Earmarks


I am once again disappointed in Congress. All of them. Democrats and Republicans. House and Senate.

The stimulus bill that was just passed has 9000 earmarks.

Efforts to eliminate them from the bill have just failed in the Senate.

The Office of Management and Budget defines an earmark as “funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congress circumvents the Executive Branch merit-based or competitive allocation processes…”

For the most part it’s PORK spending and PORK usually refers to spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support.

Right now we are all constituents of an economic downturn, a recession, even a depression and we need to work together to cut, conserve and construct a viable survival base for our collective future. We do NOT need to payback voters in specific districts with suspect programs and projects that only benefit the few.

I really don’t think these guys get it. A lot of people don’t get it given that there are more hands out ready to grab from the peoples treasure. The consideration for people, families and basic human need is lost.

Thirteen million American kids go hungry every day and non-profits want some of the government largess to build parking lots and improve museums. Run that one by the hungry!

We’ve got an infrastructure that’s crumbling. A mercantile system that crumbling. Health care costs out of control, unemployment at seven percent, we are fighting two costly wars and people and organizations want money for parking lots.

Where is the Senate’s common sense? Who is the “smeller” on this smell test?

Let us ban earmarks and teach our representatives or elect new ones who vow to be of service to the whole of America and then we can confront and conquer the real problems of today and the future.

Coach Flying


Observations on board an almost trans-continental flight.

The first thing I noticed was that I had to pay extra for a regular size suitcase. Fifteen dollars! It was a policy instituted in 2008 when the fuel prices were going through the proverbial roof.

Now in March of 2009 the fuel prices are far less than they were, but I’m still paying for the fuel surcharge. Something’s wrong. Could it be greed? Probably not, the airlines wouldn’t do that.

An hour or so into the flight came the announcement that a snack would be served, not lunch, but a snack. There were two choices.

It was seven dollars for a salad and seven dollars for a pastrami sandwich. Seven dollars! This is airline food, mass produced, tasteless at best and they want seven dollars for an entre.

I paid it. I was hungry. I also ordered a tiny plastic bottle of wine. Tuesday’s vintage. It tasted like a Tuesday pressing. It too was seven dollars.

The last time I took a long enough flight to be offered a drink and a sandwich was a year ago. Then it was five dollars for the food and five dollars for the wine. Greed again? It was probably inflation not the airline.

The lady across the isle obviously knew far more than I did. She brought her own food. Celery sticks filled with peanut butter. I guess there are some things worse than airline food.

Two rows in front of me sat a weary young mother with two little kids, a little boy about two and a little girl about four. The girl had the loudest piercing voice I’ve ever heard. The boy was quintessentially terrible. Worse! Loud, crying, jumping, kicking and bellowing decibel discomfort throughout the entire coach class section.

Everyone was annoyed. Somebody complained to the flight attendant and the Mother said the kid was autistic.

People, who could, brought out their noise cancelling earphones. I brought out a hundred dollar bill and offered to buy one from anybody, but there were no takers.

I ordered another tiny bottle of wine for seven dollars. I finally dozed amid the noise, the screaming and the distraction.

If it were legal I would have bought another bottle or two and given it to the kid.

Seriously, I feel for the Mother and the little boy. They have a tough life ahead. The lesson I learned for me was that I am still intolerant. I’ll work on it.

Answer to Anonymous


Dear Anonymous on the post “Did You Know”.

You can’t be completely anonymous since you signed your comment with the letter “S” and a couple of xxoo’s. Thank you “S” for the xx’s and oo”s.

I am delighted to answer your question.

To me, I see the singular importance of a raindrop as the prism into the brilliance and beauty of a rainbow. Therefore I extrapolate that my questions were of importance because my answer to your “Did You Know” question is “Yes.”

Without a cacophony of raindrops there would be no rainbow and yet within a single drop, depending on your viewing position, there is a lens into light frequencies and color spectrum’s.

Long before humankind had the technology to construct a prism, the only place that primitive peoples of the world could see the color spectrum was within the collective raindrops of nature as experienced after a gentle rain or in a waterfall mist.

Without the raindrop there would be no understanding of primary colors and their effect on life and psyche and there would be no awe in the summer shower phenomena of a
rainbow.

Wind


“It depends upon the wind” an expression used by a good friend of mine the other day when he was going fishing.

It’s an atavistic expression. I imagine sailors of old and even ones of today know their distance for the day depends upon the wind.

We know that animals depend on the wind for both safety and prey.

As a pilot I understand the importance and safety of landing into the wind.

The wind is a dichotomous gift to humankind. It can be our ally or our enemy. It can cool. It can warm. It can soothe and it can harm. It can smooth the seas and calm the waves. It is invisible, yet its presence is felt in soft touches as well as in a raging force.

To see the wind with our eyes another element must be employed. Rain gives it expression. Leaves give it direction. Dust and dirt give it shape and it can be the harbinger of hot or cold weather.

We preoccupied human souls in the narrow focus of our every day lives give it very little thought or thanks. We do, however, give it names: Mariah, Santa Anna, Chinook, Zepher and so on.

We also acknowledge the wind in slogans: “let me see which way the wind blows,” “May the wind be at your back,” “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.”

From the sea and sailing come great truthful sayings: “wind before rain, topsails remain, rain before wind, top sails take in.”

Joining the native peoples of the earth, I believe that nature is an echo of our selves. The wind is emblematic of our spirits. Both wind and spirit are invisible, yet both are destined and determined in their direct flow to the Source of calm.