Monday, August 31, 2009

no comment needed, the thing speaks for itself.

Police and teens engage in gun fight at Saginaw Township movie theater: None injured, three in custody

by Gus Burns | The Saginaw News
Monday August 31, 2009, 9:58 AM

Police are thankful no one was injured after exchanging gunfire with youths about 10 p.m. Friday.

Police responded to Fashion Square Cinema Theater, 4511 Fashion Square in Saginaw Township when they received a complaint of "numerous young teenagers, with no parental supervision," who were being "disorderly" inside the movie theater.

When the movie ended the teens congregated in the parking lot as they waited for their parents, police officials said. They said they heard shots from the north end of the parking lot and when officers ran toward the origin saw the passengers of the vehicle shooting toward the crowd.

Officers returned fire and the vehicle fled, and a Saginaw County sheriff's deputy stopped the vehicle in a nearby parking lot at Tittabawassee and Fashion Square.

Police took three teenage suspects into custody after finding evidence linking the youths to the shooting inside the vehicle.

There can be no bipartisanship

NOTE: There has been a lot of very interesting commentary on this item, so I moved it back to the top. Click "Comments" below the post to see what people have added.

There was a time in the not too distant past when cooperation between Republicans and Democrats often occurred. That was back when there were Southern "Dixiecrats" in the Democratic Party and "Moderates" in the Republican. All that has changed, since the Dixiecrats have long since been driven out of the Democratic Party because it believed in such things as equality for the races. Such miserable people had to go somewhere, so now they're all in the Republican Party.

That doesn't mean there are no bad guys in the Democratic camp. There are plenty.

What it does mean, though is this: The Democrats are never going to win the support of the Congressional Republicans on any issue, no matter how successful or necessary to the public good it might be. Officially, the Party has sold itself out to the evil and to the bitter; and they won't cooperate with any devils except their own.

Derrick Jackson has recently said:
"WHEN THE Republicans can not even support Cash for Clunkers, bipartisanship has no horsepower.

In all the doom and gloom of the recession, this was the one economic and environmental program that was a smash hit, prompting Congress to add $2 billion to the $1 billion that was about to run out. The Department of Transportation said that 184,304 sales have been made so far under the program, where customers receive up to $4,500 in rebates to trade in an older car for a more fuel-efficient new vehicle.

But the Republicans? The Senate voted 60 to 37 to extend the program, with 33 Republicans voting against it. This was worse than the 31 Republicans who voted against Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. And, of course, the Republicans have declared war against meaningful healthcare reform, despite the fact that the nation has 46 million uninsured people, one of the greatest travesties in the developed world.

The mentality is best summed up by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who recently said about healthcare, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.’’ In a talk-show interview, DeMint rationalized his transparent motives and the obvious agenda of the Republicans by saying, “I’ve never seen Americans more angry and more concerned about the direction of our country.’"’

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Barney Fife Award: Congratulations

To California law enforcement officials, who were able to find a girl missing for 18 years, when she walked into the police department and identified herself.
Fine work!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Politics for Dummies

I was looking at some right-wing blogsites this evening, during the course of which I discovered that Obama is: 1. a brown-shirted fascist; 2. A communist; 3. A nazi; 4. A socialist.

One of these two things must be true, then: Either these people are so ignorant they wouldn't know a fascist OR a communist if one walked up and pissed on their shoes, or: Obama is surely the most clever and complicated political animal ever on American soil, able to mix together in one magnificent ideology several completely opposite theories.

I don't give Mr. Obama that much credit, so I'm assuming these people are just maliciously and willfully ignorant, bless their little hearts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goodbye Teddy

He did not need equal rights, but he fought for them. He did not need educational equality, or a scholarship, or a protected right to vote, or equal employment rights, or fair tax laws, or a dozen other of the perks of American citizenship that wealthy white men daily enjoy. But he fought for them.

He did not need medical care reform.

This is how he differed from most politicians, and why he was extensively hated and yet more extensively admired.

History 103

Jesse James, aged 17. A randy lad with a future lying before him.


Jesse James, aged 34. A bad man just lying.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Everywhere we look these days, there are vampires: TV, movies, books, my neighbor's house. Now the worst has happened. Billy Mays has risen from the grave!

You get the crucifix, I'll get the wooden stake.

Today's favorite headline

Mayor suspected in undie thefts
well, they say power corrupts.

Friends Report on August 25, 2009

Everywhere we go these days, roads are under repair. There is not much complaining about this, because our roads in this state have been in such bad shape for so long, it's just nice to know there is some hope. Probably, a lot of the road work is a result of the Stimulus Money coming out of Washington D.C.
While we have had little in the way of hot weather this summer (It was only about 50 degrees here this morning)some parts of the country have been cooking under the hot temperatures. Texas, which some people think of as hell anyhow, has had record numbers of above 100 degree days. Global warming theory predicts such discrepancies, so while some folks think it can't be climate change when it's chilly, others say that this is proof of it.

IRISH MIKE - says he likes to get up early, at the blooming of the dawn, and go out rowing on the Saginaw River. He likes the mistiness, the chill in the air, the fogginess. I wonder if he just feels safer traveling through the town when all the gangsters have gone to bed, and the fog conceals him from sharpshooters along the banks. Is that too sarcastic?

PAT W - we went to the farmers market and got kohlrabi, carrots, snap peas, etc., and now she's making "shepherd's pie." Afterward we will cut the small watermelon we bought which just this morning was still on the vine. Be envious. And, if you get the chance, go to the farmer's market. LOCALISM is the new fad.

MARSHA - is being driven out of her house for several days while the workers sand and refinish all her hardwood floors.

SANDY - is still in California with her daughter's family enjoying that new baby. Here is a picture of the handsome young man, BRAYDEN:

BRENDA and STEVE - A large group of friends and relatives assembled at their home in the woods last Saturday for an open house. There was more than enough to eat and drink as well as plenty of good cheer. They are blessed (as are we to have them!)

FELIX - his wedding to PILOT is five weeks away. We have gone shopping and bought him the very best wedding gift we could. He's a landscaper and has a yard and garden befitting. So, we got them a nice yard present. Don't anyone tell him, we want it to be a surprise.

DOUG - He and his wife Kay are back from their summer in Maine. He was talking about the many failures of the government, in the context of the health care reform efforts. He believes that Medicare and the Postal Service are examples of the failure of government and we probably could expect the same from nationalized health care. I see these same programs as successes. No one should expect government services to be free, or even cheap, and they certainly are not businesses to make a healthy profit at the bottom line. We agree to disagree about these things, but cheerfully.

GIGI - forwarded this little known fact about Russia. They gave a gift to the United States, a memorial to the people killed in the 9/11 attacks in 2001. This gesture has not been widely publicized. Here is a picture of the monument which is called "The Teardrop."

GIGI AND PAT (at the Museum)
BRENDA AND STEVE (open house gift)
BILL (#14), RoadAmerica

Monday, August 24, 2009

A more conservative point

MARI sent this opinion.

One point that no one has made is that when Massachusetts had health care reform it was a horrible flop. There was not enough primary healthcare givers to cover the over flow of uninsured people that entered the system (somewhere around 500,000.) And now with many college students opting to go into a specialized service in the health care field (more money) then become your common family doctor, imagine the impact on a national scale. It would flood our system, with many people with insurance getting pushed aside due to overcrowding in doctors offices as it is...


Comment from ALICE

How fortunate you are that you have the intelligence, strength, good health and ability to work hard for others who depend on you. I hope it will always be thus for you and you never find yourself in the humiliating position where you need to depend on someone else. I espescially hope that your insurance company respects your hard work and provides for you if and when you need it.

Today's favorite headline

Thanks to FELIX for this one:
Boys get better grades at all-boys schools: study

Caning Kartika -- and other forms of Justice


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A Muslim model on Friday brushed aside an appeal by human rights group Amnesty International to Malaysian authorities not to cane her, saying she is ready to face the penalty for drinking beer.Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, insisted she is ready to be lashed six times with a rattan cane next week for breaching the Muslim-majority country's Shariah law, which forbids Muslims to consume alcohol.

"I want to respect the law," Kartika said in a telephone interview from her northern home state of Perak. "Who am I to question the Islamic authorities' laws? That is beyond me."



Every time that Singapore or Malaysia wishes to beat someone with a cane for drinking beer, I hope they will do it openly and flagrantly.

Every time Afghanistan wants to beat someone for singing, I hope thy do it publicly.

I hope every woman in a burqa gets paraded and degraded on world-wide television.

I hope every time Iran wants to hang a gay teenager, they have television cameras rolling from news services all around the globe, so everyone can watch them swing and kick in the air as they choke to death.

I want Saudi Arabia, every time they wish to public stone a woman for driving a car, to do in with lots of pre-planning hoopla and dramatic fanfare.

I hope they have brass bands on all these occasions, to draw a big crowd, and the population is given a religious holiday to attend. I hope they have claques chanting "Allah ahkbar." I hope be-robed clerics are there to harangue the crowds and whip up the blood lust.

Let the world see what you're all about.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Call or email your Congress-people and Senators. Let them know we need a PUBLIC OPTION!

If You Attended he RIVERSIDE Film Festival

If you attended any of the films at the Film Festival --- please let me know what films you thought were especially good,

OR, not worth one's time and money. You can use either email or the comments section.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

A thought in passing

Any decent society, not cursed by the ignorance and perfidy of the kind of evil Right Wing "capitalist" "christians" we have in American now, would have solved this health care crisis long ago.

My friend Irish Mike keeps saying they are "EVIL" and he is right!

Today's favorite headline

Woman's foot licked outside store

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letter from Linda: Dems need to fight like the Repubs do

This contribution is from our friend, Linda, and I agree with it!
Thanks for the addition to the debate.
Comments anyone?

I was with a group of friends, at one of our favorite coffee shops, talking about things such as weekend activities, children, grandchildren, friends, and politics. One thing led to another and the subject of Health Care/ Insurance Reform came up. The discussion then turned to the irrational response and behavior that has been occurring at the town hall meetings and how so many of them have gotten so out of hand. We all agreed and wondered how these individuals got so misinformed. I stated to my friends, Bud and Mike, that there is one thing that Democrats have not learned to do and I believe will never be as good as Republicans in doing. This is the ability of instilling fear in the minds of individuals. In fact they have it down as an art. They hone in on one's beliefs, lifestyle, race, event and target them. This targeting is done by taking things out of context, giving erroneous information and the trump card of all trump cards, saying that this, or they, are un-American and such behavior or action will erode the fundamental core values which our founding fathers established when they wrote the Constitution. This manipulation starts producing fear which turns into anger and even hatred toward individuals or groups to take the country totally off balance and make people act irrationally because they fear that this targeted group is going to harm the status quo.

Case in point: A majority of these town hall meetings have senior citizens who get up and state that they do not want the government touching, interfering in or changing their health insurance. Fact: Everyone over 65 has Medicare. Hello people! it is a government insurance. And if you don t want it changed and you re threatened by the thought of it, it must be pretty good.

Anti public option: Does anyone think that insurance companies will bring down their premiums without one? I reckon this to gas stations, when prices went sky-high last year. Did you see any large diversity in price per gallon? Oh no, they were all in a few cents of each other. Am I the only one that thinks that if there isn t a public option insurance companies will get together and set the bottom of what they think is an acceptable premium price and put those out across the board? This is not competition, it is price fixing.

Lastly these Nazi comparisons in regards to the President and health care reform. Please people look up what the Nazi professed, pronounced, and communicated. They were racist. They targeted certain groups and individuals and due to their beliefs, life style, or race, and under the guise of patriotism promoted fear and hatred for them to the point of physical harm and murder. HMMMM

Remember almost a whole country fell for "weapons of mass destruction." Let s not destroy something that will help the underinsured, uninsured and hopefully everyone with more affordable insurance. Anyone just has to look at what happened at Engelwood, CA last week to see something more is needed.

DASHMANN - recommends this story about Castro's comments on American healthcare:

ALICE notes this headline: Democrats Prepare to Push Health Care Without GOP
and makes this comment: THAT'S WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING ALL ALONG!

ANONYMOUS sends this:
Let me get this straight.
We're going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it,
signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes,
overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and
financed by a country that's nearly broke.
What could possibly go wrong?

Alice said...

Anon.: How do like your water from your tap? Do you call the police if you have trouble? How about the fire department? If your a veteran, how's your care? Elderly? How's your medicare? Many programs are very successfully administered by the government for our protection and benefit. Morally we should feel obligated to make sure the millions(I'm not going to quibble over 56 million or 28 million) are unable to get the kind of care needed. What ever you theological or not theological background it's a must to provide for the poor and unprotected. You don't HAVE to sign up for the public option. The insurance companies are receiving 35 cents of every dollar spent for their own pockets. Casinos only get 20-25%. If you like that better go for it. A whole lot of us out here need help. We're not as smart, lucky, or what ever to have everything fall in place for us financially.

Irene said...

What makes it worse is that people are being screwed by the "status quo". Why on earth would they want to preserve it?

How can having to provide a profit to the middlemen (insurance companies) possible result in better or cheaper health care for sick people?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

health care

It appears that a group of Representatives in the House has decided to stand up for the public and insist on the Public Option. They say they won't vote for a bill without it. Maybe this will give Obama the courage he seems to have lost to stand up for what he and a majority believe in.

We Need the Public Option!

Alice said...

Has anyone heard about any local organization activity on the health care agenda? We need to forget the elephants in the room and do what the people elected this administration to do. I've tried to get in touch with the Dem. here in Saginaw county but I'm not in the main loop and don't know if or what is going on so that I can help.

Bud asks ---

Anyone know?

History lesson 102

Alice said...
Actually I don't.

"Stick shifts and safety belts, bucket seats have all got to go. When I'm drivin in my car, it makes my baby seem so far." From the album Fashion Nugget by Cake. One of my favourites.

You can listen to it here: STICKSHIFTS YOUTUBE

Our lastest Wacko

Whoever made this.

Our next Wacko: Whoever bought it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We need that public option.

Former Gov. Dean calls public option indispensable
AP Photo
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, a leading figure in the liberal wing of his party, said Monday he doubts there can be meaningful health care reform without a direct government role. Dean urged the Obama administration to stand by statements made early on in the debate in which it steadfastly insisted that such a public option was indispensable to genuine change, saying that Medicare and the Veterans Administration are "two very good programs that have been around for a long time."

Alice has left a new comment
We sure do need him!!! and I think he will be instrumental in getting this passed. Notice that the reporters, including the one quoted here seem capable of using only one title at a time. It's DNC Chairman DOCTOR Howard Dean who is obviously not getting his pockets lined by the insurance industry. He's sharp and quick-minded enough to call out and stop his interviewer in mid-sentence when she casually slipped in an untruth in her question to him. He's a good messenger for single payer!!

BUD has left a comment
I see that the breaking news right now is that Obama is abandoning the Public Option. I am very very disappointed.

Alice said...
I'm disappointed(but not surprised) in AARP. They lead Obama to think they supported him and when he announced it they turned around and denied him. In the end, AARP is just another insurance company which is why I've never joined.

Dashmann said...
My son is 40 years old, drove forklift in a warehouse for 2 years and had insurance before being layed off last Chrismas, losing his health insurance.
I went to the NASCAR race Sunday with a friend who is 56 years old
and has been layed off from an engineering job for almost 2 years,and has lost his health insurance.
What will the Democrats' bill do for these people??

Alice said...
The final bill is not drafted yet. My understanding is that those who have no insurance and can not afford to get it or medical attention will receive free services. A public option(not co-ops) will provide low cost, not for profit health care to anyone who needs it and wants it. It will require that all providers to give coverage and services to everyone without considering pre-existing conditions which is extremely important especially to those who are in the second half of their life. The proposals put forth would allow workers to take their insurance with them when they leave for whatever reason.
I have a question? How is private insurance working for the millions of out of work and under-employed Americans. It sure was a rotten deal for me! AND an insurance doctor in Nebraska was able to decide, sight un-seen, that my 3 doctors here in Michigan were wrong and denied me benefits. I was fired a month later for health reasons.

add to Your Day

Hundreds of millions of people have been captured by the song, but does anyone really know what it means? I don't, but ...

And so it was later
As the miller told his tale
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

margaret has left a new comment

I love Annie Lennox. My favorite is her cover of Neil Young's "Don't let it bring you down" that was used in the movie American Beauty.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Irene said...
Very cute. Love the little chair.

Philo Club report

A general consensus at the last meeting was that a single-payer health plan would be best for the U.S., that a "public option" which allows folks to get health coverage without using an insurance company is next best, and that any reform is better than none at this point. Comment?

Irene said...

Public option for everyone who wants or needs it.


Last night I was told that a gentleman who attended a "Tea-bag Party" to protest taxes and the government in general, was now officially a terrorist.

[If you have forgotten about the Tea-Bag or the Tea Party Protests, CLICK HERE]

The story went like this: Obama sent the FBI to identify all the protesters at the Tea-Partys, take down their names, and place them on the FBI's Terrorist Watch List. Anyone familiar with BIRCHES knows that I have admired what the Tea-Bag Party-ers were doing, because in my opinion., this is in the best traditions of American political activism. (Although I did not agree with most of their politics.) Democracy needs protesters and people who write to Congressmen, and speak up and, especially, people who seek to educate themselves about complicated issues.

BUT, when I heard THIS story, the only response I could muster at the drop of a hat was "Bullshit!"

When it comes to politics -- like religion -- it never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to believe! What I'm inclined to think is that some folks have sought to add to their own sense of importance by considering themselves to be so righteous and dangerous to the government that they've had their "names taken down."

One more manifestation of the wacky right wing that has seized control of the nation al debate.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Caturday!

Always stuck on the wrong side

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friends Report on August 14, 2009


SPARTY - I asked his opinion on whether, at some point, the problem with the lying and vicious political behavior of those who have sold out to private interests, simply rises to the level of sin.

His thought provoking answer:
"In a nation founded, in part, on the separation of church and state it's difficult to impose judgments such as "sinfulness" on those we disagree with. The behavior of the wackos at these public "forums: does violate my personal code of morality. I suppose my sense of morality is based in large part on the religious environment that I've lived in for most of my life, but I'd like to think that even without religious teaching I would understand my obligation to help others, to sacrifice for the common good. But I see people who have no religious affiliation and those who go to church 8 days a week taking positions that I consider "immoral" so maybe religious concepts such as "sin" and "damnation" and "salvation" have no relevance in the public discourse.
It occurs to me that the18th century concept of public virtue is something we'd do well to revisit."


MARSHA - at the University of South Carolina:

"Renovating a building on the Horseshoe - (that is, the old original campus) - last week construction workers found human bones and bone fragments. Possibly these are the result of amputations performed when the Union used our campus buildings as a hospital during the Civil War. I love this stuff!"


DASHMANN - Writes about what's wrong with Congress.

"I believe the town hall meetings are exposing a basic distrust of our Congresspeople and Senators by the general populace. These people vote where the money is and where their party stands instead of [where]their consciences take them. Why should every vote by one party be 95% for and the other party be 95% against? The two party system does more damage to voter trust than any other thing. A good example is sending our young people to their deaths in Iraq. The Republicans voted 95% for it and the Democrats voted 95% against it. This was a conscience decision as are many others. 60- 40, 40 - 60 in each party should have been the maximum split if these people were doing their jobs properly. This is why the general public has NO trust in Congress."


SCOT : on the airlines:

"The airlines are, collectively, the worst customer-oriented businesses in the United States. There are good people working at some, but excellent service, timely arrivals, and hassle-free flights are the exception rather than the rule. And this nonsense about paying for your checked bag is absolutely unbelievable. The first checked bag should be included in the ticket price, and the law should require that."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

dealing with snakes

Probably the biggest mistake, in my view, of the debate over health care reform right now is that the Republicans have been included in the discussion. It would be better if Obama just stepped around them.

I suppose that the formalities of democracy have to be observed by a President who really believes in it, but let's hope he never forgets he is dealing with the Congressional Republicans who have no intention of ever really cooperating with him on anything.

They, and a lot of Democratic Congresspeople have been bought by the health industry. It can do this because it is a monster with a huge amount of money. Some people are trying to straighten out the mess. Others are spending billions to keep it in chaos.

Hillary in Africa

In Africa, Hillary has mentioned the 2000 elections in the U.S., pointing out that we have problems and that the disputed election results in Florida, where the winner's brother was governor, is an example.

Yes, it's one of the most recent examples. The world has heard about that election and made its judgments. I do not see what problem there is with this, although the right wing will try to dance all over this in their hardest shoes.

I also don't think she was out of line with her snappish answer to the student when she thought she was being asked to speak for her husband.

It's refreshing to have someone who speaks up for what she stands for instead of sneaking around in the shadows like the past administration so often did.

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

history lesson 101

Very cool picture --- definitely click on picture to enlarge it.
Transcontinental freight trains during World War II, 1943, working all night. Kansas City.

Friends Report on August 11, 2009

BIRCHES acknowledges the death in Saginaw of Kay Webb, who worked with some of the followers of this blog for a number of years, who had a quick mind, a high wit, and a variety of talents in her lifetime that made her interesting and ever charming. Goodbye Kay Webb, you added a lot to our days.
To the two young mothers who took a van full of children through the drive through at McDonald's today, right ahead of me, I would like to say a few words. When you have that big a crew, you have an obligation to expedite your business, not leisurely distribute all the food and drinks through the van while you're still parked at the window. If I had been just a little less tolerant today, I might have gotten out and kicked your door into wrinkles.
PAT and HOWARD C. - extended a generous invitation for us to visit their home at Lake Charlevoix. The hospitality was wonderful! The house was beautiful and beautifully decorated by Pat's very skilled hand and eye. We had a lot of good conversation, plenty of wine, and a great boat ride to see the sights around the lake. Thanks to them for the kind invitation.
TRASE and SCOT - spent the past weekend with friends at Walloon Lake.
STEVE - is in Nebraska at a conference for the Nature Conservancy.
BILL from WNNCO - is proving to be a great friend to a person in need.
SANDY - is still thrilled in California with her new grandson.
AMY - cannot stop thinking about school, which she has retired from. She's at the awkward stage where she does not having to start preparing for a new year now that August is here, but she can't seem to feel OK about not have to do it. Teachers are used to facing August and September with apprehension, so it takes them a few years to grow completely comfortable when fall draws near.


LIAM and PAT - the love is clearly mutual.



PAT and HOWARD'S view from the front porch. They have opted to keep the ground in a natural state rather than groomed lawns, a decision which adds a huge amount of grace to the house.


at Lake Charlevoix. I now consider it to be MY yacht club, so from now on, all you people, treat me with just a little more respect. I went there, they let me come in to have some horse d'ovaries, they (some of them) talked to me, and I lapped up the elegance of the place without feeling awkward or poor --- both of which I actually am. Putting me in a yacht club is pretty much akin to putting Brandon Inge in a homerun contest. Let me add that if I really DO become a member, which I am evidently welcomed to do, I will be the member without any boat, much yet a yacht, and I will work hard to correct the abysmal spelling of POINTE which is an improper construction in all the languages I have checked, including French, which people seem to feel benefits somehow from tacking useless letters on perfectly OK words. It's a cool place, though, and I know both the Club and I would benefit from a prolonged association.


Some Pats


MRS. PETE'S RESTAURANT at Bellaire Michigan, where the food is great, the prices are more than adequate, the atmosphere is bright and homey, the local gentry gather to discuss politics and life very quietly and discretely at a large table, and where a great deal of the charm of the place lies in the fact that no two cups are alike!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

if you can't figure it out, write me an email.

Source is unknown to me. I also forgot who sent it to me, but thank you!
Cartoon by Ed Stein. Forwarded by JERRY.
See more of Ed Stein's work here CLICK

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Today's favorite headline

Bird-chasing guards rip palace painting with bamboo sticks

I wish to announce that I am the real father of Michael Jackson's children. I slept with whats-her-name regularly. Send the inheritance money, please.

beef box

Recently, IRENE asked whether I thought American-run airlines are unsafe. This followed my statement that I don't like to fly on American-run airlines.

No, I can't say that the planes are unsafe. But, if they are safe, I would attribute that to the government's persisting efforts to keep them safe, and I suppose that would apply to foreign owned airliners operating in this country, as well.

Here are some of my beefs:
1. My luggage and I are often not on the same airplane. This has happened twice in the last four trips. 50%

2. I have been bumped off a plane only to go on standby and wind up seated next to someone besides my wife (who was elsewhere on the plane after having been initially bumped herself.) I don't know why this happened, and neither did the guy at the check-in gate, but the reason given was "over-booking." The fact that I had booked 6 months (yes, really!) ahead was immaterial to the smooth functioning of Delta Airlines.

3. Everyone on the airplane pays a different price for the ticket.

4. The airlines industry has been babied, catered to, fed U.S. government dollars almost endlessly. They are thoroughly imbued with the idea of corporate socialism, an entitlement they get from the rest of us. For all that fawning you would think we'd have a better-running operation, wouldn't you?

5. The airlines fought against locked cabin doors that would protect pilots against wackos with weapons, even after 9/11. What this signifies to me is sheer stupidity, not surprising in the American educated management class.

6. Comparison. In recent years I have flown on Air France and Lufthansa and found them to be much better experiences, except for that event in Frankfurt where the goddam Germans acted like Germans usually do.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Caturday!

That Neighbor Cat!
(denies catching birds - admits perhaps, maybe,
taking one little crabapple.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Loyal Opposition

from Alice:

Gov. Sarah Palin is doing her part.

The rest of the world cannot understand how, after bitter election campaigns, American politicians can kiss and make up.

For instance, Gov. Palin has invited, to her great state of Alaska , the men who defeated her, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, along with their wives. She has set up a moose hunting trip for their enjoyment and hired three prominent experts in their field to assist them.

Dick Cheney will carry the gun, Ted Kennedy will drive them back to their cabins each evening, and Bill Clinton will entertain their wives.

News Flash: Chinese

Li Pelting, the former head of the Chinese company which runs more than 30 airports in China, was executed today.

The charge against him: corruption. China executes more people every year than all other countries combined.

It is time the U.S. caught up. Many people are asking themselves why there have not been more prosecutions of the big money guys in the U.S. who nearly crashed our economy and got rich doing it. At BIRCHES, that is our question, too. It's the official point of view of this blog that thousands of crooks should be marched out of their offices on Wall Street and other places of capitalistic thievery, and up the ramp onto the guillotine!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some shavings of bark ---

1. So I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee joints, whiling away a sweet summer mornin' of good java and good talk with my buddy Irish Mike (who like me, made the decision not to work himself to death and retired at a respectably young age) when in walked a gentleman, not necessarily a friend of either of us, who broached the subject of bestiality.

Well, now, he didn't say "bestiality," to be perfectly honest about it, he said "buggery." As it turned out, however he was mistaken about the words, because as all you readers must know, there is a world of difference (or at least a moon of difference) between bestiality and buggery. After he made himself clear, it turned out he was talking about a gentleman in S. Carolina who is a repeat offender with a horse.

Here is my bottom line on this story, no pun intended. I decided not to try to correct the man because it occurred to me that sometime during the day as he repeats his mistake, he may be in for a surprise.

2. Some of my friends and I have made a sort of pact, that while we will keep one another informed of our health situations, we will never fall into the habit of many old folks of beating the hell out of the topic. All that does is make everyone including the describer, feel worse. So, it will be enough to say, "Oh, by the way, I just got out of the hospital after having a lung removed," without giving each other all the bloody detail -- or maybe cough up a little blood, as that's always interesting.

3. We have accumulated a great number of air miles from the credit card we use, and we've been wanting to take a trip or two somewhere in the U.S. to use up some of those miles. The thing about this is that we would rather be beaten with a shillelagh than fly in a plane operated by an American business. So, we drive if at all possible. Now we're trying to find time to go to Seattle or some other far distant point we've never been. The plan keeps getting put off because other life intrudes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Redemption of a sort

Today, we spent the "stimulus money" that Obama sent to us earlier in the year. We re-shoed our car with "Made in America" tires. We feel good about that choice.

Monday, August 3, 2009


MARI: A study in taste and style

The Loyal Opposition

The latest

Special to BIRCHES- A question -- with preamble -- from FELIX

Don't you think it's time to start doing something to help slow the pace at which the rich get richer and the poor do without? For instance, in the Buick Open today...there were holes that a golfer could win a car if he hit a hole in one. Wouldn't it be better for everyone if, instead of giving a car to a person who already has far more cars than he needs (come on, a pro golfer needing a new car??), why doesn't Buick donate $18,000 to a homeless shelter? Or,food bank?

Instead of players who are making millions and millions of dollars receiving 'incentive bonuses' (the millions of dollars aren't incentive enough), of millions and millions of more dollars, why not give that money to a charity of the player's choice in his name? (Does he really need another heart- shaped swimming pool to drive a Rolls-Royce into?)

And, corporate CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc....The ones who deserve more money less than about taking their big bonuses and building housing for low- income families? Or, SOMEthing good?

Or, am I just talking out of my ass?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yes, I agree.

I have heard a couple of friends, and a bunch of talking heads on TV as well, say that now, after 6 months in office and the passage of his stimulus packages, this is now Obama's economy. Yes, I agree.

Today's favorite headline

Bride awaits stranger's bone marrow

Friends Report on August 2, 2009

It's been hard keeping track of everyone this summer, or anyone for that matter. Contact has often been slapdash with Birches away on vacation and readers spread all over the country. But, an update of some sort is needed, so here is what we know at the moment.

SANDY - has become a grandmother. The beautiful baby is Brayden -- and the mother is Sandy's daughter, Leigh; the father is her son-in-law Bret. California is the fortunate state.

Says she: "He is the most beautiful little guy, and the feeling I get when holding him is indescribable, but you guys know that already! We are waiting for them to come home from the hospital right now..."

MICHAEL E. - has organized a "Philosophy Club" locally. Birches has joined and is enjoying it a great deal. The name of the club is very audacious when applied to someone like me, but aspiration is good for anyone, right?
IRISH MKE - is reporting on his vacation at Joe's Friendly Tavern In Empire, MI. Wherever Mike is, that is a friendly tavern, to be honest with you.

Mike tells a wonderful story about the time he got a General Motors sponsored credit card because buying anything on the card contributed dollars toward buying the next G.M. car. As an appreciation gift, they sent him some car drinking mugs. The mugs would not fit in the cup-holders of his G.M. car. Do you wonder why they have so many troubles? Maybe this is it in a nutshell!
MARSHA - is headed home after running all over Michigan visiting and vacationing with friends. She sent this very strange picture of a vending machine in Mackinaw City. Now, if July isn't "in season" in Michigan, I wonder when it would be?
SPARTY - is reading about the difficulties of achieving health care reform.
ALICE - has her home to herself, as her children have moved into a new house of their own. Alice is chortling about the effort by Congressman Weiner 0f New York to get Republican conservatives to live up to their principles. He introduced a law to end Medicare, and not one Republican would vote for it.

WEINER: Well, for some reason, I guess Republicans don’t like publicly funded, publicly administered health plans except for Medicare, and, I guess, except for the Veterans Administration and except for the health care that our military gets from the Department of Defense. The fact of the matter is, what we’ve learned is that government administered health care works pretty darn well. It’s got lower overhead and people like it.

So, when my Republican colleagues pound the drum and pound the podium about how they hate government-run health care, I guess they haven’t looked at what they get.



Flowerchild 2009

Trase and Liam

Home of Sparty and Gigi

Tim and his kid

The Tates

Home of Skuzza and Dashmann

New picture from the Saginaw Rowing Club, Irish Mike included