Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Monday, July 31, 2006



Sunday, July 30, 2006

While We're on the Subject of Poverty, etc.

Thanks to Delilah Boyd and her Snarky Sermon on the Blog.

Her Guest Minister, François Leduc, compares G. W. Bush, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Jesus. He wonders who among so called Christians worships God and who worships Mammon.

On a somewhat related topic (poverty and illness), early this morning I read Worried American's excellent post directly below this one. I then found Zay N. Smith's Sunday Quick Takes column in the Chicago Sun-Times. He'd mentioned several months ago a way to help with several worthy causes at no cost except a little time. I posted it then, followed through for a while, and then it slipped my mind. Evidently it slipped his as well because he wrote a reminder to himself today.

In turn, I reminded myself and anyone else who might be interested.

You can find the link to his column in my "granny" post. The charity paragraph leads.

You might take a quick look at the "spell check" item as well. I love technology gone askew. I wonder if Blogger spell check has ever accepted "blog" as a word.

I found this snippet of scripture after I read Stephanie's comment this morning. I posted it as a response to her and after I read Delilah's post realized how well it seemed to fit with what I wanted to say here.

I'm not looking for converts or an argument about faith or the lack of it. Your beliefs are your own as are mine. These verses from the 25th Chapter of Matthew (KJV) are specifically directed to the hypocrites currently in power who profess Christianity and practice something else entirely.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.




Yet how does America, our governments and most citizens treat the poor, the hungry, and the outcasts. The federal government cuts benefits to the poor and hungry, medical benefits for the mentally ill are cut, and local governments pass ordinances inimical to our outcasts (the homeless, many of whom are mentally ill) and even in some instances levies fines against citizen Good Samaritans who help them.

Las Vegas Makes it Illegal to Feed Homeless in Parks
They are a nuisance, they frighten respectible citizens away and people who feed them encourage them to stay, and others to congregate. People who feed them will be charged and fined.

They can go to shelters and soup kitchens? Often the homeless are far away from shelters and soup kitchens and have no means to get there. Such places are often situated in mid town areas or in far flung communities. When scores of homeless established squatter's rights on Houston's downtown streets they were a nuisance. They dragged up cardboard, old mattresses, cloth items with which to make beds on the cold, hard sidewalks, piled their pitiful store of possessions around them, urinated and defecated where ever they chose. They blocked passage of citizens about legitimate business during the day, panhandled and otherwise accosted citizens. Businesses complained, citizens complained, rights groups counter- complained and a fine hullaballoo ensued. Eventually the police were ordered to clear the homeless from the sidewalks and general areas.

Where did they go? Many joined others in setting up unsightly households under the freeway overpasses. More complaints about the ugliness and stench, and panhandling persisted. They were chased away from there. Where did they go? I don't know. It and they were a problem. But it is OUR collective problem.

These people are - like it or not - our neighbors, our poor, our outcasts and they are America's problems. Chasing them away from place to place, forbidding citizens to feed and succor them is not the answer.

Should another sign be added to cartoonist Herb Block's flagpole? Like "abandons poor, hungry, and homeless".


Beating the Homeless - a Sport For American's Teens and Young Men? How could our children be so cruel? Why not? They are inundated from early childhood to adulthood with violent cartoons, TV shows, movies, video games; some psychologists say they become inured to violence and lose a sense of compassion. They see our government engage in wars where other humans are routinely slaughtered through violence, and enemies dehumanized with epithets. They are exposed to racists and haters who dehumanize anyone who is different. It is a wonder that the majority are able to rise above this and retain their sense of humanity.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If the Ten Commandments Were the Law of the Land

Mark at Spittle and Ink has an interesting comparison of current law as opposed to a literal interpretation of the Commandments.

It's a door the fundamentalists might think about twice before opening.


The link to spittle and ink originally came from one of Jay Lassiter's posts. Sorry Jay.


More on the Heat Wave

I spotted this article in truthout. I noticed it because it led with Fresno, CA, 60 miles south of me which has experienced a record number of deaths due to the ongoing heat.

No good news, I'm afraid. They're warning us to expect more of the same.

And then I found this article from TomPaine talking about the disastrous deregulation of power companies.

No good news there either but at least they make a few suggestions.

Merced fared far better than Fresno. We may not next time and our shortsighted city and county government is planning two huge building projects that will effectively destroy any air quality we might have left. They want a NASCAR racetrack to the immediate north of town and a major retailing giant distribution center to the south. They talk about growth and know nothing about responsibility.

I didn't look at a thermometer yesterday (I've stopped doing that - too depressing) but it may have cooled off a few degrees. It's pathetic when we look at 103° as an improvement and break out the long johns and blankets.

From what I've read, our relief is temporary. We've been told to expect more of the same.


Friday, July 28, 2006

My Last Word on the Swamp Cooler

Everything Worried American said is correct. We have one window unit.

The other two, however, are indoor units and somewhat portable. Same principle only water is poured from a pitcher into the front. They're far better than a fan; not as cooling as a/c.

Best of all, they run on regular house current. Central a/c doesn't and neither do many of the window a/c's. Big difference in utility bill.


Letter from a Republican

All this is taking place in my own backyard.

Richard Pombo is the Congressman from the District immediately adjoining mine (and wrapping around as well due to "redistricting"). He won the primary against Pete McCloskey, an old time Republican from the area.

Pete has written an open letter vowing to support Pombo's opponent and any other Democrat who opposes Pombo and other corrupt Republicans. Several spring immediately to mind.

Thanks to Echidne of the Snakes for the information. You can read part of the letter at her site. She has a link to the entire letter.

We're already talking about ways to help our neighbors defeat Pombo. This letter will help.



Well, for pity's sakes!! I didn't know so many people were interested in water cooled devices. I've had 3 emails and 2 personal queries, plus email comments from relatives in Arizona and New Mexico. I have never remotely considered doing a post on cooling units. Interest must stem from this ungodly heat.

PT: Granny's water cooled device was briefly mentioned in my post "Killer Heat" 07/26/06.
She mentioned it in her post . Since your comment, she posted explanation and photo on .

Everyone else, see Progressive Traditionalist comment on "News on the Homefront, Local and Nationwide" below, as well as Granny's url above. Or you can google Swamp Coolers but PTs explanation is sufficient.

I believe they are much more economical than air conditioning units. When I had my house my summer electric bill sometimes ran higher than my mortgage payments, but my a/c man said my unit was too small for my square footage house so that's why the unit ran so much. Plus, from what I gleaned from PT's post on a/c, I failed to maintain it properly. Cleaning that outdoor compressor thing was important. Granny says they are cheaper to run.

However, Sweet Thang, they won't work very well here on the Gulf Coast. Our humidity is too high and water doesn't evaporate very readily - just like our sweat doesn't - and the units must have evaporation to do their job. Hog Caller, if you are inland, central or west Texas, they'd probably work fine. Ask your neighbors. If they have units hanging in their windows, they may be swamp coolers instead of window A/Cs. A lot of the people and at least one church uses them in Sabinal, Texas, where it is hot and dry. Do It To Me says he has one in his mobile home and he is pleased with it, but he spends a lot of time out west in the oil fields, I think.

Cousins, thank you for your input on your experience with the machines. . I believe the subject is covered. I am glad you all are faring ok. No doubt Glen will remain in his summer cottage in the mountains for the duration? :-) Stop referring to him as a wimp. It is the smart thing to do, to escape the worst of the heat.

Cheers, everyone. Stay safe.



MSN asks if Martha (Stewart) has her mojo back. I'm sure the nation holds its breath in anticipation of hearing of her stocks' comeback. I hear the term "mojo" used in various contexts. I have asked a number of adults and teens to define mojo for me and received about as many answers as were the number of people asked. What the heck is mojo, exactly? Or is it one of those vague, undefinable terms that people know what it means, according to context used, but can't define it?

Once in the presence of guests, including foreign nationals who had never been to the US, I rather unkindly referred to a certain individual as a "stone turkey." This casual comment elicited a spate of unanswerable questions from the foreigners. They understood the word "stone" by geological definition and the word "turkey" as an American fowl, but they could not understand that I did not refer to a stone or rock sculpture of a fowl. Although the Americans in the group were intelligent and well educated, none could come up with a definition for the term that did not include other slang words, equally incomprehensible to the non-Americans. Every one of us understood exactly what a "turkey" was when applied to a fellow human but we were unable to convey that meaning to foreigners.

MSN also announces "Retrosexual; the return of Macho". Groan!! Ofcourse amongst some our menfolks, macho never left. I don't want our men to be wimpy but macho can be somewhat wearing on the nerves. The pressure to be macho is a hardship for some of our little boys who have more gentle dispositions. Why can't men be allowed to just be themselves?

St.Louis and New York have their electricity back (as of this morning) so that may alleviate some of the heat related suffering. Our neighbors in California have lost lives and continue to suffer the heat, although the news claims relief is in sight.

Houston and inland for a ways is slated for more liquid sunshine. One area has received 7 inches of rain these past few days, other 2 to 3 inches. Ofcourse, as is normal, Houston gets flooded here and there every time the weather angel spits. The Chronicle featured a man from Utah filming a "flooded" street, amazed at so much rain. Hah! The water was scarcely up to the hubcaps!! He thinks THAT'S a FLOOD!! If he stays here long enough, he may see rain over the tops of tractor trailer trucks and the freeways inundated in places. Days of rain are not to be cursed, however. We are behind normal rainfall and we need it; also, it has kept us cool during the heat wave. I dashed to the store on my scooter during a short break in the rain and was so cool I wore my sweats. (Sorry, Ann. I know that's cruel when you have been so punished by heat). But I'm old and get cold easily; poor circulation and all that.

Our own good friend and blogger, Marty On the Homefront, has received the honor of having her blog posted on the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA) website. The site publishes daily, so go to page 2 (bottom of page,click on number) and look for post "On The Homefront". Depending when you access the site, it may be moved to page 3. Congratulations, Marty !!
Marty has a son in Iraq and I have a grandson there; both are on their second tours of duty in Iraq. Both Marty and I support the IAVA and recommend that others support it too, as a means to support our troops. The organization offers a great deal of help and support to our military men and veterans.

Granny and I like to welcome new visitors to our blog. We have a new visitor whom we hope will visit often and become a friend. He is a new kid on the blolgging block, so to speak, and has entered only one post so far. We'd like to encourage him to continue, so please pay him some visits. He writes about our common humanity and in defense of the children victimized by the wars on MiddleEast. Check him out at (that's right - two e's in title, one e in url). Email: WELCOME, DORY.

Re: previous post about the heat and reference to Granny's water cooled unit. An emailing reader asked me what it was. Now, friends, readers. visitors, lurkers - whomever you may be -
do not ask me anything even remotely connected to technology. Ask PT. He posts on air conditioning machines and I'm sure he knows exactly what and how and why those units are and operate. He can be found at , still whittling.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


A Great Photo to Deceive the Faithful
Some time ago I promised a series on the Fundamentalists, the Christian Reconstructionists (CR), the Christian Coalition (CC) and the religious Right (RR). These groups differ in minor ways but basically they are of one accord. They want a nation under God, a theocracy, governed strictly according to their Old Testament beliefs with the eventual goal of a world under God - a One World government theocracy. Our president and a very large number of our representatives in Washington either share their beliefs or agree to them for economic and political reasons.

To understand their agenda (and it is important that you do before you vote in November) click on The Fundamentalist Agenda

Later I will post the laws we would be subjected to under their government, other than the ones mentioned in the link in Granny's post below. I guarantee you that you will not like it.

The politicians that presently govern us like the fundamentalists. Both parties are desirous of achieving a One World Government for various reasons. A strict theocracy can control the masses with an iron hand, leaving the political side of the government to be in control of the military and police and the corporations free to amass and control the world's wealth. It's a sweet deal for all those concerned. Think you will rebel? Not when the penalty for infractions of their laws are death by stoning or being sold into slavery. Just like in the Old Testament.

More on the Christian Reconstructionists

I've written about these people before as has Worried American. I'm convinced we aren't taking them seriously enough.

Here is One Pissed Off Veteran's take on their plans to take over the country.

Keep an eye on them. They are quite literally deadly serious and they are patient.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006



California bakes again, but worst may be over. The high pressure system over California that has brought soaring temperatures to the state wasn't budging Wednesday, promising an 11th straight day of sweltering heat, the potential of more fatalities and another strain on utilities.

Now, About Those Cows .....

Cow Killing Heat

If you haven't had enough on heat killing the cows, click on to the Lodi News


We had a one-post respite from trouble and tragedy, although if Enigma4Ever's hint on the comment regarding the missing pilot and the resting lions could (god forbid) be possible, that would certainly be trouble and tragic. Since the photo may have been taken by the pilot, perhaps he was safe.

However, this heat wave is no joking matter. Heat is a killer. The NOAA Weather Service states, "excessive heat is the number one weather related killer, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornados, hurricanes, winter storms and extreme cold." Much of the nation is plagued by this heat wave and is exacerbated in some areas by power blackouts; no electricity for air units or fans. Most apartments and many houses are not built to catch any prevailing breeze nor for cross ventilation. People swelter in an oven. We especially feel deeply for our California, Missouri and New York neighbors.

Already people have died from the heat. Several years ago a heat wave across Europe reportedly killed over 30,000 people. About 2,000 per year die in the US from the heat or heat related ailments such as heart attacks, strokes and other fatal afflictions triggered by the stifling heat In New York in 1966 within a 24 hour period, "heat mortality jumped from an average of 490 to 1,260." (Science Daily). In Chicago in July 1995, 465 died. Between 1979-1995 there were 6,615 heat related deaths in the US. (NOAA)

In case there may be a reader or two who do not know of Granny's other blog (although I doubt it - Granny is quite popular) check her recent posts at for how she and her family are faring in California heat. According to my California relatives, normally California enjoys a more salubrious climate than here in Gulf Coast Texas so there are fewer homes with air conditioning. Granny mentions a water cooled unit, which I have seen in central Texas, which has a drier climate. It is too humid on the Gulf for those units to function well: poor evaporation. The water cooled units serve well under normal conditions but cannot cope adequately during a heat wave like is occuring now.

Most of us know that Granny has a husband in ill health, a daughter coping with cancer, and three great grandchildren in her household. If there are gold star awards for care-giving, Granny deserves a five star award. Granny manages all with devotion and efficiency, plus carries on numerous outside activities, blogs, and carries on extensive communications with people. Granny is coping with the heat emergency even though she and her family suffer rather extreme discomfort, so she has little need for the information on the following sites. She may, however, be interested in some of the facts.

THESE ARTICLES DEAL WITH HEAT FACTS, TIPS, AND SURVIVAL METHODS. Remember, everyone is vulnerable to the effects of excessive heat, including our pets (one article says cows died during a heat wave). Especially vulnerable are the elderly, outdoor workers, and children. Refresh your memory on safety and the symptoms of overheating. Heat effects sneak up on you and can kill or seriously debilitate you. Children often ignore discomfort when caught up in play; as any parent know, children will sometimes play even when ill. Adults must take care to keep children from over heating. During hot days they should remain indoors between 10 A.M. and about 4 P.M. , depending on your climate.

FROM SLATE/ Medical Examiner: Health and Medicine Explained

NOAA/ heat Safety

Keep Safe - Are you at Risk - what causes Heat Deaths

KILLER HEAT - 7 year old article but just as pertinent today. Heat vs people doesn't change.

Be Safe. Make sure your parents, children, outdoorsmen and sportsmen are safe. Do NOT become a statistic.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Parts of the world, including North America, have suffered from a heat wave recently. Africa often has high temperatures. Most creatures seek relief from excessive heat. This pride of lions takes advantage of the shade offered by this little plane. I wonder how the bush pilot managed to reclaim his aircraft when he returned from his errand.

Is this moose saying, "yes, I'll have fries with that" or is he enjoying a breath of air conditioning to cool off a bit?

Monday, July 24, 2006


Although Granny and I post on the on-going war actions, this blog is not to become a war blog. My blog "This Is War" focusses on the Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the Israeli/Lebanon wars. For latest posts on the Israeli/Lebanese conflict, see , for July 24, 2006 articles. I have posted articles that I believe are of immediate pertinentcy. Some war photos are graphic but the post is labeled as such.

For those who are interested, I recommend the TV news station .
I believe it is American owned but it offers up to date TV news reports from the Israeli, Lebanese, and world viewpoints . It is unbiased in its presentations but ofcourse, the TV stations of the two countries offer their own versions of the news which may be biased. As to be expected, some speakers and interviewees exhibit a certain degree of national pride bolstered by a bit of bravado and macho bluster. Also to be expected, there is probably a bit of biased truth twisting.

Upon accessing the site, the video broadcast carries a dated index of a presentation on the left sidebar. Arabic and Israeli language is translated into English. On the right sidebar is an index of dates; click on a date and the broadcast for that date will be presented. I just watched a very good broadcast of Friday, July 21, 2006; I recommend it. Also, there is a window on which you may request a broadcast not featured in the index.

Some people have no interest in the events in the middle east and think it does not concern them. They are wrong. These events have a tremendous impact on our nation's future and the coming world events.

I am disturbed by the above mentioned broadcast. Heretofore, the conflict has been between Israel and the Resistance Group Hezbollah. Now, however, because there has been so much damage to the nation's infrastructure, citizen injuries and deaths, and the refugee problem, the Lebanese government is considering employment of the Lebanese Army to join Hezbollah to repel Israeli attacks and to defend the nation. If they do, the war will escalate and possibly, probably, cause other Arab nations to become actively involved. In which case, the west, especially the US, will be pulled into it to defend Israel.

If there is indeed a hell, I hope all war mongers will be tossed into the hottest sections.




And one lone Republican, Ron Paul of Texas. Just 8 Representatives out of the entire horde.

Was one of them YOUR Congressman? Check out the 8 and see. It is suggested that everyone write or call or email and let them know you approve, give them an atta-boy. I suggest notifying the gutless wonders that we disapprove of them, especially if they are our representatives.


In Sunday's Houston Chronicle a political cartoon depicted a fertilized human ova with a tiny fetus inside it labeled "potential", apparently in support of Bush's veto on using frozen embryos for stem cell research. Right-to-lifers like to burble about these embryos being "adopted" and implanted to give infertile couples a baby they call "snowflakes". To prove their point they happily show photos of a little over a hundred snowflakes, ignoring the fact that some 400,000 frozen embryos have been abandoned by their owners and will never be adopted.

Many people have questioned Bush's vows to protect "innocent life" of fertilized eggs, but allows babies and children already born perish or suffer disabilities for lack of the medical help they could get from stem cell research. Others question his unconcern for the thousands of children and babies killed in war, not to mention the many thousands of adults slaughtered, or the unknown numbers of babies born with horrific deformities from radiation poisoning of their parents drom DUs. He doesn't seem to be concerned for the babies killed and maimed in his wars. NOR FOR OUR MILITARY!

Thanks to Tina at Fuzzy and Blue for this striking post. Check out her links in the post.
When Children Are Bombed in the Name of Freedom, Who Exactly is Freed?

US Domestic Policy versus Foreign Policy; veto stem cell bill, called "taking innocent life".

Sunday, July 23, 2006


While I was scouring the newsies to find something to take my mind off BushCo, politics, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Lebanon and horrific war images, Alternet came to my rescue.

Bill O'Reilly has once again, as usual, set his motormouth in motion without engaging brain. That may be an unfair accusation. Is it wrong to criticize someone who is so obviously lacking? I do not like to be cruel but in this instance I will not apologize.

This dork claims the American Jews split on on-camera decapitations; Jewish liberals, according to Alternet's blurb. Ye gods!! Can you believe the man said that?? I wonder just who did his polls of Jewish folks? Please scroll down to the Comments section; some pithy remarks there. I needed the grin.

For more on the article and an audio clip, click on

Olbermann named O'Reilly "worst person" for making that statement. Good article and video.

I thought that inane remark plus the rest of his comment bore a strong odor of anti-Semitism, but Olbermann came right out with it. I don't like what the insurgents do in Iraq and I don't like what the US does in Iraq. I don't like what Hezbollah is doing and I don't like what Israel is doing. And I surely don't like anything that smacks of racism. I am pro-humanity.

Do any of you believe that any American Jews approve of terrorists beheading people? Do you think O'Reilly's remarks smell of anti-Semitism? Or are Olbermann and I being too sensitive?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm At a Loss for Words

I've been reading about the ever changing situation in Lebanon. I've been looking at photos of headless babies and been sickened. I've tried to come to some sort of conclusions and write something that makes sense. I've managed to leave a few comments on other blogs while remaining mostly silent here. I've finally decided I can't make sense out of the senseless.

I was appalled, but not surprised, by the veto of the stem cell research bill. His cyncism and hypocrisy have reached new levels, even for him. I thought once again about the concern for children right up to the moment of birth. At that time I was thinking about our domestic policy only.

I didn't make the connection between his first veto (who needs the veto when you can issue signing statements), our direct responsibility for the carnage in Iraq, and our indirect responsibility for the escalating destruction and loss of life in Lebanon.

My thanks to Echidne of the Snakes for her post today. She had no difficulty seeing the connection.


ISRAEL AND LEBANON; More than you wanted to know.

Fuel tanks blaze at Beruit, Lebanon's airport after Israeli air strike. Israel also struck Hezbollah's TV station. 22 civilians were killed.
What is Lebanon like? See: Site has several brief articles, maps and photos.

What is Israel like? See:

Why are they fighting? Surely not over a kidnapped soldier. Why not? Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 because of an unsuccessful assassination attempt on one of their VIPs. Plus the unhappy 300,00 or so Palestinian refugees sheltered in Lebanon after fleeing their homeland (after it was given to the Jews) organized the PLO and hounded them with "terroristic" acts. For some strange reason the Palestinians thought they deserved a homeland to replace the one taken from them and they bitterly resented the actions of the government of the newly minted nation of Israel. And the Israelis, struggling to build a nation and settle its Jewish population, bitterly resented the fuss the Palestinians insisted on kicking up.

Anyway, the Jews and Arabs, half brothers, have hated each others' guts ever since their mamas got into a jealous, spiteful cat-fight and daddy Abraham kicked Hagar and her son (the progenitor of the Arab race) out of the house --so to speak. They've been squabbling ever since, for thousands of years. I've always said it just goes to show how much trouble women's cat fights can stir up.

But the Palestinian problem is somewhat settled now, isn't it? So why is Israel and Lebanon, Hezbollah, mad at each other? Lots of history there.

Two views. See:
Israel's invasion and occupation of Lebanon:
Also see:

Just steps from the Israeli border, a nine year old Lebanese girl waves the Hezbollah flag. With Israel's assault in July 2006 and Hezbollah's fierce resistance, the immediate future seems anything but bright for her and her homeland. [National Geographic,] What future for all of the Lebanese and Israeli children ?

Stratfor Red Alert - Breaking Intelligence

I have subscribed to Stratfor Intelligence for a long time and agree with some points they make, disagree with others. I never posted S.I. because the articles are so long. Some of our readers do not like long posts. However, since Granny posted one recently, I will post one, the latest update on Israel and Lebanon. You may or may not agree with their analysis of the crisis.

Stratfor: Alerts - July 21, 2006

Red Alert: The Battle Joined

The ground war has begun. Several Israeli brigades now appear to be
operating between the Lebanese border and the Litani River.
According to reports, Hezbollah forces are dispersed in multiple
bunker complexes and are launching rockets from these and other

Hezbollah's strategy appears to be threefold. First, force Israel
into costly attacks against prepared fortifications. Second, draw
Israeli troops as deeply into Lebanon as possible, forcing them to
fight on extended supply lines. Third, move into an Iraqi-style
insurgency from which Israel -- out of fear of a resumption of
rocket attacks -- cannot withdraw, but which the Israelis also
cannot endure because of extended long-term casualties. This
appears to have been a carefully planned strategy, built around a
threat to Israeli cities that Israel can't afford. The war has
begun at Hezbollah's time and choosing.

Israel is caught between three strategic imperatives. First, it
must end the threat to Israeli cities, which must involve the
destruction of Hezbollah's launch capabilities south of the Litani
River. Second, it must try to destroy Hezbollah's infrastructure,
which means it must move into the Bekaa Valley and as far as the
southern suburbs of Beirut. Third, it must do so in such a way that
it is not dragged into a long-term, unsustainable occupation
against a capable insurgency.

Hezbollah has implemented its strategy by turning southern Lebanon
into a military stronghold, consisting of well-designed bunkers
that serve both as fire bases and launch facilities for rockets.
The militants appear to be armed with anti-tank weapons and
probably anti-aircraft weapons, some of which appear to be of
American origin, raising the question of how they were acquired.
Hezbollah wants to draw Israel into protracted fighting in this
area in order to inflict maximum casualties and to change the
psychological equation for both military and political reasons.

Israelis historically do not like to fight positional warfare.
Their tendency has been to bypass fortified areas, pushing the
fight to the rear in order to disrupt logistics, isolate
fortifications and wait for capitulation. This has worked in the
past. It is not clear that it will work here. The great unknown is
the resilience of Hezbollah's fighters. To this point, there is no
reason to doubt it. Israel could be fighting the most resilient
and well-motivated opposition force in its history. But the truth
is that neither Israel nor Hezbollah really knows what performance
will be like under pressure.

Simply occupying the border-Litani area will not achieve any of
Israel's strategic goals. Hezbollah still would be able to use
rockets against Israel. And even if, for Hezbollah, this area is
lost, its capabilities in the Bekaa Valley and southern Beirut will
remain intact. Therefore, a battle that focuses solely on the south
is not an option for Israel, unless the Israelis feel a defeat here
will sap Hezbollah's will to resist. We doubt this to be the case.

The key to the campaign is to understand that Hezbollah has made
its strategic decisions. It will not be fighting a mobile war.
Israel has lost the strategic initiative: It must fight when
Hezbollah has chosen and deal with Hezbollah's challenge. However,
given this, Israel does have an operational choice. It can move in
a sequential fashion, dealing first with southern Lebanon and then
with other issues. It can bypass southern Lebanon and move into the
rear areas, returning to southern Lebanon when it is ready. It can
attempt to deal with southern Lebanon in detail, while mounting
mobile operations in the Bekaa Valley, in the coastal regions and
toward south Beirut, or both at the same time.

There are resource and logistical issues involved. Moving
simultaneously on all three fronts will put substantial strains on
Israel's logistical capability. An encirclement westward on the
north side of the Litani, followed by a move toward Beirut while
the southern side of the Litani is not secured, poses a serious
challenge in re-supply. Moving into the Bekaa means leaving a flank
open to the Syrians. We doubt Syria will hit that flank, but then,
we don't have to live with the consequences of an intelligence
failure. Israel will be sending a lot of force on that line if it
chooses that method. Again, since many roads in south Lebanon will
not be secure, that limits logistics.

Israel is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Hezbollah has created a
situation in which Israel must fight the kind of war it likes the
least -- attritional, tactical operations against prepared forces
-- or go to the war it prefers, mobile operations, with logistical
constraints that make these operations more difficult and
dangerous. Moreover, if it does this, it increases the time during
which Israeli cities remain under threat. Given clear failures in
appreciating Hezbollah's capabilities, Israel must take seriously
the possibility that Hezbollah has longer-ranged, anti-personnel
rockets that it will use while under attack.

Israel has been trying to break the back of Hezbollah resistance in
the south through air attack, special operations and probing
attacks. This clearly hasn't worked thus far. That does not mean it
won't work, as Israel applies more force to the problem and starts
to master the architecture of Hezbollah's tactical and operational
structure; however, Israel can't count on a rapid resolution of
that problem.

The Israelis have by now thought the problem through. They don't
like operational compromises -- preferring highly focused solutions
at the center of gravity of an enemy. Hezbollah has tried to deny
Israel a center of gravity and may have succeeded, forcing Israel
into a compromise position. Repeated assaults against prepared
positions are simply not something the Israelis can do, because
they cannot afford casualties. They always have preferred mobile
encirclement or attacks at the center of gravity of a defensive
position. But at this moment, viewed from the outside, this is not
an option.

An extended engagement in southern Lebanon is the least likely
path, in our opinion. More likely -- and this is a guess -- is a
five-part strategy:

1. Insert airmobile and airborne forces north of the Litani to
seal the rear of Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. Apply air
power and engineering forces to reduce the fortifications, and
infantry to attack forces not in fortified positions. Bottle them
up, and systematically reduce the force with limited exposure to
the attackers.

2. Secure roads along the eastern flank for an armored thrust deep
into the Bekaa Valley to engage the main Hezbollah force and
infrastructure there. This would involve a move from Qiryat Shimona
north into the Bekaa, bypassing the Litani to the west, and would
probably require sending airmobile and special forces to secure the
high ground. It also would leave the right flank exposed to Syria.

3. Use air power and special forces to undermine Hezbollah
capabilities in the southern Beirut area. The Israelis would
consider a move into this area after roads through southern Lebanon
are cleared and Bekaa relatively secured, moving into the area,
only if absolutely necessary, on two axes of attack.

4. Having defeated Hezbollah in detail, withdraw under a political
settlement shifting defense responsibility to the Lebanese

5. Do all of this while the United States is still able to provide
top cover against diplomatic initiatives that will create an
increasingly difficult international environment.

There can be many variations on this theme, but these elements are

1. Hezbollah cannot be defeated without entering the Bekaa Valley,
at the very least.

2. At some point, resistance in southern Lebanon must be dealt
with, regardless of the cost.

3. Rocket attacks against northern Israel and even Tel Aviv must
be accepted while the campaign unfolds.

4. The real challenge will come when Israel tries to withdraw.

No. 4 is the real challenge. Destruction of Hezbollah's
infrastructure does not mean annihilation of the force. If Israel
withdraws, Hezbollah or a successor organization will regroup. If
Israel remains, it can wind up in the position the United States is
in Iraq. This is exactly what Hezbollah wants. So, Israel can buy
time, or Israel can occupy and pay the cost. One or the other.

The other solution is to shift the occupational burden to another
power that is motivated to prevent the re-emergence of an
anti-Israeli military force -- as that is what Hezbollah has
become. The Lebanese government is the only possible alternative,
but not a particularly capable one, reflecting the deep rifts in

Israel has one other choice, which is to extend the campaign to
defeat Syria as well. Israel can do this, but the successor regime
to Syrian President Bashar al Assad likely would be much worse for
Israel than al Assad has been. Israel can imagine occupying Syria;
it can't do it. Syria is too big and the Arabs have learned from
the Iraqis how to deal with an occupation. Israel cannot live with
a successor to al Assad and it cannot take control of Syria. It
will have to live with al Assad. And that means an occupation of
Lebanon would always be hostage to Syrian support for insurgents.

Hezbollah has dealt Israel a difficult hand. It has thought through
the battle problem as well as the political dimension carefully.
Somewhere in this, there has been either an Israeli intelligence
failure or a political failure to listen to intelligence.
Hezbollah's capabilities have posed a problem for Israel that
allowed Hezbollah to start a war at a time and in a way of its
choosing. The inquest will come later in Israel. And Hezbollah will
likely be shattered regardless of its planning. The correlation of
forces does not favor it. But if it forces Israel not only to
defeat its main force but also to occupy, Hezbollah will have
achieved its goals.

Send questions or comments on this article to

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24/7 coverage on the current Middle East crisis between Israel and
Lebanon. From a potential expansion of the conflict to a full
military engagement that could extend into Syria, to economic and
security ramifications for the region and globally, this situation
presents many risks and uncertainties.

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posted online 24/7 for subscribers, as well as special podcast
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Satiric View of Today's Wars

JuBlu turned me on to a site in which I found a blog whose satiric posts are apropos to the articles we post about the wars going on. The author of the blog presents a god named Mangala, God of War and Empire ( ) who observes and comments on man's doings in the wars. Some people fail to understand satire, but I believe most of our friends who visit me and Granny here do and can appreciate the fine irony on some of the posts.

In the posts, Moon Calf is ofcourse our fearless leader, President George W. Bush. I think you can readily identify the Dark Robes. The reference to "the Caliphates' return" is about Mahdi, the 12th imam, the Shii Islamic belief in a Messianic person, whom we may liken somewhat to the Jews' belief in a Messiah to come and the Christian belief in the return of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

I like this blog and may post links to it occasionally. I have several on tap now to post. I hope you like them, also. This is a very good one:

I would like to hear your thoughts on this satiric post and if you like this blogger's writing and style.

A New War Frenzy

Ho Hum! Again? So what else is new?

"" <> wrote
Subject: A New War Frenzy
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 20:18:38 -0700

In a replay of the emotional war frenzy that preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush administration and other Middle East war hawks are prepping the American people for an even bigger conflagration. Like the run-up to the Iraq War four years ago, the propagandists are depicting the confrontation in Lebanon in black-and-white terms, at times crossing over into anti-Arab bigotry.

For the full story of how the neoconservatives again plan to stampede the American people, go to at .


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Something a Little Different

My online friend Chris writes a "family" blog called Rude Cactus. He's usually funny and much of his writing is focused on his love for his toddler daughter and beautiful wife (who has a wonderful blog of her own). I recommend him for anyone who enjoys good writing and wants a break from the evil that surrounds us these days.

He also has a serious, thoughtful side. Here it is along with the link to the post. You can access his blog from there and he also has a subscription service direct to email which is where I read him.

Rude Cactus


A couple of days ago, I asked what you thought about the explosion of violence in the Middle East. Some of you had opinions, some didn't. That's cool. You know you can say what you think or just choose to keep your mouths shut whenever you wish. But it is slightly unfair of me to expect answers when I don't offer my own thoughts in response. So what do I believe?

I believe that reactions to provocations are inevitable but such reactions must be proportionate to the offense. I believe violence is inevitable but discretion is the true test of belief. I believe each country is sovereign, allowed political and economic free will, just like its people. I believe we should avoid insinuating ourselves into every situation - whether it supports democracy or not, whether it supports what we believe to be important or not - but I also believe in helping where we can. I believe we, as a country, should express our opinions, help right wrongs, but do so using force as a very last resort. I believe that elitist leaders hell bent on creating legacies and avenging past wrongs place innocents in harm's way and, worse, don't care. I believe that terrorism will exist forever and while we should do our very best to resist it, we will never be able to truly consider any terrorist-related mission accomplished. I believe you can love your country without supporting everything it does.

Of course, I also believe that bears do shit in the woods, that the Pope is Catholic, that Grant is buried in Grant's tomb, and that, if a tree were to fall in a forest without anyone to hear it, it would probably make a sound. So, you know, I could just very well be crazy.

Last night, I finished Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men. While only slightly remarkable, it did contain one wonderful quote especially applicable now. You can be patriotic and still believe that some things cost more than what they're worth. That's me. I'm patriotic but I sure do believe that some things aren't worth the steep price we're expected to pay for them.
Posted by Chris at July 19, 2006 07:04 AM


AlterNet: World War III?

World War III?

Israel and Lebanon trade blows. Warfare heats up. Video interviews.

The Salvadore Option

Emailing readers have asked what is the Salvadore Option . Thanks to Empires Fall for this brief essay.

The Salvador Option: Deathsquad Warfare

details the US strategy of the Salvadorian Option, used throughout the world to further US interests, especially corporate interests.

Readers wanting to know more about this dark strategy and the evil, unsavory history of the US using this, then and now, see "Quicksand and Blood" at Urls are there for several essays. Some are lengthy but worth the read if you truly want to understand how our government carries on its black ops. We have not been the good guys we always thought we were, nor are we now.

Ralph Reed Out of Contention.

One more scoundrel just bit the dust.

Ralph Reed concedes defeat

By Jim Galloway | Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 10:02 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed conceded defeat about 9:50 p.m. in Georgia’s Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

“Tonight my candidacy for lieutenant governor comes to an end,” he said.

He promised to work for the GOP ticket, including Sen. Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville), his rival in the lieutenant governor’s race.

Reed conceded at 9:48 p.m., speaking to a crowd that cheered for the first time all night.

With him was his wife, Jo Anne, and their four children.

“Today, Jo Anne and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. It was an important reminder of what’s really important.

“Stay in the fight, don’t retreat, and our values will win in November,” he said.

Reed left quickly but stopped to say he was proud of the race he ran.

“I’m not focused on being a candidate in the future, but I’m glad I ran,” he said.

With 43 percent of precincts reporting, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office showed Cagle with 55.2 percent of the vote, compared with 44.8 percent for Reed.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bolton Makes Moral Distinction Between Israeli Civilian Deaths and Lebanese Civilian Deaths

Bolton says Lebanon civilian deaths morally not same as terror victims.

Url is corrected. Works now. Thanks, Ann.

Note from Ann: The link isn't working. Let's try clicking on the title./Link ok now

It works, at least for now. If you can't access it, Alternet has much the same story.

So, Lebanese (Arab) attacks on Israel are all terror attacks. Israeli attacks on Arabs are all self defense.

Crapola!! It is a fact that Jews have since historical times been persecuted, attacked, slaughtered, and in general abused. Everyone with any humanitarianism in them sympathizes with them and deplores their mistreatment. But let us never forget: Jews are human beings, not saints, and they are as subject to human error and faults as anyone else. In the thousands of years the Jews and Arabs have been enemies, there is plenty of fault finding to go around on both sides.

Since the powers that be established a country for the Jews after the War, settled them in a part of their ancient homeland, the Jews (Israelis) and the Arabs have been at each other's throats.
The Jews had been away from that homeland for thousands of years; the Palestinians had lived in those lands for an equal number of years. They had cities, towns, hamlets, olive orchards, grape vineyards, everything a people build up in a homeland.

They had lived in that area many, many times over the length of time we Americans have lived in the United States. Yet suddenly their land is arbitrarily given away to another people. They were forced to flee to refugee camps in neighboring nations. And we wonder why we had (have) a Palestinian problem. Why did those bad old Palestinians keep attacking poor little Israel . Well, if some super powers came in and gave America back to the Indians and we were dispossessed of our homes and businesses, driven out to Canada or Mexico to live in refugee tents, would you just smile and suck it up?

The Israelis were not without fault. An example: they entered the little Palestinian town of Nablus with bulldozers and proceeded to bull doze down olive orchards and grape vineyards, homes, businesses, schools, everything while the Palestinians scrambled to snatch as much of their possessions as they could ahead of the destroyers and flee. The Israelis wanted to build homes and businesses for Jewish settlers. This practise was repeated throughout Israel. time and time again.

Arab nations rose against them; they fought wars and numerous hostile engagements. Conflict has continued to this day, with enough wrongdoing on each side to satisfy even the most blood thirsty.

But don't think the Israelis are the poor martyrs abused by the mean ole Arabs. Both are blood guilty. And in any such conflicts, the real victims are the civilians on each side. Governments start and carry on wars. Civilians die. Religious and political groups practise terrorism. Civilians die. Just as in America the majority of civilians just want to earn a living, rear their families, have a life, so do the peoples of Israel and Arab countries. They are the true victims of religious/political violence.

And blast Bolton's eyes, the deaths of one race are no more morally right than the deaths of another race. Deaths of the innocent are ALL morally wrong!!
The following photos are graphic but milder than some I have on file, so I am careful of your sensibilities. If you are sensitive to photos of the injured and dead, scroll past quickly to Granny's posts

These are photos of Iraqis, not Lebanese or Israelis, but of similar racial backgrounds and ALL are members of the human family. So tell me, which of these are better deserving to die? Which of these is it more moral to kill?

This grieving father and his injured child?
This terribly burned baby? His life of less value than another's?
These dead teen agers? Suppose they were yours? Would that make them less deserving to live?
This dead man? Israeli or Lebanese or Iraqi or American? What value his life?

Fie on Bolton!! Fie on his insensitive, cruel remarks! In the name of humanity, is there no end to it???

Monday, July 17, 2006

More on the Extreme Religious Right

Thanks to Echidne of the Snakes for her excellent post.

It fits in beautifully with what Worried American and I have been discussing lately.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Back to Good News Again.

Am I the only person in the world who hasn't heard of this?

"This" is the Milennium Seed Bank, about 1/2 hours drive from London.

As the widow of a cancer victim, this short paragraph was of special interest to me.

The bank also has seeds of the red stinkwood tree from Cameroon. It is used to treat prostate cancer. This tree is rapidly disappearing in its natural habitat.

Thanks to Past Imperfect for the heads up.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the USA

I said earlier that I couldn't find anything to write that made sense.

Thanks to our friend Watch and Wait, something finally pulls it all together. I don't feel as confused as I did. I don't feel any less frightened either but that's another topic entirely.

The pause before the storm....

From Strategic Forecasting, Inc:

Red Alert: Getting Ready

We are now in the period preceding major conventional operations. Israel is in the process of sealing the Lebanese coast. They have disrupted Lebanese telecommunications, although they have not completely collapsed the structure. Israeli aircraft are attacking Hezbollah's infrastructure and road system. In the meantime, Hezbollah, aware it is going to be hit hard, is in a use-it or-lose-it scenario, firing what projectiles it can into Israel.

The Israeli strategy appears to be designed to do two things. First, the Israelis are trying to prevent any supplies from entering Lebanon, including reinforcements. That is why they are attacking all coastal maritime facilities. Second, they are degrading the roads in Lebanon. That will keep reinforcements from reaching Hezbollah fighters engaged in the south. As important, it will prevent the withdrawal and redeployment of heavy equipment deployed by Hezbollah in the south, particularly their rockets, missiles and launchers. The Israelis are preparing the battlefield to prevent a Hezbollah retreat or maneuver.

Hezbollah's strategy has been imposed on it. It seems committed to standing and fighting. The rate of fire they are maintaining into Israel is clearly based on an expectation that Israel will be attacking. The rocketry guarantees the Israelis will attack. Hezbollah has been reported to have anti-tank and anti-air weapons. The Israelis will use airmobile tactics to surround and isolate Hezbollah concentrations, but in the end, they will have to go in, engage and defeat Hezbollah tactically. Hezbollah obviously knows this, but there is no sign of disintegration on its part. At the very least, Hezbollah is projecting an appetite for combat.

Sources in Beirut, who have been reliable to this point, say Hezbollah has weapons that have not yet been seen, such as anti-aircraft missiles, and that these will be used shortly. Whatever the truth of this, Hezbollah does not seem to think its situation is hopeless.

The uncertain question is Syria. No matter how effectively Israel seals the Lebanese coast, so long as the Syrian frontier is open, Hezbollah might get supplies from there, and might be able to retreat there. So far, there has been only one reported airstrike on a Syrian target. Both Israel and Syria were quick to deny this. What is interesting is that it was the Syrians who insisted very publicly that no such attack took place. The Syrians are clearly trying to avoid a situation in which they are locked into a confrontation with Israel. Israel might well think this is the time to have it out with Syria as well, but Syria is trying very hard not to give Israel casus belli.

In addition, Syria is facilitating the movement of Westerners out of Lebanon, allowing them free transit. They are trying to signal that they are being cooperative and nonaggressive.

The problem is this: While Syria does not want to get hit and will not make overt moves, so long as the Syrians cannot guarantee supplies will not reach Hezbollah or that Hezbollah won't be given sanctuary in Syria, Israel cannot complete its mission of shattering Hezbollah and withdrawing. They could be drawn into an Iraq-like situation that they absolutely don't want. Israel is torn. On the one hand, it wants to crush Hezbollah, and that requires total isolation. On the other hand, it does not want the Syrian regime to fall. What comes after would be much worse from Israel's point of view.

This is the inherent problem built into Israel's strategy, and what gives Hezbollah some hope. If Israel does not attack Syria, Hezbollah could well survive Israel's attack by moving across the border. No matter how many roads are destroyed, Israel won't be able to prevent major Hezbollah formations moving across the border. If they do attack Syria and crush al Assad's government, Hezbollah could come out of this stronger than ever.

Judging from the airstrikes in the past 24 hours, it would appear Israel is trying to solve the problem tactically, by degrading Lebanese transport facilities. That could increase the effectiveness of the strategy, but in the end cannot be sufficient.

We continue to think Israel will choose not to attack Syria directly and therefore, while the invasion will buy time, it will not solve the problem. Hezbollah certainly expects to be badly hurt, but it does not seem to expect to be completely annihilated. We are guessing, but our guess is that they are reading Israel's views on Syria and are betting that, in the long run, they will come out stronger. Of course, Israel knows this and therefore may have a different plan for Syria. At any rate, this is the great unknown in this campaign.

The other unknown is the withdrawal of Western nationals from Lebanon. We have received very reliable reports from sources in Lebanon who assure us Hezbollah does not intend to renew hostage taking, which is deemed an old and nonproductive strategy. These same sources have reported splits in Hezbollah over how aggressive it should be. We believe Hezbollah has no current plans for hostage taking. We are not convinced, however, that in the course of the battle it will not change its mind, or that with weakened central control elements, elements of Hezbollah will take hostages as a bargaining chip. Regardless of what Hezbollah is saying now, hostage taking must be taken seriously as a possibility.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut is now saying plans are being developed in concert with the U.S. Defense Department for extracting U.S. nationals from Lebanon. A convoy scheduled to travel from the American University of Beirut to Amman, Jordan, via Syria, was cancelled at the last moment, with participants being told that the embassy has other plans. There are said to be 25,000 U.S. citizens in Lebanon, but many of these are Lebanese-American dual nationals who actually live in Lebanon as Lebanese. These are less visible, less at risk and have greater resources for survival. The most at-risk Americans are those who hold only U.S. papers and are clearly American, such as employees of American companies, students studying at Lebanese universities and tourists. There is no clear count of these high-risk nationals, nor is there a count on high-risk nationals from other non-Islamic countries. There are thousands, however, and getting them out will be difficult.

The U.S. Embassy is considering flying them to Cyprus. That would mean an air bridge from Beirut International Airport, where a single runway has been opened, to Cyprus, a short flight away. The United States will not do this while Beirut is under attack, so it will ask the Israelis to create a safe zone and air corridor during the evacuation. But the threat on the ground is real, and we suspect the United States will send troops in to secure the perimeter and surrounding areas against shoulder-launched missiles. They will also keep the precise timing secret, although thousands of people in Lebanon -- the evacuees -- will know it is coming.

There was a Marine Expeditionary Force on maneuvers in the Red Sea a few days ago. We do not know where they are now, but they had 2,200 marines on board -- the right number to secure extraction. We suspect aircraft will be chartered from airlines in the region and that some U.S. Air Force and allied aircraft might also be used. Doubtless, the United States is busy organizing it. Given that the United States cancelled several ad hoc withdrawals, it must be highly confident it has the process nailed; we would expect this operation to get going sometime Sunday. Assuming aircraft that can carry any average of 200 people (purely arbitrary), 50-100 flights could get everyone out. Assuming that everyone can be notified and can get to Beirut International Airport. That won't happen.

The remainder who are at risk will probably be advised to move into Christian areas east and northeast of Beirut and to keep their heads down for the duration. It is also possible that discussion of Cyprus notwithstanding, the path will be through Syria, but we doubt that.

In the meantime, that Israel has not sent major ground units into Lebanon yet (lots of small units are operating there) but is taking rocket attacks and hunkering down indicates it does not plan to act piecemeal. If we were to guess, the main thrust would likely begin late Sunday night or Monday morning. They will be ready by then. Of course we are not privy to Israeli operations, so it could be delayed 24-48 hours to give forces a chance to gear up. But given the Hezbollah bombardment, the Israelis are under pressure to move sooner rather than later.

We are in a relatively quiet spell (emphasis on quiet). Both sides have made their strategic decisions. Both know how the war will be fought. Hezbollah thinks it can give as good as it will get for a while, and will ultimately be able to regroup for a guerrilla war against the Israelis. Israel thinks it can immobilize and crush Hezbollah quickly and decisively and will be able to withdraw. Both sides know Syria is the wild card, and neither is quite sure how it will play its hand. One side is wrong in its expectations about the outcome. That's the nature of war.

Send questions or comments on this article to



A Little More Good News Today

I'm not ignoring Israel, Syria, and Lebanon or this country's silence. I've been reading and reading.

I keep coming back to square one. The more I read, the more despair I feel and I can't think of anything to add that hasn't already been said. I keep thinking a plague on all their houses, including ours. I do believe this country with its behind the scenes manipulation in the Mid-East is at least partly responsible and now, having squandered what good will we might have had in that region, are powerless.

Unless inspiration strikes in the middle of a sleepless night, that's it for me. I'll just keep reading and praying that somehow sanity will prevail.

In the meantime, I found this upbeat article in the NYT by way of Truthout.

People are converting their front lawns into vegetable gardens and getting rid of the expanse of pretty, but useless grass. As might be expected, some of the neighbors are up in arms. Probably the same neighbors who disapprove of clotheslines in our back yards. They're all about show.


As the great-granny of a 13 year old girl with cerebral palsy, I've worried about her future. This article, from the same edition of Truthout, gives me hope.

Maryland, Vermont, and New York have begun programs to assist disabled persons in starting their own small businesses. The example shown here is a vending machine business run by a man who suffered brain damage as the result of an accident.

Also from Truthout, this somewhat related article. I had never looked at statistics and now I find I'm part of them. I'm a great-grandparent/legal guardian of a disabled child. And I'm female. This puts me in the majority along with foster parents and single women. Single men account for a tiny percentage of those raising disabled kids.

While I never take statistics at face value, it reflects what I've seen where I live. It may be as simple as women are more apt to get custody of kids so naturally their percentage would be higher. Still, it's interesting.

I'm adding my welcome of new visitors to Worried American's and have updated the blogroll.

If you don't see your name there and would like it to be, let me know.

I'll get back to ranting eventually.


Welcome to our recent visitors and new friends

We have some recent visitors at Is America Burning and we welcome them. If you haven't checked out their blogs through the comments link, I recommend that you do so. They have good posts.

Granny's friend, McGlee Historical Preservation Society's Wet Biscuit McGlee at interesting notes about Scottish blues/ black blues and soulful harmonies. Also Uncle Roger's Notebook of Daily Life at , which is as the title indicates.

Jolly Roger at Jolly's Other Blog at personal life and observations, and, astute political blog

The Future Was Yesterday at . somewhat eclectic, good posts, has some rather ...ah...excitable commenters (so intelligent and well bred.) :-)

Chip at , , As his titles indicates, paternal posts. Sounds like he is a good daddy.

And ofcourse, our latest Granny, Yellowdog Grannie at with her wonderful strolls down memory lane for us seniors and a bit of Americana history of a previous era for you younger readers.

Reverend X, from whom I borrowed a video for my post on not Christian bashing/Fundie bashing. His three sites are about burning issues facing America today. I foresee lots more borrowing from him in the future. A Post Apocalyptic at, political and other issues. Blasted Reality...Killing Time, at , videos of current issues. Welcome to Blasted Reality at whose title is really burning! Videos, articles, comments, some of which I plan to link to on posts here. Check him out.

Granny and I are always delighted to have more visitors. We welcome them and appreciate their comments and input, as we do all our visitors. Welcome, everyone, and do come back.

In case there is anyone that is unaware of it, Granny and Worried are partners on Is America Burning.
Granny has another blog, . I have 2 war blogs, and , and several art lovers blogs.

The Wonderful World of Animals: The Story of a Whale

This is a copy of an email making the college rounds. I cannot attest to its authenticity. If is it not true, it is a nice story. If it IS true, it is a marvelous story.

I could not access the pictures by clicking on the little icon in upper left corner. If you can, please let me know how.

Neither could I change the size of the text or the email. Oh well, it's a neat tale.

Granny wanted something good; if true, this is good.
Update: Thanks to Yellowdog Granny, this story is confirmed as true. Yellowdog Granny checked it out and it happened in 2005. It says a lot about some people's care for the creatures with whom we share this planet, and also says much about the intelligence of those incredible leviathans man has slaughtered so greedily.

For the complete story, click on to and scroll down past the opening statements and the repeat of the story below. Thanks again to Yellowdog Granny. (Note to recent readers; url has been corrected- when Blogger gets around to republishing)

I've not been fond of a certain actress but I am 100% behind the Save The Whales organization.

The Whale

If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle,
you would have read about a female humpback whale
who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps
and lines.
She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused
her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of
line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line
tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the FarraloneIslands
(outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was
so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her ..

a very dangerous proposition.

One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them,
pushed gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was
following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love,
be so blessed and fortunate ...
to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friend, in the same spirit.


Things which matter most must never be at the
mercy of things which matter least"
--Johann von Goethe

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today

Here is some news which appears legitimate.

First take a look at this post. It's written by one of my favorite people who has recently begun writing for Blogging Baby.

BB was my introduction to blogging some time ago. I lurked, I finally commented, and never stopped commenting there and elsewhere. Their writers encouraged me to start a blog and one of them even set it up for me and came up with rocrebel granny for a name.

And then take a look at this.

We wonder sometimes what one person can possibly do to make a difference. Here's something simple that could save children. At the very least, it's worth learning more.



Tuesday, July 11, 2006



I have read many articles, posts, and comments indicating that many people are soured on religion, especially the Christian religion. I have read an equal amount of articles, posts and comments wherein people spew the most hateful, bigoted, cruel and evil garbage in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christian.

To be a Christian means you are a follower of Christ, a believer in the truths he taught , that you attempt to the best of your human ability to act as he taught, and to accept Him and His messages. Basically, Jesus taught man how to live in a civilized manner, to get along in peace and harmony. Jesus taught brotherly love and forgiveness. He forgave the whore. He forgave the adultress. He forgave the people who crucified him, a horrible, slow, painful death. He even socialized and was friends with the tax collector! He adored children. He taught to feed the hungry, heal the sick, help the needy. And to love your neighbor [other people] as you love yourself.

Even if you do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, you must admit He was a great teacher. The Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah but they respect Him as a great rabbi (teacher). The Muslims do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, but they respect and revere Him as a great prophet. (Yes, they do !!)

On 5/31/06 I promised to do a series of posts on the Christian Coalition, the Religious Right, and the Christian Reconstructionists. ( ). On 6/04/2006 I posted The Danger the Christian Right Poses to Us and the Nation ( ) Important to the Coming Election.

For openers, please read Granny's post below, "Religion Makes a Left Turn". It's about time. But it is going to take a majority to offset the firmly entrenched Christian Right. Whether you are a Christian or not, you are needed to help save our nation from those who would make us a Theocracy. We must not have a State Religion; we must maintain separation between State and Church.

Because of my views on the CC, RR, and CR I have been called an apostate, an anti-Christian, a Jesus hater, and that I have turned my back on God. These accusations are false. I am a Christian; Granny is a Christian. We are faithful to our beliefs. But we do not follow the fundamentalist doctrine.

This video demonstrates the difference between the real Christians and the false ones who hide behind the symbol of the Cross while they do evil works and espouse wrongful teachings. My old ears are not attuned to the music but I agree with what lyrics I can understand. I most definitely agree with the text. Listen and watch. Non-Christians, it will help you to better understand real Christianity and the ones who are, instead, false believers who endanger our nation.

When the video finishes, wait a moment for the photo at the end. Did you ever wonder where we got the saying "read the handwriting on the wall" meaning an unpleasant prophecy? Or "weighed in the balance" meaning being judged? It comes from the Bible, in the Old Testament. See the handwriting on the wall behind Bush, in the oval office.

Balzhazzar, a Chaldean king, was partying hearty with all his elite palace hangers-on, when the words "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin [or pharsin or parsin]" was written on the wall. Scared him so badly that "his knees smote one against the other." He called for wise men to explain the meaning of the message. Literal translation of the Aramaic words "is a slightly garbled form of the names of coins listed according to descending value, perhaps representing 5 successors of the previous king, each less substantial [or weaker] than his predecessor."

A Pharsin or parsin = 2 pheres, which make a tekel; 60 tekels make a mene.

"Each of the 3 names is similar and perhaps etymologically related to an Aramaic verb, so that the entire phrase may be translated as 'numbered, numbered, weighed and divided.'" [The ancient Jews, as today, love word games and puzzles]. The prophet or wise man called before the king transformed each word into a sentence.

mene=numbered: God has numbered the days of your kingdom and will finish it.

tekel=weight: you are weighed in the balances [or scales] and found wanting [lacking].

pheres=halved or divided: your kingdom will be divided [torn asunder] and given to [your enemies].

The image is a metaphor for judgement. Isn't it apt that such a message should be on Bush's wall? Except, God help us, his kingdom is OUR nation.

Wake up, America. AMERICA IS BURNING.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Veteran Blogger, New Blog

Our friend, epm of "Deertown Times" is planning a 2,000 mile motorcycle trip through New England and the Maritime Provinces.

He announced his plans on his new website, "Notes from the Road".

He plans to continue his political posts on Deertown as well.

Drop in at his new digs and help send him on his way.



Bloggers Against Torture Month

This came from Ingrid. I meant to put it on here before but it must have fallen through the cracks.

Click on the title to see if it's something you'd be interested in doing.


Back On My Soapbox Again

The Administration is quietly implementing new "welfare to work" rules under the guise of "helping". As we've come to expect, they lie.

I remember how difficult it was for me as a single parent to juggle work, college classes (at night), and babies. I received a small check from the state to offset child care and I lived with my birth mother and shared expenses. My babysitter came to our house; I didn't have to drag kids out every morning and pick them up again at night. The government stipend made the difference to me as well as helping my child care provider leave the welfare rolls. Two of us were working instead of two completely on welfare. It was relatively informal and it worked. It was still hard, but not impossible.

This article from Tom Paine talks about some of the current regulations.

For example, study time will not count as "work" unless done in an approved study hall. What are we supposed to do with the kids while we're hanging out in study hall? What's wrong with our kitchen table? Our grades would reflect the time spent in study. It's beyond stupid.

They have still done next to nothing with child care assistance. The system of almost 50 years ago was better than the one in place today. Some cities require single parents to commute four hours a day for a minimum wage job. They leave and come home in the dark. Twelve hours away from the kids. (More, if she's trying to fit school into that schedule).

Entry level jobs have almost no flexible work schedules and few, if any benefits. One person couldn't survive on the pay, let alone a family. And the government beats its chest and crows (mixed metaphor there) about how wonderful it all is.

I have a friend who was doing welfare to work here. She had enough education to find a decent government job with opportunity for promotion. She was going to college at night. In her spare time she had to save all her grocery receipts and keep detailed records of her spending. That's insane. Is some bean counter actually going to go over those receipts? Will she be penalized if she buy her kids a Popsicle? What a colossal waste of time when social workers are already overburdened.

I'm ranting. Take a look at the article. It will give you an idea where the party of "family values" stands.


Religion Makes a Left Turn

I few days ago, I posted about a Wiccan soldier, Patrick Stewart, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. His widow is still trying to have the symbol of his religion placed on a memorial plaque and the VA is still stonewalling. Now (this morning) they say they're drafting new procedures. Sure they are.

Here's what Worried American said in response to one commenter. (I could have written it - she speaks for both of us). WA, I modified your remarks very slightly.

Remember folks, the CC, RR and Christian Reconstructionists go hand in hand. They differ a bit on a few views but basically are in one accord.

If we allow the Reconstructionists to gain theocratic power - as it seems they gain more every day - citizens will either convert to their brand of Christianity or be executed as worshippers of false gods. That includes me and Granny if we do not follow their rigid, Old Testament theology - which Granny and I do NOT. Those people regard every Christian denomination other than their own as apostate or false so it's off to the stoning pit we go, heigh ho.

Historical examples? One, check out the 300 year persecution and executions of non-Catholics in Spain and elsewhere during the Inquisitions. Gruesome, and a perfect example of how mankind can err in interpreting the scriptures. Check out how the worthy Pilgrims and their descendents treated people who failed to believe as they did.

Religious intolerance has a long history in many lands. For some years it appeared the US had risen above such religious monomania but now it seems we sink back into a dark age.
You'll understand I was pleased to learn the "religious left" is organizing to combat the interests of the fundamentalists. We always have for the most part but now we're talking to each other and formulating a plan.

It's a small start but it beats remaining silent or trying to work within our individual local churches where we're preaching to the choir.

The link comes from CBS news.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why I Don't Argue With Cretins

From Carl of Simply Left Behind via Echidne of the Snakes

It's what I'm fond of calling an Alice in Wonderland conversation. There's no way I can win so I don't even try.

Look what happens when we do.

By the way, I recommend both of these blogs. I just found Simply Left Behind but I look at Echidne's posts every day.


Friday, July 07, 2006

July 7th, 2005 - A Personal Reflection

Today, the anniversary of the London subway bombings, is almost over. I hadn't forgotten it and I knew what I wanted to post. I just couldn't make up my mind to do it.

My blogging buddy Alice, a young woman from Kidderminster, England, has written about her feelings one year later. It's not political except in the broadest sense; it's a meditation on sorrow, anger, and fear.

For me this was not a day to rant about the debacle in Iraq. It was a day to say to my friend "I'm sad too". For the victims in London and the victims everywhere.

No link this time. Here's her post.


How should I feel? What should I feel…?

Angry, at the four people who caused such carnage on what should have been just another day, what should have been just another journey, what should have been just another Thursday?

Sorrow, for the lives lost, the lives altered, the lives destroyed, the lives shattered, the people affected, the people that lived through it, the people that died because of it – their families, their friends, the people that will never speak to or touch someone they cared for, loved again, the people who find someone they care for, love, changed, altered, different by something seemingly so meaningless, so confusing?

Fear, for the future, for what might happen, for what probably will happen, for the destruction of people, towns, cities, countries; the world?

Pity, for those who feel that this was somehow right, somehow justified, that those lives deserved to be lost, that those involved deserved the pain, and the terror, that their relatives deserved it, or worse, that their lives, their futures meant nothing; simply a means to an end?

Fury, at those involved higher up the scale, at those in charge, at those who ruled, who guided - at those who caused such brainwash, such corruption, those who showed such cowardice, such evil, and selfishly, callously, cruelly let others cause the pain and slaughter, the terror and suffering that they for their own reasons desired to inflict upon innocent people, upon fellow human beings.

Shame, that I have allowed myself to be so affected by it, that I have allowed them to win, to let me be ruled by the fear they seemingly wanted to create, that I dread tomorrow and the thought of a train journey that I do not have the heart to tell my Grandfather I don’t wish to partake in because I am simply afraid.

Confusion, as to why it happened, what the reasoning was, what was gained by the wanton destruction and disregard for humanity that took place a year ago today, how anybody could have contemplated it, how anybody could have been so engulfed wit
h hatred, so consumed with indifference, that they would board public transport and blow themselves, and intend to blow up everyone around them, to pieces?

Relief, that nobody I knew, nobody I cared for was killed or injured, that no-one dear to me suffered as a result, that I lost no-one in this apparently mindless act of carnage and bloodshed?

Pride, that in the face of such adversity so many helped, so many human beings dismissed their own needs, their own day-to-day lives and clubbed together and saved lives, comforted the dying, braved the wreckage, did what they could to ease the suffering, to end the fear?

…I don’t know. I really, truly, do not know how I should feel - what I should feel.
I only know what I DO feel.

And what I feel? Is simply, sad…