Saturday, May 29, 2004

Memorial Day

The Saturday before Memorial Day is when my Dad and I (my kids ride along sometimes) do the 'Cemetery Run'. The late Memorial Day this year required Dad to go last weekend, when I was busy with other domestic obligations. I may venture out on my own this year, but wanted to share my Memorial Day remembrance.

I was a late baby boomer. Some, like Mitch, prefer a more traditional definition of Baby Boomer (children of people of child bearing years at the end of WWII). My Dad would have been 16, then, Mom barely 9. Regardless, my point is, that those of us late boomers are of the 'fortunate' generation. One that did not face a draft, did not face major military strife, did not have to make the sacrifices on a battlefield that our ancestors had.

On the sidebar, I have a couple "Though the Looking Glass" links. These are pointing to some very valuable genealogical tools that I use to find out more about my past. What have I learned, and how does it relate to Memorial Day? Well, let's run this reverse chronologically.

My dad was the youngest in the family, and his father, being a widower soon after my dad was born, remarried. Gramma who was also a Widow, had several boys whom joined the clan, and it was a nice size rural farm type family. My dad enlisted in the Navy, and is a veteran of the Korean War. The other boys, including Grampa, were all vets of WWII. Gramma had 4 Star flags hanging in her window. One for Grampa Otto, who was a mail carrier in WWII (Otto drove ambulances in WWI) and one for each of her boys, Vane, LaMoyne, and Bob.

Bob didn't make it home. He was a casualty in Europe. His body was eventually returned and is interred in the Dummer family plot in Henderson, MN.

My Dad's side of the family are recent (recent in the sense that my maternal background goes back to the Mayflower) immigrants to the States. I am fortunate to have 5 generations of them all buried in the same cemetery in Nicollet, MN. They traveled to the US soon after Eastern Germany lost during the Napoleonic battles. Yes, my ancestors fought against Napolean.

My maternal background is more domestic. I only have to go back a few generations to find Civil War veterans (one even buried right here is St. Paul) and a few more generations to find Revolutionary War decendancy. In fact, an Eaton family homestead, in Green Lake Wisconsin, was acquired through a War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrant.

So Memorial Day gets me going. I will be visiting Oakland Cemetery, to visit Uncle Ansel's Civil War headstone, and recall the valor of my ancestors, who proudly defended this nation, from Francis Eaton of the Mayflower, to my Nephew, the Ranger.

Have a safe and healthy weekend!


Friday, May 28, 2004

Conan and McCain

Conan O'Brien had McCain on last night. To paraphrase:

Conan: Is there any truth to the talk you would consider being Vice President on the Kerry ticket to create a bipartisan juggernaut

McCain: I was a POW in Vietnam. For several years I was kept in a dark corner, void from reality, and fed scraps. Do you think I want to go through that again


McCain: The Vice President has two primary duties, break ties in the Senate, and check daily on the health of the president, neither of which are very challenging.

It was funny if you saw it.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Nomination Nuance

The Kerry campaign's trial ballon was shot down by Kerry himself. Last night, John Kerry dispelled any further talk of a delay in his nomination acceptance. Although, I believe, the September 1st data, should be a date certain for the beginning of the General Election season. This would place everyone on an equal fiscal field.

Besides, Kerry shouldn't need the money, he is better off sitting back and having Bush continue to be his best asset!


Monday, May 24, 2004

Playing Nice together

The wonders of our political landscape never cease to amaze me. The most unlikely pair of allies has emerged. Would you have ever believed that Hillary Clinton and Lindsey Graham would ever agree on anything, let alone work together to carry that message.

Well, hell has frozen over:
An unlikely pair of Senate allies called for a larger military Sunday and pledged a thorough investigation of abuse against Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad.
In times of war, regardless of how close it is to an election, partisan politics should take a back seat. We can still campaign for our beliefs and values without getting into fisticuffs with our opponents. "Divide and Conquer" is one of the oldest military strategies that exists.

What caught me:
Graham and Clinton both appealed for an end to partisan wrangling so that the problems that created the Abu Ghraib scandal -- too few troops, and those being poorly trained and unprepared, along with a breakdown of command -- can be fixed.

"We are the greatest nation in the history of the world," Clinton said. "We have rule of law. We have due process. We have ideals and values. And, frankly, that's what we think we're fighting for. It is imperative that we do this right and that we follow the investigations wherever they lead."

"I would ask both sides to kind of knock it down a notch, work together to find more troops. If we can work together," Graham said, referring to himself and Clinton, "that's a good sign."
The article concludes with what we all should repeat to ourselves before we even consider discussing the events overseas:
"The men and woman who serve us are not Republicans or Democrats," (Graham) said. "They're Americans."


Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Periodically, the local PiPress carrier drops off a freebie, to promote themselves and increase their subscription base. So today was one of those PiPress mornings, and a respite from the Star-N-Sickle.

I skimmed the headlines, as that is about all the time I have in the AM, but did take time to read two articles. First:

Wal-Mart debuts in city

I miss the K-Mart and competition in the Midway, so I have been looking forward to the opening of the latest Wal*Mart, but what caught my eye in the whole article was :
"From more than 5,000 job applicants, Wal*Mart has hired about 325 employees . . . "

State job numbers take off

But tech began showing signs of life in late 2003, and posted strong year-over-year employment gains in March and April of 2004.

That doesn't mean the tech boom is back. Vilsack's new job — at $42,000 a year — pays about $13,000 less than his old software position in Madison. But pay cuts are common in the tech industry these days, and Vilsack said he isn't bothered by it.

Now I am sure there are success stories. Both sides of the aisle can find testimonials to support their claims. However, some numbers are more brutally honest then others.

5,000 applying for 300 jobs. Jobs that are a few ticks above minimum wage. Are these kids, are they single mothers, are they under-employed computer geeks. I don't know. But it stuck out for me. It jumped right into my lap this morning.

My gut says the employment market simply can't be all that great, if 5000 people are applying for 325 jobs at minimum wage.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Back to the Future

Last April, GW made a pitstop in the battleground state of Ohio. The complete text of his remarks can be found here. The following statements should be noted today:
I know you're optimistic about the future of this company. I'm optimistic about the future of our country.
I appreciate the Timken family for their leadership, their concern about their fellow associates. They're working hard to make sure the future of this company is bright, and therefore, the future of employment is bright for the families that work here, that work to put food on the table for their children.
And with people looking for work here in America, we have a responsibility to help those people find jobs.
This was just over a year ago. Optimism abounds, we are on the right track, let the gears turn,'Trust Me', all the rhetoric with a side dose of hope.


Timken puts area recovery in doubt
Just as Ohio's manufacturing sector was starting to claw its way back after a lengthy downturn, Timken Co. threw a bucket of cold water on the party.

By announcing on Friday that it plans to close three bearings plants in Stark County that employ 1,300 people, Timken demonstrated just how tentative a full recovery here can be.
and later:
In the first three months of this year, Ohio manufacturers added 1,500 jobs, according to seasonally adjusted figures provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

But Timken's decision to cut 1,300 jobs will wipe out nearly all those gains in one swoop.
Boths sides can cherry pick economic recovery stats to support their claims of recovery, or lack thereof, but Bush picked this one! He chose Timkin as the background for one of his recovery speeches, and one would think that he would have been very careful to pick those 'sure thing' companies.

Little did he know that we could be going 'Back to the Future'


Monday, May 17, 2004

Polls and Projections

Relying on polls is no real different then relying on point spreads in sports. The larger the spread, the more sure you can be about the outcome. The closer they are, just means it still anyones' game. In this years Presidential race, it is definitely anyones' game!

At the top of the sidebar on the right, I have added some polling links to help guide us through the Summer. It is always interesting to see the ebb and flow of the race, especially when breaking it down stay by state.

Way to early to give any of these number any real credibility, lest we fall into the trap repeated by "The Doctor", frequently ...

. . . "Stats are for Losers!"


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Rhetoric Off

I am going to do something that is painfully missing from the Right side of the blogosphere, and turn off the rhetoric for this post.

I just got done watching the 'Town Meeting' held in Iraq during the surprise visit of Rumsfeld and Myers. I found myself smiling, and even laughing. The high degree of candor and sincere projection of support was quite evident. Of course, you would expect nothing less, but it was still refreshing. This trip was needed and I will not sign off on any attempt by the left to call this political grandstanding.

The Nick Berg video made it clear that our troops are in more danger now then they ever have been. This visit was necessary to restore faith and improve moral. We have a long way to go, before we finish this job.

Hugh Hewitt keeps reciting "Millions and Decades". His millions refers to how many enemies of the US there are and the decades refers to how long it will take for us to rid ourselves of them. Anyone with an objective mind, would have to agree.

As for the 'new' photos, enough already, I think we have seen more then is necessary. We've given these Islamofascists enough ammunion already, let's move on . . .


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

They should have gone to school in a swing state!

Last week, I read that GW was NOT going to attend his daughters graduation. My first reaction, was disdain. What kind of father would not make every effort to attend the pinnacle of their children's academic success.

When I read the Administration's spin on the decision, it had a level of credibility to it. GW, with all his entourage, would distract from the 'moment in time' of the other families. Now that is just great! George is compassionate. He is actually thinking of others. What a domestic sacrifice to make to respect the other families 'moment in time' . . . . .

And then, I found out the real reason, neither Connecticut (Yale) or Texas (University of Texas) are swing states.

Bush Will Attend 3 Commencements, His Twins' Not Among Them
Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, said they did not want to subject other families to the disruptions of a presidential visit when Barbara Bush graduates from Yale University on May 24 in New Haven and Jenna Bush graduates from the University of Texas on May 22 in Austin.

Mr. Bush turned down an invitation to speak at the Texas ceremony. But he will give a commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis.
So GW does not want to subject the families of Yale (not that him being heckled last time he was there has anything to do with it) to the inconvenience of his visit, but it IS ok in the swing states of Louisiana and Wisconsin (I'll give him a pass on any of the military academies, it seems only appropriate that the Commander in Chief give a commencement there)

So George has now stooped to another new low, turning his back on his own flesh and blood, to go pining for votes.

This man can't even honor his family, and we've already seen what he has done to this country. I sure hope the electorate is paying attention.


Monday, May 10, 2004

Rummy Upgraded

The stubborn administration is rallying the troops behind Rummy. After staff members consulted a thesaurus, GW has upgraded his luke warm C- 'Very Good', to a solid B 'Superb'. Now that George has a handle on the proper verbage to use when trying to prop up a naughty subordinate, maybe he can get down to the bottom of this fiasco.

A leaked 'Red Cross' report points out:
"In certain cases, such as in Abu Ghraib military intelligence section, methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel to obtain confessions and extract information," the report said.
SOP, which can only mean, there are those higher up that will soon have to answer to the administration. But we know what that means, they will be touted as "superb"!


Friday, May 07, 2004

Crummy Rummy

The week has been full of tumult regarding the prisoner abuse scandal. The ‘plausible deniability’, approach apparently governing the Administration is about to blow up in their face. As they say, "heads will roll". There is a growing partisan movement demanding for Rummy resignation, or for GW to can his ass! I am not so sure!

Having the Rummy punching bag to kick around during the election cycle could only benefit the ABB crowd, and spur voter turnout. The arrogance and ineptitude of the Rove machine and the rest of BushCo is too naive to recognize that.

Bush firmly stated that Rummy's job is safe, and we KNOW that he would never 'waffle' on an issue once he has made a decision. But there was something very telling in GW's remarks yesterday during the faux apology to the Jordanian King (faux only in the sense that Bush made it clear he was apologizing to the Jordanian King, not to the Arab world or the Iraqi people specifically. However, the Right Wing Media Machine had no problem putting words into GW's' mouth and the Arab World bought right into it).

When asked about Rumsfeld, Bush used the terms “a ‘really good’ Secretary of Defense”, and he has "served our nation well". Now, I am an educator, and I also went to conferences last night for my oldest son. The terms 'really good', and doing 'well' is C work, average, not applying themselves, expectations are higher, etc. When a student is doing 'A' work, you use words like exceptional, and outstanding, etc. Yes, for an administration on the campaign trail, the luke warm support given to the current Secretary of Defense was very telling, but once again, the RWMM gave him a complete pass on it, but I didn’t.

We'll see what 'explanation' Rumsfeld has today, but I am certain it will be more Spin Doctor surgery, then any sincere attempt to explain the actions!

More after the testimony . . . .


Here are some photos that will help explain some of Rummy's hand gestures during his testimony today. An important glossary; Rumsfeld in Pictures!

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The Cell Phone Sea

Our cell phone contract expired a few weeks ago. We did a two year stint to get maximum rebate potential. We are content staying with the same carrier, but want to take advantage of the best available deal, maybe even go with two phones, OOooooooooo!

So that is on my short list of To Dos, today. Then I read 'Lileks' Sunday morning and am wondering if I should even bother to leave the house. One of the parts that concerns me:
And so my troubles began.

First we had to add my wife, then join a family plan, then cancel me, then transfer the number, then add me, then smear chicken guts on the computer monitor and pray to Zeus, or something. It was quite complex. The fellow who set me up was an absolute whiz, though, typing the equivalent of a 60,000-word novel. After half an hour: Done! One problem: They were out of the phones.
Read the whole thing (you may have to register) it put me in an interesting state of mind going into this endeavor.


[UPDATE] Well, I completed the task. They don't make it as easy as it used to be, but I pretty much got what I wanted. Closed circuit to Lilek's; they let me assign seperate caller ID names to each phone!