Tuesday, August 21, 2007
At least once a year, and maybe twice, I do a roundtrip cross country and love almost every minute of it. This madness has been going on for over two decades now.
Everyone needs a Cannonball in their life. Everyone needs to know how to do a road trip and stay reasonably healthy, energized and safe.
Anyone want to drive up to the Arctic Circle next week to cool off? (And no, Al, you can't go with me.)
Monday, August 20, 2007
Meanwhile, I pray all those in harms way will be protected and safely ride out the storm. Look for oil prices to go up if the hurricane damages Mexico's petroleum rigs. And natural gas prices too.
Thanks to Michael Ramirez at IBD for both cartoons on the ongoing housing bubble debacle, now underway. I, like IBD and Jim Cramer, believe this crisis can be somewhat mitigated, fairly quickly by the Fed's cutting interest rates soon, sooner and soonest.
Larry Kudlow weighs in with three key points. Cut it, cut it, and cut it.
Meanwhile, Karl Rove, aka Satan with horn-rimmed glasses, thinks the Republicans are in a better place to win elections in 2008 than most people acknowledge. That could be good news, however, I simply don't yet agree with him on this one! But I'm open to having my mind changed.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
A favorite quote from C.S. Lewis:
"When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understand his own badness less and less.
A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.
This is common sense really. You understand sleep when you're awake, not while you're sleeping...You can understand the nature of drunkeness when you are sober, not when you drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either."
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Blogger just erased my commentary which accompanies this video, so I will rewrite it in a shorter version later. But for now, I think this process work is quite amazing and believe Katie is a gifted therapist who obviously has done her own work and understands a thing or two about projection and how it guarantees stuckness and immaturity in our lives.
We all are guilty of projection---I believe it came into the world with the fall of man from Grace----but not all of us are able to see it for what it is in our lives and start to get this kind of healing from it. I believe it is a lifetime project of the spiritual journey and allows God to begin to work mightily in our lives.
"While the credit power outage is a big problem, the Fed and Congress could provide the key solutions. But the economy is not dead. Not by a long shot," according to Kudlow.
Larry wants the Fed to start cutting interest rates after over a dozen rate hikes, and I agree with him.
Read the whole thing.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I had someone e-mail me and ask me what I thought about what is going on in Iraq and my prediction for General P's report, here it is. Please feel free to pass it along.
I am in Ramadi, Iraq and as you may have read, things here are very quiet. There have been several articles in major publications that have accurately described what is going on here.
"A War We Just Might Win" is one of the better ones I have seen. We had about 50 Al Qaeda fighters try and sneak into the city at the beginning of July but they were defeated before they could reach the city. This shows what a success the peace in Ramadi is and what a major defeat AQI considers it.
Ramadi is probably (in my opinion) #2 on AQI's hit list after Baghdad.
While things at the top of the government in Iraq aren't progressing as we'd hope, the progress at the local level is much greater than anyone could have expected. The Al Anbar Sunni tribes have been working with us to defeat AQI. Ramadi is almost a normal city again. We are nowable to concentrate on rebuilding the water mains, sewers, and powerlines. The residents are clearing up rubble and building new houses and schools. The residents of the city are taking part in day labor programs to clean up their neighborhoods.
In the area I patrol daily, there are new butcher shops, fruit stands, household goods, building materials,and auto part shops opening up. While there is heightened security and a curfew in effect at night, the residents of the city have clearly"bought in" to the CF/Tribes coalition rebuilding process. These are the types of things that can't happen until the area is secure and you have "buy in" from the people. It is very hard to put up powerlines or fix a sewer line while someone is shooting at you.
I've seen several opponents of the war try and shift the debate when asked about military progress on the ground. They say that the surge isn't working because the power is out, there hasn't been any progress on rebuildingsewers, or water mains, etc. This just shows their complete ignorance of military operations. Power, water, and sewers are the last step inthe secure, hold, and build strategy we are using.
These are the last things that will happen as the Iraqi's continue to secure their country with our help. While Al Anbar is predominantly Sunni, the Al Anbar model is spreading to areas with Shia and Sunni population. The rest of Iraq has heard or seen what Al Anbar is like now and tribes in other areas are using the Al Anbar model as a way to make their province safer.
There have been reports of Sunni and Shia tribes working together with the CFto rid their province of AQI. So while General Petraus's report on the progress of the Iraqi Government will highlight that it has missed the benchmark, the cooperation and progress on the district, city, and province level has surpassed expectations. While everyone hoped that the progress would go from the top down, it now appears progress is happening from the bottom up.
Two final thoughts:
Baghdad will be the last area of Iraq to be secured. It has the largest population, largest mix of Sunni and Shia, and it has been the power center of the country since its inception. This naturally makes it the largest target for AQI and other insurgent groups. Most of the Western press corps is also located there so AQI will continue to concentrate their attacks in Baghdad to ensure they get the media coverage they need and crave.
Second, I can't say enough about what a great job General Petraus is doing. It is my sincere opinion that he will tell Congress what he thinks and not what the administration wants to hear.
God bless you and your fellow soldiers there, Matt. We are behind you in every way.
Thought I would post several excerpts from these. (You may subscribe or view their webpage at Walkthru.org):
Proverbs 2. Wisdom must be sought after with our entire being.
INSIGHT, Nothing of value is easily obtained. If it were, it would no longer be valuable. Inherent within the concept of value is the feature of scarcity. If all gravel were made of pure gold, then gold would not be valuable. The same is true with intangibles like wisdom. She is an exceedingly valuable life commodity, but she is not easy to come by. If we want wisdom, we must incline our ears, apply our hearts, cry for her, lift our voice for her, seek her as we would silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures (vv. 2-4). Then, and only then, will we understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God (v. 5).
Psalm 100. All men are exhorted to praise the Lord because He made us and we are His.
INSIGHT: Psalm 100 is perhaps the finest example of a praise psalm in the Bible. The righteous heart pours forth a spontaneous stream of undefiled praise. First, he calls upon all men everywhere to praise the Lord. Then he identifies the relationship which God has with His children. We are not our own; He has made us. "We are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (v. 3). Next he calls for us to praise God again: "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise" (v. 4). Give thanks. Bless Him. Then he finishes by listing attributes of God. God is good; He loves forever. Make this psalm your personal psalm of praise.
Psalm 37. The righteous will receive eternal life, while the wicked ultimately will be destroyed.
INSIGHT: Serving the Lord does not always pay temporal dividends. The righteous still experience misfortune, financial reversals, physical illnesses, natural disasters, and persecution. At the same time, the unrighteous often prosper, enjoying wealth, fame, honor, and health. David realizes God´s justice wins in the end. So do not be discouraged in doing right, even when the unrighteous prosper. Do not be tempted to copy them. "Depart from evil and do good" (v. 27). "Wait on the Lord, and keep His way" (v. 34). "Mark the blameless man" (v. 37). "The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord" (v. 39).
Friday, August 10, 2007
Stu Bykofsky | To save America, we need another 9/11ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I'm thinking another 9/11 would help America.
What kind of a sick bastard would write such a thing?
A bastard so sick of how splintered we are politically - thanks mainly to our ineptitude in Iraq - that we have forgotten who the enemy is.
It is not Bush and it is not Hillary and it is not Daily Kos or Bill O'Reilly or Giuliani or Barack. It is global terrorists who use Islam to justify their hideous sins, including blowing up women and children.
Iraq has fractured the U.S. into jigsaw pieces of competing interests that encourage our enemies. We are deeply divided and division is weakness.
Most Americans today believe Iraq was a mistake. Why?
Not because Americans are "anti-war."
Americans have turned their backs because the war has dragged on too long and we don't have the patience for a long slog. We've been in Iraq for four years, but to some it seems like a century. In contrast, Britain just pulled its soldiers out of Northern Ireland where they had been, often being shot at, almost 40 years.
That's not the American way.
In Iraq, we don't believe our military is being beaten on the battleground. It's more that there is no formal "battleground." There is the drip of daily casualties and victory is not around the corner. Americans are impatient. We like fast food and fast war.
Americans loved the 1991 Gulf War. It raged for just 100 hours when George H.W. Bush ended it with a declaration of victory. He sent a half-million troops into harm's way and we suffered fewer than 300 deaths.
America likes wars shorter than the World Series.
Bush I did everything right, Bush II did everything wrong - but he did it with the backing of Congress.
Because the war has been a botch so far, Democrats and Republicans are attacking one another, when they aren't attacking themselves. The dialog of discord echoes across America.
Turn back to 9/11.
Remember the community of outrage and national resolve? America had not been so united since the first Day of Infamy - 12/7/41.
We knew who the enemy was then.
We knew who the enemy was shortly after 9/11.
Because we have mislaid 9/11, we have endless sideshow squabbles about whether the surge is working, if we are "safer" now, whether the FBI should listen in on foreign phone calls, whether cops should detain odd-acting "flying imams," whether those plotting alleged attacks on Fort Dix or Kennedy airport are serious threats or amateur bumblers. We bicker over the trees while the forest is ablaze.
America's fabric is pulling apart like a cheap sweater.
What would sew us back together?
Another 9/11 attack.
The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Chicago's Wrigley Field. The Philadelphia subway system. The U.S. is a target-rich environment for al Qaeda.
Is there any doubt they are planning to hit us again?
If it is to be, then let it be. It will take another attack on the homeland to quell the chattering of chipmunks and to restore America's righteous rage and singular purpose to prevail.
The unity brought by such an attack sadly won't last forever.
The first 9/11 proved that. *E-mail email@example.com
Thanks to Drudge.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Of all the cities in America, there's none I like better than Dallas, Texas. It's smart, sophisticated, conservative, Christian, but much less fearful, narrow and provincial than many--most--other cities in the Southeastern U.S, or many other cities for that matter. The only problem is, there aren't any hills here and that's a problem for a country girl, like me.
The women in Dallas, look like women should. Feminine. But I don't think they know a thing about fly fishing or hiking.
When I arrive here from Wyoming every August for the past six years, I want a total makeover: hair, nails, feet, wardrobe and high-heeled shoes.
But for now, I settle for a Christian counsellor and spiritual director whom I check in with several times a year. I am most blessed to be able to do this.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Please note our Barbary Wars when, beginning with President Thomas Jefferson, the United States decided to stop paying radical Islamic Barbary pirates/thugs bribes and ranson from the National Treasury---up to a quarter of all national revenues---not to attack American ships in the Mediterranean.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
This from this morning's RNC News e-briefing. The Rule of Law is breaking down in Congress. How far behind is the rest of society?
OUTRAGE IN THE HOUSE :
Reps. Behaving Badly: Democrats Promise Open, Ethical Congress, Instead UNDERCUT DEMOCRATIC PROCESS fix vote totals to ensure benefits for illegal aliens.
Washington D.C.- Despite election year promises of transparency, accountability and reform, House Democrats spent their first 7 months undercutting the democratic process, stifling debate, attempting to hide earmark requests from public view, requesting plane and travel privileges typically reserved for the President and Vice President of the United States, raising taxes, and spending frivolously.
Then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , the pledge:
“We pledge to make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.”
(Christian Science Monitor, 11/14/2006)
Top Outrages of the Democrat 110th Congress (If you're not outraged then you're obviously on heavy sedation---Webutante)
FIX IS IN - Democrats Change House Vote to ensure illegal aliens get benefits: On August 2, Democrats fixed a House vote in order to defeat a motion that would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing funds. Earlier this week, the Democrats voted to take billions from the Medicare Trust Fund, force millions of seniors off of Medicare Advantage, and tax every private health insurance plan in the nation, because they were determined to provide Medicaid to illegal immigrants. They did this by overturning a law, originally passed by Republicans, requiring individuals to prove their citizenship before receiving federal Medicaid benefits.
Friday night, the Democrats proved that they were not finished with the week’s business. The House voted 215 to 213 to deny housing and employment to illegal immigrants on the annual agriculture spending bill. The votes were counted, but the Speaker closed the vote with his gavel. The Democrats then unilaterally and imperially overturned this result—defying 218 years of precedent. The Speaker reopened the vote to ensure that the motion was then defeated by a vote of 212 to 216, disenfranchising the American people and making it possible for illegal immigrants to receive federal housing and employment benefits.
·Democrats Pass Largest Tax increase in History: On March 29, House Democrats passed the FY2008 Budget –which sanctions the largest tax increase in American history, raising taxes. The last time the Democrats controlled Congress, they imposed the largest tax increase in American history, and today they managed to top that dubious distinction. Though they get an ‘A’ for tax-and-spend consistency, they get an ‘F’ for fiscal responsibility.
Speaker Pelosi Requests taxpayer funded travel on Air Force Jet to & From San Francisco: Shortly after being elected Speaker by House Democrats, military sources revealed that Speaker Pelosi requested access to a military jet from the President’s fleet (which includes Air Force I and Air Force II) to fly to and from her district in San Francisco, along with family members and other members of the California Congressional Delegation. After military officials initially balked at providing the plane, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) chairman of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee on defense, threatened them, telling CNN that the Pentagon was making ‘a mistake’ by leaking information unfavorable to the speaker ‘since she decides on the allocations for the Department of Defense.”
Business as usual, but he's probably right.
So next time, Jim, tell us what you really think. Things may get a lot worse before they get better in the stock markets. Best to stay on the sidelines and keep your powder dry.
Hat tip: Hot Air
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Today, Lon heads the 12,000 member McLean Bible Church outside of Washington, D.C. where I have had the privilege of attending when I'm in that area.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The Parachute Adams (above), the worlds finest general attractor. If I had only one fly to fish the world, this would be it, in all sizes from #10 to #20 (on 5X-6X tippet). Parchutes are so visible for keeping your eye on the fly.
The Parachute Hopper, the next best thing to a steak dinner to hungry trout in season. All sizes. No telling how many big fish, BIG fish, I've been caught with this one. There are an infinite number of variations on this, but, this particular one's my top choice.
The Fat Albert, the new 'hottie' in the world of fly fishing, I'd take it anywhere for anything, in fresh or salt water. It can be dead drifted, stripped or jigged for stunning results. I now prefer it to my old favorite, a Madame X or a Muddler Minnow.
The Elk Hair Caddis, leaving this fly behind on an around-the-world journey would be like forgetting your toothbrush. All sizes.
The Ausable Wulff. Invented by fly fishing great Lee Wulff up in the Beaverkill Valley, this fly, or the similar Ausable Wulff /Trude comes in handy in all sizes on certain overcast days when other flies aren't working. Love this fly!
The Prince Nymph. I'd rather go hiking than fish a nymph, and still there are times when nothing else will work to catch fish. Here is my favorite. Others would argue that the pheasant tail nymph is preferable to the Prince. Either one will often do the trick.
The Bead-Head Woolly Bugger. Underwater, especially fishing for big browns in the fall, this great fly slays 'em all in black or olive, all sizes. You can't fish it dead as successfully as with lots of action. But it's irresistible to big fish on the bottom who are too lazy to come up for a dry.
Sometimes you just have to take it to them, and when you do, this is often "the one."
Yes, there are many, many other choices. But year in and out, these are the ones with staying power and class, in my opinion. Any one of these will match almost any hatch when presented correctly. If there is a runner up to this fabulous seven it would perhaps be a black ant or beetle.
Deluded, self-important, disloyal to his country, used and pathetically naive, Sean Penn makes pals with one of the world's most insane dictators. His career is finished, as is that of Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover. If they did that in Venezuela, they'd be in prison or worse.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Soon to be leaving, I enjoy these last few twilights on the river with friends before winding my way back to the East and the hustle and bustle of the city.
It's quiet as a mouse when the sun goes down, and oh so peaceful. A warm, gentle wind blows the bugs on the water. No one wants to leave the river. When I guided professionally and the days were the longest, I often didn't get home from this work until 10 pm, many days a week.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Nothing's more fun in the world than seeing people you care about do what they love to do, and have fun and success doing it! Everyone caught big fish and successfully released them to catch another day.
Fish in the net, about to be released.....
Fishing before catching.....
We were most graciously invited to fish some of the best private waters around this valley. Thanks Barbara and the SRR for letting us ruffians spend a day having fun on Fish Creek.
Does he really think having his wife as his chief political adviser and campaign manager is going to set well with the American people? If he does, then I think he's kidding himself. I hope he proves me wrong.
Hat tip: Don Surber.
If there's anything we need in this country today, both individually and nationally, it's moral fortitude and endurance to fight the good fight that's on our plate and not turn back.
We must not and cannot now turn back in Iraq without the direst of consequences. We must buck up and stay the course, no matter what.
Over at Elephant Biz, Bill Hobbs wonders, Is Harry Potter really an allergory about Islamofascism and the left's failure to truly grasp its threat?
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
And we do say so.
So, without further ado here's what we conservative women are currently thinking:
First, the war in Iraq is winnable. The surge is really working. But the hands of the military must continue to be untied and the rules of engagement loosened. No more Mr. Nice Guy. One of us currently has a son currently serving his third tour of duty in Ramadi. She gets lots of good information first hand.
Second, we like Joe Lieberman and unanimously think he should be on the Republican ticket in November 2008 as the vice presidential candidate. So Joe, we hope you're considering this and we mean it!
Third, though we all are crazy about Fred and may support him, sadly none of us really think he'll ever be president. Not in 2008, not ever. We sincerly hope we're wrong about this.
We had a gabfest about Fred Thompson, some of us have worked with him and know him first hand. We all like Fred down to the bottom of our toes. However, we think he's a lousy manager. Lousy manager. And he needs to make up his mind, get on or off the starting line and never look back. We think he should not, NOT, let his wife Jeri run his presidential campaign, if he runs. None of us like the perception and think it makes him look oh so weak. He may think she's his greatest political asset now, but we think she'll turn out to be a liability later. Sadly, as much as we all like Fred, we do not think he will ever be president. And how old does he say he is???
Fourth, we sadly conclude the Republicans will lose the White House, the Senate and the House in 2008 probably to Hillary and Obama, and that we are in for tough sledding. Taxes will be foolishly raised, the economy will go into a tail spin and the good times of this Administration will be a fond memory.
Finally, we hope, really hope, we're wrong about some of these predictions.
None us ordered dessert. How could we, when we got real with each other? Still we found a way to have fun and decided to reconvene in the East between now and next summer to talk again. And who knows, we may change our minds between now and then.
Women do have the right to change their minds, don't they?! We hope it happens in this case.
UPDATE: Seeing things the way they are and not the way we wish them to be. This is why I/we like Joe Lieberman.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Note to Commenters:
This post to a link is about two subjects: First, why women are attracted to jerks, and while we're at it, of the female as well as the male variety. And second, self-interest as it relates to altruisim?
That's it. You've gotten your licks in about Dick Cheney and Bill O'Neill. I got it. And my one or two readers got it too. I got it that you hate these men with a passion far beyond reason and you successfully have gotten this across in posts.
But I'm driving this here blog train and it's going to stay that way. We're not going off on a hundred different hateful tangents about whether Kos is a patriot or whether Dick Cheney has perjured himself in yet another ignominious way.
Stick to the topic if you want to get your comment published.
One more thing about commenters while I'm at it: No one will be banished from this blog, unless he assaults me, day in and day out with compulsive, hateful, multitudinous e-mails and comments-----that's only happened once.
So let me be clear once again, I don't believe any commenter is persona non grata, even if I don't like what you say, or worse yet, I don't care for you. While we all want to be universally loved and accepted, I won't hold it against you, if you don't like me or agree with everything I say and do. I hope my skin is a bit tougher.....but we shall see, won't we?
However, certain comments that I, the blog dame here, deem off topic, off color or off-the-wall won't always get published. Conversely, you are free to leave at any time, temporarily or for good, for good reason or no reason at all.
We all have First Amendment rights here. But it's still my blog....Na NA-NA NAHHHH NA!
Thanks for your interest and comments!
Monday, July 30, 2007
This is not necessarily new news, but simply a reality worth repeating.
We are in a war with radical Islam. It is the continuation of a war that goes back over a thousand years. It is a global war for the hearts and minds of people everywhere. And it is a war that threatens all aspects of our way of life, including all of our freedoms.
Thank you HR for sending this.
When, pray tell? When? I demand to know! When? 20? 30? Oh no maybe it was 40? Okay, maybe 50? Surely she can't have meant 60?
Mother wasn't wrong about many things, but today, I proved her wrong....again and for the second time this year, doing my training hike up a long steep grade, happy as a clam, seeing the branch up ahead and deciding to sprint over it, rather than to go around it. I could take that sucker!
I went up and over but failed to see a second limb, hiding behind the first, on my descent.
It was the Three Stoogies take a hike.
God must have a sense of humor because the next thing I knew, I was splat fully on the ground, writhing in pain and humiliation, but fully conscious. What a damn fool thing to do! So I rolled over, ultimately managing to sit up. Then I proceeded to have a good cry. I boo hoed for the first time in months.
The the skinned knee was one of my best.
I took out a tissue, blew my nose, wiped my eyes and proceeded to crawl back up, in fine Scarlett O'Hara style. Then, thank God, I was able to walk back to my car.
I realized coming back down the mountain, it's still happening because I never have quite mastered the southern belle thing, like Scarlett O'Hara.
Meanwhile, I'll being wearing either skirts or shorts to all upcoming social events. And working hard to bend my knees and stay upright!
Tomorrow is another day!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Before (above): A wild mule---and I do mean wild---kicks, snorts, and paws impatiently in a dark stall, as it awaits its encounter with the horse whisperer.
After: Almost two hours later, the cowboy presents the "tamed and better behaved" mule to the congregation. It's the first time the mule has been touched with a saddle or bridle and mounted by a rider. This mule is described as "very smart" and "determined," rather than "stubborn," by the cowboy wrangler.
This guy has no intention of making nice with the wrangler or being ridden or befriended. A huge and magnificent beast, as mules go, its mother was a wild horse running free on the great, open plains of Wyoming. This mule would rather be any place but here.
First steps of friendship.
The saddle's on, next the bridle. When the cowboy is through, this mule will become his lifelong, devoted friend and companion in every conceivable situation.
Last week, I attended church in a huge barn in Moran, Wyoming at a service called "Cowboy Church," where the principles of the Gospel are demonstrated by cowboys working to break and tame horses and mules that are wild and dangerous.
Above, Jessie, horse whisperer and chief wrangler of Heart Six Ranch in Moran, works to tame a wild mule named Samson, first by building trust through simple things. By the end of the service, Jessie has saddled, bridled, mounted and ridden Samson for the first time. It's truly fascinating to watch. Many parallels are made throughout the service to our own walk in faith and devotion to the transforming power of Jesus Christ. In case you don't get it, we're the mules in this analogy and the horse whisperer is the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit that whispers to us through the still small voice of grace.
Thanks to my good friend, Elaine Luton, for suggesting and encouraging me to attend this fascinating service in the Buffalo Valley.
Here's an archived sermon by Lon Solomon from McLean Bible Church outside Washington, D.C. on the subject how Christianity is the best friend women have ever had. In case you've forgotten to count your blessings as a woman in this great country, or are a man who loves and respects women's equality in our society, this is a sermon you won't want to miss.
Lon is currently recovering at home in Virginia from some corrective heart surgery and, God willing, will be back to McLean in early September. All his friends in Wyoming wish him and his family Godspeed and send our best wishes for his complete recovery.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Read it if you dare, and remember, this is the direction Hillary Clinton wants to take us in this country. I don't know about you, but having a doctor's appointment cancelled 48 times, or having to draw straws to see who gets the next available doctors appointment doesn't sound like a very good plan to me.
As in all things, free markets makes things more efficient for the medical consumer, and government intervention makes things more laborious.
Wednesday, I got stopped out of all but one of the stocks I personally manage online. When that happens, I get a little sad and mope around for a while. Last night I checked my portfolio, saw the stops had been activated and went into mild moping mode before going to bed.
I told myself before turning in I might have tightened these stops a little too much after Tuesday's decline and the market would probably shoot back up today, leaving me out of the party.
Today at just a little past noon MDT the Dow is down almost 400 points. UPDATE FINAL: Dow down 311 at the close.
All I can say is THANK HEAVENS for getting stopped out of these stocks yesterday thereby locking in the very nice gains I've made over the past six months! In other words, yesterday, stops enabled me to ring the register, and take some good profits off the table.
I'm happy I've learned a little about principled investing from reading Investors Business Daily over the past 7-8 years. Principled investing takes buying and selling out of the emotional realm of fear and greed and into a more rational mode of principles decided ahead of time and emotions.
A big Market drop is like a gully washing thunder storm, as it washes out all the excessive buying and exuberance, creating new opportunities to make money, often in new sectors.
In gratitude today, I am adding IBD to my sidebar links. In my opinion, it's the only financial newspaper in the world worth reading. You can have the Wall Street Journal in my opinion.
I'm an IBD woman all the way.
Larry Kudlow, a real pro, puts things in perspective on the market correction.
My least favorite animals in the entire world, they have a disposition only Arab dictators can appreciate. And oh, the spitting they can do with impunity when they're out of sorts. My adorable daughter talked me into riding one of these beasts with her when we were in Israel last year....she loved seeing me terrified and totally out of my element! What a relief to finally disembark.
Hat tip: It's Knuttz
And here is a good laugh, if you liked She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy. Country music, Baghdad-style. Maybe this is really Allahpundit?
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Thanks to Bill Hobbs, I learned about Stephen Mansfield who lives in Nashville, Tennessee and writes books as well as conservative/Christian commentary on current events.
Today, Hobbs features a post on Mansfield's new book Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America and What's Happened Since.
Bill also links to Mansfield's recent op/ed piece in USA TODAY and to Mansfield's webpage/blog.
I am reprinting Mansfield's op/ed here in full and I hope you will find it well worth reading:
The Founders got it right. Religion now rests in a tortured place in society today, thanks largely to unfortunate and misguided rulings of the Supreme Court.
By Stephen Mansfield
"Two days after he wrote the famous words "separation between church and state" in an 1802 letter to Baptists in Connecticut, Thomas Jefferson began attending church — on the floor of the House of Representatives. He would attend the makeshift church in the national Capitol nearly every Sunday morning for the rest of his presidency. Clearly, his understanding of the connection between religion and government is not the one we endure today.
"We should not be surprised. It was Jefferson, after all, who insisted upon the Bible as part of the curriculum at the University of Virginia, Jefferson who approved federal funding for a Catholic priest to serve the Kaskaski Indians, and Jefferson who once said, "I am a Christian in the only sense in which he (Jesus) wished anyone to be." True, he was far from theologically orthodox, he expected most of the young men in his day to end their lives as Unitarians and he angrily despised the clergy of his day. Yet, contrary to the secular dreams of an influential few today, Jefferson envisioned a government that would encourage religion while neither submitting to nor erecting a religious tyranny.
"Even if Jefferson had envisioned a secular state, it would have made little difference in the early history of our nation. It was not his words that carried the force of law — written as they were 14 years after the Constitution was ratified — but rather the 10 words that are undoubtedly the most tortured in our history: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." These words, the first 10 of our Bill of Rights, make the intentions of the Founding Fathers clear. Having just fought a war of independence against England and her state church, they had no intention of allowing the U.S. Congress the authority to erect a new religious tyranny to dominate their young nation. Instead, they denied Congress the power to create a national church. The states and the individual citizens, of course, were free to be as religious as they wanted to be.
The court oversteps
The result was a marvelous triumph of freedom, a miracle of history, prevailing for more than 150 years. Never had religion so graced a nation without controlling it. Then came the disastrous Everson case of 1947. Breaking with both legal precedent and the clear counsel of our history, the Supreme Court exchanged Jefferson's words for the first 10 words of the First Amendment. The phrase "separation between church and state" — which had appeared in neither the Constitution nor the debates that produced the Bill of Rights — was made the law of the land.
"The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state," wrote Justice Hugo Black for the majority. "That wall must be kept high and impregnable." Accordingly, the court ruled, no government policy or funds, at any level of government, may encourage religion to any degree.
It was, simply put, bad law: without precedent, unworkable and — given that Black feigned support for his reasoning from the intentions of the founding era — informed by the most astonishing revisionism. Now, the secularist storm troops of the American Civil Liberties Union and its like drive religion from the public square with the mandate of the Everson ruling in hand. Religious symbols are removed from cemeteries, student prayer groups are driven from public facilities, and religious leaders are threatened if they dare speak about political issues from their pulpits. All this comes at a time when America is experiencing a new birth of religious interest, one that could grant a needed infusion of nobility, ethics and wisdom to our national life.
There is hope: Measures are arising in Congress designed to hold Everson's ravages in check. There is also the possibility that the Supreme Court may have opportunity to revisit elements of the case in years to come.
A true freedom of religion
The most important point to remember in this, the 60th anniversary year of the Everson decision, is that our Founding Fathers did in fact make a covenant with us. That covenant guaranteed us that Congress would make no state church but that religion could be free to shape our national life with its ethical and ennobling content. We suffer for lack of that content today, and it is time for us to consider anew the wisdom of our Founders in guaranteeing us the blessings of faith while protecting us from the dark tyrannies of faith that bedeviled the centuries before us. The Founders' plan for religion in our national life was certainly more successful than the confused design the courts have saddled us with today.
It was John Quincy Adams who called to us from an earlier age when he wrote, "Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." We may well do so, but only if we return to the religious wisdom of our national fathers."
Stephen Mansfield is a best-selling author. His book Ten Tortured Words: How the Founding Fathers Tried to Protect Religion in America and What's Happened Since was released in June, 2007.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Rightwing Nuthouse has commentary here.
Volunteer Voters has more, and then at the Politico.
Will post more commentary here later in the day.
Our Enemies Must Be Thrilled at the Thought of "President Obama," Meanwhile Mitt's Looking Pretty Good
Mr. Nice Guy. Wants to negotiate with terrorists. It's not about punishing countries by not talking to them. It's that there's nothing to talk about. Would you really want to sit down and negotiate with a burglar who was breaking into your house or who intended killing you and your family? Our man Obama seems to be more than willing. And it's scares me to death.
And even Hillary says that Obama is clearly a naive young man who hasn't a clue of the real dangers we face. He comes across as soft, weak and way too nice. Wet behind the ears.
Meanwhile, Mitt is sounding very strong and presidential. Sorry to say he's gaining on Thompson. Where is Fred, anyway? Mitt's coming to Jackson Hole soon and passing the hat for some of the the big, big bucks that hang out here. And he's hanging tough about being victorious in the war in Iraq. Strong momentum.
Note Romney's subtle jab at Thompson about running for president with young children. Of course JFK did it, but in the final analysis, Thompson, with little kids and lymphoma, may have two strikes against him that Romney doesn't seem to have.
Today, I have some thoughts on mediation---what it can and can't achieve---and what a valuable resource it can be at the right time, in the right place, for people who have conflicts that must, sooner or later, be resolved. Make no mistake, mediation is not a panacea, however, in numerous instances, it can be used with great efficacy for solving real problems.
In Teton County and the court here, mediation is strictly voluntary. Approximately 40-50% of litigants choose to mediate with us (The Center for Resolution), and of those, almost 70% settle their cases outside of the courtroom. It helps to have judges who support and encourage this process. Many people who decide to mediate their case are completely befuddled when they enter the mediation room with us--we usually mediate in pairs and often allow observers in the room---but come out of the 2-3 hour process simply amazed at what they were able to accomplish.
While not all disputes can or should be mediated, many are well worth the effort, and can save litigants or potential litigants huge amounts of time, in the form of lawyers fees. Over the years, I have mediated many kinds of contracts, landlord/tenants, homeowners associations and medical disputes.
MEDIATION BEFORE LITIGATION
While there are many issues that need to go to court, I have to say many things should be mediated as a first response to trouble. Homeowner associations (where thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, are often spent on lawyers fees to resolve neighborhood squabbles) should require mediation before litigation.
Mediation requires neutrality and the ability to keep the process on track so that the participants can ideally work out their own solutions without the judge doing it for them.
If you're looking for a mediator, I suggest getting someone middle aged with plenty of life experience and a practical perspective. I find young mediators too idealistic and often bleeding hearts who can't be neutral or firm. And don't get a radical feminist to mediate anything. There are far too many out there with axes to grind.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The most creative and subversive of forces to tyranny. But it takes courage and the willingness to take a calculated risk, as my late dear father used to say.
Hat tip: Bill Hobbs who introduces The Call of the Entrepreneur and links to one dazzling review of the upcoming documentary.
One of those causes closest to my heart is Sudan, especially Southern Sudan, where native peoples and Christians are racing against the clock and against Arab Muslims who would destroy them all through genocide---both in the South (where Arabs have killed hundreds of thousands of Christians) and in the western region of Darfur (where Arabs have killed hundreds of thousands of native Muslims)--- in radical Islam's unrelenting, manic drive to take over the world though jihad.
Here, refugees are returning in the south of the country and beginning to resettle around grass community centers/Christian churches that are springing up on the border with Ethiopia. They are clinging to life and hope by a thread, but cling they can and must. Make no mistake, the radical muslims in the north and Khartoum want these people to submit, convert or to die.
Thank you Hearty for sending this photo. And God bless you, your people and their indomitable spirits.
This is so relevant and poignant, in my opinion.
Do you know professional and intractible victims, in their own minds? It is the greatest of curses: people who are spiritually, politically and econonically free in this great country of ours, and have had every advantage, and yet throw it all away on the altar of being wronged and short-changed at some point in the game of life. They feel they have a free pass to whine endlessly about their victimhood and are justified in any and all behaviors, as they cling to their sad badge of being wronged. They simply refuse to ever get over it, whatever that "it" is. Their victimhood obviously gets them something and they aren't about to willingly leave it behind.
Note to remember: We're all sinners. We've all been wronged and can find reasons to be victims. We've all wronged others. Not one person is exempt, no, not one. It's not what happens to us, it's what we do with what happens that makes us who and what we are and that defines our character and ultimately our lives.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Some fascinating images of the First Temple of God, built and completed almost 3,000 years ago by King Solomon, son of King David. Above, the inner sanctum, and below, the Sea filled with thousands of gallons of water for ritual cleansing, and finally a rendering of the Temple from the outside.
After hundreds of years of carrying the Ark of the Covenant around in a tent, his people have built God a splendid new Temple, and Jerusalem becomes the center of the world.
Hat tip: 2 Chronicles and One Year Bible blog.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This is a country where per capita incomes are about $628/year.
Castro, of course, overlooks the greatest disparity of wealth of all: his own estimated net worth of $900,000,000--almost a billion dollars, according to Forbes Magazine.
But Cuba experts like Maria C. Werlau, author of a study entitled " Fidel Castrol, Inc.: A Global Conglomerate" say a billion is a gross underestimation.
" For every economic transaction in Cuba, Caastro take his 'Commandante's reserves' cut. He shakes down foreign investors, state corporations, overseas remittances, and drug traffickers to finance his bast empire.
"....which he and his cronies have used to buy land for descendants on the Chile-Argentine border, real estate projects in Shanghai, and conglomerates from Japan to Lichtenstein.
"Castro also controls banks, drug companies and shipping firms.
"He claims he doesn't own a penny (and he certainly looks that way!) but that's belied by how he lives. A string of mansions of tropical islands enable him to stay anywhere in Louis XIV comfort. He is ferried around in black limousines with manicured hands, and a traveling medical crew at his beck and call."
There are too few places in the MSM that you can get the real story on how lavishly these dictators live on the backs of those they subdue into political and economic bondage. Victor Chavez is in the process of doing it in Venezuela, as Ahmadinajad is attempting to do in Iran and, of course Yasser Arafat, did to the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The tragedy is they get away with it, even as they, their wives and other family members live like Roman emperors in other parts of the world, away from the little people they subdue and then criticize for desperately trying to make ends meet.
Without Healthy People, There Is No Insurance
By John Tamney
A recent newspaper headline bemoaned the fact that "Insurance rewards healthy workers." A similarly tautological headline might be that, "Employers reward productive workers." What's surprising isn't that healthy employees would be rewarded with cheaper insurance premiums, but that something so logical could be passed off as news.
USA Today's Julie Appleby began the above-mentioned article with a scenario suggesting that an overweight worker "with high cholesterol and blood pressure could pay $2,000 more a year in health insurance deductibles" than a more fit co-worker under a new insurance plan being offered by UnitedHealthcare (UHC). The latter firm is set to begin offering new policies that will reward its customers not just for living healthy lifestyles, but for actual health results.
Specifically, UHC will offer high deductible insurance of $2,500 per year for individuals, alongside $5,000 per family. The innovation within is that the plan offers its enrollees an opportunity to lower their annual deductibles by submitting to blood tests and other evaluations to see if they smoke, and generally measure up to other targets set in terms of blood pressure, cholesterol, and height/weight ratio.
Not surprisingly, UHC's evolved form of insurance has attracted its share of criticism, specifically from Jamie Court of the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights. Court says, "If you want people to live healthier lives, you need to educate them and make it safe for them to seek medical treatment, without fear of financial penalties." Without addressing how the plan will save healthier-living consumers money, Court misunderstands the happy truth that insurance companies are in the business of making money. Wanting to avoid excessive costs, firms in the insurance space will have a very real incentive to make sure their customers are well educated about healthy living in a way that will save customers and providers money, all the while offering the former an incentive to improve how they live.
Court adds that the new plan "is turning health care into a police state." In truth, customers will have a choice as to whether they want to meet the requirements set by UHC. No one will force them to live in a way that could potentially save them money.
Furthermore, for someone who claims to defend consumer rights, Court has an interesting way of showing it. The reality is that the consumers who live more healthily will gain from UHC's product, and importantly, not have to pay as much for the excesses of others within traditional plans. Rather than an assault on the consumer, UHC's innovation means there will be less in the way of "moral hazard" that presently exists due to customers being treated equally irrespective of their lifestyles.
Most importantly, it should be remembered that without healthy people, there is no insurance. Insurance firms prosper and compete for customers given the certainty that some will need less in the way of health care, and because of that, their premiums will fund the doctor visits of those who aren't as healthy. UHC's logical innovation doesn't strip the sick in favor of the strong, but it does give both an incentive to save money through voluntary actions that will make them feel and look better.
Once again, the only surprise here is that such a logical step (sure to be followed by others) made by UHC is news, and more surprising, that it's being criticized.
Tamney is the editor of RealClearMarkets and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In our increasingly political correct world, it's getting to be scandalous that companies should be in business to make a profit and to reward its best and healthiest customers. What ever is this world coming to?!
Friday, July 20, 2007
But so far, no great fires have broken out here, though it wouldn't surprise anyone if an inferno started at any time. Afternoon Chinook winds lash this dry valley almost every day. If accompanied by dry lightning, then anything could happen.
When I'm not headed to the river, I get out and exercise in the early cool of the morning, after a strong cup of black coffee and 4-5 tall glasses of water. Staying hydrated and protected from the sun is not optional.
But (and I know it's a bore) is it global warming or just a normal trend?
No! says Cheyenne meteorologist Don Day today in the Casper Star Tribune.
"Wyoming traditionally sees its warmest weather between mid-July and mid-August and a spell like this is not unusual. Short periods of warm weather offer no more evidence of global warming than brief periods of extreme cold portend a new ice age. We had the second coldest January on record this year in Laramie."
Whatever the cause, we're all praying for rain and soon. It will be a blessed relief when it comes.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Few things can keep me away from the computer for long. But, if I don't post much over the next few days, it's because I'm hanging out with someone who, like me, loves, adores, to play cribbage. One of two of my favorite games in the world---the other is UPWORDS, a three dimensional Scrabble---finding a worthy opponent can make me turn off the computer, shut out the news and play, play play.
We even have a new deck of cards, along with a new crib board in the shape of a horse shoe! So here I go. Fun, fun, fun, if you've never tried it. Be back later, alligator!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
This is another great video that keeps us current on the first Muslim U.S. Representative, Keith Ellison and his ties to subversive groups that would like to see The Constitution replaced with Sharia Law.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
In any event, No! I won't trade you my Donald Rumsfield photo for this ridiculous cap. Never, no never! NEVAH!
Monday, July 16, 2007
A fascinating story about Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey is unfolding both online and off. It involves Mackey's secret, anonymous life online for the past six years posting under the pseudonym of "Rahodeb" in Yahoo! Finance chat rooms. In these he openly discussed the prospects of his company's stock WFMI.
The question is, can and should a CEO like Mackey go into stock discussion rooms anonymously, or at all, and discuss a stock which he has intimate knowledge of? And can and should Mackey have discussed, usually in negative terms, the stock of chief competitor Wild Oats Market (OATS), a company that Whole Foods today has contracted to acquire? Did any of his comments over the years influence WFMI's upward movement? Or the downward movement of competitor OATS?
Full disclosure: I have always admired Mackey as a businessman, and made some money in the stock market on WFMI stock.
As an investor and blogger, I will be following this story with great interest, and as yet haven't made up my mind as to what I think of the whole thing. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, is not amused and is taking Mackey's anonymous comments on the Internet very seriously.
Probably way too seriously, in my opinion. But, be that as it may, fireworks may be in the offing as well as a potential deal breaker for his company's proposed acquisition of Wild Oats Market.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Mackey apologizes to the Whole Foods board for online comments.