In the aftermath of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez carpet bombing our President with his malicious remarks, one thing stands out in my mind. In America we engage freedom of speech to settle some scores. Telling the opponent off makes us feel better. And if they can dish it out, I always hope they can take it back. Several news columnists and many bloggers have taken president Hugo Chavez to task for calling Mr. Bush a devil. We also vote at the polls and with our wallets. Convenience store chain 7-11 is severing its ties with Citgo, which supplies the fossil fuels for some of their gas pumps. But in America, we do not strike a match to make our point.
Germany, is the latest to worry about a vote with the strike of a match. Cancelling an opera production, "Idomeneo" for fear of a violent reaction from Muslim fundamentalists, Berlin security officials have stated that to go on with the show, could pose an "incalculable security risk to the public and employees."
At the heart of the matter is a belief that a depiction of Prophet Muhammad in any form might lead to idolatry. Well then, there is an easy solution for the approximately five million Muslim citizens of Germany. Vote with your wallet. Do not purchase a ticket to Idomeneo. But please, do not strike a match, burn an effigy or become enraged. Be a good citizen. Work hard, pay your taxes and take your vote to the polls. You are given that right in Germany. But artistic license also allows for things that might be in poor taste. I would not go to see the production either.
Posted by tammyswofford at 10:06 AM
Talk about needing a new publicist. After the news of Terrell Owens trip to the emergency room for a suspected intentional drug overdose, publicist Kim Etheredge glibly informed the media, "Terrell has twenty-five million reasons why he should be alive." What a stupid thing to say. Christina Onassis had 600 million reasons to live. It did not keep her from drugging herself to death at 37 years of age. Money does not buy happiness. It just makes misery more comfortable.
I have been pretty miserable this past week, without the benefit of a chest of gold. My husband has been in the hospital and pretty darn sick. But there are also some pretty good reasons to live. Here are my top three this week:
*Hugs: As my husband has gotten intravenous Dilaudid for his pain I have prescribed hugs for my emotional pain. I sure look forward to another day and another hug. It is as palliative as a narcotic and it is free.
*Birds: No, not the kind that spread H5N1 virus. Just the ordinary sparrow works for me. We have a little birdhouse outside the kitchen window and the sparrows are busy preparing the nest for the eggs. In a few weeks the little sparrow beaks will be hanging out the door awaiting their next meal. The care of the sparrows for their young always makes me smile.
*October: It is my favorite month of the year. The weather begins to cool and I love to pull the sweaters out of the hall closet. The heat of summer has subsided and neighbors get out of their houses to walk together after dinner. It is a neighborly month of the year.
So while Terrell Owens slinks back home to fire up the computer and check out his bank account and his stock investments, the rest of us ordinary folks know the truth. The reasons to love life are varied and many, but wealth and happiness are not always wed to each other.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:21 AM
There is a sad story unfolding in Arizona. Mrs. Veronica Celis is brain dead and she is also pregnant. Her body is being kept hemodynamically stable with the marvels of modern medicine which allows for the nourishment and future of her child. In about three weeks her daughter will be delivered and held above her body to be baptized. After that event, Mrs. Celis ventilator and other life-sustaining interventions will be discontinued. One life ended but another one springing forth onto the stage of life probably weighing in at less than five pounds. A father will be left with a newborn daughter and three sons, but a widower. There will be distinct challenges ahead for Mr. Celis. But beyond the immediate sadness which this family will face and the hurdles to be overcome there remains a glimmer of hope. This family tree engages generational thought. I suspect this tree of man will survive.
Too bad that there are many in America today who have lost the ability to engage generational thought. I look to my third generation when considering my own decisions. It is not about me. It is about the branches on my family tree that are not even in existence yet. This thought paradigm is necessary for the survival of rational man. It is shown to be lacking in the decision making processes of some businesses and governmental bodies in the last 2-3 decades. From the tactics of workers unions who have enriched their memberships with salaries and benefit packages which were never sustainable from the start, there is a sudden impending sense of doom coming to some local communities. We are on the cusp of seeing the bankruptcy of some municipalities who will be unable to sustain the next generation of citizen due to the unrealistic sums of money which have been offered to their previous generation of employees. Belief that there is a goose that lays a golden egg may be the order of the day when unions hammer out benefit packages for their constituents. But the truth is surfacing and becoming frighteningly apparent. In the next decade, my generation will suffer a loss of government services and resources because the money will just not be there anymore. Financial budgets that should been carte blanche menus from which employees could pick options have burgeoned to gourmet meals in some cases. We have offered what we could not afford to give. And my generation will bear the cost of the mistakes of the past.
Our elected representatives need to have "guilty as charged" stamped on their foreheads too. Bridges to nowhere in Alaska for the purpose of bringing development to what was previously a fairly inaccesible land mass is a great way to line the pockets and pad the bank accounts of the families seeking a free government goodie bag. There is plenty of pork, but what about us little chickens? Do we have a right to demand accountability with our money? Can we elect honest people who care about their generations instead of having a vision that merely extends to the next election and their own wallets?
Meantime, the story of Mrs. Celis and her yet to be born offspring present a vivid example for America today. Our economy will keep chugging along, robbing Peter to pay Paul, to sustain the next generation temporarily. But at some point in time reality must be faced. A corpse cannot be maintained indefinitely. Machines have to be turned off, the dead buried and those that remain struggle to survive. The lack of generational planning for the needs of our nation will catch up with us in the end. Math always tells the truth. The truth will be apparent very soon.
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:55 AM
Well, it is time to roll up our sleeves and enter the fray in Texas politics. And who gets my vote? Kinky Friedman, of course! This rising political star on the stage of the "nation of Texas" will certainly put some pizzazz into what had looked to be a boring election season until he threw his cowboy hat into the ring.
We just got our first pamphlet. It is a hideous green tri-fold, probably mass copied at a Kinko's center near the headquarters in Austin. A Christmas green is not exactly a power color, but hey, Kinky does not know how to dress for power either. I do chuckle with his two quotes: *Never re-elect anybody and *89 years combined experience has left us in 50th place. I somewhat concur with the first quote. Voters drive the first election, special interests the second. The other quote gives a taste of the surprisingly refreshing colloquialisms which issue from Kinky's mouth when he is not biting on that obnoxious cigar. Now some folks are taking offense at his propensity for tongue-in-cheek insults. If you check the guy out, he has definitely managed to find something bad to say about everyone. Eskimos, aboriginal tribes, you name it, have gotten the Kinky quotes. But the guy also insults himself. Here is a guy who proclaims he is too young for Medicare but too old for women.
Kinky also writes for the average American which means expressing things that an eighth grader can understand. And it does not bend to the American master, political correctness. Read his quote and statement on protecting our borders:
"I want 8,500 additional National Guard Troops on the border and I want them now."
*Texas border is a matter of Federal jurisdiction, but it is the Texas citizens who stand on the front line and bear the deep costs of illegal immigration. With a corrupt Mexican government, a huge and porous border, and a terrible strain to our already overstrained infrastructure, Texas needs a Governor who is open, honest, independent, and unafraid to demand real solutions from both the US and Mexican governments.
That last sentence has 41 words. It violates my own rule of journalism: If you have to swallow spit once, the sentence is too long. But his earnest proclamation does make me want to shout, "Remember the Alamo!" or "Remember Goliad!" The guy probably carries a Bowie knife to cut his steak. And what he has written was also confirmed in a front page story in the Dallas Morning News last Thursday regarding the nature of our porous borders. Drug cartels are strengthening in Mexico and with the surge in violence, just guess where the spillage will settle? It is already affecting the security and peace of our citizens who live along the lines of our diminishing sovereignty which we facetiously dare to call our "border". Hey, it isn't a border anymore. Just put up a toll booth and be done with it.
The Kinky Friedman website deserves a peek too. He has a commercial that strikes at the emotions. It is called "The Good Shepherd". Then there are the cartoons, complete with songs about "Saving Myself for Kinky!" Best of all, what is now on my Christmas wish list. Besides the usual chocolates, perfume and precious jewels, I am requesting a Kinky Friedman action figure! Yep, pull the string, and Kinky will give us Texan wisdom, the sort of which makes our cousins on the East Coast cringe. The website, has some video clips of the action figure giving press conferences. And all of that for a mere $29 dollars. I want Kinky on my pillow Christmas Morning. (Only the doll, of course!) He does not speak parliamentary English. He speaks Texan with a twist. He probably eats pork and beans out of a can and considers adding a couple of beers will turn it into a decent three course meal. He is gaining speed and there is a reason why he will make the election healthy. He will force his opponents to cut to the chase and put some real meat on the table for the voters. We always need the occasional blood transfusion into the political process and this election should be livelier than usual. I would rather see 100 percent of registered voters make Kinky the next governor of Texas, than for 20 percent to put Perry or Strayhorn or Bell into office. See what I mean? If this man brings more voters to the polls, stirs up the stagnation and apathy, he has my respect. And if the horses of different colors have to run hard and be put up wet because of this dark horse in the race, all the better. Let them all work a bit harder to lay claim to the Austin corral. This is Texas! It was built with the sweat and tears of men and women who were pioneers.
So long live Kinky Friedman and long live Texas! And if you answer the doorbell and see me wearing a cowboy hat with a bag of Kinky's political goodies do not be surprised. It is time for a little counterculture election excitement!
Posted by tammyswofford at 4:36 AM
It is a terrible saga in the end. One of those classic "No good deed will go unpunished" type of stories. Decades ago a generous friend formed a supper club. Being a diplomatic and intelligent sort of gal, she thought that a healthier neighborhood could be sustained by having people over on a regular basis. Starting with a strong cadre of five, it looked like a manageable endeavor. Providing a nicely appointed home for the meeting place, hopes were high and there were cheers and raised glasses all around.
Gradually, the popularity of the thing just took off and more and more neighbors clamored to join the dinner club. The heady success of growth presented other problems for the hostess. There were no longer enough place settings of Royal Doulton or the Waterford crystal to go around. Easy enough to solve. Small allowances were made.
Unfortunately, as the crowd grew there was a need to consider the palates and dietary restrictions of others. The hostess was adept, so became more flexible in the menu. A gracious hostess always seeks to make others comfortable in her home. A guest, should be treated with great honor.
Over the years the dinner club changed so slowly and imperceptibly that at first, the hostess merely ignored the changes. Less of a "statesman" atmosphere prevailed but a boisterous undercurrent became apparent. Another subtle change was that guests who had mingled freely before now took to staking their claim at certain tables during the dinner. They would only eat with certain people and ignore the rest. Some also began meeting secretly with each other on the side. Shaking hands in secret and winking in public, it was a heady experience, this fun dinner club! What an absolute riot it had become over the years!
Last week the hostess realized she had created an animal house. One of the guests stood and publicly insulted her husband. He was called a devil, with the smell of the sulfur of hell clinging to his clothing. Adding insult to injury, the guests clinked their glasses, raised them aloft and clapped and cheered. Intoxicated with power, they pulled the white linens from the tables and fashioned togas, festooning their heads with the table centerpieces. Lurching between the tables they lifted shouts to the dance of the damned. Surreal, not quite believable, the hostess quietly took her car keys and drove away.
Posted by tammyswofford at 5:03 AM
The steady readership of this blog are pretty good about sending links through the "newsroom" regarding issues of interest. One reader exercised her free speech with an accompanying link about an upcoming NBC special featuring Madonna. Because her depiction of the Christian faith is so repugnant to many, let me weigh in a bit with my own thoughts on this vile creature masquerading as a woman.
Madonna is no lady. She has never laid hold of that feature in her gender. The gentleness and the softness of a lady that attracts a gentleman, is not to be found in her. Oh sure, she has attracted some men. But they are not the type of men I would want to date. Madonna has blown it on motherhood too. Sure, she did a form of penance, when writing a book for children. But what will her own children think when they figure out that mommy has engaged simulated masturbation in public, produced videos with undertones of bestiality and lended her star status to a book titled "Sex" which takes a photographic look into a gallery of human filth? She has failed at being a lady and I worry about her children, growing up in such a promiscuous home environment. But in looking at the video of Madonna on the cross, the sad reality hits me in the face. Madonna, just does not have that much to offer.
Here is what is at stake. Madonna has used her body as a career guide. Some of us, bank on our intellect to get us by in life. She is at the very least peri-menopausal and possibly post-menopausal at this stage in her own life cycle. Her video "Lucky Star" showed that she was already becoming a little rough around the edges for this type of work. As I watched it, I got a mental picture of her pushing a shopping cart full of old clothes in downtown Dallas. She rather fit the look of one of our older washed up prostitutes so commonly seen in certain parts of the city who are suitable for a quickie and a Benjamin Franklin, but not much else. The female form, is only marketable for mass consumption in a small window of time. That is why some of us, prefer the stability of a good marriage.
So what is left for Madonna? Writhing on a crucifix with a crown of thorns, mocking Jesus Christ to make another buck? Yes, she is absolutely disgusting. But beyond the distaste is the distinct reality. We all die. What does a woman of this vile nature, have to offer eternity?
Let's hear it from the readers! And what would make for a good epitaph for her life? For me, her life is summed up in one word. Wasted.
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:24 AM
Bringing each of my sons home from the hospital remains as nuggets of gold in my memory bank. Too bad that the fourteen year old is starting to look like a lump of coal instead. Now, I honestly believe the nurses switched the babies, somewhat like in the movie "The Omen", leaving me with some uncharted experiment. While not birthed by a jackal, I think a rhinocerous might be more along the order for this son. His appetite is enormous and I am beginning to panic.
Let me just give you an example of what he looks like now. I can take his boxers and wear them like a one piece top and shorts set. I kid you not. Just tried them out for size earlier. Could be a cute new look, if they didn't have a jalapeno pepper design on them. He is in a true extra large men's shirt. Not the "Big and Tall" of Wal-Mart which really means "short, wide load". Climbing out of the truck each day when he arrives home from school there is a mental acknowledgement that a kid the size of an ox is about to hit the pantry looking for a small snack.... say, a couple of sandwiches, a banana and a bowl of ice cream.
I should have known by the time he was out of diapers the problematic nature of his appetite. He ate the tail off of a stuffed animal belonging to his cousin. He ate mint dental floss. He never came home with stars on his artwork from Sunday School. He ate them, on his way to the car. This little feeding and pooping machine was just getting started. What used to be cute, is now a disaster. Feeling like an Ethiopian who has just watched a plague of locusts take out the only crop, several months ago I began to try hiding food to make it last longer. Now I just buy more with the sad recognition that this is a losing battle until either the military takes him off my hands, or I sign him up to have three feet of intestine removed.
This kid eats in the bathroom too. An eight ounce block of cheese once, another time a whole box of snack cakes. I never said he was smart, just hungry. He left the evidence behind the toilet. So today I pull out a package of frozen cookies and ask "Andrew, how many cookies do you want me to bake?" It is no surprise when he looks at me with dull and lifeless little eyes and says "All of them." I have a teen-age boy for sale. Better yet, just come and pick him up. You can have him for free!
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:50 PM
Three weeks ago a family friend showed up looking noticeably thinner. He had spent a week battling dysentary and vomiting after eating at a local Mexican diner. I asked if he had reported it to the County Health Department. He had not and I strongly encouraged him to let them know. This week, the recall of all bagged spinach across the nation due to a spat of E. Coli related illnesses reminds us of what is a remote danger in our overall food supply. For most of us, the statistics are not significant until it affects us. In the case of the spinach, so far 109 people have been sickened. In food-borne illness, the epidemiology cannot play out as rapidly and as effectively if the reporting of events is choppy. Beyond looking for the contaminant, there is the need to find the source. It is a worse scenario when food contamination is intentional.
One of the most enjoyable books I've read in the last few years was "Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War". It is a good primer into the world of the weaponization of bacteria. Creating millions of marching little bacterial soldiers throughout a person's blood stream, lungs, gut or vital organs can be an effective tool. This book devotes an entire chapter to the intentional food contamination of restaurant salad bars in an Oregon town in 1984. It makes for fascinating reading. Followers of Indian guru Bhagwhan Shrie Rajneesh spiked salad bars with Salmonella which they had churned out at their compound. Their reasoning? They were trying to throw the local town election and figured that people who could barely crawl from the toilet back to bed would forego a day at the polls. Approximately 750 people were sickened and the plot did not unravel until nearly a year after the event.
Moving along, as I munch a carrot and wonder "Hey? Is this thing really good for me?" we must ponder the lowly clam. Yep. In 1988 a Hepatitis A outbreak in China sickened 292,000 and put nine people into eternal clam shells in the ground. The Japanese had their scare in 1996 when 10,000 (mostly school children) suffered after eating white radish sprouts contaminated with E coli.
Here in Texas, we had our own scandalous Shigella incident, perpetrated by a rather vindictive hospital employee. After this innovative pastry chef served up "Shigella Surprise" a dozen people became violently ill. Then there are always the low-tech crimes, like the man caught urinating in the coffee pot. It seems that the employees noticed that the coffee had a bold new taste and set up a hidden camera in the employee lounge. Bingo! Coffee pot used as a urinal! Personally, as a nurse I can think up some fairly wicked tricks that should have been perpetrated on the man, before handing the evidence to the local authorities.
All of the above to remind us of a couple of things. Do not purchase any bagged spinach until the CDC finds the source. But also remember that our food supply remains overwhelmingly safe and in each step from harvest to the grocery shelf, quality assurance measures are in place. For the rest, we rely on the Department of Agriculture and epidemiological teams at the CDC to sort it out for us.
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:43 AM
Growing up with four brothers gave plenty of opportunity to see them play "Uncle". We all know the drill. Twist an arm behind the head and make them scratch the other ear or bend the thumb back to touch the forearm. Most painful of all, twisting the other kids nipple with a knee in their abdomen. At some point, there is enough pain inflicted to make the other guy cry "Uncle" and thus ends the game until the next round. Apparently, Pope Benedict XVI never played the game as a child.
It has been several days since the Holy Father spoke at the University of Regensburg in Germany and included quotations which were critical of Islam, drawing a line in the sand against violence and religion. The Catholic Church opposes violence against the unborn and also opposes the death penalty as inhumane. So it is not beyond the scope of Catholic theology when the papacy addresses violent jihad. MSM has demanded the leader of approximately one billion Catholics apologize. Christian churches have been torched with retaliatory physical attacks in the Middle East. Pope Benedict XVI has issued a statement saying he is deeply sorry for the reaction of some, stopping short of apologizing for his speech.
But in Mogadishu, it was an older Italian nun who paid the cost in the war of words. Shot in the back at the hospital where she worked, my guess is she was probably cleaning a baby's bottom or teaching a new mother of the need to immunize her children. She was undoubtedly going about her day as she normally did with her hands reaching and touching; heart giving; face smiling. Her compassion stilled, as her blood was spilled. So now, her flock will bury her, remembering a life devoted to prayer and care. A nun, who wore a habit as the sign of her devotion to God. A woman, untouched by a man, but with the fortitude and daring of a man, for sure. She was serving in a dangerous place when she died. Mogadishu is not a top vacation destination for most of us. Maybe Pope Benedict XVI is concerned for his flock? One sheep of the flock, now missing in Somalia. I am grieving.
Posted by tammyswofford at 9:05 AM
-noun 1. The head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority
I love reading Biblical stories from the Old Testament. Like players moving across a stage, the stories present drama, principles of conduct, and expose both the failures and heroism of man. Scoundrels and noble men adorn the pages of the Bible. Their lives, speak to us today.
King Hezekiah was a decent sort of guy. Unfortunately, he was a lousy Commander in Chief. When a word was brought to him that his kingdom would be overthrown, his own sons castrated and made eunuchs to serve in the Babylonian palace he remained quite the contented fellow. He thought, "Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?" This story is found in II Kings 20:16-19. What makes this an even sadder tale is the backdrop to this event. Earlier in his days as king, Hezekiah had pleaded for his own life when faced with a devastating illness. God added fifteen years to his life span. And now, the man who was so concerned about his own hide, showed zero, zilch, nada, concern for the well-being of his descendents and the people over which he ruled. What a selfish way to live!
Fast forward in history to the evening where a shaken nation clung to the words of our own Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush. As he sat at his desk and addressed the nation after the slaughter of 9/11 his message was very clear and there was no mistaking the tone. He would not allow us to be attacked in like fashion again. Taking the authority of his office and the military at his disposal, he told us that both terrorists and nations that harbored terrorists could soon expect a presidential calling card.
That calling card has gone out and the stakes have been exposed. September 11, 2001 was a seminal event of catastrophic proportions to what Mr. Bush has rightly stated, will be the battle which must be engaged for many future decades. The lesser signs of the American Embassy bombings in Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole, while on port of call in Yemen were preludes to 9/11. And that attack, may still be the prelude to something greater. We need not forget that the one who struck five years ago, is still threatening us with violence. I shudder, to think of it. Five years and counting, guys. So far, so good. Five years, because we have a Commander in Chief, who knows how to act like a Commander in Chief.
That is not to say that one hundred percent of the decisions have been outstanding. None of us, has that sort of a track record. But at least, Mr. Bush took the first step, which was to act. It is preferable, to the inaction of the Clinton administration.
Today, I am preparing to attend a MOAA dinner. (Military Officers Association of America) As a member of the board there has been much time invested by myself and others to this event. But as I look forward to the evening there is an acute awareness as to what sets our Commander in Chief, and the military community apart from the rest. We look forward and not just to the present situation. We look not for the peace of only our generation, but a peace to sustain the next. The blood-stained uniforms of many of our dead attest to the conviction of our oath. And for the vets still living, having defended, protected, and preserving freedoms for a generation not yet born, I will see in their faces tonight, character and demeanor that speaks to the hardships they and their families endured for America's freedom. I honor them. Some of the World War II vets, now bounce their great grandchildren on their knees. Those children, living with peace, because of the cost their great grandfathers were willing to pay, sixty years ago.
As you drive along peaceful streets, through neighborhoods with nicely manicured lawns, buy groceries and select from an abundance of products, remember that it is the decision-making capability of each Commander in Chief that has aided or hindered this process. And as you tuck the children into bed tonight and help them with their prayers, please add a new one at the end: "God Bless our Commander in Chief".
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR,NC
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:40 AM
When the first plane went into the World Trade Center, I was on the seventh floor of Lennox Hill Hospital (67th at Park), waiting for my father to die. He hung on until the 18th, but was in coma and never knew what had happened to the two out of scale buildings at the bottom of his beloved island. After the second plane hit, I went down to stand in the blood donor line that ran from Lexington around the corner at Park. Since this was New York, I and three nearby people, settled down to play bridge while we waited. Nobody was frightened. Nobody was angry. Some were dumbfounded. Overhead, jet fighters screamed for no discernible purpose. At three o’clock, they said we would not be needed, and we understood. No survivors. Some left in tears. Others were numb. I walked across Lex to get a sandwich. As far as the eye could see, no cars were moving. The sidewalks were almost empty as well. The television showed people still walking across the Brooklyn and George Washington bridges to get to their homes on Long Island and New Jersey, but the rest of New York was sitting glued to the television and trying to tell out of town friends and relatives that they were ok. Phone switches were overloaded. Next morning, on my way back to the hospital, the guy at the corner coffee shop gave me a free large. We are all in this together. They will not stop us.
When the news flashed on the television screen that we were under attack I picked up the phone and dialed the number of a dear friend and we watched the chaos together. Suddenly the footage switched to another site and another building was on fire. Not quite comprehending, or maybe not wanting to comprehend, I asked, "What is that?" The words were barely out of my mouth, and I knew. It was the Pentagon. Throughout the next hour my phone rang again and again. People asking "Are you going to be called up? Has the military called you up?" We were under attack, and friends wanted to know, to grasp at some small hope, that the military would shield them from further tragedy. Answering calls that morning I acknowledged each person with the same response. "Called up? To where? Do we even know who did this?" I look back now, on this five year anniversary, with sadness. We know. We know who did this to us. Many have been called up. Some have died wearing the uniform, providing the terrorists that magnet which draws away from our shores, to a target in another land. Children in the womb who lost a Daddy in the Towers, or on United Flight 93 started kindergarten this year. We haven't suffered another attack on our soil. But yet I still do not feel entirely safe. Something happened to me on 9/11. Something I cannot quite explain, but it is there, in the shadow of my emotions. My wound, has not healed. And I still cry, if I allow myself to think for too long, about 9/11.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:29 AM
Ford has just hired Alan R. Mulally away from Boeing. His job will be to turn Ford around and he is going to be paid more than the $825,000 in base salary, $736,300 in bonuses and $7.5 million in long-term incentives that Boeing was paying him, to do it. Let’s hope he is worth it.
However, one cannot help but feel that the folks at Boeing may be grinning. The airplane-maker twice declined to give Mr. Mulally the job he has just accepted from Ford.
While at Boeing, Mr. Mulally, a senior executive in charge of commercial airplanes, carefully studied Ford’s Taurus, a car designed to compete with Toyota and Honda. It was thought to have been very successful, but it is no longer in the Ford line-up and Toyota sold more cars than Ford last July for the first time in history.
Also worrying is the fact that Mr. Mulally was Ford’s second choice. They attempted to get Mr. Carlos Ghosan, CEO of Nissan and Renault, to come to Ford, but he wasn’t interested. He is now talking to GM about some sort of arrangement and technology transfer; from them to GM.
In his favor, Mr. Mulally did make airplanes that people wanted to buy. And that is what Ford needs to do, make cars that people want to buy. It is not quite clear how Ford will do this by not making cars and by selling the brands that it has, but that is the Ford Way Forward, Mr. Bill Ford’s turnaround blueprint, which the company admits, isn’t going to work as originally conceived. Last January, Ford announced that it was closing 14 plants and laying off 30,000 employees. Last summer, the company said that plan would not achieve desired results and more cuts would be needed.
Ford, GM and Chrysler all have the same problems. They can’t seem to produce a car that people want to buy and they can’t seem to bring innovative technology to the marketplace. GM has been working on alternative fuel vehicles for years. Where are they? Where is the fuel cell vehicle GM was road testing years ago? Where are the electric cars it did bring to market and then removed? Ford is giving its arch rival, Toyota, money from every hybrid car Ford sells because Ford couldn’t produce its own hybrid technology in time.
The problem with American manufacturing is not high labor costs. Germany, Japan and Switzerland all have higher and manage to sell us their products while studiously avoiding buying what we make.
No, the problem with American manufacturing is that we are not doing it and the stuff that we do make is not selling. A review of Consumer Reports will show that American cars tend to have below average reliability, which also translates to low resale value, what Consumer Reports calls depreciation.
Until American made vehicles are seen as reliable and hold their resale value, the only hope is that Toyota seems to have caught the American disease. Last year, it recalled more cars in the U.S. than it sold here. An exasperated executive in Tokyo blamed “bonehead engineering mistakes.” The engineers blamed computerized design which couldn’t tell that something will not work.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:15 AM
The arrest of Warren Steed Jeffs raises two important questions. Why would anyone follow this man? Why didn’t the authorities crack down on Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before?
Polygamy is not that rare and is not usually prosecuted. While there is no census data, advocacy group, Principle Voices of Polygamy, estimates about 37,000 people live the lifestyle in the
Until recently, the authorities in
“I have been shouting this from the rooftops,” Petersen told the Times. “I called the state agencies; pretty soon they weren’t returning my calls.”
The authorities didn’t respond because the towns of Hillsdale and
If the states are willing to wink at polygamy and the subjugation of women, why do the women put up with it?
The FLDS faithful believe “perfect obedience produces perfect faith, which produces perfect people.” They also believe, as did the Jonestown kool aid drinkers and the Branch Davidians, that their leader is God’s appointed regent on earth. As such, Warren Jeffs held complete control over his 10,000 member flock. Jeffs used the power of excommunication and forfeiture of wives and children to control his kingdom. But Jeffs was far more authoritarian than his father, Rulon, the previous prophet. More like Caligula than Augustus. This may be because he was born prematurely. His parents considered his survival an omen from God that he was special. He didn’t have to learn the business of prophet, he was divinely inspired.
Other FLDS teachings will also find favor with other fundamentalist sects. For instance, the FLDS do not believe in evolution, or that Neil Armstrong actually made it to the moon.
His belief that laughter lets God leak out of a person, although something like that is found in Joseph Smith, is probably not something most other sects will subscribe to. Still in all, people will believe in the strangest things if they think their souls are at stake.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:41 AM
Several years ago, our predominantly white church dedicated an evening to forgiveness. Our minister invited the pastor of a local and predominantly black congregation to join us for worship. After a few songs and words by both men, we were to ask forgiveness from our Christian "brethren" for what was perpetrated on them by our white forefathers. I chose not to attend as I just couldn't see the point. Having been raised in a family that viewed all mankind with equity I considered it rather silly to ponder what should obviously be water under the bridge. Additionally, we had "adopted" a Nigerian man and his wife through an international friendship network at our university. When first visiting our home, Mrs. Awodola had a little bone hair ornament sticking out of the back of her hair, which I found quite amusing. She spoke no English, so we smiled at each other a lot. Two years later we accepted the responsiblity of being godparents to their newborn daughter, Lola. What need was there for me to feel sorrow or the least bit of pain for the black man? My hand had never struck them.
All of that changed with the stroke of a pen from a remarkable man. James McEachin pierced my heart. Several months ago he sent me his book, "Farewell to the Mockingbirds". It resided in a stack with three other books in front of it. People like to send me books and they always get read, but I take them in order. Last week I finished his book. It devastated me.
For that which I did not understand, I now stand without excuse. Inexcusable, that my own ignorance caused a laziness unwilling to investigate the facts. Inexcusable, that the veneer of civility in my own family tree might hide the living wood on which a black man was possibly lynched by my own relatives in the past. Inexcusable, that the time-line of my own birth caused a blindness as to what happened in the generation of my great grandparents.
Corresponding with him early on, asking him to explain a term of colloquialism used by the early 20th century negro, he made a casual remark. He said, "It gives me a migraine when a white man tries to write about black people." Although I chuckled at the thought, the book bears out his own ability to grasp the emotional pulse, the culture and the angst of what it meant to be a black citizen of the United States of America in the days preceding World War I. He captures the essence of thought processes, while putting flesh on the bones of his characters. Much like reading a good Steinbeck book, he employs a style that entertains and provokes.
Although the book is a novel, it is based on a true event, the largest criminal trial in the history of the United States. The court martial of 63 black soldiers charged with murder and mutiny, while being assigned to a military post adjacent to Houston, Texas was the big news of that day.
Mr. McEachin weaves his tale with an unswerving gaze. Whether taking the reader inside the military post, a trip to the local flop house, or the city jail, his manner pulls no punches. He is telling a story and presenting a view of what it was like to be a black American soldier in the early 20th century. His graphic portrayal of a lynching left me cold inside. Other passages moved me to tears.
Mr. McEachin now serves as an Army Reserve Ambassador for the United States Army Reserves retaining a protocol rank of a 2-star General. He is a Purple Heart and Silver Star recipient for wounds received in combat. But beyond the physical wounds of service, this great American has allowed a glimpse into the wounds of his generations. May I highly recommend that you read "Farewell to the Mockingbirds".
**For a history of the contributions of the black soldier in WW I, this is a good link.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:38 AM
United States Army Divisional Order Number 40: From the Headquarters of the commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces, General John J. ("Black Jack") Pershing.
"It is important for French officers to have an idea of the position occupied by the colored race in the United States. The coloreds are a menace of degeneracy. They are designated to play inconspicuous roles of laborers. The black man as a citizen of the United States is regarded as inferior. He is noted for his lack of civic discretion and professional conscience. Among other things, he is given to the loathsome vice of criminally assaulting women. The French, therefore, are called upon not to treat the coloreds with familiarity and indulgence. To do so would be an affront to national policy. French officers are advised to prevent the rise of intimacy between them - that is to say, they are not to eat, seek, talk, or even shake hands with the coloreds. And while it is all right to commend the good service qualities of the coloreds, French officers are asked not to commend them too highly in the presence of any and all whites."
Farewell to the Mockingbirds: A novel by James McEachin, The Rahrl Publishing Group, pp. 484-485
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:04 AM
We are coming for you, Adam Gadahn. We are coming, not because you are a Muslim, but because you are a menace. We are coming for you, because you threaten Americans. We will come for you, because you are al-Qaedah. We come, because you threaten all Americans both civilian and military. You threaten Americans on our soil and even abroad.
In America, we believe that all men are created equal. This includes Christians, Jews, Hindu, Muslims, and even atheists. In America, we believe that the Creator has endowed us with unalienable rights. These rights include but are not limited to: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our forefathers set our national foundations. You did not! You dare to threaten us while no longer living among us nor enjoying the cup of bounty that our free will allows. You threaten our way of life. You threaten us with Hell. You ask us to surrender. You invite us to escape an unbelieving army and join the winning side.
Here is what I believe. You represent an organized crime syndicate. You are not an ambassador of peace as the actions of your followers prove otherwise. I believe al-Qaedah has indelibly harmed the people which they "claim" to help. I do not believe your fatwa is from God. Your stream of thought is polluted. I believe you are dangerous and should be denied access to the legitimate corridors of power and influence in a shrinking globe where the order of the day demands brains, negotiation and solutions, but not random acts of violence against civilians. And I hope your days are numbered, Adam Yehiye Gadahn.
A few, for whom we have already come: *Ahmed Ressam *Abu Faraj al-Libbi *Abu Zubaydah *Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Enjoy making your videos, Adam. Americans, are not paying attention. But we are still coming for you.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:21 AM
The arrest this week of Warren Steed Jeffs will effectively remove him from the F.B.I.'s "Ten Most Wanted List". The F.B.I. sought him for allegations of unlawful flight, sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. But it is the allegations that the media is bringing that intrigue me the most, and cause me to ask the following questions. How does society deal with the approximately 75 wives that he kept as pets? And how do these women move on with their lives as their share-a-husband faces a share-a-cell in his own future? Let's just look at the pieces to the puzzle so that we can analyze what makes a wife a pet instead of a companion.
It seems that "Prophet Jeffs" had a nifty little color-coded system on the doors of his wives bedrooms to determine where they were in the menstrual cycle. As an aside, if he was a "prophet" shouldn't he have known that little fact? O.K. So you have a man running breeding pens in his mansion. This is the first sign of a wife as a pet. She has no right to her own body. Yep, you heard me correctly. Now while I concur that for a healthy marital relationship, both parties should be ready and willing for action when the urge hits, there is also the escape hatch that should be allowed either partner, on occasion. A partner who proclaims being too tired, frazzled or stressed should have the benefit of the doubt. All of the "Mrs. Jeff's" did not have any options open to them . I doubt their marital bed was fulfilling. On the death of the father, Rulon Jeffs, ole Propheteering Warren married almost the whole passle of the widows within a week. No need to grieve a husband in his nineties . Steed Warren, is lusting in the background, pawing the ground, before Dad's bones are cold. Doubt many of them got much of a honeymoon, busy as he was consummating the holy unions.
Then there is the little issue of the wallpaper in their bedrooms. Admonishing the wifely paragons of virtue to be sweet all the time, it seems like Prophet Jeffs had managed to snip their vocal cords along with taking the virginity of some. Marriages can remain healthy when a wife has a voice, an ability to appeal the decisions of a husband. While men may carp about the discordant vocal sound coming from a mate's mouth when the little woman gets angry, it beats the unhealthiness of a wife psychologically beaten into the submissive state of a deaf mute.
Prophet Jeffs treated his women like a deck of cards. He shuffled women around, children around, from man to man. If a man pissed him off, he just married off his wife to another man. If a man pleased him, he might get the pick of the litter as a reward. Prophet Jeffs had a particular fondness for one litter, marrying nine daughters of one woman. That has got to be one whacked out gene pool at this point.
Sadly, these pets a.k.a. wives of Prophet Jeffs have a wretched road ahead of them. Having lived to breed and serve in silence, I can only hope that one day they learn the true pleasures of what it means to be women.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:48 AM