Saturday, June 2, 2007


California Primary Ballot May Include By JENNIFER STEINHAUER Published: June 2, 2007 LOS ANGELES, June 1 — California is poised to become the first state to ask voters whether they favor an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Iraq Question The Democratic-led State Legislature is expected to approve a bill that would place the question on the presidential primary ballot next February. The Rules Committee in the Senate approved the bill on Wednesday, and it is expected to go before both houses in the coming weeks. A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the governor would not weigh in until a bill hit his desk. Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has expressed support in the past for setting a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq, and he has been an enthusiastic backer of democracy by ballot measure. California has a long history of ballot measures, but this would be the first time in 25 years that an advisory question on foreign policy was placed before the voters. Win or lose, the measure would be toothless, but pollsters and political scientists said it could change the dynamics of the primary race here, in part by making it difficult for presidential candidates to avoid the subject while campaigning in the state. “Voters tend to look at these as symbolic acts,” said Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Field Poll, who cited Proposition 187, a ballot measure in 1994 that sought to deny public services to illegal immigrants. That initiative was passed by 59 percent of voters and, though later overturned in the courts, helped propel Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican and supporter of the measure, to re-election. “When we polled on that,” Mr. DiCamillo said, “voters said, ‘It is probably unconstitutional and will be thrown out by the courts,’ but they wanted to send a message to the Legislature and the federal government.” Republicans in the Legislature have expressed displeasure at the proposed war measure. “It seems to me to be very, very unwise to have state legislatures conducting votes in the manner in which foreign policy ought to be conducted,” said Senator Roy Ashburn, the Republican vice-chairman of the Rules Committee. Scores of municipalities around the country have passed measures opposing the war, and state governments have passed resolutions denouncing the increase in American troops in Iraq. But California would be first to take a question of troop withdrawal directly to state voters, said Heather Morton, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The last time such an advisory question was on the California ballot was in 1982, when voters were asked if they favored nuclear disarmament between the United States and the former Soviet Union. That measure, which passed 52 percent to 48 percent, was presented through a signature-gathering initiative and not through the Legislature. The author of the current proposal is Senator Don Perata, a Democrat who is president pro tempore of the Senate and who gathered his staff members over spring break to write the bill, said Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Mr. Perata. “He grew up during the Vietnam War and saw all those young people take to the streets,” Ms. Trost said. “He said, ‘Now they can go to the ballot box.’ ” In a recent Field Poll, 72 percent of 1,093 California voters said they disapproved of the way President Bush had handled the war. Among a subsample of roughly half that group, 59 percent said they supported a timetable for troop withdrawal. Political analysts, pollsters and many Republicans see a second agenda at work in the placement of the measure on the primary ballot. In February, voters will also weigh in through a ballot initiative on the state’s term-limit laws. If that initiative passed, it would reduce term limits slightly over all, but allow Speaker Fabian Núñez and Mr. Perata, both Democrats, to seek re-election and thereby extend their own terms, which are set to end soon. The Iraq initiative “drives Democratic turnout,” said Jim Brulte, a former state senator and a force in the state’s Republican Party. “That helps pass term-limit extension.” Although opponents of changes to the term-limit laws and the war measure might also be drawn to the polls, Mr. Brulte said: “I don’t think it changes Republican turnout at all. Conservatives are not as much in favor of the war as liberals are opposed to it.” Mr. Ashburn added: “It seems to me the nation just had a referendum on the war in the Congressional elections. Voters sent a signal, and now the public sees their vote may not have made a difference because Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats that promised a change in war policy are retreating.”From This as sent to me by a friend in Virginia. Arnie, it seems, has a lot of political courage. With this action he can force the primary candidates to say where they stand on the Iraq fiasco. Democrats and Republicans. Keep in mind that Arnie is a Republican. Too bad he can never run for president, but he can and should be a force in elections. And please remember, this is from a guy who thought (and still thinks) that Ronnie Reagan was a "B" movie actor and a "B" president. The Governator has earned respect from me.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Yummy. We're going on vacation. All the way to Houston, Texas.
For probably at least maybe likely a couple (more or less) weeks.
But never fear. There's time for more of this stuff to hit the blog. Although we've had a series of evening thunderings (we shut down when it starts making noise) and that can be irritating.
I thought you might be interested in this article, sent to me by a friend in Wisconsin.
May 9, 2007 - Merrill, Wisconsin - APA service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.
Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.
But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and ConsumerProtection said those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 92 percent more than the wholesale price.
Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.
Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.
Who would have thought the state had such a law? It's pretty sad. But that's Consumer Protection for you.
I got thinking about this article and, knowing that Albuquerque has Indian land all around it (that's where our casinos are), I thought I'd check the prices of gas at the stations on the rservations. You see, Indian land operations do not pay any Federal nor State taxes to anybody. So I figured they should be selling the gas at least 50 cents a gallon cheaper than we pay for it in Albuquerque. Their cigarettes are cheaper, after all.
Surprise! No such deal. Their gas prices were the same as in the city. I managed to collar a station manager and he told me that the Indians have been warned by gasoline companies not to sell their gas below the prices being charged in Albuquerque. He saw my quizzical look when he used the word "warned".
"They told us they would stop delivering gas to us if we sold it too low. I've got to have gas for my customers."
But the oil companies will probably deny this. After all, there is nothing writing backing up the station manager's word.
So I drove to another reservation gas station and asked the same question. The clerk said the manager wasn't in, so I asked her the same question. And got basically the same answer.
Apparently "free enterprise" doesn't mean the same thing oil companies that it does to me.
Another interesting bit of news about the cost of gas: Amazingly, astoundingly, fortitiously, 5, count 'em, five, FIVE refineries that had been "out of service for repairs" came back on line all on the same day.
See? Never say it can't be done.
Good ole American greed, er, enterprise.
Oh, if you click on the headline, there's a surprise link.

Monday, May 28, 2007


A day of remembrance. A time of recalling fallen comrades, living comrades, the heroes of our days. Relatives, friends, acquaintances, men and women we never met, those we need to remember. Here, a web site that says it well for me: .

My visits to the VA Hospital vets living there have had to be curtailed for the past few years, but I still remember.

As for what America has to do in Iraq and Afghanistan I quote William Pitt: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. -- William Pitt, 1783."

We need to remind all our elected officials that, unhappily, President Bush and his advisers have gotten us into a quagmire that seems to promise us a long, long war. A needless death and destruction battle that never should have happened. We need to tell them that it is time to end our participation. And release the few allies we have there, that we appreciate the effort but it's time they saved the lives of their own citizens.

I can think of no better way to show our love and caring to our veterans than to send these officials an email asking them to end this pointless war.

Please watch the video on this site called "Remember Me".

Sunday, May 27, 2007


<--Guess what I have in mind for you?
Our New Mexico Governator, Bill Richardson, was on Meet The Press (a national TV show that asks people in the news tough questions) this morning.
For a change, it would be nice to report he did a great job with the tough questions. Unfortunately, he didn't.
On the other hand he had a new style haircut (he thinks a boyish mop of hair hanging down over his forehead will appeal to the ladies. It might, if they like overweight, older, worn out looking men). Who am I to judge? A lady's choice is her business, not mine.
He wrote a book (Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life) in 2005. It came back to embarrass him on the show. Tim Russert, the host, asked him some pointed questions.
(I'm paraphrasing here): "Your book says you agree with President Bush and we should stay the course. But in a speech the other day, you said we need to get out of Iraq. Which is it?"
Fast talk by Bill, who wound up saying something to the effect that we should get all the troops out. Except that we should support Iraq with Special Forces.
He also said he stands up for veterans. He got the State of New Mexico to increase the payments to survivors of vets killed in Iraq. From $11,000 to $400,000. Here's a letter describing his callousness to one marine's mother: .
Bill also waffled on the immigration bill. First he was for it, now he's against it. It's interesting to note that the governor, whose mother and sister live in Mexico, is the only Hispanic candidate in the presidential race. He said there should be a "tough but fair" system to qualify for legal status, including learning English, passing a background check, and paying fines and back taxes. At least that's where he stands today.
He also said he's proud of two of his unique accomplishments: negotiating with Saddam Hussein and setting the world record for shaking 13,392 hands.
Now, if there ever was a reason to elect someone President, there's a beaut.
He really irritated me when he implied a similarity to President John F. Kennedy. The only thing I see similar is that they were Democrats.
He was challenged by the host of the show on the fact that after he left an appointed office as Secretary of Energy, he sat on two boards. One was Valero (the oil and gas refiner) the other Diamond Energy Corporation (oil, coal and natural gas supplier). His reply was that he had to make a living. From two companies he had had to regulate?
Bill was also asked if he had supported Alberto Gonzalez for Attorney General because of his Hispanic background. He remarked that it played a part, but he now thinks Mr. Gonzalez should be removed.
I'm not against the concept of a New Mexico Governor becoming President, but I see no reason to support this candidacy. This man, in my opinion, is just one more carpet bagger.


Wow! Carol had some of this gentleman's sidewalk art work on her site. I did a Google and came up with this page of his efforts.
He's astounding to me. Take your time studying the pictures. Just click on the title of this post.
His name is Julian Beever and apparently he doesn't stay in one place too long. He's worked in the U.K., Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Australia.