Sunday, January 30, 2011


I watched Hillary on TV today explaining the U.S. position on the Egypt situation. I thought she did a great job of walking the tightrope that the U.S. has to walk at this moment. How hard this is for the American government. We have to cheer for the future of Egypt which is not Hosni Mubarak, but we can't seem to be meddling. The strategy seems to be to avoid talking about the dictatorship and instead focus on reform and future democracy.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Every day, I try to make time -- usually in the morning -- to read email, to check on Facebook, and to attend to Birches, in some degree. I love being in touch!

Friday, January 28, 2011

and now: Egypt, Yemen. Who's next?

I think something new and different is happening in the Muslim World. Not the riots of course, that's old news, but what the riots are about and what reforms they seek. I wonder if we Americans are clever enough to figure it out and treat with it on an appropriate level of acceptance. With all the Islamo-hatred in this country, based on some distorted concept of "christianity", I am inclined to be pessimistic.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Thanks for the discussion under the Education challenge below. I want to add a new dimension. Scot says, in his comment something that some of you might like to comment on:

However, the poor quality of public education in some states is arguably a violation of kids' civil rights.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a modest proposal

My friends know that I have made this proposal since Obama got elected. I wish he would listen to me.

We should build a bullet train (a.k.a "fast train") link between the East and West coasts through both a Northern and Southern corridor, and link the two between, say Seattle and San Diego on the one side, and, say, New Haven and Jacksonville at the other. We should stipulate that any state which becomes a partner in the enterprise will have 2 stop stations in its borders. The United States government should be a partner, and private enterprise should be offered a chance to invest and profit.

We should stipulate that all the steel used to build this rail system will be manufactured in the United States, that the rolling stock will be built in the United States, and that all labor used in the effort will be legal residents of the U.S.

This would be a definite stimulus to the economy, it would fill the American people with imagination and hope, and it would bring our transportation system into the 21st Century.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Here is a picture that SPARTY sent me and I thought was wonderful. Everyone I know will know who this is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh, I dunno ---

--- just for the hell of it. This is borrowed from anonymous online. It's a rainy day here, so I'm playing round.

from: 60 Minute/Vanity Fair poll

What the public is saying:

So, I am issuing this request. The Republicans want to terminate the Federal Department of Education. Can you give reasons why it should be kept alive? (The 2010 budget for the Dept. is $3.6 Billion. )

SPARTY'S first answer:
I'm assuming that your question assumes the legitimacy of a federal role in education but questions the need for a separate department rather than a sub-cabinet office incorporated into another department such as Health and Human Services. With that, these are the reasons why I support a Department of Education:
1. It places education at the table when decisions are made in the executive branch
2. It gives education a position of importance in dealing with Congressional authorizations and appropriations that it wouldn't otherwise have.
3. Ronald Reagan wanted to abolish it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today has been the perfect day we paid good money to come to enjoy. It won't last of course, but it will return.

Our grandkids live some distance away from us, but we "Skyped" them this week, and they are beautiful, growing nicely, and are being missed like crazy by their grandmother. I asked for Skype for my Christmas present and got it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Goodbye Sargent Shriver

A very good person is dead.

"Being accused of enthusiasm is something I’ll never live down."

Monday, January 17, 2011

foreign policy

I have been making a kind of mental review of Obama-Clinton and their handling of foreign policy.

Do you realize it's been 2 years since anyone seemed to think they hate us, at least publicly? I can't think of a single foreign policy stumble they've made. Can you? I suppose the additional troops in Afghanistan is a debatable situation, admitted.

Oh, I've heard the far right squealing about him for supposedly apologizing for some of our past policies, but I never heard an "apology" and am convinced that such talk is just political bullshit. What I like is the liberal talk I hear from Hillary so often, admitting our problems in the US, not trying to hypocritically excuse them. It makes us look stronger, I think, when we don't try to paper over our weaknesses.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Going on this Sunday

(Y'all come now, ya hear?)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I know I have been less good about posting things this winter. I simply have fewer chances on the computer these days. Bear with me, if you will.

I appreciate your contributions as well.

My Latest Love- illustrated


Well, Obama has spoken -- and very, very well, I might add. If nothing else, he is a good-hearted man, one of the most decent men we've had as President as far as I can see. Anyway, he wants us to work together with the people we don't like, in a more cheerful, cooperative way.

So, I guess I'll set up a gun give-away program --- you know, like the needle give-away deal in skid row that stops the spread of AIDS. ( Evil things that kill a lot of people are common in our society, from disease to drunk drivers, etc., and we have to learn to cooperate with those things.) My gun-give away program will allow poor people to have access to self-defense. This will demonstrate my cheerful willingness to cooperate with the very fine, decent people who own and shoot guns.

From here I hope to expand into gun exchange programs in big cities, so that when you get tired of the gun you have, you can pick another one.

Can anyone out there tell me if I'm supposed to hate either the gunman in Tucson, or the gun? I can't get a handle on that. So far I've learned to love rapists but hate rape. And I have been working on the same for shop lifters. Any advice out there for a reluctant hater like me?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tom the crook

I see Tom Delay got a prison sentence. I always knew that old son-of-a-bitch was a crook. He was also very bigoted about race, and way too clever in carving up the congressional districts in Texas.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

concerning the gun murders in Arizona

I have taken time to watch some of the coverage of the Arizona murders. Here are some of the words being used, and what I think of them:

"OUTRAGEOUS" - I have seen the shooting down of two Presidents, a bunch of peaceful demonstrators at a college rally, the shooting death of two candidates for President, the curbside murder of a peace-loving musician named Lennon, the wiping out of several rap stars, and now suddenly this act was "Outrageous"? Hold on, it seems quite "in-rageous" to me. Quite fashionable in our country, actually.

"SURPRISING" - Anyone who claims to be surprised by this act is a simple liar. No one is surprised by gunplay anymore, or the murder of prominent people in the country. All of it is perfectly foreseeable, if not the specific target, at least the act.

"UNEXPLAINABLE" - Anyone who claims not see an explanation for this lacks the simple level of perspicacity to see the connection between cause and effect. If you take an emotionally disturbed person, give him high powered guns, inspire him with vitriol, then you are going to have murder. How's that for an explanation?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

gunning 'em down in Arizona

Of course I noticed that someone shot up a Democratic rally in Arizona, or some such gathering of people who imagine that they know what's best for the country. Probably a socialist rally or something.

This is exactly why there are so many privately held guns. Have you not been told over and over again that these guns protect us against an evil or dictatorial government? You're not surprised that they're being used are you? Don't be silly. Only a fool would think these millions of guns will lie idle why the Socialists and Communists that now dominate out government try to turn us into a healthy place, or place where everyone is included. My God, friend!

As this generation often says: Get Real!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

passing thoughts in early January

1. Many thanks to ALICE for being one of the best-hearted people in the world.

2. What you hear when old people talk too loud in restaurants:

"I went to the oncologist for five years and now he says I have to take no more treatments. I'm in total remission. This is God's will. He hasn't finished with me yet."

"No, there will be four of us. They're still pawking the caw."

3. While I waited for my car to be done at the car wash, I was people-watching an old gentleman who had no shoulders, but a very broad ass. Then he got into his big Cadillac with the New York license plates. Just before he did, I saw him drop a dollar into the tip box. I thought as how he probably made a fortune off other people's money and was determined that this would not happen to him. There is a place in hell ... I do hope.

4. Florida, Michigan and California have just sworn in new governors. One of them is not a Republican millionaire. How the hell did that happen?

passed on from BRENDA

Questions asked by BRENDA.

(And, we would like you to add your answers, or else your two cents worth!)

Now that the Republicans have control of the House, where are those jobs? Why isn't the economy fixed yet? Why do we still have a deficit? Why are we still in the midst of a recession? Are Republicans secretly Muslim and trying to ruin our country?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan 4 return to action

The BIRCHES have been silent lately as I have been busy with other obligations. People who know me know what that entails. However, I haven't received any complaints. I suppose it would be as if the Saginaw News would suddenly stop publishing. No one would object.

(Not that I consider BIRCHES to be on a par with the Saginaw News.)

IRISH MIKE has forwarded a swipe at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, from New York RTimes columnist Paul Krugman:

Snow Job

It’s always important to realize that someone can disagree with you politically without being a bad person. But there are bad people in politics, too. Maybe it’s just my bias that gives me the impression that there are more mean, self-centered whiners on one side of the aisle than on the other; but anyway, a spectacular performance by my governor:

When asked about the hundreds of people trapped in their homes for days, Christie said unless they lived on state roads, it’s not something his administration would have been able to change.

“If someone is snowed into their house, that’s not our responsibility,” Christie said.

When asked about mayors who said they were forced to divert their resources to unplowed state roads instead of clearing local roads Christie said, “I know who these mayors are and they should buck up and take responsibility for the fact that they didn’t do their job.”

Just brimming with generosity, he is.