Thursday, February 08, 2007

Just Put Your Foot On The Damn Gas Pedal!

I have a proposal for a scientific study that I think would be welcomed by a vast majority of the motoring public. The subjects of the study would be the bewildered idiots who have managed to obtain a driver’s license. The purpose of the study would be to determine, and hopefully repair, the malfunctions in their brain synapses and neuromuscular pathways that cause the interminable 5 second delay between the time they see a green light and the time they put their feet on the damn gas pedal.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Whole Lot of Nerve

I received my federal union newsletter today and was shocked by an article which talked about the Iraq Study Group's recommendation calling for directed assignments of federal employees to Iraq. As an attorney I always like to read the primary source so I downloaded the Iraq Study Group's report. On page 60 there is a section titled U.S. personnel. The introduction to that section states, among other things, "The nature of the mission in Iraq is unfamiliar and dangerous, and the United States has had great difficulty filling civilian assignments in Iraq with sufficient numbers of properly trained personnel at the appropriate rank." The kicker is Recommendation 74 which states "In the short term, if not enough civilians volunteer to fill key
positions in Iraq, civilian agencies must fill those positions with directed assignments. Steps should be taken to mitigate familial or financial hardships posed by directed assignments, including tax exclusions similar to those authorized for U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq."

Pardon my language because I do not know any other way to truly capture my anger and frustration, but these people have a lot of balls. I think it is the height of irresponsibility to suggest that federal employees should be deployed to Iraq when our troops should not even be there. And if you pay close attention to the language, it is not limited to State Department or foreign service personnel, who, in fact, may have an expectation of overseas assignment. The fact that this was a bipartisan group of high profile former politicians makes me question the state of political leadership in this country.

The key members of the group are James A. Baker, III, Lee H. Hamilton, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Edwin Meese III, Sandra Day O’Connor, Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, Charles S. Robb, and Alan K. Simpson. Here is my recommendation to them and the dozens of others involved in this undertaking: all of you have decades of experience in politics and business, you go the hell to Iraq and fix what Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld broke.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Pass It On

If you have any unwanted items that you cannot sell or donate to charity, I recommend giving it to someone else using Freecycle is a nonprofit group that allows individuals to post ads offering or requesting goods free of charge. The idea is that by giving your unwanted items to someone else you are saving space in landfills. There are Freecycle groups throughout the United States and there is likely a local group near you. By joining a local group you have the ability to post ads. My wife and I have used Freecycle for about 2 years giving away a variety of goods. The people who have responded to our ads are pleasant and we know the items will be put to good use. The next time you have an unwanted item instead of throwing it away, pass it on using Freecycle.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The President That Cried Wolf

In his speech on Wednesday President Bush said "If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home." Pardon me if I am a little skeptical about this statement but how many times have we heard from the Administration about so called "crucial moments" in Iraq. Also, we have been hearing about new plans for Iraq for months and all we get is an increase in troops by 21,500. I am not a military planner but if your military commanders on the ground are competent shouldn't coming up with a request for more troops take a matter of days and not months. We have been in Iraq over 3 years surely we have learned something. News reports state that the troop increase will cost about $5.6 billion. Wouldn't this money be better spent on alternative energy research, universal health care coverage, or any of the other pressing problems facing the nation. Noon on January 20, 2009 can't come soon enough.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year End Thoughts

Happy New Year to everyone. Here are some miscellaneous year end thoughts.

I think it was a shame that many of our elected leaders including President Bush, Senator Harry Reid, Representative Nancy Pelosi and literally hundreds of others did not attend the services for President Ford at the U.S. Capitol. He was a crucial figure at a time of turmoil in this country and he deserved the respect that should be afforded all former Presidents.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and deserved to die but it does not change the situation in Iraq. Our soliders are still dying and Iraq is still in ruins.

We keep hearing about new plans for Iraq from the Bush Administration but nothing seems to materialize. I hope someone will come up with something in 2007 but I am not holding my breath. Iraq may be a problem the next President has to solve.

I hope the Democrats do not screw up when they take control of Congress in 2007.

The Hillary-Obama frenzy is quite interesting but I am concerned about their electability. It is too bad that people like Mark Warner and Evan Bayh have scuttled their plans to run for the Democratic nomination. It says something about them that they are scared off so easily. On the other hand, I am keeping my eye on Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa. He declared early stating that he did not need an exploratory committee and he is talking about energy security which I think is among the top 5 issues this country needs to address.

That's all for now. See you in 2007.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Time To Wake Up

My Mom and Dad are retired and receive retiree health care coverage through my Mom's former employer. Each December they are sent a package of information about coverage for the next year and the applicable premiums. Because my Dad is on Medicare, this year they were faced with some choices. They could either continue the current coverage for both my Mom and Dad or my Dad could join a Medicare Advantage Plan. My Dad sent me the information package which was 50 pages. I looked it over and really could not figure out what was the better deal. Joining the Medicare Advantage Plan would mean cheaper monthly premiums. My Mom's former employer would pick up the entire cost of my Dad's coverage. The skeptic in me wondered why. I subscribe to the old saying that you cannot get something for nothing. The big question is whether it would it actually cost them less per year for medical care? There are so many variables to be considered such as choice of doctors, type of drugs used, type of care needed that it seems impossible for for the average person to figure it out. Why aren't the forms and information in plain English instead of medical-legal mumbo jumbo? Why should our senior citizens be put through such stress at a time in their lives when medical care and health insurance, unfortunately, take on increasing importance as the years go by.

Don't even get me started on the fact there are tens of millions of people who do not even have health coverage. This should be unacceptable to us as a country. When are we going to wake up and say that health care is a basic human need that everyone should have fulfilled and that health care policy should not be driven by the greed of big business. In the long run we are not saving money by letting people without health insurance get sick. I think it is like the old Midas Muffler commercials: you can pay me now or pay me later.

New Democratic Congress: Are you listening?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lousy With Colors

I admit that I am not good with colors. I have an 8 Crayola box view of the world. My wife, on the other hand, is the 64 Crayola box with the sharpener. Before I got married I did not realize that I looked good in earth tones. My style was Washington, D.C boring: navy, black or gray suits with white shirts and some variation of red tie because it could easily go with either of the three colors of suits. My casual clothing consisted of either jeans or a light blue oxford with khaki pants (my wife called this the uniform). The fact that this wardrobe is probably worn by a majority of straight men in Washington, D.C. was not justification for its continued existence.

My wife usually picks out our 2 year old daughter's clothes for the day. This morning, however, she forgot. I, therefore, had to dress my daughter without adult supervision. I picked out pink pants with white flowers and a pink shirt which also had flowers of various colors on it. They were different shades of pink but it looked close enough to me. I am sure the trained eye will tell you the clothes were fuchsia, magenta or something like that. My brain does not compute such concepts. When my wife called me she realized she did not lay out my daughter's clothes and asked me what I dressed her in. I gave her the description of the clothes and then she asked me if I wanted to burn out people's retinas. Having memorized my daughter's entire wardrobe, she immediately told me to change the shirt to the white Lands End mock turtleneck in the second drawer on the right.

Clearly, I am not going to be writing for GQ or Vogue anytime soon.