Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How Bush Sold Us the War in Iraq

If you don't read political non-fiction, I would suggest adding former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new memoir. He writes:

"...the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated political propaganda campaign led by President Bush and aimed at manipulating sources of public opinion and downplaying the major reason for going to war."

Who did not see this coming? The 341 page book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception gives an extreme look at President Bush's White House, but stops short of saying that Bush purposely lied about his reasons for invading Iraq. He writes:

"Over that summer of 2002, top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war ... In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating soureces of public opinion to the president's advantage."

But he doesn't just go after Bush, McClellan also tosses blame for the Hurricane Katrina disaster on Carl Rove, and the Varerie Plame fiasco on Vice-President Cheney and Scooter Libby. McClellan's book goes so far as to call the atmosphere in Washington D.C. as "poisonous." Again, who didn't see that coming?

Does President Bush think the citizens of America are stupid? He must think so because he keeps getting away with his dictatorship, trying to disguise it as democracy. Why hasn't Congress moved for impeachment? If President Clinton can be impeached for lying to a grand jury, then Bush should be impeached for lying to the American public.

Most people know the real reason we are in Iraq - oil and revenge for the past President Bush. Our current President had a hidden adjenda when taking office and that adjenda was bringing down Iraq - plain and simple. Now that we are in this mess, how do we get out? Hopefully the next President of the Free World will have the adjenda of the American people on his mind, not a personal adjenda that has destroyed our nation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

There Be Lights in Them There Skies

Has anyone else been watching the International Space Station as it flies over our heads each night? Last nights sighting was from 10:41 until 10:47. It starts in the south-western sky and slow moves across to the north-eastern sky before dropping off the horizon. It looks just like a fast moving star. Here's a quote:

During the next couple of weeks, North Americans will have many opportunities to see the International Space Station, due chiefly to a seasonal circumstance. From now through the beginning of July, nights are shortest and the time that a satellite in a low-Earth-orbit (like the space station) can remain illuminated by the Sun can extend throughout the night, a situation that can never be attained during other times of the year. Because the station circles the Earth about every 90 minutes on average, its possible to see it on several consecutive passes in a single night.

Because the space station revolves around the Earth in an orbit that is inclined 51.6 degrees to the equator, there are two types of passes that are visible. In the first case (well call it a "Type I" pass), the station initially appears toward the southwestern part of the sky and then sweeps over toward the northeast. About seven or eight hours later, it becomes possible to see a second type of pass (well call it "Type II"), but this time initially showing up toward the northwestern and sweeping toward the southeast.

During mid-May, because of the shortness of the nights, North Americans will get a chance to see the station in a series of Type I passes after sunset in the evening sky, then see it again the following morning before sunrise, undergoing a series of Type II passes.

From about May 7 through 10, only the Type II morning passes will be available for most North American locations. In some cases, the station might make as many as three such pre-sunrise trips. A good example is New York City, where, on the morning of May 10, the giant shining batch of metal will make three overflights beginning, respectively, at around 2:01 a.m., 3:35 a.m., and 5:10 a.m. Then, from May 11 and (depending on your location) until about May 14, it will be possible to see both Type I passes in the evening and Type II passes the following morning. For some locations, like Chicago on the night of May 13-14, there may be as many as five chances to see the station during a single night! For much of North America, the prime viewing period for both evening and morning passes will be from May 12 through 14. After May 14 or 15, the window of opportunity for the Type II morning passes will close and only Type I evening passes will be possible, and then only for several more days thereafter.

Watching the night sky is a wonderful family activity. Our family loves to watch meteor showers and hunt for constellations. There's nothing better than huddling under a warm blanket with your loved ones and watching the miracles of the night-time sky unfold before your eyes!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Television Addict

Hello, my name is Bobbi and I'm a television addict.

Sounds like the beginning of a 12-step program to me. I've always known that I loved watching television, but with two children already out of the house, and one more on the way, I think my obsession has gotten worse.

I start the morning with the TODAY show - checking in with Matt, Meridith, Ann and Al while I'm eating breakfast and getting ready for work. I get off work at noon, so I'm usually catching up with the political news on MSNBC while I eat lunch. Most days, I spend the afternoon writing, but the television is always on. It's amazing how much Dr. Phil, Oprah, or Martha Stewart you can absorb while you're writing. Some people write to music; I write to television.
Of course, I have daily and weekly programs that are "must see" habits of vital importance to my health and well-being, not to mention my sanity.

On a daily basis, the first thing I have to watch is All My Children. I have been watching this soap opera for 30+ years. Pine Valley is like a modern day Peyton Place and Erica Kane is the Queen of all things. The second thing I have to watch is Countdown with Keith Olbermann; to me Keith is the King of all news; not to mention Oddball and Worst Person in the World. These are two hours I absolutely must have in my day; and actually, if you count using the DVR, it's only like an hour and a half.

On a weekly basis, I have several series that are "must see" in our home. The first one is Bones (check the TV & Movie forum for a thread on Bones). Tonight was the last episode of this season, so I'm going to have to wait several months before catching up with Booth, Bones and the rest of the gang. Robin Hood is another show my family loves and thankfully, it has just started a new season; I have visions of robbing the rich to feed the poor.

Other shows on the must see list, but which have ended for the season, include: Medium, Heroes, Breaking Bad, and Terminator: the Sarah Conners' Chronicles. The last big three I watch are all on cable and will be returning this summer: Weeds, Big Love, and Californication. Of course, my hubby has his favorites as well, so I get to watch My Name Is Earl, How I Met Your Mother, Last Comic Standing, and Hell's Kitchen (and Kitchen Nightmares.)

Like I said, I'm addicted to television. Even when I'm reading, I have the television on. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem; who are they? And if I admit I have a problem, then I'll be obligated to correct the problem, right?

On second thought, maybe I'm not addicted to television after all. Yeah, that's it, I just like watching the TV. Yeah, there's no problem here; no problem at all ...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Live from Harrodsburg, it's Saturday Night

Here I am on a beautiful Saturday night - sitting in front of my computer. How pathetic is that? Actually, as boring as it may sound, I'm doing just what I want to be doing and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

My husband and my daughter are both working tonight, so I have the house to myself. For the next four hours I can do anything I want. As soon as I finish this blog, I have a short story I need to edit and a new story I want to "flesh out." I'll spend the evening with my computer in my lap, the television on and a stack of books and notebooks at my side; not to mention the ice-cold glass of Coke and last slice of pizza.

At 10 o'clock I'll watch this week's episode of Robin Hood on the BBC. This is one of my favorite television shows and it keeps getting better every week. It actually comes on at 9, but I hate commericals, so I'll wait and use the DVR to fast forward through all the ads; this way I can get some writing in before hand.

I'm currently writing a children's book, so I have several character sketches I need to work on. I have already done some research, but I haven't had time to sit down and work on it, so I'm looking forward to doing this. I have notebooks full of words and doodles; tonight I'll open computer files and start organizing all the information.

I also want to do some reading tonight. I've started on a new series of books by Charlaine Harris called The Southern Vampire Mysteries, so I'm half-way through the first book. I'm also reading a series of children's books called Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan; I'm on the second book. To complicate matters, I'm also reading on a third series of books by John Sanford called the Prey series. It drives my husband crazy when I'm reading more than one book at a time. There are some books I can read straight through, like Stephenie Meyer's new book The Host, but there are many books that I will literally only read three or four chapters before skipping ahead to the next book and then back again. That's just the way my brain works.

So while most people are out on the town or socializing on a Saturday night, I'm home with three of my favorite things: my computer, the televison and my books. And I'm waiting for my top two favorite things to come home: my hubby and my daughter.

It's my Saturday and I'll do as I like!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mommy Bear to the Rescue

What is it with teenagers and manners? Kids today seem to have no manners; they are impolite and can be downright rude.

Yesterday, Christine and I had an unfortunate incident at the Mercer Public Library. Christine had a reserved book to pick up, so I took her to the library right after school. Because I had been to the library earlier in the day, I waited in the car while she went in. When she got back to the car, she was crying! Apparently, there were 4 teenage boys hanging around the entrance to the library and they decided to be show off.

As my daughter went into the library, they called her an awful name. She ignored them and proceeded into the library. On her way out, they again called out awful names and made rude gestures. She did what I've always told her to do; she ignored them again. The only problem is - now I was upset. And when Mommy is upset, watch out.

I got out of my car to confront these kids, but they took off running in two directions. I got back into the car to try and calm Christine down, then we pulled out of the parking lot. I should have let that be the end of it, but I didn't.

When I pulled out on the road, I saw the boys circling back around to the library, so I circled back to the library. They were again at the entrance, so I parked my car and got out. They scattered again, but I went into the library to report the incident to the librarian. She was madder than I was!

Together we walked outside, her taking one side of the building and me the other. The librarian cornered the boys across the street from the library and addressed them about their conduct in the library. When she asked their names, the boys took off running, but she didn't persue them. After apologizing to me and Christine (it was not her fault, but I appreciated the thought), she assured me she would keep an eye out for these kids again.

Now, I feel like a hypocrite because I've always told Christine to ignore ignorant people who tease and call you names. "Water off a duck's back," as my husband says, but I let my emotions get the better of me. Christine was proud that I took up for her, but now I feel like I've sent the wrong message.

So, in the wide scheme of things I've learned I'm only human. It is one thing to tell my daughter to ignore rude people; it's another thing for the rude behavior to happen in front of me. I don't take well to people who insult my children; so it's Mommy bear to the rescue!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Special Treatment

Did Hulk Hogan's (whose real name is Terry Bollea) son get special treatment when the judge decided his fate?

Nick Bollea was arrested in November and charged with felony reckless driving that caused a serious bodily injury. Authorities say he was street racing his father's 1998 Toyota Supra when he struck a curb, spun in traffic and slammed into a palm tree.

John Graziano - Nick's best friend and a former Marine who served in Iraq - was in the passenger seat. Neither boy was wearing a seatbelt. Graziano suffered a skull fracture and several other injuries. Nick's blood alcohol level was over the legal limit for someone under 21 (he is 17).

The maximum sentence was 1 - 5 years, but the judge gave Nick only 8 months.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dear Editor

The following is a letter to the editor of the Advocate-Messenger in Danville, Ky. It is written by my best friend and reprinted with permission. She raises some interesting questions.

Dear Editor,
So Danville prohibits smoking. I'm no smoker, but I do have some questions. What's next? Do we build a little sterile bubble around our town? What about air pollution from other sources? What about our water? Why are traces of prescription drugs found in some water sources after it's been treated? How toxic are the chemicals used to treat our water?

What about every plant, vegetable and fruit tree grown in our contaminated soil? What about pesticides and fertilizers? What about the hormones being fed to animals used as our meat sources? What about preservatives in our food? What about the bacterial and viral diseases we are exposed to constantly? What are the real effects of microwaves, cell phones, TVs and electrical lines? What about the cleaning chemicals we use in our homes? What about building supplies used in our homes?

And then the big question: What about our children and their children? What about too much violence, too much explicit sex, too many violent video games, too many inappropriate movies and TV shows? What about the "creepy" side of the Internet? Why haven't we thought about the consequences of too much?

Why are we so concerned with superficial things like having all the latest gadgets and trying to stay forever young? Why don't we try to leave something good and honorable behind us before we go to whatever is next? Why do children lose their innocence too early and grow up so fast?

Does a lot of it have to do with us? Why do our grandchildren have to be exposed to TV commercials like "Viva Viagra"? Why, when the whole world seems to be going completely bonkers, is it that there are people who are more concerned with erectile dysfunction?

Linda Burger

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I can't believe I mentioned my fear of clowns in a blog. This was the one thing I meant to keep secret, but I blurt it out for the world to read. What was I thinking?

My family and a few close friends are the only ones who knew of my coulrophobia - fear of clowns. I have had a problem with these creepy, white-faced, red lipped mutants most of my life. As an adult, you would think this phobia would lessen, after all, I am a grown up - aren't I? But noooooooo, my fear of clowns increases with each exposure until I'm sure one day I'm going to be so frozen with fear that a clown will be the end of me.

I have been known to run down Main Street if a clown approaches me, leaving my children to fend for themselves. I have been known to climb over my children when a clown would approach me in Rupp Arena during the Ringling Brothers Circus (this has happened twice!). I have been know to run screaming out of a local Wal-Mart from just the sight of a Ronald McDonald statue. Okay, I never claimed to be a rational person.

People who know of my fear have asked me, "Were you scared by a clown when you were a child?" But my answer is always, "No." I don't have any vivid memories of a specific time in my childhood when a clown scared me. I have vivid memories of clown "attacks", but one doesn't stand out any more than any other.

Recently I think I found out where this strange phobia originated into my nightmares. I am addicted to the old television soap opera from 60s, Dark Shadows. I can remember running from from the bus every afternoon to catch the 3:30 episode. I thought Barnabas Collins was the most wonderful thing since sliced bread. I wanted to be a vampire just like him! This television show was the beginning of my obsessions with all things vampiric, but that's for another blog.

Anyway, for the past two years, I have been renting Dark Shadows from Netflix, all 104 discs (there is 26 Collections with each collection containing 4 disc; I think I did the math right?!). The past few months, I have been renting, Dark Shadows: The Beginning, which is the first 210 episodes before Barnabas Collins joined the cast.

I'm sorry, I digressed. Back to the coulrophobia. During an early episode of Dark Shadows, there is an episode where David Collins is in a Fun House and there are clown faces in the funky fun house mirrors. Watching that episode, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. My heartrate was racing, I broke out in a cold sweat, and my hands were shaking so bad, it took me three attempts to hit the STOP button on the remote.

When my hubby ran into the living room to see what was upsetting me, I had to leave the room while he watched the icky clowns on the television screen. Later that night, I told him I thought that might have been the moment in my childhood everyone is always trying to get me to remember. No a phyical encounter with an alien clown, but a dream sequence on a televison show. Like I said, I never claimed to be rational.

So, if you invite me to a party, don't invite any clowns or other creatures dressed in funny costumes or wearing full face paint. Of course, I probably wouldn't attend the party any way, what with my agoraphobia and all. What ... I didn't tell you about my fear of public places ...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pegasus, Oaks and Derby ... Oh My!

Okay ... it's that time of year again. Derby fever has hit the bluegrass. Although I enjoy watching the big race on TV, I have come to dread almost everything else pertaining to the Derby. Because my husband is a news videographer at WLEX-18, he has been in Louisville since yesterday and I won't see him again until late, late Saturday night. Bummer!

Wednesday was the "pill pull" and, of course, the media had to cover the story so people would know what starting position their favorite horse is in. Day one ends with my favorite, the filly "Eight Belles" in the number four position.

Today it was the Pegasus Parade and again the media had to cover this event for everyone who wanted to see the parade. I quit caring about parades after a clown chased me up Main Street during a Christmas parade when my youngest was 5 years old. (I hate clowns! There is nothing scarier than a white painted face with a huge red grin. Ohhh, it gives me the willies!) Day two ends with me missing my hubby and wondering if I'll make it until he's home again.

Tomorrow is Oaks Day at the Downs, when all the Louisville natives traditionally go to the races. And again, the media will be covering the races and giving a blow by blow. At least day three is ending on a weekend, so it won't matter that I haven't been able to slept without my hubby.

Of course, Saturday is the big day. WLEX will be on the air early and will run coverage right up to and after the race (WAVE in Louisville has the official rights to air the actural Derby Race). After the 6:00 news, I know my hubby will be packing up his equipment and fighting the crowd and traffic to make it back home.

I know I'm a wuss, but I don't function well when my hubby is out of down. Even though I'm in the spring of my life - okay, maybe 45 is not the springtime of my life - I miss my hubby. He is my best friend. Maybe my horse will win; that might make his absence almost tolerable

Come Sunday morning, Derby 2008 will be a distant memroy, and I'll have an entire year before I get Derby anxiety again.

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