Saturday, September 29, 2007

Are You Smart Enough To Be A Citizen?

The 25 questions that follow are a portion of a new naturalization test to become a citizen. I missed 1 questions and scored a 96 on the test. If you want to take the test, provide your answers on your site and comment on mine with a link to your answers. I will provide the correct answers.

No looking them up first though, be honest.

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
a). The Constitution
b). The Declaration of Independence
c). The Articles of Confederation

2. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
a). I pledge allegiance
b). E pluribus unum
c). We the people

3. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
a). The federal code
b). The Bill of Rights
c). The first 10 amendments to the Constitution
4. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
a). 27
b). 29
c). 33

5. What is the economic system in the United States
a). Socialist economy
b). Centrally managed economy
c). Capitalist or market economy

6. How many U.S. senators are there?
a). 50
b). 100
c). 435

7. We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?
a). 4
b). 6
c). For life

8. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
a). 50
b). 100
c). 435

9. We elect a U.S. representative for how many years?
a). 2
b). 4
c). For life

10. Why do some states have more representatives than other states?
a). Because the original 13 states are more important
b). Because some states have more people.
c). Because some states don’t elect the right representatives.

11. We elect a president for how many years?
a). 2
b). 4
c). 8

12 In what month doe we vote for president?
a). January
b). August
c). November

13. If the president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
a). The vice president
b). The first lady
c). The chief justice of the Supreme Court

14. Who is the commander in chief of the military?
a). The president
b). The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
c). The defense secretary

15. How old do citizens have to be to vote for president?
a). 16
b). 18
c). 21

16. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?
a). March 15
b). April 15
c). Dec. 31

17. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
a). Alexander Hamilton
b). George Washington
c). Thomas Jefferson

18. What year was the Constitution written?
a). 1776
b). 1787
c). 1945

19. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
a). Louisiana
b). Texas
c). Alaska

20. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
a). Designed the first U.S. dollar coin
b). Fought to abolish slavery
c). Fought for women’s rights

21. Who was president during World War I
a). Abraham Lincoln
b). Woodrow Wilson
c). Franklin D. Roosevelt

22. Before he was president, Eisenhower was a general. In what war was he in?
a). The Civil War
b). WW I
c). WW II

23. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
a). Because there were 13 original colonies
b). Because 13 is the most that would fit
c). Because 13 people signed the Constitution

24. What is the name of the national anthem?
a). America the Beautiful
b). The Star-Spangled Banner
c). My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

25. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
a). 6
b). 9
c). 12

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Three men were hiking through a forest when they came upon a large raging,violent river.

Needing to get to the other side, the first man prayed:"God, please give me the strength to cross the river." Poof! ... God gave him big arms and strong legs and he was able to swimacross in about 2 hours, having almost drowned twice.

After witnessing that, the second man prayed: "God, please give me strengthand the tools to cross the river" Poof! ... God gave him a rowboat and strong arms and strong legs and he wasable to row across in about an hour after almost capsizing once.

Seeing what happened to the first two men, the third man prayed:"God, please give me the strength, the tools and the intelligence to crossthe river"Poof! ... He was turned into a woman. She checked the map, hiked onehundred yards up stream and walked across the bridge.

Missing in Action

I have been suffering from blogophobia, aka blog block, the past few days. Nothing to say, I couldn't even make anything up. While I'm starting to come out if, I'm not quite there yet but I did want to complain that an acquaintance said he was ready for, get this, snow.

I told him to keep quiet, the weather has been strange enough day 90 the next in the 60's. It's way too early for the "S" word, I just had the fall aeration done on my lawn for christs sake.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Aquí Está Nuestro Piso Nuevo de la Cocina

El piso me recuerda una terraza al aire libre en alguna parte en México. Aquí están antes y después los cuadros:

Antes con una muestra.
Cenando área antes
Cenando área después

Friday, September 21, 2007

When a Bad Day Gets Worse

Before I get to the subject matter I have to get this in or CK will preempt me. It's the word of the day, 9/21/07:

preja vu: knowing you are going to experience deja vu before it happens (thanks to NK for that one).

Now you can use it CK and on the the subject of the day.

As I described yesterday, we did not get our new kitchen floor installed. Little did I realize though that after I moved the refrigerator and disconnected the ice maker by removing the tubing from the faucet (I hate copper tubing for those things), the damned tiny little ice maker faucet would leak and leak it did. It started out as a little dampness on the floor around the faucet so I turned the handle a little tighter to stop the drip.

When I checked a little later, it was still dripping so I turned the handle a little more and put a towel down to absorb any other moisture that may present its bad self. Then I forgot about it (bad thing to do). When I remembered a few hours later (this was after my conversation with Mike Installer) which by the way is not his real name, I found that it was a little more than a drip, the towel was soaked and there was puddle (water thank god) on the floor.

After I cleaned it up (you should know at this point there is not much laughter in the household), I again tried a twist of the knob but this time I connected the previously mentioned despicable copper tubing back to the faucet and stretched it out so that any drips would go into a well placed bowl since it was late and replacement would have to wait until morning. That's when it happened.

What's that you say?

It was a most disturbing discovery. The kind that makes you want to drink (as if we need an excuse).

It involved water, lots of water.


Now you ask, how did a little drip turn into water all over the floor in the basement? That is what I wanted to know so I put on my private eye shoes and started the investigation. I started at the most logical point of impact, the place where the copper pipe (there's that damned copper again, I'm just glad I don't have a copper clapper) goes up through the floor.

Nothing, dry as the sand in the Gobi desert.

Did I mention that I had placed towels all over the floor and was moving the ladder around on them? No, well, there they were and every time I came down from the ladder and tried to move it the towels got caught in the legs so I had to spread them out again (I know, so what).

Since it's too late to make a long story short, I will continue by saying that I asked NK where she thought the leak might be? We looked behind the door and it wasn't there and we looked at the joists in the ceiling and all along the pipe. It had to come from somewhere and that is what we finally found. It was coming from somewhere but I'll be damned if I could find it.

There was water on the floor and we finally found that the drips were coming down from the side of an air duct (at least it wasn't copper). Evidently it seeped from somewhere above, onto the air duct, down the end and straight down to the floor. Whatever portion of the sub floor that got wet and drippy is just going to have to dry by itself (shhh, don't tell the realtor on us next year when we list the house again).

Oh, and that copper tubing, it's gone. When I purchased the new faucet I also picked up some of that flex tubing. Next I'm going to replace every section of copper tubing running from floor valve to toilet with that stuff.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Waiting - Addendum

Still waiting should be the title I guess. I called the floor company about an hour past the time the installer guy should have been here. They didn't have a clue so they said they would try go contact him (they take no responsibility once they sell you the flooring even though the message you listen to when you are put on hold is all about their customer service and "professional" installers).

About 2 hours later I finally hear from Mike the installer (that is how he introduced himself and in the olden days, back when there were Lords and Dukes and Kingdom's and all that, that is where last names came was based on what you did). So, Mike Installer gives his sob story for the day and asks if there would be any problem starting the install tomorrow and finishing it on Saturday.

Long pause, complete silence, then blast off.

He did not expect to hear anything like, yes, I do have a problem with that so he again asked with more of a question mark at the end, "You have a problem?" It takes alot for me to lose my temper so let me just say we covered my problem with that fairly well and I did it without one word of profanity (you can tell when I'm really mad, I don't cuss). The end of the conversation was that either I have a new floor tomorrow or I will not have a new floor from (insert company name) at all, your choice.

So, he will be here between 8 and 8:30 tomorrow morning (we'll see). What I'm wondering is what would keep him from starting and then making some lame excuse for not getting done?


It seems we are always waiting for something. If you are having something done, you always wait for someone to come and do it. We wait in line just about everywhere. At the popular eating establishments you wait for a table (fast food, see waiting in line). If you want an estimate to have something done, you have to wait for them after they schedule the appointment and of course you generally have to wait for that since when you call for the estimate you frequently get voicemail so you are waiting for them to call you back.

This week, I called 2 businesses for an estimate to have our lawn aerated. I actually got a live person the with the 1st call, voicemail with the 2nd. I'm still waiting for the 2nd business to call back (although I did tell the party of the first part that even though I was waiting for a call back from the party of the 2nd part, I would like them to go ahead and aerate my lawn so I'm not going to make the party of the 1st part wait for the party of the 2nd part).

Maybe if we wanted to, we could make a statement about our "waiting" frustration. Instead of us waiting for them all of the time, we could ask for a number of estimates and when we got them, we could keep all of them waiting before giving them our business. Call it a waiting conspiracy. Pick one day and get everyone you know to call the same businesses to have an estimate done. Then make them wait. Maybe we could shut them down for a day.

In the meantime, today we are waiting for someone to come to install our new kitchen floor.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Funny Wednesday

A little boy comes down to breakfast. Since theylive on a farm, his mother asks if he had done his chores."Not yet," said the little boy. His mother tells him no breakfast until he does his chores. Well, he's a little ticked off, so he goes to feed the chickens, and he kicks a chicken. He goes to feed the cows, and he kicks a cow. He goes to feed the pigs, and he kicks a pig. He then goes back in forbreakfast and his mother gives him a bowl of dry cereal.

"How come I don't get any eggs and bacon? Why don't I have any milk in my cereal?" he asks. "Well," his mother says, "I saw you kick a chicken, so you don't get any eggs for a week. I saw you kickthe pig, so you don't get any bacon for a week either. I saw you kick the cow, so for a week you aren't getting any milk. "Just then, his father comes down for breakfast and kicks the cat half way across the kitchen.

The little boy looks up at his mother with a smileand says, "You going to tell him, or should I?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I was going to skip today until I talked to CK and we started talking about school and I remembered some of the pressure I experienced in College. Many of my professors allowed us to take an oral exam after the first written exam if the latter resulted in an "A". So, whenever I had that opportunity I took advantage of it since I thought it would be much more relaxed and easier to explain my positon without rambling on in a "blue book".

What I did not realize at first was how my body would react to a one on one with at PHD in European History. It reacted with the shits, uncontrollable long lasting tie your stomach in knots burn your ass shits. This after working all night since I tended to schedule my exams as early as I could since I worked midnights. I ususally felt fine until about 15 minutes before the exam was scheduled to begin. Then I felt like my last 5 meals had been at Taco Bell and I was running for the border.

So, I learned to plan for these episodes whenever I scheduled an oral exam. After a while, I finally got comfortable enough that these episodes stopped, but that took about a year. Any one else out there have any thing like this to share?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Postcard (no boobage)

Who Would You Sue?

Have you ever sued anyone? What would make you sue someone? Would you do it just to get your name in the news? Would you think it was frivolous to file a suit for that reason? Would you do because someone else filed a suit that you thought was ridiculous and wanted to send a message? Who would you sue? Would you sue this guy?

Would you sue God? Really, think about it, would you sue God to put and end to hurricanes, tornado's and earthquakes or any other type of natural phenomenon? Well, there is a State Senator in Nebraska that has filed a lawsuit against God for just those reasons. He wants Him to stop natures destructive forces. He said he tried talking to Him, "hey, you up there" didn't work so Senator Ernie Chambers from Omaha sued God. It's a response to a suit filed to keep an attorney from using the word rape in a trial that is ongoing. He did it to show that anyone could file a suit against anyone, for any reason at any time.
Since we moved here 10 years ago we have had a lot of fun with Senator Chambers but this is the best yet. I do have to agree with him in this one, it is way too easy to file a suit, against anyone, anytime, for any reason. Chambers belongs in California though, not in Nebraska.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Would You Believe

If I told you that Richard Nixon was set up by Gerald Ford to take the fall for Watergate would you believe me? I'm sure that someone probably would (not you of course). Americans can be so gullible they will (and want to) believe that good always triumphs over evil, that inherently, people will not lie to you, that the pharmaceutical industry has our best interests in mind and that businesses will not take advantage of an unaware consumer.

That is what the toy industry wants all of to believe, that the upcoming price increase in the cost of toys will make them safer. Accept it, it's a fact. They wouldn't try to deceive the savvy American public. There will NEVER BE ANOTHER TOY RECALL BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW SAFE. One mother of a 7 month old boy and 2 year old daughter said "I will pay more (for toys) because I know it will ensure safety." She knows it so it must be true.

It will only cost you an additional 10% for them next year. They believe that the prices will not increase before the Christmas season begins because "...manufacturers and sellers have already ordered the toys for Christmas." Yeah, right and the lovely people that provide us with fuel don't ever raise the price of the gas in their underground tanks whenever it appears that another artificial shortage will soon be announced either.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Know, It's Late

There is so much going on that is wrong right now that I don't know where to start so I'm going to look for some good news first. Well enough of that, I did a search of good news and I got refrences to the religious right and Watchtower so I guess no one reports good news. The only good news I see is that OJ has F'd up again and may get busted for something like an armed invasion.

On the other hand, the global warming that isn't seems to have opened up the northwest passage. According the AP, "the European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978."

Last night on the Tonight show, Leno reported that the B of A was going to begin charging customers $3.00 for ATM transactions with other banks to follow. Actually, he was incorrect, they have raised their rate to $3.00 per transaction for non-customers.

In Jena, La, the conviction of Mychal Bell was reversed. That's the good news. The bad news, the racist prosecutor may not give up and attempt to bring him back to trial. In the meantime, Bell remains in jail.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mixed Bag

Yesterday I played golf with a fiery 29 year old hot tempered red headed Irishman. He was an employee at another course across the river. I did not ask him what he did there but he told me his passion was golf, it was his only passion.

After I put my 1st tee shot in the fairway, he came up in his cart and asked if he could join me and even though I can be somewhat of a loner, I never mind company on the golf course. So he hit is tee shot well off to the left and off we went. On the 2nd tee, I'm in the fairway and he is in the bunker.

I'll interject here that he had not played this course in a very long time and while it looks simple, it does have some pretty sharp teeth and they were leaving a few marks on him. In golf a number of things can impact your play and the golf course is one of them. It can get in your head and no matter what, it stays, and it eats its way through any modicum of confidence you have. This is what happened to my playing partner. After a few choice #%*&#$ words it seems his Irish emotions were getting the better of him and his words got louder and stronger all with constant apologies.

After more of the same over numerous holes I hit my tee shot about 55 yards past his. Just before that, he asked me how old I was, 49 or so? When I told him 60, his jaw kind of dropped and he got kind of quiet. After the above tee shot he said that now he was really embarrassed. All I could think was how good it felt to out distance someone that age but I kept my mouth shut, I know it will happen once in a while and I told him that I could remember when I had a temper like his.

Later, after we were all done he asked how old I was when I learned to control my temper? I told him I was just about his age. I hope he feels better today.

On a side note, Belichick got off easy, he and his staff are nothing more than common thieves with no moral fiber. He and his entire staff should have been suspended for 5 games in addition to the fines and loss of draft picks.

Yet another side, Portland, Or. (my adopted home town) is in mourning. Finally a chance to rid the city of the JailBlazer image with big hopes for a good run this year and Greg Oden is out before the season starts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Be Careful

There is a line in a book I'm reading that read, "May nothing new happen". As the plot continued I found that the character that uttered those words, normally cynical and very rarely a person that showed any form of contentment was, at this one point in time, satisfied that things were OK. So, he thought it might be good if nothing new happened, things would stay just as they are at this moment. It might seem like a good idea but is it really? Absolutely nothing new could happen.

If your child has not yet accomplished some task, like maybe a first word spoken or that first step, they never would. If you had never seen something like a misty sunrise near a small stream, you never would. Someone would never experience that first kiss, the thrill of their first strikeout or a new team winning the World Series or Superbowl. From now on it would always be the Colts and the Cardinals and Tiger Woods would win every golf tournament forever (well that may happen anyway).

The absurdity of it lies in the fact that if nothing new happened, no one would die and of course no one would be born so the population of the earth would remain the same. Dubya would become our final President, do we want that? My point is, be careful what you wish for, it just may come true.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This was written on September 11, 2002

today i wept

not for those who died a year ago
but for those who survived

for those who are filled with hatred
those who are consumed with their arrogance
those who cannot understand
that we must live together in this world

they are from america
From israel

they are from everywhere

i wept when the flag was unfurled
when the bagpipes played
when the people stared, seemingly unfeeling
but with sadness in their hearts

not understanding that we are god’s children
instead of the people of governments
of some defined religion

i wept when i remembered
that we have not found a way
to live together without malice

i wept when the pipes played
and no one was there
yet the street was full
of those who will never understand

Monday, September 10, 2007

No Playoff's for you!

It’s week one of the NFL season and the following teams are already out of it:

Buffalo – although they lost in the last seconds to my team, Denver, their next five games are against Pittsburgh, a loss. New England, another loss. New York Jets, possibly a win. Dallas, yet another loss (even though I hate to pick Dallas over anyone). Baltimore still another loss. So now they are 1 for 6 and not a contender for the playoffs.

Cleveland – lost big time to Pittsburgh. The only team they might beat in their next five games is the Raiders (go Cleveland, I hate the Raiders).

Jacksonville – lost on Sunday, will lose 4 of the next 5. Should have kept Leftwich.

Kansas City – just forget it, lost to Houston, will not win until Jacksonville in week five and that is not a given.

Oakland – my hope is that they go 0-16, but they will probable beat Cleveland.

On the bubble: Miami, N.Y. Jets

Arizona – not a chance.

Atlanta – no chance without Vick and he does not belong in the NFL.

Chicago – will not repeat, get rid of Rex.

Detroit – No Way even though they won yesterday, but come on, it was only the Raiders.

Green Bay – Never count Farve out but don’t count on the playoffs.

New York Giants – get rid of the head coach and they might make it.

Tampa Bay – Goodbye Jon.

On the bubble – Carolina

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Yesterday was one of those days, not the kind that everything goes backwards but the kind where all of the stars and planets moved into alignment at the same time, the kind where all is right in the world. I was dreading it, did not want it to come. I even woke up very early and could not go back to sleep. I had to buy and install a new wireless base station so NK could get back on-line.

The buying part wasn’t bad, that’s not the part I dreaded, it was the installation part. You know, one of those 15 minute jobs that wind up taking 3 hours, bruised knuckles, words coming from your mouth that would make a sailor blush. Well, none of that happened. What you say? That’s right, I sat down, opened the package without hurting myself and set everything up.

One of the first things that may have helped was the fact that I opened the instructions and actually read them. The next thing that happened got me thinking that it must be my lucky day. The setup and install went just like they should, no surprises. I loaded the software on my old dog plugged everything thing in and clicked finish.

Then the damned thing asked me if I wanted to add another computer. Oh boy, I thought, here we go. So I clicked on yes and waited for the argument. It never came, just asked me if I had a spare Ethernet cable and if so could I please connect the new computer to the base station on a temporary basis using the cable. After that it was a snap, click click and done. I felt so good I decided to try to set my old dog up with the wireless card so I could go mobile. What did I have to lose after all? And guess what, with a little finesse, it now works so I too can go anywhere in the house I want.

Since all was right in the world, I went out and bought a quick pick lotto ticket, maybe it’s just my day.

P.S. No lotto win but I did get to watch some football, College football, Fresno State football, triple overtime. Alas, they lost but they took A&M for a ride.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Most Noble Adventure

As I mentioned in an earlier post a new book, The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe by Greg Behrman discussed the feasibility of a Marshall Plan for Iraq.

What is at question then, is the path taken then to rebuild Europe a path that should be followed today to bring a sense of order to Iraq? Are the circumstances the same, will the same thing work now as it did then? I am by no means an expert on Europe, Iraq or on anything at all for that matter but I think not and will attempt to explain why.

I’m not going to ramble on about the state of Europe after WWII, it was in bad shape as described in the quote from Life Magazine contributor John Dos Passos in the January 7, 1946 issue:

"The ruin this war has left in Europe can hardly be exaggerated. I can remember the years after the last war. (WWI) Then, as soon as you got away from the military, all the little strands and pulleys that form the fabric of a society were still knitted together. Farmers took their crops to market. Money was a valid medium of exchange. Now the entire fabric of a million little routines has broken down. No on can think beyond food for today. Money is worthless. Cigarettes are used as a kind of lunatic travesty on a currency. If a man goes out to work he shops around to find the business that serves the best hot meal. The final pay-off is the situation reported from the Ruhr where the miners are fed at the pits so that they will not be able to take the food home to their families."

The difference, as they say, is in the details. First of all, in Europe, the "war" had ended. Even though there was still a presence of a military occupation, the day to day fighting had stopped and sights were set on normalcy. This obviously is not the case in Iraq, we are engaged in a war on a daily basis while pretending to attempt to bring the country to a self-sustaining level. I don’t believe that war and reconstruction, on any level, can mutually co-exist.

Next, Europe was economically and politically damaged by war. Iraq has been damaged not only by war but also by years of a direct neglect of its infrastructure by the Hussein regime. Not only was his government oppressive, it ignored the need to maintain and improve necessary physical resources. There were power outages and shortages of water before the invasion. This got worse not better after the war started and is still a significant issue today. Thus, a majority of the people of Iraq continues to suffer the consequences. In Europe, as reconstruction proceeded, the life of the people of the countries, including Germany, most directly impacted improved. The plan helped to restore an order that previously existed. For any plan to be a success in Iraq, it will have to create order that did not exist under the prior regime.

Also, for any plan to work you have to understand the nature of the problem. If he had a plan for reconstruction, and it certainly did not look like it, Bush could not have recognized the magnitude of the impact the removal of Saddam would have on the country (OK, that is a statement of the obvious). This leads to my concluding point.

Though not the final reason by any means, my last point is that the divisiveness that exists between sects in Iraq did not exist in post war Europe. In order for Marshall’s plan to work, the Europeans had to take ownership and they did. In Iraq, the differences between the Sunni, Shiites and Kurds are a significant barrier to the type of plan put together by Marshall. Even though we unleashed the beast with the removal of Saddam, only the people of Iraq can resolve the problem, no matter how much money we throw at it (and that will be covered in part 2 of my story).

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rambling Man

I'm rambling today so be prepared.

Isn't it wonderful when you have problems connecting to the Internet? We had some severe weather last night and lost power a couple of times (lots of lightning strikes, some very close). Evidently, one of the resulting strikes knocked out the wireless base station and I spent a good portion of today in trouble shooting and recovery mode.

The bottom line, it looks like a new base station is in order and thus, I did not have any time to do any research on the Marshall Plan today. I must explain my priorities however. During a normal week, golf is in first place. NK is generally OK with this. When I retired I was told not to interrupt her morning routine so I take that as my guide to good relations and play and practice in the morning.

Today however, my goal ignored golf, I had to bring us back to the connected world. After trying all I could think of I had to do the unspeakable, call the ISP. Then after waiting for about 30 minutes on hold, and trying a number of different options, we jointly decided that the base station was kaput (that is a German word for no longer working).

So, my priority shifted back to golf and I went out to practice (it was to late to play as I was cooking dinner tonight). After whacking a few on the driving range, I noticed that a few yellowjackets had appeared, then more and still more. Before I knew it there was an infestation.

Don't get excited, it was just one of the local high school golf teams, the TJ Yellowjackets. So, I finished up there after talking to the coach of the team and came home to cook dinner (which is really the subject of my story today (we had Potstickers and Fried Rice, all homemade of course).

NK has been trying to find a Microplane for some time. About a week ago we decided to take a trip west to the Factory Outlets where we knew we would find said item. We did not find it and were about to walk out in disgust when lo and behold, there at the front of the store, right next to the counter, the one that held the cash register, we saw it.

The Micorplane, it was really there. And not only that, right next to the Microplane was the device that keeps you from adding human flesh to your meal. We call it the skin saver, since when you are shredding something like garlic or ginger, your hands do not come in contact with the shredder and only the desired ingredients are added. It is a miracle tool and I love it.

So now that I have rambled on about nothing, and since I also have a connection to the outside world again, I will get back to my research in hopes of finishing the Marshall Plan. In the meantime, the good General in charge has indicated that all is not well in Iraq but wants us to be patient. While everyone there deserves our support, our leadership does not deserve our patience.

For BW, I am still reading the RS article and my comments on the Marshall Plan will include my thougts on the "Swindle". In case anyone is interested, there is a very good book on the subject (now in the hands of CK) titled Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Some of the info from the Rolling Stone article came from the aforementioned book.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A work in progress

Still working on my thoughts on the Marshall Plan so for today I'll just leave a little humor.

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mot her do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of yourhairs white, Mom?"

Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong andmake me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girlthought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how comeALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Whoopi on Vick

Thanks for clearing that Vick thing up Whoopi, I guess it's still OK to wear robes and burn crosses also because that's what they do in the South.

18 Benchmarks or Progress Down the Drain

18 benchmarks set forth in H.R. 2206. These are directly related to the successful reconstruction of Iraq, something I will be talking about in relation to the Marshall Plan of post WWII. I have included where the White House says we are and where the GAO believes we really are.

(1) Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review.

Dubya – Mission Accomplished.
GAO – Nope.

(2) Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification.

Dubya de baths aren’t done yet.
GAO – not on your life

(3) Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner.

Nothing done to benefit any citizen.

(4) Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.

Dubya – Mission Accomplished
GAO – Wrong again

(5) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities, and a date for provincial elections.

Dubya – Partially Complete
GAO – Say What, are you insane?

(6) Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.

Dubya and GAO agree, not done

(7) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the Constitution of Iraq.

Same as #6, This will never happen, the NRA has probably intervened citing the 2nd Amendment.

(8) Establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.

Finally both agree something got done, even if it is only a bunch of committees.

(9) Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.

Only 3; remember a past post, a Brigade is between 1,500 and 3,500 troops. We have been there for what, 4 ½ (March 20, 2003) years and we still don’t have even 3 of them trained?

Dubya thinks it’s done, no one else agrees, only a partial.

(10) Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.

Nope and Nope but pretty important don’t you think?

(11) Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing even handed enforcement of the law.

Ditto #10

(12) Ensuring that, according to President Bush, Prime Minister Maliki said 'the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of sectarian or political affiliation'.

A true Bushism, he thinks is done, the GAO does not agree, a partial. To me the whole country appears to be a safe haven for all outlaws.

(13) Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.

Dubya, sure thing, this is done, them secretaries are only violent once in a while now.
GAO, not on your life, have you see the news?

(14) Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.

Unbelievable but both say mission accomplished, but are they manned with non-militia, sectarian members?

(15) Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.

Both agree this has not been done. Again after 4 ½ years, what’s the hold up?

(16) Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.

Yep, done, but so what when you think about the big picture? Their rights might be protected, one of them being the right to not do anything to help stabilize the country, another their right to die due to sectarian violence.

(17) Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.

Still short of all major utility services and just about everything else. Still no infrastructure. $10 billion is peanuts, what happened to the rest of the $$ we flew over there. Hell we only spent $13 billion to rebuild all of Europe after WWII.

(18) Ensuring that Iraq's political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Basic stuff, no one in Iraq can trust their leadership if this is not done. Oh by the way, it’s zip zip.

The final tally, dubya says 8 of the 18 are done, with 2 partials. The GAO on the other hand believes only 3 of the 18 have been addressed with 4 partials.

Who ya gonna believe?

Next: How does post WWII Europe compare/contrast to Iraq today?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I like to listen to NPR, mostly while riding down the road. Today, on my way to, where else but the golf course, I heard a discussion on a new book on the Marshall Plan. If you remember any of your post WWII history, you should recognize this, it's implementation was responsible for putting Europe back together after everyone had so much fun tearing in up in the 30's and 40's.

The book,The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe was written by Greg Behrman. As the discussion evolved, the unavoidable comparison with Afghanistan and Iraq was brought up. Mr. Behrman seemed to think that a type of Marshall Plan would be a viable option but I'm not really convinced that the situations are similar enough to make it work. So, over the next few days I am going to do some learning, refreshing my knowledge on post WWII Europe and why the plan put together by George C. Marshall was so successful and if there is something there that can be used to get us out of the mess we have created in those countries.

One thing I do already know is that the current administration is not capable of rebuilding a cabin made of Lincoln Logs let alone any country.

More to come.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

It's Labor Day, the traditional end of summer so today I won't labor. This is what I will do though.

It's Ice Cream

Homemade Doublestuffed Oreo Cookie Ice Cream and I'm going to eat some.

But not until later, after I have some fried catfish, cooked just the way a Cajun friend taught me. So I won't labor but I will cook since that is a labor of love.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Hey up there, you, Sam. Yeah, you, Sam Walton. I know you are there and are reading all this stuff, what else do you have to do? I never thought I would say this, let alone put it out where the entire world can see it but I just wanted to thank you (keep you thong around you waist Kapitan, it’s not the end of the world).

Why you ask? Because I did something really stupid this past week; I did not fill up my truck before Labor Day prices went into effect. I know, it’s the same every holiday, beer goes on sale and gas goes up.

Why is that I wonder, you would think the people that make beer would catch on to the oil companies game and raise prices when they know everyone will be drinking more. NK thinks that they just want to keep everyone so drunk they don’t notice or care about the price of gas. That would mean that the oil companies are sharing their profits with the beer guys and they don’t share with anyone.

Anywho, back to Sam. When I went to my local Sam’s Club gas station I expected it to be like everywhere else. The Kum and Go (nice name, what) raised prices by 20 cents a gallon from last Wednesday. A station near Sam’s priced their gold at $2.95, $2.99 and $3.02 per gallon. But not good ole Sam’s people, they resisted the urge to gouge us this time around. So thanks again buddy, we all appreciate it.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

It’s Over

Well, it is officially done, our fine home is no longer on the market. The agent we contracted with will drop by today to pick-up the sign, get his lock box and give us the key within same. Yesterday morning (Friday) NK said she slept well and was glad that is was over.

When I returned from the golf course, she was suffering from a happy depression. Yes, she was glad that we were no longer under the gun, waiting to hear that someone wanted to interrupt our day to view our house. She was depressed because now we know that we will not be moving to Oregon this year.

We will be fine here for one more year, we have installed some flooring in our storage room and will most likely put in new flooring in the kitchen. In addition, we are going to have some electrical work done so our storage room will become useful as a craft room and a reading/library area. We hope this will enhance the salability next year.

At the request of CK here are a few pictures of the new floor.