Monday, November 29, 2004

"You better watch your step."

This is the story of a military veteran whistleblower. He spoke out against someone he thought was dangerous for the nation, talked to local newspapers, and appeared on talk shows. In return, he was vilified by reporters, threatened by a political operative, fired by his company, and now he's broke.

His name is Steve Gardner.

More here

Let's hope John O'Neill, a successful attorney and co-author with Jerome Corsi of UNFIT FOR COMMAND, can do something to help.


Friday, November 26, 2004

Vote Pat Tillman SI's Sportsman of the Year!!!

Sports Illustrated is doing its Sportsman of the Year Fan Poll. One of the athletes nominated is Pat Tillman.

To vote, click on the link I've shown above. A "strip" of small pictures will be on the left side of the screen. Scroll down, Tillman is the next to last one shown.

Click on his picture and a small window will open where you can read his bio and/or vote.

The response will be a list of the top three vote getters.

Yesterday Lance Armstrong was first, someone I never heard of was second, and Pat Tillman was third.

(I spotted it at Knowledge is Power and kept trying to generate a link to her post. I finally gave up.)


Sunken Treasures

Northeast Florida's shoreline (frequently referred to as Florida's First Coast) is filled with history. Some, like Spain's settlement of St. Augustine, is chronicled and easily accessible today.

Others are there, too, but much harder if not impossible to find, until revealed by this season's hurricanes.


The Diplomad?

While waiting to see if fire department woulld join us for Thanksgiving (Hubby was outside doing his first deep-fried turkey), and since everything I had to take care of was done (had been done) I cruised blogs. One I found so interesting, I'm telling you about it.

I have no idea of these "guys" are really real, but they seem to make a lot of sense. They make a lot of sense to me, anyway, because I agree with quite a bit of what they have to say.

Diplomad describes itself as:

A Blog by career US Foreign Service officers. They are Republican (most of the time) in an institution (State Department) in which being a Republican can be bad for your career -- even with a Republican President! Join the State Department Republican Underground. FSOs (and others) Send us your suggested posts to diplomad-at-hotmail-dot-com
Give 'em a look!

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Snowing in Hell?

Yep. And the Cubs are going to win the World Series next year, too.

How do I know? Easy. I finally agree with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on something:

[Catty Shack Ranch] is not a sanctuary. ... In reality, this is a traveling animal show. It's strictly for profit, and they have nothing to do with rescuing and providing a sanctuary to animals."]
On Tuesday, PETA asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to revoke Catty Shack's license.

Florida's laws governing the possession of big cats turns out to be (polite cough) a little lacking.

Carole Baskin, past president of The Association of Sanctuaries and director of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, said there are thousands of places posing as sanctuaries "that are nothing more than ways to circumvent pet laws."
More here.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Dinner is done . . .

. . . when the smoke alarm goes off!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Black November...

When I was a young turkey, new to the coop,
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,
Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;
His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of..... Black November;
"Come about August, now listen to me,
Each day you'll get six meals instead of just three,
"And soon you'll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you'll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin;
"And then one morning, when you're warm in your bed,
In'll burst the farmer's wife, and hack off your head;
"Then she'll pluck out all your feathers so you're bald 'n pink,
And scoop out your insides and leave ya lyin' in the sink;
"And then comes the worst part" he said not bluffing,
"She'll spread your cheeks and pack you with stuffing".
Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,
And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I'd have to lay low and remain overlooked;
I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola;
And as they ate pastries, and drank double mocha lattes,
I stayed in my room doing pilates;
I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;
But 'twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;
And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound;
So now I'm a pet in the farmer's wife's lap;
I haven't a worry, so I eat and I nap;
She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said: "Christmas is coming..."

Hat tip, Hey Joe!


It's Wednesday before Thanksgiving . . . again

The green beans are done and so are the Brussel Sprouts. (It wouldn't be Thanksgiving for me without Brussel Sprouts.) Field (blacked-eyed) peas are next, but I decided I deserved a break. The mountain of vegetables still to be cooked doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, but that's what it looks like every year until, suddenly, they're all gone. Instead, there's a new mountain but this one is made of plastic containers.

It's also that time of year when just about everything that was in the fridge gets tossed. No choice, or there won't be enough room for what has to go in.

Like the pies. Oh, they're not ones I bake because quite honestly, I'm "dough-challenged." I used to try, I tried for years until one Thanksgiving Da Kid walking in, almost got a faceful to dough in the face when I was heaving another useless glob out the door. (When I get really angry, I throw things.) So by my family's request, I just buy 'em now.

I also learned to buy just an apple pie because that's the only kind Hubby will eat.

I know I said pies. Plural. That's because part of what I've learned is that Da Kid will be bringing home several pumpkin pies: one from a neighbor who bakes one just for him, another one from his intended's family baked just for him, one from his job because every year one of the customers bakes one just for him . . .

Back to work. The vegetables are calling.

Later: Except for fixing the Stove Stop (dramatically throws back of hand to forehead) tomorrow, I'm done and so are the vegetables. I don't even remember what's inside of half of the plastic containers in the fridge. Except for the frozen field peas, all of the vegetables were fresh.

Now that I've spent all day cooking, I have no idea what we're going to have for dinner tonight nor do I care. I don't know if you're affected the same way, but after seeing so much food I'm not even hungry. I don't even want to think about food. Maybe later and if so, I suspect Hubby will call for a drive-by pizza . . . which come to think of it, is what he does every Wednesday-night-before-Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Attack not first by ranch big cats

That front page headline in today's paper sure gave me the jollies. Yep. It sure did, especially as I read the rest of the article.

"State documents describe four attacks in five years involving big cats from Jacksonville's Catty Shack Ranch and Wildlife Sanctuary, whose owner was mauled this weekend at the St. Johns County Agricultural Fair after pulling a tiger off a 14-year-old boy."

We're not talking little tabby cats, folks, but these fools don't seem to realize that.

"The 1999 incident occurred when an assistant took one of the ranch's cougars from a veterinarian's office to her home, keeping it in her garage. The woman took the cougar out of its enclosure to clean it, but she forgot to close her garage door. A 19-month-old girl wandered from her back yard into the garage, where the cougar was held by a pole with a noose. The little girl approached, and the cougar "attacked the child, inflicting the bite," Lt. Skip Trubey wrote. She needed two stitches."

Thank goodness it was only two stitches. But ya know, like, everybody keeps a cougar in their garage?


It's Tuesday before Thanksgiving . . . again

As I do every year, I made one last try to talk Hubby out of a Thanksgiving turkey before I went to the grocery store. I already knew what his response would be but what the heck. Maybe one year . . .

One year I did come close.

If hubby is going to insist on fixing a turkey, I won't offer one bit of assistance or cooperation. He's going to have to buy every single thing for it including the bird itself. It's his show.

I hate crowded stores so my Thanksgiving shopping is normally done well in advance, except for odds and ends that won't keep. Hubby does his shopping on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. All of it. And one year, although he was supposed to be off, the phone rang and he was called into work on an emergency before he'd had a chance to shop. And since a major subdivision has absolutely NO water, he wouldn't be done until long after the stores had closed.

I was so happy.

Then the phone rang. It was ________ who owns the local meat market. Hubby had called him explaining he was stuck at work and wasn't sure if he'd be able to pick up the turkey he'd ordered. "If I'm not there by (whatever time) how 'bout calling my wife. She'll pick it up and I'll pay for it the next time I'm in."

Since Hubby was stuck at work, to make sure he had everything he might need for the turkey, ________ threw in an aluminium roasting pan, a box of aluminium foil, enough boxes of Stove Top dressing to fill a bird that size, a package of bacon to cover it while it's cooking . . .


Since Hubby and I don't "play well together" in the kitchen, tomorrow is my cooking day. I do all the veggies and then package 'em up so that way, on Thursday, they only have to be reheated.

I did the baked goods today. I bought an apple pie.

To be continued . . .

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Thanksgiving . . . again.

I hate Thanksgiving. No, not the day itself or what it represents. It's the turkey.

I don't like turkey. A few slices of turkey breast on a sandwich now and again, or maybe even some chunks of smoked turkey on a barbeque salad. That I can handle. It's the whole "BIG BIRD" thing that makes dread this time of year.

I don't like turkey, and there's a good reason for it.

Dad worked for Grumman, and every year the company gave its employees a turkey for Thanksgiving. Dad always tried to find the smallest one he could. The smallest one he managed to find ever weighed a mere 18 pounds. When you grow up in a waste-not, want-not home, that means you kept eating leftover turkey is some form until it is really and truly finally gone. And then for Christmas, each year Grumman gave its employees another one.

That was already bad enough but one year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Dad won a turkey at the local tavern. (In fact, I think he may have won two back to back but managed to foist one off on his sister's family.)

Still, if you ate turkey for . . . six weeks straight (give or take a few days) you'd hate it, too.

So years (and years) later I'm now married and since I hate turkey, I suggested we have ham for Thanksgiving.

Nooooo! It wouldn't be right because his family always had turkey on Thanksgiving.

"Well," said yours truly. "Then you're going to be the one cooking it."

Unfortunately, I married a guy who, raised in a restaurant family, can. And for 30-some-odd-years, has made sure that on Thanksgiving, we . . . always . . . have . . . turkey. A big one.

To be continued . . .

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A birthday to remember

"Grant Bradley remembers making eye contact, turning his back, hearing a growl, then panicking as a 350-pound Siberian tiger tackled him Saturday night at the St. Johns County Agricultural Fair."

"To top it all off, Bradley was at the fair to celebrate his birthday."

More information from the Florida Times-Union on yesterday's incident with the Tasered Tiger.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Interesting, doncha think . . .

Not really. Typical is more like it.

How many reports from different sources have you read about Dubya's reaction after the altercation in Chili, when he went into the crowd that had cordoned off one of his Secret Service agents?

Time and time again, news reports have said that once it was over, Dubya was visibly less than pleased.

Oh, but not Dana Banks from CNN!

Bush turned around, cocked his head proudly at his maneuver and began to greet his hosts.

Any wonder why when it comes to ratings, CNN and the MSM has been going down the tubes?

I didn't think so.

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When the wind is right . . .

A number of years ago I was outside doing something, -- what I don't remember -- when I glanced up at the main road and for just an instant, thought I saw a tiger going by, riding in the bed of a pickup truck. It was one of those double-take situations. When I looked again, there was nothing there. The truck had gone by.

Not long after, I was outside doing something -- what I don't remember -- when I glanced up at the main road and just for an instant . . .

I bet you thought I was going to say I thought I saw a tiger going by, riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Nope. This time if was a full grown lion, its mane blowing in the wind.

I hadn't been wearing my glasses either time, but you know. Once could be a mistake. Twice?

It raised one of two possibilities: Either I was having hallucinations and needed immediate hospitalization, or something was going on.

I mentioned it to Da Kid who said, "You haven't heard anything? Anything strange?"

I admitted I had on an occasion or two, but didn't know what it was. It was so far in the distance and so infrequent, I hadn't paid that much attention to it.

"That's a lion, mother. (I hate it when he calls me "mother"!) When the wind is right, you can hear it from here when they roar."

And that's how I discovered that something called Catty Shack Ranch had moved in down the road from us.

They refer to themselves as an animal preserve. I have no idea if they are or aren't and quite frankly don't care as long as they keep whatever they have down there locked in.

Just one of the cuddly "puddy-tats" at Catty Shack Ranch.

They don't.

No, they take their lions, tigers and bears (I think the wolves are gone. Maybe the bears, too, because I haven't seen either listed on the web site for a while.) to fairs and flea markets so that idiots can pay to have their picture taken, cuddling up with them.

I don't know about anybody else, but I think those people are insane. I don't care if the animals have been raised since cub-dom, they are still wild animals that can and will eat you.

Case in point: When I was small my aunt took me to see a tiger in one of those traveling shows, much like this one appears to be. I would not pet the tiger, sit with the tiger, or have my picture taken with it. (Even then I might have been crazy, but I wasn't insane.) The next day, that tiger woke up with a really bad case of the munchies, I guess, and chowed down on its own handler.

So the headline Tiger Injures Handler at Florida Fair didn't surprise me. What did although it shouldn't have, was that it's "my neighbor" who's in the news.

(The animals are tranported in a cage in the back of the pickup trucks. But, if you see what's IN the cage without noticing the cage itself? It sure doesn't help promote a sense of secure containment.)

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Friday, November 19, 2004


Calgary Sun columnist Ian Robinson has a few choice words to those in the U.S. who are so unhappy about Bush's reelection, that they're considering moving to Canada: Stay home you pathetic whining maggots!



When you see something here flagged as DRINK ALERT!, please take appropriate precautions.

If you don't, like me, you'll probably end up spewing whatever beverage you were drinking everywhere. You will then have to spend time you don't have wiping down your screen [1] and using numerous cotton swabs to remove the liquid from between your keys.

[1] Your screen probably needed cleaning anyway.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Mark (cough) your calendars ...

. . . for November 19, 2004! Celebrate World Toilet Day!!!

If you would like to attend the summit the World Toilet Organization has planned, information on it is available at its website, including a link to their downloadable file on the planned post-conference tour.

UPDATE: Knowledge Is Power has conference pix!


Monday, November 15, 2004


It went from a mad-mad world to completely nuts when I went back to the grocery store today to see if the price of bell peppers had changed.

It had. Now, they were $1.99 each.

So, I went to another grocery store and found that theirs are priced at $2.99 a pound.

I don't think so.

So, being the really smart and savy shopper that I am, I walked over to the freezer aisle and instead, bought a 10 oz. package of frozen, already diced bell peppers for 89 cents.


It was the oil, stupid

Think about the United Nations and all the opportunities it had to stop Saddam, and the twelve years in which it did nothing.

And don't forget when the U.S. went to the U.N. repeatedly, how certain countries took every opportunity to ensure that Saddam remained in power.

As more and more becomes known about the Oil-For-Food Program in Iraq, the U.N. — looking dirtier and dirtier — still refusing to cooperate, may be in for a surprise.

Annan's obstruction of outside investigations has strong support within the U.N. members whose citizens are most likely to be embarrassed by revelations of payoffs: Russia, France and China lead all the rest. He has dutifully continued to align himself with their interests by declaring the overthrow of Saddam "illegal" and recently denouncing our attack on the insurgents in Falluja. Perhaps he thinks that this confluence of national interest in cover-up - along with the unwillingness of most media to dig into a complicated story - will let his stonewalling succeed. He reckons not with an insulted Congress.
William Safire has more .


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Happy First Anniversary . . .

. . . to Iraq The Model!

I've watched quietly from the sidelines since Omar, Ali and Mohammed, three brothers, entered "Blogdad" for the first time a year ago. Unlike what I was hearing and reading via the MSM about what was happening in Iraq, theirs was a completely different perspective. First, they lived there and had all their lives. They knew all too well what life under Saddam had been like. Secondly, they were positive about the changes that had already occurred and even more positive about Iraq's future.

Two cultures that had been such strangers began to become acquainted, discovering in some cases incredible similarities. (One was their introduction to our Thanksgiving Day, that last year coincided with Eid, their food-filled celebration that officially marks the end of Ramadan.)

And so it continued and continues still.

Today we celebrate the 1st anniversary of this blog. We sat together recalling the early moments in the life of Iraq the model, reliving the moments of happiness and grief and the huge magnitude of events we've been through in the past twelve months where tears mixed with smiles, anger and's been a long year. Many people ask me why I started to write and how was the beginning and I today remember the time when we were sitting together, carrying our dreams, our ambitions and our hunger to communicate with the others; it felt like a sweet dream to find all the doors wide open for us and all the chains that restricted our minds simply gone. I am free...

Mohammed, 11/14/04
Read the rest.

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

A mad-mad world

We're out of spaghetti sauce and will be.

I have the cans of crushed tomatoes, the ground beef, fresh garlic and everything else except for the bell pepper.

(If you don't put diced bell pepper in your sauce, I do so just shaddap about it. Okay?)

I went to the grocery store today to pick up a few odds and ends and on my list was the bell pepper I'd forgotten to buy earlier in the week. When I got home I still didn't have the bell pepper but this time it wasn't because I'd forgotten it.

After I finished lugging the "odds and ends" in (four trips) that's when Hubby magically appeared, and just in time to see me putting the cans of crushed tomato back in the cabinet.

"What are you doing," he whined. "I thought you were going to make spaghetti sauce."

Suddenly I was back in the grocery store, sorting though the small to medium-sized bell peppers looking for a decent-sized one that wasn't damaged in some way. One that looked like it hadn't been sitting there for a weeks. Again, I was experiencing the same shock I'd had earlier when I glanced at their price, a price I kept reading again and again — even reading each character individually — because I knew I had to be mistaken: Bell Peppers, $1.79 ea.


Hubby will survive his disappointment, especially after I tossed a couple of beautiful NY Strip steaks at him. "These were on sale."

It's a mad-mad world when considering the price per pound, steak is cheaper than bell peppers.

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A Reality Check

Ed Gamble, Florida Times-Union


Friday, November 12, 2004

It's still there.

Mount St. Helens that is.

7:19 a.m., October 3, 2004 Posted by Hello

Even after all of the media-hyped furor that it was going to erupt . . .

9:05 a.m., October 5, 2004 Posted by Hello

. . . and wipe out all life as we know it . . . or some such.

If you're wondering why the coverage faded out so quickly, I'm guessing other stories (like an upcoming election) took more of the air time, especially since those stunning photos the media couldn't transmit to its viewers fast enough were no longer available.

No, it wasn't a dastardly plan by Karl Rove.

It was the annual arrival of something called fog.

4:14 p.m., October 8, 2004 Posted by Hello

Yep, it looks like Mount St. Helens is still there. And quite beautiful, too.

6:36 p.m., November 12, 2004 Posted by Hello

All pics collected via the live VolcanoCam located at Johnston Ridge Observatory.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans Day

Probably only old farts like me remember that today used to be known as Armistice Day, to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Versailles at 11 o'clock in the morning, on November 11, 1918, marking the end of World War I, and honoring all those who'd sacrificed in it.

(No, I wasn't there but back in the old days we used to be taught a subject called history.)

Yesterday, November 10, was the 229th anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps, and on that same date in 1954, on its 179th anniversary, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the U.S.M.C. War Memorial.

(photo by Doyle) Posted by Hello

That same year, President Eisenhower signed a bill changing November 11 to Veterans Day, in honor of all those who've served America in all wars.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom broad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

Sen. Zell Miller - September 1, 2004

May God bless those those who've served, are serving now, and all their families.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

‘Tis the Season?

(Not Christmas, silly. Thanksgiving hasn’t even gotten here yet, although if the stores begin their Holiday decorating any sooner they might as well just leave the stuff up year-’round.)

Soup Season!

Hubby fixed a smoked ham earlier this week, which meant I had this lovely ham bone. The weather here has definitely gotten chillier and the combination screamed to me, "SOUP!"

I wondered if might be my Yankee upbringing that made this such a compulsion, until I saw Jenna had blogged that with the weather getting cooler, she'd made a pot of soup last night!

The next hurdle for me was figuring out what kind of soup to make, so I consulted Da Eating Machine (a.k.a. Da Kid).

"I have a ham bone and I’m going to make a pot of soup. Which kind do you want?" Then I began pulling out of the cabinet bags of dried limas, navy beans, 15-bean, 17-bean, kidney, split peas . .

Before he fled (Was it the crazed expression on my face?) he gasped, "Split pea!"

So, that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Pot (1)
Bag of dried split peas (2 cups-worth I’m guessing) (1)
Ham bone (1)
Leftover ham (some)
Onion, diced (small) (1)
Celery, diced stalk (2)
Potato, peeled and cut into chunks (medium) (2)
Carrot, peeled and thin-sliced (1, it was the last one or I would have used 2)
Bay leaf (1)
Salt and pepper

Put the water, ham bone and dried peas in the pot. Bring to boil. While that’s happening, cut up the rest of the stuff (leftover ham and vegetables) and put it in the pot. Add bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.

Turn heat down and simmer until the split peas have become sludge. Stir as needed.

Total time, maybe two hours.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More on Reforming Social Security

Derrick Max, with the Allicance for Worker Retirement Security, writing for NRO explains why Bush needs to act "preemptively" just as he did with Iraq.

It is essential that we rally around him and support his effort. Our children and grandchildren depend on his victory.

Jack Kemp wades through some of the arguments and offers political advice.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Not just no, but . . .

Hubby found Da Kid’s lizard (this kind) dead a little while ago. Given to him by someone who’d had it for I don’t know how many years who said he no longer could care for it, it’s been here for three, maybe four years.

It started going downhill so Da Kid, who is also a Vet Tech, took it with him to his new part-time vet tech job (that’s in addition to his regular vet tech job plus his college schedule) at an animal E.R. yesterday, for one of the veterinarians there to see what was what. The prognosis wasn’t good and like I said, it didn’t make it.

I don’t do lizards but I’ve fed it and yadda yadda, so I got a shoe box, cushioned it with newspaper and paper towels and put the lizard inside so that way when Da Kid got home, we could give it a proper burial.

No. Da Kid’s and his fiancé (who also works at E.R.) were going to take it to the E.R. for a necropsy. Until they got here to pick it up, I should put it in the fridge — the fridge where I keep something called food — until they arrived.

I'm not a heartless person but not just no, ____ NO!

The lizard’s tank is heated in various sections to temperatures ranging from 90 to 120 F. so it had already turned a little . . . jiggly? Jiggly’s a very good word even it spell check doesn’t recognize it.

Let's just bury it!

No, the lizard, resting in my shoe box, is now on its way across town because as they explained to me what they find, down the road might just help keep another lizard alive.

(I'm going to miss that ugly sucker.)

Addendum: Liver. Why, no idea. And now there's a little patch of overturned ground about the size of a shoebox in our yard.

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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Privatize Social Security

I can hear the screams already: That heartless Doyle wants old people to starve and freeze to death and . . .

Shaddap and hear me out. It’s only a proposal right now and it makes sense.

First, it’s a misnomer. No one is suggesting the immediate end to the present Social Security system. Think of it more like SS slowly, potentially being phased out over several decades, because that’s how long it’s going to take. Current recipients and "older workers" (35 to 40 years of age) would see no change, but younger workers just starting out would. That change is an option.

Younger workers could choose to stay completely with Social Security, or, they could decide to take a small percentage of what’s being deducted from their paycheck for it, and have it redirected for their own, personal retirement account.

What’s the difference?

The worker owns the money they put into their account, not the government.

You pay into Social Security for years and years and then . . . get smooshed dead by a bus before you are even old enough to collect a single check. Of what you paid in, your spouse might get some monthly income under Survivor’s Benefits until they remarry or croak themselves. Each of your minor children will get a dinky little check monthly until they turn 18. The government keeps the rest including all of the interest your mandatory Social Security deductions generated.

Don’t have a spouse or minor children, oh well. It’s the government’s money.

By comparison, the funds directed into your own account including all of the interest from it, become part of your estate to be passed on to . . your faithful dog if that’s your choice.

You pay into Social Security for years and years and then . . . you’re this far away from retirement and the government says, nope. We changed our mind. Now, you have to work until age (fill in the blank) before we give you a stinkin’ dime.

You worked for it. You earned it, but tough. It's not your money. It’s the government’s.

Better yet, you pay into Social Security and then the government tells you that because it changed the rules, you’ll never get a stinkin’ dime. Oh, yeah, and that change? It affects your spouse’s receipt, too, even if he’s already receiving Social Security Disability payments.


Think I’m joking? I’m not because I didn’t find anything even slightly humorous when I went to my pre-retirement seminar years ago, which is when I discovered no matter how much I’d already paid into Social Security or paid into it in the future, the Windfall Elimination Provision meant the government doesn’t have to return to me a stinkin’ dime I paid into Social Security or in the future ever will. And under the Government Pension Offset, my local government pension eliminates Hubby’s Social Security no matter how much he paid into it in the past or might in the future.

And if he were already receiving Social Security Disability? Tough.

(Of special note, I think, is that both Windfall Elimination and Government Offset exempt Federal Employees from its provisions.)

Hubby’s still working, thank goodness, and still paying into his own pension plan. And guess what. It’s the same thing.

Would you keep dealing with a bank that changed its rules as it chose, even closing out peoples’ accounts in order to keep the funds? Would you require everyone else to do business with them?

No. You wouldn’t. At least I hope you wouldn’t.

We older workers are stuck. Younger ones aren’t if they are allowed the opportunity to take part of what they’re going to be paying into Social Security anyway, and instead, divert it into something that they, themselves, own.

That’s all this proposal is.

I think I’ve run out of gas right now. Aincha glad?

UPDATE: Looks like Neal Boortz has has a few things to say, too. Then again, when doesn't he.


Numbers, numbers everywhere!

Whose election polls didn't stink?

Polipundit takes a look.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Arlan Specter

Wayne at No Shades of Gray lives in Phili, and to my read it doesn't seems like there was much choice: Specter or Hoeffel.

And now after Dubya and the GOP backed him, SPECTER SLAPS THEM IN THE FACE.


Great, just great

A neighbor, who has never been overly concerned about keeping her multitude of dogs in her little yard, added a piglet to her menagerie a few months ago. Not a Vietnamese Potbellied Pig this time, either, but a real one. The porker, while still small, has grown quite a bit and has bonded with one of her escape-artist dogs.

When I heard my back gate CLANG this morning, I instinctively thought Da Kid was home from work. Da Kid never shuts the back gate, he CLANGS it closed. But he wasn't due home for several hours and the noise not only didn't stop, it kept getting louder.

I looked out of the back window to discover the dog already in my yard, and the pig throwing itself against the gate trying to follow. And follow it did when it finally managed to open my latched plus bungie-corded gate just enough to squeeze through.

Chase ensued as I tore around the yard trying to herd the two OUT of my gate.

Let me rephrase that. With a two bad knees (one is way worse than the other) and a-just-about- healthy-again-but-not-completely-healed-yet sprained ankle, I hobbled after them quickly and purposefully, loudly saying nasty things to them and about the neighbor.

(Meanwhile inside, my dogs were loudly losing their minds. I'm not sure but it sounded to me like they were bellowing, "BACON! BACON ON THE HOOF!")

Dog, closely followed by the pig, finally headed back out the way they'd come in and headed home.

I followed and closed the neighbor's gate (she wasn't home) behind them.

About 45 minutes later, they were back. Back in my yard. Both of them.

This time another neighbor's 13-year-old son helped me get THEM out and home. And then, the neighbor still not home, we TIED their gate shut with hay rope.

I don't know when the neighbor finally got home, but when I saw her car late this afternoon I walked over. Please do something with that pig, I said. Pen it, fix your gate, do something. It's been in my yard twice today bending the corner of my gate in order to get in and . . .

The pig, she assured me, would be going to her father's-in-law farm shortly. It would have been there already except the pig prefers dog food to hog feed, the latter it won't eat.

When it gets hungry enough, I said, it will.

Supposedly (I'll believe it when I don't see it.) the pig will be gone tomorrow. At least that's what she said before, "Do you know what I got today?"

And that is when, almost as if on cue, from her backyard came, MOOOOO!

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Friday, November 05, 2004

I did it!

I wrote this absolutely wonderful — if I do say so myself — blog entry watching the returns coming in on the evening of November 2 about being drained.

It blew up. No, it’s more like it kept exploding and disappearing before it published even though I kept trying the next day. I finally gave up.

So anyway, I tried backdating the date thingie, and stuck it in.

Like I know what I’m doing?



Thursday, November 04, 2004

They still don't get it.

The "They" I’m referring to is the lunatic fringe on the left that some mistakenly refer to as Democrats. The LL (Lunatic Left) are the reason why I no longer am one — a Democrat, that is — and another one of the reasons behind Dubya’s almost 4 -million-vote win over Kerry.

Some like Zell Miller, author of A National Party No More (The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat) , crossed party lines openly to vote for Bush. Ohers did, too, but with much less fanfare or simply skipped that race entirely when the voted.

You’d think with the handwriting so clearly written considering the games played leading up to this election and its results, that the LL would realize the majority of voters don’t share their madness. In fact, we are repulsed by it.

We neither want nor need media elites or pseudo-intellectuals lecturing down to us. We don’t like being lied to once much less repeatedly, and we’re sure not so stupid that we don’t know when it happens. In fact, we’re not stupid at all. The engineers behind years of character assassination don’t seem to understand it speaks volumes more to us about them than the person that they’re desperately trying to smear.

The American people may not agree with everything that Bush has done, but I’ve always felt that the majority do respect him. Even more, we respect the office he holds and what it represents. Then there’s that good old-fashioned common sense that those of the ultra-sophisticated persuasion denigrate, demean, despise and deny even the existence of.

I read something this morning written by an acquaintance, someone that I know is not only a gifted writer but who has worked and worked hard to improve his craft, who is finally having some success. I think it’s gone to his head because of all the fancy words he used, I guess to show everyone how much of an intellectual and pseudo-sophisticate he now is compared to the rest of we stupid-dumb folk.

And like other LLs who’ve blown their gaskets because of the number of voters behind Bush’s win, I think he’s just flat-out lost his mind.

Paraphrased to take out all the fancy stuff and to reduce his several-hundred word rant down to its essence:

Screw the voice of the public! The public has spoken before and they’re failures! Look at all of the evil (insert Lefty talking-point list that covers . . . 40 years?) that has resulted! The public don’t know what’s beneficial for them! WE are the only ones who do!

No, they still don't get it. Then again, the Lunatic Left doesn't have to now that they've grabbed control of the Democrat Party's bullhorn.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And don't let the door hitcha on the way out!

Michael Moore, toting a camera and followed by his horde of . . . followers, came to Florida to "document" Election Day irregularities for his next "documentary," tentatively titled, Osama and Me, You Stupid White People!

Not finding enough to even lie about, Moore packed up and left for Ohio.

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Thank you for your service, then and now

With all of the post-election news and opinion today, I wondered if anyone had asked the Swiftvets for their reaction to Kerry's defeat.

If anyone has, I'm not aware of it. Or perhaps someone did ask and they declined preferring, instead, to issue a dignified statement through their site. Normally I'd just include an excerpt from something like this and then direct readers to the source for the remainder.

This time, though, something tells me that that link won't be valid for much longer, and I think it's important that this be preserved even if only on my little blog.

I suspect in the not too distant future, their mission accomplished, those who worked so hard and so long and endured so much will simply disappear again, back into the anonymity from which they came.

Statement by Admiral Roy Hoffmann, founder of Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 08:00 AM PST

We are pleased with the fact that we were able to effectively bring attention to our issues and raise questions regarding Senator Kerry’s character, leadership ability and qualifications as a potential Commander in Chief. As we have stated since we formed, we believed that John Kerry’s actions in Vietnam, coupled with the reprehensible statements he made after he returned were serious and consequently made him unfit for command. The primary purpose of our organization was to provide a voice for the courageous and honorable veterans of Vietnam, more than 280 Swift Boat Vets,
Coast Guardsmen and POWs who served their country with honor. Our national grassroots efforts produced donors in every state in the nation as we raised more than $26 million, with more than $7 million in online contributions. In addition, Swift Boat Veterans and former POW's visited dozens of states to take their message directly to the American people. We were the true embodiment of
grassroots citizen action, complied fully with federal election law and had every right to participate in the public discussion of John Kerry's qualifications as Commander in Chief.

-- Admiral Roy Hoffmann (ret.)


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What a day!

Election Day has been an absolutely positive day for me. After I'd voted, I met — as kinda-sorta-maybe planned — two young, first-time voters for lunch. I bought.

I have no idea how they voted. That's their business. Both had registered to vote and neither one was comfortable with the information they were getting through the completely different and opposing media sources each was regularly exposed to. They were willing to do their own homework, but didn't know where to start.

I'd printed out stuff for them on the local races, retention of judges and amendments to the state's constitution from the most informative and neutral sites I could find that provided both pros and cons: The Florida Bar Association, The League of Women Voters, yadda-yadda; and suggested other sites that they should check for national (like and state races.

I think their eyes were glazed when each went to vote. They also knew that it's a good idea (in my opinion) to have their driver's license in the back pocket of their jeans so they could grab it quickly rather than have to look for it, and carried with them their sample ballot with their decisions already marked so that all they had to do was "run down the list" when entering their votes.

After all the work they'd done on their own to make informed decisions, I felt the least I could do after they voted was buy them lunch.

So, I did.

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Monday, November 01, 2004

Bad mistake. Bad-bad.

Hubby picked up the ringing phone a little while ago, to discover a live human claiming to be a NYC Fireman on the other end, urging him to vote for Kerry. NYC cops and firemen, the guy said, support Kerry.

Bad mistake. Bad-bad. You see, we know differently because we happen to have family who are NYPD and FDNY and to put it mildly, they hate Kerry's guts. When Hubby mentioned that and asked what station he was in, the guy then went into the spiel that Kerry was a thrice-wounded hero in Viet Nam.

Bad mistake. Bad-bad. Hubby was in Viet Nam for a lot longer than the five weeks Kerry spent on board the Gridley when it was stationed off its coast and the four additional months Kerry spent with the Swiftboats before he boogied out. And Hubby was Air Rescue so he knows wounds.

Abruptly, the guy changed the topic to an attack of Bush's National Guard Service saying that unlike Kerry, Bush had never really served.

Hubby disagreed strongly (to put it mildly) because of the number of ANG pilots who'd been in Viet Nam that had been stationed at the different bases he was.

By now, the guy had become very upset. Very, telling Hubby he didn't know what he was talking when it comes to Viet Nam because, "I WAS A MARINE!"

Hubby asked where he'd been stationed.

"Camp LeJuene!" [1]

The conversation went even further downhill after that, when Hubby asked him where in Viet Nam that was located.

So if you get a call tonight from someone claiming to be NYC Fireman telling you to vote for Kerry, it's bogus. Especially if he sounds shaken, hoarse, and seems to be trying to figure out a sudden loss of hearing.

[1] I'm sure I didn't spell that correctly. I know I should look it up, but I don't feel like it.

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I'm a "Traditionalist"!

At least that’s what the woman on the phone called me, and I’m proud to admit that it’s true.

You see, I’m not into this early voting thing that seems to be the newest rage. Election Day is the first Tuesday in November. That’s when you’re supposed to go to the polls to vote, and I do.

This absentee ballot thing is also bugging me. There’s a valid reason for it if you’re going to be away from home on Election Day. If, however, you’re only voting absentee because you don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to go alllllllll the way to your polling place, maybe you really don’t need to vote.

Polls. I’m sick of polls. SICK.SICK.SICK of them. Every day you get the results from several, and none of them agree. In fact, they don’t even agree with the results from their last poll which might have been reported only 24 hours before.

Da Kid, his eyes glazed, asked me the other day why the polls are so screwed up. Which one to believe. I told him not to pay attention to any of them, don’t worry about them, and that they’re all nonsense.

None of us in this house has been called during this election by a polling group. Or, perhaps some tried but got the answering machine, instead, because we stopped answering the phone about three months ago. Why? Too many recorded, political messages. And it’s only gotten worse.

I did pick up on a call today when the phone rang simply because I was expecting someone to call at about that time. It wasn’t that person, but it was still an actual human.

Caller: Hello, My name is _________ _________ and I’m calling from ___________ _________. Do you have a few minutes so I could ask you a few questions?

My gawd, someone calling from a polling group! I felt like a rock star or something. Ask me which candidates I’m voting for and why! Ask me how I’m voting on the constitutional amendments on the local ballot and the reasons behind my decisions! I’m ready! I even have my sample ballot ready for tomorrow . . .

Me: Yes.

Caller: Are you a registered voter?

Me: Yes.

. . . and the next thing I know she’s going to ask me is whether or not I know where my polling place is so that way she can put me in the "Likely Voter" column . . .

Caller: Have you voted yet?


Me: No, tomorrow’s Election Day!

Caller: Oh, so you’re a traditionalist! And I bet you know where your polling place is, too.

Me: Of course!

Caller: Have a good day tomorrow and thank you for your time and for voting.

And she was gone.

Ya know, I almost feel cheated.

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