Monday, January 31, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Had an interesting email from a writer friend this afternoon, on the subject of freedom. He's thinking of the Iraqi election, of course.
And he writes:

"I understand that for people who don't read big books and don't "do" nuance, history is a complexity far out of range, but that doesn't change the lines of evidence history offers.
Freedom, in fact, not the rhetorical device charlatans use to
pull unguarded heart strings, is earned at great cost. The only
people in Iraq who are free are the Americans. We have it to give
away, which means ours is enhanced by the giving. They don't have it even though we give it away because freedom doesn't come as a gift. No one -- NO ONE - ever - EVER -- gives freedom away. Ask anyone, especially women in 1915 or Blacks between 1865 and 1964. Freedom comes when those who want it wrest it from those who have it. Ask those women and Blacks about that. Ask every people for the last 13,000 years of human history how they acquired their freedom. Most recently, Israel was given a country, but they have had to fight every day to keep it on their terms. If Irag is to be free, Iraqis will have to battle desperately to define it, get it, and keep it.

The "freedom" talked about on TV, in the administration's speeches, and the sycophants' pronouncements is cheap. It's the sort of nuance-free vacuousness that catches the ears of nuance-free empties, but it isn't freedom, and it never has been. What's so tragic about it is that it does catch the imagination of so many and, in the process, cheapens the sacrifices of so many."

He's absolutely right. Had a Navy SEAL tell me, "Freedom is bought with blood." Watching Afghanistan and Iraq and Africa and so many places in the world, the truth of what these men say is just that...truth.

Freedom in the US is getting less and less so in the name of security...pushed by the use of fear. How much are we willing to lose? And what will it be worth to us..what will it get it back?
Wrap #2.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Quite a day for the Iraqis. I would be very surprised if the people counting the vote weren't being besieged to leak the latest count. The candidates will want to being jockeying for postion just as quickly as they can...if they aren't already. There's a massive amount of work ahead for that winning group of people. And the world will be watching.

Been thinking about this Eminent Domain business. Did a bit of checking. People all across the nation are losing their homes and/or property because of it. There are law firms who specialize in that field. I got on Google and found a brief explanation:

Eminent Domain

'When the government condemns private property for public use, the private property owner must receive just compensation, which generally means the fair market value of the property taken. This is often referred to as a taking of property. During the formal condemnation process, the property owner generally receives notice and an opportunity to contest the amount of
compensation she received for the property in court. In such condemnation cases, the property owner is entitled to the full fair market value of the property taken based on its highest and best use and any damage caused to the remaining portion as a result of the loss. Fair market value of property is based on its highest and best use under existing zoning rules."

What's not mentioned in the paragraph above is the fact that if the property owner refuses that compensation and fights the taking, they take it anyway...unless a lawyer steps in.

This happens with local, state and federal entities all. Sometimes it is for the public good as in preserving wilderness sites. Now consider Alaska's wilderness. The oil corps want to drill there. Think $$$. Is that for the public good?

Consider the plight of the lady Cate spoke about. They wish to take the property her home sits on to build a mall. That's a developer. Also the city since the mall will produce more tax proceeds than the lady's home property tax will. Can that be for the public good?

It seems to me that when Eminent Domain is invoked it's for the purpose of either the public good or flat out for $$$. And once that particular gov't entity decides, for instance, that an area is "blighted"--whether it's old industrial warehouses or a rundown neighborhood, that area is a goner. They will take it, and only the legal system can stop that from happening. Even then it's no sure thing. So just because you've spent many years working to buy a property and the mortgage or loan is paid off is no guarantee it will always belong to you. A sad state of affairs.

Usually, the only thing a person can do, if they don't have the money to hire a lawyer and stage a lengthy court battle, is negotiate with the taker as best you're able for the best deal, then take the money and run. The only consolation is to believe that every ending is a new beginning.
That's a wrap.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Those Iraqis are some brave people. At least the ones in Shiite and Kurd territory. But I do wonder if any Sunnis went to the polls. No US reporters were allowed there, I read. So they have a beginning and now some very hard work is ahead. I do wish them the best and sincerely hope they won't be disappointed or discouraged once again in the outcome. They've been let down so many times already. Seems every time BushCo claims success, disaster increases. Ahead one step, back two. I'll give the admin credit today though. The election did happen in spite of bombings. I'll wait to hear/read what happened with the Sunnis. And I'll wait for the votes to be counted and hope a reasonable slate was elected.

Had dinner in Horton Plaza downtown at the Napa Valley Grill this eve with C and S. Sat out on the patio and gave thought to the rest of the nation, buried under snow or half frozen, and talked about how lucky we were to be in San Diego.

Seems Afghanistan is next to the forgotten. Iraq is where almost all the attention is focused. No part of the world should be ignored or forgotten. The tsunami hit countries are fast fading into background noise, even as the trial of Michael comes to the front. Thank heavens that judge has nixed television. Another circus like OJ's trial is the last thing that's important in the scheme of things.

Communication around the world has so improved that people are buried under information. We've become very much like little kids at their first intro to Disneyland with the media yelling, Look at this! And This! And This! until nobody knows what to look at first or stays with it long enough to really examine it.

In a previous post I said I'd put down my thoughts on torture. Right off the top, I'm dead against it. Torture not only dehumanizes the tortured but the one who engages in it. Professional interrogators say that a tortured person will say anything to have the torture quit, whether it's truth or not. My personal opinion is that the professional interrogator does as the FBI does. Isolate the person in a safe house and talk with them, and sooner or later the information will come out. At least enough of it to begin to connect the dots. More, if I do it to you, then you will do it to me. And from there comes one of the only good things religions seem to advise: Do unto others as you would have done to you. Damned good advice, that is.
And that's a wrap for the night.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Ah yes....the Washington Examiner...a brand new newspaper in direct competition with the Washington Post, in DC. A billionaire's idea, and he's goin' for it. All I can say is, this ought to be veddy veddy interesting. They also have the first page of their website up. Just a name--not theirs-- but a company.

And their first issue? Feb 1st. This coming Tues. And they have a full staff of reporters...good ones. Hot damn! I can hardly wait. :))
Now it's a wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Oh...Cate, just type in "Iraqi Bloggers" on Google and a raft of them will come up. Apparently there will also be coverage of the elections on TV tonight too, so maybe you'll be able to catch the actual event.

Wanted to add something else too that has popped into my mind and popped right back out. Hate it when that happens. If it comes to me, I'll return. Sheesh!

Just Observing

Just Observing

Now here's a blogger I enjoy no end. Can't imagine missing one of his posts: Today he's talking about table manners vs the fast food ads on TV. He has a wide-ranging mind, and now that he's retired, he's having his say on a whole raft of subjects. Just pleases me no end to read him.

A gentleman overseas, whose name and position will remain unknown for good reasons, and I have been emailing back and forth about torture. He gave me a scenario: Our people have captured a suspect. They believe he is one of a group who are giving Iraqi kids candy and such and poisoning them, then saying that the Americans are doing it. Now we have him in our hands. What methods do we use to get him to turn over info on the rest of his group? It seems the info must be gotten quickly because that group is still out there passing out the poisoned treats and killing kids.

I'd be interested in anyone's ideas in the comments. Will put my thoughts on that in tomorrow's post.

Chaos in the hotel this morn. C and I went down to breakfast on the patio. The tole arts people are there again for another three days, painting away in the conference room off the patio. Nice folks. Never bother anyone. But C and I were told it was a good thing we arrived late this morning. Also staying at the hotel were a tour group of 125 or so people. And that 125 arrived in the dining room before 7AM. I suspect that the dining room holds perhaps 50 people, if that. So both dining room and patio were jam-crammed. Now it's one thing to have a couple of families and friends...say 15 or so arrive. No problem. It's another to take care of 125 all at once. The staff and cooks about killed themselves trying to get that crew fed and watered.

And they did. Boy, were they proud of themselves. Not one complaint. Apparently the people on the tour realized the staff was badly outnumbered and were the souls of patience, and because they were, everything proceeded in an orderly fashion.

This is good. Nothing makes me madder faster than to see diners abusing a good staff. Take the writers' conference for instance. Very protective of the staffs at the hotels, the conf organizers are. Whether workshop leader, speaker or conferee, if they're caught abusing any of the hotel's staff by word or behavior, they will never be allowed to attend the conf again...and may be thrown out on the spot, as far as that goes. Just will not tolerate it.

C and I had planned to breakfast on Marie's patio as usual on Sat and Sun, but Marie's staff closed it because of the rain last night, until lunch. That patio has a canvas roof, and exterior walls rise just a touch over halfway to the roof. More, the sun has caused the stitching in the canvas to rot to the point that a seam or seams will open under the weight of the water. This causes huge puddles of water on the patio floor...which has no outlet, since the patio floor is just a bit lower than the ground outside. No drainage. And so the patio was closed and we headed down to the hotel in Old Town. Full sun and blue skies now, so we'll try Marie's again in the morning. Not a problem, it being closed today, but we were late getting to the hotel. Good thing, as it turned out.

Okay. Since Iraqi time is about 11 hours sooner than ours, it's about 3 in the morning there. A few hours more and they vote. That is, those who are ready to risk their lives to do it, vote. What a mess. The polls are mostly at schools. The schools have been getting blown up. We and the Iraqis have just finished repairing a mess of those schools. But where else they could have the polls is anybody's guess. I just wish them all a safe passage. And this election had better have been worth it.

Time after time the Iraqis have been told this will improve and that will improve and it's not. We have not been able to keep anything unharmed if the insurgents decide to do harm...and the Iraqis are once again disappointed or dead. It's not for lack of trying to fix things. It's just that there's such a resistance against us being there at all by so many Iraqis. Between a rock and a hard place is where we are. Thank you BushCo for that "Bring it on" remark for one thing. They did and they have and they will continue to do just that.

Slowly, but surely, the world is now moving to cast its shadow on us, rather than us casting our "Superpower" shadow on the world. Without BushCo, this would not be the case.
Wrapped up.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

For some reason, I got it into my head this afternoon that today was Monday. Well, no. It isn't. It's Friday. I know this because the Iraqis haven't voted yet.

Now there's a situation I never want to be in...afraid to vote for fear of being killed. And I'm wondering where in hell those votes will be counted at? And what happens if the counting place is blown up and the votes are lost? Yet, at this late date, I can't see giving up election day. It may be our best chance at getting our people out of there.

Just read an Iraqi blog about their choices. One of the people running is King Faisal's son and if they elect him, they'd be electing their new King. Blog said he was thought to be getting no more than 10% of the vote. This King's son is saying it's obvious that the Iraqis can only be ruled by a King. Hah. The question is, can they be ruled at all or will they have a civil war and the conquerors rule? Guess we'll find out.

Red Cross says the donations they've rec'd to help the tsunami victims now totals over a billion dollars, and they say that's enough and they're not asking for anymore. That will last for ten years there, they believe. Said that future fund-raising would be to help other parts of the world.

Had a pouring down rainstorm this afternoon and the new roof did superbly. This is good.

Reporters/columnists willing to write propaganda for cash is not a good thing. Once they do that, they are no longer journalists. A government that resorts to such is a very bad thing.
That's a wrap.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

I have long been enamored of a word. Just love that damned word. It pleases me mightily. It's means more than it's definition. The word is: commence. I can hear one of my brothers now: "If I have to listen to one minute more of your bullshit, I'm gonna commence to kick the shit outta you." "Commense" is one serious verb with serious meaning attached, no matter what tense is used. For instance: Senator Boxer leaned forward and commenced to question Condi Rice.

Once was asked if that were a real word. Hah. It's moving with intention, that word is, and moving either verbally or physically. A loaded word. A freighted word. To begin. To start. I admire the hell out of it, and I'm keeping it.

The roof is finished. The roof is excellently constructed. The roof is a show stopper in appearance. Total cost? $14,000, and worth every penny. It will last the rest of my life. Good. Won't have to even think about a roof ever again.

One of the workmen, a Mexican guy, asked if he could take the old plywood from the old roof down to Tijuana so those very poor people down there could patch their wooden houses so damaged by the last storm. They construct their homes from old garage doors or any other wood they can lay their hands on because they're too poor to do otherwise. Most of that section of Tijuana is hand built on hillsides. Rain, and they get mudslides that knock their houses down. Well hell yes, take the plywood and welcome to it. So they did. The guy had another crew member help him load it on a pickup truck. The plywood had pretty much delaminated, but there's desperate need for wood there, and they didn't care. Some family or families will be glad for it.
It's a wrap.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Damn! Was just clicking from one "Next blog" to another. Some of them are fascinating. Saw some gorgeous pics from a mountain climbing guy in India a few moments ago. Blogs are really something. Just one huge global conversation. Communication, big time. I could spend considerable time just traveling out among them to see who's writing and from what part of the world. I like the hell out of the whole thing...people just saying what they think, what they're doing, talking about everything immaginable. Who could ask for more? Don't ask.

Except for finishing details, the roof is done. The crew will be back in the morning to wrap those up and remove all the trash accumulated from the job that is stacked--more or less--in the front yard. The short shower of rain last night did no harm. This is good.

Only 13 Dems in the Senate voted not to confirm Rice as SecState. The rest disgraced themselves and voted for her. So now it's Gonzale's turn. Dems are outnumbered so no chance there to stop that one, even though more Dems found their backbone and said no. No Repub is gonna vote against him. They're shit-scared of the revenge the Bush neocons would use.

The idea of the evil BushCo can and will do in our name during the next four years doesn't bear thinking about. The foolish citizens who voted for him will live--maybe--to regret it. And pity the other countries in his gunsights who may go the way of Iraq. To say nothing of what is going to be continuing torture in various prisons and holding places we now have around the world.

So...once the next four years are up, what does BushCo plan to be doing? Keeping the entire government in neocon hands, for sure, any way in hell they can manage it. They've sure managed just fine so far. Suppose they decide to get rid of term limits for presidents? Can anybody say dictator?
Wrapped for tonight.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Blast. The roof isn't on yet and there's a 60% chance of rain tonight and more tomorrow. Wonderful. Vinyl and duct tape have been applied over the most vulnerable places. Talk about jury-rigging! Fingers crossed.

That tsunami freaked everybody out. Just heard about a new group formed in Los Angeles who will be making emergency plans in case they get hit with one.

Meanwhile, our mayoral business MAY be settled in court next Monday. Damned unbubbled bubbles anyway...

Bush is not going to attend the 60th Holocaust Memorial gathering of Heads of State. He's sending VP Cheney, and Europe is upset. Bush said he'd already gone to Poland a year ago. Guess that covers it as far as he's concerned.

When anti-abortion/gay marriage people, who were major supporters of Bush during the election, had a gathering in DC, he did not go out and speak to them. He phoned in a message. Probably not safe for him to show himself without massive security. Just been through that with the Inauguration.

TV had cameras on Bush getting off the helicopter on the White House lawn. It seems his weaving path has caused considerations of whether he was either drunk or on heavy meds. One of the writers has the video newscast and will be putting that clip on a videotape so the rest of us can see it. Until then, no comment.

Am thoroughly disgusted with Liebermann praising Condi Rice and her nomination as SecState today. He's obviously been co-opted by BushCo. Some Dem he is. Perhaps we have another Zell Miller there. Sure looks like it.

I'm very unhappy with anybody in the Senate who will vote for either Rice or Gonzales and their lies and their torture support. I consider the both of them un-American. I dread what BushCo plans for the next four years.
That's a wrap.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

BushCo's strategy right down the line:

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry
into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It
both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind...And when the drums
of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind
has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the
citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with
patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and
gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
> William Shakespeare

This quote sent courtesy of author, CJ Hannah. My thanks, Jerry.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

As I watch the widening of religious influence on policy under Bush, who believes God guides him and appointed him to be prez, I wonder whether the line between democracy and theocracy hasn't already been crossed, and we just haven't realized it.

There are good and valid reasons why the Constitution requires the separation of church and State.

Apparently, the Iraqis feel the same. The majority Shiites have decided that no clergy will have a government position.

This faith-based charity idea of BushCo's has worked very well. Give our tax dollars to churches, accuse the opposition of moral laxity, and those believers will vote for Bush. And so they have. Tear down rules and regulations that huge corporations have had to abide by, and those people will contribute major dollars to Bush's re-election. And so they did. Lie and behave so brazenly that people are stunned into believing those lies and they will not only go to war, they will re-elect Bush. And they did. Rule by emphasizing fear and talk terror, and behave like a bully and they'll think they have a strong leader and so will re-elect Bush. And they did. Admit to never making mistakes nor changing your mind even when you have done so, and the voters will re-elect Bush. And so they have.

And all the while, bastardize the language so that voters will believe you mean one thing when you mean the opposite, and they will re-elect Bush. They did.

It is no wonder that the people of the world are astonished and wonder how so many millions of voters could be so dumb.
That's a wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Turns out that the "sweetest man" Laura Bush mentioned is not Bush 41, but his father, Bush 43. Sure, and 41 is said to be a real nice guy in person if he stops to chat in a car lot. In point of fact, 41 is not so sweet. For enlightenment, read "Overworld".

Okay. The roof is looking better. Now it's been covered with thick black paper. Some more repairs--minor, compared to the work already done--and the metal begins to go up. Good. I'll be glad to not have to duck under the yellow tape blocking the driveway, on my way to my vehicle.

Almost midnight. Finisher reading "Term Limits", Vince Flynn's book--excellent--and am well into John Grisham's new one, "The Broker". Such a pleasure to read good writers on very interesting topics.

Also turns out that "spine" folks took to the DNC in DC was made out of white t-shirts. The idea, of course, was to get across the idea that the Dems in Congress need to show some backbone and stand up to the Repubs.

I swear, until I looked at the publishing date, Flynn's book seemed to be about Karl Rove and Bush and dirty tricks. Pub date? 1997!!!

CH emailed a quote that perfectly describes BushCo's modus operandi. Unfortunately, I was on automatict pilot and deleted it. Will email CH and try to get him to resend that one. It's a real beaut.
It's wrapped.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Just Observing: Just Observing

Just Observing: Just Observing

The roof. It's got to this. The subcontractor that Sears sent out 10 years ago to roof the house did one lousy job. Western Metal Roofing, the guys on the job now, are having one hell of a time. Everything they do leads to yet another disaster uncovered. In point of fact, they're damned near having to rebuild the entire roof.

Came home from breakfast this morn to find that I could see the sky from inside the two-car garage. What I mean, the roof is gone down to just the framing! It was in that bad a shape.

I now wait for the chimney of the fireplace to collapse. Sheesh!

Speaking of collapse....our media (TV, newspapers, radio, you name it) is in serious danger of collapsing from a free press with many voices into a propaganda machine with one voice. The FCC, with Michael Powell as Chair, has failed the citizens of this nation miserably. Where once we had many many owners of the media, and therefor many many opinions, many takes on the news, many great reporters, now we have what? five or six owners? And they all speak with a single voice, silencing diverse opinions. We are badly limited in the information we get now, compared to what we used to have access to.

Used to know who you trusted to give an honest and complete report on what's happening in our world. No more. BushCo, through these few media corporations, has put the fear of hell into them. We hear and see what they decide we hear and see...and no more.

So comes the news this morn that Michael Powell is resigning. That's a good. Then comes the question of who Bush will appoint to take his place. That is bad, given his history. Are we about to get a Rupert Murdock clone?

Just keep in mind that the public owns the damned airwaves! Keep in mind that media is given the right to use them, not own them. And they're supposed to use that right to serve the public. I see one hell of a lot of using and not much serving. Not when news is distorted, rumors and lies are treated as truths, and on and on.

The bottom line: Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are taking one hellacious beating.

We go on to the Rice and Gonzales confirmation hearings. Damned few of our Dem Senators are doing much of anything except bend over. Thus this site appears on the internet: Even as I write, this group is in DC carrying with them a spine. Huge, it is. Balloons fashioned into a backbone. They wish to present it to our Senators in hope that they will all develop one. Those who don't stand up and represent us will get The Spineless Award. And they'll deserve it if they vote to confirm either Rice or Gonzales.

What I wouldn't give if the Founding Fathers of this nation could come back and see what the current state of our government is. I do believe we'd hear some very choice words. Very choice.
It's wrapped.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Inquiring minds want to know...did I intentionally watch any of the inauguration? No. But seeing some of the pictures on the online papers is unavoidable. Did I shop today and spend dimes? Only for breakfast on the hotel patio. Did I email thanks to Sen Barbara Boxer for telling it as it is/was to Rice? Damned right I did. Very proud of her. And of Sen Kerry for backing her. Am I aware of the fact that bombs went off all over Bagdahd today? You bet. That a sailor on the carrier Reagan was killed by steam? Absolutely. Do I know that Martha Stewart has just six weeks left before she leaves prison and that Kenny Boy Lay has yet to serve five minutes in jail for a far far worse crime? I surely do.

As for BushCo, the beginning of the end of their time in power begins today. The countdown is finally here. I'd be damned happy if their time ended testifying in the Hague due to their being charged with war crimes. Do I hope that due to the fact that they're facing elections in 2006, many Republicans re- consider just how deep they want the hole they're digging themselves into to be because of their unfailing "loyalty" to Bush? Oh yeah. There's not much he'll be able to do for them now, as a lame duck. But man, he can sure do them harm where their constituants are concerned. Good. The question is, how much revenge will he take if their lips don't continue to be attached to his posterior? We may get the chance to see. I look forward to that.

Does the rest of the world dread BushCo's next four years of rule? Damned right they do. With cause. Bush, "The sweetest man in the world" according to Laura Bush, condones torture and doesn't give two hoots about any of the thousands and thousands of people he's caused to be dead. Like his mother, I suppose he doesn't care to contaminate his beautiful mind by thinking or hearing about any of them. His major interest is in making sure he doesn't suffer any inconvenience or hurt himself. As someone wrote today, that massive security in DC was not to protect from terrorists, but to protect himself from angry Americans. He's a physical and mental coward. Sits in the Oval Office and does not want to see nor hear any evil. Evil being anything that he does not want to see nor hear, since he's about perfect in all that he does and says and plans. Don't upset him with facts or he will, as he did Colin Powell, order you to leave the room. Yeah, he's a sweet man, all right...

That's a wrap.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Man, what a weird and wonderful--partly--day this has been! The roofers arrived in force at eleven minutes after 7 this morn. First thing I heard was somebody walking around up there. Left C in charge of dealing with those guys, who all wished me a good mornin' as I walked down the sidewalk to my car.

Off I went to breakfast, an hour earlier than usual. J didn't arrive until 9:30, so had time to read most of the front section of the LA Times and finish breakfast. B walked in about 10:30. Had coffee, talked business with J. 11:30 and we were all outta there.

Was funny. Last eve, I'm on J about either a book or story just began, and this morning J is on B about a book not finished that will be a fantastic read if it ever is finished. Writers are strange. If their significant other has unrealistic expectations (this better be a bestseller, for instance) that can stop the writing cold...sometimes forever.

So once again here at my desk, there comes monster pounding on the roof above my head. Those guys worked furiously all day. We have no roof tonight. C made them coffee in the morning, made sure the bathroom was available and refilled huge jugs with water and ice in the afternoon. Close to 80 degrees today and not a cloud in the sky. Santa Ana blew in. Tomorrow they put the panels on the roof. Should be terrific.

So first thing did some quick research for one writer who owns a video taping service. Second, had a request for an edit/rewrite on an article that a cousin in Arkansas had to turn in today, cause they're heading for a funeral in Illinois tomorrow. Then came a request for a critique of a three-page introduction to a small book for teachers on how to teach kids how to write. And just a bit ago, another request for critique of a humor article for a magazine from another writer in AZ. Interesting as all hell, all of them, and completely different, each one from the other.

Sent off a congratulatory email to Sen Boxer for making very plain her doubts of Condi Rice as SecState, and who ended up, with Kerry, voting against Rice's confirmation. Neither Rice nor Gonzales are fit for the positions Bush nominated them for in my opinion. But they will get those positions, regardless, and unless they change radically, the nation and the world will be worse off for them getting them. Neither would denounce torture. That is evil.

There's a rather new modus operandi that BushCo is employing. When interviewed or questioned, one talks as much as possible to use up as much allotted time as possible to avoid further questions and still spread their propaganda. Pretty slick, but pretty obvious too. They depend upon the interviewer or questioner to be polite and not interrupt them. In short, they take every advantage they can, and their high government positions allow them to do that.

Meanwhile, Cheney is in the background, now directing domestic policy positions. Dangerous people, these. I respect them not.
It's a wrap.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

It being Tues, the writers gathered down in Old Town tonight as is our custom. Nine of us showed up. There's never a way to know who's gonna make it and who isn't, so numbers vary from 5 to 25. Once it gets past 10-12, nobody can hear everybody, so we end up splintering into sections all talking at once. Great fun, regardless.

Of course we had a blast. M is one of L's Grad School students, who is already teaching kids how to write, and she had questions, so L brought her along, convinced as he is that the only way to learn how to teach writing is to get to where the writers are. Well, poor M had a hell of a time, cause we were all talking at once and not about writing. Until L got us settled down a bit.

I don't even recall what M asked. That's because somebody mentioned something about kids always being told to "write what you know" and we jumped right on to what the word, "know" would mean in a kid's mind. Then came suggestions for what should be asked and B really got revved up about things that cause emotion. J lit off on asking them to write on something they're involved in like baseball and what if... Which triggered N, who immediately launched into the next best thing to a full blown lecture...which removed the rest of us from the conservation cause N talks softly, very fast and in a whispery voice...usually with her hand covering her mouth. Which meant none of us could hear a word, so away we went on other topics. :)))

Like Condi Rice and Barbara Boxer mixing it up at Rice's confirmation hearings today. And Rice saying they'd made no mistakes re. the Iraq war or words to that effect.

Then L back in and said something to M which got her away from N, and suddenly we were discussing where ideas for books came from. Turns out that W started writing to stay awake during the graveyard shift and one thing led to another. So shortly, M had to leave and get home.

Then L said he'd told her we met at La Posada instead of where we do meet!!! :))) And a minute later, we get into this huge discussion on violent sex offenders and whether or not they should ever be released back out into the community...and that went to the priests and B held forth.

Then B D had to leave, and S got there. He didn't get to stay long cause he had to meet his wife and a couple guests over at Casa de Pico. So off he went, and we got into extradition procedures where AZ has the guy for a crime, the guy is also wanted in Florida, and we've got him for 2 murders. Who gets him and when?

Which led to the business of "rendition" between countries, and our sending people to other nations that allow torture. From that we went on to liking Cokes and Pepsi or not...and before we knew it, it was 7 and we were outta there! :))) Typical gathering. :))) Fun. :)))

We're all very proud of Sen Barbara Boxer standing her ground at those confirmation hearings today. Now there's a candidate for prez in 2008 that I'd vote for. Strong woman. A real fighter.
Smart and ethical. We surely could use someone with those qualities.

And Sen Kerry is beginning to make moves. This is good. Let's hope he makes serious waves right along with those moves. He's not happy with what's happened and happening with our military and he's not happy with all the voting difficulties voters were presented with at the polls, either.

That's a wrap...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

So there I was, flat on my stomach, had worked my head, one arm and shoulder through the narrow space between the legs of an end table which is piled high with books and notebooks, has a lamp on it, and touches both the file cabinet on one side and the big heavy unmoveable club chair on the other, to grab a steno pad that had fallen off of the back end of the table, and what happens? The damned phone on my desk rings with an expected call.

After three rings, the answering machine in the far end of the house in the living room will pick up so there's not a hell of a lot of time to back out from under the table and get to the desk. I made it. Just. And it was not the call I was expecting. Damn! I hate it when that happens. Ah well. If nothing worse ever happens, I'm in excellent shape.

A newspaper owner/editor just emailed and among others things wondered if bin Laden's group might try to take out a few polling places the Iraqi Americans will be using to vote for their candidates in Iraq, since he's pronounced that any Iraqi who votes is an infidel and up for being killed. I figure that if he has sleeper cells available in the US, he might activate them...but seems more likely he'd go for Bush on inauguration day. Bush would be a really difficult target to take out though. Voters at polls would be much easier. And these continual train crashes are beginning to bug me at this point. Especially the ones with the tank cars full of chemicals which, if breathed, can kill the people breathing them.

Still don't have the mayoral thing settled here. Still have two councilmen under indictment. New City Atty walked in and grabbed documents from the Pension Board, won't return them. The audit people want them in order to finish their work and the City Atty wants the audit people to have them. Now it seems there's a $21 million dollar alleged crooked deal between the Port District and the city involving four blocks that have been turned into Tailgate Park and it's not on Port District land. But the Padres wanted it for ballpark tailgating attendees. Seems there was a verbal--nobody can find it written down--agreement that Tailgate Park would be used by the Conv Ctr for parking buses and semi truck when big conventions roll in. Except the Conv Ctr has just finished building a huge parking garage at the end of the Conv Ctr and say they had no plans to use Tailgate Park at all. Don't you love it? More, it seems Tailgate Park's surface wasn't built to hold the weight of buses and semis...but was built to hold "vehicles". To boot, they believe the ground under it is contaminated still. What next, I wonder?

The LA Times did a very unusual thing--a first time thing ever--on the front page of their Opinion section in Sunday's paper. They made an arrangement with JibJab, the outrageous cartoon/film guys, to design something for Bush's Inauguration. And man, did JibJab ever do a job on it! Dead center, just above the middle, on the page is a caricature of Bush as ringmaster for "The Most Tumultuous Show On Earth". Bottom of the page, from left to right with caricatures of each: Rumsfeld-caption: "See! Rummy the Magnificent Evade Political Daggers!" Cheney (with vampire teeth)-caption: "Hear! Potty Mouth Dog Boy Bark Expletives!" Bush with turban and flashes from eyes-caption: "Watch! Hypnotic Swami (try to) Mind Control Republican Party!" Condi Rice (with beard)--caption: "Hope! The Bearded Wise Lady Really is Wise!" and last in line, a nuclear explosion-caption: "Pray! They Figure This @#!!$# 'N Thing Out!"

The entire page is covered with those kinds of caricatures and remarks. All in full color, of course. Oh, and there's a banner just above that says: "The Fate Of The World In The Hands Of One Man!"

All I can say is that this cover page is a keeper. I may frame it.
Believe the URL for JibJab is (or .com). Maybe they'll have it posted on their site.
It's a wrap.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Today, in the Washington Post, Bush had a few things to say:

By Jim VandeHei and Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page A01

President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."


As for perhaps the most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the administration has so far been unsuccessful in its attempt to locate the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Asked why, Bush said, "Because he's hiding."


So how can we slow this idiot down and derail some of his grandiose plans to "spread democracy around the world" and remake the nation according to his other plans? "Spreading democracy" would entail his requiring our military and diplomats to do what? I ask. The only derailing ability we have other than outright taking to the streets en masse--blessings on the protestors attending the inaguration--is for good Dems and Repubs in Congress to have the guts to stand up and fight him...or to get rid of the Majority the Repubs have in both Houses come 2006. The other thing is for the Senate to not tolerate Bush's court nominations being confirmed. People need not allow themselves to be distracted from dealing with important things by having their attention diverted by relatively minor things BushCo gets thrown up. No, there's no chance of impeaching him. Even if we could get the Repub Judiciary Committee to go for it, who would be have as prez? Cheney, that's who. Forget that.

It's one thing to have a prez who leads and another to have a prez operating like a dictator who orders without regard for the consequences...which is what we have with Bush.

And, thanks, Gary, for your support. It's much appreciated.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

All right now. Go immediately here: and read an absolutely terrific and poignant short short story entitled "Huckleberries". Do as I say! You'll be delighted you did. It really is just something else.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Now here is an absolute crock of shit BushCo is forcing down throats. The Soc. Sec. agency is being ordered to use Soc. Sec. funds to scam the public by pushing Bush's agenda to privatize SS against the wishes of a good many SS people who don't believe in same and say Bush's Fear! Fear! Crisis! Crisis! is flat out based on untruths.

No question BushCo is paying rightwing bloggers, pundits, and who knows who all else to do the same, just as they have been from 2000 on. To say nothing of messing with elections and voting machines.

That rotten outfit, if not stamping Top Secret to hide things that ought to be public, is heavy into every kind of mis-information, flat out lying, disinformation, cover-ups and scamming that it's possible for a so-called administration to be in. Their obvious intent is for the duties of government to shrink into just one thing: defense...the military-industrial machine. And they're about as lousy in all forms of defense as ever the worst set of clowns could possibly be.

So Bush, not too long after Yale, has to CYA in advance cause there are big plans for him. This means his daddy's friends pull strings to get him into the Air Force reserves...or was it Nat'l Guard....No matter, in he goes to learn to fly jets. About the time he does, he disappears for a year after getting time to campaign for another of Poppy Bush's friends but never shows at the base he's assigned to be at. Not one person...NOT ONE...of the men in that unit has ever met or seen him. In point of fact, he's a deserter in a time of war...and Vietnam definitely qualifies as a full out war. You tell me how he "earned" an honorable discharge. You tell me why his Air Force records are not available/can't be located.

Now here's Bush, the pres with the Masters In Business Admin, who has blantantly failed in every business he's tried to run, but at the same time as made money in every one of them, thanks to his father's friends bailing his sorry ass out. Well, since he can't run a business, let's let him run for Congress. He lost. Okay, how about Governor of Texas...but with Karl Rove doing his dirty thing in the background? So they trash Gov Ann Richards every way in hell and she loses.

Now Bush is Gov of Texas and needs a legal counsel. Fine. Get the guy with no conscience to give Bush advice...Alberto Gonzales, who figures that every single person sentenced to death in Texas needs to be executed. Doesn't matter if they have mental illnesses up the kazoo. Kill 'em off. We're tough. So they set a record for killin' 'em off that they're most proud of.

Next thing Gov isn't big enough. Poppy Bush, whom I once respected, former head of CIA, former Prez, decides little Georgy will carry on and become Pres of the US. What's the State that will make the difference? Florida! Where little brother Jeb is Governor. Rove rolls on, trashing VP Al Gore for all he's worth.Theresa LaPore comes up with the butterfly ballot, designed to deceive, and every other kind of illegal bullshit goes on to keep people from voting. Katherine Harris does a fine job on Bush's behalf and ends up voted into Congress. After an immense amount of illegal crap, the Supreme Court stops the recount and annoints Bush prez. Al Gore, officer and gentleman, concedes graciously.

In the background, PNAC's neo-cons are going full speed ahead. Cheney has declared himself VP and a bunch of Poppy's men are put back in power, starting with Rumsfeld and his evil crew. Condi Rice who has been with Bush since he was Gov of Texas is now moving to DC with him, as does Rove, Karen Hughes, Gonzales et al. And they want to take out Saddam for trying to assassinate Poppy Bush. Who, with Repubs in control of both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the administration, can stop them? They have the power and they sure as hell have the money and the communications system under their control.

Then 9/11 hits, and BushCo learns fast that the best way, again, to get what they want is to shriek Fear! Fear! Crisis! Crisis! and lie from dawn right through dark and it's worked for years now. Even won him a 2nd term...once they've totally trashed Kerry. Rove's machine is extraordinarily good at trashing. And between Ashcroft and Gonzales, torture, among other things, becomes a fine and dandy thing. Hell, Bush speaks to God, God wanted him to be prez. What else matters? More, whenever anything at all goes wrong, it's Bill Clinton's fault. Right?

All of which now leaves the United States, under BushCo, in a state of disgrace with the entire world, and at least half of its citizens humiliated.

Bottom line: BushCo is a danger to the nation and the world. The only way to stop them from destruction of everything the United States once stood for is to begin by taking back the Congress in 2006, so we'd best get our asses in gear. Now.
That's a wrap.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

One good thing. The Roadrunner tech had me get rid of that error message by unchecking that "show preview pane" in View under Layout. Then could delete permanently the whole message and the error screen disappeared. Beautiful!

Couple of bad things: The destruction done to Babylon by our troops setting up a base right there. The archeologists are extremely upset.

The other bad things: Gonzales is probably going to be okayed to be our next Atty Gen. BushCo is going to build new secret off-shore prisons for "terrorists" who will never get a chance to prove their innocence and can be held there until they die. This is the American way. Right?

And of course there's this $40 million dollar extravaganza to annoint Bush prez once again. So he excuses it by saying it's to honor our troops. Uh-huh. If he really wanted to honor our troops, he'd spend the greater part of those funds on all the things they need and are forced to do without...and too often die or are terribly injured because of the lack of what they need.

How does BushCo get away with all he does? By just doing whatever he wants because what's anybody gonna do to stop them? We are not the pretty decent country we were before his reign. It's hard to imagine the depths we're going to dive to before he's gone...if we ever get rid of him and his dirty crew...and a mess of congresspersons who go along with him. I fear for our nation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

In a couple of days or so, should have stopped flooding around the county. Bonita, down near the border has the equivalent of a river running down their streets, as does Mission Valley. I tell you, it pays to live on the mesa on bedrock. Whoa!

We still don't have a Mayor in San Diego! Oh, we have one in name for the moment, but the unbubbled bubbles in that blasted voting form next to the write in candidate, Donna Frye, is still in court, and the Mayor in name may not be when it's over...if it ever does get over. This is an outrageous situation for a city this size to be in. Even the Ohio situation seems to be settled for better or worse. Sheesh!

And I'm pissed. There's an email message from up in Julian that I don't dare highlight to read. I've tried, but an error message comes up, cannot be got rid of. Can't even get out of Outlook Express. Tried rebooting and exiting. No help. Cable company had problems the night I sent a message to the Julian person, and a weird thing happened: I'd copied and pasted the article I wanted to send. Sent it. In the process, some other article about a moose was mixed in with the article as it went on it's way to Julian. So the Julian person sent just the moose article back, and the minute I highlighted that message, there came the attack of the error screen. At this point, I can neither read about the moose nor delete the message. Nor can I close the emails out. So I'll be emailing the techs at the cable company in the morning. Something is really screwed up with that particular message, big time.

The email gods do not want me to read about that moose!

Bush has nominated two horrible choices--one for Atty Gen of the US and the other to head up Homeland Security. Both are in favor of that damnable okay to torture people. I do believe BushCo in its entirety should get a taste of that medicine they're so willing to inflict on others who are at their mercy. How they can stand up in public and have the audacity to tell the American people that torture is permissable is beyond my comprehension.
The whole crew and major portions of the Congress are absolutely corrupted by money and power and have no ethics whatsoever. They call themselves moral? What a travesty! I can hardly wait until 2006.

And why aren't the former Dem candidates for President speaking out? Where is Kucinich? Clark? Kerry? Edwards? All the rest? Dean wants to head up the DNC? Where is he on torture? He's CYA on that to not upset the people who will vote on who heads that outfit. Where is James Carville? All those consultants? I'm sure they all have their reasons for shutting their mouths and trying to stay invisible. Edwards, I'll cut some slack because of his wife's cancer problem. He's focused on her and her alone right now, as he should be. But not the rest. The rest are fearful of speaking out. The Bushies always take revenge. Always. So perhaps they're biding their time along with the good Repubs until they can actually get rid of this bunch, one way or the other. I don't know. Politics is a serious, deadly game, and one better know the consequences of every move before one takes it.

Divide and conquer. Instill fear and crisis. Terror. Religion. And you'll win...for awhile....

That's a wrap.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

And speaking of the CIA... This from Publishers Lunch today!

T.J. Waters's CLASS 11: Inside the Largest Spy Class in CIA History, about how he was moved to action by 9/11, leaving the business world to join the CIA, becoming the eldest member of one of the Agency's most diverse training programs at 37 (joining a pro athlete, a 9/11 widow, a chef, a single mom, and Navy Seals, among other trainees), providing an insider's look at what it takes to become an elite agent in the revamped CIA, to Mitch Hoffman at Dutton, at auction, by Joe Veltre at Artists Literary Group (NA).

Just wish somebody in publishing would say when this book is gonna hit the bookstores so I can go get it. Sheesh!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

I have a "favorites" list that's really long. Every now and then it takes a fit and rearranges itself with no input from me, which just drives me nuts. Takes hours to put the sites I look at almost daily back where they were. Wonder if there's a way to keep them in one place?

So we're supposed to have a real storm today. It's 5pm almost and not a drop of rain all day. Veddy veddy strange. What are those meteorologists up to down at the Conv Ctr? Hmmmm....

Now that I've said that, we're going to for sure get drowned.

Cousin down in Florida emailed to ask if all was well here. Been watching tv, saw terrible rain stories. I ask about their hurricanes, they ask about our storms. I'll take storms any day. And by the way, along about 11:30 last night there was a very small earthquake. Just a small, but very firm jolt. Trust me...I know 'em when I feel 'em. Felt like somebody hit the house with a very very well padded hammer. It's a feeling like a thump, but silent...when they're small.

So went off to bed and spent the next hour identifying various sounds: military jet engines, passenger jet engines, private plane engines, rain pounding down, train whistle, that surf sound that many cars on the freeway make, and so on. All coming through the west-facing bedroom window.

Am thinking there's a good possibility that people are going to die by the carload when they set off to vote in Iraq. Dread it. We are in one hell of a mess over there. Thank you, BushCo.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Hah! One of the writers in our group just emailed that he's been elected as a delegate to the State Dem Conv. Very cool! Abbas has been elected in Palestine. We'll see how cool that is..or not.

Pouring rain tonight, on and off, but just light showers all day. Huge group of folks in the hotel lobby in front of the fireplace and sitting all over the patio when C and I arrived for breakfast this morn. They're going on a cruise. Should have boarded by noon, I believe. They were waiting for shuttle buses to pick them up and take them down to one of those big cruise ships tied up at the dock downtown.

Everything and nothing to write about this eve. Just listening to the rain. Love that sound at night. Been drinking coffee, smoking and trying to finish the Sunday papers, which I have done.

Dreading Gonzales as Atty General. Consider him dangerous. He has zero empathy for anybody when it comes eliminating or torturing people. I'd go to extremes to stay out of his territory if I lived in DC, I kid you not at all. But then, of course, as Atty Gen his territory is the entire USA, so watch out.

Gonna go read more of "Overworld". What a book!
So that's a wrap for tonight.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Take any citizen of this United States, make them mad enough about something that's going on, and they WILL do something about it. Next thing you know, your ass is grass and they're the lawnmower. Key words there are "mad enough". Here in San Diego, there are three things in the city that officials know not to fool with: Balboa Park which includes the Old Globe Theater and the San Diego Zoo, Presidio Park, and the ceremonial entrance to the city, 163 as it passes Balboa Park. 163 is a freeway...two lanes on each side, center median has grass and trees as do both sides, and it passes under the old arches of the Laurel Street bridge. Laurel Street starts down at Harbor Drive. Land at the airport--which is downtown--drive up Harbor Drive, bear left and you're on Laurel St which is a dead straight uphill run into Balboa Park, where it ends. On the way, the first main intersection is Pacific Highway. Turn right, stay with it, and you run straight into the entrance of Seaport Village. Turn left, stay with it and you'll pass on your right Old Town where San Diego began, and continue on Pac Hwy where you'll cross Seaworld Drive and you're on Mission Bay Drive. Very cool. Anyway....

People get mad and they act. This can lead to very interesting results. In my own case, there was a book on the art and craft of writing reviewed in the LA Times that I wanted. No bookstore in this city carried them and I knew it. Made me mad. Said to myself, "The only way you can get a book like that in this town is if you own the bookstore." That did it. I opened a bookstore for writers. What I thought I'd do is get those books, set in my office and read them, and if a writer should wander in and want one, I'd just sell it to them. Simple.

Next thing I knew the writers took over, and suddenly there were poetry readings and workshops and the store was too small. So moved up the street, and that store wasn't big enough. Moved next door to a bigger storefront and stayed there. A SDSU professor/publisher took the back half and the writers took the front half. Before selling it to a poet/screenwriter guy because I had no time to write and had just decided to co-author a novel with a former Navy SEAL who wandered in one day (St Martin's Press in NYC published it), between us, we had launched a literary magazine, workshops galore, potluck dinners with readings of all kinds, author's parties/signings, a writers conference (San Diego Writers' Conference--look it up at and had one hell of a good time for ourselves. All because I got mad as hell one afternoon because I couldn't get a book on writing.

The first author who spoke at Marsh Cassidy's workshop in the first bookstore was David Brin, the S/F writer. That man loves to talk about computers. :)

We'd barely gotten settled in the 3rd bookstore when David Brin and Greg Bear took the top S/F Hugo Awards nationally. The LA Times sent a reporter and a photographer to interview the pair of them. The Union and Tribune here ignored the whole thing. The artist, Ken Goldman, brought in a gorgeous painting of a field of yellow flowers for that occassion. We hung it above the bookshelves at the front. I took a photo of it. Next thing we had original paintings hung here and there, as well as the two gold records Don Dunn, a Motown songwriter who'd traveled the world with Elton John on tour, was awarded. Don ran a songwriting workshop at the bookstore. He wrote "Baby, It's Me" for Diana Ross, among a whole lot of other pieces. Will never forget the first time he walked in. He looked around, saw a mess of writers smoking, drinking coffe and carrying on around a table in the back part of the store we called The Haven, looked at me, and said, "What the hell kind of bookstore is this?!!!" He soon found out.

And because of the bookstore, the writers found out just how big a writing community there is here. The LA Times did articles about us, as did the television stations. Was interesting to note that our local papers, the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune did not. Took the first guy who looked in the window of the first store--a reporter from the Evening Tribune to discover us. Shortly another reporter from the ET came and wrote an article. A year later, the ET published it and by that time we were at the 3rd bookstore!

Writers can get books now. There's not a single bookstore in San Diego that doesn't have a large section on writing, agents, publishers and all, and that includes the chain bookstores.

The point is this: When offended by the corruption we're seeing in in point, Ohio elections, Iraq and the mistreatment of our military, our taxes used for propaganda--Armstrong paid $250,000 to push No Child Left Behind for the administration when he's supposed to be a pundit--citizens will act. Just a matter of them getting fed up enough to get mad as hell. Don't ever think one person can't make a difference.

That's a wrap for Saturday...

Friday, January 07, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Hoo-boy! San Diego is in a state of disgrace with the tourists and people at conventions. Blasted storm moved in with rains and winds and intends to stay over the weekend. I'm not happy about it either. In fact, the locals are even more unhappy than the visitors. Not used to this shit. Badly spoiled, you understand. Low spots are flooded and we can't get where we want to go. Can't find our rain gear either...or our umbrellas (those of us who even own one).

Thank God for the hotel patio, covered, with heaters. Was a guy sitting out there at another table this morn, in a white shirt. Had his sleeves rolled up a bit and no tie. He's nowhere near a heater but is perfectly comfortable. We're there with jackets and sweatshirts with the heater practically on top of us. He was from Mississippi it turned out. Why he thought it was comfortable weather, I don't know. That State must be colder than I thought it was. Never been there, so I don't know.

Damn! The scanning screen just jumped up and began to do it's job. I sent it to the bottom of the screen. I'm being abused, here!

The nation is being abused by the crap going on in Congress, so guess I should get used to it. Except I won't, bullheaded as I am.

Ray Bradbury is gonna be in town this month. Quite a guy. We shared a table at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference some years ago. I made the mistake of asking him what he thought was the greatest sin...and he literally yelled, "Not using the talents God gave you!" :)) Won't do that again. He's easily excited and very passionate about various things. Could have heard him a couple of blocks down the street.

Never know what a writer might say. One of the more quiet, gentle guys was Charles Schultz, who drew the Peanuts cartoons. I have never heard him swear but once. He was talking about serving in the Army in WWII. Said he'd returned to visit. Said he'd walked into a little French village to see the place he recalled having a terrible battle in combat at. Then he said, "I was a machine gunner--" and his voice went dead cold and grim and he added, "--and I was damned good at it."

Nothing is more fascinating to humans than other humans.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

I don't know yet what the pub date is, but when TJ Waters book, "Class 11" hits your bookstore, buy it. He joined the CIA's first class after 9/11 and this is the story of how that class was trained.

Right now, I'm reading another book, "Overworld" by Larry J Kolb, that's a read education. His father was CIA and trained him from childhood in that very special tradecraft. Terrific story!

Also, C and I went off to the movies this afternoon to see "Beyond the Sea", Kevin Spacey's biopic of Bobby Darin's life. Great film!

So came home, revved up this machine, clicked on C-Span and watched some of the Judicial Committe's questioning of Alberto Gonzales, whom Bush nominated for Atty Gen of the US. Gonzales has to be one of the masters of never giving a straight answer to a direct yes or no question. Talk about evasive manuvering! Sen Leahy tried every way he could think of to no avail. The scene was so disgusting I turned it off.

Am very proud of Sen Barbara Boxer for having the guts to stand up and say the Ohio electors vote should not be certified due to the many violations of voters' rights that occured there. Many Dem Senators agreed with her, made speeches backing her, but when the chips were down, Boxer was the only one to vote no on certification.

Kerry is overseas in Iraq seeing how their election plans are going. Says he'll shortly be introducing a bill in the Senate on election reform. He'd better...and he damned well better fight like hell to get it passed too. No voter of any party should ever be afraid that their vote won't count or that the election is gonna be screwed over.

Repub Majority Leader in the Senate, Sen Frist, is currently over in Indonesia, seeing how things are going. He's a surgeon. But is he getting his hands dirty? Actually working on patients? No. So what's the point of his travelling there? There are about 16 docs treating 1000 patients a day and they need help. Powell and Jeb can tend to the "looking over". Frist should be doctoring, otherwise he's just in the way.

What's good? Those two books, the movie, and Barb Boxer. :)

Sufficient for the day....

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Driving to the hotel for breakfast this morn, somebody on the radio says that an unused part of the prison, Sing Sing, will be opened to the public. Hadn't heard that prison mentioned for one hell of a long time. Thought it was located somewhere on the east coast...and where the hell did that name come from? Who would name a prison like that Sing Sing?

Sandy, the head of housekeeping at the hotel, wandered out on the patio to chat a minute. Told her. Off she went.

J came for breakfast, then A, the Gen Mgr of the hotel comes out, pulls up a chair. He's eating one of those energy bars. Says he's about to starve. So we're all kicked back, when here comes Sandy. She got on her computer and she's got all the info about that prison. It's in New York. Sing Sing came from the Indians' words, Sint Sinks, which means "stone upon stone". Built the prison in 1825! All this from !! Pictures and all. She's printed out the three pages. Said she'd got interested too and had to find out. Human curiosity. Nothing like it!

Beautiful sunset right now. Flaming red-pink and pale blue to purple. Horizon wide. Sunny day, 60 degrees. More storms on the way.
A writer in Colorado emailed to say that the storm we just had hit there with snow, rolling thunder and lightning. Sent a pic of a field of snow just outside the edge of a forest. And just into the field was a herd of about 50 elk moving along. He's decided they were ghost elk, since he got where he was going and came back within a very short time and they'd disappeared.

The Stennis aircraft carrier set sail for Bremerton WA this morning, making room for the Ronald Reagan carrier to anchor next to the Nimitz carrier at North Island NAS over on Coronado.

Also got emailed a pic of a Special Forces B-Team today. Don't know where in this world they are, but their commander is holding a sawed-off shotgun with his M-16 slung over one shoulder and they all have pistols strapped on their legs, plus their other weapons in their hands. Half are wearing sunglasses. As the guy who sent them said, not a group to encounter if you're the enemy. Indeed. Those guys could be stripped nude. Even their bodies are lethal weapons. They will bite you if it comes to that.
Right on your throat.

Those guys don't strut or swagger. They have nothing to prove. Already done that. Nicest guys in the world... Very smart. Great fun. Very patient. Have been known to spend a year setting up a practical joke...

It's a wrap...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

One last thing: WWII's Flying Tigers ended up being called Air America...CIA used them. Now there's Air America radio...a progressive talk station. Interesting.

Just Observing

Just Observing

My head is tired. Actually, I've been reading like a maniac all the damned day, so really, my eyes are tired. And so is my head. Sheesh!

The things that are going on in this world boggle the mind. Spent the driving time to and from breakfast this morning cussing what I'm hearing on the car radio. What was I hearing? DC people talking about the sad state of Social Security. What bullshit! They lie and they know they lie and they don't give a damn. Talking about how they're gonna have to cut Medicare and Medicade. Bullshit.

What they don't talk about are the reasons they really want to do both of the above. Don't get me started on the rest of what they're saying has to be done or disaster will overcome the nation.
Fear tactics to get what they want. Over and over, it's fear, fear, fear. Disgusting. All for money and power. Theirs and their buddies'.

I drink my black coffee and smoke and cuss...and turn to reading or writing.

Still think the article about that little 10 year old girl over in tsunami territory is one of the best things I've run across. She'd learned about tsunamis in her geography class, so she's with her mother on the beach. Hears about the earthquake. Sees the water recede. Remembers what she's learned...the waves come in 10 minutes from the time the water recedes. Tells her mother. They warn people. Many are saved because of the warning. The most amazing thing to me is that her mother believed her and took action. That woman knew her daughter.

I just do wonder how many parents would take seriously what a child that young says. Not enough, I'd bet. Of course much depends on the child's past record.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Just Observing: Just Observing

Just Observing: Just Observing

C and I went tearing over to the early showing of "The Aviator" right after breakfast this morning. DiCaprio did an incredible job playing Hughes. And now I'm torqued. I once had an invitation to go aboard the Spruce Goose and declined. Talk about the desire to go back in time and kick your own tail!

Chargers playing ball down in Mission Valley today. Not going near that place. Traffic is awesome, and with the river way.

Last word on blog design: Not good to forget paragraphing. Too many people look at a huge block of words, with dedicated left and right margins and no paragraphs to break up that block, and click to something else rather than struggle through it. Not what a blogger wants at all.

Welcome back, Leege! Goin' right over to your space and read your thoughts on coffee...which reminds me: C handed me a small thermos of coffee in the theater. Put it in the cup holder on my right. Unscrewed the lid, poured half a cup. Forget why I had to sit that half cupful on top of the thermos, but it leapt right off and landed on the floor. So I'm thinking, Hell, there goes my coffee. Not gonna try that again. Picked the cup up, turned it upside down to screw it back on the thermos, and coffee poured out on my leg! Only way that could have happened it that the cupful landed rightside up. But talk about getting a surprise! Sheesh!

And that's a to Leege's blog!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Was almost asleep last night, when BOOM!!! was immediately followed by what somebody shuffling through piles of autumn leaves sounds like. Talk about coming to full alert! Next thing, the sound of shouting voices counting down in unison, then more of the above. Realized instantly that midnight had arrived in San Diego. After a bit, there came the soft sound of more distant explosions floating up to the mesa from Sea World down on Mission Bay. Very cool. Reminded me of the Navy SEALs. About midnight at the start of Hell Week, it sounds like WWII over on Coronado. Many fireworks will be going off after the Chargers/Giants game down at Qualcomm tomorrow too.

And so, 2005 has kicked off.