Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Back-to-Work Blues!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The Kadena Irregulars made it back to Okinawa and our respective homes shortly after 10:00 p.m. last night and all were grudgingly at work by 7:00 a.m. this morning.  Sleep was hard to come by, but I managed to get in about four hours before the cock crowed and was promptly eaten by the habu.

There doesn't seem to have  been much in the news worthy of my cynicism of late.  I did note with pride that President Obama paid a visit to Joplin to give comfort and reassurance to the victims of that awful tornado.  And they did need both comfort and reassurance considering that the national Republican party seems set on playing games with the relief money that should be headed to southwest Missouri.  Joplin is a conservative community in a solidly Republican congressional district.  If they are prepared to disrespect Joplin, just think how rabid those stupid buffoons and political hacks would be if a tornado had set down in Berkley, California, or Provincetown, Massachusetts!

We are all one country, and we need to take care of one another.  It's the right thing to do.  Some might even say it's the Christian thing to do!

If I had the time and the energy, I might also take a few pot shots at the Palin Family Vacation and Bus Tour, but I understand that movie rights are being auctioned off, so I will wait for that.  I am hopeful that Tina Fey will star as Princess Youbetcha, and Chevy Chase, while a bit too old to play Todd, could be her father or crotchety old John McCain.   Chase's career could use one more wacky vacation movie - and what could be wackier than a road trip with the Palins!

God, wouldn't you love eight more years of that lunacy!

Run Sarah, run!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Little More About Yoron

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

It is Monday morning on Yoron Island and our sun-burnt band of weary travelers is still here.  We were due to leave yesterday, but the ferry didn't run because the seas were still too rough in the wake of Typhoon Songda.  We have been  told today to expect the errant ferry at noon - or six p.m. - or maybe tomorrow.  Island time - gotta love it!

Nefredia and I rode bicycles around a portion of the island yesterday and got to see some of the storm damage firsthand.  It wasn't as bad as what I had expected, and the industrious Yoronites were busy cleaning up the downed branches and other debris as we peddled through their lives.

The four of us rented a car in the afternoon and drove around the island, taking time to walk along a couple of the gorgeous beaches.  A young man lying near the shoreline on one of the beaches had his fishing pole propped up against his motorcycle.  As I approached he greeted me in perfect English.  It turns out that he went to college in San Diego.  (So now he naps by the seashore and fishes - while all my degree is good for is social work.  Life just doesn't seem fair!)

Yesterday we met an Apostolic minister who used to ply his trade in Oklahoma City.  Small world.

There are butterflies everywhere - black with blue spots, fornicating cats, and grasshoppers at least twice the size of those that live in the Ozarks.

Home to Okinawa later today - hopefully!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Storm Has Passed

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Typhoon Songda hit Yoron Island with an explosive impact about 11:00 p.m. yesterday evening, shortly after I returned to my room following cards and games at Nefredia's.  I was lying in bed reading and listening to the howling winds when the lights went out.  That was my clue to roll over and go to sleep.  This morning the grounds of the hotel are covered with palm fronds and assorted plant debris, but all of the resort's buildings appear to be intact.

We have already learned the the ferry to Okinawa is not running today - but "maybe tomorrow."  If it doesn't run tomorrow, the four of us will have some "splainin'" to do with our Air Force bosses!  But that crisis is a full day away.  This morning I am headed to the beach to see what treasure Songda brought ashore during the night.  (Yesterday I found a pocketful of sea glass and a hermit crab that looked like he was pulling a Winnebago!)

This has been my best holiday weekend in a long time!

The Yoron Express

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Our gang rented a car and traipsed over the island of Yoron for most of the afternoon.  We visited a Shinto cemetery, strolled some beautiful beaches, and walked the streets of Chabana, the island's only town.  Nefredia drove and the rest of us were content to give contradictory directions at every turn and intersection.  She may never drive again!

It has been sprinkling most of the afternoon.  We have heard that Typhoon Songda is near Kadena and should reach our location about midnight.  We are supposed to return to Okinawa tomorrow afternoon, but there is a good chance the seas will still be so rough that we may have to spend an extra night here.  None of us are hating that possibility!

We are safe and ready to hunker down.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Morning on Yoron

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

It's Saturday morning on Yoron Island.  The rain is falling very lightly.  I'm not sure when the brunt of Typhoon Songda will hit, but anticipate that it will be later today.

This morning finds me sitting on the floor of the tiny computer room in the hotel lobby.  It houses one computer which operates off of yen coins.  It is a wi-fi hotspot though, so I am using the small Sony Notebook that I got in Korea.  It is very easy to cart around to the world's remote corners.

Last night I sat up late reading from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, followed by The Teaching of Buddha.  Both seemed somewhat relevant to this holiday outing!  Reading what I want, when I want - uninterrupted, is a sound basis for a successful holiday!

The breakfast buffet is preparing to open.  After that, rain permitting, I will walk along the beautiful beach behind the hotel and pick up shells and maybe the odd piece of sea glass.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.  I know that I will!

The Angels of Yoron

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Kelly, Nefredia, Murphy, and I arrived safely on Yoron Island shortly before noon today.  One of the ticket agents at Motubu Port on Okinawa gave us a couple of written warnings about the typhoon that said our ferry might not be able to dock on Yoron and if that happened we would have to travel on to another island to debark, but we chose to chance it.  The typhoon was still thirty-six hours away.

At Mobutu we had to board a bus to be transported to the ferry - but it turned out that our boat was just at the other end of the parking lot.  When the ticket agent climbed onto the bus to make one last attempt to dissuade us from sailing, we met a wonderful young woman who was also traveling to Yoron and who spoke some English.  It turns out that she is from Thailand and married a Japanese man whom she met there in massage school - and she runs a massage business at the Pricia Hotel on Yoron - the hotel where we are staying.

The ferry boat was huge - similar to a small cruise ship.  We had been told that the trip would take nearly five hours, but we arrived at the port on Yoron in just over two hours.  Kelly sat up on the top deck and watched the sea, I spent most of my time in the lounge reading, and Nefredia and Murphy napped on the mats that were laid out for the travelers.

When we got to Yoron, our friend, the massage therapist whose name I can't pronounce or spell, met us at our hotel with her husband, and they took us to lunch at a Japanese restaurant above a beautiful beach.  It was a beach where sea turtles come on moonlit nights to lay their eggs and bury them in the sand.  The rains started just as we got back to the hotel - where we were greeted with the news that the typhoon was starting early.

After checking into our rooms Nefredia discovered that she had lost her wallet.  It eventually was located outside of the restaurant where we had lunch - in a puddle on the ground.  The massage therapist and her husband went and retrieved the wallet and brought it to Nefredia.  By then it was really raining, so they took  her and me to a local grocery store in town where the lady helped us shot for typhoon groceries.

The massage therapist and her husband have been our special angels all day!  They are truly wonderful people.  (Now I wonder if she will ever talk to strangers on a bus again!)

Our  rooms are very nice.  Mine has two low beds, two low and long couches, a refrigerator, and a television.  What more would a person need.  Instead of a Gideon's Bible in the dresser drawer, there is a copy of "The Teachings of Buddha."

It may be raining, but this is turning into a great trip anyway!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flight Into Fury

by Pa Rock

Typhoon Songda, reportedly a very big weather event, is slowly making ti's way toward Okinawa and is expected to march along the western edge of our little island on Saturday night before heading on to mainland Japan. But that's not all that is occurring hereabouts over the Memorial Day weekend.

Three friends and myself had already made plans to go to Yoron Island - a boat ride of nearly five hours out into the East China Sea.  We are leaving tomorrow morning (Friday) if the ferry is still running.  If weather permits, we will ride motor scooters and bicycles around the island and play on the beaches.  We have hotel rooms for two nights and plan to come back Sunday.  If the weather is crappy, which it well could be, we will stay in the hotel and read and relax.

We are all hopeful that we can make it off of Okinawa before the weather hits, and if we get "typhooned in" on Yoron, hundreds of miles from our jobs, and have to stay a few extra days - well, that would just be gravy!

Now if I could just get the tune from Gilligan's Island out of my head!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The High Price of Right-Wing Social Engineering

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who wants to be President primarily so that he can fly around the globe on Air Force One, recently caused a firestorm when he said on Meet the Press that Representative Paul Ryan's budget plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system was "right-wing social engineering."  He was right of course, but that was not what the corporate and crazy elements of the party wanted to hear.

Yesterday the public finally had an opportunity to weigh in on Republican attempts to screw around with Medicare.  During the run-up to a special election for Congress in New York's heavily Republican 26th District, Democrats decided that it might be interesting to make Republican plans to gut Medicare the central issue.  It wasn't a pretty campaign, of course, and the Republican Party didn't know whether to shit or go blind, but the result was predictable to everyone with a brain - the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, won!

So, in the immortal words of Mitch McConnell, when it comes to fiddling with Medicare - "that dog won't hunt."   And those budget geniuses shouldn't plan on balancing the budget with Social Security cuts either, because that dog really won't hunt!

So Medicare and Social Security are here to stay.  What can be cut?  The wars, perhaps, or tax breaks for the richest Americans and corporations?  But if the Republican's get serious about balancing the budget and decide to go where the money is, they stand a very real chance of offending their sugar daddies.  Ouch!

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, their social engineering goes well beyond destroying Medicare and Social Security.  They want to teach creationism as some form of science in public schools, defund public schools by giving people vouchers so they can use public money to send their children to private and religious schools, deny the rights of public employees to join unions, kill National Public Radio, make abortions illegal or so difficult to get that women are forced into using risky providers, deny the scientific fact of global warming because it snowed last winter - and their oil company benefactors are opposed to the notion because it impinges on their obscene profits, keep America white, and make Christianity the de facto national religion.

The Republicans have lots of colorful talking points, and they manage to keep each other fired up.  The trouble is - as it was in New York's 26th - there just aren't enough of the crazy ones out there to win an election.

2012 is going to be so sweet!

Run, Sarah, run!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Joplin Horror

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It's really tough being on this little rock out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and feeling so disconnected from home - especially in times of crisis.  But the Internet and instant communication makes it a far different situation from when I was here forty years ago.   Color photos of the catastrophic situation in Joplin are on all of the national news sites, and I am beginning to hear lots of personal stories through email.

My youngest son wrote and said that a boyhood friend of his had lost his house in the tornado, but the young man and his wife and kids were fine.  That's what really counts.

My friend Brenda Kilby, a former reporter who lives south of Joplin near the rural community of Jane, Missouri, wrote about her daughter-in-law who was at work at St. John's Hospital on the second floor when the tornado did a direct hit on that nine-story structure.  She said that had about a twenty-minute warning and managed to get to safety, but her daughter-in-law's car was destroyed in the parking lot.

Here is some more of what Brenda had to say about the horrific tornado that hit Joplin with 198 mph winds.

"Well, the world did not come to an end as forecast, but don't tell Joplin that. I'm sure all of you know that Joplin, Mo. was devastated yesterday afternoon by an F-4 tornado that tore through the heart of town, leaving a swath of destruction a mile wide and six miles long. The twister was being followed by spotters from The Weather Channel, so they got a lot of really good video right away. Here's the damage: beginning on the southwest edge of town from Riverton, Kan., the tornado touched down and went through the medical district, hitting St. John's hospital full force, tearing apart the top two floors and breaking all the windows out. Surrounding medical buildings and houses were blown apart and destroyed. The tornado then continued on a path down 20th street, leveling the residential area and then arrived on Range Line and 15th street, approximately, destroying a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot and all the other structures around it. Joann's Fabrics and the Payless Shoe store were demolished, as was the new MacAdoodles that had been built recently across the street. No word regarding Fletcher Toyota, but as it is also in the region, I don't hope for much there. Before leaving Joplin, the tornado tore through Duquesne and then onto the area where Highway 71 meets Interstate 44; there, at least 20 vehicles, many of them semi trucks, were overturned or tossed about. Immediately afterward, Interstate 44 was closed, and while that is now back in business, partially, Range Line is closed from 10th street to 26th street, giving you some idea of the carnage. 89 are confirmed dead. The death toll is expected to rise."
That was used without permission, but Brenda posts here frequently and I trust she won't mind.  It is a better account than anything I read in the news on the Internet.

The latest death toll that I have seen in 116, but it sounds as though there are still a lot of downed buildings and rubble to be gone through.

I made a contribution to the Salvation Army on-line for Joplin, and truly wish that there was more that I could do.  This event of nature is just so unbelievable!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday's Poetry: "Tornado at Night"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Sunday evening a devastating tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, and according to reports that are showing up on the Internet, dozens are dead and entire city blocks have been erased from existence.  The pictures that I have seen have been horrendous, with one of the most commonly used being a shot of what is left of St. John's Hospital, one of the taller structures in Joplin.

Joplin sits on a line between Oklahoma City, OK, and Springfield, MO, in what is commonly referred to as "Tornado Alley."  There have been many bad storms in the Alley over the years, but this one is noteworthy if for no other reason than it apparently smashed right into the middle of the city of 50,000.   The damages, injuries, and loss of life are catastrophic.

I will be sending a donation to the Salvation Army, an earnest and sincere responder in times of crisis, and I encourage my friends to give what they can to the charity of their choice to help the community of Joplin get through this crisis.

The following is by the late poet Stan Rice.  Mr. Rice was the husband of novelist Anne Rice and the father of novelist Christopher Rice - two of my very favorite authors.   It is presented here as a show of respect for the people of Joplin who suffered their own evening tornado.

Tornado at Night
by Stan Rice
They ran out in nightgowns to seek the protection
Of the overhang of the abandoned gas station,
And resembled the Erecthium’s female columns.
The broken power lines flashed white
When they touched the wet ground,
And the girls’ legs showed
As round shadows through their nightgowns.
I stayed in my apartment until the steps blew away.
My candle almost extinguished itself from sheer shaking.
A huge tree fell on my neighbor’s car.
He was in it for safety.
Out he leaped from the unsquashed half
Making the voice of Donald Duck running from death.
I jumped from my balcony then,
And went walking in excess, shirtless,
Praising, opening my mouth, sleek the whips,
Shirtless, as when gods were men.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Apocalypse Not

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It is late Sunday evening on the island of Okinawa.  The world did not end here on Saturday, and as Saturday begins to draw to a close in the last few time zones, it does not look like anything too horrendous or miraculous happened over the weekend.  The Rapture was a dud.

There was some hail and tornadoes around Topeka which caused me to wonder if God was directing her energies at taking out the Phelps Klan, but the compound is reportedly still standing.  (One well placed lightening bolt up Fred's backside would make a believer out of me!)

I understand that Harold Camping's Family Radio has been quiet all day.  I hope that when the wizened old fake takes to the air again he has the decency to apologize.  While most of us laughed at his antics, he had many followers who altered their lives in drastic ways to prepare for the Rapture.

Harold, the Bible does not contain secrets that only you are capable of deciphering - and you do not know the mind of God.  It's time to give your grandiosity a rest.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cold-Blooded Chihuahua Killer Faces Life in Prison

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was a local story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times about a man who may spend the rest of his life in prison due to a lifetime of violence and the recent brutal killing of a dog.  The man, Bud Wally Ruiz, 53, of Gilroy, California, has four previous convictions for assault with a deadly weapon.  A few weeks ago Mr. Ruiz gave his wife a chihuahua for Mother's Day.  Earlier this week he killed the little dog by smashing it against a wall.

In addition to being charged with two counts of animal cruelty, prosecutors are also charging him with one count of misdemeanor battery against his spouse.

Ruiz, a career criminal, appears to be headed for life in prison due to California's "three strikes" law.

While I am not a fan of prisons because they tend to be little more that crime colleges for the poor and minorities who make up the vast majority of those residing behind bars, there are times when people are so bad that they should not be allowed to function in open society.  Mr. Ruiz seems to be just such an individual.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, is another.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Heaven Can Wait

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It is about 6:00 p.m. on May 20th on the island of Okinawa - and according to Biblical "expert" and radio beggar Harold Camping, the Rapture could begin here as early as six hours from now.  Although Mr. Camping did not get specific about time zones - which are an invention of man - he is predicting that the beginning of the end will start on May 21st when all of God's chosen will be raptured or airlifted off into Heaven, and the rest of us heathen will have to sit around enduring wars, pestilence, reality tv, and crappy weather until the world comes to its ultimate end this October.

If I had to guess, I would set the Rapture Clock by Colorado Springs time.

Harold Camping, a math whiz who bases his predictions on Biblical passages and hints provided by God's ghostwriters, has somehow figured out that May 21st is the 7,000th anniversary of Noah's flood - which somehow makes the Rapture and subsequent carnage inevitable.  Of course, Old Harold also predicted the same end for the world back in 1994 - and lived past that doomsday to tell the tale again.  But now he has a better calculator and knows that tomorrow is the big day!

Harold is in his eighties - tomorrow could be his big day!

While I remain skeptical of religious con-artists from the Pope to Billy Graham to Harold Camping, I have to admit that a small part of me hopes Camping is right - at least about the Rapture portion of his prediction.  Hopefully God won't be too picky and will suck up all of these sanctimonious right-wing bastards who have been preaching hate in Her name for longer than even Fox News can document.  Couldn't all of us sinners have a great time promoting fairness and justice on the planet when all of those hate-mongers-for-Jesus get beamed-up!  True, that would completely erase the fifteen or so contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination, but maybe they could find ways to glorify themselves in Heaven - and large amounts of cash with which to do it.

I just hope that God realizes what She is letting Herself in for - Joe Arpaio standing out in front of the Pearly Gates scaring off Mexicans, Nancy Grace roaming the Streets of Gold to make certain that all of the good white girls arrived safely, Michele Bachmann giving her own response to the Lord's Prayer, Ted Haggard trying to rent an angel for sex, Arnold just being Arnold...

As Joseph Conrad would have summed it up, "The horror!  The horror!"

I'm not packing a bag because I doubt that I am on the list to fly off - and I am damned picky about those with whom I travel.   But I may sit out on my balcony, have a drink or two, and salute the pious as they ascend.  They will be glad to go, and I will be glad they went.

And if Harold Camping proves to have miscalculated - yet again - there will soon be another crackpot coming down the road to start the madness all over again.   The Earth does not suffer from a shortage of fools.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It started in 2009 on Facebook as "The Lying Down Game," and has since spread around the globe - and the name has been shortened to the easier-to-say "planking"  The object is to get a really good picture of oneself lying down, usually on a board (plank) in some unique location.   The more shocking or daring, the better.

I saw one picture on the Internet of four plankers stacked in a pile.  Would that be called "gang planking?"

This fad has caught the imagination of tens of thousands in Australia where a Facebook page called "Planking Australia" has garnered nearly one hundred thousand "likes."  Because the activity challenges participants to outdo one another, there have been some bad results.  One young fellow was arrested for taking a photo of himself lying on top of a Queensland police car - and charged with trespassing on police property.   Another young lad from Queensland, Acton Beale - aged 20, died from a fall as he was attempting to plank on the ledge of a balcony located on a high-rise apartment building.

Clearly Mr. Beale, had he lived, would be a prime candidate for one of the Darwin Awards.

But potential arrest or death won't deter real plankers.  Facebook now boasts pages for "Planking Ireland" and "Planking Norway."  It would seem that the day draws nigh when planking will make its way into the American cultural mainstream - i.e. reality television shows - and politicians will be employing planking as they pander for votes.

Way to go, Facebook!  Thanks for keeping us abreast of cultural advancements!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Season of Clowns

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

While none of the current potential Republican presidential candidates stand a snowball's chance in hell of defeating President Obama, they are, by-and-large, one of the most interesting assemblages of wannabes ever to trot across the American political stage.  They are so colorfully crazy that one is left to wonder if they all graduated from the same clown college.

Donald Trump made some noise about birtherism before ducking out of the Presidential race just in time to renew his reality show contract.  Haley Barbour threw in the towel when he came to the sad realization that waving the Stars and Bars and wistfully singing Dixie couldn't pull in enough votes to carry his own state of Mississippi, much less the nation.  The Reverend Mister Huckabee couldn't give up the star power (and income) that he has generated as a Fox News personality.

And those are just the quitters.

Mitt Romney pulled in $10 million in one day earlier this week - and nothing says "good Republican" like cash from fat cats.  But the Mormon Romney is being pilloried by members of his own party for getting a health care plan passed in Massachusetts that is remarkably similar to our new national health care plan that was finessed through Congress by the Obama administration.  And no matter how much Mitt says that the Massachusetts plan was a "state's rights" move, it still smells like socialism to the mouth-breathers of the Republican Tea Party.

Mitch Daniels of Indiana is a non-starter if for no other reason than the teabagger riffraff isn't going to be able to distinguish between the names Mitch and Mitt.  He is also being described as a centrist, and the baboons don't want no stinking centrist.  Jon Huntsman, a Mormon with a pretty smile - like Romney - is also being cast as a centrist.  Rushbag Limbaugh is promoting his conspiracy theory that Daniels and Huntsman are both losers whose candidacies are secretly being promoted by the Obama White House.  (We'll know for sure if they start arriving at campaign rallies in black helicopters!)

Sarah Palin is unlikely to run for President out of fear that she might win and actually have to go to work.  Also, she has doubts about whether she could tweet her way through the budgeting process and foreign policy decisions.  And the salary would be a pittance compared to what she makes traveling the country and talking nonsense to the rubes.

Michele Bachmann wants to be President in the worst way.  She and her husband are reportedly waiting on God to send them a campaign manager.   Good luck with that, Michele.  God may work a few miracles, but I doubt if she can stir up one big enough to land you in the White House - though if she did, the joke would definitely be on us.

Rudy Guiliani - another bad joke.  His Florida strategy in 2008 was a flop and ended his presidential possibilities, whether poor Rudy recognizes that fact or not.

Newt?  God I love Newt!  What's he on now - wife number three or wife number four?  Is this the one that he was having the extra-marital affair with while he was ravaging Bill Clinton for the same thing - or was it the last wife?  Did you read where Newt recently had an unpaid bill at Tiffany's (the New York jeweler's) for $400,000 to $500,000?  That really ought to sit well with those Iowa farmers whom he will be smoozing this winter!  And then poor old Newt goes and picks a fight with Congressional Republicans over their plan to eviscerate Medicare.  Those nasty elephants won't forget!

Little Ricky Santorum is proving to be dangerously dumb.  Today he went after the 2008 Republican standard bearer, John McCain, saying that the crusty old senator from Arizona doesn't know anything about interrogation.  A smuck like Santorum has the cajones to tell McCain, a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for six years, that he doesn't know anything about interrogation!  Memo to the Rickster:  water-boarding doesn't work and Obama got Bin Laden - live with it!

Herman Cain, the pizza mogul who is running as a successful businessman, will not be the face of the Republican Party in the fall of 2012, primarily because his face is black.  He has also proven to be intolerant by making remarks such as he would not put a Muslim in his cabinet - a plus for the party of intoleration, but probably not something that would serve him well in a general election in must win states like Illinois and Michigan.

Ron Paul, anyone?  He's a big man with Libertarians and anarchists, what with his love of guns and all, but the corporate end of the Republican Party is never going to throw its support to someone as anti-rules-and-order as Paul.  His followers are so far up in smoke that their feet seldom touch the ground.

Rand Paul, the young "Aqua Buddha," can't get into the fray until he figures out a way to ease daddy to the side of the road.

But disregarding all of the above, if I were to get deliriously drunk and decide to vote a Republican Presidential primary ballot, my vote would definitely go to Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico.  Today, in fact, singer Willie Nelson, the defacto head of the "Teapot" Party endorsed Johnson.  Nelson, a long-term, pot-smoking fiend, likes Johnson's pledge to legalize the herb that God chose to put on our earth.  Governor Johnson, unlike Ron Paul, admits to having smoked marijuana for medical reasons - and jokes that he never exhaled!

If the Republican Party really did believe in individual freedoms and a very limited role for government, Gary Johnson might be their boy in 2012 - but since they by-and-large don't practice or believe in what they preach, the former governor of New Mexico is not likely to make it off the campaign bus.  But hey, if he's in there with Willie, things could be a lot worse!

Obama 2012!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Technical Difficulties and a Few Questions

by Pa Rock
Gadget Gadfly

I try to stay up with things in the modern world, but am so technically deficient as to be a hazard to myself and those around me.  Aside from what I consider the normal modern contrivances, like televisions and microwave ovens, my forays into the world of the future are limited to my laptop computer (a PC) and my iPod.  I use both several hours a day and they form an important part of my existence out on this little rock in the Pacific.

The computer mainly stays in my apartment where it gets used evenings and weekends, but the iPod follows me to work and to the gym.  I have a device at home and at the office called an iHome that the iPod pops into and allows me to listen to music without those pesky headphones.  I also have a set of over-sized Sony headphones that go with me and the iPod to the gym.

That is basically the extent of my technical side - so imagine my panicked state of mind when my trusty little silver iPod quit working yesterday, and this morning my computer (which has my 5,000 plus songs stored on iTunes) appeared to be going on the fritz.  Today I rushed to the Base Exchange and purchased a new iPod Touch and managed to get it loaded with my music.  And now it looks as though the computer has recovered.

(I asked the salesman at the Base Exchange to make sure that the instruction booklet was included with the iPod.  He looked like he had been seriously offended - or stepped in dog crap - and told me there was no instruction booklet and that all I had to do was plug and play.  (Easy for him to say!)  I quickly found some young airmen who have begun teaching me how to use it.

All of my music is now safely on the new little iPod, and I even downloaded several more "old time" radio programs - great stuff for a rainy day!  So I will be all right - for the time being.

I have been reading a little about the Amazon "cloud" which will store music remotely, and then it can be accessed if my computer was to crash.  That might be a good plan for me.  I know that if I buy some music from Amazon (which I sometimes do), I would be eligible to use the "cloud," but I haven't figured out how I would get the music that I already have into Amazon's "cloud."  Technical assistance, anyone?

Second question:  Several years ago I bought a hardcover mystery book at the Kansas City Airport (KCI) about some people who were writing radio dramas during World War II.  I have since loaned it out and it never returned.  I would like to read it again, but don't remember the name and can't seem to get the right search words into Amazon.  Does anyone have any idea about that?

Third question:  I am finally thinking about getting an electronic book reader.  Do I want to get a Kindle, or is there some other option that I should explore?

All responses welcome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

McCain Speak

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Three of the Arizona McCain's have been in the news for speaking their minds over the past few days.  Cindy (the wife/heiress) and Meghan (the daughter/journalist) both lit on Glenn Beck like a couple of piss-soaked hornets after Beck made several disparaging remarks about Meghan's appearance.  She apparently made a public service announcement (PSA) for television promoting skin cancer awareness - and showed a lot of skin, though nothing that was not PG - in the process.  Beck, reacting at his juvenile best, suggested that she needed to put on extra clothing, and then he punctuated his remarks by pretending to barf in a trash can.

Cindy fired back that she was glad that Beck has lost his job at Fox, and Meghan responded by wondering, in print, if he even liked women - and then noted that his little rant had generated more publicity for the PSA and her fight against skin cancer.  (Glenn, you inadvertently did something good - that's gotta hurt!)

(Both John and Cindy McCain have suffered from skin cancer.)

But it was snarly old John who actually lobed the biggest family verbal bomb last week.  He took on the stupid end of the Republican Party (which is most of the party) when he said that he had visited with CIA Director Panetta and learned that none of the information leading to the killing of Bin Laden had been the result of torture or enhanced interrogation.  And then speaking from personal experience as a prisoner of war for over six years, he belittled the practice of torturing prisoners - which does not provide good intelligence anyway - and reminded us all that America is better than that.  McCain said things that the relics from the Bush administration needed to hear.

I haven't had much reason to sing John McCain's praises since he turned his back on America and made Sarah Palin a national political figure, but when it comes to torture - the man knows his stuff!  What a shame we had to spend eight years forgetting our humanity under the corrupt reign of Bush and Cheney!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stuff from a Three-Day Weekend

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

My mind is too spun out from a calm, yet busy, weekend to focus on trying to give some witty or bitchy interpretation to a current news story.  This evening I am concentrating solely on being me - and squeezing the last few moments relaxation out my these few days away from work before it all begins in earnest again tomorrow morning.

This has been my bi-monthly three-day weekend.  It could have been a little better if I had not been leashed to the on-call phone, something that happens about once every two months.  But though the cell phone keeps me close to home and out of the movie theatres, this weekend it did not ring.  (The last time I carried the nasty little demon it rang incessantly!)

Friday was great.  I begin my Fridays off with an early morning visit to the massage therapist.  This was my third trip, and the results were the best ever.   My shoulder is now completely pain free.  After my hour on the massage table, I went and picked up a friend for lunch.  Late Friday afternoon I drove over to Torii Beach and picked up sea glass until the sun was ready to set somewhere over around China.

Saturday I made it over to Camp Foster and bought groceries.  Up until this week I had thought that I would be moving shortly, and had consequently let my larder get thin.  After that I did some laundry and then headed into Naha with friends for a night on the streets.  The evening was nice and we had a very good time.

Today I finished off the laundry, made a roast in the crockpot, and watched a movie entitled "The Holiday" staring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslett, and Jude Law.  I didn't intend to get wrapped up in a movie, but it proved easy to do.

I mentioned that I have been contemplating a move - a three-year commitment to a beautiful location in Europe.  The job was offered, I accepted and, at the last possible moment I backed out - probably losing a very good friend in the process.  I'm not sure why I passed on that adventure, but I suspect that it is because I have grown comfortable here on Okinawa and have developed a wonderful support group of good friends.  By turning the job down, I will be able to get home in July and see my children and grandchildren.  (I arrived on-island July 22nd last year and have not been home in the intervening time.)  Also, I am awfully damned tired of moving.

So here I sit, out on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, doing laundry and mundane house chores, looking for sea glass, and running the streets with my buddies.  Life could be a lot worse than this!

My weekend in pictures is at www.okinawanodyssey.blogspot.com.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Blogspot Blues

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It's embarrassing when people I haven't even met are sending emails wanting to know if I am okay.  They're asking because my postings on The Ramble have been sporadic, at best, all week.  It had been over two years since I had failed to post a daily tidbit on this site, but this week I have missed two days.   But the fault was not mine - it was the result of internal issues with my host, Blogspot (Blogger.com).   Yesterday, the site was not only "unavailable" all day, but one of my recent postings inexplicably disappeared for the day.

So what is the problem, Blogspot?  Have you fallen prey to some fifteen-year-old cyber terrorists, or is it an issue with your servers?

Yes, I know your forum is free, and I appreciate being able to post here for these several years - but now that you have me in the habit, please stay dependable.  We've got a good thing going, let's not screw it up.

Life at the Shallow End of the Gene Pool

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Those crazy kids from Alaska have been out posing again and their new glamor shots are all over the internet.  Levi Johnston and his former squeeze Bristol Palin (this generation's Vinny Barbarino and Arnold Horshack) may not be any brighter than Bristol's mother, but by God they're nice looking - and in America that's what really matters.

Levi's new book cover is out, and the picture of him on the jacket is priceless.  The book is titled:  Deer in the Headlights:  My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs, and the cover art has him in his hunting camo's peering out of the bushes with eyes as wide as the tops on Trigg's and Tripp's sippy cups. It's a funny, funny, photo!

Meanwhile, Bristol is smiling at her own photographer as she flaunts her new hair color and chin.  Yup, Baby Mana got a new chin through plastic surgery for what she describes as "medical reasons."

Handsome, pretty, and famous - with money in the bank.  Can there be more to life than that?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Little Ricky Santorum's Google Problem

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

First it was Monica Lewinski who had to stand by helpless as her last name was turned into a synonym for a blowjob, and now Rick Santorum can't even google himself without stumbling across his last name being used as a descriptor of a sex stain.  It would appear that in these modern times of instant communication and worldwide access, public figures should be especially careful of who they do or what they say.

Santorum, a conservative Republican who says what he damned well pleases about the people who aren't as white and uptight as himself, screwed up royally in 2003 by making some particularly disparaging remarks about gays.  Dan Savage, a humorist and sex columnist, then challenged his readers to come up with a dirty definition for the word "santorum."  The winning entry was   "a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."  Unfortunately for the former Senator from Pennsylvania and longshot Presidential hopeful, the joke stuck - and now when people google his last name, that naughty entry pops up first.

Last week Jon Stewart used the term on The Daily Show, followed by a wink to the audience and the instruction, "Google it."  And people do google it every day and click on that entry - which keeps it at the top of the list.

I've googled it twice myself today just to help keep the numbers up.

And now the proud name of Santorum has a life beyond Little Ricky.

Great work, Dan Savage!  Thanks for expanding our vocabulary!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Will God Raise Cain?

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Former Godfather's CEO Herman Cain, an aspiring candidate for President in the spirit of Donald Trump, has  told his followers to be on the lookout for a email announcement on May 21st.  Interestingly, May 21st also happens to be the day that radio huckster minister Harold Camping says that the Rapture will occur - the date on which God will open the floor of Heaven and suck up all deserving souls.

So I am literally beside myself in anticipation of Mr. Cain's announcement.  Will he tell us that he is running for President, or taking off for Heaven, or coming out with the best pizza deal ever?  The suspense is killing me!

The Republican Party would be more likely to nominate me for President than they would a black man - so that ain't gonna happen, Herman.  Besides, if Harold Camping is to be believed, and what true conservative Republican would doubt the word of a money-grubbing fundamentalist preacher, God plans to destroy the earth and the universe on the 21st of October - nearly thirteen months before the election.   You could possibly announce a "run" for President, but that sounds more like an exercise in vanity than it does a serious political threat.

And as for the Rapture, it will be hard for those who are armed to the teeth with personal weaponry and whose pockets are overflowing with ill-gotten gold to become airborne.   A good Rapture might suck off their hoods and sheets, but that would be about it.  The Republican Party as we know it is likely to remain firmly planted on Planet Earth.

So that just seems to leave the pizza offer.  Will you be sending out coupons with your big announcement Herman, or will I have to join Groupon?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ramble MIA

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was no fresh posting on Pa Rock's Ramble last night - the first omission in a couple of years.  I tried, oh how I tried, but in the end it just was not to be.

I actually had a good story ready to go last night, a little piece that combined Republican goofiness with religious zealotry, always an interesting combination, but the Gods at Google would not let it happen.  Blogspot had some silliness going on that kept me from being able to type into the allotted space.  I could title the posting, but could not proceed with the narrative.

My first thought was that it might be an issue with my computer or the internet connection at my apartment.  With that in mind I took my spare computer (the Sony Notebook that I bought in Korea) and headed across the street to Camp Foster to avail myself of one of their hot spots.  That, however, was a wasted trip - Blogspot still held me at bay.

Today I am at a different hot spot at Kadena using one of their computers, and all appears to be well.  If my luck holds until tonight, the Ramble will be back up and functioning on a regular basis.  If it doesn't work out, just consider me to be on vacation!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Old Kentucky Home

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I have dropped anchor in a lot of places during my sixty-three plus years on this spinning mud ball, including a couple of years in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  And while Kentucky has its share of glory hounds and kooks - Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, and Rand Paul leap to mind - it is still a long ways up the evolutionary ladder from Arizona.

Kentucky has been in the news over the past few days for a couple of reasons - the most recent of which was yesterday's Kentucky Derby when a 30-1 long-shot by the name of Animal Kingdom blew past the other nags to win the Run for the Roses.

The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, was on hand to watch the race.  He reportedly put some money on Derby favorite, Dialed In, whom the odds-makers picked to win at 4-1, and who finished well out of the money in 8th place.

But the Republican Beshear kept a lower profile on the preceding day. He couldn't be bothered by making a trip down to Ft. Campbell on Friday to be around when President Obama and Vice-President Biden met with the Navy Seals who took out Osama bin Laden.   Obama and Biden also made time in their busy schedules to visit with a large portion of the 101st Airborne Division which is based at Ft. Campbell.

In Governor Beshear's defense, he is undoubtedly just as proud of the Navy Seals as every other good American, but he just couldn't bring himself to share the celebration of their achievement with that President.

That's okay.  Beshear doesn't know much about the ponies either!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Colin Powell's Favorite News Story from Last Week

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Colin  Powell has had a long and distinguished career as a soldier and statesman.  The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Bush administration Secretary of State was speaking to the 400 graduates of South Carolina State University - the state's premier historically black university - last week when he cited the big news stories of the week.  Powell told the graduates that they were getting their diplomas and going out into the world during a tumultuous time that had seen a royal wedding, the beatification of a Pope, and the elimination of Osama bin Laden - "the worst person on earth."

But the news story last week that really made Powell smile was a different event.  Powell told the graduates that his highlight of the week had been when President Obama released his birth certificate and blew away Donald Trump and the birthers!

The crowd roared its approval!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Boone Macy is Twelve!

by Pa Rock
Proud Grandpa

Grandson Number One, Boone Macy, turns twelve today (May 6th).  He has great parents - and his grandparents know, as all grandparents do - that he is a treasure!  Boone is a hard worker, an avid reader, a quick learner, and the best speller in West Plains, Missouri!  And smart - he is so smart!

Boone, Pa Rock misses you and wishes you the happiest birthday ever - from Japan!

I will see you soon!


by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was a report in the national press today saying that former President Bush had declined President Obama's invitation to visit Ground Zero in New York City because Bush felt "slighted" by Obama.   Bush felt that Obama didn't seem to give any of the glory for Osama bin Laden's demise to the Bush administration.

Well George, know this:  I, too, feel slighted.

I felt slighted by the national treachery of your brother, his secretary of state, and five old men on the Supreme Court who aborted the recount in Florida in order to assure the rise of a nincompoop to the Presidency of my country.

I felt slighted by the fact that our Commander-in-Chief nearly peed himself when he learned about the 9/11 attacks and did not have Clue One as to how to respond.  And I felt really slighted when I learned that after you quit flying around the country like some frightened schoolboy, you started taking action by immediately flying all of Bin Laden's relatives back to the safety of Saudi Arabia.

I felt slighted when you somehow magically turned the focus of your War on Terror onto Saddam Hussein and the country of Iraq - a man and a country that had bupkiss to do with Al Qaeda's attack on America.

I felt slighted and angry the day you did your little rooster dance aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared "Mission Accomplished" - when nothing had been accomplished.

I felt slighted when you took the focus off of finding Osama bin Laden and showed that your true objective was Middle Eastern oil and oil routes.

I felt slighted as our brave young troops began dying in a war that looked to many to be little more than you trying to one-up your Dad in Iraq.  The pictures and stories of the maimed survivors who made it home also sickened me and made me feel slighted.

I felt slighted when your administration tried to keep Americans from being able to see the caskets of "returning" troops.

I felt slighted because of the rein of death that your administration inflicted on children in Iraq and Afghanistan - especially because your administration refused to allow statistics to be kept on civilian casualties.

I felt slighted when the stories of the hired mercenaries (i.e. Blackwater) that you sent into the wars began to surface - stories of brutality and carnage so savage that our national image as a fair and rational people who adhere to the established conventions of war was tossed into a cocked hat.  I was sickened beyond words to know that over two hundred years of always taking the high road in wars had been discarded by a group of Vietnam Era draft dodgers who appeared clueless as to what the ramifications would be.

The crazy and inhumane practices of water-boarding and extraordinary renditions made me feel slighted.

I felt slighted when the horrible photos from Abu Ghraib made it into the news and we were able to see just how these wars had desensitized some of our young people (and their leaders) and turned them into monsters.

I felt slighted when you evangelical cadre of General officers began hinting that we were actually fighting holy wars to rid the world of Muslims - and then when I learned that the infamous Cheney Gang had actually talked in the White House about turning "mosques into cathedrals," I knew that I had had good reason to feel slighted.

I felt slighted when I learned that the death of Pat Tillman had come from friendly fire and that one of your generals had been directly involved in trying to cover-up the true cause of Pat's death.

I felt slighted when these useless and endless wars drug on through your second term.  As the years passed, I felt slighted as it became apparent that you were even worse at directing the economy than you were at leading in wartime.

George, I even felt slighted when you stood regally in the cold at President Obama's inauguration - because if ever there was a reason for impeachment and removal from office, you, sir, were it.  Your classy exit from power was far better than you deserved.

And finally, I feel slighted every time a positive reference is made to you in the press.  The abuses that you condoned while in the White House - in the name of "national security" - did so much to harm our security and reputation that it will take generations to fix.  Hopefully your Presidency was an aberration, the likes of which will never inflict itself on America again.

Here is your legacy, George.  It is something that I read on a billboard many years ago.  "No man is completely worthless - he can always serve as a bad example."  To that I say, "Well, done, George.  Well done!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Resume of John David Ashcroft

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

As a native Missourian who has lived in the Show-Me state off-and-on for a lifetime, I have have met John Ashcroft on several occasions.  The first time was in the very early 1970's when he was working at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield (now Missouri State University) and running for Congress.  Some friends and I were sitting around a typical college apartment late one night after a typical college party had ended, and young Mr. Ashcroft knocked at the door, came in, and shook hands all around.  As a college Young Democrat I knew that he wouldn't be getting my vote.  But I was polite - as I always am - and shook his holy hand.

Holy?  Yes, John Ashcroft was the son of the President of Evangel College and Central Bible College in Springfield.  Daddy was a major wheel in the Assemblies of God Church, a sad fact of life that would color his son's view of the world up until the present day.

The arch-conservative and highly puritanical Mr. Ashcroft couldn't be bothered with serving in Vietnam.  During the war years he took six student deferments and one occupational deferment - though how being a college administrator at a podunk school really merited a draft exclusion has always been a question of concern to the thinking classes.

John Ashcroft lost that primary race  for Congress in 1972 to a used car dealer from Sarcoxie, Missouri.  Later that year he licked his wounds and accepted an appointment to the state auditor's position when the incumbent, Kit Bond, was elected governor.  Two years after that Ashcroft was defeated when he tried to be elected state auditor in his own right.  John Danforth, who was Attorney General of Missouri, came to his friend's rescue and appointed him as one of his assistants.  It was during that time that Ashcroft shared an office with future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  It is doubtful if they got together at the Thomas pad on weekends to watch movies.

John Danforth was elected to the United States Senate in 1976, and his buddy Ashcroft finally managed to get himself elected to a public office.  He served as Attorney General of Missouri for eight years, and in 1984, during the Reagan craziness, was elected governor of the state where he served for eight more years.   During those eight years he doggedly saw  to it that state employees did not receive one damned dime in raises.  He also put more cops on the streets, increased prison space, and oversaw a marked increase in the number of juveniles brought to trial and locked away.

After leaving the governor's office in early 1993, John Ashcroft sat at home reading the Good Book and  speaking in tongues for several months until a suitable job opening presented itself.  That opening occurred when his mentor, John Danforth, decided not to run for re-election to the United States Senate.   Ashcroft was again able to slide into an elected office on the Danforth coattails.  It was during his term in the Senate when he helped to form a barbershop quartet called The Singing Senators.  The other members of that august group were Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Trent Lott of Mississippi, and Larry Craig of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Men's Room.

John Ashcroft's campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2000 put him into the record books - by becoming the only incumbent United States Senator in history to be defeated for re-election by a dead man.  To this day, one of my proudest moments as a good public citizen was casting my vote for the dearly departed - Mel Carnahan.

But once again, John Ashcroft was pulled from the ignominy of defeat by a good Samaritan.  Shortly after George Bush stole the presidential election of 2000, he announced that Ashcroft would serve as Attorney General of the United States.  After one term, during which the United States suffered its most lethal domestic attack in history, Bush sent the righteous Mr. Ashcroft packing.  Having been accustomed to living on the public dole, he then dusted off his Rolodex and set up shop as a lobbyist.

And that, in a nutshell (albeit a big, ugly nutshell) is the resume of John David Ashcroft.  Today, however, it was learned that he isn't done yet.  What could possibly cap such a stellar career?  How about heading an ethics committee for a notorious mercenary outfit that has sucked down our tax dollars by the billions?

Yup, John Ashcroft is going to Blackwater - now called Xe - where he will teach those crazy bastards to behave in an ethical manner!

Life just doesn't get any stranger than that!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

At Last!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The Stars and Stripes, our American daily newspaper here in the Far East, is surprisingly well written and easy to read, and while all news outlets possess a certain amount of bias, it is not as  lopsided in the Stars and Stripes as one might expect.  Their letters-to-the-editor section occasionally has some rabid submissions, but the newspaper usually tries to balance those out by making sure that opposing points of view are represented.

One obstacle that confronts the Stars and Stripes is that of time.  Because it's target audience, the American military community overseas, is spread around the globe, the print news reaches us one-to-two days after the actual event occurred - and the newspapers always reach the newsstands one day after the date printed on the cover page.   So, today is Wednesday, March 4th, the paper that I purchased this morning was dated Tuesday, March 3, and the cover story was the elimination of Osama bin Laden which occurred on Monday, May 2nd (around 11:00 a.m. local time).

The issue that I purchased this morning will be a collector's item - and one of my heirs will undoubtedly have it on eBay some day.  The entire front page was a photo of Osama in his dress white robe and turban - with a two-inch high caption, "AT LAST."   A photo covering the front page is a rarity with this little newspaper that is anything but a tabloid.  There has only been one other issue to boast that format in the year that I have been here - the March 12th issue covering the awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It's one-inch caption read, "HELL AND HIGH WATER."

The death of Osama bin Laden is quite a big deal in these parts.  Not only did he capture the cover page of the most recent Stars and Stripes, articles related to the military and political decisions that led to his removal from the human race took up the entire first seven pages of the issue.

The Bin Laden story will surely be one of those moments in history where everyone will be able to state exactly where they were and what they were doing when the news broke.  Every generation needs one of those defining moments that bring us together as a country - mine was the Kennedy assassination.

The big thing that I am taking away from this story is that military objectives can be met without all-out war and regime change.  That, and the fact that the goober who threw us into two wars had absolutely nothing to do with the action that finally eliminated the man who was our stated reason for going to war in the first place.   In the end, all it took was a small group of highly trained Navy SEALS and intelligent leadership.

Fighting leaner and smarter could be the key to reducing or eliminating our national debt.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Long Drive Home

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

It's raining this evening on Okinawa and traffic was crawling.  My ten-minute commute took an hour and two minutes - a personal record.  The only thing that could have made it worse was if I was  forced to choose between listening to a moron on the radio or sitting and brooding in silence.  Oh, wait!  I did listen to a moron on the radio - sporadically - a short burst of noise followed by a few minutes of enforced silence - and when the silence became too great - another short burst of noise.

The Rushbag was spewing his blithering racism the entire hour that I was on the road, wall-to-wall offal about the killing of Bin Laden.  It was just so unfair and unseemly that this astounding feat of military prowess occurred under the direction of a Democratic President - especially this black Democratic President.  I'm not sure if Rush's intent was to have his sarcasm dripping with envy, or his envy dripping with sarcasm - but regardless, the smell was unmistakably Limbaugh.

The point that Rushbag was trying to make was that the President used too many first person pronouns and possessives - I, me, my, etc - when describing the events of that evening in Pakistan.  Rush wanted us all to realize, like he did, that the President was hogging all of the glory - glory that should have gone to the troops.  But I heard the same speech, at least I think it was the same speech, and I felt that President Obama was extremely pleased with and proud of the brave troops who stormed the compound.  One thing is for certain, if the evening had ended in failure, Rush would have assigned one hundred percent of the blame to the President.

President Obama wasn't hogging the glory - he was assuming responsibility.  The buck (all of the decision-making) stopped with him.

Rush, this is a great time in America.  Why don't you just chill for a day or two and let the country celebrate?  And if you need a little help relaxing, maybe your maid could scurry out to an all-night pharmacy and pick up a little something to help you relieve the stress!

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Less Cockroach

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Yesterday in this space I referred to Moammar Kadafi and Fidel Castro as cockroaches because their removal from power - and from the breathing class - has been a national obsession in America for decades, and they have proven to be impossible (so far) to capture or kill.   Obviously I overlooked Cockroach #3, the world's most famous terrorist, Osama bin Laden.  Today American forces brought a much delayed but very deadly justice to the leader of al Qaeda.  Osama bin Laden was taken out and is now resting in quiet repose on the ocean floor.

The mission has finally been accomplished!

I sat in a small room this afternoon with a group of friends, all of whom were wearing the uniform of our nation, with eyes glued to television.  We saw the crowds gathering outside of the White House waving their flags and singing, we listened to a raft of commentators, and finally watched as our President walked to the podium and calmly told America and the world that Osama bin Laden was dead.  The President spoke just a few minutes, but his words were clear, concise, and powerful.  Perhaps the most important point that he made was that we are not at war with Islam, and that bin Laden himself had been responsible for the deaths of many Muslims both in the Middle East as well as in America.

It was so refreshing to hear those reasonable words spoken by a person of such great intellect - someone who who could show strength and determination without donning a flight jacket and strutting around on the deck of a battleship.  (Unfortunately, the previous administration seemed all too eager to paint the wars in the Middle East as holy wars.  Respected journalist Seymour Hersh described the cabal of neo-conservatives in Vice President Cheney's office as modern day crusaders who were intent on changing "mosques into cathedrals.")

But that was then, and this is now.  Bin Laden has finally been eliminated, the crusaders are running up and down the sidelines - powerless, God's in her Heaven, and all is right with the world - for a day at least, one happy, glorious day!

Now can we declare victory and bring our young people home?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

War Sucks

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I am tired of war.

In my six decades we have fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq (twice), the Balkans, Afghanistan, and now Libya.  Well, actually several U.S. Presidential administrations have rattled their sabers toward Libya, and a few even sent in bombers to show Kadafi our air might.  Removing Moammar Kadafi from the world political stage has become a national obsession second only to our fixation on Fidel Castro - a revolutionary who spit in the eye of every U.S. President from Eisenhower to Baby Bush - and has been relaxing in an Havana hospital room spitting in God's eye for the past few years.

Today we are fighting in Iraq, though that war is supposedly ending - but we are going to leave troops there nonetheless.  Today we are fighting in Afghanistan, and if there is an end in sight to that war, the American public remains in the dark as to what it is.  (Remember Afghanistan - the Soviet military debacle of the 1980's that did so much to bring an end to the Soviet Union?  Ask the Ruskies for their take on how winnable Afghanistan is.)

And then there is Libya.

Yes, Moammar Kadafi is a murderous bastard whose demise could only improve the conditions of Libya and her people, or so we speculate.  But Kadafi is a cockroach, and we all know how hard  it is to kill a cockroach.  We have bombed his home in the past and killed relatives, but never the cockroach himself.  Today a NATO air strike hit the home of Kadafi's next to youngest son, Seif al Arab Kadafi, in a residential area of Tripoli.  Daddy Kadafi and his Missus were reportedly in the house, but they got away unscathed.  Seif, however, described as a student in Germany, was killed along with three of his children.

The cockroach lives, but three of his grandchildren are dead.

The cockroach will have as many lives as Fidel - but grandchildren are dying.  Grandchildren are dying in Libya, grandchildren are dying in Iraq, and grandchildren are dying in Afghanistan.  Little grandchildren are dying, sons and daughters are dying, people struggling just to survive and feed their families are dying.  About the only people who aren't dying are Kadafi, Castro, and the politicians around the globe who engineer wars for glory, fame, and profit.  The cockroaches march on.

Grandchildren should never die.

War sucks.

All war sucks.

I am so tired of war.