February 16, 2007
This combination picture shows NASA Astronaut Lisa Nowak (L) during a news conference following the landing of the space shuttle Discovery on July 17, 2006 and following her arrest in Orlando, Florida on February 5, 2007. Nowak was accused on Tuesday of trying to kidnap and kill a rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut after a bizarre 950-mile drive wearing diapers to confront the woman. (Scott Audette and Orange County Jail/Reuters)
Scott Audette and Orange County Jail/Reuters
Love makes us crazy; or, at least, it surely seems too. Since everyone has weighed in on astronaut Lisa Nowak, who went crazy for love, I thought I might as well.

By this time, unless you have been on a secluded spaceship to the moon, you know about this poor woman.

Formerly, we would never have said "poor woman"; she was an astronaut, mother of three, high achiever in every way- graduate of the naval academy, masters in aeronautical engineering

Nowak apparently was involved with or fantasized about another astronaut(not her husband). She traveled nine hundred miles and confronted another woman with mace; a BB gun, and one or two other lethal tools were found in her car. What seemed to have fascinated the public is that she wore a diaper to travel the distance so she would not have to stop. She got apprehended and the unbelievable story unfolded.

TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION? You better believe it.

Not long ago, I saw this documentary, Crazy Love. The plot revolved around a seemingly normal man who became obsessed with a woman he was dating. He either got scared she was going bye-bye or he was hearing voices(or something). He hired some thugs to throw lye into her eyes permanently blinding her. Talk about true love, this was is the best. The guy went to prison; but, when he got out, the woman he blinded married him. God bless America.

I think you can put endless psychobabble on this kind of behavior: person was unloved as a kid, abused, never hugged, whatever; it simply doesn't wash. There are scores who've suffered all this stuff and they turned out OK. So, what is it? I think that on rare occasions, those like Lisa Novak momentarily go crazy, they lose their mind, and their ability to think. Just like a tragedy as radical as suicide, once having lived the insanity, it can't be taken back.

It would make a great story and be so very compassionate, if these folks could somehow rewind the crazy moments of their lives as though they never happened. So very sad but a good idea for a movie. Somebody has probably already made one. KT
    F----in' Up a Two Car Funeral Procession III
Paul Bremer, former Head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, waits for the start of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alleging incompetence and cronyism, US House Democrats opened an investigation into billions of missing dollars meant for rebuilding Iraq under Bremer. Photo:Mark Wilson/AFP
Mark Wilson/AFP
Anybody who watched Paul Bremer recently before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee and doesn't put his/her head in their hands and figuratively cry is way beyond me.

Obviously someone who screwed up as much as Bremer in Iraq is not going to admit it. We are into hindsight, of course, but what hindsight does is only reflect the lack of planning in going to war anyway.

Bremer said, "I've made mistakes." Well, Duh! Descriptions of loading 18 wheelers with pallets of cash, weighing tons didn't seem to even phase Bremer. He said something like, "Iraq was a country in chaos and a cash culture and we were trying to survive and look after the people." Oh, so you just hand out hundred dollar bills to the elite of Baghdad. The poor surely didn't get the bucks. Bremer says all of this with a straight face. Looking after the people? What people were those?

No accountability for all this cash. The IG (Inspector General for Iraq) who sat next to him contradicted him with the idea that he didn't have a clue where all that money went. You have got to be kidding me!

I can remember reading about soldiers at some supply point in Iraq (or maybe they were contractors) playing football with bound up stacks of hundred dollar bills.What enrages me as an American taxpayer is that we are giving out stacks of American money like it is a monopoly game and we have the working poor, the homeless, and needy in our country barely surviving, To make it worse, this money probably went to the least deserving in Iraq and possibly into the hands of terrorists. We simply don't know.

Now it is two to three years down the road and we are just coming out from under the ether. I am appalled and Americans who care should be too. Most who have any real interest in what has happened in Iraq commonly acknowledge that disbanding the Iraqi Army and purging the Baathists from the government was simply stupid. The thing I remember is reading about Bremer screaming, "I don't want to hear anything about Vietnam." Oh yeah, he doesn't want to hear that Iraq has become Iraqnam.

Bremer got his "freedom" medal given by the Prez and would be off "scot-free" were it not for the new Congress.

Bremer's admissions is but one more example of how Iraq has morphed into one disaster after another and we are still debating doing more of the same. If there has ever been a case for post Vietnam, this may be it. When we departed the scene in Vietnam, who knew what would happen. Some things were not pretty, but our staying would have only postponed the inevitable. As we have seen, Vietnam not only survived but has prospered and has even become our trading partner. We should be so lucky in Iraq.

Let's hope with new leadership we are truly heading for a new strategy and it ain't surge. KT
    George Carlin's Solution to Save Gasoline
photo of george carlin-tv.squad
Bush wants us to cut the amount of gas we use. The best way to stop using so much gas is to deport 11 million illegal immigrants! That would be 11 million less people using our gas. The price of gas would come down.

Bring our troops home from Iraq to guard the border. When they catch an illegal immigrant crossing the border, hand him a canteen, rifle and some ammo and ship him to Iraq. Tell him if he wants to come to America then he must serve a tour in the military. Give him a soldier's pay while he's there and tax him on it. After his tour, he will be allowed to become a citizen since he defended this country. He will also be registered to be taxed and be a legal patriot. This option will probably deter illegal immigration and provide a solution for the troops in Iraq and the aliens trying to make a better life for themselves. If they refuse to serve, ship them to Iraq anyway, without the canteen, rifle or ammo. Problem solved. George Carlin

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom listens during a meeting in his San Francisco office in a file photo from March 22, 2006. Newsom said Monday, Feb. 5, 2007 that he plans to seek counseling for alcohol use in the wake of the disclosure that he had an affair with the wife of a trusted aide. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The San Fran Mayor, Gavin Newsom, keeps trying to do the right thing; and, yet, the media and some self-serving politicians are all over him like white on rice. Politics as usual. Now, he wants to pay his former Aid out of his pocket.(Aid who resigned because his wife and Mayor Newsom had an affair).

How noble is this? Gav is a renaissance man. I'm serious. Tell me any other celeb who would do such a thing?

The Mayor is also going into rehab for an alcohol problem. What makes it a little suspect, although I believe he is sincere, is that it seems to be a pattern.

A politician falls from grace and then it is the "devil made me do it." Foley of the legislative "pages" scandal (sent dirty messages to teenagers) is an example of this behavior. He owned up after being confronted; but, of course, it was the alcohol that made him do it. I don't doubt it. In our society many things can be attributed to bad judgment with alcohol. I once gave away my wonderful Karman Ghia car when I had only two beers. I'm serious. With a clear head, I would never have done it.

I think the confessions of most politicians and public figures are sincere, but it is not necessarily going to get a politician off the hook.

Alcohol is part of our culture and is a problem that needs to be addressed. In Gav's case, I think he probably made a mistake by owning up. Had he called me, I would have told him, "Don't do it, the media will be all over you."

Let's not forget, the media is rarely interested in the "truth" of a story. In my opinion, feeding the news media the "alcohol problem" merely exacerbated the sexual indiscretion more.

Is the Gav an alcoholic? Based on what I've read, no. Does he have a drinking problem? Yes.

When I was a young minister in training, I went though an internship at a mental hospital. Most of my time was on the alcoholic ward. These were hard core cases who had done criminal activities; these patients had totally gone crazy and threatened or harmed someone under the influence of alcohol. I listened to their stories. The alcoholics lied to me, took my money, adinfinitum, but I learned. I still remember many of the tales. One that sticks out is about a guy whose 9 year old daughter was killed in an accident. He sneaks into the funeral home and steals her little black Mary Jane shoes off her feet to pawn for liquor. True story? I don't know, but representative of what an alcoholic will do.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom gets into his car after an event at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, February 6, 2007. Newsom, who gained national attention by championing same-sex marriage, said he would seek treatment for alcohol use, an announcement that follows his admission of an affair with his campaign manager's wife. REUTERS/Kimberly White (UNITED STATES)
Alcoholism is a disease. Alcoholics will sacrifice their dignity, families, anyone or anything for a drink. The newspapers say Newsom has quit drinking. Good! This reinforces the idea that he has a drinking problem and is gettting it under control. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

The good news is that he is going to a really good rehab program from all I read: DeLancy Street. These people don't deal with psychobabble and excuses. It will be good for the Mayor because, he'll be in "groups" of derelicts: street people, felons, riff rath, low lifes, liars, cheats-the scum of the earth.

Where better to learn to serve the people than associating with all of the above, mainly because of alcohol. With a person of faith, it is a concept of redemption. The drunkard becomes sober. The low life gets himself/herself together. Liars tell the truth, cheats become honest. See what I mean? This experience can only help Newsom, so let's back the f... off and give him a chance. He'll come out ahead. He's a good mayor and has done a great job.

The people of San Fran, I believe, will give him another term. Go Gav!!!!!!!!!!!! KT

Mayor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007. Newsom apologized Thursday for having a sexual relationship with his former campaign manager's wife. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
I've always been a fan of our Mayor(Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco).

He's young(39), handsome, articulate, and not afraid to mix it up. He is a typical politician, of course, but way above most in my view.

The only guy in City Hall I like better is Tommy Carcetti on the HBO TV program, The Wire.

The drama or maybe histrionics of the last few days, the Mayor's indiscretion(Mayor had an affair), has given the newspapers and talk show hosts fuel for months to come. It is simply the way it is in our crazy culture or maybe more so here on the Left Coast.

Unless you have been on another planet, (my niece who lives in Raleigh, NC called me about it before I had even started my day), you've read or heard about the GAV(Mayor Newsom).

The Gav had a brief liaison with the wife of his good friend and now former campaign manager. The wife actually worked in the Mayor's office as an appointment secretary during the time of the affair.

If the Mayor had planned this to look bad, he could not have done a better job. The fling, affair, encounter, mess up, whatever, happened about eighteen months ago.

The partner in the affair, as part of the 12 step program for substance abuse, goes literal and tells her husband about the indiscretion. The husband goes into orbit, confronts Gav, and resigns his position. The Mayor's good friends/staff (with friends like this, who needs enemies) leaks it. The news, talk show ranters and the press, in general, goes bananas, and everybody has an opinion, including me.

At least Gav stepped up to the plate. Had he been one of my favorite politicians, "the Bill" as in Clinton, he would have gone into spin overdrive: "Exactly what do you mean, I did not have sex with that woman." (We believe you, Bill, oral sex is just "play like"). My man, the Gav, however, stepped before the mike and said something like, "Everything you've read is true. I am deeply sorry especially for the people that I've hurt and care about." I'm not sure that he said, "please forgive" me, but it was implied. Then he disappeared into his office to go on with his life.

Way to go Mayor! People mess up. It is what we call, being human. I feel so badly for all concerned; and, without judgement, I doubt seriously that confessing will bring the sort of relief that the 12 step programs promise. The idea that confession is good for the soul is more a myth than reality. What usually happens is that innocent people are hurt.

Once the tale is told, there is no taking it back. Look at this case. The act had already been done, regardless of how it might be perceived-wrong, sad, lapse in judgement, adinfinitum-it was done.

Sex is a powerful, unacknowledged aspect of our lives, but it happens; and, in this case, all admit passions got out of control. The next move was the aggrieved husband, once told, does the obvious thing, resigning from his job. So, the question is: who has benefitted? The Gav is our Mayor- popular, energetic. The poor husband is out of work; he has paid a big price.

We never know, in the great scheme of things, what a scandal like this will bring. The mayor will survive it. We hope the other parties will too. God bless them all and us. Ain't life messy? KT
(february 05, 2007)

This picture released by the US Marines in June 2005 shows a CH-46E helicopter emerging from a cloud of dust in Iraq. The US military has said that a helicopter has gone down in Iraq, the fifth such incident in less than three weeks, and Al-Qaeda promptly claimed responsibility for attacking the chopper. Photo:Jaun Vara/AFP
Jaun Vara/AFP
Besides fighting for their country and fighting to keep themselves and their fellow soldiers alive, troops are encouraged to follow the Iraqi cultural training they received before deployment.

Guidelines for Iraq Bound Marines:

-Never touch a Koran.

-Don't be surprised if an Iraqi man greets you with a kiss.

-A 40-second handshake is not unusual.

-Never admonish a man in front of his family.

-Talking to a girl is permissible, but not a woman.

-Be careful when brandishing a pistol, which was the weapon of choice among Saddam Hussein's henchmen.

-If in doubt about a custom, always ask a local. Never assume.

-Never make a promise that you cannot keep

Source: FresnoBee.com

Two recent deaths merit a moment of reflection: God Bless two very unique and outspoken, some would say fearless, individuals: Dale Noyd and Molly Ivins and their family and friends. They will be missed. KT

Dale E. Noyd: 1933-2007

An Air Force AC-130 gunship on a training exercise. A gunship has struck at suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed US officials. It would be the second US attack in January in southern Somalia using an AC-130 -- a fixed-wing aircraft with rapid firing guns -- following a January 8 strike on a site where senior Al-Qaeda operatives were believed to be hiding. Photo:/AFP
Dale Noyd was the first conscientious objector to a specific conflict(in this case,Vietnam). This, in many ways, personified his life.

Because of his high marks, Noyd was the only member of his 1955 Reserve Officer Training class at Washington State University to be given a "Regular" commission. (Individuals in Reserve(ROTC) officer training class usually received reserve commissions.)

His excellent ROTC record also granted him the choice of assignments; he chose the U.S. Air Force base at Woodbridge, England.

At Woodbridge, Noyd received a medal for landing a badly damaged nuclear armed F-100 fighter at an English airfield. He even taught at the US Air Force Academy.

When Vietnam was on the horizon, he couldn't bring himself to be involved in what he considered an illegal war. (Talk about a prophet.) Eventually, he was court-martialed and served a year in prison. Sad for a guy like Noyd to be drummed out of the military with such a distinguished career.

Dale Noyd, however, is probably smiling today remembering the two certificates he kept on his wall: his commendation for heroism and his dishonorable discharge.

Molly Ivins: 1944-2007

http://www.alibi.com/, portrait of molly ivins
Molly Ivins, photo from alibi.com
I always liked Molly-her irreverent style, and of late, vociferous objection to the Iraq war. I think she was not so much opposed to the war as she was in how it has been/is mismanaged. I can surely identify with her opinion. The situation in Iraq simply gets worse; and, when you think it can't get any more out of control, it does.

Molly got it. Her last column, which she maybe knew to be her last, said it all: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there."

lady kneeling at soldier's grave Si vis pacem, para bellu(Latin). Translation: If you desire peace, prepare for war.

Si vis vitam, para mortem(Latin). Translation: If you would endure life, be prepared for death.

    A Letter To the Speaker of the House
President George W. Bush shakes hands with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool) 
AP via Yahoo! News - Jan 23 8:47 PM
(AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool)
Dear Madam Speaker,

As one of your constituents, I want to affirm you for going to Iraq to see for yourself what a colossal mess we're in. You are right on in your assessment.

Training is a key; and, in my view, should come via the Special Operations (Green Berets) soldiers who are trained to do exactly what you have suggested. In my view, we should immediately begin a phased withdrawal of conventional soldiers out of Iraq. Iraq is Iraqnam; because, when we introduced conventional soldiers into that sorry war, it was lost.

I don't want to take up your valuable time by giving you any more of my views and would only say that we are where we are and have to figure it out. More troops, regardless of what we call them, is idiocy at this point. All we are doing is putting more Americans at risk. It will not work.

All along I have been proclaiming that we simply cannot win in Iraq whether we call the enemy insurgents, terrorists, or the Iraqi government in the form of militias. You cannot beat people who will blow themselves up and kill their own families and countrymen indiscriminately. Ideology aside, it simply cannot be done.

I don't know exactly how to say this gently because I cannot tell you how much I admire you, but, one thing that I think the Democrats have to keep in mind is that the people did not change Congress for it to be business as usual. Increasing the minimum wage and many other programs are good and useful but getting us out of Iraq in one way or another is what we want.

At the State of the Union meeting, to be honest, I was a little put out with all the kissing and hugging and bowing and scraping. I respect the presidency but let us not forget that we are exactly where we are because the "decider" and his minions simply decided wrong and over 3000 young Americans and no telling how many others will never get a chance to live out their lives in our great country. They have paid the ultimate price for his "deciding."

One last point. For at least the last ten to twelve years, I have been pushing Universal Service and actually wrote the enclosed Memoir(Gun-totin Chaplain) to help me sell the idea. Universal Service's time has come. I could list all sorts of reasons that Democrats need a platform that goes back to JFK, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Based on the scores of people that I constantly buttonhole, I almost never run into anybody who doesn't say Universal Service is a good idea.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why Universal Service is not embraced wholeheartedly by the Congress. The draft will not fly. (I actually wrote Congressman Rangel with my ideas and why the draft won't work) but giving youngsters a chance and a choice of how they give their service will. I hope you'll think about it. God bless you richly.

JA(February 02, 2007)

   Soldiers Put Their Lives On The Line Everyday
A US sniper firing at a target during a joint Iraqi and US military operation to clear Bagdhad's restive Haifa steert from insurgents. US President George W. Bush will meet with top generals as he plows ahead with his unpopular new Iraq war strategy despite growing opposition within his own Republican Party.(AFP/DOD/File)
Daughter in Conversation With Dad

(last weekend)

"Dad, did you hear that Nancy Pelosi is going to Iraq?"

"Yes, I read it in the paper this morning. Wow, hope she is careful, Iraq is not exactly the sort of place that Americans want to be these days."

Dad, think about this: Soldiers are out there everyday, risking their lives. I don't think Nancy Pelosi's life is worth more than the lives of these brave Americans, do you?"

**Daughter is a "hardcore" Democrat and symbolically a Bush hater; but, like most Americans regardless of views, respects and understands that the soldier is just doing his job. She is also a big supporter of the Speaker of the House. KT(February 01, 2007)

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