori. Yum, time to eat. Or wrap individually in waxed paper or saran wrap, and take to the beach as a snack/meal.

    It sounds like a lot of work, and it can be. I don’t always make mine and I do enjoy trying other people’s musubis. Actually, I was surprised that 7-11 has a pretty good spam musubi – without ume.

    My daughter in LA college makes it all the time for her soccer team and college mates. They call her “Aunty” because of it.



  250. does anyone remember hrayon stockings? They stretched and streched and were down by your ankles when you got home.


  251. Wisdom for the day: You can give a scratching post to a cat, but they’ll still prefer the leather couch. Sigh


  252. Greytdog, I have a VARIETY of names for my husband of 38 years. “His Worship” is my typical nickname for him. I also call him “row-BEAR”. Sometimes, I just call him “His Irrelevancy”. But most of the time, he’s just my Rob.

    And he also answers to the name of “Dad” when our daughter talks to him.


  253. Greytdog Δ

    Who in heck decided that they could put an “un” in front of MY American? There is no “un”.

    (Nice to see ya, by the way, I have missed you folks!)



  254. Welcome back Maven! Here’s wishing you a great new year without the need for a plane!


  255. Difficult week getting back into work mode after two weeks off. So this evening, I poured a glass of wine and read all the comments to try to catch up.

    I forgot who posted the comment about “changing your brain” but here’s an experience I had:

    I am afraid to fly. Seriously, terrifyingly afraid. My (now ex) husband felt this would limit our lives and encouraged me to sign up for a “Fearless Flyers” course. American Airlines used to offer them back in the early 90s.

    We were taught “thought stopping” as a way to re-program our brains to not give in to fearful thoughts. In order to achieve this, we were each given a wide rubber band to put around our wrist. As soon as a fearful thought came into your head, you were supposed to SNAP that band and tell yourself “I will NOT be afraid.”

    After two days of intensive sessions, our group took a *graduation* flight. We flew from Chicago O’Hare to some city in Michigan, about an hour away. After a brief layover, we returned.

    They sat our group of about 25 all together in the middle of the plane, surrounded by unwitting passengers who had no idea that we were, up until two days before, extremely fearful flyers. From the boarding gate on, all you kept hearing was rubber-band snaps. Here, there, across the aisle, two rows up, five rows back. WE all knew what was going on but I still wonder what everyone else thought.

    (The class worked, I guess, until I had to fly again, about 9 months later. I took the flight I needed, hated every minute of it, and can happily say that it was my last time on a plane.)

    Hugs to M&H, wedgies and other visitors.



  256. Elsie – does the hubby know you refer to him as His Worship? I usually refer to SO as High-Ass when he starts pontificating in geek-speak


  257. Raymonty – we all support our soldiers – and we all show our support in diverse and heartfelt ways. What we don’t do is accuse people of “palin’ around with terrorists’, or claiming that other people who don’t march in lockstep with us are “unAmerican” or not part of “real America.”

    Now then – some are you are probably wondering: “Why is Greytdog growling at raymonty?” Well because I went to the other post raymonty put up and decided that a warning growl was more polite than just an outright bite. 🙂


  258. I support our soldiers. – Raymonty.


  259. Hi everyone. I think this link is a good read. Editor’s letter, Graydon Carter from Vanity Fair on The Year of Investing Dangerously.


  260. Good afternoon all,

    I do believe in Santa Claus! I do! I do! I do! He brought us a new refrigerator!!!! The old one had a hopeless, unfixable icemaker. It started to leak. That f**king piece of s**t is gone forever! Just like the Bush Administration in 10 days. I think my language will be cleaned up considerably now.

    There were two brawny young men that hauled it out and brought the new one up the 10 steps to the kitchen like it was a bit of fluff! It is humming right along and very much at home. Our living room, dining room and kitchen are on the upper level to best take advantage of our breathtaking views of the mountains and the ocean.

    btw. SEE! SEE! Whirled Peas, I’m learning to speak computerese! Down here in the study where the computer is, I have a sign that I made to remind me. It is a big red circle with a slash across it like the ‘No Parking’ and ‘No Smoking’ signs. It is crossing out the big black letters that say, ‘NO SNIVELING’.




  261. Hey, Greytdog, thanks for the heads-up about that chain letter link. With my husband’s warnings in mind, I decided to “google” separately the words mentioned in that link. Then I reviewed the URLs attached to my findings. Fairly quickly, I saw at least two saying something about “MoFo” in plural. My brain spins a bit slowly sometimes, but, after a moment, I remembered what that abbreviation stands for, and decided to pass on the web site mentioned in the link above!

    His Worship also warned me that Google has been infected with malware, as well, and for me not to trust its various links as I once did. So I just try to be careful.

    Troutay, you mentioned that you have a blog but don’t link to it. Would you please post it here, if I ask politely? I’ve thought about your name here, thinking, well, let’s see, there’s “Trout A” and then there’s “Trout B”. So you are the former rather than the latter!


  262. Hi Gang and Honolulu Sally,

    Good for you, taking on your school and improving it! One person can effect change. I applaud you and I like your attitude!

    I may have to re-evaluate my attitude toward Spam. I haven’t even deigned to taste it since WWII. It’s obvious I have a mental block there. I love anything teriyaki! Kim chee is often a little too potent for me, but as you know, no two people make it the same. I’m not familiar with choi sum. I love odobo. This much I do know. If someone is gracious enough to invite me for a meal, and kind enough to prepare it for me, I’ll eat it! Well, most of the time.

    Maybe you can solve a mystery for me. We went to a high school graduation bash for the son of some friends. He and I have a fun good-natured relationship with lively repartee going back and forth. I should have smelled a setup when he and a couple of his friends came around with a plate of delicious looking hors d’oeuvres. As I was munching on it he told me that they had harvested them themselves. He said they are a rare delicacy. That they went out at night with flashlights to tide-pools and found them under rocks. That they were ‘_______’(?) and like leeches.

    I gagged and spit it out into my hand. The boys doubled over with laughter and told me that I just spit out $10.00. Were they putting me on? Do you know the name of that ‘rare delicacy’?




  263. Hi John – my SO read my post and gently pointed out that the vets referred to the jets carrying them home as Freedom Birds – I just remember a USAF Staff Sgt holding my hand as the very first Huey I ever saw/heard flew overhead and told me that was Freedom flying. . .so my brother and I always called them Freedom Birds. . . I was 7 yrs old. . .
    I know that Billy Joel song – did you ever see him do that in concert with the Vietnam Vets – men and women all over the concert hall stood up and sang out. . . and cried and cheered each other on.


  264. Good day everyone!

    I have finished the month end books for our food bank and seem to be spending way to much time on the phone dealing with community politics for the food bank. Not including the meeting I attended yesterday! LOL

    Pi and Greytdog thank you for your concern. The area I live in is fine. We do have more water on our property than usual as it is a seasonal wetland and our ditches were overflowing but we did not have flooding!

    I do have a couple of relatives who have homes that are in the flooding areas and they cannot get to them yet. They are safe, but not sure what the damage to their homes will be.

    The last two winters have definately taken there toll on all of us here in Western WA.

    Actually the meeting I attended for our food bank in part dealt with emergency issues. Our state learned last year that food banks and other Non profits can be of great help in these statewide emergencies. We are creating a chain in our area for food storage, water drop off, clothing donations etc….So if an area is affected they can designate who can store what through the emergency and where people can get emergency food supplies.

    Last year the food bank in Rochester WA became a staging area purely by happenstance and it had to deal with so much from people being rescued by helicopter and being lifted to a field next the food bank and to trying to find drinking water and even dry hay for livestock. The state realized that we are a great resource for all of this.

    Rochester is about 45 minutes from us. So our county is on the call list if we need to stage any supplies. So far so good. I am just sad that the people who were recovering from last years flooding are once again realizing that they will have another mess to clean up.

    We need infrastructure funding for these areas more than ever now.


  265. Troutay, Greytdog
    …..But what is wrong with the bailout of the Porn Industry?

    If I could legally steal a couple billions, I’d give it a try…….

    Cars, Porn, Banks (that shell out money (70 Millons!!!!!) to shareholders AFTER receivng bail-out, see NSH Bank Germany)

    I’d say same shit, different package!

    So I am not wondering at all, I mean I DON’T agree but it sounds all completly normal to me……. or am I getting a bit too numb here?


    One thing is true, though, if those Porn stars, bankers and all blow the money (up their noses, asses and down their throats) It’s still better than spend on weapons…. even if even I can think of a million and one uses where we REALLY could do some good with it.

    Sarcasm makes the world go round, and round, and round………….


  266. troutay: Thanks for asking if I’m ok. Mentally and emotionally, I just keep getting better, or maybe more delusional. Physically, age and genetics are slowly starting to take their toll.

    When I first read Helen’s post, the first thing that came to my mind also was the Pogo quote. I googled “Pogo” because I couldn’t remember Walt Kelly’s first name and learned that the cartoon statement evolved from Kelly’s reaction to McCarthyism and pollution. Just as relevant as it was over 50 years ago.

    Alaska Pi: I’ve struggled with the “defining experience” expression. My best guess is they regret they passed up an opportunity to be a hero, which of course is a common childhood desire.

    Greytdog: The sound of chopper blades evokes memories for me, tto. Mostly good ones. They were our lifeline in Viet Nam. Billy Joel recorded a song titled “We’ll All Go Down Together” a number of years ago which makes very effective use of the sound of chopper blades. It is a tear jerker, though. You appear to use the term “Freedom Bird” to apply to helicopters. When I was in Viet Nam, the USA was usually called “the Free World” or “the Real World”. A freedom Bird was a jetliner which carried us back to the World.


  267. The thought of having sex in a public nasty dirty bathroom makes me sick. ick ick ick!


  268. Why do people do that? I have a blog but I would never be so corny as to go around posting it every where.

    LOL Greydog. Larry Craig….ewwwwwwwww


  269. Thanks Werner for the recon on the chainletter link. Now Elsie that’s a dead giveaway to beware, here be dragons! (or at least pop ups) Guess monster wants to up their blog hits


  270. Troutay – I saw the headlines about the porn industry. bwahahahaha. Maybe if Larry Craig sponsors it and Vitter signs on. . . .


  271. I mean the first part is real nice, but when you read on and into the details you start to shiver,…… it just won’t go away, the chain bull****, even after 20 years and more, it still lifts it’s ugly head



  272. chain award for bloggers…… I think my brain goes on strike!

    Monster go back in the hole you crawled out from or go get a life, if this was in good intention, it was I miss, I think……..hope!



  273. I awarded you the Premio Dardos Award. See here:


  274. If any of you go to the Crooks And Liars blog site, you will see that the Porn industry is now looking for a bailout.

    Pretty funny actually.


  275. Grandma Katie- yes I do massage the puppies~ it isn’t an easy way to make money, especially my way since most of it is pro bono or barter. But, I was able to “translate” my massage techniques when my dad was terminally ill – he couldn’t communicate and his therapist was very frustrated. So I found myself, quite by accident, responding to his skin and muscle activity the same way that I have to with the animals. His massage therapist was very surprised. I think we spend so much time relying on oral/aural communication, we forget that there are other ways to communicate – my pups have taught me that! Trust me, if I ignore their signals, it means a nip or a bite – once that happens, you NEVER forget.


  276. I have so many thanks to give but am still working it out inmy7 mind. So until later.

    Thjese posts give me so uch to th ink abou8t my brain is woozy7. Too busy raising kids and coping with a husband in those days to remember m uch. Got to th ink some more.

    Grey tdog when you mentioned massage did you mean for the dogs? henever I heard of massage being useful in other fields, I talked about it to the class. MOst didn’t pay much attentioin, but they seemed to have the idea it was an easy way to make money. Wrong idea. It’s hard work.


  277. Hi Greytdog, Raji, Pi and all

    We have a rather good Canadian writer writing about the Inuit situation up north since the late forties until today:

    Farley Mowat

    “………. He achieved fame with the publication of his books on the Canadian North, such as People of the Deer (1952) and Never Cry Wolf, (1963).[1] The latter, an account of his experiences with wolves in the Arctic, was made into a film, released in 1983.

    I read “Walking the Land”

    Very impressive!

    And since he really lived often with the people and did extensive research in the archives it is rather well founded information, and belive me, the Canadian authorities are not one jota better than the US gov.



  278. Greytdog wrote:Raji – where in the Philippines and when?

    Clark Air Force Base and I believe it was 1949-l950.

    Pi, Interesting information you posted about the Aleuts. I had no knowledge of their situation. Thanks for posting. Once again, a very informative blog thanks to M&H.


  279. Ohmigosh – you did it again. You made me laugh out loud with the kiss from Bush.

    Yes, if we citizens don’t speak out then those in power will keep on doing the awful things they have been doing for 8 years.

    Obama doesn’t get a pass from me either; he is already softening his position on health care. The Republicans are already sharpening their claws to shred any legislation that the Dems try to pass. It’s disgusting.


  280. fir shoulda been for…
    I’m gonna end up with the ghastly gov’s phony accent if I don’t watch out!


  281. Am putting off the shovelling fir a few mins…

    I haven’t sorted out a lot of things…
    My mother has spent her life trying to bring the stories forward and leave the anger behind..
    I get too angry oft times .
    I have to shut up oft times so I can keep the covenant -hatred must stop. I must not let it in.


  282. Yep Yep. I am here. I have 45 min to go and then I can go home and take a nap!


  283. troutay- there you are!


  284. Pi

    I have been up since 4:30 a.m. At work at the moment, took a break to see who was here.


  285. Proud- you ok in YOUR weather there?


  286. Pi:

    I read about that in a book called “The Blue Bear”.
    So sad that they just abandoned them and many died from lack of nourishment and other diseases.
    How can you uproot a people and then just leave them to fend for themselves??

    Man’s inhumanity to man. Same old story of corruption and abuse.


  287. troutay- get out from under the covers!
    Remember 2 of the other verses of WE SHALL OVERCOME?

    We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand…someday

    We are NOT afraid, we are NOT afraid…TODAY!
    I gotta go shovel some more. We got 2 ft overnight and a warmimg trend moving in is gonna make night mares out there…


  288. Quoting Greytdog Δ 7:18 AM

    “here’s some irony. At the time of the Kent State killings, one cousin was a professor at Kent. his brother, the middle one, was a graduate student. The youngest – a National Guardsman. All met on that lawn at Kent State. All are okay, but the killings basically severed the ties between the brothers.”

    I have my own version of that family divide over ‘current atrocities’ that we’ve all witnessed this past decade. Let’s just say it hasn’t gotten physical…yet. 😉

    When we can get over/thru it, maybe we all stand a chance, as a nation and a species. Same goes for the Kent St brothers. Hopefully peace and reconciliation will rule.

    Evolution…it what’s next.



  289. Pi
    thirst things that comes to my mind reading about “No Natives, No Dogs” since is that the first thing I would have added is a “No Hearts” to that!

    It is a pitty if you ahve to live in a small community where ther is not enough choices in business so that a boycott would help wake up such assholes to reality.

    But you know, it’s not for nothing we call this a global village now, our kids have a chance to make a real difference, and all move closer together, and with the Net to expose such and other assholes on a global range they can only succeed in small pockets and most people have a chance to move out of ther influence by now.

    This world isn’t the best place in the univers, but is the only one WE got, so let’s work together to make it the best WE can……



  290. To Greytdog
    appologize for cruelty to (virtual) animalistic SP!! 😉

    I also lost 2 dogs to cancer, but I found the difference very big.
    My first (Boxer, German Shepard, Kuwatsch and Puhly mix, all shepard dogs) was a fighter, had his cancer (big lumpish thing in his underbelly) for 3 years but suffered only occasionally, chased a 6 month old german sheper all arounnd our neighbourhood park 2 weeks before he died (with 12 years and a half) because he tried to steal his stick, than died the day (night) before I decided I would bring him to the vet (It was in my mother in laws garden, I carried him down for his “business” but decided since it was a very warm summer night to sit with him there, play my guitar (which he always loved) and around midnight he passed away.)

    The other, a German shepard mix, suffered form intestine cancer for over a year permanently until I finally had to put him down with only 8 years of age!
    My son really misses him (they where born within 2 month of each other and grew up together). Didin’t get a new dog since in Canada, esp. in the city and in some parks they are VERY unfriendly to dogs (permanent leash, big fines and more and more no dogs allowed signs), Maybe when I retire, I would like to move to the coast somewhere (miss the salty taste a lot) and then I might get another one or two….



  291. This is a little wandering, but still about bad guys. Check it out; click on to hear the song, scroll down to read the lyrics.
    Laugh or cry; either fits.


  292. Oh Werner…- You got the picture! Goodo!

    “Pitbull with superglue lipstick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “MMMWUMPF,mwupf mwupf mwarff!!!!!””
    Greytdog said-
    “…to bear witness – to those who we love who did pay the ultimate sacrifice to free this world from evil. And yes, I do believe that WWII was a war against the evil men do. ”

    I think you are right Greytdog- all across the board.
    We must also pay attention to -bear witness- to All of WHAT we do… as the wrong things done for the right reasons can have terrible consequences…
    Most people have never known about

    “… the 881 Aleuts sent by the federal government to internment camps during World War II. With their homes suddenly in a war zone, the evacuation was meant to get them out of harm’s way. But that’s not how this rescue mission unfolded. Spread out among five isolated camps in Alaska’s Southeast, 1,500 miles from home, in strange rain-forest land that felt suffocating to those accustomed to treeless, windswept tundra, the Aleuts were left to languish from neglect, malnutrition and disease. ”

    These are my mother’s people…
    this is in the days of “no natives, no dogs…” signs in business establishments…


  293. Keith: re PTSD. I can only speak from my own experience with PTSD also, but there were a couple things that helped me, and I hope maybe you can take something useful from this to help your partner.
    In my case, I lived in a continual state of fight or flight, even after the danger was finally past. I’m not sure which was the cause and which was the effect, but for a while, the constant flow of adrenaline kept my body in an unhealthy condition and my mind in a hopeless-feeling panic. A miracle came to me in the form of a shrink who was a biologist; she was able to explain to me the role of my thoughts (total fear) to my health. It took a very long time for me to first be aware of the thoughts of fear, and then be able to change the them, but once I did, I was then able to change the chemicals in my brain that caused the physical problems, such as malnutrition and the problems it caused.
    Being able to change our thoughts is a very difficult challenge, if it’s looked at as an exercise like walking — work at it consciously a little bit every day — all the rest will follow. Working at it from a biological point of view instead of a character flaw was the turning point for me. Maybe reading the book Grandma Katie recommended about the brain would help your partner to know how it works.
    I don’t know if this was part of your experience with PTSD, and I’m not very good at explaining what I mean. For what it’s worth, I hope you understand what I’m stumbling to say, and I hope it helps.
    Best wishes to you both.


  294. Alaska Pi
    Pitbull with superglue lipstick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “MMMWUMPF,mwupf mwupf mwarff!!!!!”




  295. Raji – where in the Philippines and when?


  296. By line today on
    “Bacon, Butter fuel fastest South Pole trek”


  297. Thanks everyone for all the thoughful and informative posts.

    Greytdog: I’m glad to hear there are people like you out there. I lost my 9 year old Golden last year to cancer. So sad that our animals are having to die of cancer but at least we don’t have to let them suffer like humans do.

    “Is there a family anywhere who has not suffered through these insane wars…anyone? anywhere?”

    Another nope!

    Jean, thanks for all your stories, the funny ones and the sad ones. Having been raised as an Air Force brat as a child in Hawaii and the Philippines, I can relate.


  298. YES!Greytdog It was like the war between the states -brother against brother. I was fortunate to be living among liberal people even though there was that other war against older people by us young ones. I do not think I would have survived the Viet Nam Era had I been elsewhere- and I barely made it anyway….Are we going to start writing about the Assasinations? That has been an undercurrent at times here. Sarah Palin clearly was not around for that or I believe she would have been more moderate -oh probably not.


  299. AnnΔ, here’s some irony. At the time of the Kent State killings, one cousin was a professor at Kent. his brother, the middle one, was a graduate student. The youngest – a National Guardsman. All met on that lawn at Kent State. All are okay, but the killings basically severed the ties between the brothers. There were casualties both in ‘Nam and at home.


  300. I just woke up and am checking in and my tears are flowing as I sit with my coffee…I am sorry for all our losses and pain.Alaska Pi; on the subject of Peace Marches , I believe I attended most every major one in Central Park,and being a funloving type mostly thought of them as big parties-gatherings of cool people.The Kent State Murders struck a most different chord.It was the end of the academic year…noone graduated since all the schools shut down. I was working on a giant cross in my sculpture class- I remember that a group of us carried it over to The New School, where there was a rally and put it on the steps. A short while later I left for Canada. Ann


  301. Amazing what a night’s rest can do for the body and soul (the word “rest” is used lightly as the feline gymnastics start as soon as my head hits the pillow. Question: how can three soft-padded creatures sound so much like a herd of thundering elephants?)
    Pi, I am fine. But thanks for asking!

    Jean, thank you for sharing R.G.’s and Hootie’s stories with us. IIt is important for us to remember – to bear witness – to those who we love who did pay the ultimate sacrifice to free this world from evil. And yes, I do believe that WWII was a war against the evil men do. The other subsequent wars are less defined for me. But the sacrifices are not. When we, as a nation, ask a generation to fight and sacrifice on our behalf, it behooves us to ensure that the cause is just, the armed forces well-led, and that we do not, in our fear, remove from our shores the very freedoms for which our children and grandchildren will fight and die for – to allow the rights of our citizens to be in any way threatened by our government is to make a mockery of the very sacrifices we demand from our folks in harm’s way.

    Did anyone see the clips from Congress certifying the Electoral College votes? Dana Milbank in today’s WaPo calls it “behaving badly” because some Repubs wouldn’t applaud and most Democrats went over the top in applauding. Well Mr. Milbank, that is not Congress behaving badly – Congress behaved badly when they accepted as fact that Iraq had WMDs, when they allowed the mortgage industry to be deregulated, when they allowed a multi-billion dollar bailout to occur without any semblance of oversight, and they continue to behave badly by not holding responsible those who implemented a policy of torture disguised as “national security”. THAT’s Congress behaving badly.


  302. Hi again, I’m spanking brand new on this blog and have enjoyed reading all of the posts. I’m trying to find out which side of the fence most of you fall. I must say, I’ve been thoroughly entertained thus far.

    Okay, here goes: IMO means: In my opinion
    IMHO: In my humble opinion LOL: Laugh out loud IROTFLOL: I’m rolling on the floor laughing out loud GMAB: Give me a break

    Our young people, who text message use these when sending messages from their blackberrys, etc.

    My dad was a 20 year navy guy…fought in Korea. We lived in Cuba for several years when I was a little girl. He was a tugboat captain at that time. I’m an east coast gal…live approximately 6 miles from the White House in Alexandria, VA. Not looking forward to the inauguration on the 20th…traffic, inconvenience, etc.


  303. Jean-
    I had a story for you…
    but I haven’t the words tonight. Thank you for being able to make a story tell truth.

    Here is a tiny piece of the story I wanted to share with you… these are my mother’s people.


  304. After flying for 16 hours, I had a layover and decided to see if you had posted something. What a delight that you had and what a great post!

    I didn’t vote for Bush, was mad as hell when we went to war in Iraq and I can’t stand the facist in pantyhose “I’m a poor little victim” Palin. Like you, I am going to keep writing to try to keep up awareness because I feel America has slept for the past 25 years and the horrible mess that we’re in may just wake us back up. At least I hope so, but I hope that never in my lifetime again do I hear when I am encouraging someone to vote for President, that the office of the President doesn’t matter.

    Yes it does. So don’t let the door hot you on the way out George Bush, Cheney may you gag on something and leave us all in peace you scumbag war profiteer, and as for Palin, I hope one of those moose gets a chance at her too!


  305. jean, mii gwetch (thank you) for sharing r.g. and hootie’s stories.


  306. “Is there a family anywhere who has not suffered through these insane wars…anyone? anywhere?”



  307. Dear, dear Jean…my dad flew bombers over Germany throughout that awful war…I am crying for you. After he got home he had four sons old enough to fight in Vietnam so he got himself elected to the draft board and managed to get three of them off of the draft by hiding their numbers. The fourth flew to Canada and then on to New Zealand where he is to this day…lost from his family as though he had been killed in Nam. My husband’s brother fought and died at 50 from the effects of Agent Orange. Is there a family anywhere who has not suffered through these insane wars…anyone? anywhere?


  308. “I get teary eyed hearing a Freedom Bird overhead. And I find myself listening. . . to the sweet chop of the blades, to the drone of the engine, to the thump that echoes deep into your soul. . .”
    Greytdog- I’ve stood with my arm around so many cousins and friends who were saying almost the very same thing…
    I never know what to say… Are you ok?


  309. Dear Helen, Margaret and Everyone,

    This is the end of the story of my brother, R.G. in WWII. I am a resilient old broad and always have been I guess. His death was a terrible wound to my heart. It healed but left a formidable scar there. The pain has been gone for a long time. However, the MEMORY of that pain brings a lump to my throat even as I write this.

    In high school I had a friend whose father had cherry orchards. In the summertime, if there were no hailstorms to wipe out the crops, a bunch of our friends picked cherries with her and her dad. We climbed the trees or sometimes used ladders and filled baskets with the cherries. The baskets were about 18 inches long by 3-4 inches wide and 3-4 inches deep. We were paid 2 cents a basket. We could make a whopping whole dollar in a good day! Of course, we clowned around, laughing and talking a lot of the time. We would take a lunch and make a day of it.

    One summer German prisoners-of-war were working in the sugar beet fields abutting the cherry orchard. Armed guards stood around keeping an eye on them. Naturally, we were very curious about them. We gathered around the fence trying to get as close a view of them as we could. We were surprised to see that they looked just like any other young men. No horns or tails.

    We received a telegram in June of 1944. R.G. was reported missing in action. After three anxious prayer-filled weeks, the fateful telegram arrived, regretting to inform that he had been killed at the Anzio Beachhead in Italy.

    We received official letters regularly from the War Department, (now the Defense Department). His remains were buried in a TEMPORARY military cemetery at Naturno, Italy.

    My mother wrote letter after letter trying to find out what happened. Eventually, we received not an official form, but a personal letter from a chaplain describing R.G.’s death. May 23, 1944, Staff Sergeant Ralph Guy Miller was returning from a patrol with his squad when he stumbled into the trio wires of a land mine. He was 24.

    A number of YEARS later, out of the blue, here came another telegram saying that R.G.’s remains were being returned to the United States and what did my dad want done with them. It was as if R.G. had been killed all over again. Grief overwhelmed us once again, especially my dad. This was after all, his only son. Our line of the family surname died with R.G.

    R.G. is now buried in a Military Cemetery in Nebraska with row, upon row, upon row, upon row, upon row, upon row, upon row, upon row of white headstones. I ultimately became the custodian of R.G.’s records, newspaper clippings and personal effects.

    My cousin Hootie, was on a B-17 and was shot down somewhere over Europe. No one ever knew where. His plane just never returned. Years after the war was over, his dog tags were found in Holland in a farmer’s field and returned to my aunt. All that time she didn’t know what had become of him and never did, except he was presumed dead.

    At the time, I didn’t know this but my Dad had a little New Testament of the Bible that he had carried when he was in the army during World War I. It had his name and military serial number in it. He had given it to R.G. when his young soldier son went off to war. Many, many years later apparently it was found by some kind soul in Italy and turned over to the American Embassy. The Veteran’s Administration tracked down my dad’s serial number and returned the bedraggled little book to us.

    Out of R.G’s original 157th Infantry, only FIVE survived the drive on Rome and ultimately into Berlin. I don’t know how many men are in an infantry. When R. G. died, he had 387, that’s THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN front line fighting days. That’s not counting the three weeks he spent in the field hospital with a shrapnel wound and was sent back.

    Oh yes. R.G. received a Purple Heart Medal and citation with the president’s rubber-stamped signature. I have never understood why such a prize is put on military medals. As if young lives cut short are worth nothing more than military trinkets.

    Many months after R.G’s death, we received a box of his personal effects. Along with HIS own New Testament of the Bible, a comb, a brush for shining boots, and a few pictures, was a small American Flag about 3 inches by 5 inches that he must have carried in his pocket. It was crumpled, dirty and splattered with dried blood.



    P.S. I defy ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME to dare wave an American flag in my face and question my patriotism and fidelity to my country!!!!!!!


  310. Sorry about all the dropped words – I’m exhausted today. Early in at 630 home at 7, emergency call at 730 and just returning home now. YAWN. Night all. Maybe I’ll be more coherent another day. Don’t let the bedbugs bite – and I hope the folks in Washington (Proud & her family especially) are safe from the floods and avalanches.
    Don’t have nightmares about SP – she’s just not worth the brain cells when you could be dreaming of the day Barak Obama becomes the POTUS.


  311. AnnΔ- yup- sorta.
    My mom thought I should be exposed to lots of different ideas and she periodically carted me off to San Francisco to see and do things.( She didn’t take my younger sisters as often… not sure what that was about.)
    At any rate, the year 3 guys I knew all died in Viet Nam within a month of each other she took me to a huge anti-war rally . There were elements of the SDS there-I think it was before the Weather Underground off shoot days.There were people advocating fleeing to Canada…
    I don’t remember a lot because a poor fellow next to mom and I had a grand-mal seizure . Some young male stranger and I tried to take care of him while mom went to get help. Getting help got problematic as the crowd got pushy-shovey with the cops who responded. It got somewhat grim.

    Previous to that ,the only person I knew who had resisted the draft suffered terribly before and after he got his CO status. He was shunned by the war-monger types and teased by peers waiting to be drafted for being a “nancy-boy” .
    He was a friend of my family and a good and decent human being. It was such a huge deal in the rural small-town do-your-duty world I knew.

    And , crimenently- that one foray into the big city , I saw what seemed like a million people yelling hell-no-we-won’t-go!!!!!!!!


  312. I grew up overseas – and was in SE Asia during the Vietnam War. My parents were setting up medical clinics, schools, planned parenthood, microloans co-ops, churches, homes you name it, they did it. They taught, they preached, they counseled, and as the attrition rate took a toll on the chaplains, my dad volunteered at Clark. They opened their home to soldiers who has mini-R & R time and just wanted someplace like home to go for awhile. My brother and I had an obstacle course built by three Special Forces guys – and my first book of Shakespeare was from a chaplain who was killed during Tet. My school was international – we went from approx. 700 students to almost 1500 following Tet and not a day went by that the military cars with my dad or another missionary with them to let a student know of a parent’s death. From 1964-1968, the graduating classes lost over 1/2 the males to the Vietnam War. For a small school, where you knew everyone, it was a tremendous loss. We learned the differences in sound between a loaded Huey and an empty one. To this day, I get teary eyed hearing a Freedom Bird overhead. And I find myself listening. . . to the sweet chop of the blades, to the drone of the engine, to the thump that echoes deep into your soul. . .


  313. dtories = Stories.

    I was busy laughing at this and forgot to spell check:




  314. troutay,

    I’m in and out. Keepin’ an eye out. I got no good dtories. But if you want my two cents…you know how I feel:

    Why We Fight

    Watch the trailer then enter the site. Poke around after IKE’s (last sane republican) M-I-C speech.

    And/or watch the complete movie…

    RealPlayer required: Why We Fight ~ (1h40m)

    PEACE ~ Δ


  315. Alaska Pi- I was an art student in NYC off and on for part of the Viet Nam War. All of my friends flunked the draft because they were mentally unstable. At least that is what they told me.I ran away to BC Canada with a friend avoiding the law . We met a few draft dodgers there and they were lonely, lost and had trouble finding legal work.A bit Later in Pasadena California , a man on my street was an ex marine. He was scary, angry, & on drugs( who wasn’t): the cops were after him and even put his 2 year old son in jail to teach him a lesson.This was so wrong…..LA county was the worst place. Are these the kind of memories that you had in mind? This was generally my urban experience and it was awful. Ann


  316. On Caroline Kennedy – if the press gives CK a pass (which I don’t think they are), it won’t be because of class as in social status, but because of class as in dignity, moral code, and yes, history. I think support for CK’s Senate bid is eroding – and I don’t think she’s helped her case any. I’d like to see her actually campaign for the Senate though if she really is interested.


  317. Mage – IMO, the difference between the ribbon on the back of your truck and the ribbon on the back of a Cadillac Escalade or a Land Rover, is that YOU actually have family fighting. The “theme” of the post is that the majority of Americans have not changed their lifestyle or been affected by Bush’s illegal war – and the brunt of the initial burden is being carried by our military and guardsmen families – but that folks who drive around with their yellow magnets without really understanding the trials and turmoil personally are the first to scream out about “supporting the troops” – here at M & H, we honor our soldiers – and some of us feel that one of the ways to support the troops is to bring them home, ensure their families are cared for, and that all medical care is fully provided.

    As for SP – less said the better? Pi, I think you’re right – I think SP truly believes (like Burris) that she has been anointed by God. . . of course the question is, which god?

    Elsie – I work in canine hydrotherapy and massage. Most of my clients are pre- & post-op dogs, but many are disabled or aged canines or dogs suffering from cancer. Most months are good, but sometimes, the old ones are ready to go to the Bridge, and for some, the cancer wins. Even though it is tough, I have been honored to be with the families when they have listened to their hearts and given their canine family member a safe, loving, and dignified passage. Unfortunately, this past week, cancer won too much.


  318. Question for active duty and former active duty service men and women here…

    Over the years I’ve had a number of young (men) co-workers confide that they wish they had had to go to Viet Nam or somewhere similar. When I have pressed for whys , the clearest they can get with me and themselves is that they feel they have missed a defining-experience.

    Does anyone know what this is?


  319. Hey, books…..or book store gift certificates. I’d really have those than cookies. Then again, I just like to see what the kids and G’kids look like. One in Iran, another in Iraq…..and I have one of those dumb ribbons on the back of my pickup truck….ah well, even old ladies can be fools.

    Thanks for writing……


  320. Oh carolanana and troutay-
    Ok- I shovelled a mountain of snow and walked the dogs and I might get into the Kahlua my sister made for me Christmas…

    If only we could get the gov to clean up after herself!!!!!!!! Before she was tapped for the VP run she was somewhat careful about spouting the BS. Used to be , you only caught it as lil asides or snipy oneliners.
    Since she came home she has not shut up!
    She seems to feel she has been anointed for something… The gov wants to carry the torch of stupidity the length and breadth of the country!

    Oh fooey- you all know that already.

    Just have to figure out how to stop her- here and from moving on.
    Ok- breathing normally , again. whew.


  321. Smiley faces are always welcome…they were used long before Wally pre-empted them. Troutay is right Pi…take it easy shoveling when you’re angry – let Palin shovel the sh*t…maybe she’ll finally sink into the ooze she came from (dang dangling participles!)


  322. Mudflats just did a post. I am fuming. I don’t know what is wrong with that woman. I actually hate her and I don’t hate anyone. Her view point actually scares me. Really scares me.


    You shouldn’t push too hard. You will hurt yourself.

    I am stunned. Just stunned.
    I think I will go to bed early. I don’t even want to think about this yet.


  323. carolanana said-
    “They are holding their heads in shock, troutay…they’ve just read in Huffington Post that Sarah Palin believes that the media are giving Caroline Kennedy a pass because of “class” reasons. ”
    Here is Pi… and I’m shovelling snow to work off my mad over this latest ghastly-gov-gaffe/goof/garble…
    I wish someone would color some super glue and send it to her as a lipstick…
    I’m gonna go shovel some more…
    John- Thanks for stopping by. All the folks I know from Viet Nam era were drafted or signed up in hopes of having some choice in what they saw as inevitable service. Other folks have told me over the years that it was different in rural and urban areas… anyone know or remember?
    I’m gonna go shovel…


  324. hmmmm
    I didn’t intend to put that smilie face thing in there.
    It reminds me of WallyMart


  325. Of course Caroline Kennedy has more “class” than Sarah Palin. Homer Simpson has more class than Sarah Palin.

    🙂 thks carolanana


  326. Happy New Year ladies!


  327. *sorry…press *is* being nicer.

    gramma rock: You are a beacon along with the many other fine people on this site. Native American trauma is a kind of specialty of mine b/c so many live in my area…they live with more trauma than anyone can imagine! Thank you for bringing ‘them’ into the fold.


  328. They are holding their heads in shock, troutay…they’ve just read in Huffington Post that Sarah Palin believes that the media are giving Caroline Kennedy a pass because of “class” reasons. She thinks that C. Kennedy is a higher class person than herself (and she’s right) so the press if being nicer to C.K. When the above people come out of shock, I’m sure they’ll start writing again. I hope you are well, otherwise. ;>


  329. my husband is a disabled combat veteran from the korean war. he was wounded five times in combat. the way that he deals with his ‘traumas’ it to help other vets get the benefits that they are entitled to. we run a grassroots non-profit outreach and resource center for vets. mostly native american vets. but we have many non-native vets also.

    i have secondary ptsd from living with the symptoms of, first, my father’s ptsd from serving on an aircraft carrier in the south pacific in ww2 and from my husband’s symptoms.

    we also work with family members of veterans. we provide crisis counseling, and talking circles (group therapy). and we maintain a sweatlodge for use of veterans and their families.

    in working with indian vets we find that most millitary documents prior to gulf war denote caucasion as the race. this is because indian men could not be conscripted (drafted) to fight. many a
    recruiter in a rez border town filled their ‘quota’ recruiting indian men in ww2, korea and viet nam. there will never be an accurate accounting of how many american indians have served in the millitary for this reason. yet it is an accepted demographic that per capita more native americans that any other ethnic group volunteer to serve in the u.s. military.

    there is a traditional cultural component to why native americans volunteer to serve, in addition to the economic reasons.

    while serving in the military gave american indians some sense of status, they also had to contend with a lot of racism and bigotry. many dishonorable discharges can be traced back to a recruit standing up to a superior for some overt racial degradation.

    the current returning vets are not getting the support they deserve. their famililes are not getting the support they desparately need. and some va hospitals deliberately keep the young troops separated from the old vets who know the ropes around the va benefits beauracracy.

    before 9/11, the va spent money ‘remodeling’ and refurnishing facilities at regular intervals. especially the cafeterias. now they cannot keep up with the need for larger wards and more nursing facilities.

    support for our troops also means finding out what their needs are.


  330. Where is Pi?
    Where is Greydog?
    Where is whirled peas?


  331. John.

    Wonderful post. That is why I posted earlier “We have met the enemy and he is us”.
    Hurt people do hurt people. And the cycle just repeats itself.

    Are you ok? Sometimes we question our actions but we also learn from them. And perhaps without the experiences we have, we might have been different people.

    Perhaps this has made you more compassionate, more thinking.

    Please write more. I would love to read more of your words.


  332. lol. oh ick! jean. and just what is it that you eat with your wd40, that provides the basis for comparison ?

    couldn’t resist. reminded me of a friend who once told me that something tasted
    like skunk piss. and i told him that i would take his word for it.


  333. I am a former Marine combat veteran (Viet Nam ’67-’68). I have been following the comments on this post for a couple of days and especially appreciate those of ProudCommunityOrganizerWA, Jack, Alaska Pi, jean, and sophie. They have been very thought provoking. Some of my random reactions follow:

    Of special interest to me has been the speculation about why people enlist in the military. I think there are many different reasons why people enlist and in any specific person it may be a combination of reasons. I’ve tried for over forty years to figure out why I enlisted in the Marine Corps (especially when I was in boot camp). I’ve always told the story of how the recruiting offices for all of the services were on the second floor of the post office in Lincoln, NE. I went down there intending to talk to all of them and the Marine Corps office was the first one at the top of the stairs. After reading some of Joseh Campbell’s works, particularlly “The Power Of Myth” and “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”, I think that I just wanted to take the mythological journey of the Warrior and I think this is a common reason, especially for those who join the Army or the Marines.

    When veterans go to the Wall, they do not only weep for their friends and their families; they also grieve for those pieces of their soul they left behind.

    It was very popular in Viet Nam to have a personal motto engraved on a Zippo lighter. A couple of mottoes that stiuck in my mind were: “Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for I know that I am the evilest son of a bitch in the Valley” and “When I kill, all I feel is the recoil”. Based on my admittedly limited contact with some of the Iraqi veterans I have met, I feel confident that these sentiments could be found echoed in Iraq. I’m scared, too. And with my Marine experience and over 30 years with the Texas Department of Corrections, I don’t scare easily. The people I fear for the most are these guys’ wives and children. The mantra of one of my sociology professors was” Hurt people hurt people”. We, as a society, will be struggling with these hurt people for years.


  334. Jean:

    I remember that olio stuff. We had it in the 60’s. You could either eat it white, or you could blend in that little packet of veggie coloring to make it look more like butter.

    Also, my mom used to make us Spam sandwiches all the time. I hated Spam! So I would toss the spam and just eat the buttered bread.

    It is rather funny Jean. Now most young women do not wear nylons at all in the summer. They wear tights in the winter, but you never ever see them in panyhose.

    I vow to try to eat Spam again. Maybe trying it the “Hawaiian (sp?) way” might make a difference.


  335. Hi Helen, Margaret and everybody,

    A little change of pace from the serious problems of today.

    I remembered a couple of ancient history tid-bits that only old fossils like me could know from personal experience.

    During WWII, butter was impossible to get, even with ration stamps or coupons. That’s when oleo-margarine came into being. It came in a white block with a little packet of yellow powder. When the block was softened, you mixed the powder up in it to make it look like butter. Then it was just a big yellow blob. It tasted like WD/40.

    Did you know that the chemical composition of margerine is only one molecule away from plastic?

    I’m with you, Helen about bacon and butter too. To hell with plugged up arteries! Moderation in all things is my motto.

    This is a hilarious tale about another ‘hardship’ of WWII. Silk stocking. Totally unavailable, somebody came up with ‘leg makeup’. Of course, we mostly wore bobby sox and brown and white saddle shoes. But when we got gussied up, it had to be with the harness of a garter belt and silk stockings. This was LONG before nylons or pantyhose.

    The ‘leg makeup’ came in various shades in a tube somewhat like toothpaste. It had the consistance of lotion or liquid foundation and you spread it on your legs. It had a sort of yuckky odor when you applied it. It also came with a brown pencil like an eyebrow pencil to draw a line down the back of your leg. The silk stockings had a seam there and you were always checking to see if your seams were straight.

    Are you getting a mental picture here?

    The goo dried – sort of – but it did smear on shoes and the hem of your skirt, chairs, ets. Heaven forbid that you wear pants and hide your legs!

    It was rumored that many a girl was enticed out of her, ahem, virtue by some young man dangling a pair of silk stockings before her eyes!

    Years later, a friend of ours was a manager in a textile mill where they manufactured silk and later nylon stockings. He said, there was final one step in the process whereby they could lock in the stitch so the stocking could not run.

    The ‘Powers That Be’ decided to omit that step so there would be more sales. Again, heaven forbid that any of us should go around with a run in our stocking!




  336. Greytdog∆, great post. Keith, here’s another quote:
    “Bad things happen when good people remain silent” but I forget the author.

    I did get very involved because of our public school system here in Hawaii. Our private and VERY expensive schools are excellent – Punahou and Iolani being the largest and best. My kids went to public high schools, for I believe it is the individual that makes the difference and they become more socially adept with friends of varying economic backgrounds. They are doing okay in college and beyond, but their actual education was below the standards I had when I was young, and Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” forced our schools to teach to the middle for most classes, making it hard for teachers to reach all of their students, boring for the bright ones, and difficult for those with learning problems.

    I raised the red flag even though everyone told me it wouldn’t make a difference. It started with a growing group of pissed off parents and a few teachers, most of them silent but encouraging through emails and giving testimony, until much to all our surprise, we had change at our school. We were branded as “bad” but we got change, and perhaps from this small victory, at least one of our schools has a chance to improve to the level of quality – with new leadership. Almost sounds like the campaign and hope of our president elect Obama!

    It is amazing to me how many people don’t want change. They grumble, they cuss, but they don’t do anything about it. It’s easier to just blame someone than figure out what would be better, and then doing it.

    I believe we had 8 years of grumbling, cussing, and giving up because no matter how we felt, we weren’t getting anywhere. Now, we have at least 4 years of someone willing to listen (Obama has a website that encourages input), someone willing to use brains, experience and wisdom from friend and foe, someone with the big picture and the majority of the people in his heart and purpose.

    Troutay, your “we shall overcome” has been the chant in my head. After 8 years of feeling helpless, it feels so good to hope.

    I feel sorry for the others that voted Republican and lost, I know how that felt as the loser of the previous 2 elections. So, they are still spouting how Bush kept us safe after 9-11, Obama is really a Muslin, the anti-Christ, will cause the moral decay of our country, etc.

    All I want to say to them is give Obama a chance. The religious right is now “praying for the President”. Thank you. Please mean it, and get on the train.

    Jean, thanks for your beautiful tales, but I am sorry you hate Spam. I love it, and spam musubis (packed rectangles of white rice with teriyaki cooked slice of spam on top wrapped with a sheet of nori) are one of my favorite take-a-long foods. Spam cooked with kim chee, or stir fried with choi sum eaten with white rice, yum. I think Hawaii is the Spam Capitol of the USA.

    At least we have lots of other good food besides spam, and if our paths ever cross, and you get to sit down to eat with me, I’ll keep the spam off the table.


  337. forgot to spell check, see I am no better than anybody else here! LOL


  338. Hi Grandma Katie and Jean
    disadvanteg of the Game Boy Advance is the very small screen which is also a hassle to read in sunlight, but Tetris is an excellent Idea and you can find it on the web site I send you before for free
    lemme look………
    uups not there lemme look somewhere else
    meanwhile try this one:

    shot/start ball with the space bar and move the playing coursor with the rioght / left arrow button, a bit fast, but with some training

    looking for tetris:
    here you go

    move shapes roght lieft with arrows
    up arrow will turn shape
    down arrow will drop shape in place
    this is excellent training and tons of fun try it!!



  339. Hi Greytdog and Whirled Peas,

    Thanks for the ‘IMO’ explanation. I’ll be using that!

    And the Computer Wizard strikes again! Thank you! I’ll get computer literate yet.




  340. Good morning to you too, Grandma Katie,

    May I make another suggestion that is much, much less expensive than a Wii. A few years ago one of my young grandson gave me a GameBoy Advance for a game known as ‘Tetris’. I know for sure that he didn’t have $$$$$ for anything like the Wii.

    It is small, portable and runs on two AA batteries. You can take it anywhere, even in your purse. If you can maneuver the computer keyboard, which you do very well, you can certainly play ‘Tetris’. The silly thing is addictive!!!!!

    Maybe you could call around and see if you can track one down. WalMart?




  341. Grandma Katie
    since a picture says more than a thousand words, here a youtube video link to a Nintendo ADD for Wii

    just keep in mind, this is an add and shows things as the “should” be, so expect them to be more diffucult, but for that, not less fun…..



  342. Hi Grandma Katie
    A Wii is a gaming Console, which has this controler (remote kinda thingy) that you wave around to make the thing work:

    Form Wikipedia:
    A distinguishing feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detect movement in three dimensions.
    More details:

    What they mean is that it is a “hard job” getting the remote to do what you want it to, since you keep waving the thing around to pretend to use it as a tennis racket, a golf club, etc (also less wild movements) There os a game that a lot of people have (Wii Sports) that is what I think Greytdog (please elaborate on this yourself Greytdog) meant when she wrote that it might help improve you Hand to eye coordination, but since they don’t come cheap I really recommend through testing before investing.

    A rather cheap and fun way if you have a PC is this site:

    they have all the old arcade style games for free for the PC (My ten year old loves them) on the web, just check the different categories on the left for what kind of stuff you like and get going.

    Some annoying adds but it is for free, so let’s just click them away and get playing! 🙂



  343. Jean,

    Internet Slang List.



  344. Good moning to you all!
    Thanks to allthe suggestions about getting a Wii. now if I just knew what Wii was!!
    I have wireless here. Play ay n umber of games, and d o a lot of typing which helps the right hand a lot. I have come a long was in a year. ONly problem is that I don’t think it is fast enough. The only item of funrniture I have left is an office chair, computer desk and the computer1

    Interesting talking about things being rationed. In odd moments, am writing memories of growing u p during the depression and WWll
    WE really did recycling then. From tooth paste tubes to cereal boxes etc.
    My dad had customers from a nearby Army base and became friends with some of them. One was in Italy. We regularly sent packages to unck\cles and friends. This y oug man wrote and asked if we would please send some popcorn, the unpopped (his words)kind..When he received it , he wrote how m uch he and his buddies enjoyed it. They popped it in ther helments over a fire!

    Now for a Spam story.
    The butcher at our neighbor hood grocery saved the 5 pound tins for my mother. Th tins were just the right measurements and sturdy enough
    for shipping. Back during the waar Spam was sold in slices.

    One of my parents b rothers received a package.=and was horrified toopen it to see a Spam can. He almost didn’t open it all the way to see what was in it.

    Thanks to all. of you and especially Margaret and Helen. REading this every morning has been really
    exciting and keeps my brain occupied.


  345. Hi Silver Snow Dragon

    As for:
    “And as for being active – “you’re dead on” there, too.”

    I love the pun, NOT laughing at you, but we all could have a good old laugh at the “Queen’s English” here WITH you, or is it only my German mind that see the pun underneath the good intention?

    LOL with you



  346. And a happy New Year to you, too!

    Nice to see y’all back and putting it all out there.

    You’re right. Supporting the troops is more than stickers and flags. All of the men and women fighting on either side are someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife, sister, brother… what have you. I think we need to remember that more often.

    Yea, some of them are bad people… but many of them are not. They’re just like us in all the ways that really count.

    And as for being active – you’re dead on there, too. I know this election made me realize how passive I’ve been in the past. That needs to change. For all of us. We all need to get out their and get our voices heard.

    If we don’t… no one will.


  347. Jizzle
    good point

    “Rip ’em off without ripping them off.”

    Excellent concept and if your to dumb/busy to notice, well just shows the point of your involvement.

    Lovin’ it, best idea since a while!

    And as for supporting your troops (Even if I disagree, see above) the best idea is get ’em home before they get ’em killed and treat oil as a treasur

    HYBRID cars made it to the US, you just gotta look!



  348. But really, Helen — those yellow ribbons are MAGNETS, They aren’t even stickers. Nobody wants to ruin their precious cars. I like to take them off in parking lots and just throw them on the ground next to the car, and if they don’t notice it is gone and they drive away without it, oh well!


  349. Wow, I wasn’t going to post but I am just struck by the comments (and the post!) that I just have to say thank you to those of you who left such great responses. I started visiting this sight when Andrew Sullivan linked it. I can’t even tell you how much this blog did for my soul. I was surrounded by Sarah Palin lovers at work & die hard republicans. This site (along with Mudflats, Andrew Sullivan, HuffPo) were just so refreshing.

    For the above poster who said that she is afraid of soldiers/vets – What? You have got to be kidding. First of all, the scary ones you might have met on the street are mentally scarred & probably most of them have PTSS that has never been treated. Even if they are treated now, after many many years, they will probably never be able to “fit” in society.

    It is a crime that we let these men/women go to war & NOT give them therapy when they get home. I believe that all returning soldiers should get mandatory (yes, mandatory because let’s face it some people don’t want to admit they need it or that they have a problem) therapy. Yes, it would cost us some money but by God they deserve it. If we can afford $475,000 china for the White House that Laura Bush just picked out then we can certainly afford it. Note: I know that the historical society actually paid for this china & we as taxpayers didn’t; however, where in the world are our priorities?

    The other comment I want to make is that many of these soldiers joined the services because it helped them pay for their college. It wasn’t because they wanted to kill people! They wanted a college education to better themselves. Off my soapbox now!


  350. sorry read $270.00 for Wii


  351. Gandma Katie
    for the Nintendo Wii thingy (they still go for $210.00) best thing would be to ask any Grandkids you might have to bring theirs over for a visit to test….. or if you have good conncetionss in the neighbourhood ask someon with Kids if they can let you try before investing that kinda a money!
    But I agree, IF you like it AND IF you can handle it you would certainly improve, just finding something for the Wii that fits your interesst and age is not easy and NEVER buy a game without checking internet reviews about it, a lot of crappy stuff for the Wii out there and it hurts to waste $30 -50 for something you don’t like or need.

    Good luck



  352. and on a random note… back to bacon. Apparently it has magical powers, rivalling the fountain of youth. 🙂

    114 year old woman attributes longevity in part to bacon.


  353. troutay said-
    “Hmm. Pi?
    I didn’t see any high horse, I just read a lot of common sense.”

    Good- I was hoping so. I realize I’ve been talking in personal shorthand about high horses and soapboxes here. It works ok in the ultra practical everyday work world I live in but falls short in here.

    I was the science kid- mathematical beauty stunned and still stuns me. I get so over excited when I read Bohr’s leap of understanding regarding basic atomic structure that I can’t sit still. My lab partners through school loved and hated me because I could”see” what the emerging pattern was going to be and oft times why, but always got so excited I would get up and run around- sometimes right out of the lab.

    I took a lot of classical philosophy courses to try to balance out that side of me but didn’t begin to “get it” til I got to make 2 trips into Glacier Bay 25 years ago. I have a tough time with perspective- where am I? type. Am I off in the ozone and thinking I’m firmly grounded…?
    The splendor of all those tidewater glaciers was almost overwhelming… the views afforded there-vast rivers of ice seen from a distance, all the teaming life near the intersect of ice and salt water at the face , holding a chunk of ages old well travelled ice in my hand and wondering- became a meaningful metaphor for me regarding “god’s eye view”, everyday life in the fray, and the eye of the scientist. Somehow I had gotten on-a-high-horse- confusing the eye of the scientist with “god’s eye view”- in my own life. I still lose track of where my feet are and like to come here to stamp around a bit in the dust and try to figure it all out again…

    Greytdog has made one of those wonderful sweeps and rounded out the whole by plopping the undealt-with out in the open to kick around and fit into the picture.
    I don’t know about other rural areas but here so many of our “voluntary” service men and women from subsistence villages volunteer because there are so few ways to make the dollars that are needed for items one cannot make, hunt, build oneself…and you get training in things to help your neighbors in times of crisis ( National Guard esp)


  354. Greytdog: Thank you for your comments. I couldn’t agree more. And what you said about the Wii was very interesting as my Marine (just by coincidence I’m sure) got one for Christmas.

    Grandma Katie: The book you mentioned sounds very interesting indeed. I’ll be looking that up on Amazon in a bit and most likely will order a copy for myself.

    As I said, I basically diagnosed my Marine’s PTSD, based only on my own experience suffering from similar. He withdrew from me, and everyone other than his job, every year at the same time…. late January and most of February. A dear friend of mine suggested that something significant must have happened to him within that time frame. Quickly I hit the computer for research and found that the initial invasion of Iraq during Desert Storm was at that time.

    Here’s my point. So many of us get so caught up in our own insular lives, just getting through another day hoping we’ve made a dent in what we needed/hoped to accomplish, that we miss signals that others are sending out, seeking help. Life’s a busy complicated task but we have to make time to listen to what goes on around us for a bit. There are so many cries for help, many disguised as withdrawal, anger and indifference. Our compassion and concern for one another, even strangers in line at the grocery can make that one difference in someone’s life. Suddenly, I wonder what it would be like to find myself in line with Ann Coulter….. maybe I wouldn’t be such a compassionate soul! Just something that struck me!

    I heard this quote on television yesterday morning and scrambled to write it down. I hope I got it correct.

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” MLK, Jr. Thats for You Helen!



  355. Greytdog, early on, I figured out the “Great Dog” moniker you used, as I am a Corgi owner, too. However, unlike your pack, I have just my one little female Corgi, and with her and the frequent visits from my daughter’s German Shepherd, that’s plenty for us, for the moment. But, secretly, I’d really like to have a pack with some additional male Corgis, too, in memory of my funny little male Corgi who died last year.

    I appreciate everything you offer Helen’s visitors here. I read all the thoughtful, well-written commentary from you and try to consider all of it thoughtfully. Among all the things you’ve said recently, I keep going back to your need for a laugh a couple of days ago because you were somehow involved in the euthanizing of six dogs.

    Without being too nosy, could you tell a little more about how you came to be involved in the euthanizing of all those dogs? Do you work for, or volunteer with, an animal shelter?


  356. Here is a little something for WhirledPeas:


  357. Greydog:

    good post. I agree.


  358. And a more lighthearted note:

    Ben & Jerry’s has an inauguration-inspired flavor: “Yes Pecan.”


  359. But this is OUR patriotic duty – to ensure our soldiers are sent into battle with ALL the equipment and protection needed, that their leaders have a clear and concise goal and strategy, that their leaders do not LIE to them or to us, that we provide the support to the families left behind during TDY, that we provide the very best medical care both during and after that TDY, and that we honor their service by ensuring our government understands the consequences of killing our children for a LIE.


  360. Good Morning all! I read Pi’s response to Sophie and that compelled me to wander back through the comments with intent to see what I’d missed. . . and then the proverbial “something shiny” distracted me. . . and my thoughts wisped away while my brain cogitated on something else. Sigh. So a couple of things:
    First of all – Jean, IMO stands for In My Opinion (a preface so that folks know you’re not stating facts)
    Second: As I perused through the comments, I realized that many of the remarks concerning the troops were tacitly prefaced by the idea that the folks who joined the Armed Forces were doing so from a deep sense of patriotism. Hmmm. I don’t think so. Please remember we no longer have a draft – we have an all volunteer armed forces. From all accounts I’ve read over the years and the folks I know who are in service now, the primary motivating force for joining the armed forces was economic, not patriotism. Yes there was an uptick among some folks after 9/11 citing a desire to fight for this country (Pat Tillman being the most notable) – but since then, the economics of volunteering has really been the focus. Sign up bonus, the college carrot, etc are very powerful incentives to folks who otherwise would not be able to afford college or learn a trade. And of course, as this war has dragged on, and the recruiting quotas began to lag, the armed forces began dismantling their own enlistment requirements – so now we have violent crime offenders who are joining and we’re actually giving them a gun and letting them loose? Oy! With the recent crumbling of Wall Street and the decimation of Main Street, the armed forces are again seeing a larger turnout for enlistment as folks seek to stave off financial ruin and uncertainty. And it is these reasons, I think, that more and more we will have soldiers who return to their TDYs (tour of duty year) because they do bond with their units – the unit becomes their family, their touchstone – and they fight to protect each other – not their country. I am personally glad that these folks do indeed guard each other’s back – I remember a scene from a movie I saw as a child (and no I can’t recall the title, just this particular scene) – one soldier looked at his fellows and declared “there aren’t too many folks I trust. But you. Each and everyone of you – I’d die for. But only for you”
    That struck me and even as a child, I understood the sentiment – back to back, shoulder to shoulder. That’s not patriotism – that’s family. I would rather honor that sentiment than to pretend that each soldier is doing a patriotic “duty”.Vietnam Vets don’t weep at the wall because of patriotism – they weep for fallen friends, they weep for their family.


  361. Hmm. Pi?
    I didn’t see any high horse, I just read a lot of common sense.

    That is what I like about this place. Common sense.
    Have to go, must stop to drop off uniform at cleaners on my way to work.


  362. Sally, that way hysterical!

    “The Bushes will be around for a long time – crap takes longer to dissolve when it wraps itself in a false cloak of Christian goodness.”


    That is a good one…..


  363. Hi Alaska Pi,

    Yes, chocolate was rationed. So were many, many other things like sugar, butter and meat. (God! Spam wasn’t. We lived on Spam often. To this day I can’t look Spam in the face although it’s a BIG favorite out here. They make musabi with Spam in the middle. UGH!)

    There were ration stamps and you could not buy those items without the proper stamp. My mother swapped some meat stamps with friends for sugar stamps to make her traditional jellies and jams. So we ate Spam. YUCK!

    Gasoline was rationed for sure. I almost got into a LOT OF TROUBLE in high school because I went on a date with two other couples to an amusement park in Denver. Without permission. None of us had parental permission to leave the city limits – ever!

    When it was time to come home, my date only had a ration stamp for a ‘truck’ not a ‘car’. We drove all over Denver and almost ran out of gas before he found a sort of black market gas station that would take the ‘truck stamp’ – for a price.

    Never did that again!!!




  364. Dear Margaret &* Helen
    I live just south of the largest United States Marine Corps land bombing ground in our country. Today like many days ,our house shook and the explosions shattered the silence of our Mojave Desert. I send out prayers to all people affected by war, whether it be in Iraq, Israel, Africa or the Gaza Strip. We teach in the schools where the children’s Mothers, fathers, Aunts, Uncles, Etc, have been to Iraq multiple times, many of them coming home missing parts of their bodies, parts of their souls, or both.
    I applaud you for being so open and truthful about the truth of War. With all the amazing minds on our planet, it is beyond me why we cannot put all of our monies and energies into creating Peace.
    We need more folks like you writing openly and honestly about War and our government.
    I Thank You
    PS next year register for what you really want at target or another reasonably priced store, so you might receive a few gifts you can actually use and like!


  365. Hi Greytdog,

    I’m showing my Technology Challenged ignorance. What does ‘IMO’ mean?




  366. I have only just been introduced to your blog, and I wish you were my grandmother already. Bless you for putting these thoughts out there. (Although, if you kiss and make up with Bush, I hope rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.)

    Happy New Year.


  367. Oh Jean-
    Those packages!
    My dad spent 6 years -during and after WWII- as a submariner in the Pacific. He said those wartime packages from his mother and sisters were heaven.
    No matter how many times he told them he was given chocolate bars, they always saved their chocolate ( was it rationed like so many other things?) and sent it to him and his brothers who were in Europe.

    I think I’ll skip right on by what dad has had to say about the “sacrifices” far too many folks have made for our service men and women this time around.

    I’m sorry you lost your beloved brother… I lost a special cousin in Viet Nam-the closest I ever had to having a brother. His loss is still real and painful after 40 years…


  368. Dear Helen, Margaret and Everyone,

    I spent three hours in the dentist’s chair today. He is a sweetheart and absolutely painless. All I have to do is show up and open my mouth. I suppose that as an old broad, I should be glad that I still have some teeth for him to work on. But SHEESH! THREE HOURS and $$$$$$!

    Thank you, those of you, my new friends, for your kind words about my brother, R.G. I am grateful for your caring thoughts. There have been many comments here today about PTSD. Haven’t we learned a DAMN thing in this country in 60 plus years? Here is more of the story. Please bear with me. I’ll get to my point – eventually.

    I began piano lessons at a pretty early age. It wasn’t too hard to get me to practice, because I loved the music and it was fun playing.

    As a result, I advanced to the head of my teacher’s roster of pupils and the foot of her recital program. Periodically, she held a recital for all the parents, families and friends to come hear how accomplished we students had become. At my first recital there were several of my little friends ahead of me on the program. One of them messed up badly and fled the stage in tears. I was horrified! I had my first in a long line of experiences with terminal stage fright.

    Somehow I managed to get through my little piece without incident. But I vowed from then on to know my piece so well that nothing could rattle me. That meant diligent practice!

    I think my parents probably thought my dedication to the piano was because I loved music, which of course, I did and still do. But my PRIMARY purpose was to prepare for the next recital coming up. I did enjoy the applause and the obvious pride and approval of my family and friends but that was far from the principal motivation. Backstage before each performance I suffered the agonies of the damned with freezing fingers.

    Over the years I was shoved onto a stage on a regular basis. My parents and my teachers had me convinced that I should be a concert pianist.

    When I was about fourteen during WWII, a Ladies’ group organized a variety show of local talent to entertain the soldier patients at the HUGE Fitzsimmon’s General Army Hospital in Denver. We were an assortment of singers, dancers and such. For a change, because I was the youngest, I was first on the program. I always took my music with me for a performance to bone up to the very last minute and as a sort of security blanket to ward off the inevitable paralyzing stage fright.

    I walked out onto the stage to a chorus of rowdy applause and whistles. This was no polite ladies’ club, mens’ business service or community production organization! I sat down at the piano and as the racket continued I became completely unnerved. I couldn’t find Middle C let alone the first notes of my piece! I muttered something about forgetting my music and fled backstage to get it. I came back to an even more uproarious audience. I sat down with the hubbub still going on. By then I was mad at them for being so rude!

    As always, once I started to play, everything was forgotten and it was just me the piano and the music. My piece was ‘Claire de Lune’ by Debussy. Soon the auditorium was very, very quiet, perhaps moved by the mood and beauty of the music. As I gathered up my music, took my bow and left the stage, the applause was thunderous but be damned, I would not play an encore for that disorderly bunch!

    After the show we visited the wards. Of course, everyone remembered the little girl who forgot her music but played well when she did have it.

    Here were the spoils of war – young men in wheel chairs, the amputees, the blinded, the broken bodies and shattered spirits. Each one of them could have been my brother, R.G. He was at that time fighting in North Africa.

    On the sixty-five mile ride home I thought about the rah-rah hype in the movies and the glories of war being generated all the time around us. I remembered and finally understood my parents’ stoic respectful silence at Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades as columns of soldiers marched by to the oompah-pah martial music of the high school band. Before, I had thought the parades were so exciting!!! No more. I no longer thought that there was anything thrilling about war. Sometimes necessary I suppose but certainly nothing to take lightly. My dad had been in the army in World War I. My mother’s first sweetheart had been killed in that war. My parents knew what war was really about.

    R.G. was fighting in Sicily when he was wounded in the leg by shrapnel. He was sent back to a field hospital for three weeks. There he met an Italian girl. He wrote, asking my mother to send him his high school Latin book, hoping to be able to communicate better with his girlfriend. Mom sent it. Italian, of course, is a Romance language.

    He wrote as often as he could. Naturally, he couldn’t write about where he was or any details of the war. His letters were sent to us on ‘V mail’, rather crude photographs of the letter from, I presume, microfilm. The ‘V mails’ were about 3 inches by 4 inches and stamped by a censor, occasionally some sentences blacked out.

    We sent letters and packages to his APO address in New York. I remember helping make up and wrapping Christmas packages in August or September with the hope they would get to him in time. He was overseas for well over three years.

    Once he wrote to me personally in response to one of my letters. He described how pitiful the children were where he was. He told me, “Every night in your prayers, thank God that you live in America.”

    I did and I do.




  369. troutay- you out there? I’m afriad I’m about to get on a soapbox for real and I might need someone to cart me off to a doc when I fall off.

    This place of Margaret and Helen’s has been a place of sanctuary, solace , and learning for me these past few months.
    I just about stroked out when Mr McCain added our sorry gov to the ticket. I was lucky enough to find this blog (actually my lil sister pointed me here as I think she was worn out from my ravings… ) and I wrote bazillions of postcards as an Alaskan voting for Obama to undecided voters all over Outside.
    I have come to enjoy so many of the folks who post regulalrly here as well as laughing and crying my way through Helen’s brilliant posts.
    Troutay’s deep kind heart, Elsie’s gracious intelligent ethics, Greytdog’s boundless fount of information and clear thinking, Charles’ acerbic wit, JuneauJoe and Werner’s intelligent hilarity, freD’s superior wordsmith capabilities, Jean’s ability to make a story tell truth, Grandma Katie’s strength, charming ultra smart Skyewriter and feisty loving dyricci, our much beloved magician Whirled Peas… Political Amazon, Mirror Man, Ann ,Maven… Too many to count. Too many to name .
    All that being said…
    sophie said-
    “Are we as a culture so detached from the notion of developing an ethical code to guide us in real life issues that i am the outlier here? If so, that is an enormous loss for this Country. And, perhaps, an irreparable one”

    sophie -stuff a sock in it. Insulting Proud- who has a well established ethical stance- and by extension the rest of the folks who think here is a non-starter.
    “The notion that ‘thinkers’ are irrelevant or somehow ‘quaintly out of touch’ is part and parcel of the dumbing down of the American public we have been subjected to by the right wing for how many years now?”

    sophie -stuff a sock in it.
    You have established no credentials here except that you can read and use quotes from someone with no name.
    Your ideas have logical validity and your plan to assist soldiers who have made the difficult choice to resist the war is laudable.
    However, elevating your ideas/thoughts above all around you is a juvenile mistake. I know. I spent 15 years charging around laying waste to other decent folks…
    Hon, it’ll get lonely if you get quiet round nightfall. It’s only your own heartbeat you’ll hear…
    Announcing you are a thinker and a well disciplined and well rounded one at that AND giving off attitude that any rebuff or question about your stance is anti-intellectualism doesn’t cut it here. Too many well read, well educated, well seasoned THINKERS here to let you slide on that …
    Come visit and have some pie but get off your high horse. I’ve got all kinds of busted bits and pieces to show for my foray into that lifestyle. It’s more comfortable here . Southern folks tend to hang on the porch and have iced tea and pie. We Northerly folks tend to head for the parlour where the hot tea is set out…


  370. Grandma Katie – anyone near you who can set you up with a Wii? The Brain Trauma units at the VA in Tampa have those installed there for therapy. . . and it seems to be remarkable at refiring those eye-hand coordination synapses.


  371. Slightly OT – but the one statement uttered by Cindy McCain during the campaign that made me see “red” was when she commented that only draftees get PTSD, not officers. My hubby just laughed at the stupid bitch but I personally to bitch slap her. IMO John McCain is a walking talking classic case of untreated PTSD.

    Talea – welcome back! 🙂 I think your mom and I would have been buddies – my one indulgence that I’ve kept during these hard economic times – my venti mocha from starbucks. once a week without fail. It’s my “Thank God it’s Friday” morning celebration!

    Keith & Troutay – one of the greatest disservices to our country is don’t ask don’t tell. The loss of highly qualified linguists fluent in Farsi at a time when our country desperately needed their skills – a loss based only on their sexual orientation – is perhaps one of the biggest blunders of this ill-gotten war. I am disgusted with Prop 8 and I am furious about FL’s passage of Amendment 2. The legal discrimination of anyone in this country makes a travesty of the whole notion of democracy and equality. November 4 was a day of mixed emotions – joy for the election of Obama and despair over the small mindedness that remains ingrained in our national psyche. We have a lot of work to do still – and yes the economy is in shambles. But IMO we must attend to the foundation of this country – to reinstating the very principles upon which this country was founded – and making sure that the Law of the Land upholds and hold sacred those principles of equality.


  372. Oops. my typing . The Drs name is Doidge. He is in CAnada .
    One of the other Drs is Dr. Edward Taub. He has cca ccccclini in Birmingham Ala at the University. Google their names after you8 read the book. It is available at BArnes and Nobel, $16.00.
    Just from what I have learned from reading the book,and pit to use some oof the information, I have seen improvement in the use of my right hand.


  373. Spemt morning reading all y our comments about PTSD. Since I have been reading a wonderful book about the BRAIN, I was sure I had b een reading about that. After digging through the book, I foun d references to the subject but not the references to it.
    However, what I have read that makes a lot of sense.
    In war, the brain is assaulted by gunfire, bombs exploding, etc all of which is devasting to the brain, cauusing PTSD. The new way of treating the brain could be of tremendou8s help to these suffering from th is.

    the name of the book is :The Brain that Changes Itself” by
    Dr. Norman Dodge.


  374. I had to laugh about the “crap.” The older I get, the more of that I get.

    This year, I’m not so gainfully employed (I’m going back to school, yes even at my age) so I made it clear to family, extended family and friends that I did not want gifts and that I was only buying (small) gifts for my siblings’ kids. As if they need ANYTHING.

    Most people acquiesced, except my siblings and their spouses. And bless their hearts, they didn’t buy me crap — they bought me a Le Creuset porcelain-enameled dutch oven in my beloved RED, which I love but which is NOT cheap.

    I called them on it, but my baby brother said: “We heard what you had to say, we took it to heart and then decided we just had to disagree.”

    Now I was making money and buying them things when they were still kids, so I’ve decided to gracefully accept — I guess it’s my turn.

    And talk about a pan that produces a great pot roast! And great chili. And great soup ….

    However, I agree about getting candles and bath lotions and exotic teas that, frankly, I rarely use and often regift.

    If you feel the need, give me a good black breakfast tea or a good olive oil or a good balsamic vinegar. Or a bittersweet chocolate bar Those I’ll use — probably to feed you when you’re a guest.

    But bag the candles and the bath oils. I just don’t roll that way.

    Actually, I found my now-deceased mom’s favorite gift was a Starbucks gift card. As a retiree, she couldn’t really afford regular starbucks runs, but I put a $50 card in her stocking one year and she loved it — both for herself and to treat her pals. (yes, I know 50 bucks doesn’t go far at starbucks but the nearest one was an hour away — they didn’t go that often!)

    She didn’t need more “stuff” but she loved her mochas.


  375. Welcome back Helen. Boy, you sure do know how to nail it. Huddled up in my den here in Alaska–hiding from aerial hunters and trying to stay warm in -40 degree wind chills.


  376. Dear Helen,

    As far as I’m concerned, your writings *have* had a positive impact. They make me feel better. You make me laugh and make me think.

    Thank you!


  377. […] Getting the Bad Guys Margaret,  I got a lot of crap.  How about you?    If it’s the thought that counts then I want to know what […] […]


  378. Keith:

    As I type this I am taking a break from sewing patches, etc, on to the dress uniform of a young man in the National Guard. He and his “mate” are dear friends of my children and thus my friends too.

    I think the don’t ask don’t tell is the most assinin thing I have ever heard of. If you are able to do a job, what difference does your sexual preference make.

    I have seen this young man struggle through his personal awareness and it was not an easy thing for him. I asked him the other day if he had come to terms with this, and he said yes. That made me so happy that he is beyond the agony others cause because of his orientation.

    forgive the spelling, my fingers are poked and they hurt a bit.


  379. Thanks for the post. It’s good to have you back. I agree with your resolution to stay involved and watch our government. I too voted for Obama and agree that I’m watching to see that he stays focused and pointed in the direction that he promised to go.

    As for gifts for those who don’t need anything. We deal with that with my in-laws. This year we are paying for a consultant to come into their home and hook up all their electronic gizmos (dvd, stereo, tivo, etc) so that they all work together the way they’re supposed to. Must have been a good idea because they’re both excited to have it done!

    Have a great day and thanks again!


  380. That remark about rarely “bad guys” being found on the field of battle really touched me. Very wise you are. War is indeed about money and power for the few. War is fought for old men with the blood of the young. Bush may be against abortion (as am I) but how many of god’s children have died as a result of his war? They are just a little older but children none the less. I wonder how he sleeps at night.


  381. I’m glad to see so much commentary on Combat Related PTSD.

    My boyfriend just started treatment this Monday. Yes, gay boys go to war too. He’s a Marine that served in Desert Storm. He saw things, he did things that he can’t speak about. He didn’t realize he had PTSD until I told him what he was going through. My own experience with PTSD (sexually molested by a cousin for almost 2 years when I was in high school) gave me the insight to what was going on with him. It took almost a year to convince him that time with a counselor or a support group, someone he could tell all these things to without fear, would be the only way to begin to get this demon of his back.

    In his case, the VA seems to be on the ball. He’s a truck driver on 24 hour call except for days off. The VA is sending a counselor here from ABQ, a six hour drive, each week on his days off, staying overnight for back to back sessions. For this I’m impressed and thankful. It’s not easy to get help from the VA…. it takes a lot of phone calls, hoping you’ll eventually get to the right person. And if you’re not the Vet himself, but a family memeber (or in my case the boyfriend) it’s even more difficult to get any information on support services.

    Many times the Vet himself is so overwhelmed with the ‘crazy’ thoughts that they can’t seek help on their own. You have to make the calls and do the research for them.

    I knew quite a bit about PTSD from the inside looking out. But I’ve lots to learn about it from the other side. I did find one very good source for information about PTSD, from both sides, for generalized PTSD, disaster volunteers, and combat-related PTSD on this web site:,com_frontpage/Itemid,840/

    It’s called the Wounded Warrior Project. Many of these guys joined the military during peace time, only to see things and do things that now haunt them. WE OWE THEM.

    They can’t tell us what they are feeling, what they are remembering. They’re afraid of us looking back at them, knowing what they’ve seen and done. So they carry it and bury it, deep inside. Problem is that until you unload that kind of burden, it will continue to haunt you.

    I’ve told my Vet that even if our relationship doesn’t survive (and it will) I’ll never let him face his PTSD alone, never. He lost his innocence honorably addressing the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. His biggest concern: that the boys serving in Iraq now have it much worse than he did… not concerned for himself, but those now serving. That’s a Marine, for life.

    While I don’t agree with the present illegal war in Iraq or the Administration that created this mess, my heart bleeds for the soldiers doing what they swore they’d do; follow their orders to the best of their ability. And each and every one of them deserve the same respect and support that I strive to give my boyfriend.

    Lastly, about don’t ask, don’t tell. What bullshit.



  382. Your blog and the responses it provokes give me true joy. I was one of the more than 450,000 people in NYC who marched in 2003, before we ever entered Iraq. We met a woman at that protest who was 83 years old and came to NYC by bus ~~ just to participate in that march!! Incredible. It was extremely disheartening, though, to have all those people all across America ~~ simply ignored and dismissed and spoken to as children.

    I, for one, hope you gals will continue to post ALL your rants. Because your rants are my rants, too. Keep warning everyone about Sarah Palin, too. She’s nothing more than a publicity-hound. Watch how often her name and face will keep popping in the media.

    Thanks for coming back. You were sorely missed.

    Oh, and I am just starting a cooking blog if anyone is interested. It’s brand new so not too much there as yet. Keep looking, though. And I’d love some comments, too!

    it’s here:


  383. Quoting Tim at 3:24 PM

    “Another way to support the troops is to treat our petroleum products like they are gold. Good American men and women gave their life to keep our oil safe for us underneath their sand. Let’s respect the troop’s sacrifices…..treat oil like the vital commodity it is…like not wasting it.”

    Good Point. So with that, lets have an entertaining and informative look back a century or so:

    Robert Newman’s History of Oil
    Robert’s stand-up act examines the history of the last 100 years or so but putting oil center-stage.
    Google Video ~ 45m23s

    Follow along, some Research Links



  384. Sophie forgive me I miss read one of your posts and thought I had read that your Professor instead of a Professor.

    “The notion that ‘thinkers’ are irrelevant or somehow ‘quaintly out of touch’ is part and parcel of the dumbing down of the American public we have been subjected to by the right wing for how many years now? ”

    I do not think that “thinkers” are irrelevant. Never have I do however find that many great minds disagree on the same topics all the time. I find this even with the “experts” in any given field.

    I have no problem with researching our constitution or any historical document. I think that is wonderful. I have met people and am related to a person who is a genius by IQ standards. Photographic memory and all. What I have found many times even with this person. They have book learning but no practical common sense.

    I am sorry if you were offended. I do find it odd that you have singled me out on this topic. I have to think for some reason I get under your skin.

    If I am part of the dumbing down of America then so be it. I have to say that I feel you are being condescending and really I just don’t have the time or energy to deal with you.

    Everyone else here you are wonderful and thank you for making me feel included and like I am learning from you.

    I will check back in a few days. I have end of month paperwork for our local food bank to get out and meetings for this charity so will be away for a few days.

    Leaving a few pies and some tea and coffee.


  385. Another way to support the troops is to treat our petroleum products like they are gold. Good American men and women gave their life to keep our oil safe for us underneath their sand. Let’s respect the troop’s sacrifices…..treat oil like the vital commodity it is…like not wasting it.

    Happy new year to all, especially our two hostesses whom I don’t get to read often enough.


  386. Dear Elsie
    for me it’s all girlz and boyz since I am VERY proud (and that is one of the few things I am really proud of) that I, up to now, managed NOT to grow up (grown ups are soooo boring) and my 4 kids (oldest 23 and youngest is 10) kept me “young”, inquesitive (?) and alltoghter “non-adult” enough to have tons of fun with them.

    I recommend to all, keep learning every day, make crazy things and give a f*** what your neighbours or the next one might think of you.

    As an addition to the German saying above I would like to add something I learned when I was 16 and always, from time to time, try to remember. And don’t think I hadn’t have to make my share of compromises, but it is still VERY important to remeber once ion a while:

    “You needn’t run if you want to stay,
    you needn’t do what other people say,
    just find your place at the sun
    and do what you like,
    and you will like what you have done!”

    So, Elsie and the rest, keep smileing, enjoy live where ever you can and f*** the rest!

    Or, better not, try to improve it, just don’t let live get you down!



  387. Hi all….M&H I was having withdrawals! And truer words were never spoken. You again are spot on with your rant.

    To all who have family and friends serving in the military, may you be blessed. It’s a hard row to hoe. My partner is STILL fighting for VA benefits for PTSD. It’s been over 4 years. But I have friends who have been fighting for over 30.

    I get fussy behind the behemoth gas guzzlers with tons of I LOVE MY SOLDIER, yellow ribbons, and F&&*) Iraq stickers. Shut up and fight if you love it so much. Well, can’t say that anymore. Two of my young co-workers just signed on the dotted line. One’s already in basic. The other leaves in 3 weeks. I’m just heartbroken. In my heart in know that it’s possible neither will return home.

    Goddess help us all if Obama doesn’t immediately do a couple of things: Force the VA to make decisions in a timely manner and with a heart of compassion toward those who valiantly serve. And get our soldiers home…now. They want us out. Let’s get out…now. We have too many soldiers out there who need VA help, disability benefits, and therapy who aren’t getting it. The system re-victimizes them so badly that many give up the fight.

    Thanks for your wise words. Yes, you reach out and touch folks every time you write.


  388. Werner: re: “to all the girlz out there”

    Many years ago, I was a fire-breathing, radical feminist. Over time, however, I’ve become more accepting of other people’s differing views. If I don’t like them, I just try to leave well enough alone, save my breath about challenging them, recognize that other folks are entitled to their opinions, and go my own way.

    But if you want to know something about “feminism”, then I’m reaching waaaaaaaay back to the 70s for this one:

    A girl is a young person.

    A boy is a young person.

    A boy is not a man.

    A man is not a boy.

    A girl is not a woman.

    And, most importantly in this lesson, A WOMAN IS NOT A GIRL!

    Now, please know that I’m smiling here as I type this, and that I’m not trying to beat you over the head with this very personal insight. I just figured I’d give you a little trouble here, but not so much as to aggravate you too much, I sincerely hope. ; >)


  389. Hi Mustang, uuups no, Honolulu Sally
    quiet a piece of “Doggie” you got there, but as a lover of real dogs, (anything above a foot and a half of shoulder hight, NOT cat’s with language problems…..), nice shot.

    I will try and check my account for the mentioned problems, thks.



  390. Werner,

    In response to your question about man all alone in the woods speaking to himself:

    No, he’s not wrong, he’s being considerate….

    Ha ha ha, after 27 year of happy marriage, I must admit it is nice to have a break from time to time. Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Women wish their men had better ears and Men wish their women had less mouth.

    Still haven’t seen your picture posted – I had a difficulty on my user name because I had used caps and a space between words, so when I un-capped and un-spaced, I got our doggie picture posted.

    Glad I didn’t go to Braverman’s link – sounds like going to Fox News. Actually, I did this morning just because my HGTV and DIY networks had junk stuff, and I was surfing the channels. Here they were dishing the Dems (including Obama) for now saying they support Burris as Blago’s Senate replacement pick and Fox is going on and on about how those Dems have gone against their word because 2 weeks ago they were condemning Burris. So I switch to CNN or CNBC and they are talking about Israel and the Gaza Peninsula, international financial woes, etc. It was like Fox couldn’t stop looking for ways to bash Obama, and the other news channels actually covered important news.

    I think Fox News should just change their name to RONG News – Republicans on Negative Grinds.


  391. Oh yeah, I just stumbled over this (Feminist!!!:-P) question, so to all the girlz out there, can you please give me an answer I (poor little male soul that I am) can understand?

    If a man is all alone in the woods and speaks out aloud, and there is no woman near to hear him,… he still wrong?

    After 15 years of (more or less) happy marriage, I still wonder about that one



  392. Oh yeah,
    just stumbled again about this (feminist!!!) questions, so to all the girlz out ther can you give me an answer? (really, really snigger!)

    If a man is al alone in the forest and speaks out aloud, and there is no woman there to hear him, …… is he still wrong?



  393. They’d love to bring back the “Blockwart” system, one person responsible for tyhe good conduct of her/his “BlocK” of houses…..


  394. to Lori from the upper left coast

    very good comparison !!
    I always pronouced that minister’s name as
    “Jerk-o**” it just is phonetically so close, and sometimes not only phonetically…..

    a rather sarcastic



  395. Oh and BTW don’t worry, guyz like braindead7 usually missing excatly that (the brains) to create anything remoly dangerous on the IT side…


  396. communityorganizerWA: not understanding your comment. i am not a student and i was not quoting an educator. i was quoting a foreign policy expert who writes about international issues. and, for me, i do not see a disconnect between being aware of historical precedent and international treaty requirements (fundamentally addressed in our Constitution) and acting in accordance with them. We all need roadmaps to help direct us, and i am very comfortable in looking to our Constitution (as a living document) and to historical examples guidance. The notion that ‘thinkers’ are irrelevant or somehow ‘quaintly out of touch’ is part and parcel of the dumbing down of the American public we have been subjected to by the right wing for how many years now? I prefer not to be taken in by that nonsense and work actively to guard against its penetration into my thought processes. Talking truth to power is never easy (we have seen the littered bodies coming out of this Administration and from the vocal critics who spoke out) , and i surely do not expect every military member to refuse to fight an illegal war, but voicing their ability to do so and educating others on the notion that they do have a right to refuse based on Constitutional principles and founded in the Geneva Conventions in my mind should be welcomed, not dismissed or denigrated.

    Are we as a culture so detached from the notion of developing an ethical code to guide us in real life issues that i am the outlier here? If so, that is an enormous loss for this Country. And, perhaps, an irreparable one.


  397. communityorganizerWA: not understanding your comment. i am not a student and i was not quoting an educator. i was quoting a foreign policy expert who writes about international issues. and, for me, i do not see a disconnect between being aware of historical precedent and international treaty requirements (fundamentally addressed in our Constitution) and acting in accordance with them. We all need roadmaps to help direct us, and i am very comfortable in looking to our Constitution (as a living document) and to historical examples guidance. The notion that ‘thinkers’ are irrelevant or somehow ‘quaintly out of touch’ is part and parcel of the dumbing down of the American public we have been subjected to by the right wing for how many years now? I prefer not to be taken in by that nonsense and work actively to guard against its penetration into my thought processes. Talking truth to power is never easy (we have seen the littered bodies coming out of this Administration and from the vocal critics who spoke out) , and i surely do not expect every military member to refuse to fight an illegal war, but voicing their ability to do so and educating others on the notion that they do have a right to refuse based on Constitutional principles and founded in the Geneva Conventions in my mind should be welcomed, not dismissed or denigrated.

    Are we as a culture so detached from the notion of developing an ethical code to guide us in real life issues that i am the outlier here? If so, that is an enormous loss for this Country. And, perhaps, an irreparable one.


  398. Hi Elsie
    from another Computer Guru (work with IT since 1983) to you and your husband:
    get a good all around virus and intrusion checker (If you can afford apporx. $80.00/year Norton 360 (from is a rather good allround solution that has also intrusion protection and internet safety part additional to the virus checker, and thanks whirled peas for pre-checking sites before posting links, we all should do it but not all are capable.

    But with a good all-around package you are as safe as it gets, make a backup once in a while and when you get hit by a “driveby’ website THAT WAS FASTER THAN YOUR av-PROGRAMM (uups sorry CAPS) than you need to clean up and start over, but this didn’t happen to me in the last 3 years ONCE, so chacnes are slim if you take care.

    And for all of you on extrem small budgets, there are a few free AV programms out there, one is


    the other a trial version of Norton AV/Internet security/360 but they are only free from 30 days and hard to remove if you DON’T want to buy them afterwards

    if you can afford the 79.99 take 360, it works mostly automatic in the background and is a rather through protection, the AVG will only protect you from viruses though, not intrusion, drive by and malware.
    (And not to insult personal taste and preferences, yes Panda, McAffee and the rest are not worse than what I recommended here….)

    If you think you got mal and add-ware try
    it’s free for private use (asking for DONATIONS to keep developing, though)
    I just love this baby….

    So, hope that helped anyone needing help in this cases….



  399. Hi braveman7
    or should I better call you “braindead7”?

    If feminism ruined America, well it dind’t do a through enough job!

    Hey Girlz, pls go ahead and FINISH the job!!!

    If this blog is the essence of that ruin (Margaret and Helen SOUND all like feminists to me, No?) than I AM LOVIN’ IT!

    Sacred my ass, since when did ANY warrior worth the salt he eats fight Women?

    Last time I looked our (the warriors) main goal was to protect women in general, the family if we had one and all children that came from that (women AND family I mean)……

    Or did I get something wrong here?

    But, you know, I actually wanted to THANK braveman7 for again pointing my focus the the things that are important and essentail in live……
    See, even trolls can have a (if unintened) positive impact.

    I once had this (dream) vision, where live turned out to be a hugh (earthlike hugh) ball of stinking shit, and sunk into it was a small bit of good with a small ring attached to it, and in that dream I had a hook through that ring and was pulling my heart out to safe that bit of good from sinking into the goo……..

    This is how I, more or less, see live, and I just hope that I don’t loose my strengh to pull on the little good I can find and always find a few friends that can give me a hand, so I can take a break once in a while, until I come back to relieve them again, saving what little good we can find in this world….

    We have this German saying I really love:
    “Wer keinen Mut zum traeumen hat, hat keine kraft zum kaempfen!”
    what would translate into
    “Who doesn’t dare to dream, hasn’t got any power to fight!”

    In this semse, DREAM ON!



  400. With a grandma like you, I’d be the best gift giver EVER, because hugs are all I can afford.


  401. i resolve to:
    work for a better tomorrow
    be nice
    keep my finger on the pulse
    read M&H every chance i get



  402. Lori –

    You are spot on in your remarks about “Homeland.” From the beginning, I’ve been making statements that echo yours. The Republicans can’t see it; the Democrats shrug it off.

    We will never be a world leader when we care about the “homeland.”


  403. Alaska Pi,

    Great Post re: Vietnam. I agree and I was one of those drafted. People also need to understand the drug use in Nam was quite high. People could be shot tomorrow and easy access to drugs, so a lot of Vietnam soldiers got high. They brought their need for drugs back to the states.

    The destruction of war to those who soldier is amazing. It takes years for the terrors and emotional destruction to play out. Cheney and the draft dodging crrew would have no idea about the impact of war though. Bush is no better. Had I missed meetings as Bush did, I would have been court martialed.

    Have a good day all.


  404. Good morning again, M & H fans!

    Just realized that I didn’t leave a “resolution” in my post yesterday, so here goes: first, I mean to get myself back into physical shape, because without that I am not much good to anyone; secondly, I will continue to spend time with and always communicate with the grandchildren so that they, who are already staunch Obama supporters, will recognize what they must continue to do if we really want peace at home and abroad; finally, I will get back into the workplace where I myself can do something meaningful. The politicans are great talkers, but basically full of hot air.
    I “officially” retired in July 2007 and am now in my mid-sixties, but still have a lot that I can do and am well-placed to do so on an international level. So, I am going back out into the fray. This is no time to rest.

    Jean: what a lovely story … so sorry about the tragic ending.

    Werner: how about “W Lite” for your PM?

    suburbancorrespondent: I hear you, loudly and clearly, and your heartache is my own. US policy, encouragement, funding and arms enable the ongoing slaughter.

    And to all of you other M & H fans: you truly do make the world a brighter place. Please keep on doing what you’re doing.


  405. Good Morning everyone!

    Moving slow this morning. It is pouring rain and very gloomy here. I am happy the snow is gone and it has warmed up but I think I need a little sunlight to get me going! LOL

    Jack and Alaska Pi thank you for your wonderful posts this morning. You covered what keeps rolling around in my mind much better than I ever could.

    Sophie while I approve and applaud all education and it is one of my soapbox issues for this country, there is in my mind a case of balance, and real everyday practical experience can teach as much as a book or time in a classroom. I have never said I support the war because I don’t. I did not vote for George Bush in either election and I want to see George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and all of the other liars in this administration be brought up on charges. I wish you luck in your studies.

    Jean that was a beautiful story thank you fro sharing.

    Really glad I did not check out Creepy’s link! From what I gather by all of your posts it is another jerk.

    Elsie I get the lecture daily from my husband about links also. I have had problems periodicaly from viruses and the Mr. get so cranky when I have to rely on him to undo what I picked up. It is not worth the hours of his complaining to go against his warnings! 🙂

    Hope everyone has a wonderful day!


  406. I don’t know about you all, but I am ready to get this bus rolling!!!! I CANNOT wait until we have our new President!! How wonderful to be PROUD of being an American Citizen once again. YES…we can.


  407. Ah, resolutions….
    1. Continue low carb, and cutting sugar from my diet. So far, (mostly) so good! (But, sob, that means no pie for me!)

    2. Write to Mr. Obama to ask him to please discard the term “Homeland” Security.

    I think it’s unAmerican. “Homeland” smacks of the Fatherland of Nazi Germany, or Holy Mother Russia. The US has never used ‘homeland’ to describe itself.

    Yeah, I know, it’s petty. But for a lot of us, it’s almost a one word representation of many of Bush’s most egregious acts, and we don’t need any more reminders after he’s gone. We’ve already got too many.


  408. Pi
    I have never considered your posts here to be you on a soap box. Your words are always mirrors of my own thoughts, although you put them down so much better than I.

    Please do not stop speaking what you feel. I learn from you.


  409. Jack:

    I also served in the Military from 1975 to 1979 active and from 1979 to 1996 Reserve.

    I also was active in the Veterans Caucus here in my state and the issues you bring up are ones that we press for. We are not just people here (arm chair quarter backs if you will) complaining about things we do not know anything about. Many of the posters here have some sort of military experience, so I do feel we have the right to speak because we have earned it.

    I commend your service. I think many of us just wish we would strive for peace as hard as we fight in wars. It seems to me that in Iraq we marched in without thinking of long term consequences.


  410. forgot to add: check out if you want to be heard.

    Also, sophie, I see what you are saying, but I respectfully disagree with you. The people at the top need to be held responsible, the people who have been sent over there have been sold a bill of goods that they will be paying for for the rest of their lives, if they are lucky enough to have a rest of their lives.


  411. This world needs more people like you Jack.

    Thanks, well said.



  412. Sophie said-

    “These guys came home and were so full of anger and frustration that expressed itself in aggression both physical and verbal .. none of that is remembered, and if it is remembered, it is never spoken about outloud. ”

    Boy- I’m having a hard time understanding how different our neighborhoods are…

    Yes- so very many Viet Nam vets came home a mess and made a mess of their lives and their families’ lives… far too many. They came home defeated in war and shunned at home. They- especially those who came to understand what and how they had been lied to by our govt- suffered horribly. Far too many were not only ignored by the VA but reviled by far too many chapters of the VFW ( whole nother nasty chapter here) . I followed the sickening tales of cousins and friends beset by far too many of certain kinds of cancers being denied the chance of even being heard properly by the VA or general govt.

    PTSD was considered a girly-man’s reaction to war by waaaayyyy too many folks til the toll on vets was well beyond redemption…We buried one of those poor souls in my neighborhood a couple weeks ago.

    Yup- Viet Nam vets’ anger and frustration- and yes for some, aggression- was talked about a lot. The conversations about the fellows’ behavior is and was broader than the symptoms you describe and arguments about context still abound. Some folks blamed it on weakness of the individual soldier, some understood the pain… Where I live it’s still talked about a lot.


    “Soldiers are not gods, they are not mythmakers, they are not from the movies. And some of them, most especially recently, scare the living daylights out of civilians, both in Iraq and here at home.”

    Of course, soldiers are not gods etc.- they are everyday people.

    And some of them, currently, should scare the hell out of other everyday people. Some of them are nasty, mean, dangerous jerks who have no business in uniform.

    Most, being everyday people, currently, are exhausted from multiple tours, still trying to do what they think is right or suffering disillusionment with what they thought they were doing and what they have come to see they were doing, wounded body and/or soul…

    But being everyday people- most of them will somehow muddle through… if they live. They deserve every outreach we have to offer in my book.


    ” I cannot and will not support people who are actively involved in international war crimes (if the war itself is an international war crime, then what culpability, accountability do its participants hold for their participation?), and everyone serving in Iraq voluntarily is doing just that, whether we want to admit it or not, whether they are our relatives or friends or not.

    You have every right to withold your own support for American soldiers and vets whom you disagree with. It is more than laudable to turn your own efforts towards soldiers who make the difficult and wrenching choice to stand against this war. They need champions.

    I disagree with you about the culpability/accountability standard you have or seem to have . It is not mine.

    Helen ,with her big broad brush, has reminded us we are ALL culpable and accountable in this war including you and me . Because we could not/did not stop it we are a type of ineffective, passive participant. ( I don’t think all the whooping and hollering and letter writing I did was passive but it ended up as useless as shouting in the 40mph wind blowing outside my door right now…)

    All the young men and women , tapped to go, presumed to be volunteers – folks who made fully concious decisions about why and what they were doing.

    (PFFFTTT! The volumes of philosophical, psychological, sociological, every-other-ogical work that cover what constitutes voluntary behavior in human beings would keep us busy for years…)

    All the wahoos in the Bush camp who trumped up this unsupportable war…

    All the scared spitless hide-in-their-closet-kill-the-terrorists-keep-em-away-from-me Americans who bought the Bush BS…

    Whoever your unnamed writer is -he is correct this war is illegal at certain levels, immoral on more levels, and insupportable on all levels.

    That being said, I think the degrees of culpabilty and accountability are many and myriad. At no level should everyday soldiers be held to the accountability level for the overall war that the Chess-playing-bad-guy-kingpins are. It is not an accepted rule of law to hold runners as accountable as dealers… (exception- specific real crimes like abusing prisoners in Abu Gra-however-you-spell-it and Lt Calley and My Lai ,etc )

    I will NEVER ask soldiers who did what they truly thought they should to bear any responsibilty for the war itself if we don’t nail the BIG bad guys a bazillion times worse, if we don’t nail ourselves and our stupidity and greed, etc.

    If we manage all that I might ask our soldiers to do a time-out and take some philosophy and history courses or some such thing… AFTER we fix em up with medical care, school opportunities, mental health counselling if needed…

    Jeez- Should we bring back the draft…? Did I really live long enough to say that? And draft we ladies too-!

    Make everyone have a stake in thinking this crap through before we do it again…?Probably not … the Bush’s and Cheney’s will always weasel.



    I make the same resoultion EVERY day… I gave up purposefully climbing on high horses many years ago as I always fell off and busted something. I promise everyday to be sure I am not climbing on anything else higher than my shoes. I think I just blew it again… Tomorrow…

    Grandma Katie- Tamales! yay!

    Jack- Thank you.


  413. M&H,

    If you were combat veterans, of this or any other war, you’d know in your heart a secret not often shared with those that have never had the experience.

    Although society may indoctrinate the young, and the Services may train the soldier to engage an enemy, in the end it is for their brothers and sisters to their left and right they fight for.

    Professional soldiers that repeatedly return to combat voluntarily do so to protect and save the lives of their charges. I feel it isn’t for the buzz of killing someone on the other side or some ideology.

    In 27 years of service I met only one professional soldier that was strictly ideology motivated. He was a child in Nazi occupied Denmark. He was an Army E-7 killed in a helo-repelling training accident at the north end of Ft Bragg (your SF nephew knows the place) …the gentleman was pretty nuts as I’m remember him now.

    Want to support the troops? How about saying “Welcome Home” when you see a troop in uniform with a long rifle above the left pocket or a unit patch on the right shoulder.

    How about increasing the pay so the soldier’s family doesn’t have to rely on food stamps and welfare.

    How about writing your Senators and Congressmen and demand more support for single-parenting soldiers, sailors and Marines that are deployed.

    There is currently a terrible and disgraceful situation wherein the custodial parent is deployed, and the non-custodial parent obtains a court ordered reversal of custody. How demoralizing is that to the troop 9,000 miles away in a combat zone?

    How about supporting our service people after they’ve completed their service and need jobs, housing, mental and physical care.

    For every flag draped casket we see, there are thousands and thousands that have left limbs, minds and hope for what others consider a normal life (or a decent nights sleep) in jungles, mountains, cities and desserts around the world.

    Me? E-1 to O-5, Army 1971 to 1998. I’m blessed…I sleep.

    My New Year resolution is be a better man, friend, husband and father.


  414. OH NO now I am getting pop ups for Viagra! on my screen. By By Braverman


  415. I went to braverman’s link and I got concerned where I was going;I thought it was a weird aryan nation type place and I was worried that they might try to recruit me,but it was so wimpy wimpy wimpy that it seemed I must be wrong. I decided to get away as fast as possible before I got a bad virus and so I did not do much looking around. A REALLY CREEPY PLACE whew—need to be more careful in the future.


  416. Braveman7 would be a brave man if he happened to be a vet, or a serviceman…from his web site, I don’t think either is true. So he is full of bravado, puffed up by blaming any and all problems on females.

    Be a man by being responsible for yourself and your own actions.

    Jean- wonderful story of your brother and his friend.


  417. I’ve missed you over the holidays! I gave my husband’s grandmother a framed picture of her and her husband dancing at their daughter’s wedding. She’s 95 and her husband and her daughter (my mother in law) both died last year. She seemed very happy with it, although she did say she didn’t recognize herself that long ago (almost 50 years)!! I don’t always give her a gift, I refuse to get something just to get something. I hope she didn’t think it was crap, I thought it was very special, but you never know. All we can do is try.

    I support our troops. My husband is a vet – he went to Iraq the first time around. I wish these people who are so hot to “support the troops” really did. Why is it only supporting the troops if you support the war? How about supporting them by equipping them properly to survive that war? How about paying for them to recieve proper medical care after they’ve been shot up in that war? How about supporting them by putting a system in place to help them thrive in civilian life?

    I also believe in God and I pray. I don’t feel the need to stuff my faith down anybody elses throat. I hope that people see the way I live my life and think that they’d like to do that too.

    I get damn sick and tired of seeing and hearing these so called “Christians” saying that people who believe the things I believe are unpatriotic and unAmerican, not to mention “moral”. Why do those “Christians” think it’s wrong to take care of people?

    Sorry for the very long post and rant. Sometimes it just gets to be too much! I cannot wait until January 20! It will be so nice to have a reasonable, intelligent person in control of our country again.


  418. Jean, thank you for telling us about R.G. and Hootie. Your brother sounds like he was a wonderful young man. I’m sorry you didn’t get to grow old with him in your life. It reminds me that losing my brother would be like losing my arm…my RIGHT arm.


  419. Whirled Peas, you seem to be a really good guy. I’m not worried about you. But my husband is a computer guru for an internationally known hospital, and he tries to keep me safe back at home on my own pc, which, due to my great ignorance of computers, is a full-time job. His caution tonight really got my attention, especially after I shared with him what an incredible nutjob that other guy appears to be.


  420. Elise,

    your husband is wise to caution you about opening unknown links, although it does cut down on the ‘complete’ experience and enjoyment of ‘surfing’.

    I have a very special, personal ‘virus checker’.

    All I can say is I will never knowingly link to any harmful site and promise to alert my fellow ‘Wedgies’ of any shady links that others may post. I learned long ago to give most posters the benefit of the doubt that they are not malicious.

    Same goes IRL (in real life). Most people are just humans trying to get thru as best they can without inflicting or incurring harm.

    My wingnut friends and family think everyone is a criminal or ‘terrist’ until proven innocent, and then they still have doubts. What a horrible way to go thru life. I think they tend to project too much but I luv ’em anyway. 😉



  421. O Jean…such a sad, sad story…


  422. This brave_ _ _7 should not sully the name of all the decent men in the world…
    I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing since Maven told that trollie _ _ _ tradesman to drop the UAW…
    Maybe _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _7 should quit mocking the truly brave too…
    Come to think of it, 7 never did anything stupid enough to get tangled up in this person’s kind of horse pucky either…


  423. The saddest thing about that “braveman7” nonsense is that this world contains morons, rednecks, and bubbas who actually agree with him! And, secondarily, that some women are so browbeaten and whipped that they, too, will not question the idiocy of the words he wrote.

    More importantly, my husband, an INTELLIGENT man, warns me that most of the attacks on personal computers today come through the browser or related applications. So if I click on any web link, not knowing what it is, it just might be someone trying to infect my system with malware. If my system is completely updated and has also ALL the patches, I might be safe. But malware is a huge issue of concern.

    I am already cautious about not opening questionable email messages with questionable attachments. However, my husband reminds me that anyone linking to any blog could possibly take advantage of my computer if I click on links posted on those blogs. Those links could lead absolutely anywhere.

    So, my husband was a bit upset to see what a whacko job this braveman7 crap is. And I promise to be more careful in the future about not clicking on any old link in any old blog!

    Anyway, as usual, Greytdog growled beautifully in her very own inimitable way at the bully boy! Enough of his howling and whining and blaming strong women for his shortcomings and inadequacies.


  424. After scanning Braveman7’s blog, it reminded me of this movie clip:

    Will Farrell in ‘Ladies Man’



  425. Just did a recon on the site offered up by Braveman7 – I think this is the male version of Team Sarah. You know, for such “upstanding” and “self-righteous” individuals, these groups sure do worship at the altar of the sacred genitalia. Anyone want to clue them in that such focus is very Roman Bacchanalian??? Anyway, Mr. Braveman7, you and your ilk are neither Brave, nor Warriors, and certainly not Sacred. You are puny, frightened little boys who act in pathetic, inauthentic ways that destroy your souls while you try to intimidate and castigate people who will not be bullied. Be gone. Go back to your cave and drum your drum and howl at the moon. But beware coyote.


  426. Oh Jean! What a beautiful brother…I am so very sorry.


  427. braveman7-

    Oh for crap’s sake- grow up.
    Or go away…
    No one’s world is smaller than the one belonging to a man (or woman) who thinks the other gender is THE OTHER…
    We’re all humans , wingnut…


  428. Gifts. Ah, yes, the suitable for age by sex. I’m lucky – I don’t get many of those any more, but I certainly used to. My condolences.

    Also, Helen, dear lady, have I mentioned that I want to be you when I grow up?


  429. Dear Helen, Margaret and Everyone,

    This is the story of a young soldier back in the pre-historic times of World War II. It will probably be a three-parter.

    Classroom education is only a tiny fraction of what each of us learns in life. When I was little, from preschool through elementary school, we lived in Northern Colorado on seventeen acres abutting the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I had an older sister and a younger sister. My brother, R.G., was 9 years older than me and was my hero.

    When he was in high school he and a buddy tramped around out in the mountains all the time. They caught and killed rattlesnakes and brought them home in a gunnysack. No guns. My dad had guns but wouldn’t let R.G. use them.

    R.G. and his friend skinned the rattlesnakes and nailed them to the side of the barn to cure. Rattlesnake skins were and are very popular for Western belts, boots and such. My mother had a hissie-fit at first but my dad said it was OK because R.G. knew what he was doing. Mother was overruled. So she got out books with pictures of all kinds of snakes and taught us, my sisters and me, the difference between poisonous ones and harmless ones. A pointy-head denoted the venomous ones, a rounded head, harmless.

    Anyway, R.G. and his buddy sold those rattlesnake skins and with the money R.G. bought a horse. She, ‘Dottie’, was a sorry swaybacked old nag with a nasty disposition but R.G. loved her and he was the only one who could control her. He taught me to ride her around the yard. She knew better than to buck me off if R.G. were in her view. If she and I got out of R.G.’s sight though, she would just sit down on her haunches and I would slide off the back. She then headed for the foothills.

    Once when I had a birthday party, R.G. took all my little guests for a ride around the yard, leading Dottie by the reins. That made R.G. an even bigger hero in my eyes and my birthday party was the talk of the town!

    R.G. had a beautiful singing voice. He sang the leading roles in productions while he was in high school. He also played the guitar. A couple of summers he had a job at a ‘Dude Ranch’. He was a guide, taking the guests out on horseback tours of the mountain trails. At night he would entertain the guests by singing and playing the guitar around the fire. I well remember hearing him play and sing the “Streets of Laredo” at home.
    These are the lyrics:

    “As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
    As I walked out in Laredo one day,
    I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen.
    All wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.

    ‘I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.’
    These words he did say, as I boldly stepped by.
    ‘Come sit here beside me and hear my sad story,
    For I’m shot in the heart and I surely will die.’

    ‘Well, sir, once in the saddle, I used to go dashing.
    Yes, sir, once in the saddle I was a young brave.
    But today I got dressed up. Today I went gambling.
    And today I will die and be laid in my grave’.

    ‘So send six sturdy cowboys to carry my coffin,
    And let six lovely ladies come sing me a song.
    And beat the drum slowly. And play the fife lowly.
    For I’m a young cowboy what knows he done wrong.’

    ‘My friend, could you get me a taste of cool water?
    For my lips they are parched and I’m terrible dry.’
    But before I could fetch him that dipper of water,
    His spirit departed. That cowboy, he died.

    So we beat the drum slowly and played the fife lowly.
    And we wept in our grief, as we carried him along.
    For we all loved that cowboy, so brave and so handsome.
    Yes, we loved that young cowboy, although he done wrong.”

    What does music do for the soul? Our sense of hearing discerns the sounds of speech much as our sense of sight clearly sees in black and white. However, vision in COLOR adds immeasurably to our enjoyment of life. The SOUND of music evokes and enhances our emotions far more than ordinary speech. That’s what music does for the soul.

    R.G. also had a pair of tame white rats in a cage. Pretty soon there were LOTS of little hairless pink baby rats! It was a dandy sex education for us little kids. Occasionally he carried them around in his shirt and took them out to let them run around. They were his pets. He let me gently pet them and play with them.

    I had nephritis at age 12 and was very sick when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We were all huddled around and heard it on the radio. Athough the war clouds had been gathering over Europe for some time we knew that now we were in it too.

    My mother’s older sister, a widow, was visiting us. Hootie was her youngest son. Both he and R.G. were in the armed services. When we all realized what it was really about, I started to cry and said, “Oh, R.G. and Hootie will be killed.”

    They were.




  430. oops! Sorry about the interruption – Emma the Cat decided she needed the computer keyboard as her bridge to somewhere. . .
    Anyway – to continue – Charities Hurt in Madoff Case get Charity
    There is a section in the article that talks about how one group raised over $300K – through mostly donations $60 and under. Remember the campaign how many of Obama’s donor list were small (in amount) but mighty (in number) – how about everyone pick a charity hit by Madoff and give? There’s one group in Alabama that provides mental health counseling, addiction counseling, plus tutoring to juvenile delinquents so they don’t become permanent residents of the legal system. Another group in Boston provides much needed heating oil, blankets, as well as food to senior citizens in the community. Other groups provide much need healthcare to low income & rural neighborhoods without medical access. . . and so on. Each of these groups are facing the loss of monies and in some cases will have to shut down – because of one man’s greed and arrogance.


  431. Hi Folks – in keeping with the “spirit” of Helen’s post concerning gifts given for the purpose of simply giving. Welllllll… lots of folks have come up with good, sustainable ideas of giving gifts that keep on giving. Here’s another idea:
    Charities hurt in Madoff case get charity


  432. I don’t know if you will read this or not Helen and Margaret, but I want to share my 2 favorite gifts
    One from my Grandson and his wife, it was a huge basket full of food items for the foodshelf I volunteer at, and the other was a basket from my oldest Granddaughter.
    It had wine and cheese and chocolate bars..I don’t know what she had in mind but I loved it…
    I have tried for years to try nad get the kids to donate to a charity in our name..maybe someday.
    As for your New years resolutions
    Mine is ..”Not to make one this Year”
    and yes Sarah Palin is a bitch….
    her son is off in Iraq because he got involved in drugs and they forced him to join the guards..
    She is one big sicko…
    Happy New Year Ladies..


  433. He-man types like you are just looking for a good woman to smack you around.


  434. Hey Braveman7:

    Why don’t you go to those groups of guys that get together, run around naked and beat drums by the fireside?

    Feminism indeed.

    What a maroon!


  435. Braveman7- thanks for the laugh! It’s been a hard day today (6 euthanasias) and I needed a good belly laugh. Nothing like a neanderthal to provide that! Oh my honey child – you sure do have a lot of anger under that beer belly. Sacred Warriors! Oh my that’s even funnier than your comments! Really you should get a job with GEICO as a pitchman. ROFLMAO!!! BWahahahahaha


  436. Capel,

    Do you really believe we are safer now than we were before the war started? I understand you not wanting your brother’s service to be in vain, but unfortunately, we are no better off now than we were seven years ago. In fact, we are much worse off in all respects.

    I hope your brother comes back unharmed.



  437. The bad guys are the arrogant mommy’s boys and henpecked males who seek immediate gratification without consideration for outcome. That’s what’s wrong with America. Feminism has ruined America.


  438. Maybe I should have said they should be fought by the people who start them.


  439. What I’d like to know is why Capel is sitting “here” on his/her sorry ass, and not over “there” killing people, since it’s so important.
    Wars should be fought by the people who want them. Plain and simple.


  440. Thanks for taking up where Molly Ivins left off. . .nothing better than a tart tongued Texas mom.


  441. Hi Greytdog,

    I hope you will get on with your book! Obviously, you have the talent to write it. It is generally accepted that talent is only about 5% of the accomplishment. The other 95% requires effort.

    Put a post-it pad and pen on your bedside table. Jot down ‘bon mots’ as they pop into your thoughts. You will sleep better! About once a week, clear out the clutter of post-it notes and put them in a computer file named ‘Handwritten Notes’, IF you can still read your nocturnal scribblings. That can be a challenge!

    Good luck.




  442. Dear Helen, Margaret and everybody,

    About the YELLOW ‘Support the Troops’ magnetic ribbons. I think the COLOR of the ribbons is significant. Those sporting the ribbons are not the ones doing the heavy lifting. The kids who are in the military don’t have any idea of what they are getting themselves into. However, once they sign on the dotted line, they have no choice but blind obedience. Does the word
    ‘insubordination’ ring a bell?

    We patiently teach our children to be nice and share with each other. Then when some of them are 18 or so, put them in uniforms for ‘basic training’ and send them out to kill people, if even by remote control. A TOTAL reversal of everything they have learned from childhood. Is it any wonder that there is so much PTSD? I’m surprised there isn’t a lot more!

    War is nothing more than contract slavery. Some try, but you can’t blame the slaves for slavery! The labor of slaves DID produce fine plantations but without any benefit to the slaves with the possible exception of survival – for some.

    After millennia, slavery was legally abolished in most of the world. When are we going to legally abolish war?

    Here on this blog, many refer to collective ‘trolls’. A ‘troll’ cannot be expected to think beyond its capabilities anymore than a one-year old can be expected to be potty trained. We have to patiently wait until the muscles for elimination have developed for control and the thought processes have matured enough to know there is a better time and place than in its pants! In the meantime, we have to put diapers on them. In some cases, ‘Depends’ may be required. We can’t waste energy on fretting, berating or even spanking a one-year old to get him/her potty trained.




  443. Hi
    an appeal on your fantasy:
    I need suggestions for a new Nickname for our Prime (More or less prime , anyway) minister Stehpen Harper, up to know (and until Jan. 20th) I dubbed him “Petit’ George” for all the brown nosing he does down south, but what do I call him when big George is fading from view and minds???????

    Suggestions welcome, and pls keep in mind, if there is ONE politician that has LESS brains than “W” that’s him!



  444. Community Organizer:

    please read the following, written by a thoughtful, educated man who specializes in foreign policy and is a published author:

    “Friends: Among the important anti-war principles carefully enumerated by the Iraq Veterans Against the War group, consider No. 2 and No. 5. (See IVAW’s “Why We’re Against the War,” .)


    2. The Iraq war violates international law.
    5. Soldiers have the right to refuse illegal war.

    Hence, to repeat what I wrote to a handful of you in recent days: In any case in which a war is criminal, to support any aspect of the war is to support international criminality.

    This, I believe, is morally degenerate. Not should we permit any ambivalence about it.

    Colleagues of mine and I routinely use a phrase that we take from the Final Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals (September 30, 1946), specifically “The Common Plan or Conspiracy and Aggressive War,” wherein the Tribunal stated (emphasis added):

    “The charges in the Indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

    The No. One Crime for which the Allied Tribunal convicted the Nazi leadership was the crime against the peace — starting wars of aggression by invading and militarily seizing other sovereign states.
    Hence, to reaffirm IVAW’s principle No. 2: “The Iraq war violates international law.” Yes. It most certainly does. It is an illegal war.
    Additionally, you will notice that Chapter I of the Charter of the United Nations (June, 1945) demands of states that they “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” (Art. 2(4)), and take “effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace” (Art. 1(1)).
    But, in point of fact, the United States is the world’s leading violator of the UN Charter; indeed, this is what the United States has been throughout the entire post-WW II era.
    Hence, to reaffirm IVAW’s principle No. 2: The Iraq war violates the UN Charter. It is an illegal war.

    Perhaps most important, to repeat Nuremberg Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson’s memorable words (and recall that Jackson was an American Supreme Court Justice on leave for the Nuremberg proceedings), which he uttered in London during the planning stage for the Tribunal (see Jackson’s first series of comments in the “Minutes of Conference Session of July 23, 1945,” International Conference on Military Trials, London, 1945):

    “If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

    However, as is the case with all exercises of international law, before Nuremberg or since, self-exemptions follow not from the justice of the violators, but from the power of the violators and the impunity that follows. But simply because the leadership of the U.S. Government has been getting away with Nuremberg-class crimes since 1945 does not mean that any of us, as U.S. citizens, should accept it as anything other than what it really is.

    Hence, to reaffirm IVAW’s principle No. 5, along with No. 2: The Iraq war violates international law, and is an illegal war. — Soldiers have every right to refuse to serve in this illegal war.

    If and when they do refuse to serve, they deserve our utmost support.”

    My remarks are not based in misplaced anger. As i stated, i have come to this conclusion as a result of extensive reading, much thought, and a need to conform my beliefs to action. I do not take this stand lightly. I take this stand philosophically, with due diligence.


  445. Teri,
    I recommend you skip the Starbucks and support your local neighborhood coffee house. You know, the one owned by someone in your city rather than a huge faceless corporation. It’s great that community stuff can get done at Starbucks, I just get the sense that with all those paper cups and mass produced uniformity stuff, they don’t really care about your community, they just care about getting rich off milk and coffee and horribly pollute the environment in the process. Start a mutiny! (this is all said with genuine affection and respect for your ability to get out into the community and talk w/ your friends and neighbors)


  446. OT ~ I watch the MSM for the laughs and late night talk for news and information. Someone’s gotta keep track of the Shrub:

    How’d He Do?



  447. Happy 2009 Helen and Margaret! My new year’s resolution is (as it has been for the past decade or more) to not make new year’s resolutions. They are simply too much pressure and there is always a heapin’ helpin’ of disappointment in myself by the end of the year. Instead, I try to make little improvements in my life in small increments. I excercise more, eat better, read more, learn to be more forgiving, work at being a better friend, parent and partner in little helpings all year long.

    Thanks for your reminders about being active participants in the democratic process. We did protest the war, but still we went to war. There must have been more we could have done. Still, it’s better to look forward and I still believe we, as a country did something right this past election. Things have got to improve. But we can’t sit around and wait for it to do so. We need to keep hollering and insist that it does.


  448. Happy New Year, Helen and Margaret! May 2009 bring you and your families health and prosperity.

    Helen, there is a wonderful organization I belong to called Soldier’s Angels. You “adopt” a Soldier and agree to write one card or letter per week, and one care package per month.

    There are several “specialty” groups with SA, like the Angel Bakers group – you guessed it! I belong to the Angel Bakers, too! We bake once per month for our heroes.

    I encourage your readers to come and take a look at the website. Giving your kindness and support to the troops isn’t difficult, and it takes only moments of your time:

    Keep blogging! I look forward to reading your thoughts and opinions.



  449. We can all hope they come home safe. However, I think more needs to be done. Too many times these young people come home to a Vet Admin that doesn’t care. PTSD is a major problem right now and the VA doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it, the patient is punished for seeking help, and no one seems to know what to do.
    So, we need to bring them home safe and get them healthy, both mentally and physically.


  450. And about the SP bitch, how about have her work in a soup-kitchen for single teenage mom’s?
    That’ll show her the benefitz of her politics first hand……. not that I would think it’ll make her think (and with WHAT would she do that….) I just think politicians should benefit from their politics from time to time…..


  451. BTW Geytdog

    avatar created 4 hours ago but still a noshow here in the blog……


  452. Hi Galz and guyz
    what really scares me is that trolls like Capel can arm themselfs legally in your country, it really scares the s**t out of me.

    I am against guns, but thinking that a troll like that migyht opoint one at me makes me rethink if that is a good decision.
    And don’t get me wrong, i am NOT against killing trolls, I just think soemone in a more stable mental position than mine should (Pi??? LOL) make the decision WHO should get shot for WHAT!

    Well, enough sarcasm, if we kill every poor sot with an IQ below 30 we end up with no politicians at all…………..

    Aww just can’t stop….. :-p

    (BTW I am open to other solutions (see above) as long as we can make them work, until then……. aww here I go AGAIN!)


  453. Magaret, you just always seem to put into wonderful words, what I was thinking and wanted to say but just didn’t know how to express it.


  454. Lao-Tzu, a Chinese philosopher who lived around 2600 years ago said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is one of my favorite quotes. Take a look around and see if you find joy in a world in disharmony. Rather, we see more unhappiness and distress than there’s ever been, and much of it is our own faults. We as a collective nation somehow don’t seem to understand what we do to ourselves. History has a way of repeating itself in the most unpleasant of ways, usually through hatred and war. We keep re-electing the same politicians who put us there, and then bemoan how these bad things come about.

    What’s wrong with this picture? It’s about time for a change and thank goodness there’s finally some hope that change can truly happen. Lao-Tzu believed that simplicity was the key to truth and freedom. He encouraged his followers to build up personal power, and to use that power to lead life with love and without force. How wonderful a world it would be if we could actually live that way!

    Whatever you feel, whether or not you believe in war, or support the war, how wonderful that for the most part we can all respect the men and women who make the tough choice to be there in the thick of things. Maybe there’s hope for us yet!

    He also said “the truth is not always beautiful”. Helen, thank you for reminding us that we are responsible for taking our own steps forward, steps for positive change. People may argue with what you say, but I think you say your truth, and you say it beautifully. Happy New Year, and God Bless all our sons and daughters in harm’s way.


  455. Sorry, left a word out. it was about face.


  456. Good morning to you all!

    I was scrolling through the comments and thinking how to respond to Capel the troll, when I read all y our comments. You said all I was thinking and more. And put so much more elooquently than I could have.
    I was hopinng that with the NewYear, all th e trolls had lelft u s.

    I was especially touched by the comments about Viet Nam. My oldest sonmissed going to Viet Nam by a fluke. Near the end of the 60.s he enlisted. Passed all kinds of tests and he had his career mapped out, a medic. Was discharged after 31 days due to a genetic muscle disease. It showed u p when he couldnt face in basic trainning!!

    Have lots of tamales ready for the porch gathering.


  457. I agree…How can some people not like bacon? it doesnt make any sense.

    I hope the war ends soon, ive seen too much of it and it aint preety for neither side, peace should break out all over the planet.
    I hope you nephew will come home again soon (he hangs out with the best of them so i guess he will be ok).

    Have a good 2009!…I didnt make any resolutions except to go out birding more often 🙂


  458. Palin, the “moose hunter in heels” as you put it, has no shot in 2012 or whenever. She was a one act play and I think everbody has seen behind the curtain on her play.


  459. Well said Proud-

    My husband spent a year in Viet Nam in 1968 and when he came home and returned to college he was heaped with abuse from his fellow (younger & ignorant about the war) students. He finally couldn’t take it and quit. And, yes, he was called “baby killer” more than once. What a shame.

    He and I are totally against this war and were from the beginning. Let’s hope for better things this year.


  460. resolution… to be a little nicer.

    Anyway… excellent blog today, I agree with a lot of the sentiments. Will leave it at that 🙂


  461. Capel 1/5 @ 11:22 PM:

    Thread-wise, Capel, if you really want to support WAR, better get yourself one of these while supplies last:

    Who am I kidding? There’s no shortage of those ribbons as long as there are people who think like you.



  462. Capel 1/5 @ 11:22 PM:

    Where should I begin? How about this:

    I found a snapshot of your brother over there ‘protecting US’.

    He’s the one on the ‘right’.

    He can come home now. Mission Accomplished.

    I pity you. I mean it. Really.



  463. Pi “Progress us all forward…..You betcha!”


  464. Proud-
    Hug your SIL for me…

    And- dang! Was so hoping Wal-Mart would take SP…Maybe we should fill out her ap…Fudge a bit maybe.
    Though I ‘spose the first time she greeted the folks with “progress us all forward..” into-the -store the cover would be blown tough…


  465. Good Morning Alaska Pi! Walmart does not want her either something about being ethically challenged!


  466. Sophie

    “I cannot and will not support people who are actively involved in international war crimes (if the war itself is an international war crime, then what culpability, accountability do its participants hold for their participation?), and everyone serving in Iraq voluntarily is doing just that, whether we want to admit it or not, whether they are our relatives or friends or not.”

    Oh Sophie if it were so simple. Unfortunately it is not. When you join the military you have a chain of command. Period. You follow orders. You have to rely that your chain of command is involving you for the right reasons. These young men and women were lied to like the rest of us. Should we put every soldier in jail? Is that were you are going. How about all of the people who have raped this country economically and work for the big bailout companies. From support staff to the CEO’s? They are killing this country as sure as the War is in my opinion, or do we go after the real perpetraters of this war? You know the ones at the top that fed America with false information?

    I wish you could meet my son in law. He tried to save as many lives he could while in Iraq. Americans and anyone else caught in the line of fire. He like many of his fellow soldiers are paying the price and still walk a fine road of trying to reconcile what they have seen and how they had to do their jobs. He is a fine person and I would never in a million years consider him a criminal.

    Here is a story for you Sophie when My SIL came home from his first tour in Iraq he and several of his friends came off of the plane here in the US and as they walked through the terminal a man stopped and looked all of them in the eye and and said “So the baby killers are home”. Now that is what I call disgraceful. My SIL was shocked. He is young enough not to know what the soldiers came home to after Vietnam. My husband and I had to inform and educate him. Yes it is still happening even today.

    While I feel everyone has a right to their opinions and definately the right to protest their government if they feel passionately that we are going in the wrong direction. Misplaced anger used this way is as destructive as the terrorists who wish to destroy us.

    “Soldiers are not gods, they are not mythmakers, they are not from the movies. And some of them, most especially recently, scare the living daylights out of civilians, both in Iraq and here at home.”

    Nope Soldiers are not gods or mythmakers. You are right and that is why I did not vote for John McCain. It does seem to me that you are painting all soldiers with the same brush. My take is that your feeling is all soldiers are bad. Do you feel like this about everyone in uniform? Like the police? To me this is no different than any form of biggotry. There are always bad people or apples if you will in any group but to blame all of them for these people’s actions is biased and discriminatory.

    Marste Thank you for your wonderful post you said exactly how I feel.

    Jan Excellent questions for Capel. I will add my favorite When are you signing up to fight and gain “Victory” yourself Capel?

    Troutay you are the best! Yay!

    Nan as you can see I am back on my soapbox this morning. Stepping down again.


  467. “She can live a peaceful existence in Alaska… over there where I don’t have to see her at all and she can spare the American public the embarrassment of her being a “public figure”!!!”
    We have a job as a Wal-Mart greeter all picked out for the gov… just have to get her to turn in the ap.
    So far- we can’t get her attention… she’s talking to the witch in the mirror, ya know.


  468. support the troops not the war…. its a mantra used since 2003 and will be continued until we are out!

    In the spirit of things…. My new years resolution is to every day realize its a new day. That I cannot change the past, but I can do things to build on the future…. such as being more involved politically and simply opening my eyes to see the world around me.

    Like you Helen- I would be lying to myself if I were to resolve to quit calling Palin a stupid ignorant bitch…. I also think Bush will have to firmly and surgically implant his lips to everyone’s asses in order to even take the first step to making up for what his ignorance did to this country….

    I think Palin should make the New Years resolution to dissapear from our eyes forever!!!! She can live a peaceful existence in Alaska… over there where I don’t have to see her at all and she can spare the American public the embarrassment of her being a “public figure”!!!

    Kudos to you for all you write!!


  469. sophie said-

    “if you investigate the actual history of how vets were treated during the Vietnam War, you will be surprised to learn that NO ONE was spit upon .. that occurred in a movie in 1975 (remember the right wing confuses reality with TV and movies constantly, as they did here).”
    Sorry, Sophie- No surprise here…
    Maybe no one YOU know was spit on. I have cousins and friends who were spit on and harassed – some in front of me.
    Worked for years with one of the brightest , most good-natured fellows Ive ever met. His journey to Alaska and eventual personal healing was ALL about getting away from folks “back home” who took all their frustration out on returning soldiers – he was one of the DRAFTEES who found his childhood playmates felt he should have taken on the whole govt himself and stopped the whole mess himself.

    Yes- some of the vets were hawks- bigtime blowem-up hawks- just like some of your current neighbors in America are.
    Some were doves – many were made doves on the battlefield. Gretydog found the WWI voice that speaks for them-even so many years later.
    Most that I knew/know just wanted to go/come home.
    Like most groups of humans – those who returned from Viet Nam were a pretty broad spectrum of folks. No one size fits all.
    The point here is that the BAD GUYS were the chess players in DC…

    “Video of napalm-burning children was daily fare and shocked the senses of young people …”
    This news coverage was a milestone for ALL. It humanized the “enemy”- made what our returning soldiers were saying real. As Greytdog points out we also saw the endless line of caskets coming home.
    I went to tooooo many funerals for a long time.
    There were plenty of young folks in this country who were so shocked they took it out on returning soldiers Sophie… maybe not in your neighborhood.
    Maybe not in front of a camera…
    Greytdog- would you go get your Pfeffer cite from END-OF-DAYS…
    the stances described there are vivid and well fleshed out… and a sensible place to get hold of the complex stuff roiling up here…

    Troutay- you go girl!!!! I’m over my cold enough I can send hugs…
    and well enough to go outside and shovel some more snow

    Capel’s rant above is typical of folks who think :
    1- they will keep a beloved family member safe by surrounding thoughts of them with righteousness
    2-have demonized the “enemy” such that they themselves don’t have to think about real blood from real people
    3-get mad at folks at home who break-the-chain – like those dumb chain letters where the world is gonna end if everyone doesn’t keep it going.

    I am hoping Capel’s brother comes home safe and SOUND and that Capel learns his safety does NOT lie in perfecting hatred for people who didn’t threaten us or hating Americans who don’t agree.


  470. Shaaaks!


  471. Sophie wrote:”Video of napalm-burning children was daily fare and shocked the senses of young people who opposed the war —
    It was not like now when war is so sanitized that guys are fighting from computer screens .. and those who enlist imagine war to be one big video game.”

    I’m sure that war technology has advanced enough that yes, many of our soldiers do fight the war from computer screens. In fact, many of the missile carrying drones in Iraq are “piloted” by soldiers here in the US. And the dexterity and mental acuity required by modern video games translates well into military video games. But the real sanitation of war occurred when the 4th Estate, the Press Corps, gave up their objectivity and independence and became “embedded” in the military. That is how this war has been controlled for “consumption”. Gazans know the power of pictures – pictures of bleeding children being carried into hospitals are more powerful than pictures of a child whose life is lived under the eerie whistling threats of daily rocket attacks. As long as the Pentagon controls press coverage (including photos) in Iraq then the war will continue. Yes the pictures of children napalmed did help to turn the American sentiment during Vietnam. . . but so did the pictures of the caskets coming home, plane after plane after plane after plane.


  472. Yes, the bad guys are the ones sitting on velvet sofas in silk lined rooms, thousands of miles from the fighting.

    Does any of the money from the magnetic ribbons actually go toward benefiting the troops? Or does it just go to those who make and sell the ribbons?

    Supporting the soldiers means supporting peacemaking efforts — and working to make their lives and the lives of their families easier.

    How about getting on a website to find a soldier who doesn’t have a family to write to or to support him or her? I did a Google search and came up with a bunch.

    Peace and love.


  473. Capel

    At what cost? And Iraq did not hit the U.S.
    Bin Laden did.

    Sad, so sad.


  474. You are soooooo funny..and REALLY I do not understand how anyone cannot like bacon either!! Resolution: “to complete at least one project that I start”!! that is a good one and one I can keep…love from the lake


  475. Bravo Jan, and well said!

    I also feel very glad to “know” many of you through your postings. It is like being in a coffee shop with good friends all enjoying our favorite songs. The trolls would say we’re drinking the same kool-aid – maybe so, but it really is great kool-aid, yup!

    Mahalo to all of you – Jean, troutay, grandma, Alaska PI, Greytdog, to name a few. This is one of my favorite places to check out when I have a moment of time to indulge. Thanks to Greytdog responding to Werner’s question, I now know how to post a picture.

    The biggest mahalo nui loa goes to Margaret and Helen – thanks for the laughter and wisdom and those insights that pop into my mind and make me chuckle during the day.

    Thank God Obama won, because now we can chuckle, have fun and dance to the oldies (even the youngsters like some of the oldies, right?)


  476. First, I gave my mother soup in easy open cans. With her physical limitations, it means an easy meal, since she is still living on her ow. She loved it.
    Second, you are right on in identifying the bad guys. My nephew served a tern in Iraq and is now in training for special forces. He wants to kill bad guys. But I don’t think he’s getting the right training for the real bad guys.
    As I stated on my blog, my resolution, my hope – that we can learn from our mistakes.
    Thank you for your passion.


  477. What a wonderful column, Helen!

    Most of these posts are so insightful, too, and it’s just such a treat to see how many people there are out here who realize that patriotism is not blindly believing (falling for) and following everything your government tells you. It’s speaking out when you see things going wrong, when you hear lies and know them to be lies. It’s always being observant, and not just sitting back letting somebody else carry the load. It’s not giving up, even when all you get back from your elected representatives are form letters. It’s not letting people like Capel shut you up.

    I feel great pity for Capel. Don’t know how he found his way to this site, but to shout at Helen and say she and Margaret hate America is a sad commentary on the insecurities he has. Allowing for the fact that he must have great fear for his brother’s safety, it was still a really nasty post.

    Capel — we appreciate your brother’s service. He is doing what he feels is right, but . . . so are Margaret and Helen, and all the other posters on this site who understand things perhaps more clearly than you do.

    What would “victory” look like to you?

    Who are the “devils” we need to kill so that “they” will never ever think of attacking us again?

    And saddest of all — why do lovers of peace make you sick? Peace sickens you? Love sickens you?

    I repeat, I feel great pity for you. You are indeed a sad example of misplaced nationalism, and you totally missed the point of Helen’s message. Totally!

    Greytdog — beautiful message, beautiful poem. Too bad Capel couldn’t get the point, just as he missed Helen’s beautifully phrased point — that whoever Capel’s brother takes aim at, it’s most likely somebody just like him (not a devil, just a young soldier doing his duty — possibly one who believes Capel’s brother is “the devil” who has invaded his country and destroyed everything in sight!). It most assuredly is not someone who “attacked” us.

    Anyway, you folks who’ve been regulars with Margaret and Helen, and who work hard to keep the porch clean and the environs warm and inviting, will probably know best how to clear out the slime he directed at our dear ladies, far better than I can!

    OK — New Year’s commitments:

    1. To continue to write my congressman and Senators about everything that troubles me:

    * how this country mis-treats our returning injured (TBI, PTSD) war vets (my husband is retired Navy who enlisted during the Vietnam War and retired 20-plus years later);

    * that we need to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for war crimes and treason against the US constitution;

    * that we need to get back to science-based approaches to everything from stem-cell research to global climate change to sex education for our children;

    * that we need to put into place heads of agencies who didn’t previously work as lobbyists for the industries they’re now supposed to oversee;

    * that we need to quit thinking of America as somehow “better” than any other country or people on this earth and start working within the family of nations. (Doesn’t anybody in power realize that we all drink water from the same original Source, that we all breathe air from the same original Source, that we grow our foods–different as those foods may be due to climate or topography–in soil from the same original Source, that we process that food and water internally in bodies that operate exactly like every other body, different as the surface appearance may be in terms of eye shape, hair color, skin tone; that, in short, we live on a very small ball in a vast universe with others who are more similar to us than different, and if we foul this nest while trying to kill all “the devils” we have no alternative nest?!?!)

    2. I will attend City Council meetings in my own town and speak up here — change begins at home, at the grassroots level. (Thanks, Barack!)

    3. I will try to understand where an angry, hate-filled person like Capel is coming from, but whether I can understand him or them, or not, I will not allow another’s hatred and anger to pollute my thought processes or to derail what I know to be the right course of action for me. I will never again allow any person or group to usurp the flag, or the word “patriotism,” and claim it as his or their own!

    4. I won’t miss a Margaret and Helen column.

    PLEASE PLEASE dear ladies (and all you regular posters) — keep it up! This is the highlight of every week. You always speak so plainly and yet so movingly on whatever subject you decide, and you make us all think.

    Thank you to all you wonderful regular posters. It seems like I know you all. It’s like being in an on-line classroom where thoughts and ideas can be distilled, reviewed, clarified.

    Happy New Year, one and all!


  478. Longtime reader, first time commenter (and a late one, at that – ha!).

    But here’s the thing: I detest the war. I don’t support it, I think it’s wrong and I think we were all fed a line of bullshit about why we were going into it.


    Those men and women/boys and girls out there? The ones getting shot at every day? They joined the military (many of them) because they wanted to “protect and serve” on a NATIONAL level. They knew going in that they would have to go where they were told. They knew they might die. They BELIEVED that they were/are doing the best thing for their nation.

    And you know what? They’re right. I didn’t raise my hand to volunteer to go to war, whether or not I believed in it. I didn’t raise my hand to get up every morning and put myself in harm’s way. I didn’t raise my hand to sleep in the desert, breathe sand and kill people I had never met and had no personal grudge against. I didn’t raise my hand. And I still wouldn’t raise my hand to go to war for a cause that *I* don’t believe in.

    But God bless those who did. God bless the people who are waking up in Iraq today, because whether or not I agree with their politics, they have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way for what they perceive is my sake. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant. I am grateful. I hope they all come home safe and sound, and words cannot express how grateful I am for their willingness to do what I freely admit I would NOT do.

    God bless them all.


  479. resolution: not to fall asleep again and trust that things will work themselves out.


  480. to Alaska PI:

    if you investigate the actual history of how vets were treated during the Vietnam War, you will be surprised to learn that NO ONE was spit upon .. that occurred in a movie in 1975 (remember the right wing confuses reality with TV and movies constantly, as they did here). Video of napalm-burning children was daily fare and shocked the senses of young people who opposed the war — imagine being face to face with a vet who not only was not shocked by the brutality of it, but defended it and wanted it escalated.

    It was not like now when war is so sanitized that guys are fighting from computer screens .. and those who enlist imagine war to be one big video game.

    I remember meeting a vet in college during the Vietnam war and frankly he scared me shiteless. His solution to ‘win’ the war? Nuclear bombs to wipe out all of Vietnam, north and south. These guys came home and were so full of anger and frustration that expressed itself in aggression both physical and verbal .. none of that is remembered, and if it is remembered, it is never spoken about outloud.

    Soldiers are not gods, they are not mythmakers, they are not from the movies. And some of them, most especially recently, scare the living daylights out of civilians, both in Iraq and here at home.

    The Vietnam War wounded everyone. As all wars inevitably do.

    Currently, Israel is dropping cluster bombs and white phosphorus (the Pentagon’s cute way of using napalm which was outlawed long ago — just adjust the chemical composition a tad and call it something else) on Gaza. 1.5 million people in one of the most densely populated areas on earth. And where is the US on this? silent approval.

    despicable. there can be no other description for our failure to condemn this action.


  481. Lordy. Lordy. You are full of shit lady. My brother is over there fighting now. If you want to support him then work for VICTORY. Peace is just another way of saying defeat. You peace lovers make me sick. We need to WIN that war and kill those devils so they never EVER think of attacking us again. This is PURE BULLSHIT on this site. It should be called Margaret and Helen Hate America!!!!


  482. i know this is a controversial statement, but dammit, i’m old enough to decide finally to say my piece. It is obvious to everyone in the world who has a brain that the war in Iraq is founded in lies, has been from its onset a package of international war crimes and my resolution this year is to stop biting my tongue every time someone says ‘support the troops’ … and say what i feel must be said, in truth, in honesty and with logical thought: I cannot and will not support people who are actively involved in international war crimes (if the war itself is an international war crime, then what culpability, accountability do its participants hold for their participation?), and everyone serving in Iraq voluntarily is doing just that, whether we want to admit it or not, whether they are our relatives or friends or not.

    I do support the troops who have put their moral and ethical values into action and their futures and individual freedom on the line and refused to fight in Iraq. Those troops are not getting the support they should be receiving, and that is something i resolve to make amends with this year.


  483. Grandma Katie – even if anyone is listening in, so what? The folks listening in on the other end are usually small-minded, trapped-in-a-box type of thinkers whose only claim to fame is the ability to frighten other people. And if we’re not frightened by their threats but speak out against their actions. . . they lose that power to which they so desperately cling.


  484. Happy New Year everybody!
    My resolution………….
    To teach my students (5th graders) the importance of communicating with their representatives. I resolve to come up with a strategy for giving them a good reason to write their senator or representative. And we will mail the letters.


  485. Welcome back dear Ladies!! We have missed you deadfully/

    I have in dispair the past 8 years thinking th ere was no use in any protests. In fact, a friend in another, are pretty sure our phone conversations are listened in on.
    But I have sighned some of the petitions lately and have actually had emails for one of our senators!!
    Believe me, I will be sending lots more the next 4 years. And with addendum. “If I find that y ou are voting in favor of any wars and other things, I will strike y ou off my list and vote for someone else.”
    I just wonder who is after Bill Richardson?


  486. […] 6, 2009 at 3:54 am · Filed under Uncategorized kicks ass. man. i hope i’m like that when i get a little bit older i’m adding them to my […]


  487. Can you believe that Bush senior would like to see his other pin-head son, Jeb, as a Senator or President? This guy just doesn’t get it!

    Happy New Year to one and all!


  488. Our new year’s resolution (as a couple, not the royal “our”) is to go on one date a month to a new-to-us restaurant. Let’s hope we can keep that one.
    Keep on writing. My best friend and I just turned 40 and we want to be you two in 30 years!


  489. Jean, thank you for sharing the story of your granddaughter. But beware beware! You wrote: “Our kids need exposure to art, music, literature, all the humanities to become well rounded individuals. Citizens.” You will be creating radical thinkers and doers! The Humanities teach a person to see the big picture, the pieces/parts of that big picture and how it all connects . . . and how one action or even inaction has a ripple affect across those connections.


  490. For 8 years we have lived in terror. For 8 years we have been held hostage to the goblins hiding in the closet and under the bed. For 8 years we have allowed our politicians to play with our soldier-children and fearfully cheered while our leaders proclaimed:

    When I was sick and lay a-bed,
    I had two pillows at my head,
    And all my toys beside me lay,
    To keep me happy all the day.

    And sometimes for an hour or so
    I watched my leaden soldiers go,
    With different uniforms and drills,
    Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

    And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
    All up and down among the sheets;
    Or brought my trees and houses out,
    And planted cities all about.

    I was the giant great and still
    That sits upon the pillow-hill,
    And sees before him, dale and plain,
    The pleasant land of counterpane.
    (Robert Lewis Stevenson)

    Bush & Co. no longer own the land of counterpane. It’s time to air out that sick room.


  491. Welcome back, Helen! We missed you!!!

    I have a kind of sweet little Holiday story. One third of our family was here from Pennsylvania. We did all the usual stuff, but the highlight for me was with our 10 year-old granddaughter. She and I really bonded, big time!

    She and her 14 year-old-brother both go to good public schools, are both A students and are very much into sports. They play in baseball, softball, basketball and soccer tournaments that turn out to be pretty expensive to participate. $$$$$. They are both healthy although the boy has had full mouth braces for some time. $$$$$.

    Just for fun, I gave my granddaughter a beginner’s standard 50-minute piano lesson. She had never been exposed to playing music that much before. Well! She went for it like a duck to water!!!!!! She stayed at the piano for THREE hours after the lesson. What an incredible span of concentration!!! The TV was going full blast and I was working in the kitchen but ran help her when she needed it. It got pretty hectic for me at times, but she was oblivious to everything but the piano.

    We had a few more lessons and every chance she got she went straight to the piano. We even had a little performance and I taught her the proper bow. We did a duet, “Comin’ Round the Mountain.” They had to pry her away from the piano when it was time to go to the airport for home. The rest of the family was in the car!

    Our son is going to get her a little Casio keyboard and I am going to continue to give her weekly lessons over the phone since we have unlimited long distance. Our grandkids have a bright future.

    What’s the moral of this story? These are only TWO examples of the educational opportunities that EVERY child SHOULD be having, but as we all know, is NOT! When it comes to budget cuts, what is the first to go? Education. Further, in the past few years, courses beyond the basics for minimal skills to get a job are practically non-existent. There is more to life than just making a buck! Our kids need exposure to art, music, literature, all the humanities to become well rounded individuals. Citizens.

    We can’t pay out billions for war but shortchange our kids’ education in the process. And speaking of war, Helen. Two of our grandsons are 14. In four years they will be eligible for military service. Fortunately, we no longer have the draft that was compulsory in ‘our day’. But who knows…….

    Our generation and the next have an obligation to these wonderful kids to make their hopes and dreams come true. Our son and his wife are doing their best and a hell of a good job at that! We have to do our part too.




  492. Greytdog,

    The ‘A Soldier’s Declaration’ by Siegfried L. Sasson is so profound. It broke my heart and gave me a chill at the same time. How many, many wars since he wrote that?

    Thank you for sharing it. I’m sure it will give all of us here thoughts to ponder.




  493. Glad to see you posting again Helen. I missed your wit and sense.

    So, I am going to pile on here and make my New Years Pledge: In 2009, I will pay attention to what is going on in the world, I will pay attention to what our elected officials are doing, I will comment, foment, write, call and yes even protest If needed. I will do this on top of work, family, other obligations, as all of us must.

    PE-Obama is not going to get this done alone; we elected him, we need to keep him honest, and we need to support him. I am signing up for it.


  494. I checked in every day hoping to see another of what you call “rants”. I call it darn good writing and since we agree..darn good thinking too. I don’t know you but I love you. Can I adopt you as my aunt. I promise no candles, gift cards or soap. Everything I used to bake or cook is bad for you know so how’s about I brew up some de-caf, catch a show, or just chat instead. I look forward to your take on the Obama four years. hugs and best wishes for 2009.


  495. Happy New Year Helen, Margaret and All:

    I have one resolution in the spirit of Gandhi:

    I resolve to BE the CHANGE I wish to see in THE WORLD.

    Let peace begin with me– each and every day.

    Δ skyewriter


  496. Missed you ladies — agree 100% regarding the war and the phony-ness of those yellow ribbon magnets.

    Resolved — keep those “action alerts” coming in and keep acting on them / writing to state and federal officials, and finally also now to a president who I think will actually give a damn about those of us without strong ties to the Oil Industry…


  497. So Glad for a new post! I was going into withdrawal!

    I’ll read the comments and leave a few of my own throughout the week.

    Happy New Year, Parlor Wedgies!


  498. my new years resolution is one thing…one really big thing…

    do the right thing.

    So many times it is easy to turn away from doing the right thing. This year I vow to keep it front and center and hopefully have more days than not that I feel pretty damn good about who I am and what I do.

    glad you are back!


  499. I wish you a happy and healthy new year. As to useless Christmas gifts, may I suggest that next Thanksgiving you send all your friends/relatives whom you expect to be “gifting” you, a list of at least 3 organizations to which they can make donations in your name. My environmentalist son donated in my name to reducing my climate impact! I like to make gift donations to Heifer, International, which helps end world hunger & poverty through self-reliance/sustainability. My family loves the idea that some impoverished family/village in 53 countries &/or 28 US states get anything from a flock of geese to a goat to a water buffalo! Pick your favorite charities & give & receive gifts that make this world a better place.


  500. troutay,

    I’ve been out of my personal ‘coma’ (it costs nothing to pay attention) for some years now and have collected many links along the way. I glad you enjoy the information I supply. It’s what I do!

    And just remember the real reason why we’re in this mess…

    It’s all going according to plan.

    When I say ‘PEACE’…I mean it.

    ~ Δ ~


  501. So good to see another post from you, Helen. My New Year’s resolution is to take half as good of care of myself this year as I have my special needs son since he was born 3 years ago. It occurred to me that if something happens to me, he’ll be totally screwed. So I made 2 different doc appts. today. Yay Me! (That’s pathetic, I know I should be getting my hair done or going to the book store, but it’s a start.)


  502. Happy New Year and welcome back Helen and pal Margaret! Your instantly broken resolutions cracked me up.

    About those magnetic yellow ribbons – I used to buy them everytime I’d go to our neighborhood hardware store, and think I was doing something good, after all it was proclaimed that $1 of every sale goes directly to help the families of our combat troups. Since these ribbons cost $5, I asked the owner, who gets the other $4? He said it wasn’t him, all proceeds went back to the person/organization that made them. That made me stop buying those faux-support-get-some-scammer-rich ribbons. It was a leech who originated it, laughing all the way to the bank.

    GreytdogΔ – your quote from Sassoon the soldier back in 1917 reminded me of a recent soldier born and raised here in Hawaii – Ehren Watada. He was court martialed over a year ago for refusing to lead his troops to Iraq, saying it was an illegal war based on lies. He caused quite a stir with angry people on both sides either praising or vilifying him. His case ended with a weird mistrial, and then I believe it was dismissed because of some other weird legal stuff. He was wrong in a sense because he did not follow orders, but he was also right because he felt it wrong enough to disobey orders that were based on bullshit that Bush and Co. made up.

    President soon Obama has such a mess to clean up, but I am still in the fairytale stage of hope. For veterans, I believe Shintani will do a great job as the new director of Veteran Affairs. He isn’t one of the ivy league boys, rather he’s a humane ex-commander that actually cares.

    The Bushes will be around for a long time – crap takes longer to dissolve when it wraps itself in a false cloak of Christian goodness.

    My resolution is to be a good American, and when our new President asks me to pitch in, I’ll pitch.


  503. Whirled Peas:

    You never fail to amaze me with your information.
    Its funny. I remember that so clearly, all the info about the guys in the Presidio. It breaks my heart that after all this time and all these wars, we have not learned anything.

    My cousin lives in Alaska. He was an airborne ranger during Veit Nam. He tried to kill himself while home on leave. He now works with a group that visits and tries to help rebuild the country he helped destroy.

    We shall overcome. We shall overcome. We shall overcome some day.
    And deep in my heart, I do believe….
    We shall overcome one day.


  504. Hi Helen,

    Happy New Year! I am glad to see you back and feisty as ever. I agree with you, nobody gets a free pass and should be held accountable. We all got too complacent and look what the heck happened and almost happened again save for some vigilant folks like you.

    Let’s stay on the ball, Freedom is not Free.



  505. as Greytdog so rightly pointed out, war never changes.. I sat off the coast of Vietnam while Kissinger and Nixon and the North Vietnamese argued over whether to discuss the war over a round table or a square one…while soldiers died.
    This war will go on as long as it is politically and econmically profitable for America’s corporations. who are teh real ones in control here. The political process serves those that support it and we unfortunately by trading shopping and consumerism for democracy have become our own worst enemies…bad guys be dammed!
    Happy New Years girls, welcome back..



  506. Ah, Helen, you make me so happy. Thanks.


  507. Happy New Year to you ladies as well! I made a resoulution NOT to make a resolution. Not because I don’t or can’t keep one….just because I tend to forget whatever it was I promised right after midnight……..


  508. Soldier, We Love You

    As true now as back then.

    Same sh*t different pile.



  509. Pleased you had a good Christmas and New Year… even more pleased to see you back writing. Best wishes to You and Yours!


  510. Quoting Greytdog Δ @ 4:13 PM

    “I AM making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.

    I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defense and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest.”

    Here’s a movie for ya:

    Sir! No Sir! – The Gi Revolt

    Only when those actually fighting the war believe that it is time to stop…then it will end. They’ve done it before and can do it again.

    PEACE ~ Δ


  511. glad you are back helen.

    sharing a lead for the readers and critical thinkers.

    “Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War; Book Review
    by Tom Kerr
    In a new book anthology, Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War (Fulcrum Books 2008), the phenomenon of war is insightfully explored by more than 60 award-winning women writers. War, as experienced, observed and defined by the writers, is skillfully interrogated with wisdom and unapologetic honesty.


  512. Georgie HW Bush…aka daddy shrub… said on Fox News this past weekend that he is grooming his son Jeb for the White House. Doesn’t a Jeb Bush/Sarah Palin ticket just scare the pants off of ya? I know it does me!

    Oh, the humanity!


  513. I’m glad to see you back too! I was afraid you had decided it wasn’t worth it, and I’d sure miss you if you had.


  514. Nice to see you back Helen. It seems like forever since your last post. Glad to hear everything went well for the holidays.

    Here’s a video for you and your nephew.

    The Asylum Street Spankers

    PEACE ~ Δ


  515. I came out of the Democratic “closet” as it were when Obama ran. I live in a decidedly Republican county and I was afraid of being burned at the stake.

    Now that I am “out”I have vowed to stay out. I am stating my opinions politely but frankly. I blog and I also write my congressmen even if that is sending hem a copy of my blog.

    I will not again go silently into that Republican night of war and economic collapse.


  516. And, your a coward for putting out those words and then running away.

    If you don’t agree, then at least have the balls to say why.


  517. My resolution was to make no resolutions, and so far I’ve been able to stick to it.

    I did tell myself to take just one day at a time. Well, they come that way anyway, but sometimes I take more than one day at a time in my mind. Not so good.

    Great post as usual!! Keep ’em coming!

    Jules who does not have a yellow magnet ribbon on her bumper


  518. Jack:

    What did you mean regarding the geisha?
    Most geishas (they aren’t the same as they used to be) had to be pretty clever to survive. It was a very rich and interesting “culture”.

    So, I am not sure what you mean by the “pretty good english” bit. If it was an insult, well, there are modern day geishas who are a lot smarter than you.

    And, if you are implying that Helen is in some way a “bad girl”, which is a typical dirty minded American concept of “geisha”, and typical of those who don’t want anyone to listen to anyone else except themselves, well, Jack, we aren’t going to listen to you either.

    I would say that if you were lucky enough to ever meet a geisha, she wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole.


  519. I missed you both! We are all glad you’re back.
    Resolutions include trying my best to be aware of political issues. My health may not allow me to physically protest (walk) and my budget does not include a lot of extra money to give organizations or political parties, but I can use my brains to try and understand and be aware of political issues. I don’t mean only national but local things like school budgets.


  520. “Let no one ever, from henceforth say one word in any way countenancing war.
    It is dangerous even to speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it
    are criminals. Were there even anything to say for it, it should not be said;
    for its spiritual disasters far outweigh any of its advantages.”
    Siegfried Sassoon

    So why am I quoting Sassoon? Because he was a soldier-poet. Because his war poetry still resonates today. Because he wrote of war without patriotic nonsense and without romantic zeal. Because he was a soldier poet and we still don’t listen.


  521. I hear you about actual support. My partner’s brother goes over for his third tour in a couple of days. One of my good friends, who is a die-hard Republican (and gay, so I truly don’t get it), tried to scold me for not supporting the troops.

    I told her that my support was more practical than a yellow magnet. I send books, I send food, I send sheets (did you know how badly they need sheets? It’s astonishing), but mostly I do whatever I can to get this war stopped, which seems to me the BEST way to support the troops!

    That and getting them great medical care, which they don’t seem to need, according to our government.

    On the Christmas gift front, our family has decided this year to make our gifts for each other. It doesn’t have to be store-quality; in fact it’s better if it’s flawed. But it has to be personal, come from the heart. We’d rather have one heart-felt gift than a slew of indifferent ones.


  522. A Soldier’s Declaration
    “I AM making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.

    I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defense and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow-soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.,

    I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.

    I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

    On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practiced on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacence with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize.”

    Siegfried L. Sassoon…July 1917

    Time goes by. . .but war remains the same.


  523. Welcome back, Margaret & Helen! Hope the porch wasn’t too untidy in your absence (& we replaced the light bulb too – with a troll-zapper)

    Werner – go here on how to attach an avatar to your name on wordpress

    I’ve never liked the yellow ribbons, ribbon magnets, yellow-gello bands, or whatever. After 9/11 the flags bloomed across the country, fluttering and flapping from cars, trucks, etc. Every front porch had one. . . and then the days, the weeks, the months rolled by and those flags used to proclaim patriotism became tattered, dirty, reduced to threadbare rags. That angered me more than anything. It simply seemed to me that the flag meant nothing – but then what do you expect when the POTUS urges this response from the American people – GO Shopping. Sheesh. So we went to the malls and sent our soldiers to Iraq. . . again and again and again. Mission accomplished? Only if you’re SP on her shopapalooza with the RNC. Yeah we showed our patriotism and support with the magnets while sending the kids off to war without body armor, with a poorly thoughtout strategy, with nothing other than good wishes and high fives and a banner reading Mission Accomplished. Gag.
    Then these kids come home to face the VA quagmire. Walter Reed was just the tip of the iceberg. My S.O. is a Vietnam vet. Last tour of duty was 1971. Served as a door gunner and was so good at that he was picked for sniper work. He has PTSD – but it wasn’t until 2008 that the VA finally decided that oh yeah he does have PTSD… oh and probably exposure to Agent Orange considering the cancer(s) he’s had to contend with over the years… we simply cannot let the kids today go through that kind of hell.

    1. Be involved – agitate and be proactive
    2. Work on that damn book that’s been bugging the beejeezus out of me and keeping me awake at night
    3. Wag More, Bark Less
    4. Dance with the Dogs more


  524. Bonne Année à tous!

    I resolve to make more pie this year, and eat less of it. In fact, to consume less of everything. Except this blog. I’ll keep reading this as long as y’all keep writing. Thanks for the pleasure!


  525. Damn good english for a geisha girl.


  526. I love everything I received for Christmas. I believe that the givers all gave loving thought to the gifts they chose for me, as I did with the gifts that I chose to give. Thank you.

    I support the troops, and am grateful for their courage and sacrifice. Thank you.

    I visited Barack Obama’s Chicago home over the weekend. I couldn’t get very near the house, but being half a block away and just seeing the red bricks and white windows peeking through the branches uplifted me. I’m very glad he’s moving to the White House. Thank you.


  527. My New Years Resolutions:

    I know,I know everyone makes their New Years resolutions and then by the end of the January they forget all about them .

    Not me. But I am only going to make three this year. Mostly so I can keep track of what I have resolved to do, but also so I can actually keep the majority of them.

    Unlike most people that make resolutions that are long, or hard to accomplish or do; I decided this year to do it right. I will start with the easy stuff and after that work on the harder ones. This way I will know that by the end of the month at least one of them will be done and out of the way.

    Here they are:

    1. I resolve to stop smoking.

    2. I will lose 1 pound by the end of January and not gain it back.

    3. I will lose 19 more pounds by the end of the year. (This is the hard one, so I might not make it.)

    As I said start easy, then work on the harder ones as the year goes on. I really believe I can stop smoking since I never started. (I said I would start with an easy one.) I also believe I can get rid of that first pound in 31 days. (Not quite so easy.) And with more exercise the other 19 should be doable in 12 months time.


  528. upps wordpress, hit the button too fast


  529. BTW can someone explain me how I add a pic to my avatar? Do I have to be a blog member in the worpres?? Can I use my tumblr avatar soemhow? suggestions welcome, thks W.


  530. Carolanana and all like minded,
    welcome anytime to dream and more along with me and many others, I gave up politics when I settled down after my first Kid with 25ish, but I really think it might be time to take it up again!



  531. So glad to see you back ladies. Your voices have been missed.

    YES !!! This time around we DON’T have the luxury of sitting back. President-elect Obama has landing in Washington DC running as soon as his feet hit the ground. Let’s all try and keep up with him.


  532. Great post. One thing that annoyed me about the Bush administration, is they talked about duty and honour, but cut support and funding to the troops. Just because a soldier has a leg blown off and cannot fight anymore, does not mean it’s right to throw him on the garbage heap. Support the troops, not the two draft dodgers in the white house.


  533. May I dream along with you, Werner?


  534. Happy New Year, Helen & Margaret! May it bring us happiness, resolution, prosperity, and peace.

    My resolution is to keep my mouth open, my pen writing, my phone working, and my congressmen/women thoroughly sick of my ranting! After the last eight years of my silence, THERE WILL BE NO MORE! Not one minute, not one time will I let the ‘government’ get away with a single thing without me throwing in my opinion! The cork is out, the spring has sprung, the water is running, the mouth is open! HOO HA!


  535. I love your blog!

    Great idea DebA.


  536. Hi Girlz and Guyz
    hope you want hate me for it, but as some know by now, I will always raise my voice when I think there is a need for, so here we go:



    They only legit troops should be UN Blue Helmets, but not the bunch of ineffective clowns they have now (Sorry guys, I know you try your best, but that’s how you look to a lot of us until you are REAL combat troops, not just some politicians cheap alibi!)!

    I would like to see a world with one and one legit army ONLY. Big and strong enought top wack any 5 different people and their “combat troops” on the head on any given time needed.

    All other armed forces should be deamed outlawed and WILL be destroyed at sight.

    The ONLY other people that are allowed to own and carry arms will be local police forces, and small hand guns (aside of small special police forces only, VERY limited per country) only for them. (NO Para’s that could be used as “army” instead)

    Anyone else seen with a waepon will face extreme prison time……

    Within a few years we should be able, when consquently applied, to clean up this mess of a planet……. at least that be my sincere hope!

    But I am just a dreamer, but anyone setting up a world party to work on that has my support from day one, mentally physically and where possible monetary!

    I also once had that notion to solve poverty by getting rid of all the federal governments world wide, extend UN to a higher coverage for the world’s regions, abandon all federal govermnemnts (keep the provincial, extend police rights and take it fropm there) and with all the money WASTED by the Feds in all the countries worldwide, promote education and fight poverty…… well but as I said, I am just a dreamer…..

    Well enough provocation, let’s see what this “food for thaught” will provide as digestive products…..

    Still love you all, even if we’re NOT always on the same line!



  537. DebA
    I wish I were as smart as you are. Thanks for the observation and the idea.

    Thanks for making Texas a much more livable place for this culture-shocked Pacific Northwest native. Somewhere, Molly Ivins is watching and having a great laugh.


  538. I’d like to start a nationwide movement with the support the troop ribbon magnets. When ever you walk past a large truck or SUV with one of those things, just move it so it covers the fuel tank door. I’ve noticed here in Oregon the larger the vehicle, the more support the troop stuff.


  539. Thanks for saying what you think! I just love your honesty!


  540. Ira364, Thanks for reminding everyone that Bush is not a real Texan. It makes me ill every time he is referred to as being from Texas. Why he continues to play cowboy dress-up and live here mystifies me.

    Thanks, Helen for a great post.

    Happy New Year, all.


  541. My New Year’s resolution is to try to be more kind and understanding to all the idiots that cross my path everyday. So far so good, but let me tell ya, it isn’t easy. I love reading the posts Helen, keep it up:)


  542. Me again. Just had lunch and a good cup of coffee. Noticed that there are some bloggers who are really incensed about the way our vets with PTSD are being treated. I’m with you! There was up until a short while ago a V.A. Dept. office in my neighborhood treating PTSD exclusively. It was right on a bus line and there was plenty of parking for those with vehicles. Well, that was moved to quite another site many miles away and dropped into the backside of a type of strip mall. Bus service to this site is about 30% of what the service was in the previous site and the parking slots are down by 95%. Why was this service moved? The claim is that the previous site was too small for the volume of business, but the new site is the same size only strung out along the perimeter of a building. My guess is that the old site was way too close to a very well known Army base and somebody did not want the active military at the base to see the constant line-up of “injured” vets outside the front door every day. It might create a situation where somebody would question authority.


  543. Correction: Bush went to highschool in Massachusetts, not Ct. Still the Northeast though.


  544. Glad to hear from you Helen. I hope your holidays were great! Even though I live in Austin, I spent my holidays in Houston. It was about 72 degrees most of the time. I love living in Texas!

    Speaking of…

    Mari- Don’t feel too sorry for us Texans. We know that Bush isn’t a real Texan. He was born in Connecticut, and although he went to elementary school in Texas, he attended high school in Connecticut and went to college at Yale. The Northeast can have him, we don’t want him, even if he chooses to live here (remember that 48% of Texans voted for Obama).

    As for keepable resolutions, I’ve been working on fitness since the summer, so I can keep that as a goal for 2009. But I also want to seek out something that gives me a good belly-laugh at least once a day. Nothing keeps you healthy like laughter! 🙂 I’ll be checking into this site to help with that!


  545. Happy New Years, gals (and readers). I am so pleased to see that others agree with me. The yellow ribbons on cars and trees and stuff tend to irritate me. After all, the song about welcoming back someone who had “done wrong” and was sorry. The soldiers didn’t “do wrong.” Why are we forgiving them?

    And if I put a yellow ribbon on my car, then others will think that I support the WAR and Little Hitler, not the poor boys and girls that were suckered into believing they were protecting our country.

    But my resolution is to try for more love and understanding and peace in my heart and hope to spread it around.

    And will write MORE letters, now that Minnesota FINALLY has a Democratic Senator!!! YIPPPEEE.


  546. Happy New Year Helen and Margaret!

    This holiday I spent precious time with my children and grandchild, who live far away, and with whom I have too, too few days every year. Honestly, I don’t care what gifts they give me; the best gift for me is our being all together for a day or two.

    My resolution every year is always to lose weight. This year, it is to continue the fight to be healthy, which for me is hard.

    But I think I want to do something else positive as well. A specific personal goal. Something doable.

    I remember the runup to the war in Iraq. I kept waiting for our Dem senators to lead the way out of war madness. Fruitlessly, as it happened. I agree that we need to keep interacting with our representatives, to let them know what concerns us. For me, the end to the war cannot come too soon.


  547. I feel that slapping a yellow ribbon on your car (or even showing your support by wearing a US Flag lapel pin) is the least you can do. And I do mean the absolute LEAST. What a wimpy way to say you “care”. Instead of loudly proclaiming your “loyalty” with a symbolic, anemic gesture, why not get out there and actually help someone? Greet soldiers at the airport, count the homeless in your area so that tax dollars can be allocated to help them – a lot of them are former military people. There are a lot of ways to roll up your sleeves and help. We just have to look around.


  548. Margaret and Helen, et al – about “supporting the troops.” I think, in my little home town on the Washington coast, we have the best of the best.

    A local woman who is our most vocal voice for peace (organizes and participates in mini-rallies with placards, etc. along the one highway that passes through our remote town) is also responsible for printing up lists of all local young people who are in the military and posting them in the windows of businesses all over town, reminding people of their presence in the Middle East.

    She makes sure that there are posters in the windows of the stores welcoming each of them home on their return.

    Most people have no idea that it’s one and the same person who is organizing and implementing both efforts: the “honk for peace” sidewalk demonstrators and the acknowledgement of the service of the young people.


  549. <i””And the only kiss that will ever happen between me and George W. Bush will be when his lips meet my ass.”

    OMG, I’m so glad I swallowed my pop before I read that line.


    Love y’all as ever,
    Jeffrey (St. Louis)


  550. I love you, I love you, I love you. May we all be as wise when we get to your age.


  551. If you want to show our service men and women
    your gratitude, watch the video, and follow through.

    Go to and find out what they are doing to help our vets.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about what and how fast President-elect Obama can achieve some of his goals. I remember what a RC priest friend said one time, “If you put someone up on a pedestal, and they fall off, who is to blame?”
    It was an entirely different situation but the words would apply to today.


  552. @ Ann Gibert,

    They may largely be preaching to the choir, but that’s going to happen in any blog. People who agree are almost always the largest bloc of regular visitors.

    But there will usually be a core of people who come to be challenged and even if they don’t agree (and even if they sometimes get snarky) good thoughts can be exchanged.

    I mean, I get it hard somestimes on my blog from Christians who are very conservative (and don’t like my less conservative take on religion and life) and from atheists and agnostics who think faith is wacky. And yet among those, there are some who visit regularly and we can still have civil discussion in the comment section or via e-mail. There are no “rules” to it, though, people are either willing to talk and have an open mind, or they aren’t.

    @ Helen,

    Mmmmmm…bacon. That’s the meat product that has always lured my wife back from her periodic attempts to go full vegetarian.


  553. Gone are the days when real leaders went into battle with their troops. It is a comment on the quality of our leaders and not our troops. I’m glad your nephew was able to visit you. Happy New Year and I agree wholeheartedly.


  554. I, too, have reached the age where I don’t want gifts just because. I’d rather have a visit or a meal or some kind of experience and interaction with the person. I’m still trying to get rid of all the crap I have accumulated in my life to date. I am forever grateful to my friend who told me that “a gift should never be a burden.” Freed me up to re-gift or give to charity–because someone somewhere will love that thing.

    Supporting the troops and not being in favor of war seem synonymous to me. I have never understood how someone who hears me say I think stupid wars to make the fat cats rich should be stopped thinks I am saying I do not support the troops or am anti-military. I’m not. I am grateful for the service of the thousands and thousands of men and women who have served. I am just not in favor of stupid war and war for profit.

    On the other hand, I read yesterday that Papa Bush is starting to talk up Jeb for President. That’ll give you something to work with.

    By the way, I am all for positive outlook and attitude and conversation. However, “nice” doesn’t often get much done. I hope our desire to be more proactive doesn’t turn into “positive at all costs.” Not if the cost is avoiding the truth.

    Happy 2009, Margaret and Helen. Glad you are still here in the land of blogs.



  555. Support for our troops must also include holding the past, present and future leadership accountable for the decisions made and actions not taken. Demand that the leaders exercise due diligence and take care of the country – to include the infrastructure – roads, schools hospitals. Our troops are working to provide for the people over there – it does not make sense that our leaders at home do not make sure they have the same things over here when they return home. Demand that money be spent to help the troops and the families back here and provide quality health care and services. Insist that leaders get past politics as usual and perform the job they were elected to do and not just collect fat salaries – and ask the right questions and keep asking until they get answers – even if it means jail time for some folks and not just rubber stamp bailouts for irresponsible people. Support for troops means insisting on transparency into what is done, how, why and when and for whose benefit and insisting that it be done properly by the laws and regulations. It means insisting on fair treatment for all citizens, it means insisting that the tasks that need to be done are done – roads are built, maintained, transportation systems, water, air and food supplies are safeguarded and protected. It means not just blindly trusting but asking questions to ensure what is correct and fair is done and done well not just for the best price. It means getting involved, in big and small ways, and not waiting for others to take care of what needs to be done. Supporting our troops means treat each other with respect and dignity and caring and not letting injustices go without redress. It means working to end the poor treatment of returning soldiers, it means holding schools and teachers accountable and increasing the quality of education and health care services – it means roll up your sleeves and get involved – to make the dream these soldiers are fighting, dying and working to protect and serve becomes a reality.


  556. Good to hear from you, Helen- and Happy New Year to all.

    Thank you, ProudCommunityOrganizerWA. for your post. I feel those directly impacted have more clout and their voices should be heard.

    I bought two ribbons from our VA post last year, but I made it clear that I would not put them on my car- I wanted to help support their projects. Both older gentlemen shook my hand- the ribbons aren’t on their cars either.

    I have made 2009 commitments (don’t like the word resolution):

    Keep pushing to get the war paid for NOW, not by my children and potential grandchildren.

    Write/agitate for health/educational benefits for vets.

    Volunteer, whether politically or to help others in my community.

    Be more smart,efficient, and green.

    Looking forward to reading more from all of you, and especially you Helen and Margaret:-)


  557. Oh, it’s so good to see you back!

    I hope you keep on keeping on, just as you have been. You have a talent for wording things just right. I’m learning from your example (it’s taken me long enough… )

    As for “Proud Community OrganizerWA” – thank you. You rock, your daughter rocks, and so does your SIL. My best to you all. Your resolution rocks, too, and I hope to do the same.

    And please, *please* don’t get off your soapbox.



  558. Happy New Year!

    I too got crap that said “Look – I sent stuff, I care!” A card would have been lots.

    Anyway – my resolution this year is to be less wasteful with water (do I really need a 25 minute shower? No. I certainly don’t need the hydro bills those produce!) and to be less judgmental of other people’s stupidity (and work on my own areas of stupidity instead).


  559. I was going to respond about getting involved in your local VFW, or VA as a volunteer, or volunteering at the VA Hospital nearest you (although those are becoming fewer thanks to Shrub).
    I also saw the HW comment about Jeb – Dear God, when will it end?
    Also to Anne with very conservative friends, try the “we can agree to disagree on the issue of war as a means to an end – and you can disagree on the actual ends, you can disagree on a whole host of issues, but you may agree on others. I’ve had to take this route with most of my family, but they are slowly coming around from neocons to middle of the road. And these were the same people in the marches in the 60’s for civil rights, and demonstrating against the Vietnam war.


  560. So glad you’re back. Your post reminded me of something that’s always bothered me….how the government uses and discards soldiers like they’re old shoes.

    Both of my brothers were Marines who fought in the first gulf war, and once they had served their time, they were forgotten. No health care, no job training (unless any companies are looking for infantrymen) or placement, no pension. I’m not saying they should be taken care of, but shouldn’t those who voluntarily put their lives on the line for all of us be entitled to some basic benefits that help them transition to civilian life?

    They’ve given so much and the government doesn’t show it’s appreciation at all. Really ticks me off.


  561. Thank you for saying “bake something.” I use to think that my baked goods were not a good enough gift, even though everyone loved them. I will look at them more as a gift now.

    And I second everything you said about the war. They don’t want us there and do we really want to be there?!?

    Boring resolution – Clean out the clutter in my life. It was ‘clean the clutter from my house’ until I just realized that I have clutter elsewhere too.


  562. Well I guess I could resolve to do more spell checking and punctuation editing after rereading my post but I know in my heart that will never happen so I will live with my imperfect ways. 🙂


  563. I agree that we, the people, have to carry some of the blame for letting the “bad guys” get away with their shit…let’s go get ’em in any way we can. We’re never too old, even if we are grandmothers and grandfathers….oh yes, and hold Obama accountable too, along with the Senate and House and the rest of the administration. Keep up with your rants…they’re the gas that gets my engine going!!! P.S. Sarah Palin IS a bitch…


  564. Happy New Year Margaret and Helen!

    Great post as usual! You have struck a very deep emotional chord for me in this blog post today. Really a couple of issues. I will try to be coherent but my thoughts are a jumble.

    Being the Mother In Law of a soldier who has been to Iraq 3 times I find myself either angry or feeling helpless in many cases in trying to help my Daughter and Son in law cope with his time here back in the states.

    They were sent back to WA state this last year so that my SIL could further his education in medicine he is a combat medic. That is what he did for almost 4 years.

    My daughter called me yesterday as they had spent the weekend visiting other relatives and catching up with old friends in another part of our state. Unfortunately she had words with a relative over the Iraq war. She stated that it was a mistake for the US to even go into Iraq and the “war” our soldiers have been fighting is just wrong. Well the Repulican relative felt the need to let her know that by stating that opinion she was disrespecting “all of the troops and veterans” who have served this country. Her response to this person was not polite and quite to the point. How dare they question her respect for the troops when her husband is one? She bless her, took my cue and turned to this person and said if you believe in this “war” so much why in the hell are you not over there fighting in it? This is my response to anyone who voices that they seem to know more than the soldiers who have been there, while they sit at home and watch Fox News and form their own brain washed opinions. It escalated into a huge argument. I keep telling her you can’t match wits with the witless!

    Fast forward to the next day. Her husband met up with some of his buddies he had not seen since he has been back home, all vets or current soldiers. They were out to have drinks and dinner. She dropped him off and later picked him up as she new he would be drinking. This is what has developed since he has been home. These people thanks to the Bush administration and that includes John McCain, decided awhile back to down grade PTSD, you know not something to worry about. We will give you a few sessions back here when you get home and then you are fine, nothing wrong with you. (sarcasm) Now don’t ask for any additional counseling because it will end up in your permanant file and then, well we might have to ask you to leave the military. Don’t want that on your record! (anger with Sarcasm).

    Her husband upon entering the car was very upset after his get together. Talking about what he had seen in Iraq, what his friends had seen and how they were or weren’t coping with the images and memories that they are still living. How many lives he tried to save and could not both his friends and the Iraqi people caught in the crossfire and the children who deserve none of this.

    Do you see where I am going here? The best support we can give or troops and soldiers this year is to get congress off of their collective asses and change how we are treating PTSD! There are many walking wounded in our military who cannot get help. It is ridiculous! They need a safe enviroment to seek out additional help if needed period. Some cases are very mild to severe, all need treatment! I am praying PE Obama addresses this issue and soon. It needs immediate attention.

    I will be keeping track of all things for our Vets and soldiers as there is so much that needs reformed including care for their families. We say we support them but it really in many cases it is just something we parrot and never really think about.

    The last thing I want to address is the magnets and yellow ribbon issue. Yes I agree that much of that has been over used for commerical purposes and as some misguided way of showing patriotism. However in almost every town and city there is a VFW group. Even in our town of 2,000 there is one. I see them at community events and they usually have a booth. Many times they are selling magnets, pins and other items. They raise money for projects these groups do to help support our veterans and soldiers. Last year our group raised money this way to put together packages for the troops serving overseas. They are always fund raising for various military causes. Many times it is to help raise awareness through advertising etc… to get the word out about military issues that need to be addressed. So I strongly urge you if you see these people to buy something or offer a kind message just to let them know you honor their service to our country.

    Ok off of my soapbox!

    My only resolution this year is to continue my political education and to stay aware of what our elected officials are doing. I let that slide to much in the past. Not anymore.

    Regards everyone.


  565. Welcome back! I have missed you. Another excellent posting. And your part about the mothers in Iraq supporting the troops too? Well said and quite poignant.


  566. I love your rants, but I think that you, (and I also) largely preach to the choir. I want to find a way to talk quietly to those other people. I tried to keep politics out of my blog at first, so as not to offend a good “conservative” friend who used to read it. Then I posted a blog saying that I hoped that even though we didn’t agree politically we could discuss political things in a friendly way. Well, she got mad at me, said “you have no idea how condescending you sound.” I’m out of ideas. You got any on this problem?


  567. I heard something very scray this a.m.: George HW Bush is already pushing Jed for a 2012 run. Definitely reason to stay motivated! Happy New Year, ladies. I look forward to reading you all year long.


  568. WElcome back Margaret and Helen. We were beginning to woorry about y ou
    There have been some lively discussionns araound the front porch while you were away. But we kinda wandered all over the map with out you to keep us on track!
    I won’t take up more space about my feelings about the yellow ribbons.
    And after 9/11I thought if I heard God Bless America one more time I would barf.


  569. Happy New Year! I’m so glad you’re back. It’s pretty bad when I start to feel bummed that someone is spending time with family instead of entertaining and challenging me with their writing!! Oh well. I’m happy now.
    In my small, very conservative, town, the tiny but dedicated group of liberals have taken a beating (figuratively) as we are accused of being anti-soldier, unpatriotic, etc, every time we marched for ending the war. So I put one of those yellow ribbons on my car – it says “Support our troops – bring them home.” I think everything we can do to get the word out is positive and no peaceful statement of the need to end that war is unacceptable.
    P.S. Thanks again for continuing the warnings about the Wasilla Whack-job.


  570. I am SO happy yall are back to posting! I don’t have any resolutions, never do. I just try to be a good person and think of others feelings before I speak or act.

    Happy New Year ladies!


  571. Helen! Happy New Year. I personally like getting soaps and candles, but I’m a soap and candle kinda gal. I also love gift certificates, but that’s because I’m really hard to buy for and I love getting a chance to spend money (that’s a rarity for me).

    On to New Year’s Resolutions. Please don’t keep the Palin/Bush ones. Not good resolutions at all. But the getting involved one? Good one.

    I got a call on Saturday from a member of the DNC asking for a donation. I told him that I didn’t have any money in my budget to donate. It was true. But I also told him that I did more for the DNC and democracy in America than write a check–I get involved. I blog. I talk to friends who are on the border. I educate myself and try to educate others. I speak up. I write my congressmen (oh, yeah–Mitch McConnell is Mine All Mine! Hoorah. Barf.) and actually get responses back. (Mitch sent me a two-page letter on how all crimes are hate crimes, so he didn’t have to support the Matthew Shephard bill. I keep trying, though.) I sign petitions and protest when necessary.

    I also reach out to people of differing beliefs and political backgrounds–not to lecture them so much as to show them that all liberals are not baby-eating Preverts who want to steal their guns and shut down Wal-Mart forevah. Okay, it may be true about the Wal-Mart thing, but not the others.

    My personal goal for this year is to get more involved. To be even more active and informed politically. And to continue to get my health in line. 🙂


  572. “We have met the enemy and he is us”.
    – Pogo-

    You are right Helen. We need to go out to do things to change this war and this country. We can not just sit back, complain, and expect others to “fix” everything.

    I pledge to get more involved in my community by helping others. I can rake, mow, help paint, etc. Not hard tasks these, anyone can do them.


  573. apologies for trollie type spellos- in last post. am late for work


  574. For those too young to remember…
    those stupid yellow ribbons started from an important place- though the whole thing has degenerated into some kind of stupidity.
    We were NEVER again going to allow ourselves to take out our anger at the govt on our soldiers as so hideously happened towards the end of the Viet Nam dabacle.
    It is not Mr Obama’s feet-to-the-fire katmac- it is CONGRESS’ feet to the fire … Mr Obama does not get a free pass as Helen notes… but congress has been as stupid or stupider than Mr Bush.
    A blank check for war in Iraq?
    We have to keep an eye on every one of those folks we hired to do our business… some of em are bad guys. We got rid of one this year in AK- hoping we made the right choice and didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we did with this ghastly gov…


  575. Oh, Helen, you’re so right about the bad guys not being on the field of battle. What gets to me is hte fact that not only do they send off our sons, they send their own sons and grandsons, and never seem to flinch. They create a world of horror for their own progeny, not just ours. It doesn’t seem to faze them.

    There was a cartoon in a local paper a while back showing two mothers – on in the U.S. and one in Iraq, both weeping for their sons. It really disturbed me that there was actually nasty follow-up from readers about that cartoon. Why do people not understand such a basic thing?

    Keep on reminding us, please, of what we all should understand to begin with. We need you.


  576. Those yellow ribbons on the back of cars remind me of how right after 9/11, Americans rediscovered their patriotism and rushed out to buy flags. We should always support our troops, whether we are involved in some sort of conflict abroad or not.

    Now for my resolution: To keep things friendly with my sister when I see her for this next Christmas. -at least I believe that’s one I can keep. We’ll see.


  577. Stop beating yourselves up for not doing enough. Hey, we got an anti war president , didn’t we? We could have had mccain , who of course wouldn’t have minded it going on for the next 100 years. Now we have to keep up the pressure on the dems & Obama to get us out of there. No more death & no more wasted money.
    Time for this country to take care of it’s own people.
    Helen, glad you’re back , I was getting worried you might have the flu or something.


  578. Glad to see you back!!!

    I knew 8 years ago that the Shrub (as Molly Ivins called him) would be a disaster and he turned out even worse than I thought. And yes, Sarah Palin is a bitch. I have been appalled that anyone took her seriously — it just goes to show that our educational system is dead.

    My resolution is to stay active in my community and keep after my new Congress Critter. If we all raise enough hell with these fellas, we might get some action.


  579. My resolution is to stay involved politically, even though it’s tempting to sit back and rest after 8 years of being so upset, 6 years of marching…
    I feel sorry for you Texans, being stuck with Bush forever.
    Can’t wait for this inauguration.

    Happy New Year, Margaret & Helen!


  580. Finally, someone who understands that supporting the boys and girls in uniform does not mean supporting the war, and vice versa.

    I’ve been against this war since Bush was only talking about it. Everyone, even people who know better, was saying “It’ll be over in a month” and I knew in my heart it was another Vietnam. I am not happy to know I was correct. I oppose all war in general and this in particular. Beating up on a bunch of poor Iraqis over in Baghdad does not keep terrorists out of Chicago. It just makes the Iraqis hate us more

    But I do support those kids (at 66, nearly everyone is a kid to me now) fighting this war. I live in a city with several military bases close by, and I see those kids walking on our streets, they march in our Veteran’s Day parade, their wives work in the next office, they shop for groceries where I do, their kids go to school with my grandkids. They need to be home. Now.

    And the whole yellow ribbon thing seems a little sleazy to me too, along with giving Tony Orlando far more fame than he ever deserved.


  581. Well, the first thing you could do is write to Obama and tell him that we don’t want the US giving the okay to every little thing the Israelis want to do. Sharon was not a man of peace (as Bush would have it); he practically started the second intifada. The economic conditions the Israelis have left and encouraged in Gaza encourages the Gazans to support Hamas. If Israel spent half the money it spends oppressing Palestinians and stealing their land on making the Occupied Territories (and Gaza) viable economic entities with jobs, etc., they wouldn’t be dealing with a population that supports Hamas.

    I had hoped that Obama would be more even-handed in dealing with the Mideast, but with an ardent Zionist as his chief of staff, my hopes have been, quite frankly, dashed.

    I’m Jewish, and it’s time American Jews spoke up for human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, instead of saying whatever the Israeli lobby wants them to say.


  582. Another great post, Helen. I wish you two ladies and all of your readers a prosperous 2009.

    Thank you for your words on what it means to “support the troops.” We have a large contingent of soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan. In the days before Christmas, six soldiers passed away in combat.

    It really makes you appreciate what it is to be here, safe and sound while the troops are over fighting.


  583. My resolution is to spend more time at Starbucks.

    In my Dallas neighborhood, Starbucks is a place to hang out with people who are not like you, as well as some that are. At the Starbucks stores I visit most often, customers are young, old, conservative, liberal, black, white, Asian, Indian, Mexican, college students, high school students, retired people, and who knows what else. Actually, I guess most of them are just NEIGHBORS. And my resolution is to talk and listen to more of them, even if we don’t agree on everything.

    Unless of course George W. shows up, or the Nitwit-from-Wasilla. I’m not quite that neighborly.


  584. Welcome back Helen. I too am glad you saw your nephew. Over the past 3 years there have been far fewer yellow ribbons on cars here in Minnesota. I take it to mean people still support the troops but don’t want their ribbon to be misinterpreted to mean ‘I support the asinine war’. Yes, let’s keep Obama and the rest of the DC crew accountable. We are better situated to make good decisions but power is a corrupting force to vigilance is required. I do hope B.O. can perform some of the miracles that are expected of him or God forbid we could be back with the Republicans in 4 years. G.H. Bush is already talking up his favorite son Jeb. God save us.


  585. I feel so much better now that I have my M & H fix!!!


  586. Oh, how we tried to prevent this mess! Little did we know back in 2000 when GWB was sworn in that he was a member of a pack that had whipped up a plan back when his daddy was in the WH and simply rolled it out when his son was selected President. Even the selection card was in that plan. What you had there was the Stonewall Gang. No matter how loud you screamed, how loud the bang, they just never heard you and kept right on going. Otherwise, with the citizen participation that has been growing in this country, they all would have been out on their rears in no time either through a recall or by 2004. That’s the story, morning glory!


  587. Dear Helen,
    How nice to see you back and as feisty at taking on the “bad guys” as you were in 2008!

    Kristen: thanks for your comments.
    I am fortunate in that I do not have children or a spouse or a parent fighting the wars that the chicken[sh**]hawks start, generally to line their own coffers and those of their friends. But my spouse is a veteran as were my late father and brother. I also have a nephew and plenty of younger cousins of both sexes who have been/are on the front lines. So, of course, I “support the troops.” I also support those troops when they may need us most, which is when they return, broken in body or spirit as a result of their carrying the water for the bad guys.
    During the past eight years, I have written so many letters to my Senators and Congressperson about the wrongs perpetrated by the Bush Administration against us and the world that I practically receive form letters in response. They all literally blew me off and they are all Dems, so it isn’t a matter of party only. I am tired of Dems especially not standing for what is right. I am SO tired of having practically none of our elected officials of either party stand for what is right and just.
    Helen is correct. The election of Obama is only the first step. Each of us has to continue the pressure on ALL concerned or the warmongering will continue as usual … just as it continues as I write this.


  588. Sarah P. That is ‘the brain of Ann” No hooch needed!


  589. Nice to see you ladies back – I enjoy reading your posts. It must be hard trying to cook a holiday meal for the vegetarians in your family when not all of you are. Yes to supporting the soldiers – no I don’t agree with the war.


  590. Lay off the hooch, Ann. 🙂


  591. Thanks for the post; brings me to a larger perspective.However sometimes it feels like this: I have ants in a bed cut into the pool deck. Meanly, I put the hose on their house. Some will die but most will build a new house in the bed.Even with better methods and a goal of extermination they will still pop up.I cannot change them- they will always be ants.They like it around the pool.So do I.We have to find ways to get along.


  592. Great post Helen and welcome back!
    My resolution is to try and spend less time looking at all the negative things in life and find the positive things first.
    Sometimes it is hard. Especially with 2 teenagers.
    Happy 2009 everyone!