Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"Over the River and Through the Woods" is a Thanksgiving Day poem written by Lydia Child in the 1800s. Read the original complete lyrics. Christmas words are sometimes substituted.

Child describes events and scenes my grandparents would have experienced. My mother talked of her youth in the early 1900s during horse and sleigh days before autos were so prevalent.

"Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802 – October 20, 1880) was an American abolitionist, women's rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist and Unitarian" "Her journals, fiction and domestic manuals reached wide audiences from the 1820s through the 1850s. She at times shocked her audience, as she tried to take on issues of both male dominance and white supremacy in some of her stories" Wikipedia reports. Her husband actively supported her efforts."

"Over the River and Through the Woods" lyrics set to music with The Juke Box Band:

Thanksgiving happiness with past and pleasant memories wished for all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Thank you veterans on this annual occasion when we honor U.S.A. armed forces. Our military service men and women assume the obligation of defending our nation on behalf of each of us when commanded to do so, whether or not we individually support the action.

Beginning with WWII in 1941 this nation has been involved in wars for 35 years. We've had only 41 years of peace, but even during those years our service personnel were often participating in less than peaceful military actions around the world, including Nato and United Nations activities. We all know the major wars, and the ones in which we are now engaged, but remember Cuba's Bay of Pigs, Panama, Somalia, Grenada, Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- the war timelines are listed HERE.

I do believe that the sacrifices made by our armed forces during WWII are directly responsible for the fact our country continued to exist as the free democracy/republic our constitution's creators intended. For this reason I accord special tribute to those WWII surviving veterans whose numbers diminish daily, as well as to those who live only in spirit now.

Armed forces personnel are often placed in harm's way with tragic results. Lives are lost, outwardly observable physical and/or mental injuries are incurred, and wounds invisible to the eye alter life for some service people. Our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers -- these men and women are all forever changed, so are their families.

I believe as a nation our people should be insistent that our veterans receive not only initial optimum timely medical care, but continued long term therapeutic interventions needed to maximize their quality of life. I am greatly distressed whenever I become aware veterans have not received the highest level of care. I am particularly concerned those diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI,) Closed Head Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTS) receive the extended care they need and their loved ones receive necessary caregiver support.

I fervently urge our legislators and government to ensure all our veterans receive the medical care promised them and of which they are so deserving. The very least each of us can do is to lobby our government on our veterans behalf, insisting on this medical care and the immediate correction of any problems associated with its provision should they occur. We should not countenance any service delays if our government fails to meet this obligation.

We also honor our veterans when we acquaint ourselves with local, state, national and international issues that affect all our lives, then express our views by voting on election days. Our veterans have offered their lives so that we can enjoy freedom. In return, our responsibility is to vote in elections, a small act compared to the actions we've required of our veterans. Yet this past mid-term election less than half of qualified voters cast a ballot. Even during presidential election years voter turnout is well below the number entitled to vote. Perhaps a much greater number of citizens will one day become informed and cast their ballot.

Thank you, again, veterans !

Friday, November 05, 2010


Politicos and pundits dissect, analyze and expound on the significance of the 2010 midterm election results. Some say the outcome should be interpreted as a referendum on our current President and policies, especially health care. Others see the results as a statement that voters continue to want change that brings immediate visible effects on their lives. Most citizens harbor ongoing anger toward the legislative and executive branches whose partisanship has seriously hampered problem solving the issues facing this nation.

Typical low voter turnout in a non-Presidential election year prevailed. The ballots not cast by select groups, especially the young adults who voted two years ago, could have had a significant impact on the election's outcome.

Meanwhile the politicians pose, posture and pontificate about needing to be nonpartisan. Then some blatantly state that those with views different from theirs must completely capitulate which sounds more like gridlock than sincere genuine compromise to me.

Time I take a break from all this madness ...

...with Craig Ferguson, his Robot Skeleton Sidekick Geoff Peterson, Secretariat and Danny DiVito

Poor Secretariat...

Sometimes I need a little bit of craziness in my life to keep my sanity. Ferguson is a talented Scottish guy "from Europe," he says. Now he's a U.S. citizen who recently received his private pilot license.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Get ready for the 2012 Presidential election campaign because it starts today!

California recap of general election with the predicted outcome of many of our candidate and State Measure contests.

The Legalizing Marijuana State Measure has garnered national interest. Voters are roundly defeating this measure. Perhaps that’s because with a physician’s prescription California legally allows marijuana use for medical purposes.

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is projected to win though only 36% of the votes have been counted. Boxer has declared victoy, but her challenger, Carly Fiorina, has decided to wait before conceding. We may be looking at a several days delay before we know the official outcome of this election. There are mail-in ballots to count, absentee ballots and provisional ballots yet to be tallied.

California 26th District Republican House Representative, David Dreier, has likely been re-elected where he is expected to regain his powerful chairman position on the House Rules Committee that exercises considerable control over legislation.

The news agency predictors declare Democrats will retain majority control of the Senate though key races in other states may still be too close to call as I write this. The Republican Party has regained the majority in the House of Representatives. The Tea Party wild card will be sending a few of their newly elected Representatives.

When this new Congress next meets in Washington, D.C., we’ll get to see if the new political composition will create an environment that results in genuine effort from all of these elected officials to work together and make some compromises in the best interests of the electorate. If not, we will need to replace them.

Hopefully, during the next two years citizens will carefully monitor Congressional actions. There are vital issues at stake regarding health care, Medicare, and Social Security to name just a few matters that will demand our policing.

California’s Governor is projected to be Democrat Jerry Brown. His opponent, Meg Whitman, finally capitulated. She spent more money on her campaign than anyone has ever spent on such a U.S. political race.

Jerry Brown, currently Attorney General, had become governor soon after our family relocated to California, later became Oakland’s Mayor. Years earlier his father had been this State’s Governor. The fact Jerry Brown is an “elder” (he’s age 72) is of note. I was not aware of any stereotypical representations derogatorily referring to his age during this sometimes bitter campaign. Just now, for the first time, a news anchor mentioned Brown was the oldest Governor ever elected here.

I would like to believe projected Governor-elect Brown has had time for reflection on how he previously governed -- what he accomplished and, most importantly, what mistakes he may have made. Given our State’s difficulties Brown may bring the exact kind of political experience most needed now. He certainly knows the inner workings of the legislative system and may be in a unique position to rejuvenate this State.

A state measure change allows the legislature to pass budget and budget-related legislation from two-thirds to a simple majority, but retains the two-thirds vote requirement for taxes. This may be an important aid in addressing California’s problems.

California voters defeated efforts to bamboozle us with two measures on Redistricting, also known as Gerrymandering, by selecting the correct one that kept the process out of elected officials political hands.

Citizens voted down a measure backed by two large Texas oil companies to suspend implementation of our air pollution control law. This may prove to be costly for us and our State, but I remember when we moved here there were serious smog inversion days with obvious health consequences much more costly.

Locally, the results of the School Bond Issue won’t be known until much later today at the earliest.

[Up Date: This local school bond issue went down to defeat which really surprised me.]

Hope there were some bright election results where you live.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

General Election 2010

D i d Y o u V O T E ? ? ?

Don't allow news predictions of election outcomes to deter you from voting, thus making them self-filling prophecies.

Be informed!

One vote can make a difference in an election's outcome.

Votes add up. One voter plus another voter each casting a vote = two votes, plus one more voter casts a third vote, etc.

Typically only 30% to 40% of qualified voters cast a ballot, especially in a Presidential mid-term election year such as this one.

Desired legislative changes affecting each voter's life and this nation's future have a greater potential of being achieved if more people vote.

Not liking the ballot choices is a weak excuse for not voting which betrays a patriot citizen's basic responsibility for the privilege of living in the United States of America.

Every vote is important.