Labor Day Weekend – Open Thread

Hoping you all have a great weekend.  This is always the last big splash here for summer.  In about two weeks we’ll shut down the pool for the winter, put all the beach stuff away, and I’ll start my Christmas projects for the year.  I always make a few things that take a little bit of time and effort.  I’m not really sure I’m ready for summer to end as we had a bit of an abbreviated one this year and I missed having our grandkids around since they moved to CO in June.  Luckily we have a trip planned to CO in two weeks so I’m dragging out our summer by a little bit.  Hopefully I won’t need to take my winter clothes along this year.

We generally take off for the beach every Labor Day weekend but this year we’re just having a few friends over on Monday for a BBQ, swimming, and probably some cards and drinking………………that’s where we usually end up anyway with this particular party crowd.

I love this Labor Day Quote:

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.  ~Isak Dinesen

Anyway, whatever you’re doing I hope it’s either fun, or relaxing, or both!

If It Saves One Life

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  I doubt any of the rest of you are interested in this phenomenon but I’ve found it to be very true in my own experience.  Once tragedy strikes, especially one we believe could have been prevented, we tend to change our minds about numerous things.  That old saying “if it saves one life it’s worth it”, which the guy quoted below actually says at the end of his testimony, and most of us know is not a very legitimate tool to use to bring about change, suddenly has meaning.

When I think back to the Health Care debate and why it was so important to me, Daniel’s story about his sister’s death, matched my own perception of that debate at the time because of my niece’s death.  During the years I fought for health care reform I met hundreds of people whose stories were similar to my own.  And honestly, they weren’t all hot-headed progressives (and I’m not either although I do get hot-headed about health care inefficiencies).  Most of them were simply hard working Americans who had a terrible story to tell about a health care system that had failed.

I think this is one of the reasons so many of the provisions in the ACA are popular while the bill itself isn’t.  Some of us can imagine what it would be like to not have these new regulations or know someone who is benefiting from them now.  And so even though the bill is a mess in so many ways, they’re grateful for it in other ways.  It’s interesting to me that the polling is so skewed.

Anyway, my point really is just that while I really am not impressed with the bill that became the ACA, either during it’s development or now, I still can’t help but be grateful that someone elses family won’t have to suffer the same terrible loss that we suffered.  That brings it down to the most personal level which is exactly what Daniels is talking about.  This is when, right or wrong, people look to their government for help…………………most of us don’t really have anywhere else to go to find the same kind of resolution to an injustice.  If the ACA had been in effect at the end of 2007 chances are very likely my niece would be alive today………………that’s a really life altering scenario to think about.

There’s a part of me that wishes things were different because I know it’s not necessarily fair to the rest of you who make it through life without this kind of event or are able to separate your logical and principled selves from needing or desiring any kind of assistance yourself.  The idea that a man like Daniel, could now be attempting to influence a debate about background checks tells me all I need to know about reality.

WASHINGTON — Elvin Daniel, 56, is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association, an avid hunter and a self-described “constitutional conservative” from a small town in Illinois. He became an unlikely witness for the Democrats on Wednesday at the first-ever Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence against women.

Daniel choked back tears at the hearing as he recounted the story of his sister, Zina, who was shot and killed by her estranged ex-husband in 2012. After her ex slashed her tires and physically threatened her, Zina had obtained a restraining order against him, which should have prohibited him under federal law from buying a gun. But he was able to purchase a gun online, where private sellers are not required to conduct background checks.

“Now I’m helping to care for my two nieces who lost their mother and who will have to grow up without her,” Daniel told the committee. “I’m here today for Zina and for the stories like Zina’s that happen every day because of the serious gap in our gun laws that continue to put women’s lives in danger.”

American women account for 84 percent of all female gun victims in the developed world, and more than a quarter of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by an intimate partner.

The two bills being considered in the Senate, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would strengthen federal gun prohibitions for convicted domestic abusers and those deemed by a judge to be a physical threat to a woman. Klobuchar’s bill would include physically abusive dating partners and convicted stalkers in the category of persons who are prohibited from buying or possessing a gun. Blumenthal’s bill would ban guns for those who have been issued a temporary restraining order by a judge for domestic violence.

All the provisions being discussed are supported by a majority of Americans, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll. But gun limits are difficult for Congress to pass, even when they are broadly supported by voters, due to the strong opposition of the well-funded and well-organized gun rights lobby. A popular bill that would have closed gaping holes in the federal background checks system fell just short last year of the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

The NRA is already fighting Klobuchar’s bill, claiming that it “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions.”

“If we can save just one life, that would be worth everything we’re going through,” Daniel said. “And I know we can save more than one life.”

Daniel’s Testimony and More is from Huffingpost which I realize is a very partisan source.  I read about it somewhere else but now can’t find the source.  At least it’s not Reuter’s Scott…………………LOL

Here’s a little less partisan one but still not the one I was looking for.

Father’s Day Open Thread

Hoping all the Dads here have a nice relaxing day and feel loved, respected and cherished by your children.  As only a half-assed feminist I support the role of Fathers in children’s lives. 🙂  My father was a hard man to live with sometimes, and we had our issues over the years, but I always treasured the discipline and independence he encouraged in me.  We really became best friends again at the end of his life and those memories are very precious to me.

My children have been very fortunate to have such a great father, as are my grandchildren.  They all got lucky and I think my Dad was a great example to my husband, who lost his father when he was quite young, and my son who was greatly influenced by both of them.

Wishing you all a great day!


A Business Dilemma

When we bought our business a little over 13 years ago we negotiated for the exclusive right to manufacture and sell two products that were invented, patented and trademarked by the original owner. This agreement would last 20 years (until 2021) and then the tooling would revert back to the family, either to his daughter or grandchildren. My husband first came on board as part of the sales team about 35 years ago right after this product was introduced. It was the launching pad for the business and “the” main product we’re known for. The last two years it was the Number One seller in Tennis Accessories on Amazon over the holiday season.  Over the years we have added numerous other products but this one still generates about 10%-15% of our sales and has actually had a bit of a resurgence in the tennis market since internet sales in general have been increasing every year and we’re able to reach the public more easily.  Funny, there is even a little nostalgia involved.  The product was copied when the patent ran out but both copies never worked the way they were designed to because a couple of steps (trade secrets) were not part of the patent and they missed them.

The tooling is getting old and outdated and part of our agreement was that the original designer/owner of the tooling would pay for repair costs and we would pay him 5% of cost at manufacturing as a royalty. This system worked for about 10 years when the owner decided he no longer wanted to pay the tooling repair costs and so we worked out a new agreement that he would forgo his royalty checks and we would be responsible for the tooling until it reverted back to the family. He is now in his nineties and in a convalescent home at death’s door.

It’s doubtful anyone in the family is interested in really having the tooling back but I’m a little afraid to ask. We are considering if the next hurdle in repairs is worth the expense unless the tooling were to become ours permanently. It apparently needs to be converted to a manifold system which will cost somewhere between 20K and 30K and that is only one of four parts which are also old and having more problems as time goes by.

It’s a great product and makes us decent money every year but we’re just not sure it’s worth the investment. The original owner’s daughter is very unpredictable when it comes to the business.  She hated it when she worked for her Dad but enjoyed the income and while anxious to let it go, tried to screw us over several times with her lawyer’s help during the purchase process. Luckily we weren’t born yesterday so we were able to protect our interests well. I don’t trust her though.

I guess what I want to know is if it seems like it would be worth the investment if we ultimately have to return the tooling anyway or should we just return it early and let them deal with it? I believe that would be the end of a great product though.

My other concern is that I really don’t know how much longer we want to work ourselves and I don’t particularly trust Walter’s health to stick it out long enough for us to recoup the expense. I really don’t want to get stuck doing all the work myself. Our son helped occasionally with putting the parts together for large orders but he’s in CO now and the work is too strenuous for our oldest daughter although she does help out here in other ways occasionally.

I’m also trying to figure out an angle where if we made the repairs how could we end up owning the tooling as I think there is a marketable value to it and we might be able to sell it, even considering the condition it’s in.

Any suggestions?


The Difference Between Men and Women

I copied this from another forum and although I’m not quite sure where it came from, I thought it was funny enough to share, especially since it’s Friday.  Friday was always my joke day at the PL.

Let’s say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: …so that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…lemme check the odometer…Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed – even before I sensed it – that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty…scumballs.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their…

“Fred,” Martha says aloud.

“What?” says Fred, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have…oh dear, I feel so…”(She breaks down, sobbing.)

“What?” says Fred.

“I’m such a fool,” Martha sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” says Fred.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Martha says.

“No!” says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.

“It’s just that…it’s that I…I need some time,” Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

“Yes,” he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

“Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Fred.

“That way about time,” says Martha.

“Oh,” says Fred. “Yes.” (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

“Thank you, Fred,” she says.

“Thank you,” says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?”

And that’s the difference between men and women.

The Week in Review – September 21

House Republicans sure had a busy week.  In addition to cutting SNAP by a pretty significant amount, they culminated the week in another repeal/defund Obamacare vote.

Notching its 42nd vote against Obamacare and knowing full well that the Democratic Senate will reject it, Republicans in the House cast their vote, staged a noisy celebration in front of a placard declaring “SenateMustAct,” and then left town for several days to give time for the Senate to demolish its work.

“The Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said flatly.


The latest in the Naval Shipyard shooting is that his targets appear to be random based on video surveillance.  It looks like Aaron Alexis’ mental state has become the focus of most commentary.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The contract worker who opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard this week appeared to have no particular target as he moved through a building and shot and killed 12 people, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday.

Comey, whose agency is leading the investigation into the shooting, said that in surveillance video the man identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis “appears to be moving without particular direction or purpose.”

Thousands of workers streamed back into the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday, three days after Alexis, a former reservist working at the site as a contractor, opened fire with a shotgun as he wandered several floors and hallways.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said on Wednesday that Alexis was treated for insomnia in August at hospitals run by the VA, but that he said he did not have violent thoughts and did not seek care from a VA mental health specialist.

His credentials were still valid, although Rhode Island police had warned the Navy in August that Alexis had reported “hearing voices” and said he believed people were following him and “sending vibrations into his body,” according to a Newport police report.


Coloradans are returning home after a week and a half of horrible weather.  They’re calling it the 1000 year flood now.  A week and a half ago Golden had over a foot of hail.  They had to bring out the snow plows in 90 degree weather and when it melted it added to the flooding.  The pictures in the link are pretty incredible.

Up and down Colorado’s Front Range, the number of dead rose to seven, with three others missing and presumed dead. But the number of unaccounted-for people dropped to about 140, thanks to rescues and restored communications.

“Right now we’re just moving from the life-saving mode to the life-sustaining mode,” said Kevin Kline, director of the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Kline said it was too early to estimate the dollar damage but added, “It’s going to be big.”

The damage spans 17 counties and nearly 2,000 square miles.


I finally got my first iPhone last weekend, a hand-me-down from one of my kids.  It’s okay (the phone I mean).  We have so many lines coming in here and with my kindle and a non-contract phone for traveling, I never really felt the burning desire, but I finally relented.  But this is nuts.

When the first iPhone went on sale, it was unlike any other phone that had ever hit the market. Gadget fanatics lined up across the country to shell out more than $500 for Steve Jobs’ totally new innovation.

Apple’s seventh iPhone launches today and the lines still persist. Around the world, from China to New York to London, people have gathered outside Apple Stores for the launch of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 5s costs $200, the iPhone 5c $100.

But why? Why are they breaking down the doors for phones they can buy online or can walk in and get at the store later in the day? Why are people sleeping on the streets to get phones that have been updated with just a couple of new impressive features?

“I want the gold one and everyone wants the gold one.”


For your viewing pleasure here’s a list of movies that opened Friday the 20th and a couple that either stand out or look like ticket sellers to me.

PrisonersFilm centers on a small town carpenter whose young daughter and best friend are kidnapped. After the cops fail to find them, the man turns vigilante and starts an investigation of his own.  Jake Gyllenhaal, whom I like for some reason, stars as the cop.

RushAn action/adventure Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, this film portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed-handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda. Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.  This one’s directed by Ron Howard so might be worth watching.

Generation IronThis one’s a docu/drama that examines the professional sport of bodybuilding today and gives the audience front row access to the lives of the top 7 bodybuilders in the sport as they train to compete in the world’s most premiere bodybuilding stage – Mr. Olympia.  This is a limited release so that might mean something……………lol

Disclaimer:  This is not an endorsement of any of the above movies……….hahaha

Today in History – September 19

1988 – On September 19, 1988, just one day after sustaining a head injury in a frightening accident, American diver Greg Louganis wins gold in the springboard competition at the Summer Olympics, in Seoul, South Korea. It was his second consecutive Olympic gold in the event.

Louganis fought through his nerves to nail all 11 of his dives, proving that he was still the best diver in the world. Louganis also won repeat gold in the men’s platform competition, becoming the first man ever to win consecutive golds in both events.

On October 2, Louganis was awarded the United States Olympic Committee Spirit Award and later announced his retirement from competition to pursue an acting career.

In 1995, Louganis confirmed that he was suffering from the AIDS virus.

1957 – The United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas.  The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test.

1873 – One of the worst financial depressions in American History. On September 19, 1873 (Black Friday), the New York Stock Exchange announced that important investment banking firm of Jay Cooke & Company had collapsed after investing too heavily in railroad securities. The collapse of such an influential company affected the entire stock market, and soon other large firms failed. By 1875, about 500,000 men were unemployed, and wage cuts for other workers precipitated a wave of strikes and labor violence. And not until the end of 1870’s did the U.S economy improve.  The original Black Friday was on Sept. 24, 1869.

50 Years Ago Today – September 15

I came across this story this morning and thought it was worth reminding all of us how far we’ve traveled in fifty years.

On this day fifty years ago, a box of dynamite rigged to a timer exploded beneath a stairway at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., just as a group of African-American children were heading inside to prepare for Sunday morning services. Four girls were killed, more than a score more were wounded, and the South’s long intransigence against equality for African-Americans took yet another deadly turn.

That bloody summer of 1963—which McWhorter detailed in her 2001 book, “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution”—was a pivotal experience for the nation, and helped pushed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. But it also was only part of a long arc of the troubled history of race relations in the country. At The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen writes of white Birmingham lawyer Charles Morgan Jr., who, a day after the bombing, issued an eloquent plea for white Alabamans to shoulder the blame for the region’s heinous acts of racism. Morgan’s speech included a challenge to his fellow white citizens who kept asking, “Who did this?”

“Who is guilty? A moderate mayor elected to change things in Birmingham and who moves so slowly and looks elsewhere for leadership? A business community which shrugs its shoulders and looks to the police or perhaps somewhere else for leadership? A newspaper which has tried so hard of late, yet finds it necessary to lecture Negroes every time a Negro home is bombed? A governor who offers a reward but mentions not his own failure to preserve either segregation or law and order? And what of those lawyers and politicians who counsel people as to what the law is not, when they know full well what the law is?

Those four little Negro girls were human beings. They had lived their fourteen years in a leaderless city: a city where no one accepts responsibility, where everybody wants to blame somebody else. A city with a reward fund which grew like Topsy as a sort of sacrificial offering, a balm for the conscience of the “good people,” whose ready answer is for those “right wing extremists” to shut up. People who absolve themselves of guilt. The liberal lawyer who told me this morning, “Me? I’m not guilty!” he then proceeding to discuss the guilt of the other lawyers, the one who told the people that the Supreme Court did not properly interpret the law. And that’s the way it is with the Southern liberals. They condemn those with whom they disagree for speaking while they sit in fearful silence.”

Morgan eventually was hounded out of town by death threats.

With its large African-American congregation, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., who once called Birmingham a “symbol of hardcore resistance to integration.” Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, made preserving racial segregation one of the central goals of his administration, and Birmingham had one of the most violent and lawless chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.

The church bombing was the third in Birmingham in 11 days after a federal order came down to integrate Alabama’s school system. Fifteen sticks of dynamite were planted in the church basement, underneath what turned out to be the girls’ restroom. The bomb detonated at 10:19 a.m., killing Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins–all 14 years old–and 11-year-old Denise McNair. Immediately after the blast, church members wandered dazed and bloodied, covered with white powder and broken stained glass, before starting to dig in the rubble to search for survivors. More than 20 other members of the congregation were injured in the blast.

Today in History – September 9

1971 – John Lennon releases “Imagine” album.

1965 – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax pitches the eighth perfect game in major league history, leading the Dodgers to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.  (I grew up going to Dodger games with my dad and remember seeing one of Koufax’s no-hitters but don’t remember if it was this one or not)

Sandy Koufax was a talented all-around athlete from Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. His first love was basketball, and he attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. His impressive left arm, however, attracted the attention of major league ball clubs and in 1954 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his promising talent, Koufax won just 36 games to 51 losses from 1955 to 1961, and was incredibly inconsistent, blowing hitters away one game and walking in runs the next. Finally, advice from veteran catcher Norm Sherry turned Koufax around. As Koufax recounted in his autobiography, Sherry told him to “take the grunt out of the fastball.” It worked: From 1962 to 1966, Sandy Koufax executed what are arguably the five greatest seasons by a pitcher in baseball history. His new found control limited his walks from 4.8 per game to just 2.1, and he pitched no-hitters in three consecutive years–1962, 1963 and 1964.

1850 – California is admitted as the thirty-first U.S. state.  Mexico had reluctantly ceded California and much of its northern territory to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. When the Mexican diplomats signed the treaty, they pictured California as a region of sleepy mission towns with a tiny population of about 7,300-not a devastating loss to the Mexican empire. Their regret might have been much sharper had they known that gold had been discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, nine days before they signed the peace treaty. Suddenly, the greatest gold rush in history was on, and “forty-niners” began flooding into California chasing after the fist-sized gold nuggets rumored to be strewn about the ground just waiting to be picked up. California’s population and wealth skyrocketed.

1776 – The Continental Congress formally declares the name of the new nation to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.

In the Congressional declaration dated September 9, 1776, the delegates wrote, “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”

A resolution by Richard Henry Lee, which had been presented to Congress on June 7 and approved on July 2, 1776, issued the resolve, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States….” As a result, John Adams thought July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted. That document also states, “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.” However, Lee began with the line, while Jefferson saved it for the middle of his closing paragraph.

Syria and an Open Thread

I’m no foreign policy expert and I’ve probably spent more time and effort protesting wars than really understanding the reasons justifying our involvement, or believing them.  I was just as shocked as anyone on 9/11 though and remember how revenge caused me to ignore my normal, anti-war, gut reaction that I’ve harbored since Vietnam.  I suspended my inclination to distrust our government in matters of foreign policy and kept an open mind regarding Iraq and Saddam Hussein and Bush’s case for invasion.  Colin Powel’s presentation went a long way towards keeping me, if not acquiescent, at least open-minded.

I remember going to a family gathering with a lot of conservatives in attendance and listening to them talk about a friend of a friend of a friend supposedly living in Iraq celebrating the end to Hussein’s reign and how women were going to be free and the warring religious sects were going to make peace………..or something like that.  I was pretty skeptical but kept my mouth shut, obviously hoping their enthusiasm was justified.  Not long after that we began to get wind of disturbing news regarding our justifications and our questionable treatment of prisoners.  Eventually, I joined the war protest movement locally.  I really did feel a level of betrayal that reminded me why my natural inclinations against aggressive and war-like solutions to international problems had been justified.  That’s not to say however, that we are never justified.  I couldn’t have been any happier when OBL got what he deserved.

Americans of all political stripes don’t like the idea that citizens are being killed or slaughtered by their country’s own government and so we are torn between wanting to punish someone for that and knowing that our interference may just make things worse.  Involving ourselves in another ME civil war seems like a recipe for disaster and I don’t support the strikes.  Having said that though I think we, as a country, should be looking at ways to make Assad pay for what he’s done, assuming he or his government are actually responsible.

Obama is planning to make his case this week to the American people and Congress but I’m not really impressed when I read this , he’s expecting us to believe air strikes are the only solution.  I read somewhere that the WH is responsible for releasing a tape showing the aftermath of a sarin attack,  I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure it’s awful.

In his radio address, Obama said failing to respond to the attack would threaten U.S. national security by increasing the chance of future chemical attacks from the Syrian government, terrorist groups, or other nations. The United States said more than 1,400 people were killed, including hundreds of children.

“We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria,” he said.

Why does our response automatically mean strikes against the Assad regime that may unleash a worse rebel faction associated with Al Qaeda or possibly even cause more harm to Syrian innocents.  It seems to me there are alternatives that we should be exploring first, assuming I’m not just being completely naive and none of these ideas will work.

1. Bring those guilty of atrocities to justice

2. Call for a United Nations embargo on arms, military supplies, and logistical support for both Damascus and opposition forces

3. The U.N. Security Council should hold an international peace conference

4. Offer aid and support to the nonviolent movements within Syria

5. Provide the humanitarian aid desperately needed by the millions of displaced people

6. Force the hand of Russia and China in the Security Council

I don’t really know how feasible all of this is but based upon the more detailed explanations of each suggestion in the piece at Common Dreams doesn’t it seem like we should at least try other options before just beating the war drums?  It seems to me there’s an awful lot at stake here, much more than our President’s reputation.  I mention that because I believe there are Democrats in the Senate and the House who are possibly supporting Obama simply because he’s their leader rather than listening to either their constituents or their conscience.

And I don’t know how many of you might have seen this piece but there’s an “unholy alliance” of sorts forming in Congress.  (semi-corked by JNC)

At a town hall meeting with tea party supporters, somebody had asked Yoho about a rumor. Was it true that he — a conservative veterinarian in his first term who loudly opposes any compromise with the White House — was working with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Congress’s leading liberal loudmouth?

“I wish I could tell you it wasn’t true,” Yoho recounted saying. “But it is true.” There were gasps, he said.

Yoho and Grayson are among a group of unlikely allies in Congress: liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans, united by their opposition to a military strike against Syria.

The Democrats in the group have lost faith in war. The Republicans have lost faith (or never had it) in President Obama. In this case, — as Obama seeks approval for a limited kind of warmaking — their doubts aligned.

The result was an ad hoc coalition of Congress’s unwilling.

This group has become the core of a surprising backlash in the House. At least for now, it appears that more than half of representatives are ready to defy both a Republican speaker and a Democratic president, and vote against a military strike.

I signed their petition yesterday, for what it’s worth.


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