Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I went to see a cardiologist, but, while in Sacramento, I had lunch with two friends at the Tower Cafe. It is part of the old Tower Theatre complex, now restored and showing current and old movies. For the week of Halloween Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is playing. If you visit Sacramento, it isn’t far from the airport and mid-week  lunch, you can avoid the lines to get into the cafe. They have a huge parking lot out back.

The Tower is located at 16th and Broadway and when you approach you think omigosh, there is an oasis in the middle of the city! You can kind of get lost in among the plants and pots, and benches, on meandering garden paths where many diners choose to sit outside.

The inside is no different. You kind of wade through the stuff to find the bar, or the restrooms. It is funky and fun.

The walls, the ceilings, floors, posts, everything is covered with something to tease the eye and make you smile.

It is the type of place that if you visited it every week, you’d see something you missed the week before. You can hardly take it all in.

Food here is to brag about. You must come and try it for yourself. Marilyn, Galen and I got the waitress to take our picture.

Then we drove out to see a house that Galen has put a bid on, in the Natomas area of Sacramento.

I don’t see Sacramento friends very often, so we spent an hour at the Crawdad Cafe and enjoyed a beer while watching the restful Sacramento River flow by.

Crawdad’s is a floating restaurant, that rises with the river. Kind of interesting that the lowest parking area is underwater during wet years, but it doesn’t matter. I needed a fun, relaxing day.

The cardiologist, Dr. Denh, was a terrific doctor, but his artwork left a lot to be desired.
Surgery of any kind would be so much more pleasant at the Tower Cafe, don’t you think?
And, when I got home, I had a new heart in the mail from my friend Jan, in Sand Point, Idaho.

Unfortunately, it was made of candy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


A reader put me onto this site:

Sid Schwab is very funny. He normally writes about surgery but the “crap” as he puts it has him frothing at the mouth. I know how he feels.  These quotes are from the opening of his blog.

We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” George Orwell….
“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” Stephen King…. …. “A man who lies today about what he said yesterday will lie tomorrow about what he said today.

My conservative friend Jerry McClellan offered some interesting solutions on my other blog:

Like you I fear for the country – no matter who we get, things will keep getting worse for the bottom 95%  – the first thing I would change is president 1 term – 4 years only , same with all elected officials !! Or if additional terms are allowed them they have to win by 10% higher ie 60% , third term by 70% , forth time by 80% – this makes it easier to replace them :-) )
There are a few simple changes to make a great country. Same pension system for all people – same health care & school for all …. Cut the lifers off welfare, as you make millions taxes rates go higher …. Why do oil companies, insurance & Apple all need to make 50 billion per year – it should go to shareholders in dividends.
People who saved $500k should be easily be able to live on their interest or dividends ? – now you don’t get S__T
Judge Judy on tv makes $123,000 per day X 365 days – average worker makes $123 – that’s insane !! 1000 times the average Wage – should be about 50 x max in my opinion … So there is my rant. 

And, another Republican veteran asked people to spread this around:

I’ve let others write my blog today as I slog through more medical paperwork. I have close friends in Virginia, Karen and Glen Littlefield, who are socked in with Hurricane Sandy, yesterday, expecting to lose power. I hope all is well with them and the many others who take the brunt of this monster storm.
And, I hope climate change will get some notice by our leaders.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Someone I know and like, dislikes my writing vitriolic, bitter stuff  during this divisive political climate. I guess stating facts like The Salt Lake City Tribune endorsed Obama, and Republican Senator Larry Pressler endorsed Obama, and Republican Colin Small got arrested and fired from his position as a Registrar of Voters supervisor because he tossed Democratic registration ballots in the garbage, and, the New York Republican Board of Elections changed polling places without telling people where their new polling place was located during the primaries, are considered vitriol by my friend.

There is more, much more of that type of activity and lies and dishonesty like I’ve never seen before. So, if I question and report dishonesty, I’m vitriolic and bitter?

It kind of reminds me of the “kill the messenger mentality. If you don’t like the message, kill (or blame) the messenger.

I think my friend loves his country,  and his ideology doesn’t square with what his party is doing.

I love my country too, but silence in the face of oppression and dishonesty has never been an option for me. I actually believe that a healthy democracy is better when two sides can discuss their opposing views and come to understand where they each may find some common ground, and work out solutions from there.
If honesty is lacking, then debate and exchange of ideas is quite impossible.

So, let’s see:
Last week, the Republican-run Ottawa County Board of Elections sent a mailer to 2,300 voters in three northwestern Ohio precincts informing them that Election Day was November 8. It is, of course, November 6.
Further, voters were told in the mailer their voting location had been moved to a building on the east side of Danbury High School. Unfortunately, the actual voting location is on the west side of the high school

The above abuse of power is a fact, and I can tell you I think it is shameful and ugly no matter who perpetrated such obfuscation on Ohio voters. I don’t think reporting shameful and ugly facts is vitriolic. I haven’t asked, but I think my Republican friends would agree with me.  This is America. I believe the very words This Is America stand for something special.

And, I believe Obama is more concerned with social justice than Romney. His views are more in line with my own. And, I don’t see how that is vitriolic.

Let us look at some facts:
Romney,  who brags about his job creation efforts as Governor of Massachusetts, was unremarkable,  according to the Washington Post. You can read these facts for yourself at:

And, Obama’s accomplishments in the year 2009 alone, are quite remarkable. This is not even half the list. But, they are facts:
In the first months of his presidency, he initiated the The American Recovery and Reinvestment act.
He bailed out the auto industry.
He stopped the war in Iraq, and is now brought Iran to its knees.
He prohibited members of congress from profiting from insider trading.
He reduced Social Security payroll taxes.
Reduced wait time for business patent approvals.
Defense of Marriage act.
Equal pay for women.
Reduced nuclear war heads and missiles with Russia until 2017.
Exempted small family farms from Federal regulation to sell products on their land.
For our safety, large factory farms are required to register every handler of their food products.
He Improved food safety programs.
Gay and Lesbians can serve openly in the military.
He granted 40 billion in tax credits for college students and low income families with children.
Extended unemployment benefits, twice.
Provided for on the job training for vets and reimbursed the energy sector jobs for that training.
Gave 68 Billion in Pell grants.
Saved an estimated 143 Billion in health care costs in health care reforms.
Strengthened hate crime laws.
He voluntarily disclosed the White House Visitors log, something past presidents refused to do.
He provided 80 million to investigate and prosecute fraud in financial institutions.

There is much, much more to add to this list for 2009. I must make mention though of a recent goal nearly accomplished.
October 23, 2012
“The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia’s output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts  U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America “the new Middle East.”
This report comes from USA Today, Oct. 23rd issue.
I rest my case.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


As a consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, massive corporations, billionaires and other interest groups can launder their political spending through the Chamber and dark money groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, concealing the spenders from any accountability to the voting public.

Proposition 32 was carefully worded so the general public is likely to believe it does away with this unfair persuasion in California. It is, instead, another measure to widen the gap between working Americans and corporate interests.

Corporations can still give money to superpacs.  Real estate trusts, insurance companies and hedge funds are all exempt. But under 32, the Unions cannot use their members dues for contributions nor can corporations. But, therein is the rub. Corporations don’t use their stock holders permission or money because they don’t pay dues. Corporations use their profits.

They want the public to think 32 is in the best interest of the public but it is an all out attempt to destroy the unions voice in the political process and destroy unionism in America.
Bill Moyers, on his recent program, talked about the great benefits all Amercans enjoy because of Labor Unions. They gave us a minimum wage, safety regulations, reasonable hours, job security, medical insurance plans, retirement programs, workmen’s compensation, enforced free speech on the job and the right to organize for their own benefit. Unions taught workers to negotiate for better wages. They fought for public education, social security, job protection, time clocks and time cards, overtime pay and paid vacation time.  Unions encouraged blacks to join unions so they could get a fair shot in the workplace. Those victories came at a huge price to the men and women who fought those early battles.

At one time, a boss could walk out on the floor of a factory, fire you on the spot, without giving you a reason, and put his nephew in your job. He could fire you if he didn’t like your political leanings and he could command your vote by threatening you with losing your job if a certain candidate did not win.  The boss withheld wages if he chose to do so for punishment if he didn’t like the way you wore your hair. You fed your family on your wages and God help you if you looked the wrong way at your all-powerful boss. There was no time to adjust, or compensation, or accountability when you were fired. The boss could make or destroy you depending on whether he liked you or not.

Walter Reuther was once a household name. Mitt Romeny’s father called him the most dangerous man in Detroit. Why?  Because he organized United Automobile Workers at General Motors. He changed the men from wage slaves to middle class workers who participated in the benefits of their work in America . A working man could increase is skills and earn more wages. He could be promoted and rise in his classification.  Unions gave rise to the middle class. During the war, Reuther refused to take action against companies while our country was in crisis. Corporate America may not have liked Unions, but they discovered that workers with money in hand could buy the products they were making.  Unions brought social justice to America.

Don’t let Proposition 32 fool YOU.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Larry Greenemeier, writes for Scientific American. He sites a study about voting by mail that may make you reconsider that practice.

The biggest challenge to voting accuracy in the U.S. isn’t hanging chads or hacked voting machines—it’s the mail. A new report by the Voting Technology Project (VTP)—a joint venture between the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—finds that even though absentee ballots account for about only a quarter of all ballots cast during an election, the number of uncounted absentee and election-day ballots may be roughly the same.

The researchers estimate that up to 3.9 million absentee ballots were requested but not received by voters in the 2008 presidential election. Another 2.9 million ballots sent to voters requesting them were not returned for counting. And 800,000 returned absentee ballots were rejected for one reason or another. In all, 21 percent of requested absentee ballots were never counted in 2008—35.5 million requests for absentee ballots led to 27.9 million mail-in ballots being counted.

The researchers acknowledge that they can only speculate as to what happens to these uncounted absentee ballots. In some cases, they note, absentee ballots can be intercepted before they even get into the mail stream. Other concerns are that people can buy or sell these ballots. There aren’t any strict chain-of-custody procedures for ensuring that the person who receives an absentee ballot in the mail is the same person who returns it, the researchers say.

Absentee and early voting has long been available to military personnel and voters unable to cast ballots in their home districts, but this convenience has more recently been extended to encourage people to vote and to ease the sometimes chaotic conditions found at polling stations on election day. Currently 36 states (plus the District of Columbia) now offer no-excuse absentee ballots, early voting or some combination of the two. Oregon and Washington have done away with traditional polling places entirely. All voting there is conducted by mail.

The report’s authors argue that the country needs to reverse the trend towards increased absentee and early voting. States should discourage absentee balloting among voters who do not require this service, they say. Likewise, election officials should quash the idea of Internet voting until the technology can be secured and audited. The researchers also call for additional research into new methods to get usable ballots to military and overseas civilian voters securely, accurately and quickly, and to make sure those ballots are returned in time to be counted.

The practice makes me wonder. Before going on the road with Jim, I worked our polls every year. There are so many inconsistencies in the way voting is regulated from state to state that it gave me pause. The rules can change from year to year. Such as: a person who Decline To State, is given a ballot with no party candidates on it. That person can request any ballot, Rebublican, Democrat, Green Party etc. but you are not allowed to tell them that or ask them what ballot they want to vote. Some come in shocked that their ballots didn’t contain the names of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates on their primary ballot.  (But, mums the word.)  I thought that was a stupid rule.

At our polls, you can watch the county employees counting the vote. But, not the absentee ballots that are counted later. I think our county deserves a good conduct medal for how they conduct the voting, but there is plenty of room for abuse if a rigidly partisan person is the Supervisor of Voting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The dirty tricksters are out in force and it isn’t Halloween fun.
The Virginia State Board of Elections voter registration supervisor, a Republican,  has been arrested and charged with 13 counts of voter registration fraud.  Colin Small was arrested and charged with voter registration fraud after he was observed throwing voter registration forms in a trash bin behind a store in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Though he worked as the registration supervisor, he was contracted and paid  by the Republican Party of Virginia to register voters as a second job.

Virginia Democrats, led by state Sen. Donald McEachin, asked Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate the incident and determine if Small’s actions were part of more widespread voter suppression efforts. Unfortunately, Cuccinelli’s office said it would only look into the incident if there was a request to do so from the Virginia State Board of Elections, and the Republican-controlled Virginia State Board of Elections has refused to make such a request.


In New York City the Republican controlled Board of Elections,  changed many polling places at the last-minute in strongly Democratic areas so that people no longer vote in or near the buildings they had used before.  People from other buildings came to vote in other places still set up as polling places but not available to them. There have been no announcements, no signs and no directions where to go.  On primary day many people gave up after trying three different sites. And pleas to the Board of Elections gave them no help.

Totally outrageous!!

In Pennsylvania, the voter I.D. law was slipped in after the Primary. On October 2nd,  a Pennsylvania judge put the state’s new voter ID law on hold until after the election giving people time to get proper identification.  A series of misleading ads and announcements is sowing confusion and fear among residents with just two weeks until Election Day, civil rights and union leaders contend because the Commonwealth Court Judge, Robert Simpson, ruled that election officials can still ask voters for photo identification but cannot require it.

What kind of horse-pukey is that?

Remember how The United Nations and particularly the United States have gone to foreign countries to stabilize the voting process when rogue governments were  trying to prevent the people from Democracy? They secured the polls, became poll watchers and protected voters from assault and other shenanigans? Well, for the first time in U.S. History, poll watchers from the United Nations have been asked to do the same in America because our ability to run fair elections is so rife with corruption.

How about this ethical breach caught by a watchdog of the press:  The Wall Street Journal published more than 20 op-eds written by 10 Romney campaign advisers without disclosing their campaign roles. Shortly after that report, we released our letter to the Journal, urging editor Paul Gigot to reconsider the practice of hiding campaign ties and to instead start disclosing the campaign roles of its op-ed and column writers.

How many more dirty tricks go undetected?

Most of my friends are Republican, but they are not the radicals who dominate the Republican Party. The mild-mannered Romney of the last debate was coached to win the women’s vote. He nicely agreed with most of Obama’s foreign policy. But, those in the know expect the blitzkrieg if he gets elected. He wants more military intervention. Thus, his insistence on more military spending.
And, if you can’t win by changing your position, your friends can always do it for you. But, what about his much touted business acumen and stellar leadership and ability to create Jobs, jobs, high paying jobs.

While Romney was governor of my state, Massachusetts, the debt burden per capita was the highest in the nation. He raised or created more than 1,000 taxes and fees on people across Massachusetts, while 278 wealthy residents in the state got a tax break. And Massachusetts plummeted to 47th out of 50 in job creation.
What does it say that the people who know Mitt Romney best trust him least? He is trailing by 20 points or more in the state where he was governor.
John Kerry

And this:

After the country broke 17,000 heat records this summer, drought smothered half of the nation’s corn crop, and millions of acres of the American west went up in smoke, there is no mention of climate change by either candidate. Right now, parts of Miami are underwater due to unusually high tides, a problem that will get worse as sea levels continue to rise. Romney is a denier. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


During the debates last night, we had two emergency broadcasts about unusual and dangerous weather conditions in Nevada County, Placer County and El Dorado County. Tornadoes are something we don’t have in these parts. But, that was before we created a change in the climate, a subject that has not come up in any of the debates, and should have.

I thought Obama proved his leadership as a strong world leader during the debate that Romney could not counter. When he got buffaloed, he would divert to the economy hammering on a plan that does not work. I have  a hard time putting together the Mitt Romney who tells us who he is and the Mitt Romney of record.  But, I’m not the only one who feels that way I discovered.

I was on-line and read that the Salt Lake City Tribune had endorsed Obama. I didn’t believe it, so I checked and it is true. I was stunned.

Tribune endorsement:
Too Many Mitts- Obama has earned another term
First Published Oct 19 2012 12:13 pm • Last Updated Oct 22 2012 10:31 am
The Tribune article is copyrighted and can’t be reproduced here, but I can recapture some points of the editorial:
People admire him there in a largely Mormon, Republican, business friendly state and for his handling of the Olympics.
But, his bid for the White House has made abundantly clear that he courted the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now he has become a shape-shifter, embracing the party’s radical right wing all the while  claiming to be a moderate champion of the 47%.
(Direct Quote.) Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”
The editorial acknowledges that politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience.  But, (direct quote.) Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.
The editorial sites  Romney’s  failure to  share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and on and on, is utterly meaningless because it doesn’t add up, just as Obama keeps saying it doesn’t add up. If he is such a hot shot business man, why can’t he prepare a plan that we can all see and depend upon?
The editorial goes on to emphasize the many accomplishments of Obama. If you care to read the editorial, you will find it at this address:

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed in years past. They failed to see that Mitt Romney.
(Direct quote”) …our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

Monday, October 22, 2012


When I bought this Shaman stick, I had no idea where I could put it or how to get it home. In Cortez, Colorado, the shipping store clerk called UPS and  FED-EX while we stood at the counter. Those options were not available. We were told it was too long. Admittedly, awkward in size and shape, with feathers that are somewhat delicate, black and white horsehair, a fox skull. Just walking down the street of Cortez brought some interesting looks and comments.

Comments from Jim were a bit more frustrating. “Where are you going to put it?  We don’t have room in the motor home. You need to take this thing back. Let’s be practical.”
We wired and hung it from the storage in the Motor Home, all the while Jim insisting that taking it back is the only practical thing to do. For me, practical and a work of art  don’t mix.
Several times over the phone he would offer, why don’t I cut it in half, ship it to you and you can put it together on your end. Being persistent, he found out that it COULD be shipped by UPS from New Mexico. Who knows why the difference? He told the clerk, “…a bent feather and I’m a dead man.”
It took some doing to figure out where to put it. But, since I only have myself to please, it looks fine to me in a corner of my living room.

It may not be conventional, but anyone who knows me is not surprised by that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Murphys Independence Hall Quilting group has one of the better quilt faires I’ve seen over the years. They do a great job and attract entries from other states. I attended yesterday afternoon, but this morning, I bundled up  to see the much touted meteor showers, shivering over my cuppa coffee. The sky was in full bloom and a lovely half hour spent star-gazing was enjoyable, though I was apparently too late for the meteorite shower.

I managed to do some star-gazing at the quilt faire yesterday, anyway.

This white on white quilt pattern looks more like  snowflakes than  stars, but star patterns abound in quilt making. I chose this quilt to show because of its beautiful stitching. Quilts that last are stitched like this one, every quarter inch.

The starry affect in this quilt is part of the material print, rather than the quilter’s cut.

A star framed portrait, an unusual piece, and lovely.

An abstract of dresden plates floating star-like in a sky of blue. I actually didn’t intend to find all the star patterns in the faire. This was totally accidental. There are so many interesting things to choose from.

A pattern I had never seen before. Well, not exactly, a take on a log cabin but designed as a hanging garden, working very well.

Flower motifs are much loved by quilters, and this arrangement was unusual and pretty.

This quilt is amazing because of the work represented.  Each square is the size of a postage stamp. From cutting, to making the seams, to precision arrangement, this quilt commands respect.

Tulips in a Hawaiian quilt pattern. Hawaiian quilts are generally quilted tighter than a quarter inch so you often see them like this, one piece in a wall hanging. They are difficult applique, fine lines and points,  and quilted to resemble the ocean waves.

Original quilts are challenging. Lynne Ingalls from Seattle copied a snapshot she took of CatherineThe Great’s summer palace and produced this enchanting piece.

Another challenging walll hanging made from 52 shades of gray. I didn’t count, but again, the stitching is close, wonderfully executed and an unusual one of a kind pieces.

There is always much to see and do at a quilt faire. This woman is teaching how to mitre corners with and without stripes. The workshops are free for anyone who wants to watch and ask questions.

A food court provides delicious food and drink; a place to take a break and rest your feet.

Vendors supply materials, patterns and anything a quilter might need, and many things a quilter didn’t know she or he needed. Tables are filled with ready-made gifts to take home  like these cupcake shaped hot pads. Every year sees a new fad. This year it was kernal corn filled flannel pads that you heat in the microwave and put on your lap or the back of your neck to keep warm on a cold winter morning. I wish I had had one with me whiile I star gazed on the deck.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


You know, a minute ago, we, you and I, just spent 2.2 million dollars. And, I didn’t want to do it. But that is the cost of military spending, 2.2 million dollars a minute.

Our military Department of Defense, War, Veterans Affairs, and Nuclear Weapons programs cost 60% of the budget.

Health and Human Services  6%

Education  6%

State 5%

Department of Homeland Security 4%

Housing and Urban Development 3%

Agriculture 2%

Justice 1.5%

NASA 1.5%

Energy 1.5%

Labor 1%

Treasury 1%

Interior 1%

Environmental Protection Agency 1%

Transportation 1%

Other Miscellaneous Programs 4.5%

These figures are based on the federal discretionary budget sent to congress for 2013.
Kind of puts things in perspective.  Reducing the military budget is the best legacy we can leave our kids.
A quote from President Eisenhower:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron

I’m remembering that Romney wants to increase military spending over the amount requested by the Department of Defense.  I find that incredibly upsetting.

Check out the One Minute For Peace Organization if you agree.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I should never watch the debates. It drives home the imperfections of our system . It frustrates me that I don’t have a real command of what our government does except in a general way.  In years past, I’ve never found such steady use of fact checkers to be a necessity.  During this campaign, you can’t do without them if you expect to be informed. The one I use most is:

It is from the respected Annenberg Public Policy Center.

We, the 99% may not know exactly what is going on in the halls of congress, but, you can count on the 1% to have the resources to know what goes on in the halls of congress.

Obama certainly did a better job at the debates, but he had to use the same tactics that Romney introduced in the first debate. Interrupting, talking over his opponent and the moderator, ignoring the time limits and leaving civility behind, as did Joe Biden in the vice-presidential debates. I guess this signals a new low for debates to follow. Am I the only one who would like to see a return to civility?

Romney continually hammered on jobs as the cure-all for the economy, and rightly so. He just doesn’t make a credible plan for how he will create those jobs. His numbers don’t add up. But we do know he will take away my tax deductions.  Now he says I can personally take $2,500 in tax deductions, period. But nobody will have to pay taxes on their dividends and capital gains. The 1%  hold the mega portfolios and stand to gain huge benefits from that plan. That leaves out most of the middle class who don’t have grand portfolios.

Obama and Romney were both weak on the immigration question and gun control.  Romney allowed the National Rifle Association to meet with sportsmen and they agreed on their principles of gun control for Massachusetts.  Basically, whatever you want, guys! Obama says enforce the laws we have on gun control. That would help, but it doesn’t happen.

Obama has suggested amnesty for immigrants who have been here and worked and contributed to social security,  and make it easier for immigrants to come here legally.  But, that is not a very popular idea among most people.

Romney wants businesses to police immigrants with a green card. Unfortunately, green cards are easily manufactured and are useless. Businesses depend on immigrant workers to do the jobs they can’t hire anyone else to do. In Alabama, farmers have lost crops because they could not hire anyone to harvest them when they instituted new immigration laws. The new laws basically legalized racial profiling by police and teachers. I don't like that.

The first fact checker I read says Romney has more Pinocchios in his rhetoric. (And, once and for all, I wish people would quit sending me emails claiming Obama allows Illegal Immigrants to collect social security. It isn’t’ true.)

The town hall questions were good ones, but, not one question on climate change, or the environment. For climate change deniers, maybe they should look at islands in Fiji, the Solomons, Tuvalu, where water threatens to flood them out of existence. In Kiribati, 102,000 people have been evacuated to a nearby Island because of climate change flooding.

There was a passing reference to green jobs and energy. I did learn that both Obama and Romney are heavily supportive of oil and coal. What a disappointment. Drilling in the Antarctic?  Maybe they should both take a trip north and see what is happening there and study how unsafe the off shore drilling rigs are. Study how much oil  companies spend on safety and clean-up capabilities. Obama sites oil independence as a way to transition to green energy at home and has supported that technology in a big way. I don’t like it but I know we can't just jump to a green energy nation.  I hated hearing them brag about pipelines and drilling. (No mention of fracking.)  Romney equally supports that idea as far as I could tell.

I don’t choose to spend my time being a fact checker on everything our government does. But, the truth be told, government is far too complex for an ordinary person to really keep up with everything that affects us. And this year, with corporations flooding the airwaves with distorted and misleading ads, it seems our only defense.

But, for a sample of what a Romney President might be like check this site:

There are many Fact checkers out there on every subject.  Fact Checking,  the new business driving our economy?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I blogged genetically modified food labeling previously. Now, Monsanto is spending a million dollars a day to defeat the proposition on the ballot to label genetically modified foods.  So far, they’ve spent $48 million with some very misleading ads about why we shouldn’t allow genetically modified foods to be labeled. Not prevented. But, not labeled. What do they fear?  It seems to me, any time a company that peddles poisons that have already done damage to birds, fish and animals fights with their big bucks, it is not because they are concerned for us. They are afraid you won’t buy their products. Agribusiness in California is very successful. It isn’t the farmers who stand to lose. It is Monsanto. They expect to make millions on GMO foods and they don’t want you to know. Another block to transparency.

I will repeat parts of my former blog, in case you didn’t see it.
We’ve had genetically modified products for ages. Just hand pollinating or cross pollinating is genetically modifying a plant. Or, grafting a scion from a different fruit tree onto another, is an example.  Adding herbicides to seeds, is a bit different.  Any company who modifies a product that grows in our common soil,  should know the end result if the seedlings spread to the wild or cause unwanted changes. The company should have to prove that their GMO seeds will in fact, cause no harm or affect nature in a negative way. But, our weakened FDA did not make that happen.
Now comes information from a study that is disturbing and begs caution.  However, I don’t know the size of the study and who conducted it. I read about it on an organization I trust.

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn or exposed to the company’s popular Roundup herbicide, in amounts considered “safe” in drinking water and genetically modified crops in the U.S., developed tumors and suffered severe kidney and liver damage, according to a study released this week.

We may not develop the same problems as rats, but even rats are part of the environmental balance we need. What else will it affect?  Birds? Or raptors that eat rats and gophers?
And this from the editors of On Earth Magazine, a publication that deals with environmental issues:

Carbon-fueled climate change is responsible for many terrifying things, but some normal-seeming rice plants in one recent study is a warning. Scientists from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grew a feral, weedy form of rice along side of  a cultivated form in controlled environments that reflected carbon dioxide levels of a century ago. As C0-2 levels went up, the weedy rice was better able to synchronize its flowering period to that of the cultivate rice, leading to cross pollination and resulting in a zombie-like hybrid with alarming characteristics. From the feral parent, came a diminished nutritional content and a weaker hull. But, the cultivated parent gave it a genetic resistance to weed killers. The weedy rice that always pops up in fields has been traditionally controlled by herbicides.

Now, add in climate change with genetically modified seeds with resistant chemicals in them?  It could be a horror movie.
We don’t have corporate soil and private soil. Don’t allow Monsanto to buy its way around labeling to prevent you from having a choice of whether you want to eat GMO foods or not. Or feed baby food to your baby from seeds injected with herbicides.

Monsanto’s goal?  Higher profits.

Monday, October 15, 2012


My son Ken rolled into Murphys and took me out to dinner last night at the Italian Steak House. They had great menu choices, though neither of us eat steak. He and his wife do meatless Mondays and are very health conscious eaters. Ken has never been on any prescription medicine.

He choose the pine nut and mushroom stuffed ravioli with crimini mushroom sauce and  cheese.

I enjoyed chicken picata and must say, the Steakhouse has wonderful food if you are visiting the area. Great choices. I can remember when you couldn’t find a decent restaurant in the whole county, so it is a treat to have nice restaurants in town.

His visit was just for the day. He got up about 3:30 this morning to go jogging. He plugged in to listen to music on his phone while jogging.  He came back and said, “I forgot how dark it is on a country road without street lights and no moon. I had to use my phone for a flashlight and light my way in the dark.”  My laugh for the day.  He’s turned into a “city boy”.

My road is full of potholes and forced him to walk instead of jog, and enjoy the fresh air and the dark. The dark is seductive and moody and enjoyable, to me. I like getting up in the middle of the night, on occasion, step onto my porch and just listen to the night sounds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


It is a mad campaign swirling around us and it is hard not to get caught up in the whirlwind. Speaking of mad, I recently read that people who study serial killers have made credible comparisons to people who run for office. They share many of the same traits.

How many times have we heard someone say, “Ya gotta be crazy to run for President?” I am chuckling, folks, but then Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and other monsters pop into my head. 

I’ll be glad when the election is over and we can all get back to some semblance of normal life, whatever that is.
I find it unbelievable that a man can get elected to public office and claim slavery is a blessing in disguise.

 “The following link is too funny/scary not to pass on.”—down-ballot-notables

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The White House has called on federal agencies and departments to improve the ability of government scientists to openly discuss their research and findings with media, policy makers, and the public. Some agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation, have put forward policies that encourage such communication.
Government scientists should be able to alert the public when their research indicates a potential public health, safety, or environmental hazard.

Strange that we should NEED such a call to listen to science. Our whole world of inventions and weaponry , space travel and architecture, astronomy, road design, medicine, comfortable furnishings, computers, fabrics, mailing materials, machinery, building safe structures, growing more food per acre, improvements in glass, car safety, new technologies be it a bicycle or a car medical device have been invented or strengthened by  scientific testing and  investigation. We live every day with the things science has made possible.  We, as a country, used to lead the way in  scientific discoveries and investigation. Now we are #17 in the world.  Such a long fall from dominance.

How did we turn into a society that denies the overwhelming evidence of climate change?  It has hurt us as a country financially and in leadership around the world.

Part of it stems from the conflicted discoveries that appear to undermine religion. Red states with high numbers of fundamental religions, are where most climate deniers and anti science attitudes come from. Yet, many scientists believe in God and have religious beliefs.

The truth and nature of the world, which includes people, is a factual, solid place, not changed by science, but understood by science. However, people are more comfortable in their own beliefs and somehow feel it affects their self esteem if what they have  believed for most of their life is challenged.

Uneducated people regard scientists as some elite, arrogant class of know-it-alls that live off the taxpayers and deserve trashing. In fact scientists don’t make a lot of money. They have houses, a salary and spend into the private economy and pay taxes just like everyone else unless they work within a mega corporation where they can make better money. Where they buy houses, buy into the private economy and pay taxes like everyone else.

Scientists provide the infrastructure for great companies to succeed and compete. They are necessary to our capitalistic economy. And suspicions that they are liberals with an agenda to sway the public in some sort of conspiracy would take thousands and thousands of scientists to agree to a shady plan. It is unreal, untrue and unfortunate for all of us that such anti-scientific attitudes have been promoted and enhanced by politicians for their own gain. It is up to each of us to confront that attitude when we see it if we want to be the America we grew up with.

Friday, October 12, 2012


The debates have everyone atwitter, Biden smiled and chuckled too much, Ryan hesitated too long before answering a question he clearly didn’t expect about abortion, yatta ta yatta ta yatta. I guess the pundits have to earn their money someway, but not one of them mentioned the most telling line from Biden:
The next president will pick two jurists to serve on the United States Supreme Court. If the Romney ticket wins, you can expect a conservative court to be even more conservative. I think having such an unbalanced court is a disaster as in their recent decision giving corporations the same rights as a human. That is something to think about.
Ryan avoids answering the direct question, what is their plan to bring 12 million higher-paying jobs to Americans.  He says they will do it, but he can’t explain how. Biden says the way to get back to work is to let the Bush tax cuts expire and level the playing field for middle class Americans. Help out where needed just like the banks were helped. Working people PAY taxes.
It makes me nervous to watch the debates. I don’t watch the horrible ads I hear about. But, we have so much to lose and be concerned about if our leaders fail us. If there was only some way we could be guaranteed what we hear is honest, and hear plans to solve problems that are clear and concise. This campaign has given the fact checkers a lot of business. There are more, and more fact checkers needed. We should require our congressional leaders to take ethics classes before they take their oath. I would just once like to see a fact checker at a debate slap one of them across the knuckles with a ruler when he or she lies. And, I’d just once like to hear an ad that says, “This message has passed the fact checker for truthfulness.”
(I didn’t hear from the pundits that there was a proliferation of lies at this debate like the Presidential debate.)
And, no one mentioned Republican Senator Larry Pressler’s endorsement of President Obama, and the positive things the Obama Administration has done for veterans.
Yesterday, I proudly endorsed President Obama.
As a combat veteran of two tours of Vietnam with 22 years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, the choice was not easy.
But it is clear: President Obama recognizes that our sacred trust with those who serve starts when they take their oath, and never ends.
That’s why he’s enacted tax credits to spur businesses to hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. He implemented and improved the post-9/11 GI Bill, the largest investment in veterans education since the original GI Bill more than 60 years ago. He’s proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that would help put returning service members to work as police officers, firefighters, and first responders.
President Obama ended the war in Iraq, and has a plan to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan. He’s laid out a clear plan that would reduce the deficit and prevent the mandatory arbitrary military spending cuts that no one wants.
And something that hits close to home: President Obama secured the largest increase in VA investments in decades, so veterans get the care and benefits they earned, like treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. As someone with service-related PTSD, I meet with younger veterans weekly to help them through the treatment and transition. It makes a difference for them knowing their president has their back.
And let me be clear: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would be disastrous for America’s service members, veterans, and military families.
When you fail to mention an ongoing war in accepting your party’s nomination to be president, or veterans in a so-called jobs plan, the public praise rings hollow.
Mitt Romney has time and again failed the test to be commander-in-chief of our nation’s military. When he politicized the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans in Libya, he demonstrated that he lacks the required resolve and steadiness. He sowed division between “us” and “them” when he wrote off 47 percent of Americans, including any veteran collecting disability like myself. He has still failed to outline any plan to end the war in Afghanistan or bring our troops home.
He has not proven himself fit to serve as commander-in-chief of this nation.
Now, that is clear and concise.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Politics, the spewing of hatred, verbal bullies calling names, the blame game, character assassination…divisiveness, what we need is some radical laughter.
These signs are authentic. Wish I had pictures of them. But, hopefully they will supply you a laugh break.

Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office:
“Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”


In a Podiatrist’s office:
“Time wounds all heels.”


On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels


On a Plumber’s truck:

“We repair what your husband fixed.”


On another Plumber’s truck:

“Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”


On a Church’s Bill board:

“7 days without God makes one weak.”


At a Tire Store

“Invite us to your next blowout.”


On an Electrician’s truck:

“Let us remove your shorts.”


In a Non-smoking Area:

“If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.”


On a Maternity Room door:

“Push. Push. Push.”


At an Optometrist’s Office:

“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”


On a Taxidermist’s window:

“We really know our stuff.”


On a Fence:

“Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!”


At a Car Dealership:

“The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

Outside a Car Exhaust Store:

“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”


In a Vets waiting room:

“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”


In a Restaurant window:

“Don’t stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”


In the front yard of a Funeral Home:

“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”
And don’t forget the sign at a


“Best place in town to take a leak.”


Sign on the back of yet another
Septic Tank Truck:

“Caution – This Truck is full of Political Promises”

Note:  These came in an email and I don’t know who to credit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Since I’m dealing with medical problems, Jim sent me some healing dirt for my birthday. We’ve laughed and joked about how to use it while talking on the phone. It seems the early Native Americans at one time used to eat it. Now, people rub it on the spot that needs healing. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have nothing to lose, so today is the day. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here is the website that explains how this particular dirt became healing dirt:
He is in New Mexico, still, and the dirt comes from El Santuario de Chimayo Shrine.

He also sent a bar of handmade lavender soap. The maker isn’t assigning it healing properties, but popular aroma therapists make many healing claims for lavender. I grow it and enjoy it in my yard and love the smell on my face and hands whether it heals or not.
The website for handmade soaps:
On the website is a link to Marie’s blog. And from there, a slideshow of her beautiful labels and a bit of history behind the choice of soaps she makes. I love the hippy soap labels. All are from photos of her paintings. Marie is located on “The High Road To Taos” where the last two weekends in September is held a miles long “yard sale”.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I helped work on the paint job yesterday. I painted five window frames and two doorways,  which required having the doors open to the wonderful, cool weather we had yesterday. My son was having problems with his back and I decided I could do it myself. I enjoyed it, but there are eleven doors in this house and many windows still unpainted. So, we will be at it for two more days, at least.

With open doorways, I decided to get all the projects stowed in boxes under desks and in corners up off  the floor and consider which one to start with. DON’T PUT OFF ‘TIL TOMORROW…  you know what I mean.

A book on brew-tasting I wrote when the craft beer movement first got started. Unsold. I thought I should put it together. Scrapbooks of trips left unfinished. To many to name.

All week long, I’ve washed and sorted through a barrel of wool for rug-making. Braided, hooked and rag rugs are beautiful and long-lasting.

This is an unfinished hooked rug I started too many years ago.

I’ve braided eight area rugs. This one is in my living room. The biggest one I made was four-foot diameter circle rug that I’ve given to a friend.

Two small ones designed to be place in front of chairs so the carpet doesn’t wear down in one noticeable place.

A washable rag rug for the bathroom. It is made of cotton, not wool. I enjoy making rugs and the end result.
I’ll store the wool until cold weather sets in. I didn’t photograph the number of quilts I’ve cut and haven’t sewn. Or art projects unfinished. I’m never bored, as intended. But, I  think I have YEARS of projects on hold. Oh, well. It’s like fun in the bank.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Street faires vary from place to place. The one connected to Grape Stomp is well organized and just the right size.  Easily accessible. You can stroll along, have lunch (several times) and see everything you want to, including stomping grapes, in about 3 hours. In fact, there is enough to keep you occupied for the full day, if you choose.

It is as much about meet and greet as anything. Finding old friends you haven’t seen in a long time. Having a visit and moving on. This nice man built a wagon for his aged dog. 102 in dog years. Blind and deaf, he can’t get out and move around much. His owner spends part of each day “walking” him in a cart so he gets some attention. He compared the dog’s vulnerability to that of an aged person with disabilities. Something to think about.

We learned from the owner of this booth that succulents are all the rage again. They are very appealing and I wanted to buy two or three types. Of course the appeal is as much about the containers you put them in as the plant itself. I have containers at home that need filling.

As charmed as I was, I bought none since most succulents cannot survive our yearly freezes in the mother lode. But, a purse? A colander? Old cans? Little vases and boxes and boots? They are easy to care for and require little water. I see a new project budding.

I like metal art and this lizard looked appealing to me, with its bit of color. I imagined it on the side wall of my garage. Hmmm!

My friend, Patty and I watched this guy making candy apples. But, we opted for a Thai salad for lunch. We stopped and had a beer at the bar in the Murphys Hotel and reluctantly passed up a bratwurst sandwich and home-made apple pie and tacos and chicken on a stick and…too many choices.  Street food is so tasty.

Fancy birdhouses that no self-respecting bird would call home are clever patio and yard decorations. Mine become homes for paper wasps or mud daubers, but, I like them just the same.

Something for all ages. These two girls with painted faces were walking their raccoon and puppy on a string. So cute you wanted to reach down and chuck them under the chin.

It was a fun day. We met interesting people. We saw goofy costumes. Ate great food. Admired other people’s creativity and got inspiring ideas. But what I liked most about the street faire is going with someone who likes to take the time to meander and visit and not feel rushed. I think it’s a girl thing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I always say, if you are going to a grape stomp, go in style. Yes indeed.  Don’t I wish it was my ride.

The Murphys Grape Stomp is also a street faire, but I’ll get to that tomorrow. My friend and I wandered  around town and met with any number of costumed participants, waiting their turn to stomp. The Wild Ones hadn’t stomped yet.

Welches Wenches had just placed sixth in their heat. They qualify for the finals if they place in the top ten.

“The Foot” didn’t register to stomp.  He enjoys the fun of being in costume. And, drinking beer. This may be a wine event, but, hey, beer was pretty popular, too.

If you are  going to stomp, you may as well get fortified with a glass of liquid grapes, first!

The volunteer crews load the buckets with wine grapes.

The stage is set with 10 barrels and 10 buckets of grapes. Ten teams compete at once. A bucket of grapes is placed beside each barrel while the audience waits to cheer for their favorites.

The contestants line up, some stomp barefooted, some ruin their shoes.

They dump their grapes in the barrel on cue. Then wait for introductions of each team which leaves them time to discuss and work out any last-minute strategy. The team member on the ground helps scrape the juice through the spout into the waiting vessel to be measured.

A team from Chico has won the event 8 times and has set the record for the amount of juice collected during one stomp.  They’ve quit stomping this year and this young team is Chico’s new hope. They’ve received plenty of advice from the retiring team.

They’re off and stomping. People I’ve talked to say, it is harder than it looks.

The scraper is considered as important as the stomper. The scraper’s tatoo reads:  Don’t be afraid to go after what you want to do and what you want to be. Don’t be afraid and be willing to pay the price.” A philosopher.

Some of the stompers have several teams. They form a club to attend the stomp every year. I saw three couples, all women dressed like men. They call themselves the Batchelorette Party Crew.

These two women have dressed up and designated themselves the Grape Fairies. One is the Night Fairy and the other is the Day Fairy of the Grape Stomp.

This guy with the hot dog hat was with a team of about six or seven members with t-shirts proclaiming “Stomp Your Wienie.”  Maybe they are trying for a different kind of stomp, but I’m guessing everyone is simply having a good time at the grape stomp. I did too.