Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Photos of France

The Lovely Sharon took these photos in France in Octber 2012:

We were walking from our rented apartment on L'avenue de Breteuil to Musée d'Orsay and found ourselves hungry.  We didn't have much time and we happened upon this shop:

 

Olives at market day in Provence


Harvesting grapes in Burgundy


Thes photos make me want to go back to France today

Friday, March 29, 2013

Earrings and Handbags Redux

Here is a  Repost of August 22, 2009

I did not go into the office on Friday. I woke up around 4:45 am and spent a couple of hours reading and responding to office email and reviewing a contract for a client and then I was finished for the day. After 32 years of practicing law, I give myself a little breather on Friday’s. During the winter I am generally in Palm Desert, CA on Friday. From June through November 20th or so, I am in Utah but I generally don’t work more than a half a day on Friday.

My plan for this past Friday was to run a number of errands and then play in a golf game at 3:30. I planned on going to the bank, mailing some letters, going to Home Depot, going the Macy’s to buy some pants and going to the sporting goods store; Man Stuff.

Around 10:00 am I told the Lovely Sharon that I was heading out for my errands and that I would be back in time for golf. I told her that I thought I would do some ‘man’ stuff and give her some personal time for whatever she wanted to do. As I was just about to leave, the Lovely Sharon told me she would tag along with me. I responded by suggesting she might enjoy doing her own thing as my “man” stuff would not be all that fun for her. She wasn’t dissuaded and said she would just go with me.

We did go to Macy’s but I didn’t find what I was looking for. So I ended up waiting for the Lovely Sharon to look through about 800 pairs of earrings on the spindle display racks. She removed each pair from the rack, looked at them and then replaced them back on the rack. Even though she is quite adept at this process, It still takes quite awhile to go through 800 pairs. Then we walked down the mall to Dillard’s where we looked at another couple of hundred pairs of earrings and then we looked at purses. When I say we looked at purses, I mean we looked at every purse, handbag, tote etc. offered for sale by Dillard’s. They were big, little, leather, cloth, plastic. Some were on sale others were not. Every purse with a shoulder strap was tried on by the Lovely Sharon. That amounted to about 75 of them. After each one was slipped over her shoulder, she asked me how it looked. "Fine" I replied to each querry. I tried not to be obvious when I continued to look at my watch. For me looking at 75 purses with shoulder straps was like looking at cows at the State Fair; the first couple of cows are interesting but the next 50 cows seem to be redundant. At that point all you hear are moos and all you see are udders.

Once we had made the loop and looked at every bag in the store, I perked up a little and had high hopes that we would now be heading over to the sporting goods store. I wistfully looked in the direction of the door and started leaning in that direction. I was almost like a sprinter getting ready to come out of starting blocks. To my absolute horror, she started the loop again. She walked again through the very displays she had already dissected, like a biology teacher working on a frog. When I realized she was going for a second view, I leaned my head against a glass display case and moaned. It was painful, I mean really painful to see her start her loop walk again. She asked me if I was ok, and with all my strength, I was able to whisper that I was feeling a little dizzy but it would pass. I smiled and told her to take her time.

When she was finally done with the purse review (for the second time) we started to walk out of Dillard’s. I stayed close to her side as we walked through yet more earring cases, then through lingerie and finally through cosmetic’s. As we walked, I tried to use mental telepathy on her (“Don’t stop, keep walking, go directly to the car”). It worked; we finally made it back to car. When we arrived home, the Lovely Sharon said that she had enjoyed our outing. I said me too (and to be truthful, spending time with the Lovely Sharon is always worth it).

Oh by the way, I did make it to the Post Office.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DOMA

This has been a big week for oral arguments in the US Supreme Court.  First California's Prop 8 and then The Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA").  Both gay marriage cases.  In Utah this week there was a rally about the issue where Utah Governor Herbert stated he was in favor of traditional marriage, that between a man and a woman.  

I think the Gov, missed the reality of the issue in Utah. Traditional marriage in Utah includes that between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman and a woman, some of whom are not even 15 yeras old.  Other traditional marriage in Utah is that between a man and a sheep.

What is this all about. Section 3 of  DOMA (the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act) forbids the federal government from recognizing state-level same-sex marriages.  So currently, if a state, such as New York, allows same sex marriage, the federal government will not recognize that a legally same sex couple as married for federal purposes.  In oral argument about DOMA this week, there was an interesting interchange between one Supreme Court Justice and the lawyer representing the side that wants to keep DOMA:

See: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/elena-kagans-doma-gotcha-moment-89383.html

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan caught the attorney defending the Defense of Marriage Act in a rare “gotcha” moment — in the eyes of many in the audience — at the high court on Wednesday.

In discussing the origins of the law, Paul Clement, who represents the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, said that Congress’s key interest in passing DOMA was preserving the uniform treatment of couples in various states at a time when there where indications that some states might allow same-sex marriages.


“All these federal statutes were passed with the traditional definition of marriage in mind,” Clement said. “What Congress says is, ‘Let’s take a time out. This is a redefinition of an age-old tradition.’”

But Kagan fired back in her questioning, telling Clement that Congress wasn’t preserving tradition, but departing from it when it jumped into the marriage issue. “The only uniformity that the federal government has pursued is that it’s uniformly recognized the marriages that are recognized by the state,” she said. Congress’ foray into the issue in 1996 was so unusual that it “sen[t] up a pretty good red flag,” she said.

A short time later, Kagan read aloud from the House Judiciary Committee report on DOMA. “Congress decided to reflect and honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality,” she said, quoting the report.

 “Is that what happened in 1996?” she asked to gasps, “oohs” and some laughter from many in the gallery who seemed to think she’d managed a rare Supreme Court “gotcha” moment.

Clement said he was not claiming moral disapproval constituted a sufficient basis for the law. “The House report says those things,” he said. But, he added, “we’ve never invoked [the language] in trying to defend the statute.”

It is surprising that congress would include language in a bill that "we are adopting DOMA because of our moral disapproval of homosexuality." Could they adopt legislation banning the Mormon religion because we morally disapprove of it? Could they refuse to recognize state law that permits public nudity on certain beaches because they morally disapprove of it?  You can go on and on on this issue. I think its a slippery slope when legislation is predicated on moral disapproval.  Lets face it, we all don't have the same morals. We don't all have the same core beliefs. If everyone had my core belief's Rush Limbaugh would be living in Iran and I would be a king.

By and large the republican party seems to support the notion that the federal government ought to stay out of issues that the states ought to regulate.  So if a state recognizes same sex marriage, you would think that states rights advocates would be supportive of state action and would be opposed to federal action superceding such action.  But I suppose the reality of it is that people advocate for state rights unless they don't like what the state does?

The case argued before the Supreme Court this week concerns two New York City women, Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer, who legally married in Canada in 2007. Ms. Spyer died in 2009, and Ms. Windsor inherited her property.  Under US estate tax law, a spouse can leave his or her estate to his or her surviving spouse and take advantage of a "marital deduction", eliminating federal estate tax on the assets transferred to the surviving spouse.  The marital deduction is a key component of married couples' estate planning.

The 1996 law did not allow the Internal Revenue Service to treat Ms. Windsor as a surviving spouse, and she faced an estate tax bill of about $360,000.  If Ms. Spyer had been a man there would have been no estate tax. Ms. Windsor sued, and in October the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, struct down the 1996 law.       

This case has it all, moral disapproval, states rights and equal protection under the law. It will be interesting to hear the decision of the US Supreme Court when it comes out this summer.

For me, I say let people choose who they want to marry.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Wonder - redux

Here is a repost from 2010

I Wonder

Well the Lovely Sharon has gone to Palm Desert for the season. I am on my own for a good part of the next seven months. During that time I will probably come up with brilliant ideas and thoughts to blog about. Important stuff like a discussion about juggling midgets or how many calories in a dachshund.  Do ever wonder if  flying fish build their nests in trees? That is the kind of stuff people want to contemplate.

What kind of stuff do you wonder about? As for me, there are a zillion things that I wonder about. For instance this week I ordered a meal from a restaurant that included “natural chicken”. Sounds normal until you really think about it and when you really think about it you wonder what the heck does that mean. What is “natural chicken”. The menu did not refer to free range chicken, I know what that is. Free range chickens are chickens running around on the “home on the range”. Although I don’t think I have ever seen gigantic herds of chickens migrating across the prairies of America like buffaloes of years past. What is a natural chicken? If there is such a thing as a natural chicken, then there must be an “unnatural chicken”. What is an unnatural chicken? Is it a chicken with wing implants? Is it a chicken that had dark feathers but dyed its feathers blonde? Is it a chicken that has had its beak whitened? Who would ever order an “unnatural chicken”? Can you imagine going to a restaurant and order mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet peas and an unnatural chicken breast. Or when ordering dinner would you tell the waiter to make certain that chicken breast is natural chicken? I don’t think so. I think the term natural chicken is a scam. I am not just certain how.

Another thing I wonder about is when you go to the cleaners and drop off your shirts and slacks and suits to be cleaned. Most dry cleaners have a little sign on the premises that represents this is a “Professional Dry Cleaner”. Duh, of course they are professional; they make you pay for the cleaning services, therefore , by definition they are professional. Would you take your clothes to an amateur dry cleaner? I think not. In some endeavors there may be room for professionals and amateurs. You see that in athletics, there are professional golfers and there are amateur golfers. But you don’t see that in the dry cleaning business or the medical business. I mean do you ever see an amateur gynecologist? OK we all know a few

I wonder who was the guy who came up with the idea to eat cow tongue.  After watching a cow lick its own nose with its huge tongue  did the guy think "Wow, that looks tasty, I ought to rip that tongue out that cow’s head, fry it, add some onions and serve it to my family; they would love it”?

I  wonder how do I get the fur off of my tongue after I give my cat a bath?

I wonder why we spend money and firemen's valuable time in getting cats out of trees.  Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree?

I wonder about people who send email that states at the bottom, “if you did not receive this email, please contact us”. I am mean really, if I did not receive the email, how would I know that I did not receive the email?

I wonder about the bottles of water you buy in the store. Check out the bottles, they have an expiration date. Does water really expire? Water has been around for tens of thousands of years in underground springs. Do you really think the water in this particular 16 ounce bottle expires on March 31, 2012? I don’t think so and I think I will risk it and drink the damn stuff on April 5th.

I just saw on the news that the guy that hacked in Sarah Palin’s email was sentenced to more than one year in prison. How does that work when our banks,  Google,  Amazon and dozens, if not thousands, of businesses sell our personal and private information to other companies. Our private information is sold everywhere. Do you think anyone in those information selling companies is going to jail for selling our personal information? Hell no, they get pay raises, they get bonuses, they get promoted. I am pretty sure that the most of Palin’s email’s ended with “Forward this to 20 other persons and you will have good luck”.  So whats the big deal?

I wonder why some people want to cut social security payments to our elderly, cut payments to those who have paid into the system for 40 years, cut payments to those who have built America, but these people don’t want to reduce American expenditures by getting out of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. The total real cost of the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war is trillions. Why are we not outraged that we paying these costs? Does anyone really believe that when we leave these countries, if we ever leave, that the attitudes of the Muslim populations will be different than before these wars? Will they love Americans? Will Shia Muslims love Suni Muslims? Will the radicals in Saudi Arabia (where we are not at war) stop their terrorist activities? I don’t think so. In these days where government expenditures for the poor and even the middle class are questioned, why don’t we turn out the lights on these two wars and bring our military personnel home immediately. Things will never, ever, ever, change in those countries. Do you remember when Bush took us to Iraq? He said the war would be paid for by Iraq oil. Right, that really happened. Afghanistan is Obama’s righteous war. Right. Lets go home, lets bring our men and women soldiers home. Ten years is enough.

I wonder why so many people are frightened by the thought of gays in the military or at least knowing they are in the military. I would think if you are pro gay, or at least not anti gay, you would be ok with gays in the military. I would think if you were anti-gay, you would want a gay to be in the military to take the place of some nice straight boy. Put the gay guy in harm’s way. Let the straight guy come home and work for Ace Hardware. So it seems to me if you really think about it, it makes sense for everyone, regardless of sexual preference or gender, who wants to serve in the military to be able to openly serve in the military.  We let Muslims serve in the Military, we let illegal aliens serve in the military, we let criminals serve in the military, what is the big deal if a guy with a boyfriend or a girl with a girlfriend wants to serve America.  Lets figure this out. This is not a big deal.  For those of you who don't like Congressman Barney Frank, wouldn't you rather the Barnmeister be in a foxhole in Iraq rather than making fiscal policy in the Congress?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Misses Redux

Here is a repost

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Misses

I have not written much in this blog this summer; been busy with golf, outdoors stuff, reading and hanging out with the Lovely Sharon. For a good part of the year, the Lovely Sharon and I live in different cities. During such time I live in Salt Lake and she lives in Palm Desert. Although I visit Palm Desert often when she is there, we do in fact live in two different cities for more than half the year. I can’t tell you how nice it is in the summer time when we are both living in the same city to be able to do the little things. It is so nice for one of us to be able to say, “let’s watch TV together, let’s go to Home Depot, let’s go to the library”. It is nice to come home from work or golf and see her sitting on the porch or tending to the flowers in the yard.

It is sooooo nice (please read sarcasm in the word “sooooo”) when she comes into the Bud Cave for inspection and analysis of the lack of order of my mortal existence. If I am in the Bud Cave on my computer or sitting in my leather chair watching TV or reading, she will walk in and look around. Her look around is not a casual glance around the Bud Cave, it is more like the look of a Marine Colonel on the beaches of Normandy at the D Day invasion of France during World War II. She has that look in her eye where she trying to see something that may or may not be there. While the Colonel may say “Is that the enemy over there?” “Is that a machine gun sniper nest?” I hear comments from the Lovely Sharon like “Why do you have two pairs of shoes by the couch”? “Why do you have so many books stacked up on the floor”? “I can write my name in the dust on your coffee table”. Normally I either get irritated by her observations concerning the general appearance of the Bud Cave or I pretend I can’t hear her. The “pretending I can’t hear her” approach does not work that well because she is standing within six feet from me when she is making her comments.

Thursday night I figured out a new approach to her comments. I played golf in my regular Thursday men’s game. When I arrived home the Lovely Sharon was watching a replay of the PGA Championship on TV. She had played in a women’s golf tournament early in the day and was just relaxing on the couch. I said hello, we embraced, a peck on the lips and I walked down to the Bud Cave to check email and relax. I suppose I was too quiet because after awhile she wondered what I was doing and she came down to the Bud Cave to see what trouble I was causing. She looked at the lovely wooden trash can that I have under my desk. Apparently, I had missed a couple of times when I had attempted to toss papers, water bottle tops and other sundry items into the trash can. She picked up the odd stray items and said something like “why don’t you pick up the misses off the floor and put them in the can”. Instead of pretending I didn’t hear her or instead of getting irritated, I decided to agree with her. Our conversation went something like this:

The Lovely Sharon: “Why don’t you pick up the misses off the floor and put them in the can?”

Me: “Yeah, why don’t I pick the misses off the floor and put them in the can”.

The Lovely Sharon: “It does not take that much effort to bend down and pick em’ up and put them in the can”.

Me: “You are right, it does not take that much effort to bend down and pick em’ up and put them in the can”.

The Lovely Sharon: “If you are not gonna put all of the trash in the can why even have a can?

Me. “You are right, if I am not gonna put all of the trash in the can, why even have a can”?

The Lovely Sharon: “Why don’t you get rid of the can and just build a pile of trash under your desk”?

Me: “You are right, why don’t I get rid of the can and just build a pile of trash under my desk”.

Although I was very much enjoying this wonderful spousal give and take dialogue, the kind of dialogue you could never have with a woman if you were merely dating, I could see that the Lovely Sharon was not getting the same pleasure from our tete a tete. She stopped talking and rolled her eyes in what seem to be a look of defeatism and silently left the Bud Cave for greener pastures. I felt good. I was able to protect the sanctity of the Bud Cave without arguing or pretending I didn’t hear her. It was simple, just agree with her. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

Later that evening I approached her while she was sitting in the family room. I said, “It would be nice if you could pick up my laundry from the cleaners tomorrow while I am at work.” After I uttered these words, she looked at me; first with a look of incredulity and then with a look like a light bulb just went on in her head. She responded with “Yes it would be nice if I could pick up your laundry from the cleaners tomorrow”. She then turned back to watching the TV.

Well, I suppose my new approach of protecting the sanctity of the Bud Cave was not as effecive as I had initially thought. It came right back to bite me in the derriere. Next time I toss something in the Bud Cave trash can, I will make certain it ends up in the can.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Shoes Redux

Here is a post from October 8, 2009.  I decided to repost it.
__________________________


When I was kid, at any given time I had a one pair of low cut, black converse gym shoes. I used these shoes for playing, for walking, for running, for bike riding, for cutting the lawn, for digging up night crawlers for almost everything. I also had church shoes, baseball cleats and snow boots that I used as necessary. For everything else, I wore my black converse. Today, a person cannot engage in athletic or sporting endeavors without the correct shoes and correct outfits.

If you want to walk, you need walking shoes. If you want to run, you need running shoes. If you buy running shoes, you have to figure out if you need pronation shoes, supination shoes or neutral shoes. If you play basketball, you need basketball shoes. If you play tennis, you need tennis shoes. If you ride a bike, you need bike shoes that may or may not be attached to your pedals. If you engaged in more than one activity, you need cross training shoes.

Yesterday I was looking at a Herrington Enthusiasts Catalogue. You probably get this catalogue also. They offer a wide variety of shoes for use when you are driving your car. These shoes run in price from $59 to $180. Options include: the Lake Como Vented Driving Moc, the Lake Como Nardi Driving Moc, the Piloti Lusso driving shoe and numerous other models of shoes specifically designed and manufactured to be used when you are driving your car.

Come on, do we really need special shoes to drive our car? If I go to the grocery store, I wear my driving shoes in the car, my vegetable selection shoes in the vegetable section, my meat shoes in the meat department and my special checkout line shoes when paying for my groceries. Heck, there would be no room in the cart for groceries with all the shoes I need to bring along. If I stop at the library on my way home, I need my very quiet library shoes.

Yesterday I was going to go workout at the gym. I was going to walk on the treadmill, jog on the treadmill, ride a stationary bike, lift weights and use a rowing machine. I could not decide on what type of shoes to wear and I don’t have cross training shoes. So instead of working out I put on my car driving shoes and drove to Dunkin Donuts for half dozen spudnuts and a quart of milk. I guess I need to buy cross training shoes.

The Lovely Sharon is very big into shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, workout shoes, walking shoes, hang out shoes, dress shoes, sandals, slippers, you name it she has em. As many of you know, her collection of golf shoes is second to none. She is the Imeldo Marcos of golf shoes. (OK I admit it; I buy some of her golf shoes for her). If she doesn’t buy a new pair of golf shoes every couple of weeks I get the shakes. I go through a withdrawal that I can’t cope with and then I go and buy her a pair of Footjoys. I bought her wedding shoes for her, handmade, white leather, Italian golf shoes with red roses embroidered on them.

I do long for the days of yore when we only needed a single pair of black converse gym shoes and yet our life was still simple, fulfilling and wonderful. We were not unfulfilled because we did not have a pair night crawler digging shoes.

The next time the Lovely Sharon asks me to vacuum the Bud Cave, I can, with a straight face, tell her that although I would like to do so, I do not have a pair of vacuuming shoes so she will have to handle it on her own.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Way You Look Tonight Video



Check this out

Click on the Link

https://www.box.com/files/0/f/760040196#/files/0/f/760034736/1/f_7087796344


Click on "The Way You Look Tonight" wmv file

Click on  Download

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fun Photos

I found all of these on the internet.

 
Me and the Lovely Sharon working out issues
 
 
 
Been There, Done That
 
 
Its aways nice for your dog to get a shave
 
 
 
The Ironwood Ladies Member -  Guest Golf Tournament is always fun
 
 
My High School Year Book Photo
 
 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Birds of Ironwood

I have posted a number of photos I have taken of birds at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, California.  Here are a few more:

Baby Hawk in a nest on the golf course
 
 



A couple of weeks later



Mother


 
 
Bird on Cactus
 
 
 
 
At the Feeder
 

You Talking to Me?

 

Cost of the Iraq War

I read an interesting article in Huffington Post.com about the cost of the Iraq war. Take a look at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/iraq-war-costs_n_2885071.html

Here are some excerpts:

For the past few months, a strange thing has been happening in the central Iraq town of Fallujah. Thousands of citizens, virtually all of them Sunni Muslims, have been gathering in public squares to protest the oppressive Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sleeping in tents and wielding Twitter feeds and YouTube accounts, the young Sunnis have attempted to take democracy, and a certain sectarian disaffection, into their own hands.

It's not quite the Iraqi Arab Spring -- although that's what it's been tentatively called by some -- but it is a reminder of the stark failure of nearly a decade of American-led warfare in that country.
When President George W. Bush announced the invasion into Iraq in March 2003, the goal was to remove a dangerous dictator and his supposed stocks of weapons of mass destruction. It was also to create a functioning democracy and thereby inspire what Bush called a "global democracy revolution."

The effort was supposed to be cheap -- to require few troops and even less time. Instead, it cost the United States $800 billion at least, thousands of lives and nearly nine grueling years (see the graphic below for a further breakdown of various costs).

The toll on the people of Iraq were even greater. A decade of war left chaos and impoverishment, hundreds of thousands of citizens dead and millions more displaced, and a vicious sectarianism that still threatens to rip the country apart at the seams. The government of Nouri al-Maliki, which has reportedly interfered with independent government bureaucracies and ordered the arrest of his Sunni vice president on trumped-up terrorism charges, often rules in a manner more befitting the autocrat the U.S. invaded to remove.

"Here is a country that's being liberated," proclaimed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a few days into the invasion, even as the first signs of the chaos to come began to stir. "Here are people that are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they're free."

Well instead of the Sunnis repressing the Shitte (Shia) and the Kurds, which existed before our invasion, now we have the Shitte repressing the Sunnis and Kurds after our invasion.  I suppose the next go around the Kurds will be repressing the Sunnis and the Shitte.  Do we really think that things will ever change in Iraq.  Do you feel good about our expenditures of money, life, and limb?

The article goes on to state:

"$800 billion -- was spent on the mission overall, a boondoggle that left more than 4,000 American service members dead, 32,000 more wounded, and an authoritarian government in place that is little better -- and possibly, owing to its closer ties to Iran, worse -- than the one that was taken out.

The total cost over the next 50 years may exceed $6 Trillion as we pay for a lifetime of VA care on the 2,500,000 troops that served in Iraq from 2003 to 2012.

The following is from Foreign Affairs Magazine 

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137103/ned-parker/the-iraq-we-left-behind?cid=ppc-gg-iraq&gclid=CJrojYbbirYCFYdxQgodIT0ALQ

Nine years after U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein and just a few months after the last U.S. soldier left Iraq, the country has become something close to a failed state. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presides over a system rife with corruption and brutality, in which political leaders use security forces and militias to repress enemies and intimidate the general population. The law exists as a weapon to be wielded against rivals and to hide the misdeeds of allies. The dream of an Iraq governed by elected leaders answerable to the people is rapidly fading away.

The Iraqi state cannot provide basic services, including regular electricity in summer, clean water, and decent health care; meanwhile, unemployment among young men hovers close to 30 percent, making them easy recruits for criminal gangs and militant factions. Although the level of violence is down from the worst days of the civil war in 2006 and 2007, the current pace of bombings and shootings is more than enough to leave most Iraqis on edge and deeply uncertain about their futures. They have lost any hope that the bloodshed will go away and simply live with their dread. Acrimony in the political realm and the violence in the cities create a destabilizing feedback loop, whereby the bloodshed sows mistrust in the halls of power and politicians are inclined to settle scores with their proxies in the streets.

The 9/11 terrorist did not come out of Iraq, Iraq had no weapons of mass distruction.  The war was a scam and a disaster.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sarah Palin Got a Rack

The Republican CPAC conference just ended.  You know the conference, several days of  general session speeches and breakout sessions.  Conservative policitians as speakers.  As a political junkie I have followed some of the goings on and am a little surprised at some of the comments.  Here are a few:

Sarah Palin. Palin blasted New York Republican Mayor for his efforts to reduce the sale of gigantic soda pop. She pulled out a big gulp and had a drink.  She blasted Republican consultant Karl Rove, who was President George W. Bush's trusted advisor.  Most bizarrely, she  described  her exchange of Christmas gifts with her husband  and said"Todd got the rifle, I got the rack." I did not make that up.  She really said that. I am not certain what she was talking about but this looks like a before and after photo.






Slavery. Unbelievably in a breakout section, that was to deal with increasing minority participation in the republican party there were statements about going back to a segregated America.  Read the following:

"A panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Republican minority outreach exploded into controversy on Friday afternoon, after an audience member defended slavery as good for African-Americans.

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.
After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association."

Can you believe that at a session on increasing minority participation in the republican party someone is seriously suggesting segregation and seemingly supporting slavery by stating "why should slave owners not have to be forgiven because they provided food and housing".   Unf***ing believable.

Donald Trump.  Donald Trump told everyone he made $8 billion dollars.  Really, we didn't know that Donald.  Then he pontificated on immigration.  He said

"Republicans are on a “suicide mission” if they back a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, and should be encouraging immigration by white Europeans".

So we have a guy who wants segregation back and Donald who wants to import white people.   I can see how this position would increase minorities becoming republicans, can't you?

Rick Perry. Texas governor and republican presidential candidiate said the US government debt equalled the country's GDP.  Read the following:

"Our deficit is approximately equal to our GDP."

 GDP is upward of $15 trillion ($15.1 trillion in 2011, $15.7 trillion in 2012, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis) while the budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2013 is $872 billion, and declining, according to the Congressional Budget Office—it was $1.09 trillion in FY2012 and projects to go down to $616 billion in FY2014.

So Rick was just a little off.

If you recall, Rick Perry was a cheerleader in college.  RAH RAH RAH Gooooooooo Rick!.

All in all, I think Sarah Palin's comment about her getting a rack was probably the best that came out of CPAC.  If your positions are stupid, quotes about racks are always nice.






Sunday, March 17, 2013

Newman and Redford

Here are two great photos of Paul Newman and Robert Redford playing ping pong in Mexico during the filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid







Boys will be Boys

Not My Style


Tallia Orange clothing company offers a collection of interesting clothes but for some reason I don't think they are my style.  It is hard to imagine walking into court and addressing the judge in one of these.









Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quotes

I like words.  I like to hear them and read them when put together in a way that makes us laugh, makes us think, or inspires us.  Sometimes I just like the way sound when put together in a song or a poem.  I like the following:


Here are two quotes from Justices of the Supreme Court:

This document is an incredible combination of confusion, suppression, mutilation and fabrication - Felix Frankfurter

Sunlight is the best disinfectant - Justice Brandeis talking about full disclosure

But our society -- unlike most in the world -- presupposes that freedom and liberty are in a frame of reference that makes the individual, not government, the keeper of his tastes, beliefs, and ideas; that is the philosophy of the First Amendment; and it is this article of faith that sets us apart from most
nations in the world. - William O. Douglas


Woody Allen Quotes:

As the poet said, ‘Only God can make a tree,’ probably because it’s so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.

I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.

I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia      

I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown
 
Buddha
 
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
 
 
John F. Kennedy
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
 
Gordon B. Hinckley (former president of the Mormon Church)
 
Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.

 I don't know who to attribute these quotes to, but I like them:
 
In vino veritas - In wine is truth
Dissent is not the same thing as disloyalty
There are three kinds of people in the world, those who understand math and those who don't.
A dynamic duo of lunatic venom and untrustworthy bile
 
I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong

For no good reason I am adding a couple of photos to this blog entry

Photo of Redfish Lake, Idaho I took a few years back



Taken at my back patio in Palm Desert
 
  My beloved, the Lovely Sharon

 
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Senator Portman and a Change of Views


I read an interesting article about republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio.  Senator Portman was one of the people Mitt Romney was considering as a vice presidential candidate in the last election before Paul Ryan was chosen for that role.  Over the years, Mr. Portman has been a vocal opponent of same sex marriage.  In 2011, Portman's "openly hostile" record on gay rights led to hundreds of students at the University of Michigan objecting to the senator speaking at the school's graduation ceremony.

 "Rob believes marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman," a Portman spokesman told the Plain Dealer at the time of the protest.

Sen. Rob Portman says he now supports same-sex marriage because one of his sons is gay. The Ohio Republican informed reporters from several newspapers in his home state of his reversal, which The Columbus Dispatch calls "stunning."  Portman told The Cincinnati Enquirer his evolution on the subject began in 2011 when his son, Will, then a freshman at Yale University, told his parents he was gay.  Portman told the Enquirer his new views reflect "a change of heart from the position of a father".

I understand Mr. Portman’s change of position and agree with it.  It seems to me that you see some people opposed to gay marriage until one of their children comes out as gay.  Then frequently the parent makes a shift of position wanting their child to have an opportunity for marital happiness just as Mr. Portman did. Just as Dick Cheney did..

In the same fashion, some people are opposed to medical care for all until their child or elderly parent or other relative has some catastrophic illness.

I am not in favor of a welfare state but I am in favor of helping those in need. I am in favor of loving and helping the down trodden. I am in favor of the people being allowed to love whomever they want and being able to be legally committed to that person.

It is sometimes easy to make judgments about big issues until these big issues become personal issues that affect us or our family.  When the big issues become personal issues sometimes our political views dramatically change.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Still Black Smoke

Black smoke is still coming from the Sistine Chapel at the Conclave of Cardinals.  That apparently means I have not yet been selected as the new Pope.  If I selected as the new Pope, I would be the first American and first non-Catholic to be selected as Pope. Instead of the normal Pope hat, I would either wear one of my 10 fedora's or a golf brim.    I do like the red shoes the Pope sometimes wears so I would likely stay with that look although I do have a pair of green shoes I like.  They might go well with my Papal attire.


If I am selected as the Pope, the Lovely Sharon would be Mrs. Pope.  I wonder if I were the Pope would she still boss me around?  My guess would be yes.   I currently have a Bud Cave, but if I were the Pope I would have a Pope Cave. I wonder if she would still make me straighten up the Pope Cave?   If I wanted a taco from Taco Bell I suppose I could just ask one of the Swiss Guards to go get me so I would not have to drive the Pope mobile through the Taco Bell drive through. 

It would be nice to have the Lovely Sharon  and my Pals call me "Your Holiness".  Currently they call me "Bud the Beloved".


If I were Pope, I would let Priests marry. I would ease up on the divorce matters.   I would ok birth control.  I would let women become priests. I would castrate priests who abuse children.

Oh well, I suppose there is no real point in thinking about the things I would do if I were Pope until the white smoke comes out of the pipe.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Plants and Birds

I like to taken photos of plants and birds. Here are a few photos I have taken:

Palm Desert


Palm Desert Cactus


Italy - Sun Flowers

Cactus Flower


Shiny Cactus


Two Baby Hawks



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pals

I have some good pals.  This photo kind of says it all, don't you think?  Golf, green grass, blue sky and old men in shorts.


There is always one guy with phony hair and a phony tattoo



Amigos


I have some nice lady pals.  Remember we are from Utah so there is a certain amount of inbreeding evident here.


My best pal (in rural France)


Life is really about friends and family. Both mean so much to me. I am fortunate to be part of a good family on my side and the Lovely Sharon's side.  I am fortunate to have the men and women friends that I have.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breathing by Bicyclists Causes Pollution

 I love politicians don't you?  I read an article this morning in the Huffington Post.  See:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/ed-orcutt-bike-riders-pollute-environment-washington_n_2805658.html

Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt (R–Kalama), a ranking member of the State Transportation Committee, argues that bicycling is bad for the environment and says bike riders should have to pay a tax to help maintain the state's roads. Orcutt made his comments in an email, which was posted by the Cascade bicycle club blog on Saturday.

In the message, Orcutt states bike riders pollute the environment because they produce more carbon dioxide than car drivers.  

The email from the lawmaker, which was written to bike shop owner Dale Carson, goes on to say that because bike riders have an "increased heart rate and respiration," the act of riding a bike "results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider." 



 "Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride," Orcutt wrote in the message, which Carson provided to The Huffington Post on Monday.

Carson had originally written Orcutt an email arguing against a proposed 5 percent bicycle tax on bikes that cost more than $500. He said biking is good for the environment as part of his argument for why bicycle riders save taxpayers money.

If the argument for a bike tax is that the bicyclists use the road and should share in its upkeep, I have no problem with the argument.  I might disagree with the policy of such a tax but I cannot say the argument is crazy.  If you are trying to raise money for the government to fix roads it is an argument attempting to justify a bike tax.  I for one am glad a republican made the argument. They don't want to tax the oil companies but lets tax the five year old's first tricycle.


However, if the argument is that "breathing causes pollution, bicyclists breathe, therefore bicyclists cause pollution and they should be taxed", then I think of all of the wonderful expansions of such an argument.  Look at all the people doing things that involve breathing, which causes pollution and which therefore should be taxed:


Mom's jogging while pushing a baby buggy
Kids running and swinging in the park
Families hiking in the mountains
Old folks exerting themselves walking with walkers or riding wheel chairs.
Pedestrians


I say tax em all.  I knew there was something wrong and suspicious with all these old folks using walkers.  Now I know what it is.  They are eco-terrorists. Tax them before it is too late.


Now when I see bicyclists on the road, I will not appreciate their environmental efforts.  I will see the enemy, users, bastards. 


Look at these photos.  Don't these bikes just scream out for taxation?

A pretty outfit will not reduce your carbon footprint sir

 Public Enemy No. 1



These fellows are creating pollution in two directions


This guy is worse than a diesel truck


This is for the lazy polluter

 I probably would exempt this rider from tax, she is obviously providing a public service


Watch out for the bike riders, the true cause of climate change.