Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

Regarding the terrorist attempt to bring down that Delta jet:
A) Does anyone still doubt the need to root out Al Qaeda-where ever they are?
B) It should be noted that this guy boarded the plane in Nigeria. While US and European airports are reasonably secure, it is clear that the airports in third world countries are seriously lax. The U.S. should insist on immediate measures to ensure that this does not happen again. We should also insist on the right to inspect such measures. Failing that, all incoming flights from those areas need to be stopped.
C) Think profiling is discriminatory? Worried about hurting someone's 'feelings'. Concerned that you might offend a particular group of people? Tough! Get over it. These are difficult times and require harsh measures.

Message to the media concerning the custody battle raging between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston: I don't care what you may think of Sarah Palin. Leave her and her family alone. It's a private matter and a very unhappy time for all of them. The public does NOT have the right to know every sordid detail of this thing.

Message to Charlie Sheen: Get a grip. Maybe jail time is what you need to straighten yourself out. Two and A Half Men may be a funny TV show but the real life thing is not so funny. Grow up.

Thus endth my rant for the day. But not to worry. There will be more.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review Time

Let's review what we've observed over the past several weeks that the Senate has been dealing with the issue of health care reform. On one hand you have 59 democrats who have been trying mightily to correct a shameful problem in this nation, i.e. millions of Americans who have been denied quality health care because they couldn't afford it or because insurance companies simply would not cover preexisting conditions. On the other hand you have 1 chairman of the Republican National Committee, 40 republicans and one insurance company spokesman-oops, sorry-make that an independent who have resorted to distortion, outright lying, name calling, threats and so-called 'public service' messages (costing millions of dollars) warning of dire consequences to health care reform. These jerks have the audacity to say they're looking out for our best interests. That's the GOP (Grand Opposition party) for you (plus Lieberman, of course). What a miserable pack of pathetic losers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Suggestions, Joe!

Here are two important things you need to do, Senator Lieberman. First, call your fat cat insurance company buddies and tell them they can pull their multimillion dollar ads because health care reform is looking more and more like a lock. Second, as soon as the Senate convenes after the holidays, make it official & join the Republican party. This way your hypocrisy will be in the right place along with all the other republican hypocrisies, i.e. privatization of Social Security, deregulation of Wall Street, too much government, blah, blah. Then when your term is up, we'll be rid of you once and for all. Can't take another chance on you splitting the democratic and republican votes and sneaking in for another 6 years. Totally unacceptable.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

What a difference a day makes! Just twenty four hours ago, Obama was probably ready to throw himself in front of an Amtrak north-bound clipper (see yesterday's blog). But as of today it appears-although details are still lacking- several nations, including China, have agreed to major climate control initiatives; and the Senate has agreed to some sort of health care reform measure leaving Joe Lieberman no reason to hold the nation hostage any longer. Details about this are also absent-at least as of this writing. So the president must be feeling better about things. All he has to do now is get the House of Representatives-a much more liberal body than the Senate-to agree to the Senate's version of the bill and his wish to have it done by Christmas will be granted. Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Give the Poor Guy A Break!

Poor Barack. He just can't seem to get a break. Republicans were never on board with his attempt to reform health care legislation and now liberal Democrats are jumping ship. On top of that he can't count on the support of dirt bag Joe Lieberman. Add to that the Copenhagen debacle. You couldn't get them to agree on the salad dressing never mind climate control initiatives! The war in Afghanistan becoming more and more controversial, persistently high unemployment figures and now the news that Iranian forces have surrounded an Iraqi oil field threatening the precariously fragile stability of the region! What's this guy gotta do??? I think he should pull a Sarah Palin, i.e. quit, write a book and make tons of money! Problem solved (his anyway).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Story from a WWII Vet

On previous occasions I've written about my friend Vern who was a prisoner of war in a German prison during World War II. On Tuesday morning he told us another story. It seems that at one of the Stalags where he was being kept some of the prisoners decided to attempt an escape. They began digging a tunnel next to Vern's bunk. As this plan proceeded Vern was not aware of it because due to his physical condition he had not been asked to participate. One afternoon German guards came through the barracks. They had crowbars and they were tapping the floor. When they came to the spot where the tunnel was being dug, the tapping of the crowbar produced a distinctly different noise. The first thing I thought of was knocking on a wall to try to find a stud. It's similar to that. Anyway, when the Germans heard the sound they ripped up the floor boards and discovered the tunnel. Because the closest bunk was Vern's, they took him to the commandant's office. Vern was extremely frightened. He thought he was going to be shot. When he was seated, the commandant poured him a glass of schnapps, sat down and asked him if he knew anything about the escape plan. Vern was able to truthfully answer that he knew nothing. The commandant poured him another schnapps, let him drink it and then returned him to his quarters. Vern is still not sure how he got out of that jam. It didn't square with all the stories he'd heard. He went on to tell us how the prisoners managed to dispose of the dirt they removed from the tunnel. It was done in exactly the same way as depicted in the Steve McQueen movie, The Great Escape. They filled their pockets and slowly released it in the prison yard. Obviously the producers of the movie did their research. A short time after all of this happened, Patton's 3rd Army rescued Vern and the rest of the prisoners. We speculated that the German commandant knew the end was near and he was hoping for consideration for his kindness. Vern considers himself lucky! Stories like this make me realize how lucky WE are.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Gospel: According to Everyone

When in the company of about 30 adults who have had a few drinks, it's only natural that a rather diverse array of interesting 'information' would be overheard. Thus I present the following list of overheard and discussed items for your consideration:
-Sarah Palin is an extremely bright woman & breath of fresh air for the nation.
-Sarah Palin is an idiot and utterly devoid of an original thought. She would be a disaster if elected to ANYTHING.
-Global warming is a huge hoax. There is no evidence what-so-ever for it.
-Global warming is a fact and we better take control of the situation before it's too late.
-Obama is a raving socialist who is ruining the country.
-Obama is a highly intelligent, progressive leader who is doing a great job.
-Health care reform is the ruination of this country. It won't be long before anyone over the age of 72 will not be covered by Medicare because statistically they'd be on borrowed time anyway so why spend money on them.
-Health reform is absolutely necessary and it's a crime that a nation like this can't provide basic quality health care to every single person.
-Stop going to doctors. They don't know what the hell they're doing and they're in league with insurance companies and big pharma.
-Great idea. Stop going to doctors-and die!
-Voters should vote against every single politician coming up for reelection in 2010 no matter who's running against him/her.
-Voters should carefully consider all candidates and if worthy reelect an incumbent.
-Senators Dodd & Lieberman are history. No argument there at all.
-The Saab & the Saturn (old news) are history.
-Volvo is being sold to China (new news).
-A former resident of South Africa told us to stop whining. SA has the highest income tax in the world and it's tough-really tough-to be a woman there.
-Tiger Woods has a lot of explaining to do. He needs to go on national television, confess all and ask for forgiveness.
-Tiger Woods should do exactly what he's doing. Say nothing publicly and deal with the situation privately. It's no one's business and no one really cares anyway.
-PGA revenue is going to take a huge hit next season.
-The minute Woods returns to the golf course, PGA revenue will sky rocket.
-Chinese made products are junk.

Those are just a few of the juicy nuggets that were thrown around all of which generated a great deal of heated discussion. Talk about global warming! And on that cheerful note we all wished each other a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Note from China: Some Assembly Required

You know the three great lies, don't you? 1) The check's in the mail. 2) Of course I'll respect you in the morning & 3) I'm from the government and I'm here to help. Well they ought to add a fourth to that list: 'some assembly required'. Last night I put together a Thomas the Engine toy box for my grand son. By now I've gotten really good at putting stuff together. I've been doing it for so long that it's gotten easy to remember common patterns and engineering tricks. But there's absolutely no doubt that in recent years, things have gotten more difficult. Why? Made in China, that's why. It's not uncommon for parts to be missing, mismatched or of poor quality. For example, last night's particular item required a large number of different sized screws and an allen wrench. After using the allen wrench just once, the edges got so rounded that it was worthless. Off to the garage to get one of my own. As for the screws. I needed 8 of a large size and 22 smaller ones. What I got were 5 large ones and 35 smaller ones. Off to the garage to get screws of my own. This is not the first time something like this has happened. In fact it's more the rule than the exception. And it doesn't matter who the company is that sells the stuff. It's all made in China and any pretense to quality control is a bunch of bull. Once I wrote the company that makes those Radio Flyer wagons (genuine American made, right? BULL!)and complained about misaligned holes. They wrote back a long letter about their strict quality control standards. What a bunch of baloney! The thing looked like it was shipped directly from China. The box wasn't opened at all. For all the company knew it could have contained rice. Who's to fault for all this? Remember that blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago quoting Pogo? "We have met the enemy and they is US". It's our (yours actually) own fault. We (you) are not willing to pay a little more for quality. Instead, it's off to Walmart where virtually everything in the store is made in China. I'm not going to stop complaining because I gladly pay more for a quality product-when I can find one, that is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He Must Go!

Confirmation that Joe Lieberman has lost his way appeared in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. He was the subject of their weekly interview. Among other things, Lieberman stated that 'no how, no way' was there going to be a health care reform bill that included the so-called 'public option'. It doesn't matter that the concept of 'public option' has yet to be clearly defined. It doesn't matter that some kind of 'public option' is the only real way previously uninsurable people will get health insurance. It doesn't matter that HMOs and insurance companies are the ones with the strangle-hold on many people. Just exactly who is Lieberman protecting? How is it possible for one person, no matter what committee he may chair, to be able to block further action by the entire senate? It looks like Palin isn't the only one who's gone rogue! I hope the voters are reminded of all of this when Lieberman's term is up.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who's Responsible!

Have you seen the series of commercials lately that urge viewers to oppose health care reform? One is delivered by a doctor who criticizes the current rendition and the other is a long, sad narrative of a family who is facing financial ruin because of rising health care costs suggesting whatever comes out of Congress is going to be bad. I did a little research and discovered one of those commercials is sponsored by an anti union lobbying group. The other is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Both groups represent the insurance industry and they're obviously using scare tactics to further their cause. Nevertheless, I got to thinking about health care costs as it relates to me personally and I think one area of responsibility has to fall on our very own doctors. For example here's a list of all doctors I've been told I have to visit by my primary care MD:

Plastic surgeon

Some of these I've ignored. Others I have not and as such a visit usually resulted in one or more expensive tests. Granted I've had some unusual health issues over the past year and in many cases it was a good thing that I went but in at least 4 instances the visit was not necessary. The reason for this is because primary care doctors do not possess the diagnostic skills people once expected from their doctor. So referrals to specialists is a constant on-going thing. The other reason is because people today are so quick to sue that every doctor has to play the game of CYA. So what we're talking about here is better training and tort reform. These are areas that need to be addressed before there's any hope of meaningful reform.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Life Between A Rock and A Hard Place

How would you like to be the president right now? On one side he's got the hard right hammering him for setting a time table for withdrawal from Afghanistan. On the other side he's getting hammered just as hard from the far left for being there in the first place. I have taken the liberty of classifying both of these groups as simply the lunatic fringe. Between these two loud, generally obnoxious groups there's you and me-well me anyway. I don't know about you whoever you are! Obama of course did exactly the right thing. He acknowledged that it's in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan that we can find the charming people who brought us 9/11. They need to be destroyed or they'll attempt to hurt us again. He also recognized that this can not and should not be an open-ended commitment. He's taking the huge gamble that 18 months from now, US and the few allied forces that are there will have largely destroyed Al Qaeda. His presidency is riding on this, the issue of health care reform and the state of the economy on election day in 2012. No, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the president!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Hot Air

Obnoxious gas bag (henceforth referred to as OGB), Karl Rove was on the Today show this morning picking apart the president's forthcoming speech. No matter that Rove hasn't heard it yet. But why should little things like the facts stop him and others of his ilk, i.e. Cheney, Palin, Limbaugh, etc, from spreading their venom all over the air waves? It's such a pity there always seems to be a microphone around to accommodate their quest for the limelight. They're the very reason I keep my remote close at hand. Click, click. They're gone! Great invention, the remote.