Friday, April 29, 2011

on to Africa

My daughter Kelly will be taking a mission trip to Uganda this summer with a group from her church. They are raising money for the trip in a number of different ways. The most appealing fund raiser is selling cinnamon rolls made in the church kitchen.

Dorothy took orders for the rolls at her job with the hospital.  I took some photos of Kelly, Marley, and Jenna making deliveries.

quote of the day

Common experience shows how much rarer is moral courage than physical bravery.  A thousand men will march to the mouth of the cannon where one man will dare espouse an unpopular cause.

--Clarence Darrow

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Civil Emergency

According to the National Weather service a civil emergency has been declared for Adair County, Oklahoma due to what they describe as catastrophic floods. Here are some photos of the area near my house:

Dorothy had to drive 35 extra mile to work to avoid this.
Over 12 inches of rain from Friday to Monday

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

what I'm reading now

Rainbow Pie by Joe Bageant, the author of Deer Hunting with Jesus, is both a personal memoir and social commentary on the class warfare being waged in America today. The book paints a portrait of a family struggling  to survive America's post WWII transition from a mostly agriculture based economy to an urban consumer society.  Here are some excerpts:

"For some reason, hopeful American progressives at this writing seem to believe that the thin majority of educated Democrats now in Congress led by the clearly educated and articulate Obama, can somehow affect the hearts and minds of tens of millions who honestly believe that one of Noah's chores was feeding the dinosaurs on the ark.  But the ignorance and  superstition of American fundamentalism goes back a long way, and is rooted in the lack of real education in heartland America.  As long as we purposefully refuse to fully educate the hardest working class of Americans, or allow any development of their intellectual and philosophical vistas, simple-minded fundamentalism will be back on our nation's political front porch, and scaring the rest of the world.  Especially those godless, unarmed Europeans with their free socialist health care and their liberal educations."

And this:

"And now, under Obama, the financial elites have captured one-sixth of the American economy under the ruse of the new "health care reform" legislation.  Only in labyrinthine American capitalist politics could such a Trojan horse be conceived.  The health care reform bill was never about health care or reform, and most certainly never about direct, free, and on-demand medical care for all.  It was about  insurance for all.  As a result, the government now requires 35 million, mostly poor and working-class uninsured Americans to buy private health insurance.  This will guarantee a least $70 billion in new annual revenue for the insurance industry--probably more.  Another 11 million among the uninsured will get limited government help under the plan. Of course, the insurance corporations made a few small concessions. they may no longer kick you off their plans if you get an expensive illness, and they cannot refuse you if you have a pre-existing condition.  On the other hand, they were granted the right to increase insurance rates up to 25 percent immediately, if they choose to do so--this, in the wake of four years of double-digit annual increases.  Doubtlessly, Maw [sic] would be without health care were she alive today--unable to afford either insulin or health insurance to pay for it.  She'd be worse off, really. Under our new health care reform bill, she would be required to buy private health insurance.  For a 63-year old diabetic, that is about $1,500 monthly. If she were poor enough, the government would kick in perhaps $400 of that premium.

Unfortunately, Joe Bageant passed away this year.  America has lost a writer who was able to shine a light on the politics of class and the warfare being waged on the working people of this country by the corporate elites.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

to build a better mouse trap

When you live in the country it is inevitable that you'll be visited by mice.  The traditional mouse trap has always worked for me.  I use peanut butter as bait.  Sometimes the mouse is caught as I walk away from just setting the trap. Other times it will take days for the critter to  come to his demise as he finally sets off the mechanism. We have a very intelligent and crafty rodent on our hands now.  He has no trouble licking all the traps in the house shiny clean without any harm to himself. I researched the web for alternate ways of catching those nasty little beasts and I think I've found a couple that might work.

This trap involves using an empty  paper towel roll set over the edge of a shelf, just barely balanced, with a spot of peanut butter inside the end of the tube. The bucket contains water. When the mouse travels the length of the tube his weight causes the tube and himself to fall into the water.  I set this up last night and this morning the tube was in the water but the mouse wasn't.  I don't know what went wrong but I suspect the tube may have been too long giving the mouse an opportunity to reverse up the inside of the tube and  to escape up the sides of the bucket. I may try this again with a shorter tube.

Here's what  I'm trying tonight. The Coke can is suspended over the bucket by a wire. The can will easily spin. I placed a smear of peanut butter in the middle of the can. The theory is that the mouse will come down the gang plank, crawl up onto the can and when the can spins he will fall into the water. I added a drop or two of liquid dish soap to the water to make it impossible to climb up the walls of the bucket.

There are some who would suggest that I catch the little varmint live and let him loose in the woods. But, this mouse is exceptionally intelligent and can't be allowed to pass his Mensa quality genes to his progeny or we'll have a tribe of rodents who will be unstoppable and eat every crumb of food in our house in a very short time. It's him or me.

Monday, April 04, 2011

quote of the day

Americans have a difficult time imagining ways of solving problems that don't involve bombing.  That is why many countries question whether our intentions are truly to promote liberty, human rights, and women's rights, or whether our motivations are imperialistic in nature.  If we are occupying Afghanistan to liberate women, for example, how do we explain our close alliance with the Saudi Arabian government, which oppresses women?  Other countries notice that when governments cooperate with us and give us access to their oil, we couldn't care less about their human-rights records, and that makes us look like hypocrites.  Saddam Hussein was executed for crimes he committed while he was our ally.  We actually increased our support for him after he committed those crimes.  The only way our actions appear consistent is if you assume our foreign policy is about protecting our own economic interests.

--Paul Chappell from an interview in The Sun magazine