Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fallacies and wishful thinking

The following is a sad posting, and in no way is meant to imply "justice was done". It was and is a public tragedy. Instead, it is mentioned here to demonstrate the widespread dispersion of public silliness and illogical thought processes.

Last Friday night a 16 year old youth was tragically shot and killed by police after a car chase and attempted arrest in East Palo Alto when the juvenile allegedly pulled a gun on arresting officers. A second person, an 18 year old cousin, was arrested at the scene.
"The two are suspected of robbing and shooting a man earlier that night (in the same general area)."
The San Jose Mercury News story linked above goes on to quote friends and family of the young man making ridiculous statements.
"`They shot him like he was a grown man,' said Fou Malimali, 25, a close friend of Longi's. "It's going to fall right back on them,'' she said. "Now it's going to be like, `They're dirty cops.' ''
There is more tragedy to the story. The young man may have had "mental" or "developmental" problems. Read the whole thing. There are even more examples of illogical, twisted thinking, if not outright denial of reality.

Hello! It was night time when this occurred. He was a person suspected of robbing and shooting somebody just a short time earlier, and was apparently in the act of "pulling" a gun from his waist. Does anybody actually expect peace officers to allow themselves to be shot at until they are able to make a confirmed age determination? That's wishful thinking. The two officers themselves are definitely not 'dirty cops'. Instead, they are a credit to their departments and assets to their communities. A conclusion like that quoted in the story is a logical fallacy.

It is interesting to note the Mercury News frequently allows "comments" to its on-line stories. Since this particular entry seems so blatantly an attempt to curry favor with the area's Polynesian community, the editorial staff apparently wisely decided to disallow on-line comments this time. Good thinking.

It's sad to see so-called 'jounalists' prostituting themselves with wishful thinking pieces like this one.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Illegal Immigration Issues

There are too many assumptions being bandied about by well meaning folk over what the "average" conservative US voter 'thinks' about illegal immigrants, etc.

If I may speak for a large number of fellow conservatives, what frosts our backsides is the "illegal" part of the situation. Our answer: If it's agin' the law, just don't do it! The US's entire national immigration program responds so slowly as to place folks who follow the 'rules' in a diminished or inferior position when it comes to obtaining entry permission, etc., etc. That's not fair!

And it very unfortunately financially 'rewards' those who take the law into their own hands, ignoring the proscribed process. That's just not right! That part needs to be fixed before we start talking about more and more programs designed to 'fast-track' the application system for those that are already here and want to "legalize" themselves.

This ties in with the post below to the extent that most liberals (democrats) seem to want to excuse the "claim jumper's" lawlessness (or to be more charitable "forgetfulness") on humanitarian grounds. And while that is quite tempting to do, it's also a 'feel good' solution that unfortunately teaches the wrong lesson concerning US culture and the responsibilities of US citizenship.

Somehow we need to quickly re-establish fairness in the system and then solve the extremely human problem of families divided by distance or living while eternally keeping an eye looking over their shoulder, ever watching for 'la migra'. For the most part these persons are happy to be here, consider the US their adopted country, and after a few years will never, ever 'go back home' unless to visit loved ones. They consider themselves to have become "Americans", regardless of their official status.

The phrase "Borders, language and culture" is more than a conservative creed. It is an essential foundation for nation building. A society ignoring those words is living in anarchy. Living with them encourages genuine and humane societal progress.

The US corporate and agricultural world has paid too little lip service to this issue for far too long, riding cheaply and virtually painlessly on the coat-tails of tax-paying citizens and anxious illegal immigrants alike. It's now time for them to step up to the plate and take responsibility for themsevles, and disgard their self-imposed "blinders" when it comes time to verify employee's employment eligibility. It's only the fair thing for them to do.


On Good Intentions and Belittlement

This will likely be a two-parter, the second addressing (in a day or so) what 49er perceives to be a typical US attitude towards illegal immigration - and illegal immigrants. (Trust him, the two subjects are related).
For now, however, one can't help but observe once more a dichodomy between what most of the world expects in the way of societal behaviour from leaders of the US and what they accept from the secretariat of the UN. 49er holds that GWB and KA are almost universally held to significanty different standards of personal integrity and job performance.

If a fair-minded reader can't see at least a modicum of truth in that assertion, then all the linkage in the world will not improve on our mutual intercommunication and understanding. So I now bid those individual readers good-bye! You will benefit from nothing further here.

For the rest of us, however, IMHO there is something much more sinister at play here. For I consider that KA has been held to a much softer world-wide standard than GWB. And if that is true, then it almost certainly reflects a personal bias on the part of the viewer. Further, this has become a destructive bias that significantly lowers world-wide expectations of the retiring UN secretary general's job performance and leadership ability. A bias that in effect says, "We recognize that KA simply can't do as competent a job at the UN as we expect GWB to do in the US."

49er further maintains that most of the world doesn't support that point of view with 'evil intentions'. Instead, the universal world has encouragingly wished to frequently give KA the 'benefit of the doubt', even when faced with conflicting information. There is nothing "wrong" with this mindset, unless it repeatedly gives the object of attention a virtual "pass" on maintaining any objective level of personal integrity. Which it eventually has done.

49er regards the repeated good intentions of the liberal world toward Mr. Annan to have in effect belittled him, saying further, "Since you don't have the ability to do the same job, nor have the same integrity, as we expect of Mr. Bush, we will accept whatever you do as being 'OK'." And that, dear readers, is a deadly, deadly, and self-fulfilling bias.

Be honest about the double-standard, or in the interest of fairness eliminate it. The leader of the UN should be held to the same standards as the leader of the US, or any other nation. IMO.

Cheers btw, Nothing here is intended to be defending the record of GWB.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"World History - As it Really Happened"

The following is compiled from several sources, including varied iterations from at least my friend JAMES JOHNSON (12/13/06), Ran at DAIMNATION (10/27/06),and Dawg at TechRepublic (3/9/06). There may have been others. Whoever originated it is pretty much a genius, IMHO.

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and *lobster in the winter. [*Note: only the unorthodox.]

The two most important events in all of history were the inventionof beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundations of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

... Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQ's and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women.

The rest became known as girliemen.

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and group hugs and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant . Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Most modern liberals like gourmet* imported beer (with lime added), but many prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are also standard liberal fare. (*weak or watery)

Interestingly enough, one sub-set of liberals has been identified which claim to prefer the lustier beers and ales originally brewed in England or Australia. There is some DNA evidence to suggest these "liberals" are actually misguided "closet conservatives" attempting to retain some level of societal security by appearing to 'blend in' with their 'neighbours'.

Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of Liberals' women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic* beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living. (*stronger flavor)

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. [Does 'enlightened' refer to the nightly bonfires in Vénisseux and Grigny?]

That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were taming America . Afterwards, when it was safe to do so, they crept in after the Wild West was "civilised" and created businesses dedicated to getting more for doing nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to this historic recollection before forwarding it. [Don't know why... They got it for nothing.]

Conservatives will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this historical essay that they will link to it immediately and pass it on to other true believers. And also on to other liberals just to [goad] them.

Greetings of the "Season"

For my Democrat friends:
"Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally sensitive, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, or with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or your choice to not practice religious or secular traditions at all, if you so choose.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. This is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And is further offered without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee(s).

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable without alteration of the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes by himself or others, is void where prohibited or regulated by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected as a commerically acceptable expectation of good tidings for a period of no more than one year or until the issuance of a subsequent or replacement holiday greeting, whichever occurs first. Your only right under this warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

For the rest of my friends:
"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"

Holiday Cheers and a h/t to JAMES JOHNSON

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Eagle has landed

And the gap between the platform of expectations and the floor of reality is once again under close observation. Cheers.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

A brief recess

The Dweet's will be in Arizona from the 3rd until the 7th representing a whole bunch of volunteers at an annual convention. Its rough duty, folks, but somebody has to 'bite the bullet' for the troops. Posting will resume afterwards.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fun with Canadians

Last week 49er had a great time volunteering most of the week as a courtesy car driver at the Pebble Beach Invitational, or as we call it around here, "The Callaway".

Carried lots of interesting golfers and family members between the courses, etc., but had a particularly rewarding time one afternoon with a trio of what turned out to be Canadian amateurs. As they were joking around while loading up the car after their round, they exchanged a few "ehs" and "abouuts". So as things quieted down when we reached the highway I asked, "What part of Toronto are you from?" They laughed and laughed. Turned out all three worked as stock brokers in the city now, but only one was a native Ontarian. Another was originally from Vancouver, and the third was Albertan, from Calgary.

They seemed tickled that an old geezer Yank could 'spot them', because - as they said - most often they're able to fly under average US radar. After exchanging pleasantries and being invited to "come visit them", I couldn't resist ranting a little bit concerning my last posting re: Calgary, just below. I told them that right now Calgary was not on my good list, and then explained why - after they'd asked. They said they hadn't heard of the issue, but agreed it stunk, too.

At trips end they came around to my side of the car to shake hand,s saying something to the effect that "Wow! A Yank who knows more about what's going on at home than we do". They were good guys, and had fun. So did I.

Wondered if bill and stephen might enjoy hearing this tale, too.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Canada, Oh Canada! Where hast thou gone?

If this story from August is accurate, the US's northern neighbors went to sleep recently and some other beings woke in their place. How else to explain the dyfunctional disconnect with Calgary, Alberta's, police between freedom and chicanery? Reported at the time in the Calgary Sun, and Bene Diction's blog, since then the story's drawn little notice around the net.

Recently 49er commented in Outside The Box on another matter in Calgary thusly:
Calgary’s reputation as the last of CA’s ‘wild west frontiers’ has finally caught up with itself. Thus comes ‘civilisation’. Probably overdue. The cusp period will probably last another generation, but afterwards the city and province will likely become an even much more pleasant place in which to visit or live. Congrats on maturing."
That comment was wrong. If Calgarians - and Canadians in general - support the actions of their LEOs in situations similar to the story above, IMO they are not MORE civilized than others, but less. Shame on them for trading freedom for mindless and short-lived "comfort".

And here's another tip: What you think you have now ain't gonna last. The monkeys are now running your zoo, and you're about to run into a terrible shortage of bananas.

Wake up!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Day God Spilled the Paint

This is not 49er's photo. Nor his honey's. She did have it emailed to her today, and thought it too breathtaking to not share. So a little further expanation.

The photo was apparently taken by a lady named Barbara Mathews, on May 14, 2005. It was said to have been taken in central California on the east side of the Carrizo plain, in the Temblor Range, about 50 miles due west of Bakersfield, California. Most of the year this country is bleak, barren, brush-covered and good for little else than cattle browsing or sheep-herding. Running through or near this range are several active earthquake faults, including the dread San Andreas. Further north about an hour is the most active earthquake zone in the North American continent, Parkfield.

Many of 49er's internet friends are from beautiful parts of the world. He generally agrees with and accepts their local self-assessments. The point to this photo is simply that God is able to bring beauty to anything, no matter how fleetingly.


Two Year Tactical Plan

Thanks to Bob Orr of either orr, who has suggested seven strategies conservatives should be considering putting into effect the next two years. They are, briefly
  • Challenge demos to come up with a real plan.
  • Encourage repubs to return to their basics.
  • Expose real demo weaknesses.
  • Waken the rearguard to search for closet skeletons.
  • Develop a knowledgable 'shadow' government.
  • Encourage and develop viable 08 candidates.
  • Don't fear intraparty disagreements.
49er is adding an eighth tactic to that list.
  • Encourage newly elected demos who might be a tad less liberal than old-guard "Pelosi-ites" to think and act for themselves. To not become dhimmocratic zombies.
Stretching opposing party discipline has always been a rewarding tactic. We conservatives should not be adverse to politely practicing this ancient artform. The results to our nation could be well worth it!


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Friday, November 10, 2006

A Brit "gets it"!

Interesting commentary by Gerard Baker in the Times on line in the UK concerning US election results. Read the entire thing for the full flavor of his reasoning, but IMO he's pretty spot on. Which is nice to see. Here is a sample . . .
As the only living Englishman who doesn’t regard the modern Republican party as the Devil’s Spawn, I might be expected to be in mourning today. On the contrary. This was mostly a good week.

The first and most obvious reason for optimism is the confirmation of Tuesday’s elections that democracy works. Republicans lost not because the American people have suddenly seen the wisdom of the collective leadership of the European Union or the editorial pages of the world’s press but because they deserved to lose
Good intellectual analysis is really fun to consider. Thanks, Gerard Baker, for bringing back a little joy this week.


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Term Limits

OK, is it just me? Or does our recent experience with GWB, WJC, the defunct "republicats" and now the new and improved "dhimmocrats" situation the US is going through, not point out the wisdom of somehow evolving [note use of 'code' word] our form of government into one that uniformly enforces national term limits?

Isn't one term enough for ANY citizen politician? And wouldn't that pretty well rule out or nullify most activities of professional [spit, spit] politicians?

While we're looking at the federal government, why do we still need two houses? Lets combine them all into one house, elect them to a single four year term, half elected during presidential election years and the others two years later. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Go back to the idea of a concerned citizen contributing her/his efforts for one term to the process of representing one's neighbors in the nation's capitol. It would no longer be one's lifeswork. Worthwhile to do well, yes, and great on the resume, but not a long-term career thing. Think of the pork-barrel money this could save!

As an added relief to the federal budget the single term idea could be used for congressional (and presidential) entitlement reform. Pay them a good wage, sure, but nothing close to the regal structure we currently have in place. Give them a good retirement benefit, pay all reasonable living expenses, but put the onus on them to go back to honest work afterwards and reenter the private sector if they wanted to improve their eventual retirement nest eggs.

No, it won't work. Too many oxen would be gored. And it could place the burden on voters to actually be responsible for tough decisions at election-time. No, that won't do. We would rather drink our kool-aid, roll over and go back to sleep. Too bad. Snooze, snooze, snooze.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bush's third bi-annual report card

From the perspective of a republican who voted for him twice, here is an up-to-date report card for the 2005-06 mid-term.

Domestic policies D; Foreign policies B+; Staffing appointments D-; Legislative liason D; Military leadership D-; Political skills F; Public Speaking skills D-; Personal ethics B.

Overall grade: D+


Bush completely went against his base by blocking any meaningful improvement of our border control and the flagrant illegal immigration crisis he not only ignored, but helped flaunt. That alone sank any other domestic policy gains into a vast morass of ineptitude.

Foreign policies were hit and miss, with no obvious failures in 49er's POV. Just because the rest of the world hates him is virtually irrelevant, IMHO. Because they don't vote, they don't count. Sorry. 49er doesn't always agree with their leaders, either. Tough.

Allowing Rove to stay on after the 2004 election was stupid, stupid, stupid. Weirdly brilliant - or maybe brilliantly weird - his brainpower was long ago overcome with dogmatic egomania - all to Bush's harm, but GWB seemed not to care.
Rummy should have been gone almost a year ago. His brilliance in 2003 faded to stubborn resolve by 2005, and his worth tumbled to nothing long ago. That GWB failed to understand this contributes to his "bumbling, stumbling" reputation. Totally unnecessary. Blind leading the blind.
Tony Snow's appointment was brilliant, though. Regardless of who brought it about.

Bush should have recognized how far left his majority party legislators had strayed in 2002, and by the 2004 elections dealt with it. He didn't. They didn't. The "republicats" ran amuck. And they blew it for 2006. Serves them right! Only saving grace was his ability to reach out to some elected democrats and build a few wobbly bridges during this current mid-term.

War is brutal. It breaks things and people. In 2003 the war was well fought. In 2004 it began slipping into a "rules of engagement" mindset. Stupid. War is best fought hard, fast, ugly, brutal and over! Too many post 2003 opportunities unrecognized and forever lost. Also, "rules of engagement" slowly evolve until they become counter-intuitive to the actual waging of a war. So from mid 2004 on we have been more in a WOC (criminals) situation, not WOT (terrorists). Unnecessary and costly in lives and assets.

GWB's seen as politically fiddling while Rome’s been burning for more than two years. He’s failed to either see it, or else to respond. Can anyone identify “a river in Egypt”? He apparently can’t.

Almost anyone today can learn through coaching and training to become articulate. If they want to. He apparently doesn’t care enough to do so. Shame on him. His speech and grammar reflect poorly on his ivy-league MBA. Somebody should be looking into rescinding his diploma, because the skills acquisition it seems to suggest certainly didn’t stick around very long.

49er thinks he’s probably a nice guy. Would probably make a fairly good neighbor, except for a classic lack of introspect ional skills, there are no known major gaffes.

49er is ready now to respond to instructions and corrections from other interested (and semi-interested) parties.


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Why 49er's happy his team lost - if you care

Possibly its a reflection of his own personal political death wish, but when the national republican party morphed itself (in less than a decade) into some kind of a "republicat" party, it brings glee to him now to see so many of his like-kind shot in the foot - and elsewhere - and thrown out of office by so many national voters! Good show! Spot on!

If the people wanted unethical slime balls in office they've always been able to vote for democrats. As in the old Bop Hope movie, democrats have been shown to stand around, idly, like zombies not knowing what to say or do very well, and they've done an excellent job of capturing that particular share of the market. For so many elected republicats to think they could simply take democrats' places in that environment was not only foolish and short-sighted, but incredibly stupid. Since big government doesn't work very well, why continue to "grow" a larger - but still dyfunctional - government. Dumb!

For over two decades now republicans have been being elected by voters to "govern", but in the past twelve years too many of them have only found time to prove they are as slimy as democrats, some even more so. We don't need two slimy parties. So the nation has now chozen to return to the original, patented-protected slime balls. Well done! Good choice.

The party that represents every weird and short-sighted agenda in the world has proven in the interval since the Truman years that it can't govern. So democrats now have a short window of opportunity to somehow show they've changed. News flash! They have, but not for the better! The next two years will bring us even more political disasters.

49er's prediction is the surviving republicans will shortly winnow out republicats from places of responsibility within their midst, retake the party helm, and prepare to resume "governing" in two years when voters have grows bored with weirdness, etc. per se, and throw those bums out - again. Let's hope the surviving and newly chosen republicans have learned to appreciate their roots a little more than has been recently shown. Repeat after me, "Less government is better government". Now go write it on the board 100 times. And relearn the humility rule. One is never as good or as smart as one thinks. No matter what one's mother says.


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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Time Out

This short post to announce 49er went "in hospital" suddenly Thursday AM to get rid of an ugly gall bladder, interrupting any opportunity since then to use the net. Everything went well and he returned home mid-day Sunday for R & R and whatever further adventures await. Currently watching NFL on TV and enjoying being waited on.

Will probably resume activities in a day or so.

Cheers . . . . and go Raiders! (please?)

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

How to turn success into failure

From the sports world 49er (who btw is not necessarily a SF football fan) can't help commenting on the ever-widening gap between Michelle Wie's potential and performance.

First of all, why are we even talking about the successes or failures of a teen-ager? Why can't she just BE a kid? Well, IMO the answer to those questions lies deep in the heart of misplaced parental ambition. Recently turning 17, for some time now Ms. Wie has had a business manager, Nike products endorsement contract, professional caddie, and all the other trappings of a successful professional golfer. What she doesn't have, however, is the winning record she has been capable of achieving.

Maturing very early in life, and blessed with a tall, strong, athletic, rangy frame and body, with intelligent or thoughtful development of her obvious skills and potential, Ms. Wie could have become by now the enfent terrible of the LPGA. Instead, she has mostly fizzled and flopped her way the past three plus years, picking and choosing events while trying to play in this PGA event and that. In the process earning a dismal record following the quixotic path chosen by her parents that has put her on public display as a freak of nature playing against professional men. Where the results were quite obviously foreseeable (Bill, note word usage, please).

Instead of using the advantage of her early physical development to train their daughter how to compete and WIN, her parents have been teaching her how to get attention. As if that were the same thing. Its not at all, and at 17 the young lady will probably soon be overtaken by her just now maturing peers, and - again foreseeably - if she doesn't learn how to finish off - or hold off - opponents during the final rounds of golf tournaments, Ms. Wie may be a washed up has-been before she reaches her majority. And even Nike's millions will have amounted to rot.

With all his strenths and abilities, Tiger Woods still had to learn how to WIN. Michelle Wie, though becoming rich and famous because of her potential, has somehow never learned the mind-game to match her golf-skills. Shame on her parents. Their misplaced ambition has likely gained them a financial windfall, but may have ultimately lead to their daughter's professional downfall. Not a fair trade, I'd say.

Even so, 49er can't help hoping he's wrong and the young lady manages to turn things around. It would be a nice result, but for some time now she has been on a much more rocky path and the ultimate destination might turn out to be not what her family at first intended.


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Twisted Logic (?) or Death Wish (?)

From this article in the northern press comes the startling POV that unintended collateral damages (such as death, injury, etc.) to civilians from a state acting in self-defense, if such casualties were somehow and someway "foreseeable", constitute a "war-crime". Louise Arbour, former justice of the Canadian Supreme Court and currently the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, has apparently so opined.

What a crock! Her position is exactly contrary to reasoned common sense. If her screed were to become settled "law", this point would give extreme comfort to those who now conduct conflict and violence whilst hiding deep within the folds of a civilian populace, thus placing innocents at risk. An exactly opposite result of what a civilized society should intend.

Nothing said here is gloating - or glossing over - innocent casualties. That they occur at all is tragic. But if a state is forbidden to defend itself, such as happened recently vis-a-vis Israel and Lebanon, simply because of the possibility of unknown bad side effects, civilization is doomed and anarchy shall eventually rule the world.

Logical and reasoned? No, IMO this view is simply cultural self-hatred taken to a sicker level.


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Friday, October 13, 2006

The Gap between WWJD and us

Here is a new version of a thought-provoking parable.

“Who is my neighbor”?
A suggested modern paraphrase of Luke 10:25-37
One day a certain lawyer stood up and put Jesus to a test, saying, "Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How does it read to you?" And the lawyer answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.''
And Jesus said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live. ''But, wishing to justify himself, the lawyer said to Jesus, "and who is my neighbor?'' Jesus replied and said, "A man living in his house during hurricanes Katrina and Rita fell victim to the raging weather. Hurricane Katrina stripped the roof and siding from his house and then Hurricane Rita came along with four feet of water. The water beat against the outside of his house and into the walls and caused the mold to grow, thus destroying his home. This result left his spirits half dead because he was forced to become homeless''.
"And, by chance, a certain religious man came by the neighborhood one day and when he saw the destroyed house passed on the other side because he was really busy and didn't have the time to do anything. And likewise a man of different faith came by the house, and after he had seen it he too passed on the other side, thinking someone else with more time or money would surely come along and help the man”.
“But a certain man from another faith came through the neighborhood and when he saw the man’s situation had compassion on him, and came to him and brought others with him and they offered to rebuild his house and give the man hope by showing kindness and love towards him. They lifted the man up further by ministering unto him while they prepared to rebuild his house”.
"To do this they took their own money, along with funds others had donated, and purchased building materials. They applied their labor to those materials and in so doing began to rebuild the man's house. A few weeks later the poor mans house was rebuilt and the man – now fully restored - moved back into his home. The certain man and his friends then went on their way to find another destroyed house and help another hopeless man”.
“So which of these three men proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell victim to the hurricane? Truthfully, the last of these men (and his friends) had become like my hands and feet by working to restore hope to another man. They completely answered the question the lawyer asked, ‘who is my neighbor’ by doing something neighborly, and not ‘passing on the other side’”.

So answer this question, WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOR? The gentle reader is welcome to attack this up-to-date interpretation from any imagined vantage point one might think they perceive, but IMO this modern rendition is pretty spot on to the true meaning and intent of the original.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Welcome back, 7-Eleven!

7-Eleven Inc. convenience stores today took a BIG GULP and decided to drop the dreaded CITGO Petroleum as an exclusive gasoline product supplier. According to 7-Eleven "politics" played only part of the reason for this business move.

Well, welcome back, 7-Eleven! For whatever reason, your corporate determination was personally gratifying. And as soon as those dreadful red triangles can be covered over this Yank will once more feel free to pull in and gas up! Hope you hurry, 'cause the needle keeps getting lower. Score another for the good guys!


Friday, September 22, 2006


Hugo Chavez, the thug that rules Venezuela, apparently was not raised in a normal family environment, one where he could be taught the basic rules of society. How else can one explain his lapse of good sense and manners - never known to be one of his strong suits, anyway - in comments made yesterday during an ill-advised side trip in NYC.

To his good credit, US representative Charles Rangel 'gets it', but Chavez doesn't. When you're visiting your neighbors 'house', you mind your manners. Chavez didn't. He can totally disrespect the current US president - or any previous ones, for that matter, anywhere else in the world. But when he's in this country he does not have the right to publicly 'diss' our president. No matter how many US citizens might agree with him. GWB is 'our' president, and when an outsider slamw him, he slams us - all of us. So I have a message for Chavez.

"Guess what, stupid! Since you're the 'owner' of CITGO Petroleum (PDV America, Inc.), until you've apologized for your oafishness, I'm not spending any more US currency on your product. I don't really care what that might do to the nation's fuel 'supply' picture. And I also urge others to consider how they spend their own hard-earned money - and who it supports!"

Using the last thirty years or so of congressional ineptitude, neglect and personal political posturing working against prudent long-term national petroleum policy development issues as a guide, it must not be very important on a societal basis, anyway.

Why the US military still does business with CITGO in their base exchanges I'll never understand. Oh, yeah, I forgot the dichotomy of "military intelligence'. Now I get it.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

A brief explanation

This probably needs to be dealt with. Since his gastric bypass surgery last fall, 49erDweet has lost a lot of weight! Many of his friends first noticed a change at one of his annual special events this past February. And as time goes by, that change has become much, much more radical. As of this month the total weight loss has exceeded 110 pounds, and by next February should be even more!

At a recent special event where he works each year quite a few volunteers walked right past in the entrance to the hospitality tent without recognizing him! Which for him was fun, but for them quite surprising when they suddenly heard his voice and turned around - only to gawk.

So if you run into him don't be overly concerned about his 'gaunt appearance'. He has not been "ill", and is feeling great! 49er's overall health has dramatically improved, and for an old geezer he gets around much better than before - mainly because he isn't carrying around the body of another person all the time. If you're truly curious, feel free to ask him about the experience when you find time. For him the subject is not taboo!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Life's Phases

A comment left today on Toward Jerusalem forces me to spell out on this blog the following inventory of my life's "phases" - all occurring after 4 years of military service during the Korean war.

Peace officer/supervisor 5 years
Automotive service adviser/manager 6 years
Weekly newspaper editor/photographer 3 years
Solid waste business manager/supervisor 5 years
Transportation manager/supervisor 11 years
Retail/Advertising sales 4 years
State DMV technician/license examiner/manager 17 years

Others may see some type of trend here, but each of these fields were different enough that they challenged my interest and intellect while providing an acceptable level of living for my family. And for all of that I thank God.

As to the question "could I have done 'better' just sticking to one field?", I have no way of knowing the true answer, but my feeling is that only a couple of them might have qualified in that category, and at this point in life there is no sense worrying too much on that point!

Don't be afraid to redirect your interests. God has a way of using you whereever you decide to be. And it's fun to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your mind!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A brief glimpse into the future

One obvious sign of 49er's advanced dotage is a personal inability to fully appreciate "rock concerts". No offense intended, nor is there an intent to be (dreaded word warning) "judgmental". Just really don't understand the entire scene.

Do appreciate chorale recitals, barbershop quartet galas, Gaither homecomings, jazz festivals and golden oldies celebrations, so it might just be an acquired taste thing - or else personal weirdness finally settling in.

An exception to this could be the just-completed original annual Spirit West Coast event held three days each summer at Laguna Seca Recreation Area (and race track) in Monterey County. (A junior version is also held earlier each year at Del Mar race track in SoCal). At least 59 Christian musical groups, including newsboys and Audio Adrenaline (in their final, farewell performance) were scheduled this year to perform one hour 'sets' (mini-concerts) on one or more of the many stages set-up around the grounds. The hills surrounding the track literally "rang" with the echoed sound of praise music. Three days last week were filled to the brim (and overflowing) with what could be called really contemporary Christian music.

For the past three years 49er has volunteered to shuttle physically challenged guests and volunteers back and forth from the parking or camping areas of Laguna Seca to the various event venues by means of an adaptive stretched-out golf cart - one of a crew of about two dozen souls working (in shifts) from before the gates open in the morning until almost 1 AM each night. Making sure those in wheelchairs or with other mobility limiting physical conditions are able to participate in this unique celebration of Christian music and faith. Contemporary Christian music! Modern Christian music! Loud Christian music! REALLY LOUD Christian music! Even Christian rap! And good preachin', too!

This is really a kids event. After all, who else enjoys camp ground life as much as kids? Of course family members, adult youth leaders, and others are there - they do encourage day visitors, too - but it's the kids that really make this event special. And if this glimpse of today's young folk accurately depicts the Christian segment of the next generation, western civilization is in for some great times - if we survive (of course) and all other millenial things happen to work themselves out.

The kids there at Spirit West Coast were rowdy - and polite. Loud - and reverent. Aggressive - and meek. Assertive - and patient. Intelligent - and seeking knowledge. Made this old geezer wish he had demonstrated the same characteristics in his adolescense.

If you want your offspring to develop more mature spiritual and moral values consider taking them to next year's 'concert'. It can close the generation gap in your family and change their - and your - lives.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

A new voice crying in the wilderness!

We've always known the English are capable of courage and straight thinking. That's why the BBC and their articulate but biased cohorts that we knew and loved so well prior to the last quarter century or so, has proven to be so outrageous an anomaly.

Now comes a new blog from a delightfully clear headed straight speaking Brit lady living and working in the holy land. I heartedly recommend a daily read of JANE'S FIGHTING TALK for a fresh look at the struggle for survival now underway in Israel. For example:

First question "Who ARE the refugees on the run from the bombing?"

  • 1. They are in the main originally Palestinians, Shiite Moslem, who had fled Israel in the 1948 war of independence. The population is between 400 and 500,000; press reports say that 600,000 + refugees are on the move
  • 2. They live in overcrowded refugee camps, villages and suburbs, mainly in south Lebanon and south Beirut. They survive through (a) UNWRA aid (b) menial labour (c) salaries and ex-gratia payments from Hezbollah – routed from Iran.
  • 3. Palestinian refugees do not have Lebanese citizenship. (Not a well-known fact.)
  • 4. They are excluded from Lebanese society. Palestinian refugees were banned from 73 professions (including law and medicine) in Lebanon until last year.
  • 5. The Palestinian refugees provide Hezbollah its army and its civilian infrastructure. They provide their homes and land for bunkers, tunnels, and underground cells. Ready to fire rockets are tucked away in populated Hezbollah Shiite neighbourhoods, in apartment buildings, parking garages, out-houses, mosques and schools. Not exclusively, but mostly, Palestinian refugees and Hezbollah are one and the same.
  • 6. Hezbollah is a closed area for the rest of Lebanon. It is entirely independent, providing its own services, its own policing, its education system, its own laws and its own army. The original Lebanese population has no connection with the refugees and their descendents. The Palestinian refugees have been mired in poverty and hopelessness, although shored up in recent years with millions of dollars worth of military equipment. Hezbollah is therefore extremely dangerous.

Has our arrogant and proud western media recently discussed any of these points at length? Do they even consider this might be information that could make a difference, or the free world would want to know this background? Does the media even care? Does any of this support their own corporate agendas? Or sell any more papers or adverts? The answers are obvious, I believe.

People of Good Will may always disagree on the means to an end. But IMHO this particular bully needs to be thrashed until he looses both the will and the capacity to fight. That has not yet occurred. Go IDF! Fight! Fight! Fight! (OK, it's almost football season here in the states, so cut me a little slack, will you?)

God bless you, Jane, as you almost single-handedly take on the slimy, pasty, yellow, lily-livered rats that now inhabit the empty halls of the once great BBC, et al.!


The MSM's "Gap" Widens

Update on this subject at 1915 hrs PDT. Belmont Club posted interesting speculation.

News headlines today from MSNBC touting claims from Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, that Israel has suffered a MAJOR DEFEAT in their three week war - passed on apparently either tongue-in-cheek or by an almost unbelievably uncritical and adoring media - illustrate just how wide the gap has grown between what has happened, and what is reported to have happened.

Let me see now if I can figure this out.

HZ shoots rockets randomly and without much aim, hitting mostly fields, outbuildings, private homes and a few civilians. IDF destroys HZ rocket launchers (which have surprisingly been placed in public buildings and residences) almost as soon as they fire.

HZ has gone underground and mostly hides in bunkers, hunkering down amidst (and holding onto) women and children as human shields, relying only on its random rockets to strike back at Israel. IDF owns the skies over Lebanon and has pretty well destroyed HZ's headquarters compound in Beirut, plus about 35% of its other facilities - including deep bunkers - scattered around the country.

HZ - a guerilla movement - is now defending its land, the worst tactical mistake one such can make. IDF has blocked avenues of resupply by almost totally destroying the local infrastructure.

HZ has lost forces at the ratio of 10 highly trained warriors to 1 reservist.

Yep, it all figures! Israel HAS suffered a major defeat! And in a welcome gesture of humanitarian kindness Nasrallah now offers his beat up foe a chance for a cease fire, so it can "catch its breath". Yeah, it makes perfect sense.

Does it sound a little like the schoolyard bully laying on the ground with a bloody nose, asking the kid standing over him if he's "ready to give?"

Nothing here is saying war is great! It isn't. But it certainly isn't difficult to figure out who bit off more than he can chew. Well, he probably needs to choke on it for awhile, until he learns a little respect for peace and quiet. The tragedy, though, is that while "he" is doing that innocents will die.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once again, we survive !!!

Had a few problems earlier this morning resurrecting the "Gap", but once Q let me know of the problem and I was able to contact Blogger, everything else soon fell into place and we are once again live from the Monterey Bay! Thanks again, Q - and thanks to Blogger support, too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nature photos from the UK

A blogging friend, Q, recently posted several neat photos of a family of ducks, including one particularly brave duckling, while the ducks were on a day outing swimming in a Canadian canal. Several folks commented on the pics and there occurred some discussion as to the proper genus duckus of his subjects.

Which reminded me of the 200 plus photos Mrs. Dweet took during our recent UK holiday. (Notice, please, all 49er is claiming to have done here was make sure the photographer got on and off the proper trains and buses so as to complete the trip. Nothing else). But from comments received since our return the photos seem to hold a certain general interest, therefore a few are being posted here - along with some obviously uninformed comments. Most of these photos were taken at Leeds Castle, which has a large, charming "Duckery" lying astraddle its mile long entrance path.

I'm assuming this first bird is a wood duck drake or hen, but could not prove it if challenged.

This guy wanted nothing more than a early afternoon siesta, and the warm sun sure made that idea seem inviting.

The graceful Black Swan, imported from its native Australia, has been the official bird of Leeds Castle for decades.

This mystery bird is dramatically beautiful, but we don't know what it is.

One of many colorful peacocks strolling the grounds.
All photos © 2006 suzikayatpacbellnet.

And lastly, this proud fellow made sure EVERYONE got the opportunity to take plenty of great photos of his distinctive plumage. A rare sight, there were actually two albino peacock families on the castle grounds.

Well, that's all for now. Maybe later I'll post two more of Mrs. Dweet's outstanding UK photos - one an exterior shot of Leeds Castle itself, and the other of the intricate ceiling works inside Bath Abbey. Many of our friends thought she'd purchased professional shots for these. But that will have to wait for later.

"As exciting as watching grass grow!"

49er was reminded of this comment from a friend recently when he heard the news of his "retired" brother-in-law's new temporary job.

Here are some additional details. He has the ideal part time job. A job as a "Field Observer" at the 'gap' in highway 140 created next to the Merced River by the recent Ferguson Rock Slide in the Sierra National Forest. He watches rocks roll down hill! All night long! And afterwards he hurries home, sleeps and hurries right back to work! Exciting, eh?

Of course there is some paper work to do - keeping track of the latest "rollers" so the crews in the morning know what's happened during the night - but how's that for a great profession - rock watcher? What tales he'll have to tell his grandsons!

OK, enough already. It is an economic disaster for hundreds of folks living in Mariposa County and working in El Portal or Yosemite NP, so we shouldn't take too much glee with this, but the BIL has sure put in his years fighting fires all over the west during many, many summers - so we don't begrudge him a season at home, even though he is forced to work nights for a change. Good go, Dennis!

PS: For those interested in personal memorabilia, the linked publication is the modern version of the same weekly newspaper 49er edited for a couple of years during the late 1960's. Another of his many, many fun jobs!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


On a friend's blog today he commented in passing he believed his own country was "less militaristic" than the USA.

His use of that word set off bells in my head, reminding me once again of the "gap" between what most Americans think of themselves versus what some think are the generally accepted opinions of the "rest of the civilized world".

After losing a half hour or so looking up various references I decided to post on the issue here, rather than use up his own "space" with a lengthy response.

(Besides, it gives me a chance to use my recently installed "Performancing" extension on Firefox).

At times we use words rather carelessly, I think. I hope I would never say his country was "more passive" than mine, although it is. (When I think of passive from my own perspective I think of a herd of cow's lined up in the dairy barn, contentedly eating their feed and all being hooked up to milking machines - being milked. The "ladies" are actually anxious to enter their stalls and co-operatively commence a "disgorgement" process of their swollen udders. This is not a flattering view of what some think to be a dynamic country. So I'll never say it).

Back to "militaristic". Okay, it was a fair comment. He didn't say we were, just that we were more than his own folk.

As an American I don't think in "militaristic" terms. I don't think in terms of relying on our military to enforce my country's POV on the national stage. I would much rather talk than fight. And if the other guy will just talk reasonably, I am content to keep talking for quite a spell. Years. Decades. Centuries, if some progress is apparent.

But as a westerner in the USA I may be more sensitive than some to the odor of cow dung. And when what the other guy is saying begins to smell like last week's pasture-droppings, I don't have a lot of patience for him to realize the conversational phase of our interactive time is drawing to a close - that his future may not be as rosy as his past.

Winston Churchill's dictum, "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" is never more apparent than today when millions of well-meaning folk keep "hoping" there has to be some other way than conflict to deal with radical Islam and avoid bloodshed.

Barry Goldwater - IMO the best president there never was - put it best, I think, when he said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue". When I look at the tentiveness with which many of the other western democracies approach some of the current international issues I shake my head in despair. Where is their pursuit of justice? How can they possibly expect a corrupted institution like the UN to function in a reasonably acceptable way? Or is their sense of human justice tainted in some way by their national interests - or just plain passiveness? But forget I asked the latter, please.

There is definately a "gap". We all need to "mind" it very carefully. When it grows larger, the reaction to it can become much too violent. But the recent assignment of some of our northern neighbor's own military to service in Afghanistan helps draw that gap closer. IMO that is a good thing. God speed, "Canucks". I pray for the safety of your young military men and women, too.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Have Returned; No Change - Yet

See "Spoke Too Soon", below. Upon returning from a two week holiday in the UK this Tuesday evening discovered DSL service had still not been restored. And in fact was even less reliable (if that were possible) than before. Try nada.

Even worse, in the interim another repairman had come by the homestead and left word that "we lived too far" from the local phone office to receive DSL. Of course we hadn't moved in the six years since we first started using the service, and neither had the phone company equipment building, so that excuse really didn't sit very well. But the repairer just shrugged and left. Nothing he could do, apparently. So nothing was done.

Began the telephone complaint process all over again early the next morning. Lady taking the first call spoke UK style English with a distinctive, sing-song Indian accent. Very difficult for an aged western English speaking consumer to understand. After a while and with much difficulty was transferred to a supervisor, "Ron" (probably just a desk name) whose accent was much less pronounced and easily more understandable. Did a fairly good job of trying to help, but was taken aback when he realized the complaint had been on-going for over two months. He arranged for a site visit. Again. Again. Again. Again. Etc.

Discovered this: It seems SBC/at&t internet repair services "closes out" all repair tickets once someone - anyone - has responded. Whether service is restored or not. THAT sure makes it helpful to manage the old workload, but doesn't really beggar the question of reliable service, does it? Strange, anti-consumer but pro-bureaucratic corporate behavior.

Long story. Short conclusion. After complaining later Wednesday to a secret contact person who over a month ago had given out her working phone number, a few hours later the net went up and simultaneously received a call from a nice technician telling us two things. He had gone into the system and temporarily increased the 'power' to our line and slowed down the feed, which should give us some type of connectivity until (and now for item 2) TWO repair persons (one a phone cable guy, the other an internet repairer guy) would arrive on Friday afternoon to work out some type of resolution. (Shortly before they arrived the power would have to be decreased and the speed increased in order to permit valid testing/analysis for the repair guys).

So for now we have had 'service'. Thankfully and gratefully. In a few hours that may change, but we shall see what happens. It has been nice. Sayonara.

Waiting . . . . .

Friday, April 14, 2006

Spoke too soon

Re: Arghhhhhh!!!, below, spoke too soon. Phone company can't fix the DSL internet access problem until there are no clounds in the sky within a hundred mile radius, apparently. They call it "storm damage", and since the outage only affects the data lines of a couple of folk are not interested in fixing it until they are good and ready. Totally frustrating. It only "up" about two or three hours a day - on average - and there's no predicting just which hours those might be.

So posting, etc., will be lite until it's over, or when I switch over to another provider on our return from the UK in early May.

Cannot believe the low level of customer service communications am experiencing with SBC! What total failures! All they would have to do is phone me, but they apparently no longer believe it is important to do that. Losers!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Who ARE these people?

Ran into this story and headline on MSNBC's web site today, courtesy of the trusty old MSN Explorer home page, and immediately thought, "Don't they know how to spell 'razed'"? Meaning 'leveled'? 'Cause after all, we all know that many flood-damaged homes in New Orleans have to be eventually demolished and rebuilt, right?

But no. Lo and behold the authors of the story and headline did mean "raised", as in 'elevated'. They just didn't seem to "get" that a major and repeated portion of their story was based on a homophone that could be confusing to many readers.

UPDATE: MSNBC themselves must have realized the problem, because since I first read the story they have added a new sub-headline about "hiking" the houses one to three feet.

Who ARE these people at MSNBC? And how did they get this far along into so-called modern "journalism" without displaying more awareness of nuances in the English language? Am I the only one who sees a "gap" in the information related by this story and it's execution in prose?


For over six weeks now have been telling the phone company something is intermittently wrong with the DSL line. For over five and a half weeks nothing happened afterwards, other than the intermittency got worse and worse and worse and ..........

Finally, last Friday saw somebody working on the line about 5 blocks from the house and shortly after received a phone call from someone whose grasp of the English language was of apparent short duration. After many attempts I finally understood, "Yes, something is wrong. Our repairman can't fix it. We have a 'contractor' scheduled to work on the problem next Wednesday. Thank you for choosing - "(you get the picture).

In all fairness, at odd times every day the DSL would come up - however briefly - but not stay up. It just bounced and bounced and then dropped off again as if into a deep well. Never to be seen again until the following day - but only during a time when it wasn't raining or storming outside. Hmmmm. Could that be a clue?

Anyway, today is Wednesday. Around noon the DSL line mysterious came up - staggered for a few minutes - and has now been up longer than at any other period during the previous month - for almost six hours. And still no phone call telling me it is "fixed", or IF it is fixed, or anything. Whoever in the phone company is in charge of customer service must have retired about 10 years ago and was not bothered to be replaced. Because they obviously don't care a fig for their customers. When we get back from our London holiday I think their DSL line will pretty quickly (at least by their standards) be replaced by a cable modem.

Not so cheerful

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hidden in plain view – if only someone were watching!

Wretchard the Cat of the Belmont Club is always worth a daily read. His concluding commentary yesterday on “In Plain View” (linked below) should be required reading for modern journalistic aspirants the world over. But sadly, most are not able to "mind the gap" – or else fail to understand it’s full significance.

“W” writes, “…….. three of the decisive weapons of victory in Iraq will have been the 190 military transition teams (MTT) which raised the new Iraqi Army, the Transitional Administrative Law which made a new coalition government possible, and the US Armed Forces itself, which held up the shield behind which the training and political components could take shape. It now seems fairly clear that many of the 'far better' strategies which were suggested (by others) in 2004 and 2005 in place of CENTCOM's (plans) may not have been as good as they were made out to be.”

And then concludes, “If the public has (n)ever heard of the MTTs, the political transition process or the River War it will not be the result of their concealment. These three decisive weapons were lying in plain view from the end (of) 2004 onwards though their significance had not been noted -- their existence hardly even acknowledged -- by the Press even until now. Ironically, this may have contributed to (their) overall success. The enemy in reading the leading newspapers of the West remained ignorant of the doom descending upon their heads, confirmed in their eventual victory even as catastrophe overwhelmed them. Thank you MSM.”

One needs to read the entire The Belmont Club: In Plain View to drive home the point, but “the press” draws ever nearer to being permanently mistaken for a proverbial group of sightless individuals describing an elephant! They still fail to see facts not supporting their preconceived ideas. Talk about shallow reporting! Follow the links “W” provides. The MSM either can’t or won’t understand what is happening!

Examples. The Washington Post wastes time and energy criticizing the military for either not being clairvoyant enough three years ago, or for learning from their mistakes now– its just not clear which perceived “failing” their writer has discovered. The AP (by way of Portland’s channel 6) thinks it aids the public weal to report not all locals near Samarra welcome the presence of Operation Swarmer troops. Go figure!. The BBC goes to great length (and lots of words) to worry about ‘deception’ from the U.S. military because their own editors don’t understand military terms. Only ABC gets part of the picture, and even that portion is more closely tied to eventual U.S. troop withdrawal plans than an ultimate success or victory strategy for Iraq.

And of course the “pajama media” keeps being disparaged by the MSM. Could it be that the 'hoof beats of history' have already passed by today's media and are now growing ever weaker? And that the press still can’t figure out why they are less and less relevant?

Nah! Couldn’t happen!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and her fantasy war

The gap between fantasy and reality continues to widen in congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's poor mind. She just doesn't "get it".

Quoted here today, she says, "“The fact, that it (operation Swarmer) is necessary shows you the failure to date"” of the administration'’s war approach, she said. "“Three years later, we have major offensive; it just doesn'’t jibe"” with prewar promises. "“It'’s amazing how failed this effort has been,"” Pelosi said.

Apparently Pelosi buys into the theory that once the initial insertion of coalition forces into Iraq was complete, resulting in the rapid failure of the previous regime, then Bush promised us everything afterwards would quickly and easily be coming up roses. Unfortunately, that's not what I recall and she fails to substantiate her POV with the record - thus everything that follows is simply a mistaken opinion.

In actual fact operation Swarmer demonstrates precisely the success desired of our military's approach. When we first started into Fallujah in late 2004 our Marines ran into such a buzz-saw they found it prudent to withdraw for a few days to soften up the target and rework their strategies.

Not so now with the Swarmer operation, which is centered in and around Samarra - the site of a massive insurgency bombing of a Shiite shrine on February 22. So far this operation has taken less time, used fewer troops and gunships, run into much less resistance and received much more cooperation from locals on the ground than that experienced by our forces in Fallujah. As a matter of fact, during the initial attack - and the following day (today) - the gunships so far HAVE NOT NEEDED TO FIRE at insurgents on the ground. One can only hope that will continue.

Somehow, even in the mind of an ultraliberal, that should not equate as "failure". But by the fractioned reasoning of the distinguished but illogical representative of Bagdhad-by-the-bay, it is but another example of the standard left-speak "Bush lied" mentality.

Predictable, but not honest or realistic. The reality gap in her mind may at last have become dangerous to her political health - if her constituents actually were able to reason on their own. Fortunately for her, so far few have demonstrated that ability.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A needless tragedy?

News Friday confirming the death of Tom Fox at the hands of a self-identified Iraqi terrorist group calling themselves the "Swords of Righteousness Brigades" is quite possibly a double tragedy. And not because of his own loss of life - or the tragic times facing his loved ones.

Mr. Fox was a member of a Canadian-led team belonging to "Christian Peacemaker Teams" (CPT), which according to their website is jointly based in Chicago and Toronto. Formed in the mid-80's by a coalition of North American Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers, as well as others, the teams like to say they are "committed to reducing violence by getting in the way".

Obviously, each of the founding organizations come from a "pacifist" tradition or background. I will comment further about "pacifists" another time. Suffice it to say most I've known appear to be solidly based believers, hold strong beliefs in the 'rightness' of their doctrine, and are extremely courageous and helpful in living for Christ among their communities.

CPT uses the following scripture references from the NRSV to justify their official "missions".
Exodus 20:13 You shall not kill.
Matthew 5:43-44 "You have heard that is was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Matthew 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword."
John 15:13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

As far as what CPT was doing in Iraq, their official site also states, "Iraq: (has been) a Baghdad-based presence since October 2002. Team members accompanied the Iraqi people through the U.S.-led 2003 war and continue during the post-war occupation to expose abusive acts by U.S. Armed Forces and support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance."

I find this official explanation from CPT extremely troubling, creating a dangerous gap between their ministry and the results of their actions. Why did they only link the term "by U.S. Armed Forces" with efforts to "expose abusive acts"? Wouldn't an informed Christian viewpoint have included exposing abusive acts by all forces? Of course it would! Does nothing the insurgents do come up to the level of abuse? What utter rot! Of course it does. Almost everything the insurgency does is "abusive" in nature, and if they were but uniformed troops of an organized state would be acting virtually completely contrary to international law. How deceitful!

The only explanation I can come up with is this. The "enemies" of the CPT are not the insurgents. Those irregulars have morphed into becoming their friends. Instead, the CPT have decided among themselves "U. S. Armed Forces" are now their enemies. And in so doing they have totally failed to follow Matthew 5:43-44. In their eagerness to "get in the way", they just haven't recognized (or admitted) this disconnect yet.

And so the double tragedy. Tom Fox was a believer, trying to perform an important "ministry" and in so-doing demonstrate a noble Christlike spirit. But it can NOT be noble to just willingly 'give up' your life for a mistaken purpose. And I challange anyone to construct a 'supporting' peaceful purpose in Fox's slaying. It changes nothing, and it makes the group of which he was a member also seem to be ineffectual in their 'ministry' efforts. They publicly ignored a true evil, and the outcome has now become a double disaster. I am so sorry.

Unlike results portrayed in the movie "The End of the Spear", this story seems much more likely to end up merely an unimportant postscript, and not become the "tipping point" his group probably sought. I fail to see how this tragedy will bring glory to God, even though I pray I am wrong, and that eventually it might.

Reasoned comments will be recognized.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More re: Mrs. Dweet

Last week my love again saw her bariatric surgeon - the one who first found a problem in her lungs last spring - and he has agreed to again consider by-pass surgery for her in about 90 days if she is first able to pass a few other tests, or re-tests, and meet some conditions. Since short peoples' weight impinges more stringently on their lung capacities - and the bottoms of her lungs are clearer than the upper quadrants - this was good news! Not a cure for PAP, perhaps, but an encouragement as to the possibility of breathing easier post-surgery as the weight rolls off.

Speaking of which, I'm down about 90 pounds since early October. And feeling great - except for some sore ab muscles in the area of my other (intestinal) surgery - due I think to stubborness while unloading a few heavy objects after a Costco run late last week. Ah, the perils of bulk shopping!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Up-date from Mrs. Dweet.

At a Palo Alto hospital yesterday, Mrs. Dweet found out her latest CT scan shows the disease she carries has progressed, but not a lot. Her pulmonary function tests were essentially unchanged from the last time. There is nothing seriously wrong with her bone marrow or blood, although she is manufacturing some strange blood cells. All this is good news. The medication she’s injecting is not working, so she will finish up her current supply and stop. (One can't just return or toss away 60 bottles of precious medication valued at $843 each!)

There is some talk of an aerosol supply of this same med that has worked for some. Her doctor is finding out more about it. He has also prescribed a 6 week pulmonary rehab program that will not clear her lungs, but should make the muscles that work them more efficient. Her doctor still thinks she is qualified for and should receive bariatric surgery. The resultant weight loss should open up the bottom part of her lungs (the section that is now being compressed by extra weight). The Dweet’s will see that particular surgeon next week and ask for his input.

Spiritually speaking, she knows the Lord has given her more opportunities to share her faith because of the ugly oxygen tank she hauls around. Last week at the golf tournament, she really saw that more than ever. She wonders how she can ask that her problems be removed if the Lord is using them in a positive way? So her prayer is that she continues to see and use those opportunities to be a witness, and to remain in the center of His will for her, WHATEVER it is. And that while there, she can truly experience "the peace that passeth understanding."

Thanks to all who have expressed love and concern. Your prayers and thoughts have been an awesome blessing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

London Calls!

Now that 49er's big mid-winter activity spree is over, it's time to begin preparing for springtime in London. England. Great Britain. The U.K.

Mrs. Dweet's longtime goal of returning once more to the mother country will soon be upon us. Many, many arrangements need to be made vis-a-vis oxygen supplies for her whilst there. But time is also being spent determining which plays starring Dame Judith Dench will still be playing, which day trips will be the most rewarding, and etc., etc., etc. It's quite fun!

Re-establishing contact with our favorite church on line 74 is in progress, too, and viewing our new hotel and it's surroundings, or "digs", via "google earth" has been a high priority.

Travel is fun. Traveling in London is great fun! The tubes, the buses, the trains, the buskers, the language differences, everything! Great fun!

Can't wait.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Minding the Gap is sometimes discouraging

Life has a way of intruding on the firmest of plans. And it is bad enough when one family member becomes overwhelmed. If both responsible parental figures in an otherwise dynamic family consisting of multiple physically challenged and dependent adults are unexpectedly afflicted, the "gap" understandingly becomes unmanageable. That is a brief outline of just why this site has been inactive.

Suffice it to say times have been both tough and challenging, but the Dweet's faith (and their bodies) continue to survive. The short version reads something like the book of Job, except Mrs. Dweet plays the role of Job and her husband fills in some additional background and color by impersonating a new character called Job lite!

Mrs. Dweet was diagnosed last summer with an extremely rare lung condition, and at the beginning of 2006 was not quite holding her own against the disease (PAP). She is continuing a daily, self-inoculation medication regimen, and is in frequent contact with a research specialist physician at Stanford. She is on oxygen 24/7, but has learned (with her doctor'’s help) she can spend a few quiet periods off it on occasion, and gladly takes several brief respites each day from dragging the long tube [or a rolling tank with a short tube] around behind her. But when active, or sleeping, she needs the O² to cope and survive.

She has a blood test twice a week, with results forwarded to her doctor the same day. The key element they check is her blood'’s ‘white count’ levels. The medication was designed for some types of immune deficiency patients, and it supposed to stimulate the growth of white cells in the blood. In patients like her that do NOT have an immune deficiency condition, her own body'’s natural reaction may be to ‘fight off’ the medicine. When that happens the normal dosage is increased, and increased, and increased again until it finally theoretically overwhelms her ID system and goes to work in her body wherever bad things are happening, in this case the tiny air sacs in both lungs. Once she reaches that stage, it should take a month and half or so to de-protein-ize (49er's term) those myriads of tiny sacs, a few at a time.

As time goes by more and more information about PAP has become available on the internet. The Dweets have discovered data showing 90% of patients respond favorably to lung lavages. She didn'’t. Furthermore, about 50% of those that did NOT, do respond well to the medicine inoculation regime. Only time will tell if she will be in that group. (Regardless, the Dweets know the Lord is in charge and trust on His mercy and love for them).

The continued treatment prognosis beyond that point could be grim, but she first must see a hematologist before the end of the January to determine why her white cell count is so counter-intuitively low.

49er, after working as a volunteer in a special event in mid-August, and participating in an exciting (and emotionally rewarding) junior-senior PGA tournament, spent the balance of September helping out with grandson and winding down after both activities.

The first week of October brought elective surgery, which was successful, but two weeks later he had to have emergency surgery to remove about 18"” of lower intestine that had suffered too much blood loss from an undiscovered mini-stroke, and had subsequently ‘died’. That surgery was thankfully successful, but its result was the insertion in the lower stomach of a gastric feeding tube leading to the abdomen, and a large open longitudinal wound in the center of the abdomen, at first requiring thrice-a-day re-dressings. 49er was in the hospital about 12 days, and then home with almost daily visiting nurse care for one of the re-dressings, while Mrs. Dweet did the other two.

49er was making good healing progress with the wound, for a few weeks, but eventually developed some type of infection and simply stopped eating. He then dropped about sixty pounds but grew increasingly weaker, so the doctor put him back in the hospital in November for a 5 day ‘tune-up’. He also started daily tube feedings then and 49er was sent home with a gastric pump that pushed liquid food 23 hours a days. So he had something to carry around that seemed to match what Mrs. Dweet was carrying around. Great fun!

Since then, 49er has weaned himself from the tube feedings, the wound has almost healed and the tube has been removed. He is once more eating on his own.

This just in: Update from Mrs. Dweet: After being on the max dose of her injectible meds, she saw the hematologist at Stanford just this week and came away with more questions than answers. He saw some things in her blood that could be problematic. He cannot explain why the white cell count is below normal when the medicine's job is to increase the white count. There are a couple of possibilities, but he has to find out how to test for these. In the meantime, she will continue on the meds. She has another CT scan next week, and pulmonary function tests coming up mid-February. So the Lord continues to ask her to trust Him for the unknowns, and she has determined she will. As always, her only prayer request is she remain in the center of God's will. She know's that's the best place to be, with or without the crazy oxygen tank she lugs around!

But to get back to minding the gap. She and 49er have become increasingly tired of answering the reasonable and well-intentioned question, "How do you feel"? Or, "Any improvement?" Or many similar variations. After each hospital or doctor visit, and after repeatedly experiencing the disappoinment of not receiving a direct answer as to 'why'?, it takes longer and longer for them to wait on the Holy Spirit and allow Him to rebuild their spirit in His likeness. Sometimes they just don't want to be around people for a few hours or so, so they won't have to "be brave" for a while longer. Pray for them, and if they have been short with you or let you down at any time, please forgive them and try to understand.